by Charles Webster Leadbeater
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On the buddhic plane, however, no such elaborate process of conscious calculation is necessary, for, as I said before, in some manner which down here is totally inexplicable, the past, the present, and the future, are there all existing simultaneously. One can only accept this fact, for its cause lies in the faculty of the plane, and the way in which this higher faculty works is naturally quite incomprehensible to the physical brain. Yet now and then one may meet with a hint that seems to bring us a trifle nearer to a dim possibility of comprehension. One such hint was given by Dr. Oliver Lodge in his address to the British Association at Cardiff. He said:

"A luminous and helpful idea is that time is but a relative mode of regarding things; we progress through phenomena at a certain definite pace, and this subjective advance we interpret in an objective manner, as if events moved necessarily in this order and at this precise rate. But that may be only one mode of regarding them. The events may be in some sense in existence always, both past and future, and it may be we who are arriving at them, not they which are happening. The analogy of a traveller in a railway train is useful; if he could never leave the train nor alter its pace he would probably consider the landscapes as necessarily successive and be unable to conceive their co-existence.... We perceive, therefore, a possible fourth dimensional aspect about time, the inexorableness of whose flow may be a natural part or our present limitations. And if we once grasp the idea that past and future may be actually existing, we can recognize that they may have a controlling influence on all present action, and the two together may constitute the 'higher plane' or totality of things after which, as it seems to me, we are impelled to seek, in connection with the directing of form or determinism, and the action of living beings consciously directed to a definite and preconceived end."

Time is not in reality the fourth dimension at all; yet to look at it for the moment from that point of view is some slight help towards grasping the ungraspable. Suppose that we hold a wooden cone at right angles to a sheet of paper, and slowly push it through it point first. A microbe living on the surface of that sheet of paper, and having no power of conceiving anything outside of that surface, could not only never see the cone as a whole, but he could form no sort of conception of such a body at all. All that he would see would be the sudden appearance of a tiny circle, which would gradually and mysteriously grow larger and larger until it vanished from his world as suddenly and incomprehensibly as it had come into it.

Thus, what were in reality a series of sections of the cone would appear to him to be successive stages in the life of a circle, and it would be impossible for him to grasp the idea that these successive stages could be seen simultaneously. Yet it is, of course, easy enough for us, looking down upon the transaction from another dimension, to see that the microbe is simply under a delusion arising from its own limitations, and that the cone exists as a whole all the while. Our own delusion as to past, present, and future is possibly not dissimilar, and the view that is gained of any sequence of events from the buddhic plane corresponds to the view of the cone as a whole. Naturally, any attempt to work out this suggestion lands us in a series of startling paradoxes; but the fact remains a fact, nevertheless, and the time will come when it will be clear as noonday to our comprehension.

When the pupil's consciousness is fully developed upon the buddhic plane, therefore, perfect prevision is possible to him, though he may not—nay, he certainly will not—be able to bring the whole result of his sight through fully and in order into this light. Still, a great deal of clear foresight is obviously within his power whenever he likes to exercise it; and even when he is not exercising it, frequent flashes of fore-knowledge come through into his ordinary life, so that he often has an instantaneous intuition as to how things will turn out even before their inception.

Short of this perfect prevision we find, as in the previous cases, that all degrees of this type of clairvoyance exist, from the occasional vague premonitions which cannot in any true sense be called sight at all, up to frequent and fairly complete second-sight. The faculty to which this latter somewhat misleading name has been given is an extremely interesting one, and would well repay more careful and systematic study than has ever hitherto been given to it.

It is best known to us as a not infrequent possession of the Scottish Highlanders, though it is by no means confined to them. Occasional instances of it have appeared in almost every nation, but it has always been commonest among mountaineers and men of lonely life. With us in England it is often spoken of as though it were the exclusive appanage of the Celtic race, but in reality it has appeared among similarly situated peoples the world over. It is stated, for example, to be very common among the Westphalian peasantry.

Sometimes the second-sight consists of a picture clearly foreshowing some coming event; more frequently, perhaps, the glimpse of the future is given by some symbolical appearance. It is noteworthy that the events foreseen are invariably unpleasant ones—death being the commonest of all; I do not recollect a single instance in which the second-sight has shown anything which was not of the most gloomy nature. It has a ghastly symbolism which is all its own—a symbolism of shrouds and corpse-candles, and other funereal horrors. In some cases it appears to be to a certain extent dependent on locality, for it is stated that inhabitants of the Isle of Skye who possess the faculty often lose it when they leave the island, even though it be only to cross to the mainland. The gift of such sight is sometimes hereditary in a family for generations, but this is not an invariable rule, for it often appears sporadically in one member of a family otherwise free from its lugubrious influence.

An example in which an accurate vision of a coming event was seen some months beforehand by second-sight has already been given. Here is another and perhaps a more striking one, which I give exactly as it was related to me by one of the actors in the scene.

"We plunged into the jungle, and had walked on for about an hour without much success, when Cameron, who happened to be next to me, stopped suddenly, turned pale as death, and, pointing straight before him, cried in accents of horror:

"'See! see! merciful heaven, look there!'

"'Where? what? what is it?' we all shouted confusedly, as we rushed up to him and looked round in expectation of encountering a tiger—a cobra—we hardly knew what, but assuredly something terrible, since it had been sufficient to cause such evident emotion in our usually self-contained comrade. But neither tiger nor cobra was visible—nothing but Cameron pointing with ghastly, haggard face and starting eyeballs at something we could not see.

"'Cameron! Cameron' cried I, seizing his arm, "'for heaven's sake, speak! What is the matter?'

"Scarcely were the words out of my mouth when a low, but very peculiar sound struck on my ear, and Cameron, dropping his pointing hand, said in a hoarse, strained voice, 'There! you heard it? Thank God it's over' and fell to the ground insensible.

"There was a momentary confusion while we unfastened his collar, and I dashed in his face some water which I fortunately had in my flask, while another tried to pour brandy between his clenched teeth; and under cover of it I whispered to the man next to me (one of our greatest sceptics, by the way), 'Beauchamp, did you hear anything?'

"'Why, yes,' he replied, a curious sound, very; a sort of crash or rattle far away in the distance, yet very distinct; if the thing were not utterly impossible, I could have sworn it was the rattle of musketry.'

"'Just my impression,' murmured I; 'but hush! he is recovering.'

