Madame, In the last issue of your valuable
journal, a member of the New York Theosophical Society seeks to be enlightened
as to the cause of a bright spot of light which he has often seen. I also
am equally curious to have an explanation. I attribute it to the highest concentration of the soul. As soon as I place myself in that prescribed
attitude, suddenly a bright spot appears before me which fills my heart
with delight, this being regarded as a special sign by the Indian devotee
that he is in the right path, leading to ultimate success in the Yoga practice,
that he is blessed by the special grace of the Almighty.
One evening, sitting on the ground cross-legged, in that state of concentration
when the soul soars into high regions, I was blessed with a shower of flowers a
most brilliant sight, which I long to see again. I tried to catch at flowers
so rare, but they eluded my grasp and suddenly disappeared, leaving me much
disappointed. Finally two flowers fell on me, one touching my head and the
other my right shoulder, but this time also the attempt to seize them was
unsuccessful. What can it be, if not a response that God has been pleased
with his worshipper, meditation being, I believe, the unique way of spiritual
P. [September 18th, 1881.
It depends. Those of our orthodox native contributors who worship some
particular God or, if they so prefer, the one Îshvara under some
particular name are too apt to attribute every psychological effect,
induced by mental concentration during the hours of religious meditation,
to their special deity, whereas, in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred,
such effects are due simply to purely psycho-physiological effects.
We know a number of mystically-inclined people who see such "lights"
as that described above as soon as they concentrate their thoughts. Spiritualists
attribute them to the agency of their departed friends; Buddhists (who have
no personal God) to a pre-nirvânic state; Pantheists and Vedântins
to Mâyâ or the illusion of the senses; and Christians to
a foresight of the glories of Paradise. The modern Occultists say that,
when not directly due to cerebral action, the normal functions of which
are certainly impeded by such an artificial mode of deep concentration these
lights are glimpses of the Astral Light, or, to use a more "scientific"
expression, of the " Universal Ether," firmly believed in by more
than one man of science, as proved by Stewart and Taits Unseen
Universe. Like the pure blue sky closely shrouded by thick vapours
on a misty day, so is the Astral Light concealed from our physical senses
during the hours of our normal daily life. But when, concentrating all our
spiritual faculties we succeed, for the time being, in paralyzing their
enemy (the physical senses), and the inner man becomes, so to say, distinct
from the man of matter then the action of the ever-living spirit, like
a breeze that clears the sky from its obstructing clouds, sweeps away the
mist which lies between our normal vision and the Astral Light, and we obtain
glimpses into, and of, that Light.
The days of "smoking furnaces" and "burning lamps"
which form part of the biblical visions are long gone by to return
no more. But whoever, refusing natural explanations, prefers supernatural ones, is, of course, at liberty to imagine that an "Almighty God"
amuses us with visions of flowers, and sends burning lights before making
"covenants" with his worshippers.