"My vast and noble capital, my Daitu, my splendidly-adorned;
And thou, my cool and delicious summer-seat, my Shangtu-Keibung.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Alas, for my illustrious name as the Sovereign of the World!
Alas, for my Daitu, seat of sanctity, glorious work of the immortal Kublai!
All, all is rent from me!" — Col. Yule, in Marco Polo.
"As for what thou hearest others say, who persuade the many that the soul, when once freed from the body, neither suffers . . . evil nor is conscious, I know that thou art better grounded in the doctrines received by us from our ancestors, and in the sacred orgies of Dionysus, than to believe them; for the mystic symbols are well known to us who belong to the 'Brotherhood.' " — Plutarch.
"The problem of life is man. Magic, or rather Wisdom, is the evolved knowledge of the potencies of man's interior being; which forces are Divine emanations, as intuition is the perception of their origin, and initiation our induction into that knowledge. . . . We begin with instinct; the end is omniscience." — A Wilder.
"Power belongs to him who knows." — Brahmanical Book of Evocation.
It would argue small discernment on our part were we to suppose that we had been followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort. Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated.
To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very briefly:
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law — eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F. R. S. — a man of great learning but little knowledge — calls "the well-ascertained laws of nature." Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once "known," now unknown to science.
2d. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eter-
nal, and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3d. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or wisdom.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction — "a brown study," as some call it.
To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor space offer obstacles. The thaumaturgist, thoroughly skilled in occult science, can cause himself (that is, his physical body) to seem to disappear, or to apparently take on any shape that he may choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it protean appearances. In both cases these results will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of all witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that he saw a
reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind, impressed upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.
But, while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle, and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass from one locality to another except in the usual way. Hence we discredit all stories of the aerial flight of mediums in body, for such would be miracle, and miracle we repudiate. Inert matter may be, in certain cases and under certain conditions, disintegrated, passed through walls, and recombined, but living animal organisms cannot.
Swedenborgians believe and arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the living body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every day, in every condition of life, such living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright, grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive sensuality may bring this about. The vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form of an adept sorcerer, or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human soul), or, very rarely, an elemental. Of course, an adept of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional and great object is to be accomplished, he will never consent to pollute himself by occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity, the patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and subject to the influence of every passing spirit of any sort, or it has departed forever, and the body is taken possession of by some vampirish entity near its own disintegration, and clinging desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10th. The corner-stone of magic is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals, equally strange with that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science, and useless to say, too, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet, the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their sanc-
tuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma, know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, magic is spiritual wisdom; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination.
There are two kinds of seership — that of the soul and that of the spirit. The seership of the ancient Pythoness, or of the modern mesmerized subject, vary but in the artificial modes adopted to induce the state of clairvoyance. But, as the visions of both depend upon the greater or less acuteness of the senses of the astral body, they differ very widely from the perfect, omniscient spiritual state; for, at best, the subject can get but glimpses of truth, through the veil which physical nature interposes. The astral principle, or mind, called by the Hindu Yogin fav-atma, is the sentient soul, inseparable from our physical brain, which it holds in subjection, and is in its turn equally trammelled by it. This is the ego, the intellectual life-principle of man, his conscious entity. While it is yet within the material body, the clearness and correctness of its spiritual visions depend on its more or less intimate relation with its higher Principle. When this relation is such as to allow the most ethereal portions of the soul-essence to act independently of its grosser particles and of the brain, it can unerringly comprehend what it sees; then only is it the pure, rational, supersentient soul. That state is known in India as the Samaddi; it is the highest condition of spirituality possible to man on earth. Fakirs try to obtain such a condition by holding their breath for hours together during their religious exercises, and call this practice dam-sadhna. The Hindu terms Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana, all relate to different psychological states, and show how much more the Sanscrit, and even the modern Hindu language are adapted to the clear elucidation of the phenomena that are encountered by those who study this branch of psychological science, than the tongues of modern peoples, whose experiences have not yet necessitated the invention of such descriptive terms.
When the body is in the state of dharana — a total catalepsy of the physical frame — the soul of the clairvoyant may liberate itself, and perceive things subjectively. And yet, as the sentient principle of the brain is alive and active, these pictures of the past, present, and future will be tinctured with the terrestrial perceptions of the objective world; the physical memory and fancy will be in the way of clear vision. But the seer-adept knows how to suspend the mechanical action of the brain. His visions will be as clear as truth itself, uncolored and undistorted, whereas, the clairvoyant, unable to control the vibrations of the astral waves, will perceive but more or less broken images through the medium of the brain. The seer can never take flickering shadows for realities, for his memory being as completely subjected to his will as the rest of the body, he receives impressions directly from his spirit. Between his subjective and objective selves there are no obstructive mediums. This is the real spiritual seership, in which, according to an expression of Plato, soul is raised above all inferior good. When we reach "that which is supreme, which is simple, pure, and unchangeable, without form, color, or human qualities: the God — our Nous."
This is the state which such seers as Plotinus and Apollonius termed the "Union to the Deity"; which the ancient Yogins called Isvara,* and the modern call "Samaddi"; but this state is as far above modern clairvoyance as the stars above glow-worms. Plotinus, as is well known, was a clairvoyant-seer during his whole and daily life; and yet, he had been united to his God but six times during the sixty-six years of his existence, as he himself confessed to Porphyry.
Ammonius Sakkas, the "God-taught," asserts that the only power which is directly opposed to soothsaying and looking into futurity is memory; and Olympiodorus calls it phantasy. "The phantasy," he says (in Platonis Phaed.), "is an impediment to our intellectual conceptions; and hence, when we are agitated by the inspiring influence of the Divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases; for enthusiasm and the ecstasy are contrary to each other. Should it be asked whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy, we reply, that its perception of universals proves that it is able. It has per-
ceptions, therefore, independent of the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends it in its energies, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the sea."
A medium, moreover, needs either a foreign intelligence — whether it be spirit or living mesmerizer — to overpower his physical and mental parts, or some factitious means to induce trance. An adept, and even a simple fakir requires but a few minutes of "self-contemplation." The brazen columns of Solomon's temple; the golden bells and pomegranates of Aaron; the Jupiter Capitolinus of Augustus, hung around with harmonious bells;* and the brazen bowls of the Mysteries when the Kora was called,† were all intended for such artificial helps.‡ So were the brazen bowls of Solomon hung round with a double row of 200 pomegranates, which served as clappers within the hollow columns. The priestesses of Northern Germany, under the guidance of hierophants, could never prophesy but amidst the roar of the tumultuous waters. Regarding fixedly the eddies formed on the rapid course of the river they hypnotized themselves. So we read of Joseph, Jacob's son, who sought for divine inspiration with his silver divining-cup, which must have had a very bright bottom to it. The priestesses of Dodona placed themselves under the ancient oak of Zeus (the Pelasgian, not the Olympian god), and listened intently to the rustling of the sacred leaves, while others concentrated their attention on the soft murmur of the cold spring gushing from underneath its roots.§ But the adept has no need of any such extraneous aids — the simple exertion of his will-power is all-sufficient.
The Atharva-Veda teaches that the exercise of such will-power is the highest form of prayer and its instantaneous response. To desire is to realize in proportion to the intensity of the aspiration; and that, in its turn, is measured by inward purity.
Some of these nobler Vedantic precepts on the soul and man's mystic powers, have recently been contributed to an English periodical by a Hindu scholar. "The Sankhya," he writes, "inculcates that the soul (i. e., astral body) has the following powers: shrinking into a minute bulk to which everything is pervious; enlarging to a gigantic body; assuming levity (rising along a sunbeam to the solar orb); possessing an unlimited reach of organs, as touching the moon with the tip of a finger; irresistible will (for instance, sinking into the earth as easily as in water); dominion over all things, animate or inanimate; faculty of changing the course of nature; ability to accomplish every desire." Further, he gives their various appellations:
"The powers are called: 1, Anima; 2, Mahima; 3, Laghima; 4, Garima; 5, Prapti; 6, Prakamya; 7, Vasitwa; 8, Isitwa, or divine power. The fifth, predicting future events, understanding unknown languages, curing diseases, divining unexpressed thoughts, understanding the language of the heart. The sixth is the power of converting old age into youth. The seventh is the power of mesmerizing human beings and beasts, and making them obedient; it is the power of restraining passions and emotions. The eighth power is the spiritual state, and presupposes the absence of the above seven powers, as in this state the Yogi is full of God."
"No writings," he adds, "revealed or sacred, were allowed to be so authoritative and final as the teaching of the soul. Some of the Rishis appear to have laid the greatest stress on this supersensuous source of knowledge."*
From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown — Chrestos. The closer the union the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. But they believed in destiny, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions.
The greatest philosophers of antiquity found it neither unreasonable
nor strange that "souls should come to souls, and impart to them conceptions of future things, occasionally by letters, or by a mere touch, or by a glance reveal to them past events or announce future ones," as Ammonius tells us. Moreover, Lamprias and others held that if the unembodied spirits or souls could descend on earth and become guardians of mortal men, "we should not seek to deprive those souls which are still in the body of that power by which the former know future events and are able to announce them. It is not probable," adds Lamprias, "that the soul gains a new power of prophecy after separation from the body, and which before it did not possess. We may rather conclude that it possessed all these powers during its union with the body, although in a lesser perfection. . . . For as the sun does not shine only when it passes from among the clouds, but has always been radiant and has only appeared dim and obscured by vapors, the soul does not only receive the power of looking into futurity when it passes from the body as from a cloud, but has possessed it always, though dimmed by connection with the earthly."
A familiar example of one phase of the power of the soul or astral body to manifest itself, is the phenomenon of the so-called spirit-hand. In the presence of certain mediums these seemingly detached members will gradually develop from a luminous nebula, pick up a pencil, write messages, and then dissolve before the eyes of the witnesses. Many such cases are recorded by perfectly competent and trustworthy persons. These phenomena are real, and require serious consideration. But false "phantom-hands" have sometimes been taken for the genuine. At Dresden we once saw a hand and arm, made for the purpose of deception, with an ingenious arrangement of springs that would cause the machine to imitate to perfection the movements of the natural member; while exteriorly it would require close inspection to detect its artificial character. In using this, the dishonest medium slips his natural arm out of his sleeve, and replaces it with the mechanical substitute; both hands may then be made to seem resting upon the table, while in fact one is touching the sitters, showing itself, knocking the furniture, and making other phenomena.
The mediums for real manifestations are least able, as a rule, to comprehend or explain them. Among those who have written most intelligently upon the subject of these luminous hands, may be reckoned Dr. Francis Gerry Fairfield, author of Ten Years among the Mediums, an article from whose pen appears in the Library Table for July 19, 1877. A medium himself, he is yet a strong opponent of the spiritualistic theory. Discussing the subject of the "phantom-hand," he testifies that "this the writer has personally witnessed, under conditions of test provided by himself, in his own room, in full daylight, with the medium seated upon a
sofa from six to eight feet from the table hovering upon which the apparition (the hand) appeared. The application of the poles of a horse-shoe magnet to the hand caused it to waver perceptibly, and threw the medium into violent convulsions — pretty positive evidence that the force concerned in the phenomenon was generated in his own nervous system."
Dr. Fairfield's deduction that the fluttering phantom-hand is an emanation from the medium is logical, and it is correct. The test of the horse-shoe magnet proves in a scientific way what every kabalist would affirm upon the authority of experience, no less than philosophy. The "force concerned in the phenomenon" is the will of the medium, exercised unconsciously to the outer man, which for the time is semi-paralyzed and cataleptic; the phantom-hand an extrusion of the man's inner or astral member. This is that real self whose limbs the surgeon cannot amputate, but remain behind after the outer casing is cut off, and (all theories of exposed or compressed nerve termini to the contrary, notwithstanding) have all the sensations the physical parts formerly experienced. This is that spiritual (astral) body which "is raised in incorruption." It is useless to argue that these are spirit-hands; for, admitting even that at every seance human spirits of many kinds are attracted to the medium, and that they do guide and produce some manifestations, yet to make hands or faces objective they are compelled to use either the astral limbs of the medium, or the materials furnished them by the elementals, or yet the combined aural emanations of all persons present. Pure spirits will not and cannot show themselves objectively; those that do are not pure spirits, but elementary and impure. Woe to the medium who falls a prey to such!
The same principle involved in the unconscious extrusion of a phantom limb by the cataleptic medium, applies to the projection of his entire "double" or astral body. This may be withdrawn by the will of the medium's own inner self, without his retaining in his physical brain any recollection of such an intent — that is one phase of man's dual capacity. It may also be effected by elementary and elemental spirits, to whom he may stand in the relation of mesmeric subject. Dr. Fairfield is right in one position taken in his book, viz.: mediums are usually diseased, and in many if not most cases the children or near connections of mediums. But he is wholly wrong in attributing all psychical phenomena to morbid physiological conditions. The adepts of Eastern magic are uniformly in perfect mental and bodily health, and in fact the voluntary and independent production of phenomena is impossible to any others. We have known many, and never a sick man among them. The adept retains perfect consciousness; shows no change of bodily temperature, or other sign of morbidity; requires no "conditions," but will do his feats any-
where and everywhere; and instead of being passive and in subjection to a foreign influence, rules the forces with iron will. But we have elsewhere shown that the medium and the adept are as opposed as the poles. We will only add here that the body, soul, and spirit of the adept are all conscious and working in harmony, and the body of the medium is an inert clod, and even his soul may be away in a dream while its habitation is occupied by another.
