When I awoke, rich, delicate perfumes, and the low hum of voices greeted my still slumberous senses. On opening my eyes, I found that Quong was by my side, having either remained while I slept, or returned before I roused. In the center of the room, sitting on the floor, I saw about a dozen people,
each clad in a long gray robe. Quong had one of these robes on his person, and to my astonishment, I found myself attired in like manner. A high caste Thibetan, two Hindoo pundits and an Egyptian were, excepting Quong, the only foreign brethren, the remaining persons being American and English. The Egyptian was to the Sakaza what the Grand Master is to a Masonic fraternity. Understand that he was not a teacher in the sense that a professor in a college is an instructor. He was in himself more of the Way, more of the Truth, more of the Life of God than any other present. And hence, as in himself the highest plane, he stood before the rest as a pinnacle each might study, and rise unto. This man alone was standing.
Perceiving that I had awakened, Quong said:
"Let us seat ourselves in the circle, brother, that the ceremonies of the evening may commence."
When seated we formed two in a circle of ten persons, arranged in a ring in the center of the chamber, our hands clasped on either side by our neighbors, and so around the circle. In its center stood the brazen censer, and beside it the Grand Master. Presently this person began to speak in the best of English, giving a clear, concise statement of the wisdom-religion of the Lothinians. He disclaimed the idea that anything which was performed under occult law could be a miracle, and declared that no miracle had ever yet taken place in the world, because a miracle would be a contravention of law, and what was a violation of law but evil? It being evil, Jesus the Christ would have been the last ever to have worked one. Not a man or woman, it was asserted, and it is true, comprehends how these laws operate, or understands anything of their nature, unless such man or woman is an occult student. The world of science is more ignorant of these mysterious forces of Nature than even the sect styled "Spiritualists," for these do comprehend a little, but so very, very little as to expose them to fearful dangers, handling as they do forces so terrible when abused that their field of operation might well give pause to the wisest ere they trod therein. Yet science soon shall know, following the Cross-Bearer.
Beyond admitting me to free hearing of what was said and done, no notice other than salutatory courtesy was paid me; that is, I was not invested with any membership degrees; no degrees can be conferred, for each is in self the degree represented. But the Adept, as I clearly perceived, had spoken so personally direct that I knew he addressed me. This was when he said:
"There is within this sacred place of meeting one who hath studied deeply; studied as scientific modernism contemplates all life, and ever hath the study filled him with melancholy, yea, even despair. He hath questioned of the stars, 'What art thou?' and no reply hath been given beyond that which astronomy, ever returns, 'Worlds, suns, blazing orbs, mighty beyond power of mentality to conceive.' And of the grass, and it hath said, 'I am of cells aggregated and vitalized by the spirit of nature.' The animal hath replied, but in Darwinian terms: 'I am a form evolutionized, and come up from protoplasm.' Man has he seen to be at the apex of animal life, and so he says of himself: 'Lo! there is naught but at one end the simple cell; at the other a complexity of cells aggregated. But to me the world and all its forms speak of action, and eternity; but of the immortality of man, of a soul or a spirit, or of God, nay, no word! Death ends all!' O my brother! speaketh not this joy, these griefs of thine, to thee of aught but magnetic vibration? Art thou blind to the message of God that the 'vibratory' joy or grief or 'unconscious cerebral action,' where by thou comest to a given knowledge, is but the method of thy life? And the animal, saith it not: 'Lo! I am a soul, and this animal body is fit tool for my soul powers, which, if they increase beyond the power of the tool to express, force me (the ego controlling) to cast it aside and seek a fitter tool in a body suited to my progress.' And saith not man to thee: 'O brother in darkness, I am at the apex of animal life, truly; in my admirably adapted physical body is a fit tool to prose cute to the utmost any and all material processes. It brings me to the wall of all physical life, and behold! it enables me, the ego, to reach the top of this wall, and find that I am a
spirit, not a vital stone. And because of my sight, I will leave behind the pursuit of materiality for that of spirituality, and go even unto my Father's house, where are many mansions (conditions) of spirit, but where matter breaketh not in to corrupt nor steal the treasures.' Who hath asked, let him hear me. I have spoken. May peace be with thee."
