Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 12 - SEPTEMBER, 1880 (Section 2)
The Decadence of Protestant Christianity
Notes on the Beej Mantras.
Number Seven and our Society
A Treatice on the Yoga Philosophy
How They Fast in India
Official Report upon a Scorpion Poison Antidote
Dr. Tanner and the Vedic Doctrine about Fasts
Return to Section 1
In the article entitled "War in Olympus" (THEOSOPHIST for November l879), an allusion was made to a great row then waging in Russia, between the defenders and adversaries of the modern mediumistic phenomena. One of the most rabid assailants of the spiritists has long been M. Eugene Mark of a well-known contemporary Russian critic. No one was ever more banally sarcastic or combative against what he called the "modern superstition." The Russian press are now having a laugh at his expense. In an incautious moment, he suffered himself to be betrayed into an admission of some wonderful phenomena that had come under his personal knowledge some years ago. Treating, in the Golos, of the various superstitions of the Russian peasantry, he says that to them the "house-spook" (domovoi) or "house-keeper" (hozyaene) — as this familiar spirit is also called — "has as perfect an objective reality, as the living persons about him. In it the peasant puts his trust, and takes it into consideration in every domestic affair." . . . Then comes this confession: — "I well remember that in my early manhood there was a learned old man, Stepan Andreyevich, celebrated far and wide in all our neighbourhood, and even far beyond its boundaries. Before the magical achievements and occult powers of this son of the village deacon, before his weird knowledge and prophecies, our people literally prostrated themselves. He was not regarded as a practitioner of black art, but as a benevolent magician; he was simply credited with the performance of the most astounding miracles. He would see and describe to others events transpiring many miles off; he prophesied the day of his own death, and that of various well-known land-owners in our neighbourhood; at a single word from him, a whole pack of wild dogs, that were tearing after a carriage, fell dead in their tracks; at Orel, he evoked, at her prayer, the shade of a widow's deceased husband, and discovered where he had hidden some important family papers. As for all manner of illnesses, it was as though he drove them away with a wave of his hand. It was positively said that one lady had paid him 17,000 rubles for curing a case of lunacy; and it was alleged with late positiveness that he had been taken more than once to Moscow and other towns, to cure wealthy invalids. Hysterical diseases yielded to a single touch or even glance of his. In our own house, he relieved an obsessed woman, by simply causing her to drink twelve bottles of some infusion of herbs. The obsessed creature would feel beforehand the approach of Stepan Andreyevich; she would be thrown into terrible convulsions and scream loud enough to be heard in the village — 'he comes, he comes!. . .'"
As if the above were not wonderful enough, M. Markof cites an instance which has quite recently come under his own observation, and in which he places a faith quite refreshing to behold in so uncompromising an opponent of every thing smacking of "superstition.
"This is what he tells us: "In my cattle-yard, there is a superb young bull, purchased by me from a very wealthy breeder. This bull had no progeny, strange to say, and I, believing it to be the keeper's fault, rated him soundly for it. The intelligent moujik would only doff his cap, and, without replying, shake his head with an air of total disagreement with my opinion."
"Eh! Master, master!" he once exclaimed, with an expression of deep conviction. "Did you not purchase the brute from a wealthy peasant? How then can you ever expect that he should breed?"
The fact is that a popular superstition in Russia assures that no rich breeder, trading in fine cattle, will ever sell a beast unless it has been made previously barren by the magic means of the "word" (a spell, or mentram). And M. Markof, the great opponent of spiritualism evidently shares in this superstition, since he adds the following profound reflection: —
"There are sufficiently strong reasons to believe that exorcisms and spells are not merely limited to a 'word' but too evidently in many a case become 'a deed'."
THE DECADENCE OF PROTESTANT CHRISTIANITY.
Doubts have been expressed by Asiatic friends as to the truth of our assertion that Protestantism was fast approaching the crisis of its fate. Yet it needs only to visit any Protestant country to satisfy oneself of this fact. We find copied with approval into one of the most rabid organs of the Roman Church — the Catholic Mirror — an editorial article from the New York Times, a leading American newspaper peculiarly devoted to the interests of an Orthodox Protestant public, containing the following significant warning:
The Protestant clergy do not seem to be aware of the formidable warfare which is now waging against revealed religion. The defences, which were effective against the noisy artillery of Paine, are useless against the noiseless and ceaseless sapping and mining with which Rationalism attacks them. Orthodox Protestantism shuts its eyes to the fact that science and literature are in the hands of its enemies. It refuses to perceive that the ground, on which it stands, is slipping from under its feet; that Germany, which, at the call of Luther, accepted the infallible Book in place of the self-styled infallible Church, has now rejected the Book, and that the new reformation, which reforms Christianity out of existence, is spreading all over the Protestant world.
The result will, according to the Times, accrue to the profit of the Romish Church. It foresees, in fact, that the latter may become "far stronger than she has been at any time since the Reformation." Certainly the sudden outbreak of bigoted fervour over the pretended "miracles" in France find, and, more recently, Ireland, and the growing perversions of Anglican priests and laity show a decided drift in the direction indicated. Men in the mass do not think but feel, are emotional rather than rational, and go by flocks and swarms to that religion which most appeals to the emotions and imagination and least to the reason. That the whole area of Protestantism is now ready to embrace some new faith which seems more consoling than Protestantism and more reasonable than Romanism, is so palpable and undeniable that no well-informed, disintererested observer will gainsay the statement. This conviction induced the founders of our Society to organize for the quest after primitive truth. And it makes some of us believe that the auspicious hour has come for the Buddhists to begin preparing for a new propaganda of Buddhism.
A NEAT PAMPHLET, CONTAINING THE BYE-LAWS of the Lanka Thesophical Society, our Scientific Branch, at Columbo, Ceylon, has been received.
NOTES ON THE BEEJ MANTRAS.
By Raja Syama Sankar Roy Bahadoor, C.S.I.,
Vice-President of the Theosophical Society.
Does any one of your numerous readers know that the Beej Mantras (i.e., secret names for the gods of the Hindu Aryan pantheon,) have a very close relationship with the appellations the Mahomedans use for the Deity in their prayer? What a remarkable coincidence! Even the Mahomedan term "Allah," applied to the Supreme Being, is taken in the same sense by the Vedas of the Aryans. I would cite a sutra of the Atharva Veda,* compiled in the "Sabda-Kalpa-Druma."**
* A learned Pandit, to whom this interesting essay was submitted, has not been able to find this passage in the Atharva Veda. Will our contributor kindly refer us to the book and chapter from, which the quotation is made? There is undoubtedly ingenuity shown, however in tracing the resemblance between the passages in the Beej Mantras and the Arabic words in question. The attempt will interest philologists. — ED.
** Sahda Kalpa drama, compiled by Raja Sir Radhakanth Dev of Calcutta.
Did not the great prophet of Islam flourish long after Atharva Veda? Atharva preceded even Zoroaster and Sakya Singha Buddha; and it is certainly beyond all doubt that the Vedas antedate Koran Sheriff. Then it would not be wrong to say that the Mahomedans are not so foreign to us, as we and they imagined. They seem to be an offshot of ours, like the Zoroastrians and the Buddhists. Why then should they call us kaffirs or non-believers, and hate us? The following illustrations will, I hope, repay perusal.
