The astral journeyOne rainy night about eighty years ago, a spiritual Master was sitting in his meditation room with a few of his close disciples.
"Master," one disciple said, "it is raining too hard for us to go home right now. Can you tell us a few stories about your occult power?"
"It is already late, my children," replied the Master. "Some other day ask me to tell you occult stories."
The Master remained silent for a few minutes. "All right," he finally agreed. "I will tell you a few stories which I heard from people in my previous incarnation. Do you believe that your Master can remember what happened many, many years ago? That means that even now this rascal has a little occult power."
"We believe you, Master," said the disciples smiling, "and we are eager to hear a few juicy stories."
The Master meditated for a moment and then began.
"When somebody was very young, nine or ten, he heard a story from his father about astral journeys. Although he felt that his father never told lies, he thought that perhaps his father was only joking. His father told him that once a judge happened to be in court trying a case. All of a sudden an Indian Buddhist monk came in, walked right up to the judge and said, 'Meditate, meditate.' The court was in session, but the monk went right in and asked the judge to meditate. 'You don't know why?' the monk asked. 'You know that your wife is in London. This is a most significant moment. Take down the time. Now calculate the time difference between here and London. At this moment your wife is giving birth to a most beautiful child.'
"To the judge's widest surprise, eight hours later he received a telegram from London. The telegram came with the happiest news, that a child had been born. And the time was exactly that of the monk's appearance.
"Six months later the Buddhist monk again went to the court. This time he said to the judge, 'I want to see your wife.' The judge was extremely pleased with the monk, so he took him to see his wife. The wife said, 'Oh, I have seen this man before. He came to me at the hospital.'
"The father told his young son that it was the subtle physical of the Buddhist monk that had gone to the hospital in London while the monk himself remained in India. Unfortunately, the son did not believe this story. When he heard it from his father, he thought that perhaps the monk had somehow got the telegram from somewhere else. He gave his father many silly arguments.
"Now, when this boy was twenty years old, he had a mentor who was very kind to him. Both of them lived in a spiritual community near the Himalayas. The mentor and the young man had developed a very close connection in all kinds of literary and political discussions. Both of them had tremendous fondness for each other. It happened that once the mentor's sister-in-law was in Bombay having a serious operation. The young man had met the mentor's sister-in-law once or twice. While the operation was going on in Bombay the young man said to his mentor, 'I am not worried about your sister-in-law. I know she will be all right.'
"His mentor replied, 'I am glad you are consoling me.'
" 'In a few hours,' said the young man, 'I will be able to tell you about the operation in detail. Even now I could tell you a few things, but unfortunately the astral tube is not working well.' What the young man meant was that astral travelling considerably depends on the forces in the ether. Sometimes even champion occultists may find it very difficult to travel through the ether. That day, in the inner world, the weather was very bad. On hearing these words from his young friend the mentor laughed and laughed. The boy said to himself, 'Even though he doesn't believe me, I want to console my mentor. He has been so kind to me.' This conversation took place at about ten o'clock in the morning. At one o'clock the young man returned to his mentor's home and said, 'The operation went extremely well; it was one hundred per cent successful. Please don't worry at all.'
"Now, the mentor's wife happened to be in Bombay with her sister. His wife had seen the young man hundreds of times. While the wife was outside the operating room, she saw this young man vividly, although he and his mentor were over one thousand miles away. Her sister, who was having the operation, had been put to sleep with mild chloroform in the usual Indian way. But even so, she also saw the young man three or four times during the operation. When it was over she said, 'I saw a young man here, but I forget his name. He is a friend of your husband's. What was he doing here? When you write to your husband, please ask him about this.'
"The following day, around two or three o'clock in the morning, the young man's mentor got a telegram from his wife saying that the operation had been very successful. The telegram also said that both the sisters had had a vision. Although one sister was outside the room while the other one was having the operation, they both saw the same young man there. For four or five minutes they saw him smiling and smiling at them, giving them assurance and confidence. After the mentor received this news, he could hardly wait until morning when he was able to summon the young man and show him the telegram.
"When morning finally dawned, the servant of the mentor knocked at the door of the young man's house, practically breaking down the door, calling him and saying the mentor wanted to know how his sister-in-law was. The young friend hurriedly went to his mentor's house, only to be most powerfully embraced by the mentor, who showed him the telegram and said, 'In this world it is very difficult to achieve something and even more difficult to conceal it. Here is the proof that you have acquired these powers, but when did you achieve them? You have been with me for at least ten or eleven years. How is it possible to conceal such things? So many times my wife was sick in Bombay. Since you have these occult powers you could easily have helped her. How is it that you have never told us or shown us your capacities?'
"The young man said, 'My capacity is the capacity from Above; it is not mine. Since it is not mine, how can I use it at my sweet will? Only when it is commanded, or at least sanctioned from Above, can I use it.'
"A few months later the mentor's sister-in-law happened to see the young man in the street. First she looked at him for a minute or two. Then she began literally screaming with joy. She really created a scene."