NOTES ON "A HINDU CHELA'S DIARY"
The series called "A Hindu Chela's Diary" was published by William Q. Judge in four parts in The Path, beginning in June, 1886. It was a specially attractive and significant feature in his then recently started magazine, and has commanded the attention of earnest Theosophical aspirants for light and wisdom ever since. It contains rare glimpses of the relationship between an 'accepted chela' and his Guru described as plainly as was permissible by one who was receiving instruction while living a normal and very busy life in the outer world.
W. Q. Judge did not publish the name of the Hindu chela whose experiences are described in the 'Diary,' but from the Letters addressed to Judge and preserved in the archives of the Theosophical Society (Point Loma) which are reproduced in Chapter V of this volume, it is clear that the chela was none other than Damodar K. Mavalankar.
Comparison of the contents of the above-mentioned letters with the contents of the 'Diary' shows that the latter was far more than a mere record of certain events in their natural order. It was a piece of skilful literary workmanship, in which facts described in the letters and others not mentioned therein were woven into a record of enthralling interest. Certain incidents described in the 'Diary' are omitted or only casually referred to in the letters, and vice versa.
In regard to the authorship, the letters are of course by Damodar, and are plain statements of fact, including the real names of persons mentioned written as from one chela to another with open heart and profound sincerity and impersonality. As to the 'Diary,' we have no definite evidence of authorship. It may have been written entirely by Damodar from his own recollections modified sufficiently to conceal his personality, but it seems more likely that W. Q. Judge compiled and reconstructed the material supplied by Damodar, for at the end of the 'Diary' the editor ("Trans.") says he was left with discretion to give out certain matters. Probably there was another letter (or letters) now lost, from which Judge derived information, because Damodar refers in one place to a fact (the Council Room) evidently familiar to Judge but not previously mentioned in the letters. W. Q. Judge received the letters more than five years before he published the 'Diary.' Damodar says on January 24, 1880, that he was admitted into the Society about six months earlier, and the writer of the 'Diary' says that it is about seven months since he began to listen to Kunala. Who was Kunala?
This leads to the question of identification of the Hindu names given in the 'Diary' with the names given in the letters, an easy task in nearly every case.
"A certain X," living at Benares was Maji or Majji. Swamiji K. was Pandit Dayanand Saraswati Swamiji. Vishnurama was Pandit Mohunlal Vishnulal Pandea. The English 'officer' is A. P. Sinnett. The Rest House "in B." is in Ceylon. Kunala is certainly H. P. Blavatsky, but the name also appears in connection with some occult experiences in Ceylon, where 'Kunala' appears to have been overshadowed by, or at least taken on the appearance of, one of the Masters, probably the Mahatman Morya, H. P. Blavvatsky's Guru, who is said to spend much of his time in Ceylon. 'Nilakant' in one place is also H. P. Blavatsky, but in the other two references may be Damodar himself. The latter are the two occult letters received by the chela. They are prefaced by the word 'Nilakant' as if addressing him by name. — C. J. RYAN
The original MS. of this Diary as far as it goes is in our possession. The few introductory lines are by the friend who communicated the matter to us. — [ED.]
In the month of December he arrived at Benares, on what he hoped would be his last pilgrimage. As much as I am able to decipher of this curious manuscript, written in a mixture of Tamil — the South Indian language — with Mahratta, which, as you know, is entirely dissimilar, shows that he had made many pilgrimages to India's sacred places, whether by mere impulse or upon actual direction, I know not. If he had been only any ordinary religiously disposed Hindu we might be able to come to some judgment hereupon, for the pilgrimages might have been made in order to gain merit, but as he must long ago have risen above the flowery chains of even the Vedas, we cannot really tell for what reason these journeys were made. Although, as you know, I have long had possession of these papers, the time had not until now seemed ripe to give them out. He had, when I received them, already long passed away from these busy scenes to those far busier, and now I give you liberty to print the fragmentary tale without description of his person. These people are, you know, not disposed to have accurate descriptions of themselves floating about. They being real disciples, never like to say that they are, a manner quite contrary to that of those famed professors of occult science who opportunely or inopportunely declare their supposed chelaship from the house top.