An adept can not only project and make visible a hand, a foot, or any other portion of his body, but the whole of it. We have seen one do this, in full day, while his hands and feet were being held by a skeptical friend whom he wished to surprise.* Little by little the whole astral body oozed out like a vapory cloud, until before us stood two forms, of which the second was an exact duplicate of the first, only slightly more shadowy.
The medium need not exercise any will-power. It suffices that she or he shall know what is expected by the investigators. The medium's "spiritual" entity, when not obsessed by other spirits, will act outside the will or consciousness of the physical being, as surely as it acts when within the body during a fit of somnambulism. Its perceptions, external and internal, will be acuter and far more developed, precisely as they are in the sleep-walker. And this is why "the materialized form sometimes knows more than the medium,"† for the intellectual perception of the astral entity is proportionately as much higher than the corporeal intelligence of the medium in its normal state, as the spirit entity is finer than itself. Generally the medium will be found cold, the pulse will have visibly changed, and a state of nervous prostration succeeds the phenomena, bunglingly and without discrimination attributed to disembodied spirits; whereas, but one-third of them may be produced by the latter, another third by elementals, and the rest by the astral double of the medium himself.
But, while it is our firm belief that most of the physical manifestations, i.e., those which neither need nor show intelligence nor great discrimination, are produced mechanically by the scin-lecca (double) of the medium, as a person in sound sleep will when apparently awake do things of which he will retain no remembrance. The purely subjective phenomena are but in a very small proportion of cases due to the action of the personal astral body. They are mostly, and according to the moral, intellectual, and physical purity of the medium, the work of either the elementary, or sometimes very pure human spirits. Elementals have naught to do with subjective manifestations. In rare cases it is the divine spirit of the medium himself that guides and produces them.
As Baboo Peary Chand Mittra says, in a letter* to the President of the National Association of Spiritualists, Mr. Alexander Calder,† "a spirit is an essence or power, and has no form. . . . The very idea of form implies 'materialism.' The spirits [astral souls, we should say] . . . can assume forms for a time, but form is not their permanent state. The more material is our soul, the more material is our conception of spirits."
Epimenides, the Orphikos, was renowned for his "sacred and marvellous nature," and for the faculty his soul possessed of quitting its body " as long and as often as it pleased." The ancient philosophers who have testified to this ability may be reckoned by dozens. Apollonius left his body at a moment's notice, but it must be remembered Apollonius was an adept — a "magician." Had he been simply a medium, he could not have performed such feats at will. Empedocles of Agrigentum, the Pythagorean thaumaturgist, required no conditions to arrest a waterspout which had broken over the city. Neither did he need any to recall a woman to life, as he did. Apollonius used no darkened room in which to perform his aethrobatic feats. Vanishing suddenly in the air before the eyes of Domitian and a whole crowd of witnesses (many thousands), he appeared an hour after in the grotto of Puteoli. But investigation would have shown that his physical body having become invisible by the concentration of akasa about it, he could walk off unperceived to some secure retreat in the neighborhood, and an hour after his astral form appear at Puteoli to his friends, and seem to be the man himself.
No more did Simon Magus wait to be entranced to fly off in the air before the apostles and crowds of witnesses. "It requires no conjuration and ceremonies; circle-making and incensing are mere nonsense and juggling," says Paracelsus. The human spirit "is so great a thing that no man can express it; as God Himself is eternal and unchangeable, so also
is the mind of man. If we rightly understood its powers, nothing would be impossible to us on earth. The imagination is strengthened and developed through faith in our will. Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will."
A singular account of the personal interview of an English ambassador in 1783, with a reincarnated Buddha — barely mentioned in volume i. — an infant of eighteen months old at that time, is given in the Asiatic Journal from the narrative of an eye-witness himself, Mr. Turner, the author of The Embassy to Thibet. The cautious phraseology of a skeptic dreading public ridicule ill conceals the amazement of the witness, who, at the same time, desires to give facts as truthfully as possible. The infant lama received the ambassador and his suite with a dignity and decorum so natural and unconstrained that they remained in a perfect maze of wonder. The behavior of this infant, says the author, was that of an old philosopher, grave and sedate and exceedingly courteous. He contrived to make the young pontiff understand the inconsolable grief into which the Governor-General of Galagata (Calcutta) the City of Palaces and the people of India were plunged when he died, and the general rapture when they found that he had resurrected in a young and fresh body again; at which compliment the young lama regarded him and his suite with looks of singular complacency, and courteously treated them to confectionery from a golden cup. "The ambassador continued to express the Governor-General's hope that the lama might long continue to illumine the world with his presence, and that the friendship which had heretofore subsisted between them might be yet more strongly cemented, for the benefit and advantage of the intelligent votaries of the lama . . . all which made the little creature look steadfastly at the speaker, and graciously bow and nod — and bow and nod — as if he understood and approved of every word that was uttered."*
As if he understood! If the infant behaved in the most natural and dignified way during the reception, and "when their cups were empty of tea became uneasy and throwing back his head and contracting the skin of his brow, continued making a noise till they were filled again," why could he not understand as well what was said to him?
Years ago, a small party of travellers were painfully journeying from Kashmir to Leh, a city of Ladahk (Central Thibet). Among our guides we had a Tartar Shaman, a very mysterious personage, who spoke Russian a little and English not at all, and yet who managed, nevertheless, to converse with us, and proved of great service. Having learned that some of our party were Russians, he had imagined that our protec-
tion was all-powerful, and might enable him to safely find his way back to his Siberian home, from which, for reasons unknown, some twenty years before, he had fled, as he told us, via Kiachta and the great Gobi Desert, to the land of the Tcha-gars.* With such an interested object in view, we believed ourselves safe under his guard. To explain the situation briefly: Our companions had formed the unwise plan of penetrating into Thibet under various disguises, none of them speaking the language, although one, a Mr. K----, had picked up some Kasan Tartar, and thought he did. As we mention this only incidentally, we may as well say at once that two of them, the brothers N----, were very politely brought back to the frontier before they had walked sixteen miles into the weird land of Eastern Bod; and Mr. K----, an ex-Lutheran minister, could not even attempt to leave his miserable village near Leh, as from the first days he found himself prostrated with fever, and had to return to Lahore via Kashmere. But one sight seen by him was as good as if he had witnessed the reincarnation of Buddha itself. Having heard of this "miracle" from some old Russian missionary in whom he thought he could have more faith than in Abbe Huc, it had been for years his desire to expose the "great heathen" jugglery, as he expressed it. K---- was a positivist, and rather prided himself on this anti-philosophical neologism. But his positivism was doomed to receive a death-blow.
About four days journey from Islamabad, at an insignificant mud village, whose only redeeming feature was its magnificent lake, we stopped for a few days' rest. Our companions had temporarily separated from us, and the village was to be our place of meeting. It was there that we were apprised by our Shaman that a large party of Lamaic "Saints," on pilgrimage to various shrines, had taken up their abode in an old cave-temple and established a temporary Vihara therein. He added that, as the "Three Honorable Ones"† were said to travel along with them, the holy Bikshu (monks) were capable of producing the greatest miracles. Mr. K-----, fired with the prospect of exposing this humbug of the ages, proceeded at once to pay them a visit, and from that moment the most friendly relations were established between the two camps.
The Vihar was in a secluded and most romantic spot secured against all intrusion. Despite the effusive attentions, presents, and protestations of Mr. K----, the Chief, who was Pase-Budhu (an ascetic of great
sanctity), declined to exhibit the phenomenon of the "incarnation" until a certain talisman in possession of the writer was exhibited.* Upon seeing this, however, preparations were at once made, and an infant of three or four months was procured from its mother, a poor woman of the neighborhood. An oath was first of all exacted of Mr. K----, that he would not divulge what he might see or hear, for the space of seven years. The talisman is a simple agate or carnelian known among the Thibetans and others as A-yu, and naturally possessed, or had been endowed with very mysterious properties. It has a triangle engraved upon it, within which are contained a few mystical words.†
Several days passed before everything was ready; nothing of a mysterious character occurring, meanwhile, except that, at the bidding of a Bikshu, ghastly faces were made to peep at us out of the glassy bosom of the lake, as we sat at the door of the Vihar, upon its bank. One of these was the countenance of Mr. K----'s sister, whom he had left well and happy at home, but who, as we subsequently learned, had died some
time before he had set out on the present journey. The sight affected him at first, but he called his skepticism to his aid, and quieted himself with theories of cloud-shadows, reflections of tree-branches, etc., such as people of his kind fall back upon.
On the appointed afternoon, the baby being brought to the Vihara, was left in the vestibule or reception-room, as K---- could go no further into the temporary sanctuary. The child was then placed on a bit of carpet in the middle of the floor, and every one not belonging to the party being sent away, two "mendicants" were placed at the entrance to keep out intruders. Then all the lamas seated themselves on the floor, with their backs against the granite walls, so that each was separated from the child by a space, at least, of ten feet. The chief, having had a square piece of leather spread for him by the desservant, seated himself at the farthest corner. Alone, Mr. K---- placed himself close by the infant, and watched every movement with intense interest. The only condition exacted of us was that we should preserve a strict silence, and patiently await further developments. A bright sunlight streamed through the open door. Gradually the "Superior" fell into what seemed a state of profound meditation, while the others, after a sotto voce short invocation, became suddenly silent, and looked as if they had been completely petrified. It was oppressively still, and the crowing of the child was the only sound to be heard. After we had sat there a few moments, the movements of the infant's limbs suddenly ceased, and his body appeared to become rigid. K---- watched intently every motion, and both of us, by a rapid glance, became satisfied that all present were sitting motionless. The superior, with his gaze fixed upon the ground, did not even look at the infant; but, pale and motionless, he seemed rather like a bronze statue of a Talapoin in meditation than a living being. Suddenly, to our great consternation, we saw the child, not raise itself, but, as it were, violently jerked into a sitting posture! A few more jerks, and then, like an automaton set in motion by concealed wires, the four months' baby stood upon his feet! Fancy our consternation, and, in Mr. K----'s case, horror. Not a hand had been outstretched, not a motion made, nor a word spoken; and yet, here was a baby-in-arms standing erect and firm as a man!
The rest of the story we will quote from a copy of notes written on this subject by Mr. K----, the same evening, and given to us, in case it should not reach its place of destination, or the writer fail to see anything more.
"After a minute or two of hesitation," writes K----, "the baby turned his head and looked at me with an expression of intelligence that was simply awful! It sent a chill through me. I pinched my hands and
bit my lips till the blood almost came, to make sure that I did not dream. But this was only the beginning. The miraculous creature, making, as I fancied, two steps toward me, resumed his sitting posture, and, without removing his eyes from mine, repeated, sentence by sentence, in what I supposed to be Thibetan language, the very words, which I had been told in advance, are commonly spoken at the incarnations of Buddha, beginning with 'I am Buddha; I am the old Lama; I am his spirit in a new body,' etc. I felt a real terror; my hair rose upon my head, and my blood ran cold. For my life I could not have spoken a word. There was no trickery here, no ventriloquism. The infant lips moved, and the eyes seemed to search my very soul with an expression that made me think it was the face of the Superior himself, his eyes, his very look that I was gazing upon. It was as if his spirit had entered the little body, and was looking at me through the transparent mask of the baby's face. I felt my brain growing dizzy. The infant reached toward me, and laid his little hand upon mine. I started as if I had been touched by a hot coal; and, unable to bear the scene any longer, covered my face with my hands. It was but for an instant; but when I removed them, the little actor had become a crowing baby again, and a moment after, lying upon his back, set up a fretful cry. The superior had resumed his normal condition, and conversation ensued.
"It was only after a series of similar experiments, extending over ten days, that I realized the fact that I had seen the incredible, astounding phenomenon described by certain travellers, but always by me denounced as an imposture. Among a multitude of questions unanswered, despite my cross-examination, the Superior let drop one piece of information, which must be regarded as highly significant. 'What would have happened,' I inquired, through the shaman, 'if, while the infant was speaking, in a moment of insane fright, at the thought of its being the "Devil," I had killed it?' He replied that, if the blow had not been instantly fatal, the child alone would have been killed.' 'But,' I continued, 'suppose that it had been as swift as a lightning-flash?' 'In such case,' was the answer, 'you would have killed me also.' "
In Japan and Siam there are two orders of priests, of which one are public, and deal with the people, the other strictly private. The latter are never seen; their existence is known but to very few natives, never to foreigners. Their powers are never displayed in public, nor ever at all except on rare occasions of the utmost importance, at which times the ceremonies are performed in subterranean or otherwise inaccessible temples, and in the presence of a chosen few whose heads answer for their secrecy. Among such occasions are deaths in the Royal family, or those of high dignitaries affiliated with the Order. One of the most
weird and impressive exhibitions of the power of these magicians is that of the withdrawal of the astral soul from the cremated remains of human beings, a ceremony practiced likewise in some of the most important lamaseries of Thibet and Mongolia.
