by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 2
Theosophical University Press Online Edition
"My vast and noble capital, my Daitu, my splendidly-adorned;
And thou, my cool and delicious summer-seat, my Shangtu-Keibung.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Alas, for my illustrious name as the Sovereign of the World!
Alas, for my Daitu, seat of sanctity, glorious work of the immortal Kublai!
All, all is rent from me!" — COL. YULE, in Marco Polo.
"As for what thou hearest others say, who persuade the many that the soul, when once freed from the body, neither suffers . . . evil nor is conscious, I know that thou art better grounded in the doctrines received by us from our ancestors, and in the sacred orgies of Dionysus, than to believe them; for the mystic symbols are well known to us who belong to the 'Brotherhood.' " — PLUTARCH.
"The problem of life is man. MAGIC, or rather Wisdom, is the evolved knowledge of the potencies of man's interior being; which forces are Divine emanations, as intuition is the perception of their origin, and initiation our induction into that knowledge. . . . We begin with instinct; the end is OMNISCIENCE." — A. WILDER.
"Power belongs to him WHO KNOWS." — Brahmanical Book of Evocation.
IT would argue small discernment on our part were we to suppose that we had been followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort. Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated.
To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very briefly:
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law — eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F. R. S. — a man of great learning but little knowledge — calls "the well-ascertained laws of nature." Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once "known," now unknown to science.
2d. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eter-
nal, and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3d. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction — "a brown study," as some call it.
To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor space offer obstacles. The thaumaturgist, thoroughly skilled in occult science, can cause himself (that is, his physical body) to seem to disappear, or to apparently take on any shape that he may choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it protean appearances. In both cases these results will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of all witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that he saw a
reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind, impressed upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.
But, while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle, and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass from one locality to another except in the usual way. Hence we discredit all stories of the aerial flight of mediums in body, for such would be miracle, and miracle we repudiate. Inert matter may be, in certain cases and under certain conditions, disintegrated, passed through walls, and recombined, but living animal organisms cannot.
Swedenborgians believe and arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the living body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every day, in every condition of life, such living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright, grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive sensuality may bring this about. The vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form of an adept sorcerer, or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human soul), or, very rarely, an elemental. Of course, an adept of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional and great object is to be accomplished, he will never consent to pollute himself by occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity, the patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and subject to the influence of every passing spirit of any sort, or it has departed forever, and the body is taken possession of by some vampirish entity near its own disintegration, and clinging desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10th. The corner-stone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals, equally strange with that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science, and useless to say, too, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet, the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their sanc-
tuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma, know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination.
There are two kinds of seership — that of the soul and that of the spirit. The seership of the ancient Pythoness, or of the modern mesmerized subject, vary but in the artificial modes adopted to induce the state of clairvoyance. But, as the visions of both depend upon the greater or less acuteness of the senses of the astral body, they differ very widely from the perfect, omniscient spiritual state; for, at best, the subject can get but glimpses of truth, through the veil which physical nature interposes. The astral principle, or mind, called by the Hindu Yogin fav-atma, is the sentient soul, inseparable from our physical brain, which it holds in subjection, and is in its turn equally trammelled by it. This is the ego, the intellectual life-principle of man, his conscious entity. While it is yet within the material body, the clearness and correctness of its spiritual visions depend on its more or less intimate relation with its higher Principle. When this relation is such as to allow the most ethereal portions of the soul-essence to act independently of its grosser particles and of the brain, it can unerringly comprehend what it sees; then only is it the pure, rational, supersentient soul. That state is known in India as the Samaddi; it is the highest condition of spirituality possible to man on earth. Fakirs try to obtain such a condition by holding their breath for hours together during their religious exercises, and call this practice dam-sadhna. The Hindu terms Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana, all relate to different psychological states, and show how much more the Sanscrit, and even the modern Hindu language are adapted to the clear elucidation of the phenomena that are encountered by those who study this branch of psychological science, than the tongues of modern peoples, whose experiences have not yet necessitated the invention of such descriptive terms.
When the body is in the state of dharana — a total catalepsy of the physical frame — the soul of the clairvoyant may liberate itself, and perceive things subjectively. And yet, as the sentient principle of the brain is alive and active, these pictures of the past, present, and future will be tinctured with the terrestrial perceptions of the objective world; the physical memory and fancy will be in the way of clear vision. But the seer-adept knows how to suspend the mechanical action of the brain. His visions will be as clear as truth itself, uncolored and undistorted, whereas, the clairvoyant, unable to control the vibrations of the astral waves, will perceive but more or less broken images through the medium of the brain. The seer can never take flickering shadows for realities, for his memory being as completely subjected to his will as the rest of the body, he receives impressions directly from his spirit. Between his subjective and objective selves there are no obstructive mediums. This is the real spiritual seership, in which, according to an expression of Plato, soul is raised above all inferior good. When we reach "that which is supreme, which is simple, pure, and unchangeable, without form, color, or human qualities: the God — our Nous."
This is the state which such seers as Plotinus and Apollonius termed the "Union to the Deity"; which the ancient Yogins called Isvara,* and the modern call "Samaddi"; but this state is as far above modern clairvoyance as the stars above glow-worms. Plotinus, as is well known, was a clairvoyant-seer during his whole and daily life; and yet, he had been united to his God but six times during the sixty-six years of his existence, as he himself confessed to Porphyry.
Ammonius Sakkas, the "God-taught," asserts that the only power which is directly opposed to soothsaying and looking into futurity is memory; and Olympiodorus calls it phantasy. "The phantasy," he says (in Platonis Phaed.), "is an impediment to our intellectual conceptions; and hence, when we are agitated by the inspiring influence of the Divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases; for enthusiasm and the ecstasy are contrary to each other. Should it be asked whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy, we reply, that its perception of universals proves that it is able. It has per-
* In its general sense, Isvara means "Lord"; but the Isvara of the mystic philosophers of India was understood precisely as the union and communion of men with the Deity of the Greek mystics. Isvara-Parasada means, literally, in Sanscrit, grace. Both of the "Mimansas," treating of the most abstruse questions, explain Karma as merit, or the efficacy of works; Isvara-Parasada, as grace; and Sradha, as faith. The "Mimansas" are the work of the two most celebrated theologians of India. The "Pourva-Mimansa" was written by the philosopher Djeminy, and the "Outtara-Mimansa" (or Vedanta), by Richna Dvipayna Vyasa, who collected the four "Vedas" together. (See Sir William Jones, Colebrooke, and others.)
ceptions, therefore, independent of the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends it in its energies, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the sea."
