In these days when travel by air, and practically instantaneous transmission of news throughout the world by radio, combine together to conquer the limitations of time and space, it is strange to note a new and apparently inexplicable phenomenon. While fhe mastery of physical nature by applied science is fast breaking down the barriers between nations, the tendency is for nationalism to become more intense, even to the point of arrogance. "Instead of brotherhood", suggest the pessimists, "the seeds of separateness and disunion are being sown." The world is witnessing the clash of two entirely antagonistic ideas. On the one hand we have those who would level all the nations down to one common denominator, and on the other those who guard jealously their national individualism, and who as ardently seek to persuade others to see as they do. Easy enough, of course, to identify these political schools, the Fascists and the Communists the antagonism between which may yet steep Western civilisation in bloodshed.
It is not the province of these Notes to advocate any one political system. That is a matter for each individual's own conscience and judgement. What really is to the point is to draw attention to the fact that too many well - intentioned folk confuse mere internationalism with universal brotherhood.
The brotherhood of man is a fact in nature, spiritual nature if you will; but it has nothing whatever to do with the artificial sentimentality which,"on principle" forsooth, would more willingly help, let us say, alien immigrants into England, than try to grapple with the equally urgent and more immediate problem of their own kin who have the misfortune to be units in that deplorable army of unemployed for whom always something is "going to be" done. Nor has universal brotherhood anything to do with the levelling - down craze to which reference has already been made.
A spiritual fact, the brotherhood of man is founded on the Fatherhood of God. We are brothers spiritually; but since, apparently, spiritual awareness is something beyond the comprehension of the political mind, it must be left to the unimportant minority of idealists and dreamers to foster the faint glimmer of spirituality that is left to manifest itself in the present troublous state of the world. Another point frequently overlooked is that, since so large a proportion of mankind today, especially, alas, in the basically materialistic civilization of the West, is as yet spiritually unborn, in what measures are such "unborn" people spiritual brothers down here on earth, whatever they may be "in Heaven"? Granted "the Light lighteth every man" born into the world, yet the truth must be faced that until that Light is discerned and recognized by the personality to which It is attached, it is potential only, rather than active, embryonic rather than developed, dead rather than alive. As well plead with the tiger as appeal to the Christ within the heart, for instance, of an American gangster. However, those that are spiritually alive are charged, especially in these dark days, to let their Light shine. This is a task more than sufficient for many of us, without adding to our difficulties by plunging into the maelstrom of politics, or embarking on the illusive waters of psychism.
Passing reflections are these, born of the reading of the transactions of "The World Congress of Faiths, 1936". Here is an event every whit as important as the first Parliament of Religions which made so much stir in pre - war days. Yet, comparatively speaking, it has passed unnoticed. At least, the world has not been stirred as it was in the days of Vivekananda. Fortunately for those who are too distracted to give more than intermittent attention to spiritual matters, much as they might wish to do so, the whole of the twenty addresses, together with the discussions which followed each, are all gathered together in this finely printed and produced volume Of 488 pp.
Nowhere, perhaps, more than in such a volume, is the true meaning of brotherhood brought out. Here we have keen intelligences and strong individualities of what one might be forgiven for characterizing as incompatible types, forgathering and discussing in perfectly good spirits, the points of identity and contrast of the great world - faiths. The comment of Sir Francis Younghusband, who was Chairman, is noteworthy:
"What was noticeable," he says, "was that through discussion and reflection the conception of God grew greater and greater in the minds of members. He became ever more wonderful, ever more to be revered, ever closer, more intimate, and more lovable."
"The main result was that members got down nearer to the essential basis of all religions."
Unity in diversity is the spiritual ideal, rather than dull uniformity; and for a brief occasion brotherhood found its realization in a little group of earnest folk of diverse religious beliefs, for the sake of which alone, and merely as a memento, if not for the opportunity to catch once more the animating spirit which blessed the gatherings, the volume issued for the World Congress of Faiths by Mr. Watkins should be prized.
Religion is not dead, nor even dying, notwithstanding that the churches may find increasing difficulty in satisfying the public with mere creed. It would be more to the point to declare that the creeds are moribund. Who nowadays attaches any importance to the multitudinous distinctions between the Baptists, Methodists, Salvationists, High Church, Low Church, Anglo, Roman, or Liberal Catholics, and so on, ad nauseam ? What does matter is the fundamental spirit of religion. And this is proved by the growth of such new movements as that of the Oxford Groups, to instance only one example.
That true religion mav still occasionallv be found within the confines of the Church it would be ridiculous to deny, especially in face of such lives as that of the subject of Mr. A. J. Russell's biography of a Spiritual Healer - whom he calls "Dorothy". Those who delight to see the Christ - life being lived today as it was by the mystics of old, should read Healing in His Wings, recently published by Methuen (5s). Here the author has left his usual stamping ground, the Oxford Groups, and entered a new sphere. He has succeeded in capturing to some extent the charm of the one whom he designates as "a mystic in the true succession of the great mystics of all ages", adding that "her love for her Lord and her fellow - creatures is an inspiration. Her story . . . a benediction. - I say, "to some extent", for the whole beauty of that life is still to be revealed, its full story still to be told. Nevertheless, those who know Mr. Russell's fluent and entertaining style will know they will not be disappointed. One criticisma personal one - I have to offer. It is in connection with the chapter headed "Devil Possessed". As the present writer was the instrument for bringing "the publisher - and"Dorothy" into contact, and as, furthermore, he is a subscriber to the belief in "this perfectly devilish importation from India, the law of Karma", it seems only fair to make it perfectly clear that the intolerant sentiments expressed in regard to yoga and theosophy generally are those of the author alone. Thank goodness there is no reason to think that "Dorothy" shares them. Buddhism is the only world - religion that has not brought bloodshed in its wake. A myriad souls make their profession: "I take my refuge in Buddha". Whether that be our faith, or whether we declare: "I take my refuge in Christ", who would dare to say he fails to understand? From personal experience I know that Buddhism can produce souls as gentleas ant of the followers of Jesus. Whether we think of The Compassionate One as Jesus or Buddha, what matters? Let us remember his saying: "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold" (The Gospel according to St. John, X, 16), and practice tolerance.
By By Felix Guyot
In his discussion
of the Psychological Basis of Yoga, the Author of "Yoga for
the West", and "Yoga the Science of Health' I, stresses
the point that Yoga Is not a secret doctrine or religion, but
that it Is a way of thinking that can be applied to all branches
of human activity".
With exception of a few mystics who regard Yoga as a religion, and therefore try to recruit adepts in its favour, most Western people who have studied it consider it as a sort of curious oriental mystico - philosophy beyond the understanding of the Western mind. "The oriental mind," they say, "is not like ours, and a wide gulf separates our thought from theirs."
This indolent formula, which one hears so often repeated, and not only with reference to Yoga, evidently dispenses with all effort towards its real comprehension. Is it necessary to recall that the mechanism of human thought is always identical, regardless of the race of the thinker? The facts can differ - that is to say, the contents of thought, but not thought itself, and our minds can be compared with calculating - machines, where the diversity of results is only the result of the diversity of the figures set at the start. It is not, therefore, astonishing that Yoga has not been better understood.
I think that up to now Yoga has been approached from the wrong angle, and has been treated purely academically. Several books have been written about Hatha Yoga exercises which do not spare us even its crudest oddities. Yoga metaphysics have been made quite familiar to us, but nevertheless I fear we are no more acquainted with the soul of Yoga than we were half a century ago.
When trying to find his way in Yogi literature, the Western reader is at first disconcerted by the vocabulary. Encountering Hindu expressions at every turn, he naturally thinks that the ideas they represent are untranslatable for lack of an equivalent in European languages.
This first obstacle should be firmly set aside. Our Western idioms are capable of expressing all the concepts of the human mind, and there are no Sanscrit terms for which a translation cannot be found. There is no more reason to veneer a commentary on Yoga with Hindu words than there would be to gild a work on Plato or Aristotle with Greek words. Even the prudence which invites the European commentator to use the oriental term shows well that he is conscious of not having grasped the deeper sense, and that it is the fear of betraying himself which hinders him from making the translation.
After having surmounted this first obstacle, the vocabulary, which he should have previously mastered, the European finds himself disconcerted before the complexity of the research he has undertaken. Indeed, Yoga appears to him as being intimately linked with the complicated Hindu theogony, so he enters on a profound study of oriental religions, a labyrinthine gateway to the Promised Land.
Far be it from us to say that this study does not, in itself, hold a powerful interest. But at the risk of appearing paradoxical, we would say that for the particular object in view - the comprehension of Yoga - it is useless.
Yoga, in reality, like the Cabbala, with which it has so many points in common, is linked only in appearance with a particular religion. The Cabbalists, to cover the audacity of their thought and to remain in the Jewish community, artificially grafted their mysticism and metaphysics on to the religion in their midst. In the same way, the first Yogis attached their mysticism and metaphysics just as artificially to the religious beliefs of their country and their times. But in both cases it was a question of productions of the human mind essentially independent of any creed basis.
To come to Yoga itself, one finds very few fundamental texts, and these are so laconic and aphoristic that the misled European does not know whether he is in the presence of sublime revelations or pitiable puerilities. This is because Yoga has always been orally transmitted, and the texts were destined to serve only as a memorandum for disciples who already knew what it was all about.
On the other hand, if one enters in detail into a medley of metaphysical, theological and philosophical aphorisms, such a forest of queer precepts, of strange recommendations and absurd practices, it would be necessary to write volumes to make it complete, and omit nothing.
At last, to add to the confusion, one realizes that there is, at the same time, a unique Yoga - the Yoga, and a multitude of special Yogas; Hatha Yoga, Gnani Yoga, Raja Yoga, etc., not to mention the Yogas designated under the names of the Masters who taught them.
One can, in that case, study all the Yogas without understanding anything about Yoga itself, and this misadventure overtakes not only Europeans but also a large number of Orientals.
The reason is that, from the beginning, the seeker takes the wrong path. He seeks in Yoga a secret doctrine, a religion, a philosophy, or even a mere set of moral precepts or rules of hygiene. But Yoga is not any of these. It is neither occultism nor religion, nor is it a philosophy, nor a science. It is an empty mould; it is a way of thinking that can be applied to all branches of human activity. But as one must not confound algebra with the particular problems which it solves, so one must be careful not to mistake Yoga for its different concrete applications. What is called Yoga philosophy, or Yoga metaphysics, is not Yoga itself, but the result of the Yoga way of thinking applied to philosophical and metaphysical problems.
The proof of this is the fact that in its native country Yoga is never looked upon in the light of what we consider a subject of instruction. The conception of the "guru" conversing among his disciples, like Plato in the gardens of Academos, is a purely occidental idea, which does not correspond with facts; or rather it is construed from the existence of the many charlatans of the Orient who live at the expense of their naive disciples; or from the itinerant preachers, propagandists of some particular religious sect.
The real "guru" teaches nothing, reveals nothing. He limits himself to the giving of advice, and if one may compare him with a teacher, it is rather with a teacher of gymnastics than a catechist or a master of philosophy.
As to the aspiring Yogi himself, it will be noticed that he does not study; he even renounces study, retreating within his own consciousness and devoting himself to a mysterious inner work, accompanied by queer physical exercises, most of which appear ludicrous to the Western observer.
The aspiring Yogi learns nothing. He trains himself, and this training can last for years; generally it lasts a lifetime.
It is nothing more nor less than the internal metamorphosis of an ordinary man into a extra - normal one, into a Yogi. Let us observe, moreover, that the word "Yoga" does not imply the idea of science, but the idea of union. What is this mysterious union that he hopes to realize? What is this mysterious transformation that he is causing to take place in himself?
The whole key to Yoga lies in this problem, and that is what we must set about explaining in purely occidental terms.
It is usual in mathematics, when one wants to solve a problem, to consider it from the outset as already solved. In many respects it is the same with Yoga. The starting - point of the training is a postulate, a postulate that must become, by the very fact of the training, a realized truth. It can be explained as follows:
Our entire mental life, intellectual as well as emotional, is nothing more than the reaction of our thought to the phenomena of the physical or external world. This reaction, normally, is only enlightened (and that incompletely) by the psychological consciousness.
Now, this external world, this realm of the senses, is the result of a process within the mind (which in itself is but a simple aspect of the universal mind) a process which normally remains absolutely unconscious.
Thus expressed, this postulate does not seem so very new to thinkers in the West; but this is only a starting - point, and where the Eastern conception diverges distinctly from the European is in the consequences it entails.
