THE BLESSINGS OF PUBLICITY
From H. P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.
Articles by HPB
|A WELL-KNOWN public lecturer, a distinguished Egyptologist, said, in one of his lectures against the teachings of Theosophy, a few suggestive words, which are now quoted and must be answered:
"It is a delusion to suppose there is anything in the experience or wisdom of the past, the ascertained results of which can only be communicated from beneath the cloak and mask of mystery. . . . Explanation is the Soul of Science. They will tell you we cannot have their knowledge without living their life. . . . Public experimental research, the printing press, and a free-thought platform, have abolished the need of mystery. It is no longer necessary for science to take the veil, as she was forced to do for security in times past," etc.
This is a very mistaken view in one aspect. "Secrets of the purer and profounder life" not only may but must be made universally known. But there are secrets that kill in the arcana of Occultism, and unless a man lives the life he cannot be entrusted with them.
The late Professor Faraday had very serious doubts whether it was quite wise and reasonable to give out to the public at large certain discoveries of modern science. Chemistry had led to the invention of too terrible means of destruction in our century to allow it to fall into the hands of the profane. What man of sense--in the face of such fiendish applications of dynamite and other explosive substances as are made by those incarnations of the Destroying Power, who glory in calling themselves Anarchists and Socialists--would not agree with us in saying:--Far better for mankind that it should never have blasted a rock by modern perfected means, than that it should have shattered the limbs of one per cent even of those who have been thus destroyed by the pitiless hand of Russian Nihilists, Irish Fenians and Anarchists. That such discoveries, and chiefly their murderous application, ought to have been withheld from public knowledge may be shown on the authority of statistics and commissions appointed to investigate and record the result of the evil done. The following information gathered from public papers will give an insight into what may be in store for wretched mankind.
England alone--the centre of civilization--has 21,268 firms fabricating and selling explosive substances.1 [Footnote: 1. Nitro-glycerine has found its way even into medical compounds. Physicians and druggists are vying with the Anarchists in their endeavours to destroy the surplus of mankind. The famous chocolate tablets against dyspepsia are said to contain nitro-glycerine! They may save, but they can kill still more easily. ] But the centres of the dynamite trade, of infernal machines, and other such results of modern civilization, are chiefly at Philadelphia and New York. It is in the former city of "Brotherly Love" that the now most famous manufacturer of explosives flourishes. It is one of the well-known respectable citizens--the inventor and manufacturer of the most murderous "dynamite toys"--who, called before the Senate of the United States anxious to adopt means for the repression of a too free trade in such implements, found an argument that ought to become immortalised for its cynical sophistry: "My machines," that expert is reported to have said--"are quite harmless to look at; as they may be manufactured in the shape of oranges, hats, boats, and anything one likes. . . . Criminal is he who murders people by means of such machines, not he who manufactures them. The firm refuses to admit that were there no supply there would be no incentive for demand on the market; but insists that every demand should be satisfied by a supply ready at hand."
That "supply" is the fruit of civilization and of the publicity given to the discovery of every murderous property in matter. What is it? As found in the Report of the Commission appointed to investigate the variety and character of the so-called "infernal machines," so far the following implements of instantaneous human destruction are already on hand. The most fashionable of all among the many varieties fabricated by Mr. Holgate, are the "Ticker," the "Eight Day Machine," the "Little Exterminator," and the "Bottle Machine." The "Ticker" is in appearance like a piece of lead, a foot long and four inches thick. It contains an iron or steel tube, full of a kind of gunpowder invented by Holgate himself. That gunpowder, in appearance like any other common stuff of that name, has, however, an explosive power two hundred times stronger than common gunpowder; the "Ticker" containing thus a powder which equals in force two hundred pounds of the common gunpowder. At one end of the machine is fastened an invisible clock-work meant to regulate the time of the explosion, which time may be fixed from one minute to thirty-six hours. The spark is produced by means of a steel needle which gives a spark at the touch-hole, and communicates thereby the fire to the whole machine
The "Eight Day Machine" is considered the most powerful, but at the same time the most complicated, of all those invented. One must be familiar with handling it before a full success can be secured. It is owing to this difficulty that the terrible fate intended for London Bridge and its neighbourhood was turned aside by the instantaneous killing instead of the two Fenian criminals. The size and appearance of that machine changes, Proteus-like, according to the necessity of smuggling it in, in one or another way, unperceived by the victims. It may be concealed in bread, in a basket of oranges, in a liquid, and so on. The Commission of Experts is said to have declared that its explosive power is such as to reduce to atoms instantly the largest edifice in the world.
The "Little Exterminator" is an innocent-looking plain utensil having the shape of a modest jug. It contains neither dynamite nor powder, but secretes, nevertheless, a deadly gas, and has a hardly perceptible clock-work attached to its edge, the needle of which points to the time when that gas will effect its escape. In a shut-up room this new "vril" of lethal kind, will smother to death, nearly instantaneously, every living being within a distance of a hundred feet, the radius of the murderous jug. With these three "latest novelties" in the high season of Christian civilization, the catalogue of the dynamiters is closed; all the rest belongs to the old "fashion" of the past years. It consists of hats, porte cigars, bottles of ordinary kind, and even ladies' smelling bottles, filled with dynamite, nitro-glycerine, etc., etc.--weapons, some of which, following unconsciously Karmic law, killed many of the dynamiters in the last Chicago revolution. Add to this the forthcoming long-promised Keely's vibratory force, capable of reducing in a few seconds a dead bullock to a heap of ashes, and then ask yourself if the Inferno of Dante as a locality can ever rival earth in the production of more hellish engines of destruction!
