Re: Theos-World RE: dreams of being lost and VISIONS
Jul 30, 2006 06:42 PM
by Cass Silva
I hope this posting gets throught as for some reason my messages are not being processed by BNStudy. Anyway a few thoughts.
The dreamer seems to have created his own world, ( a large and dark city/place-representing his psyche.A place where he cannot find any comfort (alone or with strangers)he feels isolated,there is a loss of direction and security (peace of mind) is out of his reach (unable to find his car).
I am sure there is depression probably caused by thoughts of unworthiness and feeling guilty for being angry.
The dreamer needs to be reminded that what you do is not who you are. To acknowledge and accept that there may have been regretable past actions, as we all have, but to move forward in the knowledge that the lesson has been learned, viz not to repeat those same actions in this lifetime.
Hope this helps\Cass
"W.Dallas TenBroeck" <email@example.com> wrote: 7/29/2006 4:04 AM
RE: Dreams Of Being Lost and VISIONS
[Dear Reed: May I suggest this be actually published in B-Study? Or
draw attention to its existence in ARTICLES by HPB at B-Net. - Dal.]
Dear L R & Friends:
Much of that which you ask about is explained here in this narrative of
actual experience on the inner planes of our own consciousness:
A BEWITCHED LIFE --- A Case of Obsession -- Its Cure
H P B
A BEWITCHED LIFE
As Narrated by a Quill Pen
By H. P. Blavatsky
It was a dark, chilly night in September, 1884. A heavy gloom had descended
over the streets of A---, a small town on the Rhine, and was hanging like a
black funeral-pall over the dull factory burgh. The greater number of its
inhabitants, wearied by their long day's work, had hours before retired to
stretch their tired limbs, and lay their aching heads upon their pillows.
All was quiet in the large house; all was quiet in the deserted streets.
I too was lying in my bed; alas, not one of rest, but of pain and sickness,
to which I had been confined for some days. So still was everything in the
house, that, as Longfellow has it, its stillness seemed almost audible. I
could plainly hear the murmur of the blood as it rushed through my aching
body, producing that monotonous singing so familiar to one who lends a
watchful ear to silence. I had listened to it until, in my nervous
imagination, it had grown into the sound of a distant cataract, the fall of
mighty waters . . . when, suddenly changing its character, the ever growing
"singing" merged into other and far more welcome sounds. It was the low, and
at first scarce audible, whisper of a human voice. It approached, and
gradually strengthening seemed to speak in my very ear. Thus sounds a voice
speaking across a blue quiescent lake, in one of those wondrously acoustic
gorges of the snow-capped mountains, where the air is so pure that a word
pronounced half a mile off seems almost at the elbow.
Yes; it was the voice of one whom to know is to reverence; of one, to me,
owing to many mystic associations, most dear and holy; a voice familiar for
long years and ever welcome; doubly so in hours of mental or physical
suffering, for it always brings with it a ray of hope and consolation.
"Courage," it whispered in gentle, mellow tones. "Think of the days passed
by you in sweet associations; of the great lessons received of Nature's
truths; of the many errors of men concerning these truths; and try to add to
them the experience of a night in this city. Let the narrative of a strange
life, that will interest you, help to shorten the hours of suffering. . . .
. . Give your attention. Look yonder before you!"
"Yonder" meant the clear, large windows of an empty house on the other side
of the narrow street of the German town. They faced my own in almost a
straight line across the street, and my bed faced the windows of my sleeping
room. Obedient to the suggestion, I directed my gaze towards them, and what
I saw made me for the time being forget the agony of the pain that racked my
swollen arm and rheumatical body.
Over the windows was creeping a mist; a dense, heavy, serpentine, whitish
mist, that looked like the huge shadow of a gigantic boa slowly uncoiling
its body. Gradually it disappeared, to leave a lustrous light, soft and
silvery, as though the window-panes behind reflected a thousand moonbeams, a
tropical star-lit sky -- first from outside, then from within the empty
rooms. Next I saw the mist elongating itself and throwing, as it were, a
fairy bridge across the street from the bewitched windows to my own balcony,
nay, to my very own bed. As I continued gazing, the wall and windows and the
opposite house itself, suddenly vanished. The space occupied by the empty
rooms had changed into the interior of another smaller room, in what I knew
to be a Swiss chalet -- into a study, whose old, dark walls were covered
from floor to ceiling with book shelves on which were many antiquated
folios, as well as works of a more recent date. In the centre stood a large
old-fashioned table, littered over with manuscripts and writing materials.
Before it, quill-pen in hand, sat an old man; a grim-looking, skeleton-like
personage, with a face so thin, so pale, yellow and emaciated, that the
light of the solitary little student's lamp was reflected in two shining
spots on his high cheekbones, as though they were carved out of ivory.
As I tried to get a better view of him by slowly raising myself upon my
pillows, the whole vision, chalet and study, desk, books and scribe, seemed
to flicker and move. Once set in motion, they approached nearer and nearer,
until, gliding noiselessly along the fleecy bridge of clouds across the
street, they floated through the closed windows into my room and finally
seemed to settle beside my bed.
"Listen to what he thinks and is going to write" -- said in soothing tones
the same familiar, far off, and yet near voice." Thus you will hear a
narrative, the telling of which may help to shorten the long sleepless
hours, and even make you forget for a while your pain . . . Try!" -- it
added, using the well-known Rosicrucian and Kabalistic formula.
I tried, doing as I was bid. I centred all my attention on the solitary
laborious figure that I saw before me, but which did not see me. At first,
the noise of the quill-pen with which the old man was writing, suggested to
my mind nothing more than a low whispered murmur of a nondescript nature.
Then, gradually, my ear caught the indistinct words of a faint and distant
voice, and I thought the figure before me, bending over its manuscript, was
reading its tale aloud instead of writing it. But I soon found out my error.
For casting my gaze at the old scribe's face, I saw at a glance that his
lips were compressed and motionless, and the voice too thin and shrill to be
his voice. Stranger still at every word traced by the feeble, aged hand, I
noticed a light flashing from under his pen, a bright coloured spark that
became instantaneously a sound, or -- what is the same thing -- it seemed to
do so to my inner perceptions. It was indeed the small voice of the quill
that I heard though scribe and pen were at the time, perchance, hundreds of
miles away from Germany. Such things will happen occasionally, especially at
night, beneath whose starry shade, as Byron tells us,
" . . . we learn the language of another world . . ."
However it may be, the words uttered by the quill remained in my memory for
days after. Nor had I any great difficulty in retaining them, for when I sat
down to record the story, I found it, as usual, indelibly impressed on the
astral tablets before my inner eye.
Thus, I had but to copy it and so give it as I received it. I failed to
learn the name of the unknown nocturnal writer. Nevertheless, though the
reader may prefer to regard the whole story as one made up for the occasion,
a dream, perhaps, still its incidents will, I hope, prove none the less
I -- THE STRANGER'S STORY
My birth-place is a small mountain hamlet, a cluster of Swiss cottages,
hidden deep in a sunny nook, between two tumble-down glaciers and a peak
covered with eternal snows. Thither, thirty-seven years ago, I returned --
crippled mentally and physically -- to die, if death would only have me. The
pure, invigorating air of my birth-place decided otherwise. I am still
alive; perhaps for the purpose of giving evidence to facts I have kept
profoundly secret from all -- a tale of horror I would rather hide than
reveal. The reason for this unwillingness on my part is due to my early
education, and to subsequent events that gave the lie to my most cherished
prejudices. Some people might be inclined to regard these events as
providential: I, however, believe in no Providence, and yet am unable to
attribute them to mere chance. I connect them as the ceaseless evolution of
effects, engendered by certain direct causes, with one primary and
fundamental cause, from which ensued all that followed. A feeble old man am
I now, yet physical weakness has in no way impaired my mental faculties. I
remember the smallest details of that terrible cause, which engendered such
fatal results. It is these which furnish me with an additional proof of the
actual existence of one whom I fain would regard -- oh, that I could do so!
-- as a creature born of my fancy, the evanescent production of a feverish,
Oh that terrible, mild and all-forgiving, that saintly and respected Being!
It was that paragon of all the virtues who embittered my whole existence. It
is he, who, pushing me violently out of the monotonous but secure groove of
daily life, was the first to force upon me the certitude of a life
hereafter, thus adding an additional horror to one already great enough.
With a view to a clearer comprehension of the situation, I must interrupt
these recollections with a few words about myself. Oh how, if I could, would
I obliterate that hated Self!
Born in Switzerland, of French parents, who centred the whole world-wisdom
in the literary trinity of Voltaire, J. J. Rousseau and D'Holbach, and
educated in a German university, I grew up a thorough materialist, a
confirmed atheist. I could never have even pictured to myself any beings --
least of all a Being -- above or even outside visible nature, as
distinguished from her. Hence I regarded everything that could not be
brought under the strictest analysis of the physical senses as a mere
A soul, I argued, even supposing man has one, must be material. According to
Origen's definition, incorporeus -- the epithet he gave to his God --
signifies a substance only more subtle than that of physical bodies, of
which, at best, we can form no definite idea. How then can that, of which
our senses cannot enable us to obtain any clear knowledge, how can that make
itself visible or produce any tangible manifestations?
Accordingly, I received the tales of nascent Spiritualism with a feeling of
utter contempt, and regarded the overtures made by certain priests with
derision, often akin to anger. And indeed the latter feeling has never
entirely abandoned me.
Pascal, in the eighth Act of his " Thoughts," confesses to a most complete
incertitude upon the existence of God. Throughout my life, I too professed a
complete certitude as to the non-existence of any such extra-cosmic being,
and repeated with that great thinker the memorable words in which he tells
us: "I have examined if this God of whom all the world speaks might not have
left some marks of himself. I look everywhere, and everywhere I see nothing
but obscurity. Nature offers me nothing that may not be a matter of doubt
and inquietude." Nor have I found to this day anything that might unsettle
me in precisely similar and even stronger feelings. I have never believed,
nor shall I ever believe, in a Supreme Being. But at the potentialities of
man, proclaimed far and wide in the East, powers so developed in some
persons as to make them virtually Gods, at them I laugh no more. My whole
broken life is a protest against such negation. I believe in such phenomena,
and -- I curse them, whenever they come, and by whatsoever means generated.
On the death of my parents, owing to an unfortunate lawsuit, I lost the
greater part of my fortune, and resolved -- for the sake of those I loved
best, rather than for my own -- to make another for myself. My elder sister,
whom I adored, had married a poor man. I accepted the offer of a rich
Hamburg firm and sailed for Japan as its junior partner.
For several years my business went on successfully. I got into the
confidence of many influential Japanese, through whose protection I was
enabled to travel and transact business in many localities, which, in those
days especially, were not easily accessible to foreigners. Indifferent to
I became interested in the philosophy of Buddhism, the only religious system
I thought worthy of being called philosophical. Thus, in my moments of
leisure, I visited the most remarkable temples of Japan, the most important
and curious of the ninety-six Buddhist monasteries of Kioto. I have examined
in turn Day -- Bootzoo, with its gigantic bell; Tzeonene, Enarino-Yassero,
Kie-Missoo, Higadzi-Hong-Vonsi, and many other famous temples.