In Siam, Japan, and Great Tartary, it is the custom to make medallions, statuettes, and idols out of the ashes of cremated persons;* they are mixed with water into a paste, and after being moulded into the desired shape, are baked and then gilded. The Lamasery of Ou-Tay, in the province of Chan-Si, Mongolia, is the most famous for that work, and rich persons send the bones of their defunct relatives to be ground and fashioned there. When the adept in magic proposes to facilitate the withdrawal of the astral soul of the deceased, which otherwise they think might remain stupefied for an indefinite period within the ashes, the following process is resorted to: The sacred dust is placed in a heap, upon a metallic plate, strongly magnetized, of the size of a man's body. The adept then slowly and gently fans it with the Talapat Nang,† a fan of a peculiar shape and inscribed with certain signs, muttering, at the same time, a form of invocation. The ashes soon become, as it were, imbued with life, and gently spread themselves out into a thin layer which assumes the outline of the body before cremation. Then there gradually arises a sort of whitish vapor which after a time forms into an erect column, and compacting itself, is finally transformed into the "double," or ethereal, astral counterpart of the dead, which in its turn dissolves away into thin air, and disappears from mortal sight.‡
The "Magicians" of Kashmir, Thibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary are too well known to need comments. If jugglers they be, we invite the most expert jugglers of Europe and America to match them if they can.
If our scientists are unable to imitate the mummy-embalming of the Egyptians, how much greater would be their surprise to see, as we have, dead bodies preserved by alchemical art, so that after the lapse of centuries, they seem as though the individuals were but sleeping. The complexions were as fresh, the skin as elastic, the eyes as natural and sparkling as though they were in the full flush of health, and the wheels of life had been stopped but the instant before. The bodies of certain very eminent personages are laid upon catafalques, in rich mausoleums,
sometimes overlaid with gilding or even with plates of real gold; their favorite arms, trinkets, and articles of daily use gathered about them, and a suite of attendants, blooming young boys and girls, but still corpses, preserved like their masters, stand as if ready to serve when called. In the convent of Great Kouren, and in one situated upon the Holy Mountain (Bohte Oula) there are said to be several such sepulchres, which have been respected by all the conquering hordes that have swept through those countries. Abbe Huc heard that such exist, but did not see one, strangers of all kinds being excluded, and missionaries and European travellers not furnished with the requisite protection, being the last of all persons who would be permitted to approach the sacred places. Huc's statement that the tombs of Tartar sovereigns are surrounded with children "who were compelled to swallow mercury until they were suffocated," by which means "the color and freshness of the victims is preserved so well that they appear alive," is one of these idle missionary fables which impose only upon the most ignorant who accept on hearsay. Buddhists have never immolated victims, whether human or animal. It is utterly against the principles of their religion, and no Lamaist was ever accused of it. When a rich man desired to be interred in company, messengers were sent throughout the country with the Lama-embalmers, and children just dead in the natural way were selected for the purpose. Poor parents were but too glad to preserve their departed children in this poetic way, instead of abandoning them to decay and wild beasts.
At the time when Abbe Huc was living in Paris, after his return from Thibet, he related, among other unpublished wonders, to a Mr. Arsenieff, a Russian gentleman, the following curious fact that he had witnessed during his long sojourn at the lamasery of Kounboum. One day while conversing with one of the lamas, the latter suddenly stopped speaking, and assumed the attentive attitude of one who is listening to a message being delivered to him, although he (Huc) heard never a word. "Then, I must go"; suddenly broke forth the lama, as if in response to the message.
"Go where?" inquired the astonished "lama of Jehovah" (Huc). "And with whom are you talking?"
"To the lamasery of * * *," was the quiet answer. "The Shaberon wants me; it was he who summoned me."
Now this lamasery was many days' journey from that of Kounboum, in which the conversation was taking place. But what seemed to astonish Huc the most was, that, instead of setting off on his journey, the lama simply walked to a sort of cupola-room on the roof of the house in which they lived, and another lama, after exchanging a few words, fol-
lowed them to the terrace by means of the ladder, and passing between them, locked and barred his companion in. Then turning to Huc after a few seconds of meditation, he smiled and informed the guest that "he had gone."
"But how could he? Why you have locked him in, and the room has no issue?" insisted the missionary.
"And what good would a door be to him?" answered the custodian. "It is he himself who went away; his body is not needed, and so he left it in my charge."
Notwithstanding the wonders which Huc had witnessed during his perilous journey, his opinion was that both of the lamas had mystified him. But three days later, not having seen his habitual friend and entertainer, he inquired after him, and was informed that he would be back in the evening. At sunset, and just as the "other lamas" were preparing to retire, Huc heard his absent friend's voice calling as if from the clouds, to his companion to open the door for him. Looking upward, he perceived the "traveller's" outline behind the lattice of the room where he had been locked in. When he descended he went straight to the Grand Lama of Kounboum, and delivered to him certain messages and "orders," from the place which he "pretended" he had just left. Huc could get no more information from him as to his aerial voyage. But he always thought, he said, that this "farce" had something to do with the immediate and extraordinary preparations for the polite expulsion of both the missionaries, himself and Father Gabet, to Chogor-tan, a place belonging to the Kounboum. The suspicion of the daring missionary may have been correct, in view of his impudent inquisitiveness and indiscretion.
If the Abbe had been versed in Eastern philosophy, he would have found no great difficulty in comprehending both the flight of the lama's astral body to the distant lamasery while his physical frame remained behind, or the carrying on of a conversation with the Shaberon that was inaudible to himself. The recent experiments with the telephone in America, to which allusion was made in Chapter V. of our first volume, but which have been greatly perfected since those pages went to press, prove that the human voice and the sounds of instrumental music may be conveyed along a telegraphic wire to a great distance. The Hermetic philosophers taught, as we have seen, that the disappearance from sight of a flame does not imply its actual extinction. It has only passed from the visible to the invisible world, and may be perceived by the inner sense of vision, which is adapted to the things of that other and more real universe. The same rule applies to sound. As the physical ear discerns the vibrations of the atmosphere up to a certain point, not yet
definitely fixed, but varying with the individual, so the adept whose interior hearing has been developed, can take the sound at this vanishing-point, and hear its vibrations in the astral light indefinitely. He needs no wires, helices, or sounding-boards; his will-power is all-sufficient. Hearing with the spirit, time and distance offer no impediments, and so he may converse with another adept at the antipodes with as great ease as though they were in the same room.
Fortunately, we can produce numerous witnesses to corroborate our statement, who, without being adepts at all, have, nevertheless, heard the sound of aerial music and of the human voice, when neither instrument nor speaker were within thousands of miles of the place where we sat. In their case they actually heard interiorly, though they supposed their physical organs of hearing alone were employed. The adept had, by a simple effort of will-power, given them for the brief moment the same perception of the spirit of sound as he himself constantly enjoys.
If our men of science could only be induced to test instead of deriding the ancient philosophy of the trinity of all the natural forces, they would go by leaps toward the dazzling truth, instead of creeping, snail-like, as at present. Prof. Tyndall's experiments off the South Foreland, at Dover, in 1875, fairly upset all previous theories of the transmission of sound, and those he has made with sensitive flames* bring him to the very threshold of arcane science. One step further, and he would comprehend how adepts can converse at great distances. But that step will not be taken. Of his sensitive — in truth, magical — flame, he says: "The slightest tap on a distant anvil causes it to fall to seven inches. When a bunch of keys is shaken, the flame is violently agitated, and emits a loud roar. The dropping of a sixpence into a hand already containing coin, knocks the flame down. The creaking of boots sets it in violent commotion. The crumpling or tearing of a bit of paper, or the rustle of a silk dress does the same. Responsive to every tick of a watch held near it, it falls and explodes. The winding up of a watch produces tumult. From a distance of thirty yards we may chirrup to this flame, and cause it to fall and roar. Repeating a passage from the Faerie Queene, the flame sifts and selects the manifold sounds of my voice, noticing some by a slight nod, others by a deeper bow, while to others it responds by violent agitation."
Such are the wonders of modern physical science; but at what cost of apparatus, and carbonic acid and coal gas; of American and Canadian whistles, trumpets, gongs, and bells! The poor heathen have none such impedimenta, but — will European science believe it — nevertheless,
produce the very same phenomena. Upon one occasion, when, in a case of exceptional importance, an "oracle" was required, we saw the possibility of what we had previously vehemently denied — namely, a simple mendicant cause a sensitive flame to give responsive flashes without a particle of apparatus. A fire was kindled of branches of the Beal-tree, and some sacrificial herbs were sprinkled upon it. The mendicant sat near by, motionless, absorbed in contemplation. During the intervals between the questions the fire burned low and seemed ready to go out, but when the interrogatories were propounded, the flames leaped, roaring, skyward, flickered, bowed, and sent fiery tongues flaring toward the east, west, north, or south; each motion having its distinct meaning in a code of signals well understood. Between whiles it would sink to the ground, and the tongues of flame would lick the sod in every direction, and suddenly disappear, leaving only a bed of glowing embers. When the interview with the flame-spirits was at an end, the Bikshu (mendicant) turned toward the jungle where he abode, keeping up a wailing, monotonous chant, to the rhythm of which the sensitive flame kept time, not merely like Prof. Tyndall's, when he read the Faerie Queene, by simple motions, but by a marvellous modulation of hissing and roaring until he was out of sight. Then, as if its very life were extinguished, it vanished, and left a bed of ashes before the astonished spectators.
Both in Western and Eastern Thibet, as in every other place where Buddhism predominates, there are two distinct religions, the same as it is in Brahmanism — the secret philosophy and the popular religion. The former is that of the followers of the doctrine of the sect of the Sutrantika.* They closely adhere to the spirit of Buddha's original teachings which show the necessity of intuitional perception, and all deductions therefrom. These do not proclaim their views, nor allow them to be made public.
"All compounds are perishable," were the last words uttered by the lips of the dying Gautama, when preparing under the Sal-tree to enter into Nirvana. "Spirit is the sole, elementary, and primordial unity, and each of its rays is immortal, infinite, and indestructible. Beware of the illusions of matter." Buddhism was spread far and wide over Asia, and even farther, by Dharm-Asoka. He was the grandson of the miracle-worker Chandragupta, the illustrious king who rescued the Punjab from the Macedonians — if they ever were at Punjab at all — and received Megasthenes at his court in Pataliputra. Dharm-Asoka was the greatest King of the Maurya dynasty. From a reckless profligate and atheist,
he had become Pryadasi, the "beloved of the gods," and never was the purity of his philanthropic views surpassed by any earthly ruler. His memory has lived for ages in the hearts of the Buddhists, and has been perpetuated in the humane edicts engraved in several popular dialects on the columns and rocks of Allahabad, Delhi, Guzerat, Peshawur, Orissa, and other places.* His famous grandfather had united all India under his powerful sceptre. When the Nagas, or serpent-worshippers of Kashmere had been converted through the efforts of the apostles sent out by the Sthaviras of the third councils, the religion of Gautama spread like wild-fire. Gandhara, Cabul, and even many of the Satrapies of Alexander the Great, accepted the new philosophy. The Buddhism of Nepal being the one which may be said to have diverged less than any other from the primeval ancient faith, the Lamaism of Tartary, Mongolia, and Thibet, which is a direct offshoot of this country, may be thus shown to be the purest Buddhism; for we say it again, Lamaism properly is but an external form of rites.
The Upasakas and Upasakis, or male and female semi-monastics and semi-laymen, have equally with the lama-monks themselves, to strictly abstain from violating any of Buddha's rules, and must study Meipo and every psychological phenomenon as much. Those who become guilty of any of the "five sins" lose all right to congregate with the pious community. The most important of these is not to curse upon any consideration, for the curse returns upon the one that utters it, and often upon his innocent relatives who breathe the same atmosphere with him. To love each other, and even our bitterest enemies; to offer our lives even for animals, to the extent of abstaining from defensive arms; to gain the greatest of victories by conquering one's self; to avoid all vices; to practice all virtues, especially humility and mildness; to be obedient to superiors, to cherish and respect parents, old age, learning, virtuous and holy men; to provide food, shelter, and comfort for men and animals; to plant trees on the roads and dig wells for the comfort of travellers; such are the moral duties of Buddhists. Every Ani or Bikshuni (nun) is subjected to these laws.
Numerous are the Buddhist and Lamaic saints who have been renowned for the unsurpassed sanctity of their lives and their "miracles." So Tissu, the Emperor's spiritual teacher, who consecrated Kublai-Khan, the Nadir Shah, was known far and wide as much for the extreme holiness of his life as for the many wonders he wrought. But
he did not stop at fruitless miracles, but did better than that. Tissu purified completely his religion; and from one single province of Southern Mongolia is said to have forced Kublai to expel from convents 500,000 monkish impostors, who made a pretext of their profession, to live in vice and idleness. Then the Lamaists had their great reformer, the Shaberon Son-Ka-po, who is claimed to have been immaculately conceived by his mother, a virgin from Koko-nor (fourteenth century), who is another wonder-worker. The sacred tree of Kounboum, the tree of the 10,000 images, which, in consequence of the degeneration of the true faith had ceased budding for several centuries, now shot forth new sprouts and bloomed more vigorously than ever from the hair of this avatar of Buddha, says the legend. The same tradition makes him (Son-Ka-po) ascend to heaven in 1419. Contrary to the prevailing idea, few of these saints are Khubilhans, or Shaberons — reincarnations.
