QUESTION 320. "What is the explanation of the "invisible companion" which some children speak of constantly as almost part of themselves?" — J. H.
G. de P. — An interesting question, and one which likewise shows how greatly we adults have lost the intuitive recognition of spiritual companionship that children — unless spoiled by over-fond and over-doting parents — still retain.
It would be quite a mistake, I believe, to suppose that these dear little ones are self-consciously aware, as adults might be, of any invisible companion; what they have is a distinct "feeling," or inner conscious cognisance, of the spiritual presence of the inner Self, to which "presence" a child will often give a name, and of which, taking individual children as instances, they are the human radiance.
Only recently, comparatively speaking, out of the devachanic condition in which this spiritual presence was a living reality, although not there and then understood as something separate — for indeed it is not — the Ray reaching incarnation and imbodying itself, in the manner which I have endeavored to describe in my The Esoteric Tradition and elsewhere, still retains the intuition of the spiritual presence of the inner Self; and the child's mind, instinctively feeling this presence, but not having the developed brain-mind as yet to argue about it or analyse it, recognises the fact, and talks of what we adults call, or might call, "an invisible companion," or by some such similar phrase.
As a matter of fact, highly developed human beings who are likewise esoterically trained, are self-consciously aware of this spiritual companionship, so much so that Adepts and Initiates know the fact in its proper relations, and speak of this inner Self working through them by various terms, such as "Father-Flame," "Father in Heaven," "Father-Fire," etc., etc. In other words, the adept knows and recognises his inner Self as the "invisible companion," and puts himself under its steady and unfailing guidance and inspiration. Little children, still fresh from the spiritual realms, likewise, as said above, feel the fact, though not with the self-conscious analysis of the Adept; but they recognise it unconsciously, so to speak, as a "feeling"; and the unspoiled child will frequently be so impressed with this invisible companionship that it will speak of it to others.
In the case of the Adept-soul, the invisible companion is precisely what was meant by the Avatara-Jesus when referring to his "Father in Heaven.'
QUESTION 321. I have been reading a book only recently issued, "Who Wrote the Mahatma Letters?" by the brothers H. E. Hare and W. L. Hare. The general line of criticism adopted by the authors appears to me most unfair, and yet I myself have often been puzzled in regard to the fact that certain of these Letters contain expressions similar to H. P. B.'s own expressions. I know of course from what I have read regarding "The Mahatma Letters" that some of them were transmitted by H. P. B. Would it be possible for an explanation to be given of this?
[The above question was sent to the Leader. His answer contains so much that is helpful, that the Editors have obtained his consent to include it in these columns.]
G. de P. — Among other things which arouse the amazement of the reader of this book by the critical Hares, there are at least two of the first importance which the two authors either pass over without comment, or slur so badly that the average reader is utterly incognisant that these facts exist. The first, then, of the two we find to lie in the amazing assurance with which the authors of this book treat their apparatus criticus, combined with their manner of treatment itself, apparently under the pleasant illusion that they are for the first time in Theosophic history the discoverers of what thoughtful Theosophists have all known since the date of the publication of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, and The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, and which certain ones knew even from the days of H. P. B. herself, because she frequently explained these facts. In other words, I mean all the various idiosyncracies of speech and of mannerism, all the various Gallicisms on the other hand, and the various imperfections of punctuation, orthography, grammar, and what not, to which the critical Hares point triumphantly as largely originating in H. P. B.'s mind — all these were well understood since H. P. B.'s days as being due to the mental and psychical idiosyncrasies of the amanuenses or chelas, i. e. disciples, through whom most of the Letters of the Mahatmans came.
What else could we expect? A ray of sunlight streaming through stained glass will chequer the wall or the floor upon which the ray falls with the colors of the glass through which it passes; nevertheless the original ray is there.
Let the following facts be understood, as they have been for some forty years or more by thoughtful Theosophists: (a) The Masters themselves on only the very rarest of occasions wrote with their own hand any letters whatsoever, and consequently those that they did so write, if indeed any, can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand; consequently these letters are the fewest of all; (b) almost equally rare, but more numerous than those classified under (a) are what have been popularly called "precipitations," or communications which were "dropped" or found in unexpected places by the recipients thereof; and consequently these are relatively very few likewise; and (c) the great majority of all the letters received from the Masters by individuals in those early days came through different amanuenses or transmitting chelas (disciples), among the number of whom we know perfectly well are to be counted H. P. B. herself, Damodar, Bavaji, Bhavani-Rao in one or two cases, and one or two others, probably not excepting the well known and erudite Hindi. Theosophist and scholar Subba-Rao.
