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Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales

Theosophy House

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24 -1DL





Theosophy Cardiff Programme





In The Twilight


Annie Besant


In the Twilight” Series of Articles


The In the Twilight” series appeared during

1898 in The Theosophical Review and

from 1909-1913 in The Theosophist.



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Searchable Full Text of

The Secret Doctrine by H P Blavatsky


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Chronology of Articles



  (1a)  Theosophical Review March 1898 v22 p78-82

  (2a)  Theosophical Review April 1898 v22 p177-181

  (3a)  Theosophical Review May 1898 v22 p274-280

  (4a)  Theosophical Review June 1898 v22 p364-368

  (1 ) The Theosophist April 1909 p78-84

  (2 ) The Theosophist May 1909 p193-198

  (3 ) The Theosophist June 1909 p359-366

  (4 ) The Theosophist July 1909 p504-508

  (5 ) The Theosophist August 1909 p608-616

  (6 ) The Theosophist Sept 1909 p750-756

  (7 ) The Theosophist Oct 1909 p121-126

  (8 ) The Theosophist Nov 1909 p252-260

  (9 ) The Theosophist Dec 1909 p390-396

  (10) The Theosophist Jan 1910 p517-524

  (11) The Theosophist Feb 1910 p640-645

  (12) The Theosophist March 1910 p774-780

  (13) The Theosophist April 1910 p930-931

  (14) The Theosophist May 1910 p1098-1100

  (15) The Theosophist June 1910 p1185-1190

  (16) The Theosophist July 1910 p1348-1350

  (17) The Theosophist Oct 1910 p116-120

  (18) The Theosophist Nov 1910 p285-293

  (19) The Theosophist Jan 1911 p709-712

  (20) The Theosophist March 1911 p964-969

  (21) The Theosophist May 1911 p290-296

  (22) The Theosophist Sept 1911 p900-908

  (23) The Theosophist Jan 1912 p589-594

  (24) The Theosophist Feb 1912 p747-754

  (25) The Theosophist April 1912 p120-124

  (26) The Theosophist May 1912 p281-285

  (27) The Theosophist Sept 1912 p926-930

  (28) The Theosophist April 1913 p109-114

  (29) The Theosophist May 1913 p277-280

  (30) The Theosophist Oct 1929 p77-78

  (31) The Theosophist Nov 1929 p207-213

  (32) The Theosophist Dec 1929 p345-347




-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (1a)

first published  Theosophical Review March 1898 v22 p78-82

The talk turned on suicide when a small circle of friends gathered for their

twilight chat. They were wont thus to gather once a month, when the sinking sun

invited all to share the quietness that falls on nature, when she has drawn the

cloud-curtains across the door through which her lord has disappeared - the hush

of the gloaming that men lose in the hurrying town, where nature's fairy bells

are not heard as they ring for matins and vespers day by day. Our little circle

would discuss any point of interest that had arisen within the ken of any of its

members, in the worlds physical, astral and mental; and the number of suicides

that had been recorded in the daily papers has turned the conversation to that

gruesome topic on the present occasion.1

“If one could only make these folk understand that they can't kill themselves,”

remarked the Shepherd meditatively; “that they can only get rid of their bodies

and are decidedly at a disadvantage by the riddance, maybe they would not be so

ready to make holes in their bodies or in the water.”

“There lies the difficulty,” quoth the Scholar. “The grim tales our seers tell

us of the results of suicide in the astral world are not widely known among the

public, and even when known are not believed.”

“They picture a very real hell, it seems to me,” commented the Marchesa. “One of

our seers told me a story the other day that was as ghastly in its horror as

anything that Dante depicted in his Inferno.”

“Tell it again, O astral Vagrant,” commanded the youngest of our party, whose

appetite for stories was insatiable. “Tell it again, and tell it now.”

“Well, it was rather a ghastly story,” began the Vagrant meekly and

apologetically, “creepy, decidedly. There were two friends, some hundreds of

years ago, half merchants, half soldiers of fortune, who for some years had

travelled together through fair luck and foul. The elder, Hassan, had saved

Ibrahim, the younger, from death by starvation and thirst in the desert, having

found him lying senseless besides his dead camel, which he had stabbed to obtain

a last drink. Hassan, passing alone over the sands to rejoin his caravan, came

across man and beast, both apparently dead. The man's heart, however, was still

faintly breathing, and he revived sufficiently to be lifted on to Hassan's camel

and carried to safety. Ibrahim, wild, reckless, passionate, became madly devoted

to the man who had saved him, and they lived for some years as brothers. It

chanced that they fell in with a band of Arabs and dwelt with them awhile, and

here , as ill fate would have it, the fair face of the chief's daughter

attracted the eyes of both, and the two men fell desperately in love with the

same maid. Hassan's steadier and kindlier character won trust and love where

Ibrahim's fiery passion terrified, and as the truth dawned upon him the tiger in

the savage nature of the young man awoke. Wildly jealous, sullenly resolved to

have his will at all costs, Ibrahim slew Hassan treacherously while both were

engaged in a skirmish with an enemy; he then rode to the encampment, rifled the

tent of the chief, and, seizing the girl, flung her across his swift camel and

fled. For a brief space they lived together, a stormy time of feverish passion

and jealous suspicion on his side, of sullen submission and scheming

watchfulness on hers. One day, returning from a short excursion, he found the

cage empty, the bird flown, and his house despoiled of its treasures. Furious

with baffled love and hatred, he hunted madly for her for some days, and,

finally, in a tempest of jealousy and despair, he flung himself on the sand, cut

his throat, and, gurgling out a curse, expired. A shock as of electric force, a

searing flash of lurid fire, a concentrated agony of rending tissues, of tearing

part from part, and the quivering etheric form was violently wrenched from its

dense counterpart, and the blinded bewildered man found himself yet living while

his corpse lay prone upon the sand. A confused whirl of sensations, of

struggling agony as of a strong swimmer when the waves close over him, and

Ibrahim was in the astral world, in drear and heavy darkness, foul to every

sense, despairful, horror-weighted. Jealousy, rage, the fury of baffled passion

and of love betrayed, still tore his heart-strings, and their force, no longer

spent in moving the heavy mass of the physical body, inflicted an agony keener

than he had ever dreamed as possible on earth. The subtle form responded to

every thrill of feeling, and every pain was multiplied a hundredfold, as the

keen senses answered to each wave of anguish, the bulwark of the body no longer

breaking the force of every billow that dashed against the soul. Ah! even in

this hell a blacker hell! What is this shapeless horror that drifts slowly near

as though borne on some invisible current, eyeless, senseless, with ghastly

suggestions of gaping wounds, clotted with foetid blood? The air grows heavier

yet and fouler as it drifts onwards, and is it the wind which as it passes moans

out “Hassan ... Hassan ... Hassan?” With a scream strangled into a choking sob,

Ibrahim leaps forward, rushes headlong, anywhere to escape this floating terror,

this loathsome corpse of a friend betrayed. Surely he has escaped - he had fled

with speed of hunted antelope; as he stops gasping, something surges against his

shoulder; he glances fearfully round - it is there! And now begins a chase, if

that may be called a chase where the hunter is unconscious and hangs blindly on

the hunted, ever seeming to be drifting slowly, without purpose, yet ever close

behind, run the other swiftly as he may. Down, down into depths fathomless of

murky vapours - a pause, and the dull touch of the swaying shapelessness with

the overpowering horror that hangs round it as a cloud. Away, away, into the

foulest dens of vice, where earth-bound souls gloat over vilest orgies, and the

crowding throngs will surely give protection against this dread intruder; but

no! it drifts straight on as though no crowd were there, and, as though

aimlessly, sways up against his shoulder. If it would speak, curse, see, strike

a deliberate forceful blow, a man might deal with it; but this blind silent

drifting shapeless mass, with its dull persistence of gray presence, is

maddening, intolerable, yet may not be escaped. Oh! to be back in the glowing

desert, with the limitless sky above, starving, robbed, betrayed, forsaken, but

in a world of men, away from swaying senseless horrors in airless murky viscous

depths” -

The quiet tones of the Pandit broke into the silence into which the Vagrant's

voice had faded: “That seems to make the pictures of Nâraka more real. They are

not old wives' fables, after all, if the astral world contains such results of

crime committed here.”

“But Ibrahim will not always be hunter like this”, said our Youngest, pitifully,

as ripples of the loveliest rose-colour played through his aura.

“Surely not,” answered the Vagrant, smiling at the boy. “Eternal hell is but a

frightful dream of ignorance, following on the loss of the glorious doctrine of

reincarnation, which shows us that all suffering but teaches a necessary lesson.

Nor need every suicide learn his lesson under such sad conditions as surrounded

poor Ibrahim. Tell us about that suicide, Shepherd, whom you and our Youngest

helped the other night.”

“Oh! that's nothing of a story,” quoth the Shepherd, lazily. “It is a mere

description. But such as it is you are welcome to it. There was a man who had

got into a number of troubles, over which he had worried himself to an

inadmissible extent, worried himself to the verge of brain-fever, in fact. He

was a very good young fellow in his healthy, normal state, but had reduced

himself to a pitiable wreck of shattered nerves. In this condition he walked

over a field where, some sixty years ago, a roué had committed suicide, and this

elementary, attracted by his morbid gloom, attached himself to him, and began to

instil thoughts of suicide into his mind. This roué had squandered a fortune in

gambling and wild living, and, blaming the world for his own faults, had died by

his own hand, swearing to revenge on others his fancied wrongs. This he had done

inconsequently by impelling into suicide people whose frame of mind laid them

open to his influence, and our poor friend became his prey. After struggling

through a few days filled with his diabolical promptings, the overstrained

nerves gave way, and he committed suicide, shooting himself in this very same

field. Needless to say that he found himself on the other side on the lowest

subplane of kâmaloka, amid the dreary conditions with which we are familiar.

There he remained, very gloomy and miserable, weighed down with remorse, and

subjected to the gibes and taunts of his successful tempter, until at last he

began to believe that hell was a reality, and that he would never be able to

escape from his unhappy state. He had been thus for some eight years when our

Youngest found him,” went on the Shepherd, drawing the boy closer to him, “and,

being young in such scenes, broke into such a passion of pity and sympathy that

he flung himself back into his physical body, and awoke sobbing bitterly. I had,

after comforting him, to point out that sympathy of that kind was a little

ineffective, and then we went back together and found our unhappy friend. We

explained matters to him, cheered him, encouraged him, making him understand

that he was only held captive by his own conviction that he could not rise, and

in a few days' time we had the happiness of seeing him free from this lowest

region. He has been progressing since and before long, probably within a year or

so, he will pass on into Devachan. Nothing of a story, as I told you.”

“A very good story,” corrected the Doctor, “and quite necessary to take the

flavour of the Vagrant's horrors out of our psychic mouths.”

“To start another subject,” said the Archivarius; “here is a very interesting

account from Sweden of an apparition at the time of death, seen by sixteen

persons. It is sent by one of our members.”

“Keep it for next time,” suggested the Scholar, “for it groweth late, and we are

wanted elsewhere.” 1. The stories given in these monthly records will be

authentic, unless the contrary be definitely stated in any particular case; that

is, they will be real experiences. - A.B.





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (2a)

first published in  Theosophical Review v22 April 1898 p177-181

When the friends gathered for their monthly symposium, there was a general cry

for the ‘ghost story’ promised by the Archivarius, and in response she drew from

her pocket a bulky letter, saying: “The letter is from one of our students,

Freya, who is often in Sweden, and it tells a story related to her during a

recent visit. She says: ‘During the autumn of 1896, while traveling from the

east coast of the island of Gothland towards the town of Wisby, I was invited to

pass a night at the Rectory of D ----. The priest of this parish, a man of about

fifty years of age, is a most earnest and devoted worker in the interest of the

extremely fine Church which has fallen to his cure, and he desires most

intensely to be able to restore this wonderful piece of architecture in a way

that shall be worthy of it. He is most energetic in his efforts to raise the

necessary funds, and loses no opportunity of furthering this object. I was much

impressed by the face of this our friend, Pastor O ----. I thought it peculiarly

benign and peaceful, with clear, expressive eyes which seemed to tell me that

something more than ordinary vision belonged to them; the shape of his mouth

also was firm and decided, but singularly sweet, After supper that evening we

sat talking in one of the rooms adjoining his study. I had discovered that the

rector was musical, but from music he wandered into the domain of mysticism, and

discussed things of a psychic nature. I found that my impression concerning our

friend was not mistaken, for when once on the subject he seemed quite at home in

it, and gave us numerous instances of his own psychic experiences, not as if he

thought them very remarkable, for it seemed that they had belonged to him all

his life. It is one of these which I am going to relate to you, giving it, as

far as I can remember, in his own words: - "During some years of my boyhood," he

began, "I was at school in the Parish of Tingstäde, and as my home was at some

distance, I was lodged, in company with another school-fellow, at the house of a

resident named Fru Smith. This good lady had a tolerably large house, and gained

her livelihood by taking boarders and lodgers; in fact, there were no less than

sixteen people living there at the time of which I am speaking. Fru Smith also

acted occasionally in the capacity of midwife and was often absent. Late one

afternoon in mid-winter she informed us that she was going away on a visit, and

could not possibly return until some time the following day, so she arranged

everything necessary for our meals, etc., and bidding us to be very careful with

regard to lights and fire, she left us, and as usual during the evening we were

occupied in preparing our lessons for the next day. By half-past nine we were in

bed, and had locked our door and put out our lamp, but there was sufficient

light in the room coming from the glowing wood-ashes in the stove to enable us

to see everything quite distinctly. We were quietly talking, when suddenly we

saw - standing by our bed-side and regarding us most intently - the figure of a

tall, middle-aged man looking like a peasant, dressed in ordinary grey clothes,

but with what appeared to us as a big white patch on the left leg, and another

on the left breast. My companion nudged me sharply, and whispered, 'What ugly

man is that?' I signed to him to be silent, and we both lay still watching

eagerly. The man stood looking at us for a long time, and then he turned and

began walking up and down the room, his footsteps seeming to cause a rasping

sound as if he were walking upon snow. He went over to the chest of drawers and

opened and shut them all, as if looking for something, and after that he went to

the stove and began to blow gently upon the yet glowing ashes, holding out his

hands as if to warm them. After this, he returned to our bed-side and again

stood looking at us. As we gazed at him we observed that we could see things

through him. we saw plainly the bureau on the other side of the room through his

body, and whilst we were looking his form seemed gradually to disappear, and

vanished from our sight. The strangeness of this caused us to feel uneasy and

nervous, but we did not stir from our bed, and at last fell asleep. Our door was

still locked when we got up in the morning, but in mentioning what we had

witnessed we heard that the same ghostly visitor had appeared in every room in

the house - the doors of which were all locked - and that every one of the

sixteen persons sleeping there that night had seen the same figure. Moreover

some of these people who had been resident there for a length of time recognised

the figure as that of the husband of our landlady, a worthless sort of fellow

who had never settled usefully to anything, and had lived away from his wife for

some years, so that he had long been a wanderer on the face of the earth. This

strange coincidence naturally caused some of the residents to make enquiries

whether such a person had been seen anywhere in the neighbourhood, and it was

ascertained that the same evening a little after nine o'clock he had called at a

farmhouse two miles distant, and had asked for a night's lodging; as there was

no room he had been directed to the next farm, which was across a field near by.

Upon hearing this the investigators at once looked in the snow for traces of his

footsteps, and very soon they came across them. After following them a little

way they came upon a wooden shoe, and a few yards further on they discovered the

dead body of the man himself, half buried in a deep snow-drift. On turning the

body over it was perceived that a large frozen clump of snow adhered to the left

breast, and another to the left knee, precisely on the same spots where we had

remarked the white patches on the clothing of the apparition. Although I was but

a boy when this happened, it made such a deep and lasting impression upon me

that the memory of it has remained with me most vividly all through my life. I

have had other experiences, but this is certainly one of the most remarkable

that has ever occurred to me." And if you had heard the story as I did, told

simply and clearly, without any attempt at elaboration, you would have no doubt

of its veracity.’ A very good and reasonable ghost story, I think,” concluded

the Archivarius.

“He must have been an unusually visible ghost,” remarked our Youngest. “Surely

all the sixteen people cannot have had astral vision.”

“Etheric vision would have been enough, under the circumstances,” said the

Vagrant. “The man would have just left the dense body and would have been

clothed in his etheric. Many people are so near the development of etheric

vision that a slight tension of the nerves will bring it about; in their normal

state of health these very same people are etherically blind. A friend of mine

at times developed this sense; if she were over-worked, ill or mentally

distressed, she would begin ‘to see ghosts’, and they would disappear again when

her nerves regained their tone. She had a very distressing experience on one

occasion, immediately after the passing over of a much-loved friend; the latter

lady appeared as a ghost, still clothed in her disintegrating etheric body, and

this very hideous garment decayed away with the decaying buried corpse, so that

the poor ghost became more ragged, ghastlier and ghastlier in appearance as time

went on. Madame Blavatsky, seeing the uncanny visitor hanging about the house

and garden, very kindly set her free from her unusual encumbrance, and she then

passed on into a normal astral life. Still, etheric vision is not sufficiently

common to quite explain the seeing of our Swedish ghost by so many people.”

“There seem to be two ways in which a ghost may succeed in showing himself to

people who are not possessed of either astral or etheric vision,” commented the

Shepherd. “Either he may temporarily stimulate the physical sight, raising it to

the etheric power, or he may densify himself sufficiently to be seen by ordinary

sight. I think we do not quite understand how the ordinary astral person

materialises himself. We know well enough how to materialise our own astral

bodies at need, and we have seen our Youngest materialise himself by a strong

emotion and wish to help, though he does not yet know how to do it

scientifically and at will. But after what we call death, the disembodied soul

does not normally understand how to materialise himself, although he may quickly

master the art under instruction, as may be seen at many spiritualistic séances.

When a person shows himself after death to ordinary vision, I suspect he is

generally dominated by some strong wish and is trying to express it;

unconsciously he materialises himself under the play of this wish, but the modus

operandi is not clear to me. Probably this man was longing for shelter, his

thoughts turned homewards intensely, and this gave the impulse which

materialised him.”

“He may have been vaguely seeking his wife,” added the Marchesa. “Many a

vagabond who has made home unendurable comes back to it in trouble. Probably he

was less unpleasant in his etheric than in his dense form!”

“We should not forget,” said the Doctor. “that there is another possibility in

such an appearance. The brain of the dying may send out a vigorous thought which

impinges on the brain of the person he thinks of, there giving rise to a

picture, a mental image, of himself. This may be projected outwards by the

receiver, and be seen by him as an objective form. Then we should have a

hallucinatory appearance, as our friends of the SPR would say.”

“Earth-bound astrals are responsible for more appearances than etheric doubles,”

remarked the Vagrant. “It is very curious how they hang about places where they

have committed crimes.”

“Still more curious, perhaps,” chimed in the Shepherd, “when they hang round

articles, as in one case I came across. A friend of mine had a dagger which was

said to have the gruesome property of inspiring anyone who took hold of it with

a longing to kill some woman. My friend was sceptical, but still eyed the dagger

a little doubtfully, for when he had himself taken hold of it he felt so ‘queer’

that he had quickly put it down again. There seemed no doubt that two women at

least had, as a matter of fact. been murdered with it, I took the thing away to

make some experiments, and sat down quietly by myself, holding the dagger. A

curious kind of dragging at me began, as though someone were trying to make me

move away; I declined to stir, and looked to see what it was. I saw a

wild-looking man, a Pathan, I think, who seemed very angry at my not going where

he pushed me, and he was trying to get into me, as it were, an attempt that I

naturally resisted. I asked him what he was doing, but he did not understand. So

I looked from higher up, and saw that his wife had left him for another man, and

that he had found them together and had stabbed them with the man's own dagger,

the very one I was then holding. He had then sworn revenge against the whole

sex, and had killed his wife's sister and another woman before he was himself

stabbed. He had then attached himself to the dagger, and had obsessed its

various owners, pushing them to murder women, and, to his savage delight, had

met with much success. Great was his wrath at my unexpected resistance. As I

could not make him understand me, I handed him over to an Indian friend, who

gradually led him to a better view of life, and he agreed that his dagger should

be broken up and buried. I accordingly broke it in pieces and buried it.”

“Where?” demanded our Youngest eagerly, apparently bent on digging it up again.

“Outside the compound at Adyar,” quoth the Shepherd comfortably, feeling it was

well out of reach; and he finished sotto voce: “I should have broken it up all

the same, whether the Pathan had permitted it or not. Still, it was better for

him that he should agree to it.”

“This month's ghosts,” said the Scholar, “are not exactly pleasant company.

Surely we might find some more reputable astrals than these?”

“Really useful astrals are more often pupils busied in service than ordinary

ghosts,” answered the Vagrant. “Let us bring up next month cases of work lately

done on the astral plane.”

A chorus of “Agreed” closed the sitting.





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (3a)

first published in  Theosophical Review May 1898 v22 pages 274-280

“It is interesting to notice”, said the Vagrant, when the friends had gathered

round the fire for their monthly chat, “how often we come across stories of

sea-captains who have been roused and induced to change their course by some

mysterious visitant. On one of my many voyages I travelled with a captain who

told me some of his own experiences, and among these he related one about a man

in a dripping waterproof who had come to him in his cabin, and had begged him to

steer in a particular direction so as to save some castaways. The captain did

so, and found a party of shipwrecked sailors, one of whom he recognised as his

visitor. The best and most typical of all these tales is perhaps the one which

Robert Dale Owen tells so well in his Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World

- that in which the mate sees a stranger writing on the captain's slate the

laconic order, ‘Steer to the north-west’. The captain, hearing the mate's story

and seeing the written words, decides to follow the suggestion, and by so doing

saves from a wreck a number of people, one of whom is at once recognised by the

mate as the mysterious visitant. A somewhat similar story, though differing

curiously in some of the details, lately appeared in one of our daily papers,

and though this be an unverified one it is typical enough to put on record. It

is headed, ‘Crew Saved by a Ghost,’ but the ghost seems to have been the soul of

a man living in this world, clothed in the astral body, as is normally the case

during sleep. Here it is:” “Many strange incidents occur at sea, but none more

so than that which befell Captain Benner, of the brig "Mohawk", a small vessel

engaged in the West Indian trade. After leaving St. Thomas, her last port of

call, on one voyage the brig was steering a north-westerly course, homeward

bound, beating up under short canvas again{st} high winds and heavy seas

following in the wake of a hurricane which had traversed the tropics five or six

days before. Her captain, who had been some hours on deck, went below at

midnight, after directing the first officer, who was on watch, to keep the

course then steered, and to call him in case of any change for the worse in the

weather. He lay down upon a sofa in the main cabin, but as the brig's bell

struck twice, became conscious of the figure of a man, wearing a green

sou'wester, standing beside him in the dim light of the cabin lamp. Then he

heard the words, ‘Change your course to the sou'west, captain.’ Captain Benner

got up and went on deck, where he found that the weather had moderated and that

the brig was carrying more sail and making better headway. He asked the mate on

duty why he had sent down to call him, to which that officer replied that he had

not done so. The captain, fancying that he had been dreaming, went back to the

cabin, but he was disturbed soon again by a second visit from the man in the

green sou'wester, who repeated his previous order and vanished up the

companionway. The captain, now thoroughly aroused, jumped up and pursued the

retreating figure, but saw no one until he met the mate on watch, who insisted

that he had not sent any messenger below. Mystified and perplexed, Captain

Benner returned to the cabin only to see his singular visitor reappear, to hear

him repeat the order to change the course to sou'west, with the added warning -

“If you do not it will soon be too late!” and to see him disappear as before.

Going on deck he gave the necessary orders for the change in the ship's course

to south-west. The officers of the brig were not only surprised but also

indignant, and finally determined to seize their captain and put him in irons,

when, soon after daybreak, the look-out forward reported some object dead ahead.

As the vessel kept on, it was made out to be a ship's boat. As it ranged abeam

it was seen to contain four men lying under its thwarts, one of whom wore a

green sou'wester. The ‘Mohawk’ was promptly hove to, a boat lowered, and the

castaways taken in. The castaways proved to be the captain and three men, the

only survivors of the crew of a vessel which had gone down in the hurricane, and


they had been drifting helplessly without food for five or six days. The green

sou'wester was the property of the rescued captain. A few days later when he had

recovered sufficiently to be able to leave his berth, he was sitting one day in

the main cabin of the brig with Captain Benner. He suddenly asked his host

whether he believed in dreams. ‘Since I have been here,’ he continued, ‘I have

been thinking how familiar this cabin looks. I think that I have been here

before. In the night before you picked me up I dreamed that I came to you here

in this cabin and told you to change your course to sou'west. The first time you

took no notice of me, and I came the second time, in vain; but the third time

you changed your course, and I woke to find your ship alongside of us.’ Then

Captain Benner, who had noticed the resemblance of the speaker to his mysterious

visitor, told his own story of that night. In most of these cases,” concluded

the Vagrant, “the visitor is probably a pupil, serving on the astral plane, but

occasionally one of the sufferers is himself the bringer of help.”

“That is so,” said the Shepherd, “but it is a very common occurrence for one of

the ‘invisible helpers’ trained in our own circle to seek physical aid in this

way for the shipwrecked. Sometimes a very vivid dream, cause by throwing an idea

into the captain's mind while he is asleep, is sufficient to persuade him to

take action, for sailors, as a rule, believe in the ‘supernatural’, as people

foolishly call our larger life. The dream, followed by a prompt awakening,

prompt enough to cause a slight shock, is often enough. It is often possible

also to prevent an accident which one sees approaching - such as a fire or

collision - by the same means, or by rousing the captain suddenly and making him

think uneasily of such an occurrence, so that he may go on deck, or look round

the ship carefully, as the case may be. A great deal more of this work might be

done if only there were a larger number of our students willing to live the life

which is necessary in order to qualify them for service when the soul is out of

the body during sleep.”

“And the work is certainly its own reward,” answered the Vagrant. “You remember

that steamer that went down in the cyclone at the end of last November; I betook

myself to the cabin where about a dozen women had been shut in, and they were

wailing in the most pitiful manner, sobbing and moaning with fear. The ship had

to founder - no aid was possible - and to go out of the world in this state of

frantic terror is the worst possible way to enter the next. So in order to calm

them I materialised myself, and of course they thought I was an angel, poor

souls, and they all fell on their knees and prayed me to save them, and one poor

mother pushed her baby into my arms, imploring me to save that, at least. They

soon grew quiet and composed as we talked, and the wee baby went to sleep

smiling, and presently they all fell asleep peacefully, and I filled their minds

with thoughts of the heaven-world, so that they did not wake when the ship made

her final plunge downwards. I went down with them to ensure their sleeping

through the last moments, and they never stirred as their sleep became death.

One or two of them, it may be hoped, will not awaken until the dream of the

heaven-world gives place to the reality, and the soul regains consciousness amid

the light and melody of Devachan.”

“It is curious what tricks one's etheric brain often plays one in these

matters,” remarked the Scholar. “I often find myself in the morning recalling

the events of the night as though I had myself been the hero of the tragedy in

which I was simply a helper. For instance, the other night up in the hills among

the fighting, I was doing my best to avert a serious accident, and in the course

of the work had to help one of our Tommies who was bringing up a gun, driving at

a headlong pace down a breakneck sort of path, and it seemed to my waking memory

that I had been driving the horses myself. And I remember one night when I had

tried to drag a fellow away who was working in a building where there was going

to be a big explosion, and had failed to make him move, that when the explosion

came and I went up with him, and explained to him as he shot out of his body

that it was all right, and that there was nothing to be alarmed about - the next

morning the impression on my mind was that I had been exploded, and thought it

was all right after all, and I could taste the choking gas and the mud and slush

quite plainly.”

“Yes, you have an odd way of identifying yourself with the people you help,”

commented the Shepherd. “It seems a kind of sympathy, making you experience for

the time just what they experience, and on waking the brain mixes up the

identities, and appropriates the whole.”

“Bruno used to describe our lower nature as an ass,” quoth the Vagrant, “and

there really is a good deal of the ass in the body we have to use down here, to

say nothing of the asinine attributes of the astral body, at least until it is

thoroughly cleaned up, and confined to its proper function as a mere vehicle.

But what was that story I heard a bit of the other day, about our Youngest

saving a boy in a big fire somewhere? You tell it us, Doctor.”

“Properly speaking, the story is not mine to tell,” said the Doctor. “I was not

present on the occasion; but as nearly as I can recall, it ran something like

this. It seems that some time ago the Shepherd and our Youngest here were

passing over the States one night, when they noticed the fierce glare of a big

fire below them, and promptly dived down to see if they could be of any use. It

was one of these huge American caravanserais, on the edge of one of the great

lakes, which was in flames. The hotel, many stories in height, formed three

sides of a square round a sort of garden, planted with trees and flowers while

the lake formed the fourth side. The two wings ran right down to the lake, the

big bay windows which terminated them almost projecting over the water, so as to

leave only quite a narrow passage-way under them at the two sides. The front and

wings were built round inside wells, which contained also the elevator shafts of

lattice work, so that when the fire broke out, it spread with almost incredible

rapidity. Before our friends saw it on their astral journey all the middle

floors in each of the three great blocks were in flames, though fortunately the

inmates - except one little boy - had already been rescued, though some of them

had sustained very serious burns and other injuries.”

