(Begun in December)
The newspapers gave accounts of certain of these phenomena and described the appearance of astral visitors, amongst others a Hindu. In sending the extracts H. P. B. comments:
"I see this Hindu every day, just as I might see any other living person, with the only difference that he looks to me more ethereal and more transparent. Formerly I kept silent about these appearances, thinking that they were hallucinations. But now they have become visible to other people as well. He (the Hindu) appears and advises us as to our conduct and our writing. He evidently knows everything that is going on, even to the thoughts of other people, and makes me express his knowledge. Sometimes it seems to me that he overshadows the whole of me, simply entering me like a kind of volatile essence penetrating all my pores and dissolving in me. Then we two are able to speak to other people, and then I begin to understand and remember sciences and languages — everything he instructs me in, even when he is not with me any more."
Directly Isis Unveiled was published, H. P. B. wrote to Madame Jelihovsky:
"It seems strange to you that some Hindu Sahib is so free and easy in his dealings with me. I can quite understand you: a person not used to that kind of phenomenon — which, though not quite unprecedented, is yet perfectly ignored — is sure to be incredulous. For the very simple reason that such a person is not in the habit of going deeply into such matters. For instance, you ask whether he is likely to indulge in wanderings inside other people as well as me. I am sure I don't know; but here is something about which I am perfectly certain: Admit that man's soul — his real living soul — is a thing perfectly separate from the rest of the organism; that this perisprit is not stuck with paste to the physical 'innerds'; and that this soul which exists in everything living, beginning with an infusoria and ending with an elephant, is different from its physical double only inasmuch as being more or less overshadowed by the immortal spirit it is capable of acting freely and independently. In the case of the uninitiated profane, it acts during their sleep: in the case of an initiated adept, it acts at any moment he chooses according to his will. Just try and assimilate this, and then many things will become clear to you. This fact was believed in and known in far distant epochs. St. Paul, who alone among all the apostles was an initiated Adept in the Greek Mysteries, clearly alludes to it when narrating how he was 'caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell: God knoweth'. Also Rhoda says about Peter, 'It is not Peter but his angel' — that is to say, his double or his soul. And in the Acts of the Apostles, ch. viii, v. 39, when the spirit of God lifted up Philip and transported him, it was not his body that was transported, not his coarse flesh, but his Ego, his spirit and his soul. Read Apuleius, Plutarch, Jamblichus, and other learned men — they all allude to this kind of phenomenon, though the oaths they had to take at the time of their initiation did not allow them to speak openly. What mediums accomplish unconsciously, under the influence of outside powers which take possession of them, can be accomplished by Adepts consciously at their own volition. That's all. . . . As to the Sahib, I have known him a long time. Twenty-five years ago he came to London with the Prince of Nepaul; three years ago he sent me a letter by an Indian who came here to lecture about Buddhism. In this letter he reminded me of many things, foretold by him at the time, and asked me whether I believed him now and whether I would consent to obey him, to avoid complete destruction. After this he appeared repeatedly, not only to me but also to other people, and to Olcott whom he ordered to be President of the Society, teaching him how to start it. I always recognize and know the Master, and often talk to him without seeing him. How is it that he hears me from everywhere, and that I also hear his voice across seas and oceans twenty times a day? I do not know, but it is so. Whether it is he personally that enters me I really cannot say with confidence: if it is not he, it is his power, his influence. Through him alone I am strong; without him I am a mere nothing."
There was naturally considerable fear in the minds of H. P. B's nearest relatives as to the character of this mysterious Hindu teacher. They could not help regarding him as more of a "heathen sorcerer" than anything else. And this view H. P. B. took pains to combat. She told them that her Master had a deep respect for the spirit of Christ's teachings. She had once spent seven weeks in a forest not far from the Karakoram mountains, where she had been isolated from the world, and where her teacher alone had visited her daily, whether astrally or otherwise she did not state. But whilst there she had been shown in a cave-temple a series of statues representing the great teachers of the world, amongst others:
"A huge statue of Jesus Christ, represented at the moment of pardoning Mary Magdalene; Gautama Buddha offers water in the palm of his hand to a beggar, and Ananda is shown drinking out of the hands of a Pariah prostitute."
H. P. B. wrote to Madame Jelihovsky (date unknown) that she was learning to get out of her body, and offering to pay her a visit in Tiflis "in the flash of an eye". This both frightened and amused Madame Jelihovsky, who replied that she would not trouble her so unnecessarily. H. P. B. answered:
"What is there to be afraid of? As if you had never heard about apparitions of doubles. I, that is to say, my body, will be quietly asleep in my bed, and it would not even matter if it were to await my return in a waking condition — it would be in the state of a harmless idiot. And no wonder: God's light would be absent from it, flying to you; and then it would fly back and once more the temple would get illuminated by the presence of the Deity. But this, needless to say, only in case the thread between the two were not broken. If you shriek like mad it may get torn; then Amen to my existence: I should die instantly. I have written to you that one day we had a visit from the double of Professor Moses. Seven people saw him. As to the Master, he is quite commonly seen by perfect strangers. Sometimes he looks just as if he were a living man, as merry as possible. He is continually chaffing me, and I am perfectly used to him now. He will soon take us all to India, and there we shall see him in his body just like an ordinary person."