I thought my friend Quong was speaking in a humorous vein when he said that the Adept, whose name was Mendocus, had not so much as opened his lips, or used his vocal organs at all. Not so, however; I was mistaken. Quong read my thought, and said:
"Nay, my brother, not in jest! Each of us has heard Mendocus, and to each it seemed that his national tongue was used; to me, my own; to you and five others, Anglo-Saxon; to the Hindoo pundits, their tongue. Because Mendocus spoke from his soul unto ours is the reason of this seeming paradox."
I thought at once of my Bible, which was a treasure to me above all other books, and of the passage wherein it is written:
"'Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."
In answer to the unspoken thought, Mendocus, the Adept, turned to me and said:
"Verily, they spoke unto the souls of that multitude; it was no miracle, but law. The Bible is sound occult doctrine so far as the matter in it has escaped the revisers, and worse than revisers, the Roman Catholic interpolators and twisters of its truths. Thou doest well to read it; I have read it through eighty-seven times."
Here another brother joined with the remark: "The hearers and the speakers were to each other as a perfectly attuned violin to its bow, every string ready to respond to the least master-touch."
To this Mendocus added:
"They heard the speakers as thou heardst me, not with ears, for no aerial connection is needed between souls in sympathy, but the consciousness of what was said existed as does the consciousness
of one's own thoughts; thou needst not speak thy thoughts that thine ears may convey to thy consciousness what 'thoughts thou thinkest. Neither are thine ears of more use in comprehending me. Yet because the thoughts did not originate in thy brain, but in mine, and so were external to thine, inner consciousness, therefore thou didst suppose that thou heardst me with thine ears, when it was thy soul which understood, for my voice I used not."
I now understood in the light of the mind-reading power which these students had revealed, why no question had been put to me concerning my life, my thoughts or will in regard to affiliation with themselves; they knew these things, through this ability, without asking.
Mendocus, Master, now requested attention from all present, and then made an invocation to God and to all occult initiates in this world and elsewhere in the universe. At the conclusion of this petition, he slowly raised his right hand, whence, after half a minute, he dropped it to his side and bowed his head. The wonderful light commenced to wane and, simultaneously with its disappearance, a blinding flash of light seemed to dart from the ceiling overhead, striking the censer by his side. Then succeeded that inky blackness which follows the midnight flashing of the lightning of heaven; but it was not destined to last very long. Soon in the deep darkness there was a noticeable lightening which continued to increase until the whole interior of the Sagum was illumined by a lurid glow which rendered every object clearly visible. Like the other, it seemed not to emanate from any particular point, but as if the entire atmosphere were like red-hot iron, self luminous. The next instant I observed that the faces of the Lothins had assumed an exceedingly ghastly hue, bloodless in appearance as are the countenances of dead men. Their pallor was soon explained, however, when my eyes fell on the brazen censer standing in our midst. The gaze of every brother was fixed with unwavering intensity upon a small globe of blue fire which rested on the firepan. I noticed also that the self-luminosity of the atmosphere was gone, and that the light
from the blue globe cast shadows. Although in size it was not larger than a filbert, yet its intensity counteracted the luridness of the air. It was beautiful in the extreme, but not dazzling. On the contrary it was cool and calm, resting the eyes. Evidently the light was the same as the positive flaming of the Vis Naturae with which I had seen the Tchin envelop himself. It trembled and quivered like a globule of molten, boiling metal.
Such absolute silence reigned, not even a sound of breathing being audible--that I turned a quick glance on my friends. Except for the glitter in their eyes as they gazed on the blue light, every one would have seemed only a perfect but non-vital semblance of a human being. Then my gaze reverted to the! object which centered the common attention. It had been growing, and, now of a size of half a dozen inches, was gloriously beautiful. Although I had seen no human agency concerned in its creation, yet I felt that it was produced by the occult knowledge of which I had witnessed so many other manifestations. Mind over matter. Marvelous, novel, all this to me, but I knew it was not miracle, although magical. "What is magic?" do you ask? Magic is the comprehension of laws not ordinarily possible to grasp by means of physical experiment, because their phenomena in general lie higher than the physical realm, just a little lower than mental or psychic operations, and partaking of the last to a major extent.