Several years passed away, and during that whole period I was not cured of
my scepticism, nor did I ever contemplate having my opinions on this subject
altered. I derided the pretensions of the Japanese bonzes and ascetics, as I
had those of Christian priests and European Spiritualists. I could not
believe in the acquisition of powers unknown to, and never studied by, men
of science; hence I scoffed at all such ideas. The superstitious and
atrabilious Buddhist, teaching us to shun the pleasures of life, to put to
rout one's passions, to render oneself insensible alike to happiness and
suffering, in order to acquire such chimerical powers -- seemed supremely
ridiculous in my eyes.
On a day ever memorable to me -- a fatal day -- I made the acquaintance of a
venerable and learned Bonze, a Japanese priest, named Tamoora Hideyeri. I
met him at the foot of the golden Kwon-On, and from that moment he became my
best and most trusted friend. Notwithstanding my great and genuine regard
for him, however, whenever a good opportunity was offered I never failed to
mock his religious convictions, thereby very often hurting his feelings.
But my old friend was as meek and forgiving as any true Buddhist's heart
might desire. He never resented my impatient sarcasms, even when they were,
to say the least, of equivocal propriety, and generally limited his replies
to the "wait and see" kind of protest. Nor could he be brought to seriously
believe in the sincerity of my denial of the existence of any God or Gods.
The full meaning of the terms "atheism" and "scepticism" was beyond the
comprehension of his otherwise extremely intellectual and acute mind. Like
certain reverential Christians, he seemed incapable of realizing that any
man of sense should prefer the wise conclusions arrived at by philosophy and
modern science to a ridiculous belief in an invisible world full of Gods and
spirits, dzins and demons.
"Man is a spiritual being," he insisted, "who returns to earth more than
once, and is rewarded or punished in the between times." The proposition
that man is nothing else but a heap of organized dust, was beyond him. Like
Jeremy Collier, he refused to admit that he was no better than "a stalking
machine, a speaking head without a soul in it," whose "thoughts" are all
bound by the laws of motion." "For," he argued, "if my actions were, as you
say, prescribed beforehand, and I had no more liberty or free will to change
the course of my action than the running waters of the river yonder, then
the glorious doctrine of Karma, of merit and demerit, would be a foolishness
Thus the whole of my hyper-metaphysical friend's ontology rested on the
shaky superstructure of metempsychosis, of a fancied "just" Law of
Retribution, and other such equally absurd dreams.
"We cannot," said he paradoxically one day, "hope to live hereafter in the
full enjoyment of our consciousness, unless we have built for it beforehand
a firm and solid foundation of spirituality. . . . . . Nay, laugh not,
friend of no faith," he meekly pleaded, "but rather think and reflect on
this. One who has never taught himself to live in Spirit during his
conscious and responsible life on earth, can hardly hope to enjoy a sentient
existence after death, when, deprived of his body, he is limited to that
"What can you mean by life in Spirit?" -- I enquired.
"Life on a spiritual plane; that which the Buddhists call Tushita Devaloka
(Paradise). Man can create such a blissful existence for himself between two
births, by the gradual transference on to that plane of all the faculties
which during his sojourn on earth manifest through his organic body and, as
you call it, animal brain."
"How absurd! And how can man do this?"
"Contemplation and a strong desire to assimilate the blessed Gods, will
enable him to do so."
"And if man refuses this intellectual occupation, by which you mean, I
suppose, the fixing of the eyes on the tip of his nose, what becomes of him
after the death of his body?" was my mocking question.
"He will be dealt with according to the prevailing state of his
consciousness, of which there are many grades. At best -- immediate rebirth;
at worst -- the state of avitchi, a mental hell. Yet one need not be an
ascetic to assimilate spiritual life which will extend to the hereafter. All
that is required is to try and approach Spirit."
"How so? Even when disbelieving in it?" -- I rejoined.
"Even so! One may disbelieve and yet harbour in one's nature room for doubt,
however small that room may be, and thus try one day, were it but for one
moment, to open the door of the inner temple; and this will prove sufficient
for the purpose."
"You are decidedly poetical, and paradoxical to boot, reverend sir. Will you
kindly explain to me a little more of the mystery?"
"There is none; still I am willing. Suppose for a moment that some unknown
temple to which you have never been before, and the existence of which you
think you have reasons to deny, is the 'spiritual plane' of which I am
speaking. Some one takes you by the hand and leads you towards its entrance,
curiosity makes you open its door and look within. By this simple act, by
entering it for one second, you have established an everlasting connection
between your consciousness and the temple. You cannot deny its existence any
longer, nor obliterate the fact of your having entered it. And according to
the character and the variety of your work, within its holy precincts, so
will you live in it after your consciousness is severed from its dwelling of
"What do you mean? And what has my after-death consciousness -- if such a
thing exists -- to do with the temple?"
"It has everything to do with it," solemnly rejoined the old man. "There can
be no self-consciousness after death outside the temple of spirit. That
which you will have done within its plane will alone survive. All the rest
is false and an illusion. It is doomed to perish in the Ocean of Maya."
Amused at the idea of living outside one's body, I urged on my old friend to
tell me more. Mistaking my meaning the venerable man willingly consented.
Tamoora Hideyeri belonged to the great temple of Tzionene, a Buddhist
monastery, famous not only in all Japan, but also throughout Tibet and
China. No other is so venerated in Kioto. Its monks belong to the sect of
Dzeno-doo, and are considered as the most learned among the many erudite
fraternities. They are, moreover, closely connected and allied with the
Yamabooshi (the ascetics, or hermits), who follow the doctrines of Lao-tze.
No wonder, that at the slightest provocation on my part the priest flew into
the highest metaphysics, hoping thereby to cure me of my infidelity.
No use repeating here the long rigmarole of the most hopelessly involved and
incomprehensible of all doctrines. According to his ideas, we have to train
ourselves for spirituality in another world -- as for gymnastics. Carrying
on the analogy between the temple and the "spiritual plane" he tried to
illustrate his idea. He had himself worked in the temple of Spirit
two-thirds of his life, and given several hours daily to "contemplation."
Thus he knew (!?) that after he had laid aside his mortal casket, "a mere
illusion," he explained -- he would in his spiritual consciousness live over
again every feeling of ennobling joy and divine bliss he had ever had, or
ought to have had -- only a hundredfold intensified. His work on the
spirit-plane had been considerable, he said, and he hoped, therefore that
the wages of the labourer would prove proportionate.
"But suppose the labourer, as in the example you have just brought forward
in my case, should have no more, than opened the temple door out of mere
curiosity; had only peeped into the sanctuary never to set his foot therein
again. What then?"
"Then," he answered, "you would have only this short minute to record in
your future self-consciousness and no more. Our life hereafter records and
repeats but the impressions and feelings we have had in our spiritual
experiences and nothing else. Thus, if instead of reverence at the moment of
entering the abode of Spirit, you had been harbouring in your heart anger,
jealousy or grief, then your future spiritual life would be a sad one, in
truth. There would be nothing to record, save the opening of a door, in a
fit of bad temper."
"How then could it be repeated?" -- I insisted, highly amused. "What do you
suppose I would be doing before incarnating again?"
"In that case," he said speaking slowly and weighing every word -- "in that
case, you would have I fear, only to open and shut the temple door, over and
over again, during a period which, however short, would seem to you an
This kind of after-death occupation appeared to me, at that time, so
grotesque in its sublime absurdity, that I was seized with an almost
inextinguishable fit of laughter.
My venerable friend looked considerably dismayed at such a result of his
metaphysical instruction. He had evidently not expected such hilarity.
However, he said nothing, but only sighed and gazed at me with increased
benevolence and pity shining in his small black eyes.
"Pray excuse my laughter," I apologized. "But really, now, you cannot
seriously mean to tell me that the 'spiritual state' you advocate and so
firmly believe in, consists only in aping certain things we do in life?"
"Nay, nay; not aping, but only intensifying their repetition; filling the
gaps that were unjustly left unfilled during life in the fruition of our
acts and deeds, and of everything performed on the spiritual plane of the
one real state. What I said was an illustration, and no doubt for you, who
seem entirely ignorant of the mysteries of Soul-Vision, not a very
intelligible one. It is myself who am to be blamed. . . . . .
What I sought to impress upon you was that, as the spiritual state of our
consciousness liberated from its body is but the fruition of every spiritual
act performed during life, where an act had been barren, there could be no
results expected -- save the repetition of that act itself. This is all. I
pray you may be spared such fruitless deeds and finally made to see certain
truths." And passing through the usual Japanese courtesies of taking leave
the excellent man departed.
Alas, alas! had I but known at the time what I have learnt since, how little
would I have laughed, and how much more would I have learned!
But as the matter stood, the more personal affection and respect I felt for
him, the less could I become reconciled to his wild ideas about an
after-life, and especially as to the acquisition by some men of supernatural
I felt particularly disgusted with his reverence for the Yamabooshi, the
allies of every Buddhist sect in the land. Their claims to the "miraculous"
were simply odious to my notions. To hear every Jap I knew at Kioto, even to
my own partner, the shrewdest of all the business men I had come across in
the East -- mentioning these followers of Lao-tze with downcast eyes,
reverentially folded hands, and affirmations of their possessing "great" and
"wonderful" gifts, was more than I was prepared to patiently tolerate in
those days. And who were they, after all, these great magicians with their
ridiculous pretensions to super-mundane knowledge; these "holy beggars" who,
as I then thought, purposely dwell in the recesses of unfrequented mountains
and an unapproachable craggy steeps, so as the better to afford no chance to
curious intruders of finding them out and watching them in their own dens?
Simply, impudent fortune-tellers, Japanese gypsies who sell charms and
talismans, and no better. In answer to those who sought to assure me that
though the Yamabooshi lead a mysterious life, admitting none of the profane
to their secrets, they still do accept pupils, however difficult it is for
one to become their disciple, and that thus they have living witnesses to
the great purity and sanctity of their lives, in answer to such affirmations
I opposed the strongest negation and stood firmly by it. I insulted both
masters and pupils, classing them under the same category of fools, when not
knaves, and I went so far as to include in this number the Sintos. Now
Sintoism or Sin-Syu, "faith in the Gods, and in the way to the Gods," that
is, belief in the communication between these creatures and men, is a kind
of worship of nature-spirits, than which nothing can be more miserably
absurd. And by placing the Sintos among the fools and knaves of other sects,
I gained many enemies. For the Sinto Kanusi (spiritual teachers) are looked
upon as the highest in the upper classes of Society, the Mikado himself
being at the head of their hierarchy and the members of the sect belonging
to the most cultured and educated men in Japan. These Kanusi of the Sinto
form no caste or class apart, nor do they pass any ordination -- at any rate
none known to outsiders. And as they claim publicly no special privilege or
powers, even their dress being in no wise different from that of the laity,
but are simply in the world's opinion professors and students of occult and
spiritual sciences, I very often came in contact with them without in the
least suspecting that I was in the presence of such personages.
