Heralds from the Unseen
The Path, March-April 1887
“Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”—I Cor. Xv, 51.
“I have found the small old path leading far away.”—UPANISHAD.
To him who without murmuring, confident in the perfect justice of the law, waits and watches, there comes a herald from heights unseen. The just man follows him and attains; the unwise may surprise him and follow also. But when the fool has rushed unbidden in where angels fear to tread, he meets a mailed Truth with a drawn sword, on whose point he dies. Now there are two deaths. From the one he may rise, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, . . . for the dead shall be raised,”1 and this by the vivifying power of truth, if so be he have one identical incorruptible atom in his spiritual make up, or else that rash being is dead forever, and the spirit monad creates another in the dream of three thousand years.
The indivisible Truth in its entirety is incommunicable in the words of our plane. A clue may indeed be given; it is the herald to those who await him. It is useless to turn the page to see who this is that offers the clue. Of myself I know nothing, yet through me may much be made known. I am the trumpet; through it the herald may proclaim a mystery.
It was in a night of silence that a Power bade me waken, and drew me to a dark cave wherein It passed. Not so I, for the entrance was narrow and I had encumbrances about me. Only many nights later, when I had parted with effort, hope and fear, did I stand within. All of me that was essential had entered; this was enough. Then a musical chord breathed low, the darkness dispersed, and I saw the Unknown Land.
It was a circling land of streams, Light everywhere, flowing, flowing, flowing. The flow was cadenced and welled from a mysterious Centre of blackness at the edges of which spouted cataracts of flame. My thought shrank with awe of the Darkness, but an unknown grasp of Might expanded within me and drew me to that flaming verge. On the knees of the soul I fall and am not. I become one with the All, and consciously resting in Omniscience I know the whole. Yet what forever dwells, wakeful and brooding with that dark pavillion, nor man nor angel may discover. Profounder than all Being, It is, girt about by unfathomed fires. “Ye shall enter the light, but ye shall never touch the flame.”2
A stir was over that central Dark, a titanic breath, like the sighing of myriad seas, measured, omnipotent. Where its harmonious friction fretted the verges of space, the flames burst forth, and with fecund pulsations gave birth to heat, light, motion and sound. The Centre felt a boundless attraction for the circumference, pouring toward it with inexhaustible energy, for “the heart of it is Love.” This was the force centrifugal, which in a dazzle of starry scintillations thrusts the universal glooms apart with a song. Were this all, Discord and Division were the end. But the circumference trembled also with a vast yearning toward the Centre, so that it ever tended to return there, as the prodigal, enriched in experience, returns to the mystic house of the Father. This was the centripetal force, and these two caused the double vibration of the Astral Light, and they are all you shall know though you blend with the infinite forever. “Whatever there is, the whole world when gone forth trembles in His breath: that Brahman is a great terror, like a drawn sword. They who know it become immortal.”3
Then a voice said: “The Absolute evolves thought from Himself, and the vibration of this thought in the passive wells of space generates Light and its correlated forces. The Thought is,—‘Creation!’ The singing breath is the Word; the Light is the Absolute made manifest, and the Universe begins.” At once I saw divergent lances of light pour their serried splendors into the void, and the point of each spear displaced the mist which curling backward from the centre of energy thus formed, communicated the movement to sister vapors in turn. Activities shoot, play back and forth, elongate, crystalize, and so great planets spring into the arena, feel the first instinct of separate Being, struggle to depart—an estranged Self—in meteoric desolation, when the magnetic impulse of the Centre streams along the creative ray, meets the responsive principle, and lo! each chafing Orb, held in leash by Love, wheels into the circle of attraction and obeys the Law. The astral world has begun!
Thence presently the Light spreads afresh, reflected and repeated from every facet of every star, till arrowy glories, vibrant with each vibration sped forth by the primary pencils of light, in turn create dull planetary masses in the luminous abyss; then ever renewed corruscations quicken their dust with whose initial tremor shining crystals sparkle out and glide together about a glistering ring whose centre is ever a darkness ruffled by the out-reaching current from that first tinted Gloom. So new spheres form, these, repeating the parent movement, with wide spreading auras touch and arouse their neighbors, and interpenetrating, revolving, throwing off, taking on, converging, diverging, modifying and modified, a world of forms is evolved whose final expression of Being is Man. Thus further departing, the infinite variations end in individuality and the greater the individuality, the more it leans to the centifugal force, and the lack of equilibrium in the forces draws man further from the Eternal and he forgets the Law. His aura, his rays are nerve currents centred in the personality, but linked by star-beam and moon-ray to the quivering Source of all light, so that each man vibrating, imparts to the Akasa about him his own specific rate of vibration, and all men, all things, suspended as it were in this fine ether which fills the universe, act and react each on each, every one striving to modify the others to his own vibratory ratio, while the Light in the same way attacks all, and the battle of the giants is here. So the final expression of “evil” is inertia, and the highest attribute of Spirit is the Thought which is Life.