One must, by a sort of mental stunt, by a supreme mental feat, succeed in displacing the inner light of the psychological consciousness in such a way as to illumine no longer the realm of reaction but the realm of action.
All Yoga is contained therein.
We wish to point out that the postulate that serves the student as a starting - point is not a revelation that the Yogi student can as indifferently be acquainted with it as not, and that ordinarily he knows nothing about it. The "guru" does not reveal it to him, does not speak of it to him, but never loses sight of it himself in the methodical training of his pupil.
It is really this that distinguishes Yoga radically from the Western philosophies with which it seems to be most akin.
The point in question is not to know the postulate of which we have already spoken - which, in short, is neither more nor less than a concise summary of Kantism - there is even no question of believing in it or not; that, from the Yogi point of view, furthers nothing: the point in question is to displace the axis of our conscious perception and perceive directly not any longer the reaction of our thought to the world of the senses (physical world) but the action of our thought as creating this world of the senses.
This is decidedly an acrobatic feat. We might explain it in two different ways - different, but closely akin - in order that the reader may fully grasp just what takes place in the initial stage of the Yogi's training.
Everyone knows, for instance, those drawings which produce an optical illusion, which one can, at will, see either in relief or exactly the contrary, all that seems concave suddenly standing out in relief. This is the case with the realm of the senses, which can be viewed, by exerting a little will - power, from either the point of view of reaction or from the point of view of mind creating the physical world, i.e. the realm of the senses.
A passenger in a railway carriage has the impression that it is he who is stationary, and that it is the landscape that is whirling past. He watches the receding miles, but knows very well that it is only an optical illusion.
With a little concentration, however, some patience and mental exertion, he can dissipate the mirage, reverse this impression, and realize that it is he who is travelling rapidly across a motionless landscape.
Anyone can make this experiment, and it may be compared, although on an infinitely smaller scale, to the experiment tackled by the aspiring Yogi.
If the postulate which serves as a starting - point in Yogi training can be explained in a few lines, one can easily understand why the actual training is a long and hard one, why it is never really finished, so to speak, and why so often it ends in failure, if it does not lead to even more disastrous consequences.
The aspiring Yogi, as I have already pointed out, seldom knows whither the path along which the "guru" is leading him is bound. More often than not, if he knew, he would draw back. In the beginning, not realizing the transformation taking place within himself, he only feels that he is discovering a whole world, or rather new worlds. When at last he realizes the road upon which he has set his feet, it is generally too late to turn back, because he has acquired a liking for this new way of thinking. It is a psychic drug, infinitely more intoxicating than the drugs of the medical pharmacopoeia. It is well to point out that the training that changes a normal man into a Yogi, culminates in a divorce from the physical world of reaction, the world of the senses that we cherish so dearly, a divorce as radical as that which, though on another plane, begins with death itself.
Even if one wished to divert in its entirety the course of mental consciousness, it is highly possible that one would never succeed in so doing; but Yoga training breaks up the difficulty. Experience having shown that in the mind's creative action certain unconscious phenomena slip more easily than others into our consciousness, it is generally by them that one begins. Moreover, every way seems a good one to the "guru" who wishes to attain a desired result with his pupil, and he makes use of psychic methods or physical methods indifferently,
There is no need to be astonished at this. The problem of the relationship between the body and soul, such as it occurs in our Western philosophies, does not present itself to the Yogi. The dualism of mind and matter, for him, is non - existent. That is why the European observer considers the Yogi sometimes as an absolute idealist, sometimes as a gross materialist, depending on the angle from which he views him.
One must never lose sight of the fundamental postulate of which I have already spoken. One thing alone exists - the primordial Ego, or self, the Absolute, the Ensoph of the Cabbalists. It is Mind which creates the external world, by, one might say, its own specialized action, which is to think. It then reacts to its own creation, and it is this reaction, enlightened by the psychological consciousness, that constitutes what we call the physical world (or realm of the senses). The physical body is only that part of the physical world which seems the nearest to us, and which we so often mistake for ourselves.
Nothing could be more erroneous than to attribute to Yoga the conceptions of Western idealism. Hence this likening of the body to a cloak, in which the soul is clothed, and out of which it can step at will.
To understand clearly in what light the Yogi views the physical body, let me illustrate it in this way :
We know that if we sprinkle iron dust on a sheet of paper or glass under which a magnet is placed, the iron dust spreads out into a well - defined geometrical pattern called the magnetic spectrum.
This magnetic spectrum is entirely independent of the grains of metallic dust which render it visible. It is composed, essentially, of the lines of attraction within the field of the magnet. You may change the iron filings indefinitely, but the same magnetic spectrum will continue to appear. If the magnet were withdrawn, or if it lost its magnetism, the iron dust would still remain on the sheet of glass, but its form would no longer be controlled by the magnetic lines, and would be scattered at the merest breath.
From the Yoga point of view, the physical body corresponds exactly to the magnetic spectrum. It is a form, or rather a system of forms, created by the Mind. Little matter the physical atoms (themselves, moreover, merely a creation of the Mind, though under another aspect) which, borrowed from the material world, unite the system of forms. They are constantly renewing themselves.
Should the creative functioning of the mind be hindered or weakened in any way, it means ill - health and old age. If it ceases to function, it means death itself. The corpse is but the iron dust left on the sheet of glass when the magnet is no longer there.
Much confusion arises from the fact that the Yogis, in addition to the physical body, admit the existence of several vehicles, which are wrongly confounded with the etheric or fluidic bodies of Western mysticism.
These organisms or vehicles, for the Yogi, are merely stages in the creative functioning of the mind. Let us suppose that the physical body is the seventh and last of these different stages: if the creative action no longer attains the seventh stage, but stops short at the sixth, the reaction would then take place in the sixth stage, and, enlightened by the psychological consciousness, would constitute, from all points of view, a new organism in every respect similar to the physical body.
Since the point in question is first, and always, this undivided mind action, one readily understands that any modification of this creative action working on any single plane would have for effect the production of a repercussion in all the different stages, and would entail similar formal modifications.
All this springs plainly from our fundamental postulate. It is merely a particular application.
If one loses sight of the foregoing argument, which bears so striking a resemblance to the theory of the Sephiroth of the Cabbala, it is impossible to understand anything whatsoever of Hatha Yoga, or physiological Yoga, which in the Tantristic system is the gateway to all the Yogas. That is why, in the eyes of the Westerner, the Yogi student who in breathing alternately first by one nostril and then by the other, in the hope of attaining a certain degree of psychic development, seems to be indulging in a breathing - exercise which is absolutely ludicrous and absurd.
Western occultists readily look upon Hatha Yoga as a black stain that dishonours the magnificent edifice of Oriental occultism. Nothing is so poorly understood as Hatha Yoga. Most Europeans regard it as a fake and so much tomfoolery. In the most generous view, we find a collection of rules and precepts on hygiene and therapeutics buried under, and confounded with, a number of formulas on sorcery, in which, nevertheless, Western science could make some interesting discoveries, provided it first separated the wheat from the chaff. Metapsychists realize that herein lies a mine of interesting abnormal phenomena, provided they are submitted to modern scientific methods of investigation. But the problem, in any case, is badly broached, in mistaking the physic phenomena for the Hatha Yoga, of which they are but the outcome. Since we fail to examine it at its source, and to follow the same line of thought as the Oriental, the problem remains unsolved.
Take, for instance, a particular case which has been tested and proved beyond all doubt. I am speaking of one of those tricks performed by the fakirs, to the astonished disgust of Europeans. The fakir, completely nude, introduces a marble into the rectum, ejecting it a little later by the mouth. What is the explanation of this phenomenon ?
In this the particular case the fakir no doubt devoted a considerable length of time to becoming conscious of the peristaltic action of the alimentary canal. As we all know, this contractile motion of the alimentary canal, by which the contents are propelled along from the mouth to the rectum, is entirely unconscious in normal man.
Therefore the first stage consists in becoming conscious of this unconscious action. The second stage follows naturally from the first, and it thus becomes possible to slow it down or accelerate it at will, to suppress it entirely and even to cause it to function in the opposite direction. The latter result achieved, the fakir is then able, at will, to pass through the alimentary canal, and produce by his mouth, a foreign body introduced into the lower passage.
On a higher level, we find examples of auto - therapeutic phenomena, where the Yogi heals himself, for instance, of liver trouble. The hepatic action is unconscious in man in his normal state, but if he becomes conscious of this action, it becomes possible by that very fact to cure any irregularity.
Extending this process, the Yogi finishes by healing others as well as himself, by identifying his creative thought with theirs, or rather, by perceiving their creative thought as one with his own.
As Yoga regards thought as action, the will is never looked upon as an independent faculty. It is closely linked with what Western philosophy calls "representation", or rather it is one and the same thing. We always find, therefore, that the Yogis do not practise those exercises for developing the will - power which are so common to Westerners. Will - power development, for them, means to be able to isolate a particular thought. Such a result is automatically and definitely reached by the very fact of the isolation.
The emotions, on the other hand, are but an aspect of the mind. As with the intellect, this aspect, in the normal man, is enlightened by the psychological consciousness only in the realm of our reactions to the physical world (the realm of the senses).
We have already pointed out that the transposition which takes place in the Yogi on the intellectual plane must take place also on the emotional also. The result is the common error of all those Westerners who have been interested in Yoga, who consider that one of its principal objectives is to obtain a complete insensibility, a total suppression of all emotion and feeling.
This error is readily understandable. To the on-looker, the man who does not react emotionally to the phenomena of the external world is totally insensible, and unless we give ourselves up to the same training as the Yogi, we can never understand what it means to remove the emotional life from the realm of reaction into that of action.
That this emotional life subsists after such an upheaval is an undoubted fact, and, according to the Yogis' opinions, it is singularly intensified. The belief, however, that mistakes the displacement of the emotional life for its total suppression, is an error common even in the East, and the "gurus" particularly warn their disciples about it beforehand. The aim of the training, they say, is not to change a man into a stone.
For similar reasons, and always because we do not go back to the starting - point in the study of Yoga, most people look upon union with the Absolute, which is the supreme goal of Yoga, in an entirely false light.
They consider this union as the annihilation of the Ego, by the fusion of the individual Self with the Universal Self in short, the complete disintegration of personality.
And how can we, after all, have any different a conception of this union, so long as we stick to our point of view of reaction to the realm of the senses? The Masters of Yoga consider this error as one of the most serious dangers, if not the most serious, in Yoga training. In fact, it not infrequently happens that certain among their disciples, incapable of removing their psychological consciousness from the plane of reaction to the plane of action, do not perceive that they are on the wrong path, and finish in a state of complete idiocy, entirely bereft of intellectual or emotional power - the direct antithesis of Union. The Yogi whose aim is to remove his consciousness and transfer it to the realm of action does not seek to lose his personality in the infinite. His ambition, on the contrary, is to develop it to all infinity, in taking for its domain that of the Universal Mind, with which he identifies himself. Therein lies the great Union, thoroughly active, not passive, the ultimate goal of Yoga.
In other words, the great Union is not a passive blending, but an active and unlimited extension, realized gradually and by different stages. It is an expansion and not a dispersion.
By J. Courtenay James, M.A., B.D., Ph.D.
study of the Gospel Records, in the view of our Contributor, establishes
beyond doubt the fact that the Esoteric Theory is the only adequate
key to the true Significance of the Life and Message of the Great
Western Master. "Christianity", says the Rev. Doctor,
"will prevail in association with other religions, not where
its creeds and rituals clash, but where its inner significance
finds affinity with the fundamental connotations of World - religion."
The interpretation of the Life and Teaching of Jesus of Galilee is an inexhaustible theme. The biographies are innumerable and diversified in opinions and conclusions. In a general way it may be said there have been four distinct lines of interpretation. A brief reference to these will serve as an introduction to this article. The Mythical Theory was set forth quite exhaustively by Strauss (Das Leben jesu), and by several later and lesser imitators. This German school tried to prove that the story of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels is a fabrication, a legendary creation, the product of a popular and lively imagination. The occasion of this mythical theory was the existence of the Christian Community, which necessitated a cause, and the general belief in Jewish prophecy, which required fulfilment. The Hallucination Theory was brilliantly stated by Renan (Vie de Jèsus). The French savant endeavoured to show that Jesus was a moral dreamer, a religious enthusiast, an irrational idealist. He is idolized by His followers until He begins to think He is the Messiah, or at any rate allows Himself to be regarded as the Messiah to gratify His disciples and to meet a common desire among the people. The Evangelical Theory is fairly well represented by Geikie (The Life and Words of Christ). He takes the Gospel texts and teachings just as they are found and interprets them from the literal and historical point of view. According to this theory Jesus was all that He claimed to be and all that the records represent him to be, thus accepting the face value of the Gospels without attempting to get behind to their more hidden significance. The Esoteric Theory was courageously presented by Keim (Das Leben Jesu), who felt that this most difficult phase of the problem had to be faced. His interpretation is a most valuable synthesis of science and religion, history and psychology. He shows that the problem of Jesus cannot be solved apart from spiritual intuition and occult tradition. We think this theory, which involves much of the Evangelical conception, is the only adequate method of approaching the subject.
