SINCE the Theosophical Movement took outward expression in 1875, the term clairvoyance, (clear seeing), has become familiar to many people. In the latter part of last century and in the early part of this century, many kinds of clairvoyance have been observed and experienced. Clairvoyance itself had its own peculiar development and facility, the different kinds of clairvoyance relating to varying degrees of perception of matter where there was no material thing to be seen, and of events transpiring at a great distance from where the seer was located. Unfortunately, all of these kinds of clairvoyance were limited in their scope; they were but partial clairvoyance.
Societies of psychology and of psychical research have undertaken the task of finding out what the power of clairvoyance may or may not be, from the basis of brain, or mere physical existence. They seek the necessary causes in effects which themselves have been set in motion by causes which are hidden. Consequently, their researches are limited. Yet, clairvoyance, itself, however followed, points to the fact that there is latent in man the power to see, hear, feel, contact, at any distance whatever; and the power is not limited to any special person, or persons, but is common to all humanity.
There is a true clairvoyance. There is a true school of occultism. There are many false clairvoyants. There are many false schools of occultism. All the false schools go in some particular direction that is attractive to the ordinary human mind -- the mind that desires to obtain something for itself, as it believes itself to be. So with the different kinds of clairvoyance -- if the desire on the part of one endeavoring to find the power in himself is to obtain something for himself, the clairvoyance obtained will never lead him in any true direction. Nothing can give a true understanding of clairvoyance, nor bring to our minds what true clairvoyance may be, but a study of the nature of man, of the nature of the world in which he lives, and the nature of the solar system in which that world exists.
The clue to true clairvoyance lies in the septenary nature of man. There are seven distinct planes of consciousness; there are seven distinct states of matter, of which the physical is one. These seven distinct planes of action are the different departments of man's nature, but it is the same One who acts in all the different departments. Clairvoyance, then, in any true sense, we should understand to be clear seeing in each and every one of these seven departments of the nature of man. All other partial clairvoyance can bring us no great results, and, certainly, no great knowledge.
Many are those who have "sat for development," have endeavored to obtain the state that is termed "the astral plane," in order to be able to see and hear at a distance. But the greatest danger imaginable lies in that direction. The mere seeing or hearing things does not give any understanding of their nature, and many things to which we may be attracted on the astral plane are dangerous and poisonous in their nature. The efforts made to reach that plane are always by means of passivity, and, when we allow ourselves to become passive, any influence whatever outside of the normal physical perceptions may reach us. We are just as much the prey of evil effects as we are open to good effects, but we are not choosers in either direction. Whatever may be in our nature attracts the good, or evil, or mixed, accordingly; but the mere seeing or hearing would of itself give us no knowledge, nor carry us one step on the way of progress. For illustration, say we were transported to the planet Mars, saw the operation of the beings there and heard the sounds made in their speech. If they were a different kind of beings from ourselves we would have no understanding at all of what they were doing. True knowledge and true understanding are gained by a comprehension of laws and principles, and in no other way. Just as there is a law which from the very beginning of our being prompted us to advance step by step in development, so there is a law which admits us step by step up the stairs of knowledge. Not one of those steps may be omitted. To attempt to get to the top by springing from the bottom is not possible, for each step depends upon every other -- the highest resting upon all the rest, the lowest preceding the highest.
The septenary nature of man is best explained by reference to the three great principles which underlie all life, as well as every religion and every philosophy that ever has been, or ever can be. They may be indicated by the brief terms God, Law, and Being. As to God, the ancients have recorded that there is One Absolute Principle -- Unspeakable, Untranslatable, Undefinable, Infinite, Omnipresent -- the Cause, the Sustainer of all that was, is, or ever shall be. Deity, the Omnipresent, can be absent from no point of space, and we are inseparable from It. Each one is of That -- a ray from and one with that Absolute Principle. The power in us to perceive, to know, to experience -- apart from anything that is seen, known, or experienced -- is the One Self, the One Life, and the One Consciousness, shared by all alike -- the Source of every being, the Life of every being, the Power of every being. Behind all perceiving and knowing and experiencing is the One undivided Self. Herein lies the true basis of Brotherhood -- the unifying bond for all above man and for all below man -- and the real growth into divine life is the increasing realization of the fullness of that Life in each. Acting for and as that Self in every direction, realizing that the Self acts in all and through all, and endeavoring to realize more and more that each one is that Self, the fullness of one's own nature and of other natures comes to be seen, appreciated, understood, and helped.
The second great principle -- Law -- shows that the universe is a boundless plane, in which occur periodical manifestations. This earth had a beginning; this solar system had a beginning. So, too, they will have an ending, since everything that begins in time ends in time. All earths, solar systems, and beings of every grade, have reached their present stage through evolution -- that evolution under exact law, inherent in the nature of the beings concerned. All evolution proceeds from beings. It is the force of the beings in action which causes individual and collective results. The law of laws is Karma -- the law of action and re-action, of cause and effect, which are the aspects of action, and which can not be separated. All progress goes on under this law in the natural sequence of periods of activity and periods of rest. As after night comes morning again; as after spring, summer, autumn, winter comes spring again; so after birth, youth, manhood, death comes birth again. The process of reincarnation, or coming into a body again, is just as natural as coming into another day which is not yet. This life is; last life was; next life will be. So, as planets or solar systems have their ending, will they and the beings who composed them, have their re-incarnation -- a new beginning.
The third fundamental principle points to the fact that all beings in the universe have evolved from lower points of perception into greater and greater individualization; that the beings above man have gone through our stage; that there never can be a stoppage of evolution in an infinite universe, of infinite possibilities; that whatever stage of perfection may be reached in any race, on any planet, or in any solar system there are always greater opportunities beyond.