“This little fellow had been forgotten in one of the upper rooms of the left

wing, for his parents were out at a ball, and knew nothing of the fire, while

naturally enough no one else thought of the lad till it was far too late, and

the fire had gained such a hold on the middle floors of that wing that nothing

could have been done, even if anyone had remembered him, as his room faced on to

the inner garden which has been mentioned, so that he was completely cut off

from all outside help. Besides, he was not even aware of his danger, for the

dense, suffocating smoke had gradually so filled the room that his sleep had

grown deeper and deeper till he was completely stupefied. In this state he was

discovered by our Youngest, who, as you know, seems to be specially attracted

towards children in need or danger. He first tried to make some of the people

outside remember the lad, but in vain; and in any case no help could have been

given, so that the Shepherd soon saw that nothing could be done in that way. He

then materialised Cyril - as he has done before - in the lad's room, and set him

to work to awaken and rouse up the more than half-stupefied child. After a good

deal of difficulty this was accomplished to some extent, but the lad seems to

have remained in a half-dazed, semi-conscious condition all through what

followed, so that he needed to be pushed and pulled about, guided and helped at

every turn.”

“The two boys first crept out of the room into the central passage which ran

through the wing, and then finding that the smoke and the flames beginning to

come through the floor made it impassable, our little one got the other lad back

into the room again and out of the window on to a stone ledge, about a foot

wide, which ran right along the block just below the windows. Along this he

managed to guide his companion, balancing himself half on the extreme edge of

the ledge, and half walking on the air on the outside of the other, so keeping

him from dizziness and preventing him from becoming afraid of a fall. On getting

near the end of the block nearest the lake, in which direction the fire seemed

least developed, they climbed in through an open window and again reached the

passage, hoping to find the staircase at that end still passable. But it was too

full of flame and smoke; so they crawled back along the passage, with their

mouths close to the ground, till they reached the latticed cage of the lift

running down the long well in the centre of the block. The lift of course was at

the bottom, but they managed to clamber down the lattice work inside the cage

till they stood on the roof of the elevator itself. Here they found themselves

blocked, but luckily Cyril discovered a doorway opening from the cage of the

lift on to a sort of entresol above the ground floor of the block. Through this

they reached a passage, crossed it, half-stifled by the smoke, made their way

through one of the rooms opposite, and finally, clambering out of the window,

found themselves on the top of the verandah which ran all along in front of the

ground floor, between it and the garden. Thence it was easy enough to swarm down

one of the pillars and reach the garden itself; but even there the heat was

intense, and the danger, when the walls should fall, very considerable. So the

two lads tried to make their way round at the end first of one, then of the

other wing; but in both cases the flame had burst through, the narrow overhung

passages were quite impassable. Finally they took refuge in one of the pleasure

boats, which were moored to the steps that led down from the sort of quay at the

edge of the garden into the lake, and, casting loose, rowed out on to the


“Cyril intended to row round past the burning wing, and land the lad whom he had

saved; but when they got some little way out, they fell in with a passing lake

steamer, and they were seen - for the whole scene was lit up by the glare of the

burning hotel. till everything was as plain as in broad daylight. The steamer

came alongside the boat to take them off; but instead of the two boys they had

seen, found only one - for the Shepherd had promptly allowed our little one to

slip back into his astral form, dissipating the denser matter which had made for

the time a material body, and he was therefore invisible. A careful search was

made, of course, but no trace could be found, and so it was concluded that the

second boy must have fallen overboard and been drowned just as they came

alongside. The lad who had been saved fell into a dead faint as soon as he had

been got on board, so could give no information, and when he did recover, all he

could say was that he had seen the other boy the moment before they got

alongside, and then knew nothing more.”

“The steamer was bound down the lake to a place some two days' sail distant, and

it was a week or so before the rescued lad could be restored to his parents, who

of course thought that he had perished in the flames; for though an effort was

made to impress on their minds the fact that their son had been saved, it was

found impossible to convey the idea to them.”

“That's much more dramatic than my little story,” observed the Archivarius,

“though my people were certainly quite as dense and unimpressible - more so,

indeed, than the camels they were using as beasts of burden.”

“Stop”, broke in the Marchesa, “we really must break up, or some one will go

unhelped in reality, while we are telling stories of past incidents. So let us

leave our Archivarius and the camels for a future occasion.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (4a)

first printed  Theosophical Review June 1898 v22 p364-368

“It is all very well to talk about helping people out of their difficulties, but

they are often very difficult to help,” quoth the Archivarius plaintively, when

the friends gathered under a large tree in the garden, to which they had

adjourned by unanimous consent for their summer symposia. “I had a curious

experience the other night, in which, despairing of impressing the dense human

understandings, I at last turned my attention to their camels, and succeeded

with them while I had failed with their owners!”

“Tell us, tell us!” cried the Youngest eagerly. “We don't often get an animal

story, and yet there must be plenty of things that happen to them, if we only


“Result of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle books,” murmured the Shepherd sotto voce.

“He will be looking for the grey wolf and the black panther on the astral


“Well, why not?” said the boy mischievously. “I am sure that you like some cats

better than some humans.”

The Shepherd smiled demurely. “We were talking about camels, I believe, not

cats. Cats ‘are another story.’ Go on with yours, Archivarius,” said he.

“It is a very little one,” answered the person appealed to, looking up from her

seat on the grass. (The Archivarius was fond of sitting cross-legged like an

Indian.) “I happened to be crossing some desert place, I don't know where, and

chanced on a party of people who had lost their way, and were in terrible

distress for want of water. The party consisted of three Englishmen and an

Englishwoman, with servants, drivers and camels. I knew somehow that if they

would travel in a certain direction they would come to an oasis with water, and

I wanted to impress this idea on the mind of one of them; but they were in such

a pitiable state of terror and despair that all my efforts were unsuccessful. I

first tried the woman, who was praying wildly, but she was too frantic to reach;

her mind was like a whirlpool, and it was impossible to get any definite thought

into it.

‘Save us, O God! O God! save us!’ she kept on wailing, but would not have

sufficient faith to calm her mind and make it possible for help to reach her.

Then I tried the men one after the other, but the Englishmen were too busy

making wild suggestions, and the Mahommedan drivers too stolidly submissive to

fate, for my thought to rouse their attention. In despair I tried the camels,

and to my delight succeeded in impressing the animals with the sense of water in

their neighbourhood. They began to show signs familiar to their drivers as

indicating the presence of water in the vicinity, and at last I got the whole

caravan started in the right direction. So much for human stolidity and animal


“The lower forms of psychism,” remarked the Vagrant sententiously, “are more

frequent in animals and in very unintelligent human beings than in men and women

in whom the intellectual powers are well developed. They appear to be connected

with the sympathetic system, not with the cerebro-spinal. The large nucleated

ganglionic cells in this system contain a very large proportion of etheric

matter, and are hence more easily affected by the coarser astral vibrations than

are the cells in which the proportion is less. As the cerebro-spinal system

developes, and the brain becomes more highly evolved, the sympathetic system

subsides into a subordinate position, and the sensitiveness to psychic

vibrations is dominated by the stronger and more active vibrations of the higher

nervous system. It is true that at a later stage of evolution psychic

sensitiveness reappears, but it is then developed in connection with the

cerebro-spinal centres, and is brought under the control of the will. But the

hysterical and ill-regulated psychism of which we see so many lamentable

examples is due to the small development of the brain and the dominance of the

sympathetic system.”

“That is an ingenious and plausible theory,” remarked the Doctor, “and throws

light on many singular and obscure cases. Is it a theory only, or is it founded

on observation?” he asked.

“Well, it is a theory founded on at present very inadequate observations,”

answered the Vagrant. “The few observations made distinctly indicate this

explanation of the physical basis of the lower and higher psychism, and it

tallies with the facts observed as to the astral senses in animals and in human

beings of low intellectual development, and also with the evolutionary relations

of the two nervous systems. Both in the evolution of living things and in the

evolution of the physical body of man, the sympathetic system precedes the

cerebro-spinal in its activities and becomes subordinated to the latter in the

more evolved condition.”

“That is certainly so evolutionally and physiologically,” replied the Doctor

reflectively, “and it may well be true when we come to deal with the astral

faculties in relation to the physical basis through which they are manifested

down here.”

“Speaking of animals reminds me of nature-spirits,” said the Scholar, “for they

are sometimes spoken of as the animals of the Deva evolution. I had a visit the

other night from some jolly little fellows, who seemed inclined to be quite

friendly. One was a little water elemental, a nice wet thing, but I am afraid I

frightened him away, and I have not been able to find him since.”

“They are naturally suspicious of human beings,” remarked the Shepherd, “we

being such a destructive race; but it is quite possible to get into friendly

relations with them.”

“Mediaeval literature is full of stories about nature-spirits,” chimed in the

Abbé, who had dropped in that evening on one of his rare visits to London. “We

find them of all sorts - fairies and elves, friendly or mischievous, gnomes,


undines, imps, and creatures of darker kinds, who take part in all sorts of


“It was a strange idea,” mused the Vagrant, “that which represented them as

irresponsible beings without souls, but capable of acquiring immortality through

the mediation of man. Our Maiden Aunt sent me a charming story the other day

from Jacob Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie about one of the water-sprites. Speaking

of the offerings made to them by men, he writes: ‘Although Christianity forbade

such offerings and represented the old water-sprites as devilish beings, the

people nevertheless retained a certain fear and reverence for them, and indeed

have not yet given up all belief in their power and influence: they deem them

unholy (unselige) beings, but such as may some day be partakers in salvation. To

this state of feeling belongs the touching legend that the water-sprite, or

Neck, not only requires an offering for his instructions in music, but a promise

of resurrection and redemption. Two boys were playing by a stream; the Neck sat

and played on his harp; the children cried to him; "Neck! why dost thou sit

there and play? Thou canst not be saved." Then the Neck began to weep bitterly,

threw away his harp, and sank into the deep water. When the children came home,

they told their father, who was a priest, what had happened. The father said "Ye

have sinned against the Neck; go back, comfort him, and promise him redemption."

When they returned to the stream, the Neck was sitting on the bank, moaning and

weeping. The children said: "Weep not so, Neck; our father has said that thy

Redeemer also liveth." Then the Neck joyfully took his harp and played sweetly

till long after sunset.’ Thus runs the tale.”

“That was a very easy way of saving him; generally one was expected to marry the

sprite,” remarked the Abbé ruefully, as though recalling some uncanny mediaeval

experience. “One had to accept purgatory here in order to gain for the creature

entrance into paradise hereafter.”

A burst of laughter greeted this pathetic utterance, and some of the mediaeval

ideas still persist; in a letter from Italy received the other day the following

curious account is given: ‘At a village called Gerano, near Tivoli, about

seventeen miles from Rome, it is the custom of the wet-nurses, especially on the

Eve of St John, to strew salt on the pathway leading to their houses, and to

place two new besoms in the form of a cross on the threshold, in the belief that

they thus are protecting their nurslings from the power of witches. It is

believed that the witches must count every grain of salt and every hair or stick

in the brooms before they are able to enter the houses, and this labour must be

finished before sunrise; after that time they are powerless to inflict any evil

upon the children. In the Marche near Ancona on the shores of the Adriatic, it

is considered necessary at all times - so I am told by the portress here, who is

a native of that part - where there are children at the breast, never to be

without salt or leaven in the house. Further, they must not leave the children's

clothes or swathingbands out to dry after sunset, and should they be obliged to

take them out after that time they must be careful to walk with them close to

the houses, under the shadow of the eaves, and if crossing an open place to do

so as quickly as possible; these precautions are also against witches. I was

also told by the portress that one day her mother, after having washed and

swaddled a little brother, laid him on the bed, and left the house for a short

time on an errand to one of the shops near. On returning she found the house

door open (this formed an angular space behind it), and on going to the bed she

found it vacant. This did not at first alarm her, as she thought a neighbour had

possibly heard the child cry, and had taken it into her house. On enquiry,

however, no one had seen it or heard it cry, and this caused alarm and search.

After some time the mother, on closing the door, found the child on the floor,

face downwards, and almost black with suffocation; you may imagine the

consternation. The fact was attributed to witches, and the sister says that

during the whole of his life - which ended in decline when he was about

twenty-seven - he was always unfortunate.’

“Poor witches! they have been the scapegoats of human ignorance and fear from

time immemorial,” commented the Doctor. “It is well for many of our mesmerists

and mediums that they live in the nineteenth century. But it is quite possible

that we may see a modern witchcraft scare, if occult forces become known and any

of them are used malignly.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (1)

first printed in The Theosophist, April, 1909, p78-84

A mighty banyan-tree, spreading level branches far and wide, and roots

down-dropping, fixed pillar-wise in earth. Plants of variegated foliage, grouped

together here and there, breaking the smooth expanse of sand. A sago-palm,

rearing lofty head, with heavy tassels swinging slowly in the sea-breeze of the

evening. A blue-black sky above, with heaven's eyes glancing downwards through

the leaves, with a brilliance unknown to the dusky twilights of the northern

island far away. A crescent moon, gleaming like a silver scimitar in the zenith.

A soft pulse beating in the near distance, the pulse of a quiet sea. Close by, a

lapping of water against a shelving bank. Sometimes the click of a lizard, the

heavy beating of droning wings. Over all, through all, the incomparable magic of

the East.

The circle has links with earlier twilight hours. The Shepherd is there,

meditative, smiling, slow-moving, gentle, as of old. The Vagrant, too, has

journeyed hither, vagrant all the worlds over, it would seem. The rest are

new-comers to the Twilight Hour, but will introduce themselves as time goes on.


The Vagrant threw the first ball: “There will be a regular outcry among some of

our members when they see that the Twilight Hour has again daw ... no, twilight

does not dawn; let us say, struck. ‘There!’ they will say; ‘we told you so! the

reign of psychism has begun’. I wonder why people, who use physical brains and

senses as a vehicle for their intelligence, throw so much cold water on the use


of a somewhat finer brain and senses for the same intelligence, and why they

object to the study of the astral world while they applaud that of the physical.

We all, without exception, have to go into the astral world a few years hence.

It does not seem unreasonable that we should acquaint ourselves with it


“Yes,” mused the Shepherd. “If one is going to India, one enquires about

suitable clothes, visits an outfitter, buys a map, perhaps even tries to learn a

little of the language, and that is called ‘making reasonable arrangements.’ Why

should the ‘land on the other side of death’ be the only one about which it is

better to remain ignorant until we reach it?”

“But people ask: What is the practical use of such knowledge?” said the Lawyer.

“They are afraid that it may turn away our minds from the deeper side of

spiritual truths.”

“It should not do so,” opined the Vagrant, “for it ever proclaims the great law:

‘As a man soweth, so shall he reap.’ The student of life-conditions on the other

wide is being ever reminded that this law is still operative in the worlds

beyond death, and that much that we sow here is reaped there. It makes belief in

karma and re-incarnation strong and firm. All religious teachers have insisted

on the relation of heaven and hell to the life led upon earth, and their

insistence must have been, presumably, based on their first-hand knowledge that

such states existed; moreover, many of them go into considerable detail in

dealing with the subject. Our objectors are in the curious position of

reverencing the Sages of the past, who included in their teachings an exposition

of these matters based on their own investigations, and of denouncing all who,

in modern days, venture humbly to tread in their steps. Unless we are content

with second-hand knowledge, we must either follow their example and investigate,

or fall back on the much more undesirable methods of the séance-room.”

“Some people say that such knowledge does not prove that the man possessing it

is of high character,” remarked the Magian.

“Nor does the fact that a man is a fine chemist prove that he is a

philanthropist,” replied the Vagrant; “yet chemistry is none the less a valuable

addition to human knowledge. It may, however, be said that personal

investigations into after-death states must inevitably re-act in the

purification of character here, for no one who has seen the results of evil

there will lightly commit it here. I remember a striking illustration of such

results, though that was not a case of investigation, but occurred at a

spiritualistic séance ...”

“Oh! a story, a story,” cried several voices, and there was a little rustling of

expectation, while the large eyes of the Fiddler grew intent and serious.

“Yes, a story,” smiled the Vagrant. “The Shepherd and I, once upon a time, went

to a séance, at which a very small number of people, much given to such

researches, were present, with a powerful medium. Almost immediately after the

turning down of the lights, some rather violent physical manifestations began;

attempts were made to pull away chairs from under the sitters, a lady was

violently shaken, and so on. Needless to say, we were left undisturbed, but we

became alertly attentive, presaging trouble. Presently, there broke into the

silence a sound of wailing, indescribably painful, cries, sobs, as of some one

in deadly terror, and then the unhappy creature from whom they proceeded was

materialised. In ecstasies of fear, she crouched beside a lady who was one of

the sitters, pressing up against her, seeking refuge, with piteous moans and

strangled whispers: ‘Save me! save me!’ The cause of her terror soon appeared on

the scene, a huge, dark gorilla-like form, monstrous of shape and menacing of

mien, instinct with a cold and cruel malignancy, and with a certain horrid glee

- too wicked to be joy - in seeing the agonised writhings of his helpless

victim. An auric shield of protection was hastily thrown round the latter, the

lady-sitter withdrew, considerably shaken and upset, and the gorilla threw

itself furiously on the medium, flinging away his chair and hurling him to the

ground; indeed only the protection of the Shepherd rescued him from a

catastrophe, while I turned up the light. That night we sought the unhappy

woman, and found her still fleeing before her horrible tormentor, who, mouthing

and growling, pursued her through the murky gloom of the lowest worlds. Swift

action scattered the malignant thought-forces embodied in the frightful

creature, and his hunted prey sobbed herself to quietude.”

“But what was the cause of it?” asked the Painter.

“She had been a woman of evil life, taking delight in arousing the animal

passions of men, and then setting her suitors the one against the other,

laughing at their torments, when, tired of them, she flung them off, finding

only enjoyment in their pain and their misery. More than one had died because of

her, by duel or by his own hand, raving against her treachery and her cruelty.

All their anger, their hatred, their longing to be revenged, had become embodied

in this hateful form, bestial because it had grown out of bestial relations.”

“But was this the embodiment of any of these people?” queried the Lawyer,

puzzled. “For if so, was it right to destroy it?”

“It was only an artificial elemental,” said the Shepherd. “You see, all these

thoughts of hatred and revenge became aggregated into one horrible form; it was

not a normal living creature, which it would have been illegitimate to kill,

however objectionable it might have been, but a thought-form, with no life

outside the thoughts which made it, and the sooner those were scattered and

reduced to their separate being as thoughts related to their generators, mere

skandhas, the better for all the parties concerned.”

“Is it not rather dangerous to attend séances, if things like this are to be met

there?” asked a dubious voice.

“Such very unpleasant entities are not common,” said the Shepherd consolingly.

“But, you are right; attending séances is dangerous for the great majority of

people, and I think it would be well that you should understand these dangers.

They are more important for the westerns among you than for the Indians, who

have very wisely kept entirely away from such things, since they have, as a

rule, no doubts as to the continuance of life after death.”

“Tell us! tell us!” came in chorus.

The Shepherd settled himself comfortably for a long discourse. “Well, it is this

way,” he began. “But I ought to say first that in the West, where materialism

was triumphant, Spiritualism has done a great work in rescuing millions of men

and women from disbelief in immortality. It has many and great dangers, but the

good which it has done, in my personal opinion, far outweighs the harm, for it

offered the only proofs materialists would accept that a man was alive after he

was called dead; and that is a fact we should never forget, however much we may


prefer our own system.”

“The fact that it was started by a Lodge of Occultists, who are in relation, to

some extent, with the Great Lodge, as a weapon against materialism,” said the

Vagrant, “implies that it would do more good than harm. You might just mention


“Yes. An old Atlantean Lodge, in Mexico, which owes allegiance to the White

Lodge, while going along its own lines, was the originator of modern

Spiritualism. Seeing that while some could be convinced of immortality by

intellectual means, others could only be affected through the senses, these

Occultists resolved to help the latter class, which was becoming more and more

numerous in the West. Personally, I regard the intellectual proof as the most

convincing, but others can feel sure of the survival of their loved and lost

only if they can see a tangible form, or hear an audible voice. The majority of

people in the West, at the present stage of evolution, cannot grasp theosophical

teachings, and for them the spiritualistic proofs of continued life and progress

after death are valuable, especially in cases where materialistic teachings have

weakened religious beliefs.”

“Well, the greatest danger in attending séances is really that of believing too

much. The sceptic goes, finds overwhelming proof of the survival of a dead

friend, and is apt to become suddenly credulous, so that such attendance makes

for superstition. But that which is more commonly regarded as the greatest

danger is that of obsession and haunting. This often begins at a séance. At a

séance a person called a ‘medium’ is present, one whose bodies are somewhat

loosely linked together; normally, a person who is living in the physical body

can neither see nor hear a person whose lowest vehicle is an astral body, nor

can the latter see or hear the other; with the help of the medium's peculiar

characteristics, they can be brought into touch. There are three ways - apart

from telepathy - in which the ‘living’ and the ‘dead’ communicate; first, when

you go to sleep, you go into the astral world, and may communicate freely with

your friends, but on your return, when you wake, you do not as a rule remember.

Then, the ‘dead’ may appear, drawing material from a medium, and building it

into their own bodies, and thus ‘materialising’, becoming visible and tangible;

or they may speak through the medium, who is in a state of trance, or write

through him, awake or entranced wholly or partially. In this case, what is said

is much affected by the medium and his limitations, and speech may be

ungrammatical and clumsy, though in some cases this is not so. Mediums - though

with some marked exceptions - are drawn from the illiterate classes, and they

are often re-incarnations from undeveloped races or types - Negroes who had been

students of Voodoo and Obea, Middle Age witches, and the like.”

“Might not the vestal virgins of old temples re-incarnate as mediums?” said the

Scholar (not the Scholar of the earlier series.)

“They were people of higher types, as a rule,” answered the Shepherd. “But those

who were habitually thrown into trances or paroxysms by drugs might thus


“Are all uneducated?” asked the Lawyer.

“No, but most of them are, especially those who are paid. Mediums of a higher

class generally restrict their work to small and carefully chosen private

circles. Next, we must ask: who, from the other side, are likely to use mediums?

Obviously those who are nearest to the earth, not in place, but in density. And

these are mostly undesirables, frantically eager to come into touch with the

world which they have left, and grasping at every chance. If a man were bound

hand and foot and left in one of the worst slums, he would be more likely to be

found by a thief than by a philanthropist. A medium is in that position, and the

evil would be almost unmitigated, were it not for the ‘spirit-guide’, who tries

to protect the medium and to keep off the worst types. Of course, these

unfortunate beings, murderers, suicides, criminals of all sorts, ought to be

helped, but the séance is not the place for helping them. The sitters there are

begged to be passive, negative, and hence are very easily taken hold of.

Moreover, this condition of passivity is physically harmful, for matter is drawn

from all of them. I once had a medium on a weighing-machine during some

materialisations, and on one occasion it showed a loss of weight by the medium

amounting to 44 lbs. I have seen a man shrink till he looked a boy, with his

clothes hanging loose. Naturally, such conditions are followed by frightful

exhaustion, and the unhappy victim often takes to heavy drinking in order to

recover. This, again, re-acts, and encourages the lowest types of obsessing


“Would not physical matter thus drawn away be returned polluted?” asked the


“Most certainly, and both the medium and the sitters suffer in this way.

Moreover, the low-class entities who throng séances make desperate efforts to

seize on the sitters, taking advantage of any weak points.”

“What sort of weak points?” queried the Youth.

“Nervous overstrain, or strong passions, such as violent temper or hysteria. And

even if the sitter be too strong to be obsessed, the entity may follow him home,

and seize on any weak member of his family. Fortunately, India is almost free

from these séances, and, even if they come in your way, you should not go to

them; the dangers are too great. It is only worth while to face these dangers if

you are a materialist, and do not believe that personal life persists on the

other wide of death. For you must remember that you cannot protect yourself

against these dangers as can the trained student. Moreover, you are very likely

to be deceived; unless you have studied Occultism you cannot distinguish whether

the entity is what he pretends to be or not; any thing you know, he can read

from your mind, or he may read from the empty shell of a friend who has gone on.

Sometimes deception is done with good intent, as when a man in the astral world

saved a broken-hearted mother from madness by pretending to be her child, and

justified the deception as on a par with promising anything to a delirious

patient. I have said nothing as to the harm done to many of the ‘dead’, by

encouraging them to remain mixed up in earthly matters, when they should be

better employed, but reasons enough are given for not going to séances. Thus if

we desire information we are driven back upon the writings of the ancient or

modern investigators.”

“Can any instance be given of the way in which harm is done to the dead?” asked

the Enquirer.

“The way now must be bedwards, please,” interposed the Vagrant; and with that

the company parted.






-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (2)

first printed in The Theosophist, May, 1909, p193-198

Said the Vagrant: “The Fiddler has had some very beautiful experiences, which

would interest all of you. The delicate nervous organisation of a fine artist is

an instrument on which vibrations from higher planes can readily play, and in

this case we have a very beautiful fiddle - it would sound more dignified to say

violin, or even lyre, Apollo's lyre - in the organism of our dear Fiddler. But

let her speak for herself.”

The Fiddler began reading:

“When I was a child I once dreamed that I was shot out into space, as it were,

and found myself utterly alone in a terrible black void. I seemed to have a

footing on something like the summit of a pillar, but I could see nothing

anywhere, and the darkness pressed upon me like a terrible black pall. Straining

every nerve to see, I peered in an upward direction into the void. It might have

been up or down for all I could discern, for the blackness was everywhere the

same. Presently a faint greyness appeared far above me, standing out clear in

the surrounding blankness. As I fixed my gaze upon it, it seemed as if some

clouds rolled back, revealing clearer mists within. Through their transparency,

gliding backwards and forwards, were white radiant figures of unearthly beauty

and light. As I yearned outwards to them, they too vanished like the grey mist,

and a deep blue space broke the blackness of that awful void. There, leaning

out, bending towards me, a divine Figure was revealed. That man seemed to embody

living light and color, but I could not describe Him. Words are so helplessly

inadequate. Fixing my eyes with a tenderness that seemed to dissolve the very

roots of my being, He beckoned to me thrice silently. Then that wonder was

veiled again behind the gliding shining ones, and they again enveloped in cloud,

and all was darkness once more, only with peace instead of terror, Then I awoke.

That was long before I came into Theosophy - in this incarnation.”

“Did you ever see that vision again?” asked a voice.

“Not quite like that. I do not know who he is, but some one, and some one great

in holiness and power, seems to be near me at times in a way I cannot exactly

describe. I call him ‘The Warner’. I have seen him under every possible

condition: suspended in midair, emerging from walls and ceilings and floors, at

night, in broad noon-day, in sickness, in health.”

“But why that curious name?”

“Oh! because he nearly always appears when I am in some kind of danger, and the

sight of that face always brings me to my stronger self with a rush. Sometimes I

see the whole figure, sometimes only head and shoulders, sometimes, even, just

that part of the face about the eyes. What eyes! grey-blue, lightsome depths.

His expression is as that of a young man ages old. Often I have seen him in

mid-air in big halls and theatres in America and elsewhere, and then it was

always easier to touch my audiences through the power he gave.”

The Scholar: “It must be a thought-form suggested by that vision.”

“Perhaps. I thought so too, for years. But lately I have had cause to think

otherwise. Two years ago my brother left Balliol and came out to India. At that

time ‘The Warner’ was my daily companion, if one may call such a strange elusive

visitant by such a name. I began to see the face more clearly. Before I only

used to see something resembling a dark outline against a flash of brilliant

light. But now the coloring became fairly clear, and I was not a little

surprised to see a fair skin - like that, say, of an Italian; hair with a touch

of gold (or wholly golden, I cannot say which), and falling in long ringlets,

when it was visible; a tall slender figure, exquisitely poised - the shoulders,

slight but square and strong, and the long delicate hands especially struck me -

garbed in a flowing greyish robe, seamless on the shoulders, with long loose

sleeves and reaching nearly to the feet, underneath which there was the

suggestion of a white linen garment. Sometimes the head was covered - more often

than not - with a dull cloth that rolled back in a narrow coil low down over the

brows, and hung loose on the shoulders, throwing into clearer relief the long

sharp nose, delicate nostrils, the strong, tender, firm-held mouth, and the

beard which scarce concealed the power of the chin beneath. I was puzzled. In my

ignorance I had believed - never having visited India - that there were no

Indians with fair skin, blue-grey eyes, and golden hair. In fact, I had for

years daily and deliberately imaged my ‘Warner’ as dark-skinned, dark-eyed, and

black-haired. So it seems as if the thought-form explanation would not fit the

facts, for when I began to see more clearly, the image I had built so long and

so ardently was absolutely contradicted, even to the queer roll on the turban. I

wrote off to my brother, asking him to tell me if there were by any chance

persons answering to that description in India. ‘Yes’, he answered, ‘Prince

-----, who is staying with us just now, tells me that yours is an exact

description of a Kashmîri Brâhmana.’”

“But the description does not fit the only Kashmîri Brâhmana among the Masters”,

remarked the Vagrant. “It seems to me,” she went on, turning to the Shepherd,

“that it is a good description of the Master S. His hair is of pure gold, and He

has that extraordinarily clear-cut face, ascetic-looking. He was the One who

came so often during the last days of the President-Founder.”

“Yes”, assented the Shepherd, “it might very well be He. And the turban seems

more like the Arab head-dress than the Indian turban.”

“Like this?” said the Maratha, twisting a cloth round his forehead.

“Yes, just that”, answered the Fiddler. “I have never seen one like it in India.