Many of the lamaseries contain schools of magic, but the most celebrated is the collegiate monastery of the Shu-tukt, where there are over 30,000 monks attached to it, the lamasery forming quite a little city. Some of the female nuns possess marvellous psychological powers. We have met some of these women on their way from Lha-Ssa to Candi, the Rome of Buddhism, with its miraculous shrines and Gautama's relics. To avoid encounters with Mussulmans and other sects they travel by night alone, unarmed, and without the least fear of wild animals, for these will not touch them. At the first glimpses of dawn, they take refuge in caves and viharas prepared for them by their co-religionists at calculated distances; for notwithstanding the fact that Buddhism has taken refuge in Ceylon, and nominally there are but few of the denomination in British India, yet the secret Byauds (Brotherhoods) and Buddhist viharas are numerous, and every Jain feels himself obliged to help, indiscriminately, Buddhist or Lamaist.
Ever on the lookout for occult phenomena, hungering after sights, one of the most interesting that we have seen was produced by one of these poor travelling Bikshu. It was years ago, and at a time when all such manifestations were new to the writer. We were taken to visit the pilgrims by a Buddhist friend, a mystical gentleman born at Kashmir, of Katchi parents, but a Buddha-Lamaist by conversion, and who generally resides at Lha-Ssa.
"Why carry about this bunch of dead plants?" inquired one of the Bikshuni, an emaciated, tall and elderly woman, pointing to a large nosegay of beautiful, fresh, and fragrant flowers in the writer's hands.
"Dead?" we asked, inquiringly. "Why they just have been gathered in the garden?"
"And yet, they are dead," she gravely answered. "To be born in
this world, is this not death? See, how these herbs look when alive in the world of eternal light, in the gardens of our blessed Foh?"
Without moving from the place where she was sitting on the ground, the Ani took a flower from the bunch, laid it in her lap, and began to draw together, by large handfuls as it were, invisible material from the surrounding atmosphere. Presently a very, very faint nodule of vapor was seen, and this slowly took shape and color, until, poised in mid-air, appeared a copy of the bloom we had given her. Faithful to the last tint and the last petal it was, and lying on its side like the original, but a thousand-fold more gorgeous in hue and exquisite in beauty, as the glorified human spirit is more beauteous than its physical capsule. Flower after flower to the minutest herb was thus reproduced and made to vanish, reappearing at our desire, nay, at our simple thought. Having selected a full-blown rose we held it at arm's length, and in a few minutes our arm, hand, and the flower, perfect in every detail, appeared reflected in the vacant space, about two yards from where we sat. But while the flower seemed immeasurably beautified and as ethereal as the other spirit flowers, the arm and hand appeared like a mere reflection in a looking-glass, even to a large spot on the fore arm, left on it by a piece of damp earth which had stuck to one of the roots. Later we learned the reason why.
A great truth was uttered some fifty years ago by Dr. Francis Victor Broussais, when he said: "If magnetism were true, medicine would be an absurdity." Magnetism is true, and so we shall not contradict the learned Frenchman as to the rest. Magnetism, as we have shown, is the alphabet of magic. It is idle for any one to attempt to understand either the theory or the practice of the latter until the fundamental principle of magnetic attractions and repulsions throughout nature is recognized.
Many so-called popular superstitions are but evidences of an instinctive perception of this law. An untutored people are taught by the experience of many generations that certain phenomena occur under fixed conditions; they give these conditions and obtain the expected results. Ignorant of the laws, they explain the fact by supernaturalism, for experience has been their sole teacher.
In India, as well as in Russia and some other countries, there is an instinctive repugnance to stepping across a man's shadow, especially if he have red hair; and in the former country, natives are extremely reluctant to shake hands with persons of another race. These are not idle fancies. Every person emits a magnetic exhalation or aura, and a man may be in perfect physical health, but at the same time his exhalation may have a morbific character for others, sensitive to such subtile influences. Dr. Esdaile and other mesmerists long since taught us that Oriental peo-
ple, especially Hindus, are more susceptible than the white-skinned races. Baron Reichenbach's experiments — and, in fact, the world's entire experience — prove that these magnetic exhalations are most intense from the extremities. Therapeutic manipulations show this; hand-shaking is, therefore, most calculated to communicate antipathetic magnetic conditions, and the Hindus do wisely in keeping their ancient "superstition" — derived from Manu — constantly in mind.
The magnetism of a red-haired man, we have found, in almost every nation, is instinctively dreaded. We might quote proverbs from the Russian, Persian, Georgian, Hindustani, French, Turkish, and even German, to show that treachery and other vices are popularly supposed to accompany the rufous complexion. When a man stands exposed to the sun, the magnetism of that luminary causes his emanations to be projected toward the shadow, and the increased molecular action develops more electricity. Hence, an individual to whom he is antipathetic — though neither might be sensible of the fact — would act prudently in not passing through the shadow. Careful physicians wash their hands upon leaving each patient; why, then, should they not be charged with superstition, as well as the Hindus? The sporules of disease are invisible, but no less real, as European experience demonstrates. Well, Oriental experience for a hundred centuries has shown that the germs of moral contagion linger about localities, and impure magnetism can be communicated by the touch.
Another prevalent belief in some parts of Russia, particularly Georgia (Caucasus), and in India, is that in case the body of a drowned person cannot be otherwise found, if a garment of his be thrown into the water it will float until directly over the spot, and then sink. We have even seen the experiment successfully tried with the sacred cord of a Brahman. It floated hither and thither, circling about as though in search of something, until suddenly darting in a straight line for about fifty yards, it sank, and at that exact spot the divers brought up the body. We find this "superstition" even in America. A Pittsburg paper, of very recent date, describes the finding of the body of a young boy, named Reed, in the Monongahela, by a like method. All other means having failed, it says, "a curious superstition was employed. One of the boy's shirts was thrown into the river where he had gone down, and, it is said, floated on the surface for a time, and finally settled to the bottom at a certain place, which proved to be the resting-place of the body, and which was then drawn out. The belief that the shirt of a drowned person when thrown into the water will follow the body is well-spread, absurd as it appears."
This phenomenon is explained by the law of the powerful attraction existing between the human body and objects that have been long worn
upon it. The oldest garment is most effective for the experiment; a new one is useless.
From time immemorial, in Russia, in the month of May, on Trinity Day, maidens from city and village have been in the habit of casting upon the river wreaths of green leaves — which each girl has to form for herself — and consulting their oracles. If the wreath sinks, it is a sign that the girl will die unmarried within a short time; if it floats, she will be married, the time depending upon the number of verses she can repeat during the experiment. We positively affirm that we have personal knowledge of several cases, two of them our intimate friends, where the augury of death proved true, and the girls died within twelve months. Tried on any other day than Trinity, the result would doubtless be the same. The sinking of the wreath is attributable to its being impregnated with the unhealthy magnetism of a system which contains the germs of early death; such magnetisms having an attraction for the earth at the bottom of the stream. As for the rest, we are willing to abandon it to the friends of coincidence.
The same general remark as to superstition having a scientific basis applies to the phenomena produced by fakirs and jugglers, which skeptics heap into the common category of trickery. And yet, to a close observer, even to the uninitiated, an enormous difference is presented between the kimiya (phenomenon) of a fakir, and the batte-bazi (jugglery) of a trickster, and the necromancy of a jadugar, or sahir, so dreaded and despised by the natives. This difference, imperceptible — nay incomprehensible — to the skeptical European, is instinctively appreciated by every Hindu, whether of high or low caste, educated or ignorant. The kangalin, or witch, who uses her terrible abhi-char (mesmeric powers) with intent to injure, may expect death at any moment, for every Hindu finds it lawful to kill her; a bukka-baz, or juggler, serves to amuse. A serpent-charmer, with his ba-ini full of venomous snakes, is less dreaded, for his powers of fascination extend but to animals and reptiles; he is unable to charm human beings, to perform that which is called by the natives mantar phunkna, to throw spells on men by magic. But with the yogi, the sannyasi, the holy men who acquire enormous psychological powers by mental and physical training, the question is totally different. Some of these men are regarded by the Hindus as demi-gods. Europeans cannot judge of these powers but in rare and exceptional cases.
The British resident who has encountered in the maidans and public places what he regards as frightful and loathsome human beings, sitting motionless in the self-inflicted torture of the urddwa bahu, with arms raised above the head for months, and even years, need not suppose they are the wonder-working fakirs. The phenomenon of the latter are visible only through the friendly protection of a Brahman, or under peculiarly
fortuitous circumstances. Such men are as little accessible as the real Nautch girls, of whom every traveller talks, but very few have actually seen, since they belong exclusively to the pagodas.
It is surpassingly strange, that with the thousands of travellers and the millions of European residents who have been in India, and have traversed it in every direction, so little is yet known of that country and the lands which surround it. It may be that some readers will feel inclined not merely to doubt the correctness but even openly contradict our statement? Doubtless, we will be answered that all that it is desirable to know about India is already known? In fact this very reply was once made to us personally. That resident Anglo-Indians should not busy themselves with inquiries is not strange; for, as a British officer remarked to us upon one occasion, "society does not consider it well-bred to care about Hindus or their affairs, or even show astonishment or desire information upon anything they may see extraordinary in that country." But it really surprises us that at least travellers should not have explored more than they have this interesting realm. Hardly fifty years ago, in penetrating the jungles of the Blue or Neilgherry Hills in Southern Hindustan, a strange race, perfectly distinct in appearance and language from any other Hindu people, was discovered by two courageous British officers who were tiger-hunting. Many surmises, more or less absurd, were set on foot, and the missionaries, always on the watch to connect every mortal thing with the Bible, even went so far as to suggest that this people was one of the lost tribes of Israel, supporting their ridiculous hypothesis upon their very fair complexions and "strongly-marked Jewish features." The latter is perfectly erroneous, the Todas, as they are called, not bearing the remotest likeness to the Jewish type; either in feature, form, action, or language. They closely resemble each other, and, as a friend of ours expresses himself, the handsomest of the Todas resemble the statue of the Grecian Zeus in majesty and beauty of form more than anything he had yet seen among men.
Fifty years have passed since the discovery; but though since that time towns have been built on these hills and the country has been invaded by Europeans, no more has been learned of the Todas than at the first. Among the foolish rumors current about this people, the most erroneous are those in relation to their numbers and to their practicing polyandry. The general opinion about them is that on account of the latter custom their number has dwindled to a few hundred families, and the race is fast dying out. We had the best means of learning much about them, and therefore state most positively that the Todas neither practice polyandry nor are they as few in number as supposed. We are
ready to show that no one has ever seen children belonging to them. Those that may have been seen in their company have belonged to the Badagas, a Hindu tribe totally distinct from the Todas, in race, color, and language, and which includes the most direct "worshippers" of this extraordinary people. We say worshippers, for the Badagas clothe, feed, serve, and positively look upon every Toda as a divinity. They are giants in stature, white as Europeans, with tremendously long and generally brown, wavy hair and beard, which no razor ever touched from birth. Handsome as a statue of Pheidias or Praxiteles, the Toda sits the whole day inactive, as some travellers who have had a glance at them affirm. From the many conflicting opinions and statements we have heard from the very residents of Ootakamund and other little new places of civilization scattered about the Neilgherry Hills, we cull the following:
"They never use water; they are wonderfully handsome and noble looking, but extremely unclean; unlike all other natives they despise jewelry, and never wear anything but a large black drapery or blanket of some woollen stuff, with a colored stripe at the bottom; they never drink anything but pure milk; they have herds of cattle but neither eat their flesh, nor do they make their beasts of labor plough or work; they neither sell nor buy; the Badagas feed and clothe them; they never use nor carry weapons, not even a simple stick; the Todas can't read and won't learn. They are the despair of the missionaries and apparently have no sort of religion, beyond the worship of themselves as the Lords of Creation."*
We will try to correct a few of these opinions, as far as we have learned from a very holy personage, a Brahmanam-guru, who has our great respect.
Nobody has ever seen more than five or six of them at one time; they will not talk with foreigners, nor was any traveller ever inside their peculiar long and flat huts, which apparently are without either windows or chimney and have but one door; nobody ever saw the funeral of a Toda, nor very old men among them; nor are they taken sick with cholera, while thousands die around them during such periodical epidemics; finally, though the country all around swarms with tigers and other wild beasts, neither tiger, serpent, nor any other animal so ferocious in those parts, was ever known to touch either a Toda or one of their cattle, though, as said above, they never use even a stick.