The expectation of a Messiah was general and reached a sort of culmination at the appearance of Jesus. This expectation doubtless made it easier for the people to accept the Galilaean as the realization of the national hope, and also contributed to the growing consciousness of Jesus that He was the long-looked-for Deliverer. The conception of a Messiah had its inception when the Jews began to suffer serious reverses. It was deepened by Assyrian impositions during the captivity in Babylonia, and intensified under Persian over - lordship. It continued to hold the imagination under the rule of the Seleucidae, and was brought to a head by the revolt and temporary triumph of the Maccabees. An indefinable anticipation filled the mind of all Eastern nations. Ancient mythology dimly hinted at the coming of a Divine Child. The mystery cults visioned Him in some indistinct way. The oracles of Delph, Thebes, and Eleusis vaguely foretold the doom of false gods, and their astrologers ventured to fix the time of His appearance. The Esoteric Initiates, in trance - prophecy, proclaimed that the world would be renewed and redirected by a paramount Initiate, a Son of God. Perhaps this explains the story of the "wise men - from the East coming to Bethlehem to greet the anticipated "King". Altogether there was an influx of psychic and spiritual forces which resulted in the advent of the unique Personality of Jesus. In a measure these forces attend the appearance of all great personalities, but they are heightened, intensified and definitely focused when a Supreme Genius enters this life and dominates the thought and action of men. In the teaching of Jesus the Eternal Mind was expressed as never before: "Never man so spake."
For the Life and Teaching of Jesus we are dependent upon a few documents which have a priceless value. The four Gospels hold a supreme and altogether unique place in literature. These fall into two distinct portions, the Synoptic and the Johannine. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are of the same general type, and deal mainly with the outer ministry of Jesus. The Gospel of John, while recording a few incidents, is concerned chiefly with the veiled significance and spiritual idealism involved. The Synoptic record may be termed the Gospel of the Letter - the record of John is the Gospel of the Spirit. Clement of Alexandria was one of the early bishops to recognize this, and he rightly saw that the johannine Gospel held the key to Christian Esoterism. The great words of this Gospel are Life, a present possession and a future hope; Light, the inner illumination by which men walk without stumbling; Truth, the abiding and ultimate reality; Spirit, the nature of God and the divinity in man.
The teaching of the Fourth Gospel centres round these key words which are attributes or qualities of God. He is the "Living One", the original and final source of life, and this "Life is the Light of men". Light is a revelation of Truth, and every man partakes of the Ultimate Reality because He "lighteth every man coming into the world". Every utterance of Jesus is an expression of the Spirit and is to be interpreted in the light of man's spiritual nature; it is from a spiritual source and produces a Living Result. "The words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and are Life." The question which is the most important Record does not arise; - each has its individualistic method of setting forth the life and work of the Messiah. But the Gospel of John gives the clue for the interpretation of the others; it indicates the secret teaching, the inner mysteries of the doctrine, and the occult contents of the promises. In a word, this Gospel contains the Arcana of the incarnate life of the greatest Esoteric Adept and spiritual Initiate.
The "Birth - Stories" have probably a,twofold origin. In the first place, if Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, or was so regarded by his followers, it was necessary to show that he descended from the Davidic royal line. The legends of the nativity were intended to meet this demand. That they were later additions is sufficiently proved by their absence from Mark's Gospel, the earliest record of Christ's Life. It is, moreover, pretty evident that these Birth - Stories owe something to the ancient cults, in which the miraculous birth of the gods is a characteristic feature. The Hindu representation of the origin of Krishna was among the earliest legends of virgin birth. A similar notion is found in the story of Buddha, and the idea is associated with Osiris in Egypt and Mithra in Persia. Mystery surrounds the origin of Zeus and Hercules, and the son to be born to Zoroaster "at the end of time - was to be of virgin birth. Legends of miraculous births and supernatural origins are found in all ages and throughout the world. Stripping off the crudeness and coarseness, there is hidden behind these legends the theory and belief that the union of the divine and human is a possibility. It was no doubt felt at Alexandria, the meeting - place of Eastern and Western philosophy and religion, and at other centres of learning, that for the survival and expanding of Christianity it was essential that its Founder should be at least as divine and superhuman in origin as the deities of more ardent cults. The value of the birthlegends of Jesus is not in the stories themselves, which are contradictory and naively grotesque, but in what they implied. They indicated the faith of the early Church in the Messiahship of Jesus, the spiritual and divine significance of His life and teaching. The authors of these stories did not realize that there was any incongruity between the Person and the legend. They brought the Great Initiate of Galilee into line with the great, though lesser, Initiates of Egyptian, Oriental, and Judaic literature and religion.
The sources of the Esoteric doctrines of Jesus are not apparent in the Gospel records, but they may be found with considerable certainty. For some of His peculiar teaching concerning the "Son of Man" he was evidently indebted to the apocalyptic literature current in Palestine. But His thought, character, and spiritual conceptions were moulded in another atmosphere and a different environment. Casual references are made to the Essenes among whom Jesus was instructed and into whose secret cult He was initiated. There were many things in common between the Essenes and the Pythagoreans; the former were in some way influenced by the latter. The roots of these teachings go back still farther. Pythagoras travelled through the East and Egypt, he became acquainted with the Lore of the Magi and the Chaldaeans, and their occult practices were to some extent incorporated in the Pythagorean system. Through the Essenes the Eastern esoterism was Judaized, and through Jesus it was Christianized. Both Pythagoreans and Essenes observed prayer at sunrise, wore linen garments, held love-feasts, their novitiates had one year of probation, and there were three degrees of initiation. Their system of community of goods was managed by trustees, they enjoined silence, took oaths concerning the Mysteries (but no other oath), taught doctrines of Theogony, Cosmology, and Ethics. Teachers of the last-named dealt with questions of conscience and psychology, and this included methods of healing. From the Essenes Jesus specially derived his doctrine of providence, the immortality of the soul, love of one's neighbour, warnings against riches, habit of early prayer, and prohibition of oaths in general. Other features derived from the Essenes were: Baptism as an initiatory rite, the Last Supper (borrowed in idea from the fraternal feasts) with the added conception of sacrifice, the hiding of secret teaching from the public, the belief that after death the souls of the righteous ascend to God and that the wicked will be punished. Two observations should here be made. Though Jesus was indebted to His early training and environment for many of the tenets in his religious system, yet He raised all these to a higher level and made them more spiritually significant. The other point is this: Jesus was not wholly dependent upon his contemporaries, nor did He derive all his essential teaching from earlier cults. He had a clear vision of God and much was revealed through his divine self-consciousness.
No event in human history can be taken on Prima Facie evidence alone. Every movement of the national drama, every act in the play of individual experience, is the outward and visible sign of some inward, psychical, or spiritual reality. That which is most valuable in history is not the record of contending armies, the slaughter of millions and stormy revolutions. These are scenic, superficial, evanescent; they appeal to the physical senses, they stir the lower passions, but they are phenomenal and will disappear. That which is most valuable in history is the record of the conflict of antagonistic principles, the conflict between eternal right and wrong, the struggle of the soul in its approach to God. This conflict may be discerned in the life of every nation rising out of darkness into light, out of paganism into civilization, out of heathenism into Christianity or some other great religion. This conflict is going on within the constitution of every man; it is what Paul describes as the antagonism of "the flesh and the spirit". To discover the real significance of life and history, it is necessary to get behind the material, the letter, the body, and see and interpret the psychic and spiritual forces that produce the whole phenomena. Hence the importance of penetrating through the veil of the Gospels and the external ministry of Jesus, to find the secret of His life and the permanent character of His teaching. For human experience the two phases, the outward and the inward, the historical and the spiritual, are necessary. The Jesus of history supplies the objective content of faith, the Jesus of experience stisfies the aspirations of faith. If there were no objective facts, faith would lose itself in a dim mysticism and a vague subjectivism. If there were no inner lights, no mystic presence, faith would be a cold belief in a Galilaean peasant whose life was a failure. We have the external ministry, the objective life; but what was the origin, the motive, the spiritual and eternal meaning of it? How did Jesus arrive at the notion of His Messiahship; what was His self-consciousness; and how are we to understand His communion with God? Other questions arise: What meaning underlay His public utterances, what did He explain in private to His disciples, how much of His teaching had a symbolic meaning, and by what means can we discover the real significance of His unique career? In a word, is the Esoteric Method the true clue to the interpretation of Jesus of Galilee?
Some of the stages in the Initiation of Jesus are clearly indicated in the Gospels. Three are specially significant - the Baptism, Temptation, and Transfiguration. We must not be misled by these conventional terms, nor must the records be taken too literally. These experiences may be said to correspond in a general way with three stages of Initiation in the Mystery Religions. They were mystic experiences and constituted definite revelations or realizations in the soul of Jesus, who was called "The Christ", "The Anointed", "The Messiah". Baptism or ceremonial bathing is found in almost all ancient religions, and its symbolism of purification from defilement is self - evident. Jesus would be familiar with this custom among the Essenes, and from this sect no doubt John the Baptist got the notion and continued the practice. Jesus condemned the outward purification of the Pharisees, indicating that Baptism should represent some inward change. The Aztecs of Mexico after a child is baptised utter these words: "Now he liveth anew and is born anew." There is here a close resemblance to the teaching of some branches of the Christian Church. By the baptism of Jesus was symbolized His definite realization and acknowledgment of Divine Sonship. The Temptation was a more important phase in the Initiation and represented a great advancement in the mystic experience of Jesus. Was He the Messiah? Was He called to discover the secret mind and disclose it to the world? These questions could only be answered by deep contemplation, by a retreat from the world, and by conquest over all self - seeking and all material glory. In the dream panorama the world passes before the mind of Jesus with all its glittering allurements, temptations and possessions. Shall He surrender and lose the Divine Vision for ever, or shall He sacrifice every material prospect to retain the Great Illumination ? This symbolic legend sets forth the supreme crisis in the life of Jesus, and in this crisis He gained eternal victory. The Transfiguration represents the highest stage in the process of Initiation. Here Jesus is face to face with the glory of God and holds converse with spiritual intelligence. So intense was His prayer that it rent the veil, and the division between earth and heaven, man and God was removed. To the astonished Apostles, their Master's face became irradiated, and His garment shone with supernormal brilliance. The Initiate had in truth entered into the "Holy of Holies". These crises in the life of Jesus are symbolic of the experiences through which all Seekers must pass in their mystic pilgrimage to God.
All the teaching of Jesus is summarized in the term "the Kingdom of Heaven". No expression is more familiar, and yet no Gospel term has produced more discussion and difference of opinion. From the early centuries exponents of the Gospels lost sight of the inner meaning, and emphasized little more than its outer and literal import. The "Parables" are mostly esoteric representations of the Kingdom of Heaven. The term is a synonym for the reign of God. It has an inner and an open meaning, the former being the more important, inasmuch as the latter is the visible expression of it. Some expected the Kingdom through war, and others by th a fulfilment of the Law of Moses; some occupied themselves with calculations about times and seasons, and all looked for a temporal kingdom and government. Those who studied the apocalyptic literature believed the Kingdom would come through some great cataclysm or intervention of the order of nature. Jesus put it differently. He said, concerning seed, that it "should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how". The Kingdom is a mystery hid from the worldly-wise and intellectually prudent. The Kingdom is an experience, artless, simple, humble, trustful as a child. "Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." Entering the Kingdom is not passing into something external to ourselves, but penetrating into the spiritual values of our own nature: "The Kingdom,of God is within you." In the mystic realm of the soul the King reigns, and here the subject holds unmediated communion with Him. Thei interpretation of the Parables was not strange to those who were familiar with the Mystery Religions of Egypt, India and Greece. To the Christian mystic it seems quite unmistakable that esoterism entered into all the utterances and all the works of Jesus. Thus the Kingdom of Heaven is not so much an ideal state as an ideal experience. The Greek Utopia would come gradually, the Jewish Utopia would come by a sudden divine interposition. Both these ideas miss the real connotation of the Kingdom. The Greek method leaves God out, the Jewish method limits divine action to cataclysmal interference. The real Utopia, the true Kingdom of Heaven, is the Inner Light, the Illumination of the soul, the realization of Oneness with God. Whoever has this experience can say, "I and my Father are one."