Once again the Voice spoke then saying: “What gives Life?” Someone answered: “Vibration.” And when It said, “Look back to the earth world,” I obeyed. I saw the modern sage reducing all the great forces, all the intoxicating play of colors and the bewildering tangle of harmonies to this one source—Vibration. I saw wondering students bending over sensitive flames that danced or died at the mandate of sound. I saw a child playing with iron filings on glass, and as he drew a bow athwart the pane they marshalled into tiny mimicries of the primitive crystalline creation. I saw the Frost spirit, tracing his white wonders of tropical forests on vibrant surfaces, blazoning symbols of summer on the grim escutcheon of the snow. I saw Sound disintegrating granite and iron, taming wild beasts with a lure, transforming brothers into demons at the sibilant hiss of a scathing word.4 I saw Light fecundating the soil, and the teeming battalions of the underworld issuing from the palpitating spark in their germs; the selective art of the flower, choosing the kindred color of her tribe from all the flashing scale, gave up to me its secret of the synchronous vibration of that hue with the astral soul within her fragrant form. Passion I saw also, flaming in two breasts that for one tumultuous moment became one, and knew it for an instant of similar vibration. Aye, and saw that Love was a steadfast quality of motion between loyal hearts, saw too that Anger and Hatred had their rise in the same source, and mounting upward I saw that Faith was a similitude of vibration with Truth itself. Again the Voice spoke: “Dost thou see aught but Vibration anywhere?” I answered: “Such all life is, and from such all proceeds. He who cons its secret laws and can institute its musical numbers at will, is a God! He can create and destroy.” “Go then, and by analogy learn what thou art,” said the Voice, and like the rebel fraction of a star I fell from Glory, and found myself alone in the Maya world again, with these words thrilling my brain. “But He, that Highest Person, who wakes in us while we sleep, shaping one lovely sight after another, He indeed is called the Light, He is called Brahman, He alone is called The Immortal. All worlds are founded on It and no one goes beyond. This is that.”5
It is rarely that a man gets the whole of his thought; often others supply it. Analogy is the power of following a thought into all its correlations, and I shall ask you to do this in a measure with mine. These puny pages cannot contain the theme of cycles, and falling short, it scarce matters by how many pen strokes I fail. Consider this first; what are we? Look abroad over our Society, largely; we see each member working on his own particular line. So it must be with man for ages. When you shall have exhausted your special hobby, when through astral perception, or mesmeric control or mental acumen, you shall have attained high powers, the hour of your limitation will strike, as its awful knell can strike, even from the towers of Futurity, and you will know that you have not found that cornerstone on which alone the Eternal rests—your indivisible Self. “Great ones fall back, even from the threshold, unable to sustain the weight of responsibility; unable to pass on.”6 Follow from the start that solitary beacon which informs the ultimate goal: Unity. Make it your touchstone and your guide; other stars are reflected lights only. The doctrine of unselfishness is no sentiment, but of logical, practical utility. The individual way lies from limited Being, through Becoming, to unlimited Being, precisely as the universal way lies from sterile Unity, through Division to fecund Unity, or from the one Life through Death to the Life of the All. He who in final choice elects the path of Division, chooses Death eternal. You may indeed wend homeward through the devious tangle of reflected rays, but how long, how hard are such paths! I would see your souls with eagle swoop make straight for the Central Sun. Look then within you. Man! Woman! Are you what you seem? Till this thought daily; it will bear the harvest of Life.
With analogy for our guide we observe that the first forms of life are crystalline and have two poles. You man, are also a magnetic sphere with physical and spiritual poles. On the physical side of the subject we find modern scientists telling us that man is matter in a state of low vibration, and thought, matter in a state of high vibration.7 In this ascertained view, Spirit is a higher state of vibration than we at present cognize. “Does the fact look crass and material, threatening to degrade thy theory of Spirit? Resist it not; it goes to refine and raise thy theory of matter just as much.”8 Nor do I say this is all. Trust your highest ideal to the unconditioned causation lying back of that primal vibration—Absolute Thought.
