[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 flowersa 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 worship.
September 18th, 1881.
It depends. Those of our orthodox native contributors who worship some
particular Godor, if they so prefer, the one Îshvara under
some particular nameare 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 Mâyâor the
illusion of the senses; and Christiansto 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 concentrationthese 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 matterthen 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 byto 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.