As I watched the blue globe, I gradually became en rapport with the mental condition of the Lothins about me. Instead of wondering what were to be the perfected dimensions and what the object of this glowing ball, I contentedly watched it, with a sense of perfect knowledge of its ultimate size and use. But this intuition aroused in my mind no train of disturbing conjecture. I thought of nothing, absolutely nothing, taking no thought for the morrow, or the next moment. My intelligent friend, try this once; try to think of nothing; to have no thought, not even the one that you are not thinking. I doubt your success in the attainment of such a state of mind; but if you are, happily, successful, you will remember to the end of
your allotted years on earth how great was the sense of rest, of peace, of perfect joy, felt, not thought of, in that moment. Could you attain and then retain such a mental state for half an hour, you would become clairvoyant and clairaudient during that time, and both see and hear across the leagues of earth; aye! and be conscious of futurity, so that a prophecy then made by you would be found to come true in every detail, though in scope was over years mounting to centuries. You must perceive, then, what a beautiful condition the Lothins enjoy: thc whole present, and each way, from the present almost to eternity, is theirs to know. These states of mind are protracted with them, and in the quiescence which is theirs at such times, they find themselves en rapport with the architect of the world, and know His ways. Like Job are they then: hearing of Him by the hearing of the ear, their eyes also behold Him. 1 Some few of God's works they can do, many more of them they can understand, laying the line on the foundations of the earth; entering the springs of the sea, knowing where light hath its way, and the place of darkness and the bounds thereof; yea, in this still time of their souls God opens to them even the gates of death, through which they go and return. But though they know all this, and so friend, might you, too, yet it is because the Creator shows them the paths unto the place thereof; and He will show you if you enter the occult door through which Christ has gone unto the Father. Follow Him, and greater things than these shall ye do.
Mendocus, Master, now perceived that the lurid glow of the atmosphere had been neutralized by the light of the blue sphere, which, full twelve inches through, rested motionless in completion, its glorious, radiant center of entrancing loveliness. He raised his hand slightly, as if giving an unspoken command. Upon this the sphere of light rose to a height of perhaps eight feet from the floor, where it hung without visible means of support. Again the hand waved in command, and the sphere moved horizontally over our heads to a point about fifteen feet from the center of the chamber. Here it
was permitted to remain. Although every one present was intuitively aware of all that was about to occur, I will describe every incident for the benefit of my readers. Following the pure blue light came a sphere of intense indigo color upon the brazier, its process the same as that of its predecessor, and when complete it was assigned position thirteen feet from its neighbor, on the same eight-foot plane. Next came a sphere of violet, of equally intense brilliancy, differing only in color, not size. Then followed a globe of pure red, then one of orange, another of pure yellow, and lastly one of glorious green. Every one was at the same height from the floor, and equidistant, approximately, from its neighbors. Any attempt at describing the extreme beauty of these iris-hued spheres would indeed The futile, as they hung, motionless, above our heads.
Once again the Master gave silent order, and the spheres began to move horizontally around their common center. Slowly at first, gradually the speed increased until persistence of vision presented them to the sight as a great circle of light ninety feet in circumference; nevertheless the orbital revolution did not in any degree merge the colors into becoming white light. And now an additional feature of beauty was presented: as the seeming ring sped around, from each of its compound globes a shaft colored like its parent was simultaneously projected horizontally to the center, when, from the junction a. perpendicular column of light of purest white went forth, up-ward and downward, the one to the great quartz crystal in the ceiling overhead, the other to the carpet of gray below, for the censer had been removed from underneath. Thus was presented the spectacle of an enormous wheel, axle, spokes and rim, revolving at great speed, and all formed of imponderable light. Though it rested on the carpet, there was no scorching, for this was but Viviant Fire, positive, not the negative Vis Mortuus. Buddhism symbolizes the latter element as "Siva," the destroyer; it is the Fire of Death, the one wherein I had seen the moth perish and the stone disappear. There is an esoteric Buddhism as well as an exoteric, or
religion of the masses, and the names of Siva and Vishnu, which to the exoterist are names of personal Gods, of the Destroyer and the Preserver respectively, are to the esoterist merely the terms distinguishing the obverse and reverse aspects of Nature, that is, growth and satiety, change and destruction.