The Mahomedans say, "Kareem" Allah (God that creates), spelled K-r-ee-m; and our word "kreem," a beej mantra, is used to signify Adya Mahakali (the eternal Being personified as a female). Adya means original, first of all. Again the word "Kaleem" used by them to mean kind-hearted, and applied to the Supreme Being is spelled K-l-ee-m. Ours is "Kleem," the beeja, for Vasudev Krishna (Almighty personified as a male). Their word "Raheem Allah," which means God, the reliever from distress, is spelled r-h-ee-m. Ours is "Rheem," beeja from Doorga (the Supreme Power personified as a female), meaning the power that removes all grief. These words, I believe, are used in the daily prayers by a large number of Hindus who follow the tantras and the purans, and are as well used universally by all Mahomedans alike, the only difference being that the former pray in Sanskrit and the latter in Arabic. The letters of the alphabet in the principal words, used in the prayers, (I mean those applied to God), are the same with a slight difference in their pronunciation. I believe a number of things will still be found on a careful examination of these matters. Besides a few minor points, idolatry is the only thing of importance, that is taken objection to. Well, what is idolatry after all? Is it not merely a figure of speech, a personification, intended only to help a ready conception, and a vivid realization of the thing to be meditated upon? All this alleged idolatry is nothing more than a simple and a natural result of deep and profound earnestness of the heart of a true lover of God, denominated a Yogi. When the object is gained, this false idea of personification is immediately vanquished and the real truth revealed, even as the flower, concealing by its petals the germ of fruit within withers and falls off, directly the real substance within is developed and grown even as the dolls which an infant girl personifies, pets, and talks to, but which are cast away as the sobered mind deals more with realities.
Idolatry is merely a kalpana or an imagination. Let me ask who was ever without it; to put a name is nothing more or less than a kalpana, so to say that God is like fire, air, light, &c., is a kalpana. For instance, who told us that God's name is God? This is simply a kalpana in itself. Then the difference is that the isolators create a moorti or booth, or a body-kalpana, and the so-called non-idolators make a word or name kalpana, none can do without it. Cannot this little difference be tolerated? Cannot the so-called idolators be freed from the unjust charge of blasphemy? Let our educated brethren (our Muhammadan brethren especially) think about it, and let them teach these broad and catholic principles to their public preachers, so that they may again preach these tolerant doctrines to masses, telling them that it is sinful to hate each other for distinctions without a difference. What wonder then, that within a short time the universal brotherhood may be established!! Thus a highly desirable object will be acquired. I beg to press this point chiefly on the attention of our Moslem brethren. I believe the great Mogul Emperor, Akbar Shah, understood this truth, and, therefore, respected equally the Moulvies and the Pandits.
It is said of the sacred books, that the last book is that revealed to Muhammad, the earliest of them known to Adam are now extinct. That the Vedas were really the earliest of the scriptures, is a fact admitted by the greatest thinkers of the time. Why should not, therefore, the Vedas be regarded as those lost books of Adam?
The great prophet of Islam condemned the people of Hindustan for their idolatrous mode of worship. It may be, that we were partially to blame, as we can conceive that in his time the Hindus were really in a degenerated condition, either with regard to their mode of worship, or in the principles thereof, and their true Yogis or learned men were not accessible to that great prophet. So his conclusion was unconsciously based on a misconception.
The Hindus never really came, nor should they have ever come, under the term of idolators. They are and were always true believers in monotheism, but they worshipped the Almighty through a mode of kalpana which is named idolatry, the rest of the men doing the same by some other mode of kalpana which, though, was not denominated idolatry.
Let the whole world join in one universal brotherhood, and in the same assemblage pray to the Lord according to the prayers of the Mohimna shloka: —
"O Lord! Men reach thee through various straight and circuitous ways according to their varying choices. But still Thou art in all cases the only goal of men, even as the sea is the goal of rivers (coming through different channels)."
WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM OUR BROTHER, Mr. Peter Davidson of Scotland, a MSS. of great interest, which will be published by us in three or four monthly instalments. It is an account by the late Dr. Price, of Guildford, of his successful experiments on the artificial manufacture of the purest quality of gold.
One of the most devoted among our English Theosophists and, at the same time, one of the best of men and of friends, writes that he is devoting great attention to the study of Astrology. "I am trying," he says, "to collect statistics in proof of Ptolemy's rules which shall be absolutely incontrovertible. . . . We are striving for nothing less than to show that a great deal of what is boasted as modern 'progress' is, in fact, retrogression. When the facts of Occult Science are once fairly recognized, there must be such a revolution in speculative and scientific opinion as will have incalculable consequences." In another letter he says: — "I wish you would get some Native astrologer to give me a judgment on my horoscope. I would pay anything reasonable. I want to see wherein their judgment and methods differ, if at all, from ours in the West. I was born in December 23, 1838, about 5 P. M. in 0 degrees 16 minutes West Longitude from Greenwich (London) and 51 degrees 17 minutes North Latitude; 16 degrees 38 minutes of Cancer rising in the latitude of birth."
We ask as a personal favour that some one of our friends in India or Ceylon, who are competent astrologers, would calculate this nativity, and send the result to us with a memorandum of his charges, if any. It is a great mistake to suppose that the educated men of Europe and America take no interest in this ancient science of the stars. Only the other day we received a similar enquiry from a German Baron, and the last American mail brought a request for information from a person who has been engaged in this study for many years. We have some learned Oriental astrologers in the number of our Fellows: let such do their plain duty in the promises.
STONE-THROWING BY "SPIRITS."
In the July number, we reprinted from the Daily Chronicle, an account of recent stone-throwings at Plumstead, England, by some mysterious agency. Among other cases, reported in the English papers, is one at Cookstown, near Belfast, Ireland, vouched for by the Daily Telegraph and the Belfast News Letter. The missiles, in this instance, fell under the very eyes of the police without their obtaining the least clue. The Spiritualist cites another similar incident as having happened at Peckham in broad daylight, despite every precaution of the police to entrap any trickster. The editor says that Mr. William Howitt once collected a whole bookful of instances. The thing is well known in India, and that our friends in Europe may have the data for making comparisons, we will be glad if our readers will report to us cases that can be authenticated by respectable witnesses.
A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST SUGGESTS ONE OF THE tersest and most satisfying definitions of the word miracle, that we have seen. "Would it not be worth while," he asks, "to explain that 'miraculous' only means our ignorance of causes, and that in denying miracles we only intend to deny phenomena incapable of any rational explanation whatever; not phenomena far transcending explanation according to commonly known and admitted laws and agencies of nature?" For lack of understanding, the broad distinction we draw between the Impossible and the Unfamiliar in physics, we have often been bitterly criticized by opponents. These have even charged us with inconsistency in denying the possibility of miracles, while at the same time affirming the reality of occult phenomena of an identical character. Our quarrel is with the assumption that whatever phenomenon is strange and unfamiliar, must, ipso facto, be ascribed to supernatural agency, hence be miraculous. The world is too old now to be driven or cajoled into the belief that anything whatever can happen or ever did happen outside natural law.
THE NUMBER SEVEN AND OUR SOCIETY.