A medium, moreover, needs either a foreign intelligence — whether it be spirit or living mesmerizer — to overpower his physical and mental parts, or some factitious means to induce trance. An adept, and even a simple fakir requires but a few minutes of "self-contemplation." The brazen columns of Solomon's temple; the golden bells and pomegranates of Aaron; the Jupiter Capitolinus of Augustus, hung around with harmonious bells;* and the brazen bowls of the Mysteries when the Kora was called,** were all intended for such artificial helps.*** So were the brazen bowls of Solomon hung round with a double row of 200 pomegranates, which served as clappers within the hollow columns. The priestesses of Northern Germany, under the guidance of hierophants, could never prophesy but amidst the roar of the tumultuous waters. Regarding fixedly the eddies formed on the rapid course of the river they hypnotized themselves. So we read of Joseph, Jacob's son, who sought for divine inspiration with his silver divining-cup, which must have had a very bright bottom to it. The priestesses of Dodona placed themselves under the ancient oak of Zeus (the Pelasgian, not the Olympian god), and listened intently to the rustling of the sacred leaves, while others concentrated their attention on the soft murmur of the cold spring gushing from underneath its roots.**** But the adept has no need of any such extraneous aids — the simple exertion of his will-power is all-sufficient.
The Atharva-Veda teaches that the exercise of such will-power is the highest form of prayer and its instantaneous response. To desire is to realize in proportion to the intensity of the aspiration; and that, in its turn, is measured by inward purity.
Some of these nobler Vedantic precepts on the soul and man's mystic powers, have recently been contributed to an English periodical by a Hindu scholar. "The Sankhya," he writes, "inculcates that the soul (i. e., astral body) has the following powers: shrinking into a minute bulk to which everything is pervious; enlarging to a gigantic body; assuming levity (rising along a sunbeam to the solar orb); possessing an unlimited reach of organs, as touching the moon with the tip of a finger; irresistible will (for instance, sinking into the earth as easily as in water); dominion over all things, animate or inanimate; faculty of changing the course of nature; ability to accomplish every desire." Further, he gives their various appellations:
* Suetonius: "August."
*** "Pliny," xxx., pp. 2, 14.
**** "Servius ad. AEon," p. 71.
"The powers are called: 1, Anima; 2, Mahima; 3, Laghima; 4, Garima; 5, Prapti; 6, Prakamya; 7, Vasitwa; 8, Isitwa, or divine power. The fifth, predicting future events, understanding unknown languages, curing diseases, divining unexpressed thoughts, understanding the language of the heart. The sixth is the power of converting old age into youth. The seventh is the power of mesmerizing human beings and beasts, and making them obedient; it is the power of restraining passions and emotions. The eighth power is the spiritual state, and presupposes the absence of the above seven powers, as in this state the Yogi is full of God."
"No writings," he adds, "revealed or sacred, were allowed to be so authoritative and final as the teaching of the soul. Some of the Rishis appear to have laid the greatest stress on this supersensuous source of knowledge."*
From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown — Chrestos. The closer the union the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. But they believed in destiny, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions.
The greatest philosophers of antiquity found it neither unreasonable
* Peary Chand Mittra: "The Psychology of the Aryas"; "Human Nature," for March, 1877.
nor strange that "souls should come to souls, and impart to them conceptions of future things, occasionally by letters, or by a mere touch, or by a glance reveal to them past events or announce future ones," as Ammonius tells us. Moreover, Lamprias and others held that if the unembodied spirits or souls could descend on earth and become guardians of mortal men, "we should not seek to deprive those souls which are still in the body of that power by which the former know future events and are able to announce them. It is not probable," adds Lamprias, "that the soul gains a new power of prophecy after separation from the body, and which before it did not possess. We may rather conclude that it possessed all these powers during its union with the body, although in a lesser perfection. . . . For as the sun does not shine only when it passes from among the clouds, but has always been radiant and has only appeared dim and obscured by vapors, the soul does not only receive the power of looking into futurity when it passes from the body as from a cloud, but has possessed it always, though dimmed by connection with the earthly."
A familiar example of one phase of the power of the soul or astral body to manifest itself, is the phenomenon of the so-called spirit-hand. In the presence of certain mediums these seemingly detached members will gradually develop from a luminous nebula, pick up a pencil, write messages, and then dissolve before the eyes of the witnesses. Many such cases are recorded by perfectly competent and trustworthy persons. These phenomena are real, and require serious consideration. But false "phantom-hands" have sometimes been taken for the genuine. At Dresden we once saw a hand and arm, made for the purpose of deception, with an ingenious arrangement of springs that would cause the machine to imitate to perfection the movements of the natural member; while exteriorly it would require close inspection to detect its artificial character. In using this, the dishonest medium slips his natural arm out of his sleeve, and replaces it with the mechanical substitute; both hands may then be made to seem resting upon the table, while in fact one is touching the sitters, showing itself, knocking the furniture, and making other phenomena.
The mediums for real manifestations are least able, as a rule, to comprehend or explain them. Among those who have written most intelligently upon the subject of these luminous hands, may be reckoned Dr. Francis Gerry Fairfield, author of Ten Years among the Mediums, an article from whose pen appears in the Library Table for July 19, 1877. A medium himself, he is yet a strong opponent of the spiritualistic theory. Discussing the subject of the "phantom-hand," he testifies that "this the writer has personally witnessed, under conditions of test provided by himself, in his own room, in full daylight, with the medium seated upon a
sofa from six to eight feet from the table hovering upon which the apparition (the hand) appeared. The application of the poles of a horse-shoe magnet to the hand caused it to waver perceptibly, and threw the medium into violent convulsions — pretty positive evidence that the force concerned in the phenomenon was generated in his own nervous system."
Dr. Fairfield's deduction that the fluttering phantom-hand is an emanation from the medium is logical, and it is correct. The test of the horse-shoe magnet proves in a scientific way what every kabalist would affirm upon the authority of experience, no less than philosophy. The "force concerned in the phenomenon" is the will of the medium, exercised unconsciously to the outer man, which for the time is semi-paralyzed and cataleptic; the phantom-hand an extrusion of the man's inner or astral member. This is that real self whose limbs the surgeon cannot amputate, but remain behind after the outer casing is cut off, and (all theories of exposed or compressed nerve termini to the contrary, notwithstanding) have all the sensations the physical parts formerly experienced. This is that spiritual (astral) body which "is raised in incorruption." It is useless to argue that these are spirit-hands; for, admitting even that at every seance human spirits of many kinds are attracted to the medium, and that they do guide and produce some manifestations, yet to make hands or faces objective they are compelled to use either the astral limbs of the medium, or the materials furnished them by the elementals, or yet the combined aural emanations of all persons present. Pure spirits will not and cannot show themselves objectively; those that do are not pure spirits, but elementary and impure. Woe to the medium who falls a prey to such!