* * * "Twice before have I seen these silent temples standing by the rolling flood of sacred Ganges. They have not changed, but in me what changes have occurred! And yet that cannot be, for the I changeth not, but only the veil wrapped about, is either torn away or more closely and thickly folded round to the disguising of the reality. * * * It is now seven months since I began to use the privilege of listening to Kunala. Each time before, that I came to see him, implacable fate drove me back. It was Karma, the just law, which compels when we would not, that prevented me. Had I faltered then and returned to the life then even so far in the past, my fate in this incarnation would have been sealed — and he would have said nothing. Why? Happy was I that I knew the silence would have not indicated in him any loss of interest in my welfare, but only that the same Karma prevented interference. Very soon after first seeing him I felt that he was not what he appeared exteriorly to be. Then the feeling grew into a belief within a short time so strong that four or five times I thought of throwing myself at his feet and begging him to reveal himself to me. But I thought that was useless, as I knew that I was quite impure and could not be trusted with that secret. If I remained silent I thought that he would confide to me whenever he found me worthy of it. I thought he must be some great Hindu Adept who had assumed that illusionary form. But there this difficulty arose, for I knew that he received letters from various relatives in different parts, and this would compel him to practice the illusion all over the globe, for some of those relatives were in other countries, where he had been too. Various explanations suggested themselves to me. * * * I was right in my original conception of Kunala that he is some great Indian Adept. Of this subject I constantly talked with him since —— although I fear I am not, and perhaps shall not be in this life worthy of their company. My inclination has always been in this direction. I always thought of retiring from this world and giving myself up to devotion. To Kunala I often expressed this intention, so that I might study this philosophy, which alone can make man happy in this world. But then he usually asked me what I would do there alone? He said that instead of gaining my object I might perhaps become insane by being left alone in the jungles with no one to guide me; that I was foolish enough to think that by going into the jungles I could fall in with an adept; and that if I really wanted to gain my object I should have to work in the reform in and through which I had met so many good men and himself also, and when the Higher Ones, whom I dare not mention by any other names, were satisfied with me they themselves would call me away from the busy world and teach me in private. And when I foolishly asked him many times to give me the names and addresses of some of those Higher Ones he said once to me: 'One of our Brothers has told me that as you are so much after me I had better tell you once for all that I have no right to give you any information about them, but if you go on asking Hindus you meet what they know about the matter you might hear of them, and one of those Higher Ones may perhaps throw himself in your way without your knowing him, and will tell you what you should do.' These were orders, and I knew I must wait, and still I knew that through Kunala only would I have my object fulfilled. * * *
"I then asked one or two of my own countrymen, and one of them said he had seen two or three such men, but that they were not quite what he thought to be 'Raj Yogs.' He also said he had heard of a man who had appeared several times in Benares, but that nobody knew where he lived. My disappointment grew more bitter, but I never lost the firm confidence that Adepts do live in India and can still be found among us. No doubt too there are a few in other countries, else why had Kunala been to them. * * * In consequence of a letter from Vishnurama, who said that a certain X [I find it impossible to decipher this name] lived in Benares, and that Swamiji K knew him. However, for certain reasons I could not address Swamiji K directly, and when I asked him if he knew X he replied: "If there be such a man here at all he is not known." Thus evasively on many occasions he answered me, and I saw that all my expectations in going to Benares were only airy castles. I thought I had gained only the
consolation that I was doing a part of my duty. So I wrote again to Nilakant: "As directed by you I have neither let him know what I know of him nor what my own intentions are. He seems to think that in this I am working to make money, and as yet I have kept him in the dark as regards myself, and am myself groping in the dark. Expecting enlightenment from you, etc." * * * The other day Nilakant came suddenly here and I met Sw. K. and him together, when to my surprise K at once mentioned X, saying he knew him well and that he often came to see him, and then he offered to take us there. But just as we were going, arrived at the place an English officer who had done Kunala a service in some past time. He had in some way heard of X and was permitted to come. Such are the complications of Karma. It was absolutely necessary that he should go too, although no doubt his European education would never permit him to more than half accept the doctrine of Karma, so interwoven backward and forwards in our lives,
both those now, that past and that to come. At the interview with X, I could gain nothing, and so we came away. The next day came X to see us. He never speaks of himself, but as 'this body.' He told me that he had first been in the body of a Fakir, who, upon having his hand disabled by a shot he received while he passed the fortress of Bhurtpore, had to change his body and choose another, the one he was now in. A child of about seven years of age was dying at that time, and so, before the complete physical death, this Fakir had entered the body and afterwards used it as his own. He is, therefore, doubly not what he seems to be. As a Fakir he had studied Yoga science for 65 years, but that study having been arrested at the time he was disabled, leaving him unequal to the task he had to perform, he had to choose this other one. In his present body he is 53 years, and consequently the inner X is 118 years old. * * * In the night I heard him talking with Kunala, and found that each had the same Guru, who
himself is a very great Adept, whose age is 300 years, although in appearance he seems to be only 40. [there is a peculiarity in this, that all accounts of Cagliostro, St. Germain and other Adepts, give the apparent age as forty only. — [ED.]] He will in a few centuries enter the body of a Kshatriya [the warrior caste of India] and do some great deeds for India, but the time had not yet come."
