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Charles Josselyn 








Catief Justice of CfumOenaffur (French East Indies), ana otf Tahiti (Ocecmtca) 








een issue J j; i: 
~>oyle, who todfc 

Ar- f those 





will lay aside, for the present, our inquiries into 
the general subject of the primitive civilizations of the far 
East, and the people who have sprung from the Brahminic 
stock in the old world, in order to publish the result of 
such researches as we have been able to make, during our 
long residence in India, into the subject of occult science, 
and the practices of those who have been initiated into 
the sect of the Pitris, which is Sanscrit for spirits or an- 
cestral shades. 

This is neither a doctrinal book nor a work of criticism. 

"We are not called upon to decide, either for or against, 
the belief in spirits, either mediating or inspiring, which 
was held by all who had been initiated in the temples of 
antiquity, which is to-day the keystone of the philosoph- 
ical and religious instruction of the Brahmins, and to which 
many of our Western thinkers and scientists seem inclined 
to assent. 

Being neither an advocate of this belief, nor the opposite, 
we are, on that account, better able to write its history. 

An ardent partisan would have been too credulous, and 
would have taken everything upon trust. A rabid oppo- 
nent would have made it his business to disparage and 
discredit it. 

We shall give the words themselves, and set forth things 



as they actually were ; we shall interpret and explain the 
Agrowhada^pariikchai, which is the philosophical com- 
pendium of the Hindu spiritists ; we shall tell what we 
saw with our own eyes, and shall faithfully record such 
explanations as we received from the Brahmins. 

We shall pay particular attention to the phenomena 
which the Fakirs produce at will, which some regard as 
the manifestations of a superior intervention, and others 
look upon as the result of a shrewd charlatanism. 

Upon this point we have but a word to say. 

The facts which are simply magnetic are indisputable, 
extraordinary as they may seem. 

As to the facts which are purely spiritual, we were only 
able to explain those in which we participated, either as 
actor or spectator, upon the hypothesis that we were the 
victims of hallucination unless we are willing to admit 
that there was an occult intervention. 

We shall describe things just as we saw them, without 
taking sides in the dispute. 

These doctrines were known to the Egyptians, to the 
Jewish Cabalists, to the people of Finland, to the school 
of Alexandria, to Philo and his disciples, to the Gauls and 
to the early Christians, and, as in the case of the Hindus, 
they set them apart for the use of those who had been ini- 
tiated. As for the ancient Chaldeans, the practice of, popu- 
lar magic and sorcery seems to have been the utmost limit 
of their attainments in this direction. 

They have also given birth to a peculiar system of 
moral philosophy, whose place in the general scale of the 
metaphysical speculations of mankind we shall take occa- 
sion to point out. 

ON the erening before the funeral sraddha is to take place, or on the 
day itself, he who gives the sraddha should, with all due respect, in- 
vite at least three Brahmins, such as those which have been already 

The Brahmin who has been invited to the sraddha of the spirit of the 
deceased should be entire master of his senses. He should not read the 
sacred Scriptures, but only recite, in a low tone, the invocations which 
it is his office to utter, as he should do, likewise, by whom the ceremony 
is performed. 

The ancestral spirits, in the invisible state, accompany the Brahmins who 
have been invited; they go with them, under an aerial form, and occupy a 
place by their side when they sit down. (MANU, book hi., slocas 187- 

For a long time previous to their laying aside their mortal envelope, 
the souls which have practised virtue, like those which inhabit the 
bodies of Sanyassis and Vanasprathas Anchorites and Cenobite* ac- 
quire the faculty of conversing with souls that have gone before to tlie 
swarga ; that is a sign that the series of their transmigrations upon earth 
is ended. (The words of the ancient Bagavatta, quoted in the Proem of 
the Agrouchada-Parikchai.) 



Remember, my son, that there is only one God, the sovereign 
master and principle of all things, and that the Brahmins should 
worship Him in secret ; but learn also that this is a mystery, which 
should never be revealed to the vulgar herd: otherwise great harm 
may befal you. (.Words spoken by the Brahmins upon receiving a 
candidate for initiation according to Vrihaspati. ) 



U M 








IT is not to the religious writings of antiquity, such a& 
the Yedas, the Zend-Avesta, or the Bible, that we are to 
look for an accurate expression of the highest thought of 
the period. 

Written to be read, or rather chanted, in the temples, 
upon great festivals, and framed mainly with a view to 
priestly domination, these books of the law were not in- 
tended to make known to common people the secrets of a 
science which occupies the leisure moments of the priests 
and initiated. 

" Bear in mind, my son," said the Hindu Brahmin to 
the neophyte, " that there is but one God, the sovereign 
master and principle of all things, and that every Brahmin 
should worship him in secret. Learn also that this is a 
mystery which should never be revealed to the vulgar 
herd ; otherwise great harm may befal you." 

We constantly meet with a similar prohibition in Ma- 


The primitive Iwly syllable, composed of the three let- 
ters A, U, M, and comprising the Vedic trinity, should be 
kept secret (Manu, book xi., sloca 265). 

These three letters symbolize all the initiatory secrets 
of the occult sciences. 

The Turnover, or primordial germ, is defined in the Zend- 
Avesta as follows : 

"The pure, the holy, the prompt Honover, I tell you 
plainly, O wise Zoroaster ! existed before the sky, before 
the sea, before the earth, before the animals, before the 
trees, before fire, son of Ormuzd, before the pure man, 
before the deous, before the whole world ; it existed be- 
fore there was any substance " should it not be explained, 
in its essence, to the magi alone ? The common people 
cannot even know of the existence of this venerated name 
under penalty of death or madness. 

The ancient Cabalists received a similar prohibition in 
the following passage from the Mishna : 

" It is forbidden to explain the history of creation to two 
persons : or even the history of the Mercaba or, the his- 
tory of the chariot, treating of the attributes of the unre- 
vealed being to one alone, unless he is a wise and intelli- 
gent man, in which case it is permitted to intrust to him 
the headings of the chapters." 

We are indebted to Mr. A. Frank, of the Institute, the 
eminent Hebraist, for an explanation of this curious pass- 
age of the Jewish Cabala. It will be seen that he confirms 
the opinion that we have just expressed, that an accurate 
interpretation of the beliefs of the sacerdotal castes and of 
the initiated, is not to be found in the works the multitude 
were allowed to see. 

" Evidently this cannot refer to the text of Genesis, or 
that of Ezekiel, where the prophet describes the vision 
he saw upon the banks of the Chebar." 

" The whole Scriptures, so to speak, were in every body's 
mouth. From time immemorial, the most scrupulous ob- 


servers of tradition had deemed it their duty to go through 
it, at least once a year, in the temple. Moses himself is 
constantly recommending the study of the law, by which 
he always means the Pentateuch. Esdras, after the return 
from the Babylonish captivity, read it aloud before the 
assembled people. The prohibition, which we have just 
quoted, cannot possibly refer to the history of the creation 
or to EzekieFs vision, which any one might seek to ex- 
plain himself, or to interpret to others. It refers to an 
interpretation, or rather to a known, secretly taught doc- 
trine to a science, whose forms, as well as principles, were 
fixed, since we know how it was divided and that it was 
separated into chapters, each of which was preceded by a 
heading. ISTow, it is to be noted that EzekiePs vision 
is totally unlike this ; it contains a single chapter and not 
several the first one in the works attributed to that 

We see also that this secret doctrine contains two parts, 
which are not considered equally important, for one could 
be taught to two persons, while the whole of the other 
coul.d never be divulged to any one person, even in case of 
compliance with the severity of the required conditions. 

If we are to believe Maimonides, who was a stranger to 
the Cabala, though he could not deny its existence, the 
first half, entitled The History of the Genesis or Creation, 
taught the science of nature. The second, entitled Mercdba 
or the history of the chariot, contained a treatise on the- 
ology. This is the accepted opinion of all Cabalists. 

Here is another fact which shows the same thing, not 
less conclusively. 

" The Kabbi Jochanan said, one day, to the Kabbi Eli- 
ezer: 'Let me teach you the Mercaba.' The latter an- 
swered him : ' I am not old enough for that/ When he 
had grown old, the Rabbi Jochanan died, and after a while 
the Rabbi Assi came in his turn : ' Let me teach you the 
Mercaba,' said he ; he replied : ' If I had thought myself 


worthy, I would already have learned it from the Eabbi 
Jochanan, your master.' ); 

This shows that, in order to be initiated into the mys- 
terious science of the Mereaba, an eminent position and 
exalted intellect were not all that were required. The 
candidate must also have reached a certain age, and even 
when that condition, which is also observed by modern 
Cabalists, had been complied with, he did not always 
feel sure of possessing intellect or moral strength enough 
to assume the burden of the fearful secrets, which might 
endanger his religious convictions and the material observ- 
ances of the law. 

Here is a curious example, taken from the Talmud it- 
self, in allegorical terms, of which it afterward gives an 

According to the teachings of the masters, there were 
four who entered into the garden of delights, and their 
names are as follows : Ben Asai, Ben Zoma, Acher, and 
Kabbi Akiba. 

Ben Asaii was over-inquisitive and lost his life. We 
may apply to him this verse of Scripture : What a pre- 
cious tiling in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his 

Ben Zoma also looked, but he lost his reason. His fate 
justifies the sage's parable: Did you find honey? eat 
enough to suffice you, for fear that if you take too much 
your stomach may reject it. 

Acher committed ravages among the plants. 

Lastly, Akiba entered quietly and came out quietly ; 
for the saint, whose name be blessed, had said : " Spare 
this old man ! he is worthy to serve with glory." 

It is hardly possible to construe this passage literally, or 
to suppose that it refers to a material vision of the splen- 
dors of another life, for there is no example in the Talmud 
of the use of the very mystical language here employed 
as applied to paradise. How can we allow, besides 3 that 


the contemplation, during life, of the powers who wait 
upon the elect in heaven, should have caused the loss of 
life or reason, as in the case of two of the persons men- 
tioned in this legend. 

We agree, with the most esteemed authorities of the 
synagogue, that the garden of delights, which the four 
doctors entered, was merely that mysterious science before 
spoken of " terrible for weak intellects, since it often leads 
to insanity." 

We have a reason for giving this long extract in full ; 
apart from the support it lends to our theory, it enables 
us to show the intimate connection that exists between the 
doctrines of the ancient Jewish Cabalists and those of the 
Hindu votaries of the Pitris or spirits. The latter, in- 
deed, as we shall soon see, only admitted old men to initi- 
ation, and their scientific book, the Agrouchada-parikchai, 
as well as the books of the early cabalists The Account of 
the Creation and the Mercaba, and finally, The Zohar is 
divided into three parts, treating : 

First. Of: the attributes of God. 

Second. Of the world. 

Third. Of the human soul. 

In a fourth part, the Agrouchada-parikchai sets forth 
the relations of universal souls to each other, and indicates 
the modes of evocation by means whereof the Fitris may 
be induced to manifest themselves to men, and teach them 
everlasting truth, according to the higher or lower degree of 
perfection to which they may, individually, have attained 
through their good works. 

The works of the Jewish Cabala, and especially the Zo- 
har, do not contain this fourth part. (Not that the Cabalists 
deny that these disembodied souls can enter into relations 
with those souls which have not yet laid aside their fleshly 
envelope.) The evocation of the soul of Samuel, by the 
witch of Endor in the presence of Saul, as well as of 
numerous other biblical apparitions, are sufficient to show 


that the belief existed. But they made it the subject of 
an initiation, and these terrible secrets were only taught 
by word of mouth in the mysterious recesses of the tem- 

It was not the study of God or the world which drove 
weak intellects into madness, as mentioned in that passage 
of the Talmud before spoken of, but rather the cabalistic 
practice of evocation in the supreme initiation. 

" "Whoever," says the Talmud, "has learned this secret 
aixd keeps it vigilantly, in a pure heart, may reckon upon 
the love of God and the favor of men ; his name inspires 
respect ; his science is in no danger of being forgotten, and 
he is the heir of two worlds that we live in, and the world 
to come." 

How can we know the secrets of the world to come, ex- 
cept by communicating with those who live there already. 

We shall see that the Zohar of the Cabalists, and the 
Agroucliada-parikchai of the Hindus, profess the same 
ideas as to the primordial germ or God, the world and the 
soul. We incline, therefore, to the belief that we are cor- 
rect in thinking that the practises openly taught by the 
Hindus, were also taught, so to speak, by word of mouth, 
by the ancient Thanaims of Judaism. 

We find Indian pagodas, indeed, where the fourth part 
of the Agrouchada is separated from the three others, and 
forms, so to speak, a book by itself, which would lead to 
the supposition that it was revealed last and only to a small 
number of adepts. 

We may add that the Cabalists of Judea and the votaries 
of the Pitris in India, used the same expression to desig- 
nate the adepts of the occult sciences : 

"He has entered the garden of delights" 

No doctrinal work upon these matters has come down 
to us from the Egyptians or the ancient Chaldeans, but the 
fragmentary inscriptions we do possess show that a higher 
initiation also existed among both. The great name, the 


mysterious name, the supreme name, which was known 
only to Ed, was never to be uttered. 

Thus, there is no doubt that the initiation in ancient 
times did not consist of a knowledge of the great religious 
works of the age, such as the Vedas, the Zend-Avesta, the 
Bible, etc., which everybody studied, but rather of the 
admission of a small number of priests and savants to an 
occult science, which had its genesis, its theology, its phil- 
osophy, and its peculiar practices, which it was forbidden 
to reveal to the vulgar herd. 

India has preserved all the manuscript treasures of its 
primitive civilization. The initiated have never abandoned 
any of their old beliefs or practices. 

It is, therefore, in our power to lift the veil completely 
from the Brahminic initiations. 

After comparing the philosophical doctrines of the adepts 
of the Pitris with those of the Jewish Cabalists, we shall 
go on to show the relations or connection between the 
initiated of other nations and the initiated of the Hindu 



Before touching upon the main point of our subject, it 
may not be amiss to say a few words about the Brahmins. 
"We do not propose, however, to raise the question of their 
real origin, which has been the subject of so much scientific 
controversy. According to some, who have certain ethno- 
logical theories of their own to support, they came from 
the sterile and desolate plains, which extend from the 
eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to the banks of the Oxus. 
According to others, who agree with the sacred books and 
pundits of India upon that point, they originated in the 
country comprised between the Ganges and the Indus on 
the one side and the Godavery and the Kristnah on the 
other. With regard to the former hypothesis we have 
said elsewhere, 1 " Such a theory seems singular, to say the 
least, when it is known that this country, which is held 
out to us as the cradle of the ancient Hindu race, does not 
possess a ruin, a tradition, a trace, which can furnish an 
ethnological foundation for such an opinion. This land, 
which is said to have produced the most astonishing civil- 
ization of ancient times, has not a monument or tradition 
of any sort to show for itself. It would be quite as 
logical, indeed, to make the Aryans or Brahmins originate 
in the sandy deserts of Sahara." 


According to the second theory, the Brahmins came 

1 The Genesis of Humanity. 


originally from the plains of Central Hindustan. This 
opinion has historic and geographical truth in its favor, as 
well as the authority of all the learned pundits and of 
Manu, whose celebrated words are well known : 

" Courouckchetra, Matsya, and the land of Boutchala, 
which is also called Cauya-Cobja (the Mountain of the 
Virgin), and Souraswaca, also called Mathoura, form the 
country adjacent to that of Brahmavarta, the country of 
virtuous men, or, in other words, of the Brahmins." 

These countries are included in the quadrilateral formed 
by the four rivers just named. We shall not dwell upon 
this point further, however, as it is not our intention to 
discuss ethnological problems in the present work, but 
rather to set forth and elucidate religious conceptions. 

Manu, the legislator, who sprang from the Temples of 
India, attributes to the Brahmins a Divine origin. 


* -X- 

For the propagation of the human race, from 
from his arm, from his thigh, from his foot, the Sovereign 
Master produced the Brahmin, priest the Xchatrya, 
king the Yaysia, merchant the Soudra, slave. 

By his origin, which he derives from the most noble 
member, because he was the first-born, because he pos- 
sesses the Holy Scriptures, the Brahmin is, by right, the 
Lord of all creation. 

Everything that the world contains is the Brahmin's 
property ; by his primogeniture and his eminent birth, he 
is entitled to everything that exists. 


The Brahmin eats nothing that does not belong to him, 
receives no garment that is not already his, and bestows 


no alms from the property of others that does not also 
belong to him. It is through the Brahmin's generosity 
that other men enjoy the goods of this world. (Manu, 
book i.) 

This is the original source of the doctrine of divine right. 

For several thousand years the Brahmins (priests) ruled 
over India without dispute. The kings, or, as we might 
rather say, the chiefs, were only their agents. The mass 
of the people, like a flock of sheep, maintained the upper 
classes in luxury and idleness by their labor. 

In the temples, which were vast sacerdotal storehouses 
filled with the treasures accumulated by the toil of the 
laboring classes, the priests appeared before the eyes of the 
assembled multitude, clad in gorgeous vestments. Kneel- 
ing before idols of wood, granite, or bronze, of their own 
contrivance, they set an example of the most absurd super- 
stitution. Their principal motive in the performance of 
their religious duties was the maintenance of their tem- 
poral supremacy, and when the sacrifices were over, the 
Yaysia and Soudra returned to their tasks, the chiefs 
to their pleasures, and the priests to their mysterious 
abodes, where they engaged in the study of the sciences 
and of the highest philosophical and religious specula- 

The hour came when the Xchatrias, or kings, made use 
of the people to throw off the theocratic yoke, but when 
they had conquered the priests, and assumed the title of 
Lords of Creation, they abandoned their late allies, and 
said to the Brahmins : 

" Preach to the people the doctrine that we are the elect 
of God, and we will give you all the wealth and privileges 
you desire." 

That was the basis of their agreement, and for twenty 
thousand years and more the Soudra, the servum pecus, 
the people, have never been able to break it up. 

Reduced to a purely religious role, the Brahmins used 


all their power to keep the multitude in ignorance and 
subserviency. Mistrustful lest some members of their order 
more ambitious than the rest might, one day or other, seek 
to further their own ends by stirring up the lower classes 
to revolt, they placed the secret of their religious belief, 
of their principles, of their sciences, under the shield of 
an initiatory ceremony, to the highest grade of which 
those only were admitted who had completed a novitiate of 
forty years of passive obedience. 

There were three degrees of initiation. 

The first included all the Brahmins of the popular cult, 
or those who officiated at the pagodas, whose business it 
was to work upon the credulity of the multitude. They 
were taught to comment upon the three first books of the 
Vedas, to direct the religious ceremonies, and to perform 
sacrifices. The Brahmins of the first degree were in con- 
stant communication with the people. They were its im- 
mediate directors, its gurus. 

The second degree included the exorcists, the soothsayers, 
the prophets, and the evocators of spirits, whose business 
it was, in times of difficulty, to act upon the imagination 
of the masses, through supernatural phenomena. They 
read and commented upon the Atharva-Yeda, which was 
a collection of magical conjurations. 

In the third degree the Brahmins had no direct relations 
with the populace, the study of all the physical and super- 
natural forces of the universe being their only occupation. 
They never appeared outside except through awe-inspiring 
phenomena, which spectators were not allowed to scru- 
tinize too closely. According to the celebrated Sanscrit 
sorits, the gods and spirits were at their disposition : 

Devadinam djagat sarvam. 
JUantradinam ta devata. 
Tan mantram l)rahmanadinam. 
Brahmana mama devata. 


Everything that exists is in the power of the gods. 
The gods are in the power of magical conjurations. 
Magical conjurations are in the power of the Brahmins. 
Therefore, the gods are in the power of the Brahmins. 

It was impossible to arrive at the highest degree without 
having passed through the first two, where a process of 
weeding, as it were, was constantly going on, having re- 
gard to the ability and intelligence of the candidates. 

It would have been impossible to conceive of a more 
effective instrument of social conservatism, and our modern 
doctrinaires may well regard it with a jealous eye. 

Those who were too intelligent, or who were not suffi- 
ciently amenable to discipline, owing to their inflexibility 
of character, were soon lost amid the crowd of bigots and 
fanatics of the first degree, who were as submissive and 
free from ambition as could possibly be desired. The 
lower clergy, if we may be allowed to use the expression, 
were not much above the level of the rest of the Hindu 
people, whose superstitions they shared, and whom they 
taught, perhaps, honestly. Absorbed in the ordinary ob- 
servances of religious worship, that independence of mind 
which usually accompanies knowledge was not to be appre- 
hended from them. It was not until twenty years had 
elapsed that promotion was possible from the first to the 
second degree, where the veil of the occult sciences first 
began to be uplifted, and the same period of time was 
necessary in order to surmount the mysterious barriers of 
the third degree. That class of initiates studied the 
Agrouchada-Parikckai) or the Book of Spirits. 

Above this last degree of initiation was the Supreme 
Council, under the presidency of the Brahmatma, or su- 
preme chief of all those who had been initiated. 

Only a Brahmin who had passed his eightieth year 
could exercise this pontificate. He was the sole keeper of 


the elevated formula, which included a summary of all 
knowledge, and was contained in the three mystic letters 


U M 

signifying Creation, Preservation, Transformation. He 
commented upon them only in the presence of the initiate. 

Residing in an immense palace, surrounded by twenty- 
one walls, the Brahmatma showed himself to the multi- 
tude only once a year, encompassed with such pomp and 
pageantry that his apppearance impressed the imagination 
of all who saw him, as though they had been in the pres- 
ence of a God. 

The common people thought that he was immortal. 

In fact, in order to maintain this belief in the minds of 
the masses, the death of the Brahmatma and the election 
of his successor were kept profoundly secret, and were 
never known by them. Everything occurred in the si- 
lence of the temples, and those who had been initiated in 
the third degree alone took part in his election. Only 
those who were members of the Supreme Council were 

" Whoever among those who have been initiated into 
the third degree shall reveal to a profane person a single 
one of the truths, a single one of the secrets entrusted to 
his keeping, shall be put to death." J The recipient of the 
revelation met a similar fate. 

Finally, to crown the whole system, there existed a 
higher word than the mysterious monosyllable A, U, M 
which made him who possessed the clue to it, almost 
equal to Brahma himself. The Brahmatma alone pos- 
sessed it and transmitted it to his successor in a sealed 

Even now, when the Brahminic authority has sunk so 

1 The Sons of God. 


low before Mongol and European invasion ; when every 
pagoda has its Brahmatma ; this unknown word has been 
revealed to no human power, and has been kept a pro- 
found secret. It was engraved in a golden triangle and 
carefully kept in a sanctuary of the Temple of Asgartha, 
of which the Brahmatma alone had the keys. For this 
reason, also, he wore, upon his tiara, two crossed keys up- 
held by two kneeling Brahmins, as a sign of the precious 
deposit which had been entrusted to his care. 

This word and triangle were also engraved upon the 
gem of the ring, which this religious chief wore as a sign of 
his dignity. It was also set in a golden sun, which stood 
upon the altar upon which the supreme pontiff offered 
every morning the sacrifice of the Sarvameda, or sacrifice 
to all the forces of nature. 

At the death of the Brahmatma, his body was burned 
upon a golden tripod and his ashes secretly thrown into 
the Ganges. If, in spite of every precaution, a report of 
his death was bruited abroad, the priests adroitly spread 
abroad the rumor that the supreme chief had ascended for 
a time to Swarga (heaven) in the smoke of the sacrifice, 
but would soon return to the earth. 

Numerous revolutions have so thoroughly disturbed the 
social and religious condition of India, that Brahminism 
no longer possesses any supreme chief. Each pagoda has 
its three degrees of initiation, and its own private Brah- 
matma. The chiefs of these temples are often at open 
hostility with each other. However, this does not seem 
to have affected their religious belief, as yet, and we shall 
see, as we study the methods in use in the three different 
classes of initiation, that the Hindu Brahmins still cling 
to their old religious prescriptions. 



When a Brahmin's wife has given birth to a son, her 
husband is careful to note upon his tablets the hour, the 
day, the year, and the epoch, of the occurrence, together 
with the stars under whose auspices the child has just been 

He carries this information to the astronomer of the 
pagoda, who casts the horoscope of the new-born child. 
Nine days thereafter a stand is erected and decorated with 
flowers and foliage, upon which the mother takes her seat, 
with the boy in her arms. 

An officiating Pourohita, or Brahmin belonging to the 
first class of initiation, then performs the poudja, or sacri- 
fice to Yischnou, in front of the stand. He pours a little 
lustral water upon the child's head, and into the hollow of 
the hands of the father and mother, who drink it, and then 
he sprinkles all those present with the same liquid. 

The father then brings a dish of earthenware, bronze, 
or silver, according to his means, upon which is a little 
betel, and a present for the Pourohita. 

By this ceremony the child is purified from all the 
uncleanness attached to his birth. 

From this time, the mother, who since her confinement, 
has stayed in a separate room, is obliged to live ten days 
longer by herself in a retired place, at the end of which 
time she is allowed to go to the temple, to purify herself 
from her uncleanness. 


It is unnecessary to call attention to the fact that a simi- 
lar custom in such cases prevailed among the Jews. 

The Ceremony of the Nahma- Carma. 

Twelve days afterward the ceremony of the giving of 
the name, or of the Nahma-Carma, as it was called, took 

The house was decorated as if for a festival, and all the 
relatives and friends of the Brahmin caste alone were in- 

The father, after performing an oblation to the fire and 
the nine principal divinities which rule the planets, trans- 
cribed with a brush upon a wooden tablet the horoscope of 
his son, which was cast at the pagoda, with the name that 
he proposed to give him. 

He then uttered three times in a loud voice the name 
which he had just written, which all present repeated after 
him. He closed with the following words : 

"Blessed be the name of Brahma. This is my son 
and his name is Narayana [or any other name]. Listen 
attentively in order that you may remember it." 

He then went out of the house at the head of a proces- 
sion consisting of all his guests, and planted in his garden, 
or in front of the dwelling, a cocoanut, tamarind, or palm 
tree, according to the section of country where he re- 
sided, saying: 

" In the name of the powerful and just Brahma, all you 
who are here present, bear this in mind. This tree is 
planted on Narayana's name-day, in the thirty-fifth year 
of the fifth lunar century of the third divine epoch" (or any 
given date). 

This, as the reader will understand, is given merely as 
a matter of form. 

At the close of the ceremony, a grand feast is given, of 


which all present partake. Previous to their departure, 
the father presents to each a cup of cedar- or sandal-wood, 
upon which is engraved the horoscope, or more generally 
the monogram of the child. 

The object of this present is to furnish evidence, in case 
any dispute should thereafter arise as to the legitimacy of 
the child's birth. When summoned as witnesses before 
the caste tribunal, the guests appear with their cups in 
their hands, and testify as follows : 

" In the name of the powerful and just Brahma ; the 
words which proceed from my mouth are strictly true. 
This cup was given to me by Covinda, on Naray ana's 
name-day, in the thirty-fifth year of the fifth lunar cen- 
tury of the third divine epoch. There can be no doubt 
that Narayana is the son of Covinda." 

The Pourohita, or Brahmin who is present at the cere- 
mony, then offers a sacrifice to the Pitris, or ancestral 
spirits, and asks them to protect the new-born child. 

The father then distributes betel among the guests and 
makes a present to the officiating priest according to his 

The Ceremony of Anna-Prasscma. 

When the child is in the seventh month of his age, rice 
is given him to eat for the first time. This festival is 
called the Anna-Prassana. 

As in the case of the other ceremonies the father invites 
all his relative? and friends and sends to the pagoda for a 
Brahmin to officiate. After a general bath in the tank of 
ablutions, upon which the Pourohita has scattered a few 
drops of lustral water, all the guests take their seats upon 
a stand decorated with branches of fruit-trees in full bear- 
ing, and the priest offers a sacrifice to the lunar spirits 
that protect the family. 

Meanwhile, the women sing an appropriate psalm and 


perform the ceremony of aratty (which has the property 
of driving away evil spirits) above the child's head for the 
first time. 

The priest then blesses the Brahminical girdle which is a 
sign of his caste, and which is bound around the child's 
loins for the first time. A little boiled rice is then put in 
his mouth, and everybody sits down to the repast. 

The ceremony terminates with the distribution of betel 
and a present to the officiating priest. 

The Ceremony of the Tchaoula. 

"When a child reaches the age of three years, the cere- 
mony of the Tchaoula, or the Tonsure, is performed. 

This festival is much more solemn than the preceding, 
for the child, who is present, is able for the first time to 
murmur the name of the divinity, as well as the names of 
the protecting spirits of his home and family. 

After bathing and decorating the child with a necklace 
and bracelets of mingled coral and sandal-wood beads, he 
is led beneath a pandal, which is a sort of dais formed of 
trees procured for that purpose and of flowers of every 

He is surrounded by his relatives and guests and the 
priest offers an oblation to all the Pitris, or family and 
ancestral shades, in both branches, on the father's and 
mother's side. 

The statue of Siva-Lingam, the image of perpetual 
fruitf ulness, is brought in covered with flowers and fruits. 

At this point of the office the barber commences. After 
prostrating himself in the presence of the god, in the midst 
of female singing, accompanied by the musicians from the 
pagoda, he proceeds to shave the child's head, leaving a 
small lock of hair on the back part, which is never cut. 

During this operation the child's female relatives per- 
form the aratty upon the heads of those present, in order 


to drive away evil spirits, and everybody preserves a re- 
ligious silence. 

Having finished his duties, the barber retires with his 
pay, which consists of a certain quantity of rice, and the 
priest cleanses the child from any impurity which he may 
have derived from unclean contact with the barber. 

The child's toilet is then made anew, and after a fresh 
bath in the sacred tank of ablutions, in order to pro- 
pitiate all the spirits and genii of the plants to which that 
day is consecrated the ceremony closes as before with a 
repast and presents. 

Until the age of nine years the Brahmin remains in 
the hands of the women until the term for commencing 
his novitiate arrives. 



The Ceremony of Oupanayana. 

[Taken from the Nitia-Carma, the first part of the 
Agrouchada-Parikchai, or book of the occult sciences of 
the Brahmins.] 

The word Oupanayana signifies introduction to the 
study of the sciences. "We give this passage of the Agrou- 
chada in the form of verses, as it was written : 

It is now time for the virtuous father, who possesses a 
son over whose head has rolled three times three years, 
the figure of the tutelary spirits, to perform the ceremony 
of the Oupanayana. 


* # 

He should procure vessels of gold, silver, bronze, or 
earthenware, according to his means, which are to be 
distributed to the Brahmins after the repast. 


* * 

He should lay in an abundant supply of rice, seeds, 
fruit, oil, butter, sugar, vegetables, and milk, for he has 
not only to entertain his guests, but the larger part should 
be offered as an oblation to the Pitris, or set apart for the 
poor and orphans. 


* * 

When the father of a family gives food to the suffering, 


to returning travellers, to pilgrims, and to little children 
who look in curiously at the feast with envious eyes as 
they pass, when, like a sower, he scatters outdoors handfuls 
of seeds for the little birds, the spirits and his ancestral 
shades are content. 

The festival should last four days, and new vessels and 
fresh and pure provisions should be used daily. 

He should prepare powdered vermilion, sandal-wood, 
and saffron, in order that the women may trace magic 
circles around the house to drive away evil spirits and at- 
tract good spirits. 

# # 

These preparations being completed, the father should 
ask the Pourohita to name a day of auspicious omen. It 
should never be at the commencement nor at the end of 
the moon. It should never either be an odd day. 

The pandal should then be erected with consecrated 
flowers and foliage, among which the lotus flower should 
predominate. He should then spread upon the ground a 
thick layer of cousa grass, and he should invite his rela- 
tives, commencing with those in the ascending line on the 
father's side, after which he should bid his friends and all 
Brahmins who have reached the age of one hundred years. 

The women should sumptuously decorate the pandal 
with hanging garlands and bouquets of flowers so as to 
form alternate bands of red and white. 

All the guests before going to the place where the cere- 


mony is to be held, should perform the usual purifications 
in the sacred tank of the pagoda. 

When the parents and friends are all assembled the 
Pourohita should be introduced with all due marks of re- 
spect. He should bring with him a girdle and the skin of 
a gazelle. A gazelle's skin is always pure, and he who 
sits thereon does not contract any uncleanness. 

# * 

The Pourohita should then perform the san-colpa, or 
preparation of the soul, in which he is absorbed in the 
contemplation of Yischnou, who is represented as the au- 
thor and preserver of the universe. 

He should regard him as a distributor of every favor, 
and as one who crowns with success all our enterprises. 
With this view he should pronounce his name three times 
and offer him adoration. 

He should then contemplate the infinite perfection of 
Brahma. He should ponder over the three triads, 1 which 
have sprung from him, and have created the eight mil- 
lion four hundred thousand kinds of living creatures, at 
the head of which is man. 

He should then ponder over the existence of the uni- 
verse, which is to last a hundred years of the gods, 2 which 
are divided into four periods, of which the first, second, 
and half of the third have already elapsed. He should 
then perform an oblation to the universe. 

1 Nara-Narl-Viradj %* Ayni-Voya-Sourya * Brahma * Vischnou-Siva. 
* Each year of the gods is equal to several thousands of the lunar 


He should think of the different incarnations of Visch- 
nou, and of that of the boar under whose form the god 
vanquished the giant Hirannia. 

He should prostrate himself before the fourteen cate- 
gories of celestial (Pitris) and inferior spirits by which 
the universe is filled. 

* * 

He should perform an oblation to the pure fluid which 
is called Agasa, and which is the essence of life. 

He should pronounce the mysterious monosyllable which 
was to be kept from the knowledge of the multitude, by 
merely moving his lips. 

* * 

He should offer sacrifice to Swayambhouva, the self -ex- 
istent being. 

* * 

He should evoke the spirits of his ancestors and ask 
them to be present at the ceremony. 


* # 

He should drive away all evil spirits whose presence 
might otherwise disturb the sacrifices. 

He should propitiate the superior spirit Poulear, who 
presides over obstacles and brings enterprises to a success- 
ful issue. 

All the guests should repair again to the sacred tank 
of ablution, where they purify themselves according to their 
method prescribed. 


Upon their return the Brahmatchary, or neophyte, 
should take his place beneath the pandal of flowers, and 
all the married women present should chant consecrated 
psalms and at the same time anoint his limbs with per- 
fumed oil and saffron and rub his eyelids with antimony. 


* * 

When his toilet is finished the father and mother of the 
neophyte should take their place by his side beneath the 
pandal, and the women should perform upon their heads 
the ceremony of the aratty, in order to remove evil 



* * 

The Poiidja, or sacrifice, is then offered to all the tute- 
lary spirits of the family, as well as the firstlings of all the 
dishes prepared for the repast. 


* * 

All the men and women should then sit down on cocoa- 
nut leaves covered with lotus leaves, and should turn their 
backs so that they may not see each other eat. 

Rice, clarified butter, oil, sugar, fruits, and vegetables 
are then brought in for the feast, and at the close of the 
repast the father distributes betel and gives a present to 
the Pourohita, after which everybody retires. 


* * 

Such was the first day of the Oupanayana. 


* * 

The next day was called Mouhourta, or the great day, 
for it was that on which the neophyte was to be invested 

with the girdle. 


* * 

The Brahmatchary should take his place beneath the 


pandal, between his father and mother, and all three 
should turn their faces toward the East. 

The Brahmatchary should have his loins girt around 
with new linen of pure material, and the women should 
gently rub his chest and arms with the powdered saffron 
and sandal-wood mingled, and should sing consecrated 

tt * 

The Pourohita should then advance with a silver fur- 
nace filled with burning coals: he should perform the 
sacrifice to the spirits, by evoking them around the fire, 
and should throw incense and powdered sandal- wood upon 
the fire, to gratify their sense of smell. 

This fire should be carefully kept until the end of the 
festival Oupanayana, for if it should happen to be extin- 
guished, great harm might ensue, and the familiar spirits 
might desert the house. 

The preservation of this fire should be given in charge 
to nine Brahmins and their wives. 

All the married women who happen to be among the 
guests should go in great pomp to the consecrated tank, 
preceded by musical instruments, and bearing a copper 
vessel, which they are to fill with water. 

Upon their return to the house they should cover the 
mouth of the vessel with mango leaves, and hang above it 
a branch of a banana tree, freshly cut, with all its fruits. 


They should all then go together to the neighboring 
forest, where, having found a nest of white ants, they 
should fill ten earthen pots with earth beaten and sifted 
by these animals. 

* * 

Returning then to the other guests, they should plant 
in these pots ten different kinds of seeds, which they 
should sprinkle with water taken from the sacred tank. 

When this has been done, the Pourohita should bring 
all the pots together and stretch over them a fine cloth ; 
he should recite the invocation to the tutelary spirits and 
ask them to manifest their power by auspicious omens. 

Imposing his hands above the cloth, he should then pro- 
nounce in a low voice, unheard by those present, the fol- 
lowing magic words : 


These are Sanscrit words, signifying : 
AgnMn sacred fire, 
Pd holy water, 
Pdtra purified vessel, 
Parydya magic vegetation, 
Pardxa invisible. 

The Pourohita should utter these words nine times 
nine times. The tutelary spirits will then manifest them- 
selves and the cloth is gradually raised during the continu- 
ance of the invocation. 

The Pourohita should then remove the cloth, and he 
will find that the ten seeds have appeared above the earth 


in the ten pots, and ten shrubs have grown as high as the 
Pourohita's forehead, bearing flowers and fruits each after 
its kind. 

The Brahmatchary's mother should then weave a crown 
of flowers gathered from these trees, and should place it 
upon her son's head. The Pourohita should then distrib- 
ute among all of those present the fruits which have grown 
beneath the cloth, which the guests should eat, repeating 
the following words three times : 

The auspicious omen has manifested itself. 

The auspicious omen has manifested itself. 

The auspicious omen has manifested itself. 
The Brahmatchary then receives the triple cord of the 

A new invocation was then made to the spirits of the 
planets and ancestors, thanking them for their protection 
and intervention, and a piece of consecrated saffron was 
attached about the young Brahmin's neck. 


The barber should then shave the neophyte's head and 
cut the nails of his feet and hands to the sound of the 
women's songs, accompanied by the musician from the 

* * 

The young Brahmin is then required to take a bath in 
the tank of aUution, in order to remove any impurity 
which he may have contracted by being in contact with 
the barber, who is unclean, and the women attire him in 
new and pure linen garments. 

The Pourohita then advances to his side and, by the im- 
position of hands, removes his ignorance and qualifies him 


for the study of the sciences, which will now occupy every 
moment of his time. He should then gird about his 
waist a triple girdle, woven from the sacred grass of the 

Reciting the conjurations of the neck and bosom, the 
Pourohita then decorates the neophyte with the triple 
girdle of the Brahininic initiation, and consecrates him 
Brahmatchary or candidate for initiation. 


At this time a Guru, or master of the sacred science, is 
chosen for the young Brahmatchary. He must be more 
than sixty years old. 

The Guru should take his new pupil aside, and turn- 
ing his face toward the East, he should say to him, " Oh ! 
my son, you have now taken your seat by the side of 
men, may your body be free from all impurity ; may your 
thoughts always turn toward the good, for Brahma will 
now commence to know you by your actions. 

" Know that the shades of your ancestors in an aerial 
form will attend you in all your studies, and will reveal to 
you hereafter, if you are worthy, the grand secret of being. 


3f & 

"Always bear in mind that what you will now learn 
should never be revealed to the vulgar herd, and that you 
will never arrive at the end of your initiation if you are 
unable to hide the secret of things in the deepest recesses 

of your heart." 

* * 

Having uttered these words, the Guru for the first time 
calls the young Bramatchary, Douidja, which means twice 


The first birth is merely the advent into material life, 
the second birth is the entrance to a spiritual life. 

So ends the second day. 

On the third day the Brahmatchary for the first time 
offers a sacrifice to fire, and performs an oblation to the 
spirits and to his ancestral shades, in the presence of all 
the guests. 

* * 

On the fourth day the father of the young Brahmin 
who has just received the investiture should make suitable 
presents to all the Brahmins who were present at the cere- 
mony, and should not forget to give a cow and a hundred 
inanganys of rice to his son's Guru. 

Having repeated the san-colpa, the Pourohita should 
perform an oblation to all the spirits that he evoked to be 
present at the festival, and he should thank them for an- 
swering his summons. 


* * 

All present should say as they separate, " The child is 
dead, a man is born." 


* * 

"We purposely refrain from accompanying this curious 
passage from the Agrouchada-Parikchai with any com- 
ments of our own. As we have said before, we merely 
propose to give an impartial account of these strange cus- 

We will say, however, that in this ceremony of the Ou- 
panayana or investiture of the sacred girdle, which makes 
a man of the boy, the Pitris, or spirits, and the ancestral 
shades take the most prominent part. They are evoked 


by a Pourohita, they are present during the whole festi- 
val, and they almost exclusively receive the sacrifice, obla- 
tions, and firstlings of all the dishes prepared for the 
repast which terminates the mysterious celebrations of 
each particular day. 

Yischnou, as well as Brahma, the lord of all beings, 
and the master of gods and men, is only evoked by the 
Pourohita in order to prepare himself for the ceremony 
by the contemplation of the perfections of the creator and 
preserver of the universe. 

The Brahmatchary continues his studies as novice until 
the time of his marriage, which takes place about the six- 
teenth or eighteenth year of his age. During this period 
he lives with his Guru, or director, and engages in the 
study of the sacred books, and of the mathematical and 
astronomical sciences. 

He is not yet admitted to the study of the occult sciences, 
whose first principles he will only begin to learn when he 
has reached the degree of Grihasta, or head of a family, 
or of Pourohita, or officiating priest. 