The thoughtful reader must have pondered well over the mysterious import that the number Seven seems to have always had among the ancients, as succinctly epitomized in our June number, as well as the theory of cycles, discussed in the July issue. It was there stated that the German scientists are now giving attention to this manifestation of the numerical harmony and periodicity of the operations of Nature. A series of statistical observations, embracing some centuries of historical events, tend to show that the ancients must have been perfectly aware of this law when constructing their systems of philosophy. In fact, when statistical science shall have been fully perfected, as it seems likely to be, there will be constantly increasing proofs that the evolution of heroes, poets, military chieftains, philosophers, theologians, great merchants, and all other remarkable personages, is as capable of mathematical estimate upon the basis of the potentiality of numbers, as the return of a comet by the rules of astronomical calculations. The comparatively modern system of life insurance rests upon the calculated expectancy of life on the average at certain ages; and, while nothing is so uncertain as the probable longevity of any single individual in a community, nothing is more certain than that the probable life-chance of any one person, in the mass of population, can be known on the basis of the general average of human life. In fact, as M. de Cazeneuve, in the Journal du Magnetisme, justly observes, the law of numerical proportions is verified in every department of the physical sciences. We see it in chemistry as the law of definite proportions and multiple proportions; in physics, as the law of optics, acoustics, electricity, &c.; in mineralogy, in the wonderful phenomena of crystallization; in astronomy, in the celestial mechanics. Well may the writer, above-quoted, remark: "Physical and moral laws have so infinitely numerous points of contact, that, if we have not as yet reached the point where we can demonstrate their identity, it is none the less certain that there exists between them a very great analogy."
We have attempted to show how, by a sort of common instinct, a peculiar solemnity and mystical significance has been given the Number Seven among all people, at all times. It now remains for us to cite, from the experience of the Theosophical Society, some facts which indicate how its power has manifested itself with us. Continually our experiences have been associated with Seven or some combination or multiple of it. And it must be remembered that, in not a single instance, was there any intention that the number should play a part in our affairs; but, on the contrary, what happened was in many cases exactly the reverse of what we desired. It was only the other day that we began to take any note of the striking chain of circumstances, and some have only been recalled now at the moment of writing.
The two chief founders of our Society were the President, Colonel Olcott, and the Conductor of this Magazine. When they made each other's acquaintance (in 1874), the office number of the former was seven, the house number of the latter seventeen. The President's Inaugural Address before the Society was delivered, November 17, 1875; the Head-quarters were established in the 47th street, (the up-town streets in New York are all designated by numbers), and Colonel Olcott's office was removed to 7l Broadway. On the 17th December 1879, our delegates to India sailed for London the voyage, owing to storms and fogs, lasted seventeen days; on the 17th January, 1880, we left London for Liverpool to take the steamer for Bombay, got on board the next day, but lay all night in the Mersey, and on the 19th — the seventeenth day from our landing in England, we got to sea. On March 2 — seventeen days after reaching Bombay — we removed to the bungalows where we have ever since been living. On the 23rd March, thirty-five (7x3)days after landing, Colonel Olcott delivered his first public oration on Theosophy, at Framji Cowasji Institute, Bombay. July 7, the first Prospectus, announcing the intended foundation of the THEOSOPHIST was written; on the 27th September, the first "form" was made up at the printing-office, and on October 1 — our 227th in lndia — the magazine appeared.
But we anticipate events. In the beginning of April, last year, Colonel Olcott and the Conductor of this magazine went to the N. W. Provinces to meet Swami Dayanand, and were absent from the Head-quarters thirty-seven days, and visited seven different cities during the trip. In December of that year we again went northward, and on the 21st (7 x 3) of that month, a special meeting of the Society of Benares Pandits was held to greet Colonel Olcott and elect him an Honorary Member in token of the friendliness of the orthodox Hindu pandits for our Society — a most important event.
Coming down to the Ceylon trip, we find, on consulting the diary, that our party sailed from Bombay, May 7, the steamer starting her engines at 7:7 A. M. We reached Point de Galle on the 17th. At the first meeting in Ceylon of candidates for initiation, a group of seven persons presented themselves. At Panadure, seven were also initiated first, the evening proving so boisterous and stormy that the rest could not leave their houses. At Colombo, fourteen (7 x 2) were initiated the first night, while, at the preliminary meeting to organize the local branch temporarily, there were twenty-seven. At Kandy, seventeen comprised the first body of candidates. Returning to Colombo, we organized the "Lanka Theosophical Society," a scientific branch, on the 17th of the mouth, and on the evening, when the Panadure branch was formed, thirty-five names (7 x 5) were registered as fellows. Seven priests were initiated here during this second visit, and at Bentota, where we tarried to organize a branch, there were again seven priests admitted. Thirty-five (7 x 5) members organized the Matara branch; and here again the priests taken into fellowship numbered seven. So, too, at Galle, twenty-seven persons were present on the night of the organization — the rest being unavoidably absent; and at Welitara the number was twenty-one, or three times seven. Upon counting up the entire number of lay Buddhists included in our seven Ceylon branches, that are devoted to the interests of that faith, we find our mystical number seven occupying the place of units, and what adds to the singularity of the fact is that the same is the case with the sum-total of priests who joined our Parent Society.
Our septenary fatality followed us all throughout the return voyage to Bombay. Of the Delegation, two members, having urgent business, took an earlier steamer from Colombo, thus reducing our number to seven. Two more fully intended to come home from Galle by the vessel of the 7th July, but, as it turned out, she did not touch there and so, perforce, our band of seven came together on the 12th — the fifty-seventh day after our landing. The sea voyage from Ceylon to Bombay may be said to begin upon leaving Columbo, since the run from Galle to that port is in Ceylonese waters. From friends — five laymen and two priests — again seven — who came aboard at Columbo to bid us farewell, we learned that the July THEOSOPHIST had reached there, and being naturally anxious to see a copy, urgently requested that one should be sent us to look at, if possible, before 5 o'clock P. M., the hour at which it was thought we would leave port. This was promised us, and, after our friends left, we watched every craft that came from shore. Five o'clock came, then six and half-past six, but no messenger or magazine for us. At last, precisely, at seven, one little canoe was seen tossing in the heavy sea that was running; she approached, was alongside; on her bows, painted on a white ground was the Number Seven; a man climbed over the ship's rail, and in his hand was the paper we were waiting for! When the anchor was up and the pilot's bell rang for starting the engines, two of our party ran to look at the ship's clock: it stood at seven minutes past 7 P.M.
At Tuticorin, Mr. Padshah, one of our party, went ashore as his desire was to return by rail to Bombay, so as to see Southern India; the little boat in which he went ashore we noticed, after she had got clear from the crowd of craft alongside, bore the number forty-seven. Going down the coast on our outward voyage, our steamer touched at fourteen (7 x 2) ports; coming home, our vessel, owing to the monsoon weather and the heavy surf along the Malabar Coast, visited only seven. And, finally, as though to show us that our septenate destiny was not to be evaded, it was at exactly seven o'clock — as the log of the S.S. Chanda Shows -- when we sighted the pilot off Bombay harbour, at 7.27 the bell rang to slow down the engine; at 7.47 the pilot stopped on the "bridge" and took command of the ship, and, at 9.37, our anchor was dropped off the Apollo Bunder, and our voyage was thus ended on the 24th of July, the seventy-seventh day after the one on which we had sailed for Ceylon. To ascribe to mere coincidence this strange, if not altogether unprecedented, concatenation of events, in which the Number Seven was, as the astrologers might call it "in the ascendant," would be an absurdity. The most superficial examination of the doctrine of chance will suffice to show that. And, if, indeed, we must admit that some mysterious law of numerical potentialities is asserting itself in shaping the fortunes of the Theosophical Society, whither shall we turn for an explanation but to those ancient Asiatic philosophies which were built upon the bed-rock of Occult Science?
A TREATISE ON THE YOGA PHILOSOPHY.
By N. C. Paul, G.B.M.C., Sub-Assistant Surgeon.
