Just as we have seen that precipitation is known to material science in electroplating and other arts, so also is it true that in most departments of applied science disintegration is understood, and that here and there reintegration of such substances as diamonds has been successfully accomplished. But these are all by mechanical or chemical processes. The question here is, whether-as in respect to precipitation-the occult powers of man and nature can bring about the results. Has anyone ever reduced a solid object to impalpable powder and then at a distant place restored the object to its former state? And, if so, how is it done? As to the first, I can only say that I have seen this done, and that many testimonies have been offered by others at various times for the same thing. In the records of Spiritualism there are a great many witnesses to this effect, and accepting all cases in that field which are free from fraud the same remarks as were made about precipitation apply. With mediums it is unconsciously done; the laws governing the entire thing are unexplained by the medium or the alleged spirits; the whole matter is involved in obscurity so far as that cult is concerned, and certainly the returning spooks will give no answer until they find it in the brain of some living person. But the fact remains that among powerful physical mediums the operation has been performed by some unknown force acting under hidden guidance, itself as obscure.
This feat is not the same as apportation, the carrying or projecting of an object through space, whether it be a human form or any other thing. Buddhist and Hindu stories alike teem with such apportations; it is alleged of Apollonius the Greek, of Tyana; Christian saints are said to have been levitated and carried. In the Buddhist stories many of the immediate disciples of Buddha, both during his life and after his death, are said to have flown through the air from place to place; and in the history of Rama, some ascetics and Hanuman the monkey god are credited with having so levitated themselves.
So many metals and minerals may be volatilized that we may take it as a general rule that all-until an exception is met with-are volatile under the proper conditions. Gold is slow in this respect, some observers having kept it heated for two months with no loss of weight, and others found a small loss after exposing it to violent heat; a charge of electricity will dissipate it. Silver volatilizes at red heat, and iron can also be similarly affected. But when we come to wood or softer vegetable matter, the separation of its atoms from each other is more easily accomplished. The process of disintegrating by the use of occult forces and powers is akin to what we can do on the material plane. The result is the same, however the means employed may vary; that is, the molecules are pressed apart from each other and kept so. If by mechanical, chemical, and electrical processes man can bring about this result, there is no reason, save in an asserted unproved denial, why it may not be done by the use of the mind and will. Rarity or unusualness proves nothing; when the telegraph was new its rarity proved nothing against its actuality; and it is every day becoming more the fashion to admit than it is to deny the possibility of anything in the realm opened up by our knowledge of electricity, while the probability is left merely to suspended judgment.
Passing from material science to the medical researches into hypnotism, we find there the stepping-stone between the purely mechanical physical processes and the higher subtler realm of the mind, the will, and the imagination. Here we see that the powerful forces wielded by the mind are able to bring about effects on bone, flesh, blood, and skin equal in measure to many processes of disintegration or volatilization. But in every-day life we have similar suggestive facts. In the blush and the cold chill which come instantaneously over the whole frame, spreading in a second from the mental source, are effects upon matter made directly from mind. Even a recollection of an event can easily bring on this physical effect. In hypnotic experiments the skin, blood, and serum may be altered so as to bring out all the marks and changes of a burn or abrasion. In these cases the mind influenced by another mind makes an image through which the forces act to cause the changes. It is possible because, as so often asserted by the ancient sages, the Universe is really Will and Idea, or, as is so well put in a letter from one of the Adepts, "the machinery of the cosmos is not only occult, it is ideal: and the higher metaphysics must be understood if one is to escape from the illusions under which men labor and which will continually lead them into the adoption of false systems respecting life and nature in consequence of the great 'collective hallucination' in which modern scientific persons glory so much, but which they do not call by that name." (1)
So much, then, being briefly premised, it is said by the schools of occultism, known not only since the rise of the Theosophical movement but followed for ages in the East and continued down to the present day in India-that the trained man by the use of his will, mind, and imagination can disintegrate an object, send it along currents definitely existing in space, transport the mass of atoms to a distant place, passing them through certain obstacles, and reintegrating the object at the given distant spot exactly with the same visibility, limits, and appearance as it had when first taken up for transport. But this has its limitations. It cannot ordinarily be done with a human living body. That would require such an expenditure of force and so interfere with the right of life that it may be excluded altogether. Size and resistance of obstacle have also to do with success or failure. Omnipotence or a sort that may transcend law is not admitted in Occultism; that the Adepts pointed out when they wrote that if they could at one stroke turn the world into an arcadia for lofty souls they would do so, but the world can only be conquered step by step and under the rule of law. It is the same in all operations that copy nature either chemically or mechanically. Hence it is said in these schools that "there are failures in occult art as well as among men." Such failures come from an inability to cope with limiting conditions.
