The Path – September 1886



"I have been going over that message I received just after returning from the underground room, about not thinking yet too deeply upon what I saw there, but to let the lessons sink deep into my heart. Can it be true — must it not indeed be true — that we have periods in our development when rest must be taken for the physical brain in order to give it time as a much less comprehensive machine than these English college professors say it is, to assimilate what it has received, while at the same time the real brain — as we might say, the spiritual brain — is carrying on as busily as ever all the trains of thought cut off from the head. Of course this is contrary to this modern science we hear so much about now as about to be introduced into all Asia, but it is perfectly consistent for me.

"To reconsider the situation: I went with Kunala to this underground place, and there saw and heard most instructive and solemn things. I return to my room, and begin to puzzle over them all, to revolve and re-revolve them in my mind, with a view to clearing all up and finding out what all may-mean. But I am interrupted by a note from Kunala directing me to stop this puzzling, and to let all I saw sink deep into my heart. Every word of his I regard with respect, and consider to hold a meaning, being never used by him with carelessness. So when he says, to let it sink into my 'heart,' in the very same sentence where he refers to my thinking part — the mind — why he must mean to separate my heart from my mind and to give to the heart a larger and greater power.

"Well, I obeyed the injunction, made myself, as far as I could, forget what I saw and what puzzled me and thought of other things. Presently, after a few days while one afternoon thinking over an episode related in the Vishnu Purana (1) I happened to look up at an old house I was passing and stopped to examine a curious device on the porch; as I did this, it seemed as if either the device, or the house, or the circumstance itself, small as it was, opened up at once several avenues of thought about the underground room, made them all clear, showed me the conclusion as vividly as a well demonstrated and fully illustrated proposition, to my intense delight. Now could I perceive with plainness, that those few days which seemed perhaps wasted because withdrawn from contemplation of that scene and its lessons, had been with great advantage used by the spiritual man in unraveling the tangled skein, while the much praised brain had remained in idleness. All at once the flash came and with it knowledge. (2) But I must not depend upon these flashes, I must give the brain and its governor, the material to work with.


"Last night just as I was about to go to rest, the voice of Kunala called me from outside and there I went at once. Looking steadily at me he said: 'we want to see you,' and as he spoke he gradually changed, or disappeared, or was absorbed, into the form of another man with awe-inspiring face and eyes, whose form apparently rose up from the material of Kunala's body. At the same moment two others stood there also, dressed in the Tibetan costume; and one of them went into my room from which I had emerged. After saluting them reverently, and not knowing their object, I said to the greatest,

"'Have you any orders to give?'

"'If there are any they will be told to you without being asked,' he replied, 'stand still where you are.'

"Then he began to look at me fixedly. I felt a very pleasant sensation as if I was getting out of my body. I cannot tell now what time passed between that and what I am now to put down here. But I saw I was in a peculiar place. It was the upper end of —— at the foot of the —— range. Here was a place where there were only two houses just opposite to each other, and no other sign of habitation; from one of these came out the old fakir I saw at the Durga festival, but how changed, and yet the same: then so old, so repulsive; now so young, so glorious, so beautiful. He smiled upon me benignly and said:

"'Never expect to see any one, but always be ready to answer if they speak to you; it is not wise to peer outside of yourself for the great followers of Vasudeva: look rather within.'

"The very words of the poor fakir!

"He then directed me to follow him.

"After going a short distance, of about half a mile or so, we came to a natural subterranean passage which is under the —— range. The path is very dangerous; the River —— flows underneath in all the fury of pent up waters, and a natural causeway exists upon which you may pass; only one person at a time can go there and one false step seals the fate of the traveller. Besides this causeway, there are several valleys to be crossed. After walking a considerable distance through this subterranean passage we came into an open plain in L——K. There stands a large massive building thousands of years old. In front of it is a huge Egyptian Tau. The building rests on seven big pillars each in the form of a pyramid. The entrance gate has a large triangular arch, and inside are various apartments. The building is so large that I think it can easily contain twenty thousand people. Some of the rooms were shown to me.

"This must be the central place for all those belonging to the —— class, to go for initiation and stay the requisite period.