Thus, if purely material implements are capable of blowing up, from a few corners, the greatest cities of the globe, provided the murderous weapons are guided by expert hands--what terrible dangers might not arise from magical occult secrets being revealed, and allowed to fall into the possession of ill-meaning persons! A thousand times more dangerous and lethal are these, because neither the criminal hand, nor the immaterial, invisible weapon used, can ever be detected.
The congenital black magicians--those who, to an innate propensity towards evil, unite highly-developed mediumistic natures--are but too numerous in our age. It is nigh time then that psychologists and believers, at least, should cease advocating the beauties of publicity and claiming knowledge of the secrets of nature for all. It is not in our age of "suggestion" and "explosives" that Occultism can open wide the doors of its laboratories except to those who do live the life.
THE BRIGHT SPOT OF LIGHT
From A Modern Panarion
Articles by HPB
[Vol. III, No. 2, November, 1881}
[MADAME,—In the last issue of your valuable journal, a member of the New York Theosophical Society seeks to be enlightened as to the cause of a bright spot of light which he has often seen. I also am equally curious to have an explanation. I attribute it to the highest concentration of the soul. As soon as I place myself in that prescribed attitude, suddenly a bright spot appears before me which fills my heart with delight, this being regarded as a special sign by the Indian devotee that he is in the right path, leading to ultimate success in the Yoga practice, that he is blessed by the special grace of the Almighty.
One evening, sitting on the ground cross-legged, in that state of concentration when the soul soars into high regions, I was blessed with a shower of flowers—a most brilliant sight, which I long to see again. I tried to catch at flowers so rare, but they eluded my grasp and suddenly disappeared, leaving me much disappointed. Finally two flowers fell on me, one touching my head and the other my right shoulder, but this time also the attempt to seize them was unsuccessful. What can it be, if not a response that God has been pleased with his worshipper, meditation being, I believe, the unique way of spiritual worship.
It depends. Those of our orthodox native contributors who worship some particular God—or, if they so prefer, the one Îshvara under some particular name—are too apt to attribute every psychological effect, induced by mental concentration during the hours of religious meditation, to their special deity, whereas, in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred, such effects are due simply to purely psycho-physiological effects. We know a number of mystically-inclined people who see such "lights" as that described above as soon as they concentrate their thoughts. Spiritualists attribute them to the agency of their departed friends; Buddhists (who have no personal God) to a pre-nirvânic state; Pantheists and Vedântins to Mâyâ—or the illusion of the senses; and Christians—to a foresight of the glories of Paradise. The modern Occultists say that, when not directly due to cerebral action, the normal functions of which are certainly impeded by such an artificial mode of deep concentration—these lights are glimpses of the Astral Light, or, to use a more "scientific" expression, of the " Universal Ether," firmly believed in by more than one man of science, as proved by Stewart and Tait's Unseen Universe. Like the pure blue sky closely shrouded by thick vapours on a misty day, so is the Astral Light concealed from our physical senses during the hours of our normal daily life. But when, concentrating all our spiritual faculties we succeed, for the time being, in paralyzing their enemy (the physical senses), and the inner man becomes, so to say, distinct from the man of matter—then the action of the ever-living spirit, like a breeze that clears the sky from its obstructing clouds, sweeps away the mist which lies between our normal vision and the Astral Light, and we obtain glimpses into, and of, that Light.
The days of "smoking furnaces" and "burning lamps" which form part of the biblical visions are long gone by—to return no more. But whoever, refusing natural explanations, prefers supernatural ones, is, of course, at liberty to imagine that an "Almighty God" amuses us with visions of flowers, and sends burning lights before making "covenants" with his worshippers.
H. P. Blavatsky
BUDDHISM IN AMERICA
From A Modern Panarion
Articles by HPB
[From the New York Sun, May 13th, 1877.]
AS, in your leading article of May 6th, I am at one moment given credit for knowing something about the religion of the Brâhmans and Buddhists, and, anon, of being a pretender of the class of Jacolliot, and even his plagiarist, you will not wonder at my again knocking at your doors for hospitality. This time I write over my own signature, and am responsible, as I am not under other circumstances.
No wonder that the "learned friend" at your elbow was reminded "of the utterances of one Louis Jacolliot."
The paragraphs in the very able account of your representative's interview, which relate to "Adhima and Heva" and "Jezeus Christna," were translated bodily, in his presence, from the French edition of the Bible in India. They were read, moreover, from the chapter entitled, "Bagaveda"—instead of "Bhagavat," as you put it, kindly correcting me. In so doing, in my humble opinion, he is right, and the others are wrong, were it but for the reason that the Hindus themselves so pronounce it—at least those of southern India, who speak either the Tamil language or other dialects. Since we seek in vain among Sanskrit philologists for any two who agree as to the spelling or meaning of important Hindu words, and scarcely two as to the orthography of this very title, I respectfully submit that neither "the French fraud" nor I are chargeable with any grave offence in the premises.
