Volume VII - In an Eastern Rose Garden
SPIRITS AND SPIRITISM
Spirit in its true sense is the essence. The spirit of anything means its essence. And when we consider the true essence there is only one. When we consider the true spirit, there is only one spirit.
But of course in the world of variety one life is many lives and one thing has many manifestations. This manifestation makes us see many forms and many names of a one and only Being; and when we overlook the oneness of that Being and direct our attention to the variety of manifestation, we see that the spirit of each thing is its essence. The spirit of jasmine, the spirit of a rose, and so on. Each has its own individuality, its own essence.
Spirit, as understood by the generality, is the remainder of man's existence. After man's body had died, what remains of him is considered to be spirit, which has a very beautiful name in Sanskrit, Bhut, that is, 'the one who has been.'
The spirit world distinguishes itself as different and distinct from the spirit experiencing the world through the body. The spirit of camphor is not the color or form of the substance, but the odor of camphor has existed in its spirit. The spirit of cinnamon is the fragrance and the effect that it has. The effect is still left after its form and substance have gone. Every object in this world, after it has vanished, leaves a mark of its essence just like a flower. When the essence is taken from the flower its external form is ruined, but it has left something which is its own. Both body and spirit are man. Man is a double spirit. Man in his cloak, his physical body, is more complete than a spirit alone. When the flower is living and its spirit has not been taken away from it, both the flower and its spirit are joined. A person whose sense of discrimination and feeling is well developed may find that a visitor coming into the house brings with him a certain influence: good feeling or bad feeling, an irritable feeling or a blissful feeling. There is something with him besides his knowledge, besides his beauty. When he leaves the house his body leaves, and together with it his strength and beauty, all that is material in him. Yet, there is something left in that room for a certain time after he has gone. The whole atmosphere is charged and we feel that there is something left there. The more keenly we watch life, the more wonderful it is. All the miracles and phenomena are before us. Our everyday life is a miracle. If we are only absorbed in things which are material and not in things of a delicate character, we do not see this because we blunt our sensitivity. It is then that we think that what we do not see or perceive does not exist. Consider, for instance, how infectious yawning is. This shows we can never say there is nothing beyond what the eyes and flesh can see.
Influence goes out from a living person and affects others in the vicinity. If the influence is so strong during life, shall it not exist after he is dead? Only the influence remains after he has left, yet how much greater must it then be! The light of the moon is the light of the sun.
There are two actions of sense, which are in fact two actions of the whole being: expressiveness and responsiveness. The whole universe works on these two principles. As soon as the expressing spirit expresses itself, the responsive spirit receives its impression, just as a person whose picture is taken by a camera yields his impression when the camera is properly adjusted. If the camera is not rightly placed, there will be no image on the plate. If a spirit has a fondness for someone and desires to be in the thought of this beloved one all the time, always near him, then just like the camera taking a photograph of someone, this unconscious spirit of man naturally takes the impression coming from that spirit.
Child prodigies may be the result of influence. Under this influence they may work, speak, write poems, dispute, and so on. If someone dies with the thought of revenge that he could not accomplish, or had not the courage to accomplish, he may find a living person, a youth perhaps a child, who performs the act for the spirit without even knowing why. Murders may even happen in this way.
The brain may be deficient in thinking power. The body may react on thought, and sometimes the thought may react on the body. Could not the mind produce decay in the brain, or is it true that it is always bodily strain that brings strain of mind? Or does anger bring strain on the body? The trouble usually comes from within.
Hallucinations sometimes arise from thought and mind, either in the same person or in some other person. We call it obsession when it comes from without.
Sometimes the living person can be the expressive one while the spirit responds. We cover our spirit under our body. We cover our light under a bushel. We never allow the spirit to become conscious of itself.
We are not doing spirits any good by calling them back when they have no body. Why not let them forget the experiences of this world of illusion rather than attract them? What good will it do to them? One should only trouble others when one needs them very much. We should use ourselves as the vehicle of all experiences. We can communicate much better with another person who is clothed like us than we can with a spirit.
Is not God enough for our souls, and is He not sufficient to inspire us and to illuminate our wills and guide our souls? Is He any less of a friend here or in the spirit life? He is the great well-wisher. In Him mercy is complete. He is the Soul of all souls. When we devote ourselves to the thought of Him, all illumination and revelation are ours. God-communication is the best communication that true spiritualism can teach us.
If we give all our wealth to the universe as a whole, no single person receives much. But it is a great accomplishment actually to realize God. It means that a very high degree of spirituality has been attained. It is most difficult to attain such a conviction of God that there is not the slightest doubt. But, if someone does reach it, even the thought of him will bring blessing. It becomes a privilege to be his friend. It is a privilege because he is the friend of God.
A person possesses the knowledge which he has attained as he possesses the wealth which he has acquired. And so when the soul is illuminated it will desire to find some other soul illuminated in like manner, and will find great joy and bliss in its society. Such a one will surely find others who are on the verge of illumination. Even a drunkard will find others to drink with. And so it is mystically. A very little light can be turned into a flame, and that flame into a very big flame.
Why is it better to become a mystic than to remain a drunkard? As a matter of fact a drunkard will never be satisfied. The mystic will look for what Omar Khayyam calls wine, the wine of the Christ, after drinking which no one will ever thirst. He will always seek the wine whose intoxication never wears off. It is the only wine: the intoxication of the divine love.