II -- THE MYSTERIOUS VISITOR
Years passed; and as time went by, my ineradicable scepticism grew stronger
and waxed fiercer every day. I have already mentioned an elder and
much-beloved sister, my only surviving relative. She had married and had
lately gone to live at Nuremberg. I regarded her with feelings more filial
than fraternal, and her children were as dear to me as might have been my
own. At the time of the great catastrophe that in the course of a few days
had made my father lose his large fortune, and my mother break her heart,
she it was, that sweet big sister of mine, who had made herself of her own
accord the guardian angel of our ruined family. Out of her great love for
me, her younger brother, for whom she attempted to replace the professors
that could no longer be afforded, she had renounced her own happiness. She
sacrificed herself and the man she loved, by indefinitely postponing their
marriage, in order to help our father and chiefly myself by her undivided
And, oh, how I loved and reverenced her, time but strengthening this
earliest family affection! They who maintain that no atheist, as such, can
be a true friend, an affectionate relative, or a loyal subject, utter --
whether consciously or unconsciously -- the greatest calumny and lie. To say
that a materialist grows hard-hearted as he grows older, that he cannot love
as a believer does, is simply the greatest fallacy.
There may be such exceptional cases, it is true, but these are found only
occasionally in men who are even more selfish than they are sceptical, or
vulgarly worldly. But when a man who is kindly disposed in his nature, for
no selfish motives but because of reason and love of truth, becomes what is
called atheistical, he is only strengthened in his family affections, and in
his sympathies with his fellow men. All his emotions, all the ardent
aspirations towards the unseen and unreachable, all the love which he would
otherwise have uselessly bestowed on a supposititional heaven and its God,
become now centred with tenfold force upon his loved ones and mankind.
Indeed, the atheist's heart alone -
. . . can know,
What secret tides of still enjoyment flow When brothers love. . . .
It was such holy fraternal love that led me also to sacrifice my comfort and
personal welfare to secure her happiness, the felicity of her who had been
more than a mother to me. I was a mere youth when I left home for Hamburg.
There, working with all the desperate earnestness of a man who has but one
noble object in view -- to relieve suffering, and help those whom he loves
-- I very soon secured the confidence of my employers, who raised me in
consequence to the high post of trust I always enjoyed. My first real
pleasure and reward in life was to see my sister married to the man she had
sacrificed for my sake, and to help them in their struggle for existence.
So purifying and unselfish was this affection of mine for her that, when it
came to be shared among her children, instead of losing in intensity by such
division, it seemed to only grow the stronger. Born with the potentiality of
the warmest family affection in me, the devotion for my sister was so great,
that the thought of burning that sacred fire of love before any idol, save
that of herself and family, never entered my head.
This was the only, church I recognized, the only church wherein I worshipped
at the altar of holy family affection. In fact this large family of eleven
persons, including her husband, was the only tie that attached me to Europe.
Twice, during a period of nine years, had I crossed the ocean with the sole
object of seeing and pressing these dear ones to my heart. I had no other
business in the West; and having performed this pleasant duty, I returned
each time to Japan to work and toil for them. For their sake I remained a
bachelor, that the wealth I might acquire should go undivided to them alone.
We had always corresponded as regularly as the long transit of the then very
irregular service of the mail-boats would permit. But suddenly there came a
break in my letters from home. For nearly a year I received no intelligence;
and day by day, I became more restless, more apprehensive of some great
misfortune. Vainly I looked for a letter, a simple message; and my efforts
to account for so unusual a silence were fruitless.
"Friend," said to me one day Tamoora Hideyeri, my only confidant, "Friend,
consult a holy Yamabooshi -- and you will feel at rest."
Of course the offer was rejected with as much moderation as I could command
under the provocation. But, as steamer after steamer came in without a word
of news, I felt a despair which daily increased in depth and fixity. This
finally degenerated into an irrepressible craving, a morbid desire to learn
-- the worst, as I then thought. I struggled hard with the feeling, but it
had the best of me.
Only a few months before a complete master of myself -- I now became an
abject slave to fear. A fatalist of the school of D'Holbach, I, who had
always regarded belief in the system of necessity as being the only promoter
of philosophical happiness, and as having the most advantageous influence
over human weaknesses, I felt a craving for something akin to
I had gone so far as to forget the first principle of my doctrine -- the
only one calculated to calm our sorrows, to inspire us with a useful
submission, namely a rational resignation to the decrees of blind destiny,
with which foolish sensibility causes us so often to be overwhelmed -- the
doctrine that all is necessary. Yes; forgetting this, I was drawn into a
shameful, superstitious longing, a stupid, disgraceful desire to learn -- if
not futurity, at any rate that which was taking place at the other side of
the globe. My conduct seemed utterly modified, my temperament and
aspirations wholly changed; and like a weak, nervous girl, I caught myself
straining my mind to the very verge of lunacy in an attempt to look -- as I
had been told one could sometimes do -- beyond the oceans, and learn, at
last, the real cause of this long, inexplicable silence!
One evening, at sunset, my old friend, the venerable Bonze, Tamoora,
appeared on the verandah of my low wooden house. I had not visited him for
many days, and he had come to know how I was. I took the opportunity to once
more sneer at one, whom, in reality, I regarded with most affectionate
respect. With equivocal taste for which I repented almost before the words
had been pronounced -- I enquired of him why he had taken the trouble to
walk all that distance when he might have learned anything he liked about me
by simply interrogating a Yamabooshi? He seemed a little hurt, at first; but
after keenly scrutinizing my dejected face, he mildly remarked that he could
only insist upon what he had advised before. Only one of that holy order
could give me consolation in my present state.
From that instant, an insane desire possessed me to challenge him to prove
his assertions. I defied -- I said to him -- any and every one of his
alleged magicians to tell me the name of the person I was thinking of, and
what he was doing at that moment. He quietly answered that my desire could
be easily satisfied. There was a Yamabooshi two doors from me, visiting a
sick Sinto. He would fetch him -- if I only said the word.
I said it and from the moment of its utterance my doom was sealed.
How shall I find words to describe the scene that followed!
Twenty minutes after the desire had been so incautiously expressed, an old
Japanese, uncommonly tall and majestic for one of that race, pale, thin and
emaciated, was standing before me. There,, where I had expected to find
servile obsequiousness, I only discerned an air of calm and dignified
composure, the attitude of one who knows his moral superiority, and
therefore scorns to notice the mistakes of those who fail to recognize it.
To the somewhat irreverent and mocking questions, which I put to him one
after another, with feverish eagerness, he made no reply; but gazed on me in
silence as a physician would look at a delirious patient. From the moment he
fixed -- his eyes on mine, I felt -- or shall I say, saw -- as though it
were a sharp ray of light, a thin silvery thread, shoot out from the
intensely black and narrow eyes so deeply sunk in the yellow old face. It
seemed to penetrate into my brain and heart like an arrow, and set to work
to dig out. therefrom every thought and feeling. Yes; I both saw and felt
it, and very soon the double sensation became intolerable.
To break the spell I defied him to tell me what he had found in my thoughts.
Calmly came the correct answer -- Extreme anxiety for a female relative, her
husband and children, who were inhabiting a house the correct description of
which he gave as though he knew it as well as myself. I turned a suspicious
eye upon my friend, the Bonze, to whose indiscretions, I thought, I was
indebted for the quick reply.
Remembering however that Tamoora could know nothing of the appearance of my
sister's house, that the Japanese are proverbially truthful and, as friends,
faithful to death -- I felt ashamed of my suspicion. To atone for it before
my own conscience I asked the hermit whether he could tell me anything of
the present state of that beloved sister of mine. The foreigner -- was the
reply -- would never believe in the words, or trust to the knowledge of any
person but himself.
Were the Yamabooshi to tell him, the impression would wear out hardly a few
hours later, and the inquirer find himself as miserable as before. There was
but one means; and that was to make the foreigner (myself) see with his own
eyes, and thus learn the truth for himself. Was the enquirer ready to be
placed by a Yamabooshi, a stranger to him, in the required state?
I had heard in Europe of mesmerized somnambules and pretenders to
clairvoyance, and having no faith in them, I had, therefore, nothing against
the process itself. Even in the midst of my never-ceasing mental agony, I
could not help smiling at the ridiculous nature of the operation I was
willingly submitting to. Nevertheless I silently bowed consent.
III -- PSYCHIC MAGIC
The old Yamabooshi lost no time. He looked at the setting sun, and finding,
probably, the Lord Ten-Dzio-Dai-Dzio (the Spirit who darts his Rays)
propitious for the coming ceremony, he speedily drew out a little bundle. It
contained a small lacquered box, a piece of vegetable paper, made from the
bark of the mulberry tree, and a pen, with which he traced upon the paper a
few sentences in the Naiden character -- a peculiar style of written
language used only for religious and mystical purposes. Having finished, he
exhibited from under his clothes a small round mirror of steel of
extraordinary brilliancy, and placing it before my eyes asked me to look
I had not only heard before of these mirrors, which are frequently used in
the temples, but I had often seen them. It is claimed that under the
direction and will of instructed priests, there appear in them the
Daij-Dzin, the great spirits who notify the enquiring devotees of their
fate. I first imagined that his intention was to evoke such a spirit, who
would answer my queries. What happened, however, was something of quite a
No sooner had I, not without a last pang of mental squeamishness, produced
by a deep sense of my own absurd position, touched the mirror, than I
suddenly felt a strange sensation in the arm of the hand that held it. For a
brief moment I forgot to "sit in the seat of the scorner" and failed to look
at the matter from a ludicrous point of view. Was it fear that suddenly
clutched my brain, for an instant paralyzing its activity -
. . . that fear when the heart longs to know,
what it is death to hear?
No; for I still had consciousness enough left to go on persuading myself
that nothing would come out of an experiment, in the nature of which no sane
man could ever believe. What was it then, that crept across my brain like a
living thing of ice, producing therein a sensation of horror, and then
clutched at my heart as if a deadly serpent had fastened its fangs into it?
With a convulsive jerk of the hand I dropped the -- I blush to write the
adjective -- "magic" mirror, and could not force myself to pick it up from
the settee on which I was reclining. For one short moment there was a
terrible struggle between some undefined, and to me utterly inexplicable,
longing to look into the depths of the polished surface of the mirror and my
pride, the ferocity of which nothing seemed capable of taming. It was
finally so tamed, however, its revolt being conquered by its own defiant
intensity. There was an opened novel lying on a lacquer table near the
settee, and as my eyes happened to fall upon its pages, I read the words,
"The veil which covers futurity is woven by the hand of mercy." This was
enough. That same pride which had hitherto held me back from what I regarded
as a degrading, superstitious experiment, caused me to challenge my fate. I
picked up the ominously shining disk and prepared to look into it.
While I was examining the mirror, the Yamabooshi hastily spoke a few words
to the Bonze, Tamoora, at which I threw a furtive and suspicious glance at
both. I was wrong once more.
"The holy man desires me to put you a question and give you at the same time
a warning," remarked the Bonze. "If you are willing to see for yourself now,
you will have -- under the penalty of seeing for ever, in the hereafter, all
that is taking place, at whatever distance, and that against your will or
inclination -- to submit to a regular course of purification, after you have
learnt what you want through the mirror."