Would power like this of the Lothins ever be mine? It seemed to me that if Mendocus, Master, had come to such wisdom, he, being but a man, could not do more than I--we were both souls. The wondrous temple in the heart of the mountain; the lighting of the darkness; the lifting of the great stone at the entrance; the Vis Viva and the Vis Mortuus; all this that I had seen and was to see, was only the work of men who had, in their calmness of soul and purity of heart and body, done these things because the Christ-Spirit, in the pure of heart, is perfect human and extends unto the Father. Could I not hope to attain the power of doing likewise? I asked myself, and knew that I could, for I was then in the peace of clairvoyance. Yet I saw not all that must intervene, not all the events of the nearer future, nothing of them, in fact, but only the more distant perspective of my soul's destiny.
"Verily," said Mendocus, "but not now, not until a time of trial be past. To thee, as to all other occult neophytes, will come moments of darkest doubt. and thy very soul will weep in the agony of despair. No, thou wilt not doubt the truth of hermetic wisdom at any time, but thine ability to acquire it only. Study, then, the principles of truth, not its phenomena only. For its own sake it is more to be desired than its works, though usually less attractive to neophytes. Thy doubts will be born of an imperfect conception of thine own self, a want of perception of symmetry; giving undue proportion to certain facts, and upon finding these of less importance than thy conception of them originally painted, thy heart will fail thee, for in themselves they are great, and if comparison declares them small, what power shall grasp the greater? Then will it be that thou wilt fear thou art but finite, and these things infinite, and thou wilt say to thy soul: 'My weakness is to
these things as packthread wherewith to draw leviathan.' But this is not so, for no creature is more than the Creator, and thou art of the Father and joint Creator with Him. What shall prevail? Only Faith like that of the Spirit who overlighteth Jesus and all them that triumph over time. Woe unto thee if thou shall faint while buffeting the billows of doubt. Miserable indeed is the lot of such a one, for, debarred from. the society of the Brothers because, of his faint heart, he is yet possessed of a knowledge of something purer, better, higher than the ordinary ambitions of humanity. After his glimpse into the greater possibilities of his being, he disdains to resume his former sense-relations with the world. He can not descend to the world's level, nor raise his fellowman to his own height. So through the rest of his life on earth he is alone. My friend, there is no solitude so drear as he hath who is in the world, but not of it. Wilt thou venture onwards, braving this peril? At this point there is yet a chance of return without incurring the danger which follows when further advanced. Set not thy hand to the plow if thou canst not go to the end of the furrow; it is long and difficult to follow. The world hath not so hard a task as this to impose in all its power. I offer thee option."
Mendocus now watched me as I pondered the proposition. I felt that I could not in any event resume the old life; within me the fire was already alight, and the Sword of the Lord had cut off the old from the new, so that I felt it was between me and the past. No; "Onward, Christian Soldier," must be my song leading to victory. I was decided in my mind, though I had not as yet said so; but I had no need to utter aloud my decision, although, forgetting this fact, I was about to do so, when Mendocus said:
"Thou hast, then, decided to go onward. I am sorrowful because of it. For though thou shalt come forth at last as gold burned in the fire, yet the ordeal confronting thee is fierce. But I will not allow that thy feet go alone; for that were unwise.
I will so do for thee that the step be not irretrievable, lest it perchance be as I fear. O, Brother! I fear me woe is thine!"
After this decision I was required to take vows of secrecy, whereby I was bound not to reveal any part of what I should learn in any manner which might give the hearer of my words practical use of what I told him. I might drop a hint which might be followed as a clue to the Voiceless Silence where blooms the Flower of Life; but, beyond a hint, my friend, I can tell you nothing. Of hints I have given many. Nor, were I to disregard my word, and divulge secrets of immediate working value, would you thank me. No, rather would you curse me. Why? Suppose we wit an instance: Suppose I were to reveal the secret of the Vis Mortuus, would you thank me? It is, remember, that force which may be projected in all its fatal strength to any distance and which is personified in the famous poem, "The Destruction of Sennacherib," in the line:
"The Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast."
