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• HART, Samuel Hopgood. Food and Illumination. This article was published in The Vegetarian Messenger, September 1920.
Information: [The information below was sent by Mr. Brian McAllister, who kindly photocopied and sent this text to the Anna Kingsford Site.]
“This article (Food and Illumination) by Samuel Hopgood Hart was photocopied from Mr. Hart’s own copy in his Newspaper Cuttings Book. As you see Mr. Hart has written in the name of the publication and the date of issue in his own hand. The article was published in The Vegetarian Messenger, September 1920.”
FOOD AND ILLUMINATION
Samuel Hopgood Hart
I ASSUME that my readers are sufficiently developed in respect of things spiritual as to be capable of entertaining propositions involving the reality of the spiritual world and of spiritual experience. Taking that for granted, my subject resolves itself into three questions, viz.: –
(1) What is food?
(2) What is Divine Illumination? And
(3) What relation (if any) has the one to the other?
Again, I assume that we all know what food is and why we eat, and I will at once proceed to speak of food in its relation to man spiritual.
The first thing to be considered is: What is Divine Illumination? The best definition thereof that I know, is to be found in one of the late Anna Kingsford’s Illuminations, and reads as follows: – “Illumination is the Light of Wisdom, whereby a man perceiveth heavenly secrets. Which Light is the Spirit of God within the man, shewing unto him the things of God.”
Divine Illumination and Mediumship (as popularly understood) are not therefore the same, and they must not be confounded. The illuminati alone are seers and prophets in the true sense. They are illuminated in their souls and taught of the Spirit. They have knowledge of things divine. They are the guardians of the mysteries. They are not controlled by extraneous spirits. They speak always in the first person, in the sense that their own personality is not put on one side, while those who are mediums (in the popular sense) are controlled by extraneous spirits, and speak in the person of the controlling entity. Control is not the method of Divine Illumination.
In a controversy in Light some years ago on this very subject the late Edward Maitland wrote as follows: –
“It is to the spirit of the man himself, and not to any extraneous influences, that the only true illumination is due. Man himself not merely has, but is a spirit, and does not necessarily lose his spiritual powers by his investment with a material body. The human organism is not a mere instrument dependent upon any chance wandering influences which may alight upon it. It is the peculiar habitat and mode of manifestation of an incarnated portion of Divinity, and it is through the unfoldment within him of the powers of this, his own fixed, indwelling Spirit, that he finds his true inspiration, and not through the suppression of this in favour of strangers.”
Revelation is the disclosure from interior and spiritual sources of knowledges which, by reason of their interior nature, can be obtained only from such sources. “Truth is accessible only through illumination by the Divine Spirit of Man’s own Soul, and in proportion as an individual declines such interior illumination and seeks extraneous influences, does he impoverish his own soul and diminish his possibilities of knowledge.”
Anna Kingsford was one of the most recent recipients of Divine Illumination. Many of us are acquainted with her writings. Her Illuminations are published in a book called Clothed with the Sun. Speaking of these, Edward Maitland, her biographer, says that they were due to “the spontaneous operation of the Spirit in a soul duly luminous and responsive.” By this operation the perceptive point of her mind was withdrawn and uplifted to a sphere transcending both the physical and the mental – the inmost and highest sphere of man’s manifold nature, the celestial or kingdom within. It was in 1880 that Anna Kingsford wrote: –
“I HEARD last night in my sleep a voice speaking to me, and saying: –
‘1. You ask the method and nature of Inspiration, and the means whereby God revealeth the Truth.
2. Know that there is no enlightenment from without: the secret of things is revealed from within.
3. From without cometh no Divine Revelation: but the Spirit within beareth witness.
4. Think not I tell you that which you know not: for except you know it, it cannot be given to you.
5. To him that hath it is given, and he hath the more abundantly.
6. None is a prophet save he who knoweth: the instructor of the people is a man of many lives.
7. Inborn knowledge and the perception of things, these are the sources of revelation: the soul of the man instructeth him, having already learned by experience.
8. Intuition is inborn experience; that which the soul knoweth of old and of former years.
9. And Illumination is the Light of Wisdom, whereby a man perceiveth heavenly secrets.
10. Which Light is the Spirit of God within the man, showing unto him the things of God.’ ” (Clothed with the Sun, p. 4)
From this you will see that there are conditions to be fulfilled before one can be the recipient of Divine Illumination, and it is in this connection that we shall find the question of food of importance. The soul must be luminous and responsive. The veil of matter between the worlds of sense and of reality must become so rare and tenuous as to be readily penetrable. This is brought about by persistent and earnest seeking inwards and upwards, and by the adoption of a right mode of life which includes (among other things) a right mode of feeding, which implies abstinence from flesh food (including fish and fowl), or a vegetarian diet, both on account of its sensitising influence on the higher planes of the consciousness, and for other reasons as will appear. Anna Kingsford was born with the faculty of seership, and this, Edward Maitland says, “was developed by abstinence from flesh food.” Speaking of the conditions favourable to their illumination, Edward Maitland, in his Preface to Clothed with the Sun, says: – “These conditions consisted, not in the search for phenomenal experiences – though these would sometimes occur – but in the intense direction of the will and desire towards the highest, and an unchanging resolve to be satisfied with nothing less than the highest, namely, the inmost and central idea of the fact or doctrine to be interpreted; the motive also being the highest, namely; the emancipation, satisfaction, and benediction of souls, our own and those of others.”