Furthermore the Todas do not marry at all. They seem few in number, for no one has or ever will have a chance of numbering them; as soon as their solitude was profaned by the avalanche of civilization --
which was, perchance, due to their own carelessness — the Todas began moving away to other parts as unknown and more inaccessible than the Neilgherry hills had formerly been; they are not born of Toda mothers, nor of Toda parentage; they are the children of a certain very select sect, and are set apart from their infancy for special religious purposes. Recognized by a peculiarity of complexion, and certain other signs, such a child is known as what is vulgarly termed a Toda, from birth. Every third year, each of them must repair to a certain place for a certain period of time, where each of them must meet; their "dirt" is but a mask, such as a sannyasi puts on in public in obedience to his vow; their cattle are, for the most part, devoted to sacred uses; and, though their places of worship have never been trodden by a profane foot, they nevertheless exist, and perhaps rival the most splendid pagodas — goparams — known to Europeans. The Badagas are their special vassals, and — as has been truly remarked — worship them as half-deities; for their birth and mysterious powers entitle them to such a distinction.
The reader may rest assured that any statements concerning them, that clash with the little that is above given, are false. No missionary will ever catch one with his bait, nor any Badaga betray them, though he were cut to pieces. They are a people who fulfill a certain high purpose, and whose secrets are inviolable.
Furthermore, the Todas are not the only such mysterious tribe in India. We have named several in a preceding chapter, but how many are there besides these, that will remain unnamed, unrecognized, and yet ever present!
What is now generally known of Shamanism is very little; and that has been perverted, like the rest of the non-Christian religions. It is called the "heathenism" of Mongolia, and wholly without reason, for it is one of the oldest religions of India. It is spirit-worship, or belief in the immortality of the souls, and that the latter are still the same men they were on earth, though their bodies have lost their objective form, and man has exchanged his physical for a spiritual nature. In its present shape, it is an offshoot of primitive theurgy, and a practical blending of the visible with the invisible world. Whenever a denizen of earth desires to enter into communication with his invisible brethren, he has to assimilate himself to their nature, i.e., he meets these beings half-way, and, furnished by them with a supply of spiritual essence, endows them, in his turn, with a portion of his physical nature, thus enabling them sometimes to appear in a semi-objective form. It is a temporary exchange of natures, called theurgy. Shamans are called sorcerers, because they are said to evoke the "spirits" of the dead for purposes of necromancy. The true Shamanism — striking features of which prevailed in India in the days
of Megasthenes (300 B.C.) — can no more be judged by its degenerated scions among the Shamans of Siberia, than the religion of Gautama-Buddha can be interpreted by the fetishism of some of his followers in Siam and Burmah. It is in the chief lamaseries of Mongolia and Thibet that it has taken refuge; and there Shamanism, if so we must call it, is practiced to the utmost limits of intercourse allowed between man and "spirit." The religion of the lamas has faithfully preserved the primitive science of magic, and produces as great feats now as it did in the days of Kublai-Khan and his barons. The ancient mystic formula of the King Srong-ch-Tsans-Gampo, the "Aum mani padme houm,"* effects its wonders now as well as in the seventh century. Avalokitesvara, highest of the three Boddhisattvas, and patron saint of Thibet, projects his shadow, full in the view of the faithful, at the lamasery of Dga-G'Dan, founded by him; and the luminous form of Son-Ka-pa, under the shape of a fiery cloudlet, that separates itself from the dancing beams of the sunlight, holds converse with a great congregation of lamas, numbering thousands; the voice descending from above, like the whisper of the breeze through foliage. Anon, say the Thibetans, the beautiful appearance vanishes in the shadows of the sacred trees in the park of the lamasery.
At Garma-Khian (the mother-cloister) it is rumored that bad and unprogressed spirits are made to appear on certain days, and forced to give an account of their evil deeds; they are compelled by the lamaic adepts to redress the wrongs done by them to mortals. This is what Huc naively terms "personating evil spirits," i.e., devils. Were the skeptics of various European countries permitted to consult the accounts printed daily† at Moru, and in the "City of Spirits," of the business-like intercourse which takes place between the lamas and the invisible world, they would certainly feel more interest in the phenomena described so triumphantly in the spiritualistic journals. At Buddha-Ila, or rather Foht-lla (Buddha's Mount), in the most important of the many thousand lamaseries of that country, the sceptre of the Boddhisgat is seen floating, unsupported, in the air, and its motions regulate the actions of the community. Whenever a lama is called to account in the presence of the Superior of
the monastery, he knows beforehand it is useless for him to tell an untruth; the "regulator of justice" (the sceptre) is there, and its waving motion, either approbatory or otherwise, decides instantaneously and unerringly the question of his guilt. We do not pretend to have witnessed all this personally — we wish to make no pretensions of any kind. Suffice it, with respect to any of these phenomena, that what we have not seen with our own eyes has been so substantiated to us that we indorse its genuineness.
A number of lamas in Sikkin produce meipo — "miracle" — by magical powers. The late Patriarch of Mongolia, Gegen Chutuktu, who resided at Urga, a veritable paradise, was the sixteenth incarnation of Gautama, therefore a Boddhisattva. He had the reputation of possessing powers that were phenomenal, even among the thaumaturgists of the land of miracles par excellence. Let no one suppose that these powers are developed without cost. The lives of most of these holy men, miscalled idle vagrants, cheating beggars, who are supposed to pass their existence in preying upon the easy credulity of their victims, are miracles in themselves. Miracles, because they show what a determined will and perfect purity of life and purpose are able to accomplish, and to what degree of preternatural ascetism a human body can be subjected and yet live and reach a ripe old age. No Christian hermit has ever dreamed of such refinement of monastic discipline; and the aerial habitation of a Simon Stylite would appear child's play before the fakir's and the Buddhist's inventions of will-tests. But the theoretical study of magic is one thing; the possibility of practicing it quite another. At Bras-ss-Pungs, the Mongolian college where over three hundred magicians (sorciers, as the French missionaries call them) teach about twice as many pupils from twelve to twenty, the latter have many years to wait for their final initiation. Not one in a hundred reaches the highest goal; and out of the many thousand lamas occupying nearly an entire city of detached buildings clustering around it, not more than two per cent. become wonder-workers. One may learn by heart every line of the 108 volumes of Kadjur,* and still make but a poor practical magician. There is but one thing which leads surely to it, and this particular study is hinted at by more than one Hermetic writer. One, the Arabian alchemist Abipili, speaks thus: "I admonish thee, whosoever thou art that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of nature; if that thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. If thou knowest not the excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek after the ex-
cellency of other things? . . . O Man Know Thyself! in thee is hid the treasure of treasures."
In another alchemic tract, De manna Benedicto, the author expresses his ideas of the philosopher's stone, in the following terms: "My intent is for certain reasons not to prate too much of the matter, which yet is but one only thing, already too plainly described; for it shows and sets down such magical and natural uses of it [the stonas many that have had it never knew nor heard of; and such as, when I beheld them, made my knees to tremble and my heart to shake, and I to stand amazed at the sight of them!"
Every neophyte has experienced more or less such a feeling; but once that it is overcome, the man is an adept.
Within the cloisters of Dshashi-Lumbo and Si-Dzang, these powers, inherent in every man, called out by so few, are cultivated to their utmost perfection. Who, in India, has not heard of the Banda-Chan Ramboutchi, the Houtouktou of the capital of Higher Thibet? His brotherhood of Khe-lan was famous throughout the land; and one of the most famous "brothers" was a Peh-ling (an Englishman) who had arrived one day during the early part of this century, from the West, a thorough Buddhist, and after a month's preparation was admitted among the Khe-lans. He spoke every language, including the Thibetan, and knew every art and science, says the tradition. His sanctity and the phenomena produced by him caused him to be proclaimed a shaberon after a residence of but a few years. His memory lives to the present day among the Thibetans, but his real name is a secret with the shaberons alone.
The greatest of the meipo — said to be the object of the ambition of every Buddhist devotee — was, and yet is, the faculty of walking in the air. The famous King of Siam, Pia Metak, the Chinese, was noted for his devotion and learning. But he attained this "supernatural gift" only after having placed himself under the direct tuition of a priest of Gautama-Buddha. Crawfurd and Finlayson, during their residence at Siam, followed with great interest the endeavors of some Siamese nobles to acquire this faculty.*
Numerous and varied are the sects in China, Siam, Tartary, Thibet, Kashmir, and British India, which devote their lives to the cultivation of "supernatural powers," so called. Discussing one of such sects, the Taosse, Semedo says: "They pretend that by means of certain exercises and meditations one shall regain his youth, and others will attain to be Shien-sien, i.e., 'Terrestrial Beati,' in whose state every desire is gratified, whilst they have the power to transport themselves from one place to
another, however distant, with speed and facility."* This faculty relates but to the projection of the astral entity, in a more or less corporealized form, and certainly not to bodily transportation. This phenomenon is no more a miracle than one's reflection in a looking-glass. No one can detect in such an image a particle of matter, and still there stands our double, faithfully representing, even to each single hair on our heads. If, by this simple law of reflection, our double can be seen in a mirror, how much more striking a proof of its existence is afforded in the art of photography! It is no reason, because our physicists have not yet found the means of taking photographs, except at a short distance, that the acquirement should be impossible to those who have found these means in the power of the human will itself, freed from terrestrial concern.† Our thoughts are matter, says science; every energy produces more or less of a disturbance in the atmospheric waves. Therefore, as every man — in common with every other living, and even inert object — has an aura of his own emanations surrounding him; and, moreover, is enabled, by a trifling effort, to transport himself in imagination wherever he likes, why is it scientifically impossible that his thought, regulated, intensified, and guided by that powerful magician, the educated will, may become corporealized for the time being, and appear to whom it likes, a faithful double of the original? Is the proposition, in the present state of science, any more unthinkable than the photograph or telegraph were less than forty years ago, or the telephone less than fourteen months ago?
If the sensitized plate can so accurately seize upon the shadow of our faces, then this shadow or reflection, although we are unable to perceive it, must be something substantial. And, if we can, with the help of
optical instruments, project our semblances upon a white wall, at several hundred feet distance, sometimes, then there is no reason why the adepts, the alchemists, the savants of the secret art, should not have already found out that which scientists deny to-day, but may discover true tomorrow, i.e., how to project electrically their astral bodies, in an instant, through thousands of miles of space, leaving their material shells with a certain amount of animal vital principle to keep the physical life going, and acting within their spiritual, ethereal bodies as safely and intelligently as when clothed with the covering of flesh? There is a higher form of electricity than the physical one known to experimenters; a thousand correlations of the latter are as yet veiled to the eye of the modern physicist, and none can tell where end its possibilities.
Schott explains that by Sian or Shin-Sian are understood in the old Chinese conception, and particularly in that of the Tao-Kiao (Taosse) sect, "persons who withdraw to the hills to lead the life of anchorites, and who have attained, either through their ascetic observances or by the power of charms and elixirs, to the possession of miraculous gifts and of terrestrial immortality."* (?) This is exaggerated if not altogether erroneous. What they claim, is merely their ability to prolong human life; and they can do so, if we have to believe human testimony. What Marco Polo testifies to in the thirteenth century is corroborated in our own days. "There are another class of people called Chughi" (Yogi), he says, "who are indeed properly called Abraiamans (Brahmans?) who are extremely long-lived, every man of them living to 150 or 200 years. They eat very little, rice and milk chiefly. And these people make use of a very strange beverage, a potion of sulphur and quicksilver mixed together, and this they drink twice every month. . . . This, they say, gives them long life; and it is a potion they are used to take from their childhood."† Bernier shows, says Colonel Yule, the Yogis very skilful in preparing mercury "so admirably that one or two grains taken every morning restored the body to perfect health"; and adds that the mercurius vitae of Paracelsus was a compound in which entered antimony and quicksilver.† This is a very careless statement, to say the least, and we will explain what we know of it.
The longevity of some lamas and Talapoins is proverbial; and it is generally known that they use some compound which "renews the old blood," as they call it. And it was equally a recognized fact with alchemists that a judicious administration, "of aura of silver does restore
health and prolongs life itself to a wonderful extent." But we are fully prepared to oppose the statements of both Bernier and Col. Yule who quotes him, that it is mercury or quicksilver which the Yogis and the alchemists used. The Yogis, in the days of Marco Polo, as well as in our modern times, do use that which may appear to be quicksilver, but is not. Paracelsus, the alchemists, and other mystics, meant by mercurius vitae, the living spirit of silver, the aura of silver, not the argent vive; and this aura is certainly not the mercury known to our physicians and druggists. There can be no doubt that the imputation that Paracelsus introduced mercury into medical practice is utterly incorrect. No mercury, whether prepared by a mediaeval fire-philosopher or a modern self-styled physician, can or ever did restore the body to perfect health. Only an unmitigated charlatan ever will use such a drug. And it is the opinion of many that it is just with the wicked intention of presenting Paracelsus in the eyes of posterity as a quack, that his enemies have invented such a preposterous lie.
The Yogis of the olden times, as well as modern lamas and Talapoins, use a certain ingredient with a minimum of sulphur, and a milky juice which they extract from a medicinal plant. They must certainly be possessed of some wonderful secrets, as we have seen them healing the most rebellious wounds in a few days; restoring broken bones to good use in as many hours as it would take days to do by means of common surgery. A fearful fever contracted by the writer near Rangoon, after a flood of the Irrawaddy River, was cured in a few hours by the juice of a plant called, if we mistake not, Kukushan, though there may be thousands of natives ignorant of its virtues who are left to die of fever. This was in return for a trifling kindness we had done to a simple mendicant; a service which can interest the reader but little.