The following instructions are taken from Manu : 

After the initiation of the Brahmatchary, the Guru 
teaches him the duty of purity and morality, the main- 
tenance of the sacred fire, and the morning, noon, and 
evening sandyas, which are a kind of prayers. 

After having performed the prescribed ablutions, and 
before opening the Yeda, turning his face toward the 
East, the Brahmatchary should pay homage to the sov- 
ereign master of the universe. 

During the reading of the Yeda he should control his 
senses, and stand with clasped hands in an attitude of 
homage before the sacred scriptures. At the commence- 


ment and close of the reading, he should kiss the feet of 
his director, and not commence nor stop until he hears the 
Guru tell him to begin his studies or to desist. 

Always, at the commencement or end of his reading, 
he should pronounce the sacred monosyllable, A, U, M, 
which contains the mystery of the Trinity. That will 
make him remember what he has learned, otherwise it 
will vanish like letters traced upon the waters. 

* * 

He should pronounce this mysterious monosyllable, 
which is an invocation to the Trimourti and which ex- 
presses the substance of the Yeda, according to Brahma 
himself, with face turned toward the East ; he should be 
free from all impurity, should hold his breath, and have in 
his hands a stalk of sacred cousa grass. 

The Brahmatchary should never cause the slighest 
trouble to the Guru who has undertaken to educate him 
and to instruct him in the knowledge of the sacred scrip- 
tures. He should venerate him like a father and mother. 

It nowhere appears in the Agrouchada-Parikchai that it 
is lawful for the Brahmatchary to make use of the invo- 
cation of the mysterious monosyllable, A, U, M, as he is 
allowed to do by Manu, but the ancient legislator uses 
the word here in its vulgar sense, in which it represents 
the religious triad ; as for the mystical signification of the 
three letters, he forbids its explanation, like the book of 
the Pitris. 

The primitive holy syllable, composed of the three let- 
ters, in which the vedic trinity is comprised, should be 
kept secret. (Manu, book xi., sloca 265.) 


We shall not describe in the present work the Brahmat- 
chary's marriage ceremony nor his funeral, in case of his 
death before his novitiate is completed. The restricted 
limits of a single volume will not allow us to dwell upon 
these matters except at the expense of the more interesting 
parts of our subject. 

The real practice of the occult sciences did not com- 
mence until the second or third degree of initiation. It 
is mainly important that we should make ourselves ac- 
quainted with these, the novitiate and the first class of ini- 
tiation being only preparatory to the higher degrees. 

Suffice it to say that the evocation of the ancestral 
shades of the Pitris always formed a prominent feature, 
both of the marriage ceremony and of the funeral rites. 
They could not take place without their being present. 




[Taken from the Agrouchada-Parikchai.] 

After his marriage, the Brahmatchary left the class of 
neophytes, but he did not, however, enter that of the Gri- 
hastas, or heads of family, who had been admitted to the 
first degree of initiation. In order to do so, it was requi- 
site, first, that he should have paid his ancestors' debt by 
the birth of a son, who would perpetuate their race ; sec- 
ond, that he should be deemed worthy, upon the report 
of his Guru, of taking this step. 

Upon admission he might remain a simple Grihasta, or 
he might be attached to the service of a pagoda, in the 
capacity of a Pourohita ; in either case, he was now a 
member of the great sacerdotal family, and during twenty 
years all the acts of his daily life would be instrumental 
in the preparation, both mentally and physically, by medi- 
tation, prayers, sacrifices, ablutions, and the strictest atten- 
tion to personal cleanliness, for the superior transformation 
which was now the object of all his efforts. 

According to the first part of the Agroiichada-Parikchai, 
which we have already quoted, and which is called the 
Nittia-Carma, the following is an account of the innumer- 
able corporeal and spiritual purifications which were en- 
joined upon him, and none of which could be neglected 
under the severest penalties. 

They are divided in the original work in the following 
manner : 



* # 

The Grihasta should leave his mat every morning bef era 
sunrise, and his first words, upon leaving his bed, should 
be an invocation to Yischnou. 

He should then address the great essence, whose number 
three is contained in one, as well as the superior spirits, 
saying, Brahma ! Yischnou ! Siva ! and you, superior 
Genii of the seven planets, cause the day to appear. 


The second name which he should pronounce, is that of 
the Guru under whom he has accomplished his novitiate. 
He should say : 

O holy Guru, I offer you my adorations and I love 
you as a superior spirit who has already left the world. 
It is through your wise lessons that I have been able to 
avoid evil. 

He should then pray to the superior Being, to descend 
into his heart, saying : 

Brahma is now within me, and I shall enjoy the most 
perfect happiness. 

* * 

He should then address Yischnou, saying : 
O God, who art the purest of spirits, the principle of 
all things, the master of the world, and the fertilizer of 
nature, it is by thy orders that I have left my couch and 
have ventured among the shoals of life. 

He should then ponder over the duties of the day, and 
the good works and meritorious actions which it is his 
duty to perform. 


He should remember, in order to be agreeable to the 
gods, that all his actions should be performed with fervor 
and piety, not negligently or perfunctorily. 

Having set his mind upon the performance of every 
duty, he should then utter aloud the thousand names of 

The Agrouchada gives the whole litany of Yischnou, 
which is actually composed of a thousand names. They 
commence as follows : 

Hail to Yischnou ! 
Hail to Hary ! 
Hail to Narayana ! 
Hail to Covinda ! 
Hail to Kechva ! etc. 

The reader will gladly dispense with the rest. 

The Regular Ablutions. 

Taking in his hand a copper vessel, he should go to 
some isolated place, at least an arrow's flight from his 
dwelling, to perform his needs. 

It is impossible for us to give these singular precepts 
in full. They are alike among all Eastern people. "We 
read in Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verses 12 and 13. (Ha- 
l>ebis locum extra castra ad quern egrediaris ad requisita 
naturce, gerens paxillum in ~balteo ; cumque sederis, fodies 
per circuitum, et egesta humo operies.) 

* * 

In the choice of a suitable place he should avoid the 
ground of a temple and the banks of a river, or a tank, a 
well, a much- travelled road, or a sacred wood. 


He should not wear the pure cloth which he uses as a 

He should suspend the triple cord, which is a sign of his 
dignity, from his left ear. 

He should stop in a place where he is sure of not being 
seen, and while he stays there he should not have in mind 
or sight, the gods, the Pitris, the ancestral shades, the sun, 
the moon, the seven planets, or fire, or a Brahmin, a tem- 
ple, a statue of the divinity, or a woman. 

* * 
He should maintain the profoundest silence. 

He should chew nothing and have no burden upon his 

Upon his departure, after washing his feet and hands 
in the water contained in a covered vessel, he should go 
to the banks of a river or tank to perform the ablution of 
his secret parts. 

Having come to the banks of the river or tank where 
he proposes to purify himself, he should choose a suitable 
place, and a little fine sand which he should use in con- 
junction with the water to effect his purification. 


x- * 

He should know that there are several kinds of impure 
earths which he should not use, to wit : earth thrown up 
by ants, that from which the salt has been extracted, clay, 
the earth upon a high road, that which has been used for 
making lye, that which is found under a tree or in the 


grounds of a temple, or in a cemetery, or that which is 
found near boles made by rats. 

He should select a fine sandy earth, free from vegetable 
or animal detritus of any kind. 

Having provided himself with suitable earth, he should 
approach the water without entering it and should fill his 
copper vessel. If he has no vessel, he should make a hole 
in the sand upon the banks of a river. 

* # 

Taking a handful of earth saturated with water, he 
should rub and wash the unclean parts three times, and 
his other secret parts once. 

Then, after cleaning and washing himself with plenty 
of water, he should rinse out his mouth with the pure 
liquid and should swallow three mouthfuls while uttering 
the name of Yischnou. 

* # 

In cleaning his teeth he should use a small bit of wood 
taken from the outanga, rengou, neradou, visouga, outara, 
or revanou tree or from any lacteous or thorny bushes. 

Upon cutting off a, branch he should address the spirits 
of the woods as follows : 

Spirit of the forest, I cut one of these little branches 
to clean my teeth. Grant me, by means of the act which 
I am about to accomplish, a long life, strength, honors, 
and understanding. 


Having terminated this invocation, he should cut a long 
stick from a palm tree, the end of which he should 
soften in his mouth, like a brush. 

x- * 

Sitting upon the edge of the water, with his face turned 
toward the East, he should rub all his teeth with the stick 
of wood and should rinse out his mouth three times with 

pure water. 


* * 

It is not lawful for him to cleanse himself thus every 
day. He should abstain the sixth, eighth, ninth, eleventh, 
and fourteenth day of the new and full moon. 


* -x- 

He should abstain on Tuesday of every week, and on 
the day presided over by the constellation beneath which 
he was born, as well as upon the day of the week and 
month corresponding to that of his birth. 


* # 

He should abstain during eclipses, planetary conjunc- 
tions, equinoxes, solstices, and other inauspicious periods ; 
upon the anniversary of his father's or mother's death 
lie should understand that all this is absolutely forbidden. 

Rules for General Ablutions. 

Upon going to the river or tank of ablutions the 
Brahmin should change the water of the river or tank, by 
the power of the following invocation, into the sacred 

waters of the Ganges : 


* * 


O Ganges, you were born from the bosom of Brahma, 
whence you descended upon the head of Siva and the 


feet of Yischnou, and came down to earth to wipe out the 
sins of mankind, to purify them from their uncleanness, and 
to obtain happiness for them ; you are the refuge and 
stay of all animated creatures that live on this earth. I 
have confidence in you ; take back again your holy water 
from this river in which I am about to perform my ablu- 
tions ; in this manner you will purify my soul and body. 

He should think of the spirits who preside over the 
sacred rivers, which are seven in number Ganges, Ya- 
mouna, Sindou, Godavery, Sarasvatty, Nerbouda, and 

* -x- 

Then entering the water he should direct his attention 
toward the Ganges, and imagine that he is really per- 
forming his ablutions in that river. 


After bathing he should turn toward the sun, and 
taking some water in his hands three times, he should 
perform an oblation to that luminary three times, letting 
the water drip slowly from the end of his fingers. 


* * 

He should then come out of the water, gird his loins 
with a pure cloth, put another upon his shoulders, and sit 
down with his face turned toward the East, and with his 
copper vessel full of water standing near him : he should 
then rub his forehead with ground sandal-wood and trace 
the red mark called Tiloky, according to the practice of 

his caste. 


* # 

He should then hang from his neck three garlands of 
flowers of different colors prepared by his wife, and should 
finish by suspending from his neck a chaplet of the red 
seed called Boudrakchas. 


He should then think of Yischnon and should drink of 
the water contained in his vase three times in his honor. 
He should again perform three libations to the sun, pour- 
ing a little water upon the earth. 

He should perform a similar libation in honor of the 
celestial Trimourti Brahma, Vischnou, Siva ; and of 
the superior spirits Indra, Agny, Yama, Neiritia, Ya- 
rouna, Yahivou, Couverd, and Isania. 

To the air, to the ether, to the earth, to the pure fluid, 
Agasa, to the universal principle of force and life, and to 
all the Pitris and ancestral shades, uttering the names of 
all those which occur to his mind. 

He should then arise and pay homage to Yischnou, re- 
citing in his honor the prayers which are most agreeable 
to him. 

Turning around slowly three times, he should pronounce 
the names of the divine Trinity, nine times at every revo- 
lution. Then uttering slowly the three names contained in 
the mysterious monosyllable Brahma, Yischnou, Siva 
he should make nine revolutions at each repetition thereof. 

When he pronounces the mysterious monosyllable itself 
in a low tone, he should rapidly make nine revolutions and 
recite the following invocation to the sun : 

* * 


O Sun ! you are the eye of Brahma at day-break, the 
eye of Yischnou at noon, and that of Siva at evening. 


You are the diamond of the Infinite, the precious stone of 
the air, the king of day, the witness of all actions that 
take place in the universe. Your warmth fertilizes na- 
ture. You are the measure of time. You regulate 
days, nights, weeks, months, years, cycles, calpas, yu- 
yas, seasons, and the time for ablutions and prayer. 
You are the lord of the nine planets. You remove 
all the impurities of the globe. You scatter darkness 
wherever you appear. In the space of sixty gahdias 
you survey from your chariot the whole of the great 
mountain of the north, which extends for ninety millions 
six hundred yodjomas. I offer you my adoration, as to 
the superior spirit which watches over the earth. 

In honor of his tutelary star and of the spirit which 
animates it, he then turns around twelve times, twenty- 
four times, or if his strength enables him twenty-four 
times, forty-eight times. 1 

* * 

In this manner he disciplines the body, increases his 
strength, and prepares himself for mysterious evocations. 
He then goes toward the tree, Assouata, and, after rest- 
ing himself in its shade, he addresses to it the following 

invocation : 


* * 


Tree Assouata ! * you are the king of the forests 
and the image and symbol of the gods. Your roots repre- 
sent Brahma, your trunk Yischnou, and your branches 
Siva ; thus you represent the Trimourti. All those who 
honor you in this world by performing the ceremony of 

1 This is undoubtedly the origin of the Bonzes and whirling dervishes. 
8 All Brahmins plant them about their temples and dwelling-houses 


imitation, by turning around you, and by celebrating your 
praises, obtain the knowledge of things in this world and a 
superior form in another. 

He then revolves around the tree seven, fourteen, 
twenty -one, twenty-eight, thirty-five times and more, until 
his strength is exhausted, always increasing the number of 
revolutions by seven. 

"When he is rested he should engage, for a while, in de- 
vout meditation ; he should then clothe himself with clean 
garments, and, after plucking a few flowers with which to 
offer sacrifices to the domestic spirits, he should return to 
the house, with his vessel full of water. 


Acts after Ablutions. 

Upon returning home the Grihasta performs the sacri- 
fice to the fire and can then attend to his other duties. 

At noon, after ordering his mid-day meal, he should re- 
turn to the river for the purpose of repeating the sandya 
and of reciting the prayers which will be hereafter given 

in the ritual. 

* f 

Then he should return home, and try to keep himself 
pure by carefully abstaining from touching or walking 
upon anything capable of contaminating him. 

x- * 

If he should come in contact with any person of an in- 
ferior caste, or should step upon any vegetable or animal 


detritus, upon any hair or bones, he should return to the 
river and repeat his ablutions. 

* # 

He should be in a state of perfect purity in order to 
offer the sacrifice to the Pitris which it now becomes his 
office to perform. 

After preparing himself for this important ceremony, 
he should thoughtfully enter the room in his house re- 
served for the domestic spirits which he is accustomed to 
evoke, and should engage in the ceremonies preparatory 
to evocation. 

Evocation in the First Degree. 

After darkening a part of the room he should deposit 
in that portion of it a vase full of water, a lamp, and some 
powdered sandal-wood, boiled rice, and incense. 

Snapping his fingers together, and turning around 
upon his heels he should trace before the door the magic 
circles as taught him by the superior Guru, in order to 
prevent the entrance of any bad spirits from the outside 
and to confine within it any which have already pene- 
trated to the sanctuary of the Pitris. 

With earth, water, and fire, breathed upon three times, 
he should compose a new body for himself, and with a part 
of his, should form a body for the spirits which he in- 
tends to evoke for the sacrifice. 

He should then compress the right nostril with his 
thumb and pronounce the monosyllable Djom! sixteen 


times. Breathing in strongly by his left nostril he should 
by degrees separate the particles of which his body is 

With the thumb and fore-finger he should then press 
both nostrils and pronounce the word Rom ! six times. 
He should stop breathing and summon fire to his aid in 
order to disperse his body. 

He should pronounce the word Lorn ! thirty-two times, 
when his soul will escape from his body, and his body 
will disappear and the soul of the spirits he has evoked 
will animate the new body he prepared for it. 


x- * 

His soul will then return to his body, the subtile parts 
of which will unite anew, after forming an aerial body for 
the spirits which he has evoked. 

* # 

Pronouncing the sacred word Aum ! three times and 
the magic syllable Djom ! nine times, he should impose 
his hands above the lamp and throw a pinch of incense 
upon the flame, saying : 


* * 

O sublime Pitri t O illustrious penitent narada ! 
whom I have evoked and for whom I have formed a sub- 
tile body from the constituent particles of my own, are 
you present ? Appear in the smoke of incense and take 
part in the sacrifice that I offer to the shades of my an- 


* * 

When he has received a suitable answer and the aerial 
body of the spirit evoked has appeared in the smoke of 


the incense, he should then proceed to perform the obla- 
tions and sacrifices as prescribed. 

The sacrifices having been offered, he should hold con- 
verse with the souls of his ancestors concerning the mys- 
teries of being and the transformations of the imperisha- 

Having extinguished his lamp, in darkness and silence 
he should then listen to the conversation of the spirits with 
each other, and should be present at the manifestations by 
which they reveal their presence. 

Lighting his lamp, he should then set at liberty the evil 
spirits confined in the magic circles, after which he should 
leave the asylum of the Pitris. It is lawful for him then 

to take his repast. 

* * 

As soon as he has finished it, he should wash his hands, 
rinse his mouth twelve times, and eat nine leaves of basil, 
in order to facilitate his digestion. 


* * 

He should distribute betel and cashew nuts to the poor 
whom he has invited to his table, and when they are gone 
he should engage for a time in the perusal of the sacred 


* * 

Having finished his reading, it is lawful for him to take 
some betel and to attend to his other business and to visit 
his friends, but he should be very careful, during every 
moment of his public life, never to covet the property or 
wife of another. 


At sunset, he should return to the river to perform the 
ceremony of ablution, the same as in the morning. 

Upon returning to the house, he should again perform 
an oblation to the fire, and should recite the thousand 
names of the Hary-Smarana, or the litanies of Yischnon. 

He should then repair to the temple to hear the lesson 
given by the superior Guru to the Grihastas and Pouro- 
hitas who have passed through the first degree of initiation. 

* -x- 

He should never enter the temple empty handed. He 
should carry as a present either oil for the lamps, or cocoa- 
nuts, bananas, camphor, incense, or sandal-wood, which 
are used in the sacrifices. If he is poor, he should give a 
little betel. 

Before entering the temple he should make a circuit of 
it three times, and perform before the door the Schak- 
tanga, or prostration of the six limbs. 

* -x- 

After hearing the lessons and taking part in the evoca- 
tions of the Pitris, with the other members of his order, 
he should perform his devotions and return home, being 
careful to avoid any impurities, in order to take his even- 
ing repast, after which he should immediately lie down. 

He should never pass the night in a place consecrated 
to the spirits. When travelling, he should be careful not 
to lie down in the shadow of a tree, or in a ploughed or 
moist field, or in places covered with ashes, or by the edge 
of a cemetery. 


Upon lying down he should offer his adoration to the 
divine Trimourti, and should recite the invocation to the 
spirit called Kalassa, which is agreeable to Siva. 


May the spirit Bahirava preserve my head from acci- 
dent, the spirit Bichava my forehead ; the spirit Bouta- 
Carma my ears; the spirit Preta-Bahava my face; the 
spirit Bouta-Carta my thighs; the spirits Datys (who 
were endowed with immense strength) my shoulders; 
Kalapamy my hands; Chanta my chest; Ketrica my 
stomach ; Pattou my generative organs ; Katrapala my 
ribs ; Kebraya my mouth ; Chidda-Pattou my ankles, 
and the superior spirit Yama my whole body. May fire, 
which is the essence of the life of both gods and men, 
preserve me from all harm, wherever I may be. May 
the wives of these spirits watch over my children, my 
cows, my horses, and my elephants ; may Yischnou watch 
over my native land. 

May God, who sees all things, watch over my family and 
everything else, and also watch over me, when I am in 
any place which is not under the care of any divinity. 


* -x- 

He should conclude by the invocation to Brahma, the 

lord of creatures. 


* * 

Invocation to Brahma. 

O Brahma! what is this mystery which is repeated 
every night after the labors of the day are over, and every 
one has returned from the fields, and the flocks are all in 
their folds, and the evening repast is over ? 


* # 

Behold, every one lies down upon his mat and closes his 
eyes, and the whole body ceases to exist, and is abandoned 


by the soul in order that it may hold converse with the 

soul of its ancestors. 


# * 

Watch over it, O Brahma ! when, forsaking the body, 
which is asleep, it floats hither and thither upon the waters, 
or wanders through the immensities of the heavens, or 
penetrates the dark and mysterious recesses of the valleys 
and forest of Hymavat. 


* * 

O Brahma! God all-powerful, who commandest the 
storms, the God of light and darkness, let my soul not for- 
get, after its wanderings, to return in the morning, to ani- 
mate my body and remind me of thee. 

He should then stretch himself upon his mat and go to 
sleep. Beneficent spirits will watch over his repose. (Ag- 



Morning, Noon, and Evening Sandyas. 1 

When ten years have been spent in the first degree of 
initiation and there still remains an equal period of time 
before the Grihastas and Pourohitas can become Sannyassis 
and Vanaprasthas, or, in other words, can arrive at the 
second degree of initiation, many prayers must be added 
to the morning, noon, and evening ceremonies of ablution. 

When he has reached this period of his life the candi- 
date is no longer his own master. He spends almost all 
of his time in prayers, fastings, and in mortifications of 
every description. His nights are partly devoted to cere- 
monies of evocation in the temple under the direction of 
the superior Guru. He eats only once a day, after sun- 
set. All the occult forces are put in operation to modify 
his physiological organization and give his powers a special 
direction. Few Brahmins ever arrive at the second de- 
gree of initiation. The mysterious and terrible phe- 
nomena which they produce cannot be put in operation 
without the exercise of a supernatural power, which very 
few are enabled to master. 

Most Brahmins, therefore, never get beyond the class of 
Grihastas and Pourohitas. We shall see, however, when 
we have finished with the prayer and external formula, 
the object of which is to discipline the intellect by the 
daily repetition of the same acts, and when we approach 

1 Translated from the Agroucliada-ParikcliaL 


the subject of the manifestations and phenomena, which the 
initiates of the first degree claim to perform (a claim which 
is apparently well founded), that their faculties have been 
developed to a degree which has never been equalled in 

As for those who belong to the second, and particularly 
the third classes, they claim that time and space are un- 
known to them, and that they have command over man 
and death. 

* * * * * * 

The following are the prayers which, during the second 
period of ten years of the first degree of initiation, are to 
be added to the ceremonies and invocations previously pre- 
scribed as acts of intellectual discipline intended to pre- 
vent the subject from remaining for a single instant 
under the influence of his own thoughts. 


The evocations which we give below are met with, with 
slight deviations, in all the dialects of India, and are 
claimed by religious sects. They are also in strict con- 
formity with the rite of the Yadj our- Veda. 

The Morning Sandya. 

At the end of ten years and during the ensuing ten 
years, if he feels strong enough to attain the imperishable, 
the Grihasta should recite the following prayers at his 
morning ablutions, in addition to those already prescribed. 

He should commence all his exercises by the following 
evocation : 

Apavitraha, pavitraha sarva vastam. 
Gatopiva yasmaret pounkarikakchan. 
Sabahiabhiam tara souchihy. 


The man who is pure or impure, or who is in a perilous 
situation, whatever it may be, has only to invoke him 
whose eyes are of the same color as the lotus (pond HI} 7 ) to 
be pure internally as well as externally, and to be saved. 

He should continue by the invocation to the water : 

Invocation to the Water. 

O Water! consecrated by the five perfumes and by 
prayer, thou art pure, whether taken from the sea, from 
rivers, from tanks, or from well ; purify thou my bodv 

from all uncleanness. 


* * 

As the traveller, weary with the heat, finds relief in the 
shade of a tree, so may I find in the sacred water relief 
from every ill and purification from all my sins. 


3f * 

consecrated water ! thou art the essence of sacrifice 
and germ of life. In thy bosom all germs have been 
begotten, all beings have been formed. 


4f -5f 

1 invoke thee with the confidence of a child who, at the 
appearance of danger, rushes into the arms of his mother, 
who loves him tenderly. Purify me from my faults and 
purify all men with me. 


# -x- 

O water ! consecrated at the time of the pralaya-chao 
Brahma, or the supreme wisdom Swayambhouva, or 
the being existing by his own strength, dwelt under thy 
form. Thou wert confounded with him. 

He suddenly appeared upon the vast billows which 
rulfled the surface of infinite space and created a form in 


which he revealed himself and separated the land from the 
waters, which when assembled together in one spot form 

the vast ocean. 

* * 

The unrevealed being, Brahma, who seated on the waves 
of the vast ether, drew from his own substance the three- 
faced Trimourti, which created the heavens and the earth, 
the air, and all the inferior worlds. 

* # 

Upon terminating, he should sprinkle a few drops of 
water upon his head with three stalks of the sacred darba 

# * 

He who addresses this invocation to the water at 
morning, and who is thoroughly penetrated with its mystic 
meaning, has arrived at a high degree of sanctity. 

x x 

Joining then his hands, he should say, " O Yischnou ! 
I do this to preserve my dignity as a Grihasta." 

He should then think of the superior and inferior 
worlds, of the spirits which inhabit them, of the spirits 
of the fire, of the wind, of the sun, and of all the spirits 
of the earth. 

* * 

Raising his hand to his head, he should then call to 
mind all the names of Brahma, and closing his eyes, and 
compressing his nostrils, he should perform the evocation 
of that God, as follows. 

* * 

Come, Brahma ! come down to my bosom. 


He should then figure to himself this supreme deity as 


having had no beginning and as possessing all knowledge, 
like the Guru, the eternal principle of all things. 


* * 

And he should say, Hail Brahma ! thou who art the 
essence of everything that exists, of water, of fire, of air, 
of the ether, of space, and of infinity : I offer thee my 



* * 

He should then evoke Yischnou, and should figure him 
to himself as emerging from the bosom of the water in 
the midst of a lotus flower. 

He should then evoke Siva, saying, You who destroy 
and transform everything, destroy and transform every- 
thing that is impure in me. 


* * 

The Grihasta should then address the following prayer 
to the Sun. 

Invocation to the Sun. 

O Sun! whose fire purifies everything, and who art 
the spirit of prayer, purify me from the faults which I 
have committed in my prayers and sacrifices, from all 
those which I have committed at night in thought or 
action, from those which I have committed against my 
neighbor by calumny, false witness, or coveting another's 
wife, by eating prohibited food, at unlawful hours, or by 
communication with vile men, and finally from all the im- 
purities which I may have contracted, whether during the 
day or during the night. 

* * 

O Sun ! you give birth to fire and it is from you that 
the spirits receive those subtile particles which unite to 
form their aerial bodies. 


He should trace around him the magic circles which 
prevent evil spirits from approaching him. 

Addressing the immortal Goddess, Nari, who is an 
emblem of nature in the Hindu mythology, he should 
then express himself in the following terms. 


* # 

O illustrious Goddess ! I pay homage to you ; grant that 
when I lay aside presently this perishable envelope I may 

rise to higher spheres. 

x- re- 

placing then both hands above the copper vessel filled 
with water, he should then evoke the son of Kasiappa, or 
any other sage of past time, asking him to listen to the 
praises that he addresses to Nari and to recite them with 



* * 

The spirit having appeared he should repeat in a loud 
voice the following words, in honor of the universal 

Invocation to Nari. 

O divine spouse of him who moves upon the waters, 
preserve me, both during the day and during the night. 
You are of a spiritual nature. 
You are the light of lights. 
You are not subject to human passions. 
You are eternal. 
You are all-powerful. 
You are purity itself. 
You are the refuge of men. 
You are their salvation. 
You are knowledge. 


You are the essence of the sacred scriptures. 

By your constant f ruitf ulness the universe is sustained. 

You are the figure of evocation. 

You are prayer. 

To you all sacrifices should be addressed. 

You are the dispenser of every good. 

Everything is in your hands ; joy, sorrow, fear, hope. 

You are present in the three worlds. 

You have three figures. 

The number three forms your essence. 

Nari, the immortal virgin. 

Brahmy, the universal mother. 

Hyranya, the golden matrix. 

Paramatma, the soul of all beings. 

Sakty, the Queen of the universe. 

Lakny, the celestial light. 

Mariama, perpetual fruitfulness. 

Agasa, the pure fluid. 

Ahancara, the supreme conscience. 

Cony a, the chaste virgin. 

Tanmatra, the union of the five elements : Air, fire, 

water, earth, ether. 
Trigana, virtue, riches, love. 
Conyabava, eternal virginity. 

* * 

He should then make a vow to recite this sublime invo- 
cation, which is a source of all life and all transformation, 
at least three times a day. 

Noon Sandya. 

He should repeat the same prayers after the noon ablu* 
tions, and should perform the evocation of spirits by 


Midnight Scmdya. 

Having offered the sacrifice to fire, he should then evoke 
the spirits of night, in the smoke of incense, saying : 
Spirits of the waters, 
Spirits of the forests, 
Spirits of unfrequented roads, 
Spirits of public places, 
Spirits of sandy plains, 
Spirits of the jungles, 
Spirits of the mountains, 
Spirits of burial places, 
Spirits of the ocean, 
Spirits of the wind, 
Spirits of the tempest, 
Destructive spirits, 
Ensnaring spirits, 
Spirits of salt deserts, 
Spirits of the East, 
Spirits of the West, 
Spirits of the North, 
Spirits of the South, 
Spirits of darkness, 
Spirits of bottomless gulfs, 
Spirits of heaven, 
Spirits of the earth, 
Spirits of hell, 

Come all and listen, bear these words in mind. 


Protect all travellers, and caravans, ail men who work, 
who suffer, who pray, or who rest, all those who, in the 
silence of night, carry dead bodies to the funeral pyre, 

those who travel deserts, or forests, or the vast ocean. 

* * 

O spirits, come and listen. Bear these words in mind 
and protect all men. (Agrouchada-Parikchai.) 



Having spent twenty years of his life after receiving the 
first degree of initiation, during which the body is morti- 
fied by fasting and privations of every kind, and the intel- 
lect is trained and disciplined by means of prayers, invo- 
cations, and sacrifices, the candidate finally takes his place 
in one of the three following categories : 

Grihasta he remains at the head of his family until 
his death, and attends to his social duties and business, 
whatever it may be. Of all that he has been taught he 
only retains the power to evoke the domestic spirits, or in 
other words, those in the same genealogical line as him- 
self, with whom it is lawful for him to communicate with- 
in the sanctuary which it is his duty to reserve for them 
in his house. 

Pourohita he becomes a priest attached to the pop- 
ular cult and takes part in all ceremonies and family festi- 
vals, both in temples and private dwellings. Phenomena 
of possession come exclusively within his province : he is 
the grand exorcist of the pagodas. 

Fakir he becomes a performing Fakir, and from this 
moment forward all his time is employed in the manifes- 
tation of occult power by means of the public exhibition 
of exterior phenomena. 

Neither Grihastas, Pourohitas, nor Fakirs are ever ad- 
mitted to the second degree of initiation. Their studies 
are ended, and with the exception of the Fakirs, who are 
constantly in communication with those who have been 


initiated into the higher degrees, in order to augment their 
magnetic and spiritual power, they take no part in the 
mystic instruction, which is given in the temples. 

Only a few among those who have distinguished them- 
selves in their studies for the first degree are able to pass 
through the terrible ordeal of the higher initiation or ar- 
rive at the dignity of a Sannyassi or Cenobite. 

The Sannyassi lives exclusively in the temple, and he is 
only expected to appear at remote intervals, on solemn oc- 
casions, in cases where it is important to impress the pop- 
ular imagination by a superior class of phenomena. 

The Agrouchada-Parikchai is silent as to the course of 
training they have to undergo. The formulas of prayer 
and evocation were never committed to writing, but were 
taught orally, in the underground crypts of the pagodas. 

We are able therefore to prosecute our investigations 
into the subject of the second degree of initiation only by 
studying the phenomena produced by the Sannyassi, a list 
of which we find in the second book of the Agrouchada. 



It is not until he has spent a further period of twenty 
years in the study of the occult sciences and manifesta- 
tions that the Sannyassi becomes a Sannyassi-Mrvany or 
Naked Cenobite, so called because he was not to wear any 
garments whatever, thus indicating that he had broken the 
last tie that bound him to the earth. We are limited to 
such means of information as are obtainable by the un- 
initiated. The book of the Pitris, or spirits, which is our 
guide in this inquiry, contains no explanation with regard 
to the mysterious occupations in which the Sannyassis- 
Nirvanys, who have been initiated in the third degree, en- 
gage. The chapter devoted to this subject merely gives 
the following magical words, of which the Brahmins would 
furnish us no explanation whatever, which were inscribed 
in two triangles. They were : 



We can only study the subject of the highest initiation 
in its philosophical teachings regarding God and man. 
The phenomena performed by the Nirvanys are not de- 
scribed in the book of Pitris. 

We have not been able to glean much from private 
conversations with Pourohitas, with regard to the actions 
of their superiors. It seems that they live in a constant 
state of ecstatic contemplation, depriving themselves of 
sleep as far as possible, and taking food only once a week, 
after sunset. 


They are never visible either in the grounds or inside 
the temples, except on the occasion of the grand festival of 
fire, which occurs every five years. On that day they ap- 
pear at midnight upon a stand erected in the centre of 
the sacred tank. They appear like spectres, and the sur- 
rounding atmosphere is illumined by them by means of 
their incantations. They seem to be in the midst of a col- 
umn of light rising from earth to heaven. 

The air is filled with strange sounds, and the five or sir 
hundred thousand Hindus who have come from all parts 
of India to see these demi-gods, as they are esteemed, 
prostrate themselves flat in the dust, calling upon the souls 
of their ancestors. 



In the present chapter we will merely give a few verses 
from the Agrouchada-Parikchai treating of the Supreme 




"Seventy Brahmins more than seventy years old are 
chosen from among the Nirvanys to see that the law of 
the Lotus, or the occult science, is never revealed to the 
vulgar, and that those who have been initiated into the 
sacred order are not contaminated by the admission of 
any unworthy person." 

* # 

None should be chosen unless they have always prac- 
tised the ten virtues, in which, according to the divine 
Manu, the performance of duty consists. 

Resignation, the action of returning good for evil, tem- 
perance, probity, purity, chastity, the subjugation of the 
senses, a knowledge of the sacred scriptures, that of the 
supreme soul, the worship of the truth, abstinence from 
anger such are the principles which should be the rule of 
conduct of a true Nirvany. 

He who is called to rule over others should first yield 
obedience to all the precepts of the sacred books. 


He should not desire death ; he should not desire life ; 
like the reaper who patiently waits at evening for his 
wages at his master's door, he should wait till his time has 

He should purify his steps by taking heed where he 
sets his foot ; he should purify the water he drinks, in 
order that he may not cause the death of any animal ; he 
should purify his words by truth ; he should purify his 
soul by virtue. 


He should endure bad language, insults, and blows pa- 
tiently, without returning them ; he should carefully avoid 
cherishing ill-will against any person on account of any- 
thing connected with this miserable body. 

Meditating upon the delights of the supreme soul, need- 
ing nothing, beyond the reach of any sensual desire, with 
no society save his own soul and the thought of God, he 
should live here below in the constant expectation of ever- 
lasting happiness. 

He should never resort to places frequented by Grihas- 
tas or Pourohitas, unless they have entirely renounced the 
world. (Manu.) 

He should avoid all meetings, even when Brahmins alone 
are present. He should be careful, as he regards his eter- 
nal salvation, not to resort to places used for bird or dog 

A wooden platter, a gourd, an earthern vessel, and a 
bamboo basket such are the pure utensils authorized by 
Manu ; he should keep nothing in the precious metals. 


He should reflect that the vital spirit, after leaving the 
Great All, undergoes ten thousand million transformations, 
before clothing itself with a human form. 

He should observe the incalculable ills which grow out 
of the practice of iniquity, and the great happiness that 
springs from the practice of virtue. 

He should bear constantly in mind the perfections and 
invisible essences of a Paramatma, the great soul, which is 
present in all bodies, the lowest as well as the highest. 

He should know that an atom is an exact representation 
of the Great All. 

The Nirvany should expiate his faults by solitary reflec- 
tion, by meditation, by the repression of every sensual de- 
sire, by meritorious austerity ; he should destroy all the 
imperfections of his nature that may be opposed to the 
divine nature. 

Such is the rule of conduct by which those Sannyassis- 
Nirvanys are governed who aspire to enter the Supreme 
Council. It possesses the largest disciplinary powers in 
order to prevent the divulgation of the mysteries of initia- 

The following are some of the terrible penalties it is 

commanded to inflict. 

* # 

Whoever has been initiated, no matter what may be the 
degree to which he may belong, and shall reveal the sacred 
formula, shall be put to death. 


Whoever has been initiated into the third degree and 
shall reveal the superior truths he has been tanght, to the 
candidates for initiation into the second degree before the 
proper time, shall suffer death. 

"Whoever has been initiated into the second degree and 
shall act likewise with those who have been initiated into 
the first degree, is declared impure for the period of seven 
years, and when that time has elapsed, he shall be turned 
back to the lower class (the first degree). 


# # 

"Whoever has been initiated into the first degree, and 
shall divulge the secrets of his initiation to the members 
of the other castes, who are forever debarred from know- 
ing them, as though they were contained in a sealed book, 
shall be deprived of sight, and after his tongue and both 
hands have been cut off, in order that he may not make an 
improper use of what he has learned, he shall be expelled 
from the temple, as well as from his caste. 


* * 

Any one belonging to the three lower castes, who shall 
gain admission to the secret asylums, or shall surrepti- 
tiously acquire a knowledge of the formula of evocation, 
shall be burned to death. 

If a virgin should do so, she shall be confined in th* 
temple and consecrated to the worship of fire. (Agrou- 

In addition to its attributes as an initiatory tribunal, 
the council of the elders also had charge of administering 
the pagoda property, from which it made provision for 
the wants of its members, of the three classes, who lived 


entirely in common. It also directed the wanderings of 
the Fakirs, who have charge of the exterior manifesta- 
tions of occult power. 

* * 
The Brahmatma was elected by it from its own number. 



I have not much to add to what I have already said 
about the Brahmatma. 

The requisite qualifications for the position were that 
the candidate should have been initiated, that he should 
have taken the vow of chastity, and that he should be a 
member of the Supreme Council. 

That this vow was a serious matter will be readily un- 
derstood when it is known that any Brahmin taking it in 
the commencement of his career must necessarily per- 
severe until he arrives at the dignity of Yoguy, unless he 
wishes to repeat upon earth a series of transformations. 
Not having paid the debt of his ancestors, by the birth of 
a son, who can continue his genealogical line and officiate 
at his funeral, he would be obliged to come back after 
death, under a new human envelope, to accomplish that 
final duty. 

The Yoguys, or members of the Council of Seventy, by 
reason of their high degree of sanctity, had no new trans- 
migrations to undergo: it was a matter of indifference 
whether they had ben heads of families or whether they 
had always maintained their chastity. But in view of the 
small number admitted into this sanhedrim, if we may so 
call it, the Brahmin who should pronounce this terrible 
vow, as it is termed in the book of the Pitris, at the close 
of his novitiate, was in danger of having to go through a 
succession of new lives, from the first monad, by which 


the smallest particle of moss is animated, to man, who is, 
so far, the most perfect expression of the vital form. 

While the Brahmatma could only be chosen from 
among those Yoguys who had taken the vow of chastity, 
his election was not due to any supposed degree of sanc- 
tity on his part resulting therefrom, for he had hardly 
been elected, when, notwithstanding his advanced age of 
eighty years, in order that his election might be held valid, 
he had to furnish evidence of his virile power in connec- 
tion with one of the virgins of the Pagoda, who was given 
him as a bride. 

If a male child sprang from this union he was placed in 
a wicker basket, and turned adrift upon the river to float 
with the current. If perchance he was washed ashore he 
was carried to the temple, where he was at once, and by 
virtue of that very fact, regarded as having been initiated 
into the third degree. From his earliest childhood, all 
the secret mentrams, or formulas of evocation, were made 
known to him. 

If, however, the child floated down the stream with the 
current, he was rejected as a Pariah, and handed over to 
the people of that caste to be reared by them. 

We never could discover the origin of this singular cus- 
tom. Upon comparing other ancient usages with the 
manners and customs of the sacerdotal castes in Egypt, 
which are so similar in many respects to those of the In- 
dian temples, we have often asked ourselves the following 
questions, which we now propound for the reader's consid- 
eration : 

Might not Moses, the leader of the Hebraic revolution, 
have been a son of the Egyptian high priest, who stood at 
the head of the order of the initiated, and might he not 
have been brought to the temple, because he had been 
cast ashore by the Nile ? 

Might not his brother Aaron, on the contrary, have been 
cast aside as one of the servile class, because when he was 


get adrift likewise upon the river he floated along with 
the current without being cast ashore ? 

May we not regard the friendship of the two brothers 
for each other, when informed subsequently of their com- 
mon origin, as one of the causes that impelled Moses to 
abandon the sacerdotal caste, of which he was a member, 
in order to place himself at the head of the Egyptian 
slaves, and lead them into the desert in search of that 
promised land which the pariahs, helots, and outcasts of 
every degree have always looked forward to in their 
dreams as the sunny land of peace and liberty ? 

We suggest the question, however, we repeat, merely as 
a supposition. Perhaps ethnographic science, by which 
the second half of the present century has been so brill- 
iantly illustrated, will show, some day, that it is something 



Previous to a more thorough investigation into the doc- 
trine of the Pitris, and the external manifestations by 
whose aid the Hindus attempt to prove the existence of 
an occult power, we have a few words further to say about 
the Yoguys. 

Although none but those who had passed through the 
third degree of initiation and were consequently members 
of the Council of the Elders, and who had always ab- 
stained from carnal intercourse, ever attained the degree 
of Yoguy, it was, says the Book of Spirits, a state so sub- 
lime that those who were versed in its mysteries were en- 
titled to a greater degree of merit during their lives than 
most men could acquire during ten million new genera- 
tions and transmigrations. 

