EXPLORING THE GREAT BEYOND -
Preface & Introduction

 

 

The Great Beyond is the world of invisible
substances, forces, and entities,
of origins and laws, upholding all visible
creation: the realm whence
originate psychic and spiritualistic
phenomena: where we are in the
after-death states. In the higher reaches it is
the world of Spirit itself, sustaining all.
Something of these is described herein and
explained in the light of true
Occultism or Theosophy.
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, ...(?)

Hamlet, Act 3:1 Shakespeare

ix

PREFACE

Much repetition of information or ideas will be found both within and between the chapters of this book. This is both deliberate and, to some extent, difficult to avoid. First, the subjects dealt with are inseparable from the great Whole, the Unity of Nature, wherein all departments are interrelated and interdependent. Information about one aspect of things gives us information about others. Secondly, each repetition introduces a slightly different view, something extra for our consideration, so that as we read we get a more and more complete picture.

The subject is so vast and so complex that, in what it is hoped will be found a handy but informative book, a full treatment of many of the points raised would not be possible. It is hoped, however, that enough is given to promote interest and stimulate a desire for further study.

Another point that will surely strike the reader is that for information concerning the various aspects of the "Great Beyond" touched on in the book virtually only one author - H. P. Blavatsky, commonly known to her friends as H.P.B. - has been quoted. Some references from the works of other writers have occasionally been used for illustration. Many modern books have been written on this subject, of course, but often, apart from the actual recounting of experiences or phenomena, the authors have drawn much of their information - and even vocabulary, knowingly or unknowingly-from the Blavatsky source. This may be difficult for some readers to accept, but it is true. Madame Blavatsky is the major and often the only source for most of what is given; that she was uniquely qualified for this role will become evident.

Occultism (or Theosophy, as H.P.B. called it) is knowledge of the inner processes, principles and laws of nature, possessed in its most profound aspects only by those initiates and adepts who have, so to speak, entered the arcana. This esoteric knowledge has always been in the world but it has been carefully guarded and kept secret by the very few. Some of it was given out publicly for the first time at the end of the last century through Madame Blavatsky and Mr. A. P. Sinnett, the latter deriving his information from a series of letters from two such adepts. The letters, published in book form and known as The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, are now in the British Museum. The information revealed at that time supplemented the great accumulation of extant knowledge contained-sometimes rather obscurely-in the writings of the great philosophers and in the scriptures of the world religions, where it is frequently hidden under parable and allegory. It has also often been mutilated, by mistake or through ignorance, or purposely altered by generations of translators, transcribers, sectarian dogmatists, and others, for their own reasons.

Since this later release of further knowledge (and we are told that only a corner of the veil of mystery was then lifted) many other writers have given their individual versions of the Ancient Wisdom. These are of varying degrees of authenticity and reliability: some are of an explanatory nature; some purport to supplement what was given out earlier; some even directly contradict what was originally presented. Scholars, therefore, should be careful; and it is recommended that serious students read the original literature first, or at least become acquainted with its principles. This is an arduous task because of the magnitude of the works to be studied, but it is an exceedingly rewarding one. The fact that much of the teaching then given was against a background of nineteenth century religious and scientific thinking does not detract from nor invalidate the teachings themselves.

The information embodied in this book is not presented as dogma, and it is hoped that no reader will feel that he is expected to accept it all as "gospel". He will undoubtedly find some statements with which he cannot agree, or which modern science has apparently rendered untenable or at least dubious. These defects, if defects they are, do not in this author's view materially affect the value of the great framework of propositions and principles with which the work deals.

Subjects of immediate concern to the modern world are brought out of the dark void of the normally unknown, and much that comes to light in the process is relevant to present-day problems, particularly those involving man's psyche, his thoughts and feelings, his fears perhaps, his hidden motivations, his potentialities, his higher states of consciousness and unusual powers. Thus what is given here should be of great interest and value, especially to those who act as guides and teachers.

Man, particularly in the West, is losing respect for traditional forms of religion. The reasons for this are many, but one is that theologies have no meaningful answers to his deepest questionings. However sound religious ethics may be, fundamental theological tenets and the value of ceremonial are being called into question. Are we not at the threshold of a new era, a period of maturing wherein we do not care to rely on belief and faith so much as on our own experience and judgment, on our own faculties of thought, and on such direct insight as we may possess?

No attempt has been made in this book to evaluate as evidence the reports or stories of the extraordinary happenings related. It has been left to the reader to accept what he can. Some of the incidents described were witnessed by several people and, in a few cases, accounts were signed by witnesses. It is appreciated that, in the explanations deduced from the propositions and other data offered, it may seem that "something and nothing" has been said. The reason for this is that the occult forces and some of our inner faculties are not yet realities for us. The teaching, however, may lead us to believe that they can be.

No apology is made for the numerous, sometimes lengthy, quotations. These not only enable the original texts to speak for themselves, in their own style, but they make it possible for readers who do not have private libraries of their own-or perhaps do not otherwise have ready access to the books quoted from-to sample something of what is said in them. A bibliography is provided at the end.

For those who may wish to continue a study of the matters touched on here, this book may become a primer. References to the works quoted from have therefore been left in the text.

Readers are advised not to overlook the Tables and the Glossary, or to regard them as mere aids. In themselves, they provide a short, but very concentrated, course of instruction.

Exploring the Great Beyond > Next Page Chapter 1 Introduction

   

Button to return to top