"In a minute or two he was able to speak feebly, and began to thank us and apologize for giving trouble; and soon he sat up, leaning against a tree, and in a firm, though still low voice said:

"'My dear friends, I feel I owe you an explanation of my extraordinary behaviour. It is an explanation that I would fain avoid giving; but it must come some time, and so may as well be given now. You may perhaps have noticed that when during our voyage you all joined in scoffing at dreams, portents and visions, I invariably avoided giving any opinion on the subject. I did so because, while I had no desire to court ridicule or provoke discussion, I was unable to agree with you, knowing only too well from my own dread experience that the world which men agree to call that of the supernatural is just as real as—nay, perhaps, even far more real than—this world we see about us. In other words, I, like many of my countrymen, am cursed with the gift of second-sight—that awful faculty which foretells in vision calamities that are shortly to occur.

"'Such a vision I had just now, and its exceptional horror moved me as you have seen. I saw before me a corpse—not that of one who has died a peaceful natural death, but that of the victim of some terrible accident; a ghastly, shapeless mass, with a face swollen, crushed, unrecognizable. I saw this dreadful object placed in a coffin, and the funeral service performed over it. I saw the burial-ground, I saw the clergyman: and though I had never seen either before, I can picture both perfectly in my mind's eye now; I saw you, myself, Beauchamp, all of us and many more, standing round as mourners; I saw the soldiers raise their muskets after the service was over; I heard the volley they fired—and then I knew no more.'

"As he spoke of that volley of musketry I glanced across with a shudder at Beauchamp, and the look of stony horror on that handsome sceptic's face was not to be forgotten."

This is only one incident (and by no means the principal one) in a very remarkable story of psychic experience, but as for the moment we are concerned merely with the example of second-sight which it gives us, I need only say that later in the day the party of young soldiers discovered the body of their commanding officer in the terrible condition so graphically described by Mr. Cameron. The narrative continues:

"When, on the following evening, we arrived at our destination, and our melancholy deposition had been taken down by the proper authorities, Cameron and I went out for a quiet walk, to endeavour with the assistance of the soothing influence of nature to shake off something of the gloom which paralyzed our spirits. Suddenly he clutched my arm, and, pointing through some rude railings, said in a trembling voice, 'Yes, there it is! that is the burial-ground I saw yesterday.' And when later on we were introduced to the chaplain of the post, I noticed, though my friends did not, the irrepressible shudder with which Cameron took his hand, and I knew that he had recognized the clergyman of his vision."

As for the occult rationale of all this, I presume Mr. Cameron's vision was a pure case of second-sight, and if so the fact that the two men who were evidently nearest to him (certainly one—probably both—actually touching him) participated in it to the limited extent of hearing the concluding volley, while the others who were not so close did not, would show that the intensity with which the vision impressed itself upon the seer occasioned vibrations in his mind-body which were communicated to those of the persons in contact with him, as in ordinary thought-transference. Anyone who wishes to read the rest of the story will find it in the pages of Lucifer, vol. xx., p. 457.

Scores of examples of similar nature to these might easily be collected. With regard to the symbolical variety of this sight, it is commonly stated among those who possess it that if on meeting a living person they see a phantom shroud wrapped around him, it is a sure prognostication of his death. The date of the approaching decease is indicated either by the extent to which the shroud covers the body, or by the time of day at which the vision is seen; for if it be in the early morning they say that the man will die during the same day, but if it be in the evening, then it will be only some time within a year.

Another variant (and a remarkable one) of the symbolic form of second-sight is that in which the headless apparition of the person whose death is foretold manifests itself to the seer. An example of that class is given in Signs before Death as having happened in the family of Dr. Ferrier, though in that case, if I recollect rightly, the vision did not occur until the time of the death, or very near it.

Turning from seers who are regularly in possession of a certain faculty, although its manifestations are only occasionally fully under their control, we are confronted by a large number of isolated instances of prevision in the case of people with whom it is not in any way a regular faculty. Perhaps the majority of these occur in dreams, although examples of the waking vision are by no means wanting. Sometimes the prevision refers to an event of distinct importance to the seer, and so justifies the action of the Ego in taking the trouble to impress it. In other cases, the event is one which is of no apparent importance, or is not in any way connected with the man to whom the vision comes. Sometimes it is clear that the intention of the Ego (or the communicating entity, whatever it may be) is to warn the lower self of the approach of some calamity, either in order that it may be prevented or, if that be not possible, that the shock may be minimized by preparation.

The event most frequently thus foreshadowed is, perhaps not unnaturally, death—sometimes the death of the seer himself, sometimes that of one dear to him. This type of prevision is so common in the literature of the subject, and its object is so obvious, that we need hardly cite examples of it; but one or two instances in which the prophetic sight, though clearly useful, was yet of a less sombre character, will prove not uninteresting to the reader. The following is culled from that storehouse of the student of the uncanny, Mrs. Crowe's Night Side of Nature, p. 72.

"A few years ago Dr. Watson, now residing at Glasgow, dreamt that he received a summons to attend a patient at a place some miles from where he was living; that he started on horseback, and that as he was crossing a moor he saw a bull making furiously at him, whose horns he only escaped by taking refuge on a spot inaccessible to the animal, where he waited a long time till some people, observing his situation, came to his assistance and released him.

"Whilst at breakfast on the following morning the summons came, and smiling at the odd coincidence (as he thought it), he started on horseback. He was quite ignorant of the road he had to go, but by and by he arrived at the moor, which he recognised, and presently the bull appeared, coming full tilt towards him. But his dream had shown him the place of refuge, for which he instantly made, and there he spent three or four hours, besieged by the animal, till the country people set him free. Dr. Watson declares that but for the dream he should not have known in what direction to run for safety."

Another case, in which a much longer interval separated the warning and its fulfilment, is given by Dr. F. G. Lee, in Glimpses of the Supernatural, vol. i., p. 240.

"Mrs. Hannah Green, the housekeeper of a country family in Oxfordshire, dreamt one night that she had been left alone in the house upon a Sunday evening, and that hearing a knock at the door of the chief entrance she went to it and there found an ill-looking tramp armed with a bludgeon, who insisted on forcing himself into the house. She thought that she struggled for some time to prevent him so doing, but quite ineffectually, and that, being struck down by him and rendered insensible, he thereupon gained ingress to the mansion. On this she awoke.

