[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 1, October, 1880, p. 19]
A sentence in the article on “Rahatship” in the August number, has been caught up by the adversaries of our cause and made much sport of. We wish them joy of their mare’s nest. The expression was this: “We even met [in Ceylon] those who had quite recently encountered such holy men [that is, men who had acquired ‘the exalted psychical powers of adeptship’]; and a certain eminent priest who joined our Society, was shortly after permitted to see and exchange some of our signs of recognition with one.” We expressly explained in the article in question that by the term Rahat we meant an adept, or one who “has developed his psychical powers to their fullest extent.” Such a person is known in India as a Rishi or a Yogi, and there are many stages and degrees of development before the pinnacle of spiritual perfectibility is reached. Thus a Rahat may be of a lower or higher degree of development. The four degrees or stages are Sukkha-vipassaka (lowest), Tevijja (third), Shad Abhiñña (second), and Siwupilidimbiapat (first) the highest. We affirmed and repeat that neither in India, Egypt, nor Ceylon, has this ancient wisdom died out, and if we believe that there still survive its adepts and initiates, it is because we speak from personal knowledge and not by hearsay. A Ceylon Christian journal charges us with childish credulity in believing in the so-called eminent priest, and giving publicity to an imposition and a myth.” The less our adversary says about impositions and myths the better: his house is of glass, and he had better not throw stones in our garden. Whether the priest did or did
not see and exchange signs with a stranger who is acquainted with the occult sciences, and hence what the Buddhists call a rahat of some one of the degrees, is immaterial: we believe he did, inasmuch as two of our party of Delegates also had a similar experience at two different places on the Island—to say nothing of the experience of the Editor of this magazine, or that of a certain other person, not of our Society, who both saw and conversed with such an individual. If the priest did see him, he saw a living man, not a ghost, or a god, or a spirit. A few weeks after landing in India, and when none but half a dozen of Bombay gentlemen knew our Society signals, Colonel Olcott, being at the Karli Caves, in the Mofussil, was accosted by a Hindu sannyâsi, who first gave him the most important of our signs and then all the rest. When asked where he had learned them, he answered that his guru (teacher) had sent him from ——— to Karli, ordering him to arrive there at precisely that hour and meet a white man to whom he should give these signs and a message which he then delivered. The point for both enemies and friends to realize is that Buddha declares that the state of Rahat, or adept, may always be attained by those who will follow his precepts.