" The Yoguy is as much superior to those who have 
gone through the highest degree of initiation, as spirits 
are superior to men." 

" A passing feeling of spite or enthusiasm," says the 
Agrouchada-Parikchai, " should never induce a Brahmin 
to take the vow of chastity. His vocation should be the 
well-considered result of careful examination, and its mo- 
tive should be, not the ambition to rise to the highest dig- 
nities, but a feeling of disgust with the world and its pleas- 
ures, and an ardent desire to arrive at perfection." 

He should feel as though he could readily dispense 
with all earthly pleasures of whatever kind or degree. If 
he still cherished, in his inmost heart, the slightest hank- 


ering for those treasures that others esteem so highly, and 
strive for so ardently, that alone was quite enough to 
counterbalance any advantage or benefit that he might 
otherwise have derived from his penitence. 

When the Brahmatchary has ended his novitiate and 
has fully considered his future course, he repairs to a 
meeting consisting of all the initiates and informs them 
of his determination. He asks them to proceed with the 
usual forms and ceremonies, to the reception of the mo- 
mentous vows he desires to pronounce. 

On the day appointed for this solemn act the candidate 
first purifies himself by ablutions : he then provides him- 
self with ten pieces of cloth large enough to cover his 
shoulders. Four of these are intended for his own use, 
while the other six are given as presents to the officiating 

The chief Guru who presides at the ceremony, hands 
him a bamboo stick containing seven joints, some lotus 
flowers, and powdered sandal-wood, and whispers in his 
ear certain mentrams of evocation, which are only made 
known to persons in his condition. 

This stick is not intended to help support his steps or to 
be of any assistance to him in walking. It is the magic 
wand used in divination and all the occult phenomena. 

It is involuntarily suggestive of the rod of Moses, 
Aaron, Elisha, and all the prophets, of the augural wand, 
and of the seven-knotted wand of the Fauns, Sylvans, and 

When the ceremony is finished, the Yoguy takes up his 
magic wand, a calabash for drinking purposes, and a ga- 
zelle's skin, to be used as a bed. These articles comprise 
his whole store, and he never leaves them ; they are the 
omnium mecum porto of the Stoics. He then depart3, 
repeating the magical formulas which he has just learned 
from the superior Guru. 

In addition to the usual ablutions, ceremonies, and 


prayers, which he has to perform, like all who have been 
initiated, the following prescriptions are imposed upon 


* * 

" Every morning after performing his ablutions he should 
smear his entire body with ashes ; others only rubbed their 
foreheads. Christianity still retains a symbolic remnant 
of this ceremony homo pulvis es, etc. 

" He should only eat daily, after sunset, as much rice as 
he can hold in the hollow of his hand. 

" He should abandon the use of betel. 

" He should avoid the company of women and he should 
not even look at them. 

" Once a month he should have his head and face shaved. 

" He should wear only wooden sandals. 

" He should live by alms." 

" Although a Yoguy," says the work to which we have 
referred as our guide, " has the right to demand alms, it is 
more becoming for him to receive them without asking. 
Consequently, when he is hungry, he should present him- 
self among this world's people, without saying anything 
or telling them what he wants. If anything is given to 
him voluntarily, he should receive it with an air of in- 
difference, and without expressing his thanks. If nothing 
is offered, he should withdraw quietly, without expressing 
anger or dissatisfaction ; neither should he make any com- 
plaint if anything that is given him is not to his taste." 

" He should not sit down to eat. 

" He should build a hermitage by the side of a river or 
tank, in order that he may perform his ablutions with 
greater facility." 

" When travelling, he should abide nowhere, and should 
only pass through populous places. 

" He should look at all men alike, and should regard 
himself as superior to anything that may happen. He 
should look upon the various revolutions by which the 


world is agitated and powerful empires are sometimes 
overturned, as matters of perfect indifference to him." 

" His only care should be to acquire the spirit of wisdom, 
and that degree of spirituality by means of which he will 
finally be reunited to the Divinity, from whom all creatures 
and passions tend to keep us apart. In order to accom- 
plish that object, he should have his senses under the most 
perfect control, and entirely subdue the sentiments of 
anger, envy, avarice, lust, and all disturbing and licentious 
thoughts. Otherwise he will derive no benefit whatever 
from having taken the vow or from his repeated mortifi- 

Every evening, the Yoguy repairs to the pagoda, with 
his magic wand, his calabash, and his gazelle's skin, where 
he passes several hours in contemplation in the most pro- 
found darkness. He there endeavors to accustom his soul 
to forsake his body, in order that it may hold converse 
with the Pitris in infinite space. He ends the night with 
the study of manifestations and incantations, in which he 
is further instructed by the superior Guru. 

"When, in his eightieth year, in consequence of his su- 
perior sanctity, or for some other reason, he has been 
chosen by the Council for the post of Brahmatma, he goes 
back again, so to speak, to life, and spends his last years 
in the most unbridled indulgence and dissipation. We 
have often heard the Brahmins say, though we have had 
no opportunity to verify their statements, that, in con- 
sequence of their long practice of asceticism, the Yoguy s 
often preserved all the virile powers of mature age until 
far advanced in life, and it was no unusual thing for Brah- 
matrnas to live much more than a hundred years, and leave 
behind them a numerous progeny. 

We have now concluded these brief notices with regard 
to those who have passed through the various degrees of 
initiation. It was necessary that we should give them, in 
order that our main subject might be more fully under- 


stood. Though some of the details are rather dry, we 
hope that our readers will give them their careful atten- 
tion. They are essential to the proper understanding of 
what is to follow. 

One word more, however, about the Yoguy-s seven- 
knotted stick. 

There is a certain degree of sacredness attending the 
number seven in India. We may judge of the veneration 
in which it is held by the Brahmin?, by the many objects 
and places the number of which is always divisible by 
seven, to which they attach an extraordinary magical power. 

Some of them are as follows : 

Sapta-Richis, the seven sages of India. 

Sapta-Poura, the seven celestial cities. 

Sapta-Douipa, the seven sacred islands. 

Sapta-Samoudra, the seven oceans. 

Sapta-Xady, the seven sacred rivers. 

Sapta-Parvatta, the seven holy mountains. 

Sapta-Arania, the seven sacred deserts. 

Sapta-Vrukcha, the seven celestial trees. 

Sapta-Coula, the seven castes. 

Sapta-Loca, the seven superior and inferior worlds, etc. 

According to the Brahmins, the mystical meaning of 
the number seven contains an allegorical representation of 
the unrevealed God, the initial trinity, and the manifested 
trinity; thus: 


(The Unrevealed God). 
The immortal germ of everything that exists. 

The initial trinity, 
Nara Nari Yirad j . 

Zyaus, having divided his body into two parts, male 
and female, or Nara and Nari, produced Viradj, the Word, 
the Creator, 

The manifested trinity, 
Brahma Yischnou Siva. 


The initial trinity, which was purely creative, changed 
into the manifested trinity, as soon as the universe had 
come out of chaos, in order to create perpetually, to pre- 
serve eternally, and to consume unceasingly. 

"We should not forget that the Jews also attached a mys- 
tical meaning to the number seven, which shows indisputa- 
bly its origin. 

According to the Bible : 

The world was created in seven days. 

Land should rest every seven years. 

The Sabbatic year of jubilee returned every seven times 
seven years. 

The great golden candlestick in the temple had seven 
branches, the seven candles of which represented the seven 

Seven trumpets were blown by seven priests for seven 
successive days around Jericho, and the walls of that city 
fell down on the seventh day after the Israelitish army 
had marched round it for the seventh time. 

In John's Apocalypse, we find : 

The seven churches. 

The seven chandeliers. 

The seven stars. 

The seven lamps. 

The seven seals. 

The seven angels. 

The seven vials. 

The seven plagues. 

In like manner, the Prophet Isaiah, desiring to give an 
idea of the glory surrounding Jehovah, says : 

" That it is seven times greater than that of the sun, 
and equal to the light of seven days combined." 

We shall now see in how many points and how closely, 
the Jewish Cabala and the Hindu doctrine of the Pitris, 
resemble each other. 







Regarding the ten Pradjapatis, or lords' of creatures, who are Mar- 
itchi Atri Augiras Poulastya Poulaha Cratou Pratchetas 
Vasichta Brighou Narada, they have no beginning, nor end, nor 
time, nor space, for they proceed, from the sole essence of the one 
spirit, at a single breath. This is a fatal secret, close thy mouth in 
order that no part of it may be revealed to the rabble, and compress 
thy brain so that none of it may get abroad. (Agrouchada-Parikchai, 
" The Book of the Pitris.") 






In order that there may be no misunderstanding as to 
our meaning, we will now define the different attributes 
of those who had been admitted to the various degrees of 

It appears from what we have already ascertained : 

First, that those who had been admitted into the first de- 
gree of initiation were subjected to a course of treatment, 
which was designed to subdue their will and enslave their 
intellect, and by fasting, mortifications, privations of every 
kind, and violent exercises in the same circuit, to change, 
so to speak, the direction of their physiological faculties. 
The outward manifestation of occult power was the utmost 
limit of the attainments of this class of Brahmins. 

Second, that those who had been initiated into the sec- 
ond degree went but one step further in the line of evoca- 
tions and external phenomena, and, while they exhibited 


the highest expression of manifested power, they never 
arrived at the degree of philosophical initiation. 

Third, that those who were initiated into the third de- 
gree (the Sanyassis-Mrvanys and Yoguys) alone were ad- 
mitted to a knowledge of the formulas behind which the 
highest metaphysical speculations were hidden. 

The principal duty of persons of that class, was to arrive 
at a complete forgetfulness of all worldly matters. 

The sages of India compared the passions to those heavy 
clouds which sometimes shut out the view of the sun en- 
tirely, or obscure the brilliancy of its light; to a violent 
wind, which agitates the surface of the water so that it 
cannot reflect the splendor of the vault above ; to the en- 
velope of the chrysalis, which deprives it of liberty ; to the 
shell of certain fruits, which prevent their fragrance from 
diffusing itself abroad. 

Yet, say they, the chrysalis gnaws through its envelope, 
makes itself a passage, and wings its way into space, thus 
conquering air, light, and liberty. 

" So it is with the soul," says the Agrouchada. " Its 
prison in the body in which earthly troubles and tumultu- 
ous passions keep it confined, is not eternal. After a long 
series of successive births, the spark of wisdom which is 
in it being rekindled, it will finally succeed, by the long- 
continued practice of penitence and contemplation, in 
breaking all the ties that bind it to the earth, and will in- 
crease in virtue until it has reached so high a degree of 
wisdom and spirituality, that it becomes identified with the 
divinity. Then leaving the body, which holds it captive, 
its soars freely aloft, where it unites forever with the first 
principle, from which it originally emanated." 

Having reached the third degree of initiation, it is the 
duty of the Brahmin to improve, to spiritualize himself 
by contemplation ; he was supposed to pass through the 
four following states : 

First, Salokiam. 


Second, Samipiam. 

Third, Souaroupiam. 

Fourth, Sayodjyam. 

Salokiam signifies the only tie. In this state the soul 
seeks to lift itself in thought to the celestial mansion, and 
to take its place in the presence of divinity itself ; it holds 
converse with the Pitris who have gone before into the 
regions of everlasting life, and makes use of the body as 
an unconscious instrument to transcribe, under the per- 
manent form of writing, the sublime teachings it may 
have received from the shades of its ancestors. 

Samipiam signifies proximity. By the exercise of con- 
templation and the disregard of all earthly objects, the 
knowledge and idea of God become more familiar to it. The 
soul seems to draw nearer to him. It becomes far-seeing 
and begins to witness marvels, which are not of this world. 

Souaroupiam signifies resemblance. In the third state 
the soul gradually acquires a perfect resemblance to the 
divinity, and participates in all its attributes. It reads the 
future, and the universe has no secrets for it. 

Sayodjyam signifies identity. The soul finally becomes 
closely united to the great soul. This last transformation 
takes place only through death, that is to say, the entire 
disruption of all material ties. 

The work which we are now analyzing explains the 
passage of the soul through these four states by the fol- 
lowing comparison : 

" When we wish to extract the gold from a compound 
mass, we shall never succeed if we subject it to the process 
of fusion only once. It is only by melting the alloy in the 
crucible several times, that we are finally able to separate 
the heterogeneous particles of which it is composed, and 
release the gold in all its purity." 

The two modes of contemplation most in use, are called 
Sabda-Brahma and Sabda-Vischnou, or intercourse with 
Brahma and Yischnou. 


It is by fasting and prayer in the forest and jungles, 
among the wild beasts, whom they rule by the power of 
the pure agasa fluid, and upon the desert banks of torrents, 
that the .Nirvanys (naked) and the Yoguys (contemplative) 
prepare themselves for these lofty meditations. 

There have been critical periods in the history of India, 
when the members of the sacerdotal caste were called 
upon to strike a decisive blow, in order to bring the peo- 
ple back to their duty and reduce them to submission. At 
such times they came flocking in from their habitations in 
the deserts, or their sombre haunts in the interiors of the 
temples, to preach to the masses the duty of obedience and 

They were accompanied by tigers and panthers, which 
were as gentle and submissive as so many lambs, and they 
performed the most extraordinary phenomena, causing 
rivers to overflow their banks, the light of the sun to pale, 
or words denouncing the Rajahs who persecuted the Brah- 
mins to appear upon the walls of their palaces, through 
some unknown power. 

The study of philosophic truth does not relieve them 
from the necessity of the tapassas, or bodily mortifications. 
On the contrary, it would seem that they carry them to 
the greatest extremes. 

Once a week some sit naked in the centre of a circle 
formed by four blazing fires which are constantly fed by 

Others cause themselves to be buried up to their necks in 
the hot sand, leaving their bare skulls exposed to the blaz- 
ing sun. 

Others still stand upon one foot until the leg is swollen 
and covered with ulcers. 

Everything that affects or consumes the body, every- 
thing that tends to its annihilation, without actually de- 
stroying it, is thought to be meritorious. 

Every evening, the Nirvanys and Yoguys lay aside their 


exercises and studies at sunset, and go into the country to 

Several centuries previous to the present era, however, 
these bodily mortifications had assumed a character of un- 
usual severity. 

To the contemplative dreamers of the earliest ages in 
India, who devoted the whole of their time to meditation, 
and never engaged in practices involving physical suffering 
oftener than once a week, had succeeded a class of bigoted 
fanatics, who placed no limit to their religious enthu- 
siasm, and inflicted upon themselves the most terrible 

A spiritual reaction, however, occurred, and those who 
had been initiated into the higher degrees took that op- 
portunity to abandon the practice of the tapassas, or cor- 
poral mortification. They sought rather to impress the 
imagination of the people by excessive severity in opposi- 
tion to the laws of nature. A profound humility, an 
ardent desire to live unknown by the world, and to have 
the divinity as the only witness to the purity of their 
morals, took possession of them, and though they con- 
tinued the practice of excessive abstemiousness, they did 
so perhaps more that they might not seem to be in conflict 
with the formal teachings of the sacred scriptures. 

That kind of austerity is the only one now enjoined 
upon all classes of initiates. 

The Fakirs appear to have gradually monopolized all 
the old modes of inflicting pain, and have carried them to 
the greatest extremes. They display the most unbounded 
fanaticism in their self-inflicted tortures upon all great 
public festivals. 

Ever since the temporal power of the Brahmins was 
overthrown, the higher class of initiates have been, in 
short, nothing more than cenobites, or hermits, who, either 
in the desert or in the subterranean crypts of the temples, 
spend their lives in contemplation, prayer, sacrifice, the 


study of the most elevated philosophical problems, and 
the evocation of spirits, whom they regard as intermediate 
beings between God and man. 

The spirits with whom they communicate are the shades 
of holy personages, who have quit the world after leading 
a life of privation, good works, and virtuous example : they 
are the objects of a regular worship, and are invoked as 
the spiritual directors of their brethren, who are still 
bound by the ties of their earthly existence. 

The earliest Christians with their apparitions, their 
apostles who received the gift of tongues, their thauma- 
turgists, and their exorcists, only continued a tradition 
which has existed from the earliest times without inter- 
ruption. There is no difference between the disciples of 
Peter and Paul and the initiates of India, between the 
saints of the Christianity of the Catacombs and the Pitris 
of the Brahmins. 

Subsequently, the chiefs, in the interest of their tem- 
poral and religious domination, discouraged both the be- 
lief and practice, and, by slow degrees, the old system of 
ancient worship assumed the more modern form with 
which we are familiar. 

It was not until they had passed through the first three 
of the contemplative states to which we have alluded that 
the Nirvanys and Yoguys were admitted to a knowlegde of 
the higher philosophical studies, and they were thus made 
acquainted with the secrets of human destiny, both present 
and future. 

When he who had been initiated into the third degree 
had passed the age of eighty, and was not a member of the 
Supreme Council, who all remained in active life until their 
death, he was supposed to have abandoned his pagoda, or 
the hermitage that he occupied, to have renounced all 
pious practices, ceremonies, sacrifices, and evocations, and 
to have retired to some lonely and uninhabited spot, there 
to await the coming of death. He no longer received 


food or nourishment, except by chance, and passed away 
in the contemplation of the infinite. 

" Having abandoned all his duties," says Mann, " and 
relinquished the direction of the sacrifices and the per- 
formance of the five ablutions, having wiped away all his 
faults by the prescribed purifications, having curbed all his 
organs and mastered the vedas to their fullest extent, he 
should refer all ceremonies and the offering of the funeral 
repast to his son for performance." 

Having thus abandoned every religious observance, 
every act of austere devotion, applying his mind solely to 
the contemplation of the great first cause, exempt from 
every evil desire, his soul already stands at the threshold 
of swarga, although his mortal envelope still palpitates 
and flutters like the last flames of an expiring lamp. 



Upon reaching the third degree of initiation, the Brah- 
mins were divided into tens, and a superior Guru, or pro- 
fessor of the occult sciences, was placed over each decade. 
He was revered by his disciples as a god. 

The following is a portrait of this personage, as drawn 
in the Vedanta-sara : 

" The true Guru is a man who is familiar with the 
practice of every virtue ; who, with the sword of wisdom, 
has lopped off all the branches arid cut through all the 
roots of the tree of evil, and, with the light of reason, has 
dispelled the thick darkness by which he is enveloped ; 
who, though seated upon a mountain of passions, meets 
all their assaults with a heart as firm as diamond ; who 
conducts himself with dignity and independence ; who 
has the bowels of a father for all his disciples ; who makes 
no distinction between his friends and his enemies, whom 
he treats with equal kindness and consideration ; who 
looks upon gold and jewels with as much indifference as if 
they were bits of iron and potsherds, without caring more 
for one than for the other ; and who tries with the great- 
est care to remove the dense darkness of ignorance, in 
which the rest of mankind is plunged." 

If we had not positively stated in a former part of this 
work (which is simply designed to give the reader some 
idea of the doctrines and practices of the believers in the 
Pitris of India) that we should refrain from the expres- 
sion of any personal opinion, we might well ask ourselves 


whether modern Hierophants, with all their intolerance 
and all their pride in the morality they preach, have any- 
thing to present which will compare with the precepts here 
given in this, which is one of the oldest passages in the 
Brahminical books. Modern Gurus know full well the 
value of gold and precious stones, and as for the ignorance 
of the masses, we know what means they take to remove 

With the aid of the Agrouchada-Parikchai, we will now 
take a complete survey of the higher course of philosophy 
pursued by the sacred decade under the direction of its 




From noon to sunset the sacred decade was under the 
orders of the Master of Celestial Science, or Philosophy : 
from sunset to midnight it passed under the direction of 
the Guru of Evocations, who taught the manifested part 
of the occult sciences. 

The Book of Spirits in our possession is silent as to the 
formulas of evocations taught by them. According to 
some Brahmins, the most fearful penalties were inflicted 
upon the rash man who should venture to make known to 
a stranger the third book of the Agrouchada, treating of 
those matters. According to others, these formulas were 
never written : they were and still are verbally communi- 
cated to the adepts, in a suppressed voice. 

It is also claimed, though we have had no opportunity 
to verify the truth of the assertion, that a peculiar lan- 
guage is used to express the formulas of evocation, and 
that it was forbidden, under penalty of death, to trans- 
late them into the vulgar tongue. The few expressions 
that have come to our knowledge, such as Urhom, Ifhom^ 
SWrhum^ Shcfrhim, are very extraordinary and do not seem 
to belong to any known idiom. 

The Book of the Pitris gives the following portrait of 
the Guru of Evocations : 

" The Guru of Evocations is a man who knows no other 
god than himself, since he has all the gods and spirits at 
his command." The term " gods " is here used as mean- 
ing the superior spirits. " He offers worship to Zyaus 


alone, the type spirit, the primordial germ, the universal 
womb. At his voice, rivers and seas forsake their beds, 
mountains become valleys and valleys become mountains. 
Fire, rain, and tempests are in his service. He knows the 
past, the present, and the future. The stars obey him, 
and, armed with his seven-knotted stick, he is able to con- 
fine all the evil spirits in the universe within a single 
magic circle." (Agrouchada-Parikchai.) 

After examining the philosophical doctrines of the 
believers in spirits, the Pitris, we can only study the 
teachings of the Guru of Evocations, in the total absence 
of documents, as we have already taken occasion to say, in 
the manifestation of occult power, or exterior phenomena, 
produced by his disciples, the Mrvanys and Yoguys, 



Every morning those who have been initiated into the 
third degree, after terminating their ablutions, and before 

going to the pagoda 
to listen to the dis- 
course on the occult 
sciences, should trace 
upon their foreheads, 
under the direction 
of the Gurus, the 
accompanying sign, 
which is a symbol of 
the highest initiation. 
The circle indi- 
cates infinity, the study of which is the object of the oc- 
cult sciences. 

The border of triangles signifies that everything in na- 
ture is subject to the laws of the Trinity. 
Brahma Vischnou Siva. 
The germ The womb The offspring. 
The seed The earth The plant. 
The father The mother The child. 
The serpent is a symbol of wisdom and perseverance. 
It also indicates that the multitude are not to be admitted 
to a revelation of the higher truths, which often lead 
weak minds to insanity and death. The seven-knotted 
stick represents the seven degrees of the power of evoca- 
tion and external manifestation, which form the subject 

OCCULT SCIENCE Ifr Ltfm.1. * .''.'.' : 

of study to those who have been initiated into the various 
degrees with which we are acquainted : 

Grihasta or House-Master. 

Pourohita or Priest of Popular Evocations. 

Fakir Performing. 

Sanyassis Superior Exorcists. 

Nirvanys Naked Evocators. 

Yoguy s Contemplative. 

Brahmatina Supreme Chief. 



Before searching the Book of the Pitris in order to see 
what it teaches, it may not be amiss to say a few words 
regarding the question of how the sacred books are to be 
interpreted. We deem the matter of sufficient import- 
ance to make it the subject of a separate chapter. It 
stands at the very threshold of our subject like a sentinel 
on duty. 

On the first palm leaf composing the second part of the 
work in question we find the following words written, like 
an inscription, with a sharply pointed stick : 

" The sacred scriptures ought not to be taken in their 
apparent meaning, as in the case of ordinary books. Of 
what use would it be to forbid their revelation to the pro- 
fane if their secret meaning were contained in the literal 
sense of the language usually employed ? 

" As the soul is contained in the body, 

" As the almond is hidden by its envelope, 

" As the sun is veiled by the clouds, 

" As the garments hide the body from view, 

" As the egg is contained in its shell, 

" And as the germ rests within the interior of the seed, 

" So the sacred law has its body, its envelope, its cloud, 
its garment, its shell, which hide it from the knowledge 
of the world. 

" All that has been, all that is, everything that will be, 
everything that ever has been said, are to be found in the 
Vedas. But the Yedas do not explain themselves, and 


they can only be understood when the Guru has removed 
the garment with which they are clothed, and scattered 
the clouds that veil their celestial light. 

" The law is like the precious pearl that is buried in the 
bosom of the ocean. It is not enough to find the oyster 
in which it is enclosed, but it is also necessary to open the 
oyster and get the pearl. 

" You who, in your pride, would read the sacred scriptures 
without the Guru's assistance, do you even know by what 
letter of a word you ought to begin to read them do you 
know the secret of the combination by twos and threes 
do you know when the final letter becomes an initial and 
the initial becomes final ? 

" Wo to him who would penetrate the real meaning of 
things before his head is white and he needs a cane to 
guide his steps." 

These words of the Agrouchada, warning us against 
conforming to the strict letter of the sacred scriptures of 
India, remind us of the following words, in which Origen 
expresses himself like one of the initiates in the ancient 
temples : 

"If it is incumbent upon us to adhere strictly to the 
letter, and to understand what is written in the law, after 
the manner of the Jews and of the people, I should blush 
to acknowledge openly that God has given us such laws . 
I should consider that human legislation was more elevated 
and rational that of Athens, for instance, or Rome, or 

" What reasonable man, I ask, would ever believe that the 
first, second, or third day of creation, which were divided 
into days and nights, could possibly exist without any sun, 
without any moon, and without any stars, and that during 
the first day there was not even any sky ? 

"Where shall we find any one so foolish as to believe 
that God actually engaged in agriculture and planted trees 


in the garden of Eden, which was situated in the East 
that one of these trees was the tree of life and that an- 
other could impart the knowledge of good and evil ? No- 
body, I think, will hesitate to consider these things as 
figures having a mysterious meaning." 

The old Jewish Cabalists, whose doctrines, as we have 
seen, appear to have been closely allied to those taught in 
the Indian temples, expressed a similar opinion in the 
following language : 

" Wo to the man who looks upon the law as a simple 
record of events expressed in ordinary language, for if 
really that is all that it contains we can frame a law 
much more worthy of admiration. If we are to regard 
the ordinary meaning of the words we need only turn to 
human laws and we shall often meet with a greater degree 
of elevation. We have only to imitate them and to frame 
laws after their model and example. But it is not so : 
every word of the law contains a deep and sublime 
mystery." * 

" The texts of the law are the garments of the law : wo 
to him who takes these garments for the law itself. This 
is the sense in which David says : ' My God, open my eyes 
that I may contemplate the marvels of thy law.' 

" David referred to what is concealed beneath the vest- 
ments of the law. There are some foolish people who, 
seeing a man covered with a handsome garment, look no 
farther, and take the garment for the body, while there is 
something more precious still, and that is the soul. The 
law also has its body. There are the commandments which 
may be called the body of the law, the ordinary record of 
events with which it is mingled are the garments that 
cover the body. Ordinary people usually only regard the 
vestments and texts of the law ; that is all they look at ; 
they do not see what is hidden beneath the garments, but 

1 A. Franck's translation of La Kabbale. 


those who are wiser pay no attention to the vestment, but 
to the body which is clothed by it." 

" In short, the sages, the servants of the Supreme King, 
those who inhabit the heights of Mount Sinai, pay no re- 
gard to anything but the soul, which lies at the founda- 
tion of all the rest, which is the law itself, and in time 
to come they will be prepared to contemplate the soul of 
that soul by which the law is inspired. 

" If the law were composed of words alone, such as the 
words of Esau, Hagar, Laban, and others, or those which 
were uttered by Balaam's ass or by Balaam himself, then 
why should it be called the law of truth, the perfect law, 
the faithful witness of God himself ? Why should the sage 
esteem it as more valuable than gold or precious stones ? 

" But every word contains a higher meaning ; every 
text teaches something besides the events which it seems 
to describe. This superior law is the more sacred, it is 
the real law." 

It appears that the fathers of the Christian church, as 
well as the Jewish Cabalists and the initiates in the Hindu 
temples, all used the same language. 

The records of the law veil its mystical meaning as the 
garment covers the body, as the clouds conceal the sun. 

The Book of the Pitris, which we are about to examine, 
claims to reveal the essence, the very marrow of the vedas 
to those who have been initiated, but it is far from clear, 
except in the cosmological and philosophical portion. 
Whenever it treats of the rites of evocation and exorcism 
it resorts to obscure and mysterious formulas, to combina- 
tions of magical and occult letters, the hidden meaning of 
which, admitting that there is a hidden meaning, wrapped 
as it is in uncouth and unknown words, is quite beyond our 
comprehension and we have never been able to discover it. 

In that portion which we propose to analyze, we shall 
preserve the dialogue form, as the lessons of the Guru were 
taught in that manner. 


Apart from the belief in spirits and supernatural manifes- 
tations to which human reason does not readily assent, our 
readers will see that no purer morality ever grew from a 
more elevated system of philosophical speculation. 

Upon reading these pages, they will see that antiquity 
has derived all the scientific knowledge of life it possessed 
from India, and the initiates of the Hindu temples were 
very much like Moses, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Es- 
senes, and the Christian apostles. 

Modern spiritualism can add nothing to the metaphysical 
conceptions of the ancient Brahmins: that is a truth well 
expressed by the illustrious Cousin in the following words : 

" The history of philosophy in India is an abridgement 
of the philosophical history of the world." 




The superior Guru began his lessons to those who had 
been admitted to the third degree of initiation, with the 
following aphorisms : 

The first of all sciences is that of man : man is the soul ; 
the body is only a means of communication with terrestrial 
matter ; the study of the soul leads to the knowledge of 
all the visible and invisible forces of nature, to that of the 
Great All. 

Having laid this down, the venerable priest proceeds to 
unveil to his audience, in the most majestic and poetic lan- 
guage, the mysteries of the soul. We are sorry that we are 
unable to accompany him as he more fully unfolds his doc- 
trine. Our present space would not suffice. We can only 
give the substance of his teaching. The soul, or the ego, 
is a reality which manifests itself through the phenomena 
of which it is the cause ; these phenomena are revealed to 
man by that interior light which the sacred books call 
ahancara, or conscience. 

This ahancara is a universal fact and all beings are en- 
dowed with it more or less. It attains the greatest per- 
fection in man. It is by this sovereign light, that the ego 
is enlightened and guided. We may say, by the way, ac- 
cording to the divine Manu, that from the plant, in which 
it seems to be in a state of suspended animation, to the 
animals and man, the ahancara gradually frees itself from 
matter by which it is encumbered, and overpowers and 
masters it, until it arrives at the supreme transformation, 


which restores the soul to liberty and enables it to continue 
its progressive evolution forever and ever. 

Released from these ties, the soul takes no further in- 
terest in the world which it once inhabited. It continues 
to be an active member of the Great All, and, as sajs the 
immortal legislator : 

" The ancestral spirits in an invisible state accompany 
the Brahmins when invited to the funeral sraddha ; in an 
aerial form they attend them and take their place beside 
them, when they take their seats." (Manu, Book iii.) 

As the soul approaches its last transformation, it acquires 
faculties of infinite perfection, and finally its only Gurus 
are the Pitris, or spirits who have preceded it in a higher 
world. By means of the pure fluid called Agasa it en- 
ters into communication with them, receives instruction 
from them, and, according to its deserts, acquires the 
power or faculty of setting in motion the secret forces of 

Having set this forth at length, the Guru commences 
his second lesson by saying that logic alone leads to a 
knowledge of the soul and body. 

Logic is defined to be a system of laws, by the aid of 
which, the mind being under proper control, perfect 
knowledge can be attained : 

First, of the soul. 

Second, of the reason. 

Third, of the intellect. 

Seventh, of the judgment. 

Eighth, of activity. 

Ninth, of privation. 

Tenth, of the results of actions. 

Eleventh, of the faculty. 

Twelfth, of suffering. 

Thirteenth, of deliverance. 

Fourteenth, of transmigration or metempsychosis. 

Fifteenth, of the body. 


Sixteenth, of the organs of sensation. 

Seventeenth, of the objects of sensation. 

The different modes employed by logic to arrive at a 
knowledge of the truth, are then studied in sixteen lessons, 
the headings of which are as follows : 

First, evidence. 

Second, the subject of study and proof, or, in other 
words, the cause. 

Third, scientific doubt. 

Fourth, motive. 

Fifth, example. 

Sixth, the truth demonstrated. 

Seventh, the syllogism. 

Eighth, demonstration per absurdum. 

Ninth, the determination of the object. 

Tenth, the thesis. 

Eleventh, the controversy. 

Twelfth, the objection. 

Thirteenth, vicious arguments. 

Fourteenth, perversion. 

Fifteenth, of futility. 

Sixteenth, of refutation. 

It is unnecessary to call attention to the fact that the 
philosophy of Greece, as well as of modern Europe, seems 
to be largely indebted to that of the Hindus. 

We shall not dwell further upon these various points. 
The enumeration is alone sufficient to show how much 
further they might be developed. Suffice it to say, that 
they are treated in a most masterly manner by the old 
philosophers on the banks of the Ganges, whose whole life 
was spent in study of the most elevated speculations. 

Proof in general is made in four ways : 

First, by perception, 

Second, by induction. 

Third, by comparison. 

Fourth, by testimony. 


Induction, in its turn, is divided : 

First, into antecedent, which separates the effect from 
the cause. 

Second, into consequent, which deduces the cause from 
the effect. 

Third, into analogy, which infers that unknown things 
are alike from known things that are alike. 

After analyzing the soul and body, and testing them in 
all their manifestations in the crucible of logic, the Book 
of the Pitris, through the mouth of the Guru, gives the 
following list of their faculties and qualities : 

Faculties of the /Soul. 

First, sensibility. 
Second, intelligence. 
Third, will. 

Faculties of the Intellect. 

First, conscience, or organs of internal perception. 

Second, sense, or organs of external perception. 

Third, memory. 

Fourth, imagination. 

Fifth, reason, or organs of absolute notions, or axioms. 

Qualities of the Body. 

First, color (sight). 

Second, savor (taste). 

Third, odor (smell). 

Fourth, the sense of hearing and touch. 

Fifth, number. 

Sixth, quantity. 

Seventh, individuality. 

Eighth, conjunction. 

Ninth, disjunction. 

Tenth, priority. 


Eleventh, posteriority. 

Twelfth, gravity, or weight. 

Thirteenth, fluidity. 

Fourteenth, viscidity. 

Fifteenth, sound. 

As there is nothing material about anything that pro- 
ceeds from the soul, it is obvious that those faculties 
which emanate from the Ahancara, or inward light, and 
the Agasa or pure fluid, cannot under any circumstances 
and however thoroughly we may study them, be made the 
objects of sensation, and it follows that the final end of all 
science is to free the spirit at the earliest possible mo- 
ment from all material fetters, from the bonds of pas- 
sion, and any evil influences that stand in the way of its 
passage to the celestial spheres, which are inhabited by 
aerial beings whose transmigrations are ended. 

The body, on the contrary, being solely composed of 
material molecules, is dissolved into its original elements, 
and returns to the earth from which it sprung. 

If the soul, however, is not deemed worthy to receive 
the fluidic body, spoken of by Manu, it is compelled 
to commence a new series of transmigrations in this 
world, until it has attained the requisite degree of per- 
fection, when it abandons the human form forever. 

It is impossible to shut our eyes to the extraordinary 
similarity between this system of philosophy and that of 
the old Greek philosophers, and especially of Pythagoras, 
who believed in the doctrine of metempsychosis, and also 
held that the object of all philosophy was to free the soul 
from its mortal envelope and guide it to the world of 
spirits. Although it appears from all the traditions re- 
lating to the subject, that Pythagoras went to the Indus 
in Alexander's train and travelled in India and brought 
back this system from there, and was the only one of all 
the old Sophists that taught it, some people who have 
no eyes for anything that is not Greek, would have us be- 


lieve that India was indebted to the land of Socrates for 
its earliest knowledge of philosophy. We will merely 
repeat, in reply, the words of the illustrious Colebrook, 
who has studied this question for thirty years in India on 
the spot : 

"In philosophy the Hindus are the masters of the 
Greeks, and not their disciples." 

Pythagoras believed in a hierarchy of the superior 
spirits, exercising various degrees of influence upon worldly 
matters. That doctrine lies at the very foundation of 
the occult sciences. It necessarily supposes an acquaint- 
ance with the magical formulas of evocation, and while 
the philosopher only leads us to suppose that he had been 
admitted to a knowledge of supernatural sciences, there is 
reason to believe that in this he was deterred from telling 
all he knew by the terrible oath taken by all those who 
had been initiated. 

The Guru ended his inquiries into the soul and its 
faculties by the study of the reason. 

As the whole logical power of Hindu spiritism rests 
upon these faculties, we devote a special chapter to the 
superior Guru's discourse upon this interesting subject. 
We will give the introduction merely in the form of a 

We use the modern term spiritism, to designate the 
Hindu belief in the Pitris, for the reason that no other 
word exists in our language which sufficiently charac- 
terizes it. 

The belief in the Pitris is a positive belief in spirits as 
manifesting themselves to and directing men : it matters 
little whether the word has any scientific value or not. 
It is enough that it correctly expresses the idea which we 
wish to convey. 



[From the twenty-third dialogue of the Second Book of 
the Agrouchada-Parikchai.] 

VATU l (the Disciple). 

Our ablutions have been performed, as prescribed. The 
regular sacrifices have all been accomplished, the fire 
slumbers upon the hearthstone. The pestle no longer re- 
sounds in the mortar as the young women prepare their 
evening food. The sacred elephants have just struck 
upon copper gongs the strokes that divide the night. It is 
now midnight. It is the hour when you commence your 
sublime lessons. 


My children, what would you of me ? 


thou, who art adorned with every virtue, who art as 
great as Mount Hymavat (Himalaya), who art possessed 
of a perfect knowledge of the four Vedas and of every- 
thing that is explained in the sacred word, thou who 
possessest all the mentrams (or formulas of evocation), 
who holdest the superior shades and spirits suspended 

1 This word in Sanscrit signifies novice or pupil ; it is applied to any 
one, no matter what his age may be, who studies under the direction 
of a Guru. 



from thy lips, whose shining virtues are as brilliant as the 
sun, whose reputation is everywhere known, and who art 
praised in the fourteen heavens by the fourteen classes of 
spirits who communicate with men, let thy science flow 
over us, who embrace thy sacred feet, as the waters of the 
Ganges flow over the plains they fertilize. 


Listen while the vile Soudra sleeps like a dog beneath 
the poyal of his abode : while the Vaysia is dreaming of 
the hoards of this world's treasures that he is accumulat- 
ing, and while the Xch atria, or king, sleeps among his 
women, faint with pleasure but never satiated, this is the 
moment when just men, who are not under the dominion 
of their flesh, commence the study of the sciences. 


Master, we are listening. 


Age has weakened my sight, and this feeble body is 
hardly able to unfold to you what I mean : my envelope is 
falling asunder and the hour of my transfiguration is ap- 
proaching. What did I promise you for this evening \ 


Master, you said to us, I will unfold to you the knowl- 
edge of the immortal light, which puts man in communica- 
tion with infinity and rules his transformations upon earth. 


You will now hear a voice and that voice will be mine, 
but the thought that arises in my mind is not mine. 
Listen : I give place to the superior spirits by whom 1 arn 


The Guru then performs an evocation to the maritchis, 
or primordial spirits. The following is a brief summary 
of his discourse. 

Every man is conscious within himself of certain abso- 
lute notions, existing outside of matter and sensation, 
which he has not derived from education and which his 
reason has received from Swayambhouva, or the Self-ex- 
istent Being, as a sign of his immortal origin. 

They are the principles : 

Of cause. 

Of identity. 

Of contradiction. 

Of harmony. 

Through the principle of cause reason tells us that 
everything that exists is the result of some cause or 
other, and though the latter often escapes our notice, we 
still acknowledge its existence, knowing it to be a fact. 

This is the source of all science : we study realities only 
to trace them back to their producer. 

It is not enough to lay down the law of a fact. We 
must know whom the law proceeds from, and what main- 
tains the harmony of nature. 

Through the principles of identity and contradiction, 
man knows that his ego is not that of his neighbor. That 
two contrary facts are not governed by the same law ; that 
good is not evil ; that two contraries cannot simultaneously 
be predicated of the same fact. 

Through the principle of harmony, reason tells us that 
everything in the universe is subject to certain immutable 
laws, and the principle of cause compels us to attribute to 
these laws an author and preserver. 

No faculty of the soul is able to perform any act or 
motion, except in conformity with these principles, which 
regulate its interior and exterior life, its spiritual and ma- 
terial nature. "Without these principles, to which all are 
necessarily obliged to submit, and which commend them- 


selves to the reason of all men and people, without these 
principles, we say, which are the supreme law of all obser- 
vation, of all investigation, of all science, no one can derive 
any benefit from tradition, or from the achievements of 
those who have preceded him. There being no other axio- 
matic foundation for scientific facts, there can be no 
science, for no two men will see, think, or judge alike. 

Human reason, universal reason, guided by absolute 
principles that is the bright light, guiding and uniting all 
men in a common work for the benefit of all. 

Such is a brief abstract of this dialogue, which covers 
fifty palm-leaves at least of the Book of the Pitris. 

It would be impossible for us, as may well be imagined, 
in the present work, which is merely a brief history or 
description of the practices of those who have been in- 
itiated, and in which, in order to accomplish the task we 
have set before us, we are obliged to compress the sub- 
stance of more than fifty volumes, to give any subject a 
disproportionate or undue importance. 

With the help of the axioms laid down by the Guru, 
reason leads man to the knowledge : 

First, of the Supreme Being. 

Second, of the constitution of the universe. 

Third, of superior and inferior spirits. 

Fourth, of man. 

We propose now to show what is the belief of those who 
have been initiated upon each of these matters. 



Nothing is commenced or ended. Everything is changed 
or transformed. Life and death are only modes of trans- 
formation which rule the vital molecule, from the plant 
up to Brahma himself. (Atharva-Yeda.) 



The soul is the assemblage of the gods. The nni verse 
rests in the supreme soul. It is the soul that accomplishes 
the series of acts emanating from animate beings. 