"As nothing happened for a considerable period the circumstance of the dream was soon forgotten, and, as she herself asserts, had altogether passed away from her mind. However, seven years afterwards this same housekeeper was left with two other servants to take charge of an isolated mansion at Kensington (subsequently the town residence of the family), when on a certain Sunday evening, her fellow-servants having gone out and left her alone, she was suddenly startled by a loud knock at the front door.

"All of a sudden the remembrance of her former dream returned to her with singular vividness and remarkable force, and she felt her lonely isolation greatly. Accordingly, having at once lighted a lamp on the hall table—during which act the loud knock was repeated with vigour—she took the precaution to go up to a landing on the stair and throw up the window; and there to her intense terror she saw in the flesh the very man whom years previously she had seen in her dream, armed with the bludgeon and demanding an entrance.

"With great presence of mind she went down to the chief entrance, made that and other doors and windows more secure, and then rang the various bells of the house violently, and placed lights in the upper rooms. It was concluded that by these acts the intruder was scared away."

Evidently in this case also the dream was of practical use, as without it the worthy housekeeper would without doubt from sheer force of habit have opened the door in the ordinary way in answer to the knock.

It is not, however, only in dream that the Ego impresses his lower self with what he thinks it well for it to know. Many instances showing this might be taken from the books, but instead of quoting from them I will give a case related only a few weeks ago by a lady of my acquaintance—a case which, although not surrounded with any romantic incident, has at least the merit of being new.

My friend, then, has two quite young children, and a little while ago the elder of them caught (as was supposed) a bad cold, and suffered for some days from a complete stoppage in the upper part of the nose. The mother thought little of this, expecting it to pass off, until one day she suddenly saw before her in the air what she describes as a picture of a room, in the centre of which was a table on which her child was lying insensible or dead, with some people bending over her. The minutest details of the scene were clear to her, and she particularly noticed that the child wore a white night-dress, whereas she knew that all garments of that description possessed by her little daughter happened to be pink.

This vision impressed her considerably, and suggested to her for the first time that the child might be suffering from something more serious than a cold, so she carried her off to a hospital for examination. The surgeon who attended to her discovered the presence of a dangerous growth in the nose, which he pronounced must be removed. A few days later the child was taken to the hospital for the operation, and was put to bed. When the mother arrived at the hospital she found she had forgotten to bring one of the child's night-dresses, and so the nurses had to supply one, which was white. In this white dress the operation was performed on the girl the next day, in the room that her mother saw in her vision, every circumstance being exactly reproduced.

In all these cases the prevision achieved its result, but the books are full of stories of warnings neglected or scouted, and of the disaster that consequently followed. In some cases the information is given to someone who has practically no power to interfere in the matter, as in the historic instance when John Williams, a Cornish mine-manager, foresaw in the minutest detail, eight or nine days before it took place, the assassination of Mr. Spencer Perceval, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the lobby of the House of Commons. Even in this case, however, it is just possible that something might have been done, for we read that Mr. Williams was so much impressed that he consulted his friends as to whether he ought not to go up to London to warn Mr. Perceval. Unfortunately they dissuaded him, and the assassination took place. It does not seem very probable that, even if he had gone up to town and related his story, much attention would have been paid to him, still there is just the possibility that some precautions might have been taken which would have prevented the murder.

There is little to show us what particular action on higher planes led to this curious prophetic vision. The parties were entirely unknown to one another, so that it was not caused by any close sympathy between them. If it was an attempt made by some helper to avert the threatened doom, it seems strange that no one who was sufficiently impressible could be found nearer than Cornwall. Perhaps Mr. Williams, when on the astral plane during sleep, somehow came across this reflection of the future, and being naturally horrified thereby, passed it on to his lower mind in the hope that somehow something might be done to prevent it; but it is impossible to diagnose the case with certainty without examining the akashic records to see what actually took place.

A typical instance of the absolutely purposeless foresight is that related by Mr. Stead, in his Real Ghost Stories (p. 83), of his friend Miss Freer, commonly known as Miss X. When staying at a country house this lady, being wide awake and fully conscious, once saw a dogcart drawn by a white horse standing at the hall door, with two strangers in it, one of whom got out of the cart and stood playing with a terrier. She noticed that he was wearing an ulster, and also particularly observed the fresh wheel-marks made by the cart on the gravel. Nevertheless there was no cart there at the time; but half an hour later two strangers did drive up in such an equipage, and every detail of the lady's vision was accurately fulfilled. Mr. Stead goes on to cite another instance of equally purposeless prevision where seven years separated the dream (for in this case it was a dream) and its fulfilment.

All these instances (and they are merely random selections from many hundreds) show that a certain amount of prevision is undoubtedly possible to the Ego, and such cases would evidently be much more frequent if it were not for the exceeding density and lack of response in the lower vehicles of the majority of what we call civilized mankind—qualities chiefly attributable to the gross practical materialism of the present age. I am not thinking of any profession of materialistic belief as common, but of the fact that in all practical affairs of daily life nearly everyone is guided solely by considerations of worldly interest in some shape or other.

In many cases the Ego himself may be an undeveloped one, and his prevision consequently very vague; in others he himself may see clearly, but may find his lower vehicles so unimpressible that all he can succeed in getting through into his physical brain may be an indefinite presage of coming disaster. Again, there are cases in which a premonition is not the work of the Ego at all, but of some outside entity, who for some reason takes a friendly interest in the person to whom the feeling comes. In the work which I quoted above, Mr. Stead tells us of the certainty which he felt many months beforehand that be would be left in charge of the Pall Mall Gazette though from an ordinary point of view nothing seemed less probable. Whether that fore-knowledge was the result of an impression made by his own Ego or of a friendly hint from someone else it is impossible to say without definite investigation, but his confidence in it was fully justified.

There is one more variety of clairvoyance in time which ought not to be left without mention. It is a comparatively rare one, but there are enough examples on record to claim our attention, though unfortunately the particulars given do not usually include those which we should require in order to be able to diagnose it with certainty. I refer to the cases in which spectral armies or phantom flocks of animals have been seen. In The Night Side of Nature (p. 462 et seq.) we have accounts of several such visions. We are there told how at Havarah Park, near Ripley, a body of soldiers in white uniform, amounting to several hundreds, was seen by reputable people to go through various evolutions and then vanish; and how some years earlier a similar visionary army was seen in the neighbourhood of Inverness by a respectable farmer and his son.