The vibrant tension of fixed thought must in time heighten the vibratory ratio of the man, for tension excites increased pulsation. This rarefies the density of all bodies, and the friction of intensified chemical action establishes light, heat and odic force. The increased porosity of the physical body tends to disengage the atoms of the astral body, and the generation of a strong odic current forces it out to the astral world, (always attracting it) all the sooner because the intensified pulsation of thought-tension sends the auric emanations further into space, thus draughting a larger portion of the world-soul to the entity. All vibration being attended with sound (which may or may not escape the ear) we proceed to examine tones and find them varying from the lowest of eight vibrations per second, to the highest known to western science of 24,000 per second. Remember that the tones of anger, hatred, scorn are all deep notes, those of cheerfulness, love, hope are treble. Here we discover the apparently inexplicible effect of spoken words which raise or depress our vibrations to their own by means of the etheric medium. To resist the wildfire spread of passion or anger we have but to check the vibration by holding steadily to our own; this maintained, may raise that of others, precisely as the high musical note constantly sounded, raises all lower ones at all related, to its own pitch. Tyndall says:
“Scientific education ought to teach us to see the invisible as well as the visible in nature; to picture with the vision of the mind those operations which entirely elude bodily vision; to look at the very atoms of matter in motion and at rest, and to follow them forth without once losing sight of them . . . to see them integrating themselves in natural phenomena.”
So I shall ask you to imagine a tone at a high rate of vibration, to see it striking the hearer’s brain at a certain focus, creating there a centre of energy, which tending to crystalization, fixes the thought in the mind. And the more permanent duration of pleasant (which are high) thoughts and tunes is evident if we glance back over a long period of time and note how the joys stand out and the griefs disappear; so we always forget physical suffering. Moreover we may see this tone raising his vibratory ratio and glancing off at an angle of reflection equal to that of incidence, reacting upon the surrounding ether and upon all hearers. The magical success of eastern mantras depends upon the exact intonation, which governs the vibratory result, and the proper intonation of the sacred books, learned from the priests, doubtless increased their effect. Turning to colors, we find them varying in vibration from violet 1/60000 inch to red 1/38000 inch, and the violet has greater actinism; so it would seem to follow that the more extended the undulation the greater the chemical action and resultant odic force. Hence the tone of animals or man is not such a poor test of their nature as we might suppose, and a certain clue to character is given in a preferred color. The higher sounds thus create greater akasic disturbance through increased undulation. Deleuze in his work on magnetism says:
“The word which indicates our will can often exert an action. . . . The very tones of the magnetizer, being produced by the vital energy, act upon the organs of the patients.”
Reichenbach proved that all chemical action is a source of odic force, and the transmertion of air being nothing less, additional witness is born to the occult power of a word. All mesmerizers are now agreed that motions and words are unnecessary; the will suffices; what is this but the tension of fixed thought. Everything in Nature has its own specific rate of vibration; if we know and can reproduce and heighten it we can call the thing into existence or pass ourselves within its consciousness. Hence the old saying that numbers are the names of things. The “lost word” itself is, doubt it not, a sound of the highest possible vibration, represented by the Aum, or sound of the eternal outpour of Light, the Logos of the Christians. The ordinary ear may not grasp this sound, but Tyndall tells us such are not dead because they have passed from our ken.9 When we remember that this astral vibration can in time elevate that of all matter, we glimpse alike the great factor of Evolution and of the use of Aum. The thought being spiritually fixed, an unbroken vital current sets in between the man and the “One eternal Thinker, thinking non-eternal thoughts. He though one, fulfils the desire of many. The wise, who perceive Him within their Self, to them belong eternal joy, eternal peace!”10 Here we perceive the force of the repeated injunction to be calm; how else can the harmonious medium act upon us? “The man who is not calm and subdued, or whose mind is not at rest, he can never obtain the Self, even by knowledge.”11
Follow me now to the plane of soul. As all things from planet to molecule have their mystic centre, that of man is found in the heart, whose systole and diastole are regulated by the double movement of the Astral Light. There, hemmed about by the light of the semi-material soul, is the dusky centre, where the spirit may awaken and breathe. “The self is smaller than small, greater than great, hidden in the heart of the creature.” Air is breathed by the lungs; the soul breathes the astral light. As that spiritual monad who is your own Augoides, breathed first upon the plastic Akasa and drew together, the principles of a man, so It must again breathe upon this silent centre to create the spiritual man. It does not inhabit him, It overshadows him. It is his “Father in Heaven” to whom Jesus bade him pray; his Creator. In each heart stands this shrouded altar to an unknown God. “Whom ye therefore ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.” He has created the physical man hundreds of times, for His mission is unfulfilled until through Evolution, He shall have made “one higher than the angels.” In that illimitable future which evades the mind, my soul sees ultimate beings in their glory, raise the swelling tide of Being higher still. So Divinity raises Itself by Itself and man expands God. Here is the adhesion of Jesus to the destiny latent in Humanity. “Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is also perfect.”