We can analyse the phenomenon of disintegration and transport of mass of matter and reintegration in this way: There is the operator who must know how to use his will, mind, and imagination. Next is the object to be dealt with. Then there is the resisting obstacle through which it may have to pass; and the air, either, and astral light through which it travels. Lastly is the question whether or not there is the force called cohesion, by means of which masses of matter are held together within limits of form.
If it be said that the force known as gravity holds masses of matter together, we are reduced to accepting a more mysterious explanation for a common thing than the three persons in one God. But cohesion without any other postulate amounts merely to saying that masses of matter cohere because they cohere. Occultism, in common with the Vedantic philosophy, says that there is a force of cohesion which has its roots and power in the spirit and in the ideal form; and attraction and repulsion operate from the same base also. Further, that school holds gravitation to be but an exhibition of the action of these two-attraction and repulsion. Living masses such as vegetables, animals, and men deal with matter in another state from that which is in minerals, and exhibit the quicker action of disintegrating forces; while minerals go to pieces very slowly. Both kinds are compelled in time to fall apart as masses in consequence of the action of evolutionary law when they are left altogether to themselves; that is, the whole quantity of matter of and belonging to the globe is continually subject to the hidden forces which are moulding it for higher uses and turning it, however slowly, into a higher class of matter. The normal rate is what we see, but this normal rate may be altered, and that it can be altered by intelligent mind and will is the fact. This alteration of rate is seen in the forcing processes used for plants by which they are made to grow much faster than is usual under common conditions. In the same way in masses of matter which will surely go to pieces in the course of time, long or short, the molecules may be pushed apart before their time and held so by the trained will. That is, the force of repulsion can be opposed to natural attraction so as to drive the molecules apart and hold them thus away from each other. When the repulsion is slackened, the molecules rush together again to assume their former appearance. In this case the shape is not altered, the largely diffused body of molecules retains its shape though invisible to the eye, and upon appearing to sight again it simply condenses itself into the smaller original limits, thus becoming dense enough to be once more seen and touched.
When a small object is thus disintegrated by occult means it can be passed through other objects. Or if it is to be transported without disintegration, then any dense intervening obstacle is disintegrated for a sufficient space to allow it to pass. That the latter is one of the feats of fakirs, yogis, and certain mediums can be hardly a matter of doubt except for those who deny the occult character of the cosmos. Alleged spirits in respect to this have said, "We make the intervening obstacle fluid or diffused, or do the same thing for the object transported," and for once they seem to be right. A gentleman of high character and ability in the northwest told me that one a day a man unknown in his village came to the door, and exhibiting some rings of metal made one pass through the other, one of the rings seeming to melt away at the point of contact. H.P. Blavatsky has narrated to me many such cases, and I have seen her do the same thing. As, for instance, she has taken in my sight a small object such as a ring, and laying it on the table caused it to appear without her touching it inside of a closed drawer near by. Now in that instance either she disintegrated it and caused it to pass into the drawer, or disintegrated the drawer for a sufficient space, or she hypnotized me with all my senses on the alert, putting the object into the drawer while I was asleep and without my perceiving any sort of change whatever in my consciousness. The latter I cannot accept, but if it be held as true, then it was more wonderful that the other feat. The circumstances and motive were such as to exclude the hypnotizing theory; it was done to show me that such a phenomenon was possible and to give me a clue to the operation, and also to explain to me how the strange things of spiritualism might be done and, indeed, must be done under the laws of man's mind and nature.
Next we have the intelligent part of the matter to look at. Here the inner senses have to act under the guidance of a mind free from the illusions of matter, able to see into the occult cosmos behind the veil of objectivity. The will acts with immense force, exerting the powers both of attraction and repulsion as desired; knowledge of occult chemistry comes into use; the currents in the astral light or ether have to be known, as also how to make new currents. Those who have seen into the astral light and looked at the currents moving to and fro will understand this, other will either doubt, deny, or suspend judgment. The imagination as in the case of precipitation is the sight and the hand of the mind and the will, without which the latter can accomplish nothing, just as the will and brain of a man whose arms are cut off can do nothing unless others aid him. But mind, will, and imagination do not reconstruct the disintegrated object, for as soon as the dispersing force is slackened from its hold on the mass of molecules, the imagination having held the image of the object, the atoms obediently and automatically rearrange themselves as before.
All this may seem fanciful, but there are those who know of their own knowledge that it is all according to fact. And it is doubtless true that in no long time modern science will begin, as it is even now slowly starting, to admit all these things by admitting in full the ideal nature of the cosmos, thus removing at once the materialistic notions of man and nature which mostly prevail at the present day.
(1) From an unpublished letter.