The "Miracles" of Jesus are to be interpreted as the products of spiritual forces which are latent in the soul, but these forces found an avenue and an expression in Jesus which was rare and unique. The notion that the soul is the evolutionary resultant of the physical constitution is now generally discredited. The truer doctrine that the body is the work of the soul building up a temporal habitation for itself is difficult for the Western mind. The soul has a body other than the visible structure in which it carries out its life - work on earth. There is what is called, perhaps not very felicitously, the "astral" body, through which the soul acts on the physical body. The "celestial" body of Christian theology is a sublimation of the same concept. Somewhere in this representation is to be found the secret of the miraculous works of Jesus. As the material universe is the dynamic expression of the Eternal Spirit, so the "Miracles" of Jesus were the results of his high occult Being acting upon physical nature. "MyFather worketh even until now, and I work." Though the work of Jesus in this domain was pre-eminent, yet similar powers have been displayed by a few exalted souls in earlier and later times. The great saints or Spiritual Adepts act directly on the soul of the patient, and results, "cures", are wrought which seem supernormal. This is the case with all magnetic healing and all psychical restoration. Jesus performed "miracles" by forces possessed potentially by all men, but he acted in a more energetic, authoritative, and divinely focused manner. This interpretation does not explain all the wonderful works ascribed to Jesus, such as the calming of the storm and the raising of the dead. One of two explanations must be accepted. Either some works in the life of Jesus were in the popular sense supernatural or they were invented by pious devotees to extol the Master and to advance His claims and doctrines. With regard to the former it must be remembered that no event is really contrary to the laws of nature, but some events may be contrary to the laws of nature known to us. With regard to the latter alternative, we know from the apocryphal Gospels that many mythical incidents were attributed to Jesus. This problem, however, belongs to another field of study. We are here emphasizing the view that the life and work of Jesus must be interpreted from the esoteric point of view.
In his History of European Morals Lecky says, "The simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and than all the exhortations of moralists." This is a great tribute from a great authority, and yet it is not correct. "The simple record - has not accomplished the mighty results, but the Person whose unique influence produced the record. What was the secret of the power and growing value of the teaching of Jesus ? This question cannot be adequately answered without recognizing the mysticism of his inner experience and the esoterism of his teaching. To indicate this is the purpose of this article, and to interpret the Founder of Christianity from this point of view is necessary for religion today. For long years the East hesitated to accept the religion of the West, perhaps mainly because Christian heralds tried to force Western formularies of faith and methods of worship upon the Oriental mind. A great and highly commendable change has come about, and the East is increasingly disposed to study Western religion, not so much in its outward form, but in its essential principles and spiritual ideals. That type of Christianity commends itself to China, India, and Japan which is expressed in symbolic terms and concepts in harmony with their own ideas, spiritual thoughts, and occult experiences. Christianity will prevail in association with other religions, not where its creeds and rituals clash, but where its inner significance finds affinity with the fundamental connotations of world religion.. We need not ask whether Christianity is to be the final religion. What is true, spiritual, and divine in Christianity will endure for ever and is therefore final. But the same statement may be made concerning the true, spiritual, and divine in all religions. We shall outgrow our time - habit of thinking; consequently there will be progress. The supreme legacy of Jesus in this respect was that he taught us to measure life not by space and time dimensions but by those realities which transcend the normal and are only truly known by the spiritual in selfconsciousness, and through mystic communion with God.
By the Hon. Ralph Shirley
The subject of Dreams is one In which interest never flags despite the materialistic interpretations of certain schools of psycho - analysis on the one hand, and of sheer superstition on the other. To a number of striking examples collected by our Contributor, are added incidents from his own experlence - a personal touch which gives point and value to the suggestions put forward by the Author.
Sang the poet ... and when one comes to think of it, it is curious that in an age which teems with clairvoyants, psychometrists, palmists, astrologers, and thought - readers, we never meet with the professional dream interpreter. One would think that the inscription "So and So, Interpreter of Dreams", on a brass plate would prove a great draw, but as a matter of fact no one comes forward to fill the bill.
Book after book has been written on this subject, and Freud and Jung and their school have attempted, not too successfully, to put dream interpretation on a scientific basis, but we still await our Daniel.
Freud is too fond of interpreting dreams in terms of a fantastic symbology, which seldom pans out satisfactorily though his hypothesis that suppressed motives or desires are answerable for dream phenomena covers, it must be admitted, a certain section of the field, though a certain.section only.
The truth is dreams are very various in character, and no theory is valid except in relation to a limited portion of them. Of dreams of a psychic character, quite a small percentage of the whole, perhaps the most remarkable and the most readily verifiable, are those which are purely telepathic in character.
The dream state is peculiarly receptive, and the consciousness of the dreamer gets en rapport with thoughts or occurrences which cannot normally be sensed, much more readily than the waking mind. Such phenomena are surely akin to the transmission by wireless with which we are all now so familiar. Brain - waves are ether waves. They are simply an etheric phenomenon which will take its proper place in the scientific text - books of a later age. Our own subconscious selves are the recording instruments.
On a number of occasions at considerable intervals of time such phenomena have occurred to myself.
The first that I can recollect was when I was in the early twenties. I woke up in terror one night with the words, "I am a - dying, I am a - dying," ringing in my ears. A girl I had known well was carried off by pneumonia, the result of a neglected chill. I caught the cry as she died, gasping for breath. Hence the expression which sounded to me at the time like archaic English.
The next occasion I recollect was when I was on business in London and living as a bachelor in Duke Street, St. james's. Lack of fresh air had affected my health and compelled me afterwards to leave for more salubrious conditions outside the Metropolis. I woke one morning after a very vivid dream. I dreamed that I came up very late to the office and the first person I saw there was the managing director, who expressed considerable annoyance at my non - appearance at the expected time. "It is very vexing your coming up so late," he remarked. "There was a paper to sign which required three signatures, and there were only two of us to sign it. Now it has had to go back."
I said to myself as I dressed, "I will make a point of being early at the office today in case there should be anything in my dream." But after breakfast I was taken unwell, and was quite unfit to leave my room. It was nearly lunchtime when I arrived. The managing director greeted me withthe words, "Did you not get my wire?" "No," I said. "What wire ?" "Oh," he said, "I wired you to come up specially early this morning as there was an important document requiring three signatures, and now it has had to go back unsigned."
I asked him, "How did you address the wire ?
He said, "I sent it to five Duke Street."
"Well," I said, "my number is eight. That accounts for it." The wire never reached me except telepathically.
Several years after I was living in a flat in West London and dreamed that I was at my club (The New Oxford and Cambridge), and sitting there was a desperately wounded man and beside him a shattered looking - glass.
I told my dream to friend who was staying with me, and he said, "That means a death," I had been educated at Winchester and New College. The papers of the following day contained notices of the deaths of the Warden of New College and the Warden of Winchester, who died within some twenty - four hours of each other. My club was naturally a resort of both school and college friends, hence presumably its association with the deaths in my dream.
Many dreams appear to be of this purely telepathic character. There is a story of a man who called upon two friends of his at an hotel in London. They had with them a small white toy terrier, and they all went together for a stroll in Hyde Park, taking the dog with them. Two days later they left for Ireland. A week or two after the writer met with a mutual friend and speaking of the people in question, observed,"Ihad such a peculiar dream about that dog of theirs. I dreamed that it had died and was buried in their garden at the back of the house - - describing the spot. His friend replied,"Whata strange coincidence 1 The dog did actually die and was buried in the spot you mention." A correspondent of the Daily Telegraph tells how he dreamed of the burning of a theatre the night Covent Garden Theatre was burnt down, the news appearing in the next morning's paper, while another lady described her dream on the occasion of the San Francisco earthquake.
I dreamed [she wrote] that I was standing at a great elevation above the earth, and before me passed a vast multitude of human beings, horses, and cattle in one moving stream. Some of the people were on stretchers and ambulances, old men and women were being led along, and all were going slowly, looking scorched and burnt as though by fire.... I then found myself in a small hut and crouched down with a few people who appeared to be taking shelter from some fresh horror to come. Opposite me sat an old lady who beat her hands together and kept repeating some words in a wailing manner. The following morning [added the writer] we heard of the 'Frisco earfaquake. The time of my dream and the disaster tallied exactly. An eye - witness, Madame Sembrich, the famous singer, described the actual scene as a "two hours' march of men, women, children, and cattle from the burning city".
It appears that the stepmother of the witness, of whom she was very fond, was living in San Francisco at the time, and this, doubtless, was a connecting link with the scene of the catastrophe.
In many dreams the association of two ideas with each other seems to be the clue to their interpretation. A lady I know always anticipates illness or the news of a death when she has dreamed that she is nursing a baby.
Similarly, another correspondent of the Daily Telegraph wrote up to that paper in a discussion on the same subject:
I constantly dream of departed friends whom I see as they were in life and converse with them as if they were living, but there is one dead face which always brings me trouble - the face of my mother. When I dream that I see her I know when I awake that trouble of some sort is surely in store for me.
In such cases the dream, in order to have any definite signification, depends upon an association of ideas peculiar to the individual dreamer.
People who are not particularly superstitious in other ways have this dread of a more widely recognized type of dream. One of the dreams which is regarded as of special ill omen is that you have lost your teeth. Another is dreaming that you are in church. A curious instance of this is recorded of a friend by a correspondent of the same paper.
Years ago [he wrote] a lady of my acquaintance, the wife of a professional man, related that a month before the date of her projected marriage to her first fiancé she dreamed that it was the wedding - morning and that she had arrived at the church and was standing before the altar. Looking round she noticed with apprehension that she and the Canon who was to marry her were the only occupants of the church. At length, losing control of herself, she cried out, "Canon - what does this mean? Is not this my wedding - day? Where are my bridesmaids, fiancé, and friends?" Then, she declared, he raised his eyes from the prayer - book and looking at her very severely said, "We must bury the dead before we think of the living." Thereupon a side door opened and four men came in carrying a coffin, of which they opened the lid and showed her the body of her fiancé. She woke up screaming in terror. Three weeks after, her fiancé was taken ill and died in two days.
Similarly a correspondent of the Daily Mail writes that when he dreams of playing the organ in church it is a sign that someone he knows will die shortly.
In my opinion the attempt to interpret the vast majority of dreams symbolically or otherwise is purely futile. They are the result of a relaxed mind drifting rudderless among recollections of the past mingled often with incidents which have been heard narrated or previously read in fiction;'but the dream which is the result of a suppressed wish is doubtless not uncommon, though Freud's symbolical interpretationof such dreams is seldom, if ever, to be relied upon. Often, indeed, a much simpler explanation is the true one. At one time I was in the habit of dreaming that I was swimming about in sea - water. Freud has his own far - fetched symbolical interpretation of this dream, but the actual fact was that I was in alow state of health and seawater has a particularly stimulating effect upon me in such circumstances. I had not the opportunity to indulge it, but subconsciously I felt the need. It was a case of a suppressed wish.
It may be noted that most people are subject to dreams either of swimming or flying. Such dreams have been associated with states of the digestive organs. The flying dream is specially agreeable, but it may be observed that the flyer seldom flies to any height. He (or she) merely skims along the surface of the earth. I incline to think that such dreams are due to a loosening of the connection between the consciousness and the physical form during deep sleep - astral projection, as it is sometimes termed, in its initial stage. But whatever may be the explanation of them their frequency and the pleasant sensation associated with them is undoubted.
Then, of course, there is the recurring dream. This again is a purely individual experience and is repeated again and again in an almost identifical form. Frequently it is in the nature of a nightmare. The dreamer is going to the scaffold or falling over a cliff, or threatened with some imminent danger, the alarm occasioned almost invariably having the effect of waking him up at the supreme crisis. A reminiscence of a tragedy in a past life, the reincarnationist might suggest.