We have heard of a certain water, also, called ab-i-hayat, which the popular superstition thinks hidden from every mortal eye, except that of the holy sannyasi; the fountain itself being known as the ab-i-haiwan-i. It is more than probable though, that the Talapoins will decline to deliver up their secrets, even to academicians and missionaries; as these remedies must be used for the benefit of humanity, never for money.*
At the great festivals of Hindu pagodas, at the marriage feasts of rich high-castes, everywhere where large crowds are gathered, Europeans find guni — or serpent-charmers, fakirs-mesmerizers, thaum-working sannyasi, and so-called "jugglers." To deride is easy — to explain, rather more troublesome — to science impossible. The British residents of India and the travellers prefer the first expedient. But let any one ask one of these Thomases how the following results — which they cannot and do not deny — are produced? When crowds of guni and fakirs appear with their bodies encircled with cobras-de-capello, their arms ornamented with bracelets of corallilos — diminutive snakes inflicting certain death in a few seconds — and their shoulders with necklaces of trigonocephali, the most terrible enemy of naked Hindu feet, whose bite kills like a flash of lightning, the sceptic witness smiles and gravely proceeds to explain how these reptiles, having been thrown in cataleptic torpor, were all deprived by the guni of their fangs. "They are harmless and it is ridiculous to fear them." "Will the Saeb caress one of my nag?" asked once a guni approaching our interlocutor, who had been thus humbling his listeners with his herpetological achievements for a full half hour. Rapidly jumping back — the brave warrior's feet proving no less nimble than his tongue — Captain B----'s angry answer could hardly be immortalized by us in print. Only the guni's terrible body-guard saved him from an unceremonious thrashing. Besides, say a word, and for a half-roupee any professional serpent-charmer will begin creeping about and summon around in a few moments numbers of untamed serpents of the most poisonous species, and will handle them and encircle his body with them. On two occasions in the neighborhood of Trinkemal a serpent was ready to strike at the writer, who had once nearly sat on its tail, but both times, at a rapid whistle of the guni whom we had hired to accompany us, it stopped — hardly a few inches from our body, as if arrested by lightning and slowly sinking its menacing head to the ground, remained stiff and motionless as a dead branch, under the charm of the kilna.*
Will any European juggler, tamer, or even mesmerizer, risk repeating just once an experiment that may be daily witnessed in India, if you know where to go to see it? There is nothing in the world more ferocious than a royal Bengal tiger. Once the whole population of a small village, not far from Dakka, situated on the confines of a jungle, was
thrown into a panic at the appearance of an enormous tigress, at the dawn of the day. These wild beasts never leave their dens but at night, when they go searching for prey and for water. But this unusual circumstance was due to the fact that the beast was a mother, and she had been deprived of her two cubs, which had been carried away by a daring hunter, and she was in search of them. Two men and a child had already become her victims, when an aged fakir, bent on his daily round, emerging from the gate of the pagoda, saw the situation and understood it at a glance. Chanting a mantram he went straight to the beast, which with flaming eye and foaming mouth crouched near a tree ready for a new victim. When at about ten feet from the tigress, without interrupting his modulated prayer, the words of which no layman comprehends, he began a regular process of mesmerization, as we understood it; he made passes. A terrific howl which struck a chill into the heart of every human being in the place, was then heard. This long, ferocious, drawling howl gradually subsided into a series of plaintive broken sobs, as if the bereaved mother was uttering her complaints, and then, to the terror of the crowd which had taken refuge on trees and in the houses, the beast made a tremendous leap — on the holy man as they thought. They were mistaken, she was at his feet, rolling in the dust, and writhing. A few moments more and she remained motionless, with her enormous head laid on her fore-paws, and her bloodshot but now mild eye riveted on the face of the fakir. Then the holy man of prayers sat beside the tigress and tenderly smoothed her striped skin, and patted her back, until her groans became fainter and fainter, and half an hour later all the village was standing around this group; the fakir's head lying on the tigress's back as on a pillow, his right hand on her head, and his left thrown on the sod under the terrible mouth, from which the long red protruding tongue was gently licking it.
This is the way the fakirs tame the wildest beasts in India. Can European tamers, with their white-hot iron rods, do as much? Of course every fakir is not endowed with such a power; comparatively very few are. And yet the actual number is large. How they are trained to these requirements in the pagodas will remain an eternal secret, to all except the Brahmans and the adepts in occult mysteries. The stories, hitherto considered fables, of Christna and Orpheus charming the wild beasts, thus receives its corroboration in our day. There is one fact which remains undeniable. There is not a single European in India who could have, or has ever boasted of having, penetrated into the enclosed sanctuary within the pagodas. Neither authority nor money has ever induced a Brahman to allow an uninitiated foreigner to pass the threshold of the reserved precinct. To use authority in such a case would be equivalent
to throwing a lighted taper into a powder magazine. The Hindus, mild, patient, long-suffering, whose very apathy saved the British from being driven out of the country in 1857, would raise their hundred millions of devotees as one man, at such a profanation; regardless of sects or castes, they would exterminate every Christian. The East India Company knew this well and built her stronghold on the friendship of the Brahmans, and by paying subsidy to the pagodas; and the British Government is as prudent as its predecessor. It is the castes, and non-interference with the prevailing religions, that secure its comparative authority in India. But we must once more recur to Shamanism, that strange and most despised of all surviving religions — "Spirit-worship."
Its followers have neither altars nor idols, and it is upon the authority of a Shaman priest that we state that their true rites, which they are bound to perform only once a year, on the shortest day of winter, cannot take place before any stranger to their faith. Therefore, we are confident that all descriptions hitherto given in the Asiatic Journal and other European works, are but guess-work. The Russians, who, from constant intercourse with the Shamans in Siberia and Tartary, would be the most competent of all persons to judge of their religion, have learned nothing except of the personal proficiency of these men in what they are half inclined to believe clever jugglery. Many Russian residents, though, in Siberia, are firmly convinced of the "supernatural" powers of the Shamans. Whenever they assemble to worship, it is always in an open space, or a high hill, or in the hidden depths of a forest — in this reminding us of the old Druidical rites. Their ceremonies upon the occasions of births, deaths, and marriages are but trifling parts of their worship. They comprise offerings, the sprinkling of the fire with spirits and milk, and weird hymns, or rather, magical incantations, intoned by the officiating Shaman, and concluding with a chorus of the persons present.
The numerous small bells of brass and iron worn by them on the priestly robe of deerskin,* or the pelt of some other animal reputed magnetic, are used to drive away the malevolent spirits of the air, a super-
stition shared by all the nations of old, including Romans, and even the Jews, whose golden bells tell the story. They have iron staves also covered with bells, for the same reason. When, after certain ceremonies, the desired crisis is reached, and "the spirit has spoken," and the priest (who may be either male or female) feels its overpowering influence, the hand of the Shaman is drawn by some occult power toward the top of the staff, which is commonly covered with hieroglyphics. With his palm pressing upon it, he is then raised to a considerable height in the air, where he remains for some time. Sometimes he leaps to an extraordinary height, and, according to the control — for he is often but an irresponsible medium — pours out prophecies and describes future events. Thus, it was that, in 1847, a Shaman in a distant part of Siberia prophesied and accurately detailed the issue of the Crimean war. The particulars of the prognostication being carefully noted by those present at the time, were all verified six years after this occurrence. Although usually ignorant of even the name of astronomy, let alone having studied this science, they often prophesy eclipses and other astronomical phenomena. When consulted about thefts and murders, they invariably point out the guilty parties.
The Shamans of Siberia are all ignorant and illiterate. Those of Tartary and Thibet — few in number — are mostly learned men in their own way, and will not allow themselves to fall under the control of spirits of any kind. The former are mediums in the full sense of the word; the latter, "magicians." It is not surprising that pious and superstitious persons, after seeing one of such crises, should declare the Shaman to be under demoniacal possession. As in the instances of Corybantic and Bacchantic fury among the ancient Greeks, the "spiritual" crisis of the Shaman exhibits itself in violent dancing and wild gestures. Little by little the lookers-on feel the spirit of imitation aroused in them; seized with an irresistible impulse, they dance, and become, in their turn, ecstatics; and he who begins by joining the chorus, gradually and unconsciously takes part in the gesticulations, until he sinks to the ground exhausted, and often dying.
"O, young girl, a god possesses thee! it is either Pan, or Hekate, or, the venerable Corybantes, or Cybele that agitates thee!" the chorus says, addressing Phaedra, in Euripides. This form of psychological epidemic has been too well known from the time of the middle ages to cite instances from it. The Choroea sancti Viti is an historical fact, and spread throughout Germany. Paracelsus cured quite a number of persons possessed of such a spirit of imitation. But he was a kabalist, and therefore accused, by his enemies, of having cast out the devils by the power of a stronger demon, which he was believed to carry about with
him in the hilt of his sword. The Christian judges of those days of horror found a better and a surer remedy. Voltaire states that, in the district of Jura, between 1598 and 1600, over 600 Lycanthropes were put to death by a pious judge.
But, while the illiterate Shaman is a victim, and during his crisis sometimes sees the persons present, under the shape of various animals, and often makes them share his hallucination, his brother Shaman, learned in the mysteries of the priestly colleges of Thibet, expels the elementary creature, which can produce the hallucination as well as a living mesmerizer, not through the help of a stronger demon, but simply through his knowledge of the nature of the invisible enemy. Where academicians have failed, as in the cases of the Cevennois, a Shaman or a lama would have soon put an end to the epidemic.
We have mentioned a kind of carnelian stone in our possession, which had such an unexpected and favorable effect upon the Shaman's decision. Every Shaman has such a talisman, which he wears attached to a string, and carries under his left arm.
"Of what use is it to you, and what are its virtues?" was the question we often offered to our guide. To this he never answered directly, but evaded all explanation, promising that as soon as an opportunity was offered, and we were alone, he would ask the stone to answer for himself. With this very indefinite hope, we were left to the resources of our own imagination.
But the day on which the stone "spoke" came very soon. It was during the most critical hours of our life; at a time when the vagabond nature of a traveller had carried the writer to far-off lands, where neither civilization is known, nor security can be guaranteed for one hour. One afternoon, as every man and woman had left the yourta (Tartar tent), that had been our home for over two months, to witness the ceremony of the Lamaic exorcism of a Tshoutgour,* accused of breaking and spiriting away every bit of the poor furniture and earthenware of a family living about two miles distant, the Shaman, who had become our only protector in those dreary deserts, was reminded of his promise. He sighed and hesitated; but, after a short silence, left his place on the sheepskin, and, going outside, placed a dried-up goat's head with its prominent horns over a wooden peg, and then dropping down the felt curtain of the tent, remarked that now no living person would venture in, for the goat's head was a sign that he was "at work."
After that, placing his hand in his bosom, he drew out the little stone, about the size of a walnut, and, carefully unwrapping it, proceeded, as it
appeared, to swallow it. In a few moments his limbs stiffened, his body became rigid, and he fell, cold and motionless as a corpse. But for a slight twitching of his lips at every question asked, the scene would have been embarrassing, nay — dreadful. The sun was setting, and were it not that dying embers flickered at the centre of the tent, complete darkness would have been added to the oppressive silence which reigned. We have lived in the prairies of the West, and in the boundless steppes of Southern Russia; but nothing can be compared with the silence at sunset on the sandy deserts of Mongolia; not even the barren solitudes of the deserts of Africa, though the former are partially inhabited, and the latter utterly void of life. Yet, there was the writer alone with what looked no better than a corpse lying on the ground. Fortunately, this state did not last long.
"Mahandu!" uttered a voice, which seemed to come from the bowels of the earth, on which the Shaman was prostrated. "Peace be with you . . . what would you have me do for you?"
Startling as the fact seemed, we were quite prepared for it, for we had seen other Shamans pass through similar performances. "Whoever you are," we pronounced mentally, "go to K----, and try to bring that person's thought here. See what that other party does, and tell * * * what we are doing and how situated."
"I am there"; answered the same voice. "The old lady (kokona)* is sitting in the garden . . . she is putting on her spectacles and reading a letter."
"The contents of it, and hasten," was the hurried order while preparing note-book and pencil. The contents were given slowly, as if, while dictating, the invisible presence desired to afford us time to put down the words phonetically, for we recognized the Valachian language of which we know nothing beyond the ability to recognize it. In such a way a whole page was filled.
"Look west . . . toward the third pole of the yourta," pronounced the Tartar in his natural voice, though it sounded hollow, and as if coming from afar. "Her thought is here."
Then with a convulsive jerk, the upper portion of the Shaman's body seemed raised, and his head fell heavily on the writer's feet, which he clutched with both his hands. The position was becoming less and less attractive, but curiosity proved a good ally to courage. In the west corner was standing, life-like but flickering, unsteady and mist-like, the form of a dear old friend, a Roumanian lady of Valachia, a mystic by disposition, but a thorough disbeliever in this kind of occult phenomena.
"Her thought is here, but her body is lying unconscious. We could not bring her here otherwise," said the voice.