Well, the visits continued till I came out here. Now I see him sometimes, in the

cocoa-nut grove at sunset, especially, but not as then. I have seen ‘The Warner’

in another way. I have an old faded picture of another, which came into my hands

years ago. I am very fond of that picture, but it bears no likeness to the One I

see, except, as it were, a general similarity of type. One can imagine almost

anything with a photograph and half-shut eyes, so I used not to be surprised to

see my ‘Warner’ looking out at me, sometimes, from this picture. But one night,

some two years ago, I found that it might not be all imagination, as I had

believed. I was writing something - a defence of a friend against people who had

said most bitter things; trying to write impersonally, above the turmoil of

dispute, and my own hot feelings would come between me and the piece of work to

be done.

At last, after laboring for days and getting no further, I sat down in my room

one night before retiring to sleep, and took out the old picture and gazed at it

with an intense half-despairing wish to see things from the nobler viewpoint.

Now, I was not trying to see my Warner in the picture. I was looking at it in

full lamplight with wide-open eyes, and I was far too engrossed in painful,

vivid thoughts, to indulge in dreams and fancies. Suddenly the picture changed;

the rather full cheeks became hollow, the forehead assumed the magnificent upper

development of the wellknown face, the beard thinned, the mouth, too, became cut

in those exquisite fine lines, chiselled but tender - and the eyes began to

lighten and flame, until my own, rivetted upon them, could bear their intensity

no longer. They had become as miniature suns, and I could have gazed at the sun

itself more easily than have kept my eyes upon them. I looked away,

conscience-stricken. As usual, He had brought me to my better self - this time,

by sternness. I sat thinking of the face - looking rather, at its impression on

my mind. It was awful in power. The expression in those eyes was of oceans and

worlds and living infinitudes of knowledge - ripe, immediate, and commanding. I

turned again to the picture - the Warner had gone?”

“Very strange”, remarked the Enquirer.

“But practical. I wrote that article,” said the Fiddler.

“Have you seen other such figures?” asked the Lawyer with interest.

“Yes, there are others. Once at a sermon of the Rev. RJ Campbell, at the City

Temple, there was a great rushing air-like movement in the body of the hall, and

then I saw, faintly outlined, One standing behind him on the left side. It

happened at the beginning of his sermon. He preached magnificently. Once when

our President was lecturing in London she was very tired. I had never heard her

in such bad form. She struggled on for some ten minutes or so, and then quite

suddenly, with that kind of ‘swirl’ in the atmosphere that accompanies these

things, a great white light appeared behind her, on the left side, a little

uplifted from the ground, and in the centre a figure, the outlines of which were

most lovely and imposing, but more than that I cannot describe, as the

brilliancy of the light made the form appear like a dark outline against it. The

speaker stopped short, half hesitated, and leaned slightly back, as if listening

for something” -

“Very unusual for our Lady”, smiled the Shepherd.

“Yes, that is the interesting part of it. Then her voice completely changed; she

took up the thread in a mood as certain, calm, and exalted, as the other had

been tired, forced, and uninspiring, and - well, were you at that lecture?”


“Many said that it seemed as if Jesus Himself had spoken through her. The

listeners were more than moved. They were carried right into the presence of the

Master, and the whole wretched tangle of all that had happened since He was

withdrawn from amongst us seemed like a forgotten nightmare. There were many

weary, hardened men and women of the world who saw nothing, but who yet will

never forget the power that spoke in their hearts that night. But - was He not


“Very likely”, said the Shepherd, as the Vagrant remained silent. “I remember a

lecture - one of those on Esoteric Christianity, in which the Master Jesus came,

and stood behind the lecturer, enveloping her with His aura. There was a curious

incident connected with that; the Archivarius1 was sitting near the lecturer,

and she was conscious of the Presence but did not clearly see the Figure;

however, she saw clearly, and described with perfect accuracy, the Greek pattern

embroidered along the hem of His garment - a partial vision which seemed to me

curious and unusual. Seeing that so clearly, why did she not see the rest?”

As, naturally, no one answered the question, the Fiddler resumed:

“There were several of these Shining Ones at another lecture in the large

Queen's Hall. You can always tell when They come. The air is charged with force,

and enthusiasm reigns. It is not what one sees in these visions that makes them

so much more real than ordinary life. It is the peace and love and joy with

which they suffuse the soul. They melt the ‘stone in the heart’.”

“Tell us what you feel on these occasions,” urged the Youth.

The Vagrant smiled at him: “It is not so easy to say, and it is not always the

same. Sometimes, I am conscious only of an enveloping Presence, that of my own

Master - blessed be He - which raises my normal consciousness to an abnormal

level, so that although it is wholly ‘I’ who am speaking, it is a bigger ‘I’

than my small daily affair. At other times, thoughts seem to be poured into me

by Him, and I consciously use them, knowing they are not mine. Sometimes, when

the Master KH utilises me, I find myself full of beautiful imagery, metaphors,

curiously musical and rhythmical phrasings, whereas the influence of my own

Master induces weighty, terse, impressive speech. Occasionally, but very rarely,

I step out and He steps in, for a few sentences, but then the voice changes, so

that the change of speaker is perceptible; on those occasions, I stand outside

and admire! I remember that on the occasion referred to of the Presence of the

Master Jesus, I was not quite at ease at first, as His influence was new to me,

and I had to grope a little at first to catch His indications. But there!”

concluded the Vagrant, laughing, “audiences have very little idea what queer

things are going on upon the platform sometimes right before their eyes.”

“As it has come to this, I may as well put in another strange thing of a similar

nature I saw,” said the Magian. “It was when the same speaker was lecturing on

the ‘Pedigree of Ma?’. Of course there was some great Presence, there is no

doubt as to that; but the strangeness comes in here - the feeling was not so

much that of peace and joy and uplifting that I have often felt, but an

intellectual enlightenment that beggars description. The only theosophical book

I had tackled was The Secret Doctrine and I enjoyed it often, but during the

lectures it became so illuminating, things became so clear, so simple; but after

a week it was different; then there were certain descriptions, like the

formation of globe D - our earth - etc., etc., which were simply magnificent in

their vividness. During such descriptions I noticed that the lecturer was gazing

in a peculiar manner into empty space, but I felt sure she was observing

something. I heard her say, some time ago, that during that course the Master

presented before her astral pictures, looking at which she went on lecturing,

and that without them the series would not have attained the great success it

did.” Anon 1. One of the group who talked in the old Twilight.






-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (3)

first printed in The Theosophist, June, 1909, p359-366

“The following details of a somewhat strange phenomenon were related to me by an

eyewitness,” said the Superintendent. “During the Brahmotsavam festival about

thirty years ago a certain Sannyasî was staying near the Ekambareshvara Tank at

Conjivaram. His manner of living and the wisdom of his speech attracted crowds

of hearers, and even Brâhmanas of great learning were often to be seen among his

audience. One day the conversation turned upon the subject of the lower classes

in India, and the Yogî criticised in strong language the demeanor and general

attitude of the Brâhmanas towards other castes. This caused great offence to the

Brâhmanas present, and they spoke very insultingly to the Sannyasî. For some

time he remained silent, and they, misunderstanding this, became more and more

abusive and aggressive. At last the Yogî, feeling the situation impossible,

determined to put an end to it. Seeing a child of about five standing near, he

called him, gave him a banana and made friends with him. In a few minutes the

little boy assumed an appearance of great brightness and intelligence, and began

to speak in Sanskrit - a language which of course he had never learned. The Yogî

turned to the Brâmanas, and said: ‘Gentlemen, you are dissatisfied with what I

have said to you; instead of speaking further to me, put all your questions to

this child. He will answer you fully, quoting appropriate texts from the

scriptures whenever necessary.’ The incredulous pandits showered questions upon

the boy, but as quickly as they could ask came replies that confounded them by

the depth of thought and knowledge of the sacred books which they displayed.

Finally the Brâhmanas prostrated themselves before the Sannyasî and begged him

to pardon their rudeness, and departed to their homes sadder and wiser men.”

“Is such a thing as that really possible?” enquired the Fiddler.

“Oh yes,” replied the Shepherd, “there are several ways in which it might have

been done. We are not told what the Yogî was doing while the child was speaking;

if we knew that, it would help us to decide which method he employed. He may

simply have hypnotised the boy, and so made him speak whatever he wished.”

“But no passes of any kind were used; I particularly enquired about that from my

friend who told me the story,” objected the Superintendent.

“That would be quite unnecessary,” answered the Shepherd; “The Yogî gave a

banana to the child, and that might easily have been the vehicle for any amount

of influence. A little child, too, would have less will-power to resist than a

grown man. But the Sannyasî may not have employed hypnotism at all; he may have

used the boy as a medium or mouth-piece, and spoken through him himself. In that

case he would be unable simultaneously to speak through his own body, and it

must have appeared as though in deep meditation. I should think that that is

most likely what he did. But if he were active and speaking in his own body at

the same moment as the boy spoke, we should have to assume that some one else

controlled the child-body. That also could quite easily be arranged; any dead

pandit could do it, if the boy had been thrown by the Yogî into a passive and

mediumistic state. I myself once saw a baby about twelve months old take up a

pencil and write while its mother held it in her arms - write an intelligible

sentence in a clear and legible hand. Of course that was a case of mediumship;

the mother herself was a well-known medium. But it is a phenomenon of somewhat

the same nature as that described by our friend.”

“Talking about hauntings” said Chitra, “I can tell you of a rather curious case

where the people who haunted a house are still living, instead of long dead, as

is usual.”

“Some years ago after an illness caused by overwork I spent a few weeks with

some friends in order to regain strength. Their home was a large brick house

built by an old retired admiral; its long passages all communicated with each

other and were made as much like the alley-ways of a ship as was possible.”

“I occupied a bedroom the door of which was directly opposite that of the large

dining-room, a passage running between. A door at the end of this passage and in

the same wall as my bedroom window opened out on to a verandah, so when we all

retired for the night I was practically alone at that corner of the house. My

room was comfortable, its atmosphere peaceful, and I grew well and strong. The

fact that I had no one near me did not disturb me at all, as I am not in the

least nervous. I slept the deep sleep of the convalescent and knew naught of the


“A year or so after this my hostess with her husband and children visited

England partly for her health; and while away they let their home furnished to a

young couple who appeared in every way desirable and were reputed wealthy. My

friends returned in a year, the lady very much worse in health than when she

left home. For months she hovered betwixt life and death and no one was allowed

to see her. As soon as I might, I called to see her, and it happened that I took

with me a friend. When we came out of the house this friend, who was somewhat

sensitive, exclaimed at the dreadful psychic atmosphere she had felt there, and

expressed the wish that I had not promised to go and spend some days there. I,

thinking the oppression which I also had felt was due to the illness of the

hostess, laughed at my friend's fears and in due course went to pay my visit.”

“It was early summer and still cold, so night after night we sat round the

dining-room fire, ensconced in big cushioned armchairs. The first evening while

we were sitting thus, I was considerably disturbed by a feeling that something

was fighting at the further end of the room, behind me. I could see nothing, and

the sound was scarcely physical; it was as though shadows were scuffling and

fighting. I said nothing, and I did not care to attract attention by repeatedly

looking round, so I read on till we retired for the night. I had scarcely closed

my bedroom door when I knew I had company, shadowy company, silent and yet in a

certain way noisy. There was a sound as though an unseen riding-whip of hard

leather tapped against the door; it seemed as if it might be hanging from an

invisible nail on the upper part. The venetian blinds rapped sharply upon the

window-frames, though there was no breeze; and while doing my hair I was patted

and lightly slapped more than once. I examined the door; there was no mark of a

nail, and all was newly painted and varnished. I examined the blinds; there was

nothing to cause a movement. I smiled to myself and, addressing my unseen

companions, said ‘I wish you would be quiet and let me go to bed.’”

“Into bed I stepped, extinguishing my light and drawing up the bed-clothes.

Flop! came something on my feet; ‘A cat,’ thought I. I struck a light and

looked; no cat, no anything!”

“‘Humph!’ I said. I put out my light and lay down again; at once flop! came

something on my feet once more. Again I struck a light and looked; nothing was

there, but there seemed to be a depression as if a cat had lain there. I passed

my hand over the place, but felt nothing, and indeed I knew there was neither

cat nor dog in the house. I lay down to sleep again, but was several times

pushed and touched before I succeeded.”

“In the dining room the next evening I again felt and heard the shadowy scuffle,

and looking round saw two light, mist-like and semi-transparent forms at the

further end of the table apparently fighting. I somehow knew they were a man and

a woman, but how I knew I do not understand, for they were simply mist-wraiths.

I said nothing to anyone, as I was afraid of disturbing my hostess, whose nerves

were still greatly unstrung, and had I told my host he would assuredly have

thought I was going out of my mind.”

“On retiring to my room the next evening the same phenomena occurred and I began

to feel decidedly uneasy, as I could in no way account for them. Again the

invisible whip tapped on the door, again I was patted and pushed, and again flop

went something on the foot of my bed when I lay down. Once more I relighted

candle, and felt over the place where I saw the depression, and as usual found

nothing, so I slept a broken sleep, being frequently disturbed and touched.”

“On the third night while reading before the fire I again felt and heard the

phantom fight and as I left the room after saying goodnight, I distinctly felt

something walking beside me. It breathed a warm breath full of the odour of

port-wine on my neck and cheek, and I felt sick. It entered the bedroom with me

and disturbed the whole atmosphere; again things were moved and I was patted and

pushed. I sat on the edge of the bed laughing uneasily and with decidedly

quickened heart-beats, and was lifting my feet up towards the bed when over my

bare left foot glided something that felt soft, plush-like and boneless. I

laughed aloud, all fear gone, and said: ‘You little creatures, I wish you would

be quiet and let me sleep!’ I saw nothing, but the touch was not unpleasant and

I felt sure it was only a tricky little elemental. This time when the flop came

on my feet I sat up without a light and felt the bed, but of course nothing was

there, and that night I slept well.”

“Next afternoon I told my friend, and as soon as I asked ‘What is there in this

dining-room that we cannot see?’ she said ‘Hush! don't let my younger daughter

hear you; she will never come into this room or your bedroom alone if she can

help it even in the daylight, and we are trying to laugh and talk her out of her


“I then related the whole thing, and asked: ‘Who was in this house while you

were away?’”

“‘Well, this is strange,’ was the answer; ‘we let the house to a very

fine-looking young couple whom we thought were all that could be desired. They

seem to have lived only in this room and your bedroom. They fought nightly, and

moreover they left the ewer in the bedroom half-full of port-wine, which was

still there when we returned. My daughter senses the fighting and I do not know

what else, but we have discouraged her and tried to cure her of her ideas, so

please say nothing about it to any of the others.’”

“I did not, and as I have never asked permission to tell the story I have

suppressed all names. I am certain there was nothing of the kind there on my

former visits, and I always had the same bedroom. As far as we know, the young

couple who are the cause of all this are still alive and, I think, in England.

They are still quite young.”

“But,” exclaimed the Painter excitedly, “how is it possible that people still

living can haunt a place?”

“They don't,” replied the Shepherd placidly. “That is not a case of haunting in

the ordinary sense of the word, though as far as the discomfort to sensitive

visitors is concerned it comes to much the same thing. There are instances of

real haunting by a living person, but that is not one of them.”

“Then what was it that happened?” said the Painter.

“Evidently the squabbling of that unfortunate young couple had produced a strong

impression upon the astral matter there, and that impression was still clear

enough to be perceptible to sensitive persons, though not quite able to

influence ordinary people. You see that Chitra and the younger daughter of her

hostess received a strong, yet not perfectly clear impression (for the forms

were misty), while the visiting friend had only a general idea of an unpleasant

psychic atmosphere, and apparently the hostess herself and her husband felt


“When you speak of an astral impression I presume you mean something different

from the ordinary record.” observed the Scholar.

“Yes,” answered the Shepherd, “the permanent record belongs to a much higher

plane, and only occasional pictures from it are reflected into astral matter.

This is quite a different phenomenon. Every emotion makes an impression on the

surrounding astral matter. It is hardly worthy of the name of a thought-form;

perhaps we might call it an emotion-form. In all ordinary cases that impression

fades away after a few hours at most, but where there has been any specially

violent outburst, such as intense hatred or overmastering terror, the impression

may last for years.”

“Mr Stead expressed the idea very well in Real Ghost Stories, though he calls

the impression a type of ghost. He says: ‘This a type of a numerous family of

ghosts of whose existence the phonograph may give us some hint by way of

analogy. You speak into the phonograph, and for ever after as long as the

phonograph is set in action it will reproduce the tone of your voice. You may be

dead and gone, but still the phonograph will reproduce your voice, while with it

every tone will be audible to posterity. So may it be in relation to ghosts. A

strong emotion may be able to impress itself upon surrounding objects in such a

fashion that at certain times, or under certain favorable conditions, they

reproduce the actual image and actions of the person whose ghost is said to

haunt.’ He describes there exactly what happens.”

“I may instance a little experience illustrating this which I myself had years

ago. I was walking down a lonely road in the suburbs of London - a road where

only the curbstone was as yet laid. Suddenly I heard somebody begin running

along this curbstone desperately, as if for his life. Somehow the sound of the

footsteps conveyed to me a vivid sense of the mad haste and overwhelming terror

of the runner, and I turned at once to see what was the matter. The footsteps

came rushing straight up to me, passed under my very feet as I stood upon the

same curbstone, and dashed away on the road behind me, yet nothing whatever was

visible! There was no possibility of any mistake or deception, and the thing

happened just as I describe, and left me much startled and perplexed. With the

light of later theosophical knowledge I now understand that some one had been

terribly frightened there, and that the impression of his fear still remained

sufficiently strong to reproduce the noise which he had made as he ran. Here

only the sound was reproduced, but sometimes the form is seen also.”

“The same thing happens with a less vehement emotion if it is frequently

repeated, or if it lasts for a long time. I remember a house where a child had

lived for years in a state of constant fear and repression; the astral

conditions there were so bad as to react upon the physical body of a sensitive

and cause violent sickness. An instance of the persistence of such an impression

for many years is to be found in the prosaic locality of the Bayswater Road,

close to the Marble Arch. Any sensitive person who will start from the Arch and

walk westward on the south side of the road will soon be conscious of something

excessively unpleasant, as he passes the place where for some centuries stood

the horrible gallows called Tyburn Tree. Of course even the strongest of such

impressions must fade in time, but under conditions favorable for it it may

last, as you see, for many a decade.”

“Another point that we must not forget is that elemental essence of a gross type

likes such coarse and vivid vibrations, so that in every place where there is

such an impression as we are considering, a kind of astral vortex is caused for

that particular type of matter only. The astral atmosphere becomes thick; it

corresponds to a sand-storm or the worst sort of London fog. And because there

is such a preponderance of the coarsest kind of matter, the low or gross

emotions which utilise such matter are very easily aroused there; there is a

special temptation towards them, as a Christian would say.”

“Yet another detail. There are classes of nature-spirits at a low stage of

development which revel in the vibrations produced by coarse emotion, and rush

from all sides to any point where they can enjoy it, just as London street-boys

converge upon a fight or a cab-accident. If people who quarrel could see the

unpleasant-looking creatures that dance in the stormy waves which their foolish

passion is radiating, they would calm down instantly and fly from the spot in

shame and disgust. Do not forget that such creatures do their best to exacerbate

anger or hatred, to increase jealousy or terror, not in the least because of any

evil will towards human beings, but because they delight in the violent and

highly-colored vibrations which are caused. These entities throw themselves into

such emotion-forms, ensoul them and try to perpetuate them to the utmost of

their power, and it is largely due to their action that centres of this kind

last as long as they do.”

“But are there never centres of good emotion? Must such things be always evil?”

asked a plaintive voice.

“Certainly there are centres of good emotion; every temple, every church is a

case in point. What else is the feeling of reverence that comes over even a

Cook's tourist when he stands in one of the grand mediaeval cathedrals than the

effect of the persistence of similar emotion felt by thousands through the

centuries? And naturally a higher type of elemental essence and a higher class

of nature-spirits avail themselves of this opportunity just as the other kind do

of the less desirable centres.”

“I have come across such good centres in my roamings,” said the Magian. “One

such, and a very typical one, is the Elephanta Caves. Very health-giving and

exhilarating magnetism seems to be stored up on that spot, and a great rush of

something pouring in which brings peace and joy is often experienced. This is

especially marked at a particular spot where a great Lingam of Shivâ stands, and

a quiet meditative mood is very helpful there in bringing a sort of an

illumination one but rarely comes across. Of course a proper attitude of mind is

necessary, and I do not think one who is sceptical about superphysical

influences will derive much benefit through his picnic trip. It is an unique

spot, and I have observed and heard some strange things there.”

“There are still many such spots in various parts of India,” remarked the

Shepherd. “That is one of the many reasons which make it the pleasantest country

in the world for the residence of sensitive persons.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (4)

first published in the Theosophist, July, 1909, p504-508

“Last night I dreamed of Brahms,” said the Fiddler. “He is my beloved in music.

I always longed to meet him, but he passed over before I went to Germany.

Strangely enough, though, I have never once dreamed of him all these years,

though I have played so much of his music. But lately I hear sweet sounds at all

kinds of odd times, indoors and out of doors, when I am busy or when I am idle,

and yesterday night I lay awake for an hour or more listening to them. It was a

long drawn chord of A without the third: soft, still, piercing. I cannot

describe the effect in physical sound. It was all pure tone. That is the nearest

I can get to it. And there were no breaks. It went on solidly for over an hour.

To make sure that it was not mosquitos, I tested it against wave and wind

sounds. You remember how rough it was last night. There were no end of nuances -

pianos, fortes, crescendos, diminuendos - in the nature sounds. But when the

wind was loud, my music grew no softer, and when it was still, it grew no louder

by comparison.”

“But what about Brahms?”

“I'm coming to him. The music must have put me in touch with him, I suppose.

Anyhow I saw him vividly. I never saw him like that before. There he was, short,

stout, and fiery - and furious with me because I had lately been playing the

first movement of his fiddle concerto too slow. He was trying to show me how it

should go, and to do it on a piano! Of course he failed horribly, and seemed

quite upset over it. Why do astral folk try to make our clumsy music when they

have their own far subtler methods, I wonder? I suppose he thought I would not

be able to understand them. What music there will be when we do! I had the

audacity to dispute the tempo with him, but he insisted emphatically - and he

was right, of course.”

“Did you see astrally when playing in your concerts?”

“I saw our President once towards the close of a recital I was giving in

Melbourne. Some way down the hall there was an empty patch, and there, right in

the middle, so that there could be no mistaking her for somebody else, she sat

in her white dress looking up at me. I was somewhat surprised, and looked away

that I might not be distracted from what I was doing; when I looked again, she

was gone. Another time, she stood beside my bed, and I awoke and saw her there.

But I was too stupid to understand what she was telling me.”

“Yet again I saw her - taller than she is in the flesh, and radiant, sweep down

into the room where I sat talking about her to a friend, give me one strong

look, and off again in an electrical swirl! Oh! and many other times, in the

body and out of it.”

“You dear imaginative artist-folk let your affections run away with your

judgement sometimes, I fear,” said the Scholar.

“Well, but I only state the fact. Suppose it imagination, even. What is the

difference between imagination and the ‘reality’ when the former is as real as -

if anything more so than - the latter? Anyhow, I have a tale that imagination

won't account for.”

“When I was a little girl I used to hear the grown-ups round me talking a good

deal about Mrs Besant. They would go to lectures, and then discuss them

afterwards, and as I never led a nursery life, I heard it all and longed to know

this wonderful lady with white hair. That was the only fact I knew of her

personally. - that she had white hair. One night I dreamed that I was in a

crowded hall listening to a speaker. Well, I need not describe her to you! I saw

her in the dream exactly as she is. Afterwards I found myself in a small room

full of people behind the platform, and the white lady bent down and kissed me.”


“Next morning a friend came in who had a spare ticket for a lecture in Queen's

Hall. Another was unable to use it. Thereupon I begged to be allowed to go.

‘Little girls must wait until they are older’, and so on. However, I got my way.

When we arrived, the lecture had already commenced. At once I recognised the

speaker as the lady I had seen the night before. When it was over, some friends

took me behind to be introduced. There was the little room, there was the crowd,

and there the white lady, who bent down and kissed me.”

“Is this chance? The last time I played in public, I had no notion it was to be

the last, no notion that shortly after I should enter the theosophical movement.

I chose a piece that ended abruptly - in fact, that had no proper ending, but

broke off. I had never before done such a thing. I made my first public

appearance with Mrs Besant. And at the end of my performance, I felt an unseen

hand push my head down upon my instrument as if to sign ‘It is finished’. A few

weeks after, it was.”

“Any more musical stories?”

“Yes. But this is a horrid sordid one, and I scarcely like to tell it ... Well,

for the story's sake you shall have it, but do not ever speak of it to me again,

for I do not like to think of it.”

“It was in December, 1904, when I re-appeared in London at the Queen's Hall

Symphony Concerts, not having played there since my childhood. I was down for

the Beethoven concerto. It was a great occasion for me! The Beethoven concerto

is, as you know, the summit of a violinist's ambition, and I had worked at and

pondered over it for some seven years or so. Add to that that it was practically

a début at the most important concerts of the largest metropolis, and you can

fancy ‘poor little me’ was unphilosophical enough to think it an important


“The date of the concert was December 10th. On about the 3rd or 4th - I forget

which now - I dreamed that my violin was broken and that I took it to a certain

repairer in the United States, who had dome some excellent work for me when last

I was out there. I was trying to give him the instrument, but a great black dog

kept leaping upon me and stopping my way. The dream was so vivid that, next day

being the American mail day, I wrote to my friend the repairer, beginning my

letter to the effect that ‘I dreamed of you last night and I am impelled to

write.’ About that time I visited Oxford and played the Beethoven concerto at

the Public Classical Concerts there, and the tone of my violin was then in that

brilliant condition which thrills a fiddler's heart. Well, to make a long story

short, just before my London appearance, that tone suddenly went. There was no

recalling it. I was in despair. I cannot give you the details of those two days

- the 8th and 9th - without involving persons. I can only tell you that some one

had deliberately injured my instrument. I know who did it - a fellow-artist.

With whatever motive he did so - through hatred, jealousy or the mere

competition for a living which drives so many to crime - I must have earned it

in a past incarnation, by some such devilish act of my own. It was impossible to

borrow an instrument, as my hands are too slender to manage any but a violin

specially mounted to suit their size. It was impossible to draw back. Violins

are exceedingly sensitive things, and the weather having changed to thick London

fog, it was quite likely, I reasoned, that this was the cause of the poor tone

(for I never thought of examining the instrument, which had but lately come out

of the hands of a trusted repairer), and I could not make mere weather an excuse

for disappointing the Managers. So I went through with it. Needless to say that

the tone was, as one or two of the papers afterwards described it,

‘microscopic’. Mr Henry Wood, with his usual tact, held down the strength of the

band to a mere feather-weight. But that appearance was a fiasco. I worked harder

than ever before or after, and produced - well, not quite nothing, but very

nearly! So that a party of Oxford people, who had come up to town specially for

that concert, looked at each other in amazement: ‘What can have happened to her

since last week?’

After the concert I collapsed, so great had been the strain, and did not touch

my violin for two days. After that time, the sun was out again; it was my

brother, still fuming over this incomprehensible business, who took the fiddle

into the light and examined it.

‘Should the sound-post of a violin be upright or slanting?’ said he. (This is a

small piece of wood which is held inside the instrument between its back and

front, and to move which a hair's breadth makes a change in the resonance).

‘Upright, of course’ said I. ‘Well then, it is fifteen degrees off the

perpendicular now - and, by Jove! there's a chip out of the edge of this ƒ

hole,’ (an opening by which the sound-post is reached) ‘and - wait a bit - look

here - ’ he peered inside the violin, ‘my dear girl, some one has pushed the

sound-post out of its place with a pencil; there's the mark. Look at the graze

on the wood inside where it has been dragged along!’”

“We took it to an expert, who had to use force to get it into position again, so

tightly had it been rammed out of its place. No wonder that the vibrations had

been stopped! His opinion was that the injury could only have come about through

a bad fall or, as he guardedly put it, ‘in some other way.’ My violin was with

me day and night. It had had no fall, of course. But I traced the cause of that

injury, easily, to the one who did it. His scheme had succeeded. That appearance

dealt a blow to my professional career which it took several years to recover.”

“Shortly afterwards, my American repairer-friend visited London, and called at

my house. In the course of our talk he asked if I could remember what I had

dreamed which had caused me to write to him. I told him. Then he told me that on

the same date he had dreamed the same thing, so vividly that he repeated it to

his son at breakfast, who asked him to note down the day.”

“While in London he worked at my violin and got it into order again, so that a

few weeks later, when I gave orchestral concerts in the same hall, the papers

wondered at the ‘strange and sudden improvement in this young violinist's


“I was wondering, too - how there could be so much hatred in this beautiful


“It was a pity that you were not impelled by the dream to examine your fiddle,”

said the Vagrant, “especially when you noticed the lack of tone. You must either

have seen the failure beforehand on the astral plane, or else some friendly

visitant must have tried to impress you with the fact that your success was

menaced by some enemy symbolised by the black dog.”

“There is a good case of a successful interference given in Invisible Helpers,”

said Chitra, “by which two little children, left orphans in the care of a

landlady in a strange town, were found by a relative who dreamed of their


“When I was a child,” said the Fiddler, “certain sounds used to make me feel as

if I were rising up into the air - half a yard, three feet, or more. It was a

delicious sensation. I didn't think anything of it at the time. It happened so

naturally that I fancied every one must have the same experience. I do not

understand the relations between sound and gravitation, but certainly ‘to be

uplifted by music’ is no mere metaphor.”






