Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 4 - JANUARY, 1880
Section 1 (pp. 83-95)
Section 2 (pp. 95-106)
The Ensouled Violin
Swami versus Missionary
Missions in India
The Edison Telephone
Necromancy . . .
The Devil is Dead
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BOMBAY, JANUARY 1ST, 1880.
The Editors disclaim responsibility for opinions expressed by contributors in their articles. Great latitude is allowed correspondents, and they alone are accountable for what they write.
Much confusion is created by the habit of sending postal money-orders in separate envelopes without giving in the preceding letter of advice the number, sum, and name of office from which the order has been taken. Several such cases have occurred since the issue of the December number, and the only course is for the Publisher to wait until notified by the subscribers of the non-receipt of their expected copies.
The reproduction of Mr. W. H. Harrison's illustrated article upon the recent London experiments upon the weight of a medium, adverted to in last mouth's issue, is postponed for the present; two members of the Committee in charge of the experiments having announced that the publication was ill-advised and calculated to mislead.
Most opportunely there comes a communication upon the missionary question, which will be found elsewhere. The writer, one of the most estimable ladies in India, is wife of Lt.-Col. William Gordon, F. T. S., Staff Corps, District Superintendent of Police, Mannbhoom, Bengal. A recent letter of hers to the Pioneer, upon the subject of Spiritualism, occasioned a very active discussion; and since she now expresses the opinion of all Anglo-Indians as regards missionary work in India, it is probable that the public will be favored with a much needed ventilation of a gross abuse of long standing. A false delicacy has hitherto prevented this matter from being gone into as its importance deserves. It is a pity to see so many sacrifices made by good people at the West merely to support a party of inefficients in the profitless because hopeless occupation of trying to persuade the people of India and other Asiatic countries to relinquish their ancestral faith for one which the missionaries are utterly unable to defend when questioned by even tolerably educated 'heathen.' The money is sorely needed at home to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and rescue the vicious from their state of lawlessness and degradation. It does no good here — except to the missionary.
Great consternation was caused at the Middlesex Sessions on Tuesday, by the announcement, before the commencement of the business of the day, of the sudden and unexpected death of Mr. Serjeant Cox, the presiding judge in the second court at these sessions.
Mr. Edward William Cox, Serjeant-at-law, was the eldest son of the late Mr. William C. Cox. He was born in the year 1809, so that he would be in his 71st year. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1843, and raised to the degree of a Serjeant-at-law in 1868.
Than Mr. Serjeant Cox no man was better known in all London. At the Middlesex Sessions he has been judge for nine years. As one of the few still remaining wearers of the coif, he was a marked man amongst lawyers. He owned more papers than any man in England, and most of them, like the Field, the Law Times, and the Queen, have an unassailable position.
He was a philosopher, and made psychology his special study, having written a portly work of two volumes called "What am I?" as an introduction to the study of philosophy. He was also an elocutionist, and not only read in public, but wrote a work which was intended to explain to other people how to read and how to speak. Over and above all this, he was an ardent Spiritualist, and fought the materialists hand to hand with the evidence he thought he had of a spiritual world.
The death was sudden. Late in the afternoon he had sentenced a convicted prisoner to undergo a term of imprisonment. After dinner he, though a man of 70, went out to help in a penny reading. He came home, entered his library, sat in his chair, and died of heart disease. His death leaves a vacancy at the Middlesex Sessions, a vacancy in the magisterial bench of magistrates, a void in the philosophical world, and inflicts a heavy blow on the votaries of Spiritualism. It leaves, too, so much the less good-fellowship and geniality in the world.
We little thought when reviewing in our last issue, "The Mechanism of Man," it would so soon become our melancholy duty to record the death of its talented author.
A recent German paper states that at Gaudenfrel, the well-known artist and glass-spinner, Prengel, of Vienna, has established his glass business, consisting of carpets, cuffs, collars, veils, &c., manufactured of glass: by means of very ingenious processes, he not only spins but also weaves glass with great facility, so that he is enabled to change the otherwise brittle glass into pliable thread, and with this material he makes good, warm clothing. This, it is asserted, is accomplished by introducing certain ingredients into the glass, thereby changing the entire nature of the material. White, curly glass muffs, and ladies' hats of softest glass feathers, are among the productions in this line already in use. An interesting feature mentioned of this glass material is that it is actually lighter than feathers, and it is also stated that wool made of this new material bears such an exact resemblance to the genuine article that it is almost impossible to distinguish the one from the other. The comparative cost of this new substance, when thus manufactured into wearing and other goods, is not stated.
An interesting archaeological discovery has just been made in the Government of Poltawa (Russia). The Kievlianine announces that the well known antiquarian, Mr. Kebaltchitch, has just excavated an enormous settlement of the primitive man, on the shores of the river Troubej, near the village Selishtoch, in the district of Pereyaslav. So far there have been found 2 stone implements, used to break bones with; 372 specimen pieces of stone arrows and knives; 2 clay, rudely fashioned "boulinas"; 26 pieces of fossil bones of men and animals; 8 pieces of charred wood; 17 pieces of broken pottery, ornamented with vertical lines and holes; 5 bronze arrow heads (or tips); 2 glass (?) "boulinas"; and an iron link from a chain-mail (sic.) "As far as we know," says a St. Petersburg paper, "this is the only spot in southern Russia which has given such rich scientific results in relation to the stone age of the men who inhabited that place."
Paris is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world for the study of that Protean malady, hysteria; two years ago the "Charite" could display a fasting girl who might have held her own against any of the female saints of the middle ages, and who thrived on the diet that proved fatal to her Welch sister. Now M. Dujardin-Beaumetz has discovered a "femme lithographique" — in whom the lightest contact gives rise to an urticarious eruption. Upon tracing his name upon her flesh, the letters immediately appear in red relief, and this is accompanied by a local rise of temperature of from 1 degree to 2 degrees.
There is complete anesthesia of the whole body. Those who have studied the occult sciences know that this last symptom used to be a mark of demonaical possession, and it will be remembered that the mother superior of the bewitched convent of Loudun could produce on her arms the raised names of the devils who infested her body. A few years ago the spiritualists of Toronto used to converse with their departed friends by the same means through the arms of a servant girl of that city; and a similar phenomenon is observed with 'mediums'. It will be well, therefore, to weigh thoroughly the claims of the supernatural before giving a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, and it would perhaps be better to look on the "femme lithographique" as an embryonic St. Catherine, rather than run the risk of being considered an atheist by explaining away stigmatisation by a theory of periodic urticaria.
History affords many proofs that even inanimate objects, such among others, as huge bronze and marble statues, may be differently polarized, and illustrate the condition of Laghima. It being an established maxim that it is easy to learn from an enemy, let us first call the Heathen-hating, Pope-adoring bigot Des Mousseaux of France, to the witness-stand. This contemporary champion of Roman Catholicism is a voluminous and sharp writer, but in his eagerness to prove the divinity of his own religion unwittingly gives the most numerous proofs of the superiority of the despised Heathen in psychological science. True, he ascribes every phenomenon to the Devil, but few readers of this journal will be frightened by this poor tattered 'bogey.' In his "Les Hauts Phenomenes de la Magic" he admits that "several thousand" of these animated statues are noticed by unexceptionable witnesses, and bids us stand aghast at these evidences of diabolical interference in the affairs of men. He quotes from Titus Livy the account of the statue of Juno at Veii — the Etruscan rival of Rome — which miraculously answered the taunting question of a Roman soldier at the sack of the city by Camillus. "Juno," said the soldier, "will it please you to quit the walls of Veii and settle yourself at Rome?" The statue inclined its head to signify assent, and then audibly replied, "Yes, I will;" whereupon, being lifted upon the shoulders of the conquerors, the huge image "seemed instantly to lose its weight, and rather follow them, as it were, than make itself carried." According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant., book I, ch. Xv.) the household gods (penates) carried away from the Troad to Lavinium and placed in a new temple rose from their pedestals and floated back to their old places, though the temple doors were fast shut; and this happened a second time. In M. Brasseur de Bourbourg's "Histoire de Mexique" (Vol. II, p. 588, and Vol. III, p. 664) is mentioned a curious building — no less than a prison for gods. Herein were confined by chains and under secure bolts and locks, the tutelar gods of the people conquered by the Mexicans, under the belief that as long as these images could be prevented from transporting themselves back to their own countries, their several ward-nations would be kept under subjection; which proves that under its local Mexican name Patanjali's Laghima science was generally known to those ancient people of India's antipodes.
Lucian (de Syria Dea) describes a scene of which he was eye-witness in a temple of Apollo. When the god wished to express his will his statue would move on its pedestal; if not immediately taken, upon their shoulders, by the priests, it would sweat, and "come forth into the middle of the room." When being carried, the statue would become preternaturally light in weight, and once Lucian, the sceptic and priest-scoffer saw it levitated. "I will relate," says he, "another thing also which he did in my presence. The priests were bearing him upon their shoulders — he left them below upon the ground, while he himself was borne aloft and alone into the air." In the mouth of such an unbeliever and shrewd observer as Lucian is known to have been, this testimony is of great importance.
We have thus purposely drawn upon other than Aryan or other cis-Himalayan sources for the proof we needed of the existence of a Laghima property in nature. Since our Indian youth are having so poor an opinion of their own literature, they may be willing to see the case proved without recourse to it. And doubtless, after running around the circle of foreign authority, and then stooping to consult some humble shastri about the contents of the Veda and later home writings, they may discover that their own ancestors were not such superstitions fools, after all, but did, in fact give the Western world its entire patrimony of philosophy and spiritual science. Following out the same policy, let us transfer to these pages from those of the Quarterly Journal of Science (February, 1875), a list of aethrobats whom the Roman Catholics have canonized into saints, and which the Editor (Mr. Crookes) takes from the Bolandists' Acta, giving volume and page in each instance. Before doing so, however, we will premise by saying, for the benefit of our Oriental readers, who this Mr. William Crookes is. This gentleman is one of the most eminent living chemists of England, and among the best known throughout the western world. His attention has for years been largely given to the application of chemical science to the development of the useful art, and in this direction has done a deal of important and valuable work. He discovered (in 1863) the new metal Thallium, and gave to modern science that delicate little instrument, the Radiometer, which measures the force in the heat rays of a beam of light. One of the cleverest of the Fellows of the Royal Society, and Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Science, he felt it his bounden duty, in the Summer of 1870, to investigate mediumistic phenomena and expose the fraud, if such it should prove to be. Before entering upon the inquiry, he laid down with minute particularity the tests that exact science would demand before accepting the phenomena as manifestations that a new force had declared itself. So sternly exacting did they seem, the whole scientific body applauded his intention, and prematurely rejoiced over the certain exposure of the 'humbug.' But the end was not to be as expected; the 'new force' beat Mr. Crookes completely, upset all his theories, confounded and shocked the Royal Society, immeasurably strengthened the spiritualist party, and gave such an impetus to this branch of scientific enquiry as to threaten a total reconstruction of Western ideas of Force and Matter. Though Mr. Crookes' inquiry first occupied itself with the simple percussive sounds, called 'raps,' it soon widened so as to embrace the visible apparition of 'materialized spirits,' and, later, the question of levitation.
