Of all phenomena produced by occult agency in connection with our Society, none have been witnessed by a more extended circle of spectators or more widely known and commented on through recent Theosophical publications than the mysterious production of letters. The phenomenon itself has been so well described in the Occult World and elsewhere, that it would be useless to repeat the description here. Our present purpose is more connected with the process than the phenomenon of the mysterious formation of letters. Mr. Sinnett sought for an explanation of the process and elicited the following reply from the revered Mahatma, who corresponds with him:
. . . Bear in mind these letters are not written but impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected. . . . I have to think it over, to photograph every word and sentence carefully in my brain before it can be repeated by precipitation. As the fixing on chemically prepared surfaces of the images formed by the camera requires a previous arrangement within the focus of the object to be represented, for, otherwise – as often found in bad photographs – the legs of the sitter might appear out of all proportion with the head, and so on – some have to first arrange our sentences and impress every letter to appear on paper in our minds before it becomes fit to be read. For the present, it is all I can tell you.
Since the above was written, the Masters have been pleased to permit the veil to be drawn aside a little more, and the modus operandi can thus be explained now more fully to the outsider.
Those having even a superficial knowledge of the science of mesmerism know how the thoughts of the mesmeriser, though silently formulated in his mind are instantly transferred to that of the subject. It is not necessary for the operator, if he is sufficiently powerful, to be present near the subject to produce the above result. Some celebrated practitioners in this Science are known to have been able to put their subjects to sleep even from a distance of several days' journey. This known fact will serve us as a guide in comprehending the comparatively unknown subject now under discussion. The work of writing the letters in question is carried on by a sort of psychological telegraphy; the Mahatmas very rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. An electromagnetic connection, so to say, exists on the psychological plane between a Mahatma and his chelas, one of whom acts as his amanuensis. When the Master wants a letter to be written in this way, he draws the attention of the chela, whom he selects for the task, by causing an astral bell (heard by so many of our Fellows and others) to be rung near him, just as the despatching telegraph office signals to the receiving office before wiring the message. The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma are then clothed in word, pronounced mentally, and forced along the astral currents he sends towards the pupil to impinge on the brain of the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palms of his hands and the tips of his fingers, which rest on a piece of magnetically prepared paper. As the thought-waves are thus impressed on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of ákas, (permeating every atom of the sensuous universe) by an occult process, out of place here to describe, and permanent marks are left. . . .
From this it is abundantly clear that the success of such writing as above described depends chiefly upon these things: (1) The force and the clearness with which the thoughts are propelled and (2) the freedom of the receiving brain from disturbance of every description. The case with the ordinary electric telegraph is exactly the same. If, for some reason or other the battery supplying the electric power falls below the requisite strength on any telegraph line or there is some derangement in the receiving apparatus, the message transmitted becomes either mutilated or otherwise imperfectly legible. The telegram sent to England by Reuter's agent at Simla on the classification of the opinions of Local Governments on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, which excited so much discussion, gives us a hint as to how inaccuracies might arise in the process of precipitation. Such inaccuracies, in fact do very often arise as may be gathered from what the Mahatma says in the above extract. "Bear in mind," says He, that "these letters are not written, but impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected." To turn to the sources of error in the precipitation. Remembering the circumstances under which blunders arise in telegrams, we see that if a Mahatma somehow becomes exhausted or allows his thoughts to wander off during the process, or fails to command the requisite intensity in the astral currents along which his thoughts are projected, or the distracted attention of the pupil produces disturbances in his brain and nerve-centres, the success of the process is very much interfered with.
It is to be very much regretted that the illustrations of the above general principles are not permitted to be published. Otherwise, the present writer is confident that facts in his possession alone would have made this paper far more interesting and instructive. Enough, however, has been disclosed above to give the public a clue as to many apparent mysteries in regard to precipitated letters. It ought satisfy all earnest and sincere inquirers and draw them most strongly to the path of Spiritual progress, which alone can lead to the knowledge of occult phenomena, but it is to be feared that the craving for gross material life is so strong in the western Society the present day that nothing will come to them amiss so long as it will shade off their eyes from unwelcome truth. They are like Circe's swine.
Who not once their foul deformity perceive,
but would trample down Ulysses for seeking to restore them their lost manhood.
Theosophist, January, 1884