STUDENT. - A materialist stated to me as his opinion that all that is said about mantrams is mere sentimental theorizing, and while it may be true that certain words affect people, the sole reason is that they embody ideas distasteful or pleasant to the hearers, but that the mere sounds, as such, have no effect whatever, and as to either words or sounds affecting animals he denied it altogether. Of course he would not take elementals into account at all, as their existence is impossible for him.
Sage. - This position is quite natural in these days. There has been so much materialization of thought, and the real scientific attitude of leading minds in different branches of investigation has been so greatly misunderstood by those who think they follow the example of the scientific men, that most people in the West are afraid to admit anything beyond what may be apprehended by the five senses. The man you speak of is one of that always numerous class who adopt as fixed and unalterable general laws laid down from time to time by well known savants, forgetting that the latter constantly change and advance from point to point.
Student. - Do you think, then, that the scientific world will one day admit much that is known to Occultists?
Sage. - Yes, it will. The genuine Scientist is always in that attitude which permits him to admit things proven. He may seem to you often to be obstinate and blind, but in fact he is proceeding slowly to the truth - too slowly, perhaps for you, yet not in the position of knowing all. It is the veneered scientist who swears by the published results of the work of leading men as being the last word, while, at the very moment he is doing so, his authority may have made notes or prepared new theories tending to greatly broaden and advance the last utterance. It is only when the dogmatism of a priest backed up by law declares that a discovery is opposed to the revealed word of his god, that we may fear. That day is gone for a long time to come, and we need expect no more scenes like that in which Galileo took part. But among the materialistic minds to whom you referred, there is a good deal of that old spirit left, only that the "revealed word of God" has become the utterances of our scientific leaders.
Student. - I have observed that within even the last quarter of a century. About ten years ago many well-known men laughed to scorn any one who admitted the facts within the experience of every mesmerizer, while now, under the term "hypnotism," they are nearly all admitted. And when these lights of our time were denying it all, the French doctors were collating the results of a long series of experiments. It seems as if the invention of a new term for an old and much abused one furnished an excuse for granting all that had been previously denied. But have you anything to say about those materialistic investigators? Are they not governed by some powerful, though unperceived, law?
Sage. - They are. They are in the forefront of the mental, but not of the spiritual, progress of the time, and are driven forward by forces they know nothing of. Help is very often given to them by the Masters, who, neglecting nothing, constantly see to it that these men make progress upon the fittest lines for them, just as you are assisted not only in your spiritual life but in your mental also. These men, therefore, will go on admitting facts and finding new laws or new names for old laws, to explain them. They cannot help it.
Student. - What should be our duty, then, as students of truth? Should we go out as reformers of science, or what?
Sage. - You ought not to take up the role of reformers of the schools and their masters, because success would not attend the effort. Science is competent to take care of itself, and you would only be throwing pearls before them to be trampled under foot. Rest content that all within their comprehension will be discovered and admitted from time to time. The endeavor to force them into admitting what you believe to be so plain would be due almost solely to your vanity and love of praise. It is not possible to force them, any more than it is for me to force you, to admit certain incomprehensible laws, and you would not think me wise or fair to first open before you things, to understand which you have not the necessary development, and then to force you into admitting their truth. Or if, out of reverence, you should say, "These things are true," while you comprehended nothing and were not progressing, you would have bowed to superior force.
Student. - But you do not mean that we should remain ignorant of science and devote ourselves only to ethics?
Sage. - Not at all. Know all that you can. Become conversant with and sift all that the schools have declared, and as much more on your own account as is possible, but at the same time teach, preach, and practice a life based on a true understanding of brotherhood. This is the true way. The common people, those who know no science, are the greatest number. They must be so taught that the discoveries of science which are unillumined by spirit may not be turned into Black Magic.
Student. - In our last conversation you touched upon the guarding of buried treasure by elementals. I should like very much to hear a little more about that. Not about how to control them or to procure the treasure, but upon the subject generally.
Sage. - The laws governing the hiding of buried treasure are the same as those that relate to lost objects. Every person has about him a fluid, or plane, or sphere, or energy, which-ever you please to call it, in which are constantly found elementals that partake of his nature. That is, they are tinted with his color and impressed by his character. There are numerous classes of these. Some men have many of one class or of all, or many of some and few of others. And anything worn upon your person is connected with your elementals. For instance, you wear cloth made of wool or linen, and little objects made of wood, bone, brass, gold, silver, and other substances. Each one of these has certain magnetic relations peculiar to itself, and all of them are soaked, to a greater or less extent, with your magnetism as well as nervous fluid. Some of them, because of their substance, do not long retain this fluid, while others do. The elementals are connected, each class according to its substance, with those objects by means of the magnetic fluid. And they are acted upon by the mind and desires to a greater extent than you know, and in a way that cannot be formulated in English. Your desires have a powerful grasp, so to say, upon certain things, and upon others a weaker hold. When one of these objects is suddenly dropped, it is invariably followed by elementals. They are drawn after it, and may be said to go with the object by attraction rather than by sight. In many cases they completely envelop the thing, so that, although it is near at hand, it cannot be seen by the eye. But after awhile the magnetism wears off and their power to envelop the article weakens, whereupon it appears in sight. This does not happen in every case. But it is a daily occurrence, and is sufficiently obvious to many persons to be quite removed from the realm of fable. I think, indeed, that one of your literary persons has written an essay upon this very experience, in which, although treated in a comic vein, many truths are unconsciously told; the title of this was, if I mistake not, "Upon the Innate Perversity of Inanimate Objects." There is such a nice balancing of forces in these cases that you must be careful in your generalizations. You may justly ask, for instance, Why, when a coat is dropped, it seldom disappears from sight? Well, there are cases in which even such a large object is hidden, but they are not very common. The coat is full of your magnetism, and the elementals may feel in it just as much of you as when it is on your back. There may be, for them, no disturbance of the relations, magnetic and otherwise. And often in the case of a small object not invisible, the balancing of forces, due to many causes that have to do with your condition at the time, prevents the hiding. To decide in any particular case, one would have to see into the realm where the operation of these laws is hidden, and calculate all the forces, so as to say why it happened in one way and not in another.