I had an acquaintance who dreamed from time to time of a particular place, always the same, where he met friends whom he knew perfectly well in his dream, but who were totally unknown to him in his waking life. They greeted him with the utmost cordiality as an old acquaintance, but he saw nothing of them again till the familiar dream recurred, nor ever in waking life visited the spot where he was in the habit of meeting them.
To dream of places which the dreamer subsequently visits is not as uncommon as might be supposed, and gives colour to the theory expressed by Prentice Mulford in the phrase, "You travel when you sleep." Here we may believe that we have instances of astral projection in a more fully developed form. The place, when actually encountered in waking life, naturally appears perfectly familiar and produces an uncanny impression on the person who seems to remember what he has never seen before. The same thing occurs in connection with people dreamed of and afterwards actually met with on the physical plane. A lady I knew dreamed of a clergyman who treated her very rudely, pushing her out of the vestry door. Later on she went to a church where the man of her dream proved to be the preacher. She was asked to lunch with him after the service was over, but, mindful of her dream, refused the invitation.
One of the most curious phenomena of the dream world is the manner in which the imagination in sleep is liable to produce physical effects on the body of the sleeper. Stories are told of imaginary wounds or bruises in nocturnal nightmare struggles reacting on the physical frame with force enough to leave their imprints for days afterwards, and there is a record of an Irish student who dreamed that he was lying in a hot sun in the tropics and woke up to find his skin thoroughly tanned. In this dream the impression on the dreamer was so strong that he actually wondered, while dreaming, what effect his long exposure in the blazing heat would have upon him. Similarly, shocks to a pregnant mother are liable to leave a permanent impress on the body of the unborn infant, and an incident some years ago took place in America in which a man was so affected by a flash of lightning that the impression of a crucifix which hung on the wall above him was reproduced upon his back. Such phenomena are obviously akin to those with which we are familiar in the case of photography. The human skin takes the impression in the same manner as a photographic film. In the case of the Irish student the intensity of the action of the imagination was such as to convey to the functional orgafis of his body the effect of lying exposed to a tropical sun for a protracted period. Similar phenomena are, as is well known, witnessed in the case of religious ecstatics who dwell so deeply on the passion of Christ on the Cross that the stigmata are impressed upon their own bodies. A study of the auto-suggestive powers of the human brain might well be made the subject of a psycho-medical treatise.
Doubtless numerous cases could be cited which, if sufficiently diversified, would enable us to deduce some general law governing these phenomena. Undoubtedly the dream state is favourable, though by no means necessary, for their production. One instance is recorded on good authority (in a list of cases supplied to the late F. W. H. Myers) in which a lady in her dream pricked the hand of a friend and came down the next morning to find the friend's hand bandaged up. Her friend had looked in vain for the pin that she supposed must have done the injury, and it was several days before the wound was properly healed.
The clairvoyant's powers have been utilized on a number of occasions in the detection of crime, but dreams have seldom been called in to the aid of the detective. There is, however, an instance that may be cited of a murder in Canada in which the criminal paid the last penalty of the law, partly at any rate as the result of a dream. The facts of the case are as follow:
The tragedy occurred on September 18, 1903. Edward Hayward, an Englishman, had been prospecting in the NorthWest of Canada and for some time no news was heard of him. On the night following the crime his brother, Harry Hayward, of Mundham, Sussex, came down to breakfast very much upset. "I have had a bad dream," he told his sister. "I dreamed that I saw our Ted shot." Subsequently he received a communication from the Canadian police saying that they had reason to believe that his brother had been murdered and requesting his presence for the purpose of identification at the trial of an American of the name of Charles King from Salt Lake City, who fell under suspicion and was subsequently arrested and charged with the crime. The body of Edward Hayward had been found by the North - West Mounted Police much charred - as if an attempt had been made to dispose of it by burning. Harry Hayward went out to Canada with a vivid picture in his mind of the man whom he saw in his dream and also of the locality.
King and Hayward, it appeared, had gone into the little - known northern Territories to prospect for mineral wealth, and when Hayward was last heard of they were camping on the shores of the Lesser Slave Lake. At this time two Indians in the neighbourhood noticed the tracks of the two men and followed them as far as the lake, where they were observed together. On the third night they heard a shot in the direction of their camp, and it was noticed that afterwards only one man left the camp. It appeared that Edward Hayward had a little hoard of money which it was believed that King had secured. An unusually large camp - fire was observed, and afterwards among the embers were found pieces of bone and flesh, a gold - filled tooth, and two pairs of boots. In one of these was a bundle containing a number of articles recognized later as having belonged to Edward Hayward by the brother of the missing man, who identified the features of the murderer and accurately described all details of the spot where the crime was committed. Charles King was sentenced to death at Edmonton in the province of Alberta in September 1905, where he paid the last penalty of the law for the murder of his companion, Edward Hayward.
I have not attempted in the above article to touch more than the fringe of a very debatable question, and that on one side only. In books on the subject there has been too great a tendency to treat of dreams either from a purely meterialistic or from a purely psychical standpoint. The psychical investigator omits the large majority of dream phenomena, while the scientific materialist ignores the most suggestive and the most baffling problems presented by the dream world. The abnormal receptivity of the sleeper's consciousness is productive of both classes. In the ordinary phenomena which are associated with our hours of sleep, external sounds and sensations are liable to be magnified indeflinitely, and time values are revolutionized. Here the dramatic instinct plays havoc with mundane realities, and one incident melts into another, while one individual may unexpectedly take on some entirely different personality without exciting any sensation of surprise on the dreamer's part. In treating of such a subject we are dealing with a veritable Proteus whose transformations constantly elude us, and we can scarcely, therefore, feel surprise that the phantasmagoria of our dream life have defied critical analysis.
Modem ingenuity has, indeed, attempted to trace a pathway in this labyrinth of illusions, and German professors and their followers, here and in America, have sought to find in them a symbolical meaning. It may, howevet, be doubted whether they are susceptible of interpretation in the sense intended, though for the psychological student they may well supply pointers indicative of the laws governing the activities of the brain when will and reason are temporarily in abeyance.
By Max Freedom Long
In the view
of our Contributor, who Is the well - known author of "Recovering
the Ancient Magic", the Psychology of the Kahunas, or Polynesian
occult adepts, has much of value to offer the West in the way
of Practical Methods of Mental and Spiritual Healing.
If the reader will refresh his mind by going over the outline of kahuna psychology which 1 gave in a recent article in the "OCCULT REVIEW", we will be ready to consider the methods by which those brown magicians (I refuse to call them witch - doctors) perform their "mental" healing.
I shall not do more than touch on their "spiritual" healing in this article, as that feat of instant healing deserves handling by itself.
For the benefit of any reader who does not have the outline of kahuna psychology at hand, let me give it in compact form.
The kahunas are able to perform their high and low magic because they know the following things :
There live in the body three separate units of consciousness which are independent of one another. We may call them the subconscious, the conscious and the superconscious entities or spirit beings.
Each of these has its individual and peculiar form of mentation. The subconscious remembers but cannot reason. The conscious reasons but cannot remember. The superconscious neither reasons nor remembers; it knows what is to be known of a thing or idea by becoming that thing or idea for an instant. It becomes a part of the future and knows it as well - or the past.
Each entity has its own voltage of mama or vital force. Animal magnetism is that used by the subconscious. It is positive or negative, keeps the body working, and it is manufactured by the body as it uses food, air and water. This low mana is taken by the conscious entitv and stepped up to becomethe middle mana which we now know as hypnotic power. The superconscious entity takes low or middle manaand steps it up to high mana. This it can use to make instant changes in physical matter, such as is done in materialization at a Mance, or in fire - walking, or as is done in instantly healing a broken bone.
Each entity has more or less power to control the others by the projecting of its mana. The conscious can hypnotize the subconscious entity in its own body, that of another, or one out of the body as a"ghost". The subconscious entity, when complexed, can use its mana to force the conscious to conform to that complex of belief. The subconscious and conscious entities can act together to force their mana on to the superconscious and cause it to use its high mana to make instant changes in matter, as in changing fire or feet to make fire - walking possible.
There are three vehicles or tenuous bodies, one for each entity to live in when out of the physical body. But, as the living physical body manufactures mana, the entities cannot act on the physical plane after death unless they borrow mana from a living person.
With that review of the kahuna psychology made, we are now ready to see what light it throws on our own mental or spiritual healing practices in the West.
Years ago I studied Theosophy with great interest. In it I read how the yogi does his magic. I read of the great magical powers one could generate and use. Then I read that it was wicked to use these powers for any purpose other than attaining a temporary condition of ecstasy in which one realized God. Why was this ? It was because of a thing called "karma".
Now, karma was the balance of good - and bad in one's past lives. The reason it was a sin to use magical power for healing oneself or another was because it was necessary for each person to "work out" his illness, unhappiness or poverty to "pay off bad karma from the past". This was a stunning blow. I was not spiritual enough to want to sacrifice and gain powers which could not be used for daily living. Madame Helena Blavatsky had not frowned on using occult powers for physical ends, but Brahmanism had touched Theosophy in 1893 and later leaders preached loud and long the mandates of karmic necessities.
Desiring something practical for living, I turned hopefully to New Thought. Here I found no karma to prevent me from using occult powers. From New Thought I got the idea that Mind was the one great reality and that it had positive control over matter. In fact, mind was responsible for building all matter and forming every condition of life, health, wealth, etc.
The idea did not seem very logidal, as I could not think anything into being. However, I heard that many people had"held the thought - and used affirmations to their great personal advantage.
What made me more ready to accept the illogical premise, upon which the fine system could then be built, was an indefinite idea I got that God was mixed up in the mechanics of the practice. It seemed that there was mind and Mind, the latter being the perfect thought or pattern in the mind of God - one which would manifest itself in the physical if we humans did our best to hold a comparative thought of perfect conditions in our own affairs.
The subconscious and the complex were not mentioned in the texts I read - that is, as the psychologists mentioned them. Illustrations were given to show how in sleep the subconscious could solve problems beyond the ability of the conscious to solve. At any rate, the subconscious was not a very definite part of the theory of "getting what you want when you want it", which was the ideal of New Thought in my texts.
Perhaps I did "demonstrate" some good things - I am unable to say; but I was soon disappointed in New Thought because it seemed so hard to make work, at least, for me.
I next looked into Christian Science. It had very definite teachings concerning God and His part in the system. Divine Mind was the one reality. But, the physical and man's mental world were "errors" - they didn't exist. I had a hard time accepting this illogical premise. In fact, I never got past that stumbling - block. However, I read faithfully and a bit confusedly. I learned that one could "deny error", which was anything one didn't like in the physical, and affirm the Real. If one denied hard enough and if one had Faith, the perfect thought of Divine Mind would manifest in the physical instead of the "error" thought which was troubling. But there was the joker. I was too logical in my make - up. I couldn't get past the idea that the physical was non - existent. Therefore, I couldn't seem to get Faith enough to make the system work.
Others made it work - fortunate beings - splendidly; but not I. I knew others could use the system, and I respected that fact; but I was ready to look about for something more practical and logical which would fit my needs.
My friends offered me another system of mental and spiritual healing which was named "Unity". It also had many successful demonstrations to its credit. I read these new texts and found that good Christians had taken a partial leaf out of New Thought and Christian Science texts. Again the main thing was the possession of Faith.
Years passed. I found the kahunas of Polynesia and discovered the secret of their psychology after a long study. It was only then that I could see why our Western schools of mental and spiritual healing worked as well and as often as they do.
Let us examine our systems a little further and see what the kahuna has to say about their mechanisms. First we may ask what is happening when one "holds the thought".
In the light of the kahuna psychology, one is, very evidently, working day by day to build up a complex of Faith in the subconscious entity. - In the conscious entity one has built up a clear picture of the desired condition of health or wealth.
Now. how do these things make possible the eventuat ' ion of the picture as a fact ? The kahuna tells us that when the conscious and subconscious work together, and when the subconscious has brought along its complex - which is the Faith - then their two manas go up and impinge on the superconscious.
Next we learn that the superconscious builds all our futures out of the thought or imaging material sent up with the manas by the two lower units of consciousness. (As the subconscious controls, in part, the conscious with its mana when it holds a complex, so the two together partly control the superconscious.) What we fear is built into our future if that fear is complexed in the subconscious and held as a reasonable fear in the conscious. Conversely, that which we confidently expect is also built into physical fact.
Furthermore, the kahunas assure us that if we carried the practices of the West far enough, we would eventually be able to do more instant healings. However, we do not know the part played by the complex for good or bad, and so get that far by accident, as it were.