We addressed and supplicated the apparition to answer, but all in vain. The features moved, and the form gesticulated as if in fear and agony, but no sound broke forth from the shadowy lips; only we imagined — perchance it was a fancy — hearing as if from a long distance the Roumanian words, "Non se pote" (it cannot be done).
For over two hours, the most substantial, unequivocal proofs that the Shaman's astral soul was travelling at the bidding of our unspoken wish, were given us. Ten months later, we received a letter from our Valachian friend in response to ours, in which we had enclosed the page from the note-book, inquiring of her what she had been doing on that day, and describing the scene in full. She was sitting — she wrote — in the garden on that morning* prosaically occupied in boiling some conserves; the letter sent to her was word for word the copy of the one received by her from her brother; all at once — in consequence of the heat, she thought — she fainted, and remembered distinctly dreaming she saw the writer in a desert place which she accurately described, and sitting under a "gypsy's tent," as she expressed it. "Henceforth," she added, "I can doubt no longer!"
But our experiment was proved still better. We had directed the Shaman's inner ego to the same friend heretofore mentioned in this chapter, the Kutchi of Lha-Ssa, who travels constantly to British India and back. We know that he was apprised of our critical situation in the desert; for a few hours later came help, and we were rescued by a party of twenty-five horsemen who had been directed by their chief to find us at the place where we were, which no living man endowed with common powers could have known. The chief of this escort was a Shaberon, an "adept" whom we had never seen before, nor did we after that, for he never left his soumay (lamasery), and we could have no access to it. But he was a personal friend of the Kutchi.
The above will of course provoke naught but incredulity in the general reader. But we write for those who will believe; who, like the writer, understand and know the illimitable powers and possibilities of the human astral soul. In this case we willingly believe, nay, we know, that the "spiritual double" of the Shaman did not act alone, for he was no adept, but simply a medium. According to a favorite expression of his, as soon as he placed the stone in his mouth, his "father appeared, dragged him out of his skin, and took him wherever he wanted," and at his bidding.
one who has only witnessed the chemical, optical, mechanical, and sleight-of-hand performances of European prestidigitateurs, is not prepared to see, without amazement, the open-air and off-hand exhibitions of Hindu jugglers, to say nothing of fakirs. Of the mere displays of deceptive dexterity we make no account, for Houdin and others far excel them in that respect; or do we dwell upon feats that permit of confederacy, whether resorted to or not. It is unquestionably true that non-expert travellers, especially if of an imaginative turn of mind, exaggerate inordinately. But our remark is based upon a class of phenomena not to be accounted for upon any of the familiar hypotheses. "I have seen," says a gentleman who resided in India, "a man throw up into the air a number of balls numbered in succession from one upwards. As each went up — and there was no deception about their going up — the ball was seen clearly in the air, getting smaller and smaller, till it disappeared altogether out of sight. When they were all up, twenty or more, the operator would politely ask which ball you wanted to see, and then would shout out, 'No. 1,' 'No. 15,' and so on, as instructed by the spectators, when the ball demanded would bound to his feet violently from some remote distance. . . . These fellows have very scanty clothing, and apparently no apparatus whatever. Then, I have seen them swallow three different colored powders, and then, throwing back the head, wash them down with water, drunk, in the native fashion, in a continuous stream from a lotah, or brass-pot, held at arm's length from the lips, and keep on drinking till the swollen body could not hold another drop, and water overflowed from the lips. Then, these fellows, after squirting out the water in their mouths, have spat out the three powders on a clean piece of paper, dry and unmixed."*
In the eastern portion of Turkey and Persia, have dwelt, from time immemorial, the warlike tribes of the Koordistan. This people of purely Indo-European origin, and without a drop of Semitic blood in them (though some ethnologists seem to think otherwise), notwithstanding their brigand-like disposition, unite in themselves the mysticism of the Hindu and the practices of the Assyrio-Chaldean magians, vast portions of whose territory they have helped themselves to, and will not give up, to please either Turkey or even all Europe.† Nominally, Mahometans of the sect of Omar, their rites and doctrines are purely magical and magian. Even those who are Christian Nestorians, are Christians but in name. The Kaldany, numbering nearly 100,000 men,
and with their two Patriarchs, are undeniably rather Manicheans than Nestorians. Many of them are Yezids.
One of these tribes is noted for its fire-worshipping predilections. At sunrise and sunset, the horsemen alight and, turning towards the sun, mutter a prayer; while at every new moon they perform mysterious rites throughout the whole night. They have a tent set apart for the purpose, and its thick, black, woolen fabric is decorated with weird signs, worked in bright red and yellow. In the centre is placed a kind of altar, encircled by three brass bands, to which are suspended numerous rings by ropes of camel's hair, which every worshipper holds with his right hand during the ceremony. On the altar burns a curious, old-fashioned silver lamp, a relic found possibly among the ruins of Persepolis.* This lamp, with three wicks, is an oblong cup with a handle to it, and is evidently of the class of Egyptian sepulchral lamps, once found in such profusion in the subterranean caves of Memphis, if we may believe Kircher.† It widened from its end toward the middle, and its upper part was of the shape of a heart; the apertures for the wicks forming a triangle, and its centre being covered by an inverted heliotrope attached to a gracefully-curved stalk proceeding from the handle of the lamp. This ornament clearly bespoke its origin. It was one of the sacred vessels used in sun-worship. The Greeks gave the heliotrope its name from its strange propensity to ever incline towards the sun. The ancient Magi used it in their worship; and who knows but Darius had performed the mysterious rites with its triple light illuminating the face of the king-hierophant!
If we mention the lamp at all, it is because there happened to be a strange story in connection with it. What the Koords do, during their nocturnal rites of lunar-worship, we know but from hearsay; for they conceal it carefully, and no stranger could be admitted to witness the ceremony. But every tribe has one old man, sometimes several, regarded as "holy beings," who know the past, and can divulge the secrets of the future. These are greatly honored, and generally resorted to for information in cases of theft, murders, or danger.
Travelling from one tribe to the other, we passed some time in company with these Koords. As our object is not autobiographical, we omit all details that have no immediate bearing upon some occult fact, and even of these, have room but for a few. We will then simply state
that a very expensive saddle, a carpet, and two Circassian daggers, richly mounted and chiselled in gold, had been stolen from the tent, and that the Koords, with the chief of the tribe at the head, had come, taking Allah for their witness that the culprit could not belong to their tribe. We believed it, for it would have been unprecedented among these nomadic tribes of Asia, as famed for the sacredness in which they hold their guests, as for the ease with which they plunder and occasionally murder them, when once they have passed the boundaries of their aoul.
A suggestion was then made by a Georgian belonging to our caravan to have resort to the light of the koodian (sorcerer) of their tribe. This was arranged in great secrecy and solemnity, and the interview appointed to take place at midnight, when the moon would be at its full. At the stated hour we were conducted to the above-described tent.
A large hole, or square aperture, was managed in the arched roof of the tent, and through it poured in vertically the radiant moonbeams, mingling with the vacillating triple flame of the little lamp. After several minutes of incantations, addressed, as it seemed to us, to the moon, the conjurer, an old man of tremendous stature, whose pyramidal turban touched the top of the tent, produced a round looking-glass, of the kind known as "Persian mirrors." Having unscrewed its cover, he then proceeded to breathe on it, for over ten minutes, and wipe off the moisture from the surface with a package of herbs, muttering incantations the while sotto voce. After every wiping the glass became more and more brilliant, till its crystal seemed to radiate refulgent phosphoric rays in every direction. At last the operation was ended; the old man, with the mirror in his hand, remained as motionless as if he had been a statue. "Look, Hanoum . . . look steadily," he whispered, hardly moving his lips. Shadows and dark spots began gathering, where one moment before nothing was reflected but the radiant face of the full moon. A few more seconds, and there appeared the well-known saddle, carpet, and daggers, which seemed to be rising as from a deep, clear water, and becoming with every instant more definitely outlined. Then a still darker shadow appeared hovering over these objects, which gradually condensed itself, and then came out, as visibly as at the small end of a telescope, the full figure of a man crouching over them.
"I know him!" exclaimed the writer. "It is the Tartar who came to us last night, offering to sell his mule!"
The image disappeared, as if by enchantment. The old man nodded assent, but remained motionless. Then he muttered again some strange words, and suddenly began a song. The tune was slow and monotonous, but after he had sung a few stanzas in the same unknown tongue, without
changing either rhythm or tune, he pronounced, recitative-like, the following words, in his broken Russian:
"Now, Hanoum, look well, whether we will catch him — the fate of the robber — we will learn this night," etc.
The same shadows began gathering, and then, almost without transition, we saw the man lying on his back, in a pool of blood, across the saddle, and two other men galloping off at a distance. Horror-stricken, and sick at the sight of this picture, we desired to see no more. The old man, leaving the tent, called some of the Koords standing outside, and seemed to give them instructions. Two minutes later, a dozen of horsemen were galloping off at full speed down the side of the mountain on which we were encamped.
Early in the morning they returned with the lost objects. The saddle was all covered with coagulated blood, and of course abandoned to them. The story they told was, that upon coming in sight of the fugitive, they saw disappearing over the crest of a distant hill two horsemen, and upon riding up, the Tartar thief was found dead upon the stolen property, exactly as we had seen him in the magical glass. He had been murdered by the two banditti, whose evident design to rob him was interrupted by the sudden appearance of the party sent by the old Koodian.
The most remarkable results are produced by the Eastern "wise men," by the simple act of breathing upon a person, whether with good or evil intent. This is pure mesmerism; and among the Persian dervishes who practice it the animal magnetism is often reinforced by that of the elements. If a person happens to stand facing a certain wind, there is always danger, they think; and many of the "learned ones" in occult matters can never be prevailed upon to go at sunset in a certain direction from whence blows the wind. We have known an old Persian from Baku,* on the Caspian Sea, who had the most unenviable reputation for throwing spells through the timely help of this wind, which blows but too often at that town, as its Persian name itself shows.† If a victim, against whom the wrath of the old fiend was kindled, happened to be
facing this wind, he would appear, as if by enchantment, cross the road rapidly, and breathe in his face. From that moment, the latter would find himself afflicted with every evil — he was under the spell of the "evil eye."
The employment of the human breath by the sorcerer as an adjunct for the accomplishment of his nefarious purpose, is strikingly illustrated in several terrible cases recorded in the French annals — notably those of several Catholic priests. In fact, this species of sorcery was known from the oldest times. The Emperor Constantine (in Statute iv., Code de Malef., etc.) prescribed the severest penalties against such as should employ sorcery to do violence to chastity and excite unlawful passion. Augustine (Cite de Dieu) warns against it; Jerome, Gregory, Nazianzen, and many other ecclesiastical authorities, lend their denunciation of a crime not uncommon among the clergy. Baffet (book v., tit. 19, chap. 6) relates the case of the cure of Peifane, who accomplished the ruin of a highly-respected and virtuous lady parishioner, the Dame du Lieu, by resort to sorcery, and was burned alive for it by the Parliament of Grenoble. In 1611, a priest named Gaufridy was burned by the Parliament of Provence for seducing a penitent at the confessional, named Magdelaine de la Palud, by breathing upon her, and thus throwing her into a delirium of sinful love for him.
The above cases are cited in the official report of the famous case of Father Girard, a Jesuit priest of very great influence, who, in 1731, was tried before the Parliament of Aix, France, for the seduction of his parishioner, Mlle. Catherine Cadiere, of Toulon, and certain revolting crimes in connection with the same. The indictment charged that the offence was brought about by resort to sorcery. Mlle. Cadiere was a young lady noted for her beauty, piety, and exemplary virtues. Her attention to her religious duties was exceptionally rigorous, and that was the cause of her perdition. Father Girard's eye fell upon her, and he began to manoeuvre for her ruin. Gaining the confidence of the girl and her family by his apparent great sanctity, he one day made a pretext to blow his breath upon her. The girl became instantly affected with a violent passion for him. She also had ecstatic visions of a religious character, stigmata, or blood-marks of the "Passion," and hysterical convulsions. The long-sought opportunity of seclusion with his penitent finally offering, the Jesuit breathed upon her again, and before the poor girl recovered her senses, his object had been accomplished. By sophistry and the excitation of her religious fervor, he kept up this illicit relation for months, without her suspecting that she had done anything wrong. Finally, however, her eyes were opened, her parents informed, and the priest was arraigned. Judgment was rendered October 12th, 1731. Of twenty-five judges,
twelve voted to send him to the stake. The criminal priest was defended by all the power of the Society of Jesus, and it is said that a million francs were spent in trying to suppress the evidence produced at the trial. The facts, however, were printed in a work (in 5 vols., 16mo), now rare, entitled Recueil General des Pieces contenues au Procez du Pere Jean-Baptiste Girard, Jeuite, etc., etc.*
We have noted the circumstance that, while under the sorcerous influence of Father Girard, and in illicit relations with him, Mlle. Cadiere's body was marked with the stigmata of the Passion, viz.: the bleeding wounds of thorns on her brow, of nails in her hands and feet, and of a lance-cut in her side. It should be added that the same marks were seen upon the bodies of six other penitents of this priest, viz.: Mesdames Guyol, Laugier, Grodier, Allemande, Batarelle, and Reboul. In fact, it became commonly remarked that Father Girard's handsome parishioners were strangely given to ecstasies and stigmata! Add this to the fact that, in the case of Father Gaufridy, above noted, the same thing was proved, upon surgical testimony, to have happened to Mlle. de Palud, and we have something worth the attention of all (especially spiritualists) who imagine these stigmata are produced by pure spirits. Barring the agency of the Devil, whom we have quietly put to rest in another chapter, Catholics would be puzzled, we fancy, despite all their infallibility, to distinguish between the stigmata of the sorcerers and those produced through the intervention of the Holy Ghost or the angels. The Church records abound in instances of alleged diabolical imitations of these signs of saintship, but, as we have remarked, the Devil is out of court.