“Yet mark it well, man cannot compel the God. The self cannot be gained by the Veda, nor by the understanding, nor by much learning. He whom the Self chooses, by him alone the Self can be gained. The Self chooses him as His own.”12
How then would you attract the Shining One? You must first strive to raise your own vibrations. Tension does this, the tension of lofty thought, benevolent feelings, the living spirit of holy books, communion with high minds, any and every elevating practice, the mind fixed on the True. And, look you, this is no matter where you may dissect from the outset; you must have Faith. If you institute the conditions, the event follows; such is the economy of the occult world. What is faith but the institution of conditions? “He cannot be reached by speech, by mind, or by the eye: He cannot be apprehended except by him who says, ‘He is’.” You must bear some relation to Spirit, or its eternal vibrations cannot raise you. Knowledge attained, you will find it submitting triumphantly to every test. Calm is the essence of Faith because a similitude of vibration with Truth (in its living record) is only possible when you are no longer at the mercy of astral currents. Then “regard most earnestly your own heart.”13 The soul is there; all may feel its heat, some hear its musical tones as it expands. Sink your thoughts down to that heat: the Spirit (Buddhi) enters by the head, and your final object is to bind heart and head together in an abiding consciousness of Unity. The Bhagavad-Gita tells us plainly that when the mind roams man “should subdue it, bring it back, and place it within his own breast;” not, as you see, in the brain. Now by “mind” the intellect is not meant, but manas, the collective thoughts and desires upon which Reason (or Buddhi) may act as guide or control. You will find that you can think from the heart, just as all strong emotions—such as fear, love, suspense—take their rise in the heart and spread wave-like over the chest, and have no similarity to the flash of an idea in the brain. In the ordinary man the brain is only the focus for the thoughts streaming in through the solar plexus, and many are lost, just as millions of seeds in nature are lost. So the Upanishad echoes the warning: “The mind must be restrained in the heart till it comes to an end;—that is knowledge, that is liberty; all the rest are extensions of the ties.” When we are able to think from the centre we shall realise what is now difficult to believe—that our present intellection is not the highest avenue of knowledge.
“When a man is delivered from his mind, that is the highest point.” We sink our thoughts then into the flowing Light as men sink nets into the sea—withdrawn, they are full to breaking.
A distinguished confrere, speaking of this subject in the October Theosophist, says that the right “Word” must be known, when we may sink it down to the heart where it becomes a living power: he adds that Om is used for this purpose in India and Jao in Europe. These are good words as we all know, and represent high vibrations. The Upanishad says plainly: “Om is the sound-endowed body of him:” and again; “The syllable Om is what is called the Word and its end is the silent, the soundless, fearless, . . . immovable, certain Brahman.” We are told by the authors of Man that “in incantations, sound is so modulated as to produce the same state of the body as that which invariably accompanies the generation of any desired psychic or spiritual force.” Nor is it difficult to find the rationale of this use of sound when we consider that there exists in the Akasa a latent and eternal power called Yajna, which is supposed to form a bridge between mortals and spirits, or gods, like the ladder in Jacob’s dream. “Isis” states that it can be called into play by the lost Word receiving impulse through will power. This sound is the Vach, or dormant “Word” of the sacred Mantras, evoked by those who know their proper intonation. Krishna says that as Adhiyajna (Lord of Yajna) he is present in this body. Reflect deeply on this. He who can fret the sensitive akasic chords with heat-compelling tones may see this stupendous electric force burst outward from its hidden lair and rend for him the veil of Isis. So indeed he mounts to the Gods.