Now, the important point to be noticed in this connexion is that all these transmissions of intelligence, in other words all these different letters or communications, including the various notes, chits, etc., etc., passed through the medium of the transmitting minds of the chelas who received them and passed them on to their different destinations, and often by the very prosaic and ordinary means of the postal system.
The Messrs. Hare are extraordinarily behind the times in not being aware of the fact that the many experiments of what it is now popular to call telepathy or thought-transference or mind-reading, conducted by earnest men of unquestionable ability and reputation, have established the fact that such telepathic transmission of intelligence is not only possible but actually of more frequent occurrence than most human beings realize; but in the early days of the Theosophical Society, in the heyday of the materialism of Haeckel and Huxley and Tyndall and Moleschott, and all the other bigwigs of the time, even so common a fact as telaesthesia, or telepathy, or thought-transference or mind-reading, was not only not accepted, but even ridiculed — and this against the common testimony and common experience of mankind for ages; for it is one of the most ordinary facts of human life to experience the wordless or unspoken transmission of human thought.
Now then, such transmission of intelligence from Master to pupil or chela, is more or less precisely what today is called thought-transference or telepathy or mind-reading, if you wish, only in vastly more perfect form because the transmitter is a mahatmic intelligence, and the receiving mind of the chela is a highly trained one; and, indeed, telepathy or thought-transference, etc., are merely minor instances of the general rule. The experiments conducted during the last forty or fifty years in mind-reading or thought-transference have shown clearly that it is ideas which are transmitted and received, but which are almost always distorted or twisted by the untrained mind of the receiver or recipient, and almost invariably more or less colored by the mind or psychological apparatus of the recipient; so that while the essential idea is often received, it is frequently distorted or deformed.
Precisely the same thing, but with less degree of distortion or deformation, must by the nature of the case take place when the transmitting chela receives the essential ideas more or less clearly, and occasionally and sometimes even often in the very language of the transmitter's mind and thought; but coming through the psychological apparatus of the chela, the original ideas are more or less subject to be given forth with marks or with the mental clothing of the chela himself. Thus it would actually have been amazing if there had not been Gallicisms in H. P. B.'s transmission of the essential original idea which was received clearly; but coming through H. P. B.'s mind, with her excellent knowledge of French and her acquaintance with Americanisms, it was almost certain that the message would be transmitted more or less, now and then, here and there, with a French turn of phrase, or with an American spelling to which H. P. B.'s mind had been accustomed.
Similarly so with messages received through and passed on by other chelas — each one gave his own particular "atmosphere" or included more or less of his or her own mental characteristics to the message as handed on; yet the original idea, the essential thought, the fundamental language and intelligent conception, were always there, and this fact accounts for the grandeur and profundity found in such transmitted messages.
This leads us directly to the second of our points, which the critical Hares utterly ignore. This second point is the matter of the characteristic individuality in literary form or matter commonly called literary style. It is extraordinary that not a word in direct or specific allusion is made by the two authors of this book to the immense differences in the literary styles of M. on the one hand, and K. H. on the other hand, and neither of these two in literary style or in literary quality is at all comparable with H. P. B.'s own style when she wrote directly from her own mind. The stamp of literary style alone is so well recognised by every competent scholar and student as to be one of the very best means of judging the authenticity of documents, that the omission by the Hare brothers of any allusion to these immense differences in style, constitutes a defect of the gravest character in their attempted criticism. The style of M. for instance, is outstanding for its directness, its abrupt masculinity, its pungency in aphorism, etc.; whereas the style of K. H. though equally profound in thought with M.'s, is markedly different: flowing in character, smooth and easy in narrative, often semi-humorous in relation, and what has been neatly called "gentle" as compared with what has likewise been called the "rough" style of Master M.
H. P. B. when writing alone never wrote anything which in profundity could compare with the literary material of the two Masters, nor with its strength, however fine and really wonderful her own writings were; and her style is enormously different from theirs, although possessing undoubted charm and attractiveness of its own. One has but to compare the literary style and atmosphere of the two volumes, (a) The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, with (b) The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, to see how forcefully telling this argument of literary style and atmosphere is.