By those who have followed us thus far, it will naturally be asked, to what practical issue this book tends; much has been said about magic and its potentiality, much of the immense antiquity of its practice. Do we wish to affirm that the occult sciences ought to be studied and practiced throughout the world? Would we replace modern spiritualism with the ancient magic? Neither; the substitution could not be made, nor the study universally prosecuted, without incurring the risk of enormous public dangers. At this moment, a well-known spiritualist and lecturer on mesmerism is imprisoned on the charge of raping a subject whom he had hypnotized. A sorcerer is a public enemy, and mesmerism may most readily be turned into the worst of sorceries.
We would have neither scientists, theologians, nor spiritualists turn practical magicians, but all to realize that there was true science, profound
religion, and genuine phenomena before this modern era. We would that all who have a voice in the education of the masses should first know and then teach that the safest guides to human happiness and enlightenment are those writings which have descended to us from the remotest antiquity; and that nobler spiritual aspirations and a higher average morality prevail in the countries where the people take their precepts as the rule of their lives. We would have all to realize that magical, i.e., spiritual powers exist in every man, and those few to practice them who feel called to teach, and are ready to pay the price of discipline and self-conquest which their development exacts.
Many men have arisen who had glimpses of the truth, and fancied they had it all. Such have failed to achieve the good they might have done and sought to do, because vanity has made them thrust their personality into such undue prominence as to interpose it between their believers and the whole truth that lay behind. The world needs no sectarian church, whether of Buddha, Jesus, Mahomet, Swedenborg, Calvin, or any other. There being but one Truth, man requires but one church — the Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way; the pure in heart see God.
The trinity of nature is the lock of magic, the trinity of man the key that fits it. Within the solemn precincts of the sanctuary the Supreme had and has no name. It is unthinkable and unpronounceable; and yet every man finds in himself his god. "Who art thou, O fair being?" inquires the disembodied soul, in the Khordah-Avesta, at the gates of Paradise. "I am, O Soul, thy good and pure thoughts, thy works and thy good law . . . thy angel . . . and thy god." Then man, or the soul, is reunited with itself, for this "Son of God" is one with him; it is his own mediator, the god of his human soul and his "Justifier." "God not revealing himself immediately to man, the spirit is his interpreter," says Plato in the Banquet.
Besides, there are many good reasons why the study of magic, except in its broad philosophy, is nearly impracticable in Europe and America. Magic being what it is, the most difficult of all sciences to learn experimentally — its acquisition is practically beyond the reach of the majority of white-skinned people; and that, whether their effort is made at home or in the East. Probably not more than one man in a million of European blood is fitted — either physically, morally, or psychologically — to become a practical magician, and not one in ten millions would be found endowed with all these three qualifications as required for the work. Civilized nations lack the phenomenal powers of endurance, both mental and physical, of the Easterns; the favoring temperamental idiosyncrasies of the Orientals are utterly wanting in them. In the Hindu, the
Arabian, the Thibetan, an intuitive perception of the possibilities of occult natural forces in subjection to human will, comes by inheritance; and in them, the physical senses as well as the spiritual are far more finely developed than in the Western races. Notwithstanding the notable difference of thickness between the skulls of a European and a Southern Hindu, this difference, being a purely climatic result, due to the intensity of the sun's rays, involves no psychological principles. Furthermore, there would be tremendous difficulties in the way of training, if we can so express it. Contaminated by centuries of dogmatic superstition, by an ineradicable — though quite unwarranted — sense of superiority over those whom the English term so contemptuously "niggers," the white European would hardly submit himself to the practical tuition of either Kopt, Brahman, or Lama. To become a neophyte, one must be ready to devote himself heart and soul to the study of mystic sciences. Magic — most imperative of mistresses — brooks no rival. Unlike other sciences, a theoretical knowledge of formulai without mental capacities or soul powers, is utterly useless in magic. The spirit must hold in complete subjection the combativeness of what is loosely termed educated reason, until facts have vanquished cold human sophistry.
Those best prepared to appreciate occultism are the spiritualists, although, through prejudice, until now they have been the bitterest opponents to its introduction to public notice. Despite all foolish negations and denunciations, their phenomena are real. Despite, also, their own assertions they are wholly misunderstood by themselves. The totally insufficient theory of the constant agency of disembodied human spirits in their production has been the bane of the Cause. A thousand mortifying rebuffs have failed to open their reason or intuition to the truth. Ignoring the teachings of the past, they have discovered no substitute. We offer them philosophical deduction instead of unverifiable hypothesis, scientific analysis and demonstration instead of undiscriminating faith. Occult philosophy gives them the means of meeting the reasonable requirements of science, and frees them from the humiliating necessity to accept the oracular teachings of "intelligences," which as a rule have less intelligence than a child at school. So based and so strengthened, modern phenomena would be in a position to command the attention and enforce the respect of those who carry with them public opinion. Without invoking such help, spiritualism must continue to vegetate, equally repulsed — not without cause — both by scientists and theologians. In its modern aspect, it is neither a science, a religion, nor a philosophy.
Are we unjust; does any intelligent spiritualist complain that we have misstated the case? To what can he point us but to a confusion of theories, a tangle of hypotheses mutually contradictory? Can he affirm that
spiritualism, even with its thirty years of phenomena, has any defensible philosophy; nay, that there is anything like an established method that is generally accepted and followed by its recognized representatives?
And yet, there are many thoughtful, scholarly, earnest writers among the spiritualists, scattered the world over. There are men who, in addition to a scientific mental training and a reasoned faith in the phenomena per se, possess all the requisites of leaders of the movement. How is it then, that, except throwing off an isolated volume or so, or occasional contributions to journalism, they all refrain from taking any active part in the formation of a system of philosophy? This is from no lack of moral courage, as their writings well show. Nor because of indifference, for enthusiasm abounds, and they are sure of their facts. Nor is it from lack of capacity, because many are men of mark, the peers of our best minds. It is simply for the reason that, almost without exception, they are bewildered by the contradictions they encounter, and wait for their tentative hypotheses to be verified by further experience. Doubtless this is the part of wisdom. It is that adopted by Newton, who, with the heroism of an honest, unselfish heart, withheld for seventeen years the promulgation of his theory of gravitation, only because he had not verified it to his own satisfaction.
Spiritualism, whose aspect is rather that of aggression than of defense, has tended toward iconoclasm, and so far has done well. But, in pulling down, it does not rebuild. Every really substantial truth it erects is soon buried under an avalanche of chimeras, until all are in one confused ruin. At every step of advance, at the acquisition of every new vantage-ground of Fact, some cataclysm, either in the shape of fraud and exposure, or of premeditated treachery, occurs, and throws the spiritualists back powerless because they cannot and their invisible friends will not (or perchance can, less than themselves) make good their claims. Their fatal weakness is that they have but one theory to offer in explanation of their challenged facts — the agency of human disembodied spirits, and the medium's complete subjection to them. They will attack those who differ in views with them with a vehemence only warranted by a better cause; they will regard every argument contradicting their theory as an imputation upon their common sense and powers of observation; and they will positively refuse even to argue the question.
How, then, can spiritualism be ever elevated to the distinction of a science? This, as Professor Tyndall shows, includes three absolutely necessary elements: observation of facts; induction of laws from these facts; and verification of those laws by constant practical experience. What experienced observer will maintain that spiritualism presents either one of these three elements? The medium is not uniformly surrounded
by such test conditions that we may be sure of the facts; the inductions from the supposed facts are unwarranted in the absence of such verification; and, as a corollary, there has been no sufficient verification of those hypotheses by experience. In short, the prime element of accuracy has, as a rule, been lacking.
That we may not be charged with desire to misrepresent the position of spiritualism, at the date of this present writing, or accused of withholding credit for advances actually made, we will cite a few passages from the London Spiritualist of March 2, 1877. At the fortnightly meeting, held February 19, a debate occurred upon the subject of "Ancient Thought and Modern Spiritualism." Some of the most intelligent Spiritualists of England participated. Among these was Mr. W. Stainton Moses, M. A., who has recently given some attention to the relation between ancient and modern phenomena. He said: "Popular spiritualism is not scientific; it does very little in the way of scientific verification. Moreover, exoteric spiritualism is, to a large extent, devoted to presumed communion with personal friends, or to the gratification of curiosity, or the mere evolution of marvels. . . . The truly esoteric science of spiritualism is very rare, and not more rare than valuable. To it we must look to the origination of knowledge which may be developed exoterically. . . . We proceed too much on the lines of the physicists; our tests are crude, and often illusory; we know too little of the Protean power of spirit. Here the ancients were far ahead of us, and can teach us much. We have not introduced any certainty into the conditions — a necessary prerequisite for true scientific experiment. This is largely owing to the fact that our circles are constructed on no principle. . . . We have not even mastered the elementary truths which the ancients knew and acted on, e.g., the isolation of mediums. We have been so occupied with wonder-hunting that we have hardly tabulated the phenomena, or propounded one theory to account for the production of the simplest of them. . . . We have never faced the question: What is the intelligence? This is the great blot, the most frequent source of error, and here we might learn with advantage from the ancients. There is the strongest disinclination among spiritualists to admit the possibility of the truth of occultism. In this respect they are as hard to convince as is the outer world of spiritualism. Spiritualists start with a fallacy, viz.: that all phenomena are caused by the action of departed human spirits; they have not looked into the powers of the human spirit; they do not know the extent to which spirit acts, how far it reaches, what it underlies."
Our position could not be better defined. If Spiritualism has a future, it is in the keeping of such men as Mr. Stainton Moses.
Our work is done — would that it were better done! But, despite our inexperience in the art of book-making, and the serious difficulty of writing in a foreign tongue, we hope we have succeeded in saying some things that will remain in the minds of the thoughtful. The enemies of truth have been all counted, and all passed in review. Modern science, powerless to satisfy the aspirations of the race, makes the future a void, and bereaves man of hope. In one sense, it is like the Baital Pachisi, the Hindu vampire of popular fancy, which lives in dead bodies, and feeds but on the rottenness of matter. The theology of Christendom has been rubbed threadbare by the most serious minds of the day. It is found to be, on the whole, subversive, rather than promotive of spirituality and good morals. Instead of expounding the rules of divine law and justice, it teaches but itself. In place of an ever-living Deity, it preaches the Evil One, and makes him indistinguishable from God Himself! "Lead us not into temptation" is the aspiration of Christians. Who, then, is the tempter? Satan? No; the prayer is not addressed to him. It is that tutelar genius who hardened the heart of Pharaoh, put an evil spirit into Saul, sent lying messengers to the prophets, and tempted David to sin; it is — the Bible-God of Israel!
Our examination of the multitudinous religious faiths that mankind, early and late, have professed, most assuredly indicates that they have all been derived from one primitive source. It would seem as if they were all but different modes of expressing the yearning of the imprisoned human soul for intercourse with supernal spheres. As the white ray of light is decomposed by the prism into the various colors of the solar spectrum, so the beam of divine truth, in passing through the three-sided prism of man's nature, has been broken up into vari-colored fragments called religions. And, as the rays of the spectrum, by imperceptible shadings, merge into each other, so the great theologies that have appeared at different degrees of divergence from the original source, have been connected by minor schisms, schools, and off-shoots from the one side or the other. Combined, their aggregate represents one eternal truth; separate, they are but shades of human error and the signs of imperfection. The worship of the Vedic pitris is fast becoming the worship of the spiritual portion of mankind. It but needs the right perception of things objective to finally discover that the only world of reality is the subjective.
What has been contemptuously termed Paganism, was ancient wisdom replete with Deity; and Judaism and its offspring, Christianity and Islamism, derived whatever of inspiration they contained from this ethnic parent. Pre-Vedic Brahmanism and Buddhism are the double source from which all religions sprung; Nirvana is the ocean to which all tend.
For the purposes of a philosophical analysis, we need not take account of the enormities which have blackened the record of many of the world's religions. True faith is the embodiment of divine charity; those who minister at its altars, are but human. As we turn the blood-stained pages of ecclesiastical history, we find that, whoever may have been the hero, and whatever costumes the actors may have worn, the plot of the tragedy has ever been the same. But the Eternal Night was in and behind all, and we pass from what we see to that which is invisible to the eye of sense. Our fervent wish has been to show true souls how they may lift aside the curtain, and, in the brightness of that Night made Day, look with undazzled gaze upon the Unveiled Truth.