When Hartmann adds, however, that attempts to carry on this practice without first obtaining a “Word” just suited to our condition from an Adept are dangerous, he tends to frighten away those who would try to find the “Lord of all worlds” for themselves, as if an Adept were needed when “Ishwar resideth in the breast of every mortal being.”14 An Adept can impart an impulse, stimulate our vibrations momentarily; he cannot strain his powers to raise us to an artificial status and hold us there. Knowledge is Being; you cannot know more than you are. You have within you the eternal motor—Thought. Apply it through the universal vehicle—Will. I do not say that such external impetus as Adepts can give is not a great advantage, provided it is in your Karma. Otherwise it is useless except to teach you a lesson through premature failure, and The Brothers, foreseeing the end, will if left to themselves deal more wisely with the man of desires than he with himself. Anyone may follow Krishna’s behest and “raise himself by himself.” Students should give serious attention to the point that mere automatic processes have as such no place in the higher science of the Wisdom-Religion. Astral perception confuses and retards; it is but a period of synchronous vibration with that sphere; “ye cannot serve two masters:” though, all service ended, you may become astral serpent and spiritual dove in one. Yogis in India who pronounce Om for years with fixed thought often make no apparent progress; its full application is beyond their ken; it would seem beyond Hartmann’s also. For the article in question somewhat belittles the practice of Charity, Devotion, and the like, whereas all precedure comes to naught in the final test, (and I consider nothing short of that,) if these sacred principles do not constitute the integral make up of the heart. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass.” I repeat, men have fallen into a way of considering such injunctions as mere adornment, whereas they are structural necessities, truths as demonstrable as any mathematical equation. How shall I think as a god if I have not the large outlook of a god? I would not willingly behold any differentiation in the universe which is not visible from the standpoint of the polar star! The sum of Karma consists of all deeds referable to the self; the deeds done for self increase the sense of self, while spiritual life consists in the absence of self. Thus the fundamental necessity of spiritual growth is that all be done for all. Whatever tends to raise the vibration is of value, your intuitions must direct you to a wise admixture. Persevere; “to the persevering mortal the blessed Immortals are swift.”15 In some quiet moment you will feel a touch upon the heart as if a spent bullet had lodged there, or a soft stir, as a nestling dove. Later, sounds will ensue, sounds like singing sands, or piping winds, or the surge of golden bells chiming adown far coasts. Sometimes a fine aerial music attends the august vibrations, as heralds announce the King. For when the sound arises, the Light is near. Then control the mind, whose centrifugal tendency is immense; it is a Ulysses who must be tied to the mast when these syren voices echo, lest it lose itself in the sea of sense. Attend only to those ideas to which the sounds give rise in the heart. Other wonders accrue, fields of color, flashing sights and psychic sense unfolding, but to describe these is to leave the student at the mercy of a vivid imagination. I can only state that something is born again under the potency of the Word, and this Word is a fixed rate of high vibration.
You have now a clue; try. On the doors and walls of the temple the word “Try” is written. The entrance found, use this key. “The mouth of the true Brahman is covered with a golden lid, open that, O Sun, that we may go to the true One, Who pervades all. He who is that person in the sun I am He.”
“After having left behind the body, the organs of sense and the objects of sense (as no longer belonging to us), and having seized the bow whose stick is fortitude and whose string is asceticism (the true kind), having stricken down with the arrow consisting of freedom from egotism the first guardian of the door of Brahman, having killed that guardian, he crosses by means of the boat Om to the other side of the ether within the heart, and when the ether is revealed (as Brahman), he enters slowly, as a miner seeking minerals enters a mine, into the hall of Brahman. After that let him by means of the doctrine of his teacher, (trying his intuitive way and not that of another), break through the first shrine of Brahman (consisting of the four nets of food, breath, mind and knowledge), till he reaches the last shrine of Brahman. Thenceforth pure, clean, tranquil, breathless, endless, imperishable, firm, unborn, and independent, he stands in his own greatness, and having seen the Self standing in His own greatness, he looks at the wheel of the world, (therefore he may still be in the world,), as one who having alighted from a chariot looks on its revolving wheel.”16
Take up the analogy. Get to the wondrous centre and ask of the latent Light, and “all shall be changed.” Then Brothers, give, give what you receive. Cast all your treasures to all the winds of morning; the closing pinions of the night will bring them back transformed. Fear nothing! Bend the inner ear and you shall hear that royal Watch who calls across the Darkness, “All’s well! All’s well!”
Ishwar, Lord of the Light! Make me to be a channel through which Thou flowest. Teach me to know Thy voice in other hearts as well as in mine own, and inform us with Thine effulgence through the generating cycles—Om!
1. I Cor. 15.
2. Light on the Path.
4. It is known that in Ireland and other places, many peasants possess words whose sound can thrill a man and make a horse unmanageable.—Ed. [W.Q.J.]
6. Light on the Path.
7. See Fiske, Stuart, et al.
9. On sound, p. 54.
13. Light on the Path.