COMMENTS ON “A LEARNED BRAHMAN SPIRIT”!
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 11, August, 1882, pp. 281-282]
Mr. Peter Davidson, F.T.S., of Scotland, has sent us the following official report of a “testing” of the world-famous spirit Hafed, the “control” or “guide” of Mr. David Duguid, of Glasgow, through whose mediumship the world has been presented with a book called Hafed, Prince of Persia; of “Jan Steen,” the alleged spirit of the famous painter of that name; and of another intelligence which pretends to be a “learned Brahman.’’ We will leave it to the judgment of our learned Hindu readers, acquainted with their religion, to decide how far he is learned and how much there is of the Brahman in him. From the joint replies to Mr. Davidson’s questions, there would seem to be very little of either. One would think that a transfer of a Brahmarakshasa’s activity to the cold Caledonian climate, is fatal to his memory and destructive to his learning upon even the most familiar Indian subjects. If our friends at Glasgow long for communication with a genuine Brahmarakshasa or Bhut, they should send their mediums here to “sit for development” by an abandoned well or under an umbrageous haunted tree!
[The substance of the report is a series of answers in response to questions put to the “spirits.” To the question: “What power is placed by Oriental occultists in the Nabhachakram region?” the “spirit” of Jan Steen is supposed to reply: “I take it that word has reference to one who has power over the body, power over spirits, and power also to leave the material body. (!!) But I will leave other questions to some of our Eastern friends. . . .” To this H. P. B. remarks:]
The sceptical public should, perhaps, also “take it” that Jan Steen, the “Jolly Dutch painter,” as he is called, was the last “of all the spirits” in the whole Summerland to dip into occult Yog philosophy. One, as addicted as he to good living, during his lifetime (he is even said to have opened a public tavern?) a boon companion, a drinker of deep potations; one solely interested—as his biography and pictures show—in card-playing and merrymaking, would hardly, even after 193 years of bleaching out in the “ambient ether,” have become so spiritually cleansed as to mix in a company of “spirits” who know anything of the “Nabhachakram regions”! Yet since the great painter, who, as the German critic, Kugler, has it in his Handbook of the History of Painting, had all the “elements of genuine low comedy” in him, he may have put on the philosopher’s robe in joke, as, in the jolly old days, he would have wrapped himself in a monk’s cowl just “for the fun of the thing!”
[To some mistaken notion of “Hafed” regarding Buddhist doctrines H. P. B. exclaims:]
Shadows of the great Arhats and Swabhavikas, pray do not feel disturbed! Hafed, an ancient Persian, may be very well acquainted with the old tenets of Zoroastrianism (Mr. P. Davidson ought to try him in that department), but what can the spirit of a “Prince of Persia” be expected to know about Nirvana and the “good Doctrine”?
[It is also said that some have believed the Brothers or high adepts to be able to transport themselves bodily from one place to another. They themselves, however, deny this. H. P. B. says:]
We should say, they did. It is given only to mediums to be transported from one part of London to another part instantaneously and without feeling the worse for it.