In this case also the number of troops was very great, and the spectators had not the slightest doubt at first that they were substantial forms of flesh and blood. They counted at least sixteen pairs of columns, and had abundance of time to observe every particular. The front ranks marched seven abreast, and were accompanied by a good many women and children, who were carrying tin cans and other implements of cookery. The men were clothed in red, and their arms shone brightly in the sun. In the midst of them was an animal, a deer or a horse, they could not distinguish which, that they were driving furiously forward with their bayonets.

The younger of the two men observed to the other that every now and then the rear ranks were obliged to run to overtake the van; and the elder one, who had been a soldier, remarked that that was always the case, and recommended him if he ever served to try to march in the front. There was only one mounted officer; he rode a grey dragoon horse, and wore a gold-laced hat and blue Hussar cloak, with wide open sleeves lined with red. The two spectators observed him so particularly that they said afterwards they should recognize him anywhere. They were, however, afraid of being ill-treated or forced to go along with the troops, whom they concluded to have come from Ireland, and landed at Kyntyre; and whilst they were climbing over a dyke to get out of their way, the whole thing vanished.

A phenomenon of the same sort was observed in the earlier part of this century at Paderborn in Westphalia, and seen by at least thirty people; but as, some years later, a review of twenty thousand men was held on the very same spot, it was concluded that the vision must have been some sort of second-sight—a faculty not uncommon in the district.

Such spectral hosts, however, are sometimes seen where an army of ordinary men could by no possibility have marched, either before or after. One of the most remarkable accounts of such apparitions is given by Miss Harriet Martineau, in her description of The English Lakes. She writes as follows:—

"This Souter or Soutra Fell is the mountain on which ghosts appeared in myriads, at intervals during ten years of the last century, presenting the same appearances to twenty-six chosen witnesses, and to all the inhabitants of all the cottages within view of the mountain, and for a space of two hours and a half at one time—the spectral show being closed by darkness! The mountain, be it remembered, is full of precipices, which defy all marching of bodies of men; and the north and west sides present a sheer perpendicular of 900 feet.

"On Midsummer Eve, 1735, a farm servant of Mr. Lancaster, half a mile from the mountain, saw the eastern side of its summit covered with troops, which pursued their onward march for an hour. They came, in distinct bodies, from an eminence on the north end, and disappeared in a niche in the summit. When the poor fellow told his tale, he was insulted on all hands, as original observers usually are when they see anything wonderful. Two years after, also on a Midsummer Eve, Mr. Lancaster saw some men there, apparently following their horses, as if they had returned from hunting. He thought nothing of this; but he happened to look up again ten minutes after, and saw the figures, now mounted, and followed by an interminable array of troops, five abreast, marching from the eminence and over the cleft as before. All the family saw this, and the manoeuvres of the force, as each company was kept in order by a mounted officer, who galloped this way and that. As the shades of twilight came on, the discipline appeared to relax, and the troops intermingled, and rode at unequal paces, till all was lost in darkness. Now of course all the Lancasters were insulted, as their servant had been; but their justification was not long delayed.

"On the Midsummer Eve of the fearful 1745, twenty-six persons, expressly summoned by the family, saw all that had been seen before, and more. Carriages were now interspersed with the troops; and everybody knew that no carriages had been, or could be, on the summit of Souter Fell. The multitude was beyond imagination; for the troops filled a space of half a mile, and marched quickly till night hid them—still marching. There was nothing vaporous or indistinct about the appearance of these spectres. So real did they seem, that some of the people went up, the next morning, to look for the hoof-marks of the horses; and awful it was to them to find not one foot-print on heather or grass. The witnesses attested the whole story on oath before a magistrate; and fearful were the expectations held by the whole country-side about the coming events of the Scotch rebellion.

"It now comes out that two other persons had seen something of the sort in the interval—viz., in 1743—but had concealed it, to escape the insults to which their neighbours were subjected. Mr. Wren, of Wilton Hall, and his farm servant, saw, one summer evening, a man and a dog on the mountain, pursuing some horses along a place so steep that a horse could hardly by any possibility keep a footing on it. Their speed was prodigious, and their disappearance at the south end of the fell so rapid, that Mr. Wren and the servant went up, the next morning, to find the body of the man who must have been killed. Of man, horse, or dog, they found not a trace and they came down and held their tongues. When they did speak, they fared not much better for having twenty-six sworn comrades in their disgrace.

"As for the explanation, the editor of the Lonsdale Magazine declared (vol. ii., p. 313) that it was discovered that on the Midsummer Eve of 1745 the rebels were 'exercising on the western coast of Scotland, whose movements had been reflected by some transparent vapour, similar to the Fata Morgana.' This is not much in the way of explanation; but it is, as far as we know, all that can be had at present. These facts, however, brought out a good many more; as the spectral march of the same kind seen in Leicestershire in 1707, and the tradition of the tramp of armies over Helvellyn, on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor."

Other cases are cited in which flocks of spectral sheep have been seen on certain roads, and there are of course various German stories of phantom cavalcades of hunters and robbers.

Now in these cases, as so often happens in the investigation of occult phenomena, there are several possible causes, any one of which would be quite adequate to the production of the observed occurrences, but in the absence of fuller information it is hardly feasible to do more than guess as to which of these possible causes were in operation in any particular instance.

The explanation usually suggested (whenever the whole story is not ridiculed as a falsehood) is that what is seen is a reflection by mirage of the movements of a real body of troops, taking place at a considerable distance. I have myself seen the ordinary mirage on several occasions, and know something therefore of its wonderful powers of deception; but it seems to me that we should need some entirely new variety of mirage, quite different from that at present known to science, to account for these tales of phantom armies, some of which pass the spectator within a few yards.

First of all, they may be, as apparently in the Westphalian case above mentioned, simply instances of prevision on a gigantic scale—by whom arranged, and for what purpose, it is not easy to divine. Again, they may often belong to the past instead of the future, and be in fact the reflection of scenes from the akashic records—though here again the reason and method of such reflection is not obvious.

There are plenty of tribes of nature-spirits perfectly capable, if for any reason they wished to do so, of producing such appearances by their wonderful power of glamour (see Theosophical Manual, No. V., p. 60), and such action would be quite in keeping with their delight in mystifying and impressing human beings. Or it may even sometimes be kindly intended by them as a warning to their friends of events that they know to be about to take place. It seems as though some explanation along these lines would be the most reasonable method of accounting for the extraordinary series of phenomena described by Miss Martineau—that is, if the stories told to her can be relied upon.

