The outer senses cannot give a safe final judgment upon a precipitated message, they can only settle such physical questions as how it came, through whom, the credibility of the person, and whether any deception on the objective plane has been practiced. The inner senses, including the great combining faculty or power of intuition, are the final judges. The outer have to do solely with the phenomenal part, the inner deal with the causes and the real actors and powers.
As precipitations have been phenomenally made through "controlled" mediums who are themselves ignorant of the laws and forces at work, these are but strange phenomena proving the existence of a power in Nature either related to human mind or wholly unrelated to it. These are not the exercise of Occult Arts, but simply the operation of natural law, however recondite and obscure. They are like the burning of a flame, the falling of water, or the rush of the lightning, whereas when the Adept causes a flame to appear where there is no wick, or a sound to come where there is no vibrating visible surface, occult art is using the same laws and forces which with the medium are automatically and unconsciously operated by subtle parts of the medium's nature and "nature spirits", as well as what we know as kama-lokic human entities, in combination. And here the outer senses deal solely with the outer phenomena, being unable to touch in the least on the unseen workings behind. So they can only decide whether a physical fraud has been practiced; they can note the day, the hour, the surrounding circumstances, but no more.
But if one hitherto supposed to be in communication with the White Adepts comes to us and says "Here is a message from one of Those", then if we have not independent power in ourselves of deciding the question on inner knowledge, the next step is either to believe the report or disbelieve it. In the case of H.P. B., in whose presence and through whom messages were said to come from the White Adepts, it was all the time, at the final analysis, a matter of faith in those who confessedly had and have no independent personal power to know by the use of their own inner senses. But there intuition, one of the inner powers, decided for the genuineness of the report and the authentication of the messages. She herself put it tersely in this way: "If you think no Mahatma wrote the theories I have given of man and nature and if you do not believe my report, then you have to conclude that I did it all". The latter conclusion would lead to the position that her acts, phenomena, and writings put her in the position usually accorded by us to a Mahatma. As to the letters or messages of a personal nature, each one had and has to decide for himself whether or not to follow the advice given.
Another class of cases is where a message is found in a closed letter, on the margin or elsewhere on the sheet. The outer senses decide whether the writer of the letter inserted the supposed message or had some one else do it, and that must be decided on what is known of the character of the person. If you decide that the correspondent did not write it nor have anyone else do so, but that it was injected phenomenally, then the inner senses must be used. If they are untrained, certainly the matter becomes one of faith entirely, unless intuition is strong enough to decide correctly that a wise as well as powerful person caused the writing to appear there. Many such messages have been received in the history of the T. S. Some came in one way, some in another; one might be in a letter from a member of the Society, another in a letter from a outsider wholly ignorant of these matters. In every case, unless the recipient had independent powers developed within, no judgment on mere outer phenomena would be safe.
It is very difficult to find cases such as the above, because first, they are extremely rare, and second, the persons involved do not wish to relate them, since the matter transmitted had a purely personal bearing. A fancy may exist that in America or England or London such messages, generally considered bogus by enemies and outsiders, are being constantly sent and received, and that persons in various quarters are influenced to this or that course of action by them, but this is pure fancy, without basis in fact so far as the knowledge and experience of the writer extend. While precipitations phenomenally by the use of occult power and in a way unknown to science are possible and have occurred, that is not the means employed by the White Adepts in communicating with those thus favored. They have disciples with whom communication is already established and carried on, most generally through the inner ear and eye, but sometimes through the prosaic mail. In these cases no one else is involved and no one else has the right to put questions. The disciple reserves his communications for the guidance of his own action, unless he or she is directed to tell another. To spread broad-cast a mass of written communications among those who are willing to accept them without knowing how to judge would be the sheerest folly, only productive of superstition and blind credulity. This is not the aim of the Adepts nor the method they pursue. And this digression will be excused, it being necessary because the subject of precipitation as a fact has been brought up very prominently. I may further digress to say that no amount of precipitations, however clear of doubt and fraud as to time, place, and outward method, would have the slightest effect on my mind or action unless my own intuition and inner senses confirmed them and showed them to be from a source which should call for my attention and concurrence.