For instance, Prof. Whitney, your greatest American Orientalist, and one of the most eminent living, spells it Bagavata; while his equally great opponent, Max Müller, prefers Bagavadgîtâ, and half a dozen others spell it in as many different ways. Naturally each scholar, in rendering the Indian words into his own vernacular, follows the national rule of pronunciation; and so, you will see, that Prof. Müller in writing the syllable ad with an a does precisely what Jacolliot does in spelling it ed, the French e having the same sound as the English a before a consonant. The same holds good with the name of the Hindû Saviour, which by different authorities is spelt Krishna, Crisna, Khristna and Krisna; everything, in short, but the right way, Christna. Perhaps you may say that this is mere hypothesis. But since every Indianist follows his own fancy in his phonetic transcriptions, I do not know why I may not exercise my best judgment, especially as I can give good reasons to support it.
You affirm that there "never was a Hindû reformer named Jezeus Christna"; and, although I confined my affirmation of his existence to the authority of Jacolliot at the interview in question, I now assert on my own responsibility that there was, and is, a personage of that name recognized and worshipped in India, and that he is not Jesus Christ. Christna is a Brâhmanical deity, and, besides by the Brâhmans, is recognized by several sects of the Jains. When Jacolliot says "Jezeus Christna," he only shows a little clumsiness in phonetic rendering, and is nearer right than many of his critics. I have been at the festivals of Janmotsar, in commemoration of the birth of Christna (which is their Christmas) and have heard thousands of voices shouting: "Jas-i-Christna! Jasas-wi-Christna!" Translated they are: Jas-i, renowned, famous, and Jasas-wi, celebrated, or divinely-renowned, powerful; and Christna, sacred. To avoid being again contradicted, I refer the reader to any Hindûstânî dictionary. All the Brâhmans with whom I have talked on the subject spoke of Christna either as Jas-i-Christna, or Jadar Christna, or again used the term, Yadur-pati, Lord of Yâdavas, descendant of Yadu, one of the many titles of Christna in India. You see, therefore, that it is but a question of spelling.
That Christna is preferable to Krishna can be clearly shown under the rules laid down by Burnouf and others upon the authority of the pandits. True, the initial of the name in the Sanskrit is generally written k; but the Sanskrit k is strongly aspirated; it is a guttural expiration, whose only representation is the Greek chi. In English, therefore, the k instead of having the sound of k as in king would be even more aspirated than the h in heaven. As in English the Greek word is written Christos in preference to H'ristos, which would be nearer the mark, so with the Hindû deity; his name under the same rule should be written Christna, notwithstanding the possible unwelcomeness of the resemblance.
M. Taxtor de Ravisi, a French Catholic Orientalist, and for ten years Governor of Karikal (India), Jacolliot's bitterest opponent in religious conclusions, fully appreciates the situation. He would have the name spelt Krishna, because (1) most of the statues of this God are black, and Krishna means black; and (2) because the real name of Christna "was Kaneya, or Caneya." Very well; but black is Krishna. And if not only Jacolliot, but the Brâhmans themselves are not to be allowed to know as much as their European critics, we will call in the aid of Volney and other Orientalists, who show that the Hindû deity's name is formed from the radical Chris, meaning sacred, as Jacolliot shows it. Moreover, for the Brâhmans to call their God the "black one" would be unnatural and absurd; while to style him the sacred, or pure essence, would be perfectly appropriate to their notions. As to the name being Caneya, M. Taxtor de Ravisi, in suggesting it, completes his own discomfiture. In escaping Scylla he falls into Charybdis. I suppose no one will deny that the Sanskrit Kanyâ means Virgin, for even in modern Hindûstânî the Zodiacal sign of Virgo is called Kaniya. Christna is styled Kâneya, as having been born of a Virgin. Begging pardon, then, of the "learned friend" at your elbow, I reäffirm that if there "never was a Hindû reformer named Jezeus Christna," there was a Hindû Saviour, who is worshipped unto this day as Jasi Christna, or, if it better accords with his pious preferences, Jas-i-Kristna.
When the 84,000 volumes of the Dharma Khanda, or sacred books of the Buddhists, and the thousands upon thousands of ollæ of Vaidic and Brâhmanical literature, now known by their titles only to European scholars, or even a tithe of those actually in their possession are translated, and comprehended, and agreed upon, I will be happy to measure swords again with the solar pandit who has prompted your severe reflections upon your humble subscriber.
Though, in common with various authorities, you stigmatize Jacolliot as a "French fraud," I must really do him the justice to say that his Catholic opponent, De Ravisi, said of his Bible in India, in a report made at the request of the Société Académique de St. Quentin, that it is written.
With good faith, of absorbing interest, a learned work on known facts and with familiar arguments.
Ten years' residence and studies in India were surely enough to fit him to give an opinion. Unfortunately, however, in America it is but too easy to gain the reputation of "a fraud" in much less time.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
BUDDHISM, CHRISTIANITY AND PHALLICISM
From H. P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles, Vol. III.
Articles by HPB
|WORKS by specialists and scholars have to be treated with a certain respect, due to science. But such works as Payne Knight's On the Worship of Priapus, and the Ancient Faiths, etc., of Dr. Inman, were merely the precursory drops of the shower of phallicism that burst upon the reading public in the shape of General Forlong's Rivers of Life. Very soon lay writers followed the torrent, and Hargrave Jennings' charming volume, The Rosicrucians, was superseded by his Phallicism.