"Then we entered the great hall with my guide in front. He was youthful in form but in his eyes was the glance of ages.* * The grandeur and serenity of this place strikes the heart with awe. In the centre was what we would call an altar, but it must only be the place where focuses all the power, the intention, the knowledge and the influence of the assembly. For the seat, or place, or throne, occupied by the chief  —— the highest —— has around it an indescribable glory, consisting of an effulgence which seemed to radiate from the one who occupied it. The surroundings of the throne were not gorgeous, nor was the spot itself in any way decorated — all the added magnificence was due altogether to the aura which emanated from Him sitting there. And over his head I thought I saw as I stood there, three golden triangles in the air above — Yes, they were there and seemed to glow with an unearthly brilliance that betokened their inspired origin. But neither they nor the light pervading the place, were produced by any mechanical means. As I looked about me I saw that others had a triangle, some two, and all with that peculiar brilliant light."

[Here again occurs a mass of symbols. It is apparent that just at this spot he desires to jot down the points of the initiation which he wished to remember. And I have to admit that I am not competent to elucidate their meaning. That must be left to our intuitions and possibly future experience in our own case.]


"14th day of the new moon. The events of the night in the hall of initiation gave me much concern. Was it a dream? Am I self deluded? Can it be that I imagined all this? Such were the unworthy questions which flew behind each other across my mind for days after. Kunala does not refer to the subject and I cannot put the question. Nor will I. I am determined, that, come what will, the solution must be reached by me, or given me voluntarily."

"Of what use to me will all the teachings and all the symbols be, if I cannot rise to that plane of penetrating knowledge, by which I shall my self, by myself, be able to solve this riddle, and know to discriminate the true from the false and the illusory? If I am unable to cut asunder these questioning doubts, these bonds of ignorance, it is proof that not yet have I risen to the plane situated above these doubts. * * * Last night after all day chasing through my mental sky, these swift destroyers of stability — mental birds of passage — I lay down upon the bed, and as I did so, into my hearing fell these words:

"'Anxiety is the foe of knowledge; like unto a veil it falls down before the soul's eye; entertain it, and the veil only thicker grows; cast it out, and the sun of truth may dissipate the cloudy veil.'

"Admitting that truth; I determined to prohibit all anxiety. Well I knew that the prohibition issued from the depths of my heart, for that was master's voice, and confidence in his wisdom, the self commanding nature of the words themselves, compelled me to complete reliance on the instruction. No sooner was the resolution formed, than down upon my face fell something which I seized at once in my hand. Lighting a lamp, before me was a note in the well known writing. Opening it, I read:

"'Nilakant. It was no dream. All was real, and more, that by your waking consciousness could not be retained, happened there. Reflect upon it all as reality, and from the slightest circumstance draw whatever lesson, whatever amount of knowledge you can. Never forget that your spiritual progress goes on quite often to yourself unknown. Two out of many hindrances to memory are anxiety and selfishness. Anxiety is a barrier constructed out of harsh and bitter materials. Selfishness is a fiery darkness that will burn up the memory's matrix. Bring then, to bear upon this other memory of yours, the peaceful stillness of contentment and the vivifying rain of benevolence.'" (3) * * * * *

[I leave out here, as well as in other places, mere notes of journeys and various small matters, very probably of no interest.]

"In last month's passage across the hills near V——, I was irresistibly drawn to examine a deserted building, which I at first took for a grain holder or something like that. It was of stone, square, with no openings, no windows, no door. From what could be seen outside, it might have been the ruins of a strong, stone foundation for some old building, gateway or tower. Kunala stood not far off and looked over it, and later on he asked me for my ideas about the place. All I could say, was, that although it seemed to be solid, I was thinking that perhaps it might be hollow.

"'Yes,' said he, 'it is hollow. It is one of the places once made by Yogees to go into deep trance in. If used by a chela (a disciple) his teacher kept watch over it so that no one might intrude. But when an adept wants to use it for laying his body away in while he travels about in his real, though perhaps to some unseen, form, other means of protection were often taken which were just as secure as the presence of the teacher of the disciple. 'Well,’ I said, ‘it must be that just now no one’s body is inside there.'

"'Do not reach that conclusion nor the other either. It may be occupied and it may not.'

"Then we journeyed on, while he told me of the benevolence of not only Brahmin Yogees, but also of Buddhist. No differences can be observed by the true disciple in any other disciple who is perhaps of a different faith. All pursue truth. Roads differ but the goal of all remains alike."