Suppose I revealed that secret? How long would it be ere the world would find that the unscrupulous amongst men were using it to work undetectable murder? And its uses are many besides, for it is the principle in nature which governs transmutation, disintegration, decay, destruction, death. All these, but never does it build anew; it is Siva, the Destroyer. Used aright, it is a beneficent force, for without it there would be no progress in nature, because no change could occur--there could not even be retrogression, but utter stagnation. Its sign is . Much as that means to me, it can be but a hint to you. Study it if you will, and one day it shall be revealed to you. In reason you can no longer ask why occult matters are so imperatively secret, for it must be evident that this fair earth would be made by the unscrupulous into a very hell of misery and crime, were they not thus secret. For a time those who chose to subvert their knowledge would seem to thrive and prosper, even though the world about them suffered. But subversion of the law is violation, and the penalty at last visited is in tenfold
degree upon those who went most astray in their blindness and sin. It would cause them to curse the giver of such wisdom. Nine-tenths of the people of this world are unable to govern themselves well; they cannot in saneness expect to be made sharers of such awful knowledge as Siva represents. Men and women are really not following the Christ until every part of their own nature is held in an iron grasp of merciless subjection to high principles. But study, my friends, study. Christianize the money power of this world, so that capital shall not work harm to men but good, and from good thus born the karma of the world will lead to the goodness of heart which gives calmness of soul; in that calmness your study will bear fruit, and then it will not be a mockery, in seeming, of your hopes for me to say "Study!" I rejoice in those earnest workers whose motto is: "Look up, not down; look out, not in; look forward, and not back, and lend a hand." Only this: the occult student gazes in, and not out! But these are not esoterists. Their name shall one day be great in the world, and though you who desire to study and know occult truths now may not see your hopes fruit in your present incarnation, yet in coming lives you will grasp these truths which elude you at present. Follow Him.
Before me, Mendocus, Master, had opened a view of life so radically different from the old, restless existence, that my heart grew warm, regardless of his prophecy that bitter woe was perhaps to be my portion ere I could enter the haven of my desires. The fact was that my optimistic nature deceived me with a hope that somehow I could manage to avoid the threatened sorrow, and, having escaped its menace, could go happily onward. Alas, poor me! I knew nothing of karma, and in that day knew nothing of Zailm of Poseid. Else, had I known, I would have trembled when the Master expressed his fears for my sake. I saw before me a great ocean of wisdom, flashing in the light of truth, its horizon defined only by the voyager's temporary inability to go farther, its depth measurable only by that of the Universe. Free from the dogmatism of cramping creeds and of superstition, that ocean reaches out
into the eternity which enshrouds the stars as well as the dust in mystery, that mystery which veils the Creator from the created, veils it from the joint Creator, man, too, just so long as his soul shall lean to creation instead of to the Creator, his Father. Veils it until the aeons of time shall be swallowed up in eternity--beyond the stars, Earth, Venus, and Mars, when man shall cease to be man in becoming more than man, and Life the Less be gathered into Nirvana, sum of all the, parts. I repeat it, sum of all the parts, for it is not in any wise that horrible cessation of being which Sanscrit scholars have interpreted the word "Nirvana" to mean. They have misconceived the facts; it is not the end of life, except Life the Less, any more than the statement "God is nothing" (that is, not one thing, but the sum of all things) should be construed as a denial of the being of God, the Eternal Father of Life.
A change had come over the Master. Up to the present his attention had been that of one controlling a process. Now, with his back to the shaft of the wheel of light, he stood beside the censer, looking upward, his gaze like that of one beholding a sight pleasing, yet absorbing. At last he bowed his head and said:
"Welcome Mol Lang, friend and brother!"
I saw no one, but was aware that the person addressed could not be one of the Sach. Mendocus, Master, turned to the brazier by his elbow and struck it lightly with his outspread fingers, whereupon the fire pan became red hot. Then he thrust his hand into a pouch depending from his waist and drew it out filled with a white powder, which he cast on the fire plate, producing a dense white smoke. I regarded this as a mere ceremonial offering of incense, and thought it savored of superstition, for I had now lost my intuitive perceptive power, and could only depend on conjecture. This idea was scarcely formed ere abandoned, for the cloud of smoke rapidly took the human form, into which the solid appearance of genuine personality was introduced as the incense consumed, until upon the glowing stand stood a man of commanding presence.
Some men seem to be not of any distinctive nationality but very citizens of the world, or, even more largely, representatives of the race, and one feels that they might be of this world or of any other capable of supporting human life. Such was the man before us. He was addressed by Mendocus as, Mol Lang, of Pertoz, and though I knew no such country, I unquestioningly accepted this appellation.