The consideration of this part of the subject led to the appearance of the article from which we will now quote the above mentioned list of aethrobats whom the Roman Catholic church has crowned as 'saints'!
Forty Levitated Persons, Canonized or Beatified.
Name, Country and Condition. Date of Life. Acta Sanct. Vol. Pages.
Andrew Salus, Scythian Slave 880-946 — May — VI — 16*
Luke of Soteriam, Greek Monk 890-946 — Feb. — II — 85
Stephen I, King of Hungary 978-1038 — Sept. — I — 541
Ladislaus I., Ditto (his grandson) 1041-1096 — June — V — 318
Christina, Flemish Nun 1150-1220 — July — V — 656
St. Dominic, Italian Preacher 1170-1221 — Aug. — I — 405,573
Lutgard, Belgian Nun 1182-1246 — June — III — 238
Agnes of Bohemia, Princess 1205-1281 — March — I — 522
Humiliana of Florence, Widow 1219-1246 — May — IV — 396
Jutta, Prussian Widow Hermit 1215-1264 — May — VII — 606
St. Bonaventure, Italian Cardinal 1221-1274 — July — III — 827
St. Thomas Aquinas, Italian Friar 1227-1274 — March — I — 670-1
Ambrose Sansedonius, Itln. Priest 1220-1287 — March — III — 192
Peter Armengol, Spanish Priest 1238-1304 — Sept. — I — 334
St. Albert, Sicilian Priest 1240-1306 — Aug. — II — 236
Princess Margaret of Hungary 1242-1270 — Jan. — II — 904
Robert of Solentum, Italian Abbot 1273-1341 — July — IV — 503
Agnes of Mt. Politian, Itln. Abbess 1274-1317 — April — II — 794
Bartholus of Vado, Italian Hermit 1300 — June — II — 1007
Princess Elizabeth of Hungary 1297-1338 — May — II — 904
Catharine Columbina, Sp. Abbess 1387 — July — VII — 352
St. Vincent Ferrer, Sp. Missionary 1359-1419 — April — I — 497
Coleta of Ghent, Flemish Abbess 1381-1447 — March — I — 559,576
Jeremy of Panormo, Sicilian Friar 1381-1452 — March — I — 297
St. Antonine, Archbp. of Florence 1389-1459 — May — I — 335
St. Francis of Paola, Missionary 1440-1507 — April — I — 117
Osanna of Mantua, Italian Nun 1450-1505 — June — III — 703,705
Bartholomew of Anghiera, Friar 1510 — March — II — 665
Columba of Rieti, Italian Nun 1468-1501 — May — V — 332*-4*,360*
Thomas, Archbishop of Valencia 1487-1555 — Sept. — V — 832,969
St. Ignatius Loyola, Sp. Soldier 1491-1556 — July — VII — 432
Peter of Alcantara, Spanish Friar 1499-1562 — Oct. — VIII — 672,673,687
St. Philip Neri, Italian Friar 1515-1595 — May — VI — 590
Salvator de Horta, Spanish Friar 1520-1567 — March — II — 379-80
St. Luis Bertrand, Sp. Missionary 1526-1581 — Oct. — V — 407-483
St. Theresa, Spanish Abbess 1515-1582 — Oct. — VII — 399
John a Croce, Spanish Priest 1542-1591 — Oct. — VII — 239
J. B. Piscator, Roman Professor 1586 — June — IV — 976
Joseph of Cuportino, Italian Friar 1603-1663 — Sept. — V — 1020-2
Bonaventure of Potenza, Itln. Friar 1651-1711 — Oct. — XII — 154-157-9.
The compiler, Mr. Crookes, adds the following reflections:
"As the lives of all these are pretty fully recorded, we have the means of drawing several generalisations. It is plain that all displayed the qualities most distinctive of the present "spirit-mediums," and many were accompanied from childhood by some of the same phenomena, though I find nothing resembling the "raps. " The hereditary nature of their gifts is shown by the Hungarian royal family producing five examples; and it is also notable, on this head, that out of 40 there should not be one of British or French birth, although some of the most remarkable spent much of their lives in France, and all other Christian races seem represented. A feature absolutely common to the whole 40 is great asceticism. Only four married, and all were in the habit of extreme fasting, "macerating" their bodies either with hair shirts or various irons under their clothes, and many of submitting to bloody flagellations. Again, all, without exception, were ghost-seers, or second-sighted; and all subject to trances, either with loss of consciousness only, or of motion and flexibility too, in which case they were often supposed dead; and the last in our list, after lying in state for three days, and being barbarously mutilated by his worshippers, for relics, was unquestionably finally buried alive.* Many were levitated only in these unconscious states; others, as Joseph of Cupertino (the greatest aethrobat in all history), both in the trance and ordinary state, and (like Mr. Home) most frequently in the latter; while a very few, as Theresa, seem to have been always conscious when in the air. Several were, in certain states, fire-handlers, like Mr. Home. The Princess Margaret was so from the age of ten. Many had what was called the "gift of tongues," that is, were caused (doubtless in an obsessed state) to address audiences of whose language they were ignorant. Thus the Spaniard, Vincent Ferrer, is said to have learnt no language but his own, though he gathered great audiences in France, Germany, England, and Ireland. Connected with this, we should note how general a quality of these persons was eloquence. All the men (unless the two kings), and most of the women, were great preachers, though few wrote anything, except Bonaventure and Thomas in the thirteenth century, and Theresa in the sixteenth, who were the greatest Catholic writers of their ages. It is also very notable that the list contains the founders of six religious orders — the first special preaching order, Dominicans, the Jesuate Nuns, Minim Friars, Jesuits, Carmelite Nuns, and Oratorians; and all of these, except the second, great and durable.
* This appalling story of insane superstition, to be paralleled probably among no non-Catholic people on earth, will be found in Acta Sanctorium Octobries, Vol. XII, p. 158-60.
"The great majority of them, though often seen suspended, were at heights from the ground described only as "a palm," half a cubit, a cubit, and thence up to five or six cubits, or, in a few cases, ells. But the Princess Agnes and the Abbess Coleta were, like Elijah, carried out of sight, or into the clouds; and Peter of Alcantara and Joseph of Cupertino to the ceilings of lofty buildings. The times that these and others were watched off the ground often exceeded an hour; and the Archbishop of Valencia (1555) was suspended in a trance 12 hours, so that not only all the inmates of his palace and clergy, but innumerable lay citizens, went to see the marvel. On recovery, with the missal he had been reading in his hand, he merely remarked he had lost the place.* In this and all cases the subjects were either praying at the time, or speaking or listening to a particular religous topic that, in each case, is recorded to have generally affected that person either with trance or levitation. We have seen that Apollonius vanished on declaiming his favourite verse of Homer. So the topic of the Incarnation would cause Peter of Alcantara to utter a frightful cry, and shoot through the air "ut sclopeto emissus videretur"; that of Mary's birth would have a like effect on Joseph of Cupertino; and Teressa, after obtaining by prayer the cessation of her early levitations, was yet obliged to avoid hearing John a Cruce on the Trinity, finding that this topic would cause both him and her to be raised with their chairs from the floor. A contemporary painting of them in this position, beside the grating where it occurred, has been engraved in the volume above cited. Joseph of Cupertino, on entering any church having a Madonna or his patron, St. Francis, as an altarpiece, would be borne straight thereto, crying, "My dear mother!" or "My father!" and remain with his arms and robe so among the candles as to alarm all with the danger of his catching fire; but always flying back to the spot whence he had risen. Others were raised up to images or pictures, as the Abbess Agnes in early girlhood, often before a crucifix, "in tantum eam arripuit amor Sponsl sui, quod relicta terra tam alte fuit corpus suum purissimum sublevlatum in aere, quod ipsi imagini, supra altare in eminenti loco positae, se pari situ conjunxit; ubi osculans et amplexans, visa est super Dilectum suum innixa."
* This prelate, the annual income of whose see was 18,000 ducats, had no sooner settled in his palace than he got rid of all luxurious furniture, and made it a hospital or poor-house; himself often sleeping on straw, if beds ran short for the paupers. Charles V. had named another person for this see, but the secretary to whom he was dictating mistook the name, and taking another paper said, "I imagined your Majesty to have said Thomas of Villanova, but the error will soon be rectified." The emperor said, "By no means; the mistake was providential, let it stand."
"Of invisible transfers to a distance, the only subjects seem to have been Columba of Rietti, said to have been carried from her mother's house in that town to the nunnery that afterwards received her at Spoleto, 20 miles distant; and the river transits of Peter of Alciniara. The lives of Joseph of Cupertino, indeed, allege that the rare miracle of "geminatio corporis," or bodily presence in two distant places the same day, was twice vouchsafed to him while dwelling at Rome — once to assist at the death-bed of a named old man of his native village, whom he had promised to attend if possible; and again at the death of his mother. It is also related of the great Spanish aethrobat that, while the business of a jubilee detained him at Madrid (1556-9), a lady, Elvira de Caravajal, in Estremadura, declared her resolve to have no other confessor till Father Peter might be within reach; and the same day he presented himself at her castle, announcing that he had been brought expressly from Madrid, and that she ought not to choose confessors so distant. There is doubtless plenty of exaggeration, and many stories of this kind must be apocryphal, but the notable fact is that they are told only of the same persons as the fully-attested levitations and other phenomena parallel to the modern so-called Spiritism."
