The Way of Power

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The Way of Power

By Lily Adams Beck


Looking back through these pages I realize from what very small beginnings, what a very humble and dubious observation of the "occult" I started and to what vast conclusions it led me. I do not for a moment say it would lead others in the same way, for every man has his own dharma as it is called in India, his own right, wrong, physical, circumstantial, spiritual consciousness by which alone he can live in any full sense.

I have inclined to wonder whether it would have been better to write the whole thing as a finished statement rather than as creeping painfully from step to step of insight and revelation as I have done. But I decided against recasting it, for its gradual climb is more human and is as it truly befell and therefore possibly more helpful to others in these perplexities. I have not of course told all my personal experiences. That would not be possible. But there is one thing I should like to make very clear. The powers can be attained. Of that there can be no doubt. The faiths are largely based upon the fact that many have attained them, and they bring great things in their train. But let it be remembered that those who have attained them set little value on the powers in themselves. Realization is what matters, not the power to startle or awe the multitude. Here we have all who have attained the higher consciousness, who have known the truth, in full agreement. The Buddha unfrocked a monk for exhibiting a "marvel" without due occasion and sternly discouraged such "show-off." A very much later teacher in India, when a disciple came with triumph to show him that he had in sixteen years acquired the power of walking on the water, replied:

"Why waste sixteen years in attaining what the ferryman can do for you for a penny?"

St. Paul points out that the powers such as speaking with tongues and others must vanish away but that love (union) abides eternally. A great Indian saint said of these powers:

"They may have a certain use in establishing the truth of our statements; even a little glimpse gives faith that there is something beyond gross matter, but those who spend time on such things run into great dangers. These are frontier questions. The boundary line is always shifting."

This was said by one who had practiced the sternest asceticism, who had frequently entered the state of ecstasy--who could so forget the body that it became perfectly insensitive.

Professor Radhakrishnan most truly says:

"The supernormal powers are really obstacles to Samadhi [the higher form of consciousness]. They are by-products of the higher life. They are the flowers we pick on the road though the true seeker does not set out to gather them. He who falls a victim to the magical powers goes rapidly downward. Devotion to the Divine is one of the aids to Yoga."

These warnings are very necessary, for in India and elsewhere are instances of the degradation of this research into most repulsive and terrible practices and consequences. From these the original Yoga is pure. But, as in all mountain-climbing, the heights have their perils. I could multiply instances of the teachings of the saints in all the faiths that the power to use the super-normal in this way matters nothing and may be dangerous unless in circumstances of perfect understanding. What does matter is to understand, to know, to realize. I think this cannot be too strongly dwelt upon. I will end with another truth. In India the wisest have never talked of good and evil. They have talked of knowledge and ignorance. And those two words cover the whole realm of the "occult" and the whole of life, and may themselves be summed up and obliterated in the one word--


For that is the key of the universe, and it sits above "good and evil."

I conclude with a quotation from Professor Radhakrishnan that offers the conclusion to which my own experiences and those of many others have led me.

"The normal limits of human vision are not the limits of the universe. There are other worlds than that which our senses reveal to us, other senses than those which we share with the lower animals, other forces than those of material nature. Most of us go through life with eyes half shut and with dull minds and heavy hearts. It is good to know that the ancient thinkers required us to realize the possibilities of the soul in solitude and silence and to transform the flashing and fading moments of vision into a steady light which could illumine the long years of life."

This is the true Occult.




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