"Yesterday I went with Kunala to look at the vast and curious temples left here by our forefathers. Some are in ruins, and others only showing the waste of time. What a difference between my appreciation of these buildings now, with Kunala to point out meanings I never saw, and that which I had when I saw them upon my first pilgrimage, made so many years ago with my father." * * * * *
A large portion of the MS. here, although written in the same characters as the rest, has evidently been altered in some way by the writer, so as to furnish clues meant for himself. It might be deciphered by a little effort, but I must respect his desire to keep those parts of it which are thus changed, inviolate. It seems that some matters are here jotted down relating to secret things, or at least, to things that he desired should not be understood at a glance. So I will write out what small portion of it as might be easily told without breaking any confidences.
It is apparent that he had often been before to the holy city of Benares, and had merely seen it as a place of pilgrimage for the religious. Then, in his sight, those famous temples were only temples. But now he found, under the instruction of Kunala, that every really ancient building in the whole collection had been constructed with the view to putting into imperishable stone, the symbols of a very ancient religion. Kunala, he says, told him, that although the temples were made when no supposition of the ordinary people of those eras leaned toward the idea that nations could ever arise who would be ignorant of the truths then universally known, or that darkness would envelop the intellect of men, there were many Adepts then well known to the rulers and to the people. They were not yet driven by inexorable fate to places remote from civilization, but lived in the temples, and while not holding temporal power, they exercised a moral sway which was far greater than any sovereignty of earth.* And they knew that the time would come when the heavy influence of the dark age would make men to have long forgotten even that such beings had existed, or that any doctrines other than the doctrine based on the material rights of mine and thine, had ever been held. If the teachings were left simply to either paper or papyrus or parchment, they would be easily lost, because of that decay which is natural to vegetable or animal membrane. But stone lasts, in an easy climate, for ages. So these Adepts, some of them here and there being really themselves Maha Rajahs, (King or Ruler) caused the temples to be built in forms, and with such symbolic ornaments, that future races might decipher doctrines from them. In this, great wisdom, he says, is apparent, for to have carved them with sentences in the prevailing language would have defeated the object, since languages also change, and as great a muddle would have resulted as in the case of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, unless a key stone had also been prepared; but that itself might be lost, or in its own turn be unintelligible. The ideas underneath symbols do not alter, no matter what might be the language, and symbols are clear immortally, because they are founded in nature itself. In respect to this part of the matter, he writes down that Kunala informed him that the language used then was not Sanscrit, but a far older one now altogether unknown in the world.
*In the ancient Aztec civilization in Mexico, the Sacerdotal order was very numerous. At the head of the whole establishment were two high priests, elected from the order, solely for their qualifications, as shown by their previous conduct in a subordinate station. They were equal in dignity and inferior only to the sovereign, who rarely acted without their advice in weighty matters of private concern. (Sahagun Hist. de Nueva Espana, lib. 2; lib. 3 cap. 9 — Torq. Mon. Ind. lib. 8 cap. 20; lib. 9, cap. 3, 56; cited by Prescott in vol. 1, Conq. Mex. p. 66).
From a detached sentence in the MS., it is shadowed out that Kunala referred to a curious building put up many years ago in another part of India and now visible, by which he illustrated the difference between an intelligent construction and unintelligent one. This building was the product of the brain of a Chandala [a low caste man, e. g., a sweeper. Such a building can now be seen at Bijapur, India. — ED.], who had been enriched through a curious freak. The Rajah had been told upon some event occurring, by his astrologers, that he must give an immense sum of money to the first person he saw next day, they intending to present themselves at an early hour. Next day, at an [un]usually early season, the Rajah arose, looked out of the window, and beheld this Chandala. Calling his astrologers and council together and the poor sweeper into his presence, he presented him with lacs upon lacs of rupees, and with the money the Chandala built a granite building having immense monolithic chains hanging down from its four corners. Its only symbology was, the change of the chains of fate; from poor low caste to high rich low caste. Without the story the building tells us nothing.
But the symbols of the temple, not only those carved on them, but also their conjuncture, need no story nor knowledge of any historical events. Such is the substance of what he writes down as told him by Kunala. He says also that this symbology extends not only to doctrines and cosmology, but also to laws of the human constitution, spiritual and material. The explanation of this portion, is contained in the altered and cryptic parts of the MS. He then goes on:
* * * "Yesterday, just after sunset, while Kunala and X were talking, Kunala suddenly seemed to go into an unusual condition, and about ten minutes afterwards a large quantity of malwa flowers fell upon us from the ceiling.