The student of Patanjali will remark two facts in connection with these air-walkers, — they were all ascetics, and not only were all but four unmarried, and, presumably, chaste, but inflicted upon their bodies the extreme rigors of maceration, that is to say that same stern repression of the physical appetites and desires which is common among our Indian Yogis and Sannyasis. Though they knew not the fact, they were in reality practising the extremest austerities of the Yoga system. Another fact will not fail to be observed, viz., that the thaumaturgic power was in several cases hereditary. We of the East know how often it happens that this abundance of psychical power passes down the generations in certain families — that, in short, there are 'born magicians' as certainly as there are born poets, painters, or sculptors. If we may credit the records of Western Spiritualism the quality of 'mediumship' is also known to run in families. Neither of these examples of heredity will surprise any student of either physiology or psychology, for the annals of the race are full of proof that the child is but the evolution of his double line of ancestors, with, in individual cases, a tendency to 'breed back' to some one relative on either the paternal or maternal side. Among the most interesting of English medical writers upon this subject is Dr. Charles Elam, of London. Though not a professed psychologist, he has collected in his "A Physician's Problems" some most valuable data for the student of that science, supplementing them with judicious and intelligent criticism. "The various races of men," he says (Op. cit, p. 33) "have characteristics quite as distinctly marked . . But races consist of individuals; it is clear therefore, that to certain extent individuals have the power of transmitting their own specific psychical nature." M. Giron, a great physiologist, remarks that "acquired capacities are transmitted by generation, and this transmisson is more certain and perfect in proportion as the cultivation has extended over more generations." Sir H. Holland, Esquirol, Dr. Virey, Montaigne, Riecken, Boethius, among moderns, and Hippocrates, Homer, Horace, Juvenal, among ancients, are a few of the great authorities who have noticed the constant assertion of this law of nature. Herodotus, the 'Father of History' to Western people who know nothing of our Indian literature, mentions the heritage of caste, of profession, and of moral and intellectual qualities. He speaks of Evenius as possessing the power of divination and transmitting it, as a natural consequence, to his son, Deiphonus. Men of Eastern birth may, in considering these facts, the more readily understand why so many more great psychologists and philosophers have flourished in this part of the world than at the West, where the rugged conditions of life, especially the climate, food, and the common use of stimulating beverages, have so largely tended to the development of the animal at the expense of the spiritual nature, ever since the exodus of people from the warm Eastern climes to settle those countries. The love of mystical study, and the tendency to practise ascetism are inherent in our blood, and absorbed through our mothers' milk. Generations after generations of white men pass away without producing a single adept of the Secret Science, while it could be hard to find a parallel to this in India — even in these degenerate days, when our cleverest young scholars are worshiping Western idols, and it almost seems as if the very recollection of Yoga and the Yogis were dying out of the popular mind.
According to the "Journal d'Hygiene," the heron has on its breast large greasy tufts, which secrete a whitish unctuous matter of a disgusting odor, but which has a remarkable power of attracting trout and probably other fishes. M. Noury on placing the breast of a heron in a net, has invariably found the net filled with trout.
[The following communication, from a European Theosophist, will be read with attention and interest by Hindu students of Yoga. The references to 'Vital air,' 'wind,' 'tubular vessels,' 'moon-fluid of immortality,' 'chambers of the body,' and such like, may be incomprehensible to the materialist unfamiliar with the figurative nomenclature of mystics; but he who has advanced even a single pace along the road of self-development towards spirituality, will comprehend easily enough what is meant by these terms. — ED. THEOS.]
In the Dublin University Magazine for Oct., Nov, Dec. 1853, and Jan. 1854, is a series of papers, entitled "The Dream of Ravan," containing much that is curious on this subject.
In the fourth paper, Jan. 1854, speaking of an ascetic, it is said: 'Following his mystic bent he was full of internal visions and revelations. Sometimes according to the mystic school of Paithana, sitting crosslegged, meditating at midnight at the foot of a banyan tree, with his two thumbs closing his ears, and his little fingers pressed upon his eyelids, he saw rolling before him gigantic fiery wheels, masses of serpent shapes, clusters of brilliant jewels, quadrants of pearls, lamps blazing without oil, a white haze melting away into a sea of glittering moonlight, a solitary fixed swanlike fiery eye of intense ruddy glare, and, at length, the splendour of an internal light more dazzling than the sun. An internal, unproduced music (anahata) vibrated on his ear, and sometimes a sweet mouth, sometimes a whole face of exquisite beseeching beauty, would rise out of a cloud before his inward gnostic eye, look into his soul, and advance to embrace him.'
'At other times he followed the path laid down by the more ancient and profounder school of Alandi and strove to attain the condition of an illumined Yogi as described by Krishna to Arjuna in the 6th Adhyaya of that most mystic of all mystic books, the Dnyaneshvari.'
'When this path is beheld, then hunger and thirst are forgotten, night and day are undistinguished in this path.
* * * * * * *
'Whether one would set out to the bloom of the east or come to the chambers of the west, without moving, oh holder of the bow, is the travelling in this road. In this path, to whatever place one would go, that place one's own self becomes! How shall I easily describe this? Thou thyself shalt experience it.
* * * * * * *
'The ways of the tubular vessel (nerves) are broken, the nine-fold property of wind (nervous either) departs, on which account the functions of the body no longer exist.
* * * * * * *
'Then the moon and the sun, or that supposition which is so imagined, appears but like the wind upon a lamp, in such a manner as not to be laid hold of. The bud of understanding is dissolved, the sense of smell no longer remains in the nostrils, but, together with the Power,* retires into the middle chamber. Then with a discharge from above, the reservoir of moon fluid of immortality (contained in the brain) leaning over on one side, communicates into the mouth of the Power. Thereby the tubes (nerves) are filled with the fluid, it penetrates into all the members; and in every direction the vital breath dissolves thereinto.
* Note from'Dublin U.M.': — This extraordiary power who is termed elsewhere the World Mother — the casket of Supreme Spirit, is technically called Kundalini, serpentine or annular. Some things related of it would make one imagine it to be electricity personified.
'As from the heated crucible all the wax flows out, and it remains thoroughly filled with the molten metal poured in,
'Even so, that lustre (of the immortal moon-fluid) has become actually molded into the shape of the body, on the outside it is wrapped up in the folds of the skin.
'As, wrapping himself in a mantle of clouds, the sun for a while remains and afterwards, casting it off, comes forth arrayed in light.
'Even so, above is this dry shell of the skin, which, like the husk of grain, of itself falls off.
'Afterwards, such is the splendour of the limbs, that one is perplexed whether it is a self-existent shaft of Kashmir porphyry or shoots that have sprouted up from jewel seed or a body moulded of tints caught from the glow of evening, or a pillar formed of the interior light.
'A vase filled with liquid saffron, or a statue cast of divine thaumaturgic perfection molten down. To me it appears Quietism itself, personified with limbs.
'Or is it the disc of the moon that, fed by the damps of autumn, has put forth luminous beams, or is it the embodied presence of light that is sitting on yonder seat?
'Such becomes the body; when the serpentine power drinks the moon (fluid of immortality, descending from the brain) then, O friend, death dreads the form of the body.
'Then disappears old age, the knots of youth are cut in pieces, and The Lost State of Childhood reappears. His age remains the same as before, but in other respects he exhibits the strength of childhood, his fortitude is beyond expression. As the golden tree from the extremity of its branches puts forth daily new jewel-buds, so new and beautiful nails sprout forth.
'He gets new teeth also, but these shine inexpressibly beautiful, like rows of diamonds set on either side. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet become like red lotus flowers, the eyes grow inexpressibly clear.
'As when from the crammed state of its interior the pearls can no longer be held in by the double shell, then the seam of the pearl oyster rim bursts open, so, uncontainable within the clasp of the eyelids, the sight, expanding, seeks to go outwards; it is the same indeed as before but is now capable of embracing the heavens. Then he beholds the things beyond the sea, he hears the language of paradise, he perceives what is passing in the mind of the ant. He takes a turn with the wind, if he walk, his footsteps touch not the water.
'When the light of the Power disappears, then the form of the body is lost, he becomes hidden from the eyes of the world.
'In other respects, as before, he appears with the members of his body, but he is as one formed of the wind.
'Or like the core of the plantain tree standing up divested of its mantle of outward leaves, or as a cloud from which limbs have sprouted out.
'Such becomes his body, then he is called Kechara, or Sky-goer, this step, being attained is a wonder among people in the body.'
The process here described seems similar to that described in the Ouphnekhat. 'With your heel stop the fundament, then draw the lower air upwards by the right side, make it turn thrice round the second region of the body, thence bring it to the navel, thence to the middle of the heart, then to the throat, then to the sixth region, which is the interior of the nose, between the eyelids, there retain it, it is become the breath of the universal soul. Then meditate on the great Ome, the universal voice which fills all, the voice of God; it makes itself heard to the ecstatic in ten manners.
'The first is like the voice of a sparrow, the second is twice as loud as the first, the third like the sound of a cymbal, the fourth like the murmur of a great shell, the fifth like the chant of the Vina, the sixth like the sound of the 'tal,' the seventh like the sound of a bamboo flute placed near the ear, the eighth the sound of the instrument pahaoujd struck with the hand, the ninth like the sound of a small trumpet, the tenth like the rumbling of a thunder cloud. At each of these sounds the ecstatic passes through various states until the tenth when he becomes God.
'At the first all the hairs on his body stand up.
At the second his limbs are benumbed.
At the third he feels in all his members the exhaustion of excess.
At the fourth his head turns, he is as it were intoxicated.
At the fifth, the water of life flows back into his brain.
At the sixth this water descends into and nourishes him.
At the seventh he becomes master of the vision, he sees into men's hearts, he hears the most distant voices.
At the ninth he feels himself to be so subtle that he can transport himself where he will, and, like the Devas, see all without being seen.
At the tenth he becomes the universal and indivisible voice, he is the creator, the eternal, exempt from change; and, become perfect repose, he distributes repose to the world.'
Compare this with Vaughan — Anima Magica Abscondita.