The Brahmin should figure to himself the great being 
which is the Sovereign Master of the universe, and who is 
subtler than an atom, as more brilliant than pure gold, and 
as inconceivable by the mind, except in the repose of the 
most abstract contemplation. 

Some worship him in the fire, some in the air ; he is the 
Lord of creation, the eternal Brahma. 

He it is who, enveloping all beings in a body composed 
of the five elements, causes them to pass through the suc- 
cessive stages of birth, growth, and dissolution, with a 
movement like that of a wheel. 

So the man who recognizes the supreme soul as present 
in his own soul, understands that it is his duty to be kind 
and true to all, and the most fortunate destiny that he could 
have desired is that of being finally absorbed in Brahma. 
(Manu, Book xii.) 



[Twenty-fourth dialogue of the Book of the Pitris.] 

After giving as a text the words of the Atharva-Yeda, 
and a few verses from Manu, which we have just quoted, 
the Agrouchada-Parikchai devotes the twenty-fourth les- 
son of the Guru to the study of the Supreme Being. The 
principles of cause and harmony lead human reason to the 
absolute notion of a superior and universal cause. 

"He who denies this cause for the whole," says the 
Book of the Pitris, " has no right to assign any cause to any 
particular fact. If you say the universe exists because it 
exists, it is unnecessary to go any further ; man lives only 
by facts, and he has no assurance otherwise of the invaria- 
bility of natural laws." 

Having shown that the belief in a superior and uni- 
versal cause, in the Supreme Being, lies at the basis of all 
science and, pre-eminently, of axiomatic truth, the Guru 
of initiations borrows from Manu and the Yedas the 
definition of this primordial force, whose mysterious and 
sacred name it is forbidden to utter. 

" It is he who exists by himself, and who is in all, be- 
cause all is in him. 

" It is he who exists by himself, because the mind alone 
can perceive him ; who cannot be apprehended by our 
sensual organs. Who is without visible parts, eternal the 
soul of all beings, and none can comprehend him. 

" He is one, immutable, devoid of parts or form, in- 


finite, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He it is 
who has created the heavens and the worlds out of chaos, 
and has set them whirling through infinite space. He is 
the motor, the great original substance, the efficient and 
material cause of everything." 

" Behold the Ganges as it rolls, it is he; the ocean as it 
mutters, it is he ; the cloud as it thunders, it is he ; the 
lightning as it flashes, it is he ; as from all eternity the 
world was in the mind of Brahma, so now everything that 
exists is in his image." 

" He is the author and principle of all things, eternal, 
immaterial, everywhere present, independent, infinitely 
happy, exempt from all pain or care, the pure truth, the 
source of all justice, he who governs all, who disposes of 
all, who rules all, infinitely enlightened, infinitely wise, 
without form, without features, without extent, without 
condition, without name, without caste, without relation, 
of a purity that excludes all passion, all inclination, all 

The Guru, with the Pouranas, discusses these sublime 
questions, to which he returns the following answers : 

" Mysterious spirit, immense force, inscrutable power, 
how was thy power, thy force, thy life manifested before 
the period of creation ? "Wast thou dormant in the midst of 
disintegrating matter, like an extinct sun ? Was the dis- 
solution of matter in thyself or was it by thy order ? 
Wert thou chaos ? Did thy life include all the lives that 
had escaped the shock of the destroying elements? If 
thou wert life, thou wert also death, for there can be no 
destruction without movement, and motion could not exist 
without thee." 

" Didst thou cast the worlds into a blazing furnace in 
order that they might be regenerated, in order that they 
might be born again, from their decomposing elements, as 
an old tree springs again from the seed in the midst of its 
corruption ? ".. 


"Did thy spirit wander over the waters, thy name 
being Narayana ? 

" The immortal germ," went on the Guru, " whose ter- 
rible name should not be spoken, is the ancient of days. 
Nothing existed without him ; nothing was apart from 
him ; he causeth life, motion, and light to shine through 
infinity ; everything comes from him and everything goes 
back to him ; he is constantly fertilizing the universe, 
through an intimate union with his productive thought. 

" Hear ye, this has been revealed to the sages in the 
silence of solitary places, upon the banks of unfrequented 
torrents, in the mysterious crypts of temples." 

This is what no profane ear should hear. This is what 
has been from all eternity, which never had any beginning 
and will have no end. 

* * 

Listen to the hymn of eternal love : 

He is one and he is two. He is two, but he is three. 
The one contains two principles, and the union of these 
two principles produces the third. 

He is one and he is all, and this one contains the hus- 
band and the wife, and the love of the husband for the 
wife, and of the wife for the husband, produces the third, 
which is the son. 

The husband is as ancient as the wife, and the wife is 
as ancient as the husband, and the son is also as ancient as 


the husband and wife, and the one that contains all three 
is called 

U M 

Three in One. 

This is given as the meaning of the sublime monosylla- 
ble. It is the image of the ancient of days. 


* * 

The union of the husband and the wife continues for- 
ever, and from the transports of their eternal love the son 
constantly receives life, which he unceasingly drops into in- 
finity, like so many millions of dew-drops fertilized by the 
divine love. 


# # 

Every drop of dew that falls is an exact representation 
of the great all, an atom of the Faramatma or universal 
soul, and each of these atoms possesses the two principles 
that beget the third. 

So everything goes by three in the universe, from the 
infinite to which everything descends, to the infinite to 
which everything ascends, with a motion similar to that 
of an endless chain revolving about a wheel. 


* * 

The first appearance of atoms is in the state of fertilized 
germs. They collect together and form matter which is 
being continually transformed and improved by the three 
grand principles of life ; water, and heat, and by the pure 
fluid, called Agasa. 


* * 

Agasa, the pure fluid, is life itself. It is the soul. It 
is man. The body is only an envelope, an obedient slave. 


As the seed, which germinates, bursts through its shell, 
and shoots out of the ground, Agasa lays gradually aside 
the material veil, beneath which its transformation takes 
place, and purifies itself. Upon leaving the earth, it passes 
through the fourteen more perfect regions, and every time 
it abandons its former envelope, and clothes itself with 
one more pure. 

Agasa, the vital fluid the soul animates the human 
body upon earth. In infinite space, it put on the aerial 
form of the Pitris or spirits. 

Human souls before being absorbed in the supreme soul, 
ascend through the fourteen following degrees of superior 

The Pitris are the immediate souls of our ancestors, 
still living in the terrestrial circle, and communicating 
with men, just as more perfect man communicates with 
the animal world. 

Above the Pitris, but having nothing in common with 
the earth, are, 
The somapas, 
The agnidagdhas, 
The agnanidagdhas, 
The agnichwattas, 

The cavias, 
The barhichads, 
The somyas, 
The havichmats, 
The adjyapas, 
The soucalis, 
The sadhyas. 

Spirits inhabiting the planets 

and stars. 



The two highest degrees were those of the Maritchis 
and of the Pradjapatis, who were superior spirits, and 
would soon arrive at the end of their transmigrations and 
be absorbed in the great soul. 

* * 

This is called the progressive transformation of just 
spirits who have spent their terrestrial life in the practice 
of virtue. The following are the transformations of the 
bad spirits: 

The yakchas, 
The rakchasas, 
The pisatchas, 
The gandharbas, 
The apsaras, 
The assouras, 
The nagas, 
The sarpas, 
The souparnas, 
The kinnaras. 

Bad spirits who are constantly at- 
tempting to creep into the bodies of 
men, and return to terrestrial life, 
which they have to pass through anew. 

These bad spirits are the malign secretions of the uni- 
verse. Their only means of regaining the degree of purity 
required for the higher transformations, is through thou- 
sands and thousands of transformations into minerals, 
plants, and animals. 

The superior pradjapatis are ten in number ; the three 



represent eternal reason, wisdom, and intelligence. 


The second three, 


represent the goodness, power, and majesty of the Di- 
vine Being. 


3f -3f 

The last triad, 




are the agents of creation, preservation, and transforma- 
tion. They are the direct ministers of the manifested 


* * 

The last, called 


represents the intimate union of all the Pradjapatis in 
the mind of the Self -existent Being, and the unceasing pro- 
duction of the thousands of beings by whom nature is 
constantly being rejuvenated and the work of creation is 
being perpetuated. 


* * 

These qualities of reason, wisdom, intelligence, good- 
ness, power, majesty, creation, preservation, transforma- 
tion, and union, which are being constantly diffused 
throughout nature, under the influence of the superior spir- 
its, are the unceasing product of the love of the divine 
husband for his celestial spouse. In this way the great 
being maintains his eternal life, which is that of all beings. 


* * 

For all things in the universe only exist and move and 
undergo transformation, in order that the existence of the 
Great All may be perpetuated, renewed, and purified. 


That is the reason why nothing exists outside of his 
essence and substance, and that all creatures contain in 
themselves the principles of reason, wisdom, intelligence, 
goodness, power, majesty, creation, preservation, transfor- 
mation, and union, and are the image of the ten Pradjapa- 
tis, who are themselves a direct emanation from the divine 

The departure of the soul-atom from the bosom of di- 
vinity is a radiation from the life of the Great All, who 
expends his strength in order that he may grow again, and 
in order that he may live by its return. God thereby 
acquires a new vital force, purified by all the transforma- 
tions that the soul-atom has undergone. 

* * 

Its return is the final reward. Such is the secret of the 
evolutions of the Great Being, and of the supreme soul, 
the mother of all souls. 

After fully setting forth the above system with regard 
to God, the soul, and perpetual creation, the most astonish- 
ing system, perhaps, that the world has ever produced, 
and which contains within itself, substantially under a 
mystical form, all the philosophical doctrines that have 
ever agitated the human mind, the Book of the Pitris 
closes the present chapter, from which we have eliminated 
its interminable invocations and hymns to the creative 
power, by the following comparison : 

" The Great All, which is constantly in motion and is 
constantly undergoing change in the visible and invisible 
universe, is like the tree which perpetuates itself by its 
seed, and is unceasingly creating the same identical types." 


Thus, according to the belief of those who had been ini- 
tiated, God is the whole, the soul is the atom which un- 
dergoes progressive transformation, is purified and ascends 
to its eternal source, and the universe is the reunited body 
of atoms in process of transformation. 

As man upon earth is in direct communication with the 
souls of plants and of inferior animals, so the Pitris, hav- 
ing clothed themselves with a fluidic (fluidique) body, and 
having attained the first of the fourteen superior degrees, 
are always in communication with man. 

There is an uninterruptedly ascending scale, the links of 
which are never broken : 

The Pitris are in relation with the Somapas (spirits). 
The Somapas with the Agnidagdhas. 
The Agnidagdhas with the Agnanidagdhas. 
The Agnanidagdhas with the Agnichwatas. 
And so on up to the Pradjapatis, who are in direct com- 
munication with God. 

In each of these categories the spirit assumes a more 
perfect body and continues to move in a circle of laws, 
which may be called superterrestrial but which are not 

The Book of the Pitris says positively that the spirits 
preserve their sex, whatever may be the superior catego- 
ries to which they may attain ; that they are united to- 
gether by the ties of a love which is totally unlike every 
form of earthly passion. These unions are always prolific 
and give birth to beings who possess all the qualities of 
their parents, enjoy the same happiness, and are not tied 
down to the transformations of this lower world. 

It is possible, however, as the Pitris enjoy the utmost 
freedom of will, that they may commit some exceptionally 
grave fault and be degraded, in consequence, to the condi- 
tion of man. Upon this point the Agrouchada-Parikchai 
alludes to a revolt of the Pitris, that happened a long while 


ago, but makes no further explanation. Some of them 
are supposed to have been cast down to earth again. 

There is every reason to suppose, from the close simi- 
larity existing between their various religious traditions, 
that this legend found its way, through the process of ini- 
tiation, from the Hindu temples into the mysteries of 
Chaldea and Egypt, and thus gave birth to the myth of 
the first sin. 

Those Pitris which have not passed the degree immedi- 
ately above that of man, are the only spirits which are in 
communication with the latter. They are regarded as the 
ancestors of the human race and its natural directors from 
whom it derives its inspiration. They are themselves in- 
spired by the spirits of the next degree above them, and so 
on, from one degree to another, until the divine word or, in 
other terms, until revelation is imparted to man. 

The Pitris are not equal to each other. Each category 
forms a separate and complete world, in the likeness of our 
own, only more perfect, in which there is the same di- 
versity of intelligence and function. 

According to this theory, it will be readily understood 
that man cannot live isolated from his ancestors. It is 
only by the aid of their instruction and help that he can 
arrive in the shortest possible time at the transformation 
by means of which he becomes united to them. 

Upon this belief is based the whole theory of initiation. 

But men upon earth are not fitted to receive communi- 
cations from a higher world. Some are naturally inclined 
toward evil and do not care to improve their characters : 
others still feel the effect of the previous lives which they 
have spent in the form of animals, and their spirits are 
entirely dominated by matter. It is only after many gen- 
erations have been spent in the practice of virtue that 
the soul becomes spiritualized and the pure fluid called 
Agasa is developed, by means of which communication ia 


Hence the natural inequality of men and the necessity 
that those who have arrived at the highest degree of de- 
velopment should unite in the study of the great secrets 
of life and of the forces of nature, that they may set them 
in motion. 

" It is only by constant fasting, mortification, prayer, and 
meditation," says the Agrouchada-Parikchai, "that man 
can arrive at complete separation from everything that 
surrounds him. In that case he acquires extraordinary 
power. Time, space, capacity, weight are of no conse- 
quence. He has all the Pitris at his command and through 
them all the superior spirits likewise. He attains a power 
of thought and action of which formerly he had no con- 
ception, and sees through the curtain that hangs before 
the splendors of human destiny." 

But while there are mediating and directing spirits who 
are always ready to come at his call, to point the way to 
virtue, there are also others which have been condemned 
for their misdeeds in this, their earthly life, to undergo 
again all their previous transmigrations, commencing with 
mineral and plant life ; they float about in infinity until 
they can seize upon some unoccupied particle of matter, 
which they can use as an envelope : they employ all the 
resources of their miserable intellects to deceive and mislead 
men as to the means by which they can arrive at the su- 
preme and final transformation. These bad spirits are con- 
stantly occupied in tormenting pious hermits during their 
sacrifices, initiates in the midst of their studies, and sanny- 
assis in their prayers, and it is impossible to drive them 
away, except through the possession of the secret of mag- 
ical conjurations. 

Lastly, the whole system, the Great All, is perpetually 
preserved, developed, and transformed through love. 

The emblem of this love, the Trinity, contains within 
itself both the husband and wife, and their perpetual em- 
braces give birth to the son by whom the universe is re- 


generated. Everything that exists is composed of atoms 
that reproduce themselves by threes the germ, the womb, 
and the offspring the father, the mother, the child after 
the pattern of that immortal Trinity which is welded to- 
gether in one being by whom the whole of nature is ruled, 
and the soul-atom, at the close of its transformations, re- 
turns to the ever-living source from which it sprang. 

This grand and imposing conception gave birth, in the 
vulgar cult, to that triple manifestation of the Trinity 
which was known in India as 

Nara Agni Brahma the Father, 
Nari Yaya Yischnou the Mother, 
Yirad j Sourya Siva the Son . 
It was known in Egypt under the following names : 
Amon Osiris Horus the Father, 
Mouth Isis Isis the Mother, 
Khons Horus Malouli the Son. 
It was called in Chaldea : 
In Polynesian Oceanica : 

And finally in Christianity : 

The Father, 
The Spirit, 
The Word. 

All the teachings of the temples grow out of the mys- 
teries into which the priests are initiated, and which they 
change into the grossest symbols, in order to vulgarize 
them without divulging their secret meaning. 



The vandalism committed by Caesar's soldiers in the 
destruction of the Alexandrian library has left us nothing 
but sculptures and inscriptions with which to reconstruct 
the religious history of Egypt. But that country was so 
directly allied to India that its ruins speak to us in a voice 
full of meaning, and its inscriptions are pregnant with 
significance, when studied from a Brahminical point of 

We will merely mention, at present, one inscription 
taken from the Rahmesseum at Thebes, which is a com- 
plete summary of the doctrine of the Pitris, as herein set 

One of the first expressions that the Egyptian priests 
made use of in addressing those who had been passed 
through the process of initiation was as follows : 

Everything is contained and preserved in one, 

Everything is changed and transformed by three, 

The Monad created the Dyad, 

The Dyad begat the Triad, 

The Triad shines throughout the whole of nature. 



After an examination of the part performed by the 
human soul, and the superior and inferior spirits, as well 
as by the universe, in the Great All which we call God, 
and, having established the ties of relationship existing 
between all souls, in consequence of which, those belonging 
to the superior groups are always ready to aid souls belong- 
ing to an inferior group with their counsel and communi- 
cations, the Book of the Pitris goes on to discuss the mys- 
terious subject of evocations. Evocations are of two sorts. 

They are addressed either to disembodied spirits or to 
ancestral spirits, in which latter case the spirits evoked 
can respond to the appeal made to them, whatever may 
be the superior degree to which they may have attained, or 
they are addressed to spirits not included in the genealogi- 
cal line of relationship, and then the evocations are un- 
successful if addressed to spirits who have already passed 
the degree immediately above that of man. 

The following rules may be laid down : 

That a man can evoke the spirit of his ancestor under 
any circumstances, even if the latter has already arrived at 
the rank of Pradjapati, or supreme director of creation, 
and is on the point of being absorbed in the Great Soul. 

That if any one evokes a spirit not in his genealogical 
line, he can only obtain manifestations from those who 
belong to the class of Pitris. 

Preparations should be made for the ceremony of evoca- 
tion by fasting and prayer, for, as the Agrouchada-Parikchai 
says, these terrible formulas are fatal when not uttered by a 
pure mouth. In order to evoke a spirit the priest should : 


First, isolate himself entirely from all external matters. 
Second, his mind should be absorbed in thought of the 
spirit whose appearance he has called forth and from 
whom he desires to receive a communication. 

Third, he should enclose all the malign spirits who 
might disturb him in a magic circle. 

Fourth, he should offer up sacrifices to his ancestral 
shades and to the superior spirits. 

Fifth, he should pronounce the formulas of evocation. 
A special part of the Book of the Pitris is devoted to 
these formulas, which all have a cabalistic meaning. We 
shall make no effort to elucidate this point any further, 
as we were never able to obtain the key to these various 
combinations from the Brahmins. "We should be careful 
to avoid attaching greater importance to these matters 
than they are fairly entitled to. 

The first leaf of the chapter on formulas contains the 
following epigraph, the combinations of words and letters 
being as simple as they could well be. "We give it as a 
specimen to show what puerile methods the priests resorted 
to in order to cover up their practices. 

As it contains no formula of evocation, the Brahmins 
had no objection to explain its meaning : 

Mad+uo ydq ad 

mm id 

sam + ad 

mal + aJc 


Mam 4- ra + di yart 




By reading from right to left, commencing with the 
last syllable of each word, we are able to attach the fol- 
lowing meaning to this cabalistic sentence : 


Tridagdyo udam. 







# * 

The language of evocations totally dispenses with all 
verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs, and while 
names are retained, they undergo the terminations of the 
different declensions by which the gramrnatic action of the 
verbs and prepositions understood, is indicated. 

Thus, in the case under consideration : 

Tridandin is in the nominative, and signifies the priest 
who is entitled to three sticks. These three sticks indicate 
one who has been admitted to the third degree of initia- 
tion, and who has power over three things : thought, 
speech, and action. 

Tridaqdyoudam signifies the divine arm. This word 
is in the accusative, and is governed by a verb of which 
Tridandin is the subject. 

Tridwam signifies the triple heaven. This word is also 
in the accusative and is consequently in the same situation 
as the preceding word. 

Tridamas is the name of Agni of three fires. This 
Word is the genitive of a word pf which Tridamam is the 

TriJcalam signifies the three times, the past, the present, 
the future. This is also in the accusative form. 

Trayidarmam is in the accusative, and signifies the three 
books of the law. 

Trijagat is in the neutral form of the accusative and sig- 
nifies the three worlds : heaven, earth, and the lower regions. 


According to the Brahmins, this inscription means as 
follows : 

Tridandin or he who has been initiated into three de- 
grees, who carries the three rods, and who has power over 
three things : thought, speech, and action. 

Tridaqayoudam if he desires to secure possession of the 
divine arm. 

Tridwam and conquer the power of evocation from 
the spirit of the three heavens. 

Ti'idamas must have in his service Agni of the three 

TriTcalam and know the three times, past, present, and 

Trayidarmam must possess the essence of the three 
books of the law. 

Trijagat thus he will be enabled to know the secrets 
of the three worlds. 

"We do not propose to dwell at length upon the practice 
of occult writing, the mechanism of which changes with 
every form of evocation. Besides, it has been impossible 
for us, as we have elsewhere stated, to obtain possession 
of that part of the Book of the Pitris containing these 
formulas. The priests keep them to themselves and the 
people are not allowed to know anything about them. 

At one time the penalty for divulging a single verse of 
the Book of Spirits was death. The rank of the accused 
made no difference. It mattered not that the guilty priest 
belonged to the sacerdotal caste. 

Neither did the Jewish Cabalists limit themselves to the 
symbolical language with which they covered up their 
doctrines. They also endeavored to introduce into their 
writings secret methods almost identical with those of the 
Indian pagodas. 

As for particular ceremonies of evocation, we shall have 
occasion to study them in all their details when we turn 
our attention to the external manifestations produced by 
the different grades of initiates. 



The formulas of magical incantation, addressed to evil 
spirits, are kept as secret as those used in the evocation of 
superior spirits. They even form a part of a special book 
of the Agrouchada called the Agrouchada-Parikchai, treat- 
ing of magicians. 

They are also written, as well as read, in a manner simi- 
lar to that we have just described, in order to hide from 
the profane their real meaning. We pass them over, 
however, and turn our attention to the external manifesta- 
tions, exorcisms, and cases of demoniacal possession which 
are so frequent in India. 

We propose to give an impartial account of the numer- 
ous facts that have fallen under our own observation, some 
of which are so extraordinary from a physiological, as well 
as from a purely spiritual point of view, that we hardly 
know what to say of them. 

We merely allude to the chapter of the Agrouchada 
treating of formulas of incantation and are unable to give 
any further information as to the magical words, to which 
the priests attribute so much virtue in exorcising Rak- 
chasas, Pisatchas, Nagas, Souparnas, and other evil spirits 
that frequent funeral ceremonies, take possession of men's 
bodies, and disturb the sacrifices. 

We have already, in another work, 1 discussed that por- 
tion of the Book of the Pitris, notwithstanding its vul- 

1 History of the Virgins. 


garity, and we see no reason to change the opinion therein 
expressed, which it may not be amiss to call to the reader's 
mind. He will excuse us for quoting ourselves : 

Magic seems to have established itself in India, as in 
some highly favored spot. In that country nothing is at- 
tributed to ordinary causes, and there is no act of malig- 
nancy or of wickedness of which the Hindus deem their 
magicians incapable. 

Disappointments, obstacles, accidents, diseases, untimely 
deaths, the barrenness of women, miscarriages, epizootics, 
in short, all the ills that humanity is heir to, are attributed 
to the occult and diabolical practices of some wicked 
magician, in the pay of an enemy. 

If an Indian, when he meets with a misfortune, happens 
to be on bad terms with anybody, his suspicions are im- 
mediately directed in that quarter, and. he accuses his 
enemy of resorting to magic in order to injure him. 

The latter, however, resents the imputation. Their 
feelings become embittered against each other, the dis- 
agreement soon extends to their relatives and friends, and 
the consequences often become serious. 

As malign spirits are exorcised, pursued, and hunted by 
the followers of the Pitris, it is the vulgar belief that they 
enter the service of vagabonds and miscreants, and teach 
them special magical formulas, by which they seek together 
to do all possible harm to others. 

Several thousand years of sacerdotal despotism, during 
which every means have been employed to keep the peo- 
ple in ignorance and superstition, have carried popular 
credulity to its highest pitch. 

In the South of India particularly we constantly meet 
with crowds of soothsayers and sorcerers, vending their 
oracles to any one who would purchase them, and spread- 
ing before rich and poor alike for a consideration the pre- 
tended mystery of human destiny. 

These people are not much dreaded. 


But there are others, whose diabolical art is thought to 
be unlimited, and who are supposed to possess all the 
secrets of magic. 

To inspire love or hatred, to introduce the devil into 
any one's body, or to drive him away, to cause sudden 
death or an incurable disease, to produce contagious mala- 
dies in cattle, or to protect them therefrom, to discover the 
most secret things, and to find lost or stolen articles all 
this is but child's play for them. 

The mere sight of one who is supposed to be endowed 
with such vast power inspires the Hindu with the deepest 

These doctors of magic are often consulted by persons 
who have enemies, of whom they desire to be revenged, 
by means of sorcery. On the other hand, when any one 
who suffers from disease attributes it to a cause of this 
kind, he calls in their aid, that they may deliver him by a 
counter-charm, or transfer the disease to those who have 
so maliciously caused it in his case. 

The supplementary volume of the Agrouchada-Parik- 
chai, treating of the practices of vulgar magic, does not 
seem to question them in any respect ; it merely attributes 
them to the influence of evil spirits. 

In its view, the magician's power is immense, but he 
only uses it for evil purposes. 

Nothing is easier than for him to afflict any one whom he 
may meet with fever, dropsy, epilepsy, insanity, a constant 
nervous trembling, or any other disease, in short. But that 
is nothing. By his art he can even cause the entire destruc- 
tion of an army besieging a city, or the sudden death of 
the commander of a besieged city and of all its inhabitants. 

But while magic teaches how to do harm, it also shows 
us how to prevent it. There is no magician so shrewd that 
there is not another who can more than match him in 
ability, or destroy the effect of his charms, and make them 
rebound upon himself or his patrons. 


Independent of their direct intervention, the magicians 
have a large assortment of amulets, talismans, and powerful 
and efficient preservatives against sorcery and enchant- 
ments, in which they do a large business and make a great 
deal of money. 

They consist of glass beads, enchanted by mentrams, of 
dried and aromatic roots and herbs, of sheets of copper 
upon which cabalistic characters, uncouth figures, and fan- 
tastical words are engraved. 

The Hindus of the lower castes always wear them upon 
their persons, thinking that a supply of these relics will 
protect them from all harm. 

Secret preparations to inspire love, to kindle anew an 
expiring passion, to restore vigor to the weak and infirm, 
come also within the province of the magicians, and are 
by no means the least unproductive source of their in- 

It is to them a woman always applies first when she 
wishes to reclaim a faithless husband, or prevent his be- 
coming such. 

It is by the aid of the philters they concoct that a young 
libertine or a sweetheart usually tries to beguile or cap- 
tivate the object of his passion. 

The Agrouchada also discusses the subject of incubi. 
" These demons in India," says Dubois, " are much worse 
and more diabolical, than those spoken of by Delrio the 
Jesuit, in his ' Disquisitiones Magicse.' By their violent 
and long-continued embraces they so weary the women 
whom they visit in the form of a dog, a tiger, or some 
other animal, that the poor creatures often die of fatigue 
and exhaustion." 

It then speaks at some length of the means by which 
weapons may be enchanted or bewitched. 

These arms upon which magical mentrams have been 
pronounced, have the virtue of producing effects which 
will compare in every respect with those caused by the 


celebrated sword of Durandal, or the lance of Argail, by 
which so many were disabled. 

The Hindu gods and giants, in their frequent wars with 
each other, always made use of enchanted arms. 

Nothing could withstand, for instance, the arrow of 
Brahma, which was never unsheathed without destroying 
an entire army ; or the arrow of the serpent Capel, which, 
whenever it was cast among his enemies, had the property 
of throwing them into a state of lethargy which, as may 
well be imagined, put them at a great disadvantage and 
contributed largely to their defeat. 

There is no secret that magic does not teach. There 
are magical secrets how to acquire wealth and honors ; to 
render sterile women prolific by rubbing the hands and feet 
with certain enchanted compounds; to discover treasures 
buried in the earth, or concealed in some secret place, no 
matter where ; and to make the bearer invulnerable, or 
even invincible, in battle. 

The only thing they are not so clear about is the subject 
of everlasting life ; and yet who can tell how many al- 
chemists have grown white in the crypts of the pagodas, 
and how many strange philters have been there concocted 
in order to learn the secret of immortality ? 

To become expert in magic the pupil must learn from 
a magician himself, whom the sorcerers call their Guru, 
like the believers in the philosophical doctrine of the 
Pitris, the formulas of evocation, by means of which the 
malign spirits are brought into complete subjection. 

Some of these spirits the magician evokes in preference 
to others, probably on account of their willingness to do 
anything that may be required of them. 

In the first rank are the spirits of certain planets. The 
name, Grahas, which is used to designate them, means 
the act of seizing or taking possession of those whom they 
are commanded, by a magical incantation, to torment. 

In the next rank come the boutams, or demons from 


the lower regions, representing each a principle of destruc- 
tion, the pisatchas, rakchasas, nagas, and other evil spirits. 

The chaktys are female genii, who force men whom 
they meet at night. 

The malign spirits are Kali, the Goddess of Blood, 
Marana-Devy, the Goddess of Death, and the others 
whom we have enumerated. 

In order to set them in motion the magician has re- 
course to various mysterious operations, such as men- 
trams, sacrifices, and other different formulas. He should 
be nude when he addresses himself to goddesses, and mod- 
estly clothed when he addresses himself to male spirits. 

The flowers that he offers to the spirits evoked by him 
should all be red, and the boiled rice should be colored 
with the blood of a young virgin, or a child, in case he 
proposes to cause death. 

The mentrams, or prayers, which have such efficacy in 
all magical matters, exercise such an ascendancy upon the 
superior spirits themselves that the latter are powerless to 
refuse to do whatever the magician may order, in heaven, 
in the air, or upon the earth. 

But those which are most certain and irresistible in their 
effects are what are called the fundamental mentrams, and 
consist of various fantastical monosyllables, of uncouth 
sound and difficult pronunciation, after the manner of 
those which we have already given while speaking of the 
formulas used by the priests. 

Sometimes the magician repeats his mentrams in a 
respectful tone, ending all his evocations with the word 
Namaha^ meaning respectful greeting, and loading the 
spirit that he has evoked with praises. At other times he 
speaks to them in an imperious and dictatorial tone, ex- 
claiming in angry accents : 

"If you are willing to do what I ask you, that is 
enough ; if not, I command you in the name of such and 
such a god." 


Thereupon the spirit had to submit. 

It would be impossible to enumerate the different drugs, 
ingredients, and implements that compose the stock-in- 
trade of a magician. 

There are some spells in which it is necessary to use the 
bones of sixty-four different kinds of animals, neither 
more nor less, and among them are included those of a 
man born on the first day of the new moon, or of a woman, 
or a virgin, or a child, or a pariah. 

When all these bones, being mingled together, are en- 
chanted by mentrams and consecrated by sacrifices, arid 
are buried in an enemy's house or at his door, upon a 
night ascertained to be propitious, after an inspection of 
the stars for that purpose, his death will infallibly fol- 

In like manner, if the magician, in the silence of 
night, should bury the bones in question in an enemy's 
camp at the four cardinal points of the compass, and then, 
retiring to a distance, should pronounce the mentram of 
defeat, all the troops there encamped would utterly perish, 
or else would scatter to the four winds of heaven, of their 
own accord, before seven days had elapsed. 

Thirty-two enchanted arms thrown among a besieging 
army would cause such a fright that a hundred men would 
seem like a thousand. 

Of a mixture of earth taken from sixty-four most dis- 
gusting places we refrain from accompanying the Hindu 
author in his enumeration of the places in question min- 
gled with his enemy's hair and nail-clippings, small figures 
are made, upon whose bosom the name of the person upon 
whom it is desired to take revenge is inscribed. Magical 
words and mentrams are then pronounced over them, and 
they are consecrated by sacrifices. As soon as this is 
done, the grahas, or evil genii of the planets, take posses- 
sion of the person who is the subject of animosity, and he 
is subjected to all sorts of evil treatment. 


Sometimes these figures are transfixed with an awl, or 
are injured in various ways, with the object of really 
killing or disabling him who is the object of vengeance. 

Sixty-four roots of various kinds of the most noxious 
plants are known to the magicians, which in their hands 
become the most powerful weapons for the secret infliction 
of the deadliest blows upon those at whom they are aimed. 

Notwithstanding, the occupation of a magician is not 
without danger by any means. The gods and evil genii 
are very vindictive and never obey the injunctions of a 
miserable mortal very good-humoredly. It often happens 
that they punish him very severely for the brutal way in 
which he orders them about. 

Woe to him if he makes the slightest mistake, if he is 
guilty of the most insignificant omission of the innumerable 
ceremonies which are obligatory upon him in the perform- 
ance of an evocation. All the ills that were intended for 
others are incontinently showered down upon his own head. 

He is constantly in fear, it seems, lest some other mem- 
ber of the same confraternity, of greater ability than him- 
self, may succeed in making his own imprecations rebound 
upon himself or his patrons. 

All these superstitious doctrines still exist in India, and 
most of the pagodas belonging to the vulgar cult possess, 
apart from the higher priests whom they are compelled to 
lodge and feed, a body of magicians whose services are 
let out to the lower castes, in precisely the same way as 
those of the Fakirs. 

Now they undertake to rid a woman from the nocturnal 
embraces of an incubus : at another time they undertake 
to restore the virile power of a man where it has been lost 
in consequence of a spell cast by some opposing magician. 

At other times, they are called upon to protect flocks, 
that have been decimated through the enchantments of 
others, against all noxious influences. 

From time to time, in order to keep alive in the public 


mind the belief in these sacred doctrines, these jugglers 
send out challenges to other pagodas, and publicly engage 
in contests, in the presence of witnesses and arbitrators, 
who are called in to decide which of the two champions is 
the more accomplished in his art. 

The object of the contest is to obtain possession of an 
enchanted bit of straw, a small stick, or a piece of money. 

The antagonists are both placed at the same distance 
from the object, whatever it may be, and they both make 
believe to approach it, but the mentrams they utter, the 
evocations they perform, the enchanted powders which they 
reciprocally throw at each other, possess a virtue which 
repels them : an invincible and overpowering force seems 
to stand in the way ; they make fresh attempts to advance 
but they are forced back ; they redouble their efforts ; 
they fall into spasms and convulsions, they perspire pro- 
fusely and spit blood. Ultimately one of them obtains 
possession of the enchanted object and is declared the 

It sometimes happens that one of the combatants is over- 
thrown by the power of his adversary's mentrams. In 
that case he rolls on the ground as though he were pos- 
sessed by a demon, and remains there motionless for some 
time, appearing to have lost his mind. 

At last he recovers the use of his senses, arises in an 
apparent state of fatigue and exhaustion, and seems to 
retire covered with shame and confusion. He returns to 
the pagoda and does not make his appearance again for 
some time. A serious sickness is supposed to have ensued 
in consequence of the incredible, though ineffectual, efforts 
he has made. 

There is no doubt that these pitiable farces, with which 
those who have been honestly initiated into the genuine 
worship of the Pitris are in no way connected whatever, 
are all concerted in advance, between the priests belonging 
to the vulgar cult of the rival pagodas and the charlatans 


by whom they are performed, and the victory is ascribed 
to each in turn. But the multitude who witness these 
spectacles, and who pay generously for them, are filled 
with fear and admiration of the sorcerers themselves, and 
are firmly persuaded that their contortions are due to super- 
natural causes. 

There is one fact of which there can be no doubt, and 
that is, that these men perform their part with extraor- 
dinary truthfulness and expression, and that within the 
domain of pure magnetism they are really able to produce 
phenomena of which we have no idea in Europe. They 
are, however, inferior in ability to the Fakirs, belonging 
to the first class of initiates. 

When, however, we come to consider the external mani- 
festations by means of which the believers in the Pitris dis- 
play their power, we shall look upon the performances of the 
magicians as trifling in comparison and unworthy of further 
consideration. They are obviously due to trickery and de- 
ception ; we have already devoted quite enough space to 
them to give the reader an idea of what they can do. 

There also exists in India another kind of enchantment, 
which is called drichty-dotcha, or a spell cast by the eyes. 
All animated beings, all plants, all fruits are subject to it. 
In order to remove it, it is customary to erect a pole in all 
gardens or cultivated fields, at the top of which is attached 
a large earthen vessel, the inside of which is whitened 
with whitewash : it is placed there, being a conspicuous and 
noticeable object, in order to attract the attention of any 
passing enemy, and thus prevent his looking at the crops, 
which would certainly be thereby injured. 

We have rarely seen a rice-field in Ceylon or India that 
was not provided with one or more of these counter- 

The Hindus are so credulous upon this point that they 
are continually fancying that they cannot perform a single 
act of their lives, or take a single step, however insignifi- 


cant it may be, without danger of receiving from a neigh- 
bor, or a mere passer-by, or even a relative, the dricfity- 
dotcha. There is nothing in the appearance of those who 
possess this fatal gift to indicate that they are so endowed. 
Those who have it are often unconscious of it themselves. 
For this reason every Hindu, several times a day, causes 
to be performed in the case of himself, his family, his 
fields, and his house, the ceremony of the arratty, the 
design of which is to counteract any harm that might 
otherwise befall him from spells cast by the eyes. 

The arratty is one of their commonest practices, 
whether public or private. It may almost be elevated to 
the height of a national custom, so general is it in every 
province. It is always performed by women, and any 
woman is qualified to perform it except widows, who are 
never admitted to any domestic ceremony, their mere 
presence alone being unlucky. 

The ceremony is performed as follows : 

A lamp full of 'oil, perfumed with sandal- wood, is placed 
on a metal plate. It is then lighted, and one of the 
women of the household when her father, or husband, or 
any other member of the family, comes in from outdoors, 
takes the plate in her hand, and raises it as high as the 
head of the person upon whom the ceremony is to be per- 
formed, and describes therewith either three or seven 
circles according to his or her age or rank. 

Instead of a lighted lamp, a vase is often used contain- 
ing water perfumed with sandal-wood and saffron, red- 
dened by vermilion, and consecrated by the immersion of 
a few stalks of the divine cousa grass. 

The arratty is publicly performed several times a day 
upon persons of distinction, such as rajahs, provincial 
governors, army generals, or others of elevated rank. It 
is a ceremony to which courtiers are bidden, as formerly 
with us to the king's levee. One practice is quite as ridicu- 
lous to us as the other, and judging from what we have 


ourselves seen, in certain provinces in the Deccan, where 
the English have allowed a few phantoms of rajahs still 
to remain, the courtiers in this country are quite as de- 
graded and servile a class as with us. They pay for the 
crumbs they receive and the favors they enjoy by the sac- 
rifice of every feeling of conscience or dignity. It is the 
same everywhere. We must say, however, to the credit 
of the Hindu courtiers, that they never made their wives 
or daughters the mistresses of their rajahs. 

As a general thing, a Hindu of any caste would blush 
to owe his own preferment to the dishonor of his wife. 

Whenever persons belonging to a princely rank have 
been obliged to appear in public, or to speak to strangers, 
they never fail, upon returning to their palaces, to summon 
their wives or send for their devadassis from the neighbor- 
ing temple to perform this ceremony upon them, and thus 
prevent the serious consequences that might otherwise re- 
sult from any baleful glances to which they may have been 
exposed. They often have in their pay girls specially 
employed for that purpose. 

Whenever you enter a Hindu house, if you are regarded 
as a person of distinction, the head of the family directs 
the young women to perform the ceremony of arratty. It 
is also performed for the statues of the gods. 

When the dancing-girls at the temples have finished 
their other ceremonies, they never fail to perform the 
arratty two or three times over the gods to whose service 
they are attached. 

This is also practised with still more solemnity when 
their statues are carried in procession through the streets. 
Its object is to avert any bad consequences resulting from 
glances which it is as difficult for the gods to avoid as 
simple mortals. Finally, the arratty is generally per- 
formed upon elephants, horses, domestic animals, and par- 
ticularly upon the sacred bullocks, and even sometimes 
upon growing fields of rice. 


Beside the more elevated doctrines taught by those who 
believe in the Pitris, vulgar magic in India takes its place 
as a degenerate descendant. It was the work of the lower 
priesthood and intended to keep the people in a constant 
state of apprehension. In all times, and in all places, by 
the side of the most elevated philosophical speculations, 
we always find the religion of the people. 

We have dwelt at some length upon the practice 
of magic and sorcery in India, though they have nothing 
whatever to do with the higher worship which initiated 
Brahmins pay to the shades of their ancestors and the su- 
perior spirits, for the reason that nothing was better cal- 
culated to prove the Asiatic origin of most of the nations 
of Europe than a detailed description of these strange 
customs, which are identical with many that we meet with 
upon our own soil, and of which our historical traditions 
furnished us no explanation until we made the discovery 
that we were related to the Hindus by descent. 

People in the middle ages believed implicitly in succubi 
and incubi, in the efficacy of magical formulas, in sorcery 
and the evil eye. Coming down to a period nearer our own 
times, we have not forgotten those fanatical leaguers^ who 
carried their superstition to such a pitch that they used to 
make little images of wax representing Henry III. and the 
King of Navarre. They were accustomed to transfix these 
images in different places and keep them so for a period 
of forty days. On the fortieth day they stabbed them to 
the heart, fully persuaded that they would thus cause the 
death of the princes they were designed to represent 
Practices of this kind were so common that, in 1571, a pre- 
tended sorcerer named Trois-Echelles, who was executed 
on the Place de Greve, declared in his examination that 
there were more than three thousand persons engaged in 
the same business, and that there was not a woman at 
court, or belonging to the middle or lower class, who did 
not patronize the magicians, particularly in love matters. 


