Saturday, 29 May 2010
On the 26th of November, 1493, Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim (now known as Paracelsus) was born in the little village of Maria-Einsiedeln near Zurich. His father was a physician, his mother the matron of a hospital, and Theophrastus was their only child. After learning the rudiments of medicine, surgery and alchemy from his father, he entered the University of Basle at the age of sixteen. Then he became the pupil of the celebrated Trithemius and later gained some practical experience in alchemy in the laboratory of Sigismund Fugger.
When Paracelsus was twenty years old he set out on his search for "supreme Wisdom," which took him through every country in Europe and finally led him to Tartary. During those years he made the acquaintance of a great Initiate who instructed him in the secret doctrines of the East. Afterward he went to India, and he may have visited the Mahatmas in Tibet. He returned to Europe in his thirty-second year and became professor of medicine and surgery in the University of Basle, where his fearless condemnation of the medical practices then in vogue aroused the hatred and jealousy of his colleagues. As the result of their persecution Paracelsus resigned his position and again took up a wandering life. Eventually he settled in Salzburg at the invitation of the Prince Palatine, and there he died on the 24th of September, 1541, in his forty-eighth year. The house in which he lived (Linzer Strasse 365, opposite the Church of St. Andrew) may still be seen, and in the graveyard of St. Sebastian will be found a broken pyramid of white marble with a Latin inscription stating that the body of Paracelsus lies beneath. But there is an old tradition that the real Paracelsus did not die at that time, but is still living with other Adepts in a certain spot in Asia, from which place he continues to influence the minds of all who study and promulgate his teachings. A suggestive hint appears in an article published by Mr. Judge in The Path for April, 1887:
Paracelsus was one of the greatest Masters ever known upon the earth. In rank he may be compared with Hermes Thrice-Master. It is considered by some students to be likely that at this period (1887) He who was once known as Paracelsus is in a body whose astral(1) meets with others in Asia.
The enemies of Paracelsus censured him for his nomadic life, which he explained by saying:
"We must seek for knowledge where we may expect to find it. He who wants to study the book of Nature must wander with his feet over the leaves. Every part of the world represents a page in this book, and all the pages together form the Book that contains her great revelations."
...Paracelsus stressed the underlying Unity of Nature as a whole as well as the inter-relationship and interdependence of all its parts.
"Nature, being the Universe, is ONE, and its origin can only be the one eternal Unity. It is an organism in which all things harmonize and sympathize with each other. It is the Macrocosm. Man is the Microcosm. And the Macrocosm and Microcosm are ONE." (Philosophia ad Athenienses.)
This unity of man and Nature makes man the focal point through which the three worlds of Nature -- the physical, astral and spiritual -- manifest themselves. These three "worlds" are made up of a vast quantity of "beings" or "lives." Some of the "lives" are intelligent, others unintelligent, and it is man's duty to understand their nature. The ignorant man may be controlled by the lower lives. But the true philosopher has learned how to control them by the power of the Supreme Creator within himself.
Man's first task, therefore, is to know himself. He must become acquainted with the complexities of his own nature, but, in pursuing this study, he must never for a moment separate himself from Great Nature, of which he is a copy and a part. "Try to understand yourselves in the light of Nature," he advised his students, "and then all wisdom will come to you."
....The second principle, called Prana or Jiva in modern Theosophy, is described by Paracelsus as the Archaeus or Liquor Vitae:
De Generatio Hominis
"The whole of the Microcosm is potentially contained in the Liquor Vitae, in which is contained the nature, quality and essence of beings."
". . . a man must above all be in possession of that faculty which is called Intuition, and which cannot be acquired by blindly following the footsteps of another. He must be able to see his own way. What others may teach you may assist you in your search for knowledge, but you should be able to think for yourself, and not cling to the coat-tail of any authority, no matter how big-sounding the title of the latter may be." (De Modo Pharmacandi.)
....The whole purpose of life, according to Paracelsus, is to realize one's inherent Godhood. There is no God, no saint and no power in which we can place any confidence for the purpose of our salvation, except the power of divine Wisdom within ourselves. Only when man realizes the presence of God within himself will he begin his infinite life, and step from the realm of evanescent illusions into that of permanent truth. This realization can be attained in only one way -- by the abandonment of the personal self.
"Only when the illusion of "self" has disappeared from my heart and mind, and my consciousness arisen to that state in which there will be no "I," then will not I be the doer of works, but the spirit of wisdom will perform its wonders through my instrumentality." (Philosophia Occulta.)