Now let us see how a kahuna did his healing with the lower magic. (I condense from a case explained in detail in my report of last year, Recovering the Ancient Magic.) A patient came to a kahuna. He was suffering from an illness caused by a complex which lay at the bottom of the trouble, and which was made worse by a something which we miglit call "malicious animal magnetism - , but which the kahuna would call, more specifically, 'a spirit', and not one naturally malicious.
The kahuna's patient was a young Chinese - Hawaiian man who for two months had been fainting at times. Once he had wrecked his car, once had fallen into a fire, and once had set his bed on fire with a cigarette and nearly burned to death. White doctors had failed to help him. These things he told the old kahuna, who sat listening and seeming almost asleep as he made his pyschic diagnosis and drew his own conclusions.
The kahuna knew that one of two things must be causing the fainting. Either a spirit had attacked this man or he had a complex in his subconscious entity which was causing the trouble. Perhaps both things were to be found.
'Mave you anything to confess to me ?" asked the kahuna. "Have you hurt another in any way ? Do you feel guilty of some misdeed ? "
The man confessed that he had been courting a Hawaiian girl and had suddenly dropped her without explaining that his Chinese father had commanded him to wait and marry a Chinese girl. He admitted that he had long felt guilty about his behaviour and that the girl had undoubtedly been hurt.
The kahuna nodded. He closed his eyes. A few minutes later he opened them to say that he had used his psychic powers and had been able to see that there was a spirit who had brought the punishment of the fainting. This spirit was that of the dead grandmother of the injured girl. She had heard the girl making bitter complaints. She had taken low mana from the girl, gone to the young man in his sleep, used the mana to overcome that of his subconscious, and, had then used the mana by stepping it up and projecting it hypnotically as "suggestion". The hypnotic suggestion was that the man's subconscious entity should punish itself for its guilt and should cause fainting at times when such spells would endanger the body of the man.
Now, the kahunas know that no subconscious will accept a hypnotic suggestion which is contrary to its ideas of right and wrong - the ideas it cannot reason out, but which it has gleaned from the many memories of periods of reasoning on the part of the conscious entity. However, if a subconscious has been given guilt memories sufficient to form in it a complex of guilt and so of worthiness of punishment, it will accept the suggestion that it react in such a way as to bring that punishment.
Also, the kahuna knew that as long as the conscious mind of his patient was not reasonably or logically convinced that the guilt had been cancelled, there was no chance of breaking down the complex of guilt in his subconscious entity.
(NOTE: In psychoanalysis in the West we have found that hypnosis seldom removes an injurious complex in a patient. We might well ask the kahunas why this is a fact. The explanation given above is the answer.)
As to the spirit of the grandmother, the kahuna knew that she was in possession of both subconscious and conscious entities. She could remember and reason. She was not like his trained subconscious spirits who had been separated at death from their conscious brothers - the ones the magician could hypnotize, charge with his own mana, and send on errands. The grandmother spirit could not be controlled by hypnotic mana and so be driven out of the picture. Moreover, if he could not get the guilt complex drained off from the man's subconscious entity, the grandmother could keep on using hypnotic mana and eventually cause his subconscious to faint at the right time and kill him.
The kahuna did the only thing which could be done - in Polynesia or in the West. He ordered the Atient to make full amends for the injury to the girl.
As there was no other way out, the man swallowed his pride
and went to confess to the girl the reason for his unfair treatment. He took her presen ' ts and begged forgiveness. At last he got it. Not until then could his cure be begun.
It is interesting to observe what the kahuna did in beginning his treatment, once the young man was able to report that full amends had been made. This was a typical case of the use of an art long known and used by laymen in Hawaii. In this case the girl had performed a ceremonial which in theVest we might call 11 sending out malicious animal magnetism". But note the difference in the idea upon which the procedure is based.
The girl, wishing to punish her inconsiderate lover, knew of no "malicious magnetism", animal or otherwise, which she could direct with punishing effect toward the man. She only knew of the age - old custom of her people - the custom of "grumbling - to loved spirit relatives. She did not know just how this grumbling made it possible for the spirits to take,a hand in the punishment, but she did know that it had been proven time and again that such a procedure was very effective.
So effective has this "grumbling to the spirits" been in Polynesia that the natives fear to injure anyone, because of the danger of that magical retaliation. The result of this fear has been to enhance the natural kindliness and generosity of a gentle race.
But to go back to the kahuna and his cure. He seated his patient before him on the matting, contemplated for a while the atmosphere of the room, and announced that the grandmother was there and also a spirit aunt. These he proceeded to address earnestly. He explained that amends had been made and that there was no longer justification for further punishment. He did not attempt to use hypnotic mana on the spirits, as both retained their conscious entities - not to be so affected. What he did, instead, was to thank them for their work in bringing justice and request them to cease the punishment. This, he assured his patient, they agreed to do.
In cases where a subconscious entity or a spirit of the poltergeist type might have caused trouble, the kahuna would certainly have used hypnotic mana to control them. With the primary cause of the fainting'eliminated, the next step was to drain off the complex of guilt in the subconscious of the patient so that it would not continue of its own accord to inflict the strange punishment. Left alone, the subconscious would gradually have lost its complex of guilt. The thoughts of the conscious entit37 - those of the amends having been made - would have done their work in time as they came down to conflict with the complex. But the cure was not to be so delayed.
The kahuna next proceeded to use a method of draining off the complex which was a great improvement over the Western practice. If we could borrow little else from the practice of Polynesia, this thing should be selected before any other. It is the use of a Physical stimulation to accompany the use of suggestion in the process of cleansing or forgiving - of ridding a patient of a guilt complex.
Let me give an illustration of what is meant by a "physical stimulation". Suppose you step up behind a friend and shout, "Snake! Snake!" The friend looks hurriedly around and suspects a joke. He does not leap away. This is because the conscious entity gets most impressions from the sense and filters them through its reason before allowing them to go on to the subconscious. Now, if the, cry of " Snake ! " was accompanied by the touching of the friend's hand with something cold and snake - like to the touch, what would happen ? The sensation would go directly to the subconscious and it would do its own filtering through memory instead of letting the other process intervene. We know that when we touch a hot stove the subconscious recognizes the danger and jerks the hand away before the conscious has time to reason that heat will burn. The pain is incidental. The reaction would be the same to the touch of something which felt like the cold body of a snake,
Some individuals faint instantly at the sight of fresh blood, even if it is not their own. Undoubtedly the kahunas are right here when they tell us that a physical stimulation which gives the subconscious a bone to chew on is a most necessary and helpful adjunct to the use of suggestion. The important thing is to imitate as nearly as possible, in the physical stimulation, the nature of the process of cleansing of guilt which is hypnotically suggested.
In this case (I have taken it from my book, where it is discussed at full length), the kahuna took a raw egg and a bowl. He instructed his patient to sit quietly before him and hold his breath as long as possible. (This was an additional and very good way to impress the subconscious that something unusual was being done.) The old man explained that he was putting cleansing mana into the egg, and that when he broke it he would hand it to the patient to be swallowed before breath was drawn.
A signal was given. Kahuna and patient held their breaths. At last the egg was broken into the bowl, the young man swallowed it with a gulp, and the magician at once threw the force of his hypnotic mana into his declaration that the egg had washed away all the old guilt and left the young man entirely cleansed.
The treatment was complete. The egg, and the suggestion worked with fine ease and speed. From that'hour on the fainting became a thing of the past. And this young man was one of good education and possessed only a slight belief in kahunas and their powers.
Odd as it may seem to us, the kahun as have for centuries used a baptism of sprinkled water in their kala (make sacred), or ceremony for "forgiving" guilt - draining off guilt complexes. The idea of washing is the important one here..' It touches a lifetime of "washing" memories held by the subconscious entity. In Christianity we baptise with the same idea of cleansing the convert from past sins, but we omit the use of a preliminary making of amends for past hurts, and we omit the use of hypnotic mana in the suggestion of "forgiveness".
In the Church there remains the ritual which would fit admirably with the use of kahuna methods for healing. The extreme unction was once used for treating illness at any time in life. It could be used again, and very effectively, did the priest but understand the kahuna system and use it to put the original power back into the old ritual.
In a short article there is little space to call attention to how the mental and spiritual healing groups of the West might add kahuna psychology and practice to their present methods. I believe that most practitioners can readily see for themselves, however, even from the short description of methods given here, just how the kahuna system could be adapted and used.
I am inclined to believe that we are little troubled by the interference of indignant spirits in the West. If I am right in that conjecture, we have a simplified task in healing diseases caused by a complex of guilt.
And, in closing my article, may I add that the kahuna recognizes accidental injury and illness. But, he believes the subconscious entity is able to heal these things, ordinarily. If it does not heal them, a complex may be crippling its powers and is looked for at once.
All things considered, it is my conviction that the kahuna lore is something which offers us so much of enlightenment and value that we cannot afford to ignore or neglect it.
By William Loftus Hare
the task of Interpretation of the Life and Mission of Shri Meher
Baba, our Contributor suggests that the pith of the teaching of
the "Perfect Master" is that the prize of Spiritual
Consciousness need not await unfoldment through the slow process
of Evolution, but may be striven for and WON - aided, perhaps,
by the Grace of the Teacher.
I had heard something about Meher Baba from one or two of his adherents and read the several articles about him that appeared from time to time; but I had never set out to grasp the exact nature of his teaching or to come to a definite judgment as to its value. Even after having read every word of Mr. Purdom's book, and reverted to it several times, I find myself unable to register a conclusive view ; and this is for the simple reason that 1 believe such a view cannot truly be formed by reading a book about such a man. Indeed, the book itself makes no attempt to convince the reader this way or that; it is a record of facts collected and believed by those most intimately associated with the Master and his history and purports to present his "life" so far as it has run its course. The book is not persuasive, apologetic, or critical, nor explanatory of the events it describes: to be frank, it is difficult to read, and the student who looks for sensational detail will be disappointed. Perhaps he will be surprised and even annoyed.
Nevertheless, I praise the book as almost unique because of its negative qualities; it aims at no style, but in simple language tells its story in the best of styles; it does not hide caution under a cloak of assumed impartiality, nor does the author wash his hands of responsibility in recording unwelcome "extravagances - and conduct that seems to be irrational. The positive merit of the book is that it reveals to the discerning reader - and perhaps to him alone - an idea that is greater than the mere life of Meher Baba, his doings and sayings. I will revert to this hereafter.
The first point that occurs to me to emphasize is the species to which Baba belongs. Casual readers may be disposed to think of him as an unusual personality sharply contrasted with teachers whom the Western world believes itself to understand; but he is not unique. On the contrary his life, so far, is true to an ancient and widely diffused tradition which is common knowledge to all classes of Indians, to whom he is just one of many hundreds or even thousands of contemporary "holy men". West of Suez, or thereabout, the phenomenon is unknown. We have had great, good, and wise men in profusion, but they were not of the species to which Baba belongs. Go back to the Upanishads and you will find a curious membrane of the roll called "the stem" which is merely a list of names of Gurus who have received a secret doctrine each from his predecessor, even back from Brahman or the Sun! Hardly any holy man starts from scratch, so to speak. And another curious fact is that the tradition overrides conventional religious and philosophic distinctions. Hindus, Moslems, Zoroastrians, Persians, Tibetans, Buddhists, Taoists, Gnostics, and very likely Jews and Christians, in exceptional cases, belong to the fraternity, respect one another, learn from one another, and give their message to all.
Meher Baba is a pure Persian, his parents being of Iranian descent. His grandfather was a keeper of a Zoroastrian tower of silence, where the dead are deposited. His father became a wandering monk at the age of thirteen, drifted to Bombay, married at thirty - nine, worked at several trades, became a singer or poet, learned four languages, and died in 1932. Merwan Shcheriaji Irani is the second of his four sons, and his normal career began rather like his father's, but under more favourable conditions. He dates his spiritual career from his meeting with an aged Muslim woman Babajan, of magnetic personality, from whom he received his first"thrill - at the age of twenty. A year later he met Sadguru Maharaj, then another holy man at Bombay, another at Nagpur. Hazrat Sai, alternately calm and fierce, and Kahinath Upasni, courteous and devout - who nevertheless occasionally beats and vituperates his followers - contribute their share to Baba's spiritual endowment until at length he has become a Sadguru, a "Perfect Master - , God - realized, as the phrase has it.
