Vol. 15 AUGUST, 1912. No. 5

Copyright, 1912, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


BEFORE one can elect himself to the life of an immortal and begin the actual process of living forever he must be aware of some of the requirements of such a life and of what he must do to prepare himself to begin. His mind should be eager to grasp and deal with the problems concerned. He must be willing to give up the mortal process of dying before he can begin the immortal process of living. In the June and July issues of The Word are suggested the differences between the mortal and immortal life, and the motive which one should have as the cause of his choosing to live forever.

After pondering over the statements there made; after finding that they appeal to him as being reasonable and right; after feeling sure that he is willing to give up all that is necessary for him to give up and do all that is made necessary by the process; after searching out and passing just judgment on his motive, and after finding that the motive which prompts him to live forever is, that by an immortal life he can best serve his fellow men rather than that he may have everlasting happiness or power, then he is fit to choose and may choose to begin the process of living forever.

The process of living forever is approached by thinking of living forever, and begins with the conception of the thought of living forever. By thinking of living forever is meant that the mind reaches out after and searches out all available matter on the subject, and broods over the thought of living forever. As the mind is so roused it becomes prepared and prepares the body to begin the process. The conception of the thought of living forever takes place at that instant when the mind for the first time awakens to the realization of what living forever is. This awakening differs from the labors of the mind in its gropings and efforts to understand. It comes after and as the result of these gropings and efforts, and is like the flashing into the mind of, and the satisfaction at, the solution of a problem in mathematics with which the mind has worked a long time. This conception of what living forever is may not come until long after one had dedicated himself to live forever. But it will come, as his acts conform to what he learns and knows about the process. When he awakens to what living forever is, he will not be in doubt about what he should do; he will know the process and see his way. Until then he must be guided in his course by reasoning on the subject and doing what seems to be best.

After a man has given the necessary consideration to the subject of living forever and is convinced that it is the right thing for him to do and has made his choice, he is ready and will prepare himself for the course. He prepares himself for the course by reading and thinking about what he has read on the subject, and by so becoming acquainted with his physical body and the parts of which it is composed, as distinct from his psychic and mental and spiritual natures which make up his organization as man. It is not necessary for him to ransack libraries or to travel to out-of-the-way places in search of what has been written on the subject. He will become aware of all that it is necessary for him to know. Much will be found on the subject in the sayings of Jesus and the writer of The New Testament, in many of the Oriental writings and in the Mythologies of the ancients.

An article which is suggestive and gives more information than any written in modern times was published under the title “The Elixir of Life” in “The Theosophist” of March and April (Vol. 3, Nos. 6 and 7), 1882, at Bombay, India, and republished in the volume of collected writings called “Five Years of Theosophy” at London in 1894, and also among other writings in a volume published at Bombay in 1887 under the title “A Guide to Theosophy.” In this article, as in other writings on the subject, much information essential to the course has been omitted.

Immortal life is not gained after death; it must be earned before death. The physical life of man in full vigor does not exceed one hundred years. Man’s span of life is not long enough for him to perform his duties in the world, to forsake the world, to go through the process necessary to living forever, and to have immortal life. To become immortal, man must bridge over what would ordinarily be his time of death and prolong the life of his physical body. For the physical body to live through centuries it must be healthy and strong and immune to disease. Its constitution must be changed.

To change the constitution of the physical body to that which is required, it must be rebuilt many times. Organ must replace organ, cell must replace cell in increasing fineness and quality. With the change in cells and organs there will be also change of functions. In time the constitution of the body will be changed from its process of dying which process begins with birth and ends with its consummation, death into a process of living, after the change, the death period, has been safely passed. To rebuild and bring about such changes in the body, the body must be made free from impurity.

The body cannot be made pure and virtuous, except by having purity in thought, virtue in thought. Purity of body is not produced by the mere desire for purity of body. Purity of body is produced as the result of purity and virtue in thought. Purity and virtue in thought is developed by thinking without attachment to the thought, or attachment in thought to the results which follow thought, but simply because it is right to so think.

When the mind so thinks, purity and virtue are spontaneous. The nature of each cell in the body of man is the result of and is caused by the nature of his thoughts. His body as a whole is caused by and is the results of his thoughts as a whole. According to the nature of his thoughts, so will his body be and so will it act. As the result of past thoughts, man’s body in its parts and as a whole now acts on or influences his mind. The cells when hungry draw, pull, influence the mind towards the things which are of their nature. If he give sanction and thought to these, he invigorates and reproduces the cells of his body according to their nature. If he refuses to sanction and give thought to the nature of the things which are so drawing his mind and he chooses instead other subjects which he believes to be best and thinks about them, then the old cells in his body and their nature die, and the new cells which are built are of the nature of his thought, and will, as long as they exist, influence his mind.

A man cannot leave a thought or bid a thought to leave as lovers who are to part linger over their farewell or as women say their continued good-byes. One who keeps company with or entertains it cannot be rid of a thought.