I turn with a final word again to the matter of the messages received from the Masters through their chelas. As stated above, I have called this relatively perfect telepathy or thought-transference or mind-reading — call it by what name you will. It is most important to keep this in mind, because if it be kept in mind, then if the critic be likewise honest, he will see the absurdity as well as the futility of hammering, as upon something new, upon what has been known to Theosophists for the last forty or fifty years, and what has been at the same time proved to be a fact by the independent researches of scientific and other men — thought-transference — which produced the Mahatman Letters as written documents. The trained mind and will of the Master directed his thought, consisting of clear-cut, sharply defined ideas, to the mind and into it of the receiving but trained amanuensis, who received the ideas more or less clearly in accordance with his training or development, and transmitted those ideas as faithfully as he or she was able to; but passing through the amanuensis's mind, the transmitted intelligence was bound to be colored by the mental characteristics of the mediator — the disciple's mind — through which it passed. Hence the presence of Gallicisms when H. P. B. was the transmitting chela, and of an occasional Americanism; and similarly so, mutatis mutandis, when chelas other than H. P. B. were the transmitting mediators.
Note by E. V. S. — Even in ordinary secretarial work, it is easy to distinguish, where several stenographers work for the same person, what letters in the files are typewritten by one stenographer, and which ones by another, etc., by the format, spelling (in cases where alternate forms are permissible), abbreviations (such as Mme. or Mad. or writing it out in full), which each stenographer uses. It is generally only when a stenographer has worked long enough with his employer to become thoroughly acquainted with all his idiosyncracies or habits, likes and dislikes, that the typewritten letters agree in every detail exactly with what the employer himself would use. In other words, each typewritten letter bears the stamp of the stenographer to whom it is dictated.
Note by J. H. F. — So also when the idea of an answer to a letter and the points to be covered in it are given to a secretary who is asked to write the letter and who may even take down in shorthand the gist of the notes given to him and who thus prepares the form of the letter, the author of the letter is the one who gives the ideas and the line of thought to be covered, and not the stenographer or secretary who is merely the transmitter. This is commonly understood, and hundreds of letters which are sent out by business men through the media of their secretaries though necessarily colored by the individual characteristics of the secretaries' style, etc., are nevertheless the letters of such business men.
We see likewise how it was that when conditions of transmission and reception were relatively perfect, and the chela was highly trained, the resultant communication, outside of certain characteristic mental or psychic marks of the amanuensis, contained even the actual mentally pictured words of the Mahatmic transmitter; and also how it was that in such conditions of relatively perfect receptivity, the transmitting amanuensis, because of the force of the impinging idea and will of the transmitter, reproduced even the very forms of handwriting that had been adopted or used by the Mahatmans.
If the conditions of receptivity were relatively perfect, i. e. if the strong will of the Mahatmic intelligence and the clear-cut ideas were received by the chela's trained mind more or less perfectly, the resultant was a communication which was very close to being a perfect reproduction of the Mahatman's own words, own hand-writing, own turns of phrase, etc., etc.; but if the conditions of receptivity were in any degree less perfect, the ideas were transmitted but more or less deformed or colored by the psychological apparatus of the transmitting amanuensis, thus reproducing turns of phrase, spelling of words, etc., etc., native to the amanuensis.
Note H. P. B.'s own words regarding the transmission of such letters, etc., in her article "My Books," which passage can be found on p. 26, of the preliminary pages in The Complete Works of H, P. Blavatsky edition of Isis Unveiled:
. . . many a passage in these works has been written by me under their dictation. In saying this no supernatural claim is urged, for no miracle is performed by such a dictation. Any moderately intelligent person, convinced by this time of the many possibilities of hypnotism (now accepted by science and under full scientific investigation), and of the phenomena of thought-transference, will easily concede that if even a hypnotized subject, a mere irressponsible medium, hears the unexpressed thought of his hypnotizer, who can thus transfer his thought to him — even to repeating the words read by the hypnotizer mentally from a book — then my claim has nothing impossible in it. Space and distance do not exist for thought; and if two persons are in perfect mutual psychomagnetic rapport, and of these two, one is a great Adept in Occult Sciences, then thought-transference and dictation of whole pages become as easy and as comprehensible at the distance of ten thousand miles as the transference of two words across a room.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE