More often than not, people, - even the brainless masses, - talk glibly over the subject of immortality and wonder with gaping eyes and half-open mouth, why their bosom-friend or dearest relation should die the very day of their speculation under their very nose as it were. They do not stop to argue the thing out to themselves but in a hurry to run after the empty baubles of this mortal world, forget they have a paramount duty to themselves and the world at large, in attacking properly subjects of the nature of the one under consideration.
With the Hindu, it is not a mere matter of belief, but one of positive knowledge. I think, it is “heredity”, that helps him there instead of hindering his evolution. Why, the Hindu child knows it more than the European Savant. Deathlessness is a mere matter of intuition with the Indian. He does not generally seek for proofs. But, even here, the wave of materialism has been doing its unlucky work for some time, and schoolboy Atheists, and B.A. Agnostics have, off and on, tried to stem the Current of spirituality and indulge in intellectual opium eating, which would not really hold water for even a few months after all.
Now, for the last sixty years or so, Spiritualism has done much to save the soul of the West. Men of the stamp and status of Sir William Crookes in scientific circles have put the hall-mark of merit and truth on it. The story of Hari Doss is now public property, though many a Hindu does not know anything yet, regarding that which happened in his own land in the middle of the last century in the Court of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. The British ambassador and a number of eminent British officers, not to say anything of the thousands of British soldiers, who were also present on the occasion, have borne testimony to the miracle performed in the open day-light by Sadhu Haridoss some sixty five years ago, in Northern India. He was buried alive eight feet under the ground and his body was disinterred after months. And Wonder of wonders! – I wonder how Science could explain this away, he revived easily and walked out of the Palace and the Royal Presence like a little child of Nature bent on breathing the pure air of Heaven to recoup its life-force there and then. Western Theosophy and Western Occultism have, it must be admitted in all honesty, done a great deal to teach civilized man that he is more than his body and that when that body died, he himself did not. But, unfortunately for the Theosophical movement as a whole the P.T. S. and her colleagues have been of late teaching and preaching things that could not be easily devoured wholesale by even many members of their own fold. I hope Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater would try and get out of the muddle soon for their own sake and that of those who actually worship the very dust under their holy feet.
From time immemorial, the fact of immortality was the one great teaching that Indian Rishis, sages, seers and prophets have been endeavoring heart and soul to drill into the heads of the illiterate masses of India. Glimpses of this grand truth, all great men have had, throughout the wide world of man as will be understood by a careful study of the history of the various civilized nations, modern or ancient.
We will quote one or two instances in support of our statement. Wordsworth, the poet of Nature, would appear to have had the mystic temperament to receive conscious intimations of immortality.
“Moreover something is or seems
That touches me with mystic gleams,
Like glimpses of forgotten dreams –
Of something felt, like something here;
Of something done, I know not where,
Such as no language may declare.”
To Tennyson, belief in pre-existence was not merely a matter of intuition. It was also the logical outcome of belief in immortality. The fullest expression of this transcendental condition is to be found in ‘The Ancient Sage.’
“For more than once when I
Sat all alone, revolving in myself,
The word, that is the symbol of myself,
The mortal limit of the Self was loosed,
And passed into the Nameless, as a cloud
Melts into Heaven. I touched my limbs, the limbs
Were strange, not mine – and yet no shade of doubt,
But utter clearness, and thro’ loss of Self
The gain of such large life as match’d with ours
Were sun to spark – unshadowable in words,
Themselves but shadows of a shadow world.”
This surely is the state of Cosmic consciousness.