first printed in The Theosophist, October 1932, Page 11
Dr. Besant's First Use of Clairvoyance
In the year 1895, Dr. Besant and her colleague C.W. Leadbeater, accompanied by Mr. Bertram Keightley, went for a short holiday to Box Hill, Surrey. The holiday lasted from Friday, August 16, till Wednesday 21st. What happened during the trip was reported at the time in a letter received by Miss F. Arundale in Benares. C.J.
From C.W. Leadbeater to F. Arundale
August 25, 1895
Turning to other matters, we had a capital time at Box Hill. The weather was splendidly fine all the time we were there (from Friday night to Wednesday evening) so we simply climbed the hill directly after breakfast (which was always at eight), took a rug with us to sit upon, and remained there either all day, if we had taken up some lunch, or at any rate till two o'clock. When we descended for lunch we camped out in the garden (which was large) directly after it, had our tea out there about five, and came into dinner about seven, after which we took a two hours walk and went to bed. That was our life all the while we were there, and we did nothing but talk Theosophy the whole time. I wished very much you could have been with us for I am sure you would have enjoyed it all immensely.
We stayed at a house called "The Cottage", a real old fashioned place, delightfully clean and quiet, but possessing modern conveniences as far as baths and good cooking are concerned. We were visited more than once by the Masters, also by D.K. and H.P.B, and while we were there Mrs. Besant learnt to use astral vision, which is not only a never-ceasing delight to her, but a great help to me, as I have now another person to help check my recollection of things. She plunged into it all with the greatest ardour, and we made some very interesting investigations together, the results of which will no doubt materialize themselves presently in the form of papers or articles.
We got some unexpected new lights upon Devachan, shewing possibilities which to me at least had been quite unexpected before. The subject was fairly fully worked out, and a series of examples were shown to us, but the whole explanation is far too long to write here, and the conclusions without the explanation are startling.
Very shortly and roughly put, it comes to this that as a man evolves in goodness and intelligence, he generally develops his consciousness on that plane; the images of him which enter into the Devachan of his various departed friends are no longer mere reflections (which are really illusions) but become a part of his extended consciousness, so that the dead man is not deceiving himself when he thinks that he meets and talks with a friend still on earth; and the higher a man rises the more truly he is present in his friend's Devachan.
Of course this crude statement requires considerable modification, but I am giving the merest outline, and I must say it was a great relief to me to find that it was so. Another interesting point was the extent to which the contemplation in Devachan of a noble idea to which one looks up with love and gratitude may perfect and spiritualize one's character during that period; the example given being that of a sempstress who had been a kind of ministering angel in the slum in which she was. The feelings that her ministrations aroused among these unfortunates was the only thing, in some cases, that gave them any Devachan at all, so that her earthly help was as nothing beside thee impulse she gave them on a higher plane, though of this she was naturally entirely unconscious.
We also made further investigations into the different orders of atoms and molecules, the arrival of the first class pitris from the Moon, and the manners, customs, religion and history of some Lemurian and early Atlantean races, to say nothing of a few casual incarnation hints. During the latter we witnessed the first birth of Mahatma Morya on this earth, on arrival from the spiritual state following the Lunar Chain, and found him again about a million years ago as one of the great dynasty of the Divine Rulers of the Golden Gate in Atlantis.
So you see we did not altogether waste our time though we were taking a holiday. A little rest and change did Mrs. Besant a great deal of good. She is down at Harrogate lecturing today and will return tomorrow. She delivered a very fine address here last Thursday evening, sweeping away all the absurd and almost blasphemous exaggerations with which the Path of spiritual advancement has been often described as a "Path of woe", of ever increasing agony from age to age, and insisting on the sane aspect - the joyous confidence, the serenity and bliss which can be given only by the widening knowledge of the disciple.
Further investigations were made after the return to London; they were incorporated in the Theosophical Manual, No VI. The Devachanic Plane. This incident of the sempstress is described at length on pp.40, 41- C.J.