Another possibility is that in some cases what have been taken for soldiers were simply the nature-spirits themselves going through some of the ordered evolutions in which they take so much delight, though it must be admitted that these are rarely of a character which could be mistaken for military manoeuvres except by the most ignorant.

The flocks of animals are probably in most instances mere records, but there are cases where they, like the "wild huntsmen" of German story, belong to an entirely different class of phenomena, which is altogether outside of our present subject. Students of the occult will be familiar with the fact that the circumstances surrounding any scene of intense terror or passion, such as an exceptionally horrible murder, are liable to be occasionally reproduced in a form which it needs a very slight development of psychic faculty to be able to see and it has sometimes happened that various animals formed part of such surroundings, and consequently they also are periodically reproduced by the action of the guilty conscience of the murderer (see Manual V., p. 83).

Probably whatever foundation of fact underlies the various stories of spectral horsemen and hunting-troops may generally be referred to this category. This is also the explanation, evidently, of some of the visions of ghostly armies, such as that remarkable re-enactment of the battle of Edgehill which seems to have taken place at intervals for some months after the date of the real struggle, as testified by a justice of the peace, a clergyman, and other eye-witnesses, in a curious contemporary pamphlet entitled Prodigious Noises of War and Battle, at Edgehill, near Keinton, in Northamptonshire. According to the pamphlet this case was investigated at the time by some officers of the army, who clearly recognized many of the phantom figures that they saw. This looks decidedly like an instance of the terrible power of man's unrestrained passions to reproduce themselves, and to cause in some strange way a kind of materialization of their record.

In some cases it is clear that the flocks of animals seen have been simply hordes of unclean artificial elementals taking that form in order to feed upon the loathsome emanations of peculiarly horrible places, such as would be the site of a gallows. An instance of this kind is furnished by the celebrated "Gyb Ghosts," or ghosts of the gibbet, described in More Glimpses of the World Unseen, p. 109, as being repeatedly seen in the form of herds of mis-shapen swine-like creatures, rushing, rooting and fighting night after night on the site of that foul monument of crime. But these belong to the subject of apparitions rather than to that of clairvoyance.



When a man becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable power of clairvoyance, his first question usually is, "How can I develop in my own case this faculty which is said to be latent in everyone?"

Now the fact is that there are many methods by which it may be developed, but only one which can be at all safely recommended for general use—that of which we shall speak last of all. Among the less advanced nations of the world the clairvoyant state has been produced in various objectionable ways; among some of the non-Aryan tribes of India, by the use of intoxicating drugs or the inhaling of stupefying fumes; among the dervishes, by whirling in a mad dance of religious fervour until vertigo and insensibility supervene; among the followers of the abominable practices of the Voodoo cult, by frightful sacrifices and loathsome rites of black magic. Methods such as these are happily not in vogue in our own race, yet even among us large numbers of dabblers in this ancient art adopt some plan of self-hypnotization, such as the gazing at a bright spot or the repetition of some formula until a condition of semi-stupefaction is produced; while yet another school among them would endeavour to arrive at similar results by the use of some of the Indian systems of regulation of the breath.

All these methods are unequivocally to be condemned as quite unsafe for the practice of the ordinary man who has no idea of what he is doing—who is simply making vague experiments in an unknown world. Even the method of obtaining clairvoyance by allowing oneself to be mesmerized by another person is one from which I should myself shrink with the most decided distaste; and assuredly it should never be attempted except under conditions of absolute trust and affection between the magnetizer and the magnetized, and a perfection of purity in heart and soul, in mind and intention, such as is rarely to be seen among any but the greatest of saints.

Experiments in connection with the mesmeric trance are of the deepest interest, as offering (among other things) a possibility of proof of the fact of clairvoyance to the sceptic, yet except under such conditions as I have just mentioned—conditions, I quite admit, almost impossible to realize—I should never counsel anyone to submit himself as a subject for them.

Curative mesmerism (in which, without putting the patient into the trance state at all, an effort is made to relieve his pain, to remove his disease, or to pour vitality into him by magnetic passes) stands on an entirely different footing; and if the mesmerizer, even though quite untrained, is himself in good health and animated by pure intentions, no harm is likely to be done to the subject. In so extreme a case as that of a surgical operation, a man might reasonably submit himself even to the mesmeric trance, but it is certainly not a condition with which one ought lightly to experiment. Indeed, I should most strongly advise any one who did me the honour to ask for my opinion on the subject, not to attempt any kind of experimental investigation into what are still to him the abnormal forces of nature, until he has first of all read carefully everything that has been written on the subject, or—which is by far the best of all—until he is under the guidance of a qualified teacher.

But where, it will be said, is the qualified teacher to be found? Not, most assuredly, among any who advertise themselves as teachers, who offer to impart for so many guineas or dollars the sacred mysteries of the ages, or hold "developing circles" to which casual applicants are admitted at so much per head.

Much has been said in this treatise of the necessity for careful training—of the immense advantages of the trained over the untrained clairvoyant; but that again brings us back to the same question—where is this definite training to be had?

The answer is, that the training may be had precisely where it has always been to be found since the world's history began—at the hands of the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts, which stands now, as it has always stood, at the back of human evolution, guiding and helping it under the sway of the great cosmic laws which represent to us the Will of the Eternal.

But how, it may be asked, is access to be gained to them? How is the aspirant thirsting for knowledge to signify to them his wish for instruction?

Once more, by the time-honoured methods only. There is no new patent whereby a man can qualify himself without trouble to become a pupil in that School—no royal road to the learning which has to be acquired in it. At the present day, just as in the mists of antiquity, the man who wishes to attract their notice must enter upon the slow and toilsome path of self-development—must learn first of all to take himself in hand and make himself all that he ought to be. The steps of that path are no secret; I have given them in full detail in Invisible Helpers, so I need not repeat them here. But it is no easy road to follow, and yet sooner or later all must follow it, for the great law of evolution sweeps mankind slowly but resistlessly towards its goal.

From those who are pressing into this path the great Masters select their pupils, and it is only by qualifying himself to be taught that a man can put himself in the way of getting the teaching. Without that qualification, membership in any Lodge or Society, whether secret or otherwise, will not advance his object in the slightest degree. It is true, as we all know, that it was at the instance of some of these Masters that our Theosophical Society was founded, and that from its ranks some have been chosen to pass into closer relations with them. But that choice depends upon the earnestness of the candidate, not upon his mere membership of the Society or of any body within it.

