Seership of the Soul and of the Spirit

To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.

The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination.

There are two kinds of seership — that of the soul and that of the spirit. The seership of the ancient Pythoness, or of the modern mesmerized subject, vary but in the artificial modes adopted to induce the state of clairvoyance. But, as the visions of both depend upon the greater or less acuteness of the senses of the astral body, they differ very widely from the perfect, omniscient spiritual state; for, at best, the subject can get but glimpses of truth, through the veil which physical nature interposes. The astral principle, or mind, called by the Hindu Yogin fav-atma, is the sentient soul, inseparable from our physical brain, which it holds in subjection, and is in its turn equally trammelled by it. This is the ego, the intellectual life-principle of man, his conscious entity. While it is yet within the material body, the clearness and correctness of its spiritual visions depend on its more or less intimate relation with its higher Principle. When this relation is such as to allow the most ethereal portions of the soul-essence to act independently of its grosser particles and of the brain, it can unerringly comprehend what it sees; then only is it the pure, rational, supersentient soul. That state is known in India as the Samaddi; it is the highest condition of spirituality possible to man on earth. Fakirs try to obtain such a condition by holding their breath for hours together during their religious exercises, and call this practice dam-sadhna. The Hindu terms Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana, all relate to different psychological states, and show how much more the Sanscrit, and even the modern Hindu language are adapted to the clear elucidation of the phenomena that are encountered by those who study this branch of psychological science, than the tongues of modern peoples, whose experiences have not yet necessitated the invention of such descriptive terms.

When the body is in the state of dharana — a total catalepsy of the physical frame — the soul of the clairvoyant may liberate itself, and perceive things subjectively. And yet, as the sentient principle of the brain is alive and active, these pictures of the past, present, and future will be tinctured with the terrestrial perceptions of the objective world; the physical memory and fancy will be in the way of clear vision. But the seer-adept knows how to suspend the mechanical action of the brain. His visions will be as clear as truth itself, uncolored and undistorted, whereas, the clairvoyant, unable to control the vibrations of the astral waves, will perceive but more or less broken images through the medium of the brain. The seer can never take flickering shadows for realities, for his memory being as completely subjected to his will as the rest of the body, he receives impressions directly from his spirit. Between his subjective and objective selves there are no obstructive mediums. This is the real spiritual seership, in which, according to an expression of Plato, soul is raised above all inferior good. When we reach "that which is supreme, which is simple, pure, and unchangeable, without form, color, or human qualities: the God — our Nous."

This is the state which such seers as Plotinus and Apollonius termed the "Union to the Deity"; which the ancient Yogins called Isvara,* and the modern call "Samaddi"; but this state is as far above modern clairvoyance as the stars above glow-worms. Plotinus, as is well known, was a clairvoyant-seer during his whole and daily life; and yet, he had been united to his God but six times during the sixty-six years of his existence, as he himself confessed to Porphyry.

Ammonius Sakkas, the "God-taught," asserts that the only power which is directly opposed to soothsaying and looking into futurity is memory; and Olympiodorus calls it phantasy. "The phantasy," he says (in Platonis Ph&d.), "is an impediment to our intellectual conceptions; and hence, when we are

* In its general sense, Isvara means "Lord"; but the Isvara of the mystic philosophers of India was understood precisely as the union and communion of men with the Deity of the Greek mystics. Isvara-Parasada means, literally, in Sanscrit, grace. Both of the "Mimansas," treating of the most abstruse questions, explain Karma as merit, or the efficacy of works; Isvara-Parasada, as grace; and Sradha, as faith. The "Mimansas" are the work of the two most celebrated theologians of India. The "Pourva-Mimansa" was written by the philosopher Djeminy, and the "Outtara-Mimansa" (or Vedanta), by Richna Dvipayna Vyasa, who collected the four "Vedas" together. (See Sir William Jones, Colebrooke, and others.)

agitated by the inspiring influence of the Divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases; for enthusiasm and the ecstasy are contrary to each other. Should it be asked whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy, we reply, that its perception of universals proves that it is able. It has perceptions, therefore, independent of the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends it in its energies, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the sea."

A medium, moreover, needs either a foreign intelligence — whether it be spirit or living mesmerizer — to overpower his physical and mental parts, or some factitious means to induce trance. An adept, and even a simple fakir requires but a few minutes of "self-contemplation." The brazen columns of Solomon's temple; the golden bells and pomegranates of Aaron; the Jupiter Capitolinus of Augustus, hung around with harmonious bells;t and the brazen bowls of the Mysteries when the Kora was called,} were all intended for such artificial helps. § So were the brazen bowls of Solomon hung round with a double row of 200 pomegranates, which served as clappers within the hollow columns. The priestesses of Northern Germany, under the guidance of hierophants, could never prophesy but amidst the roar of the tumultuous waters. Regarding fixedly the eddies formed on the rapid course of the river they hypnotized themselves. So f Suetonius, "August." J Plutarch.

we read of Joseph, Jacob's son, who sought for divine inspiration with his silver divining-cup, which must have had a very bright bottom to it. The priestesses of Dodona placed themselves under the ancient oak of Zeus (the Pelasgian, not the Olympian god), and listened intently to the rustling of the sacred leaves, while others concentrated their attention on the soft murmur of the cold spring gushing from underneath its roots.* But the adept has no need of any such extraneous aids — the simple exertion of his will-power is all-sufficient.

The Atharva-Veda teaches that the exercise of such willpower is the highest form of prayer and its instantaneous response. To desire is to realize in proportion to the intensity of the aspiration; and that, in its turn, is measured by inward purity.

Some of these nobler Vedantic precepts on the soul and man's mystic powers, have recently been contributed to an English periodical by a Hindu scholar. "The Sankhya," he writes, "inculcates that the soul (i. e., astral body) has the following powers: shrinking into a minute bulk to which everything is pervious; enlarging to a gigantic body; assuming levity (rising along a sunbeam to the solar orb); possessing an unlimited reach of organs, as touching the moon with the tip of a finger; irresistible will (for instance, sinking into the earth as easily as in water); dominion over all things, animate or inanimate; faculty of changing the course of nature; ability to accomplish every desire." Further, he gives their various appellations:

"The powers are called: 1, Anima; 2, Mahima; 3, Laghima; 4, Garima; 5, Prapti; 6, Prakamya; 7, Vasitwa; 8, Isitwa, or divine power. The fifth, predicting future events, understanding unknown languages, curing diseases, divining unexpressed thoughts, understanding the language of the heart. The sixth is the power of converting old age into youth. The seventh is the power of mesmerizing human beings and beasts, and making them obedient; it is the power of restraining passions and emotions. The eighth power is the spiritual state, and presupposes the absence of the above seven powers, as in this state the Yogi is full of God."

"No writings," he adds, "revealed or sacred, were allowed to be so authoritative and final as the teaching of the soul. Some of the Rishis appear to have laid the greatest stress on this supersensuous source of knowledge."+

From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown — Chrestos. The closer the union the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of f Peary Chand Mittra, "The Psychology of the Aryas"; "Human Nature," for March, 1877.

the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. But they believed in destiny, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the network of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions.

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