"I must now go to ------ and do that piece of business which he ordered done. My duty is clear enough, but how am I to know if I shall perform it properly. * * * When I was there and after I had finished my work and was preparing to return here, a wandering fakir met me and asked if he could find from me the proper road to Karli. I directed him, and he then put to me some questions that looked as if he knew what had been my business; he also had a very significant look upon his face, and several of his questions were apparently directed to getting me to tell him a few things Kunala had told me just before leaving Benares with an injunction of secrecy. The questions did not on the face show that, but were in the nature of inquiries regarding such matters, that if I had not been careful, I would have violated the injunction. He then left me saying: 'you do not know me but we may see each other.' * * * I got back last night and saw only X, to whom I related the incident with the fakir, and he said that, 'it was none other than Kunala himself using that fakir's body who had said those things, and if you were to see that fakir again he would not remember you and would not be able to repeat his questions, as he was for the time being taken possession of for the purpose, by Kunala, who often performs such things.' I then asked him if in that case Kunala had really entered the fakir's body, as I have a strange reluctance toward asking Kunala such questions, and X replied that if I meant to ask if he had really and in fact entered the fakir's person, the answer was no, but that if I meant to ask if Kunala had overcome that fakir's senses, substituting his own, the answer was, yes; leaving me to make my own conclusions. * * * I was fortunate enough yesterday to be shown the process pursued in either entering an empty body, or in using one which has its own occupant. I found that in both cases it was the same, and the information was also conveyed that a Bhut [an obsessing astral shell; the Hindus consider them to be the reliquiae of deceased persons. — ED.] goes through just the same road in taking command of the body or senses of those unfortunate women of my country who sometimes are possessed by them. And the Bhut also sometimes gets into possession of a part only of the obsessed person's body, such as an arm or a hand, and this they do by influencing that part of the brain that has relation with that arm or hand; in the same way with the tongue and other organs of speech. With any person but Kunala I would not have allowed my own body to be made use of for the experiment. But I felt perfectly safe, that he would not only let me in again, but also that he would not permit any stranger, man or gandharba [nature spirit or elemental], to come in after him. We went to —— and he * * The feeling was that I had suddenly stepped out into freedom. He was beside me and at first I thought he had but begun. But he directed me to look, and there on the mat I saw my body, apparently unconscious. As I looked * * * the body of myself, opened its eyes and arose. It was then superior to me, for Kunala's informing power moved and directed it. It seemed to even speak to me. Around it, attracted to it by those magnetic influences, wavered and moved astral shapes, that vainly tried to whisper in the ear or to enter by the same road. In vain! They seemed to be pressed away by the air or surroundings of Kunala. Turning to look at him, and expecting to see him in a state of samadhi, he was smiling as if nothing, or at the very most, but a part, of his power had been taken away * * * another instant and I was again myself, the mat felt cool to my touch, the bhuts were gone, and Kunala bade me rise.
"He has told me to go to the mountains of —— where —— and —— usually live, and that even if I were not to see any body the first time, the magnetized air in which they live would do me much good. They do not generally stop in one place, but always shift from one place to another. They, however, all meet together on certain days of the year in a certain place near Bhadrinath, in the northern part of India. He reminded me that as India's sons are becoming more and more wicked, those adepts have gradually been retiring more and more toward the north, to the Himalaya mountains. * * * Of what a great consequence is it for me to be always with Kunala. And now X tells me this same thing that I have always felt. All along I have felt and do still feel strongly that I have been once his most obedient and humble disciple in a former existence. All my hopes and future plans are therefore centred in him. My journey therefore to up country has done me one good, that of strengthening my belief, which is the chief foundation on which the grand structure is to be built. * * * As I was walking past the end of Ramalinga's compound holding a small lamp of European make, and while there was no wind, the light three several times fell low. I could not account for it. Both Kunala and X were far away. But in another moment, the light suddenly went out altogether, and as I stopped, the voice of revered Kunala, who I supposed was many miles away, spoke to me, and I found him standing there. For one hour we talked; and he gave me good advice, although I had not asked it — thus it is always that when I go fearlessly forward and ask for nothing I get help at an actual critical moment — he then blessed me and went away. Nor could I dare to look in what direction. In that conversation, I spoke of the light going down and wanted an explanation, but he said I had nothing to do with it. I then said I wanted to know, as I could explain it in two ways, viz: 1st, that he did it himself, or 2d, that some one else did it for him. He replied, that even if it were done by somebody else, no Yogee will do a thing unless he sees the desire in another Yogee's mind.* The significance of this drove out of my mind all wish to know who did it, whether himself, or an elemental or another person, for it is of more importance for me to know even a part of the laws governing such a thing, than it is to know who puts those laws into operation. Even some blind concatenation of nature might put such natural forces in effect in accordance with the same laws, so that a knowledge that nature did it would be no knowledge of any consequence.
* This sentence is of great importance. The Occidental mind delights much more in effects, personalities and authority, than in seeking for causes, just as many Theosophists have with persistency sought to know when and where Madame Blavatsky did some feat in magic, rather than in looking for causes or laws governing the production of phenomena. In this italicized sentence is the clue to many things, for those who can see. — [ED.]