That, then, is the only absolutely safe way of developing clairvoyance—to enter with all one's energy upon the path of moral and mental evolution, at one stage of which this and other of the higher faculties will spontaneously begin to show themselves. Yet there is one practice which is advised by all the religions alike—which if adopted carefully and reverently can do no harm to any human being, yet from which a very pure type of clairvoyance has sometimes been developed; and that is the practice of meditation.

Let a man choose a certain time every day—a time when he can rely upon being quiet and undisturbed, though preferably in the daytime rather than at night—and set himself at that time to keep his mind for a few minutes entirely free from all earthly thoughts of any kind whatever and, when that is achieved, to direct the whole force of his being towards the highest spiritual ideal that he happens to know. He will find that to gain such perfect control of thought is enormously more difficult than he supposes, but when he attains it it cannot but be in every way most beneficial to him, and as he grows more and more able to elevate and concentrate his thought, he may gradually find that new worlds are opening before his sight.

As a preliminary training towards the satisfactory achievement of such meditation, he will find it desirable to make a practice of concentration in the affairs of daily life—even in the smallest of them. If he writes a letter, let him think of nothing else but that letter until it is finished if he reads a book, let him see to it that his thought is never allowed to wander from his author's meaning. He must learn to hold his mind in check, and to be master of that also, as well as of his lower passions he must patiently labour to acquire absolute control of his thoughts, so that he will always know exactly what he is thinking about, and why—so that he can use his mind, and turn it or hold it still, as a practised swordsman turns his weapon where he will.

Yet after all, if those who so earnestly desire clairvoyance could possess it temporarily for a day or even an hour, it is far from certain that they would choose to retain the gift. True, it opens before them new worlds of study, new powers of usefulness, and for this latter reason most of us feel it worth while; but it should be remembered that for one whose duty still calls him to live in the world it is by no means an unmixed blessing. Upon one in whom that vision is opened the sorrow and the misery, the evil and the greed of the world press as an ever-present burden, until in the earlier days of his knowledge he often feels inclined to echo the passionate adjuration contained in those rolling lines of Schiller's:

Dien Orakel zu verkuenden, warum warfest du mich hin In die Stadt der ewig Blinden, mit dem aufgeschloss'nen Sinn? Frommt's, den Schleier aufzuheben, wo das nahe Schreckniss droht? Nur der Irrthum ist das Leben; dieses Wissen ist der Tod. Nimm, O nimm die traur'ge Klarheit mir vom Aug' den blut'gen Schein! Schrecklich ist es deiner Wahrheit sterbliches Gefaess zu seyn!

which may perhaps be translated "Why hast thou cast me thus into the town of the ever-blind, to proclaim thine oracle by the opened sense? What profits it to lift the veil where the near darkness threatens? Only ignorance is life; this knowledge is death. Take back this sad clear-sightedness; take from mine eyes this cruel light! It is horrible to be the mortal channel of thy truth." And again later he cries, "Give me back my blindness, the happy darkness of my senses; take back thy dreadful gift!"

But this of course is a feeling which passes, for the higher sight soon shows the pupil something beyond the sorrow—soon bears in upon his soul the overwhelming certainty that, whatever appearances down here may seem to indicate, all things are without shadow of doubt working together for the eventual good of all. He reflects that the sin and the suffering are there, whether he is able to perceive them or not, and that when he can see them he is after all better able to give efficient help than he would be if he were working in the dark; and so by degrees he learns to bear his share of the heavy karma of the world.

Some misguided mortals there are who, having the good fortune to possess some slight touch of this higher power, are nevertheless so absolutely destitute of all right feeling in connection with it as to use it for the most sordid ends—actually even to advertise themselves as "test and business clairvoyants!" Needless to say, such use of the faculty is a mere prostitution and degradation of it, showing that its unfortunate possessor has somehow got hold of it before the moral side of his nature has been sufficiently developed to stand the strain which it imposes. A perception of the amount of evil karma that may be generated by such action in a very short time changes one's disgust into pity for the unhappy perpetrator of that sacrilegious folly.

It is sometimes objected that the possession of clairvoyance destroys all privacy, and confers a limit-less ability to explore the secrets of others. No doubt it does confer such an ability, but nevertheless the suggestion is an amusing one to anyone who knows anything practically about the matter. Such an objection may possibly be well-founded as regards the very limited powers of the "test and business clairvoyant," but the man who brings it forward against those who have had the faculty opened for them in the course of their instruction, and consequently possess it fully, is forgetting three fundamental facts: first, that it is quite inconceivable that anyone, having before him the splendid fields for investigation which true clairvoyance opens up, could ever have the slightest wish to pry into the trumpery little secrets of any individual man; secondly, that even if by some impossible chance our clairvoyant had such indecent curiosity about matters of petty gossip, there is, after all, such a thing as the honour of a gentleman, which, on that plane as on this, would of course prevent him from contemplating for an instant the idea of gratifying it; and thirdly, in case, by any unheard-of possibility, one might encounter some variety of low-class pitri with whom the above considerations would have no weight, full instructions are always given to every pupil, as soon as he develops any sign of faculty, as to the limitations which are placed upon its use.

Put briefly, these restrictions are that there shall be no prying, no selfish use of the power, and no displaying of phenomena. That is to say, that the same considerations which would govern the actions of a man of right feeling upon the physical plane are expected to apply upon the astral and mental planes also; that the pupil is never under any circumstances to use the power which his additional knowledge gives to him in order to promote his own worldly advantage, or indeed in connection with gain in any way; and that he is never to give what is called in spiritualistic circles "a test"—that is, to do anything which will incontestably prove to sceptics on the physical plane that he possesses what to them would appear to be an abnormal power.

With regard to this latter proviso people often say, "But why should he not? it would be so easy to confute and convince your sceptic, and it would do him good!" Such critics lose sight of the fact that, in the first place, none of those who know anything want to confute or convince sceptics, or trouble themselves in the slightest degree about the sceptic's attitude one way or the other; and in the second, they fail to understand how much better it is for that sceptic that he should gradually grow into an intellectual appreciation of the facts of nature, instead of being suddenly introduced to them by a knock-down blow, as it were. But the subject was fully considered many years ago in Mr. Sinnet's Occult World, and it is needless to repeat again the arguments there adduced.