'This mystery is finished when the light in a sudden miraculous corruscation darts from the centre to the circumference, and the divine Spirit has so swallowed up the body that it is a glorious body shining like the sun and moon. In this rotation it doth pass, and no sooner, from the natural to the supernatural state, for it is no more fed with visibles, but with invisibles and the eye of the creator is perpetually upon it. After this the material parts are never more seen.'
Can any of the correspondents of the THEOSPHIST give any account of this Dnyaneshvari? Who was Alandi? It would be a great boon to Theosophists if Dayanand Saraswati Swami would give to the world a translation of this work, and also of Patanjali's Yoga Sastra, of which in English we know only the imperfect summaries of Ward and Thompson. Can, also, some competent Buddhist give an account of the Kasina, of which I know only Spence Hardy's imperfect account? We Western Theosophists earnestly desire information as to all the best modes of soul-emancipation and will-culture, and turn to the East for Light.
Adverting to the article "Brahma Iswara and Maya," by Pramada Dasa Mittra published in the THEOSOPHIST of October, the following observations cannot fail to suggest themselves to a true Vedantist.
The science of Vedanta is enveloped in the Brahma Sastras (aphorisms) of which Badarayana is the author. There are many commentaries upon these sutras. They are (1) Bodhayana Vritti; (2) Bhashya of Dravida Rishi, or, more properly speaking Dramida Rishi; (3) Ditto of Bhaskara; (4) Ditto of Sankara; (5) of Yadava; (6) of Ramanuja; (7) of Madhwa; (8) of Neelakanta; &c., &c. Of these, the first three, which owe their origin to a period anterior to Sankara, and which are not wholly accessible at our present day, at least in this part of India, are only known to us through the various quotations thereof which occur in the "Ramanuja Bhashya" and its commentary "Sruta Prakasika."
Pramada Dasa Mittia (we hope rather Pramoda Dasa Mittra) appears to refute certain statements made by Mr. Gough while explaining his own position in Vedanta Philosophy. These refutations are no doubt quite in accordance with the Doctrine of Sankara as expounded in his Bhasbya. But Pramada Dasa Mittra will do the learned world a valuable service if he will but solve the problems hereinafter set forth.
Whether (Moksha) beatitude or salvation is or is not the (Purushartha) end, which a human being should aspire to? If not, all human effort for requiring knowledge and wisdom such as the study of Vedanta science would be vain. If however it be the end aspired, who is the aspirer? For whose sake does he aspire? What sort of thing is the object aspired? According to his (Sankara's) Doctrine, being one with Brahma, eternal Bliss (Brahma Ananda) is indeed the end and aim of man. Is the being who is the aspirer essentially Brahma or any other? If he is in reality Brahma, what has he to aspire for? If not, will he newly become Brahma? Can one thing become another?
Perhaps the answer will be this: — "He is in reality Brahma, but he does not know at present that he is Brahma. The knowledge that he is Brahma is itself the Purushartha, i. e., the end aspired." In that case there will be two absurdities — (1) that ignorance attaches to Brahma; (2) that the ignorant Brahma will hereafter gain that knowledge which it does not now possess.
To this they might reply. — "No, no, Brahma is not ignorant. There is only the illusion that he is ignorant, no fresh knowledge to be gained. The extinction of illusion renders him an emblem of wisdom."
Then is what is called "illusion" not identical with ignorance? How could a being who is not ignorant be yet possessed of that ignorance known by the name of "illusion?" If that ignorance is denied to Brahma where else is it? In Avidya only, they might say.
By what could Avidya be divested of its ignorance?
Perhaps they might say "by the knowledge itself that Brahma is an emblem of wisdom." Where does that knowledge arise? If in Brahma, something which is not already possessed by Brahma and which is newly acquired must be called Beatitude. If in Avidya, it (Avidya) is admitted to be ignorance, and it must be the same Avidya which should try to divest itself of that ignorance. What benefit does it expect from its attempt to divest itself of ignorance.
Again, is Avidya any other than ignorance? If ignorance alone, how could it remain within itself? If on the other hand it is agreed that the ignorance (proper) named Avidya is one thing and the ignorance (special) which is contained in it and which becomes extinct at the time of salvation is another thing, would the former (ignorance proper, named Avidya) continue to exist even at the time of salvation? If so, the non-duality of Brahma will be violated. Perhaps it may be further argued that when the special ignorance is extinguished, its prop, ignorance proper, "Avidya," will also extinguish. If so, the seeking of Avidya to extinguish itself must be the seeking after beatitude. Would there be on the face of the earth any such thing as seeking one's own annihilation? Hence it follows that by beatitude is meant something which far from annihilating the soul would endow it with some particular thing not already possessed.
Before, therefore, the Theosophists extend their researches to one and all of the above specified Bhashyas, and discover by which of them these mighty problems are clearly solved, it is too premature to uphold the doctrine laid down by Pramada Dasa Mittra.
N. NARAINA MOORTY,
For Sri Paravastu Venkata
Rungacharia Arya Vara Guru.
GANJAM, 9th Nov. 1879.
Note by the Editor: — The Theosophists not having as yet studied all these Bhasyas, have no intention to uphold any particular secretarian school. They leave this to the pandits, for whose especial benefit, among others, this journal was founded. A great American quarterly — the North American Review — adopts the plan of submitting some famous contributor's manuscript to one or more equally famous writers of very antagonistic views, and then printing all of the criticisms together. By this wise device, the reader of the magazine is able to see what can be said of a given subject from every point of view. We will do likewise; and, as a beginning, here is Professor Pramada Dasa Mittra's criticism upon his critic, after reading the above. "Du choc des opinions jaillit la verite," — said a great French philosopher.
REPLY BY PROF. MITTRA.
The objections urged by P. V. Rangacharya to the doctrine of non-duality we anticipated by Sankaracharya himself, and are fully answered by him in his Bhashya to which the present critic is referred. I would however give here a brief reply. Men who find themselves unable to accept Sankara's doctrine would do well to remember that reality in his philosophy is twofold — The Absolute and the Relative. In absolute reality, nothing exists but Brahma, which is but another way of saying that there is but One Absolute Being. In relative reality, the personal selves not only do exist, but exist as distinct from Brahma, and hence there is no contradiction in teaching man to strive for salvation, or to obtain true knowledge by which he would realize the One Absolute reality and be united with him.
P. V. R. attempts to refute the doctrine of Maya by endeavouring to show that it leads to absurdities, but he forgets that a bewildering perplexity as to which alternative to adopt in our attempted explanations of the world is the very essence of the doctrine. Those that presume to offer explanations of the universe fancy that Sankara's doctrine also is one of explanation, whilst, in fact, it is the doctrine of inexplicability (anirvaktavyata-vada). The only explanation that Sankara offers is that of the fallacies of all explaining systems. The doctrine of Avidya is the confession of ignorance, the explanation of the inscrutableness of the world and its relation to Brahma — comprising under the term world the whole body of internal and external phenomena. The world is a mysterious enigma which can neither be conceived as existent nor non-existent. The only positive truth that Sankara teaches is the highest truth that there is an Immutable and Eternal Substance which is not to be known as such or such, but positively underlying this mysterious world of matter without, and of fleeting cognitions within, and thus it is that he broadly separates himself from the Sceptic. There can be no denying, no doubting of this Substance that presents itself as the Immutable Self, standing supreme over the passing I's of joy and sorrow, love and hatred.
You again ask — if in absolute reality Brahma alone exists, who is it that is ignorant? The answer again is — In absolute reality, none is ignorant, but since you do ask the question, it is you assuredly that are ignorant. Certainly it is idle to put such questions to the Vedanti, when he avows that the world of conscious personalities and unconscious matter is only relatively real, owing its relative reality to the One Absolute, and all such questions about ignorance must belong to the province of the relative (vya vaharika dasa) in which you and I are admittedly distinct from Brahma and, as such, are ignorant.
What is the nature of this ignorance, or rather this cosmic manifestation, and how it is connected with Brahma, or in other words, how Brahma, though one, seems to be many; though absolute knowledge and bliss, seems to be affected by pain and ignorance — the Vedanti confesses to be a mystery.
But who would presume to deny this ignorance? The attempted explanations of the universe have been shown to be absurd, and it has been shown that the only positive affirmation that can be made is that there exists One Being only, unknowable in his absolute nature. This affirmation is the only explanation that can be offered of the universe around. Even modern scientists of eminence have confessed that in its intrinsic nature not a particle even of dead matter can be explained.
If it be objected that though the world may not be explicable, there is no reason to doubt its positive existence, the answer is that the world, at any given moment, is not what it was the preceding moment, nor will it be the same in the moment succeeding. Hence the very reality of the world is held dubious and only relative. Thus once more are we driven to the doctrine of the inscrutableness of the world, or the Maya-Vada.
By confounding Avidya (ignorance) with the soul, P. V. R. supposes that according to Sankara, beatitude consists in the annihilation of the soul, whilst on the contrary it is the obtaining the realization of the true self. Nothing can be farther from Sankara's teaching than that beatitude lies in annihilation. The mistake arises from the difficulty of conceiving Being above the consciousness (buddhi) with which we identify ourselves.
In conclusion, with reference to the question of absolute and relative existence, it may not be out of place to quote here the words of Herbert Spencer who, though he generally regards the world from a material point of view, clearly distinguishes the Absolute and the Relative in our minds — the Sakshin and the Vijnanatma: — "Existence means nothing more than persistence; and hence in Mind, that which persists in spite of all changes, and maintains the unity of the aggregate, in defiance of all attempts to divide it, is that of which existence in the full sense of the word must be predicated, that which we must postulate as the substance of Mind, in contradiction to the varying forms it assumes."
P. D. MITTRA.
BENARES, 23rd November 1879.
[Continued from the December Number.]
THE LIFE OF SANKARACHARAYA, PHILOSOPHER AND MYSTIC.
The question of Saraswati as to the true nature of Love must be answered though he were ten times a Yogi or Samyasi, so Sankara journeyed on to find the means of learning the truth. As he was going out with his pupils, they met the corpse of a certain king named Amaraka (of Amritapura, to the west of Mandana Misra's city, according to Anandagiri (1) lying at the foot of a tree in the forest surrounded by males and females mourning his death. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Sankara entrusted his own body to the charge of his pupils, and caused his soul to enter the corpse of the king. The supposed restuscitation which followed delighted the people, and king Sankara was taken in triumph from the forest of death to the throne of royalty. (2)
(1) Anandagiri 244.