How, then, is this precipitation done, and what is the process? This question brings up the whole of the philosophy offered in the Secret Doctrine. For if the postulate of the metaphysical character of the Cosmos is denied, if the supreme power of the disciplined mind is not admitted, if the actual existence of an inner and real world is negatived, if the necessity and power of the image-making faculty are disallowed, then such precipitation is an impossibility, always was, and always will be. Power over mind, matter, space, and time depends on several things and positions. Needed for this are: Imagination raised to its highest limit, desire combined with will that wavers not, and a knowledge of the occult chemistry of Nature. All must be present or there will be no result.
Imagination is the power to make in the ether an image. This faculty is limited by any want of the training of mind and increased by good mental development. In ordinary persons imagination is only a vain and fleeting fancy which makes but a small impression comparatively in the ether. This power, when well-trained, makes a matrix in ether wherein each line, word, letter, sentence, color, or other mark is firmly and definitely made. Will, well-trained, must then be used to draw from the ether the matter to be deposited, and then, according to the laws of such an operation, the depositing matter collects in masses within the limits of the matrix and becomes from its accumulation visible on the surface selected. The will, still at work, has then to cut off the mass of matter from its attraction to that from whence it came. This is the whole operation, and who then is the wiser? Those learned in the schools laugh, and well they may, for there is not in science anything to correspond, and many of the positions laid down are contrary to several received opinions. But in Nature there are vast numbers of natural effects produced by ways wholly unknown to science, and Nature does not mind the laughter, nor should any disciple.
But how is it possible to inject such a precipitation into a closed letter? The ether is all-pervading, and the envelope or any other material bar is no bar to it. In it is carried the matter to be deposited, and as the whole operation is done on the other side of visible nature up to the actual appearance of the deposit, physical obstructions do not make the slightest difference.
It is necessary to return for a moment to the case of precipitations through mediums. Here the matrix needs no trained imagination to make it nor trained will to hold it. In the astral light the impressions are cut and remain immovable; these are used by the elementals and other forces at work, and no disturbing will of sitter being able to interfere — simply from blind ignorance — there is no disturbance of the automatic unconscious work. In the sitter's aura are thousands of impressions which remain unmoved because all attention has been long ago withdrawn. And the older or simpler they are the more firmly do they exist. These constitute also a matrix through which the nature spirits work.
I can properly finish this with the incident mentioned at the beginning. It was with H.P. B. I was sitting in her room beside her, the distance between us being some four feet. In my hand I held a book she never had had in her possession and that I had just taken from the mail. It was clear of all marks, its title page was fresh and clean, no one had touched it since it left the bookseller. I examined its pages and began to read. In about five minutes a very powerful current of what felt like electricity ran up and down my side on the skin, and I looked up at her. She was looking at me and said "What do you read?" I had forgotten the title, as it was one I had never seen before, and so I turned back to the title page. There at the top on the margin where it had not been before was a sentence of two lines of writing in ink, and the ink was wet, and the writing was that of H.P. B. who sat before me. She had not touched the book, but by her knowledge of occult law, occult chemistry, and occult will, she had projected out of the ink-bottle before her the ink to make the sentence, and of course it was in her own handwriting, as that was the easiest way to do it. Hence my own physical system was used to do the work, and the instant of its doing was when I felt the shock on the skin. This is to be explained in the way I have outlined, or it is to be all brushed aside as a lie or as a delusion of mine. But those last I can not accept, for I know to the contrary, and further I know that the advice, for such it was, in that sentence was good. I followed it, and the result was good. Several other times also have I seen her precipitate on different surfaces, and she always said it was no proof of anything whatever save the power to do the thing, admitting that black and white magicians could do the same thing, and saying that the only safety for any one in the range of such forces was to be pure in motive, in thought, and in act.