The Path – March 1887


"Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." — I Cor. xv, 51. "I have found the small old path leading far away." — UPANISHAD.

To him who without murmuring, confident in the perfect justice of the law, waits and watches, there comes a herald from heights unseen. The just man follows him and attains; the unwise may surprise him and follow also. But when the fool has rushed unbidden in where angels fear to tread, he meets a mailed Truth with a drawn sword, on whose point he dies. Now there are two deaths. From the one he may rise, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, * * * for the dead shall be raised," (1) and this by the vivifying power of truth, if so be he have one identical incorruptible atom in his spiritual make up, or else that rash being is dead forever, and the spirit monad creates another in the dream of three thousand years.

The indivisible Truth in its entirety is incommunicable in the words of our plane. A clue may indeed be given; it is the herald to those who await him. It is useless to turn the page to see who this is that offers the clue. Of myself I know nothing, yet through me may much be made known. I am the trumpet; through it the herald may proclaim a mystery.

It was in a night of silence that a Power bade me waken, and drew me to a dark cave wherein It passed. Not so I, for the entrance was narrow and I had encumbrances about me. Only many nights later, when I had parted with effort, hope and fear, did I stand within. All of me that was essential had entered; this was enough. Then a musical chord breathed low, the darkness dispersed, and I saw the Unknown Land.

It was a circling land of streams, Light everywhere, flowing, flowing, flowing. The flow was cadenced and welled from a mysterious Centre of blackness at the edges of which spouted cataracts of flame. My thought shrank with awe of the Darkness, but an unknown grasp of Might expanded within me and drew me to that flaming verge. On the knees of the soul I fall and am not. I become one with the All, and consciously resting in Omniscience I know the whole. Yet what forever dwells, wakeful and brooding with that dark pavillion, nor man nor angel may discover. Profounder than all Being, It is, girt about by unfathomed fires. "Ye shall enter the light, but ye shall never touch the flame." (2)

A stir was over that central Dark, a titanic breath, like the sighing of myriad seas, measured, omnipotent. Where its harmonious friction fretted the verges of space, the flames burst forth, and with fecund pulsations gave birth to heat, light, motion and sound. The Centre felt a boundless attraction for the circumference, pouring toward it with inexhaustible energy, for "the heart of it is Love." This was the force centrifugal, which in a dazzle of starry scintillations thrusts the universal glooms apart with a song. Were this all, Discord and Division were the end. But the circumference trembled also with a vast yearning toward the Centre, so that it ever tended to return there, as the prodigal, enriched in experience, returns to the mystic house of the Father. This was the centripetal force, and these two caused the double vibration of the Astral Light, and they are all you shall know though you blend with the infinite forever. "Whatever there is, the whole world when gone forth trembles in His breath: that Brahman is a great terror, like a drawn sword. They who know it become immortal." (3)

Then a voice said — "The Absolute evolves thought from Himself, and the vibration of this thought in the passive wells of space generates Light and its correlated forces. The Thought is, — 'Creation!' The singing breath is the Word; the Light is the Absolute made manifest, and the Universe begins." At once I saw divergent lances of light pour their serried splendors into the void, and the point of each spear displaced the mist which curling backward from the centre of energy thus formed, communicated the movement to sister vapors in turn. Activities shoot, play back and forth, elongate, crystalize, and so great planets spring into the arena, feel the first instinct of separate Being, struggle to depart, — an estranged Self — in meteoric desolation, when the magnetic impulse of the Centre streams along the creative ray, meets the responsive principle, and lo! each chafing Orb, held in leash by Love, wheels into the circle of attraction and obeys the Law. The astral world has begun!

Thence presently the Light spreads afresh, reflected and repeated from every facet of every star, till arrowy glories, vibrant with each vibration sped forth by the primary pencils of light, in turn create dull planetary masses in the luminous abyss; then ever renewed corruscations quicken their dust with whose initial tremor shining crystals sparkle out and glide together about a glistering ring whose centre is ever a darkness ruffled by the out-reaching current from that first tinted Gloom. So new spheres form, these, repeating the parent movement, with wide spreading auras touch and arouse their neighbors, and interpenetrating, revolving, throwing off, taking on, converging, diverging, modifying and modified, a world of forms is evolved whose final expression of Being is Man. Thus further departing, the infinite variations end in individuality and the greater the individuality, the more it leans to the centifugal force, and the lack of equilibrium in the forces draws man further from the Eternal and he forgets the Law. His aura, his rays are nerve currents centred in the personality, but linked by star-beam and moon-ray to the quivering Source of all light, so that each man vibrating, imparts to the Akasa about him his own specific rate of vibration, and all men, all things, suspended as it were in this fine ether which fills the universe, act and react each on each, every one striving to modify the others to his own vibratory ratio, while the Light in the same way attacks all, and the battle of the giants is here. So the final expression of "evil" is inertia, and the highest attribute of Spirit is the Thought which is Life.