The execution of Gauffredy, the cure, and of Urbain 
Grandier, by Richelieu's orders, sufficiently demonstrate 
that the greatest minds of the time were not able to 
withstand the influence of these superstitions. 

"We read in Saint Augustine's Book, called " The City of 
God," that disbelief in the power of evil spirits was equiv- 
alent to a refusal to believe in the Holy Scriptures them- 

The Bible, which is taken from the sacred books of an- 
tiquity, believed in sorcery, and the sorcerer must stand or 
fall with the authority of the Bible. 

It is scarcely a century since persons convicted of magic 
were burnt at the stake, and we are struck with amazement 
by some of the sentences rendered by magistrates, still 
highly esteemed by their countrymen, according to which, 
upon the mere charge of sorcery, poor people suffered 
death by fire as charlatans, who, at the most, were only 
guilty of having cheated their neighbors out of a few sols 
by contrivances which were rather calculated to excite 
mirth than to do any serious injury. 

It is difficult to understand these sentences, except by 
supposing that the magistrates themselves were in the oc- 
cult power of the sorcerers. 

In 1T50, a Jesuit named Girard had a narrow escape 
from being burnt alive by a decree of the parliament of 
Provence, for having cast a spell upon the fair Cadiere. 
He was saved by the disagreement of his judges, who were 
equally divided in opinion as to his guilt. He was given 
the benefit of the doubt. 

A nun of the noble Chapter of Wurtzburg was burnt 
at the stake in the same year for being guilty of magical 

Since that time, fortunately, we have made some progress. 

When we threw off the yoke of the Romish priest, from 
that day common sense, conscience, and reason resumed 
their sway, and while our Hindu ancestors, who are yet 


under the dominion of their Brahmins and Necromancers, 
still slumber on in the last stages of decrepitude and decay, 
we have made great strides in the path of scientific prog- 
ress and intellectual liberty. 

We always meet the priest and sorcerer upon the same 
plane of social charlatanism. They are both products of 
superstition and grow out of the same causes. 

From an ethnographic point of view, it is interesting to 
observe that the Romans also inherited similar opinions 
from their Hindu ancestors. 

We remember what Ovid said of Medea, the magician : 

Per tumulos erat passis discincta capillis, 
Certaque de tepidis colligit ossa rogis, 
Devovet absentes, simulacraque cerea fingit 
Et miserum tenues in jecur urget acus. 

Horace also speaks of two magicians, named Canidia 
and Sagana, whose apparatus contained two figures, one of 
wool and the other of wax. 


Lanea, quae poenis compesceret inferiorem : 
Cerea suppliciter stabat : servilibus utque 
Jam peritura, modis. 

We must confess, however, that the Lydian singer was 
not very much in earnest in speaking of them, when we 
consider the noise Proh pudor / by whose aid he caused 
them to be put to flight by the god of gardens, who was 
annoyed by their enchantments. 

Horace would certainly not have sent his two witches to 
the stake. 

The same ideas with regard to visual influences also ex- 
isted among the Romans, as shown, among other things, 
by the following line from Yirgil : 

Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos. 


They had their god Fascinus and their amulets of that 
name, which were designed to protect children from injury 
from that source. The statue of the same god, suspended 
from the triumphal car, was a protection to its occupants 
from any harm that might otherwise befall them from the 
evil eye of envy. 

The object of the present work is not so much the study 
of magic in ancient times, as that of the more elevated re- 
ligious beliefs, under whose guidance the vital atom suc- 
cessively progressed from one transformation to another, 
until it was absorbed in the Great All ; which look upon 
the world of souls as being nothing but a succession of off- 
spring and ancestors, who never forget each other : beliefs 
which indeed we may not entertain, but which are em- 
balmed in a most mysterious and consolatory creed and 
are entitled to our respect. 

The present chapter with regard to Hindu magic is 
merely an episode which we do not propose to extend 
further ; otherwise we might show that the popular tradi- 
tions with regard to sorcery in India found their way also 
into Greece, Rome, and ancient Chaldea. 

One word hovever about this latter country, which, as 
claimed by Berosus, ^Eschylus, and Herodotus, was colo- 
nized by a multitude of unknown people and mixed tribes, 
speaking different languages. 

India, with its hundred and twenty-five dialects and its 
various castes, so different from each other, was the only 
country, at that time, from which emigration was con- 
stantly going on, in order to avoid sacerdotal persecution, 
and from which, consequently, the countries bordering upon 
the Tigris and the Euphrates could possibly have been col- 

To all the ethnographic facts, which go to show that the 
assertion here made is historically correct, may be further 
added the great similarity existing between the magical 
practices and beliefs of the Hindus and Chaldeans. 


The following are some of the Assyrian inscriptions re- 
lating to magical enchantments, taken from a recent pub- 
lication by Messrs. Rawlinson & Norris, which show how 
largely Chaldea was indebted to India. 

"The form of the Chaldean conjurations against evil 
spirits," says the eminent Assyriologist, " is very monoto- 
nous. They are all cast in the same mould. They begin 
with a list of the demons to be overcome by the conjura- 
tion, together with a description of the character and 
effects of their power. This is followed by the expres- 
sion of a desire to see them driven away, or of being pro- 
tected from them, which is often presented in an affirmative 
form. The formula finally concludes with a mysterious 
invocation, from which it derives all its efficacy. c Spirit 
of Heaven, remember ; Spirit of Earth, remember.' That 
alone is necessary and never fails ; but sometimes similar 
invocations to other divine spirits are also added. 

" I will give as an example, one of these conjurations to 
be used against different bad demons, maladies, or acts, 
such as the evil eye. 

The pestilence, or fever, that lays waste the country. 
The plague that devastates the land, bad for the body, and 
injurious to the bowels. 

The bad demon, the bad Alal, the bad Gigim. 

The evil man, the evil eye, the evil mouth, the evil 
tongue, may they come out of the body, may they come 
out of the bowels of the man, son of his God. 

They shall never enter into possession of my body. 

They shall never do any harm before me. They 
shall never walk after me. 

They shall never enter into my house. 

They shall never cross my frame. 

They shall never enter the house of my habitation. 

Spirit of Heaven, remember ! Spirit of Earth, re- 
member ! 


Spirit of Moul-ge, lord of countries, remember ! 

Spirit of Nin-gelal, lady of countries, remember ! 

Spirit of !Nin-dar, powerful warrior of Moul-ge, re- 
member ! 

Spirit of Pa-kou, sublime intelligence of Moul-ge, re- 
member ! 

Spirit of En-zouna, eldest son of Moul-ge, remember ! 

Spirit of Tiskou, lady of armies, remember ! 

Spirit of Im, king whose impetuosity is beneficent, 
remember ! 

Spirit of Oud, king of justice, remember ! 

" The following is another, where the final enumeration 
is not so long : 

The evening of evil omen, the region of heaven that 
produces misfortune, 

The fatal day, the region of the sky bad for obser- 

The fatal day, the bad region of the sky, that ad- 

Messengers of the plague, 

Ravagers of Nin-ki-gal, 

The thunder that rages throughout the country, 

The seven gods of the vast heavens, 

The seven gods of the vast earth, 

The seven gods of the fiery spheres, 

The seven malicious gods, 

The seven bad phantoms, 

The seven malicious phantoms of flames, 

The seven gods of heaven, 

The seven gods of the earth, 
The bad demon, 

The bad alal, 

The bad gigim, 

The bad tilol, 


The bad god, the bad maskim, 
Spirit of Heaven, remember ! 
Spirit of Earth, remember ! 
Sprit of Moul-ge, king of countries, remember ! 
Spirit of Ningelal, lady of countries, remember ? 
Spirit of Nin-dar, son of Zenith, remember ! 
Spirit of Tishkou, lady of countries, who shines in 
the night, remember ! 

" More commonly, however, there are no such mytho- 
logical enumerations at the end. As an example of the 
more simple kind of formulas, I may mention a conjura- 
tion against the seven subterranean demons, called maskim, 
who were reckoned among the most formidable of any. 

The seven ! the seven ! 

At the lowest bottom of the abyss, the seven ! 
Abomination of heaven ! the seven ! 
Hiding themselves in the lowest depths of heaven 
and earth, 

Neither male nor female, 
"Water, stretched out captives, 
Having no wives and producing no children, 
Knowing neither order nor good, 
Hearing no prayer, 
Termin, that hidest in the mountain, 
Enemies of the god Ea, 
Eavagers of the gods, 
Abettors of trouble, 
All-powerful by violence, 
Agents of enmity, 
Spirit of Heaven, remember ! 
Spirit of Earth, remember ! " 

"We shall dwell no further upon this point, however. 
The above inscriptions are superabundant proof that the 


practice of magic, as handed down to the ancient Chal- 
deans from their ancestors, the Hindu emigrants of the 
lower castes or mixed classes, as Berosus calls them, was 
the utmost limit of their attainments in that direction. 

The pure doctrines, which formed the subject of initia- 
tion, the worship of the Pitris and the superior spirits, 
awoke no echo upon the banks of the Euphrates. The 
nomads and brick moulders of the Sennar country lived 
in constant apprehension of the sorcerers and magicians,, 
with no idea even of the existence of the sublime concep- 
tions of Brahminism. 

Inscriptions recorded upon granite, marble, stone, or 
baked earth, invariably contain everything that is most 
elevated in the popular belief. We do not select the 
superstitious ideas of the multitude to bequeath to future 
ages, and, as it were, to immortalize them. 

/ am all and in all ! 
says the Trinitarian inscription at Elephanta, in India. 

/ have begotten the world ! 

says the record upon the statue of Isis, which was the 
emblem of mother Nature in Egypt. 

Know thyself ! 

such was the inscription that appeared in front of the 
temple at Delphi. 

And the column erected in the Agora at Athens was 
inscribed : 

To the unknown God! 

Mingling in their inscriptions their gods and evil spirits,, 
such as the gigim, the maskim, and other demons, trem- 
bling with constant fear in the presence of sexless, wife- 
less, and childless monsters, before these telals, these rav* 


agers of heaven, these enemies of Ea, the King of the 
Gods, who also seemed to tremble in their presence, the 
Chaldeans engraved upon their burnt bricks nothing but ex- 
pressions of the grossest superstition, for the simple reason 
that they had nothing else to put there. If there is any 
one thing at which we have a right to express our surprise, 
it is that some Assyriologists have taken these ridiculous 
conceptions as a text from which to prove that the ancient 
Hindus got their first ideas from the primitive Chaldeans. 

The Agrouchada-Parikchai, in a fourth book, which we 
have already alluded to, in which it gives an account of 
the magic practices, whereby bad spirits are set in mo- 
tion, but which is entirely ineffectual as far as the Pitris, 
or the superior spirits, or Swayambhouva, the Supreme 
Being, are concerned, and which fourth book is entirely 
disconnected from the other three, which are wholly de- 
voted to the pure doctrine of the Pitris, makes no secret 
of the fact that magic and sorcery were the only things 
that had any influence upon the impure Soudras, or the 
common people and Tchandalas, or mixed classes. 

Before passing on to the subject of the phenomena and 
external manifestations produced by those who had gone 
through the various degrees of initiation in India, it may 
not be amiss to compare the doctrine of the Pitris, as we 
have set it forth, with the beliefs of the Jewish cabalists 
and of several other philosophers of ancient times, who 
seem to us to have drank from the same fountain. 



It is not lawful to explain the history of creation to two persons, or 
the history of the Mercaba even to one. If, however, he is naturally a 
wise and intelligent man, he may be intrusted with the heads of the 
chapters. (Extract from the Mischna, a Jewish cabalistic work, portions 
of which were translated by A. Franck of the Institute.) 

As for the ten Sephiroth, there is no end, either in the future, or in 
the past, nor in good or evil, nor in depth or height, nor in the east, 
west, north, or south. The ten Sephiroth are like the fingers of the 
hands to the number of ten, five on either side, but at the middle lays 
the point of unity. 

Keep your mouth closed that you may not speak of it, and your heart 
that you may not think of it ; and if your heart forgets itself, bring it 
back again to its place, for that is the reason why the union was formed. 
<Sephir Jeoziroh, a cabalistic work, translated by A, Franck, of the 






In opposition to the outward observances with which 
the prescriptions of the Bible are encumbered under the 
Jewish law, by which all intelligent action, all freedom of 
the will are crushed out, there arose gradually by its side, 
in response to a demand for a greater independence of 
thought, and a wider philosophy, a mysterious doctrine 
which was known by the name of the Jewish Cabala. 

Those who believed in this doctrine, the object of which 
was to unfold the secrets of the divine nature, as well as of 
the creation, wrapped themselves up in silence and mystery 
like initiates in the Indian temples. At distant intervals, 
says the illustrious Franck, in his admirable book upon 
this mystic philosophy, 1 with innumerable precautions 
they partly opened the doors of the sanctuary to some 
new adept, who was always chosen among those particu- 
larly eminent for their intellectual ability, and whose ad- 
vanced age offered an additional proof of their wisdom 
and discretion. 

1 The Cabala, or Religious Philosophy of the Jews. 


When a new candidate was initiated into the mysteries 
of the Cabala, one of the elders murmured in his ears the 
following words : 

" O thou who hast now gone to the fountain-head of 
all the graces, be careful, whenever tempted to do so, 
not to reveal the tenet of emanation, which is a great 
mystery in the judgment of all Cabalists. Another mys- 
tery is contained in the following words : ' Thou shalt not 
tempt the Lord.' " 

The necessity of a special initiation, an essential pre- 
requisite of which was that the candidate should be 
far advanced toward the close of life, and the absolute 
secrecy which the person initiated was expected to pre- 
serve with regard to whatever was revealed to him, were 
two points of external discipline, in respect to which those 
who held to the doctrine of the Pitris in India, and the 
believers in the Jewish Cabala were very nearly agreed, 
though, in matters of belief, we shall soon see they were 
united by ties that bound them still closer to each other. 
In all times science has anxiously sought to discover the 
origin of the philosophical system of the Hebrews, which 
presents many points of resemblance with some of the 
Greek systems of Alexandria and with the mystical beliefs 
of Arabia. 

As the Cabala is manifestly older than the Alexandrian 
school, it cannot be successfully held to have sprung from 
the latter, though it may have been influenced by it to some 
extent. The most that can be claimed is that both sys- 
tems have drunk from the same source. As for the close 
connection that seems to exist between it and the mystical 
philosophy of the Arabs, we may well ask, with Messrs. 
Franck and Tholuck, who have investigated the subject in 
all its bearings, " What conclusion are we to draw from 
these many points of resemblance ? " 

" They are not of much importance, it is true, for what 
is similar in both systems is to be found elsewhere in more 


ancient systems. In the books of the Sabeans and Per- 
sians, for instance, and also among the Neo-Platonists. On 
the other hand, the extraordinary form under which these 
ideas are presented to us in the Cabala is unlike that of 
the Arab mystics. In order to satisfy ourselves that the 
Cabala really sprang from intercourse with the latter, we 
should find among them some traces of the doctrine of the 
Zephiroth. But not a vestige of it is to be met with. 
They knew of but one form under which God reveals him- 
self to himself. In this respect the Cabala is much more 
like the doctrine of the Sabeans and Gnostics. 

" No trace, either, is to be found among the Arabs of 
the doctrine of metempsychosis, which occupies such a 
prominent position in the Hebrew system. We also 
search their books in vain for the allegories we are con- 
stantly meeting with in the Zohar, for those continual ap- 
peals to tradition, for those daring and multitudinous per- 
sonifications with their endless genealogies, and for those 
astonishing and extraordinary metaphors which harmonize 
so well with the spirit of the East." 

These multitudinous incarnations and interminable gene- 
alogies, or, in other words, these men elevating them- 
selves to the infinite by the improvement of their spiritual 
nature ; this belief in the doctrine of metempsychosis, and 
the tenet relating to the ten Zephiroth, or the creative 
faculty of the divinity ; such are the recognized bases of 
the Cabalistic philosophy. 

We have seen that the belief in the doctrine of the 
Pitris is based on similar principles. The ten Zephiroth 
of the Hebrews are substantially the same as the ten 
Pradjapatis of India, to whom all creatures are indebted 
for their existence. 

The Zohar, which is the principal work of the Cabala, 
speaking of the philosophical system therein taught, says 
that it is precisely the same as the wisdom which the chil- 
dren of the East have known from the earliest times. 


" Evidently," says Franck, " this cannot refer to the 
Arabs, whom the Hebrew writers invariably call the chil- 
dren of Israel^ or the children of Arabia : they would 
not speak of a foreign and contemporaneous philosophy in 
such terms the Zohar would not date it back from the 
earliest ages of the world." 

While the origin of the Cabala cannot be successfully 
sought for either in the different systems of Greece or in 
the doctrines of the Alexandrian school, notwithstanding 
they have many points in common, or in the mystical 
philosophy of the Arabs ; while, on the other hand, the 
Zohar, tracing it back to the earliest ages, speaks of it as 
having the East for its cradle ; have we not good reason, 
therefore, in view of the antiquity of India and the simi- 
larity in principle of both systems, to say that the doc- 
trine of the Cabala sprang from the doctrine of the 
Pitris ? 

We should not forget that India, that immense and 
luminous centre in olden times, besides spreading its ideas 
throughout the East, by means of emigration, from the 
earliest times, was in constant communication with all the 
people of Asia, and that all the philosophers and sages of 
antiquity went there to study the science of life. It is 
not, therefore, surprising that in periods of their captivity 
the elders of the Hebrews should have been initiated by 
the Persian Magi into the old conceptions of the Brah- 

A few extracts from the Sepher Jeszireh and the Zohar, 
the two highest prized works of the Cabala, as to the na- 
ture of God, the creation, and the human soul, will show 
conclusively that this opinion is historically correct. 

We shall be brief, for while we cannot resist the tempta- 
tion to devote a few pages to the subject of these compari- 
sons, we shall bear in mind that we cannot dwell upon it 
at any great length, except at the expense of our main 



In order to show that these things are not to be taken 
in their literal signification, and that they have a hidden 
meaning which is contained therein, as in a seed, and has to 
be extracted from them, the Zohar repeats the following 
allegory : 

Picture to yourself a man living alone in the mountain 
and unacquainted with the usages of the city. He pro- 
duced and lived upon wheat, which he ate in its natural 

One day he went to the city, where he was given some 
bread of good quality. He asked : 

What is this good for ? 

He was answered, 

It is bread to eat. 

He took it and liked it, after which he asked again, 

What is it made of ? 

The answer was, 

It is made of wheat. 

Some time afterward he was given some cakes mixed 
with oil. He tasted them and asked : 

And what is this made of, pray ? 

He was answered 

It is made of wheat. 

By-and-by some royal pastry mixed with oil and honey 
was set before him. 

He asked the same question as before. 


What is tins ? 

He was answered, they are cakes made of wheat. 

He exclaimed, 

All these things are at my command. I use them 
already in their crude state; I use the wheat of which 
they are made. 

So thinking, he was a total stranger to the pleasures 
they give, which were all lost to him. So it is with those 
who give their whole attention to the general principles 
of science, and are ignorant of the pleasures therefrom 

The Zohar concludes as follows : " It is necessary to ex- 
tract from the letter of the law, the charms of wisdom 
that are therein hidden." 

We find also the following aphorisms in the same book. 

Wo to the man who does not look beyond the letter of 
the law, but regards it as simply a record of events in or- 

dinary language. 

* * 

The words of the law are the garments, in which it is 
clothed. Wo to him who takes the garment of the law 
for the law itself. 

There are some foolish people who, seeing a man cov- 
ered with a handsome garment, never look any further, 
but take this garment for the body, while there is some- 
thing which is more precious, and that is the soul. 

The law also has its body. There are commandments 
which may be called the body of the law ; the texts that are 
mingled with them are merely the garments by which 
they are covered. 


Ordinary people pay heed to nothing but the garments, 
or to the texts of the law. That is all they know. They 
see nothing that is hidden beneath this garment. Those 
who are wiser pay no heed to the garment, but to the 
body by which it is enveloped. 

The servants of the Supreme King, those who live upon 
the heights of Sinai, heed nothing but the soul, which is 
the basis of everything else, which is the law itself, and, 
in future times, they will be prepared to contemplate the 
soul of that soul which is manifested through the law. 

By treating the sacred books in this allegorical way, the 
Cabalists, without doing violence to the Bible or tradition, 
made the conceptions which were the subject of initiation 
in ancient times in the East, a part of their religious law. 

These last verses seem like a commentary upon the 
same subject as that which we have been considering, 
taken from the Book of the Pitris. 

We merely call attention to the similarity between the 
two methods of interpretation, adopted by the adherents of 
either doctrine, without dwelling upon it any further. 

We are reminded of what was said in the Agrouchada- 
Parikchai : 

" As the soul is contained in the body ; 

" As the almond is concealed by its envelope ; 

" As the sun is veiled by the clouds ; 

" As the garments hide the body from sight ; 

" As the egg is included in its shell ; 

" And as the germ rests inside of the seed ; 

" So the sacred law has its body, its envelope, its clouds, 
its garments, its shell, which hide it from the knowledge 
of the multitude." 

This opinion, that the words of the law were nothing 
but garments intended to conceal from the common people 


ths truths therein contained, led the Cabalists to construct 
what they called a Cabalistic alphabet, by whose aid they 
even prevented the material act of reading their mysteries. 

According to Reuchlin, " De Arte Cabalistic.," and Wolf, 
" Bibligr. Hebr.," the method employed in that occult al- 
phabet in order to make it necessary that the mere act of 
reading should be the subject of a special initiation, was 

The first consisted of the substitution of one word for 
another, to which it was equivalent. 

According to the second, the final letter of each word 
became the initial of another word. 

The third changed the value of the letters by putting, 
for instance, the first in place of the last, and vice-versa. 

"We have seen that those who believed in the Indian 
doctrine of the Pitris also indulged in these puerile prac- 



"We have seen that the mysteries taught in the Indian 
pagoda comprised three degrees of initiation, in each of 
which a probation of twenty years was required before 
being promoted to a higher grade. 

The writers on the Cabala have not given us all the 
secrets of their interior discipline, but there is no doubt 
that the Hebraic initiation also included several categories. 

It is well known, according to the Talmud, that the an- 
cient Hebrews had three names to express the idea of God. 

The first, which was composed of four letters, was 
taught to all who came for instruction to the temple. 

With regard to the second and third, which consisted of 
twelve and forty-two letters respectively, the following are 
the words of Maimonides : 

" Sages taught the name of twelve letters to their sons 
and disciples ; but when the number of the ungodly had 
increased, it was intrusted only to the most discreet among 
the priests, and they repeated it in a low tone to their 
brethren, while the people were receiving the benediction." 

The name of forty-two letters was the most sacred of 
all mysteries. It contained the great secret of the uni- 
versal soul, and stood for, if we may so express it, the 
highest degree of initiation. 

" It was only taught," says the author whom we have 
just quoted, " to a man of recognized discretion, of mature 
age, not addicted to anger or intemperance, a stranger to 


vanity, and gentle and pleasant with all with whom he was 
brought into contact." 

"Whoever," says the Talmud, "has been made ac- 
quainted with this secret and vigilantly keeps it in a pure 
heart, may reckon upon the love of God and the favor of 
men ; his name inspires respect ; his knowledge is in no 
danger of being forgotten, and he is the heir of two 
worlds, that in which we live, and the world to come." 

These three classes of persons, viz. : 

First, the disciples, who were taught the name consist- 
ing of four letters : 

Second, the priests, who studied that of twelve letters ; 

Third, the elders, to whom alone the secret of the forty- 
two letters was revealed, 

seem to us to correspond very closely to the three grades 
of initiation in India. 

It is worthy of remark, according to the last quotation 
from the Talmud, that the elders who are in possession of 
this most sacred mystery, are invested with supreme power, 
not only in the present world but in the world of invisible 

In the Zohar, in the Sepher Jeszirah, in the Guemara, 
and in the Mischna we are constantly meeting with the 
prohibition to divulge the secrets of the Mercaba, or crea- 
tion, to anybody except, 

" Men who are invested with the highest dignity and 
who are known for their extreme prudence." 

"Whose heart," according to the original expression, 
"is filled with anxiety and alarm." 

From a text which we quoted in the first chapter of the 
first part of this work, it appears that a distinguished po- 
sition, with respect to intellect and accomplishments, was 
not all that was required from him who aspired to a 
knowledge of these mysteries, but that he must also have 
arrived at a certain age. 


The Rabbi Jochanan one day said to the Rabbi Eleazar : 
"Let me teach you the history of the Mercaba." The 
latter answered, " I am not old enough for that." "When 
he had grown old enough, the Rabbi Jochanan was dead. 
Some time afterward, the Rabbi Assi said to him in his 
turn, " Let me teach you the history of the Mercaba." 
He replied : "If I had deemed myself worthy, I should 
have learnt it before, from the Rabbi Jochanan, your 

Though we may not be able to point out the special 
practices observed by those who had been initiated into 
the mysteries of the Jewish Cabala, as they were promoted 
from one degree to a higher, owing to the silence of their 
traditions and written works upon that subject, still, we 
have reason to think, at any rate, that as in India there 
were three degrees of initiation. 



Rabbi Simon, having assembled his disciples, seated 
himself beneath the shade of a sacred forest, and informed 
them that, before dying, he would reveal to them the great 
secret of the principle of principles. 

"A voice was then heard and their knees shook to- 
gether for fright. What was that voice? It was the 
voice of the celestial assembly (including all the superior 
spirits) which had assembled to listen. Rabbi Simon joy- 
fully spoke as follows : O Lord ! I will not say, like one 
of thy prophets, that upon hearing thy voice I was afraid, 
for this is not the time to be afraid, but it is the time for 
love, as it is written : Thou shalt love the eternal, thy God.'' 

The Zohar then puts into his mouth the following de- 
scription of the Supreme Being : 

" He is the Ancient of ancients, the mystery of mys- 
teries, the unknown of those who are unknown. He 
has a form that appertains to him, inasmuch as he ap- 
pears to us as a man far advanced in life, as the Ancient of 
ancients, as whatever is most unknown among those who 
are unknown, but under this form beneath which he 
manifests himself to us, he still remains unknown, his 
garment seems white, and his aspect is that of one whose 
face is exposed ; he is seated upon a throne of thunder- 
bolts, which he uses at pleasure. The white light of his 
head lights up four hundred thousand worlds. Four hun- 
dred thousand worlds, springing from this white light, are 
the inheritance of the just in the world to come. Every 
day witnesses the birth of thirteen thousand myriads of 


worlds which receive their subsistence from him, and the 
burthen of which is entirely supported by him. A re- 
freshing dew drops from his head, which awakes the dead 
and infuses into them a new life, wherefore it is written ; 
Thy dew is a dew of light ; it is the food of the highest 
order of spirits ; it is the manna which is prepared for the 
just in the life to come. It drops upon the field of sacred 
fruit. In appearance this dew seems white like diamonds, 
whose color contains all colors. The length of his face, 
from the summit of his head is three hundred and seventy 
times ten thousand worlds. He is called the long-face, 
for such is the name of the Ancient of ancients." 

" Before he created any form in this world, before he 
produced any image, he was alone, without form, resemb- 
ling nothing. Who can conceive of him as he was then, 
previous to creation, inasmuch as he had no form ? There- 
fore it is not lawful to represent him by means of any 
image or under any form whatever, even by his holy 
name, even by a letter or a point. Such is the meaning 
of the words. You saw no figure on the day when the 
Eternal spoke to us." 

" Woe to him who ventures to compare him even to one 
of his own attributes ; much less still should he be com- 
pared to man who springs from the earth, and whose 
destiny is death. He should be conceived of as above all 
creatures and all attributes." 

" Learn, however, that no one is intelligent or wise, ex- 
cept of his own substance, for wisdom does not deserve 
the name by itself, but on account of him who is wise, and 
who produces it from the light emanating from himself. 
Moreover, no one can conceive of intelligence as existing 
by itself alone, but through him who is an intelligent being 
and who fills it with his own substance." (Extract from 
the Zohar, a Cabalistic work.) 

" The Ancient of ancients is, at the same time, the most 
unknown of unknown beings. He is distinct from every- 


thing, and yet he is not separated from anything ; for 
everything is united to him as he is united to everything ; 
there is nothing that is not in him. He has a form and 
we may say that he has none. Upon assuming a form he 
gave existence to everything that is. In the first place, he 
projected from his own bosom ten luminaries or the ten 
Zephiroth which shine by the form they borrowed from 
him, and diffuse on all sides a most brilliant light. In the 
same manner as a beacon spreads rays of lights every- 
where around it, the Ancient of ancients, the unknown of 
all unknown beings, is an elevated beacon, which we know 
merely by the light, which shines in our eyes with such 
brilliancy and fulness. What we call his holy name is only 
this light." (Extract from the Idra-Souata, a Cabalistic 

" The Ancient of ancients, whose name be sanctified, is 
the only form that embraces all other forms. It is su- 
preme and mysterious wisdom, that includes everything." 
(Extract from the Zohar.) 

These extracts contain almost everything that has been 
written by the Cabalists with regard to the divine nature, 
and we may say, indeed, that their whole system of philo- 
sophical belief is contained in its turn, in the following 
sayings, taken from the Book of the Pitris : 

He is all and in all 

And everything is in him ! 

He is the cause of everything and every effect is in him. 

The same pantheism, in an infinite unity, was taught in 
the works of the Cabala as by those who had been ini- 
tiated in the Indian temples. The Ancient of Ancients 
in the Zohar is precisely the same as the Ancient of Days 
in Manu, the Yedas, and the Agrouchada-Parikchai. We 
find the same fundamental ideas at the basis of both phi- 
losophies, expressed in almost identical terms. 

We shall now show how this most unknown of unknown 
beings revealed himself in creation. 



The ten Zephiroth represent the ten essential qualities, 
by means whereof the deity is manifested in creation. 

These ten attributes, representing goodness, glory, wis- 
dom, power, grace, justice, intelligence, sovereignty, etc., 
are completely identified with the divine substance, but as 
God is immutable and is not susceptible of change, the 
Cabalists always regard him as in action, and the ten Zep- 
hiroth as instruments of the Supreme Power, as creatures 
of a superior nature, as types of all beings. 

This is the way in which God reveals himself, and 
passes from evocation into action. 

"We will now yield the floor to the illustrious Hebraist 
whom we have adopted as our guide, and who can furnish 
a more correct description of this conception than we are 
able to give ourselves. 

" God," says Franck, is " present in the Ten Zephiroth ; 
otherwise he could not reveal himself through them ; but 
he does not abide wholly in them ; he is not solely what 
we are able to find out about him, through these sublime 
forms of thought and life. In point of fact, the Zephiroth 
can never comprehend the infinite. The En- Soph, which 
is the very source of all these forms, and which, in that 
capacity, has no form, or rather, to speak more correctly, 
while each Zephiroth has a well-known name, he alone has 
none and can have none." 

God then remains the ever ineffable, incomprehensible, 
and infinite being, whose place is above that of all the 


-worlds which reveal his presence to us, even the world of 

Such is, likewise, the particular nature of each of the 
ten Pradjapatis of India, and the character of their rela- 
tions toward Swayambhouva, the unrevealed being. 

The analogy between them is so close and striking that 
any comments we might make would only weaken the 
force of their resemblance. 

According both to the Cabalists and the believers in the 
Pitris, the Zephiroth and the ten Pradjapatis, who are the 
lords of creatures, are the attributes of divinity, as em- 
bodied in the Ten Superior Spirits, who manifest themselves 
in creation, and in this manner, the doctrine of the immuta- 
bility of the Deity, who was only able to reveal himself 
in action, was not infringed upon in the slightest degree. 

The close similarity between these beliefs, in India and 
Judea, is the more worthy of remark, inasmuch as we 
meet them in no other philosophical system at that period, 
and it incontestably indicates how closely the Hindu and 
Jewish systems are related to each other. This system 
was not fully set forth in the Cabala much more than a 
century previous to our era, while Mann, the Yedas, and 
the Agrouchada-Parikchai had already been in existence 
for several thousand years. 

It may not be amiss to remark also that these Ten Su- 
perior Spirits, like the Indian Pradjapatis, are at the head 
of the immense hierarchy of spirits, both inspiring as well as 
mediating, who preside over the continual transformations 
of the vital molecule, and under whose guidance the hu- 
man soul advances from one degree of perfection to an- 
other until it reaches the universal soul. 

The Sepher Jeszirah speaks in the following enigmatical 
manner of these superior manifestations. 

" There are ten Zephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and 
not eleven. Act so that you may intelligently understand 
them in your wisdom, so that your mind, your speculations, 


jour knowledge, and your thoughts may be constantly en- 
gaged in their investigation. Let every thing rest upon 
its foundation and reinstate the Creator upon his basis. 

" As for the Ten Zephiroth, there is no end, neither in 
the future nor in the past, nor in good nor evil, nor in 
height nor depth, nor in the east nor the west, nor in the 
south, nor in the north. 

" The Ten Zephiroth are like the five fingers of each 
hand to the number of ten, five on either hand, but be- 
tween them is the tie of unity. 

" The end of the Zephiroth is united to the beginning^ 
as the flame is united to the firebrand, for the Lord is one, 
and there is not a second. 

" Close your mouth that you may not speak of it, and 
your heart that you may not think of it, and if your heart 
forgets itself, bring it to its place again, for it is for this 
reason that they have been united together.'' (Extract 
from the Sepher Jeszireh.) 

Was not the meaning of the Agronchada-Parikchai 
precisely identical, when it said, centuries before the 
Cabala was in existence : 

" As for the Ten Fradjapatis, who are the lords of all 
created beings, and who are Maritchi, Atri, Angiras, Pou- 
lastya, Poulaha, Cratou, Pratchetas, Yasichta, Brighou, 
Karada, there is no commencement or end, neither in 
time nor space, for they are the product of the only essence 
of one spirit at a single breath. 

" This is a fatal secret ; close thy mouth that no part of 
it may be revealed to the vulgar herd ; compress thy brain 
in order that no part of it may be spread abroad." 

We will say in conclusion that the whole doctrine of the 
Pitris consists in a knowledge of that vast spiritual hie- 
rarchy at the head of which stand the Pradjapatis. 

In like manner, the whole of the Jewish Cabala may be 
summed up as consisting in the mystic knowledge of the 



"Having divided his body into two parts, the sovereign 
ruler became half male and half female, and uniting with 
the female portion, begot Yiradj the son." (Manu, sloca 
34, book i.) 

" I, Yiradj, desiring to give birth to the human race, 
first produced the Ten Pradjapatis, who are the Lords of 
all created beings, after having practised the greatest 
austerities." (Manu, sloca 34, book i.) 

In such terms as these, the venerable legislator of the 
Hindus first spake of the primitive triad, from which 
sprang the ten superior spirits, who first manifested them- 
selves in creation. 

We have already seen in what affecting language the 
Book of the Pitris speaks of the love of the husband for his 
spouse, and how the universe sprang from that celestial 
union. In all the pagodas of India, that symbolical trinity 
is represented by three heads, carved from a single block 
of granite or marble, in the form of a single head. 

It is extraordinary to see how closely this idea, which 
sprang up on the banks of the Ganges, was copied in the 
teachings of the Jewish Cabalists. 

"We are free to confess that what we have said about 
the Cabala is not derived from our own knowledge upon 
that subject. All our information about the Hebrews is 
taken from Mr. Franck of the Institute, and the reader 
will understand that thereon rests the whole weight of 
our argument. 


After this digression, we will now go on with our proofs. 
They seem like demonstrations in mathematics. We pro- 
posed to show that the Hebraic Cabala sprang originally 
from the Hindu temples. The best means at our com- 
mand, in order to elucidate this problem, which is also 
interesting from an ethnographic point of view, is simply 
to confront the doctrine of the Pitris, as we have unfolded 
it, and the Hindu text, as we have given it, with the 
Hebraic texts themselves. We have also given the views 
of an eminent author, who certainly was not thinking of 
India when he was explaining the mysteries of the Zohar 
and the Sepher Jeszireh, and who too was wondering what 
could have been the birthplace of these extraordinary 
doctrines, which, in spite of certain points of similarity, 
never grew out of the Grecian or Arabic philosophies. 

The following are the exact words of the Zohar, as 
given by the author in question, accompanied by his 
comments thereon. They lead from unity to the dyad, 
and from the dyad to the triad, by the same path which 
the thinkers in the Hindu pagodas had previously ex- 
plored : 

" In the beginning, was the Ancient. Seen face to face, 
he is the supreme head, the source of all light, the 
principle of all wisdom. The only definition that can be 
applied to him is, unity." 

From the bosom of this absolute unity, of which, how- 
ever, variety is a distinguishing feature, and from all 
relative unity, issue two principles in parallel lines, which 
are apparently opposed to each other, but in reality are 
not incompatible. The male, or active principle is called 
wisdom ; the female, or passive principle is designated by 
a word that is commonly translated as intelligence. 

" Everything that exists," says the Zohar, " everything 
that has been formed by the Ancient, whose name be sanc- 
tified, can only subsist through a male and & female." 

From their eternal and mysterious union springs a son, 


who, according to the original expression, takes after his 
father and mother together, and bears witness to both of them. 

This son of wisdom and intelligence, called, on account 
of his double inheritance, the elder son of God, is knowl- 
edge, or science. These three persons contain and include 
everything that is, but they are united, in their turn, in 
the White Head, in the Ancient of ancients, for all is he 
and he is all. 

Sometimes he is represented with three heads forming 
a single one. Sometimes he is compared to the brain, 
which, without losing its unity, is divided into three parts, 
and by means of thirty-two pairs of nerves is in communi- 
cation with every part of the body, as, by the aid of the 
thirty -two methods of wisdom, the divinity is diffused 
throughout the universe. 

" The Ancient," says the Zohar, " whose name be sanc- 
tified, exists with three heads forming a single one, and 
this head is the most elevated of all elevated things, 
and because the Ancient is represented by the number 
three, all the other lights, or, in other words, the ten 
Zephiroth, are also comprised within the number three." 

In another part of the same work we read : 

" There are three heads carved one within the other, 
and one above the other. In this number we reckon first 
hidden wisdom, which is never without a veil. This mys- 
terious wisdom is the supreme principle of all other wis- 
dom. Above this first head is the Ancient ; whatever is 
most mysterious among mysteries. Finally comes the head 
which towers above all others, and which is no head. 
What it contains no one knows, or can know, for it equally 
escapes our knowledge and our ignorance. That is the 
reason why the Ancient is called the non-being." 

Sometimes the terms or, if it is preferred, the persons 
of this trinity are represented as three successive and ab- 
solutely necessary phases of existence, as well as of thought, 
as a deduction or evolution which, at the same time, con- 


stitutes the generation of the world. However surprising 
it may seem, there can be no doubt about it, when we 
read the following lines taken from the Zohar : 

" Come and see ; thought is the principle of everything ; 
but it is at first ignorant and self-contained. When thought 
succeeds in diffusing itself abroad it has reached that 
stage when it becomes spirit. When it has arrived at 
that point it is called intelligence, and is no longer con- 
tained within itself as before. The spirit develops itself, 
in its turn, among the mysteries by which it is surrounded, 
and a voice comes from it, which is like a reunion of the 
celestial choirs, a voice which is distinctly heard in articu- 
late words, for it comes from the spirit, but when we 
think of all these degrees, we see that thought and intelli- 
gence, this voice and this language, are one and the same 
thing ; that thought is the principle of everything that is, 
and that no interruption can exist therein. Thought itself 
is united to the non-being, and is never separated from it. 
Such is the meaning of the words ; Jehovah is one and 
his name is one. 

" The name, which signifies I am, indicates to us the 
union of everything that is, the degree where all the 
methods of wisdom are still hidden, and placed together, 
without our being able to distinguish one from the other, 
but when a line of demarkation is once established, when it 
is desired to distinguish the mother, carrying all things in 
her womb, and upon the point of giving birth to them, in 
order to reveal the supreme name ; then God says, speak- 
ing of himself : I who am. Finally, when all is carefully 
formed and has issued from the maternal womb, when 
everything is in its place, and it is proposed both to desig- 
nate the individual and existence, God calls himself Jeho- 
vah, or I am that which is." 

We will conclude the present sketch by presenting a 
most extraordinary resemblance between the doctrine of 
the Pitris and that of the Jewish Cabalists. 


In the Hindu system, as we have seen, there were three 
trinities which proceeded successively from Swayambhouva, 
the self-existent being, and were mingled in him in a su- 
preme union. They are : 

First, the initial trinity, which gave birth to the divine 
thought : 

Nara, the producer, 
Kari, the mother, 
Yiradj, the son. 

Second, the trinity, as manifested, from which spring the 
primitive elements, which aid in the formation of the 



Third, the creating trinity : 

Franck informs us, upon the authority of the Zohar, 
that a precisely similar doctrine was held by the Cabalists. 
He says : 

"The ten Zephiroth were divided into three classes. 
Each presents the divinity to us under a different aspect, 
but always under the aspect of an invisible trinity. 

" The first three Zephiroth are purely intellectual. As 
a matter of metaphysics, they express the absolute identity 
of thought and existence, and form what modern Cabalists 
call the intelligible world. It is the first manifestation of 
the Deity. 

" The three that succeed them have a moral character : 
on the one hand, they make us conceive of God as iden- 
tical with goodness and wisdom ; on the other hand, they 
exhibit the Supreme Being as the origin of beauty and 
magnificence in creation. For this reason, they have 
been called the virtues, or the sensible world. 


" Finally, we learn ty the last three Z&phiroth that the 
universal providence, or the Supreme Artist, is also abso- 
lute force or all-powerful cause, and that this cause is, at 
the same time, the generating element of everything that is. 
It is the last Zephiroth that constitutes the natural world 
or nature, in its essence and active principle, natura 

Upon prosecuting our inquiries as to the original source 
of the philosophical ideas of mankind, it is highly sug- 
gestive, to say the least of it, that the Brahminical and 
Cabalistic notion of the three trinities was almost iden- 
tically the same. 

