A number of lamas in Sikkin produce meipo — "miracle" — by magical powers. The late Patriarch of Mongolia, Gegen Chutuktu, who resided at Urga, a veritable paradise, was the sixteenth incarnation of Gautama, therefore a Boddhisattva. He had the reputation of possessing powers that were phenomenal, even among the thaumaturgists of the land of miracles par excellence. Let no one suppose that these powers are developed without cost. The lives of most of these holy men, miscalled idle vagrants, cheating beggars, who are supposed to pass their existence in preying upon the easy credulity of their victims, are miracles in themselves.
Miracles, because they show what a determined will and perfect purity of life and purpose are able to accomplish, and to what degree of preternatural ascetism a human body can be subjected and yet live and reach a ripe old age. No Christian hermit has ever dreamed of such refinement of monastic discipline; and the aerial habitation of a Simon Stylite would appear child's play before the fakir's and the Buddhist's inventions of will-tests. But the theoretical study of magic is one thing; the possibility of practicing it quite another. At Bras-ss-Pungs, the Mongolian college where over three hundred magicians (sorciers, as the French missionaries call them) teach about twice as many pupils from twelve to twenty, the latter have many years to wait for their final initiation. Not one in a hundred reaches the highest goal; and out of the many thousand lamas occupying nearly an entire city of detached buildings clustering around it, not more than two per cent. become wonder-workers. One may learn by heart every line of the 108 volumes of Kadjur,* and still make but a poor practical magician. There is but one thing which leads surely to it, and this particular study is hinted at by more than one Hermetic writer. One, the Arabian alchemist Abipili, speaks thus: "I admonish thee, whosoever thou art that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of nature; if that thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. If thou knowest not the excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek after the excellency of other
* The Buddhist great canon, containing 1,083 works in several hundred volumes, many of which treat of magic.
things? . . . O Man, Know Thyself! In Thee Is Hid The TREASURE OF TREASURES."
In another alchemic tract, De manna Benedicto, the author expresses his ideas of the philosopher's stone, in the following terms: "My intent is for certain reasons not to prate too much of the matter, which yet is but one only thing, already too plainly described; for it shows and sets down such magical and natural uses of it [the stone] as many that have had it never knew nor heard of; and such as, when I beheld them, made my knees to tremble and my heart to shake, and I to stand amazed at the sight of them!"
Every neophyte has experienced more or less such a feeling; but once that it is overcome, the man is an ADEPT.
Within the cloisters of Dshashi-Lumbo and Si-Dzang, these powers, inherent in every man, called out by so few, are cultivated to their utmost perfection. Who, in India, has not heard of the Banda-Chan Ramboutchi, the Houtouktou of the capital of Higher Thibet? His brotherhood of Khe-lan was famous throughout the land; and one of the most famous "brothers" was a Peh-ling (an Englishman) who had arrived one day during the early part of this century, from the West, a thorough Buddhist, and after a month's preparation was admitted among the Khe-lans. He spoke every language, including the Thibetan, and knew every art and science, says the tradition. His sanctity and the phenomena produced by him caused him to be proclaimed a shaberon after a residence of but a few years. His memory lives to the present day among the Thibetans, but his real name is a secret with the shaberons alone.
The greatest of the meipo — said to be the object of the ambition of every Buddhist devotee — was, and yet is, the faculty of walking in the air. The famous King of Siam, Pia Metak, the Chinese, was noted for his devotion and learning. But he attained this "supernatural gift" only after having placed himself under the direct tuition of a priest of Gautama-Buddha. Crawfurd and Finlayson, during their residence at Siam, followed with great interest the endeavors of some Siamese nobles to acquire this faculty.*
Numerous and varied are the sects in China, Siam, Tartary, Thibet, Kashmir, and British India, which devote their lives to the cultivation of "supernatural powers," so called. Discussing one of such sects, the Taosse, Semedo says: "They pretend that by means of certain exercises and meditations one shall regain his youth, and others will attain to be Shien-sien, i.e., 'Terrestrial Beati,' in whose state every desire is gratified, whilst they have the power to transport themselves from one place to another, however distant, with speed and facility."+ This faculty relates but to the projection of the astral entity, in a more or less corporealized form, and certainly not to bodily transportation. This phenomenon is no more a miracle than one's reflection in a looking-glass. No one can detect in such an image a particle of matter, and still there stands our double, faithfully representing, even to each
* "Crawfurd's Mission to Siam," p. 182. f "Semedo," vol. iii., p. 114.
single hair on our heads. If, by this simple law of reflection, our double can be seen in a mirror, how much more striking a proof of its existence is afforded in the art of photography! It is no reason, because our physicists have not yet found the means of taking photographs, except at a short distance, that the acquirement should be impossible to those who have found these means in the power of the human will itself, freed from terrestrial concern. * Our thoughts are matter, says science; every energy produces more or less of a disturbance in the atmospheric waves. Therefore, as every man — in common with every other living, and even inert object — has an aura of his own
* There was an anecdote current among Daguerre's friends between 1838 and 1840. At an evening party, Madame Daguerre, some two months previous to the introduction of the celebrated Daguerrean process to the Academie des Sciences, by Arago (January, 1839), had an earnest consultation with one of the medical celebrities of the day about her husband's mental condition. After explaining to the physician the numerous symptoms of what she believed to be her husband's mental aberration, she added, with tears in her eyes, that the greatest proof to her of Daguerre's insanity was his firm conviction that he would succeed in nailing his own shadow to the wall, or fixing it on magical metallic plates. The physician listened to the intelligence very attentively, and answered that he had himself observed in Daguerre lately the strongest symptoms of what, to his mind, was an undeniable proof of madness. He closed the conversation by firmly advising her to send her husband quietly and without delay to Bicetre, the well-known lunatic asylum. Two months later a profound interest was created in the world of art and science by the exhibition of a number of pictures taken by the new process. The shadows were fixed, after all, upon metallic plates, and the "lunatic" proclaimed the father of photography.
emanations surrounding him; and, moreover, is enabled, by a trifling effort, to transport himself in imagination wherever he likes, why is it scientifically impossible that his thought, regulated, intensified, and guided by that powerful magician, the educated WILL, may become corporealized for the time being, and appear to whom it likes, a faithful double of the original? Is the proposition, in the present state of science, any more unthinkable than the photograph or telegraph were less than forty years ago, or the telephone less than fourteen months ago?