(2) This incident is too important to pass by without editorial comment. The power of the Yogi to quit his own body and enter and animate that of another person, though affirmed by Patanjali and included among the Siddhis of Krishna, is discredited by Europeanized young Indians. Naturally enough, since, as Western biologists deny a soul to man, it is an unthinkable proposition to them that the Yogi's soul should be able to enter another's body. That such an unreasoning infidelity should prevail among the pupils of European Schools, is quite reason enough why an effort should be made to revive in India those schools of Psychology in which the Aryan youth were theoretically and practically taught the occult laws of Man and Nature. We, who have at least some trifling acquaintance with modern science, do not hesitate to affirm our belief that this temporary transmigration of souls is possible. We may even go so to far as to say that the phenomenon has been experimentally proved to us — in New York, among other places. And, since we would be among the last to require so marvellous a statement to be accepted upon any one's unsupported testimony, we urge our readers to first study Aryan literature, and then get from personal experience the corroborative evidence. The result must inevitably be to satisfy every honest enquirer that Patanjali and Sankaracharya did, and Tyndall, Carpenter, and Huxley do not know the secrets of our being. — ED.THEOS.
There, king Sankara, standing as it were in the shoes of Amaraka, and, indeed Amaraka himself so far as the eye could discern, and passing as such, learned practically all that pertained to the science and art of Love, and fitted himself to answer the query of the cunning wife of Mandana. He also studied the theory of the subject in Vatsyanana, and made progress enough to write an original treatise upon it himself (3). Meanwhile, however, the ministers of the State, finding their resuscitated rajah a far wiser and better man than ever before, suspected that there had been some transmigration of souls, and so, to prevent the return of this intruder to his own body, secretly issued an order that all the corpses in the city should be burnt; but they took good care that the order should not come to the knowledge of the king (4).
(3) Madhav X. 18.
(4) Pandit Ramaswami says that the order was issued by the Queen herself, and in this the pandit is at one with Anandagiri who also makes the Queen suspect the fact (p. 215) and makes no illusion to the ministers.
In the meantime the pupils of Sankara who had charge of his body, finding that the limit of time fixed by him for his return had already been passed, grew very uneasy. While the others were given up to their grief, Padmapada suggested a plan which was unanimously adopted, and they started out to discover the whereabouts of their preceptor. The stories of Madhav and Anandagiri do not agree as to this quest of the pupils after their master, the former making them wander from province to province, while the latter tells us that Sankara's body was deposited in the outskirts of the king's own city. In fact, Madhav himself elsewhere describes the circumstances of Sankara's soul not finding the body in the appointed place, then animating it on the funeral pyre, and Sankara's then returning with his pupils to Mandana as a work of but short duration: — but we are interrupting the sequence of our narrative. Padmapada's plan was for them to first discover the whereabouts of their master, and then, gaining access to his presence under the disguise of singers, express to him their sorrow at his absence and recall him to his own body and to the prosecution of his labors. Arrived at King Amaraka's city, they heard the story of the preternatural resuscitation, and satisfied that they were on the right tract, carried out their affectionate plot. Their music not only held their audience spell-bound, but reached the inner consciousness of Sankara, in his borrowed body. He dismissed the singers, retransferred himself to his own body, and left the empty rajah to die once more, and this time effectually. He found his own body already amid the flames but having his armour of proof against fire it was uninjured, and he rejoined his devoted pupils, singing the praises of Nrisemha. Returning to the residence of Mandana, Saraswati was answered and Mandana Misra converted to Vedantism.
Travelling southwards, Sankara published his works in Maharashtra, and took up his residence at Srisaila, where a strange proposal was made to him. A Kapalika called on him and besought him to give him his head, which he said he wanted to offer up as a sacrifice as he had been promised by Mahadeva a residence in Kailasa in his human body, if he offered up the head of either a king or an omniscient person. Sankara agreed on condition that the Kapalika should come for it without the knowledge of his pupils, who might interfere. This was done, but before the decapitation could be effected, Padamapada learnt the thing through his interior consciousness, and assuming the form of a Man-lion fell upon the Kapalika, and rent him joint by joint. He had then to be appeased and brought back to himself.
The next miracle attributed to Sankara was the bringing back to life at Gokarna, of a child greatly beloved by its, parents. (Madhav xii, 24). To Srivali — where he got a new pupil in the person of Hastamalaka, a lad supposed to be an idiot, but in fact something very different — and Sringagiri, he then went. At the latter place Mandana Misra, who had taken the name of Sureshvar (see p. 251 of Anandagiri, whose account leaves it a matter of doubt as to the identity of Mandana with Sureshvar) wrote at Sankara's command an independent tractice on the Brahma, which surprised the other pupils and equally pleased the master.
At this time Sanhara learning in some supernatural way (1) of his mother's being at the point of death, hastened to her side, and at her request for spiritual counsel, instructed her, or rather attempted to instruct her, in the formless Brahma. She could not comprehend his teaching, but he tranquilized her mind until the moment of her dissolution. His relatives refused to aid him in performing the usual funeral ceremonies on the ground that he, being an ascetic, was not competent to perform the offices in question. Hereupon he produced a fire from his right hand, wherewith he burned the corpse. (Madhav 29-56).
(1) We must take issue with our distinguished contributor upon this point. We do not believe in "supernatural ways," and we do believe and know that it was not at all difficult for an initiant like Sankara to learn by his interior faculties, of his mother's state. We have seen too many proofs of this faculty to doubt it. — ED. THEOS.
At this time, Padmapada who had been absent on a pilgrimage returned, and told Sankara how a commentary on the Bhashya which he had composed and deposited with his uncle when he went on his pilgrimage, was destroyed by that person as it contained a refutation of the doctrines he held. To the great joy of Padamapada, Sankara dictated the whole from memory, as he had once read it himself, and from his dictation Padamapada rewrote it. Rajasekhar, also, who had lost his dramas, had them dictated to him in the same manner.
And now accompanied by his pupils and by king Sudhanvan, Sankara started on his tour of intellectual conquest. The redargutio philosophiarum, which Vyasa had suggested to him, and for which his original lease of life had been extended, now commenced. He first directed his steps towards the Setu — the Bridge — then passing through the countries of the Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Dravidas, he went to Kanchi where he erected a temple and established the system of the adoration of Devi. Having then favoured with a visit the people called Andhras, and having looked in at the seat of Venkatchalesa, he proceeded to the country of the Vidarbhas. On hearing that Sankara wished to go into the Karnata country, the king of the Vidarbhas warned him of the mischievous character of the people generally, and of their envy and hatred of Sankara particularly. Sankara went into that country nevertheless, and the first person of note he came across was a Kapalika named Krakacha, whose exposition of his own doctrines so disgusted all who heard it that Sudhanvan caused him with all his followers to be ignominiously driven away. They went breathing vengeance and returned armed in hundreds. They were however destroyed by king Sudhanvan — all but the first Kapalika Krakacha, who came up to Sankara, and addressed him saying, "Now taste the fruit of thy deeds." He then prayed to Bhairava and as soon as he appeared, asked him to destroy the destroyer of his followers. But Bhairava killed Krakacha himself, exclaiming, "Dust thou offend even me?"
Onward went Sankara to the Western ocean, and to Gokarna, where he vanquished Nilakantha, a philosopher who thought himself perfectly invincible. Sankara thence went into the Saurashtra country and published his Bhashya there. Then he went to Dvaravati or Dvarka and thence to Ujjayini where he challenged and conquered Bhattabhaskar. Thence he went "conquering and to conquer" into the countries of the Balhikas, Bharatas, Surasenas, Kurus, Daradas, Panchalas, and so forth. In the country of the Kamarupas, Sankara encountered and defeated Abbinavagupta, a doctor of the Sakta school. Having, however, more worldly wisdom than philosophy or love of truth, and finding that he could not compete with Sankara, that personage got his pupils to hide his works for a period, and passed himself off as belonging to Sankara's school, all the while maturing a plot of which the sequel will be presently narrated.
(To be continued.)
THE UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE, for November, contains the very welcome portrait of Edison, whose name is creating such discussions in the scientific world. Thos. Alva Edison was born in 1847, so that now he is only thirty-two years of age, yet already he has made more practicable and useful discoveries than a whole century has brought forth. Of his early life, stories are familiar now, but the circumstances under which he first turned his attention to telegraphy are still little known.
A book entitled "Swami Charitra" (The Life of Swami) has just been published in Marathi, in two parts, by one Narayan Hari Bhagvat. It contains the life of one of the most remarkable among modern Hindus, the Swami of Akalkot, from the time he became known under the name of Digambar Bawa in a town called Mangalvede near Akalkot. Nothing is known of this wonderful man before that time. Neither did any body dare question him about his antecedents. One named Babajipant, who was one of those who had lived with the Swami since the time his public career as an ascetic began, urged him once to give information about his name, native place, and family. Swami gave no direct answer, but simply said "Datta Nagar," and "Chief person" — "the Vata tree." No other attempt to elicit information was made. The reason that led the author to commence this biography is very astonishing. He says that one night he went to bed as usual, but could not sleep for a long time, being oppressed with various thoughts. In this frame of mind he at last fell asleep, but was startled by a most unexpected dream. He saw a Sannyasi approach his bed. This reverend man, unlike persons of his avocation, wore clothes, had "kundala"* in his ears and carried with him a "dand"** and kamandalu.*** A man who accompanied him asked the author to get up and see the Swami. He seemed to obey and Swami then said: — "It is a well-known fact that I took Samadhi**** at Akalkot. Write my biography as will suit the present times, in accordance with my instructions. I now disappear." This seen, the author awoke, got up, and was at a great loss what to do, especially as he had never seen the Swami, and was consequently unable to obey the instructions conveyed to him in the dream. Neither had he ever felt any sincere desire to see the Swami during his lifetime. Unlike many, he had never regarded him as an incarnation of God. While in this state of mind he slept for the second time, and again in his dream saw the same person in the same dress and with the same marks about him, who said "get up, why are you thus puzzled? Begin writing and you will have the necessary materials." The author thereupon resolved to at least make the attempt, and wrote to all the persons who knew the Swami well, to supply as much information as they could. The facts mentioned in the book are therefore authenticated. They are moreover credible, because the author says he got many of these from persons he had never written to. Moreover it is not likely that a person like Mr. Govind Vishnu Bhide, who is well informed and experienced, would talk at random without considering well upon the matter. He says that once when he went to see the Swami in fulfilment of a vow made by him, he had also a desire that Swami should advise him in regard to spiritual matters. No sooner did he stand before the Swami than the latter turned his face towards him, and repeated the following verse in Marathi
* A sort of ring usually worn by the Sannyasis in the lower part of their ears.