His deepset eyes, under massive brows, and a head of similar contour to that of the philosopher Socrates; his snowy hair and long, white beard, together with a soldierly erectness of person, made Mol Lang, the Pertozian, the very personification of occult wisdom, from my point of view; nor was I far wrong. His turban, which in fact was blue, mottled with brown, seemed, chameleon like, to assume different colors as the varicoiored spokes of the wheel of light passed by, not through him, but he through them. He wore a long, gray robe, depending from the shoulders and belted at the waist. On his feet, of goodly, delicate shape, were sandals.
The Pertozian stooped and put his hand on the shoulder of the Master, making some remark, the import of which I did not catch, then stepped to the floor with a light bound, and with Mendocus went to the divan and sat down, engaging in an earnest conversation, which they held secret from the knowledge of the others. Do you ask where our clairaudient, mind-reading ability was, that this converse should have been unknown to any of us? Unless one who knows that mind readers present are apt to exercise their ability desires to have them share his thoughts, they can not. He preserves as an almost unconscious habit the mental desire of having his thoughts remain impenetrable, and to such a will no human power can pierce the barrier it sets.
At length they returned to our circle, and Mendocus seated himself with us. The visitor then said:
"Though the men of Lothus have known others of my fellow Pertozians, few heretofore have known me; none, indeed, but thy Master. I am come to induct one of thy number into the land of the departed, while another I take home with myself.
To you, Lothins, I need not say that the body is like unto a coat, to be put off or on at pleasure-by those who know how. I say this only for him known in the world as Walter Pierson, but unto me is Phylos. And some day the world will bear of him as Phylos the Thibetan, yet shall he not reside in Thibet in Asia, but shall be so called because he shall for a time live on the soul plane of the occult Adepts of Thibet. Unto thee, then, Phylos, I say when thou shalt be free of thy mundane body, then if thou wouldst go to any sphere of heaven, unto Neptune, or any planet or star, thou hast but to desire such transference of thyself, and it is accomplished. Wilt thou go with me this night, which is now nearly morning"
Where was this I was asked to go? I knew not clearly whether he meant the soul realm, or in fact just where he did mean to go. But my faith was strong, and I replied:
"Whither thou goest, I go also, for I have faith in thee that thou wilt do me no hurt."
The faith inspired in that hour by the gentle dignity and kindly love I saw beaming from those deepset, calm gray eyes, has known in all these subsequent years no cause for regret; nor for the action which my faith then inspired me to make, has this heart any but a feeling of supreme thankfulness that the Christ-Spirit then put it into my soul to have that faith. I fancy I bear some reader, timid at the prospect of trying the unknown, which might for all I knew at the moment include my corporeal death, saying: "How came it that you felt so sure of Mol Lang; did you not fear he was a devil?" No, I did not, for I was under the protection of goodly men, into whose midst no demon could enter more than night can reign beneath the noonday sun. At least one of my protectors (Mendocus) had arrived at a finality so far as earth's present cyclic age can teach; the physical nature had no secrets from him; but the illimitable realms of the Father hold many "mansions" besides the universe of matter and the house of light, or the dwelling place of darkness. In this mansion of the material universe nothing remained for Mendocus to gain; he stayed but to give. Death
had no power over him; he was supra-mundane, and until himself otherwise elected, he must live; only the word of God (the true Logos) by himself invoked could "loose the silver cord." Would you, protected by such an one, fear demoniacal influences? One other query of the multitude you may desire to ask, I will answer. You inquire how these highly favored ones of God can be certain of the truth of their intuitive perceptions, and I answer: the man who lives in his spiritual nature does not believe, but knows that his being is one with God the Father, the Great Parent. And his spirit speaks by the voice of intuition, informing him by a single flash of that which otherwise he would be long years in learning by external methods of investigation, if, indeed, externality could ever impart the knowledge. His spirit gives him from its own source, the Father, an effortless, instantaneous perception of facts, principles and things. I am reminded of the words of Mol Lang to me in this connection: "Phylos, some day thou wilt comprehend this: Earth is a letter in a seven-fold alphabet; the stellar universe is but one book; its pages truly are myriad, its chapters legion, yet, besides this book, the library of the Creator is of endless number."