"What is this course, and what have I to promise?" I asked defiantly.
"It is for your own good. You must promise him to submit to the process,
lest, for the rest of his life, he should have to hold himself responsible,
before his own conscience, for having made an irresponsible seer of you.
Will you do so, friend?"
"There will be time enough to think of it, if I see anything" -- I
sneeringly replied, adding under my breath -- "something I doubt a good
deal, so far."
"Well you are warned, friend. The consequences will now remain with
yourself," was the solemn answer.
I glanced at the clock, and made a gesture of impatience, which was remarked
and understood by the Yamabooshi. It was just seven minutes after five.
"Define well in your mind what you would see and learn," said the
"conjuror," placing the mirror and paper in my hands, and instructing me how
to use them.
His instructions were received by me with more impatience than gratitude;
and for one short instant, I hesitated again. Nevertheless, I replied, while
fixing the mirror.
"I desire but one thing -- to learn the reason or reasons why my sister has
so suddenly ceased writing to me.". . .
Had I pronounced these words in reality, and in the hearing of the two
witnesses, or had I only thought them? To this day I cannot decide the
point. I now remember but one thing distinctly: while I sat gazing in the
mirror, the Yamabooshi kept gazing at me. But whether this process lasted
half a second or three hours, I have never since been able to settle in my
mind with any degree of satisfaction. I can recall every detail of the scene
up to that moment when I took up the mirror with the left hand, holding the
paper inscribed with the mystic characters between the thumb and finger of
the right, when all of a sudden I seemed to quite lose consciousness of the
The passage from the active waking state to one that I could compare with
nothing I had ever experienced before, was so rapid, that while my eyes had
ceased to perceive external objects and had completely lost sight of the
Bonze, the Yamabooshi, and even of my room, I could nevertheless distinctly
see the whole of my head and my back, as I sat leaning forward with the
mirror in my hand.
Then came a strong sensation or an involuntary rush forward, of snapping
off, so to say, from my place -- I had almost said from my body. And, then,
while every one of my other senses had become totally paralyzed, my eyes, as
I thought, unexpectedly caught a clearer and far more vivid glimpse than
they had ever had in reality, of my sister's new house at Nuremberg, which I
had never visited and knew only from a sketch, and other scenery with which
I had never been very familiar.
Together with this, and while feeling in my brain what seemed like flashes
of a departing consciousness -- dying persons must feel so, no doubt -- the
very last, vague thought, so weak as to have been hardly perceptible, was
that I must look very, very ridiculous . . .
This feeling -- for such it was rather than a thought -- was interrupted,
suddenly extinguished, so to say, by a clear mental vision (I cannot
characterize it otherwise) of myself, of that which I regarded as, and knew
to be my body, lying with ashy cheeks on a settee, dead to all intents and
purposes, but still staring with the cold and glassy eyes of a corpse into
Bending over it, with his two emaciated hands cutting the air in every
direction over its white face, stood the tall figure of the Yamabooshi, for
whom I felt at that instant an inextinguishable, murderous hatred. As I was
going, in thought, to pounce upon the vile charlatan, my corpse, the two old
men, the room itself, and every object in it, trembled and danced in a
reddish glowing light, and seemed to float rapidly away from "me." A few
more grotesque, distorted shadows before "my" sight; and, with a last
feeling of terror and a supreme effort to realize who then was I now, since
I was not that corpse -- a great veil of darkness fell over me, like a
funeral pall, and every thought in me was dead.
IV -- A VISION OF HORROR
How strange! . . . . Where was I now? It was evident to me that I had once
more returned to my senses. For there I was, vividly realizing that I was
rapidly moving forward, while experiencing a queer, strange sensation as
though I were swimming, without impulse or effort on my part, and in total
The idea that first presented itself to me was that of a long subterranean
passage of water, of earth, and stifling air, though bodily I had no
perception, no sensation, of the presence or contact of any of these. I
tried to utter a few words, to repeat my last sentence, "I desire but one
thing: to learn the reason or reasons why my sister has so suddenly ceased
writing to me" -- but the only words I heard out of the twenty-one, were the
two, "to learn," and these, instead of their coming out of my own larynx,
came back to me in my own voice, but entirely outside myself, near, but not
in me. In short, they were pronounced by my voice, not by my lips. . . .
One more rapid, involuntary motion, one more plunge into the Cymmerian
darkness of a (to me) unknown element, and I saw myself standing -- actually
standing underground, as it seemed. I was compactly and thickly surrounded
on all sides, above and below, right and left, with earth, and in the mould,
and yet it weighed not, and seemed quite immaterial and transparent to my
I did not realize for one second the utter absurdity, nay, impossibility of
that seeming fact! One second more, one short instant, and I perceived --
oh, inexpressible horror, when I think of it now; for then, although I
perceived, realized, and recorded facts and events far more clearly than
ever I had done before, I did not seem to be touched in any other way by
what I saw.
Yes -- I perceived a coffin at my feet. It was a plain, unpretentious shell,
made of deal, the last couch of the pauper, in which, notwithstanding its
closed lid, I plainly saw a hideous, grinning skull, a man's skeleton,
mutilated and broken in many of its parts, as though it had been taken out
of some hidden chamber of the defunct Inquisition, where it had been
subjected to torture.
"Who can it be?" -- I thought.
At this moment I heard again proceeding from afar the same voice -- my
voice. . . . "the reason or reasons why" . . . . it said; as though these
words were the unbroken continuation of the same sentence of which it had
just repeated the two words "to learn." It sounded near, and yet as from
some incalculable distance; giving me then the idea that the long
subterranean journey, the subsequent mental reflections and discoveries, had
occupied no time; had been performed during the short, almost instantaneous
interval between the first and the middle words of the sentence, begun, at
any rate, if not actually pronounced by myself in my room at Kioto, and
which it was now finishing, in interrupted, broken phrases, like a faithful
echo of my own words and voice. . . .
Forthwith, the hideous, mangled remains began assuming a form, and, to me,
but too familiar appearance. The broken parts joined together one to the
other, the bones became covered once more with flesh, and I recognized in
these disfigured remains -- with some surprise, but not a trace of feeling
at the sight -- my sister's dead husband, my own brother-in-law, whom I had
for her sake loved so truly.
"How was it, and how did he come to die such a terrible death?" -- I asked
myself. To put oneself a query seemed, in the state in which I was, to
instantly solve it. Hardly had I asked myself the question, when as if in a
panorama, I saw the retrospective picture of poor Karl's death, in all its
horrid vividness, and with every thrilling detail, every one of which,
however, left me then entirely and brutally indifferent. Here he is, the
dear old fellow, full of life and joy at the prospect of more lucrative
employment from his principal, examining and trying in a wood-sawing factory
a monster steam engine just arrived from America. He bends over, to examine
more closely an inner arrangement, to tighten a screw. His clothes are
caught by the teeth of the revolving wheel in full motion, and suddenly he
is dragged down, doubled up, and his limbs half severed, torn off, before
the workmen, unacquainted with the mechanism, can stop it.
He is taken out, or what remains of him, dead, mangled, a thing of horror,
an unrecognisable mass of palpitating flesh and blood! I follow the remains,
wheeled as an unrecognizable heap to the hospital, hear the brutally given
order that the messengers of death should stop on their way at the house of
the widow and orphans.
I follow them, and find the unconscious family quietly assembled together. I
see my sister, the dear and beloved, and remain indifferent at the sight,
only feeling highly interested in the coming scene. My heart, my feelings,
even my personality, seem to have disappeared, to have been left behind, to
belong to somebody else.
There "I" stand, and witness her unprepared reception of the ghastly news. I
realize clearly, without one moment's hesitation or mistake, the effect of
the shock upon her, I perceive clearly, following and recording, to the
minutest detail, her sensations and the inner process that takes place in
her. I watch and remember, missing not one single point.
As the corpse is brought into the house for identification I hear the long
agonizing cry, my own name pronounced, and the dull thud of the living body
falling upon the remains of the dead one.
I followed with curiosity the sudden thrill and the instantaneous
perturbation in her brain that follow it, and watch with attention the
worm-like, precipitate, and immensely intensified motion of the tubular
fibres, the instantaneous change of colour in the cephalic extremity of the
nervous system, the fibrous nervous matter passing from white to bright red
and then to a dark red, bluish hue.
I notice the sudden flash of a phosphorous-like, brilliant Radiance, its
tremor and its sudden extinction followed by darkness -- complete darkness
in the region of memory -- as the Radiance, comparable in its form only to a
human shape, oozes out suddenly from the top of the head, expands, loses its
form and scatters.
And I say to myself: "This is insanity; life-long, incurable insanity, for
the principle of intelligence is not paralyzed or extinguished temporarily,
but has just deserted the tabernacle for ever, ejected from it by the
terrible force of the sudden blow . . . . The link between the animal and
the divine essence is broken" . . . . And as the unfamiliar term "divine" is
mentally uttered my "THOUGHT" -- laughs.
Suddenly I hear again my far-off yet near voice pronouncing emphatically and
close by me the words. . . . "why my sister has so suddenly ceased writing".
. . . And before the two final words "to me" have completed the sentence, I
see a long series of sad events, immediately following the catastrophe.
I behold the mother, now a helpless, groveling idiot, in the lunatic asylum
attached to the city hospital, the seven younger children admitted into a
refuge for paupers. Finally I see the two elder, a boy of fifteen and a girl
a year younger, my favourites, both taken by strangers into their service. A
captain of a sailing vessel carries away my nephew, an old Jewess adopts the
tender girl. I see the events with all their horrors and thrilling details,
and record each, to the smallest detail, with the utmost coolness.
For, mark well: when I use such expressions as horrors " etc., they are to
be understood as an afterthought. During the whole time of the events
described I experienced no sensation of either pain or pity. My feelings
seemed to be paralyzed as well as my external senses; it was only after
"coming back" that I realized my irretrievable losses to their full extent.
Much of that which I had so vehemently denied in those days, owing to sad
personal experience I have to admit now. Had I been told by any one at that
time, that man could act and think and feel, irrespective of his brain and
senses; nay, that by some mysterious, and to this day, for me,
incomprehensible power, he could be transported mentally, thousands of miles
away from his body, there to witness not only present but also past events,
and remember these by storing them in his memory -- I would have proclaimed
that man as a madman.
Alas, I can do so no longer, for I have become myself that "madman." Ten,
twenty, forty, a hundred times during the course of this wretched life of
mine, have I experienced and lived over such moments of existence, outside
of my body. Accursed be that hour when this terrible power was first
awakened in me! I have not even the consolation left of attributing such
glimpses of events at a distance to insanity. Madmen rave and see that which
exists not in the realm they belong to.
My visions have proved invariably correct. But to my narrative of woe.
I had hardly had time to see my unfortunate young niece in her new
Israelites home, when I felt a shock of the same nature as the one that had
sent me "swimming" through the bowels of the earth, as I had thought. I
opened my eyes in my own room, and the first thing I fixed upon, by
accident, was the clock. The hands of the dial showed seven minutes and a
half past five!. . . . I had thus passed through these most terrible
experiences which it takes me hours to narrate, in precisely half a minute
But this, too, was an afterthought. For one brief instant I recollected
nothing of what I had seen. The interval between the time I had glanced at
the clock when taking the mirror from the Yamabooshi's hand and this second
glance, seemed to me merged in one. I was just opening my lips to hurry on
the Yamabooshi with his experiment, when the full remembrance of what I had
just seen flashed lightning -- like into my brain.