** A three or seven knotted bamboo of the wonder working ascetics.
*** The gourd which Bramhacharies, Sannyasis and others use for holding water.
**** When a great Sadhu is dead, this phrase is usually used. Samidhi is the highest stage of Yog training, and when a Yogi is in that state he loses consciousness of this world and sees nothing but his own Divine Spirit.
No less credible is the fact mentioned by Mr. Vishnu Chintamon Bhopatkar, Sheriff of the Sessions Court at Poona. Some ten years ago, when he served is Sheristedar of the District Judge, his wife suffered from a very severe attack of fever. Every day the sickness increased and the doctors pronounced her incurable. He was therefore ready to try any remedy suggested to him. He saw a friend of his who advised him to make a vow that he would take his wife to the Swami of Akalkot, if she should improve, and in the mean time to keep her under the treatment of a native doctor named Gunesh Shastri Sakurdikar. He accordingly prayed to the Swami, and promised to offer a cocoanut to his idol on his behalf. But unfortunately he forgot his promise when he went to bed. And although this fact was known to nobody, his brother-in-law saw in a dream the Swami rebuking him for having forgotten his promise to offer a cocoanut on Swami's account. As he was not aware of the promise made by Mr. Bhopatkar, he was at a loss as to what his dream meant, and consequently communicated the fact to all the family, in great astonishment. When Mr. Bhopatkar heard this, he repented having forgotten his promise, but immediately after taking a bath he offered the cocoanut on Swami's account, and made a vow that if his wife was cured he would go with her in the month of January to Akalkot to see the Swami. Then he sent for the native doctor mentioned to him by his friend, but found that he had left for his Inam village and was not in Poona. But nevertheless, to the great surprise of Mr. Bhopatkar, it happened that while he was returning home from the office he met on his way the very native doctor whom he was searching for. He then took him home and the latter gladly undertook to treat Mr. Bhopatkar's wife. The medicine administered proved a success, and she went on improving gradually. And, although she was pretty well by the month of January, Mr. Bhopatkar did not think it advisable for her to travel as she was still very weak, and consequently did not take her with him when he left Poona. But he had no sooner left Poona without her, than her sickness recurred so seriously that the next day he was telegraphed to return. Since she had been all right at the time of his departure the sudden receipt of this telegram made him suspect that all this was due to his not having fulfilled his vow to take his wife with him to Akalkot. He then invoked the Swami, asked his pardon, and promised to go with her to Akalkot in the month of July if she should recover. She at once began to mend so rapidly that by the time he reached home he found her all right. In the month of July, although she had recovered, she was in too feeble a state to face the cold of the season. He however resolved to abide by his vow this time, and accordingly went to Akalkot with his wife and the doctor under whose treatment she was. When they reached their place of destination it was raining very hard, and the place where they had put up was very damp. Her constitution however received no shock, but on the contrary she continued to improve. When they all went to the Swami he ordered a certain book to be brought him, and after finding a certain chapter gave it first to the doctor and then to Mr. Bhopatkar, thereby intimating without speaking a word, that their object in coming was gained.
There are many such facts as the above mentioned in the book, all going to confirm the Swami's claim to the knowledge of Yog Vidya. He was a practical example to show what a man can do, if he will. If any body had taken advantage of the opportunity thus offered to him and gone to the Swami purely with the intention of studying philosophy, how much good might be not have done himself and his country! During the twenty years or more that the Swami was at Akalkot, no less than 500,000 persons must have gone to see him. But of this large number it would seem that scarcely any had within them an honest desire to study philosophy. Almost all were actuated merely by selfish worldly desires. If they had gone to him with a sincere aspiration to learn how to obtain control over bodily passions, he would have bestowed favours on them, of which no robber in the world could have deprived them. But they sought but these worldly enjoyments with which fools are satisfied. They had never given a moment's consideration to the thought of what their state would be after the death of their physical bodies. In the whole book under notice are given but two or three instances of persons who went to the Swami with a desire to obtain knowledge. The course which he adopted to fulfil the desires of such persons is very curious. One named Narsappa, an inhabitant of Mysore, had gone to Akalkot with a view to receive some instructions on spiritual matters. He was at a great loss how to explain his intentions to the Swami, as he knew neither Marathi nor Hindustani. He however would regularly go and sit silently by the Sannyasi. Once while he was sitting near a Puranik,* Swami made him a sign to approach and upon his obeying, Swami took a, blank book that was lying by him, and, after turning many of its leaves, gave him a certain a page to read. He there found, to his great astonishment and joy, an injunction printed in Kanarese characters, that he should read Bhagavat Gita if he would have his desires fulfilled. He then gladly communicated the fact to a Puranik friend and asked him to read the book to him. The Puranik approached the place where the Swami was sitting, and taking the blank book which had been placed in the hands of Narsappa, looked for the page on which Narsappa said he saw Kanarese characters. He also examined all the other books, as well as all the papers lying there, but nowhere could he find Kanarese characters. This fact is an illustration to show that this singular being communicated his instructions only to those who sincerely desired them.
* A person who reads any of the 18 works of Puran and explains the meaning.
The book teems with facts illustrative of the power obtained by a Yogi. There are very few persons in this country, who being in search of the ancient Aryan Philosophy, have obtained control over the bodily passions which trouble ordinary men beyond measure. Fewer still who like one now living in India, whom I dare not mention, are known. Almost all who have thoroughly studied or are studying that ennobling philosophy, keep themselves out of the public view in compliance with wise and inexorable rules. It is not through selfishness, as too many imagine. Though unseen, they none the less are continually working for the good of humanity. In thousands of cases what they effect is ascribed to Providence. And whenever they find any one who, like themselves, has an ambition above the mere pleasures of this world, and is in search of that Vidya which alone can make man wise in this as well and happy in the next, they stand ready by his side, take him up in their hands as soon as he shows his worthiness, and put in his way the opportunities to learn that philosophy, the study of which has made them masters of themselves, of nature's forces, and of this world. It is apparent that the Swami of Akalkot was one of such persons. A man peculiarly oracular and sparing of speech, and eccentric to a degree, he nevertheless did a world of good, and his life was crowded with marvels. Many facts might be quoted that would tend to show the great knowledge possessed by him, but the few above related will suffice to introduce him to the reader, and to indicate his familarity with the occult side of nature. While he was alive, very few learnt the Vidya from him; now that he is gone for ever, his death is lamented, as is usually the case with the sons of India. Their eyes are at last opened to the injury they have inflicted upon themselves by neglecting a golden opportunity.
The account of his death given in the biography is pathetic, and worth repetition. On the last day of the first fortnight of the month of Chaitra,* in the year 1800 of the Shalivan Era, people suspected that the health of the Swami had begun to fail. While he was sleeping in the afternoon of that day, at the place of Tatya Saheb Subhedar he suddenly got up, and ordered a square, earthen tile which was lying there to be placed on somebody's head. He then went to a tank outside the skirts of the town, followed by a large crowd, as well as by the person who had the earthen tile on his head, and seated himself on the steps of the tank. He afterwards ordered the man to place the earthen tile in water without injuring it, and asked the crowd to make a loud noise.** He then removed to the temple of Murlidhar in the evening until which time he was all right. But at above 9 in the night he had a severe attack of cold and fever. But without communicating the fact to any body he got up early in the morning and went to the burning ground where he showed two or three funeral piles to some of his followers and asked them to remember them. He then directed his footsteps towards the village of Nagannhalli which is about two miles from where he was. And although it was past noon he had taken neither his bath nor meals, but nobody dared ask him do any thing. On his way he rested in a shed reserved for cows. His followers as usual began to prepare him a bed, when he said — "Henceforward I do not require any bed. Burn it on that tree opposite to me." This startled some of his followers, but they did not even suspect that the Swami thereby meant any thing in regard to himself. The next day he returned to Akalkot and stopped under a Vata tree behind the palace of Karjalkar. And notwithstanding that he then suffered from fever, he carried on his conversation in his usual tone. Neither did he show any change in his actions. Shortly afterwards he had an attack of diarraehea, and his appetite failed him. But he did not omit his customary bath., and if any body raised objection to his doing so, on account of his sickness, he answered, "What will your father lose if I die?" He was cured of diarraebea by Hanmantrao Ghorpade, the doctor of the dispensary at Akalkot, but continued to suffer from fever and shortly afterwards had paroxysm of coughing. He was then placed under the treatment of a native doctor named Nana Vaidya, all of whose attempts to cure him failed. If asked not to bathe or expose himself to air, he would pay no attention. Neither could he be persuaded to take the medicine prescribed for him. Two or three days afterwards he began to breathe very hard, and he sank rapidly. But still he made no complaint and he did not permit his outward appearance to show any symptoms of what he internally suffered. When his sickness was at last too apparent to be concealed some of his respectable friends thought it advisable for him to distribute alms before his death. This he did most willingly, himself repeating all the necessary mantrams. He gave, with his hands, his own embroidered shawl to Ramacharya. As his cough increased every moment, he was advised to remove from an open place into the inner part of the house. But all the entreaties of his friends proved in vain. The same answer was repeated to them, At noon on the 13th day of the latter fortnight of the month of Chaitra, he ordered his cows and other animals to be brought before him. He then gave away all the food and clothes offered to him. Seeing that by that time his voice was almost gone, one of his good disciples asked him if he had any instructions to communicate. In reply he repeated the following verse from the Gita: —
He then turned from the left to the right side and ordered himself to be seated. No sooner was the order obeyed than he was. . .!
* The first month of the Hindu year according to the Shalivan Era.
** According to the Hindu customs when any body loses his nearest relation or one he dearly loves, he turns round the dead body and makes a loud noise by pressing his hand against his mouth; such a noise is here meant.