[A footnote to the title of the section appearing in The Path for August, 1886, reads: "In reply to several inquiries as to the meaning of Chela, we answer that it here means an accepted disciple of an Adept. The word, in general, means, Disciple." — EDS.]
"I have always felt and still feel strongly that I have already once studied this sacred philosophy with Kunala, and that I must have been, in a previous life, his most obedient and humble disciple. This must have been a fact, or else how to account for the feelings created in me when I first met him, although no special or remarkable circumstances were connected with that event. All my hopes and plans are centred in him, and nothing in the world can shake my confidence in him especially when several of my Brahmin acquaintances tell me the same things without previous consultation. * *
"I went to the great festival of Durga yesterday, and spent nearly the whole day looking in the vast crowd of men, women, children and mendicants for some of Kunala's friends, for he once told me to never be sure that they were not near me, but I found none who seemed to answer my ideas. As I stood by the ghaut at the river side thinking that perhaps I was left alone to try my patience, an old and apparently very decrepit Bairagee plucked my sleeve and said: 'Never expect to see any one, but always be ready to answer if they speak to you; it is not wise to peer outside of yourself for the great followers of Vasudeva: look rather within.'
"This amazed me, as I was expecting him to beg or to ask me for information. Before my wits returned, he had with a few steps mingled with a group of people, and in vain searched I for him: he had disappeared. But the lesson is not lost.
"To-morrow I return to I------.
"Very wearying indeed in a bodily sense was the work of last week and especially of last evening, and upon laying down on my mat last night after continuing work far into the night I fell quickly sound asleep. I had been sleeping some hour or two when with a start I awoke to find myself in perfect solitude and only the horrid howling of the jackals in the jungle to disturb me. The moon was brightly shining and I walked over to the window of this European modeled house threw it open and looked out. Finding that sleep had departed, I began again on those palm leaves. Just after I had begun, a tap arrested my attention and I opened the door. Overjoyed was I then to see Kunala standing there, once more unexpected.
"'Put on your turban and come with me,' he said and turned away.
"Thrusting my feet into my sandals, and catching up my turban, I hurried after him, afraid that the master would get beyond me, and I remain unfortunate at losing some golden opportunity.
"He walked out into the jungle and turned into an unfrequented path. The jackals seemed to recede into the distance; now and then in the mango trees overhead, the flying foxes rustled here and there, while I could distinctly hear the singular creeping noise made by a startled snake as it drew itself hurriedly away over the leaves. Fear was not in my breast for master was in front. He at last came to a spot that seemed bare of trees, and bending down, seemed to press his hand into the grass. I then saw that a trap door or entrance to a stairway very curiously contrived, was there. Stairs went down into the earth. He went down and I could but follow. The door closed behind me, yet it was not dark. Plenty of light was there, but where it came from I cared not then nor can I now, tell. It reminded me of our old weird tales told us in youth of pilgrims going down to the land of the Devas where, although no sun was seen, there was plenty of light.
"At the bottom of the stairs was a passage. Here I saw people but they did not speak to me and appeared not to even see me although their eyes were directed at me. Kunala said nothing but walked on to the end, where there was a room in which were many men looking as grand as he does but two more awful, one of whom sat at the extreme end."
* * * * *
[Here there is a confused mass of symbols and ciphers which I confess I cannot decipher, and even if I had the ability to do so, I would check myself, because I surmise that it is his own way of jotting down for his own remembrance, what occurred in that room. Nor do I think that even a plain reading of it would give the sense to any one but the writer himself, for this reason, that it is quite evidently fragmentary. For instance, I find among the rest, a sort of notation of a division of states or planes: whether of consciousness, of animated, or of elemental life, I cannot tell — and in each division are hieroglyphs that might stand for animals, or denizens of the astral world, or for anything else — even for ideas only, so I will proceed at the place of his returning.]
"Once more I got out into the passage, but never to my knowledge went up those steps, and in a moment more was I again at my door. It was as I left it, and on the table I found the palm leaves as I dropped them, except that beside them was a note in Kunala's hand, which read:
" 'Nilakant — strive not yet to think too deeply on those things you have just seen. Let the lessons sink deep into your heart, and they will have their own fruition. Tomorrow I will see you.' * * * *
"What a very great blessing is mine to have had Kunala's company for so many days even as we went to ------. Very rarely however he said a few words of encouragement and good advice as to how I should go on. He seems to leave me as to that to pick my own way. This is right, I think, because otherwise one would never get any individual strength or power of discrimination. Happy were those moments, when alone at midnight, we then had conversation. How true I then found the words of the Agroushada Parakshai to be:
" 'Listen while the Sudra sleeps like the dog under his hut, while the Vaysa dreams of the treasures that he is hoarding up, while the Rajah sleeps among his women. This is the moment when just men, who are not under the dominion of their flesh, commence the study of the sciences.' (See Agroushada Parakshai, 2d book, 23d dialogue.)
