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IX. A Brahmanic Evocation

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

“YOU see, dear Doctor,” said Andréas to me, when I paid him a further visit. “We Europeans have not yet finished spelling the alphabet of Wisdom. Nor have the Easterners,” he added with a smile. “Even so, they seem to know much more than we do, but that is only because they spell a different alphabet.”

“A different alphabet you say?” I interrupted Andréas, being somewhat scandalized, because so far I had believed in the esoteric dogma which says that there is ONE science, ONE religion, ONE Power. “Then are there several kinds of Knowledge?”

“Certainly, Doctor! Take for example myself, who am not a great scholar at all, yet I know a dozen systems of chemistry, and still more of physics, as well as of psychology!” And Andréas continued to smile. At last, evidently trying to comfort me, he added: “Here you have another story.

“The Brahmans teach that cosmic forces are organized, each one forming a kingdom, analogous to the classes studied by natural history. They believe that magnetism is a world in itself, while electricity is another world, and so on. How can we verify this hypothesis? How to perceive, analyse, and use these unknown universes? Perhaps by inventing very sensitive apparatus, or educating our nervous system. Materialists would like to choose the first method, while mystics would prefer to use the second. My masters used both, because they always try to resolve the antinomies.

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XXXVIII. The Louvre

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

ON that particular morning Andréas led me to the Louvre, to see the Camondo collection, before the opening. There was a Buddhist statue, remarkable because of its very rare detail of gesture. In seeking it, we passed before an open window. A Siamese bust stood there on a socle, it was made of old blue-green bronze and behind it the spring sky of Paris flaunted its changing silks between the classic perspective of the Carrousel and the elegant trees of the Tuileries. And there, much lower, on the top of a stout base, mauve and grey, the Arc de Triomphe detached its jade-coloured silhouette from the mother-of-pearl roses of the west. A delightful landscape, the smile of Paris, French grace, orderly with charming unexpectedness, full of nuances and airs, with that cleanliness of outline which stops a dream and compels it to become a thought.

“Look,” Andréas said to me, “look on the soul of France.”

“Yes! I am looking with all my sight.”

“And still you are not looking enough. Ah, my Doctor, I have known a lot of countries, but France! One doesn't know everything that Heaven has given to France.”

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VIII. The Durakapalam

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

IT was not any new, questionable points which gave me trouble, but always the old enigmas, always the old antinomies. I repeated them to Andréas with a sickening persistence. He listened to me patiently, and as a kind of answer he told me some stories from his own eventful life. In general his conversation always included one or two words, which when said seemingly by accident, illuminated some problem from a different angle, which then broke my short-sighted logic.

Here is one of the most marvellous of those stories as Andréas conveyed it to me during the course of several visits.

“Before leaving Paris, I contacted and came to an understanding with some men, who corresponded with certain Hindus, so that everything was anticipated and provided for. Hence, on my arrival in India, I was immediately able to turn to the right people there.

“On disembarking in a small port of Malabar, I had to walk slowly through the township, clad as a priest of Siva, with a certain amulet around my wrist. Hardly had I passed through the Indian quarter, when a man belonging to a low caste came to me and let me recognize him. He then led me to the countryside from where a light cart transported us to the Ghats. From there we began climbing upwards until evening. The difficult route did not allow me to enjoy the freshness of the night, nor the serenity of the surroundings.

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XIII. The Unity of the Spiritualists

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

WHEN I returned to Andréas, there was a young tradesman, a saddler, enquiring after the proper means to use so as to achieve unity among the different spiritualist schools, during the famous Congress, about which we spoke previously. Andréas tried to inject some reality into the noble utopias of the enthusiastic mystic.

“Firstly,” he said, “modern spiritualism is still in a sketchy state: even its vocabulary has not yet been established. In every school a technical term can take on a different meaning. The same idea has been given various names, and so earnest prior study is necessary in order to know where one is.”

“Perhaps a dictionary could be published?”

“Yes, if you could find a spiritualist with sufficient authority for everyone to accept his definitions. Otherwise, your dictionary will represent only one school.”

“But what if a doctrine could first be fixed?”

“Go from your room and visit some of the groups of spiritists, magnetizers, astrologers, occultists and theosophists, and bring me back the elements of the body of your doctrine! Nevertheless, all of them claim that they are tolerant. But in every one of those schools, their ‘tolerance’ consists in showing that all the others do not possess more than a part of the truth, while the school in question alone embraces the whole. Even so, this multiplicity of theories is only natural, necessary and useful. Truth has innumerable faces, and one has to know all of them. Further, unity in Nature can flash forth only from multiplicity. Finally, a conflict of ideas and feelings alone can create true tolerance.”

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XXVIII. At Court

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

I RETURNED to Ménilmontant the next week and found Andréas at work. An iron ball was attached to his bench for engraving, and with the instrument in his hand he was over-nicely finishing the foliage on a little gong, the whorls on which were framed in hieratic characters. “It is old Chinese writing,” he told me with a smile. “The gentlemen who have their works published by Leroux [the famous Parisian publishing house] would be most embarrassed if it was given to them for deciphering.”

Stella appeared and introduced a visitor, a big, fat, well-dressed man with exquisite manners. I had once seen him in certain official circles, but had not been introduced to him. Having ascertained as to whether or not Andréas had some time at his disposal, I asked if I could come back again to hear the sequel to a story, which he had promised to relate to me. He acquiesced very graciously, again adopting his paternal attitude. One would never believe that one was in the presence of a man who seemed to read human hearts, cure ailments and restore the weakened courage of a man.

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