It is very hard for some of our friends to realize that the silly gossip and idle curiosity which so entirely fill the lives of the brainless majority on earth can have no place in the more real life of the disciple; and so they sometimes enquire whether, even without any special wish to see, a clairvoyant might not casually observe some secret which another person was trying to keep, in the same way as one's glance might casually fall upon a sentence in someone else's letter which happened to be lying open upon the table. Of course he might, but what if he did? The man of honour would at once avert his eyes, in one case as in the other, and it would be as though he had not seen. If objectors could but grasp the idea that no pupil cares about other people's business, except when it comes within his province to try to help them, and that he has always a world of work of his own to attend to, they would not be so hopelessly far from understanding the facts of the wider life of the trained clairvoyant.

Even from the little that I have said with regard to the restrictions laid upon the pupil, it will be obvious that in very many cases he will know much more than he is at liberty to say. That is of course true in a far wider sense of the great Masters of Wisdom themselves, and that is why those who have the privilege of occasionally entering their presence pay so much respect to their lightest word even on subjects quite apart from the direct teaching. For the opinion of a Master, or even of one of his higher pupils, upon any subject is that of a man whose opportunity of judging accurately is out of all proportion to ours.

His position and his extended faculties are in reality the heritage of all mankind, and, far though we may now be from those grand powers, they will none the less certainly be ours one day. Yet how different a place will this old world be when humanity as a whole possesses the higher clairvoyance! Think what the difference will be to history when all can read the records; to science, when all the processes about which now men theorize can be watched through all their course; to medicine, when doctor and patient alike can see clearly and exactly all that is being done; to philosophy, when there is no longer any possibility of discussion as to its basis, because all alike can see a wider aspect of the truth; to labour, when all work will be joy, because every man will be put only to that which he can do best; to education, when the minds and hearts of the children are open to the teacher who is trying to form their character; to religion, when there is no longer any possibility of dispute as to its broad dogmas, since the truth about the states after death, and the Great Law that governs the world, will be patent to all eyes.

Above all, how far easier it will be then for the evolved men to help one another under those so much freer conditions! The possibilities that open before the mind are as glorious vistas stretching in all directions, so that our seventh round should indeed be a veritable golden age. Well for us that these grand faculties will not be possessed by all humanity until it has evolved to a far higher level in morality as well as in wisdom, else should we but repeat once more under still worse conditions the terrible downfall of the great Atlantean civilization, whose members failed to realize that increased power meant increased responsibility. Yet we ourselves were most of us among those very men let us hope that we have learnt wisdom by that failure, and that when the possibilities of the wider life open before us once more, this time we shall bear the trial better.



Advantages of astral vision, 41, 65, 71 mental vision, 79 training, 20, 56, 70, 103, 116, 121

Akashic records, 85, 97 et seq., 160

Apparitions, 54

Armies, phantom, 154

Assassination of Mr. Perceval, 151

Aspect of the records, 115

Astral body, 69 counterpart 16 current, 62 et seq., 88, 95 matter, polarization of, 63 senses, 17 sight, 37 et seq., 59 et seq., 66 telescope, 65, 85, 103 world, 81, 103

Aura, the, 42 et seq., 101

Balance, 126

Bat's cry, experiment with, 11

Battle of Edgehill, 161

Body, the astral, 69 the causal, 101

Brownies, 33

Buddhic faculty, 18, 108, 136, 139

Bull and the doctor, the story of, 147

Causal body, 101

Centres of vitality, 14, 17

Cerebro-spinal system, 22

Ceremonies used to gain clairvoyance, 52, 163

Certainty of eventual good, 174

Character, judgment of, 42

Chakrams, 14-17

Chord of a man, the, 80

Clairaudience, 6, 69 et seq.

Clairvoyance by drugs or ceremonies, 52 et seq., 163 casual, 93 does it destroy privacy?, 171

Clairvoyance during sleep, 26 how first manifested, 26 hysterical, 53 limitations of, 79, 81, 171 meaning of word, 5 occasional flashes of, 23 of the uncultured, 21 on mental plane, 56 on trivial subjects, 55, 95, 152 partial and temporary, 54 restrictions upon, 81, 171 sadness of, 169 under mesmerism, 24, 52, 164

Clairvoyants, "test and business", 51, 170

Classification of phenomena, 27

Colours, new, 35

Common-sense in occultism, necessity of, 125

Consciousness, continuous, 46 the focus of, 31

Considerations, preliminary, 7

Contemplation, 167

Continuous consciousness, 46

Control of thought, 168

Counterpart, astral, 16

Crystal-gazing, 66, 84 et seq., 127

Curative mesmerism, 165

Curiosity not permitted, 173

Current, astral, 62 et seq., 88, 95

Dangers, 78

Date, how to find a, 119 et seq.

Dead, the, 45, 62

Death, visits at, 74 et seq.

Delirium tremens, 53

Dervishes, the, 163

Devas, the, 44

Development, methods of, 163 the path of, 167 regular, 19

Difference between etheric and astral sight, 36

Difficulties, 103 et seq.

Dimension, the fourth, 38 et seq., 65, 107, 137

Distance, sight at a, 59, 81

Double, the etheric, 34

Drugs used to gain clairvoyance, 52, 163

Duke of Orleans, the story of the, 90

Earth, the Stars and the, 110

Edgehill, battle of, 161

Elementals, 32, 44, 162

Equation, the personal, 104 et seq.

Eternal now, the, 109, 137

Etheric double, the, 34 vision, 30 et seq.

Experiments in crystal-gazing, 66, 84 et seq. with bat's cry, 11 with spectrum, 10

Extension of senses, 12

Faculties, latent, 7 buddhic, 18, 108, 136, 139

Fairy ointment, 34

Finding a stranger, 80

First manifestations of clairvoyance, 25 et seq.

Flocks, phantom, 154, 160, 162

Focus of consciousness, the, 31

Fourth dimension, the, 38 et seq., 65, 107, 137

Freewill limited, 132 et seq.

Future prospects, 175

Ghosts of the gibbet, 162

Glamour, 160

Goffe, the story of Mary, 75

Helpers, invisible, 46, 74, 88, 166

Historical study, possibilities of, 114 et seq.

Hinton's works, 38

Housekeeper's dream, the story of the, 147 et seq.