When, in America and Europe, we affirmed upon the authority of the testimony of eye-witnesses the quasi-miraculous physical endurance of certain ascetics in India, our statements were invariably received by the general public with incredulity; and sometimes by physicians, and men of science, with contemptuous sneers. Some of the most humouristic articles, ever printed in the New York newspapers, were written at our expense upon this text. When we mentioned that we had personally known, not only professional fakirs and sannyasis, but private Jains, who, under the inspiration of fanaticism, would abstain from breathing for over twenty-two minutes, till they brought on a dead trance, while others would fast for over forty days and yet survive, our evidence was regarded as little better than that of a hopeless lunatic. Naturally, therefore, such an experience made us very guarded, and at last we came to speak with great diffidence upon the subject at all, except with good and trusted friends. Knowing what gigantic strides biological science was making, we thought it could not be long before some scientific experiment would turn up, which would prove the possibility of such phenomena and wrest from sceptical science the confession of its previous ignorance. It now seems that we were not to be disappointed.
A Reuter's telegram from New York, dated August 7, apprised the world of the following stupendous event: —
"Dr. Tanner, who announced his disbelief regarding medical theories about starvation, declaring he could live for forty days without food, and who began here his self-imposed task on the 28th June, completed it to-day, but is emaciated and exhausted."
At once the idea occurred to us that the time had at last arrived to make the world acquainted with certain facts which, before Dr. Tanner's courageous experiment, would have been most assuredly classed by the ignorant as fictions along with other facts that have heretofore appeared in our journal, but, although supported by trustworthy evidence, been ranked by the sceptics as incredible. These facts are discussed in a small pamphlet, published at Benares thirty years ago by an Anglo-Indian doctor, which, on account of its subject being so distasteful to the incredulous, failed to attract the attention of men of science at that time. It is through the obliging kindness of the venerable Pandit Lakshmi Narain Vyasa, of Allahabad, that we are enabled to reproduce for the instruction and gratification of our readers, from the copy in his possession, this, Dr. Paul's excellent monograph on the Yoga Philosophy. Though written so long ago, and, of course containing none of the more recent speculations of science, yet this work has a distinct value as an honest attempt to explain, from the standing-point of a medical man, the reason for this, that, or the other of the Yogi's stages of discipline; which, as we have shown, have been repudiated as "scientifically" impossible. But, as we cannot say that in every case the author has succeeded in making himself or his facts clearly understood, we venture to accompany the text with commentaries. And this with the double object in view of silencing at once the malicious accusation that our Society is no better than a school of "magic," the word being used to signify ridiculous superstition and belief in supernaturalism and of preventing our readers from receiving wrong impressions in general.
We are glad to say that the eighteen months passed by us in this country, and the twelve-month existence of our journal, have not been fruitless in experience. For, during this period, we have learned at least one most important feature pertaining to the actual state of Hindu society. We find that the latter comprises two distinct parties, one, that of the free-thinkers, all-denying, sceptical, and wholly materialistic, whither of the Bradlaugh party, or the "modern school of thought;" the other, orthodox, bigoted, full of the unreasoning superstitions of the Brahminical schools, and believing in anything if it only tallies with one or the other of the Puranas. Both the nec plus ultra of exaggeration and, as the saying goes, "each more Catholic than the Pope," whether the latter is represented by Bradlaugh or the Caste Almighty, the most inflexible of gods. The few honourable exceptions go but enforcing the general rule.
The Theosophical Society — whatever any inimical paper may say — knew why it was wanted in India, and came just in time to place itself between the above-named parties. Our journal, its organ, has from the beginning pursued the distinct policy of lending a friendly ear to both these parties, and bidding its time to have its full say. By doing so it has puzzled many, given offence to a few — through no malice or fault of ours, though — but afforded instruction, we hope, to such as have had the wit to understand its policy. And now that the end of the year is reached, we mean to commence our intended series of explanations by reprinting Dr. Paul's treatise, from month to month, with a commentary upon the text as before stated. At the same time the criticisms of all persons, learned in the Yoga, upon either Dr. Paul's views or our own, are invited. — Ed. Theos.
Comment. — This Treatise mainly relates to the practices, of the Hatha, not the Raja, Yoga, — though the author has devoted to each a distinct chapter. We will notice the great difference between the two, later on. — Ed. Theos.
The present Treatise contains the theory and practice of the Yoga, one of the six systems of doctrine held by the Hindus.
The Yoga treats of various processes, by which the Hindu Ecstatici acquire the power of abstaining from eating and breathing for a long time, and of becoming insensible to all external impressions.
The Hindu mystics (yogis), who practise yoga, retire into subterranean retreats (gupha), they abstain from common salt, and are extremely fond of milk, on which they chiefly live: they are nocturnal in their habits, keeping retired in the day; they are slow in their motions, and torpid in their manners; they eat and walk during the night. They practise two postures, termed Padmasana, and Siddhasana, with a view to respire with the least possible frequency. They also dread the rapid changes and inclemencies of the weather.
When the yogis are able to practise the above quiescent postures for the period of two hours, they commence to practise Pranayama, a stage of self-trance which is characterised by profuse perspiration, tremblings of the system, and a sense of lightness of the animal economy. They next practise Pratyahara, a stage of self-trance in which they have the functions of the senses suspended. They then practise Dharana, a stage of self-trance in which sensibility and voluntary motion are suspended, and the body is capable of retaining any given posture, the mind being said to be quiescent in this stage of self-trance.
The Yogis, after attaining the stage of Dharana (cataleptic condition), aspire to what is termed Dhyana, a stage of self-trance in which they pretend to be surrounded by flashes of eternal light or electricity, termed Ananta-jyoti, (from two Sanskrit words signifying endless or all-pervading light), which they say is the universal soul. The Yogis in a state of Dhyana are said to be clairvoyant. The Dhyana of the Yogis is the Turya avastha of the Vedantists — the ecstacy of the Physicians, the self-contemplation of the German mesmerisers, and the clairvoyance of the French philosophers.
Samadhi is the last stage of self-trance. In this state, the yogis, like the bat, the hedgehog, the marmot, the hamster, and the darmouse, acquire the power of supporting the abstraction of atmospheric air, and the privation of food and drink. Of Samadhi or human hybernation there have been three cases within the last twenty-five years. The first case occurred in Calcutta, the second in Jesselmere and the third in the Punjab. I was an eye-witness of the first case.
Of Samadhi there are two varieties, termed Samprajna and Asamnprajna. Colonel Townsend, who could stop the motion of his heart and arteries at pleasure, and could die or expire when he pleased, and again revive, was a case of Samprajna samahdi.
The Jesselmere, the Punjabi, and the Calcutta yogis, who assumed a death-like condition by swallowing the tongue, and who could not revive of themselves at pleasure, were cases of Asamprajna samadhi, as they were all resuscitated by others who drew the buried tongue out of the fauces and restored it to its normal place.
On account of the real obscurity of the nature of the Yoga philosophy, and of my utter ignorance of the Sanskrit language, in which all the standard works on Indian mysticism are written, I must crave some indulgence if I have failed to do full justice to the subject of self-trance as practised by the cold-blooded and hybernating philosophers of the East.
A TREATISE ON THE YOGA PHILOSOPHY.
Before entering on the consideration of the elements of human hybernation or Yoga, it may not be altogether uninteresting to give a full account of the nature of the expired air, which the Sanskrit authorities term Prana.
The expired air contains more caloric and more watery vapour, is more elastic, and is of less specific gravity than the inspired air. The average temperature of the expired air is 99.5 F.
The average quantity of watery vapour expired in 24 hours by an adult, in temperate climates, is 7,819,222 grains. The bulk of carbonic acid, in the 100 parts of the expired air, varies, according to different authorities, as shown by the table following: —
Authorities. Average percentage of carbonic acid by volume.
