The Allegorical Umbrella
The Path, February, 1890
In the Buddhist stories there are numerous references to umbrellas. When Buddha is said to have granted to his disciples the power of seeing what they called “Buddha Fields,” they saw myriads of Buddhas sitting under trees and jewelled umbrellas. There are not wanting in the Hindu books and monuments references to and representations of umbrellas being held over personages. In a very curious and extremely old stone relievo at the Seven Pagodas in India, showing the conflict between Durga and the demons, the umbrella is figured over the heads of the Chiefs. It is not our intention to exalt this common and useful article to a high place in occultism, but we wish to present an idea in connection with it that has some value for the true student.
In the Upanishads we read the invocation: “Reveal, O Pushan, that face of the true sun which is now hidden by a golden lid.” This has reference to the belief of all genuine occultists, from the earliest times to the present day, that there is a “true sun,” and that the sun we see is a secondary one; or, to put it in plainer language, that there is an influence or power in the sun which may be used, if obtained by the mystic, for beneficent purposes, and which, if not guarded, hidden or obscured by a cover, would work destruction to those who might succeed in drawing it out. This was well known in ancient Chaldea, and also to the old Chinese astronomers: The latter had certain instruments which they used for the purpose of concentrating particular rays of sunlight as yet unknown to modern science and now forgotten by the flowery land philosophers. So much for that sun we see, whose probable death is calculated by some aspiring scientists who deal in absurdities. But there is the true centre of which the sun in heaven is a symbol and partial reflection. This centre let us place for the time with the Dhyan Chohans or planetary spirits. It is all knowing, and so intensely powerful that, were a struggling disciple to be suddenly introduced to its presence unprepared, he would be consumed, both body and soul. And this is the goal we are all striving after, and many of us asking to see even at the opening of the race. But for our protection a cover, or umbrella, has been placed beneath IT. The ribs are the Rishees, or Adepts, or Mahatmas; the Elder Brothers of the race. The handle is in every man’s hand. And although each man is, or is to be, connected with some particular one of those Adepts, he can also receive the influence from the true centre coming down through the handle.
The light, life, knowledge, and power falling upon this cover permeate in innumerable streams the whole mass of men beneath, whether they be students or not. As the disciple strives upward, he begins to separate himself from the great mass of human beings, and becomes in a more or less definite manner connected with the ribs. Just as the streams of water flow down from the points of the ribs of our umbrellas, so the spiritual influences pour out from the adepts who form the frame of the protecting cover, without which poor humanity would be destroyed by the blaze from the spiritual world.