"The midnight hour must have powers of a peculiar nature. And I learned yesterday from glancing into an Englishman's book, that even those semi barbarians speak of that time as 'the witching hour,' and it is told me that among them 'witching' means to have magic power. * * *
"We stopped at the Rest House in B----- yesterday evening, but found it occupied and so we remained in the porch for the night. But once more I was to be blessed by another visit with Kunala to some of his friends whom I revere and who will I hope bless me too.
"When every one had quieted down he told me to go with him to the sea which was not far away. We walked for about three quarters of an hour by the seashore, and then entered as if into the sea. At first a slight fear came into me, but I saw that a path seemed to be there, although water was all around us. He in front and I following, we went for about seven minutes, when we came to a small island; on it was a building and on top of that a triangular light. From the sea shore, the island would seem like an isolated spot covered all over by green bushes. There is only one entrance to go inside. And no one can find it out unless the occupant wishes the seeker to find the way. On the island we had to go round about for some space before we came in front of the actual building. There is a little garden in front and there was sitting another friend of Kunala with the same expression of the eyes as he has. I also recognized him as one of those who was in the room underground. Kunala seated himself and I stood before them. We stayed an hour and saw a portion of the place. How very pleasant it is! And inside he has a small room where he leaves his body when he himself moves about in other places. What a charming spot, and what a delightful smell of roses and various sorts of flowers! How I should wish to visit that place often. But I cannot indulge in such idle dreams, nor in that sort of covetousness. The master of the place put his blessing hand upon my head, and we went away back to the Rest House and to the morrow full of struggles and of encounters with men who do not see the light, nor hear the great voice of the future; who are bound up in sorrow because they are firmly attached to objects of sense. But all are my brothers and I must go on trying to do the master's work which is only in fact the work of the Real Self which is All and in All.
"I have been going over that message I received just after returning from the underground room, about not thinking yet too deeply upon what I saw there, but to let the lessons sink deep into my heart. Can it be true — must it not indeed be true — that we have periods in our development when rest must be taken for the physical brain in order to give it time as a much less comprehensive machine than these English college professors say it is, to assimilate what it has received, while at the same time the real brain — as we might say, the spiritual brain — is carrying on as busily as ever all the trains of thought cut off from the head. Of course this is contrary to this modern science we hear so much about now as about to be introduced into all Asia, but it is perfectly consistent for me.
"To reconsider the situation: I went with Kunala to this underground place, and there saw and heard most instructive and solemn things. I return to my room and begin to puzzle over them all, to revolve and re-revolve them in my mind, with a view to clearing all up and finding out what all may mean. But I am interrupted by a note from Kunala directing me to stop this puzzling, and to let all I saw sink deep into my heart. Every word of his I regard with respect, and consider to hold a meaning, being never used by him with carelessness. So when he says, to let it sink into my 'heart,' in the very same sentence where he refers to my thinking part — the mind — why he must mean to separate my heart from my mind and to give to the heart a larger and greater power.
"Well, I obeyed the injunction, made myself, as far as I could, forget what I saw and what puzzled me and thought of other things. Presently, after a few days while one afternoon thinking over an episode related in the Vishnu Purana [an ancient Hindu book full of tales as well as doctrines], I happened to look up at an old house I was passing and stopped to examine a curious device on the porch; as I did this, it seemed as if either the device, or the house, or the circumstance itself, small as it was, opened up at once several avenues of thought about the underground room, made them all clear, showed me the conclusion as vividly as a well demonstrated and fully illustrated proposition, to my intense delight. Now could I perceive with plainness, that those few days which seemed perhaps wasted because withdrawn from contemplation of that scene and its lessons, had been with great advantage used by the spiritual man in unraveling the tangled skein, while the much praised brain had remained in idleness. All at once the flash came and with it knowledge [these flashes of thought are not unknown even in the scientific world, as, where in such a moment of lunacy, it was revealed to an English scientist, that there must be iron in the sun; and Edison gets his ideas thus. — [ED.]. But I must not depend upon these flashes, I must give the brain and its governor, the material to work with.
"Last night just as I was about to go to rest, the voice of Kunala called me from outside and there I went at once. Looking steadily at me he said: 'we want to see you,' and as he spoke he gradually changed, or disappeared, or was absorbed, into the form of another man with awe-inspiring face and eyes, whose form apparently rose up from the material of Kunala's body. At the same moment two others stood there also, dressed in the Tibetan costume; and one of them went into my room from which I had emerged. After saluting them reverently, and not knowing their object, I said to the greatest,
" 'Have you any orders to give?'
" 'If there are any they will be told to you without being asked,' he replied, 'stand still where you are.'
