A Learned Bramhan Spirit!
Theosophist, August, 1882
Article selections from questions posed to a supposed medium. | Introductory Note, Notes, and closing Editor’s Note by H.P.B.
[Note: In the following selections, exclamation points and question marks in brackets are HPB’s insertions.]
Mr. Peter Davidson, F.T.S., of Scotland, has sent us the following official report of a “testing” of the world-famous spirit Hafed, the “control” or “guide” of Mr. David Duguid, of Glasgow, through whose mediumship the world has been presented with a book called Hafed, Prince of Persia; of “Jan Steen,” the alleged spirit of the famous painter of that name; and of another intelligence which pretends to be a “learned Brahman.’’ We will leave it to the judgment of our learned Hindu readers, acquainted with their religion, to decide how far he is learned and how much there is of the Brahman in him. From the joint replies to Mr. Davidson’s questions, there would seem to be very little of either. One would think that a transfer of a Brahmarakshasa’s activity to the cold Caledonian climate, is fatal to his memory and destructive to his learning upon even the most familiar Indian subjects. If our friends at Glasgow long for communication with a genuine Brahmarakshasa or Bhut, they should send their mediums here to “sit for development” by an abandoned well or under an umbrageous haunted tree!
Questions given to “Hafed,” the Persian, and the Bramhan, spirits speaking through David Duguid, the Glasgow Medium.
As the spirit calling himself “Bramhan” claims, through his medium, D. Duguid, to have acquaintance with the ancient Brotherhood, this prompted me to put the following eight queries. . . .
Query 1.—“What power is placed by oriental occultists in the Nabhachakram region?”
“Jan Steen,” loquitor.—I take it that the word has reference to one who has power over the body, power over spirits, and power also to leave the material body. (!!) But I will leave the other questions to some of our Eastern friends. (Exit. Prudently steps aside.)1 . . .
1. The sceptical public should, perhaps, also “take it” that Jan Steen, the “Jolly Dutch painter,” as he is called, was the last “of all the spirits” in the whole Summerland to dip into occult Yog philosophy. One, as addicted as he to good living, during his lifetime (he is even said to have opened a public tavern?) a boon companion, a drinker of deep potations; one solely interested—as his biography and pictures show—in card-playing and merrymaking, would hardly, even after 193 years of bleaching out in the “ambient ether,” have become so spiritually cleansed as to mix in a company of “spirits” who know anything of the “Nabhachakram regions”! Yet since the great painter, who, as the German critic, Kugler, has it in his Handbook of the History of Painting, had all the “elements of genuine low comedy” in him, he may have put on the philosopher’s robe in joke, as, in the jolly old days, he would have wrapped himself in a monk’s cowl just “for the fun of the thing!”—Ed. [H.P.B.]
. . . Query 2.—“Does individuality exist in the Nirvana state?”
“Hafed.”—According to Buddhist doctrine, all spirits, after undergoing many transmigrations, or stages of being, at last get perfected and united to the great center of spirit. They teach also that God is in all things—in the dust of the rock and in the sand of the seashore (!!)2 But we say, No. He is in them by his influence. (?) Man exists in this one individuality in all states of spirit-life. . . .
2. Shadows of the great Arhats and Swabhâvikas, pray do not feel disturbed! Hafed, an ancient Persian, may be very well acquainted with the old tenets of Zoroastrianism (Mr. P. Davidson ought to try him in that department), but what can the spirit of a “Prince of Persia” be expected to know about Nirvana and the “good Doctrine”?—Ed. [H.P.B.]
Query 3.—“What are the seven occult powers in man, also in the universe?”
“Hafed.”—I do not know, and I do not think any one knows.3 We know of certain powers or influences at work, and that is all. Ask a spirit how it became connected with the physical body. Can he tell? He lives 80 or 100 years, and is at last disconnected. Can he tell how or when? In my own case, I know the circumstances attending my departure, but no more. All are more or less in the same way. It is like falling asleep. You cannot tell when, or how you pass away, and when consciousness comes, you find yourself standing by your own body. Many of such questions have originated in Hindu speculation. (!!) There is nothing in them. (!!!)
3. This does not stand to reason.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
Query 4.—“What are the six primary forces?”
No answer was given to this.
Query 5.—“What is the Chidakasam, also Chinmudra issuing by the hands?”
(The same silence.)
Query 6.—“How does Akasa circulate in the human body?”
Still no answer.
Query 7.—“What changes occur in the organism of a high adept, or Brother, and how account for them?”
This query, being more of a speculative character and any answer to it not to be disproved, was promptly attended to.
“Hafed.”—“The changes have been brought about in the organism of a Brother by living according to nature’s laws in food and drink, and bringing under subjection earthly passions or4 getting rid of them altogether. By this means, power has been acquired, which has, in some few cases, been wielded for the benefit of mankind. But I cannot see how the benefit can be anything but limited. Originally the “Brothers” coveted spiritual powers, and did many wonderful things on behalf of man, but time crept on, and that which was spiritual was turned into Necromancy,5 and they lost sight of the high and holy work of those who had gone before.
4. The “or” is good.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
5. Decidedly the “Prince” must have got into bad company, perhaps, with Dug-pas—in his world of the shadows!—Ed. [H.P.B.]
At first the Brothers had for food the fruits that grew by the mountain side, and for drink the pure water from the spring. They received high spiritual power, even the power of the Highest, but which they raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, cured many that were diseased, and fed the poor that were ready to perish. All this was granted to them. Their name and fame spread beyond the mountains where they dwelt, to other places towards the East, and other great and good men heard of these men, and they sent the messages one to another by spirit power. It has been said that they could transport themselves bodily from one place to another. They themselves deny this;6 the distance is but bridged over by spiritual vision. Our Bramhan friend has told you that he met one of these Brothers in a far distant land (Japan)—for they also sent out some of their number as Missionaries to other countries. That took place when they were in their best state. But, nearer to your day, many of these men sold themselves to evil powers (?!)7 . . .
6. We should say, they did. It is given only to mediums to be transported bodily from one part of London to another part instantaneously and without feeling the worse for it.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
7. In which not one of the “Brothers” believes.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
And so this Brotherhood, in course of time, drew this class of (bad) spirits. For the holy beauty of their original order was gone—they had fallen from their high estate and had lost much of their power. The blind were blind still, and the diseased had but little relief. Ignorance of the outside world and pride had a good deal to do with this decline. The lower orders of the people looked on them as gods, and they became proud. To regain their former eminence, they must cultivate communion with the higher spirits.8
8. In other words, to allow themselves to be controlled by the “Bramhan” and “Hafed, the Prince of Persia”?—Ed. [H.P.B.]
Query 8.—“Kindly inform me in a general manner what part of Adia is the seat of the Occult Brotherhood?”
“Hafed.”—They are now situated higher up on the Mountain range—not far from the orginal place, where stood the small temple I have already described (see Hafed.) The higher up the better atmosphere and clearer manifestations of spirit power.
The foregoing I give from the notes of the reporter. “Hafed,” being willing to speak for the “Bramhan,” I did not ask the latter.
Editor’s Note. [H.P.B.]—Nor do we think it a pity, since the venerable “spirit” of the “Bramhan” seems to know as much about India and Bramhanism as the “Prince of Persia” about—the “Brothers.”