As an elaborate account of this work--that hunts up sexual worship, from the grossest forms of idolatry up to its most refined and hidden symbolism in Christianity--would better suit a newspaper review than a journal like the present, it becomes necessary to state at once the reason it is noticed at all. Were Theosophists entirely to ignore it, Phallicism 1 [Footnote: 1. Phallicism, Celestial and Terrestrial, Heathen and Christian; its connection with the Rosiscrucians and the Gnostics and its foundation in Buddhism. ] and such-like works would be used some day against Theosophy. Mr. Hargrave Jennings' last production was written, in every probability, to arrest its progress--erroneously confounded as it is by many with Occultism, pure and simple, and even with Buddhism itself. Phallicism appeared in 1884, just at a time when all the French and English papers heralded the arrival of a few Theosophists from India as the advent of Buddhism in Christian Europe--the former in their usual flippant way, the latter with an energy that might have been worthy of a better cause, and might have been more appropriately directed against "sexual worship at home," according to certain newspaper revelations. Whether rightly or wrongly, public rumour attributes this "mystic" production of Mr. Hargrave Jennings' to the advent of Theosophy. However it may be, and whosoever may have inspired the author, his efforts were crowned with success only in one direction. Notwithstanding that he proclaims himself, modestly enough, "the first introducer of the grand philosophical problem of this mysterious Buddhism," and pronounces his work "undoubtedly new and original," declaring in the same breath that all the "previous great men and profound thinkers [before himself] labouring through the ages [in this direction] have worked in vain," it is easy to prove the author mistaken. His "enthusiasm" and self-laudation may be very sincere, and no doubt his labours were "enormous," as he says; they have nevertheless led him on an entirely false track, when he asserts that:
"These physiological contests [about the mysteries of animal generation] . . . induced in the reflective wisdom of the earliest thinkers, laid the sublime foundations of the phallic worship. They led to violent schisms in religion, and to Buddhism."
Now it is precisely Buddhism which was the first religious system in history that sprang up with the determinate object of putting an end to all the male Gods and to the degrading idea of a sexual personal Deity being the generator of mankind and the Father of men.
His book, the author assures us: "Comprises within the limit of a modest octavo all that can be known of the doctrines of the Buddhists, Gnostics, and Rosicrucians as connected with phallicism."
In this he errs again, and most profoundly, or--which would be still worse--he is trying to mislead the reader by filling him with disgust for such "mysteries." His work is "new and original" in so far as it explains with enthusiastic and reverential approval the strong phallic element in the Bible; for, as he says, "Jehovah undoubtedly signifies the universal male," and he calls Mary Magdalen before her conversion the "female St. Michael," as a mystical antithesis and paradox. No one, truly in Christian countries before him has ever had the moral courage to speak so openly as he does of the phallic element with which the Christian Church (the Roman Catholic) is honeycombed, and this is the author's chief desert and credit. But all the merit of the boasted "conciseness and brevity" of his "modest octavo" disappears on its becoming the undeniable and evident means of leading the reader astray under the most false impressions; especially as very few, if any, of his readers will follow or even share his "enthusiasm . . . converted out of the utmost original disbelief of these wondrously stimulating and beautiful phallic beliefs." Nor is it fair or honest to give out a portion of the truth, without allowing any room for a palliative, as is done in the cases of Buddha and Christ. That which the former did in India, Jesus repeated in Palestine. Buddhism was a passionate reactionary protest against the phallic worship that led every nation first to the adoration of a personal God, and finally to black magic, and the same object was aimed at by the Nazarene Initiate and prophet. Buddhism escaped the curse of black magic by keeping clear of a personal male God in its religious system; but this conception reigning supreme in the so-called monotheistic countries, black magic--the fiercer and stronger for being utterly disbelieved in by its most ardent votaries, unconscious perhaps of its presence among them--is drawing them nearer and nearer to the maëlstrom of every nation given to sin, or to sorcery, pure and simple. No Occultist believes in the devil of the Church, the traditional Satan; every student of Occultism and every Theosophist believes in black magic, and in dark, natural powers present in the worlds, if he accept the white or divine science as an actual fact on our globe. Therefore one may repeat in full confidence the remark made by Cardinal Ventura on the devil--only applying it to black magic:
The greatest victory of Satan was gained on that day when he succeeded in making himself denied.
It may be said further, that "Black magic reigns over Europe as an all-powerful, though unrecognized, autocrat," its chief conscious adherents and practical servants being found in the Roman Church, and its unconscious practitioners in the Protestant. The whole body of the so-called "privileged" classes of society in Europe and America is honeycombed with unconscious black magic, or sorcery of the vilest character.
But Christ is not responsible for the mediaeval and the modern Christianity fabricated in His name. And if the author of Phallicism be right in speaking of the transcendental sexual worship in the Roman Church and calling it "true, although doubtless of profound mystical strictly 'Christian' paradoxical construction," he is wrong in calling it the "celestial or Theosophical doctrine of the unsexual, transcendental phallicism," for all such words strung together become meaningless by annulling each other. "Paradoxical" indeed must be that "construction" which seeks to show the phallic element in "the tomb of the Redeemer," and the yonic in Nirvâna, besides finding a Priapus in the "Word made Flesh" or the LOGOS. But such is the "Priapomania" of our century that even the most ardent professed Christians have to admit the element of phallicism in their dogmas, lest they should be twitted with it by their opponents.