-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (5)

first published in the Theosophist, August, 1909, p608-616

“We have heard of many and varied experiences,” said the Scholar, “but it seems

a long time since anything was said as to the work of the invisible helpers. I

suppose it is going on just as usual?”

“Yes,” replied the Shepherd, “that band of workers takes no vacations; its

activity is unceasing, but it does not always lend itself to picturesque

description. Thinking over what has been done lately, I remember one story which

may perhaps interest you, though it is certainly very unconventional; besides,

strictly speaking it is not yet finished.”

“But its novelty will make it all the more interesting,” interjected the Youth;

“and we can have the conclusion when it occurs.”

“Well, I will tell it to you,” said the Shepherd; “but I must first explain the

heroine, for though she is one of my best workers I do not think that I have

mentioned her to you before.”

“Her name is Ivy. She was during life a member of one of our Lotus Circles, and

her work now is a fine example of the good which such circles may do. She was a

bright and lively girl, musical, artistic and athletic - a clever elocutionist

too; but above all a thoroughly good girl, kindly and affectionate, and willing

to take any amount of trouble to help others; and a person who has that

characteristic on the physical plane always makes a good helper on the astral. I

feel sure that she would have led an exemplary and useful life on this plane if

her karma had worked that way, but it is not conceivable that in that case she

could have found the opportunity even during a long life to do anything at all

approaching to the amount of good which she has even already done on the astral

plane since her death eighteen months ago. I need not go into the details of

that; it is enough to say that when she was scarcely eighteen she was drowned in

a yachting accident. She came straight to Cyril, who is her special guru, as

soon as she recovered her consciousness, and as soon as she had comforted her

relations and friends she demanded to be trained for regular work. It was one of

her most pleasing characteristics that although she had great originality and

ingenuity she was yet very humble about her own qualifications, most willing to

be taught exactly how to work, and eager to learn and understand.”

“She is especially fond of children, and her field of usefulness has lain

specially with girls of her own age and younger. She has been keenly interested

in making thought-forms for people, and has acquired exceptional powers along

that line. She takes up cases of children who are frightened at night, and of

others who have besetting thoughts of pride, jealousy or sensuality. In most of

these she finds out the child's highest ideal or greatest hero or heroine, makes

a strong thought-form of that ideal, and sets it to act as a guardian angel to

the child. Then she makes it a regular business to go round at stated times

revivifying all these thought-forms, so as to keep them always thoroughly up to

their work. In this way she has been actually the salvation of many children. I

know of one case in which she was able to check incipient insanity, and two

others in which, but for her ministrations, early death would certainly have

ensued, besides many others in which character has been improved beyond all

recognition. Indeed, it is impossible to speak too highly of the good work which

she has done in that way.”


“Another of her lines of activity will appeal to you if you have not forgotten

your own childhood. Perhaps you know how many children live constantly in a sort

of rosy day-dream - ‘telling themselves stories’ they sometimes call it. The

little boy fancies himself the hero of all sorts of thrilling adventures - the

central figure in scenes of glory, naval, military or athletic; the little girl

fancies herself being adored by crowds of knights and courtiers, or thinks of

herself as gorgeously attired and in positions of great wealth and influence,

and so on. Now Ivy makes a speciality of taking these day-dreams and vivifying

them, making them ten times more real to the delighted dreamers, but at the same

time moulding and directing them. She gradually turns the dreams from

selfishness to unselfishness, guides the children to image themselves as helpers

and benefactors, and influences them to think not of what they can receive but

of what good they can do, and so by degrees entirely changes their characters.

‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ and this is true of children also;

so that one who understands the enormous power of thought will not be surprised

to hear that quite incalculable good has been done in this way, by taking the

young at the most impressible age.”

“Nor has she neglected more ordinary lines of work. For example, a young girl in

whom I am deeply interested had recently to undergo a long and wearisome

convalescence after a serious illness, and I asked Ivy to take her in charge. I

believe my young friend had not a dreary hour during all those weeks, for Ivy

kept up a steady stream of thoughts of the most delightful and absorbing nature

- stories of all sorts, scenes from different parts of the world with

explanatory comments, visions of various creatures, astral as well as physical,

music of superhuman sweetness - more ingenious devices than I can remember, to

help to pass the time pleasantly and instructively.”

“But all this general description of her work is only an introduction to the

particular story which I am about to tell you - which, I think, you will

understand all the better for having some acquaintance with the character of the

principal actor in it. It is a case about which she is very eager - in fact, for

the moment it is her principal interest, and she is very triumphant at having

carried it to a successful issue so far.”

“I will tell the tale briefly, and will try to put it into chronological order.

It came to me all upside down, beginning with an acute crisis which is really in

the middle of the story; and the earlier part (which accounts for all the rest)

I learnt only three days ago. It seems that long ago Ivy had a birth in Rome -

also as a girl - and on that occasion she had a school-friend whom we will call

Rosa. The two little girls were very devoted to one another, and grew up as

almost inseparable companions. Rosa was strikingly handsome, and was scarcely

more than fifteen when the inevitable young man came into the story. Through

trusting him too far she had to run away from home, fearing to face disclosures.

Ivy, though much shocked and pained, loyally stood by her friend, hid her for

some time and helped her to get clear away. It seems, however, that Rosa was not

to escape the consequences of her misplaced confidence, for she fell into bad

hands and died early under rather miserable conditions.”

“Rosa and the young man who was involved seem to have had a birth together

(without Ivy) somewhere in the Middle Ages, in which they did practically

exactly the same thing over again - just repeated the previous drama.”

“In this present life Rosa was born rather later, I think, than Ivy, but in an

entirely different part of the world. She was, unfortunately for herself, an

illegitimate child, and her mother died soon after her birth. I do not know

whether this was the karma of her own proceedings along similar lines in

previous births, but it appears rather probable. The mother's story had been a

sad one, and the aunt who brought up poor Rosa never forgave her for being, as

she put it, the cause of the death of a dearly loved sister. In addition this

aunt was a stern old puritan of the worst type, so you can imagine that Rosa had

a miserable childhood.”

“Into it about a year ago came that very same young man - a wandering artist or

angler or something this time - and they diligently played out their play along

the same old lines. The man seemed a nice enough young fellow, though weak - by

no means the sort of designing ruffian that one might expect. I think this time

he would have married her, though he could not in the least afford it; but,

however that may have been, he had not the opportunity, for he got himself

killed in an accident, and left her in the usual condition. She did not know

what to do; of course she could not face such an aunt with such a story, and

eventually she made up her mind to drown herself. She wandered out one day for

that purpose, having left a letter for her aunt announcing her intention; and

she sat down on the bank of the river, moodily looking at the water.”

“Up to this point, you will understand, Ivy had known nothing whatever of all

that I have told you, but at this crisis she arrived on the scene (astrally of

course) apparently by the merest chance; but I do not believe that there is any

such thing as chance in these matters. Of course she did not recognise Rosa as a

friend of two thousand years ago, but she saw her terrible despair and felt

strongly attracted towards her and full of pity for her. Now it happens that a

few weeks ago in connexion with quite another business I had shown Ivy how to

mesmerise, and explained to her under what circumstances the power could

legitimately be employed. So she put the instructions into practice here, and

made Rosa fall asleep upon the bank of the river.”

“As soon as she got her out of her body she presented herself to her as a

friend, showed the deepest affection and sympathy for her, and at last succeeded

in arguing her out of her intention of suicide. Neither of them knew exactly

what to do next, so Ivy, taking Rosa with her, rushed off to find Cyril. But as

it was broad daylight he was quite on the physical plane and busily engaged, and

so not available at the moment for astral communications. This being so, Ivy

brought her capture over here to me, and hurriedly related the circumstances. I

suggested that for the present at least Rosa must go home again, but nothing

would induce her to do that, so great was her horror of her aunt's cold cruelty.

The only other alternative was the very risky one of going out vaguely into the

world - since I made her renew her vow not to go out of it by suicide. Since we

would not permit that, she seemed willing to face the difficulties of beginning

a new life, saying that it could not possibly be so miserable as the old one,

even though it led her to starvation. Ivy approved and enthusiastically promised


to help her, though it did not seem quite clear to me at the moment what she

could do.”

“It was eventually decided thus, because there seemed no alternative, so Rosa

was sent back into her body on the riverbank, and fortunately when she woke she

remembered enough of what she called her dream to recoil with horror from the

water, and start off to walk to a neighboring town. Of course she had scarcely

any money - people never have on these occasions - but she was able to get a

cheap lodging for that night and a little food, and during her sleep Ivy

cheered, encouraged and comforted her in the intervals of prosecuting a vigorous

and determined search for somebody who could be influenced to help on the

physical plane. By this time Cyril was asleep and she had secured his

co-operation; and fortunately between them they were successful in discovering a

delightfully benevolent old lady who lived alone with one servant in a pretty

little villa in a village some miles away, and by unremitting effort they made

the two people (Rosa and the old lady) dream of one another, so that there

should be a strong mutual interest and attraction between them when they met on

the physical plane.”

“Next morning Ivy directed Rosa's steps towards the village where the old lady

lived, and though it was a long and weary walk for her it was at last achieved.

But towards the end of it extreme physical fatigue laid her open to depressing

influences, and she began to be virtually conscious that she had now only a few

pence left, that she did not know in the least where to go or what to do, and

that, after all, the hope and cheer that had buoyed her up during the long day

was based only upon what seemed to her a dream. At last in sheer exhaustion she

sat down upon a bank by the road-side looking the picture of misery, and it was

there that the old lady found her, and at once knew her as the girl whom she had

loved so deeply in her dream. Their mutual recognition was very strange, and

they were both profoundly surprised and moved, yet in a certain way very happy

about it. The old lady led the girl forthwith to her pretty little home, and

soon drew from her the whole story of her trouble, which aroused in her the

keenest sympathy. She at once offered shelter and help at least until after the

birth of the expected child, and it is by no means improbable that she may

decide to adopt Rosa. At least, Ivy is working in that direction, and has strong

hopes of success; and when she makes up her mind about anything she generally

carries it through.”

“That is how the matter stands at the moment. Up to this time nothing whatever

has been heard of the cruel aunt, and it would seem that she has made no enquiry

whatever after Rosa. She must suppose that the suicide has taken place, but

perhaps she is glad to be rid of what she regarded as a burden.”

“A delightful story,” said the Countess enthusiastically. “What a clever,

capable girl Ivy must be?”

“She is,” assented the Shepherd, “and she is developing every day.”

“One thing strikes me as new and curious,” remarked the Scholar, “and that is

the persistent way in which Rosa and her young man repeat the same action in

three successive lives. Are any other instances known in which anything like

that has happened?”

“I do not remember an exactly parallel case, but there are many which evidently

belong to the same category,” answered the Shepherd. “You recollect how often in

the lines of lives which we have examined we find that those who have close

kârmic relations with one another return together to work them out, and how each

retains his characteristics, and sometimes even quite the details of their


“In the first series of incarnations which were examined we found that the

artistic tendency of the Ego showed itself in almost every life in some form or

another; and we had another case in which a prominent member was a sea-captain

in three successive lives, and twice out of those three times he took up the

study of philosophy when he retired from the active work of that profession.

Perhaps the nearest approach to Rosa's case is that of two people whom I know

who were so strongly attracted to one another that they were born together

twelve times out of thirteen successive lives, and though they are not

physically in the same country in this present birth, which is the fourteenth,

they are constantly meeting astrally. In six of these twelve cases the two were

husband and wife, and on yet another occasion one of them was the rejected lover

of the other. Of course the constantly change sexes, and so reverse their

relationship, and in some of the intermediate lives they are father and

daughter, or uncle and niece, or sometimes merely friends, but always together

in some way or other.”

“In Rosa's case the two people principally involved are by no means bad in

reality, unconventional as their actions have been. Rosa herself has been too

innocent and confiding, but so far as I can see nothing worse than that can be

laid to her charge, for she was on every occasion actually ignorant of the

impending danger. The young man was selfish and self-indulgent; he followed the

bent of his passion without thought these three times, but I am inclined to

think from what I have seen that this third lesson has been sufficient, and that

he will not do it again. Twice he acted altogether without considering the girl

at all; this last time there was this much of improvement, that he did consider

her when it was too late, and meant to marry her. But what he did not consider

was their future life, for he had no means to support her. Twice he had not even

thought of marriage; this time when he did think of it, he was not permitted to

carry out his design. Perhaps next time, if they try the same experiment, he may

be allowed to marry, and then he will find that true happiness is not based upon

passion, but that a real spiritual affection is also needed. But perhaps by that

time Rosa will have learnt many things, and she may be his salvation also, for

she loved him truly enough as far as she knew how. At any rate, it is a curious

glimpse of a little fragment of evolution, and may perhaps serve to help us to

understand that much more of its working.”

“That reminds me,” said the Prince, “that I had the other night a very vivid

recollection of being engaged in work much of the type of that done by the

invisible helpers.”

“Please tell us the story,” cried several voices.

“It emerged from some other impressions of which I cannot make much sense,”

explained the Prince. “I found myself watching a party of people who were making

preparations to go to some kind of entertainment. The party was very mixed, for

it comprised several members of the Theosophical Society and many others,

including a grand-uncle of mine who has been dead six years. I watched them with

interest, but took no part myself in any of their preparations. Then a short

time elapsed of which I have no very distinct memory, and I found myself

floating about the town in which the entertainment was to be held. It seemed to

be late evening, and men were sitting about at cafés in the usual way. Suddenly

I saw long slender curls of black smoke issuing from a two-storey building, and

when I turned my attention to it I seemed to see through the walls that there

was a fire raging within, which was endangering an upper storey where a large

number of soldiers lay in deep sleep.”

“My first impulse was to try myself to extinguish the fire, but I did not know

how to set about it; then I thought of giving the fire-alarm, but I was somehow

impressed that this country had no such modern improvements as that. I then

thought of finding the commanding officer and telling him about it, and I was

somehow directed to a park where a military band was playing for the benefit of

a gay holiday crowd of officers and civilians, some of whom were in a

restaurant, some on the terraces, and some walking about engaged in

conversation. I found the officer (I think he was a colonel) in the company of

several ladies, a few younger officers and some civilians. I tried hard to

impress my thought on him, but in spite of all my efforts he would not move from

the side of a certain lady in whom he was interested - the wife of one of the

civilians, a prominent man in appearance. Another younger officer was indicated

to me as he was entering the restaurant, and he responded almost immediately to

my call, excusing himself to his surprised companions and starting off in


“Though I was not visible to him I had no difficulty in guiding him to within a

few yards of the house, when he stopped and reproached himself for a fool for

coming out here near midnight without any obvious reason. I could not induce him

to go another step, and in despair I made a very strong effort, which caused a

sort of sensation of being pushed. Suddenly I saw myself, and he also saw me,

and was evidently much astonished. I ran to the house and with my full weight

burst open a door, through which poured a sea of fire. The officer quickly led

me to another door which gave access to the room of the sleeping soldiers. He

seemed to be in some confusion, and I caught his thought of helplessness, and so

instantly determined to act myself, I saw a bugler approaching, and I at once

ordered him to play the alarm. This quickly aroused all the soldiers, who sprang

up, threw on their clothes and snatched their rifles, which I particularly

noticed were short ones with bayonets turned downwards. The officer soon

regained his equilibrium, and led the soldiers in full order out of the burning

building, Just as the last man filed out the flames burst through the floor in

several places, and the officer pointed them out to me as he hurried me out of

danger. I woke with severe pain in my back and the back part of my head, which

lasted nearly two days.”

“A most interesting experience,” commented the Shepherd. “Were you at all able

to recognize either the place or the uniforms of the soldiers?”

“I am not quite sure,” said the Prince, “though there were certain general

indications. The uniforms were dark, with yellow shoulder-straps. But I can tell

you more about it when I have made some enquiries, and if I am able to discover

anything I will gladly communicate it to you.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (6)

first published in the Theosophist, Sept, 1909, p750-756

“Here is a letter from our Vagrant,” said the Shepherd, “with one of the best

authenticated records of a warning from the other side and the accident which

followed. She says: ‘You know about Julia's Bureau, established by Mr Stead

under the direction of his other-world friend, Miss Julia Ames. On Whit-Monday

evening a lady connected with it, staying in the country with her mother,

received a message from a gentleman whom we will call Lionel, warning a lady

well-known in society, whose name is in my possession, of an impending motor-car

accident, and asking her to put off her intended journey. The lady sent on the

message to Mr Stead, who received it on Tuesday morning. He at once dictated a

letter to the person concerned, giving the message, and the letter was posted to

Dunmore, and arrived on the same day, about 6 pm. Three people knew of the

letter - Mr Stead, the stenographer and Mr King, a Bureau official; the

letter-book also shows its posting. The letter duly arrived, but the lady

concerned had left. In consequence of a strong presentiment she cut short her

journey, but returning through London on the following day a motor-bus skidded

and crashed into her car, slightly injuring the occupants. On her arrival at

Dunmore Mr Stead's letter was handed to her, too late to be useful, but offering

an unassailable testimony to the accuracy of the Bureau information. Lionel

states that he succeeded in slightly turning the omnibus, thus preventing a

fatal accident, but was unable to stop it altogether. It is interesting to

compare the efficient and direct communications obtained in the Bureau, where

proper conditions are afforded, with the clumsy and laborious

cross-correspondences loved by the out of date SPR. That society promised well,

but it seems as though what Calvinists called “judicial blindness” had fallen on

it since its wicked treatment of our HPB’. A good story,” concluded the


“We were speaking last time,” said the Scholar, “of the reappearance in one life

of characteristics that had been prominent in a previous one. It seems to me

that a very good instance of this is to be found in the later incarnations of

our late President-Founder. Remember how he repeated in this life in his

Presidential proclamations and in parts of Old Diary Leaves the very style of

his rock-cut inscriptions when he was King Asoka; and even those were equally

repetitious of certain edicts which he issued as Gustasp in favor of the

Zoroastrian religion. His first book in this life was upon the value of the

plant sorghum, which he was instrumental in introducing to the notice of the

authorities in the United States; but he had done the very same thing with the

very same plants thousands of years before, when he was employed by the

Government of Peru.”

“Yes”, assented the Shepherd, “I think the Colonel may fairly be quoted as an

example of the permanence of certain characteristics. You may recollect, too,

how in another of our series of lives the artistic tendency of the man showed

itself again and again, varying its expression according to surrounding

conditions, but always there in some form. But, turning to the business of the

evening, has any one a story to contribute?”

“I have something that I think will be new to you,” said the Inspector. “My

daughter was once attacked by a disease known in Samskrt as Dhanurvâyu (a

disease which makes the body bend like a drawn bow). This disease is commonly

pronounced incurable; in this case it first manifested itself, oddly enough, in

a slight swelling on the big toe. She felt, at times, quite excruciating pain,

and skilful treatment by expert European as well as Indian doctors was of no

avail. In compliance with the wishes of my mother, I took her to a temple

dedicated to Hanûmân at Kasâpûr, near Guntakal, to whi persons suffering from

fell diseases resort in the pious belief that they will be cured by the favor of

the presiding Deity. For three days her mother worshipped the Deity in various

ways on her behalf, as she could not do it herself, being physically weak. On

the night of the fourth day, she dreamt that some one came and stood beside her

and told her that she would be cured, if a certain leaf called uttareni was

crushed and mixed with turmeric powder and applied to the part where the disease

originated. On the same night a servant of the temple dreamt a dream quite

identical with the patient's, in which he was told to go and fetch the leaf

himself. Accordingly, he got up and went into the fields in the neighborhood,

plucked some leaves and brought them home and, after crushing them, asked my

wife for the turmeric powder, relating his dream parenthetically. My wife was

surprised at the remarkable identity of the dreams and applied the leaf herself

to the patient's foot. The application took effect almost instantly and in less

than ten minutes the patient felt indescribable relief and recovered perfectly

soon afterwards.”

“I suppose it must have been a case of some sort of convulsions, probably

produced by the bite of some poisonous creature. Anyhow, the facts are

interesting,” said the Shepherd, “and they remind me of the giving of

prescriptions at spiritualistic séances. Sir John Forbes, for example, was one

who frequently gave them in that way. But is a cure always effected at these


“Not invariably,” replied the Inspector; “but sooner or later a dream always

comes to the patient, either telling him how his disease can be cured or

informing him that it is incurable and that it is useless for him to stay any

longer. Vidurâswatham and Nanjangod are two other places in this Presidency

where similar cures are said to be effected. I myself suffered for several years

with a pain that recurred at intervals of from one to six months. I went with my

wife to the Kasâpûr Temple, where after three days she dreamed of a prescription

which proved effective, curing me entirely, although the doctors had failed.

Then, again, a relative of mine, who was a white leper, went for two years to a

Temple at Vidurâshwatha, and was completely cured, no trace of the disease

remaining, nor has it since returned.”

“I was never exactly cured by a prescription given in a dream,” said Chitra,

“but I have received very curious warnings in that way. When quite a young girl

I heard one day of the serious illness of a girl-friend, and that night I

dreamed that I was standing on a path looking towards slightly rising ground. I

then noticed that there were three mounds or very small hillocks on this rise,

and that the grass covering the whole place was unusually long and juicy in

appearance, and of a very vivid green. Suddenly on the farthest side of the

first hillock to my right I saw my sick friend, looking very pale. She appeared

to be climbing the hillock on the side hidden from me. When she reached the top

she stood for a second looking towards the third, then walked steadily,

seriously forward, stooping to gather great handfuls of the luscious, green

grass as she walked. She climbed the second hillock, and by that time had quite

a large sheaf of grass - an armful. She descended the further side, and then I

noticed that between the second and third hillocks there was a small round pool

of intensely black water. Reaching the edge of this pool she looked at it as if

measuring the width, then stepped over it, climbed to the top of the third

hillock and disappeared suddenly, as if she had dissolved. My friend died soon


“Ten or twelve years afterwards during my school-holidays - greatly lengthened

that year, because of an outbreak of typhoid fever in the school - I was lying

awake one night wondering how many of the children would die. Some, we knew,

must; and thinking how thankful the Manager of the Institution and his wife

would be that their son, lately a school-master there, had been transferred

before the fever broke out, I also found myself wondering where he would spend

his holidays, as he was rather weak from overstudy and I felt sure his parents

would not allow him to come home. Thus thinking, I fell sound asleep, but was

awakened by hearing his voice distinctly call my name three times. I sat up

startled, and listened, but not a sound was to be heard. I woke my sister and

told her, but she was too sleepy to listen and said it must have been a dream. I

at once went to sleep again, but was roused again by the same call, this time

louder, so I rose, went down stairs and opened the door. No one was about, so,

feeling very uneasy, I returned to bed, only to be once more roused by the same

call. Then I again awoke my sister and said ‘I am sure so-and-so is ill, but why

is he calling me?’ ‘Well, you can find out in the morning, but not now,’ replied

my sister. In spite of my anxiety, I slept directly my head touched the pillow,

and I found myself looking at those same three green mounds which I had seen

years before, so I was not surprised to see my teacher-friend climbing the first

one just as my girl-friend had done. He went through exactly the same movements,

walked steadily along, gathered grass till he had a great sheaf, crossed the

black pool, climbed the third hillock, and disappeared. I awoke feeling sure he

was dying or dead, and wondering if his people knew. Directly after breakfast I

saw his brother entering a chemist's shop, so turned and asked him if John were


‘What made you think of that?’ he asked.

‘Oh, I dreamed of him’.

‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I am afraid he is dying. He would come home for his

holidays. He took the fever, but recovered; but he caught a chill and now has a

relapse and we have very little hope; come and see him this afternoon if you


“I went and, while sitting in the room next his with his mother, was greatly

startled by three loud raps made upon the wall near the ceiling, as if by a very

heavy stick.”

‘Won't that startle him dreadfully?’ I said.

“His mother, looking at me strangely, said ‘Come and see.’ We entered the sick

room on tip-toe, and there, lying quite unconscious on a low bed against the

opposite wall from that on which the knocks sounded was the invalid. His mother

and I looked at each other and tip-toed out again.

‘That has been happening at intervals ever since the relapse,’ she said, ‘that

is why we have taken everything off that wall. Did you notice it was bare?’

Suddenly I heard the servants noisily rolling up the oilcloth from the front

door, down the passage to the door of the sick room, and said:”

‘Why do you let them do that? won't it startle him?’

“Again she gave me that strange look, and said ‘Come and see’. Then I remembered

that I had noticed before that the floor was bare; the oilcloth had been taken

up a week before.

‘That noise too,’ she said, ‘comes every day, and sometimes several times a day.

None of my girls will come to work in this passage, they are so afraid.’ I asked

his mother if he had called me and she told me that at three o'clock that

morning he had repeated my name in a whisper three times. The noises may have

been caused by entities who followed his father home from spiritualistic séances

which he attended.”

“Still later on, I dreamed that I saw the baby of a visitor to the school at the

same three mounds and doing as the other two had done; this baby also died, but

not of typhoid.”

“A few years ago, when very weak and ill myself, I dreamed I once more faced the

three mounds and the black pool and said to myself as I looked ‘I wonder who is

going to die now!’ No one came. so I myself climbed the first and second mound

and gathered an armful of grass, but when I came to the pool I stopped and

looked at it, not feeling any impulse to go on; then I awoke. I cannot

understand why, even after relating this dream to others and catching the look

which passed between them, I did not apply it to myself, but the fact remains

that I did not; and when a few months later I had to undergo a very serious

surgical operation because of a hurt I had accidently received, and was warned

by my doctor that I had but one chance of recovery out of ten, my dream never

crossed my mind. Not until months afterwards when a friend reminded me, saying

‘I knew you would not die because you did not cross the pool,’ did I think of


“One night,” said the Doctor's daughter, “in a dream, a threatening skeleton

appeared to me, saying he was ‘Death,’ but I told him he should take no one from

our house, and broke him up. Two days later the coachman's mother died. Another

time I dreamt I leaned too far over a pool and fell into it and was drowned; and

the next day a housemaid in the next compound fell into the well in the same

manner and was drowned.”

“I had a curious dream,” put in the Fakir, “when I first came into touch with

Theosophy. I was very deeply interested in a French movement of a semi-occult

nature when one night I dreamt that I was seated in a carriage bearing its name.

I waited a long time, but the carriage did not move, no horse having been

harnessed to it. I was becoming very impatient, so, another carriage came

swiftly past, I jumped into it - and found that it bore the name ‘Theosophical

Society’. The first Society still exists, but apparently has not yet found a


“I knew a lady-member who had a similar experience, but she was awake, not

dreaming,” said the Scholar. “She was in the office of a semi-magical Hermetic

Society, actually waiting to fill up her form of application, when she

distinctly saw a face and heard a voice say: ‘This is not your place.’ She

excused herself from joining, and shortly afterwards came across an

advertisement of a theosophical lecture, which she attended. Afterwards, seeing

the portrait of HPB, she recognised in it the face she had seen at the time of

the warning voice.”

“Another incident of the nature of a death-warning was related by my mother. She

awoke one night to find the astral counterpart of my father leaning half out of

bed with an expression of horror upon its features. They had news the next day

of his brother's death, which took place at the very time when my father was

leaning out of bed. There seems to me to be some sort of communication in this -

telepathic we might call it, in the widest sense of the term.”

“One hears so much about the telepathy of sight and hearing,” remarked the

Fakir, “that the other senses seem to be left out in the cold, which isn't fair

to them. A curious incident happened to a dear old lady-friend of mine in whose

hospitable home I have spent many a holiday. No dreamer of dreams was she, but a

stout American matron, a sorely tried mother, a model of housewifely perfection.

She usually spent the season in Paris, but had a seaside villa in Brittany,

which was, at the time of my story, in the charge of a single housemaid named

Irma. One afternoon my friend startled the household by suddenly bustling all

over her Paris flat with a handkerchief to her nose and a much-aggrieved

expression, poking under sofas and behind cupboards, and taking everybody to

task. ‘Had they no noses?’ They sniffed their best, but all protested they could

smell nothing. There certainly could be no dead rats about. They had not seen as

much as a live mouse. That awful smell haunted my friend for half an hour or so,

and then subsided. A couple of hours later a telegram came, from a friend in

Brittany ‘Irma found dead in room - letter follows.’ The letter came next day,

and made everything clear: the servant not seen for several days; the house

found locked from inside; the breaking, first into the hall, then into the

servant's bedroom upstairs; the rush of putrid air making the whole party recoil

a moment; and finally the finding of the neglected corpse - all at the very time

when my old friend, three hundred miles away in Paris, was haunted by that

fearful smell.”

“Well,” remarked the Scholar, “it seems to have been a case of telaesthesia, but

it certainly was not telaesthetic.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (7)

first published in the Theosophist, Oct, 1909, p121-126

“Nearly twenty years ago,” began the Doctor, “while on a visit to the distant

home of my childhood, I had a peculiar experience. Having a desire to view once

more a small valley that lay beyond the hills in a neighboring township, I

started, one fine morning, to make the journey. Taking my horse and carriage as

far as was practicable, I left them at a farm-house on the hills and proceeded

on foot in the direction which I had often travelled long years before,

expecting to strike into a bridle-path with which I used to be familiar. I had

not gone far, however, before I found that time had made great changes in the

face of nature, and that the upland (where I expected to find the bridle-path)

had become thickly covered with a growth of evergreen trees - spruce, hemlock

and balsam fir - the low-hanging branches of which nearly covered the ground.

After spending some time in a fruitless effort to follow a definite course, it

gradually dawned upon me that I did not know in which direction the right course

lay - in fact I was lost.”