Prout 3' 45".
Coathupe 4' 02".
Thompson 4' 6".
Vierordt 4' 3.34".
Brunner and Valentine 4' 380".
The quantity of carbonic acid, evolved during the day, is greater than what is excreted during the night.
For every 12 volumes of carbonic acid evolved during the day, 10 are exhaled during the night. The quantity of carbonic acid evolved in respiration is considerably increased after a full meal. Hence, moderation in diet, termed Mitahara, is recommended to persons who practise the suspension of the breath. Sequin found that when he was in a state of repose, and fasting, he vitiated only 1,210 cubic inches of oxygen, while, during digestion, this bulk was increased to between 1,800 and 1,900 cubic inches.
With a view to expire less carbonic acid, many fakirs fast during the day and take one moderate meal during the night. These are called Naktabhoji.
Exercise increases the amount of carbonic acid in the expired air in a given time. Aware of this fact, the ancient Hindu philosophers prescribed slow movements to such as wanted to exhale less carbonic acid.
Yogis are recommended to move slowly in order to render their respiration less frequent.
Human beings deteriorate a greater quantity of air in a cold than in a warm medium; that is to say, they exhale more carbonic acid in a cold atmosphere than in a hot one. Hence the Yogis are recommended to dwell, like the borrowing animals, in subterranean retreats which are remarkable for possessing a uniform temperature. The nearer the temperature of the external air is to the animal heat, the less is the quantity of carbonic acid in the expired air. Hence the appetite for food at the equator is less keen than in the polar regions. The appetite for food is in proportion to the quantity of carbonic acid exhaled during a given time. In a confined atmosphere less carbonic acid is evolved than in the free ventilated air. Hence a Yogi delights to live in a gupha (subterranean cell) having a small door which is blocked up with clay by his assistant.
The amount of carbonic acid exhaled in a given time is greater in loud speaking than in a state of silence. Hence a Yogi is recommended to practise Maunavrata, — taciturnity, or the vow of silence.
Mental labour diminishes the quantity of carbonic acid in the expired air. Hence the Yogis are recommeded to avoid physical exertions, and to engage in meditation.
When the mind is abstracted from its functions, the amount of carbonic acid is lessened. Hence the Yogis are recommended to fix their sight on the tip of the nose or upon the space between the eye-brows. These peculiar turns of the axes of vision suspend the respiratory movements and generally produce hypnotism. This process is termed Trataka in Sanskrit.
The quantity of carbonic acid exhaled in a given time is less in a state of rest than in one of exercise. Hence the Yogis are recommended to sit in two tranquil and quiescent postures termed the Siddhasana and Kamalasana, of which a circumstantial account will be given while treating of human hybernation.
The longer the state of rest is continued, the less is the quantity of carbonic acid evolved from the gradual decrease of the number of respirations. This is better illustrated by the following paragraph quoted from a standard work on Natural History.
"In a specimen of Bombus terrestris, at which remained rest for about half an hour, the respirations had become deep and laboured, and were continued regularly at about fifty-eight per minute. At the expiration of one hundred and forty minutes, during which time the insect remained in a state of repose, the respirations were only forty-six per minute. At the expiration of a hundred and eighty minutes, the respirations were no longer perceptible."
As the respirations are fewer in a given time, in persons of sedentary habits, the desire for food is proportionally less keen. Owing to this circumstance, individuals, leading a sedentary life, are subject to an infinite variety of diseases. A studious man digests badly because he exhales a very small quantity of carbonic acid, owing to the diminished number of respirations dependent on intense mental application and on a state of repose.
Milk diet is well suited to sedentary habits, and generally supersedes the employment of purgatives, emetics and cordials, which are in such general vogue in the treatment of diseases arising from sedentary habits.
Human beings exhale more carbonic acid in a dry atmosphere than in a moist one.
The exhalation of carbonic acid is greater at the level of the sea than on mountains.
On being exposed to the open air in a carriage, or on the deck of a ship, human beings exhale more carbonic acid than usual, from the more active radiation and evaporation from the animal economy.
When we are surrounded by non-conductors, we exhale less carbonic acid, if the atmosphere be cold, than when surrounded by conductors. Hence dealers in metallic utensils consume more food during the winter. A true Yogi is directed not to touch metals of any description. It may be observed that hybernating animals are covered with non-conductors during their long hybernal sleep. Hence the more warmly we are clad, the less is the quantity of carbonic acid evolved, and the less, consequently, is the demand for food.
Those, who are accustomed to drink large quantities of cold water, exhale more carbonic acid than those who drink a small quantity of the liquid. A Yogi is recommended to take a small quantity of water to quench his thirst. I have known a native to abstain altogether from water, and to maintain sound health at the same time.
The use of alcoholic liquor causes a considerable diminution in the amount of carbonic acid given out. The Aghoras, a sect of Hindu fakirs, consume a large quantity of alcoholic liquor in the course of the 24 hours.
Comment. — The Aghoras, or Aghora Pantha, can hardly be fairly compared with or even be said to follow any Yoga system at all, not even the Hatha Yoga. They are notorious for their filthy habits; eat carrion of various kinds, and, in days of old, were even accused of devouring human flesh! These persons certainly made spirituous liquors their habitual drink, and, unlike real Yogis, extorted alms and used their system as a mere pretence for making money. Reduced to a few miserable and disgusting wretches, they were finally suppressed, and have now disappeared. — Ed. Th.
Persons, who are heavy, exhale more carbonic acid than those who are comparatively light. Hence the Yogis extenuate their systems, restrain their passions, and subdue their vicious natures, by a parsimonious use of food. Abstinence favors longevity, by diminishing the waste of matter. With frugal fare, St. Anthony lived 105 years; James the Hermit, 104; Arsenius, tutor of the Emperor Arcadins, 120; Simon the Stylite, 112; and Romauld, 120. These persons took but very little food. Cassian assures us that the common rate, for 24 hours, was 12 ounces of bread and a sufficiency of pure water.
On analysis, 12 ounces of bread will be found to consist of —
Water, — 2,304 Grains.
Carbon, — 1.5.34. 8 ditto.
Oxygen, — 1,524. do.
Hydrogen, — 205.2 do.
Nitrogen, — 72 do.
Salts, — 120 do.
From the above analysis of the food of the fore-mentioned long-lived individuals, it appears that they consumed a little more than 1500 grains of carbon in 24 hours, and that they respired less than six times per minute, as shown by the table following:
Abstinence diminishes the number of respirations; it diminishes the waste of body; it promotes longevity.
According to the Hindu Rishis, whatever prolonges the interval (Kumbhaka) promotes longevity. The term Kumbhaka means the interval between an inspiration
(puraka) and an expiration rechaka). The terms, Puraka, Kumbhaka, and Rechaka, are frequently met with in almost all the sacred writings of the Hindus. The object of the puruka (the inspired air) is called Apana, and that of rechaka (the expired air) is called Prana. The cessation of an expiration constitutes death, and the retention of the same, life. The suppression of expiration constitutes Pranayama, a practice by which the Hindu pretends to acquire ashtasidhi (eight consummations), and to overcome death. It is the daily practice, of the Brahman, medicants who aspire to human hybernation or Yoga.
Comment: — A hybernation belongs to the Yoga system and may be termed one of its many results, but it cannot be called "Yoga." — Ed. Th.