This is not meant as criticism, but simply as the defence of real, true magic, confined by the author of Phallicism to the "divine magic of generation." "Phallic ideas," he says, are "discovered to be the foundation of all religions."
In this there is nothing "new" or "original." Since state religions came into existence, there was never an Initiate or philosopher, a Master or disciple, who was ignorant of it. Nor is there any fresh discovery in the fact of Jehovah having been worshipped by the Jews under the shape of "phallic stones" (unhewn)--of being, in short, as much of a phallic God as any other Lingam, which fact has been no mystery from the days of Dupuis. That he was pre-eminently a male deity--a Priapus--is now proven absolutely and without show of useless mysticism, by Ralston Skinner of Cincinnati, in his wonderfully clever and erudite volume, The Source of Measures, published some years ago, in which he demonstrates the fact on mathematical grounds, completely versed, as he seems to be, in kabalistic numerical calculations. What then makes the author of Phallicism say that in his book will be found "a more complete and more connected account than has hitherto appeared of the different forms of the . . . peculiar veneration (not idolatry), generally denominated the phallic worship"? "No previous writer has disserted so fully," he adds with modest reserve, "upon the shades and varieties of this singular ritual, or traced up so completely its mysterious blendings with the ideas of the philosophers as to what lies remotely in nature in regard to the origin of the history of the human race."
There is one thing really "original" and "new" in Phallicism, and it is this: while noticing and underlining the most filthy rites connected with phallic worship among every "heathen" nation, those of the Christians are idealized, and a veil of a most mystic fabric is thrown over them. At the same time the author accepts and insists upon Biblical chronology. Thus he assigns to the Chaldaean Tower of Babel--"that magnificent, monster, 'upright,' defiant phallus," as he puts it--an age "soon after the Flood"; and to the Pyramids "a date not long after the foundation of the Egyptian monarchy by Misraim, the son of Ham, 2118 B.C." The chronological views of the author of The Rosicrucians seem to have greatly changed of late. There is a mystery about his book, difficult, yet not wholly impossible to fathom, which may be summed up in the words of the Comte de Gasparin with regard to the works on Satan by the Marquis de Mirville: "Everything goes to show a work which is essentially an act, and has the value of a collective labour."
But this is of no moment to the Theosophists. That which is of real importance is his misleading statement, which he supports on Wilford's authority, that the legendary war that began in India and spread all over the globe was caused by a diversity of opinion upon the relative "superiority of the male or female emblem . . . in regard of the idolatrous magic worship.... These physiological disputes led to violent schisms in religion and even to bloody and devastating wars, which have wholly passed out of the history . . . or have never been recorded in history . . . remaining, only as a tradition."
This is denied point-blank by initiated Brâhmanas.
If the above be given on Col. Wilford's authority, then the author of Phallicism was not fortunate in his selection. The reader has only to turn to Max Müller's Science of Religion to find therein the detailed history of Col. Wilford becoming--and very honestly confessing to the fact--the victim of Brâhmanical mystification with regard to the alleged presence of Shem, Ham, and Japhet in the Purânas. The true history of the dispersion and the cause of the great war are very well known to the initiated Brâhmanas, only they will not tell it, as it would go directly against themselves and their supremacy over those who believe in a personal God and Gods. It is quite true that the origin of every religion is based on the dual powers, male and female, of abstract Nature, but these in their turn were the radiations or emanations of the sexless, infinite, absolute Principle, the only One to be worshipped in spirit and not with rites; whose immutable laws no words of prayer or propitiation can change, and whose sunny or shadowy, beneficent or maleficent influence, grace or curse, under the form of Karma, can be determined only by the actions--not by the empty supplications--of the devotee. This was the religion, the One Faith of the whole of primitive humanity, and was that of the "Sons of God," the B'ne Elohim of old. This faith assured to its followers the full possession of transcendental psychic powers, of the truly divine magic. Later on, when mankind fell, in the natural course of its evolution "into generation," i.e., into human creation and procreation, and carrying down the subjective process of Nature from the plane of spirituality to that of matter--made in its selfish and animal adoration of self a God of the human organism, and worshipped self in this objective personal Deity, then was black magic initiated. This magic or sorcery is based upon, springs from, and has the very life and soul of selfish impulse; and thus was gradually developed the idea of a personal God. The first "pillar of unhewn stone," the first objective "sign and witness to the Lord," creative, generative, and the "Father of man," was made to become the archetype and progenitor of the long series of male (vertical) and female (horizontal) Deities, of pillars, and cones. Anthropomorphism in religion is the direct generator of and stimulus to the exercise of black, left-hand magic. And it was again merely a feeling of selfish national exclusiveness--not even patriotism--of pride and self-glorification over all other nations, that could lead an Isaiah to see a difference between the one living God and the idols of the neighbouring nations. In the day of the great "change," Karma, whether called personal or impersonal Providence, will see no difference between those who set an altar (horizontal) to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar (vertical) at the border thereof (ls. xix. 19) and they "who seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards"--for all this is human, hence devilish black magic.
