“Finally, he attacks the memory of the old king of Siam, the father of the one to whose court he was sent, by accusing him of having foolishly spent over two million livres in search of the philosopher’s stone.
“The Chinese”, he says, “reputed so wise, have for three or four thousand years had the folly of believing in the existence, and of seeking out a universal remedy by which they hope to exempt themselves from the necessity of dying.
They base themselves on some foolish traditions, concerning some rare persons that are reported to have made gold, and to have lived some ages; there are some very strongly established facts among the Chinese, the Siamese, and other Orientals, concerning those that know how to render themselves immortal, either absolutely, or in such a manner that they can die no otherwise than by violent death.
Wherefore, they name some persons who have withdrawn themselves from the sight of men to enjoy free and peaceable life. They relate wonders concerning the knowledge of these pretended immortals.”
If Descartes, a Frenchman and a scientist, could, in the midst of civilization, firmly believe that such a universal remedy had been found, and that if possessed of it he could live at least five hundred years, why are not the Orientals entitled to the same belief?
The master-problems of both life and death are still unsolved by occidental physiologists. Even sleep is a phenomenon about whose cause there is a great divergence of opinion among them. How, then, can they pretend to set limits to the possible, and define the impossible?”
H. P. Blavatsky