COMMENT ON “THE MYSTERY OF LEVITATION”
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 11, August, 1882, pp. 271-272]
[The writer of the article, W. R. Frink, having been much interested in the accounts given in The Theosophist of the powers of the Hindu Yogis to assume at will a cataleptic condition, to project the astral, to walk upon the surface of water or levitate themselves, asks whether the flight of the birds and the swimming of the fishes is produced at will, as in the case of the Yogis. To this H. P. B. remarks:]
We would fain answer the friendly voice from the Mormon metropolis to the full satisfaction of the writer, did he but deal with problems demanding less elaborate explanation. In view of the fact that occult science explains the mysteries of bird-flying and fish-swimming on principles entirely opposed to the accepted scientific theory of the day, one might well hesitate before putting out the true explanation. However, since we already stand so low in the favour of the orthodox scientists, we will say a few words upon the subject; but they must be few indeed. “If,” writes our correspondent, “we take the position that birds have the power to make themselves light or heavy at will, the phenomenon of their flight becomes easy to comprehend.”
And why not take up such a position? Whether by instinct or will, whether an effect identical with another is produced consciously or unconsciously, by animal or man, the cause underlying that invariable and identical result must be one and the same, barring diversity of conditions and exceptions as to unimportant details. The action of certain fishes which, by swallowing large draughts of air, distend an internal bag and thereby, becoming specifically lighter, float above the surface of the water, does not militate against the scientific theory of swimming, when it concerns such fish, man or a bladder filled with air. But we are left as wise as ever when it is a question of rapid sinking, to the bottom, whether by man or whale. In the former case such sinking might be ascribed to volition. But man’s inability to sink as rapidly and to such a depth, even though a most experienced diver—who has to sink himself by a stone—proves that there must be something more than blind instinct or conscious volition. What is it? Occult science tells us the word: it is “a change of polarity and of normal gravity,” not yet admissible by science. With birds and animals—as instinctive a mechanical action as any other they execute: with man, when he thus defies the familiar conditions of gravity, it is something he can acquire, in his training as a Yogi. Though the former act unconsciously, and he changes his polarity at will, the same cause is made operative, and both produce an identical effect. There are
certainly alternating changes of polarity going on in the bird while ascending or dropping, and a maintenance of the same polarity while sailing at any given altitude.