The Path August 1886

A HINDU CHELA'S DIARY: III(1)

(Continued from July number)

"I have always felt and still feel strongly that I have already once studied this sacred philosophy with Kunala, and that I must have been, in a previous life, his most obedient and humble disciple. This must have been a fact, or else how to account for the feelings created in me when I first met him, although no special or remarkable circumstances were connected with that event. All my hopes and plans are centred in him, and nothing in the world can shake my confidence in him especially when several of my Brahmin acquaintances tell me the same things without previous consultation. * * *

"I went to the great festival of Durga yesterday, and spent nearly the whole day looking in the vast crowd of men, women, children and mendicants for some of Kunala's friends, for he once told me to never be sure that they were not near me, but I found none who seemed to answer my ideas. As 1 stood by the ghaut at the river side thinking that perhaps I was left alone to try my patience, an old and apparently very decrepit Bairagee plucked my sleeve and said: 'Never expect to see any one, but always be ready to answer if they speak to you; it is not wise to peer outside of yourself for the great followers of Vasudeva: look rather within.'

"This amazed me, as I was expecting him to beg or to ask me for information. Before my wits returned, he had with a few steps mingled with a group of people, and in vain searched I for him: he had disappeared. But the lesson is not lost.

" Tomorrow I return to I____.

"Very wearying indeed in a bodily sense was the work of last week and especially of last evening, and upon laying down on my mat last night after continuing work far into the night I fell quickly sound asleep. I had been sleeping some hour or two when with a start I awoke to find myself in perfect solitude and only the horrid howling of the jackals in the jungle to disturb me. The moon was brightly shining and I walked over to the window of this European modeled house threw it open and looked out. Finding that sleep had departed, I began again on those palm leaves. Just after I had begun, a tap arrested my attention and I opened the door. Overjoyed was I then to see Kunala standing there, once more unexpected.

"'Put on your turban and come with me,' he said and turned away.

"Thrusting my feet into my sandals, and catching up my turban, I hurried after him, afraid that the master would get beyond me, and I remain unfortunate at losing some golden opportunity.

"He walked out into the jungle and turned into an unfrequented path. The jackals seemed to recede into the distance; now and then in the mango trees overhead, the flying foxes rustled here and there, while I could distinctly hear the singular creeping noise made by a startled snake as it drew itself hurriedly away over the leaves. Fear was not in my breast for master was in front. He at last came to a spot that seemed bare of trees, and bending down, seemed to press his hand into the grass. I then saw that a trap door or entrance to a stairway very curiously contrived, was there. Stairs went down into the earth. He went down and I could but follow. The door closed behind me, yet it was not dark. Plenty of light was there, but where it came from I cared not then nor can I now, tell. It reminded me of our old weird tales told us in youth of pilgrims going down to the land of the Devas where, although no sun was seen, there was plenty of light.

"At the bottom of the stairs was a passage. Here I saw people but they did not speak to me and appeared not to even see me although their eyes were directed at me. Kunala said nothing but walked on to the end, where there was a room in which were many men looking as grand as he does but two more awful, one of whom sat at the extreme end.

* * * * * * * *

[Here there is a confused mass of symbols and ciphers which I confess I cannot decipher, and even if I had the ability to do so, I would check myself, because I surmise that it is his own way of jotting down for his own remembrance, what occurred in that room. Nor do I think that even a plain reading of it would give the sense to any one but the writer himself, for this reason, that it is quite evidently fragmentary. For instance, I find among the rest, a sort of notation of a division of states or planes: whether of consciousness, of animated, or of elemental life, I cannot tell; and in each division are hieroglyphs that might stand for animals, or denizens of the astral world, or for anything else even for ideas only, so I will proceed at the place of his returning.]

"Once more I got out into the passage, but never to my knowledge went up those steps, and in a moment more was I again at my door. It was as I left it, and on the table I found the palm leaves as I dropped them, except that beside them was a note in Kunala's hand, which read:

"'Nilakant strive not yet to think too deeply on those things you have just seen. Let the lessons sink deep into your heart, and they will have their own fruition. To-morrow I will see you.' * * * *

"What a very great blessing is mine to have had Kunala's company for so many days even as we went to ____. Very rarely however he said a few words of encouragement and good advice as to how I should go on. He seems to leave me as to that to pick my own way. This is right, I think, because otherwise one would never get any individual strength or power of discrimination. Happy were those moments, when alone at midnight, we then had conversation. How true I then found the words of the Agroushada Parakshai to be:

"'Listen while the Sudra sleeps like the dug under his hut, while the Vaysa dreams of the treasures that he is hoarding up, while the Rajah sleeps among his women. This is the moment when just men, who are not under the dominion of their flesh, commence the study of the sciences.' (2)

"The midnight hour must have powers of a peculiar nature. And I learned yesterday from glancing into an Englishman's book, that even those semi barbarians speak of that time as 'the witching hour,' and it is told me that among them 'witching' means to have magic power. * * * *

"We stopped at the Rest House in B yesterday evening, but found it occupied and so we remained in the porch for the night. But once more I was to be blessed by another visit with Kunala to some; of his friends whom I revere and who will I hope bless me too.

"When every one had quieted down he told me to go with him to the sea which was not far away. We walked for about three quarters of an hour by the seashore, and then entered as if into the sea. At first a slight fear came into me, but I saw that a path seemed to be there, although water was all around us. He in front and I following, we went for about seven minutes, when we came to a small island; on it was a building and on top of that a triangular light. From the sea shore, the island would seem like an isolated spot covered all over by green bushes. There is only one entrance to go inside. And no one can find it out unless the occupant wishes the seeker to find the way. On the island we had to go round about for some space before we came in front of the actual building. There is a little garden in front and there was sitting another friend of Kunala with the same expression of the eyes as he has I also recognized him as one of those who was in the room underground. Kunala seated himself and I stood before them. We stayed an hour and saw a portion of the place. How very pleasant it is! And inside he has a small room where he leaves his body when he himself moves about in other places. What a charming spot, and what a delightful smell of roses and various sorts of flowers! How I should wish to visit that place often. But I cannot indulge in such idle dreams, nor in that sort of coveteouness. The master of the place put his blessing hand upon my head, and we went away back to the Rest House and to the morrow full of struggles and of encounters with men who do not see the light, nor hear the great voice of the future; who are hound up in sorrow because they are firmly attached to objects of sense. But all are my brothers and I must go on trying to do the master's work which is only in fact the work of the Real Self which is All and in All."

FOOTNOTES:

1. In reply to several inquiries as to the meaning of Chela, we answer that it here means an accepted disciple of an Adept. The word, in general, means, Disciple. (return to text)

2. See Agrouahada Parakshai. 2d book, 23d dialogue. [Ed.]. (return to text)


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