The same principle involved in the unconscious extrusion of a phantom limb by the cataleptic medium, applies to the projection of his entire "double" or astral body. This may be withdrawn by the will of the medium's own inner self, without his retaining in his physical brain any recollection of such an intent — that is one phase of man's dual capacity. It may also be effected by elementary and elemental spirits, to whom he may stand in the relation of mesmeric subject. Dr. Fairfield is right in one position taken in his book, viz.: mediums are usually diseased, and in many if not most cases the children or near connections of mediums. But he is wholly wrong in attributing all psychical phenomena to morbid physiological conditions. The adepts of Eastern magic are uniformly in perfect mental and bodily health, and in fact the voluntary and independent production of phenomena is impossible to any others. We have known many, and never a sick man among them. The adept retains perfect consciousness; shows no change of bodily temperature, or other sign of morbidity; requires no "conditions," but will do his feats any-
where and everywhere; and instead of being passive and in subjection to a foreign influence, rules the forces with iron will. But we have elsewhere shown that the medium and the adept are as opposed as the poles. We will only add here that the body, soul, and spirit of the adept are all conscious and working in harmony, and the body of the medium is an inert clod, and even his soul may be away in a dream while its habitation is occupied by another.
An adept can not only project and make visible a hand, a foot, or any other portion of his body, but the whole of it. We have seen one do this, in full day, while his hands and feet were being held by a skeptical friend whom he wished to surprise.* Little by little the whole astral body oozed out like a vapory cloud, until before us stood two forms, of which the second was an exact duplicate of the first, only slightly more shadowy.
The medium need not exercise any will-power. It suffices that she or he shall know what is expected by the investigators. The medium's "spiritual" entity, when not obsessed by other spirits, will act outside the will or consciousness of the physical being, as surely as it acts when within the body during a fit of somnambulism. Its perceptions, external and internal, will be acuter and far more developed, precisely as they are in the sleep-walker. And this is why "the materialized form sometimes knows more than the medium,"** for the intellectual perception of the astral entity is proportionately as much higher than the corporeal intelligence of the medium in its normal state, as the spirit entity is finer than itself. Generally the medium will be found cold, the pulse will have visibly changed, and a state of nervous prostration succeeds the phenomena, bunglingly and without discrimination attributed to disembodied spirits; whereas, but one-third of them may be produced by the latter, another third by elementals, and the rest by the astral double of the medium himself.
* The Boulogne (France) correspondent of an English journal says that he knows of a gentleman who has had an arm amputated at the shoulder, "who is certain that he has a spiritual arm, which he sees and actually feels with his other hand. He can touch anything, and even pull up things with the spiritual or phantom arm and hand." The party knows nothing of spiritualism. We give this as we get it, without verification, but it merely corroborates what we have seen in the case of an Eastern adept. This eminent scholar and practical kabalist can at will project his astral arm, and with the hand take up, move, and carry objects, even at a considerable distance from where he may be sitting or standing. We have often seen him thus minister to the wants of a favorite elephant.
** Answer to a question at "The National Association of Spiritualists," May 14th, 1877.
But, while it is our firm belief that most of the physical manifestations, i.e., those which neither need nor show intelligence nor great discrimination, are produced mechanically by the scin-lecca (double) of the medium, as a person in sound sleep will when apparently awake do things of which he will retain no remembrance. The purely subjective phenomena are but in a very small proportion of cases due to the action of the personal astral body. They are mostly, and according to the moral, intellectual, and physical purity of the medium, the work of either the elementary, or sometimes very pure human spirits. Elementals have naught to do with subjective manifestations. In rare cases it is the divine spirit of the medium himself that guides and produces them.
As Baboo Peary Chand Mittra says, in a letter* to the President of the National Association of Spiritualists, Mr. Alexander Calder,** "a spirit is an essence or power, and has no form. . . . The very idea of form implies 'materialism.' The spirits [astral souls, we should say] . . . can assume forms for a time, but form is not their permanent state. The more material is our soul, the more material is our conception of spirits."
Epimenides, the Orphikos, was renowned for his "sacred and marvellous nature," and for the faculty his soul possessed of quitting its body " as long and as often as it pleased." The ancient philosophers who have testified to this ability may be reckoned by dozens. Apollonius left his body at a moment's notice, but it must be remembered Apollonius was an adept — a "magician." Had he been simply a medium, he could not have performed such feats at will. Empedocles of Agrigentum, the Pythagorean thaumaturgist, required no conditions to arrest a waterspout which had broken over the city. Neither did he need any to recall a woman to life, as he did. Apollonius used no darkened room in which to perform his aethrobatic feats. Vanishing suddenly in the air before the eyes of Domitian and a whole crowd of witnesses (many thousands), he appeared an hour after in the grotto of Puteoli. But investigation would have shown that his physical body having become invisible by the concentration of akasa about it, he could walk off unperceived to some secure retreat in the neighborhood, and an hour after his astral form appear at Puteoli to his friends, and seem to be the man himself.
No more did Simon Magus wait to be entranced to fly off in the air before the apostles and crowds of witnesses. "It requires no conjuration and ceremonies; circle-making and incensing are mere nonsense and juggling," says Paracelsus. The human spirit "is so great a thing that no man can express it; as God Himself is eternal and unchangeable, so also
* "A Buddhist's Opinions of the Spiritual States."
** See the "London Spiritualist," May 25, 1877, p. 246.
is the mind of man. If we rightly understood its powers, nothing would be impossible to us on earth. The imagination is strengthened and developed through faith in our will. Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will."
A singular account of the personal interview of an English ambassador in 1783, with a reincarnated Buddha — barely mentioned in volume i. — an infant of eighteen months old at that time, is given in the Asiatic Journal from the narrative of an eye-witness himself, Mr. Turner, the author of The Embassy to Thibet. The cautious phraseology of a skeptic dreading public ridicule ill conceals the amazement of the witness, who, at the same time, desires to give facts as truthfully as possible. The infant lama received the ambassador and his suite with a dignity and decorum so natural and unconstrained that they remained in a perfect maze of wonder. The behavior of this infant, says the author, was that of an old philosopher, grave and sedate and exceedingly courteous. He contrived to make the young pontiff understand the inconsolable grief into which the Governor-General of Galagata (Calcutta) the City of Palaces and the people of India were plunged when he died, and the general rapture when they found that he had resurrected in a young and fresh body again; at which compliment the young lama regarded him and his suite with looks of singular complacency, and courteously treated them to confectionery from a golden cup. "The ambassador continued to express the Governor-General's hope that the lama might long continue to illumine the world with his presence, and that the friendship which had heretofore subsisted between them might be yet more strongly cemented, for the benefit and advantage of the intelligent votaries of the lama . . . all which made the little creature look steadfastly at the speaker, and graciously bow and nod — and bow and nod — as if he understood and approved of every word that was uttered."*
As if he understood! If the infant behaved in the most natural and dignified way during the reception, and "when their cups were empty of tea became uneasy and throwing back his head and contracting the skin of his brow, continued making a noise till they were filled again," why could he not understand as well what was said to him?