“As I was still wandering on, there suddenly appeared before me a very large

brown dog who rushed up to me with great friendliness of manner and, rearing up,

placed his paws on my shoulders and looked me in the face, but with such

expressive eyes as I never saw in any dog before or since. They seemed to

radiate a depth of affection and a breadth of intelligence such as I had never

thought possible in any of the lower animals.”


“He soon assumed the position most natural to all quadrupeds and trotted off a

few yards and then looked back, wagging his tail, as much as to say, ‘Come on’,

so I followed him without the least hesitation. He led me some distance through

the thick growth of young trees, and I kept quite near to him, when suddenly he

vanished from my sight, just as I was nearing an opening where I soon saw the

summits of the Green Mountains, and was able to take the proper course. But the

dog was gone, and though I made every conceivable effort to find him, it was

without avail. On my return in the evening I took a different, though a longer

course, and on reaching the farm-house sought to obtain some tidings of my

friend and guide the dog, but evidently such a dog was not known in that


“I have often pondered over the question of the sudden appearance and

disappearance of the four-footed friend who did me so kind a service. Where did

he come from, and where did he go so suddenly, thus frustrating my hopes of

future companionship with him? The pressure of his paws was plainly felt on my

shoulders, which shows that he was not a mere apparition; but what puzzled me

most was the fact that I did not see or hear his approach or departure. He

seemed suddenly to flash into visibility, only a few feet in front of me, and to

vanish as suddenly, when near by, after accomplishing his mission.”

“There are several possible explanations available,” said the Shepherd. “If

neither the appearance nor the vanishing occurred actually under the observation

of the spectator, the dog may have been an ordinary physical animal, belonging

to some passing visitor. It seems probable that some friendly dead person

noticed the narrator's predicament, and offered assistance; then the question

arises, how could that assistance most easily be given? If a suitably

impressible animal happened to be within reach, to use him would most likely

need the smallest expenditure of force. If not, no doubt a nature-spirit could

assume that form, but that involves the additional labor of materialisation, and

materialisation maintained for a considerable time. Another possibility is the

use of hypnotic influence; if that were employed neither dog nor nature-spirit

is needed - a strong impression upon the mind is enough.”

“I remember an occurrence somewhat similar, but less dramatic,” remarked the

Painter. “A girl-friend of mine lived in a country suburb about a mile from the

station. It was a lonely walk which she always avoided taking alone after dark.

One evening, however, she was obliged to return home late, without any

companion. She was a timid girl and she was very nervous, but she had scarcely

left the station when a dog came up to her in a friendly manner. She patted him,

and he turned and trotted along beside her till she reached her own gate, and

then turned off in another direction. She told me that she felt quite secure in

his company, and felt as if he had been sent to her.”

“No doubt he had,” commented the Shepherd.

“These cases seem not uncommon,” said the Prince, “though the details differ in

each. A lady who resided in the suburbs of Philadelphia was detained one night

in town and had to return home much later than was her custom. She was obliged

to carry an unusual amount of money, which she thought must have been known to a

depraved-looking man who followed her into the street car, and descended from it

at the same time that she left it to walk through a lonely street to her home.

She watched his movements with anxiety as he followed her at a distance, and (as

she had feared) approached her menacingly just at the loneliest spot. As he was

about to touch her a large S. Bernard dog suddenly appeared and growled fiercely

at the ruffian, who turned and fled instantly. The lady recognised the dog as

her own, and welcomed him with effusion, and he walked at her side all the way

to her own door, where he suddenly disappeared even as she was looking at him

and fondling him. Then for the first time (having been too upset and terrified

before to think of it) she realised with an awful shock that the dog had died

two years before! This recollection seems to have frightened her even more than

the man had.”

“Yet it surely should not have done so,” remarked the Shepherd, “for nothing

could be more natural than that the dog should still remain after death near the

mistress whom he had loved, and should defend her when the need arose. How he

was able to materialise himself so opportunely we cannot know; it may have been

only the strength of his own love for the lady and his hatred of the aggressor,

but perhaps it is more likely that some invisible helper or some protecting dead

friend chose that way of interfering for the lady's defence. An animal is much

easier to influence than the average human being.”

“I know a very remarkable animal story which I should much like to have

explained,” said the Platonist.

“I remember, ten years ago, a college friend of mine told me a story of an uncle

of his, a great Shikâri, who had spent many years in India - a healthy,

matter-of-fact kind of person, who had neither any leaning towards the occult,

nor any skill in the invention of fictions. It was his uncle's great anecdote,

by that time thoroughly polished by many years of after-dinner service.”

“One day the uncle, whom we will call Colonel X., was out in the jungle after a

panther. After a good deal of beating about, the beast was tracked to a dark

cave in the side of a hill. Colonel X. approached the mouth of the cave with

great caution and looked in, ready to shoot, of course, if anything happened. As

he peered into the darkness, the light of two flashing green eyes shone out from

the further end of the cavern and the Colonel was, all of a sudden, petrified to

hear a human voice, thrilling with misery and anguish, call out to him: ‘For

God's sake shoot me, and release me from this hell!’ What the Colonel replied I

forget; but, at any rate, the voice - which came from the beast at the end of

the cave - went on to inform him that it was the soul of an English lady which

somehow or other had become imprisoned in the body of the brute, that she was

suffering unimaginable torments and that, if he would effect her release, she

would be eternally grateful and ever afterwards watch over him in times of

peril. She told him that, whenever danger might happen to threaten him, she

would appear to him in the form of a spotted deer; and that he must remember

this and always be ready to take warning.”

“The Colonel, said my friend, raised his gun, as in a kind of dream, and fired.”


“Years passed by, and he had almost begun to look upon the whole incident as a

strange hallucination. People naturally laughed at him when he told the story,

and sometimes he felt a little inclined to laugh at himself.”

“One day, however - again when out in the jungle, shooting - he was just about

to turn down a little side-track through dense undergrowth, when suddenly a

spotted deer passed a few yards in front of him, looking at him in a meaning way

- and disappeared. This brought the previous adventure back with a rush of

recollection to his mind. He felt there must be danger. So he proceeded to

reconnoitre with the assistance of the beaters, and soon discovered, in the

grass of the jungle-path down which he had been preparing to go, and only a few

yards in front of where he stood, a huge cobra coiled up and almost concealed.

Had he gone on, he would certainly have trodden upon it.”

“Again, some years later, but this time in England, he happened to be walking

along the outskirts of a large field, bounded by a thick quick-set hedge. Being

anxious to get through into the next field, he was looking for a gap in the

hedge. At length he found one - a largish hole, with a section of hollow

tree-trunk bridging the ditch which divided the two fields. He was just stooping

down to crawl across when, in front of him, in the next field, he saw a spotted

deer! Once more he remembered his former experience; and, knowing that deer of

this kind were not to be found in England, he drew back quickly and proceeded

along the side of the hedge until he came to a gate some way further down. Going

through the gate he returned to examine the gap from the other side. On doing

so, he discovered in the hollow trunk a large hornets' nest!”

“On one or two other occasions the spotted deer appeared to him, always to warn

him at the moment of danger. I was told these by my friend, but I have forgotten

them in the ten years which have passed since I heard the story. At the time of

telling it, Colonel X. was still living and was ready to swear to the facts

which I have related.”

“A most remarkable story,” commented the Shepherd. “It is of course possible

that the years of polishing of which you spoke have added somewhat to its

marvels; but if we are to accept even the broad outlines as true, it needs a

good deal of accounting for.”

“But is it in the least possible that a woman could be imprisoned in the body of

a panther?” asked the Painter.

“Possible perhaps, but not in the ordinary course of events very probable,”

replied the Shepherd. “Long practice in matters occult has taught me to be

exceedingly cautious in affirming that anything is impossible. The most I ever

feel justified in saying is that such and such a case is beyond my experience,

and that I do not know of any law under which it could be classified. But this

particular instance is not utterly inexplicable; suggestions may be offered,

though we should need a great deal more information before we could speak with

any approach to certainty.”

“What suggestion can you offer?” asked the Platonist.

“If the tale be true exactly as we have it,” said the Shepherd, “I think we must

assume some very unusual piece of karma. You may remember a little article of

mine in the Adyar Bulletin on “Animal Obsession,” in which I indicated the

various ways in which we have found human beings attached to and practically

inhabiting animal bodies, but this case does not fit quite comfortably in any of

the classes there described. The lady may have been a person who found herself

in the grey world (to borrow a very appropriate name from a recent novel), and

in a mad effort to escape from it seized upon the body of a panther, and after

awhile became horrified at this body and desired earnestly to free herself from

it, but could not. Or of course she may have been linked with the body as the

result of some gross cruelty, though we know nothing about her that would

justify us in such a supposition. Or (since the thing happened here in India)

she may have offended some practitioner of magical arts, and he may have

revenged himself upon her by imprisoning her thus.”

“But again, is that in the least possible?” interrupted the Painter. “It sounds

like one of the stories in the Arabian Nights.”

“Yes, if there were a weakness in her through which such a magician could seize

upon her, and if she had intentionally done something which gave him a karmic

hold upon her; but of course it would be a very rare case. But there are other

unusual points in the story. I have never heard of an instance in which a person

linked to an animal could speak through its body; nor, again, would it under

ordinary circumstances be possible for a dead person to show herself as a

spotted deer when the intervention of a guardian angel was considered desirable.

If the details are accurately given, the young lady must have been a very

unusual person who had somehow entangled herself in unfrequented bypaths of

existence. You may remember a ghastly story of Rudyard Kipling's about the fate

of a man who in some drunken freak insulted the image of the deity in a Hindu

Temple. There are often men attached to such temples who possess considerable

powers of one sort or another, and while we know that no good man would ever use

a power to injure another, there might be some who, when seriously offended,

would be less scrupulous.”

“May not the Colonel have been to some extent psychic?” asked the


“Nothing is said to imply that.” replied the Shepherd, “but of course if we may

assume it, it clears up some of the minor difficulties of the story, for in that

case the deer may have been visible, and the voice of the panther audible, only

to him. But a man who is psychic usually has more experiences than one; and this

Colonel hardly seems to have been that kind of man. In the absence of more

precise information I think we must be content to leave the story unexplained.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (8)

first published in the Theosophist, Nov, 1909, p252-260

“Some years ago, nearly thirty I think,” said the Tahsildar, “one evening at

twilight a friend of mine and I were walking along a road when we saw a bright

light under a tree, about two hundred yards away across a ploughed field. I was

curious to see what it was, as it did not proceed from any source that we could

see, but appeared to stand in the air some two feet from the ground. The light

was wide at the base and tapering upwards like a flame. I went to the spot, but

as I approached the light disappeared and I found nothing but a naked man

sitting under a tree. There was nothing by which I could account for the light,

- nothing which would have caused me to imagine it. My friend, being elderly,

had not come with me but remained on the road, and when I turned to him I saw

that the light was there just as before. We now both went to the spot, but with

the same result as before, The light again disappeared and the strange man sat

there motionless, taking no notice of my enquiries. We both tried, in all the

languages we knew, to attract his attention; I even took him by the shoulder and

shook him, but it was of no avail. We went back to the road and stood some time

looking at the light, which again appeared, and wondering what it could be. It

had of course now become quite dark, and the light seemed therefore much

brighter; but we could obtain no explanation of it, so we went to our quarters

in the dâk-bungalow in which we were staying, both of us being officials out in


“Next morning, as I was returning from my work at about ten o'clock, I saw,

sitting upon a sort of rubbish-heap close to our quarters, the same strange man

whom I had seen under the tree. I again spoke to him, but he gave me no reply. I

offered him something to eat, but he would not take it. I called my friend's

attention to him, and he and others who had collected spoke to this strange man,

but none received any reply, nor did he give the slightest sign that he heard

us. We then left him, and next day returned to our own village some eighteen

miles distant.”

“Two days later a peon who was employed in my office, who had seen the man

sitting on the rubbish-heap, came and informed me that the same man was in our

village, near a Muhammadan resthouse or makân. I immediately went to see him and

found that it really was the same man. I invited him to my house, but he would

not come then. However, two or three days after he did come, but still without

speaking a word. I think he accepted a small quantity of milk on that or the

next day. From that time on, the stranger stayed in my house, without however

speaking a word, or explaining who he was or what he wanted,”

“At about three o'clock one afternoon a day or two later the postman came to us

bringing letters. Several gentlemen were then with me, and among them the

District Munsif, who was a relation of mine. At this time my wife, who was about

to be confined, was in Madras, and I was expecting a letter from my

father-in-law on the subject. There were a few letters for me which, in

deference to the company of my friends, I at once put into my pocket without

reading. The Munsif, however, asked me to open the letters, suggesting that one

of them might contain the information which I was expecting, and as he was an

elderly gentleman, so that I did not like to displease him, I took out the

letters. Now, before I could open the letter the strange man, whom we had begun

to call the Mastân, and who had not until now spoken a single word, looked at me


and said in Hindi:

‘Munshi, I will tell you what is in that letter. It contains news that your wife

has given birth to a female child.’”

“This greatly aroused our curiosity, and I at once opened the letter, and found

that what he had said was correct. As soon as I had finished reading it the

Mastân spoke again:

‘There is another letter now in the post, which announces that the child has


“We were all much surprised, and decided to meet again next day; which we did,

and the postman brought me another letter confirming what the strange man had

said. The wonder rapidly passed from mouth to mouth through the neighbourhood,

and people began to pour in in large numbers day by day in order to see the

strange man.”

“One day, when I was alone with him, the Mastân told me that my wife was

partially obsessed or possessed by a being on the inner planes, who, however,

was not at all repulsive or dangerous, but still not necessary or desirable. He

offered to make for her a charm which I was to send by post. I agreed. ‘Bring me

a small plate of gold’, he said. I obtained the small plate of gold and brought

it to him. He wrote something on a [[piece of paper and said tat a goldsmith

must reproduce it on the plate. All this I had done - and here is the plate that

you may see it.”

At this point the Tahsildar handed round a small gold plate about one and a

quarter inches square, bearing the following inscription on one side: (graphic)

“Perhaps the Scholar can tell us what it means,” suggested the Shepherd. The

Scholar eyed the small charm critically, as though he had known such things from

his youth up.

“One may safely say,” he surmised “that for the most part the signs are Arabic

numerals, those signifying two and eight being frequent. The first word looks

like ‘saz’ and below it I think is ‘tun’. As we do not know in what language

they are meant to be, it is difficult to say with certainty what these words

are. The Arabic script is used for Persian, Hindustani and Malay as well as

Arabic, and there are several different sound-value for the same letter. If the

words are Hindustani they represent, as I said, ‘saz’ and ‘tan’. Several of the

signs which I take to be numerals are very badly drawn, so as to be hardly

recognisable as such. One must remember that these were roughly drawn on paper

and then copied by a goldsmith to whom these signs were absolutely foreign.

Hence the difficulty of deciphering some of them. Evidently the signs themselves

are not endowed with any mystic force, or they would need to be more accurately


“That I don't know,” continued the Tahsildar, “but some power it certainly

possessed. Before the Mastân gave me the charm he kept it by him for several

days. Sometimes he kept it in his mouth. At others he placed it beneath his

thigh as he was sitting upon the ground, though usually he sat upon a chair,

with a small fire kindled beside him on the ground. A third place in which he

kept it was the bowl of a pipe in which he smoked, not tobacco, but a substance

called ganja.”

“He did not bring this pipe with him. In fact he had no possessions at all

except a stick or staff. But a Muhammadan peon who was attached to my office,

whom we called the fat peon, was an habitual smoker, and he one day offered his

pipe to the Mastân, who at once accepted it and thenceforward had it frequently

prepared for him.”

“Now in our place was an American Baptist Mission centre, and it happened that

two missionaries, one of them elderly, =came to my house to see the strange man

of whom they had heard. The Mastân sat there smoking, and the missionaries sat

looking at him for some time. Presently the elderly missionary said to him:

‘Why do you not give up smoking? Do you not know that it is a very bad thing for

a man to smoke ganja?’ - and turning to me he continued: ‘Here you reverence

this man and consider that he is a great being and yet you see the fellow

smokes, which is very dirty and bad.’”

“I remained silent, but our Mastân replied in Hindi:”

“‘Ah, you miserable pâdre; yes, it is true, it is a bad thing to smoke. I

challenge you. I will give up this bad habit if you also will give up one of

your bad habits.’

‘What bad habit have I?’ asked the offended missionary.”

‘You drink alcohol,’ replied the Mastân.

“The pâdre looked uncomfortable, but he rejoined: ‘Oh, but I never drink to

excess; besides, liquor does no harm to a man, while your ganja will kill him.’

‘Do you say so?’ cried the Mastân. ‘Come now, I challenge you again. Order in as

much ganja as you are sure will kill me; I will smoke it if you on your side

will drink as much liquor as I think will kill you.’”

“Incredible as it may seem, the missionary at once accepted this extraordinary

challenge, and ordered a very large quantity of ganja, and a number of people

were employed in preparing it and filling and refilling the many pipes which

were very soon brought in for the occasion. The man was contained in a basket

considerably more than a foot in length, in breadth and in depth, and the amount

of ganja was quite incredibly large for one man. The Mastân drew great breaths,

reducing a whole pipeful to ashes in one pull, so that in less than an hour he

had disposed of the whole quantity. Then he quietly turned to the missionary and


‘You pâdre; here I am, you see, and not dead.’

“The missionary looked sick, but the Mast n was relentless, and continued:

‘Now it is your turn to display your ability in your evil habit. You must drink

the liquor that I shall now have brought.’ But the missionaries quickly got up,

made a bow to the strange man, and fled?”

A smile went round the company, but the Painter interrupted its full expansion

with an eager query: “But what about the charm?”

“Oh, that must have been quite effective, for my wife from that time till her

death, only a few years ago, was quite free from any sort of possessing


“Ah,” exclaimed the Countess, sympathetically “that was good. Then he must have

been a great man, although he smoked so badly.”

“Not necessarily very great,” replied the Shepherd, “for in many cases it does

not take great power to remove a possessing entity. But while I do not of course

defend his smoking, I may point out that it is just possible that the habit may

have been assumed precisely in order to give those presumptuous missionaries a

lesson which they well deserved and badly needed.”

“It was not only the missionaries, though they were the most insolent, who

scoffed at this man whom we now regarded with reverence and gratitude,” went on

the Tahsildar. “The news reached the ears of the European civil officer of the

station under whom I happened to be serving at the time. He very often spoke of

the Mastân, calling him a madman; yet he often said also that he would like to

see him. Now it happened one evening that the Mastân and myself were walking

along the road which led past the civil officer's house, and that he and his

wife were coming in the opposite direction, so that we met. The officer asked


‘Is this the madman you have been speaking about?’

“I told him that this was the Mastân who was a guest in my house. He then asked

me to enquire of the Mastân when he would be promoted in the service, saying:

‘That will prove whether your prophet is any good at all.’ The Mastân replied:

‘You will never be promoted, and further, you will very soon leave India for

your native country.’

‘These statements,’ said the officer, ‘convince me that this man is mad, because

I need only be in the service a very short time longer to ensure promotion;

besides, I have only recently returned from England, as you know, and there will

be no need whatever for me to go there again for some time.’”

“So we parted. But only a few days later the civil officer was ordered home by

the doctors, and had to go on a long furlough to England, and I heard

subsequently that when he returned again to India a medical officer pronounced

him defiantly and permanently unfit for the climate, so that he was forced to

retire altogether from the service.”

“Many people came to the Mastân in order to be cured. Among these was a Vaishya

gentleman who had had asthma for a long time. The Mastân said to him:”

‘If you will do as I tell you, you will be cured.’

‘O, yes; certainly I will,’ said the gentleman.

‘Well then,’ said the Mastân, ‘On the sight of the new moon you must go alone to

the sea-shore, carrying with you an unlighted lamp, some ghee and a wick. You

must prepare these, and having lighted the lamp on the shore, walk round it

three times. You will then be told what to do next.’

‘But,’ said the gentleman, ‘who will tell me what to do?’ ‘Never mind,’ replied

the Mastân, ‘you go and do what I say.’

“Now it was about eight miles from the village to the sea, and the Vaishya

gentleman was afraid to go alone in the dark, but at last he managed to screw up

his courage, and went. He told us afterwards that as he was walking round the

lamp on the second turn the Mastân suddenly appeared beside him, patted him on

the back and said:”

‘Go on. Finish the third round. You need not fear anything at all.’

“After the ceremony was completed the Mastân walked with him towards the


village, but disappeared as soon as they approached it. The extraordinary thing

is that all this time the Mastân was with me in my own house! The asthma was

cured and did not return.”

“There was a medical officer in the township, who was also something of a

photographer, and as we particularly desired to have a photograph of the Mastân

we asked him to take one. He consented, and after a good deal of persuasion the

Mastân sat before the camera, after we had thrown a cloth about his body. I must

tell you that the photographer was also a scoffer, Well, about seven plates were

taken of the Mastân, but each time when they were developed they certainly

revealed the body of the Mastân - but no head! The photographer was certain that

all these failures were not due to accident, but considered it a rebuke, on the

part of the wonder-worker, for his previous scoffing; so he went to him and

humbly begged his pardon.”

‘Do you still regard me as a madman?’ asked the Mastân.

‘No; I am very sorry that I abused and offended you’, he replied.

‘Well then,’ said the Mastân, ‘you may have a photograph.’

“So he sat once more before the camera, and a beautiful photograph was the

result. This you may now see, though it is a little faded. The Mastân told us we

must not take more than three copies and the plate must be destroyed; but I must

confess that after a time we disobeyed that order and produced some further


The Tahsildar here handed round the photograph; a reproduction of it appears

upon the opposite page, but the photograph is so faded after all these years

that the reproduction is a very poor one.

“After having stayed with me for about three weeks the Mastân expressed his

intention to depart. I and other friends accompanied him to a village about

twenty miles distant. Here we had arranged with a friend for accommodation, and

he prepared for us a certain house - the only one available in the village - a

house which was reputed to be haunted. This house had been built three years

before, but the owner had lived in it only one day and part of one night, for on

the very first night he slept there he was carried up bodily, bed an all, and

deposited in the middle of the road outside! There was supposed to be some sort

of demon in the house; so it had been lying vacant for three years. We came to

the house, and late in the evening we all fell asleep in the room where the

Mastân still sat in his chair, as was his custom. In the middle of the night I

was awakened by the voice of the Mastân calling out:”

‘Murshad, Murshad, he is too strong for me; come and help me.’

“Now Murshad means Guru. I found the Mastân standing near the chair and speaking

to somebody in an angry voice. I heard only one side of the conversation, and I

could neither see nor hear anyone to whom he was speaking. After a while the

Mastân sat down, saying:”

‘After all I got rid of the nuisance, although he was a very tough customer and

I had to call my Teacher.’

“The Mastân then told me that the house had been haunted by a very bad and

powerful demon. Next morning we induced the owner to return to his house, and

there we stayed with him for three days to see that he was at ease and

unmolested. The same afternoon the Mastân, after some chanting, took us out to a

tree about a mile from the village, and there with some more chanting he drove a

nail into the tree, which he said would fix the demon there. He said that nobody

must ever sleep under the tree.”

“The time came for the Mastân to proceed upon his journey, and he told us to

bring him a pony. We brought a very small pony, ready saddled and bridled. Then

he told us to remove the saddle and bridle, and seated himself on the bare back

of the animal with his face towards the tail. The pony started off and went

along as though it were actually being guided by a bridle, while all of us

walked behind conversing with the Mastân. After a time we all turned back and

went home, and that was the last I saw of the Mastân.”

“I can add a pendant to that story,” quietly remarked the Model of Reticence.

“In 1882, during the month of May, Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, after

forming a branch of the Society at Nellore, went by boat on the Buckingham Canal

to Guntur. On the way, at Ramayapatnam, they met a friend of mine, the

Sirastadar of the Ongole sub-collector's office, and while travelling by the

same boat HPB, seeing a bandage on his leg, asked him what was the matter. He

explained to her that he had been suffering from a sore for a very long time,

and that even the English doctors were not able to cure it. Then she told him

that one year later he would meet a great man who would cure him. Just about one

year later this Mastân, about whom our Tahsildar has been speaking, came into

that district. Seeing the sore, he asked the Sirastadar about it, and then

rubbed some of his saliva upon it and told the patient to go and bathe. The sore

began to heal at once and was entirely gone within two days. So whoever this man

may have been it is obvious that Madame Blavatsky knew something about him.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (9)

first published in the Theosophist, Dec, 1909, p390-396

“Has anything been happening lately among the Invisible Helpers?” asked the


“Naturally something or other is always happening,” replied the Shepherd; but

the work is not always picturesque enough to merit special description. However,

I have in mind one or two incidents that may interest you. One evening recently

I was dictating in my room a little later than usual, when one of our younger

helpers called (by appointment) in his astral body to accompany me on my night's

round. I asked him to wait for a few minutes while I finished the piece of work

upon which I was then engaged, so he circled about the neighborhood a little,

and hovered about over the Bay of Bengal. Seeing a steamer, he swooped down upon

it (in mere curiosity, as he says) and almost immediately his attention was

attracted by a horrible grey aura of deep depression projecting through the

closed door of a cabin. True to his instructions, on sight of such a

distress-signal he at once proceeded to investigate further, and on entering the

room he found a man sitting on the side of a bunk with a pistol in his hand,

which he raised to his forehead and then laid down again. The young helper felt

that something ought to be done promptly, but being new to the work he did not

quite know how to act for the best, so he was in my room again in a flash (and

in a great state of excitement) crying: ‘Come at once; here is a man going to

kill himself!’

“I stopped dictating, threw my body on to a sofa, and accompanied him to the

ship. As soon as I grasped the state of affairs, I decided to temporise, as I

had to return and finish the work upon which I had been engaged; so I strongly

impressed upon the would-be suicide's mind that this was not the time for his

rash act - that he should wait until the middle watch, when he would not be

disturbed. If I had impressed the thought of the wickedness of suicide upon his

brain he would have begin to argue, and I had no time for that; but he instantly

accepted the idea of postponement. I left my young assistant in charge, telling

him to fly at once for me if the young man so much as opened the drawer where I

had made him put the pistol. Then I returned to my body and did a little more

dictation, bringing the work to a point where it could be conveniently left for

the night.”

“As twelve o'clock approached I returned to relieve my young helper, whom I

found in a very anxious frame of mind, though he reported that nothing

particular had occurred. The would-be suicide was still in the same state of

depression, and his resolution had not wavered. I then proceeded to investigate

the reasons in his mind, and found that he was one of the ship's officers, and

that the immediate cause of his depression was the fact that he had been guilty

of some defalcations in connexion with the ship's accounts, which would

inevitably be very shortly discovered, and he was unable to face the consequent

exposure and disgrace. It was in order to stand well with a certain young lady

and to make extravagant presents to her that he had needed, or thought he

needed, the money; and while the actual amount involved was by no means a large

one it was still far beyond his power to replace it.”

“He seemed a good-hearted young fellow, with a fairly clean record behind him,

and (except for this infatuation about the girl which had led him into so

serious an error) a sensible and honorable man. Glancing back hurriedly over his

history to find some lever by which to move him from his culpable determination,

I found that the most powerful thought for that purpose was that of an aged

mother at home, to whom he was dear beyond all others. It was easy to impress

the memory of her form strongly upon him, to make him get out a portrait of her,

and then to show him how this act would ruin the remainder of her life, by

plunging her into inextinguishable sorrow, not only because of her loss of him

on the physical plane, but also because of her doubts as to the fate of his soul

hereafter. Then a way of escape had also to be suggested, and having examined

the captain of the steamer and approved him, the only way that seemed feasible

to me was to suggest an appeal to him.”

“This then was the idea put into the young man's mind - that, in order to avoid

the awful sorrow which his suicide must inevitably bring to the heart of his

mother, he must face the almost impossible alternative of going to his captain,

laying the whole case before him, and asking for a temporary suspension of

judgement until he should prove himself to be worthy of such clemency. So the

young officer actually went, then and there, in the dead of night. A sailor is

ever on the alert, and it was not difficult to arrange that the captain should

be awake and should appear at the door just at the right moment. The whole story

was told in half-an-hour, and with much fatherly advice from the kind captain

the matter was settled; the amount misappropriated was replaced by the captain,

to be repaid to him by the officer in such instalments as he could afford, and

thus a young and promising life was saved.”

“But here arises a very curious and interesting question as to the working of

karma. What sort of link has been set up for the future between the young helper

who discovered his predicament and this officer whom he has never seen upon the

physical plane - whom it is not in the least likely that he ever will see? Is

this action the repayment of some help given in the past, and if not how and in

what future life can it itself now be repaid? And again, how strange a series of

apparent accidents led up to the incident! So far as we can see, if it had not

happened that I was working that night later than usual, that consequently I was

not quite ready at the time appointed, that my young friend, instead of

endeavoring, as he might well have done, to pick up the purport of the matter I

was dictating, should choose to circle round in the neighborhood, and happen to

see that steamer and be impelled by what he called curiosity to visit it - had

any one of these apparently fortuitous circumstances failed to fit into its

place in the mosaic, that young man's life would have been cut short by his own

hand at the age of three or four and twenty, whereas now he may well live to an

honored old age, bringing up perhaps a family which otherwise would have been

non-existent. This suggests many an interesting consideration - most of all

perhaps that there is probably no such thing as an accident in the sense in

which we generally use the word.”

“To show the diversity of the astral work that opens before us, I may mention

some other cases in which the same young neophyte was engaged within a few days

of that described above.”