A thought cannot go if one holds on to it or looks at it. To be rid of a thought a man must not parley with or sanction its presence. He must discountenance its presence and rebuke it, and then turn his mind and attend to the thought with which he would be concerned. The undesirable thought cannot live in an unwelcome atmosphere. As man continues to think the thoughts which are right, he rebuilds his body in the nature of his thoughts and his body is then immune to influences which are wrong and disturb his mind by thoughts which are wrong. The body as it is built under and by right thought, becomes strong and resists with power what it is wrong for it to do.

The physical body is built up and maintained by physical food. So physical foods varying in quality will be necessary so long as the body requires them and until it learns to do without them. The body will be injured and its health impaired if the foods which it needs are denied it. Whatever foods are needed to maintain its health should be given to the body. The kind of food which the body needs is determined by the nature of the desire which rules it. To refuse meat to a carnivorous human animal body will starve and throw it into confusion and hasten its period of death. The kind of food which the body will need should be changed as the body changes and not before.

The body changes with the change of the desires which rule it. The desires are changed by thought. Ordinarily man’s thoughts follow the promptings of his desires. Desire rules his mind. While desire rules his mind, desire will control thought; thought will strengthen desire and desire will maintain its nature. If man will not allow his thought to follow desire, desire must follow his thought. If desire follows thought its nature will be changed to that of the thought which it follows. As the thoughts become purer and the desires are compelled to follow the thought, the desires partake of the nature of the thoughts and in turn change the needs and demands of the body. Therefore one should not attempt to determine and change the nature of his body by feeding it with foods unsuited to its needs, but by changing his desires by a control of his thoughts. As man controls and directs his thought to accord with immortal life and the process of living forever, the body will make known and demand the food necessary to its change in development.

Man’s body now depends on the foods of the earth for its maintenance. Earth foods must be used for a long period. The length of the period will be determined by the needs of the body. The body will show what are its needs by the changes in what are the objects of its desires. From a gross, heavy or flabby body, the body will become more compact, tensile, movable. Its gross feeling of dullness and heaviness will give place to fineness of sensibility and lightness. These changes of body will be accompanied by and make necessary the changes in earth foods. It will be found that the foods required have the greatest life values in the smallest quantity or bulk. Solid foods are needed almost as long as the body remains cellular in structure.

A distinction should be made between what the body wants and what the body needs. The body’s wants are what were its old desires, which were then sanctioned and gratified by the mind and which were impressed on the cells and reproduced by them in other cells. The body’s needs are what the new and healthy cells require for their capacity to store the life force. The body should not be allowed to fast unless food becomes repulsive. If a fast is begun it should be continued as long as the body remains strong and the mind clear. If the body shows weakness or gives other evidences of the need of food, such food should be taken as will be known to be best suited.

These changes of body will be due to the changes in the body’s cells. The longer the life of the cells, the less food is required to maintain them. The shorter the life of the cells, the more food is needed to furnish the material necessary to replace the cells which have died. If the desire is the same as that which was stamped on the old cells, then the same food will be required to furnish organic structures for the ruling desires. If the desires have changed, then the food needed with which to build new cells is such as will be compatible to the desires. This compatibility of food with desire is made evident by the hunger of the cells and the organs in the body, and will be understood by one as he becomes acquainted with his body and learns to know its needs. So the solid foods will become finer. Then liquids will take place of solids. The body will show that it requires less and less food. As the body needs less food, all diseases which may have been afflictions of or latent in the body will entirely disappear and the body will increase in strength. Strength of body does not depend on the quantity of food consumed, but on the quantity and quality of life with which the body is put into contact by food on the one hand, and, on the other, that there are no losses of life.

Certain physiological changes will accompany the gradual discontinuance of food. These changes will extend over a considerable period of time, in order that the body may become adapted and adjusted to the new conditions which it will grow into and the new functions which it must perform. During this period the body has been sloughing off its gross physical parts, and growing into new bodies, as a serpent sloughs off its skins. There is a decrease in the physical activity of the organs of digestion. There is a decrease in the secretions of the stomach, liver, pancreas. The alimentary canal becomes smaller. The circulation of the blood becomes slower and the heart-beats fewer. During these changes the one undergoing them has been growing into a new childhood of body. Its desires are simple and its life is on the increase. When it has passed into its childhood, the new body enters upon a period of adolescence. On this period of adolescence fall, as it were, the shadows of all previous periods of adolescence of the many lives. On this period reach the events of all former similar life periods, and so there reappear in the period of adolescence of the new body the tendencies which were of those past stages of adolescence. This adolescent stage of the new life of the body is a dangerous period in development. If its impulses are heeded all progress stops and man falls back into a lower stage of worldly life than that from which he has emerged. If this point is passed no solid food will be needed. Still other physiological changes will follow. The alimentary canal will close and its end will unite with the coccygeal gland. The food which is taken will be absorbed by the body, and any waste matter will be excreted through the pores of the skin. It will not be necessary then to take nourishment through the mouth, though nourishment may be taken by way of the mouth. Nourishment may be absorbed through the skin as waste matter is there now excreted. At a stage in the development of the body it will no longer need any grosser food than water. If the body is carried to the limit of its development, it will depend on the air for its nourishment and the water needed will be absorbed from the air.

To be continued.