Once again the Voice spoke then saying: "What gives Life?" Someone answered: "Vibration." And when It said, "Look back to the earth world," I obeyed. I saw the modern sage reducing all the great forces, all the intoxicating play of colors and the bewildering tangle of harmonies to this one source, — Vibration. I saw wondering students bending over sensitive flames that danced or died at the mandate of sound. I saw a child playing with iron filings on glass, and as he drew a bow athwart the pane they marshalled into tiny mimicries of the primitive crystalline creation. I saw the Frost spirit, tracing his white wonders of tropical forests on vibrant surfaces, blazoning symbols of summer on the grim escutcheon of the snow. I saw Sound disintegrating granite and iron, taming wild beasts with a lure, transforming brothers into demons at the sibilant hiss of a scathing word. (4) I saw Light fecundating the soil, and the teeming battalions of the underworld issuing from the palpitating spark in their germs; the selective art of the flower, choosing the kindred color of her tribe from all the flashing scale, gave up to me its secret of the synchronous vibration of that hue with the astral soul within her fragrant form. Passion I saw also, flaming in two breasts that for one tumultuous moment became one, and knew it for an instant of similar vibration. Aye, and saw that Love was a steadfast quality of motion between loyal hearts, saw too that Anger and Hatred had their rise in the same source, and mounting upward I saw that Faith was a similitude of vibration with Truth itself. Again the Voice spoke; "Dost thou see aught but Vibration anywhere?" I answered: "Such all life is, and from such all proceeds. He who cons its secret laws and can institute its musical numbers at will, is a God! He can create and destroy." "Go then, and by analogy learn what thou art," said the Voice, and like the rebel fraction of a star I fell from Glory, and found myself alone in the Maya world again, with these words thrilling my brain. "But He, that Highest Person, who wakes in us while we sleep, shaping one lovely sight after another, He indeed is called the Light, He is called Brahman, He alone is called The Immortal. All worlds are founded on It and no one goes beyond. This is that." (5)

It is rarely that a man gets the whole of his thought; often others supply it. Analogy is the power of following a thought into all its correlations, and I shall ask you to do this in a measure with mine. These puny pages cannot contain the theme of cycles, and falling short, it scarce matters by how many pen strokes I fail. Consider this first; what are we? Look abroad over our Society, largely; we see each member working on his own particular line. So it must be with man for ages. When you shall have exhausted your special hobby, when through astral perception, or mesmeric control or mental acumen, you shall have attained high powers, the hour of your limitation will strike, as its awful knell can strike, even from the towers of Futurity, and you will know that you have not found that cornerstone on which alone the Eternal rests, — your indivisible Self. "Great ones fall back, even from the threshold, unable to sustain the weight of responsibility; unable to pass on." (6) Follow from the start that solitary beacon which informs the ultimate goal: Unity. Make it your touchstone and your guide; other stars are reflected lights only. The doctrine of unselfishness is no sentiment, but of logical, practical utility. The individual way lies from limited Being, through Becoming, to unlimited Being, precisely as the universal way lies from sterile Unity, through Division to fecund Unity, or from the one Life through Death to the Life of the All. He who in final choice elects the path of Division, chooses Death eternal. You may indeed wend homeward through the devious tangle of reflected rays, but how long, how hard are such path! I would see your souls with eagle swoop make straight for the Central Sun. Look then within you. Man! Woman! Are you what you seem? Till this thought daily; it will bear the harvest of Life.

With analogy for our guide we observe that the first forms of life are crystalline and have two poles. You man, are also a magnetic sphere with physical and spiritual poles. On the physical side of the subject we find modern scientists telling us that man is matter in a state of low vibration, and thought, matter in a state of high vibration. (7) In this ascertained view, Spirit is a higher state of vibration than we at present cognize. "Does the fact look crass and material, threatening to degrade thy theory of Spirit? Resist it not; it goes to refine and raise thy theory of matter just as much." (8) Nor do I say this is all. Trust your highest ideal to the unconditioned causation lying back of that primal vibration — Absolute Thought.