First, there was an unrevealed God, the primordial and 
universal germ, the Ancient of Days, as he was called by 
the Hindus, the Ancient of Ancients, according to the 
Cabalistic philosophy. 

Second, there was then a first trinity, begotten of 
thought and will. 

Third, there was in either case a second trinity, which 
was the origin of the elements, of the virtues, and of the 
forces of the sensible world. 

Fourth, according to the Hindus, a third trinity had 
charge of the work of creation ; according to the Ca- 
balists, it represents the generative element of everything 
that is. 

Finally, in both doctrines, the active generative element, 
by perpetual union with the passive or mother element, 
was continually shooting into space the rays of life, from 
which souls escape and accomplish their progressive des- 
tinies in the universe, and gradually ascend and are ab- 
sorbed in the immortal source from which they originally 
spring, or, in other words, in unity. 

In order to give a clearer idea of this notion of the 
Great All, with its two-fold nature, continually begetting 
everything that exists, and of the universe which is the 
product, or offspring, perpetually ascending to unity, like 


the links of an endless chain, or a self-feeding flame, 
the Zohar makes use of the following comparison : 

" In order to master the science of the sacred unity, look 
at the flame which rises from a brightly burning fire, or 
from a lighted lamp ; first we see two lights, the one brill- 
iantly white, the other black or blue. The white light is 
above the other, and rises in a straight line. The black 
light is underneath and seems to be the source of the 
former. They are, however, so closely united to each other 
that they form but one flame, but the foundation, formed 
by the blue or black light, in its turn, is connected with 
the burning matter which is still farther beneath. It 
should be known that the white light never changes ; it 
always preserves its peculiar color, but several shades are 
distinguished in that which is beneath. The latter besides 
tends in two opposite directions. On top it is connected 
with the white light and below with the burning flame, 
but this matter is being continually absorbed in its bosom, 
and is continually ascending toward the superior light. In 
this manner everything returns to unity." 

In view of the extraordinary similarity which we have 
shown to exist between the doctrines held by the Hindus 
and those of the Jewish Cabalists, what becomes of the 
claims of those Semitists who, in imitation of Eenan, 
adopt every method to disseminate their peculiar views, 
independently of the fact that identically the same opin- 
ions were held by other people in Asia and the East. 



" The inferior world has been created in the similitude 
of the superior. Everything that exists in the superior 
world appears here below like the reflection of an image, 
and yet it is all only one thing." (The Zohar.) 

" It is needful for you to know that there is the same 
relation between the shadow and the body, as between the 
corporeal and spiritual worlds." (Al Gazali, a Cabalistic 

The extraordinary similarity existing between the doc- 
trines taught in the Indian pagodas and those of the 
Jewish Cabal ists, was not, however, confined to their 
metaphysical conceptions. The Cabalists, as we shall show, 
also believed in mediating and inspiring spirits, and their 
belief was nothing but the logical consequence of the 
principles they held. The whole of creation, the entire 
universe, being merely a radiation from the divine nature, 
infinite space is peopled with spirits which have dropped, 
on the one hand, from the great all in the condition of 
sparks, or atoms, endowed with life, and who, on the 
other hand, are returning to it through a constant series 
of progressive transformations. 

This condition of affairs is clearly unfolded in the Zohar, 
in the form of the following allegory : 

" Spirits or the souls of the just," says that celebrated 
work, " are above all powers. If you ask why from a 
place so exalted they descend to the earth, so far away 


from their source, this is my answer : Their case is like 
that of a king, to whom a son was born, and who took him 
into the country, to be there reared and educated until he 
had grown older, and had been instructed in the customs 
of his father's palace. When the king was informed that 
his son's education was finished, what does his love for 
him prompt him to do ? He sends for the queen, his 
mother, to celebrate his return. He brings him back to 
the palace, where the whole day is spent in rejoicing. 
The saint also had a son by the queen, blessed be his 
name. This son is the superior and sacred soul. He 
sends him to the country, or, in other words, into the 
world, to grow up and become acquainted with the usages 
of his father's palace. When it comes to the knowledge 
of the Ancient of Ancients that his son is grown, and that 
the time has come to introduce him into his presence, 
what does his love then prompt him to do ? As a mark of 
honor, he sends for the queen, and brings her son home to 
his palace. Indeed, the soul has no sooner left the earth 
than the queen joins him, to show him the way to the 
king's palace, where she dwells forever and ever. And 
yet the inhabitants of the country are accustomed to grieve 
and weep at parting with the king's son. But if there is 
a wise man present, he says to them, Why do ye weep ? Is 
it not the king's son ? Is it not just that he should leave 
us and dwell in his father's palace ? If all the just should 
know this, they would welcome the day when they must 
leave this earth. Is it not the height of glory that the 
queen, the (Scheinah, or the Divine Presence,) should come 
down in the midst of them, that they should be admitted 
to the king's palace, and should live in delight forever- 
more and enjoy everlasting happiness?" 

In the following passage the Zohar shows that the 
world is full of spirits : 

" God animated every particle of matter with a particu- 
lar spirit. Forthwith, all the celestial armies were formed, 


and stood before him with the breath of his mouth, he 
created all his armies. The spirits are the messengers of 
the Lord." 

In order to show conclusively that the Cabalists, pre- 
cisely like the believers in the Pitris in India, believed 
also in mediating, directing, and inspiring spirits, as well 
as in evil spirits, we propose to make one more quotation, 
which shall be the last, from the eminent translator and 
commentator to whom we have already so often referred. 

" "We shall understand still better," he says, " what is 
meant by the spirits animating all the celestial bodies, and 
all the elements of the earth, if we pay particular atten- 
tion to the names and functions attributed to them. In 
the first place, we must dismiss from our minds all the 
purely poetical personifications, of whose character there 
is the slightest doubt. Such are all the angels which are 
named either after a moral quality or a metaphysical ab- 
straction, such, for instance, as good and evil desires, which 
are represented as real persons, acting in our presence ; 
Tahariel, the spirit of purity ; Rachmiel, the spirit of 
mercy ; Tsadkiel, the spirit of justice ; Padael, the spirit 
of deliverance, and the famous Raziel, the spirit of secrecy, 
which watches with a jealous eye over the mysteries of 
Cabalistic wisdom. It is, moreover, a principle recognized 
by all Cabalists as a part of the general system of being 
that the angelic hierarchy only commences with the third 
world, which is called the World of Formation, or, as they 
say, in the space occupied by the planets and celestial 
bodies. The chief of these invisible forces is the angel 
Metratrone, so called because he stands immediately below 
the throne of God, and alone forms the World of Creation 
or of pure spirits. His task is to preserve unity, har- 
mony, and motion in all the spheres. His office is pre- 
cisely the same as that of that blind and indefinite power 
which it is sometimes proposed to substitute for God under 
the name of Nature. He has under his orders myriads of 


subjects, who are divided into ten categories, no doubt, in 
honor of the ten Zephiroth. These subordinate spirits 
maintain the same relation to the different parts of nature 
as their chief does to the universe. Thus, one presides 
over the movements of the earth, another over those of 
the moon, and the same is true of the other celestial 
bodies. One is called the spirit of fire, JSTouriel ; another 
the spirit of light, Ouriel ; a third presides over the dis- 
tribution of the seasons ; a fourth, over vegetation. Fi- 
nally, all productions, all the forces, and all the phenomena 
of nature are represented in the same way." 

As for the evil spirits, which the Cabalists also believe 
in, they regard them as grosser and more imperfect forms 
of existence. In the darkness and impurity in which they 
move, they are divided, like the superior spirits, into ten 
categories, personifying evil in all its degrees. 

It will be readily seen that upon all these points the 
Hindu Book of the Pitris and the Hebrew Zohar are in- 
spired with the same idea. There is the same metaphys- 
ical basis, the same belief in good and bad spirits, and the 
same system with regard to the composition of the uni- 

Although we are not in possession of any very precise 
information with regard to the evocation of spirits by the 
Cabalists, who probably never transmitted the prescribed 
formulas, except by word of mouth, still Hebraic tradition 
is so full to overflowing of the phenomena of evocation 
and occult manifestations, which are a necessary outgrowth 
of the beliefs we have just set forth, that it would be 
puerile to ask whether the ancient Cabalists, like the 
Hindu priests, ever claimed to exercise supernatural 

We need only remind the reader of the witch of Endor^ 
evoking the ghost of Samuel, the prophet, before Saul, on 
the eve of the battle of Gilboa ; of Daniel explaining, in 
the presence of Balthazar, the magical writing upon the 


walls of his palace, by an invisible hand, in the midst of a 
feast : 

Mene Tekel Upharsin ; 

and of the witch Huldah, whom the high priest Hilkiah 
made use of, in order to influence the people, as well as 
of hundreds of other similar facts which are clearly noth- 
ing but exterior manifestations of an occult power. 

We may be told, however, in opposition, that the Jew- 
ish Cabala cannot lay claim to such antiquity. It is the 
unanimous opinion of all Cabalists that this mysterious 
philosophy sprang originally from the primitive institution 
of the Levites, and grew out of their desire to arrogate to* 
themselves a belief of a higher order than that which they" 
vulgarly taught. 

We are indebted to Cabalistic tradition for the follow- 
ing legend, which we give in conclusion : ] 

" One day, our Master Jochanan Ben Zachai started 
upon his travels. He rode a donkey and was followed by 
Eabbi Eleazar Ben Aroch. The latter asked him to teach 
him a chapter of the Mercaba. ' Did not I tell you,' an- 
swered our master, ' that it was not lawful to explain the- 
Mercaba unto one alone, if he did not possess the requisite 
degree of wisdom and intelligence ? ' ' Is it not lawful,' 
replied Eleazar, 'at any rate, for me to repeat in your 
presence what you have already taught me ? ' ' Well r 
speak,' said our master. Saying so, he dismounted, drew 
a veil over his head, and sat down upon a stone in the 
shadow of an olive tree. Eleazar, son of Aroch, had 
hardly commenced speaking of the Mercaba, when a fire 
descended from heaven and enveloped all the trees in the 
country, which seemed to sing hymns, and in the midst 
of the fire, a spirit was heard to express his joy at hearing 
these mysteries." 

In the same passage we are told that two others who* 

1 Thai. Bab. Trail. Chaguiga, fol. xiv. 


had been initiated, Kabbi Josuah and Rabbi Joseph, fol- 
lowing Eleazar's example, recited a chapter of the Mer- 
caba. The most extraordinary prodigies again occurred. 

" The sky was covered with thick clouds, a meteor very 
much like a rainbow appeared in the horizon, and the 
spirits were seen flocking to hear them, like spectators 
crowding to witness the passage of a wedding." 

Upon learning of the prodigies which had been accom- 
plished by his disciples Jochanan Ben Zachai told of one 
in his turn, which was as follows : 

"We had been transported upon Mount Sinai, when 
from the heavens above a voice was heard, uttering these 
words : Come up here, where a splendid feast is provided 
for you, and for your disciples, and for all the generations 
who may hear these doctrines. You are destined to enter 
the third category." 

Thus the phenomena of external manifestations, such 
as the fire hovering around the trees, and a meteor suddenly 
exhibiting itself among the clouds ; the phenomena of 
evocation, such as the spirits flocking to hear the mysteri- 
ous secrets of the Mercaba the phenomena of transfor- 
mation, where Jochanan and his disciples were transported 
upon Mount Sinai to converse with the invisible spirits / 
and finally, their admission to the third category of initia- 
tion, in short, everything in this Cabalistic passage, goes 
to show that those who believed in the Zohar claimed the 
power to evoke spirits and to produce external phenomena. 



The Jewish Cabala is not the only philosophical system 
in ancient times which closely resembles the Brahminical 

According to Plato, the universe was an emanation from 
the Supreme Being, created by the Word, or Son, and was 
a mere reproduction of the eternal types contained in the 
divine wisdom ; like the Hindus he believes in the pre- 
existence of the soul, and metempsychosis, and like them 
he secretly instructed those who had been initiated in 
doctrines of which those he popularly taught gave but a 
faint idea. 

If we may apply that expression to him, the philoso- 
pher of Egina was what we should call in modern times, 
an eclectic. 

He taught his disciples, in a smaller compass, the tra- 
ditions of human wisdom, which had been handed down 
from age to age to his time, by means of the mystic initia- 
tions in the temples. 

"We are positively told so by Proclus, in the following 

" f A7rdcrav ftev TOV UXarcovo? <t\o<ro<iai/, KOI rrjv d 

vofil^to t Kara rrjv rwv Kpeirrdvayv dyadoeiSij j3ov- 
. . T?;? re aXX??9 afiracrt)? ij/j,a$ /z-ero^oo? (career' 


rij(7 rov HXarawo? <j)i\oa-o<t>ias, ical KOIVWVOVS r&v 9 
irapa T(ov CLVTOV TrpecrffvTepcov //.eretX^^e." 

There are so many points of analogy between the philos- 
ophy of the Alexandrian school, or Xeo-platonism, and 
the Hindu doctrines which we have just been investigat- 
ing, that we cannot avoid the conclusion that the former 
was derived from that inexhaustible Oriental fountain. 
Moreover, it claims, itself, to have sprung from the mys- 
terious traditions of Asia. 

Its idea of God is that he is the Great All, from which 
everything proceeds, and to which everything tends. 

He is all and everything is in him. 

He is unity, TO ev ; 

He is the ineffable, 

He is the unknown, 

According to Plotinus and his school, the Trinity is an 
^emanation from unity, exactly as held by those who be- 
lieve in the Pitris. 

It receives the following names, taken from its attri- 
butes : 

TO v, TO ayadoVy unity or, in other words, the good. 

JVoi)?, the soul of the world, or the universal spirit. 

^v)(rj TOV TTavros, rcov oXwj/, the demiourgos, or the 

The resemblance between the two systems is not con- 
fined, however, to a single point. Each member of this 
trinity begets, in its turn, a special trinity, and the mission 
of the three trinities that spring from them, is to produce 
unceasingly and to perpetuate in this world, first, the 
good ; second, the intelligence or the vital principle ; and 
third, the work of creation. 

Under more mystical names they are precisely similar 
to the three trinities of the Brahmins and the Cabalists. 

According to the Neo-platonists the Supreme Being, 


with its various symbolic transformations, is a vast and 
everlasting source, from which are constantly spring- 
ing those universal races which, through the love of the 
husband for his spouse, of the unity for the intelligence, 
are provided with all the different attributes and are 
thereby impelled to ascend unceasingly, through succes- 
sive transformations, until they arrive at unity itself. 

" By a movement like that of an endless chain about a 
wheel," as the Book of the Pitris says. 

Between the Trinitarian systems of Christianity and 
those of the Hindus, of the Cabalists, and of the Neo- 
platonists, the numerous points of similarity are obvious 
at a glance, and we can readily see the source from which 
the founders of that religion have derived their revelation. 

We say founders, though that is not the proper name 
to apply to the authors of the four gospels, whose idea it 
was to create a tradition of their own, for it is now well 
settled that Christianity, which is as old as the temples of 
Egypt and the pagodas of India, is a symbolic synthesis of 
all the beliefs of antiquity. 

Scholars living in the primitive ages of the church were 
not so easily misled. In the third century, the illustrious 
Manichsean, Faustus, wrote these words, which we com- 
mend to the attention of all those who have made the life 
of Jesus the theme of romantic study : 

" Everybody knows that the gospels were actually written 
neither by Jesus Christ nor by his personal disciples, but 
were carried along by tradition, and long after their time 
were written by unknown people, who, correctly supposing 
that their word would not be taken as to things that had 
not come under their personal observation, placed at the 
head of these traditional statements the names of the 
apostles or of apostolic men contemporaneous with them." 

The Council of Nice, under the presidency of Constan- 
tine, that odious and criminal despot, whose praises have 


been sung by all the writers of the Church, indeed created 
a Catholicism, as a means of discipline, which was entirely 
different from primitive Christianity. 

In very guarded language, Franck expresses a similar 
opinion in the following words : 

" Have we not every reason in the world to look upon the 
Cabala as a precious relic of the religious philosophy of the 
East) which was transported to Alexandria and became 
mingled with the teachings of Plato, and whose influence 
under cover of the usurped name of Denys, the Areopa- 
gite Bishop of Athens, who was converted and conse- 
crated by Saint Paul was felt in the mysticism of the 
middle ages ? " 

To the question, What is, then, this religious philosophy 
of the East, whose influence is apparent in the mystic sym- 
bols of Christianity ? we answer as follows : 

The philosophy, of which we find traces among the 
Magi, the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Hebrew Cabalists, 
and the Christians, is identical with that of the Hindu 
Brahmins, who believed in the Pitris. 

There is one argument in favor of this opinion which is 
absolutively conclusive, and that is this : Among all ancient 
countries, India is the only one that possesses the whole of 
this philosophy, so much so, indeed, that if it were desired 
to reconstruct it from materials obtained from other sources 
than the immortal thinkers of the banks of the Ganges, it 
would be necessary to borrow them at second hand, here 
and there, from the various quarters wherever found, 
from Plato, from the Cabala, from the Alexandrian school, 
from the Magi, and from Christianity. 

On the other hand, the high antiquity of the mighty work 
performed in India is opposed to the supposition, even for 
an instant, that the Brahminical philosophy was formed of 
pieces and fragments taken from these different systems, 
which, being posterior to the Yedas and Manu that no- 
body disputes were not, as admitted even by those who 


hold most firmly to the opposite view, born upon the soil 
where we now find them. 

If the Cabala, if Magism, Plato, the Alexandrian school, 
and Christianity did not derive their doctrines from orig- 
inal sources, if, on the contrary, we find them in the re- 
motest ages in the philosophical works of ancient India, 
not as isolated facts but as a complete collection of beliefs, 
dogmas, and mysteries, which go to make up the whole of 
what is called the Brahminic civilization, have we not 
every reason to maintain that they came originally from 
the country of the Yedas ? 

It is easy to trace through the ages the path of these 
lofty speculations. From India they made their way into 
Persia and Chaldea, both by means of emigration and 
natural infiltration. It is sufficient to compare the tradi- 
tions of the Boun-Dehesh and the Zend-Avesta with those 
that have been the object of our study, in order to rec- 
ognize their similarity, only the system of the Parsees 
and of the ancient Chaldeans is less philosophical than 
that of the mother country, and concedes to the dews and 
evil spirits a much greater degree of importance than 
that which is recognized by the Indian theory, as possessed 
by the Devas and Pisatchas. 

We shall have to descend to the superstitions of vulgar 
Brahminism, we shall have to go to the religion of the 
Soudra, in order to find a like severity of conflict between 
the spirits of good and the spirits of evil. Parseeism and 
Chaldeaism are a mixture of the gross superstitions of the 
Hindu populace and of the philosophical conceptions of 
the Brahmins. 

This reminds us of the following lines, which we quote 
from Amniance Marcellinus and which are confirmed by 

" The King Hytaspes, haying penetrated as far as cer- 
tain retired places in Upper India, came to some solitary 
groves, whose silence seem to be favorable to the profound 


thoughts of the Brahmins. There they taught him, as far 
as they possibly could, the pure sacrificial rites, and the 
causes of the movement of the stars and the universe, a 
part of which he communicated to the Magi. The latter 
have transmitted these secrets from father to son, together 
with the science of predicting the future. Since then, dur- 
ing a long succession of ages until now, there have arisen 
a multitude of Magi, belonging to the same race, who have 
devoted themselves to the service of the temple and the 
worship of the Gods." 

Egypt, which had never forgotten its early traditions, 
was constantly drawing new life and vigor from the study 
of the scientific movement of Upper Asia. 

Moses of Chorenus, who lived five centuries before the 
present era, bears witness to this, in the most positive 
manner, in the following passage : 

"The ancient Asiatics had a multitude of historical 
works which were translated into Greek, when the Ptol- 
emies established the Alexandrian library and encour- 
aged literary men by their liberality, so that the Greek 
language became the depositary of all the ancient learn- 

It is evident from all this, first, that people in ancient 
times did not live a more isolated life from each other, as 
regards the philosophical and religious sciences, than they 
do now. Second, that there was a large collection of tra- 
ditions, of which ancient India was the principal source. 
Third, that a close connection existed between the teach- 
ings of the Brahmins and the systems of the Magi, the 
Chaldeans, the Cabalists, the Flatonists, and the philoso- 
phers of the Alexandrian School, whose sect called thera- 
peutse kept alive the traditions which afterward became 
those of Christianity. 

By the careful study and comparison of the old civiliza- 
tions we thus acquire a knowledge of the general drift 
and tendency of the human intellect in those times, with- 


out regard to the warring claims of rival sects or the con- 
flicting pretensions of individual pride. 

There is not a fact, not a belief, not a discovery, that is 
independent of tradition, and those who, in order to dia- 
play their singularity and to make a particular place for 
their special studies, are constantly meeting with concep- 
tions which lay claim to originality and are said to have 
borrowed nothing from any that have preceded them, are 
unmindful of the laws of history and of the evolution of 
the human mind. 



Power belongs to him who knows. (Agrouchada-Parikchai.) 
He who has penetrated the secret of things, who has lifted himself np 
by contemplation to the knowledge of the immortal principle, who has 
mortified his body and developed his soul, who knows all the mysteries 
of being and not being, who has studied all the transformations of the 
vital molecule from Brahma to man and from man to Brahma, he alone 
is in communication with the Pitris and commands the celestial forces. 

The Boutams (or bad spirits) tremble before him who is shaved, who 
wears the triple girdle, and is clothed with the yellow vestment, and 
who carries the seven-knotted stick. (Agrouchada-Parikchai.) 


THE philosophical part of our work is now ended. In 
a subject so vast there are many points, no doubt, that 
might have been more fully developed, but our main pur- 
pose has been to give a comprehensive idea of the met- 
aphysical speculations of the Hindu initiates, and to show 
that their belief in spirits was only a consequence of their 
system relating to God and his attributes, and to the exist- 
ence of the universe. In the comparison of this doctrine, 
which is based upon the Yedas themselves, with those of 
other ancient people, we devoted most of the space at our 
command to the Jewish Cabala, because, though not so 
well known as Magism, the philosophy of Plato, or the 
Alexandrian school, it also believed in the manifestations 
of spirits, the power of evocation, and its external phe- 
nomena, precisely in the same manner as the philosophy 
of the Pitris, their traditional ancestor on the banks of the 

We might also have called attention to the fact that 
primitive Christianity, with its Thaumaturgists suddenly 
appearing through closed doors, raising the dead, float- 
ing in the air, and receiving the gift of tongues, with its 
initiation in the Catacombs, its superior spirits, its demons, 
and its exorcists, was intimately related to the Cabala and 
the doctrine of the Pitris. We confined ourselves, how- 
ever, to the statement that that religious revolution in the 
earlier ages of our era was only a synthesis of the old be- 
liefs of Asia. An exhaustive study of the subject would 
have required a book by itself, which we might not have 
the leisure to complete. 


The special scope of the present work forbids any ex- 
tended excursion into this field. The mere fact of our 
undertaking it would have necessarily led us to devote 
the same space to the mysterious initiations of Egpyt, 
Chaldea, and Persia, and, as the reader will readily see, it 
would have compelled us to write a general history of the 
ancient civilizations of the East, such as forms a part of 
the ethnographical studies published by us elsewhere. 

Before giving an account of the exterior phenomena 
and manifestations by which the Hindus claim to show 
that they are in possession of occult power, which is a 
logical consequence of their religious belief in the part 
played by spirits in the universe, we desire to disavow 
any personal responsibility whatever. 

We assert nothing positively with regard to most of the 
facts which we are about to relate. The skill derived 
from long experience, charlatanism, and even hallucina- 
tion itself, may assist to explain them. We are bound to 
say, however, as impartial and faithful observers, that 
though we applied the severest tests, to which the Fakirs 
and other initiates interposed no objection whatever, we 
never succeeded in detecting a single case of fraud or 
trickery, which, we admit, is far from being a conclusive 
proof of their honesty. 

Hue, the missionary, who also gives an account of sim- 
ilar phenomena, witnessed by him in Thibet, was equally 
at a loss to account for them. 

We are perfectly ready to admit, also, that we never 
knew a European, either in India or Ceylon, even among 
the oldest residents, who was able to indicate what means 
the votaries of the Pitris used in the production of these 

Is this tantamount to saying that we believe in the in- 
tervention of invisible spirits ? 

We do not believe in spiritualism, but while we believe 
that scepticism or doubt in all cases, in spite of any amount 


of proof, is something that man, in his weakness, has no 
right to indulge in, we may add, on the other hand, that 
no one has a right to assert a thing positively or scientific- 
ally, except npon careful investigation, based upon proof 
upon either side. 

We occupy the position which we assumed in our pref- 
ace, viz. : That of a simple recorder of facts which some 
regard as occult manifestations and others as skilful jug- 

There are, however, some phenomena, which, without 
going too far, we are inclined to attribute to natural forces, 
the laws of which have not yet been ascertained. 

What are these forces ? Or rather, what is the force 
which the Hindus attribute to the pure Agasa fluid, under 
the direction of the spirits? 

We are not an authority upon this point, and when 
we see the illustrious scientist and member of the Royal 
Society of London, William Crookes, treated with ridicule 
and contempt on account of the inquiries he is now making 
with a view to the discovery of the laws of this force, we 
are involuntarily reminded of the words of GaLvani, to 
whom the western world is indebted for the earliest ex- 
periments in electricity, as follows : 

"I am attacked by two classes of persons, the learned 
and the ignorant. Both of them treat me with ridicule, 
and say that I am only fit to be a dancing-master for 
frogsj and yet I think that I have discovered one of the 
grandest forces in nature." 

In short, with regard to certain physical facts, which 
have nothing in common with supernatural evocations, 
apparitions, or manifestations, and which are not in direct 
opposition to the laws of nature, which are not more 
wonderful than the results produced by electricity, we 
think that a denial or affirmation following a thorough 

1 Alluding to his experiments on frogs. 


and scientific investigation, is better than a denial or af- 
firmation a priori. 

We know what a denial a priori is worth. It once re- 
jected steam and electricity. 

The phenomena which we shall describe are all included 
within the three following categories : 

First, facts and phenomena of exterior manifestations, 
obtained by spiritual force, and generally with the aid of 
material objects. 

Second, facts of a magnetic or somnambulistic character. 

Third, the phenomena of evocation and apparition, and 
the production of material objects by the spirits. 

Phenomena of the first class are apparently easily tested. 
"We shall tell what we have done and what our experience 
has been, without, however, expressing any opinion of our 
own as to their causes. 

As to the last class of cases, we should have omitted 
them altogether from the present work, as shunning a 
scientific investigation, if remembering that in ancient 
times the belief in evocations and apparitions was uni- 
versal ; that all religions, with Christianity at their head, 
included such phenomena in their mysteries and miracles 
we had not deemed that it would be at least a matter of 
historical curiosity to set forth the nature of these singu- 
lar practices in common use in India at the present day 
which are so well adapted to influence the popular mind, 
and which formed the basis of all the ancient superstitions. 



WE have already seen what a long life of prayer, mace- 
ration, ablution, and fasting the novices were required to 
pass in the different degrees of initiation. We now dis- 
miss that branch of our subject. 

It may not be amiss, however, to remind the reader that 
the initiated possessed powers, more or less extensive, ac- 
cording to the class to which they belonged, and to indi- 
cate the nature of these powers. 

The first class comprised : 




The Grihastas or heads of families do not forsake the 
world. They are a sort of connecting link between the 
temple and the people. They are formally forbidden to 
make any manifestations of external phenomena. It is 
their right, however, and their duty to evoke the souls of 
their ancestors, in some retired part of their dwelling, and 
to receive from them, as their direct descendants, only such 
instruction as they need for their guidance in this earthly 

The Pourohitas, or priests of the popular cult, take part 
in all family ceremonies. They evoke familiar spirits 
and drive away evil spirits. They cast horoscopes and 
preside over births, marriages, and funerals. They per- 
form all the phenomena of auspicious or inauspicious 


omens and intervene in all cases of over-excitement or 
possession, to remove from the subject all malign influ- 
ences. They confine themselves strictly to the domain of 

The performing Fakirs collect alms and money in the 
temples, and wander over the country and through the 
cities. They produce at will the strangest phenomena, 
entirely contrary to what are conventionally called natural 
laws. With the aid of spirits, who are present at all their 
operations, as claimed by the Brahmins, they have author- 
ity, as well as power, to evoke them. 

The second class includes : 


The third class includes : 



In these two higher grades of initiation the power is 
the same, only differing in degree. They claim to have 
subjected the visible as well as the invisible world to 
their will, and only produce their supernatural manifes- 
tations in the interior of the temples and, in very rare 
cases, before the Rajahs or other eminent personages in 

According to their account, time, space, specific gravity, 
and even life itself, are nothing to them. They enjoy the 
faculty of laying aside, or resuming, their mortal envelope. 
They command the elements, transport mountains, and 
drain rivers. Upon this point the Oriental imagination, 
which knows no limits, gives itself the fullest scope, and 
these spiritual lights are regarded in India as gods. 

There is here presented, as we see, a complete organiza- 
tion resting upon the caste system, and adapted to the sup- 
port of a social state, entirely sacerdotal. 

It is claimed that these different initiates undergo, dur- 
ing a period of many years, in the subterranean sanctuaries 
of the pagodas, a course of training, which modifies their 


organization, from a physiological point of view, and in- 
creases to a large extent the production of the pure fluid 
emanating from them, called agasa. It is impossible for 
us to obtain any authentic information concerning these oc- 
cult practices. 

It is mainly with reference to the Fakirs that we pro- 
pose to investigate these different phenomena. 



IN order to make ourselves understood, where there ia 
as yet no accepted mode of speech, we will say what we 
mean by the term " spirit force." 

By " spirit force " we mean the alliance between the in- 
tellect and the physical forces, in order to act upon inani- 
mate objects, without pre-determining, in any way, the 
cause which sets this force in motion. 

The meaning of the word is not strictly, perhaps, that 
which is generally attached to it. We will therefore say 
that we use it only to classify the phenomena which we 
are about to describe, and that the meaning here given ex- 
presses accurately the signification of the term used by 
the Hindus. 

The supreme cause of all phenomena, according to the 
Brahmins, is the pure agasa fluid, or the vital fluid, which 
is diffused throughout nature, and puts animate or inani- 
mate, visible or invisible beings, in communication with 
ach other. Heat, electricity, all the forces of nature, in 
short, are but modes of action and particular states of this 

The being who possesses an excess of this vital fluid ac- 
quires a proportionate power, both over animate beings not 
so highly favored, and over inanimate beings. The spirits 
themselves are sensible to the influence of this universal 
fluid, and can place their power at the service of those who 
are able to evoke them. 

According to some Brahmins, agasa is the moving 
thought of the universal soul, directing all souls, who would 


be in constant communication with each other, if the gross 
envelope of the body did not in a measure prevent. Thus, 
the more completely the soul disentangles itself from its 
vestment the body by contemplation, the more sensible 
it becomes to this universal fluid, whereby all beings, 
whether visible or invisible, are united. 

Such is the theory. We merely set it forth and propose 
to confine ourselves to the role of an interpreter and noth- 
ing more. 



EVERY European has heard of the extraordinary skill of 
the Hindu Fakirs, who are popularly designated under 
the name of Charmers or Jugglers. They claim to be in- 
vested with supernatural powers. Such is the belief of all 
Asiatic people. 

When our countrymen are told of their performances, 
they usually answer : go to the regular magicians, they 
will show you the same things. 

To enable the reader to appreciate the grounds of this 
opinion, it seems necessary to show how the Fakirs 
operate. The following are facts which no traveller has 
ventured to contradict. 

first. They never give public representations in places 
where the presence of several hundred persons makes it 
impossible to exercise the proper scrutiny. 

Second. They are accompanied by no assistant or con- 
federate, as they are usually termed. 

Third. They present themselves in the interior of the 
house completely naked, except that they wear, for mod- 
esty's sake, a small piece of linen about as large as the 

Fourth. They are not acquainted with goblets, or magic 
bags, or double-bottomed boxes, or prepared tables, or any 
of the thousand and one things which our European con- 
jurors find necessary. 

Fifth. They have absolutely nothing in their possession, 
save a small wand of seven knots of young bamboo, as big 


as the handle of a pen-holder, which they hold in their 
right hand, and a small whistle, about three inches long, 
which they fasten to one of the locks of their long, straight 
hair ; for, having no clothes and consequently no pockets, 
they would otherwise be obliged to hold it constantly in 
their hands. 

Sixth. They operate, as desired by the person whom 
they are visiting, either in a sitting or standing posture or, 
as the case may require, upon the marble, granite, or stucco 
pavement of the veranda, or upon the bare ground in the 

Seventh. "When they need a subject for the exhibition of 
magnetic or somnambulistic phenomena, they take any of 
your servants whom you may designate, no matter whom, 
and they act with the same facility upon a European, in 
case he is willing to serve. 

Eighth. If they need any article, such as a musical in- 
strument, a cane, a piece of paper, a pencil, etc., they ask 
you to furnish it. 

Ninth. They will repeat any experiments in your pres- 
ence as many times as you require, and will submit to any 
test you may apply. 

Tenth. They never ask any pay, merely accepting as 
alms for the temple to which they are attached, whatever 
you choose to offer them. 

I have travelled through India in every direction for 
many years, and I can truthfully state that I have never 
seen a single Fakir who was not willing to comply with 
any of these conditions. 

It only remains for us to ask, whether our more popular 
magicians would ever consent to dispense with any of their 
numerous accompaniments and perform under the same 

There is no doubt what the answer would be. 

Without drawing any conclusions as to causes or methods, 

I merely state the facts. 



WE select at random some facts that fell under our own 
observation, as they were noted down at the time, grouping 
them, however, according to the method adopted by us, to 
make the Hindu classification more clear. 

What we call spirit force is called by the Hindus arta- 
ahancarasya or the force of I. 

I had been a resident of Pondichery, the capital of the 
French possessions in the Carnatic, for several years, when 
one morning, between eleven and twelve o'clock, my do- 
bachy or valet-de-chambre informed me that a Fakir 
wanted to see me. 

I had left Europe without the slightest idea of the 
phenomena which the spiritualists attribute to their me- 
diums. I was ignorant of the very principles lying at the 
bottom of a faith which I then believed to be new, but 
which I now know to be as old as the temples of India, 
Chaldea, and Egypt for all religions commenced with the 
belief in spirits and outward manifestations, the source of 
a revelation claimed to be divine. I had not even seen 
a single case of table-tipping. The extravagances of the 
faith in invisible spirits in which its adepts sincerely be- 
lieved, and which always formed a prominent feature of 
their stories, were so like the ecstasies, the mysterious ap- 
paritions, and the whole machinery of the Catholic church, 
that it had never occurred to me, ardent naturalist as I 
was, to attend or witness one of the experiments which had 
stirred up such a general interest in every direction. 

As for the Hindu Fakirs, I conceived them to be simple 
magicians, and I unceremoniously dismissed them when- 


ever they presented themselves. Yet I had heard a great 
deal of their marvellous skill, and I was anxious to see a 
specimen of it. 

The Hindu having been admitted, I received him in one 
of the interior verandas of my house. I was struck first 
by his extreme leanness ; his face was as thin and bony as 
that of an anchorite, and his eyes, which seemed half dead, 
produced a sensation such as I once experienced when look- 
ing at the motionless, green orbs of a large deep-water 

He was waiting for me in a squatting posture upon the 
marble floor ; when he saw me he arose slowly. Bowing 
with his hands raised to his forehead, he murmured the 
following : 

" Saranai aya " (I greet you respectfully, Sahib), " it is 
I, Salvanadin-Odear, son of Canagarayen-Odear. May the 
immortals watch over your days." 

"Salam, Salvanadin-Odear, son of Canagarayen-Odear, 
may you die upon the sacred banks of the Tircangey, and 
may that transformation be your last." 

" The guru of the pagoda said to me this morning," 
continued the Hindu, " go and glean at random, like the 
birds in the rice-fields, and Gancsa, the god of travellers, 
has led me to your house." 

" You are welcome." 

" What do you want of me ? " 

" You are said to possess the faculty of communicating 
movement to inert bodies without touching them. I should 
like to see a specimen of your power." 

" Salvanadin-Odear has no such power ; he merely 
evokes spirits, who lend him their aid." 

" Well, let Salvanadin-Odear evoke the spirits, and show 
me what they can do." 

The words were hardly out of my mouth when the Fakir 
resumed his squatting position upon the pavement, plac- 
ing his seven-knotted stick between his crossed legs. 


He then asked to have my dobachy bring seven small 
flower-pots full of earth, seven thin sticks of wood each 
about two cubits long, and seven leaves taken from any 
tree, no matter what. 

When these different articles had been brought, without 
touching them himself, he had them placed in a horizontal 
line, about two yards from his outstretched arm. He in- 
structed my servant to plant a stick of wood in each pot 
of earth, and to put on each stick a tree leaf with a hole 
in the middle. 

This being done, all the leaves dropped down the sticks, 
acting as covers to the pots. The Fakir then j oined his hands 
and raised them above his head, and I heard him distinctly 
utter, in the Tamoul language, the following invocation : 

" May all the powers that watch over the intellectual 
principle of life (kche'tradjna) and over the principle of 
matter (boutatoma) protect me from the wrath of the pi- 
satchas (evil spirits), and may the immortal spirit, which 
has three forms (mahatatridandi, the trinity), shield me 
from the vengeance of Yama." 

At the close of the invocation he stretched out his hands 
in the direction of the flower-pots, and stood motionless, in 
a sort of ecstasy. From time to time his lips moved as if 
he were continuing his occult invocation, but no sound 
reached my ears. 

I watched all these elaborate preparations with consider- 
able interest and amusement, without suspecting what was 
to follow. Suddenly it seemed to me that my hair was 
moved by a slight current of air, which blew in my face 
like one of those gusts that we often see in the tropics af- 
ter sunset, and yet the large straw curtains of vetivert, 
hanging in the vacant spaces between the columns of the 
veranda, were undisturbed. I thought that my senses 
had deceived me, but the phenomenon was repeated sev- 
eral times. 

At the end of about a quarter of an hour, though there- 


had been no change of position on the part of the Fakir, 
the fig-leaves began to move slowly upward along the 
sticks of wood, and then as slowly descend. 

I approached and watched them as they continued their 
motion with the closest attention. I must confess that 
when I saw that there was no visible means of communi- 
cation between the Hindu and the leaves I was very much 

I passed and repassed several times in the space which 
separated the juggler from the pots of earth, but there 
was no interruption in the ascent or descent of the 

I asked to examine his arrangements and was unhesi- 
tatingly allowed to do so. I removed the leaves from the 
sticks, and the sticks from the pots, and emptied their 
contents upon the pavement. Having rung for the cou- 
sicara (or cook) I ordered seven goblets to be brought 
from the kitchen, and some earth and fresh leaves from 
the garden. I divided the bamboo stick myself into seven 
pieces, and I arranged everything as it had been done pre- 
viously, placing it all at about four yards from the Fakir, 
who looked on unconcernedly during the whole operation, 
without making any remark or movement whatever. 

" Do you think," I then asked him, " that the spirits 
will act now ? " 

He made no answer, but merely extended his arms, as 
lie had done before. 

Five minutes had hardly elapsed, when the upward and 
downward motion of the leaves along the sticks was 

I was amazed and it must be confessed that I had ample 

Still I would not acknowledge my defeat. I asked the 
Fakir if the pots of earth were essential to the production 
of the phenomena, and, being answered in the negative, I 
had seven holes bored in, a plank, in which I placed the 


bamboo sticks. In a short time, the same phenomena oo 
curred as before. 

During the next two hours, I repeated the experiment 
in twenty different ways, but always with the same re- 

The only way in which I could account for it was by 
supposing that I was under some powerful magnetic in- 
fluence. The Fakir said to me : " Is there not some ques- 
tion you wish to put to the invisible spirits before they 

The question was totally unexpected, but as I had heard 
that European mediums use an alphabet in conversing 
with spirits, as they claim, I explained the matter to the 
Hindu, and asked him if I could enter into communication 
with them by any such means. 

He answered me in these words, " Ask anything you 
please, the leaves will remain still, if the spirits have 
nothing to say. If, on the contrary, those who guide them 
have any communication to make, they will move upward 
along the sticks." 

I was about to write an alphabet upon a sheet of paper 
when a very simple device occurred to me. I had a set of 
raised brass letters and figures upon zinc blocks which I 
used to stamp my name and a number upon the books in 
my library. I threw them pell-mell into a small linen 
bag, and the Fakir having resumed his position of invoca- 
tion, I thought of a friend, who had died twenty years 
before, and proceeded to extract the letters and numbers, 
one by one. 

Upon taking up each of the zinc blocks I looked at the 
letter or figure as I called it off, and kept a watchful eye 
upon the leaves so that the least movement would not es- 
cape me. 

I had already taken out fourteen blocks and nothing 
unusual had occurred, when upon the appearance of the 
letter A, the leaves began to move, and after ascending to 


the top of the sticks, fell again to the boards in which the 
pieces of bamboo had been placed. 

I could not help betraying some emotion, when I ob- 
served that the motion of the leaves corresponded to the 
appearance of the first letter of my friend's name. 

When the bag was empty, I put the letters and figures 
in again, and continued as before. Letter by letter and 
figure by figure I obtained the following words : 

Albain Brunier, died at Bourg-enJyresse (Am) January 

3, 1856. 

The name, the date, the place, everything was correct ; 
the blood rushed to my head as I read over and over again, 
the words which shone strangely in my eyes. 