Now, as was above remarked, people have begun to appreciate his greatness. They have erected a sort of a temple on the spot where he breathed his last, to commemorate his memory. But if they had held him fast in their hearts while he was alive, and if they had studied the Vidya with him, then they would have raised themselves above base passions and the pursuit of pleasures, and obtained that kingdom from which the gainer is never dethroned. To such as may ask how he could have assisted them in making themselves masters of self, let the author speak. — "As all the facts mentioned in the book relate to others, it is quite plain that readers would have the author say what may have happened to himself. It would be unjust for him to shrink from relating his own experience in deference to unworthy fears. It is thirteen months since he saw the Swami in his dream, and he does not now feel the infirmities of age. All his senses are in proper order and not decayed by age. By degrees he gains possession of the secret that enables him to control practically the passions which trouble ordinary men. And whenever he cannot, with all his efforts, check any improper desire, he sees, in an inexpressible way, some event which shows that the Swami is determined upon driving all improper thoughts from the author's mind by bringing him face to face with strange events. This is the only experience which the author has had until now of Swami's greatness." — But it suffices to show that the author is in the right path. — D. K. M.
Half way up a peak of the Himalaya Mountains, called Dhavalagiri* by the people inhabiting the place, and the equal of which cannot be found in the whole world, is the temple of Badrinath, one of the four** most sacred places of the Hindus. The place is surrounded by hills, cliffs, ravines and jungles, and produces in abundance 'kand' roots, buds and flowers. Holy men, of whom some keep themselves quite unknown to the world, while others who are known, carry on their sacred pursuits there. The legend about the idol of Badrinath which is at present in the temple is, that it was once thrown away by the Jains; but when Shankaracharya went to that place after putting down the Jains, and when he founded there Jotir Math,*** he had at that time a vision — which is ascribed to that god — to the effect that the said idol was thrown into Narada Kunda from which it should be removed and founded again in its former place. Shankaracharya obeyed his instructions, and, after having inscribed the whole story on a copper-plate, entrusted the whole to the chief worshipper and then went to Kashmere. There are also many stones having various inscriptions which none can read. Near Badrinath are such places as Uttar Kashi (North Benares), Gupta Kashi (Secret Benares), Trijugi Narayan, Gowri Kund, Tungnath, Rudranath, where great ascetics, who are known only to very few persons, perform their holy functions. They have majestic appearances and are objects of great reverence to the ignorant hill-tribes living in the neighbourhood, who fear that these yogis may assume the forms of tigers and eat them up.
* This name is composed of two Sanskrit words — Dhaval, which means white, and giri, a mountain; so called on account of its always appearing very white owing to the existence of ice formed by excessive cold which always prevails on this mountain.
** The four most sacred places of the Hindus are: — (1) Jagannath, in Eastern India; (2) Ramnath, to the South; (3) Dwarkanath, to the West; and (4) Badrinath to the North.
*** Jotir Math is the place mentioned as Joshi Math on page 68 of the Decr. number of the THEOSOPHIST, in the autobiography of Pandit
Dayanund Saraswati Swami. — (ED. THEOS.)
It is said that the yogis named Bham Yogi,[?] Yogchurti[?] Aitwar Gir, Ganga Gir, Somwar Gir, have been performing their holy functions there for the last three hundred years. They eat nothing except 'kand' roots, fruits and flower buds, and reside always in their mountain homes which are inextricable. None but those who are Dnyani**** succeed in having their company. Whenever they have to see any body they fix some time for a meeting, and only those who punctually keep their appointment can see them. There are many such ascetics in that part of the country, and those who want to satisfy their curiosity may go there and see them. But what is said above is known to all who live there.
**** One who has succeeded in obtaining "Dnyana" is called "Dnyani." By the word "Dnyana" is not here meant any knowledge but the knowledge of the mysterions laws of nature and consequently what is obtained by Yog training. Until therefore a person reaches a certain degree of the knowledge of Yog philosophy, he cannot see these Mahatmas. — (ED. THEOS.)
[To be continued.]
In my former paper I pointed out the necessity of conserving forest vegetation on the hills and mountains of this tropical country, where the streams and rivers have their rise. Some of the evils attending the denudation of the slopes of hills and mountains were also mentioned. To destroy the vegetation on these important highlands and thus make them incapable of performing their most important function, namely, the storage of fallen water, is also to destroy the natural irrigation of the country. Yet this is being done. Even where, as on the Western ghats, the annual rainfall is in very many places 250 inches, there the slopes of hills and mountains — the high-level natural reservoirs of the country — have been given for a wretched system of cultivation (called Dulhi or Kumri — by which every atom of tree and plant vegetation is destroyed to produce a scanty crop of inferior grains) at the rate of 6 pice per acre. Yet with 250 inches of rain no less than 25,928 tons of water fall on each acre of land. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of acres of hill and mountain land in each Ghat Talook of this Presidency have been given for such cultivation, and have suffered denudation. And any attempt to again devote these important hill and mountain lands to the purpose originally intended by a beneficent nature, namely, for the production of timber, woods, grass and water, is looked upon by those who are utterly ignorant of the subject as an infringement of the rights of the people. But I assert that herein is a cruel wrong being done to the country and the public at large, and that the suicidal policy being pursued is not only defeating the efforts of nature to naturally irrigate valuable low-lying lands, and the vast plains to the East, but will also assuredly bring serious disasters upon the country and its peoples. Witness as a case — out of many — in point the late disastrous floods in Spain. Here, we learn from European journals, that "A rainfall on the night of October 14th caused the mountain torrents to swell the Rivers Segura and Mundo, in the upper valley of Murcia, the water sweeping over seven leagues around Murcia, reaching Oryhvela and Lorca a little later on the morning of the 15h. In Murcia, a town of 90,000 inhabitants, the greater portion of the suburbs were under water; and more than 1,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. In the province of Murcia more than 500 bodies have been taken out of the water, and 40,000 persons are homeless, sheltering in the churches and public buildings. Hemmed in by mountains and rising ground, the plain for leagues, during fifty hours, seemed like a lake dotted with village roofs and church steeples. Lorca and Oryhvela, towns of 19,000 and 53,000 souls, were more completely inundated than Murcia. The waters then began to fall almost as rapidly as they had risen, leaving behind them a thick coat of mud and detritus over the inundated country." Such are the evils which may be certainly looked for in this country if its hills and mountains are not kept clothed with a strong forest vegetation.
November 22nd, 1879.
In the Lancet, Robert Hamilton, F. R. C. S., Senior Surgeon, Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool, strongly recommends the injection of ammonia into the veins as a means of resuscitation in alcoholic and narcotic poisoning. He having injected with a hypodermic syringe ten drops of ammonia into the medio-cephalic vein of the right arm of a woman in a dying and comatose condition from excessive drinking, the effect was striking; she almost immediately moved and opened her eyes. The pulse, which could not be felt before the operation, became perceptible, and the woman recovered. He mentions also the case of a woman poisoned by drinking carbolic-acid. The case was apparently hopeless, yet this patient also recovered after the injection of ammonia into the veins of the arm.
The fellows of the Theosophical Society throughout the world will be glad to learn that the celebration of its fourth anniversary, at the Bombay head-quarters, was a great success. The large attendance — which included the most influential Natives of Bombay as well as Europeans — the interest manifested, the display of articles illustrative of native technical ingenuity, taste and skill, the opening of the Library, and the successful foundation of the THEOSOPHIST, combine to mark the event as the beginning of an era of usefulness and influence. The limits of these columns prohibiting a full report of the speeches, poem, and the names and contributions of the exhibitors, a pamphlet supplement is preparing in which the whole will be given, including the President's address, which was pronounced superior to any which he has heretofore delivered. This pamphlet will also contain recent modifications of the Rules adopted in General Council at Benares on the 19th of December, ultimo. Swami Dayanund Saraswati was present on this occasion, and the meeting was held at the palace of H. H. the Maharajah of Vizeanagar, where our President, Corresponding Secretary, Librarian, and other Fellows were guests. The price of the pamphlet (annas 4, or six pence, or ten cents) should be remitted to the Librarian of the Society, at Bombay, or to the Secretary of the New York or any branch Society. Meanwhile, the reader may glean an idea of the events of the evening from the following report, which is taken from the Allahabad Pioneer of December 8th.
BOMBAY, 30th November.
The Theosophists held high carnival last evening at their Giroaum head-quarters. Several hundreds of the most influential natives of the city — bankers, merchants, mill-owners, pandits, pleaders, &c. — crowded their compound, and attentively watched the proceedings. The occasion for the gathering was to celebrate the Theosophical Society's fourth anniversary, the opening of its new library, and the foundation of the THEOSOPHIST. Gorgeous cards, artistically printed in gold and black — both design and execution very creditable to the Society — had bidden the guests to the meeting; there was a profusion of lamps, Chinese lanterns and flags, a great arch of gas jets, on which the word "Welcome" appeared in letters of fire, and a seven-pointed star blazed above its crown, high in the air. From a concealed place not far away came the musical strains of a military band of twenty pieces. The whole compound was carpeted and filled with chairs, the front row being reserved for the more important personages. The verandah of the library bungalow, served as a sort of private box of the speakers of the evening and gentlemen accompanied by their wives. A more motley audience could scarcely be imagined, so varied the races, complexions and costumes. The Parsee and Brahman, the Jain and Mussalman, the Christian and Heathen side by side, and Vishnavite and Sivaite observing for the time a benevolent neutrality. The scene was, in short, a picturesque and interesting one, and indicated that the busy Theosophists have already created a wide interest in their doings.