From New York:
"Well, Vera, whether you believe me or not, something miraculous is happening to me. You cannot imagine in what a charmed world of pictures and visions I live. I am writing Isis; not writing, rather copying out and drawing that which She personally shows to me. Upon my word, sometimes it seems to me that the ancient Goddess of Beauty in person leads me through all the countries of past centuries which I have to describe. I sit with my eyes open and to all appearances see and hear everything real and actual around me, and yet at the same time I see and hear that which I write. I feel short of breath; I am afraid to make the slightest movement for fear the spell might be broken. Slowly century after century, image after image, float out of the distance and pass before me as if in a magic panorama; and meanwhile I put them together in my mind, fitting in epochs and dates, and know for sure that there can be no mistake. Races and nations, countries and cities, which have for long disappeared in the darkness of the prehistoric past, emerge and then vanish, giving place to others; and then I am told the consecutive dates. Hoary antiquity makes way for historical periods; myths are explained to me with events and people who have really existed, and every event which is at all remarkable, every newly-turned page of this many-colored book of life, impresses itself on my brain with photographic exactitude. My own reckonings and calculations appear to me later on as separate colored pieces of different shapes in the game which is called casse-tete (puzzles). I gather them together and try to match them one after the other, and at the end there always comes out a geometrical whole. . . . Most assuredly it is not I who do it all, but my Ego, the highest principle which lives in me. And even this with the help of my Guru and teacher who helps me in everything. If I happen to forget something I have just to address him, or another of the same kind, in my thought, and what I have forgotten rises once more before my eyes — sometimes whole tables of numbers passing before me, long inventories of events. They remember everything. They know everything. Without them, from whence could I gather my knowledge?"
Soon after the appearance of Isis Unveiled H. P. B. received invitations to write in all sorts of newspapers. This greatly amused her, and she wrote to Madame Jelihovsky:
"It's lucky for me that I am not vain, and besides as a matter of fact I have hardly any time to write much in other people's publications for money. . . . Our work is growing. I must work, must write and write, provided that I can find publishers for my writings. Would you believe that so long as I write I am all the time under the impression that I write rubbish and nonsense which no one will ever be able to understand? Then it is printed and then the acclamations begin. People reprint it, are in ecstasies. I often wonder: can it be that they are all asses to be in such ecstasies? Well, if I could write in Russian and be praised by my own people, then perhaps I should believe that I am a credit to my ancestors, Counts Hahn Hahn von der Rothenhahn of blissful memory."
H. P. B. often told her relatives that she took no author's pride in the writing of Isis Unveiled; that she did not know in the least what she was writing about; that she was ordered to sit down and write, and that her only merit lay in obeying the order. Her only fear was that she would be unable to describe properly what was shown to her in beautiful pictures. She wrote to her sister: "You do not believe that I tell you God's truth about my Masters. You consider them to be mythical; but is it possible that it is not clear to you that I, without their help, could not have written about 'Byron and grave matters', as Uncle Roster says? What do we know, you and I, about metaphysics, ancient philosophies and religions, about psychology and various other puzzles? Did we not learn together, with the only difference that you did your lessons better? And now look at what I am writing about, and people — such people too, professors, scientists — read and praise! Open Isis wherever you like and decide for yourself. As to myself I speak the truth: Master narrates and shows all this to me. Before me pass pictures, ancient manuscripts, dates — all I have to do is to copy, and I write so easily that it is no labor at all, but the greatest pleasure."
(But the ancient manuscripts to which H. P. B. refers were not only seen by psychic means. Hodgson, the great self-exposer of the S. P. R., discovered a page of a mysterious and ancient manuscript at Adyar. This was proof to him, as it was written in cypher, that she was a Russian spy. It was from a page of a Senzar manuscript, lost by H. P. B. and deeply lamented as lost!) In another letter of about the same date, H. P. B. wrote her sister:
"Do not believe that Theosophy contradicts or, much less, destroys Christianity. It only destroys the tares, but not the seed of truth: prejudice, blasphemous superstitions, Jesuitical bigotry. We respect men's freedom of conscience and their spiritual yearnings far too much to touch religious principles with our propaganda. Every human being who respects himself and thinks has a holy of holies of his own, for which we Theosophists ask respect. Our business concerns philosophy, morals, and science alone. We ask for truth in everything; our object is the realization of the spiritual perfectability possible to man: the broadening of his knowledge, the exercising of the powers of his soul, of all the psychical sides of his being. Our theosophical brotherhood must strive after the ideal of general brotherhood throughout all humanity; after the establishment of universal peace and the strengthening of charity and disinterestedness; after the destruction of materialism, of that coarse unbelief and egotism which saps the vitality of our country."
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