“Every astral worker has always on hand a certain number of regular cases, who

for the time need daily visits, just as a doctor has a daily round in which he

visits a number of patients; so when neophytes are delivered into my charge for

instruction I always take them with me on those rounds, just as an older doctor

might take with him a younger one in order that he might gain experience by

watching how cases are treated. Of course, there is other definite teaching to

be given; the beginner must pass the tests of earth, air, fire and water; he

must learn by constant practice how to distinguish between thought-forms and

living beings; how to know and to use the 2,401 varieties of elemental essence;

how to materialise himself or others when necessary; how to deal with the

thousands of emergencies which are constantly arising; above all, he must learn

never under any circumstances to lose his balance or allow himself to feel the

least tinge of fear, no matter how alarming or unusual may be the manifestations

which occur. The primary necessity for an astral worker is always to remain

master of the situation, whatever it may be. He must of course also be full of

love and of an eager desire to help; but these qualifications I do not need to

teach, for unless the candidate already possessed them he would not be sent to


“I was on my way one night to visit certain of my regular cases, and was passing

over a picturesque and hilly part of the country. My attendant neophytes were

ranging about and sweeping over areas of adjoining land as neophytes will - just

as a fox-terrier runs on ahead and returns again and makes excursions on each

side, and covers three or four times the ground trodden by the man whom he

accompanies. My young friend who had a few days before saved the life of the

officer suddenly came rushing up in his usual impulsive way to say that he had

discovered something wrong - a boy dying down under the ground, as he put it.”

“Investigation soon revealed a child of perhaps eight years old lost in the

inmost recesses of a huge cavern, far from the light of day, apparently dying of

hunger, thirst and despair. The case reminded me somewhat of the “Angel Story”

in Invisible Helpers, and seemed to require much the same kind of treatment; so

on this occasion as on that I materialised the young helper. In this instance it

was necessary also to provide a light, as we were physically in utter darkness;

so the half-fainting child was roused from his stupor by finding a boy with an

amazingly brilliant lantern bending over him. The first and most pressing need

was obviously water, and there was a rill not far away, though the exhausted

child could not have reached it. We had no cup; we could have made one, of

course, but my eager neophyte did not think of that, but rushed off and brought

a drink of water in his hollowed hands. This revived the child so much that he

was able to sit up, and after two more similarly provided draughts he was able

to speak a little.”

“He said that he lived in the next valley, but on rising through the earth and

looking round (leaving my materialised boy to cheer the sufferer, so that he

should not feel deserted) I could not find anything answering to this

description, and I had to return to the child and make him think of his home so

as to get a mental picture of it, and then issue forth again with the image

photographed in my mind. Then I found the house, but further away than he had

described it. There were several people there, and I tried to impress them with

the child's predicament, but was unfortunately unsuccessful; not one of them

seemed in the least receptive, and I could not convey my ideas clearly to them.

They were much troubled about the child's absence, and had been seeking for him;

indeed they had just sent to gather some neighbors from their valleys to make a

more thorough search; and perhaps it may have been partly because of their

preoccupation that they were hopelessly unimpressible.”

“Long enough persistence would probably have broken down the barriers, but the

child's state left us no time for that, so I abandoned the task and looked round

for available food to dematerialise, for as it was the child's own home I felt

that he had a right to it, and that it would not be dishonest. I hurriedly

selected some bread, some cheese, and two fine big apples, and hastened back to

the cave, and re-materialised this miscellaneous plunder in the eager hands of

my neophyte, who proceeded to feed the child. The latter was soon able to attend

to his own wants, and quickly finished every scrap that I had brought, and asked

for more, I feared lest too much, after a prolonged fast, should do more harm

than good, so I told my representative to say that he had no more, and that we

must now try to get out of the cave.”

“With a view to that I suggested to my boy to ask the other how he got in. His

story was that he had been rambling about on the hills in a valley near his

home, and had observed a small cave in the hill-side, which he had never noticed

before. He naturally went in to investigate, but he had not walked more than a

few yards when the floor of the cave gave way under him, and he was precipitated

into a far vaster cavern beneath. From his account he must have been stunned for

a time, for when he ‘awoke’, as he put it, it was quite dark, and he could not

see the hole through which he had fallen. We afterwards inspected the spot and

wondered that he had not been badly hurt, for the fall was a considerable one,

but it had been broken for him by the fact that a mass of soft earth had fallen

underneath him.”

“It was impossible to get him up that way, for the sides of the cave were smooth

and perpendicular; besides he had wandered for two whole days among the

galleries and was now some miles from that spot. After a good deal of

prospecting we found, within a reasonable distance, a place where a little

stream passed from the cave into the open air on a hill-side; the child, now

strengthened by food and drink, was able to walk there, and the two boys soon

enlarged the opening with their hands so that he was able to crawl out. It was

evident that now he would be able to get home in any case, and we also hoped to

be able to influence some of the searchers to come in that direction, so this

seemed a favorable opportunity to part company.”

“The father had a plan of search fixed in his mind - a scheme of examining the

valleys in a certain order - and no suggestion of ours could make him deviate


from it; but fortunately there was in the party a dog who proved more

impressionable, and when he seized the trouser-leg of one of the farm-men and

tried to draw him in our direction the man thought there might be some reason

for it, and so yielded, and followed the dog. Thus by the time that the child

was safely out of the cave the man and the dog were already within a few miles.

The child naturally begged his mysterious newly-found friend to accompany him

home, and clung to him with touching gratitude, but the helper was obliged

gently to tell him that he could not do that, as he had other business; but he

convoyed him to the top of a ridge from which he could see the farm-hand far

away on the other side of the valley. A shout soon attracted his attention, and

as soon as that was certain, our young helper said good-bye to the boy whom he

had rescued, sent him off running feebly towards his friends, and then himself

promptly dematerialised.”

“The small boy who was helped can never have had the slightest idea that his

rescuer was anything but purely physical; he asked one or two inconvenient

questions, but was easily diverted from dangerous ground. Perhaps his relations,

when he comes to tell his story, may find more difficulty than he did in

accounting for the presence in a lonely place of a casual stranger of decidedly

non-bucolic appearance; but at any rate it will be impossible in this case to

bring any such evidence of non-physical intervention as was available in the

parallel instance quoted in Invisible Helpers.”

“A sad case in which it was not possible to do much directly was that of three

little children belonging to a drunken mother. She received some trifling

pension on account of them, and therefore could not at first be induced to part

with them, though she neglected them shamefully and seemed to feel but little

affection for them. The eldest of them was only ten years of age, and the

conditions surrounding them, mentally, astrally and etherically, were as bad as

they could be. The mother seemed for the time quite beyond the reach of any

higher influence, though many efforts had been made to appeal to her better

nature. The only thing that could be done was to leave my young assistant by the


bed-side of the children to ward off patiently from them the horrible

thought-forms and the coarse living entities which clustered so thickly round

the degraded mother. Eventually I showed the neophyte how to make a strong shell

round the children and to set artificial elementals to guard them as far as

might be.”

“A difficulty here is that nature-spirits will not work under such horrible

conditions, and though of course they can be forced to do so by certain magical

ceremonies, this plan is not adopted by those who work under the Great White

Lodge. We accept only willing co-operation, and we cannot expect entities at the

level of development of such nature-spirits as would be used in a case of this

kind to have already acquired such a spirit of self-sacrifice as would cause

them voluntarily to work amidst surroundings so terrible to them. Mere

thought-forms, of course, can be made and left to work under any conditions, but

the intelligent living co-operation of a nature-spirit to ensoul such forms can

be had only when the nature-spirit is reasonably at ease in his work.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (10)

first published in the Theosophist, Jan, 1910, p517-524

“I am sure you will be glad to hear,” began the Shepherd, “that we have very

satisfactory progress to report with regard to the case of the mother and

children which I mentioned to you at our last meeting. Determined efforts were

made upon the physical plane as well as upon the astral, and I am happy to say

that they were eventually crowned with at least temporary success. The two elder

children have been sent to a children's Home, and though the mother still

retains the youngest with her, she has been persuaded to put herself under the

care of some religious friends, and is at present a reformed character.”

“It may interest you to hear of some other adventures which have since befallen

the same neophyte whose work I have already partially described to you. There

are in astral work many cases in which continuous action is necessary - that is

to say, in which someone who is willing to take the trouble must, as it were,

stand over the person who requires assistance, and be constantly ready to give

it. Naturally those who are in charge of a vast assortment of varied astral work

cannot with justice devote themselves to this extent to any single case, so that

usually some relation of the sufferer is put in charge. An instance of this

nature came in our way on that occasion.”

“A man recently dead, whom I had been asked (by a relation of his) to help, was

found to be in a state of terrible depression, surrounded by a vast cloud of

gloomy thought, in the midst of which he felt himself utterly helpless and

impotent. His life had been far from spotless, and there were those whom he had

injured who thought of him often with malice and revenge in their hearts. Such

thought-forms acted upon him through the clouds of depression, fastened

themselves upon him like leeches and sucked out from him all vitality and hope

and buoyancy, leaving him a prey to the most abject despair.”

“I spoke to him as hopefully as I could, and pointed out to him that though it

was quite true that his life had not been all that it should have been, and that

there was in a certain way much justification for the way in which others were

regarding him, it was nevertheless both wrong and useless to give way to

despair. I explained to him that he was doing very serious harm to a surviving

relation by his depression, since these thoughts of his, quite without his own

volition, constantly reacted upon her and made her life one of utter misery. I

told him that while the past could not be undone, at least its effects might be

minimised by the endeavor to hold a calm front in the presence of the dislike

which he had brought upon himself by his actions, and that he should endeavor to

respond to it by kindly wishes, instead of by alternating gusts of hatred and

despair. In fact the main text of my sermon was that he must forget himself and

his sorrows and think only of the effect of his attitude upon his surviving


“The poor fellow responded to this, though only in a very half-hearted way; he

said that he would really try, and he certainly meant it, but I could see that

he had very little hope of success, or perhaps I should rather say that he had

no hope at all, but felt quite certain beforehand that he was foredoomed to

failure. I told him plainly all this; I broke up the rings of depression which

shut him in, and dissipated the dark clouds which surrounded him, so that the

unkindly thought-forms of those whom he had injured should have less upon which

they could fasten. For the moment he seemed almost cheerful, as I held before

him a strong thought-image of the surviving relation, whom he had deeply loved,

and he said:”

“‘While you are here I seem to understand, and I almost think that I can resist

the despair, but I know that, as you say, my courage will fade as soon as you

are gone.’”

“So I told him that this must not be so - that hopeless as he felt now, every

determined effort to conquer the despair would make it easier to do so next

time, that he must regard this resistance as a duty in which he could not allow


himself to fail. I had to go about my business, but I asked my young assistant

to stay by this man for a while, to watch the accumulation of the depressing

thoughts, and to break them up determinedly every time that they took hold of

the victim. I knew that if this was done for a number of times we should

eventually reach a condition in which the man could resist for himself, and

maintain his own position, although from long-continued submission he had at

first scarcely any strength to maintain the struggle. My young friend kept up

this battle for some two or three hours, until the dark thoughts came much less

frequently and the man himself was becoming able to a large extent to hold his

own, so that the helper felt himself justified in returning to me.”

“He was just about to take his departure, leaving a few last strong encouraging

thoughts for the now almost cheerful sufferer, when he saw a little girl in the

astral body flying in headlong terror before some kind of hobgoblin of the

conventional ogre type. He promptly put himself in the way, saying ‘What is

this?’ and the frightened child clung to him convulsively and pointed to the

pursuing demon. The helper has since admitted that he did not at all like the

look of it himself, but he seems to have felt somewhat indignant on behalf of

the girl, and his instructions were that to anything whatever of this nature a

bold front must always be shown. So he stood his ground and set his will against

the ogre, which did not approach them, but remained at a little distance

writhing about, gnashing its huge projecting teeth, and evidently trying to make

itself as terrible as possible.”

“As the situation showed no signs of changing, the neophyte presently became

impatient, but he had been warned against aggressive action of any kind except

under very definite instructions, so he did not know precisely what to do. He

therefore came in search of me, bringing the terrified child with him, but

moving very slowly and circumspectly and always keeping his face towards the

unpleasant-looking object which followed them persistently at a little


“When I had time to attend to him, I investigated the question, and found that

this poor little child was frequently subject to these horrible nightmares, from

which her physical body would wake up in quite a convulsive condition, sometimes

with terrible shrieks. The pursuing entity was nothing but an unpleasant

thought-form temporarily animated by a mischievous nature-spirit of a low-type,

who seemed to be in great glee and to derive a kind of spiteful pleasure from

the terrors of the girl. I explained all this to the children, and the indignant

boy promptly denounced the nature-spirit as wicked and malicious, but I pointed

out to him that it was no more so than a cat playing with a mouse, and that

entities at such a low stage of evolution were simply following their

undeveloped natures, and therefore could not rightly be described as wicked.”

“At the same time their foolish mischief could not be allowed to cause suffering

and terror to human beings, so I showed him how to set his will against the

nature-spirit, and drive it out from the form, and then how to dissipate the

form by a definite effort of the will. The little girl was half-fearful, but

wholly delighted, when she saw her ogre explode, and there is reason to hope

that she will gain courage from this experience, and that for the future her

sleep will be less disturbed. There are many varieties of unpleasant

thought-forms to be found on the astral plane, the worst of all being those

connected with false and foolish religious beliefs - demons of various kinds,

and angry deities. It is quite allowable for the Occultist to destroy such

creatures, since they are in no way really alive, that is to say, they represent

no permanent evolving life, but are simply temporary creations.”

“A case of some interest which has just come under our notice is that of a

brother and sister, who had been very closely attached to one another in youth.

Unfortunately, later, a designing woman came between them; the brother came

under her influence and was taught by her to suspect his sister's motives. The

sister quite reasonably distrusted the other woman and warned the brother

against her; the warning was not taken in good part and a serious breach ensued.

The infatuation of the brother lasted for more than a year, and all this time

the sister held entirely aloof, for she had been grossly insulted and was proud

and unforgiving. By degrees the brother discovered the true character of the

woman, though for long he would not believe it, and clung to his delusions. Even

when it was impossible longer to maintain his blind faith he still remained

somewhat sore with regard to his sister, persuading himself somehow that but for

her interference, as he called it, the other woman might have remained faithful

to him, so that the estrangement still persisted, even though the reasons for it

had largely passed out of the brother's life.”

“In this case the best thing to do seemed to be to set two assistants to work,

one with the brother and one with the sister, to call up permanently before

their minds pictures of the old days when they loved each other so dearly.

Presently, after these currents had been thoroughly set going, I taught the

assistants how to make artificial elementals which would continue this

treatment. Of course it must have seemed to the brother and sister simply that

thoughts of the other one persistently arose in the mind of each - that all

sorts of unexpected little happenings came to remind them of happier times. For

a long time pride held out, but at last the brother responded to the constant

suggestion, went to call on his sister, and found her unexpectedly gracious,

forgiving, and glad to see him. Reconciliation was instantly effected, and it is

little likely now that they will allow any cloud to come between them again.”

“What you say about unpleasant thought-forms,” remarked Chitra, “reminds me that

two tears ago in a country town I stayed in a hotel for the month of April; this

is a month of very changeable weather, so that often travellers have great

difficulty in getting articles of clothing dried in time for packing, and I on

this occasion was obliged to leave one garment - a thick woven night-dress - to

be sent after me. It did not arrive at the promised time and although I several

times wrote enquiring about it, I was still without it in the April of the

following year, so I wrote again asking the proprietress of the hotel to have it

awaiting me in my room when I returned, as I meant to do, in a few days. I

arrived in due course and, as I expected, was greeted by a sudden change in the

weather; from the heat of summer we were plunged straight into the frosts of

winter, the snow-capped hills close at hand sending an icy breath down upon us.

I called at the hotel at mid-day and made all arrangements for returning that


night; meantime rain came in torrents and the owners of the hotel, who were

spending the evening at a friend's house, left the servants to attend to

travellers so that when I went to my room I found no night-dress and no one knew

anything about it, nor about me, save my name and the number of my room. I

retired to rest wearing another garment and slept dreamlessly until awakened

about 1 am by the proprietress, who was uneasy at my being without my

night-dress, so had brought it to me; she knew I had no luggage with me so could

not have another.”

“I fell asleep again directly I put my head down, and then had a dreadful dream,

so real that even when sitting up awake and trembling I could scarcely realise

that it was only a dream. I thought I heard loud angry voices in the bar; this

was impossible, as I was in a new part of the hotel and too far from the bar to

hear anything; then the voices seemed to come closer and I saw a small group of

men fighting in the middle of the road; one of them drew a knife and struck at

the man in front of him, while another separated from the group, ran into the

hotel, and upstairs to the door of my room, the handle of which he tried to turn

and then rattled violently.”

“Telling myself that it was folly to be so alarmed at a dream I lay down again,

and again fell immediately asleep, and at once heard the same noise of

quarrelling, but this time the men were on the balcony before my window and in

the passage near the door, and two men with horrible drunken faces were getting

in at my window which they had pushed up from below. I sat up trembling with

terror and disgust, wide awake, and listened; there was not a sound. I rose and

looked out over the balcony into the quiet country street; the rain had ceased

and the moon shone brightly on the pools in the road, not a creature was visible

and no sound, there was not even a breeze. Returning to bed I said to myself:

‘This is absurd: what can be the matter with me?’ and promptly went to sleep

again; this time the return of the dream was instantaneous, one of the men -

drunk and horrible - came in at the door and clutched my throat, and while

others fought on the balcony, two got half in at the window. I sprang up,

trembling and with the perspiration streaming from me, and the thought: ‘It is

the night-dress,’ suddenly darted into my mind. I took it off, rolled it into a

ball and threw it to the furthest corner of the room, than fell asleep again and

slept peacefully till morning.”

“After breakfast I asked: ‘What happened that you kept my night-dress so long?’”


“‘Oh,’ was the answer ‘now that you have it safe I don't mind telling you that

it was lost for two or three months. The day after that on which you left was

fine, so I had it dried and ready to send off by mail time; I rolled it in brown

paper and addressed it, then found I had no string, so gave the parcel to the

barman to tie up and post; he was called out of the bar for a few minutes and

left it lying there, meantime a boy took his place and noticing the parcel which

was gradually coming undone, lying there, took it for a roll of paper, picked it

up and threw it into the bar cupboard.’”

“There it had lain among old bottles and dusters and in the atmosphere of drink

and its accompaniments for nearly three months. When it was discovered it was

washed and put out in the sun for some days, and when given to me was to all

appearance sweet and clean; yet it retained enough of the magnetism of the bar

to give me a very horrible time.”

“A year before this experience with the magnetised night-dress, in the same

house and the same month (April) I had gathered a small group of people around

me and formed a Branch of the Theosophical Society. On the night of the

formation of that Branch I retired to my room rather later than usual, very

happy and rather excited, as this was the first Branch I had been instrumental

in forming by myself.”

“I was standing fastening up my hair and rejoicing over the evening's work when

suddenly a dark-grey, noisome, mist-cloud seemed to be descending upon me. I was

filled with dread and looked up towards the roof almost expecting to see it, but

no, nothing was visible, so I tried to go on with the binding up of my hair, but

found that I was unable to move my arms which had dropped to my sides with the

start. I stood perfectly still, unable to move a finger while this grey

mist-extinguisher came slowly down upon me and enveloped me in its paralysing

folds; then I heard, spoken without a voice: ‘You wicked woman,’ ‘a wicked

woman,’ ‘wicked woman’, repeated three times and with the words came a most

awful feeling of isolation and misery. Unable to stir, but quite able to think,

I stood, for what seemed minutes but was probably only seconds, wondering what

was happening, when the voice or rather the words came: ‘now you know what a

lost soul feels like,’ ‘wicked woman’. This roused me and I answered aloud:”

“‘I'm not a lost soul, and I'm not a wicked woman. I'm glad I've been able to

form a Branch of the Theosophical Society here, and I'll do it again wherever I


“At this the cloud began first to thin, and then to lift until it was once more

above my head, and my arms lost their rigidity.”

“I stood coiling my hair and wondering what it all meant, when I again felt the

cloud descending and bringing with it the same feeling of loneliness and misery,

but I kept it at bay saying:”

“‘Keep off; I'll do it again, I tell you, and I'm glad I did it.’”

“Twice it tried to descend but I succeeded in keeping it at bay; and I went to

bed wondering what had caused it.”

“A year after when visiting the same place I was told that a very narrow

religious sect there had held a prayer-meeting on that night asking God to turn

me out of the district because of my wickedness in teaching Theosophy, and had

used these words ‘a wicked woman’, and repeated them over and over again, also

concentrating on preventing me from continuing in my work. I had caught their

thought-forms, the combined thought-form of the meeting, and strange to say not

till long afterwards did I think of protecting myself in the way I've told

dozens of other people to protect themselves in under like circumstances.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (11)

first published in the Theosophist, Feb, 1910, p640-645

“Any stories this evening?” queried the Shepherd.

“The Fiddler has something I believe,” said the Prince.

“Well if it is something that can be told - ?” said the Shepherd, turning to her

with a little hesitation.

“Yes, it is what I was telling you about this morning,” answered the Fiddler

with a smile; and then added, “but I don't see that it is too intimate for the

Twilight talk. We are all friends here. Provided a thing helps people, I always

think that too great reticence is a mistake.”

“Well, go ahead then”, said the Shepherd.

“A little while ago, you will remember that I had to journey suddenly from here

to Calcutta; thence to Benares, and Allahabad; back again to Benares and

Calcutta and home to Adyar. It is a long weary road from here to Benares. You

start on a Sunday, we will say, and arrive there on Wednesday at the hottest

time of day. These journeyings were fitted into some ten days; and in between,

there was a strain of sorrowful labor for friends and loved ones.”

“We understand,” said the Shepherd kindly.

“And - well, there was personal grief too,” continued the Fiddler, “and I

suppose I had more to do and to bear than my physical body could stand. It was

fairly bearable at my halting places; but when I was being whirled across India,

alone in the train, I felt pretty ‘down’, as they say. Oddly enough, I was

alone, except for a few hours, during all that way, back and forth. Servants do

not count; on most of the Indian trains there is no means of getting at them

while in motion, a most unpractical arrangement. Between Calcutta and Benares,

alone in a first-class compartment one night, suddenly a faintness came over me.

I am not a ‘fainting lady’”, explained the Fiddler to the group, with a little

twinkle. “It was sheer exhaustion, mental, emotional, and physical. I leaned out

of the window, hoping that the cool night air might revive me, but I felt worse.

I went to my sarai and took a draught of water, and poured some on my face. No

good. Things were getting dim by now, and I just managed to stagger to the seat,

where I lay, fast becoming unconscious. I was thinking vaguely. No means of

help, unless I stopped the train. But blackness was rest ... rest ... A strong,

sweet, penetrating smell suddenly pressed against my nostrils. Oh, how

delicious! I sniffed it up, still dreaming. It grew stronger and stronger,

making me gasp; and then I drew long, deep breaths. You know how you breath

towards the end of an exhilarating walk?” - to the Magian - “well, like that.”

“How long did that continue,” asked the Youth.

“I suppose it must have been for three or four minutes,” answered the Fiddler,

“and with full strength all the time. When I had completely recovered - ”

“In a remarkably short time,” put in the Shepherd.

“I began to investigate. The windows, eight of them, were wide open. No perfume

of strongest Indian flower could have remained so long in such a draught, even

had it been possible for it to have reached me, with the train going at full

speed. The door between my compartment and the next was sealed tight. The

strongest scent could not come through under those conditions though it might

have come in whiffs when the train was stationary. But this wasn't a whiff; it

was a smell of briar rose mixed with something like incense, with the power of a

scent upon a saturated cloth pressed to your nose. Whence might this have come?

Needless to say, I possess no perfumes?”

“It looks rather like a case of the Christian ‘Guardian Angel’” said a voice.

“Yes” continued the Fiddler. “A curious thing of that kind occurred to me again,

last evening, in the cocoanut grove. I was pacing back and forth there, at the

time of sunset, deeply immersed in a train of thought, and quite forgetful of

surroundings. Turning in my walk and looking up, my attention was arrested by a

lovely figure outlined in mid air, clear against the palm-tops, the radiance

surrounding it, the stately compelling beauty - above all, the unmistakable

thrill that it sent through me, made me recognise it in the dusk {dust} as my

Warner - or someone at least of noble and lofty nature. I made deep obeisance.

The figure vanished. I walked on, resuming the broken thread of reason in the

gathering gloom, and was thinking very hard, oblivious to everything, even the

vision just past. But into my mind one word inserted itself persistently:

‘Snake’. That word formed a kind of accompaniment to my thoughts. It grew

stronger and louder, until suddenly I swerved my foot, quite involuntarily, in

the very act of treading on a snake! The quick move of the foot ‘brought me to

earth’, and to a dead halt also. I peered on the ground where my foot should

have gone, and there was the creature wriggling away to its hole?”

“Did you take up your ‘thread of reason’ agai?”? queried the Scholar


“Yes - but on another strand.” The Fiddler sighed: “It was on the nature of

matter, you see, so this provided food for investigation?”

The Shepherd smiled his largest smile as someone muttered: “You can't draw water

from bottomless wells.”

“A friend of mine,” said the Model of Reticence, “has sent me an account of a

distinctly curious experience. He writes:”

“I was born in 1853. My mother committed suicide in 1856 by voluntary drowning

herself in a well owing to family quarrels. She attempted to throw me in the

well along with herself, but at the last moment, she changed her mind and left

me in a Brâhmana's house adjoining the well in which she was drowned. For some

years afterwards my people were in constant touch with the deceased in dreams.

When I grew older, I also saw her in my dreams. She talked to me for a quarter

of an hour every time I dreamt, and used to kiss me and say kind words just as a

mother does to her child. When I questioned her as to who she was to seat me in

her lap and love me so fondly, she replied that she was my mother and out of her

motherly affection was very anxious to see me now and then. Finally about twenty

years ago (in my dream) she stood at my front gate and called me from inside the

house. I immediately obeyed her call as I recognised her as my mother by our

many previous meetings. She took me in her arms, a few yards beyond my house and

there seated herself. With flowing tears she kissed me very touchingly for ten

minutes and said: ‘Child, you won't see me hereafter; I am going to a distant

place. This is my last visit to you. I hope you will get on well in the world

and earn a good name. I know you are in the good grace of whomsoever you meet.

You will be wanting nothing. God bless you with good attachment to all. I am

most unfortunate to be deprived of the pleasure of enjoying your company as a

son.’ So saying and seeing me shed tears when I heard of her permanent

separation, she embraced me very closely, kissed me and went away. Never have I

seen her in my dreams for these twenty years.”

“In April last, two sisters each with a child aged six or seven years came from

Rajahmandry to Nellore on their way to go to southern India, their native place.

Three were drowned in the river Pennar at the bathing ghat. The eldest of the

lot was saved by some one who threw a cloth to reach her when she was hovering

between life and death.”

“Of course two children and one of the mothers were lost in the deep water.

These three dead bodies were taken out and an inquest held by the Police. At

that time I casually went to see who they were and what had happened. To my

astonishment, I found the living woman an acquaintance and as soon as she saw

me, she fell on my feet and cried bitterly to save her. I took pity on her in

that condition and resolved to help her as far as it lay in my power. I

interceded with the inquest affair and took the whole responsibility of

disposing of the dead bodies, to preserve their property and hand it over to the

proper claimant. The woman told the inquest officer that I was her father and

the whole affair must be left to me. Of course I arranged for the proper

cremation of the deceased. I never saw such a grand funeral procession anywhere.

Thousands followed the procession from the surrounding villages and the Nellore

town itself, and the whole river was covered with people, with flowers, saffron

(red powder) and betel-nuts. The funeral pyre was heaped with bunches of

flowers, etc., by the female visitors who crowded by thousands. I could not find

space to place fire on the bodies. Such was the fortune of that deceased woman

and children. I was astonished to see how these bodies commanded so much

reverence in a strange unknown place and how they received fire from my hand

with no connexion or blood relationship between us. I performed the ceremony as

a dutiful son does to his mother.”

“On that very night, I had a dream in which a sâdhu with long beard, but with no

mark on the forehead came to condole me and said: ‘You have done a most

charitable deed. The deceased was your mother who took a final leave from you

about twenty years ago and took this birth and received funeral fire from your

hand instead of being disposed of by the hands of a chandâla, as circumstances

would have compelled if you had not gone there. You have done your duty well.’

So saying, he disappeared. The living woman and the property were handed over to

her husband, who came from Rajahmandry Training College.”

Said a member: “An FTS sends the following from Sweden: During the visit of the

Czar to Stockholm last June a Swedish General by the name of Beckman was shot

down in one of the city parks when returning home in the evening of the 26th. A

fellow-officer of the victim, General Björlin, had been lying very ill for some

weeks at Varberg, a small town on the west-coast of Sweden. The nurse who

attended him relates the following incident which occurred on the night between

the 26th and the 27th of June. On the 26th the General was very uneasy all day,

and uttered several times, that somebody intended to hurt General Beckman, and

declared repeatedly that some outrageous act would be performed in Stockholm

that day. Towards evening the patient became still more excited and could not

stay in bed; he got up, put on his dressing gown and began restlessly pacing the

floor. He talked as if he were in Stockholm himself and would hurry to General

Beckman's assistance. By eleven o'clock his nervousness had reached its climax,


and he exclaimed suddenly: ‘Don't you hear the report of the gun? Don't you see

the smoke after the shooting? I saw them shoot Beckman. Don't you see the blood

trickling down on the ground?’ The General was very nervous most of the night

and did not fall asleep until about 6 o'clock in the morning. When he woke up he

was restful and calm, but said to the nurse: ‘When the newspaper comes, you will

see that General Beckman has been shot’. At nine the daily paper arrived; the

General asked to have it brought to him at once, and then found a detailed

account of the accident he had so emphatically foretold.”