Student. - But take the case of a man who, being in possession of treasure, hides it in the earth and goes away and dies, and it is not found. In that instance the elementals did not hide it. Or when a miser buries his gold or jewels. How about those?
Sage. - In all cases where a man buries gold, or jewels, or money, or precious things, his desires are fastened to that which he hides. Many of his elementals attach themselves to it, and other classes of them also, who had nothing to do with him, gather round and keep it hidden. In the case of the captain of a ship containing treasure the influences are very powerful, because there the elementals are gathered from all the persons connected with the treasure, and the officer himself is full of solicitude for what is committed to his charge. You should also remember that gold and silver - or metals - have relations with elementals that are of a strong and peculiar character. They do not work for human law, and natural law does not assign any property in metals to man, nor recognize in him any peculiar and transcendent right to retain what he has dug from the earth or acquired to himself. Hence we do not find the elementals anxious to restore to him the gold or silver which he had lost. If we were to assume that they occupied themselves in catering to the desires of men or in establishing what we call our rights over property, we might as well at once grant the existence of a capricious and irresponsible Providence. They proceed solely according to the law of their being, and, as they are without the power of making a judgment, they commit no blunders and are not to be moved by considerations based upon our vested rights or our unsatisfied wishes. Therefore, the spirits that appertain to metals invariably act as the laws of their nature prescribe, and one way of doing so is to obscure the metals from our sight.
Student. - Can you make any application of all this in the realm of ethics?
Sage. - There is a very important thing you should not overlook. Every time you harshly and unmercifully criticize the faults of another, you produce an attraction to yourself of certain quantities of elementals from that person. They fasten themselves upon you and endeavor to find in you a similar state or spot or fault that they have left in the other person. It is as if they left him to serve you at higher wages, so to say.
Then there is that which I referred to in a preceding conversation, about the effect of our acts and thoughts upon, not only the portion of the astral light belonging to each of us with its elementals, but upon the whole astral world. If men saw the dreadful pictures imprinted there and constantly throwing down upon us their suggestions to repeat the same acts or thoughts, a millennium might soon draw near. The astral light is, in this sense, the same as a photographer's negative plate, and we are the sensitive paper underneath, on which is being printed the picture. We can see two sorts of pictures for each act. One is the act itself, and the other is the picture of the thoughts and feelings animating those engaged in it. You can therefore see that you may be responsible for many more dreadful pictures than you had supposed. For actions of a simple outward appearance have behind them, very often, the worst of thoughts or desires.
Student. - Have these pictures in the astral light anything to do with us upon being reincarnated in subsequent earth-lives?
Sage. - They have very much indeed. We are influenced by them for vast periods of time, and in this you can perhaps find clues to many operations of active Karmic law for which you seek.
Student. - Is there not also some effect upon animals, and through them upon us, and vice versa?
Sage. - Yes. The animal kingdom is affected by us through the astral light. We have impressed the latter with pictures of cruelty, oppression, dominion, and slaughter. The whole Christian world admits that man can indiscriminately slaughter animals, upon the theory, elaborately set forth by priests in early times, that animals have no souls. Even little children learn this and very early begin to kill insects, birds, and animals, not for protection, but from wantonness. As they grow up the habit is continued, and in England we see that shooting large numbers of birds beyond the wants of the table, is a national peculiarity, or, as I should say, a vice. This may be called a mild illustration. If these people could catch elementals as easily as they can animals, they would kill them for amusement when they did not want them for use; and, if the elementals refused to obey, then their death would follow as a punishment. All this is perceived by the elemental world, without conscience of course; but, under the laws of action and reaction, we receive back from it exactly that which we give.
Student. - Before we leave the subject I should like to refer again to the question of metals and the relation of man to the elementals connected with the mineral world. We see some persons who seem always to be able to find metals with ease - or, as they say, who are lucky in that direction. how am I to reconcile this with the natural tendency of elementals to hide? Is it because there is a war or discord, as it were, between different classes belonging to any one person?
Sage. - That is a part of the explanation. Some persons, as I said, have more of one class attached to them than another. A person fortunate with metals, say of gold and silver, has about him more of the elementals connected with or belonging to the kingdoms of those metals than other people, and thus there is less strife between the elementals. The preponderance of the metal-spirits makes the person more homogeneous with their kingdoms, and a natural attraction exists between the gold or silver lost or buried and that person, more than in the case of other people.
Student. - What determines this? Is it due to a desiring of gold and silver, or is it congenital?
Sage. - It is innate. The combinations in any one individual are so intricate and due to so many causes that you could not calculate them. They run back many generations, and depend upon peculiarities of soil, climate, nation, family, and race. These are, as you can see, enormously varied, and, with the materials at your command now, quite beyond your reach. Merely wishing for gold and silver will not do it.
Student. - I judge also that attempting to get at those elementals by thinking strongly will not accomplish that result either.
Sage. - No, it will not, because your thoughts do not reach them. They do not hear or see you, and, as it is only by accidental concentration of forces that unlearned people influence them, these accidents are only possible to the extent that you possess the natural leaning to the particular kingdom whose elementals you have influenced.
Student. - I thank you for your instruction.
Sage. - May you be guided to the path which leads to light!
Path, September, 1888