If the sensitized plate can so accurately seize upon the shadow of our faces, then this shadow or reflection, although we are unable to perceive it, must be something substantial. And, if we can, with the help of optical instruments, project our semblances upon a white wall, at several hundred feet distance, sometimes, then there is no reason why the adepts, the alchemists, the savants of the secret art, should not have already found out that which scientists deny to-day, but may discover true tomorrow, i.e., how to project electrically their astral bodies, in an instant, through thousands of miles of space, leaving their material shells with a certain amount of animal vital principle to keep the physical life going, and acting within their spiritual, ethereal bodies as safely and intelligently as when clothed with the covering of flesh? There is a higher form of electricity than the physical one known to experimenters; a thousand correlations of the latter are as yet veiled to the eye of the modern physicist, and none can tell where end its possibilities.
Schott explains that by Sian or Shin-Sian are understood in the old Chinese conception, and particularly in that of the Tao-Kiao (Taosse) sect, "persons who withdraw to the hills to lead the life of anchorites, and who have attained, either through their ascetic observances or by the power of charms and elixirs, to the possession of miraculous gifts and of terrestrial immortality."* (?) This is exaggerated if not altogether erroneous. What they claim, is merely their ability to prolong human life; and they can do so, if we have to believe human testimony. What Marco Polo testifies to in the thirteenth century is corroborated in our own days. "There are another class of people called Chughi" (Yogi), he says, "who are indeed properly called Abraiamans (Brahmans?) who are extremely long-lived, every man of them living to 150 or 200 years. They eat very little, rice and milk chiefly. And these people make use of a very strange beverage, a potion of sulphur and quicksilver mixed together, and this they drink twice every month. . . . This, they say, gives them long life; and it is a potion they are used to take from their childhood."+ Bernier shows, says Colonel Yule, the Yogis very skilful in preparing mercury "so admirably that one or two grains taken every morning restored the body to perfect health"; and adds that the mercurius vit& of Paracelsus was a compound in which entered antimony and quicksilver.} This is a very careless statement, to say the least, and we will
f "The Book of Ser Marco Polo," vol. ii., p. 352.
J Ibid., vol. ii., p. 130, quoted by Col. Yule in vol. ii., p. 353.
explain what we know of it.
The longevity of some lamas and Talapoins is proverbial; and it is generally known that they use some compound which "renews the old blood," as they call it. And it was equally a recognized fact with alchemists that a judicious administration, "of aura of silver does restore health and prolongs life itself to a wonderful extent." But we are fully prepared to oppose the statements of both Bernier and Col. Yule who quotes him, that it is mercury or quicksilver which the Yogis and the alchemists used. The Yogis, in the days of Marco Polo, as well as in our modern times, do use that which may appear to be quicksilver, but is not. Paracelsus, the alchemists, and other mystics, meant by mercurius vit&, the living spirit of silver, the aura of silver, not the argent vive; and this aura is certainly not the mercury known to our physicians and druggists. There can be no doubt that the imputation that Paracelsus introduced mercury into medical practice is utterly incorrect. No mercury, whether prepared by a medieval fire-philosopher or a modern self-styled physician, can or ever did restore the body to perfect health. Only an unmitigated charlatan ever will use such a drug. And it is the opinion of many that it is just with the wicked intention of presenting Paracelsus in the eyes of posterity as a quack, that his enemies have invented such a preposterous lie.
The Yogis of the olden times, as well as modern lamas and Talapoins, use a certain ingredient with a minimum of sulphur, and a milky juice which they extract from a medicinal plant. They must certainly be possessed of some wonderful secrets, as we have seen them healing the most rebellious wounds in a few days; restoring broken bones to good use in as many hours as it would take days to do by means of common surgery. A fearful fever contracted by the writer near Rangoon, after a flood of the Irrawaddy River, was cured in a few hours by the juice of a plant called, if we mistake not, Kukushan, though there may be thousands of natives ignorant of its virtues who are left to die of fever. This was in return for a trifling kindness we had done to a simple mendicant; a service which can interest the reader but little.
We have heard of a certain water, also, called ab-i-hayat, which the popular superstition thinks hidden from every mortal eye, except that of the holy sannyasi; the fountain itself being known as the ab-i-haiwan-i. It is more than probable though, that the Talapoins will decline to deliver up their secrets, even to academicians and missionaries; as these remedies must be used for the benefit of humanity, never for money.*
* No country in the world can boast of more medicinal plants than Southern India, Cochin, Burmah, Siam, and Ceylon. European physicians — according to time-honored practice — settle the case of professional rivalship, by treating the native doctors as quacks and empirics; but this does not prevent the latter from being often successful in cases in which eminent graduates of British and French schools of Medicine have signally failed. Native works on Materia Medica do not certainly contain the secret remedies known, and successfully applied by the native doctors (the Atibba), from time immemorial; and yet the best febrifuges have been learned by British physicians from the Hindus, and where patients, deafened and swollen by abuse of quinine,
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