The evening's programme embraced the three features of addresses, a display of working models of machinery by native mechanics, and an exhibition of native industrial products in the library hall. The speakers were Colonel H. S. Olcott, President of the Society; Rao Bahadur Gopalrao Hurri Deshmuk, late Joint Judge at Poona; Mr. Nowrozji Furdoonji, Municipal Councillor of Bombay; Kashinath Trimbuk Telang, M.A., LL.B., the Orientalist and Shantaram Narayen, Esq., Pleader. A fine poem in Guzerati, written for the occasion, was read by the author, who is known more widely as "The Guzerati Poet" than under his own name. Colonel Olcott's address was an eloquent review of the Society's work before and since the arrival of his party in India, and was received with great applause. He disclosed the important fact that the plan of the Society embraced good honest work for the improvement of the material condition of his adopted countrymen, the Hindus, quite as distinctly as Oriental research and the revival of Aryan mystical science. They had not only founded a journal to serve as an organ for the dissemination of the fruits of Hindu scholarship, but also a workshop with machines of various kinds, in which to manufacture Indian goods for export. The invitation card of the evening, whose equal could not be turned out from any existing lithographic press of Bombay, Calcutta or Madras, had to a large degree been printed by a young Parsee, taught by his colleague, Mr. Edward Wimbridge, within the past six weeks. Adopting, as he — Colonel Olcott had — India as his country and her people as his people, it was his sacred duty to do all that lay within his power to promote the physical welfare of the teeming millions of this Peninsula, no less than to humbly second the efforts of that great Aryan of our times, Swami Dayanund Saraswati, for the revival of Vedic monotheism and the study of Yoga. The address will be printed.
At the conclusion of the speeches, and after the reading of the Guzerati poem, the library doors were thrown open and the visitors thronged into the apartment. Considering that the whole exhibition had been organized within one week, the result was very creditable. Two large book-cases were filled with splendid specimens of the sandal wood carvings and mosaics of Surat, Ahmedabad and Bombay, the dressed figures peculiar to Poona, toys from Benares and special exhibits of knives, rings, steel boxes and brass padlocks from the Pandharpur School of Industry and from a Baroda artisan named Venkati. The opposite wall was hung with embroidered robes and dresses from Kashmir, examples of the famous shawl industry of that country; gold-bordered muslin dhotis from Bengal, &c. Tables at the ends and down the centre of the room were spread with a great array of brass-ware in repoussee; enamelled and inlaid bronze vessels of all sorts, carved marble gods; a palki and a temple in pith; boxes of agate, gold-stone, and cornelian articles from Agra; and a puzzle-box, made by a common native carpenter, yet so ingeniously constructed as to baffle every attempt to open it until its secret was discovered. There was a perpetual fountain for sending up jets of perfume, made by a Cutchee mechanic, named Vishram Jetha, who also exhibited a working model of a steam engine, made by himself, which drove a tiny grist-mill, circular saw, drill, and force pump. Altogether it was a most enjoyable occasion, and must go far towards winning good opinions for the the Theosophical Society. Before dismissing the company, Colonel Olcott announced that he was in conference with the Hon'ble Morarji Golkuldas, Sir Mangaldas Nathoobhoy, Mr. Mathuradas Lowji, and other leading Natives to organize a permanent Industrial Exhibition Committee, to hold at least one fair in Bombay each year.
On the 2nd of December the President, Corresponding Secretary, and Librarian left Bombay for Allahabad on business, and remained there until on the 15th they went to Benares to meet and confer with Swami Dayanund. While at Allahabad Col. Olcott accepted an invitation from a committee of native gentlemen, represented by Pandit Sunder Lal, of the Post Master General's Office, to deliver an address upon the Theosophical Society and its relations to India. Mr. Hume, C. B., a distinguished member of the Viceregal Government, occupied the chair and an overflowing audience filled the largest hall in the city. The Pioneer of the 16th ultimo contained the subjoined account of the proceedings.
A Public address was delivered on Saturday afternoon at the Mayo Hall, by Colonel Olcott, the President of this Society, before a large audience of Natives and Europeans.
The chair was taken by Mr. A. O. Hume, C.B.
The Chairman said: — Ladies and Gentlemen, — It now becomes my duty to introduce to you Colonel Henry S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society, who has kindly consented to submit for your consideration a brief explanation of the leading aims and objects of the Society he represents. I myself unfortunately as yet know too little of this Society to permit of my saying much about it. What little I know has been gleaned from the first three numbers of the THEOSOPHIST, a most interesting journal, published by the Society at Bombay, and from a few all too brief conversations with Colonel Olcott and the Corresponding Secretary of the Society, Madame Blavatsky. But this much I have gathered about the Society, viz., that one primary and fundamental object of its existence is the institution of a sort of brotherhood in which, sinking all distinctions of race and nationality, caste and creed, all good and earnest men, all who love science, all who love truth, all who love their fellow men, may meet as brethren, and labour hand in hand in the cause of enlightenment and progress. Whether this noble idea is ever likely to germinate and grow into practical fruition; whether this glorious dream, shared in by so many of the greatest minds in all ages, is ever destined to emerge from the shadowy realms of Utopia into the broad sunlight of the regions of reality, let no one now pretend to decide. Many and marvellous are the changes and developments that the past has witnessed; the impossibilities of one age have become the truisms of the next, and who shall venture to predict that the future may not have as many surprises for mankind as has had the past, and that this may not be one amongst them? Be the success, however, great or little of those who strive after this grand ideal, one thing we know that no honest efforts for the good of our fellowmen are ever wholly fruitless; it may be long before that fruit ripens, the workers may have passed away long ere the world discerns the harvest for which they wrought; nay, the world itself may never realize what has been done for it, but the good work itself remains, imperishable, everlasting; they who wrought it have necessarily been by such efforts purified and exalted; the community in which they lived and toiled has inevitably benefited directly or indirectly, and through it the world at large. On this ground, if on no other, we must necessarily sympathize with the Theosophists; they may have other aims and objects in which we may not so entirely identify ourselves, but in this their desire to break down all artificial barriers between the various sections of mankind and unite all good and true men and women in one band, labouring for the good of their fellows, our whole hearts must go with them, and you will all, I am sure, listen with interest and pleasure to an exposition of other branches of the Society's aims and aspirations from so distinguished a member, so able a representative of the Theosophical Society as Colonel Olcott, who will now address you.
Colonel Olcott, then coming forward, spoke as follows: — Before taking up the thread of my discourse, I will advert to one remark made by the distinguished gentleman who honours me by occupying the chair. The Theosophical Society was not organized to fight Christianity especially, nor is it a propaganda of any one religious sect. It is a society of seekers after truth, and pledged to the work of disseminating whatever truths it discovers, whether in religion, philosophy, or science. If in the progress of this work it encounters obstacles, it will try to remove them, no matter by whom they may be interposed. Its history is the best evidence that can be given of the nature of its labors, and the fidelity with which it has kept the pledges made in its behalf in the first instance. To their history I now invite attention.
The speaker then sketched the rise and progress of the Theosophical Society. It originated at New York, America, in the year 1875, as the result of a private lecture at the house of Madam Blavatsky upon Egyptian Geometry and Hieroglyphics; the small company of intelligent persons present on that occasion coming to the unanimous conviction that the secrets of Egypt, and especially of India, could only be learned with the co-operation of native scholars. The results of Western Orientalism were unsatisfactory, for European scholars, lacking the intimate knowledge of the spirit of Eastern literature, were not agreed as to the meaning of ancient philosophers and authors. A great agitation prevailed throughout Christendom as to the deeper questions of religion and science. The materialistic drift of the public mind was encountered by the phenomena of so-called modern spiritualism. An eager wish to know something positive about nature and its mysteries, man and his obvious and latent faculties, about God, and about human destiny, prevailed. The organizers of the Theosophical Society were of various shades of belief — some, spiritualists, veteran investigators, but not satisfied with the explanation given of their phenomena; some, men of science, who wished to learn the mystery of life, and discover what force moved the atoms in space and caused them to aggregate into worlds, and then evolved the myriad forms of being that inhabited them; others were simply weary of the old theological system, and wished to learn what India could teach them that was better. The Society being organised, and having put forth its programme, was bitterly assailed by a hundred critics. Caricature, sarcasm, slander, and invective were employed, but it kept steadily at work and prospered. Many mere wonder-seekers who at first joined it in the hope that they might see greater miracles worked by Eastern magic than they had by Western mediums, dropped off upon discovering their mistake. But others took their places: correspondents wrote from all parts of the world to express their sympathy. Great scientists, like Edison of America, joined, while others like Professor W. B. Carpenter opposed. Ladies of refinement and high rank enrolled themselves as fellows. Experience at last showed that to be successful in the study of occult science, the Society itself must be reorganized on a basis of confidential relations, each pledged to the other not to betray confidences imparted respecting their individual successes in occult study. These and the grip and other signs of recognition, were the only secrets the Society ever had. Politics never interested its fellows nor occupied their thoughts in the slightest degree. At last, he, Colonel Olcott, came to India with two English colleagues, and their learned Corresponding Secretary, Madam Blavatsky. They came expecting only to study Eastern religion and Yoga Vidya, and report their discoveries to the Western Theosophists. But they found themselves obliged to turn teachers as well. Hindu youth were as ignorant of ancient Aryan literature, religion and science as European youth; they, alas! did not even know what the Vedas contain. So the Theosophists laid out a new course of action in addition to their original plan; they were already in a close alliance with the Arya Samaj and its great Founder, Swami Dayanand Sariswati, to revive Aryan religion and the study of Sanskrit; they now arranged to co-operate in every scheme to found technological schools in India. On the 29th ultimo, they had held the fourth anniversary meeting of the Society, at Bombay, and besides addresses in different languages by native gentlemen, there had been a highly interesting and important exhibition of specimens of Hindu art and ingenuity. Colonel Olcott had also opened negotiations with influential Bombay gentlemen to found a permanent Exhibition Society or Institute for the holding of an industrial exhibition once a year. The Society has founded a monthly journal for the circulation of the writings of Native and European Orientalists; it has opened a library at Bombay; it is about instituting a course of weekly lectures on mesmerism and other branches of occult science; and, just before leaving Bombay, they had received a proposal to assist in the employment of a certain fund subscribed by natives for the foundation of a school of industry. In the course of his remarks the speaker gave a very interesting definition of the two methods of psychical development known as Hata Yoga and Raja Yoga, from which it appeared that the former is a species of bodily training to develop will-power by the self-infliction of physical pain, and the latter, an evolution of the interior faculties of the Soul by the intelligent concentration of the ascetic's vitality and mental force upon the inner man. Until European men of science comprehend the results that may be achieved by these two systems, they will never know the vast possibilities of the living man. At present "Psychology" is but a name, and the so-called science which they have thus christened only empirical guess-work.
At the conclusion many native gentlemen pressed forward to express their interest and gratification with the address, and arrangements were made on the spot for a public meeting of welcome to the Theosophists upon their return from Benares, whither they have gone to spend a week with Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
Section 2 (1:4)