Uttering a cry of horror and despair, I felt as though the whole creation
were crushing me under its weight. For one moment I remained speechless, the
picture of human ruin amid a world of death and desolation. My heart sank
down in anguish: my doom was closed; and a hopeless gloom seemed to settle
over the rest of my life for ever.
V -- RETURN OF DOUBTS
Then came a reaction as sudden as my grief itself. A doubt arose in my mind,
which forthwith grew into a fierce desire of denying the truth of what I had
seen. A stubborn resolution of treating the whole thing as an empty,
meaningless dream, the effect of my overstrained mind, took possession of
me. Yes; it was but a lying vision, an idiotic cheating of my own senses,
suggesting pictures of death and misery which had been evoked by weeks of
incertitude and mental depression.
"How could I see all that I have seen in less than half a minute?" -- I
exclaimed. "The theory of dreams, the rapidity with which the material
changes on which our ideas in vision depend, are excited in the
hemispherical ganglia, is sufficient to account for the long series of
events I have seemed to experience. In dream alone can the relations of
space and time be so completely annihilated.
The Yamabooshi is for nothing in this disagreeable nightmare. He is only
reaping that which has been sown by myself, and, by using some infernal
drug, of which his tribe have the secret, he has contrived to make me lose
consciousness for a few seconds and see that vision -- as lying as it is
horrid. Avaunt all such thoughts, I believe them not. In a few days there
will be a steamer sailing for Europe . . . . I shall leave to-morrow!
This disjointed monologue was pronounced by me aloud, regardless of the
presence of my respected friend the Bonze, Tamoora, and the Yamabooshi.
The latter was standing before me in the same position as when he placed the
mirror in my hands, and kept looking at me calmly, I should perhaps say
looking through me, and in dignified silence.
The Bonze, whose kind countenance was beaming with sympathy, approached me
as he would a sick child, and gently laying his hand on mine, and with tears
in his eyes, said: "Friend, you must not leave this city before you have
been completely purified of your contact with the lower Daij-Dzins
(spirits), who had to be used to guide your inexperienced soul to the places
it craved to see. The entrance to your Inner Self must be closed against
their dangerous intrusion. Lose no time, therefore, my Son, and allow the
holy Master, yonder, to purify you at once."
But nothing can be more deaf than anger once aroused. "The sap of reason"
could no longer "quench the fire of passion," and at that moment I was not
fit to listen to his friendly voice. His is a face I can never recall to my
memory without genuine feeling; his, a name I will ever pronounce with a
sigh of emotion; but at that ever memorable hour when my passions were
inflamed to white heat, I felt almost a hatred for the kind, good old man, I
could not forgive him his interference in the present event. Hence, for all
answer, therefore, he received from me a stern rebuke, a violent protest on
my part against the idea that I could ever regard the vision I had had, in
any other light save that of an empty dream, and his Yamabooshi as anything
better than an imposter. "I will leave to-morrow, had I to forfeit my whole
fortune as a penalty" -- I exclaimed, pale with rage and despair.
"You will repent it the whole of your life, if you do so before the holy man
has shut every entrance in you against intruders ever on the watch and ready
to enter the open door," was the answer. "The Daij-Dzins will have the best
I interrupted him with a brutal laugh, and a still more brutally phrased
enquiry about the fees I was expected to give the Yamabooshi, for his
experiment with me.
"He needs no reward," was the reply. "The order he belongs to is the richest
in the world, since its adherents need nothing, for they are above all
terrestrial and venal desires. Insult him not, the good man who came to help
you out of pure sympathy for your suffering, and to relieve you of mental
But I would listen to no words of reason and wisdom. The spirit of rebellion
and pride had taken possession of me, and made me disregard every feeling of
personal friendship, or even of simple propriety. Luckily for me, on turning
round to order the mendicant monk out of my presence, I found he had gone.
I had not seen him move, and attributed his stealthy departure to fear at
having been detected and understood.
Fool! blind, conceited idiot that I was! Why did I fail to recognize the
Yamabooshi's power, and that the peace of my whole life was departing with
him, from that moment for ever? But I did so fail. Even the fell demon of my
long fears -- uncertainty -- was now entirely overpowered by that fiend
scepticism -- the silliest of all. A dull, morbid unbelief, a stubborn
denial of the evidence of my own senses, and a determined will to regard the
whole vision as a fancy of my overwrought mind, had taken firm hold of me.
"My mind," I argued, "what is it? Shall I believe with the superstitious and
the weak that this production of phosphorus and grey matter is indeed the
superior part of me; that it can act and see independently of my physical
Never! As well believe in the planetary 'intelligences' of the astrologer,
as in the 'Daij-Dzins' of my credulous though well-meaning friend, the
priest. As well confess one's belief in Jupiter and Sol, Saturn and Mercury,
and that these worthies guide their spheres and concern themselves with
mortals, as to give one serious thought to the airy nonentities supposed to
have guided my 'soul' in its unpleasant dream! I loathe and laugh at the
absurd idea. I regard it as a personal insult to the intellect and rational
reasoning powers of a man, to speak of invisible creatures, 'subjective
intelligences,' and all that kind of insane superstition." In short, I
begged my friend the Bonze to spare me his protests, and thus the
unpleasantness of breaking with him for ever.
Thus I raved and argued before the venerable Japanese gentleman, doing all
in my power to leave on his mind the indelible conviction of my having gone
suddenly mad. But his admirable forbearance proved more than equal to my
idiotic passion; and he implored me once more, for the sake of my whole
future, to submit to certain "necessary purificatory rites."
"Never! Far rather dwell in air, rarified to nothing by the air-pump or
wholesome unbelief, than in the dim fog of silly superstition," I argued,
paraphrasing Richter's remark. "I will not believe," I repeated; "but as I
can no longer bear such uncertainty about my sister and her family, I will
return by the first steamer to Europe."
This final determination upset my old acquaintance altogether. His earnest
prayer not to depart before I had seen the Yamabooshi once more, received no
attention from me.
"Friend of a foreign land!" -- he cried, "I pray that you may not repent of
your unbelief and rashness. May the 'Holy One' [Kwan-On, the Goddess of
Mercy] protect you from the Dzins! For, since you refuse to submit to the
process of purification at the hands of the holy Yamabooshi, he is powerless
to defend you from the evil influences evoked by your unbelief and defiance
of truth. But let me, at this parting hour, I beseach you, let me, an older
man who wishes you well, warn you once more and persuade you of things you
are still ignorant of. May I speak?"
"Go on and have your say," was the ungracious assent. "But let me warn you,
in my turn, that nothing you can say can make of me a believer in your
disgraceful superstitions." This was added with a cruel feeling of pleasure
in bestowing one more needless insult.
But the excellent man disregarded this new sneer as he had all others. Never
shall I forget the solemn earnestness of his parting words, the pitying,
remorseful look on his face when he found that it was, indeed, all to no
purpose, that by his kindly meant interference he had only led me to my
"Lend me your ear, good sir, for the last time," he began, "learn that
unless the holy and venerable man; who, to relieve your distress, opened
your 'soul vision,' is permitted to complete his work, your future life
will, indeed, be little worth living. He has to safeguard you against
involuntary repetitions of visions of the same character. Unless you consent
to it of your own free will, however, you will have to be left in the power
of Forces which will harass and persecute you to the verge of insanity.
Know that the development of 'Long Vision' [clairvoyance] -- which is
accomplished at will only by those for whom the Mother of Mercy, the great
Kwan-On, has no secrets -- must, in the case of the beginner, be pursued
with help of the air Dzins (elemental spirits) whose nature is soulless, and
hence wicked. Know also that, while the Arihat, 'the destroyer of the
enemy,' who has subjected and made of these creatures his servants, has
nothing to fear; he who has no power over them becomes their slave.
Nay, laugh not in your great pride and ignorance, but listen further. During
the time of the vision and while the inner perceptions are directed toward
the events they seek, the Daij-Dzin has the seer -- when, like yourself, he
is an inexperienced tyro -- entirely in its power; and for the time being
that seer is no longer himself. He partakes of the nature of his 'guide.'
The Dali-Dzin, which directs his inner sight, keeps his soul in durance
vile, making of him, while the state lasts, a creature like itself. Bereft
of his divine light, man is but a soulless being; hence during the time of
such connection, he will feel no human emotions, neither pity nor fear, love
"Hold!" I involuntarily exclaimed, as the words vividly brought back to my
recollections the indifference with which I had witnessed my sister's
despair and sudden loss of reason in my "hallucination," "Hold! . . . But
no; it is still worse madness in me to heed or find any sense in your
ridiculous tale! But if you knew it to be so dangerous why have advised the
experiment at all?" -- I added mockingly.
"It had to last but a few seconds, and no evil could have resulted from it,
had you kept your promise to submit to purification," was the sad and humble
reply. "I wished you well, my friend, and my heart was nigh breaking to see
you suffering day by day. The experiment is harmless enough when directed by
one who knows, and becomes dangerous only when the final precaution is
neglected. It is the 'Master of Visions,' he who has opened an entrance into
your soul, who has to close it by using the Seal of Purification against any
further and deliberate ingress of. . . ."
"The 'Master of Visions' forsooth!" I cried, brutally interrupting him, "say
rather the Master of Imposture!"
The look of sorrow on his kind old face was so intense and painful to behold
that I perceived I had gone too far; but it was too late.
"Farewell, then!" said the old Bonze, rising; and after performing the usual
ceremonials of politeness, Tamoora left the house in dignified silence.
VI -- I DEPART -- BUT NOT ALONE
Several days later I sailed, but during my stay I saw my venerable friend,
the Bonze, no more.
Evidently on that last, and to me for ever memorable evening, he had been
seriously offended with my more than irreverent, my downright insulting
remark about one whom he so justly respected. I felt sorry for him, but the
wheel of passion and pride was too incessantly at work to permit me to feel
a single moment of remorse.
What was it that made me so relish the pleasure of wrath, that when, for one
instant, I happened to lose sight of my supposed grievance toward the
Yamabooshi, I forthwith lashed myself back into a kind of artificial fury
against him. He had only accomplished what he had been expected to do, and
what he had tacitly promised; not only so, but it was I myself who had
deprived him of the possibility of doing more, even for my own protection if
I might believe the Bonze -- a man whom I knew to be thoroughly honourable
and reliable. Was it regret at having been forced by my pride to refuse the
proffered precaution, or was it the fear of remorse that made me rake
together, in my heart, during those evil hours, the smallest details of the
supposed insult to that same suicidal pride? Remorse, as an old poet has
aptly remarked, "is like the heart in which it grows: . . . .
". . . if proud and gloomy,
It is a poison-tree, that pierced to the utmost,
Weeps only tears of blood" . . .
