[Explanation of Incidents in the Life of Sankaracharya]
Theosophist, January & May, 1880
Article selections from “The Life of Sankaracharya, Philosopher and Mystic” by Kashinath Trimbak Telang | Notes by H.P.B.
The question of Sarasvati as to the truth nature of Love must be answered though he were ten times a Yogi or Sannyasi, so Sankara journeyed on to find the means of learning the truth. As he was going out with his pupils, they met the corpse of a certain king named Amaraka (of Amritapura, to the west of Mandana Misra’s city, according to Anandagiri) lying at the foot of a tree in the forest surrounded by males and females mourning his death. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Sankara entrusted his own body to the charge of his pupils, and caused his could to enter the corpse of the king. The supposed resuscitation which followed delighted the people, and king Sankara was taken in triumph from the forest of death tot he throne of royalty.1 . . .
. . . Sankara, learning in some supernatural way2 of his mother’s being at the point of death, hastened to her side, and at her request for spiritual counsel, instructed her, or rather attempted to instruct her, in the formless Brahma. . . .
. . . Sankara suddenly caught the disease, called Bhagandara,3 which had been sent upon him by the necromantic spells of Abhinavagupta, who had performed a special sacrifice to accomplish his malicious plot. The greatest physicians attended on Sankara, but in vain. Meanwhile the patient himself behaved stoically or rather vedantically. But at last, when the disease could not be cured, he prayed to Mahadeva to send down Ashvinikumars, who were accordingly sent down disguised as Brahmans. But they pronounced the disease to be beyond their powers of cure as it was caused by the act of another. On this communication the anger of Padmapada once more came to the relief of the Vedantism of Sankara. For, though dissuaded by Sankara himself, he muttered some mystic incantations which transferred the disease to Abhinavagupta himself, who died of it.4 . . .
1. This incident is too important to pass by without editorial comment. The power of the Yogi to quit his own body and enter and animate that of another person, though affirmed by Patanjali and included among the Siddhis of Krishna, is discredited by Europeanized young Indians. Naturally enough, since, as Western biologists deny a soul to man, it is an unthinkable proposition to them that the Yogi’s soul should be able to enter another’s body. That such an unreasoning infidelity should prevail among the pupils of European schools, is quite reason enough why an effort should be made to revive in India those schools of Psychology in which the Aryan youth were theoretically and practically taught the occult laws of Man and Nature. We, who have at least some trifling acquaintance with modern science, do not hesitate to affirm our belief that this temporary transmigration of souls is possible. We may even go so far as to say that the phenomenon has been experimentally proven to us in New York, among other places. And, since we would be among the last to require so marvellous a statement to be accepted upon any one’s unsupported testimony, we urge our readers to first study Aryan literature, and then get from personal experience the corroborative evidence. The result must inevitably be to satisfy every honest inquirer that Patanjali and Sankaracharya did, and Tyndall, Carpenter and Huxley do not, know the secrets of our being.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]
2. We must take issue with our distinguished contributor upon this point. We do not believe in “supernatural ways,” and we do believe and know that it was not at all difficult for an initiate like Sankara to learn by his interior faculties, of his mother’s state. We have seen too many proofs of this faculty to doubt it.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]
3. A terrible form of ulcerated sore, or fistula.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]
4. An important point for the student of occult science is here made and should not be overlooked. The law of physics that action and reaction tend to equilibrate each other holds in the realm of the occult. This has been fully explained in “Isis Unveiled” and other works of the kind. A current of Akas directed by a sorcerer at a given object with an evil intent, must either be propelled by such intensity of will as to break through every obstacle and overpower the resistant will of the selected victim, or it will rebound against the sender, and afflict him or her in the same way as it was intended the other should be hurt. So well is this law understood that it has been preserved to us in many popular proverbs, such as the English ones, “curses come home to roost,” “the biter’s bit,” etc., the Italian one, “La bestemia gira, e gira, e gira, e torna adosso a che la tira,” etc. This reversal of a maleficent current upon the sender may be greatly facilitated by the friendly interference of another person who knows the secret of controlling the Akasic currents—if it is permissible for us to coin a new word that will soon be wanted in the Western parlance.—ED. THEOS. [H.P.B.]