The vibrant tension of fixed thought must in time heighten the vibratory ratio of the man, for tension excites increased pulsation. This rarefies the density of all bodies, and the friction of intensified chemical action establishes light, heat and odic force. The increased porosity of the physical body tends to disengage the atoms of the astral body, and the generation of a strong odic current forces it out to the astral world, (always attracting it) all the sooner because the intensified pulsation of thought-tension sends the auric emanations further into space, thus draughting a larger portion of the world-soul to the entity. All vibration being attended with sound (which may or may not escape the ear) we proceed to examine tones and find them varying from the lowest of eight vibrations per second, to the highest known to western science of 24,000 per second. Remember that the tones of anger, hatred, scorn are all deep notes, those of cheerfulness, love, hope are treble. Here we discover the apparently inexplicible effect of spoken words which raise or depress our vibrations to their own by means of the etheric medium. To resist the wildfire spread of passion or anger we have but to check the vibration by holding steadily to our own; this maintained, may raise that of others, precisely as the high musical note constantly sounded, raises all lower ones at all related, to its own pitch. Tyndall says: "Scientific education ought to teach us to see the invisible as well as the visible in nature; to picture with the vision of the mind those operations which entirely elude bodily vision; to look at the very atoms of matter in motion and at rest, and to follow them forth without once losing sight of them * * to see them integrating themselves in natural phenomena." So I shall ask you to imagine a tone at a high rate of vibration, to see it striking the hearer's brain at a certain focus, creating there a centre of energy, which tending to crystalization, fixes the thought in the mind. And the more permanent duration of pleasant (which are high) thoughts and tunes is evident if we glance back over a long period of time and note how the joys stand out and the griefs disappear; so we always forget physical suffering. Moreover we may see this tone raising his vibratory ratio and glancing off at an angle of reflection equal to that of incidence, reacting upon the surrounding ether and upon all hearers. The magical success of eastern mantras depends upon the exact intonation, which governs the vibratory result, and the proper intonation of the sacred books, learned from the priests, doubtless increased their effect. Turning to colors, we find them varying in vibration from violet 1/60000 inch to red 1/38000 inch, and the violet has greater actinism; so it would seem to follow that the more extended the undulation the greater the chemical action and resultant odic force. Hence the tone of animals or man is not such a poor test of their nature as we might suppose, and a certain clue to character is given in a preferred color. The higher sounds thus create greater akasic disturbance through increased undulation. Deleuze in his work on magnetism says: "The word which indicates our will can often exert an action. * * The very tones of the magnetizer, being produced by the vital energy, act upon the organs of the patients." Reichenbach proved that all chemical action is a source of odic force, and the transmertion of air being nothing less, additional witness is born to the occult power of a word. All mesmerizers are now agreed that motions and words are unnecessary; the will suffices; what is this but the tension of fixed thought. Everything in Nature has its own specific rate of vibration; if we know and can reproduce and heighten it we can call the thing into existence or pass ourselves within its consciousness. Hence the old saying that numbers are the names of things. The "lost word" itself is, doubt it not, a sound of the highest possible vibration, represented by the Aum, or sound of the eternal outpour of Light, the Logos of the Christians. The ordinary ear may not grasp this sound, but Tyndall tells us such are not dead because they have passed from our ken. (9) When we remember that this astral vibration can in time elevate that of all matter, we glimpse alike the great factor of Evolution and of the use of Aum. The thought being spiritually fixed, an unbroken vital current sets in between the man and the "One eternal Thinker, thinking non-eternal thoughts. He though one, fulfils the desire of many. The wise, who perceive Him within their Self, to them belong eternal joy, eternal peace!" (10) — Here we perceive the force of the repeated injunction to be calm; how else can the harmonious medium act upon us?" The man who is not calm and subdued, or whose mind is not at rest, he can never obtain the Self, even by knowledge." (11)

Follow me now to the plane of soul. As all things from planet to molecule have their mystic centre, that of man is found in the heart, whose systole and diastole are regulated by the double movement of the Astral Light. There, hemmed about by the light of the semi-material soul, is the dusky centre, where the spirit may awaken and breathe. "The self is smaller than small, greater than great, hidden in the heart of the creature." Air is breathed by the lungs; the soul breathes the astral light. As that spiritual monad who is your own Augoides, breathed first upon the plastic Akasa and drew together, the principles of a man, so It must again breathe upon this silent centre to create the spiritual man. It does not inhabit him, It overshadows him. It is his "Father in Heaven" to whom Jesus bade him pray; his Creator. In each heart stands this shrouded altar to an unknown God. "Whom ye therefore ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you." He has created the physical man hundreds of times, for His mission is unfulfilled until through Evolution, He shall have made "one higher than the angels." In that illimitable future which evades the mind, my soul sees ultimate beings in their glory, raise the swelling tide of Being higher still. So Divinity raises Itself by Itself and man expands God. Here is the adhesion of Jesus to the destiny latent in Humanity. "Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is also perfect."

(Concluded in April.)


1. I Cor. xv (return to text)

2. Light on the Path. (return to text)

3. Vedanta. (return to text)

4. It is known that in Ireland and other places, many peasants possess words whose sound can thrill a man and make a horse unmanageable. [Ed] (return to text)

5. Vedanta. (return to text)

6. Light on the Path. (return to text)

7. See Fiske, Stuart, et al. (return to text)

8. Emerson. (return to text)

9. On sound, P. 54. (return to text)

10. Vedanta. (return to text)

11. Idem. (return to text)

The Path