Perchance, it was the indefinite fear of something of that sort which caused
me to remain so obdurate, and led me to excuse, under the plea of terrible
provocation, even the unprovoked insults that I had heaped upon the head of
my kind and all-forgiving friend, the priest.
However, it was now too late in the day to recall the words of offence I had
uttered; and all I could do was to promise myself the satisfaction of
writing him a friendly letter, as soon as I reached home. Fool, blind fool,
elated with insolent self-conceit, that I was! So sure did I feel, that my
vision was due merely to some trick of the Yamabooshi, that I actually
gloated over my coming triumph in writing to the Bonze that I had been right
in answering his sad words of parting with an incredulous smile, as my
sister and family were all in good health -- happy!
I had not been at sea for a week, before I had cause to remember his words
From the day of my experience with the magic mirror, I perceived a great
change in my whole state, and I attributed it, at first, to the mental
depression I had struggled against for so many months. During the day I very
often found myself absent from the surroundings scenes, losing sight for
several minutes of things and persons.
My nights were disturbed, my dreams oppressive, and at times horrible. Good
sailor I certainly was; and besides, the weather was unusually fine, the
ocean as smooth as a pond. Notwithstanding this, I often felt a strange
giddiness, and the familiar faces of my fellow-passengers assumed at such
times the most grotesque appearances.
Thus, a young German I used to know well was once suddenly transformed
before my eyes into his old father, whom we had laid in the little burial
place of the European colony some three years before. We were talking on
deck of the defunct and of a certain business arrangement of his, when Max
Grunner's head appeared to me as though it were covered with a strange film.
A thick greyish mist surrounded him, and gradually condensing around and
upon his healthy countenance, settled suddenly into the grim old head I had
myself seen covered with six feet of soil.
On another occasion, as the captain was talking of a Malay thief whom he had
helped to secure and lodge in goal, I saw near him the yellow, villainous
face of a man answering to his description. I kept silence about such
hallucinations; but as they became more and more frequent, I felt very much
disturbed, though still attributing them to natural causes, such as I had
read about in medical books.
One night I was abruptly awakened by a long and loud cry of distress. It was
a woman's voice, plaintive like that of a child, full of terror and of
helpless despair. I awoke with a start to find myself on land, in a strange
A young girl, almost a child, was desperately struggling against a powerful
middle-aged man, who had surprised her in her own room, and during her
sleep. Behind the closed and locked door, I saw listening an old woman,
whose face, notwithstanding the fiendish expression upon it, seemed familiar
to me, and I immediately recognized it: it was the face of the ****** who
had adopted my niece in the dream I had at Kioto.
She had received gold to pay for her share in the foul crime, and was now
keeping her part of the covenant . . . .
But who was the victim? O horror unutterable! Unspeakable horror! When I
realized the situation after coming back to my normal state, I found it was
my own child-niece.
But, as in my first vision, I felt in me nothing of the nature of that
despair born of affection that fills one's heart, at the sight of a wrong
done to, or a misfortune befalling, those one loves; nothing but a manly
indignation in the presence of suffering inflicted upon the weak and the
I rushed, of course, to her rescue, and seized the wanton, brutal beast by
the neck. I fastened upon him with powerful grasp, but, the man heeded it
not, he seemed not even to feel my hand.
The coward, seeing himself resisted by the girl, lifted his powerful arm and
the thick fist, coming down like a heavy hammer upon the sunny locks, felled
the child to the ground. It was with a loud cry of the indignation of a
stranger, not with that of a tigress defending her cub, that I sprang upon
the lewd beast and sought to throttle him. I then remarked, for the first
time, that, a shadow myself, I was grasping but another shadow! . . . .
My loud shrieks and imprecations had awakened the whole steamer. They were
attributed to a nightmare. I did not seek to take anyone into my confidence;
but, from that day forward, my life became a long series of mental tortures,
I could hardly shut my eyes without becoming witness of some horrible deed,
some scene of misery, death or crime, whether past, present or even future
-- as I ascertained later on. It was as though some mocking fiend had taken
upon himself the task of making me go through the vision of everything that
was bestial, malignant and hopeless, in this world of misery. No radiant
vision of beauty or virtue ever lit with the faintest ray these pictures of
awe and wretchedness that I seemed doomed to witness. Scenes of wickedness,
of murder, of treachery and of lust fell dismally upon my sight, and I was
brought face to face with the vilest results of man's passions, the most
terrible outcome of his material earthly cravings.
Had the Bonze foreseen, indeed, the dreary results, when he spoke of
Daij-Dzins to whom I left "an ingress" "a door open" in me? Nonsense! There
must be some physiological, abnormal change in me. Once at Nuremberg, when I
have ascertained how false was the direction taken by my fears -- I dared
not hope for no misfortune at all -- these meaningless visions will
disappear as they came. The very fact that my fancy follows but one
direction, that of pictures of misery, of human passions in their worst,
material shape, is a proof, to me, of their unreality.
"If, as you say, man consists of one substance, matter, the object of the
physical senses; and if perception with its modes is only the result of the
organization of the brain, then should we be naturally attracted but to the
material, the earthly" . . . I thought I heard the familiar voice of the
Bonze interrupting my reflections, and repeating an often used argument of
his in his discussions with me.
"There are two planes of visions before men," I again heard him say, "the
plane of undying love and spiritual aspirations, the efflux from the eternal
light; and the plane of restless, ever changing matter, the light in which
the misguided Daij-Dzins bathe."
VII -- ETERNITY IN A SHORT DREAM
In those days I could hardly bring myself to realize, even for a moment, the
absurdity of a belief in any kind of spirits, whether good or bad. I now
understood, if I did not believe, what was meant by the term, though I still
persisted in hoping that it would finally prove some physical derangement or
To fortify my unbelief the more, I tried to bring back to my memory all the
arguments used against faith in such superstitions, that I had ever read or
heard. I recalled the biting sarcasms of Voltaire, the calm reasoning of
Hume, and I repeated to myself ad nauseam the words of Rousseau, who said
that superstition, "the disturber of Society," could never be too strongly
attacked. "Why should the sight, the phantasmagoria, rather" -- I argued --
"of that which we know in a waking sense to be false, come to affect us at
all?" Why should -
"Names, whose sense we see not
Fray us with things that be not?"
One day the old captain was narrating to us the various superstitions to
which sailors were addicted; a pompous English missionary remarked that
Fielding had declared long ago that "superstition renders a man a fool," --
after which he hesitated for an instant, and abruptly stopped. I had not
taken any part in the general conversation; but no sooner had the reverend
speaker relieved himself of the quotation than I saw in that halo of
vibrating light, which I now noticed almost constantly over every human head
on the steamer, the words of Fielding's next proposition -- "and scepticism
makes him mad."
I had heard and read of the claims of those who pretend to seership, that
they often see the thoughts of people traced in the aura of those present.
Whatever "aura" may mean with others, I had now a personal experience of the
truth of the claim, and felt sufficiently disgusted with the discovery! I --
a clairvoyant! a new horror added to my life, an absurd and ridiculous gift
developed, which I shall have to conceal from all, feeling ashamed of it as
if it were a case of leprosy.
At this moment my hatred to the Yamabooshi, and even to my venerable old
friend, the Bonze, knew no bounds. The former had evidently by his
manipulations over me while I was lying unconscious, touched some unknown
physiological spring in my brain, and by loosing it had called forth a
faculty generally hidden in the human constitution; and it was the Japanese
priest who had introduced the wretch into my house!
But my anger and my curses were alike useless, and could be of no avail.
Moreover, we were already in European waters, and in a few more days we
should be at Hamburg. Then would my doubts and fears be set at rest, and I
should find, to my intense relief, that although clairvoyance, as regards
the reading of human thoughts on the spot, may have some truth in it, the
discernment of such events at a distance, as I had dreamed of, was an
impossibility for human faculties.
Notwithstanding all my reasoning, however, my heart was sick with fear, and
full of the blackest presentiments; I felt that my doom was closing. I
suffered terribly, my nervous and mental prostration becoming intensified
day by day.
The night before we entered port I had a dream.
I fancied I was dead. My body lay cold and stiff in its last sleep, whilst
its dying consciousness, which still regarded itself as "I," realizing the
event, was preparing to meet in a few seconds its own extinction.
It had been always my belief that as the brain preserved heat longer than
any of the other organs, and was the last to cease its activity, the thought
in it survived bodily death by several minutes. Therefore, I was not in the
least surprised to find in my dream that while the frame had already crossed
that awful gulf "no mortal e'er re-passed," its consciousness was still in
the gray twilight, the first shadows of the great Mystery.
Thus my THOUGHT wrapped, as I believed, in the remnants, of its now fast
retiring vitality, was watching with intense and eager curiosity the
approaches of its own dissolution, i.e., of its annihilation. "I" was
hastening to record my last impressions, lest the dark mantle of eternal
oblivion should envelope me, before I had time to feel and enjoy, the great,
the supreme triumph of learning that my life-long convictions were true,
that death is a complete and absolute cessation of conscious being.
Everything around me was getting darker with every moment. Huge grey shadows
were moving before my vision, slowly at first, then with accelerated motion,
until they commenced whirling around with an almost vertiginous rapidity.
Then, as though that motion had taken place for the purposes of brewing
darkness, the object once reached, it slackened its speed, and the darkness
became gradually transformed into intense blackness, it ceased altogether.
There was nothing now within my immediate perceptions, but that fathomless
black Space, as dark as pitch; to me it appeared as limitless and as silent
as the shoreless Ocean of Eternity upon which Time, the progeny of man's
brain, is for ever gliding, but which it can never cross.
Dream is defined by Cato as "but the image of our hopes and fears." Having
never feared death when awake, I felt, in this dream of mine, calm and
serene at the idea of my speedy end. In truth, I felt rather relieved at the
thought -- probably owing to my recent mental suffering -- that the end of
all, of doubt, of fear for those I loved, of suffering, and of every
anxiety, was close at hand.
The constant anguish that had been gnawing ceaselessly at my heavy, aching
heart for many a long and weary month, had now become unbearable; and if as
Seneca thinks, death is but "the ceasing to be what we were before," it was
better that I should die.
DEATH and DYING
The body is dead; "I," its consciousness -- that which is all that remains
of me now, for a few moments longer -- am preparing to follow. Mental
perceptions will get weaker, more dim and hazy with every second of time,
until the longed for oblivion envelopes me completely in its cold shroud.
Sweet is the magic hand of Death, the great World-Comforter; profound and
dreamless is sleep in its unyielding arms. Yea, verily, it is a welcome
guest. . . . A calm and peaceful haven amidst the roaring billows of the
Ocean of life, whose breakers lash in vain the rock-bound shores of Death.
Happy the lonely bark that drifts into the still waters of its black gulf,
after having been so long, so cruelly tossed about by the angry waves of
sentient life. Moored in it for evermore, needing no longer either sail or
rudder, my bark will now find rest. Welcome then, O Death, at this tempting
price; and fare thee well, poor body, which, having neither sought it nor
derived pleasure from it, I now readily give up!
While uttering this death-chant to the prostrate form before me, I bent
over, and examined it with curiosity. I felt the surrounding darkness
oppressing me, weighing on me almost tangibly, and I fancied I found in it
the approach of the Liberator I was welcoming. And yet how very strange!