It occurred to me that we were the ones who should thank our visitor, and he not thank us at the conclusion of his remarks, for it seemed to me a lecture of wonderful power. A few minutes later he turned to me and said:
"Phylos, art thou ready to go with me now?"
I replied affirmatively, as did Quong, whom the visitor called Semla, when the same question was put to him.
Gravely the Brethren arose and took the hands of the Tchin in their own, as one by one they said to him, as to one going into a far country to return not for years, and perhaps not forever, "Semla, may the peace of God attend thee evermore; fare thee well." Then Mendocus, Master, said: "Semla, my peace I give unto thee."
I noted the difference in valedictory, and at another time asked of Mol Lang and received the explanation that while the Brethren could not give peace, not yet themselves perfectly
possessing it, Mendocus, Master, having it himself could give it, especially to one who, like Semla, was so near its attainment. To all these Semla said, quietly:
"Peace do I wish thee."
To me no such farewells were accorded, for they said, "We shall see thee here again." This to me was unpleasant, in the frame of mind I was in, but I concealed my feelings as well as I was able, and replied as kindly as they spoke. Then Mol Lang said, "Come."
He started forward to the door of the Sagum, and I should have followed without looking back, had it not seemed as it some one touched me. Imagining that some Brother wished to speak with me and had thus called my attention, I turned and saw that which will never fade from the tablets of memory! Lying on the long, soft silk of the carpet was a human form. Looking more closely I saw that this was my own physical form, my body, my materiality, in short. In the act of raising it from the recumbent position were four of the brethren, two on each side. Others were doing a similar act for the corporeal shell of Semla. It was my consciousness that something was being done to my earthly body which f had mistaken for a touch. It had not occurred to me that I was divested of my mortal casket, so easy had been my disembodiment.
"Death is, after the agony of illness for those long sick, as easy and pleasant an experience," said Mol Lang, in answer to my mental reflection. "If thou wert not to re-enter thy corporeal body again, this would be death for thee," he added.
I was so greatly amazed at this last phenomenon that I stood still, saying nothing, as I watched the bodies being removed from the main apartment and laid on couches in a smaller room. Mol Lang then remarked:
"Essentially this is death. Behold then, body death is but a casting aside of the grosser forms of life, which have served their purpose. As thou wilt return, this is not absolutely death for thee. Semla will not return. His body is therefore dead. When real death takes place, the gross body
is cast off, and the sword of the Lord cuts it off, and Siva takes possession of it and distributes it to the elements, in order that Vishnu may receive it for new uses from Brahm ○ the Creator. Then the soul is free for a great length of time, compared to that spent on earth. Though the astral shell can come into spiritualistic circles and manifest through mediums, yet the I AM comes not into any earthly condition until it returns for reincarnation; and then always on a higher, never on a lower plane of progress, still exists a penalty of sin, or, what is the same thing, incomplete severance of one's self from desires for earthly experiences. Will ye prefer Earth to Life?
"We go not immediately to mine own home, but into that realm where those go who have died from earth into devachan, that is, heaven, or the 'Summerland' of the 'Spiritualists,' or the 'Land of the Obb River,' or, again, to 'that bourne from whence no traveler returns.' Phylos, the sect known as 'Spiritualists' are in error when they speak of 'spirit communion' and regard it as they do, for no ego returns out of devachan except it be forced, and this is harmful and vastly unjust to the ego. 1 The astral soul and animal principle may thus return, but the I AM never. To the latter there is no past earth state; mind, I do not say for it, but to it. That is, it has no consciousness of anything earthly or of anything occurring on the earth. We can go to them, but they can not come to us. Let us, then, go."
The mind works quickly, and ere we had reached the bronze door, my consciousness had mastered the truth that death is not in itself agony; that it brings no startling changes, and does not invest the soul born into the hereafter with any wonderful power of foresight. In fact, there is but freedom given from the earthly body, and a few concomitant powers bestowed; nothing remarkable, considering that earth has no more hold on the soul. I speak of those who in mundane decession seek disenthralment from earth, having but little love for its conditions, though much love for its children. Such as
these have worked for their brethren and accumulated a good and high karma which takes them away from the prisoning conditions of earth.