The curious thing about all this "preparation", as Mr. Purdom calls it, is that there is little or no intellectual contribution from Masters to pupil; the curriculum, if we may so call it, printed on PP. 42 - 44 brings no illumination to the reader: indeed, it might frighten him away. It is not so intelligible to us as the ethic of the Stoics or the hygiene of Diogenes in his tub. Modem vegetaria,n pacifists would agree as to the tabu against wrestling and boxing, but would like to shave more often than on Thursdays: and so on.
Without going into detail which is spread all over the book, and relying on my forty years' reading of religious literature, I cannot recall any special, moral, metaphysical, or intellectual teaching found in Mr. Purdom's pages that is strikingly original or superior to what one has heard before. I merely remark that i5o pages of the section described as "Preparation" are given over to seclusions, fastings, journeys to a hundred places in India and Persia the purpose of which is not explained: but we can guess that it was partly to impose a discipline upon his adherents and induce in them a strict obedience in accordance with ancient tradition. We have no information, however, as to how far the disciples benefited from this training; their assistance was certainly necessary in enabling Baba to carry out his main plans.
Part II tells of the period of World Travel and in many ways resembles the Preparation, but it reveals a feature from which we seem to realize Baba's main purpose. He visits most of the countries of Europe and America, including Britain. Innumerable visitors come to see him and most of them are impressed in some mysterious way. Sceptics become believers, the proud are humiliated, sinners converted, the unhappy receive an access of joy. Baba does not speak, but his gestures and A - B - C communications are sufficient. His very presence works changes that are normally inexplicable. 1
True, some of his followers fall away.
One feature of Baba's behaviour is remarkable; he goes to many"holyplaces" - Rome and Assisi, for example. There he works" in a manner known only to himself, as if he were able to sanctify a shrine and set up a centre of radiation therefrom. Naturally, we cannot test the validity of the conception; we may only note the idea. It is, I think, unheard of in the West. Saints derive inspiration from places, but do not impart it to them.
Interviews reported on pp. 162 - 172 contain serene affirmations of Baba's belief that he will redeem mankind, but it is clear that the "message" is not primarily an intellectual one nor merely a moral one. The intellectual conceptions of the great teachers are already familiar: Hindus know them, Buddhists know them, Christians know them. So, too, are the moral teachings. There is something lacking, however, in men which deprives them of manifesting these intellectual and moral ideas. Baba explains that it is Egoism; but even that does not satisfy the inquirer: Schopenhauer said exactly the same. He goes further and a hundred times tells his visitors that he has.something to bestow. He, like many others before him, has the - Christ Consciousness"; he is God - realized, he enjoys perpetual ecstasy and will in due time "bring all men unto him".
Part III is called "The Perfect Master", and 1 can hardly attempt to abbreviate it. Many interviews are reported verbatim and not one, taken by itself, seems to be novel or surprising. There is a familiar ring about them all, but their cumulative force increases as we read page after page. They bring us to the central mystery.
On P. 285 is a paragraph headed "Cosmic Consciousness" - a term that has been in use since Dr. Bucke of Canada first employed it in his remarkable book known by that name in 1900. Mr. Purdom has no hesitation in affiliating the consciousness which Baba declares he enjoys with the experiences of the greatest mystics. A doctrine of spiritual evolution looks forward to this state as the goal for advanced humanity, but so long as our minds and our hearts, our thoughts and particularly our feelings, are focused in the ego and material things we hold ourselves back from progress towards the goal. That seems to be reasonable.
But in respect to Baba - if I read the book aright - we are not to wait for a process of eVolution to unfold itself slowly or automatically. The prize has to be won!
Here perhaps is the key to the meaning of Baba's mission. Other men in former times and in our own day have enjoyed cosmic consciousness, the sense of God within. Baba belongs to a chain of teachers who profess the power to bestow it. There is thus an immense difference. However strange and even repellent are the "extravagances" of Baba - and not his alone but of his species - they are but part of his "working" to rouse in others an energy that will transform them into new creatures.
I have not seen Meher Baba nor can 1 express any judgment on his claims and hopes; but I believe that if I were to see him I should not ask any questions or give any information about myself. I should watch for his smile.
I have done my best to interpret the meaning of the book written by my friend.
By Bernard Bromage, M.A.
As Lecturer on Occult Literature to the University of London, our Contributor finds reason to deplore the Interest taken by fiction writers in the Sorcery side of Occultism, especially of the Tantric Philosophy, the Spiritual side of which is for the most part ignored or overlooked.
Not the least of the symptoms of the spiritual bankruptcy of our age is the ever - growing interest in those systems of ritual and belief which,have been evolved from a conception of the powers latent in man's interior being. The popularity of Yoga and other cognate systems is only one of the attempts of twentiethcentury man to escape from the prison - house of his own largely self - imposed limitations into the atmosphere of a more essential freedom.
Yet it is commonly asserted that these exotic modes of concentration and belief are by no means an ideal trainingground for the West. Yoga exercises, we are told, were evolved for bodies of far superior ductility to our own, and the effort involved in adapting them to our own more stubborn systems is fraught with the gravest psychic and physical dangers. Our attention is frequently called to the evils of disintegration involved in a vessel being too puny for its own desires; and the road to Hell is, alas, paved with good occult intentions.
When we come to Tantric investigation, confusion is even worse confounded. There surges up in the mind of the general public visions of oriental indecency unparalleled even in the imagination of the writers of thrillers; and decorum has agreed to relegate these problems to the realm of the non tacenda. Only here and there we find the subject raising its head in the pages of bhat type of fiction which takes illicit experience for its province.
In one of the finest of Mr. Oliver Onions' stories of the uncanny, "The Master of the House", we read of an evil and vampirish manservant who has gained a powerful psychc hold over his master by the Tantric method of "prayer and fastin, the wrong way round" - by a close study of the methods of Indian adepts which has enabled him to surpass the natives themselves in lengthy immersion in the waters of the Ganges - and by an ability to turn himself into a werewolf, to the scandal of a quiet Surrey countryside. Again, through Mr. Talbot Mundy's Om there flit hints of ritual and invocation in which lurk conceptions which are calculated to make the average Englishman cross himself in self - protection.
It is significant that, even in these quite estimable productions, it is the left - hand Paths of Tantric Magic which absorb the attention of the authors. There is next to no mention in these pages of that overwhelming impulse towards psychic economy and spiritual completion to which the Tantric texts, at their best, provide the key.
There is, of course, considerable excuse for this attitude. The whole subject is still largely uncharted to the student, and to anyone conversant with the Indian scene certain extremely ambiguous saturnalian festivals will spring to recollection at the mention of the name of Tantra.
Primitive superstition holds sway in East as well as West, and the records of Hindu theology are full of accretions of a not entirely reputable character. But the oriental fear of Evil has almost invariably been accompanied by a much greater joy in the processes of fleshly enjoyment than have the more languid taboos of the West. A single glance at the perfervid embraces of Siva and his wife Parvati in the well - known image in the London Indian Museum will serve to show how the idea of sin can be swamped in the idea of ecstasy.
One might instance the festivities of the V5.michSris in Bengal and the Tujans of Malabar as flagrant examples of cults which push religious superstition to a dionysiac excess. These orgies, which are made as secret as possible, are based on the notion that, before the soul can attain salvation, it must get rid of its temptations by yielding to them. That is, the senses must be satiated with all that they can desire until, cast off and decayed, they leave the spirit free to take a calmer path. In other words, they illustrate in practical form Blake's curious precept that "the palace of excess leads to the Temple of Wisdom". Students of Russian religious history will recall a similar advocacy on the part of the Klystki Sect, and the equivocal example of the monk Rasputin is fresh in living memory.
Mention may also be made of the festival to Kali (Siva's wife), held every year at Crananore in Malabar. Pilgrims to this celebration are granted immunity against cholera, smallpox, and most infectious diseases. But in order to secure the fullest efficacy from their devotions they must sacrifice a large number of cocks to the goddess and employ as many obscene words and gestures as they are capable of, in the process. They must hurl objurgations against everyone they meet, and gallons of intoxicants must be drunk during the journey.
Kali is also worshipped by the Devangas in the Madras Presidency. In this context she is made the focal point for a highly masochistic display on the part of the audience, who vie with each other in sword - balancing and self - mutilation.
It is little wonder that Protestant missionaries, having taken one hurried glance at the frescoes on the base of the Temple at Tanjore and having realized how different all this is "from the home life of our dear Queen - , should have rushed into the most unbalanced condemnation. The whole attitude is on a par with that of the American schoolteacher who, after a six weeks' visit to a continent which housed a mighty civilization long before the Americans were heard of, indulged in a world - acclaimed denunciation of a system of whose tenets she was completely ignorant.
In medias res - there is nothing to be gained by rushing to conclusions in matters to which we do not possess some kind of key. Sir George Woodruffe (whose pen - name is Arthur Avalon) has provided such a key in his monumental researches into the doctrine and basis of Tantra.
This eminent scholar, a judge of the Calcutta High Courts, was, it is interesting to record, a Roman Catholic; and it is extremely probable that his attention was first drawn to this highly recondite and difficult subject by noticing the strong analogies between the ideas of ritual inherent in the higher reaches of Hinduism and in his own perhaps cognate religion.
It is certainly extremely significant that he condemns so wholeheartedly in his Introduction to Principles of Tantra the only previous English investigator in this field, one Rev. W. Ward (A View of the History, Literature and Mythology of the Hindus) on the grounds of an ignorance based to a large extent on a Parti - pris animosity against a religious system remarkably unlike his own; a system which not only condones the presence of images but which insists that liturgy and ritual are the only decorous and traditional gateways into the Kingdom of the Spirit.
Here is no fanatic with an axe to grind, but a deeply erudite and conscientious scholar anxious to see the truth in things alleged to be fundamentally evil , and he rises from his researches with an enhanced respect for a liturgical legacy of almost overpowering intricacy and luxuriance. He sees in it, not the seeds of decay, but the promise of a more abundant life to those able to separate the wheat from the chaff and to assess at its true value an organum of faith and practice whose methods are in accord with the latest findings of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
The only caution one must give to the layman embarking on a study of The Tantra of the Great Liberation, The Serpent Power, the Principles, and even Woodruffe's shorter pamphlets is that some knowledge of Sanskrit is practically indispensable for the elucidation of the great scholar's multifarious array of technical terms, in which the novice will otherwise flounder like the intruders into"theexotic jungle of oriental vice" of which we hear so much in our more improving Press. Tantric scholarship is no meat for intellectual babes !
Now what has the fearsome - sounding apparatus of Tantric Magic to give to the Western consciousness ? To what extent can we gain anything of value from a study of its technique ?
It must be quite definitely realized that Tantra, quite apart from any possible perversion, is merely a highly differentiated form of Yoga, mainly concerned to arouse the goddess Kundalini (or that which is coiled) to its full potency within the human system.
Kundalini Shakti (or Power) in individual bodies is Power at rest or the static centre round which every form of existence as moving power revolves. In the universe there is always in and behind every form of activity a static background. The one Consciousness is polarized into static (Siva) and kinetic (Shakti) aspects for the purpose of "creation". This Yoga is the resolution of this duality into unity again.
The Indian Scriptures say, in the words of Herbert Spencer in his First Principles, that the universe is an unfoldment from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous and back to the homogeneous again. It may be, as Kant suggests, "every cosmic magma predestined to evolve into a new world has been the no less predestined end of a vanished predecessor".
At the time of Dissolution there is in consciousness the potentiality or seed of the universe to be. Each individual exists because his will desires worldly life. This seed is therefore the collective or cosmic will towards manifested life, that is the life of form and enjoyment. Consciousness has a twin aspect, its liberation (Mukti), a formless aspect, in which it is as mere Consciousness - Bliss; and a universe or form aspect, in which it becomes the world of enjoyment (Bhukti). One of the cardinal principles of Tantra is to secure both Liberation and Enjoyment. This is possible by the identification of the self when in enjoyment with the soul of the world.
How is all this accomplished in the self - sustained ritualistic discipline which Tantric training involves ? It must first be remembered that we are in contact with a system which holds, like the enunciators of the Jewish Kabbalah, that there is nothing in the universe which is not in the human body, There is no need to throw one's eyes into the heavens to find God. He is within, being known as the "Inner Self". The body is a vast magazine of power, and the object of the Tantric rituals is to raise these various forms of power to their full expression. The Tantras say that it is in the power of man to accomplish all he wishes if he centres his will thereon.