What made my astonishment still greater was the fact 
that I had no conception of phenomena of this class. I 
was totally unprepared for them ; I wanted to be alone and 
to reflect. I therefore dismissed the Fakir, without mak- 
ing any further observations on that day. I made him 
promise, however, to come on the morrow, at the same hour. 

He was punctual to the appointment. 

We repeated the same series of experiments, and the 
result was the same as before. 

The excitement which I had at first experienced, and 
which was perfectly natural under the circumstances, had 
disappeared, but I was no nearer than before to a belief 
in the supernatural and in the reality of the Fakir's evo- 
cations. I was merely led to formulate in my own mind 
the following supposition : 

" If these phenomena were not the result of pure char- 
latanism, magnetic influence, or hallucination, perhaps 
there is a natural force, the laws of which we are yet igno- 
rant of, and which enables its possessor to act upon inani- 
mate objects, and interpret thoughts, as the telegraph puts 
two minds in communication in different and opposite 
parts of the globe." 


I spent a portion of the night in reflection upon this 
point. On the morrow I repeated the phenomena of the 
previous day at an early sitting. I then asked the Fakir 
to do them over again, and I watched them, having in 
mind the supposition aboved named. 

When I asked the Fakir, for instance, to repeat the 
communication of the previous day, I changed in my mind 
the orthography of the name, dwelling strongly upon each 
letter. The following variations were the result : 

Halbin Pruniet, died, etc. 

I may add, however, that when I tried to change the 
name of the city, or of the date of the occurrence, I was 
unsuccessful at that time and that the message was always 
the same and always correct in those respects : 

Died at Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain) January 3, 1856. 

During fifteen days I had the Fakir at my house every 
day, and he always submitted, with the utmost readiness, 
to all my requirements. I varied my experiments as 
follows : 

Bearing in mind always the exact words of the message 
as I first received it, 1 wanted to know positively, whether 
it was possible to effect a complete change in its terms. 

At one time 1 obtained changes in the letters compos- 
ing the name, so that no one would have recognized it ; at 
another time, the changes referred to the date of the day, 
of the month, or of the year, but I never obtained the 
slightest alteration in the name of the city, which was in- 
variably the same : 


' Hence I concluded referring always to the supposition 
under which I was acting, that there really was a natural 
force, which had established a communication between 
myself and the Fakir and the leaves that I could not 
sufficiently isolate my mind from the correct orthography 
of all the words in the sentence. 


On several different occasions I made similar attempts, 
with different subjects, but with no better result. 

While, on the one hand, the material phenomena were 
repeated with scarcely any variation to speak of, still, 
there were constant changes in the interpretation of my 
thoughts, which were sometimes designed on my part, and 
sometimes, on the contrary, in direct opposition to what I 
had intended. In the last sitting the Fakir gave, he low- 
ered one balance of a pair of scales simply with a peacock's 
feather, when the other balance contained a weight of 
about a hundred and seventy pounds. By the mere im- 
position of hands, he made a crown of flowers float in the 
the air, the atmosphere was filled with vague and indis- 
tinct sounds and a shadowy hand drew luminous figures 
in space. At that time I considered the two latter 
phenomena simply as phantasmagoria I did not even 
give them the benefit of a doubt. For this reason, 
my notes of this sitting do not contain a full and ac- 
curate account of the facts. I shall describe them farther 
on with suitable details in the case of other magicians by 
whom they were also performed. 

In short, with regard to purely material facts, I may say 
that I never detected the slightest deception, and I applied 
the severest tests in order to discover any fraud. 

As for physiological facts, dismissing the hypothesis of 
supernatural intervention, and on the simple supposition 
of a spiritual communication between the operator and his 
assistant, I am bound to say that I personally obtained 
nothing fixed, nothing invariable. 

Such were my first observations at Pondichery. My 
judicial duties and special studies concerning ancient In- 
dia did not give me time to continue them, particularly in 
view of the results obtained, which were positive enough 
with regard to all material phenomena, it is true, but were 
doubtful and uncertain with regard to the transmission of 
mental messages between two persons in full possession of 


their faculties, but claimed to be in spiritual communi- 

Perhaps there were grounds that might have warranted 
a further investigation into this material force, and, sup- 
posing that it really existed, for attempting to free it from 
the elaborate appliances and clap-trap by which it was en- 
compassed, in order to strike the popular imagination. It 
was not, however, my business to do so, being otherwise 
occupied, as I have already said, by my professional duties. 
and studies in relation to primitive society in Asia. 

Still, while I took no further active interest in these 
phenomena, I was in the habit of setting apart anything I 
might meet with, in the course of my studies, relating to 
the doctrine of the Pitris, with the idea of publishing 
subsequently whatever I might come across upon a sub- 
ject which seems to interest the Western, as much as it 
does the Asiatic world. 

From this time forward I also made notes of all the 
material phenomena by whose aid the Fakirs seek to 
prove the existence of the power they claim, for it seems 
to me that such facts were strongly corroborative of their 

Although I have been careful to avoid any departure 
from the part which I have assumed as a simple historian, 
I have desired, in the present chapter, to give an account 
of the only attempts I have ever seriously made to inform 
myself regarding this force which the Fakirs appear to 
possess and by means of which, they claim, they hold 
communication with invisible spirits, a claim which many 
persons of our time, even of the highest intelligence, are 
disposed to allow. It seems to me that a reply is due to 
the reader who may ask : Why does the author disavow 
any personal responsibility ? has he no opinion whatever 
upon this question ? 

I have indeed no scientific opinion upon this subject, as. 


I am convinced that there are in nature, and in man, 
who is a part of nature, immense forces, the laws of which 
are yet unknown to us. 

I think that man will some day discover these laws, that 
things that we now regard as dreams, will appear to us, in 
the future, as realities, and that we shall one day witness 
phenomena of which w T e have now no conception. 

In the world of ideas, as in the material world, there is 
a period of gestation, as of birth. Who knows whether 
this psychic force, as the English call it this force of the 
Ego, according to the Hindus, which the humble Fakir 
exhibited in my presence, will not be shown to be one of 
the grandest forces in nature ? 

I may be told that for more than ten thousand years, 
during which the Hindus have given it their attention,, 
they have never succeeded in formulating the laws of this- 
pretended force, and that we cannot afford to lose our 
time, now or in the future, as they .have done. 

The Brahmins have made everything subordinate to 
their religion, and we know that in religious matters 
there are no scientific experiments or proof. See what 
the middle ages produced in the domain of the exact 
sciences by taking their axioms from the words of the Bible ! 

From the remotest antiquity the pundits of the pagodas 
have been in the habit of bursting vessels by the use of 
compressed steam. They have also observed many elec- 
trical phenomena, but that has not led to the construction 
of railroads or telegraphs. Among ourselves, have we not 
seen scientific societies of the highest order officially treat 
Fulton like a crazy man, and regard the telegraph as a 
toy, only fit for sending messages from one room to 
another in the same dwelling. In the open air, and with 
atmospheric disturbances, the telegraph wire was not to 
be relied upon. 

It has now, however, put a girdle round the earth, and 
we have sunk it at the bottom of the deepest seas. 


See what human society as a whole has done. Every 
age turns an idea over and over again in all its phases ; 
scientific men develop it and set forth their theory, from 
which they refuse to swerve ; every scientific body has 
an opinion, to which it stoutly clings. If it does not say 
in so many words, " Thus far shalt thou go and no far- 
ther," everybody knows that it thinks so, for it rejects 
every idea that does not originate in its own bosom, every- 
thing new and startling. Then the new generation comes 
upon the stage and the sons rebel against their fathers, 
as behind the time. The screw traverses the ocean, re- 
gardless of wind or tide, and the electric fluid transmits 
thought to the four corners of the globe. 

As I have been led to speak of my own views I will say 
that the conclusion that I have drawn from what I have 
seen in India, laying aside the clap- trap by which it is sur- 
rounded, and of which the Hindus are very fond, is that 
there is in man a special force acting in an unknown di- 
rection, and often intelligently, the laws of which re- 
quire to be studied by unprejudiced and liberal-minded 

Perhaps it is this force, developed by education and by 
a certain system of training, that the priests in the ancient 
temples set in motion, in order to impress the popular 
imagination by pretended prodigies. 

In that case there would seem to be some foundation 
for the ancient stories and there probably was a real de- 
velopment of a natural force, in connection with an exhi- 
bition of the grossest superstition, moving the tree leaves 
at a distance, as well as the floral garlands and tapestry 
hung in the temples, adding several pounds to the weight 
of peacock's feathers, and producing musical sounds by the 
aid of concealed instruments. 

It is to be hoped that our scientists will some day or 
other make a serious investigation into the production of 
some of these phenomena, which I saw repeated before 


my eyes, and which left no room for the slightest suspicion 
of charlatanism. I do not know that such is their inten- 
tion, but it would be of some use, at any rate, whether it 
results in the exposure of a fraud, or whether it ends in 
the discovery of a new force in nature. 

As I was putting in order for the press the different por- 
tions of this volume, which was written at Pondichery in 
1866, and which had slumbered in my drawer until then, 
for special reasons, I intended at first to omit that part of 
the present chapter where, departing from my role as a 
simple observer, I seemed to take sides in favor of a force, 
purely natural, it is true, but which produced phenomena 
that were apparently supernatural. 

So far, I had rigidly excluded my personal opinions ; 
should I now depart from this rule in that part of my 
book which treated of the more or less fantastical prac- 
tices of the Hindus ? 

On the other hand, should I hesitate to acknowledge 
what seemed to be the few probably real facts, apart from 
the supernatural, which seemed to me to result from what 
I had seen ? 

I had not yet come to a decision on this point when, 
through the politeness of Dr. Fuel, I was made acquainted 
with an article upon the psychic force, published by Wil- 
liam Crookes, the eminent scientist and member of the 
Royal Society of London, in the Quarterly Journal of 
Science, one of the most respectable scientific organs of 

I was not in England when the article appeared, and dis- 
tance and my other studies made it impracticable for me 
to keep up my familiarity with works of this nature. 

Imagine my surprise to see that the eminent chemist 
and physiologist had arrived at the positive conclusion, as 
the result of experiments similar to those I had seen in 


India, that there exists a new force in the human organ- 
ism, as I had timidly suggested, several years before, as a 
matter of supposition. 

I immediately came to the determination to leave my 
chapter as I had written it, but to refer the reader to the 
article in question, as confirmatory of the position I had 

If, in spite of all the precautions I have taken to banish 
anything in favor of a belief in the supernatural and to 
express my own opinion in the most hypothetical manner, 
I have laid myself open to the reproach of being too credu- 
lous, I shall bear the blame cheerfully, in the company of 
one of the most distinguished of English scientists. 
* * * * * * 

It appears that this force, which first suggested itself to 
my mind inQSoS, in order to explain the phenomena which 
were then taking place in India before my face and eyes 
(the hypothesis that it was supernatural being totally in- 
admissible), had recently been recognized by physicians, 
astronomers, naturalists, and others, members of the Royal 
Society of London which contains all who are eminent 
for their learning in England, as our Academy of Sciences 
contains men who are known and esteemed for their labors 
the world over not, as I had done, by suggesting it as an 
hypothesis to explain certain phenomena, but by main- 
taining, after two years of experiments : 
First, that there exists a force capable of moving heavy 
bodies without material contact, which depends in some 
unknown manner upon the presence of human beings. 

Second, that nothing certain was known with regard to 
the nature and source of this force, but there is conclusive 
evidence that it exists. 

Third, that movements can be produced in solid bodies 
without material contact by this hitherto unknown force, 
acting at an indefinite distance from the human organism, 
ttnd wholly independent of muscular action. 


Fourth, that this force makes solid bodies, which have 
no contact or visible or material connection with the 
bodies of any persons present, emit sounds which are dis- 
tinctly heard by all present, and it is proved that these 
sounds proceed from these objects, by vibrations which 
are perfectly perceptible to the touch. 

Fifth, that this force is frequently directed with intelli- 

The question is whether this is the force which the 
Hindus, who have known of its existence for thousands of 
years, have sought to develop in all subjects who were 
willing to become their tools, and who have afterward, 
with a view to religious domination, attributed its mani- 
festations to superior spirits. We rather incline to think 
so, though we express no opinion as to its nature or origin. 
It is not with a view to elucidate this question, by showing 
what arguments may be urged on either hand, that we 
have given this brief sketch of what has been accom- 
plished by English scientists upon this point. Our inten- ) 
tion was simply to show that scientific men in England/ 
have officially recognized the existence of a force, independ-\ 
ent of muscular action, capable of moving bodies, of some- 
times emitting melodious sounds, and which is frequently 
directed with intelligence, and to draw the conclusion, from 
the similarity of the phenomena witnessed in England t 
and in India, that the laws which govern them, in either 
country, are identical. 

If some of the facts observed in India seem to be more 
wonderful than any which have formed the subject of 
experiment in England (I speak of the latter more par- 
ticularly on account of the scientific endorsement they 
have received), the two following reasons may be given : 

It is very possible that the Hindus, in addition to the 
real force they possess, also display a skill so great that it 
is difficult to detect them in any act of deception. 

Perhaps, too, as they have been in possession, for several 


thousand years, of this special force, they have discovered 
the laws which the Englishmen were unable to formulate, 
though they had proved the existence of the force itself. 

It would follow therefrom that the discovery of the 
laws in question may have led to a more marked and de- 
cided progress in the production of these phenomena. 

With these remarks, and without guaranteeing their 
scientific value, we will continue our account of the extra- 
ordinary manifestations which the Brahmins attribute to 
superior spirits, and which they hold to be a part of their 

We shall continue also, however, to indicate the efforts 
made by us to test them, as far as we were able. The 
accounts, as we have said before, are taken from our notes 
of travel in upper Bengal and the Himalaya Valleys. We 
have only omitted the descriptive portions and such facts 
as are of no general importance, being wholly personal. 



" In view of the strange phenomena which succeed each 
other so rapidly, and which are as yet unexplained," says 
the learned Mr. Crookes, in the article to which we have 
referred, " I confess that it is difficult to avoid speaking 
of them in language of a somewhat sensational character." 

While the incomparable light of a tropic sun and the 
splendors of Indian scenery form a natural and appropriate 
setting for these phenomena, and heighten their effect, 
they make it more difficult, however, for us to avoid the 
mistake pointed out by the eminent chemist of the Royal 
Society of London. Still, we think that it is possible to 
select words that shall express facts without making them 
more marvellous than they really are, and that shall sim- 
ply and accurately describe the phenomena as they actually 

We made no attempt to repeat the series of experiments 
of which we gave an account in the last chapter, but we 
lost no opportunity, during our long abode in the French 
possessions in India, and the different voyages we made in 
that vast country, of attentively observing any manifesta- 
tions that bore any relation to that subject. 


Leaving Chandernagor on the 3d of January, 1866, in a 
dingui, which is a sort of boat peculiar to that country, 
provided with a small cabin, I arrived at Benares, the 
Holy City, a fortnight afterward. 


Two servants accompanied me, a ccmsama? or valet-de- 
chambre, and a metor, whose duty it was to prepare my 

The crew consisted of a cercar, or head boatman, and 
six macouas, or rowers, belonging to the caste of fishermen. 

Shortly before sunset one evening we were lying off the 
staircase of Gath near the celebrated pagoda of Siva. It 
is impossible to describe the spectacle that met my eyes. 

" Few cities," says E. Eoberts, " no matter how mag- 
nificent, are so grand and imposing in appearance as 

When the watchful traveller ascends the Ganges his 
approach to the great city is first announced by the ap- 
pearance of the minarets, whose towers, rising above the 
heavy masses of the surrounding palaces, are scattered in 
an apparently disorderly, though picturesque manner, 
along the crooked banks of the river, for about a couple 
of leagues. 

It is impossible to resist the impression made by the 
magnificent panorama presented by such a multitude of 
temples, towers, long arcades supported by columns, ele- 
vated quays, and terraces whose balustrades stand out in 
strong relief, amid the luxuriant foliage of baobab, tam- 
arind, and banana trees ; and which, covered here and 
there with clusters of flowers of various shades, appear- 
ing among the heavily carved buildings, rise majestically 
above gardens, beautifully situated among spacious courts. 

The absence of any regular plan, the different styles of 
architecture, the mingling of the austere and solemn with 
the light and fantastic, give an odd appearance to some 
parts of the scene, but its effect as a whole is magnificent, 
and most of the details possess a beauty of which it is 
impossible to give any conception. 

J In Hindustanee the word cansama means the same as dobachy in 


The gaths, which are a sort of monument composed of 
four columns united by a single cornice, and which are 
situated at the top of the gigantic stairs, whose bottom 
steps are bathed in the waters of the Ganges, are the only- 
quays possessed by the old city, which was the ancient 
Kassy of the earliest rajahs. From the rising to the setting 
of the sun they are covered by coolies loading and un- 
loading the small vessels that traverse the Ganges in every 
direction, bringing to market in upper Bengal all the 
merchandise of India and Asia. 

As I ordered the cercar to moor the boat to the gath of 
Siva a circumstance struck me with astonishment. The 
Hindus and Mussulmans who, time out of mind, have been 
so deeply divided by their old enmity toward each other 
in the south of India, where they are an insignificant 
minority of the whole population, were performing their 
ablutions together promiscuously at the feet of the gaths 
of Benares. 

Though the followers of the Prophet have always fought 
against idolatry with fire and sword, until the reign of 
Aurengzeb, they always respected the sacred city of their 
conquered foe, which seemed to inspire them with a mys- 
terious terror. 

The Brahmins claimed that Benares had been built by 
Siva, in order to serve as an asylum to the righteous, 
when the earth should be overrun by crime and sorrow ; 
and that it would never experience any of those vicissi- 
tudes to which all earthly things are subject. 

Aurengzeb, to humiliate their pride, destroyed one of 
their oldest and most venerable pagodas, and erected in its 
stead the splendid mosque that bears his name, whose 
slender spires, covered with leaves of gold, inform trav- 
ellers that the city is at hand, long before they can see it. 
To-day, numerous Mussulman temples rise by the side of 
Hindu pagodas, and the Brahmins witness, without being 
able to prevent it, but with horror that they are power- 


less to conceal, the slaughter of cattle for sacrificial or 
culinary purposes in the holy city, which had been polluted 
by the killing of no animal since the Mogul invasion. 

In spite of the vandalism which has destroyed some of 
the oldest and handsomest monuments in India, and 
although in other countries subject to their laws the 
Mussulmans have used every means and shrunk from 
nothing in order to convert the Hindus to the faith of the 
Prophet, the Mogul sovereigns always used the largest 
tolerance at Benares for the religious beliefs, manners, and 
usages of their conquered foe. It is for this reason, no 
doubt, that the two nations are on the best of terms in 
this part of Bengal. However, until I had seen it I 
would never have believed that the Mussulmans and Hin- 
dus would ever consent to perform their religious ablutions 
in the same place. 

In the south of India, a Mussulman who should bathe 
in the sacred tank of a pagoda would be put to death on 
the spot. 

When I arrived at Benares, I intended to remain there 
a couple of months. That was by no means too long a 
stay, in view of the inquiries I desired to make regarding 
the antiquities of the country, but it was too long to put 
up at a hotel or bungalow. I therefore determined to 
hire a house of my own and to go to housekeeping at 
once. To have a home of one's own in the East, and 
especially in the far East, is almost one of the first neces- 
saries of life. 

I was about sending my cansama upon a voyage of dis- 
covery, when the Peishwa, a Mahratta prince at Benares 
with whom I had become acquainted through the Kajah 
at Chandernagor, hearing of my arrival, sent to offer me 
apartments in the magnificent seven storied palace owned 
by him upon the banks of the Ganges, to the left of the 
celebrated mosque of Aurengzeb. 

It is no uncommon thing for the princes and rajahs of 


Hindustan, although they often reside at a great distance 
from Benares, to build houses in that city, to which they 
resort during the festivities incident to the celebration of 
their birthday, and to which they retire in the evening of 
life, when, weary of the world, they desire to end their 
days, according to the laws of Manu, in the observance of 
their religious duties and in the practice of austerity. 

According to their religious belief, those who die in the 
Holy City are not obliged to go through any further trans- 
formations, but their souls immediately ascend to the 
abode of Brahma and are absorbed in the great soul. 

Numerous pilgrims daily arrive from all parts of India, 
who come to perform, either on their own account, or on 
behalf of wealthy persons who employ and pay them for 
that purpose, devotional exercises, upon the banks of the 
sacred river, whose waters are nowhere else considered so 
propitious as at the feet of the Holy City. 

Some bring the bones of Eajahs or other distinguished 
personages, whose families are able to afford the expense, 
which are collected after being burnt upon the funeral 
pyre in little bags which they are instructed to throw into 
the Ganges. The supreme hope of the Hindu is to die 
upon the banks of that river, or to transport his remains 

To this latter belief I was indebted, during my stay at 
Benares, for a meeting with the most extraordinary Fakir, 
perhaps, that I had ever encountered in India. He came 
from Trivanderam, near Cape Comorin, in the extreme 
south of Hindustan, and his mission was to take charge of 
the remains of a rich Malabar, belonging to the caste of 
commoutys (merchants). The Peishwa, whose family was 
originally from the South, and who was in the habit of 
extending hospitality to pilgrims from Travencor, Mais- 
fiour, Tandjaor, and the old Mahratta country, in the 
buildings attached to his palace, had found lodgings for 
him in a small thatched cottage upon the very banks of 


the river in which he had to perform his ablutions, for 
the next three weeks, in honor of the dead. He had been 
there a fortnight already before I heard of his arrival. 
His name was Covindasamy. 

After assuring myself of his consent, I had him brought 
to my apartment one day, at about noon, when the other 
occupants of the palace, on account of the extreme heat, 
were indulging in their noonday siesta. 

The room in which I received him looked out upon the 
terrace, which in turn overlooked the Ganges, and was 
protected against the burning sun, by a movable tent 
made from woven fibres of vetivert. In the middle of the 
terrace there was a water-spout which fell in a fine shower 
into a marble basin and diffused a most delightful cool- 

I asked the Fakir if he wished to occupy any particular 
place, rather than another. 

" As you please," he answered. 

I asked him to go out upon the terrace, which was much 
lighter than the room, and where I would have a better 
opportunity to watch him. 

" Will you allow me to put to you a single question ? "' 
said I, when he had assumed a squatting position upon 
the ground. 

" I am listening to you." 

" Do you know whether any power is developed in you, 
when you perform these phenomena ? Did you ever feel 
any change take place in your brain or any of your mus- 

" It is not a natural force that acts. I am but an instru- 
/ ment. I evoke the ancestral spirits, and it is they who 
manifest their power." 

I have questioned a multitude of Fakirs in relation to 
this matter, and they have nearly all made the same an- 
swer. They look upon themselves only as intermediaries 
between this world and the invisible spirits. Observing 


that he entertained the same belief, I dropped the subject 
in order that Covindasamy might go on with his perform- 
ances. The Fakir was already in position with both hands 
extended toward an immense bronze vase full of water. 
Within five minutes the vase commenced to rock to and 
fro upon its base, and approach the Fakir gently and with 
a regular motion. As the distance diminished, metallic 
sounds escaped from it, as if some one had struck it with 
a steel rod. At certain times the blows were so numer- 
ous and quick that they produced a sound similar to that 
made by a hail-storm upon a metal roof. 

I asked Covindasamy if I could give directions, and he 
consented without hesitation. 

The vase, which was still under the performer's influence, 
advanced, receded, or stood still, according to my request. 

At one time, at my command, the blows changed into a 
continuous roll like that of a drum ; at another, on the 
contrary, they succeeded each other with the slowness and 
regularity of the ticking of a clock. 

I asked to have the blows struck only every ten seconds, 
and I compared them with the progress of the second hand 
upon the face of my watch. 

Then loud, sharp strokes were heard, for a minute and 

Upon the table of the drawing-room attached to my 
apartments, stood one of those music-boxes of which the 
Hindus are so fond, and which the Peishwa had no 
doubt procured from Calcutta. I had it brought out upon 
the terrace by my cansama, and I asked to have the 
blows struck upon the vase so as to accompany any air 
which the instrument might perform. 

I then wound up the box in the usual way, and pressed 
the spring of the clock-work, without knowing what air it 
would play. A regular whirlwind of notes was the result, 
and the box played, in time designedly accelerated, no 
doubt, the tune of " Eobin of the Wood." 


I listened in the direction of the vase, and quick, sharp 
strokes accompanied the tune, with the regularity of the 
baton of an orchestra leader. The air had scarcely finished 
when I again pressed the spring, and the blows moder- 
ated their pace to keep time to the march from the 
Prophete, which they accompanied exactly. 

All this was done without fuss, or parade, or mystery 
of any kind, upon a terrace of a few yards square. The 
vase thus put in motion, could hardly, when empty, 
have been moved by two men. It was hollowed out like 
a cup, and was so situated as to receive the falling jet of 
water from the fountain before spoken of. It was used 
for the morning ablutions, which, in India, are almost 
equal to a regular bath. 

What was the force that moved this mass ? that is the 

I repeated these various experiments a second time, and 
they were renewed with like order and regularity. 

The Fakir, who had neither changed his position, nor 
left his place, then stood up, and rested the tips of his 
fingers, for a short time, upon the edge of the vase. It 
soon began to rock to and fro in regular time, from left to 
right, gradually accelerating its speed ; its base, which rose 
and fell alternately on either side, made no sound upon 
the stuccoed pavement. 

But what surprised me most was to see that the water 
remained stationary in the vase, as if there were a strong 
pressure that prevented its regaining its equilibrium, 
which the motion of the vessel containing it had disturbed. 

Three times during these oscillations the vase rose a 
distance of seven to eight inches completely from the 
ground, and, when it fell to the pavement again, it did so 
without any perceptible shock. 

The performance had already lasted several hours, dur- 
ing which I had taken copious and careful notes, and had 
also taken the precaution to have each phenomenon re 


peated in a different manner, when the sun, which was 
sinking below the horizon, warned us that it was time for 
me to commence my usual excursion among the venerable 
monuments and ruins of ancient Kassy, which was the 
centre of the religious power of the Brahmins when, after 
their contest with the rajahs, they had lost their temporal 
power as well as for the Fakir to prepare himself in the 
temple of Siva, by the usual prayers, for the ablutions and 
funeral ceremonies which he was obliged to perform 
every evening, upon the banks of the sacred river. 

Upon taking his departure the Fakir promised to re- 
turn every day, at the same hour, as long as he should re- 
main at Benares. 

The poor man was very glad to have met me. I had 
resided for many years in the south of India, and knew 
the beautiful and sonorous language of the country of 
Bravida, 1 which no one else understood at Benares. He 
had now some one to talk to about this wonderful land 
and its ancient ruins, its old pagodas and their incompar- 
able vegetation, and its manuscripts, written with a pointed 
stick centuries before the sea had abandoned the salt des- 
erts of Iran and Chaldea, or the mud deposits of the Nile 
had joined Lower Egypt to the plains of Memphis and 

1 The Tamoul. 



Covindasamy was punctual in the performance of his 

Gazing at the extraordinary flood of light which the 
sun poured upon the surface of the Ganges as it rolled by, 
I stood absorbed in silent contemplation of the magnifi- 
cent spectacle before me, when the Fakir, lifting one of 
the curtains which hung before the door leading into the 
verandah, walked in and sat upon the floor with his legs 
bent under him after the Hindu manner. 

" Salam bere " (good day, sahib), said he, using his 
mother tongue. 

"Salam tambi" (good day, friend), replied I, in the same 
idiom, "is the Bengal rice equal to the rice of Tandjaor ? " 

" The rice served to me in the Peishwa's palace at Be- 
nares is not equal to that which I gather about my hut at 

" What is the matter with it ? is not the curry seed as 
pure upon the banks of the Ganges as upon the Malabar 

" Listen ! the cocoa-tree does not grow here and the 
water of the sacred river cannot take the place of the salt 
water. I am a man of the coast, as there is a tree of the 
coast, and we both of us die when we are separated from 
the ocean." 

Just then a slight southern breeze like escaping steam 
swept in warm gusts over the drowsy city slumbering in 
the noon-day heat. The Fakir's eyes glistened. 


" It comes from my old home," said he, " do you not 
feel it ? it brings to my mind so many recollections." 

He sat a long while, thinking, no doubt, of the wide, 
gloomy forests on the Malabar coast, where he had passed 
his childhood, and of the mysterious caves of the pagoda 
at Trivanderam, where the Brahmins had instructed him 
in the art of evocation. 

Suddenly he arose and walked toward the bronze vase 
which he had used the day before for the purpose of ex- 
hibiting his power. He imposed his hands upon the surface 
of the water which filled it to the very edge, but he did 
not touch it, however, and stood motionless in that position. 
As yet I had no idea of the phenomena that he intended 
to perform. 

I do not know that he experienced any unusual diffi- 
culty on that day, but an hour had elapsed before either 
the water or the vase exhibited any evidence whatever of 
action on his part. 

I had begun to despair of obtaining any result on that 
occasion, when the water began to be gently agitated. It 
looked as though its surface were ruffled by a slight breeze. 
Placing my hands upon the edge of the vase I experienced 
a slight feeling of coolness, which apparently arose from 
the same cause. A rose-leaf, thrown into the water, soon 
was blown or drifted against the other edge. 

Meanwhile the Fakir stood motionless. His mouth was 
closed, and, strange to say, though it effectually disposed 
of any idea of trickery on his part, the waves were formed 
on the opposite side from that of the performer and gently 
broke against the edge of the vase on his side. 

Gradually the motion of the waves became more vio- 
lent. They made their appearance in every direction, as 
though the water were in a state of intense ebullition un- 
der the influence of a great heat. It soon rose higher 
than the Fakir's hands, and several waves rose to a height 
of one or two feet from the surface. 


I asked Covindasamy to take his hands away. Upon 
their removal the motion of the water gradually abated, 
without ceasing altogether, as in the case of boiling water 
from which the fire has been removed. On the other 
hand, whenever he placed his hands in their former posi- 
tion, the motion of the water was as great as ever. 

The last portion of the seance was still more extraordi- 

The Hindu asked me to lend him a small stick. I 
handed him a wooden lead-pencil that had never been 
sharpened. He placed it in the water, and in a few min- 
utes, by the imposition of his hands, he made it move in 
every direction, like a magnet in contact with an iron bar. 

Placing his forefinger gently upon the middle of the 
pencil, so as not to affect its position upon the water, in a 
few minutes I saw the small piece of wood slowly descend 
beneath the surface, until it had reached the bottom of 
the vase. 

Laying aside the question of skill or deception on the 
performer's part, without doing which it is impossible for 
me to make any positive statement either one way or the 
other, although under the circumstances it would have 
been extremely difficult for any attempt at imposture to 
Jiave escaped my attention, it occurred to me that the 
Fakir, upon charging the small piece of wood with fluid, 
might perhaps have increased its weight, so as to make it 
heavier than water. 

Though deeply sceptical with regard to spirits, I often 
wondered, whenever I saw an experiment of this kind, 
whether or not some natural force had not been brought 
into play, with which we were totally unacquainted. 

I merely state the facts without further comment. 



The Fakir's third visit was short, as he was to pass the 
night in prayer upon the banks of the sacred river, upon 
the occasion of a religious festival, and he had been invited 
to a funeral sraddha, which was to take place on the fol- 
lowing day. 

He came merely to inform me that he would be obliged 
to attend them, and was preparing to return to the small 
hut that the Peishwa had given him the use of, when, at 
my request, he consented to perform a phenomenon of 
elevation, which I had already seen other performers suc- 
cessfully accomplish, without, however, taking any partic- 
ular notice of how they did it. 

Taking an ironwood cane which I had brought from 
Ceylon, he leaned heavily upon it, resting his right hand 
upon the handle, with his eyes fixed upon the ground. 
He then proceeded to utter the appropriate incantations, 
which he had forgotten to favor me with the day previous. 

From the elaborate preparation he made in my presence, 
I formed the opinion that this was to be only another in- 
stance of what I had always regarded as an acrobatic 

My judgment refuses, in fact, to attach any other name 
to such phenomena as this : 

Leaning upon the cane with one hand, the Fakir rose 
gradually about two feet from the ground. His legs were 
crossed beneath him, and he made no change in his posi- 
tion, which was very like that of those bronze statues of 


Buddha that all tourists bring from the far East, without 
.a suspicion that most of them come originally from English 

For more than twenty minutes I tried to see how Co- 
vindasamy could thus fly in the face and eyes of all the 
known laws of gravity ; it was entirely beyond my com- 
prehension ; the stick gave him no visible support, and 
there was no apparent contact between that and his body, 
except through his right hand. 

"When I dismissed him he informed me, upon leaving, 
that when the sacred elephants should strike the hour of 
midnight upon the copper gong in the pagoda of Siva, he 
would evoke the familiar spirits that protect the Franguys 
(or French), who would then manifest their presence in 
some manner in my bedroom. 

The Hindus have a perfect understanding among them- 
selves. In order to prevent any too obvious fraud, I sent 
my two servants to pass the night upon the dingui with 
the cercar and boatmen. The idea of the supernatural 
was naturally repugnant to my mind. My leanings were 
all the other way, but if the fact should occur as he pre- 
dicted, I did not want to be too easily duped. For that rea- 
son I prepared to throw every obstacle in the Fakir's way. 

The Peishwa's house was singularly constructed ; all the 
windows overlooked the Ganges, and it contained seven 
large apartments, one above the other. All the rooms in 
each apartment opened upon covered galleries or terraces 
projecting over the quay. The mode of communication 
from one story to another was very curious. There was a 
single flight of steps which led from the bottom apartment 
to that immediately above. Upon crossing this second 
apartment, in the last room was a second flight of stairs 
-which had no communication with the former, and which 
led to the story above, and so on up to the seventh story, 
which was reached by means of a movable stairway which 
'Could be raised by chains like a drawbridge. 


It was this seventh story, which was furnished in a 
style partly Oriental and partly European, which com- 
manded a most splendid view and where the air was the 
coolest, that the Peishwa had set apart for his foreign 


As soon as it was dark, I examined all the different 
rooms in the apartment, in the most careful manner, and 
made sure that nobody was concealed in them. I then 
raised the drawbridge, and thus cut off all communication 
from the outside. 

At the hour named I thought I heard two blows dis- 
tinctly struck against the wall of my room. I walked 
toward the spot from which the sound seemed to come, 
when my steps were suddenly arrested by a sharp blow, 
which appeared to proceed from the glass shade that 
protected the hanging lamp against gnats and night but- 
terflies. A few more sounds were heard at unequal inter- 
vals in the cedar rafters of the ceiling, and that was all. 
I walked toward the end of the terrace. It was one of 
those silvery nights, unknown in our more foggy lands. 
The vast flood of the sacred river rolled silently along at 
the foot of the sleeping city, upon one of whose steps the 
outlines of a human form were dimly profiled. It was the 
Fakir of Trivanderam, praying for the repose of his dead. 



I spent a part of the night in reflection upon this sub- 
ject, but I was not able to solve the riddle. Since I had 
lived in India I had often seen similar phenomena per- 
formed in my presence by others and I was able to bring 
a multitude of other facts quite as wonderful to the 
support of what was said and done by the Fakir of Tri- 
vanderam, but they did not prove, in my opinion, the 
truth of the theory with regard to the evocation of the 
ancestral shades. What I beg to direct the reader's atten- 
tion to, more particularly because it is strictly true, is the 
fact that the means employed to produce these phenomena 
are not known to any person in India except the per- 
formers themselves. 

i was impatiently expecting the Fakir's arrival, for I 
had long intended to accompany my investigations into the 
ancient doctrine regarding the Fitris with an inquiry into 
the material phenomena inseparably connected, in the 
Hindu mind, with their religious convictions. The willing- 
ness, added to the skill, of Covindasamy gave me an op- 
portunity that might not soon occur again of reviewing 
these singular facts, which seem to have occupied the 
minds of the sacerdotal classes in ancient times in all 
their leisure moments, and which had been repeated in my 
presence more than a hundred times before. I spent a 
portion of the day in visiting the temples and mosques of 
Benares, and I did not not return to the palace until sunset. 


It was night, and I was waiting for the Fakir upon the 
terrace when he walked quietly in. People of that class 
have the privilege of entering the presence of the highest 
personages in Hindustan at any time, without previous 
announcement, and although they seldom make use of the 
privilege in the case of Europeans, I had, in the beginning 
of our acquaintance, allowed Covindasmy to do as he 
pleased. This, added to my knowledge of his native 
tongue, had made him very friendly. 

" Well," said I, " as soon as I perceived his entrance, 
" the sounds were heard as you predicted ; the Fakir is 
very skilful." 

" The Fakir is nothing,'' he answered, with the utmost 
coolness. " He utters the proper mentrams and the spirits 
hear them. It was the ancestral shades of the Franguy 
who paid him a visit." 

" Have you power over the spirits of foreigners ? " 

" No one has power over the spirits." 

" I did not express myself properly. How does it hap- 
pen that the souls of the Franguys should grant the re- 
quests of a Hindu ? They do not belong to your caste." 

" There are no castes in the superior world^" 

" Then it was my ancestors who appeared last night ? " 

" You have said it." 

Such was his invariable answer. 

Whenever I questioned him upon this subject I care- 
fully watched the expression of his face, to see if I could 
detect in his looks a smile or any other sign of incredulity, 
but he seemed to be sincere, and his face was calm and 

Without being asked to do so, he then went on with his 

Taking a small bamboo stool that stood near, he sat 
down upon it in the Mussulman style with his legs crossed 
beneath him, and his arms folded across his chest. 

According to my instructions to my cansama, the ter 


race had been lighted d giorno, and I had made such prep- 
arations that nothing that occurred could possibly escape 
my attention. 

As in my accounts of previous performances, I omit all 
the elaborate preparations by which they were accom- 
panied, and the impression made upon my own mind, and 
confine myself strictly to what is essential. 

At the end of a few minutes, during which he appeared 
to concentrate his attention upon the bamboo stool upon 
which he was sitting, it began to move noiselessly along 
the floor, by short jerks which made it advance about 
three or four inches every time. I watched the Hindu 
attentively, but he was as still and motionless as a statue. 

The terrace was about seven yards long and as many 
wide. It took about ten minutes to traverse the whole 
distance, and when the stool had arrived at the end it 
began to move backward until it returned to its starting- 
place. The performance was repeated three times, and 
always successfully, unless the conditions were changed. 
I ought to say, however, that the Fakir's legs, which were 
crossed beneath him, were distant from the ground the 
whole height of the stool. 

During the whole day the heat had been overpowering. 
The night breeze which springs up so regularly in those lati- 
tudes to cool the heated lungs, and which blows from the 
Himalaya Mountains, had not yet risen. The metor was mov- 
ing, as fast as he could, by the aid of a rope of cocoa fibre 
above our heads, an enormous punkah, hanging from iron 
rods in the middle of the terrace, which also supported 
horizontally the vetivert curtains and surrounding matting. 

The punkah is a sort of movable fan of rectangular form, 
which is fastened at both ends to the ceiling of the room. 
Set in motion by a servant specially engaged for that pur- 
pose, it imparts a factitious, though very agreeable, cool- 
ness to the atmosphere. The Fakir made use of this 
instrument for the performance of the second phenomenon. 


Taking the punkah rope from the metor's hands, he 
pressed it against his forehead with both hands, and sat 
down in a squatting position beneath the punkah, which 
soon began to move slowly over our heads, though Covin- 
dasamy had not made the slightest motion. It gradually 
increased its speed until it moved at a very rapid rate, 
as though it were driven by some invisible hand. 

When the Fakir let go of the rope it continued to move, 
though at a gradually diminishing rate, and finally stopped 

These two phenomena were repeated several times, and 
it was now quite late at night, but the Fakir was in a good 
humor, and before leaving he determined to give me an- 
other proof of his power. 

Three vases of flowers, so heavy that none but a strong 
man could have lifted them (and then he could not have 
done so without an effort), stood at one end of the terrace. 
Selecting one, he imposed his hands upon it so as to touch 
the edge of the vase with the tips of his fingers. With- 
out any apparent effort on his part it began to move to 
and fro upon its base as regularly as the pendulum of a 
clock. It soon seemed to me that the vase had left the 
floor, without changing its movement in the least degree, 
and it appeared to me to be floating in the air, going from 
right to left at the will of the Fakir. 

I do not, it will be observed, speak of this phenomenon 
in positive terms, for I have always regarded it as caused 
by an illusion of the senses. To be candid, I must ac- 
knowledge that I have always been somewhat sceptical 
with regard to the phenomena performed by the Fakirs, 
but that especially, though I had often seen it performed 
under circumstances that seemed to render deception im- 
possible, always appeared to me so strange that I was 
unable to resist the belief that some imposition, however 
-elaborate or skilful, was being practised upon me. 




Covindasamy had only three days more to stay at Be- 
nares. I determined to devote our last meeting to exper- 
iments in magnetism and somnambulism. When I in- 
formed him of my intention he seemed to be surprised by 
these novel expressions, though I translated them as well 
as I could into the Tamoul language. 

When I had made him understand the meaning attached 
to those words in Europe, he smiled and answered, in his 
usual way, that such phenomena were also produced by 
the Pitris, in addition to those I had already witnessed. 
It was not possible to hold any discussion with him upon 
that point. Without regard to his religious opinions, or 
to the causes to which he attributed his power, I merely 
asked him if he was willing to take part in experiments of 
that character. 

" The Franguy," he answered, " has spoken to the 
Fakir in his native language. The Fakir can refuse him 

Seeing that his reply was so satisfactory in this respect, 
I was encouraged to make another request. 