“Are there any other stories?” asked the Shepherd after a pause. “We have still

a few minutes left.”

The Fakir volunteered:

“I remember a French lady telling me, years ago, how her little girl had been

saved, brought back apparently from the very jaws of death, by ... just letting

her go.”

“It was diphtheria - a hopeless case. Tracheotomy had been performed, but in

vain. The deadly film had spread beyond, and the doctor had left her that night,

giving no hope.”

“The mother knelt beside the bed, struggling with Fate, fighting God for her

child's life. Being a strong-willed woman, she wrought herself into a state of

fearful tension. Meanwhile, the child was sinking fast, breathing spasmodically

with an ominous gurgling sound, weaker and weaker.”

“Suddenly, in the small hours, a wave of peace seemed to swoop over the mother's

pain-racked heart, to still, as by an irresistible command, the tossing waves of

her rebellious will. A sense that all was over and that all was well. From her

dry, burning eyes the tears gushed forth, as they will do in such saving moments

when a dangerous state of tension breaks. Burying her face in the bed clothes

she surrendered unconditionally. ‘Not mine O God, but Thine is she - Thine to

take as Thine to give - Thy Will be done!’”

“For a few seconds she knelt there in great peace, her burden gone, when a

movement of the child started her. Looking up, she saw her darling looking at

her intently, fully conscious, struggling to speak, reaching her hands up to her

throat, as though asking to be helped to remove something there, something that

choked. And then the mother saw (she did, sometimes) - a writhing shadow-like

dark snake coiled, with which her child was struggling. With a sense of

irresistible power to heal - the power to which nothing but self-surrender can

open up a channel - she reached forth to remove and cast away the evil. A few

strong passes, and the dark thing was gone. Then a violent fit of coughing

seized the child - a throwing up and spitting out of mucus and deadly choking

whitish film. After which she sank back exhausted, and slept. Next morning, the

doctor ‘was surprised’, as HPB's doctors were wont to be when their dying

patient of the night before had changed her mind and was found getting royally

outside her breakfast, without argument.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (12)

first published in the Theosophist, March, 1910, p774-780

“I will begin to-day,” said the Vagrant. “When I was in America this last time,

an officer in the United States Army told me an interesting experience he had

had. He seemed very level-headed - not at all an excitable person - and from his

own account of himself he does not seem to be psychic. The event took place

during the Cuban war. He was a junior officer then and took part in the war. One

day when he was sitting alone in a room, his father suddenly appeared to him;

the young officer knew he could not be there in an ordinary way, but the

apparition looked exactly as his father did in his physical body. The father

proceeded to prophesy to him many events of his future life, some of which

seemed to the young man most unlikely of fulfilment, and he gave the dates when

they would occur. Immediately after his father's disappearance, the officer

wrote down in detail all that had been told him, noting the prophecies and their

dates. Shortly afterwards he learned - whether by letter or by telegram I forget

- that his father had passed away at the very time when he had appeared to him.

That was several years ago now; and some of the prophecies have already been

fulfilled - all those that were to occur in the years intervening between that

date and this. I therefore advised the officer to do all in his power to prepare

himself for the events that were still to come, though they seem to him nearly

impossible; so that if he indeed should rise to a position of great power and

responsibility, he would have made good use of the prediction by fitting himself

to occupy it well.”

“But how was the father able to prophesy in this manner?” asked the Magian.

“One can only say in reply,” answered the Shepherd, “that when the Ego is freed

from the physical body his perceptions are much clearer, so that as soon as the

father was dead he may easily have foreseen events of which during life he was

quite ignorant. Evidently at the moment of death his thoughts turned to his son,

and he may have come in the first place merely with the intention of announcing

the death and so saving his son from a shock. But when, liberated from the

burden of the flesh, he turned his more penetrating vision upon his son, he at

once saw certain important events impending over him, and forgot his original

purpose in the urgent necessity of warning him to prepare himself for these. The

natural perceptive power of the Ego was probably stimulated by his affection for

the object of the prophecy.”

“In some cases, too”, remarked the Vagrant, “pictures of important events coming

to any person may be seen in the aura of that person, even without any special

stimulation. I remember the Shepherd meeting one day in the street a

poorly-dressed little girl whom he had never seen before - ”

“Whom I have never seen since,” interjected the Shepherd.

“You tell the facts,” said the Vagrant, and the Shepherd proceeded:

“In that momentary encounter I knew that, poor as she then appeared, she would

marry a great commercial magnate, and become one of the richest inhabitants of

her native city. On another occasion, while sitting waiting in a train at a

terminus, I saw three young fellows pass the window of the carriage, and knew

instantly that he who walked in the middle would presently go out to a certain

colony, commit a murder and be executed or lynched for it. A piece of knowledge

entirely useless, for I knew nothing whatever of the man, and could not even

speak his language; nor do I know that his fate would have been evitable, even

if I could have warned him, and he had chosen to listen to me. One often gets

such apparently purposeless glimpses of the future of others, so it is evident

that no special revelation need be assumed in the case described in the story

which we have just heard. We may assume that the causes which must inevitably

produce what is foreseen have already been set in motion, so that all that is

seen is the logical outcome of what has been done in the past.”

“Many years ago,” said Ithuriel, “in one of the principal cities of America,

there lived a young man, the pupil of a professor of music who was organist in

the cathedral. It was the young man's duty to assist the professor in the

service, train the choir boys, and to play the organ, if for any reason the

professor should happen to be absent. It was his custom on the way to service to

call at the home of his teacher, and they would go on to the church together. On

the day of the occurrence of this story, the young man stopped for him a little

later than usual, rang the bell, and the door was opened by the butler who said

that his master had already gone to the cathedral. But at that moment they both


saw him on the stairs and they thought that he had returned for some reason. The

young organist sprang up the steps to greet him, and as he did so the professor

said to him, in a tone loud enough for them both to hear: ‘I want you to play

for me this morning.’ The young man replied: ‘Certainly,’ and extended his arm

to shake hands, when to his astonishment the figure of his friend faded into the

wall. At first he was so astounded that he could not speak, but was soon able to

question the butler, who of course corroborated what the young man had seen and

heard. The latter rushed off to the cathedral to see if he could get some light

on what had happened. On entering the choir-loft he found that the service had

already begun and the Te Deum was just finishing. He saw his professor fall

forward against the keys of the organ; some of those present carried the old man

to an adjoining room, and the young organist slipped into his place at the organ

and finished the service; then he learned that his teacher was dead from heart

failure. The young organist told his story (which was corroborated by the

butler) and the shock to him was so great that he was ill for a long time.”

Ithuriel then asked the Shepherd if it were probable that the Ego of the old man

deserted the body some time previous to the moment of death, and that the purely

physical consciousness had carried on the body for a little time. He replied:

“That would hardly be possible. After all, the moment when the Ego leaves the

body is the moment of death, and there is no reason to suppose any deviation

from the ordinary rule in this case. It seems probable that the Ego foresaw the

approaching death, and therefore arranged that his duty should be carried on.

The entire phenomenon might easily have been produced by some friendly onlooker,

but it is most likely that the Ego himself attended to the business.”

“I will narrate a similar story of help from the other side,” said the Fakir. “A

good lady in K., a nervous patient, psychic as people of her class often are,

was once relieved of considerable pain by an old gentleman of the next world

whom she saw bending over her at night - saw so distinctly that she said she

would recognise him anywhere. I showed her a picture of Mr Sinnett, whose book

on Mesmerism I had read, but she would have none of him. Then the matter dropped

and was forgotten - as far as I was concerned. A few weeks later I happened to

lend her a book of mine - The Idyll of the White Lotus. It had a dainty cloth

wrapper forming a sort of pocket on the inside of each cover. Inside the flap

thus formed, a loose picture without card-board of HPB with the Colonel and the

wonder-basket - you know it, I suppose - had strayed. I noticed it and took it

out, when my good lady literally pounced upon it - a way these psychics have -

exclaiming: ‘There is my old gentleman.’ This was in 1899.”

“Well, as others have spoken about superphysical helpers,” said the Fiddler, “I

will speak of my own experience in which a superphysical entity needed help from

one down here. It was in this wise: Some years ago I was staying with a friend

in Surrey, who was interested in Spiritualism. I joined her in a few

experiments; I then tried a few by myself, more out of fun and curiosity than

the desire for serious investigation. One day I was amusing myself alone in the

drawing-room with a device for getting messages spelled out - a penny suspended

on a piece of cotton inside an empty tumbler. The thing began to get violently

agitated, and I asked: ‘Who is there?’ A name was rapped out. (I forget the name

now.) I asked: ‘What do you what?’ There was no answer, but a great trembling of

the string, as if of emotion. So I continued: ‘Are you in trouble?’ The answer

came at once: ‘Yes’. ‘Are you a Theosophist?’ ‘Yes’. ‘Do you know HPB?’ ‘Yes’.

‘Are you dead or alive?’ No answer. I repeated this, but could get no further.

‘Are you in trouble?’ Then the thing rapped out: ‘Go to sleep, and you will help

me.’ So I promptly went up to my room, and slept deeply for two or three hours.

Remembering nothing when I awoke, I put the whole thing aside as a probable

freak of my own sub-conscious self. Some weeks after, I happened to be at the TS

Headquarters in London, and I bethought me of my friend of the tumbler, and

asked the Secretary if there happened to be such a person on the members' list

(mentioning his name). No, she thought not. However, she would consult the list

of provincial members if I would wait. There she found his name, amongst those

of the Hull Branch. It happened that I was due in Hull shortly afterwards, to

fulfil an engagement with the Hallé Band under Richter there. Amongst the

orchestra were several TS members, and so the artists' room was turned into a

Theosophical meeting-place. Chatting with the President of the Lodge, I asked

him about the member whose name had come to me in such a queer way. On hearing

the name he became all eagerness to know more: ‘Poor fellow, one of our best and

most devoted members - disappeared suddenly a year ago, and no one has been able

to trace him since.’ I gave him the few details I had gathered; but I never

heard the end of the story.”

“As we have come down to helping on the physical plane, I make myself bold to

speak,” said the Epistemologist. “One evening, after I had given a lecture, a

young man and his wife came to me and asked if I could do anything for them in

their difficult circumstances. They related how she was the subject of some

invisible and ‘psychic’ interference. Being a little clairvoyant at times, she

was able to see some ‘evil spirits’ who were constantly threatening her, and

trying to impel her to do things against her will. She dared scarcely take up a

knife, for when she did so these beings would try to make her cut her throat

with it. She was near the time of child-birth, and it may have been that her

mind was in a somewhat unstable condition - about that I do not know. But when

she and her husband, who was also to a slight extent clairvoyant, faced these

entities and asserted that the attempt to injure her could not be successful

against their wills, the entities only laughed mockingly and, holding up before

her the child that was to be born, threatened that if they could not cause her

injury they would at least do it to the child - a threat which disturbed her

very much. I promised to call at their house, or write, next evening; for it

occurred to me to consult a certain medium whom I knew well. In any case I

should have visited them to try a few arts of magnetisation which I has learned

years before when studying mesmerism. The next day I went to see the medium, and

the spirit-friend whom I well knew soon came. After my relating the case, the

spirit friend explained to me several things which I was to explain in turn to

the young people, and also told me to magnetise certain things to be used in

particular ways. I was told that another spirit-friend, whom I also knew - a man

who had lived in one of the earlier races, and was exceedingly powerful - would

accompany me to the house. In the evening, I visited the gentleman and his wife,

and explained to them that it was quite impossible for these evil beings to

injure the child since birth and death are specially protected conditions. I

then magnetised a cross which the lady was always to wear, a cloth which was to

be laid upon her pillow at night, and lastly a chair in which she was to sit

whenever she felt or saw the presence of the undesirable entities. These things

were not to be touched by any one but herself. It must have been two months

later when I saw them again, and then I was told that the day after my visit the

entities came once more. The lady sat down in the chair, and the evil spirits

came very near to her; but it seemed as though behind them there was another

spirit, very powerful. He seemed to let them come near.”

“They did come near then?” interjected the Shepherd.

“Oh, yes”, replied the Epistemologist. “But it seemed as though there were some

purpose in allowing them to come very close; perhaps they became a little

materialised, for presently there seemed to be a scuffle, the influences

vanished, and the lady was never in the least troubled by them afterwards.”

“What was their reason for their coming?” asked the Shepherd.

“I don't know,” answered the Epistemologist. “It appeared to me pure malice.”

“I never came across a case of pure malice,” said the Shepherd; “well, out of

revenge perhaps - this is a very rare case - it arises probably from jealousy.”

“It is curious in connexion with this case,” continued the Epistemologist,

“that, while I was conscious of my body being frequently used, on this occasion

I felt no force coming through. It may be there was very little resistibility in

my body, to this particular quality of force. But I have great faith in the

spirit-friend I consulted, though that one failed me once or twice, as nearly

always happens sooner or later. She told me, for example, that Madame Blavatsky

was now reincarnated in a female body in Germany - which was not correct -

although she knew HPB in the inner world, and even did some work under her.”

“That is not unusual,” said the Shepherd. “It is quite possible for people to

work together on the astral plane without one knowing where his fellow-worker is

incarnated. The statement that HPB was thus reborn was widely circulated, and

your spirit-friend evidently took it as correct and passed it on to you.”

“Yes,” assented the Epistemologist, “perhaps I expected too much. But I had

better tell the incident. Some time ago I was much troubled as to what I should

do in connexion with some of my work for the Theosophical movement, so I asked

my friend to make an appointment for me to meet HPB on a certain night, which

was done. I expected to bring the memory through, but it happened that something

occurred on that day to interrupt my sleep, and nothing came through. However, a

day or two before, I think it was the morning after the arrangement, as I was

sitting quiet, I obtained what I believed was the answer by HPB to my question.

It was a characteristic answer, not lacking in strength on account of its

length. I was first called names, which I value highly though they are usually

considered unkind, and then asked why I wasted her time instead of deciding for

myself. But my question was answered somehow, and I knew it quite as well as if

it had been framed in words. It gave satisfaction to me and cleared away my

doubts. I would not ask my spirit-friend anything about the interview, although

informed of her presence, because I wished to lean only on myself. My friend

afterwards took up some work under HPB, I was told, and sometimes I think,

though that is little better than guessing, that the service to me led up to






-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (13)

first published in the Theosophist, April, 1910, p930-931 reset 12

“The following incident,” said the Archivarius, “is interesting simply because

it was carefully verified; it happened in Budapest, where I was staying for two

months in October 1905. I had gone to help in forming the Hungarian Section, and

I had taken rooms there with an English friend, Miss Abbott. On Sunday evening,

October 29th, I was expecting a telegram with news about the Italian Convention;

one of the members had promised to send me a telegram on that Sunday evening to

let me know how matters had gone and what had been arranged. A telegram from

Italy, sent about 7 pm, should have arrived that same evening. We waited until

11 pm, and then knew it was useless to expect anything, as the house-door was

shut. I waited all the next day and finally went to bed feeling that something

was wrong. I went to sleep, and I found myself in full consciousness walking in

the Kerepesi-ut, looking for a Library, but I did not know the exact address. I

saw standing at the side of the foot-way a one-horse drosky; it was on my right

side; on the left, apparently waiting, was a fair-haired coachman with a small

close round hat on his head. I noticed the hat, for it was not the one usually

worn by the coachmen in Budapest. I went up to him, and asked him the way to the

Library. He took off his hat and answered and then added: ‘Gnädige Frau

(gracious lady), you are being searched for all over the place; a telegram has

arrived for you, which cannot be delivered as it is incorrectly addressed.’ I

thanked him, and said I would go and see about it, and went on my way. I do not

know if I arrived at the Library or not. I awoke on Tuesday morning with this

incident so vividly impressed on my mind that I determined to verify it, and

when I went to breakfast with my friend I said that as soon as Herr Nagy arrived

at 11 am I should ask him to take me to the General Post Office. He came, and we

started; on going towards the Post Office in the tram, I was surprised to see a

coachman with the small round hat on; on arriving at the GPO we went to the

Chief of the Telegraph department, and Herr Nagy explained that I had come to

see if a telegram had arrived for me on Sunday night, October 29th. He took down

his register, and looked up the telegrams for Sunday night, and there was the

telegram to my name, but the address was wrong, and it had not been delivered

for that reason; he gave us an order for it, and Herr Nagy went to the office

upstairs and came back with the telegram triumphantly, saying that the men

complained that they had been searching all day, five of them going in different

directions to find me. The telegram was from Italy, and had been sent off on

“Sunday night about 7 pm.”

“The following comes from a friend abroad,” said the Vagrant, and read: ‘A few

years ago, on being better after having been a little unwell for a fortnight, I

had this experience. Going into a room nearly dark I noticed that from the side

of one of my physical hands a counterpart hand, corresponding in form, was

protruded, or left behind, as if floating in the air, when the physical hand was

moved side-ways. Nearly the whole of a counterpart hand was protruded. It seemed

of a flame-like nature but kept its outline perfectly. It was principally of a

yellowish color and was in a constant state of undulatory motion in longitudinal

lines, like flowing waves, minute bright sparks occurring occasionally in

places. When the physical hand was kept still the counterpart floated slowly

back and disappeared inside of it, but came out again when the physical hand was

again moved.’”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (14)

first published in the Theosophist, May, 1910, p1098-1100

The Vagrant said: “I am going to begin this evening. I will tell you about the

first occasion on which I saw my Master. I wrote an account of the event once in

a pamphlet, but it never appeared in any publication that has lasted. Soon after

I joined the Society, it happened that I was in England at a time when HPB was

in Fontainebleau, France, where The Voice of the Silence was written. She wrote

me to go over and join her, which I did with joy. She was living in a delightful

old house out in the country, and I was put in a bed-room near hers, a door

connecting the two. One night I awoke suddenly owing to an extraordinary feeling

that there was in the room. The air was all throbbing, and it seemed as if an

electric machine was playing there; the whole room was electric. I was so

astonished (for it was my first experience of the kind) that I sat up in bed,

wondering what on earth could be happening. It was quite dark, and in those days

I was not a bit clairvoyant. At the foot of the bed a luminous figure appeared,

and stood there from half a minute to a minute. It was the figure of a very tall

man, and I thought, from pictures I had seen, it was HPB's Master. Near him was

another figure, more faintly luminous, which I could not clearly distinguish.

The brilliant figure stood quite still, looking at me, and I was so utterly

astounded that I sat perfectly still, simply looking at Him; I did not even

think of saluting Him. So I remained motionless and then gradually the figure

vanished. Next day I told HPB what had happened, and she replied: ‘Yes, Master

came to see me in the night, and went into your room to have a look at you.’

This was my first experience of seeing a Master; it must have been clearly a

case of materialisation, for as I have said, I was not in the least clairvoyant

at the time.”

“That was a phenomenon on the physical plane,” said the Magian; “Tell us your

earliest psychic experience.”

“One of my earliest psychic experiences occurred at Brighton,” the Vagrant

smilingly replied, “when Mrs Cooper-Oakley and I went down there to stay with

HPB a few days. She was not well at the time. There was not much room in the

house, so Mrs Oakley and I shared a large attic-like room. After we had retired,

a great grey eye appeared to us in turn; it came, floated over the beds and

glared at us, first to my bed, then to hers, and then vanished. After it had

gone, one leg of Mrs Oakley's bed lifted up in the air and went down with a

bang, twice. I heard a voice calling me: ‘Annie, my bed is banging.’ Then the

leg of my bed did the same thing, and I said: ‘Isabel, my bed is banging too’.

We spoke to HPB next morning about these rather disconcerting experiences, but

could get no explanation from her. She was only playing little tricks on us with

her favorite elemental. She also used to keep a little elemental under her

writing-table to guard her papers in her absence, and she always knew if any one

had been there looking at them. On one occasion it hemmed some towels for her,

as the President-Founder has related in the Old Diary Leaves. It took very long

stitches, but it sewed better than she could at any rate.”

“Tell us something more of HPB”, cried a voice.

“In the days at Lansdowne Road, there was a young man of about seventeen, a

relative of the Master KH, who used to come to visit HPB in his astral body. She

was very fond of him. He was nick-named the Rice King, because once when there

was a famine in India, and he was suffering intensely because of the misery he

saw around him, he tried to materialise some rice in a storehouse. But not being

an expert at this kind of thing, or knowing how to use the forces, he

dematerialised it instead, to his great sorrow and dismay. He took an interest

in Europeans, and in HPB in particular. She was very fond of him, but he used to

exasperate her exceedingly by going to her writing-desk, and fumbling over all

her papers, to her intense disgust, asking what those European things were. One

night, I remember, he asked her permission to ‘stump up and down the stairs and


frighten the chelas.’”

“Well, go on, we want more of HPB.”

“I dare say you know that at séances where ‘apports’ take place the guides have

frequently been asked to bring a newspaper from some distant place, which could

not be there at the time of the séance by any ordinary means of transit, train

or boat. This is one of the tests which it seems to be impossible to give. There

is always some difficulty about it, though the spooks themselves do not seem to

know in what the difficulty consists. HPB once handed me some papers she had

just been writing, to look over, in which there was a long quotation from a

paper printed in India, about what had happened at a garden party. I noted the

date and saw it could not possibly have arrived yet from India; I pointed this

out to her, and said: ‘HPB how did you get this?’ She said: ‘I copied it.’ But I

told her it was out of a paper that had not arrived; it could not have been

copied. She said: ‘Oh nonsense, it could.’ I noted the date of the paper and,

when the time came for the Indian mail to arrive, I went down to the India

Office the next day and asked to look at the Indian papers. I turned to the page

from which she had quoted, but found nothing there. Then remembering that when

reading astrally, sometimes figures are apt to be inverted, I turned over to

another page which it would have been if read upside down, and there was the

paragraph, word for word as she had given it. I went back and said to her in a

mischievous way: ‘HPB I saw that paragraph of yours in the paper to-day, and it

is quite correct.’, ‘Yes, here it is.’ she replied, tossing the paper over to

me, a copy she had just received, thinking effectually to silence me. I said:

‘Oh yes, but you had not received it at the time you made the quotation,’

whereupon she only muttered some impolite expression.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (15)

first published in the Theosophist, June, 1910, p1185-1190

On the gathering of the usual circle Ithuriel read the following:

“Quite recently, while dwelling in thought upon some of the problems of evil in

our world - those specially arising from greed and selfishness - my mind turned,

by a rather unusual succession of ideas, to the subject of Avîchi, lost souls,

and the eighth sphere. Suddenly there arose before me an astral picture of a

rocky cliff, much resembling a precipitous pass in the mountains of Switzerland,

except that there was no beautiful surrounding landscape, nothing but rocky

waste and endless space. In an isolated niche of the rocks I saw a huge

creature, with a sort of half-animal, half-human form. At first glance I thought

it to be an elemental - sometimes one sees such in astral plane work, and

supposed that there must be something to be done in connexion with it, perhaps

to help some person who was frightened by it, or to assist in disintegrating it,

as the case might be. But it was soon evident that the vision was being shown me

by a higher plane teacher, one to whom I owe a profound debt of gratitude for

the instruction he has so often given me. He pointed out that I was being shown

one of the types of the disintegrating personalities, which are cut off from the

Ego. He suggested that I should try to place myself slightly in touch with its

consciousness, in order that I might understand what had led to such a condition

of existence. The thought of uniting one's consciousness, even for only a

moment, with that of such a creature, created within one a feeling of deep

repulsion, but on continuing to regard it the feeling passed, and one began to

sense a growing interest in it; one soon felt riveted to the spot by its wild

yet penetrating glance - a glance that had in it an unholy sense of power, yet

at the same time expressing helpless mute despair. Even though one's

consciousness was unable in any recognised way to mix with that of such a being,

one felt in some mysterious way a part of it (though quite separate), and able

not only to analyse what it was feeling, but also to know what was passing in

its mind. Presently there began to spread before me a long series of pictures

disclosing the past lives of the creature, those lived at the time when it was

still attached to the Ego. One incarnation after another was passed in purely

selfish living, and they were also mixed with crimes of the lowest nature; as

time went on the Ego was subjected to some severe tests as to its capacity to

indulge in or resist evil. These were mostly lives in Atlantis, and the man

entered into some of the degrading orgies of black magic; in fact he often led

them as a priest of the black art, at the time when the use of human sacrifice

was prevalent, as well as magic of the sensual order too horrible to realise. He

did not respond to any opportunities offered to turn to the Path of Spiritual

Progress, thus delaying his advancement, and so degrading the personality as to

lead it directly on to the path of final extinction.”

“It seemed very merciful that now and then kârmic deities would allow a life to

be passed where he would be brought into contact with ascetics or priests, who

tried to teach him the error of his ways - all to no purpose. At one time it was

permitted him to receive teaching from even a Great One, when He was preaching,

who told him that if he still persisted in evil, there would come a time when,

by natural law, the divine part of him must of necessity be severed from the

lower, and as a result he would be forced to wander as a soulless creature,

perhaps only able to reincarnate once or twice more, and even then in a most

degraded body, as only such could express his depravity; then finally it would

be necessary to transport him astrally from this planet into complete isolation,


where amid vain struggles to ‘keep alive’ and in great suffering he would at

last ‘go out’. But the man would not listen, nor would he even believe the

teaching given, but became even still more desperate and depraved. Sometimes

when the memory of this warning would come to him to haunt him, he would harden

himself deliberately and rebelliously against it; an inconceivably demoniacal

look of hatred would pass over his face, and he would entertain feelings of

revenge towards the Great One who had so compassionately tried to assist him to

a better life. It now seemed practically hopeless that the man would even turn

to the Path of Progress, for the lives grew more bestially evil than ever, lower

and lower, downwards and outwards, until one could see that at last he had lost

even the sense of right or wrong. It is at this time that one suspects the

separation from the higher must have taken place. Apparently he must have had a

sort of sub-conscious realisation that he was now ceasing to live, for he began

in a desperate way to search out victims to vampirise, drawing their vitality to

help him go on; sometimes he was even attached to animals; perhaps in this way

he was able to obsess the dreadful elemental form he now wore. Then there

followed soon after this a time when he was transported from this planet of ever

increasing life and was carried to the astral plane of the moon, a

disintegrating planet, to a part of it that is cut off entirely from any

connexion whatever with this earth, and the place where he was when shown in the

vision. During the long ages of practising black magic and of evil doing he had

made himself strongly vitalised lower bodies, and probably did not realise when

he was cut off from the higher part of himself - the Ego. In that strongly built

lower form with its permanent atoms, he was able to function sufficiently well

during the time yet left to him to exist on this plane, and in it had stored up

a large amount of will of the baser kind. One would naturally suppose that such

a body would be surrounded with an aura in a violent state of agitation, but

this was not the case; on the contrary, the astral and mental bodies were

scarcely recognisable as such, and looked heavy, sluggish, ill-defined and

viscous. When he used his will, there oozed from him polluting murky matter of a

most objectionable kind, and one felt as though one were looking into a dark

cave, where some foul slimy monster breathed out a miasmatic effluvium.”

“Now let us turn to the Ego that had previously for so long a time been attached

to this creature. There has been confusion in the minds of some concerning the

state known as Avîchi, and the place called the eighth sphere. It is the Ego

alone that can experience Avîchi (except in very exceptional cases where it is

possible for a personality to experience it for a brief space of time) and it is

a state of consciousness that can be realised in any place. But the eighth

sphere is a place to which a disintegrating personality is exiled, when it is

cut off from the Ego entirely, and at present we know that it is, as before

stated, a region in the astral plane of the moon. Generally only a very small

part of the true Ego of the man is put down into the mental, astral and physical

planes when he is in incarnation in the physical body; in proportion as the ear

is to the whole physical body, so is the small part of the Ego generally put

down into the personality, as compared to the Ego itself. The latter remains on

his own plane, the causal, and his only touch with the planes below him is

through the experiences of the personality in which are the permanent atoms.

Since up to this time the personality mentioned had only been experiencing lives

in which virtues had been absent, the permanent atoms could only express low and

animal tendencies. But it is not so much that these tendencies, (natural to the

early stages of evolution) are in these atoms, but that there is a complete

absence of the opposite virtues in the causal body; consequently the animal

below has nothing from above to counteract it.”

“Now in the case cited, the Ego had been quite indifferent to the experiences of

the personality during the earlier stages, and when the time came at which the

personality was indulging in magic and crimes of an intellectual nature, he

began to take more interest in them and even to share in them; from this he

developed the evil qualities possible to an Ego - such as love of power,


intellectual pride and selfishness, etc. Then suddenly he realised that the

personality had become so vile that it was in danger of being cut off, and he

then began to put more and more of the better part of himself down to turn it to

better things; but it was too late; for not only was the personality cut off,

but the Ego lost all of himself that had been put down, and since his only touch

with the outer world was through that part of himself, he was plunged into

Avîchi, maimed and weakened, with no further progress possible for a long time

to come. We can conceive the condition of Avîchi as being analogous to that of

Devachan, in that both are, in a certain sense, a separated condition of

consciousness; the difference between the two lying in the experiences of both -

also in the events that have made either possible. Devachan is a state of unity

and love, resulting from good; Avîchi is a state of separateness and selfishness

resulting from evil. Devachan is a state cut off from evil; Avîchi, from good.”