This is to be achieved by the circulation through the system of the " Prana", or life force, by which existence gains its intensification and reality. But there are definhite steps in this process which must be sedulously observed and obeyed. The body is mapped out into six focal centres, or chakra, and into two main areas - the seat of Mind, located between the eyebrows, and the seat of Matter, in the five centres from the throat to the base of the spine.
Enlightenment, which includes perfect bliss, is attained by strict and graded concentration on the Centres and by the enunciation of certain mystic syllables known as "mantrams", which bear some relationship to the Christian idea of prayer, although there is inherent in this conception much mre of the element of the physically powerful and disruption than is usual with us. Lettered sound, it is held, is eternal. It existed before, as it exists after, its manifestation, just as a jar in a dark room which is revealed by a flash of lightning is not then produced, nor does it cease to exist on its ceasing to be perceived through the disappearance of its manifester, the lightning.
The natural Name of anything is the sound which is produced by the action of the moving forces which constitute it. He therefore, it is said, who mentally and vocally utters with creative force the natural name of anything, brings into being the thing which bears the name. Each man is Siva, and can attain His power to the degree of his ability to realize himself consciously as such.
On the physiological side, the Tantric theory of the Centres is strongly concerned with the knowledge we possess of the vertebral column, which is divided into five regions which, commencing from the lowest, are the coccyx, the sacral region, the lumbar region, the dorsal region, and the cervical region. The central system has relation with the periphery through the thirty - one spinal and twelve cranial nerves, which are both afferent and efferent or sensory and motor, arousing sensation or stimulating action. It must, however, be noted that the Yoga Nadis are not the ordinary material nerves, but subtle lines of direction along which the vital forces go. These Nadis are the conduits of Prana or Vital Force. Through them its solar and lunar currents run. Could we see them, the body would present the appearance of those maps which delineate the various ocean currents. The physical purification of the body and its Nadis is necessary if purify of mind is to be gained in the extended Hindu sense; for just as their impurity impedes the ascent of Kundalini, their purity facilitates it.
An Indian physician and Sanskritist has expressed the opinion that better anatomy is given in the Tantras than in the purely medical works of the Hindus (Dr. B. D. Basu, of the Indian Medical Service, in his Prize Essay on the Hindu System of Medicine, published in the Guy's Hospital Gazette ). But before we expose a too ready assent to this dictum we must remember that the genuine Tantric adept is concerned, not with the gross body, but with the emanation and sublimation of this, known as the subtle body (or Linga Shariyra). In a sense we can connect with these subtle centres the gross bodily parts visible to the eye as plexuses and ganglia. But to connect and correlate and to identify are very different things. Indian thought and the Sanskrit language possess a subtlety which in its expression has a peculiarly penetrative and comprehensive quality which enables one to explain many ideas for which, except by paraphrase, there is no equivalent meaning in English.
The Centres are. said to be composed of petals designated by certain letters. Professor Saskar expressed the opinion that these petals point to either the nerves which go to form a ganglion or plexus, or the nerves distributed from such ganglion or plexus. The letters in the six Chakras are fifty in number, namely, the letters of, the Sanskrit alphabet. The Tantra cor relates sound, form, and colour. Sound produces form, and form is associated with colour. Kundalini is a form of the Supreme Shakti (Power) who maintains all breathing creatures.
Why are particular letters assigned to particular Chakras ? Probably because in the utterance of particular letters the centres at which they are situated are brought into play.
Certain Siddhis or occult powers are acquired at each centre as the practitioner works his way upwards. At every centre to which he leads Kundalini he experiences a special form of bliss (Ananda), and gains special capacities. If he has a distaste for these he carries Her to his cerebral centre and enjoys the Supreme Bliss, which in its nature is that of Liberation, and which, when established in permanence, is Liberation itself on the loosening of the spirit and body. She who "shines like a chain of lights" - a lightning flash - in the centre of his body is the "Inner Woman" to whom reference was made when it was said, "What need have I of any outer woman ? I have an Inner Woman within myself." When She awakes a:hd Yoga is completed, man sleeps to the world and enjoys super - worldly experience. The end of Kundalini Yoga is beyond all Heaven world. No Yogi seeks "Heaven", but union with that which is the source of all worlds.
As opposed to the notion that the Tantric Ritual is a mere vehicle for physical lust ("mummery and Black Magic - , Brian Hodgson calls it), we see that it enhanced the mental and moral qualities of the self - operator as they existed at the time of its discovery. The common charge of an unhealthy concentration on the sexual centres is in itself misleadin, for the Chakras are not in the gross body, and concentration is done upon the subtle centre, with its presiding Consciousness, even though such centres may have ultimate relation with gross physical function. The aim of a Yogi is, in Sanskrit phrase, "to carry his seed high" by making his image in bull - dung and the rest, and dwell on what is of enduring value to all sentient beings who would seek an oasis out of the twentieth - century confusion.
Mosso, the great neurologist, has recently informed us that the neurasthenia and general discontent of our day are due, not to any essential fatigability of our nervous system, but to the absence of any galvanizing dynamic current which would serve to retone the organism with a new vigour. Once this reorientation is found, the nerves, no matter how hard pressed, seem to work on apparently inexhaustible.
But this condition can only be obtained by some enormous emotional motivation of instinct and belief which is utterly opposed to the dryly "rational" modes of the hour.
The contemplation of a system which openly advocates the cultivation of a definite ecstasy may be of overwhelming value to spirits dying of their own inertia. All the more so, as this ecstasy is based, not on any windy metaphysical vapourings, but on the ineluctable laws which govern the economy of the human body.
"All religions", said the cynic, "are equally true and equally futile." This loose and arrogant dogmatism can be disproved in a moment by anyone who has witnessed the chemistry of a genuine religious revival - an affair of rapture and efflorescence and bloom.
It is not suggested that all the disconsolate wanderers of our age will find a spiritual haven in Tantra. It is a religion for strong heads and stout hearts, and there are many who would fall, in misconception, by the wayside. t.
But the individual of honest and fair intelligence will find much to intrigue him in a system which teaches that the happiest stoicism is founded in the rock of the "Here and Now - , in a ritual which, contrary to the parochial restrictions of the Vedas, pays a higher tribute than does even Catholicism to the dignity and worth of womanhood - the Suft Author of the Dabistan says of Shakti, the Mother of the World, that "The dust of nothingness does not move round the circle of Her dominion" - and teaches that in this world there is nothing common or unclean, and that everything which lives is holy. Above all, we may obtain invigoration from the doctrine that the essence of the Godhead is the denial of waste, and that even if fulfilment escapes us for the moment, it awaits us in the rhapsody of that Ida and Pingala, that Moon and Sun of our delight, which know no wane.
By Louis Bronichorst (Author of The Book of the Seven Seals)
The Cloud of Ignorance that separates Man from God must be dissolved by the Sacrificial Fire of the Lower Self. This Is the meaning which our Contributor reads Into the symbolism of the Burnt Ofrering of Biblical times.
One may divide the reading and thinking public into three great classes. All have heard of the great Drama of Life. The first group buys the Play, reads it, and accepts every printed word as gospel. Such people have no wish to see the, Drama acted. .They have read the words, and for them this is sufficient. In daily life such people are hard - boiled materialists, even though they may be apparently religious. They are content to go to church and pay a priest to do their praying and thinking for them.
The next group of people wish to see the Drama. They gaze upon it in rapture and devotion, hoping that seeing is believing; and when they have come to the end, they go home and forget that they themselves have - done nothing at all.
The third group is different. The people of which it is composed read the script of the Drama, and then want to learn all they can about it. They study the technique of stagecraft and management before and behind the scenes, from the work of the humblest cleaner up to the great task of the author and producer. Then, in due course, they qualify to undertake such work themselves. They act, they play their role, until proficient. From the ranks of such people come the men who will reach the highest pinnacle, the men who attain the degree of Master of Life. Knowledge and training enable them to do this.
The most deadly of all sins is ignorance. Trace back every mistake, every wrong deed, every criminal action, and the origin may always be found in lack of knowledge of the consequences of the deed.
This ignorance hangs like a cloud over one's entire being, shutting out the Light which could come from heaven to guide us on our way. It is the real "dweller on the treshold" of heaven, holding us back, whilst on the hither side the heavenly Watcher is seeking a chance to descend as soon as the cloud is removed by a flaring up of the indwelling light of the individual, which burns its way through this dark obstruction. So the Watcher keeps his vigil. As soon as the obstructing clouds have cleared, His Light shines forth and "all is one".
The fires from below have found their way upward to meet the saving beam from above.
Man, who stood below the cloud, and could not see the Light, was burning inwardly with a strong desire to meet that which he intuitively and instinctively knew to be there. That burning desire is symbolized in many biblical books by the sacrificial fire of the priests,the very flavour of which sacrifice was said to be Pleasant in the nostrils of the Lord.
What actually happens is the burning of a way through the cloud of ignorance by the fire of love, and desire for union. Well may the fumes from such burning represent symbolically the 30y in heaven over the repentant sinner. To tell us, however, Ahat heavenly beings rejoice when innocent lambs or calves are slaughtered for sacrifice by ignorant people is one of the grossest distortions of truth of which man has ever been guilty. Such materialization of Bibleteaching is revolting. It is really the .chief reason why thinking people keep away from the Church, while yet they may be better Christians than those materialists who pay the priest to do their work for them.
The priests themselves are often under a denser cloud of ignorance than their congregation, though morally, as far as their light goes, they may be worthy people. The Light is still further obscured by the dogmatism of the priests, which is a direct result of their lack of spiritual Ihsight.
An attempt to clear away some of this cloud of ignorance has been made in tle pages of a notable book from the pen of William Kingsland. He calls it The Gnosis or Ancient Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures ' - * with the sub - title, "Wisdom in a Mystery". A further extension of the sub - title might well read: "Or the Reason why Independent Thinkers leave the Church". For this book has done more to bring the reason home to me than anything else could have done.
We read on p. 51 that "intellect is more apt to belittle and materialize Religion than to expound it; ast'indeed is plainly to be seen in those formulated religious systems which have derived from some of the greatest religious teachers of the world, and which, in their creedal form, are so much in question today. Intellect can only invent creeds and dogmas within its own limitations; and these presently become overpassed, outworn, and obsolete, let alone the bitterness and dissensions to which they give rise among themselves."
For driving away independent thinkers from the Church, the author blames the creed - makers. A man may be highly intellectual, a quick, clear thinker, and yet a spiritual ignoramus. The purely intellectual. man may know by heart the contents of all the books in the British Museum and have hardly a thought of his own. All he knows is what others have said before him. They are his authority. He has very little, if anything at all, from himself.
Intelligence, with the aid of intuition, will always lead to the hidden or veiled truth, where learning merely brings us back to what others have imprinted on our mind.
On p. 53 of Mr. Kingsland's book we note, again
"Religion, therefore, 1 define as: The instinctive recognition by man that he possesses a spiritual nature, and the effort which he makes to realize that nature.
"All history shows that man is essentially and instinctively a religious animal. What has not man done and suffered; what will he not do and suffer for what he calls his religion
Quoting from james's well - known work The Varieties of Religious Experiences, Mr. Kingsland reminds us that the overcoming of all the barriers between the ndividual and the Absolute is the everlasting and triumphant theme of all mystical tradition.
When the seeker from below has burned through, the clouds are cleared. Man recognizes his origin, beholds the One on high, and muses, "That am I," and flies upwards. The twain meet, because they belong to each other. For a short while all is heavenly union; a moment of bliss is enjoyed. But the pilgrim task on earth is not yet finished, for man has to return. Coming out from the sea of Light he realizes for the first time his being as Spirit, Soul, and Body. As Spirit, he is one with the entire creation. That is the fruit of his conquest. He looks around him, and, blessing the earth and all upon and within it, he now says "I am that." He has realised his true being and his powers.
The value of a book intended to teach something depends on the lesson we draw from it. This, in essence, is the lesson I drew from this remarkable work.
One might feel inclined to ask: "Did not the author attempt too much?" The retort may well be: "Is this possible, where the spiritual well - being of all mankind is concerned ? Is it not high time that Light and Truth regarding the relation between God and Man should be broadcast P'
Happiness and lasting improvement
in the relation between man and man can be the only result, instead
of the hatred which now divides man from man as the effect of
religious or political dogmatism. One man belonging to this Church
must not associate with people of another', a man in a factory
may not work with a non - unionist, etc., etc. It is monstrous
and absurd. When we have learned that we are one, we shall be
wiser, better, and far happier than we ever were before.