It is then the latter magic, coupled with anthropomorphic worship, that caused the "Great War" and was the reason for the "Great Flood" of Atlantis; for this reason also the Initiates--those who had remained true to primeval Revelation--formed themselves into separate communities, keeping their magic or religious rites in the profoundest secrecy. The caste of the Brâhmanas, the descendants of the "mind-born Rishis and Sons of Brahmâ" dates from those days, as also do the "Mysteries."
Natural sciences, archæology, theology, philosophy, all have been forced in The Secret Doctrine to give their evidence in support of the teachings herein again propounded. Vox audita perit: litera scripta manet. Published admissions cannot be made away with--even by an opponent: they have been made good use of. Had I acted otherwise, The Secret Doctrine, from the first chapter to the last, would have amounted to uncorroborated personal affirmations. Scholars and some of the latest discoveries in various departments of science being brought to testify to what might have otherwise appeared to the average reader as the most preposterous hypotheses based upon unverified assertions, the rationality of these will be made clearer. Occult teaching will at last be examined in the light of science, physical as well as spiritual.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, July, 1896
CAN THE DOUBLE MURDER?
From A Modern Panarion
Articles by HPB
|To the Editor of "The Sun."
SIR,—One morning in 1867 Eastern Europe was startled by news of the most horrifying description. Michael Obrenovitch, reigning Prince of Serbia, his aunt, the Princess Catherine, or Katinka, and her daughter had been murdered in broad daylight, near Belgrade, in their own garden, assassin or assassins remaining unknown. The Prince had received several bullet-shots and stabs, and his body was actually butchered; the Princess was killed on the spot, her head smashed, and her young daughter, though still alive, was not expected to survive. The circumstances are too recent to have been forgotten, but in that part of the world, at the time, the case created a delirium of excitement.
In the Austrian dominions and in those under the doubtful protectorate of Turkey, from Bucharest down to Trieste, no high family felt secure. In those half-Oriental countries every Montecchi has its Capuletti, and it was rumoured that the bloody deed was perpetrated by the Prince Kara-Gueorguevitch, or "Tzerno-Gueorgey," as he is usually called in those parts. Several persons innocent of the act were, as is usual in such cases, imprisoned, and the real murderers escaped justice. A young relative of the victim, greatly beloved by his people, a mere child, taken for the purpose from a school in Paris, was brought over in ceremony to Belgrade and proclaimed Hospodar of Serbia. In the turmoil of political excitement the tragedy of Belgrade was for gotten by all but an old Serbian matron who had been attached to the Obrenovitch family, and who, like Rachel, would not be comforted for the death of her children. After the proclamation of the young Obrenovitch, nephew of the murdered man, she had sold out her property and disappeared; but not before taking a solemn vow on the tombs of the victims to avenge their deaths.
The writer of this truthful narrative had passed a few days at Belgrade, about three months before the horrid deed was perpetrated, and knew the Princess Katinka. She was a kind, gentle, and lazy creature at home; abroad she seemed a Parisienne in manners and education. As nearly all the personages who will figure in this true story are still living, it is but decent that I should withhold their names, and give only initials.
The old Serbian lady seldom left her house, going but to see the Princess occasionally. Crouched on a pile of pillows and carpeting, clad in the picturesque national dress, she looked like the Cumæn sibyl in her days of calm repose. Strange stories were whispered about her Occult knowledge, and thrilling accounts circulated sometimes among the guests assembled round the fireside of the modest inn. Our fat landlord's maiden aunt's cousin had been troubled for some time past by a wandering vampire, and had been bled nearly to death by the nocturnal visitor, and while the efforts and exorcisms of the parish pope had been of no avail, the victim was luckily delivered by Gospoja P——, who had put to flight the disturbing ghost by merely shaking her fist at him, and shaming him in his own language. It was in Belgrade that I learned for the first time this highly-interesting fact in philology, namely, that spooks have a language of their own. The old lady, whom I will call Gospoja P——, was generally attended by another personage destined to be the principal actress in our tale of horror. It was a young gypsy girl from some part of Roumania, about fourteen years of age. Where she was born, and who she was, she seemed to know as little as anyone else. I was told she had been brought one day by a party of strolling gypsies, and left in the yard of the old lady, from which moment she became an inmate of the house. She was nicknamed "the sleeping girl," as she was said to be gifted with the faculty of apparently dropping asleep wherever she stood, and speaking her dreams aloud. The girl's heathen name was Frosya.
About eighteen months after the news of the murder had reached Italy, where I was at the time, I travelled over the Banat in a small waggon of my own, hiring a horse whenever I needed one. I met on my way an old Frenchman, a scientist, travelling alone after my own fashion, but with the difference that while he was a pedestrian, I dominated the road from the eminence of a throne of dry hay in a jolting waggon. I discovered him one fine morning slumbering in a wilderness of shrubs and flowers, and had nearly passed over him, absorbed as I was in the contemplation of the surrounding glorious scenery. The acquaintance was soon made, no great ceremony of mutual introduction being needed. I had heard his name mentioned in circles interested in mesmerism, and knew him to be a powerful adept of the school of Dupotet.