The stoppage of the respiratory movements (Pranayama), or rather the prolongation of the interval (Kumbhaka) has a remarkable effect upon the quantity of carbonic acid in the expired air. Vierordt has made four series of experiments, in order to ascertain the extent of this influence upon the quantity of carbonic acid evolved from the lungs. In the first series, he shut his mouth, and held his nose from 20 to 60 seconds, the longest period he could continue the experiment, and then made the deepest possible inspiration. In the second series, he made the deepest inspiration possible, and then suspended the respiratory movements for a longer or shorter time, at the termination of which he made the deepest expiration. This experiment he was able to prolong to 70, 90, and even 100 seconds.
In the third series, he made an ordinary inspiration before suspending the respiratory movements, and, after this suspension had continued for different periods up to 30 seconds, he made an ordinary expiration. The fourth series of experiments, which he performed, was to ascertain the period of time, after this stoppage of the respiratory movements, when the percentage of carbonic acid becomes uniform in the different parts of the lungs and air; and this, he found, took place after 40 seconds.
He has arranged the results of the first three series of experiments, in several tables, exhibiting the difference between the percentage and absolute quantity of carbonic acid gas in the expired air, at different periods after the suspension of the repiratory movements, under the circumstances mentioned, and when the respiratory movements proceed in the normal manner. In the first series of experiments, the percentage of carbonic acid in the expired air, after the respiratory movements had been suspended 20 seconds, was higher by 1.73 than when these movements were normal. But the absolute quantity of carbonic acid evolved from the lungs had diminished by 2.642 cubic inches, and at the end of 55 seconds its percentage had increased 2.32; but its absolute quantity had diminished to the extent of 12.382 cubic inches per minute. When the respirations are 3 in number per minute, the percentage of carbonic acid may be reckoned 5.83, and the absolute quantity of the gas in the expired air, 5.33,445 cubic inches in a minute.
When there is but one respiration per minute, the percentage of carbonic acid in the expired air may be reckoned at 6.42, and the absolute quantity of carbonic acid, 1.9581 cubic inches per minute.
In the second series of experiments, where the deepest possible inspiration preceded, and the deepest possible expiration followed, the suspension of the respiratory movements, the above quantity of carbonic acid, evolved from the lungs for the first 15 seconds, was somewhat more than what there would have been, had these movements preceded. But after this it began to diminish; and when the respiratory movements had been suspended for 95 seconds, it was diminished to the extent of 14.078 cubic inches.
At the end of 100 seconds, the percentage of the carbonic acid was 3.08 above the normal quantity in ordinary respiration. In the third series of experiments, the carbonic acid, in the expired air, at the end of 30 seconds, was 1.555 per cent. above the normal quantity. When the respirations were 2 in number per minute, the percentage of carbonic acid, in the expired air, was 5.65.
The normal number of respirations per minute is 12: the average bulk of each expiration is 30.5 English cubic inches; and the normal percentage of carbonic acid is 4.1, by volume.
From the above experiments it is evident that the absolute quantity of carbonic acid, evolved from the lungs in a given time, is less inretarded than in normal expiration, and that the percentage of carbonic acid is greater in retarded than in normal expiration.
The exhalation of carbonic acid from the lungs is materially diminished by the inaudible and frequent repetition of certain words, such as Om, Bom, &c., &c. The inaudible pronunciation of Om, the sacred unilateral monosyllable, diminishes the absolute quantity of carbonic acid in the expired air of a given time. This constitutes the Japa of Pranava (or Om). Next to abstinence, Japa ranks in importance. A Dandi, who repeats Om twelve thousand times every day, in an inaudible voice, generally lives upon a small quantity of food.
Comment: — Thus we find, in this first portion of the Treatise, a full vindication of the habits of the Hindu asectics — nay those even of the Christian saints of every period, from the first century down to our own days, as we will prove. And hence the laugh of the ignorant, the sceptic and the materialist, at what seems to them the most absurd of practices, is turned against the jokers. For we now see that — if an ascetic prefers a subterranean cave to the open fresh air, takes (apparently) the vow of silence and meditaton, refuses to touch money or anything metallic, and, lastly, passes his days in what appears the most ludicrous occupation of all, that of concentrating his whole thoughts on the tip of his nose, — he does this, neither for the sake of playing an aimless comedy nor yet out of mere unreasoned superstition, but as a physical discipline, based on strictly scientific principles. Most of the thousands of fakirs, grosseins, bayraguis and others of the mendicant order, who throng the villages and religious fairs of India in our present age, may be and undoubtedly are worthless and idle vagabonds, modern clowns, imitating the great students of the philosophic ages of the past. And, there is but little doubt that, though they ape the postures and servilely copy the traditional customs of their nobler brethren, they understand no more why they do it than the sceptic who laughs at them. But, if we look closer at the origin of their school and study Patanjali's Yoga Vidya — we will be better able to understand and hence appreciate their seemingly ridiculous practices. If the ancients were not as well versed in the details of physiology as are our physicians of the Carpenterian modern school, — a direction still subjudice — they may perhaps be proved, on the other hand, to have fathomed this science in another direction by other methods far deeper than the former; in short, to have made themselves better acquainted with its occult and exceptional laws than we are. That the ancients of all countries were intimately acquainted with what is termed in our days "hypnotism" or self-mesmerisation, the production, in a word, of voluntary trance — cannot be denied. One of many proofs is found in the fact that the same method, described here, is known as a tradition and practised by the Christian monks at Mount Athos even to this very day. These, to induce "divine visions," concentrate their thoughts and fix their eyes on the navel for hours together. A number of Russian travellers testify to such an ocuupation in the Greek convents, and writers of other nationalities, who have visited this celebrated hermitage, will bear out our assertion. . . . . . . . . . .
Having made clear this first point and vindicated the Hindu Yogis in the name and upon the authority of modern science, we will now leave the further consideration on the subject to our next number. — Ed. Th.
(To be continued.)
HOW THEY FAST IN INDIA.
By a Marathi Medical Man.
The Shravaks, a sect of the Jains of India, are in the habit of fasting annually during the holy week of Pachosan. The fast of the week is observed by different persons in several different ways, according to the power one may possess of enduring it. The less pious live on one meal a day for the week. Others fast and eat alternately. The more pious abstain from food for one, three, five, or eight days successively. A very few, under a religious vow made before a priest, give out as their determination to carry on the fast for thirty days, provided the state of their health should permit the starvation without material injury to life. They proceed by instalments, so as to terminate the fast at regulated periods of five, eight, ten, fifteen, or twenty days, according to circumstances. Those, who determine on a month, commence the fast on such a date that the thirty-first day may fall on the 5th of Bhadrapada, a day sacred to the Rishis or ancient sages of India. On this day, the fast is broken and gruel of boiled Moong (Phaseobus Mungo) is chosen for the breakfast. This is followed by a soft pudding of wheaten flour, and a small quantity of boiled rice, until the usual diet is resumed in the course of fifteen or twenty days.
During the fast, boiled water, cooled down, is taken ad libitum, to which in certain cases some infusion of chireta is added when nausea and vomiting occur. Daily ablutions are performed, and a visit to the temple made regularly as long as the strength permits. A female devotee, aged forty-five years, under a fast for thirty days, is said to have performed her daily ablutions, carrying a pitcher of water on her head, to the temple in the vicinity of her house, without much effort on her part. She died five months after the observance of the fast, of an attack of fever. As a rule, deaths do not occur during the fast; but a Shravak, aged fifty-three, has within his recollection two instances, both of females, who died after the fast of thirty days, within fifteen or twenty day respectively, undoubtedly from the effects of starvation.