If real, final Death takes place in our consciousness; if after the bodily
death, "I" and my conscious perceptions are one -- how is it that these
perceptions do not become weaker, why does my brain-action seem as vigorous
as ever now . . . . that I am de facto dead? . . . . Nor does the usual
feeling of anxiety, the "heavy heart" so-called, decrease in intensity; nay,
it even seems to become worse . . . . unspeakably so! . . . . How long it
takes for full oblivion to arrive! . . . Ah, here's my body again! . . .
Vanished out of sight for a second or two, it reappears before me once more
. . . . How white and ghastly it looks! Yet . . . . its brain cannot be
quite dead, since "I," its consciousness, am still acting, since we two
fancy that we still are, that we live and think, disconnected from our
creator and its ideating cells.
Suddenly I felt a strong desire to see how much longer the progress of
dissolution was likely to last, before it placed its last seal on the brain
and rendered it inactive. I examined my brain in its cranial cavity, through
the (to me) entirely transparent walls and roof of the skull, and even
touched the brain-matter . . . .
How or with whose hands, I am now unable to say; but the impression of the
slimy, intensely cold matter produced a very strong impression on me, in
To my great dismay, I found that the blood having entirely congealed and the
brain-tissues having themselves undergone a change that would no longer
permit any molecular action, it became impossible for me to account for the
phenomena now taking place with myself. Here was I, -- or my consciousness
which is all one -- standing apparently entirely disconnected from my brain
which could no longer function . . . . But I had no time left for
reflection. A new and most extraordinary change in my perceptions had taken
place and now engrossed my whole attention . . . . What does this signify? .
. . .
The same darkness was around me as before, a black, impenetrable space,
extending in every direction. Only now, right before me, in whatever
direction I was looking, moving with me which way soever I moved, there was
a gigantic round clock; a disc, whose large white face shone ominously on
the ebony-black background.
As I looked at its huge dial, and at the pendulum moving to and fro
regularly and slowly in Space, as if its swinging meant to divide eternity,
I saw its needles pointing to seven minutes past five. "The hour at which my
torture had commenced at Kioto!"
I had barely found time to think of the coincidence, when to my unutterable
horror, I felt myself going through the same, the identical, process that I
had been made to experience on that memorable and fatal day.
I swam underground, dashing swiftly through the earth; I found myself once
more in the pauper's grave and recognized my brother-in-law in the mangled
remains; I witnessed his terrible death; entered my sister's house; followed
her agony, and saw her go mad. I went over the same scenes without missing a
single detail of them.
But, alas! I was no longer iron-bound in the calm indifference that had then
been mine, and which in that first vision had left me as unfeeling to my
great misfortune as if I had been a heartless thing of rock.
My mental tortures were now becoming beyond description and well-nigh
unbearable. Even the settled despair, the never-ceasing anxiety I was
constantly experiencing when awake, had become now, in my dream and in the
face of this repetition of vision and events, as an hour of darkened
sunlight compared to a deadly cyclone.
Oh! how I suffered in this wealth and pomp of infernal horrors, to which the
conviction of the survival of man's consciousness after death -- for in that
dream I firmly believed that my body was dead -- added the most terrifying
The relative relief I felt, when, after going over the last scene, I saw
once more the great white face of the dial before me was not of long
duration. The long, arrow-shaped needle was pointing on the colossal disk at
-- seven minutes and a half-past five o'clock. But, before I had time to
well realize the change, the needle moved slowly backwards, stopped at
precisely the seventh minute, and -- O cursed fate! . . . .
I found myself driven into a repetition of the same series over again! Once
more I swam underground, and saw, and heard, and suffered every torture that
hell can provide; I passed through every mental anguish known to man or
fiend. I returned to see the fatal dial and its needle -- after what
appeared to me an eternity -- moved, as before, only half a minute forward.
I beheld it, with renewed terror, moving back again, and felt myself
propelled forward anew. And so it went on, and on, and on, time after time,
in what seemed to me an endless succession, a series which never had any
beginning, nor would it ever have an end . . . .
Worst of all; my consciousness, my "I," had apparently acquired the
phenomenal capacity of trebling, quadrupling, and even of decuplating
itself. I lived, felt and suffered, in the same space of time, in
half-a-dozen different places at once, passing over various events of my
life, at different epochs and under the most dissimilar circumstances;
though predominant over all was my spiritual experience at Kioto. Thus as in
the famous fugue in Don Giovanni, the heart-rending notes of Elvira's aria
of despair ring high above, but interfere in no way with the melody of the
minuet, the song of seduction, and the chorus, so I went over and over my
travailed woes, the feelings of agony unspeakable at the awful sights of my
vision, the repetition of which blunted in no wise even a single pang of my
despair and horror; nor did these feelings weaken in the least scenes and
events entirely disconnected with the first one, that I was living through
again, or interfere in any way the one with the other. It was a maddening
A series of contrapuntal, mental phantasmagoria from real life. Here was I,
during the same half-a-minute of time, examining with cold curiosity the
mangled remains of my sister's husband; following with the same indifference
the effects of the news on her brain, as in my first Kioto vision, and
feeling at the same time hell-torture for these very events, as when I
returned to consciousness. I was listening to the philosophical discourses
of the Bonze, every word of which I heard and understood, and was trying to
laugh him to scorn. I was again a child, then a youth, hearing my mother's
and my sweet sister's voices, admonishing me and teaching duty to all men. I
was saving a friend from drowning, and was sneering at his aged father who
thanks me for saving a "soul" yet unprepared to meet his Maker.
"Speak of dual consciousness, you psycho-physiologists!" -- I cried, in one
of the moments when agony, mental and as it seemed to me physical also, had
arrived at a degree of intensity which would have killed a dozen living men;
"speak of your psychological and physiological experiments, you schoolmen,
puffed up with pride and book-learning! Here am I to give you the lie. . .
And now I was reading the works and holding converse with learned professors
and lecturers, who had led me to my fatal scepticism. And, while arguing the
impossibility of consciousness divorced from its brain, I was shedding tears
of blood over the supposed fate of my nieces and nephews.
More terrible than all: I knew, as only a liberated consciousness can know,
that all I had seen in my vision at Japan, and all that I was seeing and
hearing over and over again now, was true in every point and detail, that it
was a long string of ghastly and terrible, still of real, actual, facts.
For, perhaps, the hundredth time, I had riveted my attention on the needle
of the clock, I had lost the number of my gyrations and was fast coming to
the conclusion that they would never stop, that consciousness is, after all,
indestructible, and that this was to be my punishment in Eternity. I was
beginning to realize from personal experience how the condemned sinners
would feel -- "were not eternal damnation a logical and mathematical
impossibility in an ever-progressing Universe" -- I still found the force to
Yea indeed; at this hour of my ever-increasing agony, my consciousness --
now my synonym for "I" -- had still the power of revolting at certain
theological claims, of denying all their propositions, all -- save ITSELF .
. . . No; I denied the independent nature of my consciousness no longer, for
I knew it now to be such.
But is it eternal withal? O thou incomprehensible and terrible Reality! But
if thou art eternal, who then art thou? -- since there is no deity, no God.
Whence dost thou come, and when didst thou first appear, if thou art not a
part of the cold body lying yonder? And whither dost thou lead me, who am
thyself, and shall our thought and fancy have an end? What is thy real name,
thou unfathomable REALITY, and impenetrable MYSTERY!
SOUL in MAN
Oh, I would fain annihilate thee . . . . "Soul -- Vision"! -- who speaks of
Soul, and whose voice is this? . . . . It says that I see now for myself,
that there is a Soul in man, after all. . . . I deny this.
My Soul, my vital Soul, or the Spirit of life, has expired with my body,
with the gray matter of my brain, This "I " of mine, this consciousness, is
not yet proven to me as eternal. Reincarnation, in which the Bonze felt so
anxious I should believe, may be true . . . . Why not? Is not the flower
born year after year from the same root? Hence this "I" once separated from,
its brain, losing its balance and calling forth such a host of visions . . .
before reincarnating. I was again face to face with the inexorable, fatal
clock. And as I was watching its needle, I heard the voice of the Bonze,
coming out of the depths of its white face, saying: "In this case, I fear
you would have only to open and to shut the temple door, over and over
again, during a period which, however short, would seem to you an eternity"
. . . .
The clock had vanished, darkness made room for light, the voice of my old
friend was drowned by a multitude of voices overhead on deck; and I awoke in
my berth, covered with a cold perspiration, and faint with terror.
VIII -- A TALE OF WOE
We were at Hamburg, and no sooner had I seen my partners, who could hardly
recognise me, than with their consent and good wishes I started for
Half-an-hour after my arrival, the last doubt with regard to the correctness
of my vision had disappeared. The reality was worse than any expectations
could have made it, and I was henceforward doomed to the most desolate life.
I ascertained that I had seen the terrible tragedy, with all its
heartrending details. My brother-in-law, killed under the wheels of a
machine; my sister, insane, and now rapidly sinking toward her end; my niece
-- the sweet flower of nature's fairest work -- dishonoured, in a den of
infamy; the little children dead of a contagious disease in an orphanage; my
last surviving nephew at sea, no one knew where.
A whole house, a home of love and peace, scattered; and I, left alone, a
witness of this world of death, of desolation and dishonour. The news filled
me with infinite despair, and I sank helpless before the wholesale, dire
disaster, which rose before me all at once. The shock proved too much, and I
The last thing I heard before entirely losing my consciousness was a remark
of the Burgmeister: "Had you, before leaving Kioto, telegraphed to the city
authorities of your whereabouts, and of your intention of coming home to
take charge of your young relatives, we might have placed them elsewhere,
and thus have saved them from their fate. No one knew that the children had
a well-to-do relative. They were left paupers and had to be dealt with as
such. They were comparatively strangers in Nuremberg, and under the
unfortunate circumstances you could have hardly expected anything else . . .
. I can only express my sincere sorrow."
It was this terrible knowledge that I might, at any rate, have saved my
young niece from her unmerited fate, but that through my neglect I had not
done so, that was killing me.
Had I but followed the friendly advice of the Bonze, Tamoora, and
telegraphed to the authorities some weeks previous to my return much might
have been avoided. It was all this, coupled with the fact that I could no
longer doubt clairvoyance and clairaudience -- the possibility of which I
had so long denied -- that brought me so heavily down upon my knees. I could
avoid the censure of my fellow-creatures but I could never escape the stings
of my conscience, the reproaches of my own aching heart -- no, not as long
as I lived! I cursed my stubborn scepticism, my denial of facts, my early
education, I cursed myself and the whole world. . . . .
For several days I contrived not to sink beneath my load, for I had a duty
to perform to, the dead and to the living. But my sister once rescued from
the pauper's asylum, placed under the care of the best physicians, with her
daughter to attend to her last moments, and the ******, whom I had brought
to confess her crime, safely lodged in goal -- my fortitude and strength
suddenly abandoned me.
Hardly a week after my arrival I was myself no better than a raving maniac,
helpless in the strong grip of a brain fever. For several weeks I lay
between life and death, the terrible disease defying the skill of the best
physicians. At last my strong constitution prevailed, and -- to my lifelong
sorrow -- they proclaimed me saved.