"I have found," he remarked, in the course of the conversation after I had made him share my seat of hay, "one of the most wonderful subjects in this lovely Thebaide. I have an appointment to-night with the family. They are seeking to unravel the mystery of a murder by means of the clairvoyance of the girl . . . she is wonderful!"
"Who is she?" I asked.
"A Roumanian gypsy. She was brought up, it appears, in the family of the Serbian reigning Prince, who reigns no more, for he was very mysteriously mur—— Halloo, take care! Diable, you will upset us over the precipice!" he hurriedly exclaimed, unceremoniously snatching from me the reins, and giving the horse a violent pull.
"You do not mean Prince Obrenovitch?" I asked aghast.
"Yes, I do; and him precisely. To-night I have to be there, hoping to close a series of séances by finally developing a most marvellous manifestation of the hidden power of the human spirit; and you may come with me. I will introduce you; and besides, you can help me as an interpreter, for they do not speak French."
As I was pretty sure that if the somnambule was Frosya, the rest of the family must be Gospoja P——, I readily accepted. At sunset we were at the foot of the mountain, leading to the old castle, as the Frenchman called the place. It fully deserved the poetical name given it. There was a rough bench in the depths of one of the shadowy retreats, and as we stopped at the entrance of this poetical place, and the Frenchman was gallantly busying himself with my horse on the suspicious-looking bridge which led across the water to the entrance gate, I saw a tall figure slowly rise from the bench and come towards us.
It was my old friend Gospoja P——, looking more pale and more mysterious than ever. She exhibited no surprise at seeing me, but simply greeting me after the Serbian fashion, with a triple kiss on both cheeks, she took hold of my hand and led me straight to the nest of ivy. Half reclining on a small carpet spread on the tall grass, with her back leaning against the wall, I recognized our Frosya.
She was dressed in the national costume of the Wallachian women, a sort of gauze turban intermingled with various gilt medals and bands on her head, white shirt with opened sleeves, and petticoats of variegated colours. Her face looked deadly pale, her eyes were closed, and her countenance presented that stony, sphinx-like look which characterizes in such a peculiar way the entranced clairvoyant somnambule. If it were not for the heaving motion of her chest and bosom, ornamented by rows of medals and bead necklaces which feebly tinkled at every breath, one might have thought her dead, so lifeless and corpse-like was her face. The Frenchman informed me that he had sent her to sleep just as we were approaching the house, and that she now was as he had left her the previous night; he then began busying himself with the sujet, as he called Frosya. Paying no further attention to us, he shook her by the hand, and then making a few rapid passes stretched out her arm and stiffened it. The arm, as rigid as iron, remained in that position. He then closed all her fingers but one—the middle finger—which he caused to point at the evening star, which twinkled in the deep blue sky. Then he turned round and went over from right to left, throwing on some of his fluids here, again discharging them at another place; busying himself with his invisible but potent fluids, like a painter with his brush when giving the last touches to a picture.
The old lady, who had silently watched him, with her chin in her hand the while, put her thin, skeleton-looking hands on his arm and arrested it, as he was preparing himself to begin the regular mesmeric passes.
"Wait," she whispered, "till the star is set and the ninth hour completed. The Vourdalaki are hovering round; they may spoil the influence."
"What does she say?" enquired the mesmerizer, annoyed at her interference.
I explained to him that the old lady feared the pernicious influences of the Vourdalaki.
"Vourdalaki! What's that—the Vourdalaki?" exclaimed the Frenchman. "Let us be satisfied with Christian spirits, if they honour us to-night with a visit, and lose no time for the Vourdalaki."
I glanced at the Gospoja. She had become deathly pale and her brow was sternly knitted over her flashing black eyes.
"Tell him not to jest at this hour of the night!" she cried. "He does not know the country. Even this holy church may fail to protect us once the Vourdalaki are roused. What's this?" pushing with her foot a bundle of herbs the botanizing mesmerizer had laid near on the grass. She bent over the collection and anxiously examined the contents of the bundle, after which she flung the whole into the water.
"It must not be left here," she firmly added; "these are the St. John's plants, and they might attract the wandering ones."
Meanwhile the night had come, and the moon illuminated the landscape with a pale, ghostly light. The nights in the Banat are nearly as beautiful as in the East, and the Frenchman had to go on with his experiments in the open air, as the priest of the church had prohibited such in the tower, which was used as the parsonage, for fear of filling the holy precincts with the heretical devils of the mesmerizer, which, the priest remarked, he would be unable to exorcise on account of their being foreigners.
The old gentleman had thrown off his travelling blouse, rolled up his shirt sleeves, and now, striking a theatrical attitude, began a regular process of mesmerization.