Years ago, a small party of travellers were painfully journeying from Kashmir to Leh, a city of Ladahk (Central Thibet). Among our guides we had a Tartar Shaman, a very mysterious personage, who spoke Russian a little and English not at all, and yet who managed, nevertheless, to converse with us, and proved of great service. Having learned that some of our party were Russians, he had imagined that our protec-
* See Coleman's "Hindu Mythology."
tion was all-powerful, and might enable him to safely find his way back to his Siberian home, from which, for reasons unknown, some twenty years before, he had fled, as he told us, via Kiachta and the great Gobi Desert, to the land of the Tcha-gars.* With such an interested object in view, we believed ourselves safe under his guard. To explain the situation briefly: Our companions had formed the unwise plan of penetrating into Thibet under various disguises, none of them speaking the language, although one, a Mr. K----, had picked up some Kasan Tartar, and thought he did. As we mention this only incidentally, we may as well say at once that two of them, the brothers N----, were very politely brought back to the frontier before they had walked sixteen miles into the weird land of Eastern Bod; and Mr. K----, an ex-Lutheran minister, could not even attempt to leave his miserable village near Leh, as from the first days he found himself prostrated with fever, and had to return to Lahore via Kashmere. But one sight seen by him was as good as if he had witnessed the reincarnation of Buddha itself. Having heard of this "miracle" from some old Russian missionary in whom he thought he could have more faith than in Abbe Huc, it had been for years his desire to expose the "great heathen" jugglery, as he expressed it. K---- was a positivist, and rather prided himself on this anti-philosophical neologism. But his positivism was doomed to receive a death-blow.
About four days journey from Islamabad, at an insignificant mud village, whose only redeeming feature was its magnificent lake, we stopped for a few days' rest. Our companions had temporarily separated from us, and the village was to be our place of meeting. It was there that we were apprised by our Shaman that a large party of Lamaic "Saints," on pilgrimage to various shrines, had taken up their abode in an old cave-temple and established a temporary Vihara therein. He added that, as the "Three Honorable Ones"** were said to travel along with them, the holy Bikshu (monks) were capable of producing the greatest miracles. Mr. K-----, fired with the prospect of exposing this humbug of the ages, proceeded at once to pay them a visit, and from that moment the most friendly relations were established between the two camps.
The Vihar was in a secluded and most romantic spot secured against all intrusion. Despite the effusive attentions, presents, and protestations of Mr. K----, the Chief, who was Pase-Budhu (an ascetic of great
* Russian subjects are not allowed to cross the Tartar territory, neither the subjects of the Emperor of China to go to the Russian factories.
** These are the representatives of the Buddhist Trinity, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, or Fo, Fa, and Sengh, as they are called in Thibet.
sanctity), declined to exhibit the phenomenon of the "incarnation" until a certain talisman in possession of the writer was exhibited.* Upon seeing this, however, preparations were at once made, and an infant of three or four months was procured from its mother, a poor woman of the neighborhood. An oath was first of all exacted of Mr. K----, that he would not divulge what he might see or hear, for the space of seven years. The talisman is a simple agate or carnelian known among the Thibetans and others as A-yu, and naturally possessed, or had been endowed with very mysterious properties. It has a triangle engraved upon it, within which are contained a few mystical words.**
Several days passed before everything was ready; nothing of a mysterious character occurring, meanwhile, except that, at the bidding of a Bikshu, ghastly faces were made to peep at us out of the glassy bosom of the lake, as we sat at the door of the Vihar, upon its bank. One of these was the countenance of Mr. K----'s sister, whom he had left well and happy at home, but who, as we subsequently learned, had died some
* A Bikshu is not allowed to accept anything directly even from laymen of his own people, least of all from a foreigner. The slightest contact with the body and even dress of a person not belonging to their special community is carefully avoided. Thus even the offerings brought by us and which comprised pieces of red and yellow pou-lou, a sort of woollen fabric the lamas generally wear, had to pass through strange ceremonies. They are forbidden, 1, to ask or beg for anything — even were they starving — having to wait until it is voluntarily offered; 2, to touch either gold or silver with their hands; 3, to eat a morsel of food, even when presented, unless the donor distinctly says to the disciple, "This is for your master to eat." Thereupon, the disciple turning to the pazen has to offer the food in his turn, and when he has said, "Master, this is allowed; take and eat," then only can the lama take it with the right hand, and partake of it. All our offerings had to pass through such purifications. When the silver pieces, and a few handfuls of annas (a coin equal to four cents) were at different occasions offered to the community, a disciple first wrapped his hand in a yellow handkerchief, and receiving it on his palm, conveyed the sum immediately into the Badir, called elsewhere Sabait, a sacred basin, generally wooden, kept for offerings.
** These stones are highly venerated among Lamaists and Buddhists; the throne and sceptre of Buddha are ornamented with them, and the Taley Lama wears one on the fourth finger of the right hand. They are found in the Altai Mountains, and near the river Yarkuh. Our talisman was a gift from the venerable high-priest, a Heiloung, of a Kalmuck tribe. Though treated as apostates from their primitive Lamaism, these nomads maintain friendly intercourse with their brother Kalmucks, the Chokhots of Eastern Thibet and Kokonor, but even with the Lamaists of Lha-Ssa. The ecclesiastical authorities however, will have no relations with them. We have had abundant opportunities to become acquainted with this interesting people of the Astrakhan Steppes, having lived in their Kibitkas in our early years, and partaken of the lavish hospitality of the Prince Tumene, their late chief, and his Princess. In their religious ceremonies, the Kalmucks employ trumpets made from the thigh and arm bones of deceased rulers and high priests.
time before he had set out on the present journey. The sight affected him at first, but he called his skepticism to his aid, and quieted himself with theories of cloud-shadows, reflections of tree-branches, etc., such as people of his kind fall back upon.