"Then he began to look at me fixedly. I felt a very pleasant sensation as if I was getting out of my body. I cannot tell now what time passed between that and what I am now to put down here. But I saw I was in a peculiar place. It was the upper end of —— at the foot of the —— range. Here was a place where there were only two houses just opposite to each other, and no other sign of habitation; from one of these came out the old faquir I saw at the Durga festival, but how changed, and yet the same: then so old, so repulsive; now so young, so glorious, so beautiful. He smiled upon me benignly and said:
"'Never expect to see anyone, but always be ready to answer if they speak to you; it is not wise to peer outside of yourself for the great followers of Vasudeva: look rather within.'
"The very words of the poor faquir!
"He then directed me to follow him.
"After going a short distance, of about half a mile or so, we came to a natural subterranean passage which is under the ------ range. The path is very dangerous; the River —— flows underneath in all the fury of pent up waters, and a natural causeway exists upon which you may pass; only one person at a time can go there and one false step seals the fate of the traveller. Besides this causeway, there are several valleys to be crossed. After walking a considerable distance through this subterranean passage we came into an open plain in L------K. There stands a large massive building thousands of years old. In front of it is a huge Egyptian Tau. The building rests on seven big pillars each in the form of a pyramid. The entrance gate has a large triangular arch, and inside are various apartments. The building is so large that I think it can easily contain twenty thousand people. Some of the rooms were shown to me.
"This must be the central place for all those belonging to the ------ class, to go for initiation and stay the requisite period.
"Then we entered the great hall with my guide in front. He was youthful in form but in his eyes was the glance of ages. * * * * The grandeur and serenity of this place strikes the heart with awe. In the centre was what we would call an altar, but it must only be the place where focuses all the power, the intention, the knowledge and the influence of the assembly. For the seat, or place, or throne, occupied by the chief ------- the highest --------- has around it an indescribable glory, consisting of an effulgence which seemed to radiate from the one who occupied it. The surroundings of the throne were not gorgeous, nor was the spot itself in any way decorated — all the added magnificence was due altogether to the aura which emanated from Him sitting there. And over his head I thought I saw as I stood there, three golden triangles in the air above — Yes, they were there and seemed to glow with an unearthly brilliance that betokened their inspired origin. But neither they nor the light pervading the place, were produced by any mechanical means. As I looked about me I saw that others had a triangle, some two, and all with that peculiar brilliant light."
[Here again occurs a mass of symbols. It is apparent that just at this spot he desires to jot down the points of the initiation which he wished to remember. And I have to admit that I am not competent to elucidate their meaning. That must be left to our intuitions and possibly future experience in our own case.]
* * * * * *
"14th day of the new moon. The events of the night in the hall of initiation gave me much concern. Was it a dream? Am I self deluded? Can it be that I imagined all this? Such were the unworthy questions which flew behind each other across my mind for days after. Kunala does not refer to the subject and I cannot put the question. Nor will I. I am determined, that, come what will, the solution must be reached by me, or given me voluntarily.
"Of what use to me will all the teachings and all the symbols be, if I cannot rise to that plane of penetrating knowledge, by which I shall myself, by myself, be able to solve this riddle, and know to discriminate the true from the false and the illusory? If I am unable to cut asunder these questioning doubts, these bonds of ignorance, it is proof that not yet have I risen to the plane situated above these doubts. * * * * Last night after all day chasing through my mental sky, these swift destroyers of stability — mental birds of passage — I lay down upon the bed, and as I did so, into my hearing fell these words:
"'Anxiety is the foe of knowledge; like unto a veil it falls down before the soul's eye; entertain it, and the veil only thicker grows; cast it out, and the sun of truth may dissipate the cloudy veil.'
"Admitting that truth; I determined to prohibit all anxiety. Well I knew that the prohibition issued from the depths of my heart, for that was master's voice, and confidence in his wisdom, the self commanding nature of the words themselves, compelled me to complete reliance on the instruction. No sooner was the resolution formed, than down upon my face fell something which I seized at once in my hand. Lighting a lamp, before me was a note in the well known writing. Opening it, I read:
"'Nilakant. It was no dream. All was real, and more, that by your waking consciousness could not be retained, happened there. Reflect upon it all as reality, and from the slightest circumstance draw whatever lesson, whatever amount of knowledge you can. Never forget that your spiritual progress goes on quite often to yourself unknown. Two out of many hindrances to memory are anxiety and selfishness. Anxiety is a barrier constructed out of harsh and bitter materials. Selfishness is a fiery darkness that will burn up the memory's matrix. Bring then, to bear upon this other memory of yours, the peaceful stillness of contentment and the vivifying rain of benevolence.*' " * * * *
[*The careful student will remember that Jacob Boehme speaks of the "harsh and bitter anguish of nature which is the principle that produces bones and all corporification." So here the master, it appears, tells the fortunate chela, that in the spiritual and mental world, anxiety, harsh and bitter, raises a veil before us and prevents us from using our memory. He refers, it would seem, to the other memory above the ordinary. The correctness and value of what was said in this, must be admitted when we reflect that, after all, the whole process of development is the process of getting back the memory of the past. And that too is the teaching found in pure Buddhism as well also as in its corrupted form. — [ED.]