“Yes”, said the Shepherd, “the two states are as poles on the lower mental

plane. An Ego, who has allowed his mental body to be soiled in the ways you

describe, loses the greater part of it, not quite all, and through the part

retained suffers the terrible loneliness of Avîchi, ‘the waveless’. He has cut

himself off from the current of evolution, from the mighty life-wave of the

Logos, and he feels himself as outside that life. When he at last returns to

incarnation, he has to take birth far down the ladder of evolution, among

savages. It is even possible that he may not be able to find a body low enough

to act as a vehicle, and may have to wait for another cycle.”

“There is, is there not?” asked one of the circle, “an Avîchi of a yet more

awful kind, mentioned in a letter of the Master KH?”

“Yes”, replied the Shepherd. “There is another type of black magician, in

outward appearance more respectable, yet really more dangerous because more

powerful. His selfishness is more refined and not less unscrupulous. He aims at

the acquisition of a higher and wider occult power, to be used always for his

own gratification and advancement, to further his own ambition or gratify his

own revenge. To gain this, he adopts the most rigid asceticism, as regards mere

fleshly desires, and starves out the grosser particles of his astral body. But

the centre of his energy is none the less in his personality, and the Ego loses

the strength thus woven into the lower mental vehicle. His Avîchi is a long and

terrible one, for he gains the isolation at which he aimed.”

“We know” remarked Ithuriel, “that the crimes of the lower sort, indulged in by

the savage or the ordinary undeveloped man, do little, if any harm, to the

causal body, because they find their natural expression in the lower bodies, on

the lower mental, astral and physical planes. But when a man has reached a stage

such as that of the black magician of whom you speak, one having great mental

power, pride, and selfishness of an intellectual sort, then there is a certain

amount of harm to the causal body, because these lower qualities build into it

matter that is not plastic, and of a deep orange color, which erects a sort of

separating impenetrable wall; in so far as the individual consciousness of the

man is concerned, it is isolated, constricted, and selfish. When the personality

is at last cut off, the Ego must dwell in his awful isolation - in Avîchi -

until that separating matter or body around him has disintegrated, worn away by

ages of time.”

“It is well to remember,” concluded the Shepherd, “that only the most persistent

and deliberate efforts can bring out these results. It is the determined choice

to be selfish, and the inevitable consequence of that choice.”

“Yes,” said the Vagrant. “Nature gives us our desire, whatever it may be. And at

last the sentence goes out: ‘Ephraim is joined to his idols: let him alone’. And

alone he is left.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (16)

first published in the Theosophist, July, 1910, p1348-1350

“I had a prophetic dream,” said the Brâhmana, “of which I do not understand the

rationale. A friend of mine in government service was transferred to B.--- a

place he very much disliked. One night, after he had been speaking to me of this

appointment, I dreamed that he had been appointed to a place I will call C. I

told my dream to my friend, who answered that he would most certainly very much

like to be transferred to C., but that he had no chance of being appointed to

it. The dream, however, came true, for when my friend had been at B. for only

two or three months, incidents occurred which led to his transfer to C. Now,

what I cannot understand is why I should dream of a matter of this sort, in

which I took no special interest, and in which I was not concerned.”

“The Ego,” said the Vagrant, “constantly foresees coming events, and may be said

normally to foresee the near future. But, at the present stage of evolution, his


knowledge is not readily impressed on the physical brain. When the brain happens

to be in a receptive condition, some of this knowledge, normally possessed by

the Ego, is impressed on it. These astral happenings need not be of any

importance, nor related to the clairvoyant; they only happen to be taking place

at the time when the physical condition enables them to be recorded. If a part

of a dirty window is cleaned, a person behind the window would see, through the

cleaned spot, anything which happened to pass by outside. The things would not

‘mean’ anything to him; he would see them because they were there. The brain

passes through a number of physiological conditions, some of which are favorable

and some unfavorable to the transmission of impressions from the higher planes.

A little extra fatigue, a little fever, may provide the conditions, by slightly

increasing the sensitiveness of the brain.”

“Looking at the matter from outside the physical plane”, remarked the Shepherd,

“the wonder is not that people bring so little through into their physical

consciousness, but that they bring through anything at all. So many conditions

have to be present to make it possible. A fairly common experience of psychic

people is to see the events which some one is relating to them; they often see

more than the narrator relates, because they see the thought-forms he is

generating. Sometimes, even, they see more than the narrator himself knows.”

“I had once a curious dream”, said Serena. “I dreamed that I was in a house, and

I was a man lecturing in the upper storey; but at the same time I was a woman,

talking about Theosophy to a small circle of people downstairs. I was both these

people at the same time.”

“You were probably neither of them”, said the Shepherd with a smile, “but were

helping both of them, and so thoroughly identifying yourself with them that you

felt yourself to be each of them. Sometimes, when working astrally, one may get

a glimpse of some previous incarnation of one's own, but if that had been the

case here, the difference of dress would have shown that the picture belonged to

a period other than the present. Some people do very thoroughly identify

themselves with a person they are helping on the astral plane. I remember a case

where a helper, sent to an explosion, felt himself blown up into the air like

the real victim. A great many years ago, I found myself in three places at once:

I was standing in my bed-room, leaning against the foot of my bed, when I became

aware that I was in a temple; while I was both in the room and in the temple, I

found myself walking round the temple outside.”

“Once at Avenue Road”, said the Vagrant, “I was lying in bed in my own room;

still conscious of this, I found myself in the Ashrama of the Master, and the

double consciousness gave me such a sense of unreality, that I asked the Master

whether I was really with Him or was only making an imaginary picture. He said

no, that I was really there, and that later on I should find it very convenient

to be able to keep my consciousness simultaneously in several places.”

“You can hold a meeting here”, remarked the Shepherd, “and at the same time put

a question to the Master at Shigatse, and hear His answer.”

“One is centred in the causal body on these occasions,” said the Vagrant, “and

may have various bodies working at different places, animated by one's own

consciousness. The consciousness is one, and the separation only exists in the

spheres of the lower bodies.”

“Or,” proceeded the Shepherd, “while sitting in this chair, you may, by an

internal operation, produce yourself on another planet, and your consciousness

will then be in two places, separated by millions of miles.”

“Mr Leadbeater,” said the Scholar, “when looking at the future community, ‘got

out the way,’ as he called it, and allowed an Ego there to speak through his

body and answer my questions. That seems to me even queerer, for that Ego was

speakings so to say, at a point several hundred years hence. Is time as unreal

as distance? And he also described the appearance of a man sitting in a

particular seat in the second row on a certain occasion in one of the temples.”

“If you see a thing at all, you see it in its details,” replied the Vagrant.

“You may fancy a thing vaguely, but if you see it, you see it with its

characteristics. It is metaphysically true that what we call the past, present

and future all co-exist now, and there is a consciousness which sees things

simultaneously instead of in succession. To us things appear as successive which

must be ever present to the Logos, and far far below Him future and past may be

seen as mutually re-active. Alike by the Vedântin and in the scholastic writings

of Musalman metaphysicians, it is seen that in eternity all things exist

simultaneously which, in manifestation, appear successively.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (17)

first published in the Theosophist, Oct, 1910, p116 - 120

“I have here a rather interesting incident,” said the Vagrant, “in a letter from

England. The writer is a member and is sensitive and very clever. She says:”

“On the night of Friday, May 6th, I was sitting alone in the drawing-room of my

house from a little after 11 pm. I had of course seen a late bulletin of the

King's state, and knew that grave fears were entertained by his physicians on

his account. I was not however consciously thinking of him; but was occupied

with quite other matters. Suddenly it seemed to me that a loud and piercing cry

rang through the room; I must have lost consciousness for a moment, for I had

the sensation of coming back with difficulty, and found that both hands were

clenched tightly over my heart which was beating to suffocation. I had a vague

idea of going to the window to see if the cry came from outside, but, as I

thought of it, I heard a little and thin toneless voice say distinctly: ‘The

King is dead.’ I sat on motionless, and in about eight or ten minutes (as nearly

as I can judge) the clock on the landing struck twelve. That clock was five

minutes faster than the time by the Greenwich ball which regulates all the town

clocks here, and so the time when I heard the cry would be 11:45 pm. I heard no

more loud sounds, but while I was undressing was consciousness of a great

psychic turmoil around me. When I lay down in bed I found great difficulty in

remaining in my body, which grew cold and faint, while my heart beat so

irregularly that at times I thought it would stop entirely. When at last I

slept, I was conscious of a sense of acute distress, and felt that I dared not

get far away from my body lest I should not be able to return. When the maid

came in with hot water in the morning, I waited for the words I knew she would

speak; they were: ‘The King is dead?’”

“One would not be surprised,” commented the Vagrant, “if many felt some of the

vibrations which would be caused by the emotions of thousands of people, as the

news spread. Besides the Passing of a great King stirs the astral world, as the

surges of popular feeling roll through it. I remember that the great waves of

love and sorrow which rolled out of millions of hearts to Queen Victoria, after

her death, awaked her from the unconsciousness which succeeded, as always, the

leaving of the physical body. Probably the writer caught something of the surge

of emotion in the crowd round Buckingham Palace. It is quite likely that during

that second of unconsciousness she travelled to London and heard the

announcement: ‘The King is dead’.”

“A sudden cry as an announcement of death is not at all uncommon,” said the


The conversation turned then on the various ways in which death was announced.

Two ladies present told of different instances in which a white bird was seen

flying out of the window when a person died. Reference was also made to the

banshee; this, the Shepherd said, might be either a nature-spirit or a

thought-form. At the Vagrant's request, he repeated the story of the

death-warning that is given to his own family. It is as follows: An ancestor of

his who went on a crusade, took with him his only son to win his spurs in the

Holy Land. The lad was however killed in his first battle; and to the natural

and intense grief felt by his father, was added a terrible anxiety about the

fate of his son's soul, as he had died without receiving the last consolations

of the Church. This so preyed on his mind, that he became a monk, and spent the

rest of his life in prayer for two objects: firstly, for the soul of his son;

and secondly, that no descendant of his should ever meet death unprepared. Since

that date, the members of his family in the direct line have always heard a

strange, mournful music before their deaths; this appears to be strains from the

dirge that was played at the funeral of the Crusader's son. The Shepherd added

that as he was the last of his name, and the death-warning did not seem to be

given to collateral branches of the family, he was curious to l know what would

happen after his own decease. It appeared to be in full vigor the last time he

heard it, and calculated to run a long time yet; though how it was ‘worked’ he

did not know.

The Vagrant related how when she and a companion were one day sitting in her

bungalow at Benares, they heard a carriage drive up to the door; but no

announcement following, they went to see who it was, and found no carriage was

there. It was about eight or nine in the evening. This experience recalls to

mind the stories of the coaches that in various English families are said to

drive up to the door previous to the death of any member of them; but in this

instance no death, and no special event of any kind, occurred as a sequel. There

was also a ghostly bull in the garden, who would sometimes appear and charge at

people, causing them to bolt hurriedly.

“What happened if they didn't bolt?” enquired the Shepherd.

“But they always did!” replied the Vagrant.

The Shepherd demurred: “But surely, once certain that it really was an astral

bull, and not a physical one, the people should have stayed; it would have been

so interesting.”

“I know of a man who acted on that principle,” observed a member. “He built

himself a house and arranged his sleeping compartment on the first storey; the

first night he went there to sleep, an apparition warned him not to do so, or

harm would come to him. So he fled to the ground-floor. This happened for

several nights. Finally one night he refused to leave his bed-room at the

ghost's behest, and went to sleep there. He awoke with a tremendous jerk and a

start, to find himself in bed, but out in the middle of the street, whither he

and his bed had been mysteriously removed in the dead of night.”

The Vagrant spoke of the various efforts that were being made in the sixties and

seventies to reach people and arouse them to a sense of the existence of the

superphysical. At a village in Germany some people received teachings along

Christian lines superphysically; they had initiations of sorts, and used to

receive a kind of stigmata on the backs of their hands or on the arms, such as a

cross made in little red dots, as though by pin-pricks; they had to think about

this, till it appeared; it was very painful, and evidently it was the action of

the intense thought that caused the blood to ooze through the skin.

“That is something along the lines of the training the Jesuits go through,” said

the Scholar. “They have to build up a picture mentally - say of the Passion -

but in the minutest detail. They place a figure in a certain place, and in a

certain attitude, and clothe it in a certain way; and so proceed, till the whole

picture lives in their mind.”

The Shepherd told a remarkable experience that Demeter had had, when only six or

seven years old. “His mother belonged to a noble family in the north of Europe;

and while staying in her ancestral castle he had several times seen an

apparition that haunted it - a white and shining figure of a beautiful lady. He

was not at all frightened, but on the contrary ardently desired a closer

acquaintance with her. One moonlight-night when he was lying in bed, the ghostly

lady came into his room, and crossing over to where he lay, she lifted him up

bodily in her arms. He admits he felt a qualm; but it flashed into his mind that

she was going to take him to where some buried treasure, that was said to be in

the castle, was concealed, and he determined to keep quiet; unfortunately, the

ghost had left the door open when she came in, and a nurse or governess,

happening to pass outside and catching sight of her, uttered a bloodcurdling

scream; the ghost dropped the boy on the floor, and vanished, leaving him to

lament passionately the lost opportunity. He and his sister were most remarkable

children,” the Shepherd added; “before he was eleven, they had written a

description of one of the evolutions that is taking place in the interior of the

earth, which they had visited. This book was also illustrated by them with

pictures which really conveyed a very good idea of that inner world.”

The Vagrant related a psychic experience in which Aurora had certainly displayed

the most cool courage. “One night in bed he became aware of a man standing by

his bed-side and staring at him, with a most malevolent expression. Aurora asked

him what he wanted, and received no answer; he then requested his ghostly

visitor to go away, with no better result. ‘Well, if you won't speak, and won't

go away, I shall go to sleep,’ said Aurora; and turning round in bed, with his

back to the ghost, he went to sleep. Personally I should prefer always to keep

my face to such a visitant,” added the Vagrant.

To Aurora it also happened that one day as he was riding down a ravine, he met a

ghostly horse and rider, and his own horse shied violently. Aurora had not

recognised the unsubstantial nature of the figures confronting him, and, being

vexed, struck his horse smartly. His horse sprang forward, and, to his

astonishment, he passed clean through the other horseman and his steed.





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (18)

first published in the Theosophist, Nov, 1910, p285-293

“In 1905,” said the Superintendent, “my friend Mr PV Râmsvâmi Râju, a barrister

at law, and Mr Conjîveram Shrînivâsâ Chârlu, who learned Samskrit pandit, set

out together on a pilgrimage to the Himâlayan range, where they wished to spend

a few months. They travelled by train as far as the rails were laid, and then

continued their journey on foot. They left their luggage behind them and took

with them only a few necessaries in the way of food and clothing, with two

servants to carry these things. They walked along the bank of the Ganges for

more than a fortnight, resting at night wherever they could find any sort of

shelter. The scenery was so magnificent that they hardly felt the fatigue of the

journey. They had no difficulty with regard to food, for delicious fruits of

many kinds were to be had for the taking, and the shepherd-boys whom they

sometimes met would take nothing for the milk with which they supplied the


“One morning as they pursued their way, they met a tall and majestic-looking

man. They expected that in that lonely place he would stop and speak to them;

but he took no notice of them. He walked past them, broke the ice, plunged into

the sacred water of the Ganges, and turned and was about to go on his way. Mr

Râju, being filled with curiosity about this stranger, went up to him and asked

a few questions as to the way in front of them. In reply the stranger said, ‘It

will not be well for you to go much further; the foot of the rock which you see

yonder should be your furthest limit.’”

“With these words he turned away, walked off very rapidly, and appeared to

spring over the huge rock. Seeing this our friends ran after him, and tried with

all their might to jump over the rock as the stranger had done, but could not.

Examining the ground, they saw a ravine running along by the rock, so they

followed this for some few miles. After a time they came to a shed, and as night

was drawing on they decided to sleep in it, as they were very tired. They had at

this time no food with them, and they did not know where to go in this apparent

wilderness for fruit or milk. Just as they were lying down hungry, a stranger,

as majestic as the man whom they had seen in the morning, entered the shed. He

seemed very friendly, and soon brought them some milk and some fruit, and

offered to help them in any way that they desired.”

“Suddenly the pandit felt so ill that he was unable to sit up with any ease. The

new-comer, seeing this, went out, and soon returned bringing the juice of some

herb, which he gave to the pandit and directed him to use it as a liniment. The

pandit did as he was directed, and in a few minutes he found himself

miraculously well again. Our friends satisfied their hunger and thirst, and then

retired thankfully to rest.”

“Next morning they woke much refreshed, and after their morning ablutions they

set out once more on their exploration. They walked on until their feet ached,

and were casting about for a suitable place in which to sit down and rest, when

they noticed a turning which seemed to be quite a frequented path. They at once

followed this, and found that it led them to a beautiful pond, to which on all

sides granite steps led down. The water was as clear as crystal, and our friends

thankfully drank of it and also washed their feet and hands in it. Then the

pandit, feeling rejuvenated, sat down and began to chant, and his chanting soon

produced an unexpected result, for it attracted more attention than he had

bargained for. A man with a golden complexion and long black hair came rushing

in upon them, and peremptorily demanded an explanation of their intrusion. He

would listen to no excuse, but told them that they were breaking the peace of

this place, and that they must depart instantly.”

“Reluctant though they were to leave so beautiful a spot, they dared not disobey

him, so they prepared to leave. In answer to their questions he told them that

if they wished to know more about this place they must come there on a

Shivarâtri day. Noticing as he spoke the fatigued appearance of the travellers,

the stranger drew out from under his garment a root, and held it exposed to the

sun. The exposure caused it to crumble into flour, which he gave them to eat,

telling them that it would so satisfy their hunger that they would need no

further food for two days. Before eating, our travellers attempted to wash their

feet and hands in the pond, but were told by the stranger that they must pour

the water only over their hands, and must not put their feet in it. They then

ate the food which had been given to them, and with that and the life-giving

water they felt ready for the return journey.”

“They walked on, conversing of the curious things they had seen, until at three

o'clock in the afternoon they came across another shed on the southern bank of

the Ganges, and decided to camp there for the night. Mr Râju, feeling much

fatigued, retired to rest immediately and fell into a deep sleep. The pandit,

however, not being yet ready to sleep, took his seat close to the river, and

began to chant some texts from the Vedas. Once more his chanting produced

results, for one of the recluses from the mountain appeared before him, and took

his seat by his side. He told the pandit to go on chanting, and even asked him

to recite certain specified portions. The chanting seemed to please him greatly,

and when it was over he entered into conversation with the pandit.”

“The latter was expressing his delight at the beauty of nature and the glorious

scenery around, referring especially to the wonderful mountain-peak which arose

on the other side of the river, when the stranger, seeing that the pandit's eyes

were constantly fixed upon this peak, asked him whether he would like to ascend

it, so as to get a bird's-eye view of the surrounding country. Our friend,

feeling that that peak was the abode of this curious community of which he had

now seen three members, replied modestly that such an honor was too great for

him to expect. The stranger, however, told him to close his eyes and recite the

Gâyatri inaudibly. He did so, and when he opened his eyes again, he found

himself on the summit of the peak, with his new friend.”

“The pandit described the view as beautiful beyond all words; and they spent a

happy hour up there chanting and conversing. At the end of this time it was

growing dark, and the stranger once more asked the pandit to close his eyes and

recite the Gâyatri. When he reopened them he found himself again on the

riverbank accompanied by the stranger. He might have believed that he had never

left that place, but had fallen into a trance and travelled in his astral body,

except for the fact that his friend the barrister had awakened during his

absence, and come out in search of him, but could not find him. Upon this Mr

Râju had been much perturbed, thinking that some wild animal had carried him

away, and he ran about distracted, searching everywhere for his friend. Quite

suddenly he saw him on the river bank, where he had already searched a dozen

times. Overjoyed he rushed to meet him, questioning him eagerly as to where he

had been.”

“Now when they were on the peak the stranger had asked the pandit to promise

that he would not tell anyone of his experience, and so he now found himself in

a difficulty, and looked to his new friend to know what he should do. The

stranger, appreciating the awkwardness of the situation, gave him permission to

tell his friend what had happened. This relation affected Mr Râja in the most

extraordinary way; he became furiously jealous, and so angry that he actually

accused his friend the pandit of ingratitude, and begged the stranger to extend

to him the same privilege that he had so freely given to his friend. The

stranger calmly replied that he must first destroy the râjasic part of his

nature, and kill out curiosity to know about matters in which he had no


“During the conversation on the peak the stranger had asked the pandit whether

he could make up his mind to spend the rest of his life with this community of

ascetics, and had very strongly advised him to do so, telling him that if he

lost this marvellously good opportunity which his karma had given to him, it was

uncertain when anything like it would occur again. The pandit, however, was

hardly prepared for this. He was versed only in book-lore, and tied down to a

certain round of what he considered duties, the chief of which were owed, he

said, to his own mother and to his friend and benefactor Mr Râju, who had helped

him with all he required for twenty years, and to whose liberality he owed even

the opportunity of this remarkable experience.”

“The stranger told him that duties of this nature were not of sufficient

importance to be allowed to interfere with his taking an opportunity such as

this. Furthermore, the stranger told him that he should have the power to see

his mother whenever he thought of her, and he guaranteed that his friend should

be guarded on his lonely journey and guided in safety to his home. The pandit,

however, could not be moved from his idea of duty, and still maintained his

refusal, to the distress of his friend and adviser. The pandit died a fortnight

ago, leaving behind him his old mother, who has now attained the age of

eighty-five, so that after all he was not able to fulfil to the end the duty

which he felt that he owed her.”

“It seems to me,” concluded the Superintendent, “that this pandit's life should

be a lesson to those who desire to enter the Path, showing them that their

surrender must be complete and unconditional, and that no thought of mother, son

or friend must intervene. Otherwise life becomes a void, and contains only a

future of sorrow and trouble; and before another similar opportunity comes who

knows what difficulties may have to be encountered?”

“While quite agreeing,” said the Shepherd, “with the general statement that we

must be prepared to give up everything without counting the cost, I do not think

that we must criticise the pandit for his decision. If a man marries, for

example, and has a family of children, he has unquestionably formed a karma

which it is his duty to work out, and it would not be right for him to leave

them, to follow some fancied good for himself. No man need have a wife and

children unless he chooses, but having chosen he assumes a responsibility for

their maintenance which he has no right to ignore. This pandit may have felt in

the same way about his mother, and naturally he could not foresee that after all

he would die before she did; nor indeed, even if he had foreseen it, would it

have made any difference as to the matter of duty. It seems to me, however, that

without doing any violence to his conscience the pandit might have been able to

effect a compromise. He might have turned to his friend the barrister, and

explaining all the circumstances to him, might have asked him whether he would

complete his kindly patronage by taking charge of the old mother for the

remainder of her life. Under the circumstances the barrister would have been

unlikely to refuse, and then the pandit would have been free to accept the

stranger's offer. But we must also observe that even if he had accepted it there

is nothing to prove that he would have been able to enter the Path, or even that

the stranger himself had done so.”

“The Lord Buddha left his wife and child,” interjected somebody.

“Yes,” replied the Shepherd, “if the story given in the books is to believed;

but in that case there was no question whatever as to their being suitably


“The members of this community do not seem to have been exactly Adepts,”

remarked a student.

“There is certainly nothing to show that they were,” replied the Shepherd, “and

it scarcely seems probable. They may however have been pupils of an Adept, or

simply a band of ascetics who had devoted themselves to the higher studies, and

knew something of the mysteries of nature. There are such communities in the

Himâlayas - more than one such, to my knowledge; and there may be many.”

“I have myself heard the pandit tell the same story,” remarked Gurudâsa, “and,

knowing him to be a good and honorable man, I could not disbelieve him. But how

is it possible that his physical body could have been conveyed through the air

in the way described? what is the mechanism of it, I mean?”

“The matter is not difficult,” replied the Shepherd, “and there are even several

ways in which it might be done. You have of course heard of the possibility of

levitation, for that power has been attributed to several yogis, and I remember

that Colonel Olcott described an act of that nature which he once saw performed

by a Tibetan Lama.”

“Yes,” said Gurudâsa, “but he raised only himself. He did not at the same time

carry another man.”

“That,” said the Shepherd, “would present no difficulty. He may for example have

formed a sort of cushion of ether, and then so changed its polarity as to charge

it with that repulsive force which is the opposite of gravity. In that case the

pandit sitting upon it could be raised and supported without the slightest


“I myself,” interjected the Tahsildar, “once had an experience which bears on

what you are saying. I was once in company with a yogi, and we were passing a

night together at a house near the river. During the night he roused me, and

telling me that it was close upon daybreak, asked me to come down to the river

with him. I went, but I soon saw that it was still far from the hour of

daybreak, for it was somewhere about three o'clock in the morning, and very

dark. However, we went together, and we sat by the side of the river and entered

into meditation. After a time he told me to close my eyes and not to open them

again until he gave me permission. I obeyed, but as nothing more happened for

some considerable time I began to feel frightened, and at last I opened my eyes

without waiting for his command. What was my surprise to see that he had

vanished! What with this extraordinary circumstance and with the loneliness of

the place and the darkness of the night, I felt exceedingly uneasy, and looked

about nervously in all directions, but could see nothing of him. Something made

me raise my eyes upwards, and there I distinctly saw him floating high in the

air above my head. This phenomenon rather increased than relieved my

disquietude; but presently he descended, and when he was seated once more

quietly beside me, he said to me:”

‘Why were you so afraid?’

“I had nothing to say; I did not know why I had felt such fear, but presently I

asked him whether he would ascend again, and take me up with him. Instantly he

replied that he would, if I would undertake to feel no fear.”

“Exactly,” interrupted the Shepherd, “if you had felt afraid you would have


“Yes,” said the Tahsildar, “that is just what he said, and so I did not like to


“But why should he fall if he felt afraid?” inquired Gurudâsa.

“Because fear destroys the will,” replied the Shepherd, “and so utterly ruins

any magical ceremony. In this case, however, the Tahsildar's will was hardly in

question, as all the magical part of the performance would have been left to the

yogi. But if the yogi had made for him such a cushion of etheric matter as I was

suggesting, it is quite certain that it would have been broken up by the violent

disturbance of the astral and etheric bodies of the Tahsildar, if he had allowed

himself to yield to terror. It needs a steady head to experiment with practical

magic, and unless a man possesses that invaluable characteristic he had much

better leave it severely alone.”





-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

In the Twilight (19)

first published in the Theosophist, Jan, 1911, p709-712

“Here is a good story, sent to me from England by one of our members,” said the

Vagrant. “The people are well known to me, and I only alter their names.”

“It was in December, 1890, that, my brother having gone to London to live, I

made up my mind to endeavor to reach him, if it were at all possible, by means

of telepathy. He and I had for some time previous to that been carrying on

experiments in hypnotism and the like, and so I thought that if the idea of

telepathy, which was then receiving special attention, had any real basis for

belief in it, its practicability ought to be easily demonstrated by us because

of the very close rapport there was between us.”

“Accordingly I set to work to reach him, I being in a city distant 113 miles

from London. I sat myself down in a chair in my bedroom before a black concave

mirror, and endeavored to picture him in my mind. He had told me that if I could

get him to move, or to do something, when I had thoroughly visualised him, I

would then be en rapport with him sufficiently to impress any message that I

wanted to convey. So, there I sat until I could see him as clearly with my

mind's eye as I could with my physical optic organ. When I had thus visualised

him I mentally told him to turn his head and look at me, which he did; and then

I willed him to raise his right arm and take his watch from his pocket, which

was done. Now a peculiar thing occurred. Although I could see him I could not

see the watch that he was, I concluded, holding in his hand. It occurred to me

that if I could occupy his position I might then be able to see it, so I slipped

into his place and looked through his eyes and then saw his watch. So soon as I

had noted the time, ten minutes to eight, I lost sight of it, and was back again

in my normal consciousness, feeling very much fatigued with the sustained mental

effort, and though the events were quite clear in my memory, there was, I had to

admit to myself, no decided proof of any direct contact with him. It struck me

that it might have been simply a keen imagination, notwithstanding the inner

conviction that I had really reached him. I had been sitting there since seven,

and it was now ten minutes to eight, and had to all intents and purposes

accomplished nothing. I felt disappointed and weary, but before retiring for the

night I determined to try again, thinking that I might effect what I wanted

during sleep, perhaps more easily than by the method I had just tried. About

half-past nine I got into bed, but not as usual. This time for some reason I had

put the pillow at the foot of the bed, and now laid myself down on my chest,

spreading my arms out at right-angles to the body, resting my chin on the

pillow. I had remained in this position it seemed barely a minute, recalling the

picture I had seen of my brother, when I suddenly felt a thrill of intense

electrical energy pass up my spine terminating in a pin-point in the centre of

my head. Whether it was hot or cold I cannot say, but it was excruciatingly

painful. Then it seemed to burst, and I was aware of standing in my room looking

at a golden luminous mass in the midst of which was a watch. It was a Geneva

lever, very thin, with glass front and silver case, engraved all over the back,

in which there were three dents; it had a silver dial with gold ornamented

figures and gold hands. I knew instinctively that it was my brother's watch, and

felt too that if I wanted to know anything about it, I had only to apply my mind

to the subject and everything was open to me. Looking at it, I became aware that

the time was marking ten minutes to eight, and so soon as I had noticed this I

was back in my body and awake, so I then turned over and went to sleep. In the

morning when I awoke I put my hand under my pillow and reached for my watch, and

was not surprised to find that this also indicated “ten minutes to eigh?”. This

is a common experience with many people, that if they go to sleep thinking of

the time at which they ought to get up, they will invariably wake at that time.