On the appointed afternoon, the baby being brought to the Vihara, was left in the vestibule or reception-room, as K---- could go no further into the temporary sanctuary. The child was then placed on a bit of carpet in the middle of the floor, and every one not belonging to the party being sent away, two "mendicants" were placed at the entrance to keep out intruders. Then all the lamas seated themselves on the floor, with their backs against the granite walls, so that each was separated from the child by a space, at least, of ten feet. The chief, having had a square piece of leather spread for him by the desservant, seated himself at the farthest corner. Alone, Mr. K---- placed himself close by the infant, and watched every movement with intense interest. The only condition exacted of us was that we should preserve a strict silence, and patiently await further developments. A bright sunlight streamed through the open door. Gradually the "Superior" fell into what seemed a state of profound meditation, while the others, after a sotto voce short invocation, became suddenly silent, and looked as if they had been completely petrified. It was oppressively still, and the crowing of the child was the only sound to be heard. After we had sat there a few moments, the movements of the infant's limbs suddenly ceased, and his body appeared to become rigid. K---- watched intently every motion, and both of us, by a rapid glance, became satisfied that all present were sitting motionless. The superior, with his gaze fixed upon the ground, did not even look at the infant; but, pale and motionless, he seemed rather like a bronze statue of a Talapoin in meditation than a living being. Suddenly, to our great consternation, we saw the child, not raise itself, but, as it were, violently jerked into a sitting posture! A few more jerks, and then, like an automaton set in motion by concealed wires, the four months' baby stood upon his feet! Fancy our consternation, and, in Mr. K----'s case, horror. Not a hand had been outstretched, not a motion made, nor a word spoken; and yet, here was a baby-in-arms standing erect and firm as a man!
The rest of the story we will quote from a copy of notes written on this subject by Mr. K----, the same evening, and given to us, in case it should not reach its place of destination, or the writer fail to see anything more.
"After a minute or two of hesitation," writes K----, "the baby turned his head and looked at me with an expression of intelligence that was simply awful! It sent a chill through me. I pinched my hands and
bit my lips till the blood almost came, to make sure that I did not dream. But this was only the beginning. The miraculous creature, making, as I fancied, two steps toward me, resumed his sitting posture, and, without removing his eyes from mine, repeated, sentence by sentence, in what I supposed to be Thibetan language, the very words, which I had been told in advance, are commonly spoken at the incarnations of Buddha, beginning with 'I am Buddha; I am the old Lama; I am his spirit in a new body,' etc. I felt a real terror; my hair rose upon my head, and my blood ran cold. For my life I could not have spoken a word. There was no trickery here, no ventriloquism. The infant lips moved, and the eyes seemed to search my very soul with an expression that made me think it was the face of the Superior himself, his eyes, his very look that I was gazing upon. It was as if his spirit had entered the little body, and was looking at me through the transparent mask of the baby's face. I felt my brain growing dizzy. The infant reached toward me, and laid his little hand upon mine. I started as if I had been touched by a hot coal; and, unable to bear the scene any longer, covered my face with my hands. It was but for an instant; but when I removed them, the little actor had become a crowing baby again, and a moment after, lying upon his back, set up a fretful cry. The superior had resumed his normal condition, and conversation ensued.
"It was only after a series of similar experiments, extending over ten days, that I realized the fact that I had seen the incredible, astounding phenomenon described by certain travellers, but always by me denounced as an imposture. Among a multitude of questions unanswered, despite my cross-examination, the Superior let drop one piece of information, which must be regarded as highly significant. 'What would have happened,' I inquired, through the shaman, 'if, while the infant was speaking, in a moment of insane fright, at the thought of its being the "Devil," I had killed it?' He replied that, if the blow had not been instantly fatal, the child alone would have been killed.' 'But,' I continued, 'suppose that it had been as swift as a lightning-flash?' 'In such case,' was the answer, 'you would have killed me also.' "
In Japan and Siam there are two orders of priests, of which one are public, and deal with the people, the other strictly private. The latter are never seen; their existence is known but to very few natives, never to foreigners. Their powers are never displayed in public, nor ever at all except on rare occasions of the utmost importance, at which times the ceremonies are performed in subterranean or otherwise inaccessible temples, and in the presence of a chosen few whose heads answer for their secrecy. Among such occasions are deaths in the Royal family, or those of high dignitaries affiliated with the Order. One of the most
weird and impressive exhibitions of the power of these magicians is that of the withdrawal of the astral soul from the cremated remains of human beings, a ceremony practiced likewise in some of the most important lamaseries of Thibet and Mongolia.
In Siam, Japan, and Great Tartary, it is the custom to make medallions, statuettes, and idols out of the ashes of cremated persons;* they are mixed with water into a paste, and after being moulded into the desired shape, are baked and then gilded. The Lamasery of Ou-Tay, in the province of Chan-Si, Mongolia, is the most famous for that work, and rich persons send the bones of their defunct relatives to be ground and fashioned there. When the adept in magic proposes to facilitate the withdrawal of the astral soul of the deceased, which otherwise they think might remain stupefied for an indefinite period within the ashes, the following process is resorted to: The sacred dust is placed in a heap, upon a metallic plate, strongly magnetized, of the size of a man's body. The adept then slowly and gently fans it with the Talapat Nang,** a fan of a peculiar shape and inscribed with certain signs, muttering, at the same time, a form of invocation. The ashes soon become, as it were, imbued with life, and gently spread themselves out into a thin layer which assumes the outline of the body before cremation. Then there gradually arises a sort of whitish vapor which after a time forms into an erect column, and compacting itself, is finally transformed into the "double," or ethereal, astral counterpart of the dead, which in its turn dissolves away into thin air, and disappears from mortal sight.***
The "Magicians" of Kashmir, Thibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary are too well known to need comments. If jugglers they be, we invite the most expert jugglers of Europe and America to match them if they can.
If our scientists are unable to imitate the mummy-embalming of the Egyptians, how much greater would be their surprise to see, as we have, dead bodies preserved by alchemical art, so that after the lapse of centuries, they seem as though the individuals were but sleeping. The complexions were as fresh, the skin as elastic, the eyes as natural and sparkling as though they were in the full flush of health, and the wheels of life had been stopped but the instant before. The bodies of certain very eminent personages are laid upon catafalques, in rich mausoleums,
* The Buddhist Kalmucks of the Astrakhan steppes are accustomed to make their idols out of the cremated ashes of their princes and priests. A relative of the author has in her collection several small pyramids composed of the ashes of eminent Kalmucks and presented to her by the Prince Tumene himself in 1836.
** The sacred fan used by the chief priests instead of an umbrella.
*** See vol. i., p. 476.
sometimes overlaid with gilding or even with plates of real gold; their favorite arms, trinkets, and articles of daily use gathered about them, and a suite of attendants, blooming young boys and girls, but still corpses, preserved like their masters, stand as if ready to serve when called. In the convent of Great Kouren, and in one situated upon the Holy Mountain (Bohte Oula) there are said to be several such sepulchres, which have been respected by all the conquering hordes that have swept through those countries. Abbe Huc heard that such exist, but did not see one, strangers of all kinds being excluded, and missionaries and European travellers not furnished with the requisite protection, being the last of all persons who would be permitted to approach the sacred places. Huc's statement that the tombs of Tartar sovereigns are surrounded with children "who were compelled to swallow mercury until they were suffocated," by which means "the color and freshness of the victims is preserved so well that they appear alive," is one of these idle missionary fables which impose only upon the most ignorant who accept on hearsay. Buddhists have never immolated victims, whether human or animal. It is utterly against the principles of their religion, and no Lamaist was ever accused of it. When a rich man desired to be interred in company, messengers were sent throughout the country with the Lama-embalmers, and children just dead in the natural way were selected for the purpose. Poor parents were but too glad to preserve their departed children in this poetic way, instead of abandoning them to decay and wild beasts.