[I leave out here, as well as in other places, mere notes of journeys and various small matters, very probably of no interest.]
"In last month's passage across the hills near V-----, I was irresistibly drawn to examine a deserted building, which I first took for a grain holder, or something like that. It was of stone, square, with no openings, no windows, no door. From what could be seen outside, it might have been the ruins of a strong, stone foundation for some old building, gateway or tower. Kunala stood not far off and looked over it, and later on he asked me for my ideas about the place. All I could say, was, that although it seeed to be solid, I was thinking that perhaps it might be hollow.
"'Yes,' said he, 'it is hollow. It is one of the places once made by Yogees to go into deep trance in. If used by a chela (a disciple) his teacher kept watch over it so that no one might intrude. But when an adept wants to use it for laying his body away in while he travels about in his real, though perhaps to some unseen, form, other means of protection were often taken which were just as secure as the presence of the teacher of the disciple.' 'Well,' I said, 'it must be that just now no one's body is inside there.'
"'Do not reach that conclusion nor the other either. It may be occupied and it may not.'
"Then we journeyed on, while he told me of the benevolence of not only Brahmin Yogees, but also of Buddhist. No differences can be observed by the true disciple in any other disciple who is perhaps of a different faith. All pursue truth. Roads differ but the goal of all remains alike."
* * * "Repeated three times: 'Time ripens and dissolves all beings in the great self, but he who knows into what time itself is dissolved, he is the knower of the Veda.'
"What is to be understood, not only by this, but also by its being three times repeated?
"There were three shrines there. Over the door was a picture which I saw a moment, and which for a moment seemed to blaze out with light like fire. Fixed upon my mind its outlines grew, then disappeared, when I had passed the threshold. Inside, again its image came before my eyes. Seeming to allure me, it faded out, and then again returned. It remained impressed upon me, seemed imbued with life and intention to present itself for my own criticism. When I began to analyze it, it would fade, and then when I was fearful of not doing my duty or of being disrespectful to those beings, it returned as if to demand attention. Its description:
"A human heart that has at its centre a small spark — the spark expands and the heart disappears — while a deep pulsation seems to pass through me. At once identity is confused, I grasp at myself; and again the heart reappears with the spark increased to a large fiery space. Once more that deep movement; then sounds (7); they fade. All this in a picture? Yes! for in that picture there is life; there might be intelligence. It is similar to that picture I saw in Tibet on my first journey, where the living moon rises and passes across the view. Where was I? No, not afterwards! It was in the hall. Again that all pervading sound. It seems to bear me like a river. Then it ceased, — a soundless sound. Then once more the picture; here is Pranava [the mystic syllable OM. — [ED.]]. But between the heart and the Pranava is a mighty bow with arrows ready, and tightly strung for use. Next is a shrine, with the Pranava over it, shut fast, no key and no keyhole. On its sides emblems of human passions. The door of the shrine opens and I think within I will see the truth. No! another door? a shrine again. It opens too and then another, brightly flashing is seen there. Like the heart, it makes itself one with me. Irresistible desire to approach it comes within me, and it absorbs the whole picture.
"'Break through the shrine of Brahman; use the doctrine of the teacher.' " [There is some reference here apparently to the Upanishad, for they contain a teacher's directions to break through all shrines until the last one is reached. — [ED.]]
[There is no connection here of this exhortation with any person, and very probably it is something that was said either by himself, in soliloquy, or by some voice or person to him.
I must end here, as I find great rents and spaces in the notes. He must have ceased to put down further things he saw or did in his real inner life, and you will very surely agree, that if he had progressed by that time to what the last portions would indicate, he could not set down his reflections thereon, or any memorandum of facts. We, however, can never tell what was his reason. He might have been told not to do so, or might have lacked the opportunity.
There was much all through these pages that related to his daily family life, not interesting to you; records of conversations; worldly affairs; items of money and regarding appointments, journeys and meetings with friends. But they show of course that he was all this time living through his set work with men, and often harassed by care as well as comforted by his family and regardful of them. All of that I left out, because I supposed that while it would probably interest you, yet I was left with discretion to give only what seemed to relate to the period marked at its beginning, by his meetings with M-----, and at the end by this last remarkable scene, the details of which we can only imagine. And likewise were of necessity omitted very much that is sufficiently unintelligible in its symbolism to be secure from revelation. Honestly have I tried to unlock the doors of the ciphers, for no prohibition came with their possession, but all that I could refine from its enfolding obscurity is given to you.
As he would say, let us salute each other and the last shrine of Brahman; Om, hari, Om! TRANS.]