Mol Lang here interrupted my reflections, saying:
"One thing else; let us leave thy second self, that part of thee which perceives earthly things and preserves earthly memories. This in order that no disturbing comparisons may arise between that state into which thou goest and the earth behind thee, which thou shalt not see more than they can who really die. But between thee and earth will I preserve a vital link formed of thy second natural principle, so that it shall not be death to thee."
Then he said: "I believe I have no further use for this transient form."
Had an uninitiated observer then been present, the astonishing, not to say terrible, spectacle would have been presented to him or her of a man dissolving into smoke, for Mol Lang liberated the bonds of his smoke-form and it floated away in formless cloud.
Mol Lang laid his hand on my head, and as he took it away I no more remembered anything of the world. I dimly saw before me the bronze door of the Sagum; I knew that Mol Lang opened it, and that we three stepped forth, not into the long hall of the temple, but into an open expanse of green, sunlit meadow or prairie land. But it was no surprise, for I remembered nothing of any special features of earth life: I only knew that I was I, and that I was in a pleasant land; it was much like a vivid dream; no one in viewing a dream landscape is conscious of any other belonging to and seen only in waking hours; the faces in dreams are natural, not novel, not strange, and when seen are not compared with those known during wakefulness, for knowledge of the latter state is blotted out during sleep.
Mol Lang spoke:
"Thou hast come through the portal; lo! physical nature and laws do not reign here; they reign in the objective world, but not here, for this is the subjective world, in no sense physical or
existent, nor perceptible to senses belonging to matter. Yet it is real, for Spirit is real, and subjective states, no less than objective ones, are born of the Spirit of the. Father. This is another of the Mansions in His House. It is farther from the earth than the farthest star of the sky, because in no wise of material nature. Things of earth to the inhabitants of this world are but dreams, and vice versa. To either, the other seems unreal. This we are in is the 'Far away home of-the soul.'"
I listened to Mol Lang and had ears to hear, so that I understood. Earth, of which he spoke, was vague, and knowledge of it as an almost forgotten dream. And the vagueness was because that principle of my terrene nature which was the seat of earthly sensing, and of memories of things perceived, was left with the body, This principle might visit a spiritist medium and it would be called me. Yet it would not be me, but my shell, my link of connection between my spirit and my corporeal body. Friend, you will agree that an author is reflected in his autobiography; but that book is not the author. No more is that which has its "actions, passions, beings, use and end" in the body the MAN. Yet that book may live and guide men to action. So may the astral shell of a man or woman who is dead. And the vitality of the medium may galvanize that shell so long as its influence governs any living earthly man or woman. Hence we see the phenomena of the "circles" of believers in spirit communion. There is no return of the ego (the I AM) to circles, neither communion from their plane down, though sometimes from your plane up to theirs. And yet you persist, my spiritist friends, in saying that I am in error. You say that what I call "shells" can not be such because they tell of events after death. Yes; they do, I admit. And they do because they are but records of the ego which for a few brief moments at death is sometimes highly prophetic, and sees forward over every detail, frequently for coming centuries. Or again, the departing soul catches a glimpse of its own self-conceived devachan, and the record of this is imparted to the shell, which carries such views to the spiritist
medium. Witness the often absurd description given of the character of the "spirit-world," and that through honest mediums, too. They give none of CHRIST, save where two or three are gathered in His name.
Mediumship is true; its ordinary explanation is false. The medium goes into a trance, his or her vital force is transferred to the "control" which is but a shell, and not the true spirit or ego. Then the hearers enjoy a "communication." Like a reader of a book of record is that medium; events of the past are retold, and more or less accurate prophecies made; the shell lives for the nonce a galvanic life, just as Poe lives anew in the person of an elocutionist rendering "The Raven," from the rostrum. Just so long as the "Commentaries" influence mankind, just that long will the "spirit" of Caesar control mediums; and while the Book of Mormon retains its hold on the deluded masses of Utah, so long will the "Prophet Joseph Smith" influence sensitives. But I grow prolix. Let us therefore turn to the world of effects, and see what it presented to our psychic perceptions. Will you come with us and see what we three saw as we went forth across the plain which confronted us at the door of the Sagum?
281:1 Job xiii.--5.
292:1 I Samuel xxviii, 14-15.