A Study in

Synthetic Consciousness


George Sidney Arundale


First published 1926


Dr George S Arundale

1878 - 1945


Dr Arundale was International President of

the Theosophical Society (Adyar) from 1933 to 1945



Return to Homepage


Note to the

Second Edition


I AM naturally gratified that after a few months a second edition of Nirvana is demanded. I think the value of the little book has been more in the direction of suggestion as to lines of experiment than as a description of the conditions obtaining under the Nirvanic mode of consciousness. Frankly, the reader will find little description, for description is impossible; but he will find many impressions, and my advice to him is to pay just as much or as little attention as he feels disposed to the details of the various impressions, and to concentrate on the atmosphere of which they are particular expressions as the result of the medium, George Arundale, through which the atmosphere must needs filter. For example, I write of Lightning-standing-still. A reader might well exclaim: “Ah! I think I know what you mean. I should not call it Lightning, nor Lightning-standing-still. I should call it so and so. That would be the kind of filtration ix] I should get from that selfsame atmosphere which we both sense, but which I should describe so differently.” Let Nirvana help you to Nirvana, be your road what it may. All I can say is that I happened to take a route which I have described as best I could in the following pages.


With this latitude open to every reader, there is one door I want to shut in his face, and that is the door of common sense. If you have nothing but common sense at your disposal I am afraid Nirvana will mean little or nothing to you. To understand either Buddhi or Nirvana a distinctly uncommon sense is needed.


Common sense will not help you in these regions any more than it will help you to understand modern physics since Einstein. Bertrand Russell tells us in his A. B. C. of Relativity that a new kind of thinking must dawn upon our mental worlds as a result of the introduction of new conceptions and notions regarding physical things, even though these conceptions and notions be by no means yet entirely verified. He adjures us to start thinking in terms of these “modern physical notions rather than in terms of the notions derived from common sense and embodied  in traditional physics”.


That is exactly what has to be done by those who have contacted the outer fringes of Buddhi and Nirvana. It is not common sense and the tradition of the lower worlds with which they are now concerned, but rather with an uncommon sense which is an extraordinarily refined sense, as yet extremely uncommon but some day to become common in its turn. Remember that the use of uncommon sense does not mean that we cease to be efficient in the lower worlds.


On the contrary, we become far more efficient, for we build with stone and not with sand. We live more truly because nearer to the Real, even though in its ignorance and common sense the outer world may laugh, ridicule, persecute, despise. Indeed, Bertrand Russell goes further than I should have dared to go, though by no means further than I should be prepared to go, in the following startling utterance taken from the same little book:


It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be carried too far ... every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational. Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us irrational, since in that case it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste.


A profoundly true utterance which, had it been widely appreciated in times gone by and were it widely appreciated today, would have saved many apostles of truth from persecution and martyrdom and would enable the world to derive far more benefit than it does from the researches of occultists and mystics - true pioneers, true seekers after “real laws of nature” through the “irrational” and superrational.


I have made many corrections and a number of additions and modifications in this new edition, and I have added a new chapter “Further Thoughts” - containing a few results of further meditations. I hope these also will prove interesting, and provocative of pioneering in the same direction.

G. S. A.

Return to Homepage






Find out more about Theosophy

with these Links



Cardiff Theosophical Society meetings are informal

and there’s always a cup of tea afterwards




The Cardiff Theosophical Society Website




The National Wales Theosophy Website


Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Life & Work of H P Blavatsky

A Theosophy Study Resource




Dave’s Streetwise Theosophy Boards

The Theosophy Website that Welcomes Absolute Beginners

If you run a Theosophy Study Group, please feel free

to make use of the material on this Website


The Most Basic Theosophy

 Website in the Universe

A quick overview of Theosophy 

and the Theosophical Society

If you run a Theosophy Study Group you 

can use this as an introductory handout.


Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

The All Wales Guide To

Getting Started in Theosophy

For everyone everywhere, not just in Wales


Theosophy Cardiff’s Instant Guide

to Theosophy


Cardiff Theosophical Archive


Cardiff Theosophy Start-Up

A Free Intro to Theosophy


Pages About Wales

General pages about Wales, Welsh History

and The History of Theosophy in Wales


Blavatsky Blogger

Independent Theosophy Blog


Quick Blasts of Theosophy

One liners and quick explanations

About aspects of Theosophy


Great Theosophists

The Big Names of Theosophy

H P Blavatsky is usually the only

Theosophist that most people have ever

heard of. Let’s put that right


The Blavatsky Blogger’s

Instant Guide To

Death & The Afterlife


Death & How to Get Through It

Lentil burgers, a thousand press ups before breakfast and

the daily 25 mile run may put it off for a while but death

seems to get most of us in the end. We are pleased to

present for your consideration, a definitive work on the

subject by a Student of Katherine Tingley entitled

“Man After Death”


The Blavatsky Free State

An Independent Theosophical Republic

Links to Free Online Theosophy 

Study Resources; Courses, Writings, 

Commentaries, Forums, Blogs


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Devachan


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Dreams


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Angels


Theosophy and Help From

The Universe


The Voice of the Silence


Feelgood Theosophy

Visit the Feelgood Lodge



The New Rock ‘n Roll




No Aardvarks were harmed in the

preparation of this Website


The Tooting Broadway

Underground Theosophy Website

The Spiritual Home of Urban Theosophy


The Mornington Crescent

Underground Theosophy Website

The Earth Base for Evolutionary Theosophy


Classic Theosophy Text

A Text Book of Theosophy By C W Leadbeater


What Theosophy Is  From the Absolute to Man


The Formation of a Solar System  The Evolution of Life


The Constitution of Man  After Death  Reincarnation


The Purpose of Life  The Planetary Chains


The Result of Theosophical Study


Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy  Who is the Man?  Body and Soul   


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death



Try these if you are looking for a

local Theosophy Group or Centre


UK Listing of Theosophical Groups


Worldwide Directory of 

Theosophical Links


International Directory of 

Theosophical Societies