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Telepathy (from the Ancient Greek τῆλε, tele meaning "distant" and πάθος, pathos meaning "feeling, perception") is the transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. The term was coined in 1882 by the Theosophist and scholar Frederic W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has become more popular than the earlier expression "thought transference".

Theosophical view

In one of his letters, Master K.H. describes the process of thought transference as follows:

The image of the geometrical or other figure which the active brain has had impressed upon it, is gradually imprinted upon the recipient brain of the passive subject — as the series of reproductions illustrated in the cuts show. Two factors are needed to produce a perfect and instantaneous mental telegraphy — close concentration in the operator, and complete receptive passivity in the "reader" — subject. Given a disturbance of either condition, and the result is proportionately imperfect. The "reader" does not see the image as in the "telegrapher's" brain, but as arising in his own. When the latter's thought wanders, the psychic current becomes broken, the communication disjointed and incoherent.[1]

According to Annie Besant

One must be able to think ere one can transfer thought, and some power of steady thinking must be necessary in order to send a thought-current through space. The feeble vacillating thoughts of the majority of people cause mere flickering vibrations in the thought-atmosphere, appearing and vanishing minute by minute, giving rise to no definite form and endowed with the lowest vitality. A thought-form must be clearly cut and well vitalised if it is to be driven in any definite direction, and to be strong enough, on arriving at its destination, to set up there a reproduction of itself.[2]

According to her, there are two methods of thought transference, one that involves the brain and another that only involves the mental body. Regarding the first one she says:

A thought may be generated by the consciousness, cause vibration in the mental body, then in the astral body, set up waves in the etheric, and then in the dense molecules of the physical brain; by these brain vibrations the physical ether is affected, and the waves pass outwards, till they reach another brain and set up vibrations in its dense and etheric parts. By that receiving brain vibrations are caused in the astral and then in the mental bodies attached to it, and the vibrations in the mental body draw out the answering quiver in consciousness. Such are the many stages of the arc traversed by a thought.[3]

The physical medium involved in this method is the pineal gland:

The pineal gland . . . is a rudimentary organ in most people, but it is evolving, not retrograding, and it is possible to quicken its evolution into a condition in which it can perform its proper function, the function that, in the future, it will discharge in all. It is the organ for thought-transference, as much as the eye is the organ of vision or the ear of hearing.

If anyone thinks very intently on a single idea, with concentration and sustained attention, he will become conscious of a slight quiver or creeping feeling—it has been compared to the creeping of an ant—in the pineal gland. The quiver takes place in the ether which permeates the gland, and causes a slight magnetic current which gives rise to the creeping feeling in the dense molecules of the gland. If the thought be strong enough to cause the current, then the thinker knows that he has been successful in bringing his thought to a pointedness and a strength which render it capable of transmission.

That vibration in the ether of the pineal gland sets up waves in the surrounding ether, like waves of light, only much smaller and more rapid. These undulations pass out in all directions, setting the ether in motion, and these etheric waves, in turn, produce undulations in the ether of the pineal gland in another brain, and from that are transmitted to the astral and mental bodies in regular succession, thus reaching the consciousness. If this second pineal gland cannot reproduce these undulations, then the thought will pass unnoticed, making no impressions, any more than waves of light make an impression on the eye of a blind person.[4]

The other method is more direct and does not involve transference through this "loopline", but requires a higher spiritual development:

In the second method of thought-transference, the thinker, having created a thought-form on his own plane, does not send it down to the brain, but directs it immediately to another thinker on the mental plane. The power to do this deliberately implies a far higher mental evolution than does the physical method of thought-transference, for the sender must be self-conscious on the mental plane in order to exercise knowingly this activity.[5]

See also


  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 117 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 399.
  2. Annie Besant, Thought Power, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 36.
  3. Annie Besant, Thought Power, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 36-37.
  4. Annie Besant, Thought Power, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 37-38.
  5. Annie Besant, Thought Power, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 38.