* * * "Repeated three times: 'Time ripens and dissolves all beings in the great self, but he who knows into what time itself is dissolved, he is the knower of the Veda.'

"What is to be understood, not only by this, but also by its being three times repeated?

"There were three shrines there. Over the door was a picture which I saw a moment, and which for a moment seemed to blaze out with light like fire. Fixed upon my mind its outlines grew, then disappeared, when I had passed the threshold. Inside, again its image came before my eyes. Seeming to allure me, it faded out, and then again returned. It remained impressed upon me, seemed imbued with life and intention to present itself for my own criticism. When I began to analyze it, it would fade, and then when I was fearful of not doing my duty or of being disrespectful to those beings, it returned as if to demand attention. Its description:

"A human heart that has at its centre a small spark — the spark expands and the heart disappears — while a deep pulsation seems to pass through me. At once identity is confused, I grasp at myself; and again the heart reappears with the spark increased to a large fiery space. Once more that deep movement; then sounds (7); they fade. All this in a picture? Yes! for in that picture there is life; there might be intelligence. It is similar to that picture I saw in Tibet on my first journey, where the living moon rises and passes across the view. Where was I? No, not afterwards! It was in the hall. Again that all pervading sound. It seems to bear me like a river. Then it ceased, — a soundless sound. Then once more the picture; here is Pranava. (4) But between the heart and the Pranava is a mighty bow with arrows ready, and tightly strung for use. Next is a shrine, with the Pranava over it, shut fast, no key and no keyhole. On its sides emblems of human passions. The door of the shrine opens and I think within 1 will see the truth. No! another door? a shrine again. It opens too and then another, brightly flashing is seen there. Like the heart, it makes itself one with me. Irresistable desire to approach it comes within me, and it absorbs the whole picture.

"'Break through the shrine of Brahman; use the doctrine of the teacher.'" (5)

[There is no connection here of this exhortation with any person, and very probably it is something that was said either by himself, in soliloquy, or by some voice or person to him.

I must end here, as I find great rents and spaces in the notes. He must have ceased to put down further things he saw or did in his real inner life, and you will very surely agree, that if he had progressed by that time to what the last portions would indicate, he could not set down his reflections thereon, or any memorandum of facts. We, however, can never tell what was his reason. He might have been told not to do so, or might have lacked the opportunity.

There was much all through these pages that related to his daily family life, not interesting to you: records of conversations; wordly affairs; items of money and regarding appointments, journeys and meetings with friends. But they show of course that he was all this time living through his set work with men, and often harassed by care as well as comforted by his family and regardful of them. All of that I left out, because I supposed that while it would probably interest you, yet I was left with discretion to give only what seemed to relate to the period marked at its beginning, by his meetings with M——, and at the end by this last remarkable scene, the details of which we can only imagine. And likewise were of necessity omitted very much that is sufficiently unintelligible in its symbolism to be secure from revelation. Honestly have I tried to unlock the doors of the ciphers, for no prohibition came with their possession, but all that I could refine from its enfolding obscurity is given to you.

As he would say, let us salute each other and the last shrine of Brahman; Om, hari, Om!     Trans]


1. [An ancient Hindu book full of tales as well as doctrines. — [Ed.] " (return to text)

2. These flashes of thought are not unknown even in the scientific world, as, where in such a moment of lunacy, it was revealed to an English scientist, that there must be iron in the sun; and Edison gets his ideas thus. — [Ed.] (return to text)

3. The careful student will remember that Jacob Boehme speaks of the "harsh and bitter anguish of nature which is the principle that produces bones and all corporification." So here the master, it appears, tells the fortunate chela, that in the spiritual and mental world, anxiety, harsh and bitter, raises a veil before us and prevents us from using our memory. He refers, it would seem, to the other memory above the ordinary. The correctness and value of what was said in this, must be admitted when we reflect that, after all, the whole process of development is the process of getting back the memory of the past. And that too is the teaching found in pure Buddhism as well also as in its corrupted form. — [Ed.] (return to text)

4. The mystic syllable OM. — [Ed.] (return to text)

5. There is some reference here apparently to the Upanishad, for they contain a teacher's directions to break through all shrines until the last one is reached. — [Ed.] (return to text)

The Path