" Will you allow me to-day," said I, " to indicate the 
phenomena that I wish you to perform, instead of leaving 
them to you ? " 

Although it seems highly improbable, in view of the 
peculiar circumstances of their occurrence, that the Fakir 
should have made any preparations in advance for the 


performances which I have already described, or should 
have had any previous understanding with the servants, I 
was anxious, however, to ascertain whether Covindasamy 
would be able to produce any manifestations that he had 
no previous notice of. 

" I will do as you please," said the Hindu, simply. 
This plan however, met the fate of many others. I spent 
ao much time, and took so deep an interest in the Fakir's 
manifestations of spiritual force, that I had no opportu- 
nity to investigate the subject of his magnetic power. 

I had often seen the performing Fakirs attach different 
objects to the ground, either, according to the explanation 
given me by an English major who had devoted much 
time and thought to questions of this class, by charging 
them with fluid in order to augment their specific gravity 
or in some other manner unknown to me. I determined 
to repeat the experiment. Taking a small stand of teak 
wood which I could lift without any effort with my thumb 
and forefinger, I placed it in the middle of the terrace, 
and asked the Fakir if he could not fix it there so that it 
could not be moved. 

The Fakir, without the slightest hesitation, walked to- 
ward the small piece of furniture, and imposing both hands 
upon the top stood motionless in that position for nearly a 
quarter of an hour, at the end of which time he said to 
me, smiling : 

The spirits have come and nobody can remove the table 
without their permission. 

Feeling somewhat incredulous, I approached the table 
and took hold of it, as though I were going to lift it. It 
would not stir from the ground any more than if it had 
been sealed. I struggled harder, with the result that the 
fragile leaf there fastened came off in my hands. 

I then took hold of the legs, which were united by a 
cross brace and which remained standing, but the result 
was the same. A thought then crossed my mind. 


Suppose, thought I, that these phenomena are produced 
by the Fakir's charging objects with some kind of fluid, 
and that a natural force is thus developed the laws of 
which we are as yet ignorant of, the supply of fluid 
with which they are charged must gradually lose its effi- 
cacy unless renewed by the operator, and in that case I 
shall soon be able to remove what is left of the table with- 
out any difficulty. 

I asked the Fakir to go to the other end of the terrace, 
which he did with the utmost good humor imaginable. At 
the end of a few minutes I was able to handle the stand 
without any trouble whatever. It was evident, therefore, 
that there was a force of some kind or other ; there was 
no other alternative unless I was willing to admit that I 
had been egregiously imposed upon, which would have 
been impossible, under the circumstances. 

I should have had to devote some months to this experi- 
ment alone, if I had desired to test it scientifically. I had 
not sufficient time at my disposal to do so, and I merely 
describe it now, like all the rest, without expressing an 
opinion either one way or the other, as to means employed 
or the cause thereof. 

" The Pitris have departed," said the Hindu, in expla- 
nation, " because their means of terrestrial communication 
was broken. Listen! they are coming back again." 

As he uttered these words, he imposed his hands above 
one of those immense copper platters inlaid with silver 
such as are used by wealthy natives for dice playing, and 
almost immediately there ensued such a rapid and vio- 
lent succession of blows or knocks that it might have 
been taken for a hail-shower upon a metal roof, and I 
thought I saw (the reader will observe that I do not 
express myself positively in this respect) a succession of 
phosphorescent lights (plain enough to be visible in 
broad daylight) pass to and fro across the platter in every 


This phenomenon ceased or was repeated at the Fakir's 

I have already remarked that the apartments I occupied at 
the Peishwa's were furnished partly in the European and 
partly in the Oriental style. There was a multitude of fancy 
articles upon the etageres, such as windmills setting black- 
smiths in motion, tin soldiers, and wooden houses from Nu- 
remberg with those everlasting little green fir trees, from 
which many children obtain their earliest ideas of nature. 
The furniture was all cluttered up with objects of this na- 
ture ; the most childish articles were mingled pell-mell 
with the most artistic, according to the fancies of the na- 
tive servants. We need not laugh, however ; a native of 
those countries could not look at three-quarters of the Chi- 
nese, Hindu, or Oceanic objects with which we proudly 
and ostentatiously decorate our dwellings, and keep a sober 
face. I bethought myself of a small mill which might be 
moved by a breath, which set several personages in mo- 
tion. I pointed it out to Covindasamy and asked him if 
he could make it go without touching it. 

In consequence of the imposition of his hands alone he 
set the mill in motion with great rapidity, at a rate 
which increased or diminished according to the distance 
at which the Fakir stood. 

This was a very simple fact, but yet it made a great im- 
pression upon my mind, by reason of the improbability of 
any previous notice or preparation. 

The following is another of the same character, but 
much more surprising. 

Among the objects that composed the Peishwa's mu- 
seum was a harmoniflute. By the aid of a small cord 
tied around the wooden square forming a portion of the 
bellows (a part of the instrument which, as everybody 
knows, is on the side opposite to that of the keys) I hung 
it from one of the iron bars of the terrace, in such a way 
that it swung in the air at about two feet from the ground, 


and I asked the Fakir if he could make it play without 
touching it. 

Complying unhesitatingly with my request, he seized 
the cord by which the harmoniflute was suspended, be- 
tween the thumb and forefinger of each hand and stood 
perfectly motionless and still. The harmoniflute soon 
began to be gently stirred, the bellows underwent an al- 
ternate movement of contraction and inflation, as though 
proceeding from some invisible hand, and the instrument 
emitted sounds which were perfectly plain and distinct, 
though of unusual length and not very harmonious it is true. 

" Cannot you get a tune ? " said I to Covindasamy. 

" I will evoke the spirit of one of the old pagoda mu- 
sicians," he answered with the greatest gravity. 

I waited patiently. 

The instrument had been silent a long while, not having 
made a sound since my request. It now began to move 
anew and first played a series of notes or chords like a 
prelude ; it then bravely attacked one of the most popular 
airs on the Malabar coast. 

Taitou moucouty conda 
Aroune cany pomele, etc. 

(" Bring jewels for the young maiden of Aroune*, etc.) 

As long as the piece lasted the Fakir stood perfectly 
still. He merely had hold, as I have already described, 
of the cord by which he was in communication with the 

Wishing to apply every test in my power, I kneeled 
down in order to observe the various movements of the 
instrument, and I saw, so that I am positively sure of 
what I say, unless I was misled by an illusion of the 
senses, the upward and downward motion of the keys, 
according to the requirements of the tune. 

As before, I merely state the fact, and leave the reader 
to draw his own conclusions. 


Suppose that there was no illusion of the senses and no 
imposture used in the production of these manifestations 
shall we, in that case, investigate their laws ? 

No ! say the French scientists, who occupy an official 
station, d priori such folly is not worthy of an investiga- 

Yes ! answer the scientists of England, who are not less 
dignified, we have ascertained material facts, which are 
free from the suspicion of illusion or imposture. We are 
bound in honor to ascertain their laws and proclaim the truth. 

Such is the state of the question. 

On the one hand, negation under any circumstances ; on 
the other, further investigation. 

Our French savants to call them by the name which 
they use among themselves have never lost sight, as we 
see, of the traditions which have led to the rejection of all 
the great inventions by which the present century has 
been distinguished. 

I have not taken a very active part in the discussion 
and that for an obvious reason. Anybody might say to 
me, if I attempted to formulate a law governing the facts 
which have come under my own observation : 

Have you experimented scientifically regarding all the 
extraordinary facts described as having been performed 
by the Fakirs ? 

As I have had manufactured under my own supervision 
neither the weights nor scales nor vases nor tables nor 
any of the instruments used by the Fakirs, to this ques- 
tion I am bound to answer scientifically no ! 

But, on the other hand, when I see the Fakirs often 
using articles belonging to myself and most frequently 
things which, in all probability, they had never seen or 
touched before, I say with Messrs Crookes, Huggins, Cox, 
and others here are the facts for your investigation, 
science should know the grounds upon which they rest 
before rejecting or accepting them. 


At sunset Covindasamy was to perform his devotions 
upon the banks of the sacred river. It was near that hour 
now, and upon taking leave of ine with the usual salaama 
he informed me that he could not come the next day. 

As I expressed my regret, he answered me : 

" To-morrow will be the twenty -first day since my arrival 
at Benares, and the mortuary ceremonies will then be con- 
cluded." The Fakir was to remain at prayer from one 
sunrise to another a period of twenty -four hours. When 
his task was accomplished, and previous to his departure 
for Trivanderam, he promised to give me an entire day 
and night, for, said he, " you have been very kind, and 
with you I could speak the language that my old am a 
(mother) used to speak when she rocked me to sleep in a 
banana leaf. My mouth has long been closed." He often 
recurred to this subject, and always seemed much moved 
when he spoke of it. 

I have never known a Hindu to speak of his mother 
without emotion. 

As he was about stepping across the threshold of the 
terrace door he noticed a vase containing various feathers,, 
taken from the most wonderful birds in India. He took 
up a handful, which he threw above his head high in the 
air. The feathers of course descended again soon, but the 
Fakir made passes beneath them as they fell, and whenever 
one came near him, it turned around quickly and ascended 
again with a spiral movement, until stopped by the veti- 
vert carpet, which answered the purpose of a movable roof. 
They all went in the same direction, but after a moment, 
in obedience to the laws of gravity, they dropped again, 
but before they had travelled half the distance to the 
ground they resumed their ascending movement and 
were stopped as before by the matting, where they re- 

A final tremor was followed by a slight manifestation of 
downward tendency, but the feathers soon remained sta- 


tionary. If any one had seen them standing out in sharp- 
relief against the golden background of the straw matting, 
in brilliant and decided colors of every possible shade, he 
would have said that they were placed there by the pencil 
of some accomplished artist. 

As soon as the Fakir had disappeared they fell flat to 
the ground. I left them a long while as they lay strewn 
upon the floor, as a proof, of which I felt the need, that I 
had not been misled by some mental hallucination. 

Night had no sooner come with its refreshing coolness, 
than I embarked upon the dingui which lay at the quay, 
and ordered the cercar to let the boat drift down the river 
with the current. Influenced, in spite of myself, by the 
incomprehensible phenomena which I had just witnessed,. 
I felt as though I wanted to change my surroundings, in- 
stead of groping my way dreamily among the metaphys- 
ical speculations of the past. I also felt the need of the 
pleasanter sensations always accompanying a night upon 
the Ganges, soothed by the song of the Hindu boatmen, 
and the distant cry of savage beasts. 





Covindasamy had promised me that before he left to 
return to Trivanderam he would employ all the power at 
his command, or, to use an expression for which he alone 
is responsible, he would appeal to all the Pitris who as- 
sisted him, and would show me something wonderful that 
I would never forget. 

On the day in question we were to have two sittings, 
one in the broad light of day, like those which I have 
previously described, and one at night, but I was to be 
free to illuminate the place in which the experiments were 
to be held as much as I pleased. 

The gath of Siva was hardly gilded by the first rays of 
the rising sun when the Hindu, whose mission was now 
at an end, sent in his name by my cansama. He was 
afraid that he would find me asleep. 

" Saranai-aya " (greeting, sahib), said he, upon enter- 
ing. To-morrow is the day of the Fakir's return to the 
land of his ancestors. 

" My best wishes will accompany you," answered I. 
" I hope that you will find that your abode has been re- 
spected by the evil spirits during your absence." 

As usual, the Fakir made no attempt to continue the 
conversation. He immediately sat down upon the ground, 
after the ordinary salutation, and lost no time in begin- 
ning his performances. 


He had brought with him a small bag of the finest sand, 
which he proceeded to empty upon the floor and level 
with his hand, in such a way as to form a surface of about 
half a square yard. 

When he had done this, he asked me to sit at a table 
opposite him, with a sheet of paper and a pencil. 

Having asked for a small piece of wood, I threw him 
the handle of a penholder, which he gently placed upon 
the bed of sand. 

" Listen ! " said he. " I am about to evoke the Pitris. 
When you see the article which you have just given me 
stand upright, one end only being in contact with the 
ground, you are at liberty to trace upon the paper any 
figures you please, and you will see an exact copy of them 
in the sand." 

He then extended both hands before him horizontally, 
and proceeded to repeat the sacred formulas of evoca- 

In a few minutes the wooden rod gradually rose as he 
had said, and at the same moment I proceeded to move 
my pencil over the sheet of paper before me, tracing the 
strangest figures in the world entirely at random. The 
piece of wood at once imitated every motion, and I saw 
the whimsical figures that I had been tracing appear suc- 
cessively in the sand. 

When I stopped, the improvised pencil stopped when 
I went on, it followed me. 

The Fakir had not changed his position, and there was 
no apparent contact between him and the piece of wood. 

Wishing to know whether he could see, from his posi- 
tion, the movements of the pencil, as I drew it over the 
sheet of paper, which however would not have explained 
how he could transfer the figures without being in con- 
tact with the sand upon which they appeared, I left the 
table, and placing myself in an identically similar position 
to that of Covindasamy, I was able to satisfy myself that 


it was totally impossible for him to ascertain what I was 

I then compared the figures with each other, and I 
found that they were exactly alike. 

Having levelled the sand again, the Fakir said to me : 

" Think of a word in the language of the gods " the 

" Why that language particularly ? " I answered. 

"Because the Pitris use that immortal medium of 
speech more easily than any other. The impure are not 
allowed to use it." 

I was not in the habit of disputing his religious convic- 
tions, and therefore said nothing. 

The Hindu then extended his hands as before. The 
magic pencil began to move, and, gradually rising, wrote 
.unhesitatingly the following word : 

Pouroucha ! 
(The celestial generator). 

That was actually the word that I had thought of. 

" Think of a whole phrase," continued the Fakir. 

" I have done so," I answered. 

The pencil then wrote upon the sand the following 


Adicete VeiJcountam Haris ! 
(Yischnou sleeps upon Mount Eikonta). 

" Can the spirit by whom you are* inspired give me the 
243d sloca of the fourth book of Manu ? " inquired I of 

I had hardly expressed the wish, when the pencil pro- 
ceeded to gratify it, and wrote the following words one 
after the other, letter by letter, before my eyes : 

Darma/prdddnam pouroucham tapasa? hatakilvisam 
paralokam nayaty d^ou Msouantam Kaqaririnam. 


The following is a translation of this remarkable stanza, 
which was correctly given as indicated : 

" The man, the end of all whose actions is virtue, and 
all whose sins are wiped out by acts of piety and sacrifices, 
reaches the celestial mansions, radiant with light and 
clothed with a spiritual form." 

Finally, as a last experiment, placing my hands upon a 
closed book containing extracts from hymns in the Kig- 
Yeda, I asked for the first word of the fifth line of the 
twenty-first page. I received the following answer : 

(Given by a god.) 

Upon comparison I found it to be correct. 
" Will you now put a mental question ? " said the Fakir. 
I acquiesced by a simple movement of the head, and the 
following word was written upon the sand : 

(The Earth.) 

I had asked, " Who is our common mother ? " 
I have no explanation or statement to make with regard 
to these facts. 

Whether it is purely a matter of skill or whether the 
performers are really inspired that is a question which I 
do not undertake to decide. I only describe what I have 
seen and assert that the circumstances under which the 
facts occurred are accurately related. Materially speak- 
ing, I do not think it possible that any fraud could have 
been committed. 


The first part of this sitting was somewhat long. I 
asked the Fakir to discontinue his performances for a few 
minutes, during which I walked to the end of the terrace, 
whither he followed me. 

It might have been ten o'clock in the forenoon. 

The waters of the Ganges shone like a mirror in the 
bright light of a hot day. Upon our left lay a large gar- 
den, in the midst of which there stood a well, from which 
a metor was unconcernedly drawing water, which he 
poured into a bamboo pipe, which in its turn supplied a 

Covindasamy imposed his hands in the direction of the 
well, and the result was that, though the poor metor pulled 
upon the rope with all his might, it would no longer 
slip through the pulley. 

When a Hindu meets with any impediment in his work, 
he at once attributes any obstacle that he cannot over- 
come to evil spirits, and immediately proceeds to chant 
all the magical incantations with which he is acquainted, 
for the knowledge of which he has often paid a high 

The poor metor, of course, could not let slip so favora- 
ble an opportunity to use the knowledge he had obtained ; 
but he had hardly chanted a few words in that sharp 
nasal tone which is so lacerating to the European ear, but 
which is inflicted upon it everywhere in the East, and 
particularly in the far East, in the name of music, when 
his voice died away in his throat and he found it impossi- 
ble, though he made the strangest contortions, to articulate 
a single word. 

After looking at this curious sight for a few moments, 
the Fakir dropped his hands and the metor recovered the 
use of his speech, while the rope performed its office as 

Upon returning to the scene of our late experiments, I 
found the heat to be overpowering and so remarked to 


the Fakir, who did not seem to hear me, absorbed as he 
was, apparently, in his own reflections. I had forgotten the 
remark that I had incidentally let drop, when one of those 
palm-leaf fans that Hindu servants use to cool the air in 
rooms where there is no punkah, flew up from the table, 
where it had been lying, and gently fanned my face. 

I observed that, although it moved very slowly, the 
air was unusually cool and refreshing. At the same time, 
the atmosphere seemed to be filled with the melodious 
sounds of a human voice, which had nothing Hindu about it, 
which I thought I heard, like those faint songs that hunts- 
men on the mountains often hear rising from the valleys 
at twilight. 

The palm leaf finally returned to the table and the 
sounds ceased. I wondered whether there had not been 
some illusion of my senses. As the Fakir was about to 
leave me, to go to his breakfast and obtain a few hours 
rest, of which he stood in urgent need, having had no 
food nor sleep for the last twenty-four hours, he stopped 
in the embrasure of the door leading from the terrace to 
the outside stairs, and, crossing his arms upon his chest, 
lifted himself up gradually, without any apparent support 
or assistance, to the height of about ten to twelve inches. 

I was able to determine the distance exactly by means 
of a point of comparison which I had fixed upon during 
the continuance of the phenomenon. Behind the Fakir's 
back there was a silken hanging, which was used as a por-, 
tiere, striped in gold and white bands of equal width. 1 
noticed that the Fakir's feet were on a level with the sixth 
band. At the commencement of his ascension I had 
seized my chronometer; the entire time from the mo- 
ment when the Fakir commenced to rise until he touched 
the ground again, was more than eight minutes. He re- 
mained perfectly still, at the highest point of elevation for 
nearly five minutes. 

As Covindasamy was making his parting salaam, I asked 


if he could repeat the last phenomenon whenever he 

" The Fakir," answered he, emphatically, " can lift him- 
self up as high as the clouds." 

" What is the source of his power ? " I do not know 
why I asked him the question, as he had already told me, 
more than twenty times, that he did not regard himself as 
anything more than an instrument in the hands of the 

He answered me with the following lines : 

Swddydye nityayouktci? sydt 
Amba/rdd avatarati deva\ 

" He should be in constant communication with heaven, 
and a superior spirit should descend therefrom." 



Hue, the missionary, in his account of his travels in 
Thibet, gives a description of a phenomenon similar to 
that which I am about to relate, and which I can only look 
upon as a cunning trick. 

I should not have mentioned it, perhaps, in the present 
work, but it forms an essential part, so to speak, of the 
stock in trade of those believers in the Pitris, who deal 
more particularly in external manifestations, and, as a 
faithful historian, I am loath to omit any of their curious 

Among the extraordinary claims advanced by the Fa- 
kirs, is one that they can directly influence the growth of 
plants, and that they can so hasten it as to accomplish in 
a few hours what usually takes several months or even 

I had already seen this phenomenon performed by itin- 
erant magicians a number of times, but, as I had always 
regarded it merely as a successful fraud, I had omitted to 
record the circumstances under which it occurred. 

Absurd as it seemed, as Covindasamy, who was really a 
man of remarkable power, proposed to repeat the various 
phenomena which I had already seen performed by others 
at different times, I determined to watch him so that he 
could do nothing which should escape my notice. 

He had promised to give me two hours more of his 
time from three to five previous to the night sitting. 
I determined to employ them as proposed. 


The Fakir suspected nothing, and I thought he would 
be highly surprised when, upon his arrival, I told him 
what I intended to. 

" I am entirely at your service," said he, in his usual 
simple way. 

I was somewhat disconcerted by his assurance, but I 
continued : 

"Will you allow me to choose the earth, the vessel, and 
the seed, which you are to make grow before my eyes ? " 

" The vessel and the seed, yes ; but the earth must be 
taken from a nest of carias." 

These little white ants, who build, for shelter, small 
hills, often reaching a height of nine or a dozen yards, are 
very common in India, and there was no difficulty, what- 
ever, in procuring a little of the earth which they pre- 
pare very skilfully for their purpose. 

I told my cansama to have a flower-pot of the usual size 
filled with the earth required, and to bring me, at the 
same time, some seeds of different sorts. 

The Fakir asked him to break the earth between a 
couple of stones, as it was only to be obtained in pieces, 
almost as hard as old building material. 

It was well he did so, as that was an operation that we 
never could have performed in our rooms, without a great 
deal of trouble. 

In less than a quarter of an hour my servant had 
returned with the articles required. I took them from 
his hands and dismissed him, not wishing to leave him in 
communication with Covindasamy. 

To the latter I handed the flower-pot filled with a whitish 
earth, which must have been entirely saturated with that 
rnilky fluid, which the caria secrete and deposit upon every 
particle of earth, however small, which they use for build- 
ing purposes. 

When the Fakir deemed that it was in proper condition, 
he asked me to give him the seed that I had selected, as 


well as about a foot and a half of some white cloth. I 
chose at random a papaw seed from among those which 
my cansama had brought, and before handing it to him, I 
asked him if he would allow me to mark it. Being an- 
swered in the affirmative, I made a slight cut in its outer 
skin. It was very much like the kernel of a gourd, except 
in color, which was a deep brown. I gave it to him, with 
a few yards of mosquito cloth. 

" I shall soon sleep the sleep of the spirits," said Covin- 
dasamy ; " you must promise me that you will neither 
touch me personally nor the flower-pot." 

I made the promise required. 

He then planted the seed in the earth, which was now 
in a state of liquid mud, thrusting his seven-knotted 
stick which, being a sign of his initiation, he never laid 
aside into one corner of the vessel, and using it as a prop 
to hold up the piece of muslin which I had just given him. 
After hiding from sight in this manner the object upon 
which he was to operate, he sat down upon the floor, 
stretched both hands horizontally above him, and grad- 
ually fell into a deep cataleptic sleep. 

I had promised that I would not touch him, and at first 
I could not tell whether his sleep was real or simulated ; 
but when I saw, at the end of half an hour, that he had 
not stirred, I was forced to believe the evidence of my 
own senses. No man, however strong he might be, was 
able, except in that condition, to hold both his arms 
stretched horizontally before him for the space of even 
ten minutes. 

An hour passed by, and no motion of the muscles indi- 
cated that he was alive. "With his body almost entirely 
naked, his skin polished and glistening in the heat, and 
open and staring eyes, the Fakir looke'd like a bronze 
statue in a position of mystical evocation. 

At first, I took my place opposite him, so that I could 
see everything that was going on, but he looked at me in 


a manner that soon became unendurable. His eyes seemed 
to be half dead, but they were filled at the same time with 
magnetic influences. At one time, everything seemed to 
be in a whirl, and the Fakir himself appeared to take 
part in the dance that was going on around me. In or- 
der to break loose from the effects of this hallucination 
of the senses, caused, no doubt, by looking at one object 
too attentively, I left the seat that I had been occupying, 
without, however, losing sight of Covindasamy, who was 
as motionless as a corpse. I took a seat at the end of the 
terrace, alternately directing my attention to the course of 
the Ganges and to the Fakir, that I might not be exposed 
to too direct and steady an influence from him. 

I had been waiting for a couple of hours, and the sun 
was fast sinking below the horizon, when a low sigh 
startled me. The Fakir had recovered possession of his 

He made signs to me to approach. Removing the 
muslin that hid the flower-pot, he then pointed out to me 
a young stalk of papaw, fresh and green, and nearly eight 
inches high. 

Anticipating my thoughts, he thrust his fingers into the 
ground, which, meanwhile, had parted with nearly all of 
its moisture, and carefully taking up the young plant, he 
showed me, upon one of the two cuticles still adhering to 
the roots, the cut that I had made two hours previously. 

Was it the same seed and the same cut ? I have only 
one answer to make. I noticed no substitution. The 
Fakir had not left the terrace ; I had not lost sight of him. 
When he came, he did not know what I was going to ask. 
It was impossible for him to conceal a plant in his clothes, 
as he was almost entirely naked, and, at any rate, he could 
not have told, in advance, that I would select a papaw 
seed, among thirty different kinds that my cansama had 

As may be imagined, I can state nothing more positively 


regarding a fact of this nature. There are cases where 
reason refuses its assent, even in view of phenomena that 
can only be accounted for upon the supposition of delu- 
sion, though there is no evidence to that effect. 

After enjoying my surprise for a few moments, the 
Fakir said to me, with an ill-concealed movement of pride : 

" If I had continued my evocations longer, the papaw 
tree would have borne flowers in eight days, and fruit in 

Bearing in mind the accounts of Hue, the missionary, 
as well as various other phenomena of the same character 
which I had myself witnessed in the Carnatic, I said in 
reply that there were other performers who accomplished 
the same results in two hours. 

" You are mistaken," said the Hindu ; " in the mani- 
festations you speak of, there is an apport, as it is called, 
of fruit trees by the spirits. What I have just shown 
you is really spontaneous vegetation but the pure fluid, 
under the direction of the Pitris, never was able to pro- 
duce the three phases of germination, flowering, and fruit- 
age in a single day." 

It was near the hour of ablutions ; in other words, it 
was near sunset. The Fakir hastened to leave, engaging 
to meet me, for the last time, at ten o'clock that evening, 
when the remainder of the night was to be devoted to 
phenomena of apparition. 

There is one fact, however, which I ought not to omit, 
and which may be of service in arriving at a satisfactory 
explanation, and that is a fact with which those who live 
in India are perfectly familiar. 

There are a multitude of kitchen plants (I have seen the 
experiment tried myself a score of times) which, when put 
at dawn into moist soil, and exposed to the favorable in- 
fluence of a sun which does wonders, appear above ground 
between noon and one o'clock, and at six o'clock, or the 
close of day, are already nearly half an inch high. 


On the other hand, I am bound also to say, in justice to 
the Fakir, at least fifteen days are necessary to the ger- 
mination of a papaw seed. 

We have dwelt long enough, however, on a fact which 
many will reject as a delusion, and which cannot be ex- 
plained by any process of pure reasoning, excluding the 
hypothesis of fraud. 






Looking over my notes of travel, which were jotted 
down the next day, I see that they were written under the 
influence of the great excitement caused by the strange 
scenes that I had witnessed the day previous. I have 
simply undertaken to narrate facts as they occurred. If I 
should transcribe them as written, in the present work, I 
should be untrue to the character I have assumed. 

If the reader is at all curious as to these singular man- 
ners and practices, he will find them described elsewhere * 
in all their details. As in the case of previous phenomena, 
my office is simply to report the facts that occurred dur- 
ing that surprising evening. 

At the appointed hour Covindasamy quietly entered my 

" Is not the Fakir fatigued by three weeks of watching 
and prayer ? " said I, greeting him in the most friendly 

" The Fakir's body is never fatigued. It is a slave, 
whose only duty is obedience," answered the Hindu, sen- 

Before entering my apartments, he had divested himself 

1 Travels among the performing Fakirs, 1 vol. in press, Dentu, Paris. 


of the small piece of cloth, called the langouty, about 
four inches wide, which usually composed his only gar- 
ment, and had deposited it upon one of the steps. He 
was entirely naked when he came in, and his seven - 
knotted stick was fastened to a lock of his long hair. 

"Nothing impure" said he, "should come in contact 
with the body of the evocator, if he wishes to reserve his 
power of communication with the spirits unimpaired. 

Whenever I met a Fakir of this character I wondered 
whether those whom the Greeks saw upon the banks of 
the Indus and whom they called ryv/jLvoa-ofaa-rai, or naked 
monks, did not belong to the same class. 

My bedroom was on a level with the terrace. I set 
apart both rooms for our experiments, and carefully shut 
and fastened all the outside doors by means of which they 
were accessible. 

The terrace was securely closed by its movable ceiling 
and curtains of vetivert matting. There was no opening 
from the outside, and nobody could gain admission except 
through my bedroom. 

In the centre of each room there was a cocoa oil-lamp, 
protected by a glass shade of the clearest crystal, which 
hung from a bronze chain and diffused a soft light, suffi- 
ciently intense, however, to enable any one to read the 
smallest type in the remotest corner of the room. 

All Hindu houses contain small copper furnaces which 
are kept constantly supplied with burning coals, on which 
are burned from time to time a few pinches of a per- 
fumed powder, consisting of sandal wood, iris root, in- 
cense and myrrh. 

The Fakir placed one of these in the centre of the ter- 
race, and deposited by its side a copper platter filled with 
the fragrant powder ; having done so, he took his seat 
upon the floor in his usual posture, with his arms folded 
across his chest, and commenced a long incantation in an 
unknown tongue. 


When he was through with the recitation of his men- 
trams, he remained in the same position without making 
a movement, his left hand resting upon his heart, and his 
right hand leaning upon his seven-knotted stick. 

I thought that he was going to drop into a cataleptic sleep 
as he had done the day before, but such was not the case. 
From time to time, he pressed his hand against his forehead, 
and seemed to make passes as though to relieve his brain. 

Involuntarily, I experienced a sudden shock. A slightly 
phosphorescent cloud seemed to have formed in the mid- 
dle of my chamber, from which semblances of hands ap- 
peared to go and come with great rapidity. In a few 
minutes, several hands seemed to have lost their vaporous 
appearance and to resemble human hands ; so much so, 
indeed, that they might have been readily mistaken for the 
latter. Singular to relate, while some became, as it were, 
more material, others became more luminous. Some be- 
came opaque, and cast a shadow in the light, while others 
became so transparent that an object behind them could 
be distinctly seen. 

I counted as many as sixteen. 

Asking the Fakir if I could touch them, I had hardly 
expressed a wish to that effect, when one of them, break- 
ing away from the rest, flew toward me and pressed my 
outstretched hand. It was small, supple and moist, like 
the hand of a young woman. 

" The spirit is present, though one of its hands is alone 
visible," said Covindasamy. " You can speak to it, if you 

I smilingly asked whether the spirit to whom that 
charming hand belonged would give me something in the 
nature of a keepsake. 

Thereupon, in answer to my request, I felt the hand 
fade away in my own. I looked ; it was flying toward a 
bouquet of flowers, from which it plucked a rosebud, which 
it threw at my feet and vanished. 


For nearly two hours a scene ensued which was calcu- 
lated to set my head in a whirl. At one time, a hand 
brushed against my face or fanned it with a fan. At 
another, it would scatter a shower of flowers all over the 
room, or would trace in the air, in characters of fire, words 
which vanished as soon as the last letter was written. 

Some of these words were so striking that I wrote them 
down hastily with a pencil. 

Divyava/pour gatwd. 

Meaning in Sanscrit " I have clothed myself with a 
fluidic (fluidique) body." 

Immediately afterward, the hand wrote : 

Atmdnam creyasa yoxyatas 
Dehasycb 'syd vimdcanant. 

" You will attain happiness when you lay aside this per- 
ishable body." 

Meanwhile, flashes of genuine lightning seemed to dart 
across both rooms. 

Gradually, however, all the hands disappeared. The 
cloud from which they came seemed to vanish by degrees 
as the hands became more material. 

In the place where the last hand had disappeared, we 
found a garland of those yellow flowers with penetrating 
fragrance which the Hindus use in all their ceremonies. 

I offer no explanation I merely relate what occurred 
leaving the reader at perfect liberty to draw any conclu- 
sion that he may see fit. 

I can state positively, however, that the doors of both 
rooms were closed, that I had the keys in my pocket, and 
that the Fakir had not changed his position. 

To these phenomena succeeded two others, that were, 
perhaps, more surprising still. 


Shortly after the hands had disappeared, and while the 
Fakir was still going on with his evocations, a cloud simi- 
lar to the first, but more opaque and of a brighter color, 
hovered near the little furnace, which, at the Hindu's re- 
quest, I had kept constantly fed with burning coals. By 
degrees it seemed to assume a human form, and I distin- 
guished the spectre for I cannot call it otherwise of an 
old Brahminical priest kneeling by the side of the little 

On his forehead he wore the signs of his consecration to 
Yischnou, while his body was girdled with the triple 
cord, which signified that he had been initiated into the 
priestly caste. He clasped his hands above his head as 
in the performance of sacrifices, and his lips moved as if 
they were reciting prayers. At a certain moment, he 
took a pinch of the perfumed powder and threw it upon 
the furnace ; there must have been an unusual quantity, 
for the fire emitted a thick smoke which filled both rooms. 

When the smoke dispersed, I noticed the spectre less 
than a couple of yards distant ; it held out to me its flesh- 
less hands. I took them in my own, as I returned his 
greeting, and was surprised to find them, though hard and 
bony, warm and lifelike. 

" Are you really," said I, in a distinct voice, " a former 
inhabitant of the earth ? " 

I had hardly finished the question, when the word 

(meaning Yes), 

appeared and disappeared in letters of fire upon the bosom 
of the old Brahmin. The effect was similar to that which 
would have been produced if the word had been written 
in the dark with a bit of phosphorus. 

" Will you not leave me something as a token of your 
presence ?" 

The spirit broke the triple cord, consisting of three 


strands of cotton, which was tied about his loins, gave it 
to me and then faded away before my eyes. 

I supposed that the seance was over, and I was going to 
raise the movable curtains that shaded the terrace, to ad- 
mit a little fresh air inside, where the heat was really suf- 
focating, when I noticed that the Fakir seemed to have 
no such idea. All at once, I heard a strange tune per- 
formed upon an instrument, which seemed to be the har- 
moniflute that we had used a couple of days before. That, 
however, appeared impossible, inasmuch as the Peishwa 
had sent for it the day before, and it was consequently no 
longer in my rooms. 

It sounded at a distance, at first, but soon it came so 
near that it appeared to come from the next room, and I 
seemed before long to hear it in my bedroom. I noticed 
the phantom of a musician from the pagodas, gliding along 
the wall. He had a harmoniflute in his hands, from which 
he drew plaintive and monotonous notes exactly like the 
religious music of the Hindus. 

When he had made the circuit of my room and of the 
terrace, he disappeared, and 1 found the instrument that 
ne had used at the very place where he had vanished. 

It was actually the rajah's harmoniflute. I examined 
all the doors, but I found them all securely locked and I 
had the keys in my pocket. 

Covindasamy then arose. All his limbs were covered 
with perspiration, and he seemed to be thoroughly ex- 
hausted, though, in a few hours, he was to set out on his 
return journey. 

" Thanks, Malabar," said I, calling him by a name that 
he liked, because it reminded him of his native land. May 
lie who possesses the three mysterious powers 1 protect you 
as you journey toward the fair land of the South, and may 
you find that joy and happiness have ruled in your cottage 
during your absence." 

1 The Brahminic trinity. 


It is usual in India for people who are about to part to 
address each other in effusive and flowery terms, and I 
should have hurt the poor Fakir's feelings if I had spoken 
otherwise or had used plainer language, which he would 
have taken as a sign of indifference. He answered me in 
the same manner, but in even more exaggerated style, 
and, after accepting the presents that I offered him, with- 
out even looking at them or even deigning to thank me, 
he sorrowfully made his parting salaam and noiselessly 
disappeared behind the curtains that hung before the out- 
side door to my rooms. 

As soon as he had gone, I called my cansama, and or- 
dered him to remove all the tattis and matting from the 
terrace, so as to admit the cool morning air. 

In the pale light of approaching day, I noticed a black 
speck upon the silvery waves of the Ganges, as they rolled 
below, which seemed to move toward the opposite shore. 
I turned my night glass in that direction. It was the 
Eakir, who, as he had said, had awakened the ferryman 
and was crossing the Ganges on his homeward way to 
Trivanderam. A faint red streak in the distant sky indi- 
cated that the horizon would soon be illuminated by the 
beams of the rising sun. 

He would soon see the ocean with its blue waves, his 
beloved cocoa-nut trees, and the cottage that he was con- 
stantly talking about. 

I threw myself upon a hammock for a few hours' rest. 
When I awoke and remembered the strange scenes that 
had passed before my eyes, it seemed as though I had been 
the plaything of a dream. Yet there was the harmoni- 
flute, and I could not find out who, if anybody, had 
brought it. The floor of the terrace was still strewn with 
flowers, the crown of flowers was upon a divan, and the 
words that I had written had not vanished from the 
memorandum book in which I had jotted them down. 



About four years after this, I was travelling in the prov 
ince of Aurungabad, on a visit to the subterranean tem- 
ple of Karli, having come through Madras, Bellary, and 

These celebrated crypts, which are excavated from the 
living rock, are all situated within the area bounded by 
the Mahratta Hills, where are also found all the other 
monuments of this character that India possesses, as, for 
instance, Ellora, Elephanta, Rosah, etc. 

According to E. Roberts, these hills, which all terminate 
in wide plateaux, were protected, at one time, by for- 
tresses, which made this place a formidable line of defence 
against the Arabs and Mussulmans, which proved effectual 
for more than five centuries. 

The ruins of citadels are still standing upon the steep 
road leading to Karli. 

The entrance to the caves is situated about three hun- 
dred feet above the bottom of the hill, and the only access 
is by a rough and narrow path, which is more like the bed 
of a torrent than a practicable road. 

The path leads to a terrace or platform, partly artificial, 
and cut in the rock, or built of fragments of rock taken 
from the inside. 

It is about a hundred feet wide, and forms a square 
worthy of the magnificence of the interior of the temple. 

At the left of the portico stands a massive column, sup- 
porting, upon its capital, three lions so disfigured by the 
hand of time that they can with difficulty be recognized 


at all. This column is covered with inscriptions that are 
now illegible. 

Penetrating into the interior, I stood at the threshold of 
a spacious vestibule, the entire length of which, measuring 
about a hundred and sixty feet, is covered with arabesques 
and sculptured figures of animals and men. On either 
side of the entrance stood three elephants of colossal size, 
with their drivers upon their necks and their houdahs 
upon their backs, in which, with great boldness, the un- 
known artist had fashioned a multitude of persons. The 
arched vault is sustained by two rows of pillars, each of 
which is also surmounted by an elephant, bearing upon 
his back a man and woman, in the form of cariatides, 
who seem to bend beneath the enormous weight they 

The interior is imposing but dismal, and it is impossible 
to find one's way in the prevailing darkness. 

This grand underground crypt is a celebrated place of 
resort for pilgrims, and crowds of Fakirs are often met 
with, who have come from all parts of India, to perform 
their devotions in the Cave of Evocations. 

Others live permanently in the neighborhood of the 
temple, where they spend the whole of their time in cor- 
poreal mortifications and mental contemplation, sitting, 
day and night, in front of two blazing fires, which are 
constantly fed by the attendants, who wear a band upon 
their mouth to prevent inhaling the slightest impurity, 
and eat nothing but a few grains of cooked rice, which they 
moisten with water filtered through a piece of linen cloth. 
They gradually arrive at a state of emaciation bordering 
closely upon death. Their moral strength is soon im- 
paired, and when this protracted suicide has brought them 
to death's door, they have long been in such a state of 
intellectual and physical decrepitude that they hardly 
seem to be alive. 

All Fakirs who strive to attain the highest transforma- 


tions in the superior spheres have to undergo these terri- 
ble mortifications. 

One was pointed out to me who had arrived some 
months ago from Cape Comorin, and who, sitting between 
two fires, in order, no doubt, to hasten the decomposition 
of his physical organs, had already arrived at a state of 
almost complete insensibility. Imagine my astonishment 
when, from a deep scar running across the whole upper 
part of his skull, I thought I recognized the Fakir of 

Approaching and addressing him in that beautiful 
Southern language in which he so much liked to converse, 
I asked him if he remembered the Franguy of Benares. 

His almost lifeless eyes seemed to blaze up for a mo- 
ment, and I heard him murmur the two Sanscrit words, 
which I had seen in phosphorescent letters on the evening 
of our last sitting : 

Di/vya/va/pour gatwd, 

meaning, " I have clothed myself with a fluidic (fluidique) 

That was the only sign of recognition that I was able to 
obtain. He was known to the Hindus in the neighbor- 
hood as Karli Sava, or the Karli Phantom. 

So, decrepitude and imbecility appear to be the final 
end of all Hindu transformed Fakirs. 


IN conclusion, we can only repeat the words of our 
preface : 

" It is not our office to decide, either for or against, the 
belief in spirits, whether mediating or inspiring" 

Our aim is merely to give an account of the philosophi- 
cal and spiritualistic tenets of the Brahmins, as well as of 
the external phenomena and manifestations which are, ac- 
cording to them, the means whereby the Pitris, or ances- 
tral shades, demonstrate their existence and communicate 
with men. 

All ancient religions, and even Christianity itself, ac- 
knowledge the existence of extraordinary beings, who 
have a special part to perform in the continuous move- 
ment of creation. All teach that man, upon laying aside 
his present earthly envelope, enters the superior world in 
the state of a spirit. 

The constant perfectibility of the soul, and the spiritual 
life that is their common philosophical idea. 

As for the phenomena and manifestations, which are 
claimed to be supernatural, we also find them to be an 
outgrowth of this belief, both in the temples of India, 
Chaldea, and Egypt, and in the catacombs to which the 
early Christians fled for shelter. 

We refrain from making any positive statement as to 
the possibility or not of the extraordinary phenomena per- 
formed by the Fakirs, as we have described them, which 
some attribute to the adroitest imposture and others to oc- 
cult intervention, but leave the reader to judge for him- 

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