I heard the news with a bleeding heart. Doomed to drag the loathsome burden
of life henceforth alone, and in constant remorse; hoping for no help or
remedy on earth, and still refusing to believe in the possibility of
anything better than a short survival of consciousness beyond the grave,
this unexpected return to life added only one more drop of gall to my bitter
They were hardly soothed by the immediate return, during the first days of
my convalescence, of those unwelcome and unsought for visions, whose
correctness and reality I could deny no more. Alas the day! they were no
longer in my sceptical, blind mind.
"The children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain Fantasy";
but always the faithful photographs of the real woes and sufferings of my
fellow creatures, of my best friends. . . .
Thus I found myself doomed, whenever I was left for a moment alone, to the
helpless torture of a chained Prometheus. During the still hours of night,
as though held by some pitiless iron hand, I found myself led to my sister's
bedside, forced to watch there hour after hour, and see the silent
disintegration of her wasted organism; to witness and feel the sufferings
that her own tenantless brain could no longer reflect or convey to her
But there was something still more horrible to barb the dart that could
never be extricated. I had to look, by day, at the childish innocent face of
my young niece, so sublimely simple and guileless in her pollution; and to
witness, by night, how the full knowledge and recollection of her dishonour,
of her young life now for ever blasted, came to her in her dreams, as soon
as she was asleep.
The dreams took an objective form to me, as they had done on the steamer; I
had to live them over again, night after night, and feel the same terrible
despair. For now, since I believed in the reality of seership, and had come
to the conclusion that in our bodies lies hidden, as in the caterpillar, the
chrysalis which may contain in its turn the butterfly -- the symbol of the
soul -- I no longer remained indifferent, as of yore, to what I witnessed in
Something had suddenly developed in me, had broken loose from its icy
cocoon. Evidently I no longer saw only in consequence of the identification
of my inner nature with a Daij-Dzin; my visions arose in, consequence of a
direct personal psychic development, the fiendish creatures only taking care
that I should see nothing of an agreeable or elevating nature.
Thus, now, not an unconscious pang in my dying sister's emaciated body, not
a thrill of horror in my niece's restless sleep at the recollection of the
crime perpetrated upon her, an innocent child, but found a responsive echo
in my bleeding heart. The deep fountain of sympathetic love and sorrow had
gushed out from the physical heart, and was now loudly echoed by the
awakened soul separated from the body.
Thus had I to drain the cup of misery to the very dregs! Woe is me, it was a
daily and nightly torture! Oh, how I mourned over my proud folly; how I was
punished for having neglected to avail myself at Moto of the proffered
purification, for now I had come to believe even in the efficacy of the
latter. The Daij-Dzin had indeed obtained control over me; and the fiend had
let loose all the dogs of hell upon his victim. . . . .
At last the awful gulf was reached and crossed. The poor insane martyr
dropped into her dark, and now welcome grave, leaving behind her, but for a
few short months, her young, her first-born, daughter. Consumption made
short work of that tender girlish frame. Hardly a year after my arrival, I
was left alone in the whole wide world, my only surviving nephew having
expressed a desire to follow his sea-faring career.
And now, the sequel of my sad story is soon told. A wreck, a prematurely old
man, looking at thirty as though sixty winters had passed over my doomed
head, and owing to the never-ceasing visions, myself daily on the verge of
insanity, I suddenly formed a desperate resolution. I would return to Kioto
and seek out the Yamabooshi. I would prostrate myself at the feet of the
holy man, and would not leave him until he had recalled the Frankenstein he
had raised, the Frankenstein with whom at the time, it was I, myself, who
would, not part, through my insolent pride and unbelief.
Three months later I was in my Japanese home again, and I at-once sought out
my old, venerable Bonze, Tamoora Hideyeri, I now implored him to take me
without an hour's delay to the Yamabooshi, the innocent cause of my daily
tortures. His answer but placed the last, the supreme seal on my doom and
tenfold intensified my despair.
The Yamabooshi had left the country for lands unknown! He had departed one
fine morning into the interior, on a pilgrimage, and according to custom,
would be absent, unless natural death shortened the period, for no less than
seven years! . . . .
In this mischance, I applied for help and protection to other learned
Yamabooshis; and though well aware how useless it was in my case to seek
efficient cure from any other "adept," my excellent old friend did
everything he could to help me in my misfortune. But it was to no purpose,
and the canker-worm of my life's despair could not be thoroughly extricated.
I found from them that not one of these learned men could promise to relieve
me entirely from the demon of clairvoyant obsession. It was he who raised
certain Daij-Dzins, calling on them to show futurity, or things that had
already come to pass, who alone had full control over them. With kind
sympathy, which I had now learned to appreciate, the holy men invited me to
join the group of their disciples, and learn from them what I could do for
myself. "Will alone, faith in your own soul-powers, can help you now," they
said. "But it may take several years to undo even a part of the great
mischief," they added. "A Daij-Dzin is easily dislodged in the beginning; if
left alone, he takes possession of a man's nature and it becomes almost
impossible to uproot the fiend without killing his victim."
Persuaded that there was nothing but this left for me to do, I gratefully
assented, doing my best to believe in all that these holy men believed in,
and yet ever failing to do so in my heart.
The demon of unbelief and all-denial seemed rooted in me more firmly ever
than the Daij-Dzin. Still I did all I could do, decided as I was not to lose
my last chance of salvation.
Therefore, I proceeded without delay to, free myself from the world and my
commercial obligations, in order to live for several years an independent
life. I settled my accounts with my Hamburg partners and severed my
connection with the firm. Notwithstanding considerable financial losses
resulting from such a precipitate liquidation, I found myself, after closing
the accounts, a far richer man than I had thought I was. But wealth had no
longer any attraction for me, now that I had no one to share it with, no one
to work for. Life had become a burden; and such was my indifference to my
future, that while giving away all my fortune to my nephew -- in case he
should return alive from his sea voyager -- should have neglected entirely
even a small provision for myself, had not my native partner interfered and
insisted upon my making it.
I now recognized, with Lao-tze, that Knowledge was the only firm hold for a
man to trust to, as it is the only one that cannot be shaken by any tempest.
Wealth is a weak anchor in the days of sorrow, and self-conceit the most
fatal counselor. Hence I followed the advice of my friends, and laid aside
for myself a modest sum, which would be sufficient to assure me a small
income for life, or if I ever left my new friends and instructors. Having
settled my earthly accounts and disposed of my belongings at Kioto, I joined
the "Masters of the Long Vision," who took me to their mysterious abode.
There I remained for several years, studying very earnestly and in the most
complete solitude, seeing no one but a few of the members of our religious
Many are the mysteries of nature that I have fathomed since then, and many
secret folio from the library of Tzionene have I devoured, obtaining thereby
mastery over several kinds of invisible beings of a lower order.
But the great secret of power over the terrible Daij-Dzin I could not get.
It remains in the possession of a very limited number of the highest
Initiates of Lao-tze, the great majority of the Yamabooshis themselves being
ignorant how to obtain such mastery over the dangerous Elemental. One who
would reach such power of control would have to become entirely identified
with the Yamabooshis, to accept their views and beliefs, and to attain the
highest degree of Initiation.
Very naturally, I was found unfit to join the Fraternity, owing to many
insurmountable reasons besides my congenital and ineradicable scepticism,
though I tried hard to believe. Thus, partially relieved of my affliction
and taught how to conjure the unwelcome visions away, I still remained, and
do remain to this day, helpless to prevent their forced appearance before me
now and then.
It was after assuring myself of my unfitness for the exalted position of an
independent Seer and Adept that I reluctantly gave up any further trial.
Nothing had been heard of the holy man, the first innocent cause of my
misfortune; and the old Bonze himself, who occasionally visited me in my
retreat, either could not, or would not, inform me of the whereabouts of the
When, therefore, I had to give up all hope of his ever relieving me entirely
from my fatal gift, I resolved to return to Europe, to settle in solitude
for the rest of my life. With this object in view, I purchased through my
late partners the Swiss chalet in which my hapless sister and I were born,
where I had grown up under her care, and selected it for my future
When bidding me farewell for ever on the steamer which took me back to my
fatherland, the good old Bonze tried to console me for my disappointments.
"My son," he said, "regard all that happened to you as your Karma -- a just
retribution. No one who had subjected himself willingly to the power of a
Daij-Dzin can ever hope to become a Rahat (an Adept), a high-souled
Yamabooshi -- unless immediately purified.
At best, as in your case, he may become fitted to oppose and to successfully
fight off the fiend. Like a scar left after a poisonous wound the race of a
Daij-Dzin can never be effaced from the Soul until purified by a new rebirth
Withal, feel not dejected, but be of good cheer in your affliction, since it
has led you to acquire true knowledge, and to accept many a truth you would
have otherwise rejected with contempt. And of this priceless knowledge,
acquired through suffering and personal efforts -- no Daij-Dzin can ever
deprive you. Fare thee well, then, and may the Mother of Mercy, the great
Queen of Heaven, afford you comfort and protection."
We parted, and since then I have led the life of an anchorite, in constant
solitude and study. Though still occasionally afflicted, I do not regret the
years I have passed under the instruction of the Yamabooshis, but feel
gratified for the knowledge received. Of the priest Tamoora Hideyeri I think
always with sincere affection and respect. I corresponded regularly with him
to the day of his death; an event which, with all its to me painful details,
I had the unthanked-for privilege of witnessing across the seas, at the very
hour in which it occurred.
H. P. Blavatsky
From: L.R. Andrews
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 6:56 PM
Subject: [bn-study] dreams of being lost
Forgive me if I'm getting off the topic. I confess
that I don't always have enough patience to read
postings prior to making my posts. So what follows may
have been discussed before.
Again in the spirit of what I like to call "practical
Theosophy," I'd like your opinions on what follows:
Someone has consistent dreams of being lost, of not
knowing where he is going, of having parked his car
somewhere and then being saddled with the almost
impossible task of finding it in the middle of a large
and dark city. The dreamer is always alone or with
strangers, and never feels a sense of "being home" or
among family and friends. There is no sense of
"security" for the dreamer.
The dreamer's "waking" hours are full of anxiety,
depression, hopelessness and regret of the "sins" he
had committed in the past and for which evidently the
laws of Karma are now exacting their justice.
In Peru years ago a man who said he knew local shamans
said a shaman told him, "If what you are dreaming is
happening during daylight, things will go well for
you. If what you dream is taking place at night, the
opposite is true.
This of course could be mere superstition, or could
have some truth to it because shamans supposedly have
more insight into Nature than ordinary people.
With regard to recurring dreams of being lost, the
explanation could be that the dreamer IS lost in the
sense that he or she is very unhappy with his present
situation and does not know how to change it. Maybe
that's all there is to it, and such a dreamer could
seek the advice of the wisest counselor he or she can
find because he wants his unnecessary suffering to
If anyone would care to comment, please do. Because as
Theosphists we seek Truth-perhaps in due course a
Truth that will liberate us from suffering,
particularly emotional and mental suffering-this
posting may be helpful to many of us.
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