When this solar system began, then, it was merely a continuation of that which had been. In another aggregation, on another planet, beings of every grade, corresponding to our mineral, animal, man, and superman, were working together. That great day of operation ceased; that world stopped so far as any further action was concerned, just as we stop when we cease waking consciousness and go into sleep. Then the dawn of the next day comes. There is an arousal and operation again. All the beings that had hitherto expressed themselves, that had been indrawn into the primordial state of matter, go forth again on a new basis to further development.
We were self-conscious beings when this world began, clothed in that primordial state of matter from which all subsequent states have proceeded, and in which the possibilities of change are infinite. Just as our planet, beginning in a nebulous state, tends to a concretion, gradually cooling, hardening, and condensing, so every living human being has made himself concretions of substance, until he has reached this most dense plane, and final concretion in the present physical body. Those stairs down which he has descended are seven in number. That this solar system, this earth and man are septenary in nature is the teaching. Observe the seven notes of the scale, and the seven colors of the spectrum. These colors do not "happen", by chance; they are evolutions, differentiations of the one substance. Both sound and color are different rates of vibration caught by the instruments of the ear, the eye, or both. Some think that while we have now only five senses, we are gradually acquiring another sense. What we really have are five organs that give five distinct characteristics of matter. What we shall next arrive at is an understanding of the sixth characteristic of matter, and beyond that is the seventh synthetic sense, which covers all and belongs to the higher planes of being.
If we are that being who is the perceiver, the knower, the spirit, Life, Consciousness itself -- what would be true clairvoyance? Could that by any possibility be called true clairvoyance which would be embraced in the mere looking through fleshly eyes upon a state of matter only a little removed from that of the earth? There are true clairvoyants who not only know what is apparent to everybody, but who see everything that is in a human being, or in any being. In their sight, one can not make a motion of any kind -- such a simple motion as moving from one chair to another -- without setting every one of his seven senses into action and exhibiting along the line of those seven senses every single qualification and motive he may ever have held. It is within the power of some to know the very hearts of men, to know the very motives that actuate them. In true clairvoyance, the real being is absolutely and unconditionally awake. He is using every one of his instruments with precision and in exact line with one another. He has clear seeing. He reaches down into the motives of man, because he sees everything. How can he see? Every center in man -- that is, every organ -- has been evolved under the operation of the laws that govern the solar system. These laws may be known. Every center has its own distinctive color and its own distinctive sound; it also presents a distinctive symbol and form. If, then, one knew the laws of sounds, colors, symbols and form, he could tell, just as exactly as we tell the simplest thing, what caused the nature of any motion and the motive that underlay it. From him, deception could not be hid; evil could not be hid; motives could not be hid. Such an acquisition, without any possibility of failure, would be divine -- the true clairvoyance.
True clairvoyance is not gained by "sitting for development." One might sit for development ten million years, and in the end be only capable of sitting. The true power is gained by trying to realize our own divine nature, and to act as divinity acts; by trying to get all the possessions possible, that we may place them at the service of our fellow-men. The power is gained by self-sacrificing service, and in no other way. The divine in us has its fullest expression in self-sacrifice. As man moves along, realizing more and more his own nature, working more and more for the natures of every other, he finds spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously within him. He seeks nothing for himself. He seeks all power and all knowledge only that he may help others less endowed. Jesus said: "Let him who would be the greatest among you serve the least." And so it has always been in this great work, that those who were the greatest among us served the least, were the humble ones, who sought no preference, no recognition.
Altruism, self-sacrifice, devotion to the highest interests of humanity -- these constitute the one password to true clairvoyance. If it could be had in any other way, would not a great many things that have happened, a great many disasters that have befallen different peoples, been avoided? If such knowledge could be bought, would not institutions be despoiled, people robbed, the stock-market exploited, and all sorts of self-advantages gained? But true knowledge is never used for self-advantage; not even for defence. When Jesus was on the cross, they said: "Let him save Himself; let Him come down from the cross. He saved others; Himself He cannot save." Was He powerless to come down? Not at all. They had wreaked their natures upon Him and He suffered it. He could have destroyed them all, if He chose, but He said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Nor would those who were able to read the innermost thoughts of a person be "peering about", be endeavoring to discover what others desired to hide. Never would they look where the demand had not been made upon them. They would take each person at his own valuation. If such an one deceived -- whatever the deception -- they would meet him on his own ground, striving all the time to give him a higher point of view.
There are beings who come into the world from time to time, with no marks of distinction that we, as human beings, can recognize, yet the possessors of a knowledge which we ardently desire to possess. They are never recognized, save by the very few while they are among us; but when they go, that which they have given tells us what they were. By the very character of the teachings of Jesus, we recognize the nature of the being who brought them. So the teachings of Theosophy -- a knowledge which is absolutely scientific, covering every department of nature, explaining all that now are mysteries -- declare the nature of those beings who brought Theosophy, our Elder Brothers. And They, who have raised themselves out of our ranks, do not leave us in trouble, in darkness, in ignorance. Their desire is that we shall see, understand, know ourselves; that, quickly setting right the ideas which we hold of life, and letting right actions flow from right ideas, we may act as divine beings. However blind, however ignorant, we are not left alone, but are helped just so far as we desire and merit help, and just so far as we, with what we learn, help others who know still less than we. Unselfishness, and that alone, brings us all the gifts there are. As Jesus said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all the rest will be added unto you".