How a picture is found, 116 et seq. to find a date, 119 et seq. to investigate, 55

Huntsman, the wild, 160

Hypnotization, self, 86

Hysterical clairvoyance, 53

Incarnations, past, 118, 123 et seq.

Investigate, how to, 55

Invisible helpers, 46, 74, 88, 166

Judgment of character, 42

Jung Stilling's story, 71 et seq.

Knowledge, the value of, 125

Latent faculties, 7

Limitations of clairvoyance, the, 79, 81, 171

Limited freewill, 132 et seq.

Links needed, 114

Lodge, address by Dr. Oliver, 137

Logos of the system, the, 99 et seq.

Magic, 53

Magnifying, the power of, 47-67

Manifestations of clairvoyance, the first, 26

Masters of Wisdom, the, 20, 167, 174

Materialization, 70

Mayavirupa, the, 78

Meaning of word clairvoyance, 5

Meditation, 167

Mediums, trance, 83

Mental plane clairvoyance, 56 plane sense, 18 world, 80, 104, 115

Mesmerism, clairvoyance under, 24, 62, 164 curative, 165

Methods of development, 163

Micawbers, psychic, 83

Mooltan, story of the siege of, 92

Murder, reproduction of, 161

Nature spirits, 33, 44, 61, 160

Necessity of common-sense in occultism, 125

New colours, 35

Now, the eternal, 109, 137

Occasional clairvoyance, 23

Ointment, fairy and witch, 34

Orleans, the story of the Duke of, 90

Other planets, 81

Partial and temporary clairvoyance, 54

Past incarnations, 118, 123 et seq.

Path of development, the, 167

Perceval, assassination of Mr., 151

Personal equation, the, 104 et seq.

Phantom flocks, 154, 160, 162

Phenomena, classification of, 27 seance room, 35, 62

Philadelphian seer, the story of a, 72 et seq.

Physical objects, the transparency of, 32

Pictures before going to sleep, 93

Planets, other, 81

Polarization of astral matter, 63

Poseidonis, the sinking of, 120

Possibilities of historical study, 114 et seq.

Power of magnifying, the, 47, 67

Power of response to vibrations, 9, 11

Preliminary considerations, 7

Premonition, Mr. Stead's, 153

Prevision, 132, 139

Prospects for the future, 175

Psychic Micawbers, 83

Psychometry, 114, 127

Qualifications of the student, 166

Qualified teachers, 165

Radiations, 59

Records, akashic, 85, 97 et seq., 160 aspect of the, 115

Regular development, 19

Reproduction of a murder, 161

Restrictions upon clairvoyance, 81, 171

Roentgen rays, the, 11

Sadness of clairvoyance, the, 169

Schiller's lines, 169

Seance-room phenomena, 35, 62

Second-sight, 140 et seq. the symbolism of, 145

Seer, a Philadelphian, 72 et seq.

Self-hypnotization, 86

Sense, extension of, 12

Senses, astral, 17

Sight, astral, 37 et seq., 59 et seq., 66 at a distance, 59, 81 spiritual, 57

Sleep, clairvoyance during, 26

Society, the Theosophical, 167

Solar system, the, 99

Spectral armies, 154

Spectrum, experiment with the, 10

Spiritualistic phenomena, 35, 62

Stars and the Earth, The, 110

Stories of crystal-gazing, 84 et seq. second sight, 132, 140 et seq.

Story by Jung Stilling, 72 Mr. Stead's, 93 of Captain Yonnt, 89 Mary Goffe, 75 Miss X.'s dogcart, 152 Mr. Stead's premonition, 153

Story of Souter Fell, 156-7 the bull and the doctor, 147 the Duke of Orleans, 90 the housekeeper's dream, 147 et seq.

Story of the siege of Mooltan, 92 the white night-dress, 149 Zschokke, 127 et seq.

Stranger, finding a, 80

Sympathetic system, the, 22 et seq.

System, the Logos of the, 99 et seq.

Teachers, qualified, 165

Telescope, the astral, 65, 85, 103

Temporary and partial clairvoyance, 54

Tests not given, 172

Theosophical Society, The, 167 terms, 7

Thought-control, 168

Thought-forms, 43, 67

Throughth, 39

Time only relative, 138

Training, the advantages of, 165 where to be had, 167

Trance mediums, 83

Transparency of physical objects, 32

Trivial subjects, clairvoyance on, 55, 95, 152

Uncultured, clairvoyance in the, 21

Value of knowledge, the, 125

Variable capacity of response, 10 et seq.

Vibrations, 9 power of response to, 11

Vision, astral, 37 et seq., 59 et seq., 66 etheric, 30 et seq.

Visions, casual, 141

Visits at death, 74 et seq.

Voodoo or Obeah, 163

White night-dress, the story of the, 149

Wild huntsman, the, 160

Wisdom, the Masters of, 20, 167, 174

World, the astral, 81, 103 mental, 80, 104, 115

X.'s story, Miss, 152

X Rays, 11

Yonnt's story, Captain, 89

Zschokke's story, 127 et seq.


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s. d. An Outline of Theosophy. C. W. Leadbeater 1 0 Ancient Wisdom. Annie Besant 5 0 Theosophical Manuals. Seven Principles of Man. Annie Besant 1 0 Re-incarnation. Annie Besant 1 0 Karma. Annie Besant 1 0 Death—and After? Annie Besant 1 0 The Astral Plane. C. W. Leadbeater 1 0 The Devachanic Plane. C. W. Leadbeater 1 0 Man and his Bodies. Annie Besant 1 0 The Key to Theosophy. H. P. Blavatsky 6 0 Esoteric Buddhism. A. P. Sinnett 2 6 The Growth of the Soul. A. P. Sinnett 5 0 Man's Place in the Universe 2 0 Man Visible and Invisible (illustrated). C. W. Leadbeater 10 6

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VARIOUS. Nature's Mysteries. A. P. Sinnett 2 0 Clairvoyance. C. W. Leadbeater 2 0 Dreams. C. W. Leadbeater 1 6 The Building of the Kosmos. Annie Besant 2 0 The Evolution of Life and Form. Annie Besant 2 0 Some Problems of Life. Annie Besant 1 6 Thought-Power, its Control and Culture. Annie Besant 1 6 The Science of the Emotions. Bhagavan Das 3 6 The Gospel and the Gospels. G. R. S. Mead 4 6 Five Years of Theosophy 10 0

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