Under his quivering fingers the odile fluid actually seemed to flash in the twilight. Frosya was placed with her figure facing the moon, and every motion of the entranced girl was discernible as in daylight. In a few minutes large drops of perspiration appeared on her brow, and slowly rolled down her pale face, glittering in the moonbeams. Then she moved uneasily about and began chanting a low melody, to the words of which the Gospoja, anxiously bent over the unconscious girl, was listening with avidity and trying to catch every syllable. With her thin finger on her lips, her eyes nearly starting from their sockets, her frame motionless, the old lady seemed herself transfixed into a statue of attention. The group was a remarkable one, and I regretted that I was not a painter. What followed was a scene worthy to figure in Macbeth. At one side she, the slender girl, pale and corpse-like, writhing under the invisible fluid of him who for the hour was her omnipotent master; at the other the old matron, who, burning with her unquenched fire of revenge, stood waiting for the long-expected name of the Prince's murderer to be at last pronounced. The Frenchman himself seemed transfigured, his grey hair standing on end; his bulky clumsy form seemed to have grown in a few minutes. All theatrical pretence was now gone; there remained but the mesmerizer, aware of his responsibility, unconscious himself of the possible results, studying and anxiously expecting. Suddenly Frosya, as if lifted by some supernatural force, rose from her reclining posture and stood erect before us, again motionless and still, waiting for the magnetic fluid to direct her. The Frenchman, silently taking the old lady's hand, placed it in that of the somnambulist, and ordered her to put herself en rapport with the Gospoja.
"What seest thou, my daughter?" softly murmured the Serbian lady. "Can your spirit seek out the murderers?"
"Search and behold!" sternly commanded the mesmerizer, fixing his gaze upon the face of the subject.
"I am on my way—I go," faintly whispered Frosya, her voice seeming not to come from herself, but from the surrounding atmosphere.
At this moment something so strange took place that I doubt my ability to describe it. A luminous vapour appeared, closely surrounding the girl's body. At first about an inch in thickness, it gradually expanded, and, gathering itself, suddenly seemed to break off from the body altogether and condense itself into a kind of semi-solid vapour, which very soon assumed the likeness of the somnambule herself. Flickering about the surface of the earth the form vacillated for two or three seconds, then glided noiselessly toward the river. It disappeared like a mist, dissolved in the moonbeams, which seemed to absorb it altogether.
I had followed the scene with an intense attention. The mysterious operation, known in the East as the evocation of the scin-lecca, was taking place before my own eyes. To doubt was impossible, and Dupotet was right in saying that mesmerism is the conscious Magic of the ancients, and Spiritualism the unconscious effect of the same Magic upon certain organisms.
As soon as the vaporous double had smoked itself through the pores of the girl, Gospoja had, by a rapid motion of the hand which was left free, drawn from under her pelisse something which looked to us suspiciously like a small stiletto, and placed it as rapidly in the girl's bosom. The action was so quick that the mesmerizer, absorbed in his work, had not remarked it, as he afterwards told me. A few minutes elapsed in a dead silence. We seemed a group of petrified persons. Suddenly a thrilling and transpiercing cry burst from the entranced girl's lips, she bent forward, and snatching the stiletto from her bosom, plunged it furiously round her, in the air, as if pursuing imaginary foes. Her mouth foamed, and incoherent, wild exclamations broke from her lips, among which discordant sounds I discerned several times two familiar Christian names of men. The mesmerizer was so terrified that he lost all control over himself, and instead of withdrawing the fluid he loaded the girl with it still more.
"Take care," exclaimed I. "Stop! You will kill her, or she will kill you!"
But the Frenchman had unwittingly raised subtle potencies of Nature over which he had no control. Furiously turning round, the girl struck at him a blow which would have killed him had he not avoided it by jumping aside, receiving but a severe scratch on the right arm. The poor man was panic-stricken; climbing with an extraordinary agility, for a man of his bulky form, on the wall over her, he fixed himself on it astride, and gathering the remnants of his will power, sent in her direction a series of passes. At the second, the girl dropped the weapon and remained motionless.
"What are you about?" hoarsely shouted the mesmerizer in French, seated like some monstrous night-goblin on the wall. "Answer me, I command you!"
"I did . . . but what she . . . whom you ordered me to obey . . . commanded me to do," answered the girl in French, to my amazement.
"What did the old witch command you?" irreverently asked he.
"To find them . . . who murdered . . . kill them. . . I did so . . . and they are no more . . . Avenged! . . . Avenged! They are . . ."
An exclamation of triumph, a loud shout of infernal joy, rang loud in the air, and awakening the dogs of the neighbouring villages a responsive howl of barking began from that moment, like a ceaseless echo of the Gospoja's cry:
"I am avenged! I feel it; I know it. My warning heart tells me that the fiends are no more." She fell panting on the ground, dragging down, in her fall, the girl, who allowed herself to be pulled down as if she were a bag of wool.
"I hope my subject did no further mischief to-night. She is a dangerous as well as a very wonderful subject," said the Frenchman.
We parted. Three days after that I was at T——, and as I was sitting in the dining-room of a restaurant, waiting for my lunch, I happened to pick up a newspaper, and the first lines I read ran thus:
VIENNA, 186—. TWO MYSTERIOUS DEATHS.
Last evening, at 9.45, as P—— was about to retire, two of the gentlemen-in-waiting suddenly exhibited great terror, as though they had seen a dreadful apparition. They screamed, staggered, and ran about the room, holding up their hands as if to ward off the blows of an unseen weapon. They paid no attention to the eager questions of the prince and suite, but presently fell writhing upon the floor, and expired in great agony. Their bodies exhibited no appearance of apoplexy, nor any external marks of wounds, but, wonderful to relate, there were numerous dark spots and long marks upon the skin, as though they were stabs and slashes made without puncturing the cuticle. The autopsy revealed the fact that beneath each of these mysterious discolourations there was a deposit of coagulated blood. The greatest excitement prevails, and the faculty are unable to solve the mystery.