At the time when Abbe Huc was living in Paris, after his return from Thibet, he related, among other unpublished wonders, to a Mr. Arsenieff, a Russian gentleman, the following curious fact that he had witnessed during his long sojourn at the lamasery of Kounboum. One day while conversing with one of the lamas, the latter suddenly stopped speaking, and assumed the attentive attitude of one who is listening to a message being delivered to him, although he (Huc) heard never a word. "Then, I must go"; suddenly broke forth the lama, as if in response to the message.
"Go where?" inquired the astonished "lama of Jehovah" (Huc). "And with whom are you talking?"
"To the lamasery of * * *," was the quiet answer. "The Shaberon wants me; it was he who summoned me."
Now this lamasery was many days' journey from that of Kounboum, in which the conversation was taking place. But what seemed to astonish Huc the most was, that, instead of setting off on his journey, the lama simply walked to a sort of cupola-room on the roof of the house in which they lived, and another lama, after exchanging a few words, fol-
lowed them to the terrace by means of the ladder, and passing between them, locked and barred his companion in. Then turning to Huc after a few seconds of meditation, he smiled and informed the guest that "he had gone."
"But how could he? Why you have locked him in, and the room has no issue?" insisted the missionary.
"And what good would a door be to him?" answered the custodian. "It is he himself who went away; his body is not needed, and so he left it in my charge."
Notwithstanding the wonders which Huc had witnessed during his perilous journey, his opinion was that both of the lamas had mystified him. But three days later, not having seen his habitual friend and entertainer, he inquired after him, and was informed that he would be back in the evening. At sunset, and just as the "other lamas" were preparing to retire, Huc heard his absent friend's voice calling as if from the clouds, to his companion to open the door for him. Looking upward, he perceived the "traveller's" outline behind the lattice of the room where he had been locked in. When he descended he went straight to the Grand Lama of Kounboum, and delivered to him certain messages and "orders," from the place which he "pretended" he had just left. Huc could get no more information from him as to his aerial voyage. But he always thought, he said, that this "farce" had something to do with the immediate and extraordinary preparations for the polite expulsion of both the missionaries, himself and Father Gabet, to Chogor-tan, a place belonging to the Kounboum. The suspicion of the daring missionary may have been correct, in view of his impudent inquisitiveness and indiscretion.
If the Abbe had been versed in Eastern philosophy, he would have found no great difficulty in comprehending both the flight of the lama's astral body to the distant lamasery while his physical frame remained behind, or the carrying on of a conversation with the Shaberon that was inaudible to himself. The recent experiments with the telephone in America, to which allusion was made in Chapter V. of our first volume, but which have been greatly perfected since those pages went to press, prove that the human voice and the sounds of instrumental music may be conveyed along a telegraphic wire to a great distance. The Hermetic philosophers taught, as we have seen, that the disappearance from sight of a flame does not imply its actual extinction. It has only passed from the visible to the invisible world, and may be perceived by the inner sense of vision, which is adapted to the things of that other and more real universe. The same rule applies to sound. As the physical ear discerns the vibrations of the atmosphere up to a certain point, not yet
definitely fixed, but varying with the individual, so the adept whose interior hearing has been developed, can take the sound at this vanishing-point, and hear its vibrations in the astral light indefinitely. He needs no wires, helices, or sounding-boards; his will-power is all-sufficient. Hearing with the spirit, time and distance offer no impediments, and so he may converse with another adept at the antipodes with as great ease as though they were in the same room.
Fortunately, we can produce numerous witnesses to corroborate our statement, who, without being adepts at all, have, nevertheless, heard the sound of aerial music and of the human voice, when neither instrument nor speaker were within thousands of miles of the place where we sat. In their case they actually heard interiorly, though they supposed their physical organs of hearing alone were employed. The adept had, by a simple effort of will-power, given them for the brief moment the same perception of the spirit of sound as he himself constantly enjoys.
If our men of science could only be induced to test instead of deriding the ancient philosophy of the trinity of all the natural forces, they would go by leaps toward the dazzling truth, instead of creeping, snail-like, as at present. Prof. Tyndall's experiments off the South Foreland, at Dover, in 1875, fairly upset all previous theories of the transmission of sound, and those he has made with sensitive flames* bring him to the very threshold of arcane science. One step further, and he would comprehend how adepts can converse at great distances. But that step will not be taken. Of his sensitive — in truth, magical — flame, he says: "The slightest tap on a distant anvil causes it to fall to seven inches. When a bunch of keys is shaken, the flame is violently agitated, and emits a loud roar. The dropping of a sixpence into a hand already containing coin, knocks the flame down. The creaking of boots sets it in violent commotion. The crumpling or tearing of a bit of paper, or the rustle of a silk dress does the same. Responsive to every tick of a watch held near it, it falls and explodes. The winding up of a watch produces tumult. From a distance of thirty yards we may chirrup to this flame, and cause it to fall and roar. Repeating a passage from the Faerie Queene, the flame sifts and selects the manifold sounds of my voice, noticing some by a slight nod, others by a deeper bow, while to others it responds by violent agitation."
Such are the wonders of modern physical science; but at what cost of apparatus, and carbonic acid and coal gas; of American and Canadian whistles, trumpets, gongs, and bells! The poor heathen have none such impedimenta, but — will European science believe it — nevertheless,
* See his "Lectures on Sound."
produce the very same phenomena. Upon one occasion, when, in a case of exceptional importance, an "oracle" was required, we saw the possibility of what we had previously vehemently denied — namely, a simple mendicant cause a sensitive flame to give responsive flashes without a particle of apparatus. A fire was kindled of branches of the Beal-tree, and some sacrificial herbs were sprinkled upon it. The mendicant sat near by, motionless, absorbed in contemplation. During the intervals between the questions the fire burned low and seemed ready to go out, but when the interrogatories were propounded, the flames leaped, roaring, skyward, flickered, bowed, and sent fiery tongues flaring toward the east, west, north, or south; each motion having its distinct meaning in a code of signals well understood. Between whiles it would sink to the ground, and the tongues of flame would lick the sod in every direction, and suddenly disappear, leaving only a bed of glowing embers. When the interview with the flame-spirits was at an end, the Bikshu (mendicant) turned toward the jungle where he abode, keeping up a wailing, monotonous chant, to the rhythm of which the sensitive flame kept time, not merely like Prof. Tyndall's, when he read the Faerie Queene, by simple motions, but by a marvellous modulation of hissing and roaring until he was out of sight. Then, as if its very life were extinguished, it vanished, and left a bed of ashes before the astonished spectators.