A case of abstinence, extending over fifty-eight days, is on record; and, in view of what may be seen among the Jain Shravaks, Dr. Tanner, of Minnesota, in achieving his forty-days' starvation, only proved that in the matter of human endurance, which has been known among Asiatics from time immemorial — though the blind and groping doctors of Europe and America appear to have overlooked the fact.
Had he determined to carry on the experiment until life ceased, the scientific interest would be certainly great, inasmuch as it would determine the fact, at least in a single instance, of the possible duration of life without food and water in a human body subjected to self-willed starvation. And it is to be borne in mind, that self-imposed starvation with some object in view, scientific or religious, must differ in its effects from involuntary starvation caused by either disease, ship-wreck or other circumstances. In the one case, complete rest of mind is secured, preventing undue waste of tissues, whereas in the other, the troubled mind and efforts to obtain food, causing rapid waste of tissues, would. materially hasten the fatal termination.
OFFICIAL REPORT UPON A SCORPION POISON ANTIDOTE,
Made to the Baroda Government by the Chief Medical Officer of the State.
In the month of February 1879, a certain root, reputed to be an antidote for scorpion sting, was given to me by Rao Bahadur Janardan Sakharam Gadgil and also officially sent for trial by His Excellency the Dewan Sahib with his memo., dated the 21st February 1879, and endorsement No. 287 dated the, 28th of the same month. This root has received a very fair and extended trial up to this date, and, as it has shown very satisfactory results, it seems desirable to publish the same.
2. There are a thousand and one antidotes for the cure of scorpion stings, but some of them are not readily procurable, and others, which can be procured or are at hand, do not generally produce the wonderful effects which are generally attributed to them. This root has many advantages over such reputed antidotes inasmuch as, (1) it is easily procurable, (2) the manner of using it is very simple, (3) it can be preserved for a long time, and (4) the results, accruing therefrom, are generally of a very satisfactory nature.
3. The root in question was several times tried by Rao Bahadur Janardan Gadgil before it was brought forward as an antidote, and thus used publicly. Mr. Gadgil Sakharam was kind enough to lend me some pieces and I had several opportunities of testing its efficacy, and I must, in justice to the man who first gave it to Mr. Gadgil, confess that I had very seldom any reason to be dissatisfied with its results.
4. Being thus impressed with its real efficacy, Rao Bahadur Janardan Sakharam Gadgil and myself thought of giving it a more extended trial, and, in view thereof, pieces of the root were sent to all the hospitals and dispensaries in His Highness's territories, with instructions for its use in cases of scorpion stings. Regular registers were kept at all these institutions and monthly returns were received from all. Many cases have been reported by the different medical officers and subordinates. A statement of these cases is attached hereto.
5. From the statement it will be seen that in all 804 cases were treated with this root at the several institutions. The kinds of scorpion are also mentioned in it and the cases have been tabulated accordingly. The chief varieties were (1) the black, (2) the white, (3) the other kinds, and (4) those that were not known.
6. The following table shows the number of cases, treated, cured, and not cured and the approximate time required for the cures.
TABLE NO. I.
This table shows a very large percentage of cases cured. Of the 804 cases treated, only 11 cases failed to get relief, while 793 cases have obtained relief from suffering. This shows a percentage of 98.6 of the total cases which were cured, against only 1.4 per cent. of cases that failed.
Percentages of cured.
Other kinds, 100.
Not cured 1.4
These results cannot but be considered very satisfactory. The cases mentioned above were reported up to the end of June. After this, some cases have occurred. They are tabulated below as an addendum to the first table.
The total of the two gives in all 852 cases.
7. There is one point which I believe should be mentioned in connection with these cases, and that is this. Although the root rapidly causes the pain in the limb or part stung to disappear, still in a few cases the pain is located to the sting for some time and it obstinately sticks to it for a few hours more. The application of the rubbed root even sometimes fails to remove this localized pain. But this was observed only in seventy-eight cases, (vide statement No. II) that is, in about nine per cent. of the cases treated. The failure may be owing to want of perseverance either on the part of the patient or the operator.
8. As the root produces such remarkable results, it is necessary that the name of the tree be made known. From a Botanical Examination of the plant which was shown to me as yielding the root, I believe it belongs to the natural order — Leguminosoe.
Botanical name, Sesbanioe Egyptioeca, Marathi name
9. There are two species of this, (1) bearing white flowers, and (2) bearing yellow flowers. (1) The white is of 2 kinds, (a) the root of the one has a red bark and the inner structure of it is white. It is also heavy, and the flowers are smaller. This is not so efficacious as the other variety. (b) The other has large flowers. The root is covered with yellowish white bark and the inner structure is yellow. The root is lighter than the first kind. This is most efficacious, both when fresh and dried. (2) The yellow species yields roots which are equally effective when fresh; when dried, they are not so efficacious.
10. As the roots were indiscriminately supplied by Mr. Natekar, who originally gave the root, it was not practicable to ascertain the relative value of each of them in the experiments above noted.
11. The tree is a large perennial one without thorns, with oblong linear obtuse and compound pinnate leaves. The leaflets are from ten to eighteen in pairs; flowers large (white or yellow) in oxillariz Eacumes; calyx five cleft, in appearance somewhat like the flowers of the acacia; legumes linear, slender, much contracted between the seeds.
12. The root of this tree is the part that is used as an antidote for scorpion stings. The other parts of the tree are also useful, especially the leaves, which are used as applications in rheumatism.
13. It may be desirable to mention that Mr. Natekar believes that the degree of efficacy depends also on the time when the root is cut off from the tree. He says that the root should be cut when the sun begins to decline, say after 3 P. M. He also considers that it s better to cut them on Sundays than on other week days. In all the Sanskrit works, it is advised to cut vegetables in this way. Perhaps, toward evening, the circulation of the sap throughout all parts of the tree is more equalized.
14. The root is cut out from the true or false roots into small pieces about three or four inches in length. It is washed clean and then used. The mode of using it, although very simple, may appear unscientific. Passes are made with the root from the extreme parts of the body up to which the pain may have extended to the part where the scorpion has inflicted the sting. The root should be moved slowly over the affected part with one end directed close to the skin of the part, but not touching it, say about one-fourth of an inch distant from the surface of the integument. Reverse passes should not be made. After a few minutes' passes, the pain becomes localized to the spot where the sting is inflicted; the root should be held over until the pain disappears.
15. If the pain at or near the sting does not disappear or lessen soon, the root may be rubbed with water on a hard substance and a small quantity of it applied over the sting. If this should cause the pain to spread through the limb or part stung, instead of causing it to disappear, it should be got rid of by means of the passes of the root described above.
16. In very severe cases, an hour is required to bring down the pain to the part stung, and hence perseverance is necessary, both on the part of the person stung and the person making the passes. Sometimes, when the root gets dried, it fails to produce the desired results. It should, therefore, be moistened before being used.
17. The modus operandi of this root cannot at this stage of inquiry be thoroughly explained. Physiology and Therapeutics maintain that the action of medicinal agents always takes place on the human economy through the blood whether they are used internally or applied locally, in whatever form the medicine may be used; but the mode of action of a drug, as described above, is not yet recognized, and hence it may appear to the profession to be against the known facts of science. But, whatever may be said of this, it is quite certain that it produces satisfactory results. One additional fact may be here noted. When the root is brought nearer the skin of the affected part, the pain is intensified and a sensation is felt as though some discharge is taking place through the part. This sensation is lessened as soon as the distance between the root and the skin is increased.
18. I have contented myself with the statement of facts as found by experiments. The rationale must be determined by the profession. Dr. Shamsoodin J. Suleman has been good enough to analyse the root and to communicate to me the result. The following substances have been found in it: —
Fluorine seems to be an unusual element in a vegetable drug. He has also performed some experiments with the root with a view to ascertain whether it possesses any electric or magnetic properties, and has come to the conclusion that it manifests neither.