Speaking of the Mystics and Illuminati, Edward Maitland says –
“Their object was always quality, not quantity. It was not to multiply, but to improve the race. It was not of men and women that the earth had need, but of humanity. And men and women did not, for them, constitute humanity. These were but humanity in the making. And, when made, man was not only a particular arrangement of organs and limbs and other characteristics merely physical and wholly perishable. They had a higher standard of definition than Physiology can supply. They had a definition of man which, for all who really accept it, makes of existence a new heaven and new earth. Man, for them, was nothing less than the manifestation – in the individual and finite – of all those principles, attributes, and qualities, at once divine and human, which appertain to the universal and infinite, and in their original, undifferentiated perfection constitute the nature of God.
“They of whom I speak did not merely suppose or surmise these things. They knew them. For, by living purely and seeking earnestly, they developed powers and faculties surpassing the ability of man, flesh-fed, even to believe in, foremost among which is that supreme mode of the mind which, added to the intellectual, converts man into an instrument of perception capable of surely discerning the highest truths. This is the faculty called the Intuition.” (Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, pp. 177-178)
I will now, in connection with our subject, pass on to consider the divine doctrine as given in some of Anna Kingsford’s Illuminations. In 1881, she received an Illumination “Concerning the Three Veils Betweeen Man and God,” the three veils being: –
The Curse of Eve.
These three veils are opposed to three degrees of the heavens, which are: –
Purity of Life.
Purity of Heart. And
Purity of Doctrine.
The object of this vision was to show that for the removal of these three veils which separate man from God, we must
Put away blood from among us.
Destroy our idols.
“Restore our Queen (the Soul and her intuitions). And
Worship God alone.”
The command to put away blood from among us, as one of the three veils between God and man, is a prohibition of those two great evils which orthodox Christianity condones, viz., flesh-eating and vivisection. We are here concerned with the former of these two evils only.
In an Illumination “Concerning the Work of Power,” received by Anna Kingsford, she was told: – “If you will put on Christ – Eat no dead thing; Drink no fermented drink; Make living elements of all the elements of your body; Take your food full of life, and let not the touch of death pass upon it.”
This raises the question of the use of fire in the preparation of food. On this question the Illumination contains the following instructions:
“Hephaistos is a destroyer, and the breath of fire is a touch of death. The fire that passes on the elements of your food, deprives them of their vital spirit, and gives you a corpse instead of living substance. And not only so, but the spirit of the fire enters into the elements of your body, and sets up in all its molecules a consuming and a burning, impelling to concupiscence, and to the desire of the flesh. The spirit of the fire is a subtle spirit, a penetrative and diffusive spirit, and it enters into the substance of all matter upon which it acts. When, therefore, you take such substance into your organism, you take with it the spirit of the fire, and you assimilate it together with the matter of which it has become a part.
“I speak to you of excellent things. If you would become a man of power, you must be master of the fire.” (Clothed with the Sun, p. 62)
I would further refer to The Perfect Way, some passages from which are included in Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, e.g.: “Knowledge of the Greater Mysteries is reserved for those who have fulfilled the conditions necessary for initiation therein. Of those conditions, the first is the complete renunciation of a diet of flesh, the reason being fourfold – spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical – according to the fourfold constitution of man. This is imperative. Man cannot receive, the Gods will not impart the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven on other terms. The conditions are God’s; the will is with man.” (The Perfect Way, p. 92)
“Let us say boldly, and without fear of contradiction from those who really know, that the Interior life and the clear Heaven are not attainable by men who are partakers of blood.” (The Perfect Way, p. 105)
“Paradise can never be regained, Regeneration never completed, man never fully redeemed, until the body is brought under the law of Eden, and has cleansed itself thoroughly from the stain of blood. None will ever know the joys of Paradise who cannot live like Paradise-men; none will ever help to restore the Golden Age to the world who does not first restore it in himself. No man, being a shedder of blood, or an eater of flesh, ever touched the central secret of things, or laid hold of the Tree of Life. Hence it is written of the Holy City: ‘Without are dogs.’ For the foot of the carnivorous beast cannot tread the golden floors; the lips polluted with blood may not pronounce the Divine Name.” (The Perfect Way, p. 161)
It will be asked, “How was food regarded by the ancient religions?” In the ancient religions the idea of caste prevailed. In a true sense, this idea was founded on fact. People differ from each other in respect of their inward spiritual condition, and these conditions represent castes. Each caste has its own rules. In an Illumination “Concerning the Greek Mysteries,” Anna Kingsford was told that in the celebration of the inmost and highest mysteries – those of Phoibos Apollo and Zeus and Hera – it was forbidden to eat anything upon which terrestrial fire had passed. Neither might fermented wine be taken. All food was unleavened and sun-baked, and wine was drunken new, that is, it was pure grape juice. In the Mysteries of Hermes, it was forbidden to eat any creature which had life, or rather which had seeing eyes. But terrestrial fire and fermented wine were allowed in these mysteries. In an instruction which purported to come from Hermes, Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland were exhorted as follows: – “Purify your bodies, and eat no dead thing that has looked with living eyes upon the light of Heaven. Let no man take the life of his brother to feed withal his own. But slay only such as are evil in the name of the Lord. They are miserably deceived who expect eternal life, and restrain not their hands from blood and death.” (Clothed with the Sun, p. 153)
In other mysteries, lower kinds of food were allowed, because the votaries belonged to lower castes.
I hope that what I have said has proved that vegetarianism is more than abstinence from flesh food on account of health, important though this be. The man who abstains merely for health’s sake will also indulge for the same reason.