Both in Western and Eastern Thibet, as in every other place where Buddhism predominates, there are two distinct religions, the same as it is in Brahmanism — the secret philosophy and the popular religion. The former is that of the followers of the doctrine of the sect of the Sutrantika.* They closely adhere to the spirit of Buddha's original teachings which show the necessity of intuitional perception, and all deductions therefrom. These do not proclaim their views, nor allow them to be made public.
"All compounds are perishable," were the last words uttered by the lips of the dying Gautama, when preparing under the Sal-tree to enter into Nirvana. "Spirit is the sole, elementary, and primordial unity, and each of its rays is immortal, infinite, and indestructible. Beware of the illusions of matter." Buddhism was spread far and wide over Asia, and even farther, by Dharm-Asoka. He was the grandson of the miracle-worker Chandragupta, the illustrious king who rescued the Punjab from the Macedonians — if they ever were at Punjab at all — and received Megasthenes at his court in Pataliputra. Dharm-Asoka was the greatest King of the Maurya dynasty. From a reckless profligate and atheist,
* From the compound word sutra, maxim or precept, and antika, close or near.
he had become Pryadasi, the "beloved of the gods," and never was the purity of his philanthropic views surpassed by any earthly ruler. His memory has lived for ages in the hearts of the Buddhists, and has been perpetuated in the humane edicts engraved in several popular dialects on the columns and rocks of Allahabad, Delhi, Guzerat, Peshawur, Orissa, and other places.* His famous grandfather had united all India under his powerful sceptre. When the Nagas, or serpent-worshippers of Kashmere had been converted through the efforts of the apostles sent out by the Sthaviras of the third councils, the religion of Gautama spread like wild-fire. Gandhara, Cabul, and even many of the Satrapies of Alexander the Great, accepted the new philosophy. The Buddhism of Nepal being the one which may be said to have diverged less than any other from the primeval ancient faith, the Lamaism of Tartary, Mongolia, and Thibet, which is a direct offshoot of this country, may be thus shown to be the purest Buddhism; for we say it again, Lamaism properly is but an external form of rites.
The Upasakas and Upasakis, or male and female semi-monastics and semi-laymen, have equally with the lama-monks themselves, to strictly abstain from violating any of Buddha's rules, and must study Meipo and every psychological phenomenon as much. Those who become guilty of any of the "five sins" lose all right to congregate with the pious community. The most important of these is not to curse upon any consideration, for the curse returns upon the one that utters it, and often upon his innocent relatives who breathe the same atmosphere with him. To love each other, and even our bitterest enemies; to offer our lives even for animals, to the extent of abstaining from defensive arms; to gain the greatest of victories by conquering one's self; to avoid all vices; to practice all virtues, especially humility and mildness; to be obedient to superiors, to cherish and respect parents, old age, learning, virtuous and holy men; to provide food, shelter, and comfort for men and animals; to plant trees on the roads and dig wells for the comfort of travellers; such are the moral duties of Buddhists. Every Ani or Bikshuni (nun) is subjected to these laws.
Numerous are the Buddhist and Lamaic saints who have been renowned for the unsurpassed sanctity of their lives and their "miracles." So Tissu, the Emperor's spiritual teacher, who consecrated Kublai-Khan, the Nadir Shah, was known far and wide as much for the extreme holiness of his life as for the many wonders he wrought. But
* It sounds like injustice to Asoka to compare him with Constantine, as is done by several Orientalists. If, in the religious and political sense, Asoka did for India what Constantine is alleged to have achieved for the Western World, all similarity stops there.
he did not stop at fruitless miracles, but did better than that. Tissu purified completely his religion; and from one single province of Southern Mongolia is said to have forced Kublai to expel from convents 500,000 monkish impostors, who made a pretext of their profession, to live in vice and idleness. Then the Lamaists had their great reformer, the Shaberon Son-Ka-po, who is claimed to have been immaculately conceived by his mother, a virgin from Koko-nor (fourteenth century), who is another wonder-worker. The sacred tree of Kounboum, the tree of the 10,000 images, which, in consequence of the degeneration of the true faith had ceased budding for several centuries, now shot forth new sprouts and bloomed more vigorously than ever from the hair of this avatar of Buddha, says the legend. The same tradition makes him (Son-Ka-po) ascend to heaven in 1419. Contrary to the prevailing idea, few of these saints are Khubilhans, or Shaberons — reincarnations.
Many of the lamaseries contain schools of magic, but the most celebrated is the collegiate monastery of the Shu-tukt, where there are over 30,000 monks attached to it, the lamasery forming quite a little city. Some of the female nuns possess marvellous psychological powers. We have met some of these women on their way from Lha-Ssa to Candi, the Rome of Buddhism, with its miraculous shrines and Gautama's relics. To avoid encounters with Mussulmans and other sects they travel by night alone, unarmed, and without the least fear of wild animals, for these will not touch them. At the first glimpses of dawn, they take refuge in caves and viharas prepared for them by their co-religionists at calculated distances; for notwithstanding the fact that Buddhism has taken refuge in Ceylon, and nominally there are but few of the denomination in British India, yet the secret Byauds (Brotherhoods) and Buddhist viharas are numerous, and every Jain feels himself obliged to help, indiscriminately, Buddhist or Lamaist.
Ever on the lookout for occult phenomena, hungering after sights, one of the most interesting that we have seen was produced by one of these poor travelling Bikshu. It was years ago, and at a time when all such manifestations were new to the writer. We were taken to visit the pilgrims by a Buddhist friend, a mystical gentleman born at Kashmir, of Katchi parents, but a Buddha-Lamaist by conversion, and who generally resides at Lha-Ssa.
"Why carry about this bunch of dead plants?" inquired one of the Bikshuni, an emaciated, tall and elderly woman, pointing to a large nosegay of beautiful, fresh, and fragrant flowers in the writer's hands.
"Dead?" we asked, inquiringly. "Why they just have been gathered in the garden?"
"And yet, they are dead," she gravely answered. "To be born in
this world, is this not death? See, how these herbs look when alive in the world of eternal light, in the gardens of our blessed Foh?"
