The Path – June 1886


In the month of December he arrived at Benares, on what he hoped would be his last pilgrimage. As much as I am able to decipher of this curious manuscript, written in a mixture of Tamil — the South Indian language — with Mahratta, which, as you know, is entirely dissimilar, shows that he had made many pilgrimages to India's sacred places, whether by mere impulse or upon actual direction, I know not. If he had been only any ordinary religiously disposed Hindu we might be able to come to some judgment hereupon, for the pilgrimages might have been made in order to gain merit, but as he must long ago have risen above the flowery chains of even the Vedas, we cannot really tell for what reason these journeys were made. Although, as you know, I have long had possession of these papers, the time had not until now seemed ripe to give them out. He had, when I received them, already long passed away from these busy scenes to those far busier, and now I give you liberty to print the fragmentary tale without description of his person. These people are, you know, not disposed to have accurate descriptions of themselves floating about. They being real disciples, never like to say that they are, a manner quite contrary to that of those famed professors of occult science who opportunely or inopportunely declare their supposed chelaship from the house top.

* * * Twice before have I seen these silent temples standing by the rolling flood of sacred Ganges. They have not changed, but in me what changes have occurred! And yet that cannot be, for the I changeth not, but only the veil wrapped about, is either torn away or more closely and thickly folded round to the disguising of the reality. * * * It is now seven months since I began to use the privilege of listening to Kunala. Each time before, that I came to see him, implacable fate drove me back. It was Karma, the just law, which compels when we would not, that prevented me. Had I faltered then and returned to the life then even so far in the past, my fate in this incarnation would have been sealed — and he would have said nothing. Why? Happy was I that I knew the silence would have not indicated in him any loss of interest in my welfare, but only that the same Karma prevented interference. Very soon after first seeing him I felt that he was not what he appeared exteriorly to be. Then the feeling grew into a belief within a short time so strong that four or five times I thought of throwing myself at his feet and begging him to reveal himself to me. But I thought that was useless, as I knew that I was quite impure and could not -be trusted with that secret. If I remained silent I thought that he would confide to me whenever he found me worthy of it. I thought he must be some great Hindu Adept who had assumed that illusionary form. But there this difficulty arose, for I knew that he received letters from various relatives in different parts, and this would compel him to practice the illusion all over the globe, for some of those relatives were in other countries, where he had been too. Various explanations suggested themselves to me. * * * I was right in my original conception of Kunala that he is some great Indian Adept. Of this subject I constantly talked with him since — — although I fear I am not, and perhaps shall not be in this life worthy of their company. My inclination has always been in this direction. I always thought of retiring from this world and giving myself up to devotion. To Kunala I often expressed this intention, so that I might study this philosophy, which alone can make man happy in this world. But then he usually asked me what I would do there alone? He said that instead of gaining my object I might perhaps become insane by being left alone in the jungles with no one to guide me; that I was foolish enough to think that by going into the jungles I could fall in with an adept: and that if I really wanted to gain my object I should have to work in the reform in and through which I had met so many good men and himself also, and when the Higher Ones, whom I dare not mention by any other names, were satisfied with me they themselves would call me away from the busy world and teach me in private. And when I foolishly asked him many times to give me the names and addresses of some of those Higher Ones he said once to me: 'One of our Brothers has told me that as you are so much after me I had better tell you once for all that I have no right to give you any information about them, but if you go on asking Hindus you meet what they know about the matter you might hear of them, and one of those Higher Ones may perhaps throw himself in your way without your knowing him, and will tell you what you should do.' These were orders, and I knew I must wait, and still I knew that through Kunala only would I have my object fulfilled. * * *

"I then asked one or two of my own countrymen, and one of them said he had seen two or three such men, but that they were not quite what he thought to be 'Raj Yogs.' He also said he had heard of a man who had appeared several times in Benares, but that nobody knew where he lived. My disappointment grew more bitter, but I never lost the firm confidence that Adepts do live in India and can still be found among us. No doubt too there are a few in other countries, else why had Kunala been to them. * * * In consequence of a letter from Vishnurama, who said that a certain X (2) lived in Benares, and that Swamiji K knew him. However, for certain reasons I could not address Swamiji K directly, and when I asked him if he knew X he replied: "If there be such a man here at all he is not known." Thus evasively on many occasions he answered me, and I saw that all my expectations in going to Benares were only airy castles. I thought I had gained only the consolation that I was doing a part of my duty. So I wrote again to Nilakant: "As directed by you I have neither let him know what I know of him nor what my own intentions are. He seems to think that in this I am working to make money, and as yet I have kept him in the dark as regards myself, and am myself groping in the dark. Expecting enlightenment from you, etc." * * * The other day Nilakant came suddenly here and I met Sw. K. and him together, when to my surprise K at once mentioned X, saying he knew him well and that he often came to see him, and then he offered to take us there. But just as we were going, arrived at the place an English officer who had done Kunala a service in some past time. He had in some way heard of X and was permitted to come. Such are the complications of Karma. It was absolutely necessary that he should go too, although no doubt his European education would never permit him to more than half accept the doctrine of Karma, so interwoven backward and forwards in our lives, both those now, that past and that to come. At the interview with X, I could gain nothing, and so we came away. The next day came X to see us. He never speaks of himself, but as 'this body.' He told me that he had first been in the body of a Fakir, who, upon having his hand disabled by a shot he received while he passed the fortress of Bhurtpore, had to change his body and choose another, the one he was now in. A child of about seven years of age was dying at that time, and so, before the complete physical death, this Fakir had entered the body and afterwards used it as his own. He is, therefore, doubly not what he seems to be. As a Fakir he had studied Yoga science for 65 years, but that study having been arrested at the time he was disabled, leaving him unequal to the task he had to perform, he had to choose this other one. In his present body he is 53 years, and consequently the inner X is 118 years old. * * * In the night I heard him talking with Kunala, and found that each had the same Guru, who himself is a very great Adept, whose age is 300 years, although in appearance he seems to be only 40. (3) He will in a few centuries enter the body of a Kshatriya, (4) and do some great deeds for India, but the time had not yet come."


1. The original MS. of this Diary as far as it goes is in our possession. The few introductory lines are by the friend who communicated the matter to us. — [Ed.] (return to text)

2. I find it impossible to decipher this name. (return to text)

3. There is a peculiarity in this, that all accounts of Cagliostro, St. Germain and other Adepts, give the apparent age as forty only. — [Ed.] (return to text)

4. The warrior caste of India. — [Ed.] (return to text)

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