19. I have had occasion to treat about a hundred cases myself with the root, and, in only two of the cases, I found it failed to cure.
20. Mr. Gadgil's opinion about its action is equally favourable. It is attached hereto.
21. There are some communications from different persons about its efficacy. Copies of these are attached to this paper.
22. Some people say that the relief from pain may be due to the effect of imagination, and that any other root or any other substance, used in a similar way, may produce the same results. This is met by the fact that roots of the same variety, but not of the same species, failed to effect any cure, and that other roots, used similarly, also failed.
23. With these facts and observations, I place the root before the profession and the public.
24. I hope that those, who will use this root, will favour me with any observations that may occur to them.
(Signed) BHALCHANDRA KRISHNA.
Baroda, 10th, August, 1880.
My experience of the root, which cures the scorpion sting, entirely accords with the results arrived at by Dr. Bhalchandra. Up to this time, more than four hundred cases have been cured at my house, and, almost every day, new patients come in. The average time of cure is half an hour from the commencement of the asses. I recollect no case of positive failure, the cure being only a question of time. Some obstinate cases taxed my patience or that of my men for about an hour and a half each, but there was always success at the end, and many a patient, that came actually crying, went away smiling. I had occasion to test the efficacy of the root in my own person, for I had a scorpion sting lately. The pain soon diminished under the passes and was localized in the wound; in about half an hour, I could resume my office work. One thing is worth noting — whereas the scorpion sting produced an intense burning sensation in the part stung, the passes by the root had the effect of producing a perceptibly cool sensation round about the sting as a preliminary to the extinction of the pain in the wounded part. It is for the Medical Profession to ascertain the modus operandi of the antidote.
I sent the antidote to the leading officers and others in this city, and have received replies from most of them about their experience in the matter, which replies I have sent to Dr. Bhalchandra. Only two of them say that they did not find the root efficacious, whereas all others testify to its greater or less efficacy. Even these two cases of failure are useful, for they dispel the idea that the curative virtue is not in the root but in the patient's imagination. A bad or a very old root fails to effect cure, but a good and fresh root is found to relieve pain in a remarkably short time.
(Sd.) JANARDAN SAKHARAM GADGIL.
DR. TANNER AND THE VEDIC DOCTRINE ABOUT FASTS.
By Rao Bahadur Janardan S. Gadgil, LL.B.,
Concillor of the Theosophical Society.
Now that Dr. Tanner's forty days' fast is exciting public attention in America and Europe, it may not be inopportune to notice the Vedic doctrine on the subject of the capability of the human body to bear fast, and the theory on which it is founded. In the Chhandogya Upanishat of the Samveda, sixth Prapathaka, there is a dialogue between Svetaketu and his father on the subject. The following is a free rendering of it, as explained by Shankarachaya in his Bhashya on the Upanishat.
The father says to the son — "The food, which a human being eats, becomes transformed after various processes into three substances, viz., the heaviest part of it becomes faeces, the middling part of it becomes flesh, and the nicest part of it becomes the mind. The water, which is drunk, becomes transformed into three substances, viz., the heaviest part of it becomes urine, the middling part of it becomes blood, and the nicest part of it becomes the prana, that is, the vital breath. The substances, in which the element of fire predominates, such as oil, ghee, &c., when taken into the human system, become transformed into three substances, viz., the heaviest part of it becomes the bones, the middling part of it becomes the brain, and the nicest part of it becomes the vach or the organ of speech. Therefore, Oh son, the mind consists of food, the prana, or vital breath, of water, and the vach, or organ of speech, of fire." The son says: — "Oh father, explain the same again by an illustration," to which the father thus replies: — "Just as, when the curd is churned, the nicest part rises up and becomes butter, so the nicest part of the food, which is eaten, rises up (is sublimated) and becomes the mind. The nicest part of the water, which is drunk, rises up and becomes the prana or vital breath. The nicest of those things, in which the element of fire predominates, rises up and becomes vach or the organ of speech, Therefore, Oh son, the mind consists of food, the prana of water, and the vach of fire." The son says: — "Explain, Oh father, the same subject still further." The father thereupon proceeds: — "This human being has sixteen capacities or degrees, which wax or wane according as the mind receives strength or is deprived of strength by the accession or the deprivation of the nicest part of eaten food. If you want to know this by actual experience, take no food for fifteen days. You may drink water as much as you like; as the prana or the vital breath consists of water, you will die if you do not drink water." The son accordingly ate no food for fifteen days, and, on the sixteenth day, he approached his father, and said: — "What shall I say now?" The father said — "Repeat the Rik, Yaju and Sam Vedas, which you have studied." The son said — "Oh father, I do not recollect them." The father then said to him: — "Just as a glow-worm-like ember, which remains out of a large fire that was kindled, is not able to burn much in that state, so only one, out of the sixteen degrees of your mind, is now remaining, and, therefore, you are not able to recollect the Vedas. Follow my advice and you will again know everything. You should now recommence to eat." The son did so, and then again approached his father. The father asked him to repeat and explain the Rigveda, &c., and he did repeat and explain everything that was asked. Whereupon the father said to him: — "Oh son, just as when the glow-worm-like ember, out of the large fire, when fed by (dry) grass, grows again into a large fire and is then able to burn a great deal; in the same manner, one, out of your sixteen degrees, was still existing, and, when it was fed by food and thus made to grow, you then could recollect the Vedas. Thus then, Oh son, the mind consists of food, the prana or the vital breath of water, and the vach or the organ of speech, of fire."
As Dr. Tanner has now finished his self-imposed ordeal, he will probably let the world know whether he found his memory or other mental faculties impaired or affected, and whether he found it necessary to drink water, &c.*
THE HONOURED BABU PEARY CHAND MITTRA, F. T. S., of Calcutta, has sent us a copy of his latest publication, a tract bearing the title of "Stray Thoughts on Spiritualism," in which, in his peculiarly succinct and nervous style, he has epitomized much useful information upon the spiritual part and life of man. Few foreigners have so perfect a command of idiomatic English, and few Indians have laboured so long and devotedly to fan the embers of patriotic feeling in the hearts of their countrymen. We take it as a high compliment that he should say, as he does in this pamphlet, that our magazine "should be read by every native of India, as the object of the Theosophical Society is to unfold the hidden treasures of Indian literature."
DAVID E. DUDLEY, ESQ., M. D., AN AMERICAN PHYSICIAN and Surgeon of ability and learning, and a Councillor of the Theosophical Society, who has recently taken up his residence at Bombay, and who contributed to our August number an interesting paper upon Solar Volcanoes, has begun a course of illustrated lectures upon the Human Eye, before the Bombay Branch of our Society. The introductory discourse was exceedingly interesting. Dr. Dudley is a graduate of the New York University and the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, two of the most famous among American schools of medicine and surgery. At the latter, he was a fellow student with the lamented Dr. Doolittle.
WE ARE INDEBTED TO THE KINDNESS OF BALVANTRAO Vinnayak Shastree, Esq., of Shastree Hall, Bombay, for the following interesting Extract from the Chronological (modern) Tables of the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana; Cabinet Edition of 1857, page 589.
"1814. * * * * * * * * An Arabian philosopher at Bassora transmutes, by means of a white powder, from melted pistol bullets, into a piece of gold, of the same weight, and valued at ninety piastres, in the presence of M. Colquhoun, Acting Resident."