Without moving from the place where she was sitting on the ground, the Ani took a flower from the bunch, laid it in her lap, and began to draw together, by large handfuls as it were, invisible material from the surrounding atmosphere. Presently a very, very faint nodule of vapor was seen, and this slowly took shape and color, until, poised in mid-air, appeared a copy of the bloom we had given her. Faithful to the last tint and the last petal it was, and lying on its side like the original, but a thousand-fold more gorgeous in hue and exquisite in beauty, as the glorified human spirit is more beauteous than its physical capsule. Flower after flower to the minutest herb was thus reproduced and made to vanish, reappearing at our desire, nay, at our simple thought. Having selected a full-blown rose we held it at arm's length, and in a few minutes our arm, hand, and the flower, perfect in every detail, appeared reflected in the vacant space, about two yards from where we sat. But while the flower seemed immeasurably beautified and as ethereal as the other spirit flowers, the arm and hand appeared like a mere reflection in a looking-glass, even to a large spot on the fore arm, left on it by a piece of damp earth which had stuck to one of the roots. Later we learned the reason why.
A great truth was uttered some fifty years ago by Dr. Francis Victor Broussais, when he said: "If magnetism were true, medicine would be an absurdity." Magnetism is true, and so we shall not contradict the learned Frenchman as to the rest. Magnetism, as we have shown, is the alphabet of magic. It is idle for any one to attempt to understand either the theory or the practice of the latter until the fundamental principle of magnetic attractions and repulsions throughout nature is recognized.
Many so-called popular superstitions are but evidences of an instinctive perception of this law. An untutored people are taught by the experience of many generations that certain phenomena occur under fixed conditions; they give these conditions and obtain the expected results. Ignorant of the laws, they explain the fact by supernaturalism, for experience has been their sole teacher.
In India, as well as in Russia and some other countries, there is an instinctive repugnance to stepping across a man's shadow, especially if he have red hair; and in the former country, natives are extremely reluctant to shake hands with persons of another race. These are not idle fancies. Every person emits a magnetic exhalation or aura, and a man may be in perfect physical health, but at the same time his exhalation may have a morbific character for others, sensitive to such subtile influences. Dr. Esdaile and other mesmerists long since taught us that Oriental peo-
ple, especially Hindus, are more susceptible than the white-skinned races. Baron Reichenbach's experiments — and, in fact, the world's entire experience — prove that these magnetic exhalations are most intense from the extremities. Therapeutic manipulations show this; hand-shaking is, therefore, most calculated to communicate antipathetic magnetic conditions, and the Hindus do wisely in keeping their ancient "superstition" — derived from Manu — constantly in mind.
The magnetism of a red-haired man, we have found, in almost every nation, is instinctively dreaded. We might quote proverbs from the Russian, Persian, Georgian, Hindustani, French, Turkish, and even German, to show that treachery and other vices are popularly supposed to accompany the rufous complexion. When a man stands exposed to the sun, the magnetism of that luminary causes his emanations to be projected toward the shadow, and the increased molecular action develops more electricity. Hence, an individual to whom he is antipathetic — though neither might be sensible of the fact — would act prudently in not passing through the shadow. Careful physicians wash their hands upon leaving each patient; why, then, should they not be charged with superstition, as well as the Hindus? The sporules of disease are invisible, but no less real, as European experience demonstrates. Well, Oriental experience for a hundred centuries has shown that the germs of moral contagion linger about localities, and impure magnetism can be communicated by the touch.
Another prevalent belief in some parts of Russia, particularly Georgia (Caucasus), and in India, is that in case the body of a drowned person cannot be otherwise found, if a garment of his be thrown into the water it will float until directly over the spot, and then sink. We have even seen the experiment successfully tried with the sacred cord of a Brahman. It floated hither and thither, circling about as though in search of something, until suddenly darting in a straight line for about fifty yards, it sank, and at that exact spot the divers brought up the body. We find this "superstition" even in America. A Pittsburg paper, of very recent date, describes the finding of the body of a young boy, named Reed, in the Monongahela, by a like method. All other means having failed, it says, "a curious superstition was employed. One of the boy's shirts was thrown into the river where he had gone down, and, it is said, floated on the surface for a time, and finally settled to the bottom at a certain place, which proved to be the resting-place of the body, and which was then drawn out. The belief that the shirt of a drowned person when thrown into the water will follow the body is well-spread, absurd as it appears."
This phenomenon is explained by the law of the powerful attraction existing between the human body and objects that have been long worn
upon it. The oldest garment is most effective for the experiment; a new one is useless.
From time immemorial, in Russia, in the month of May, on Trinity Day, maidens from city and village have been in the habit of casting upon the river wreaths of green leaves — which each girl has to form for herself — and consulting their oracles. If the wreath sinks, it is a sign that the girl will die unmarried within a short time; if it floats, she will be married, the time depending upon the number of verses she can repeat during the experiment. We positively affirm that we have personal knowledge of several cases, two of them our intimate friends, where the augury of death proved true, and the girls died within twelve months. Tried on any other day than Trinity, the result would doubtless be the same. The sinking of the wreath is attributable to its being impregnated with the unhealthy magnetism of a system which contains the germs of early death; such magnetisms having an attraction for the earth at the bottom of the stream. As for the rest, we are willing to abandon it to the friends of coincidence.
The same general remark as to superstition having a scientific basis applies to the phenomena produced by fakirs and jugglers, which skeptics heap into the common category of trickery. And yet, to a close observer, even to the uninitiated, an enormous difference is presented between the kimiya (phenomenon) of a fakir, and the batte-bazi (jugglery) of a trickster, and the necromancy of a jadugar, or sahir, so dreaded and despised by the natives. This difference, imperceptible — nay incomprehensible — to the skeptical European, is instinctively appreciated by every Hindu, whether of high or low caste, educated or ignorant. The kangalin, or witch, who uses her terrible abhi-char (mesmeric powers) with intent to injure, may expect death at any moment, for every Hindu finds it lawful to kill her; a bukka-baz, or juggler, serves to amuse. A serpent-charmer, with his ba-ini full of venomous snakes, is less dreaded, for his powers of fascination extend but to animals and reptiles; he is unable to charm human beings, to perform that which is called by the natives mantar phunkna, to throw spells on men by magic. But with the yogi, the sannyasi, the holy men who acquire enormous psychological powers by mental and physical training, the question is totally different. Some of these men are regarded by the Hindus as demi-gods. Europeans cannot judge of these powers but in rare and exceptional cases.
The British resident who has encountered in the maidans and public places what he regards as frightful and loathsome human beings, sitting motionless in the self-inflicted torture of the urddwa bahu, with arms raised above the head for months, and even years, need not suppose they are the wonder-working fakirs. The phenomenon of the latter are visible only through the friendly protection of a Brahman, or under peculiarly
Chapter 12, part 2