He, the Master of whom I write, had his first vision when he was about ten years of age. He was a very delicate boy, and one morning his mother insisted on him remaining in bed and resting. His mind, always so strong and active, was even at that early age deeply engaged in religious and philosophical problems. On this particular morning he had a vision, the particulars of which I will relate, as well as I can remember them, in his own words.
"l lay awake with my bed well in the morning sunshine, which I always loved. My eyes were closed, but I was not asleep. Suddenly I became aware of a presence in the room, and opening my eyes I saw a tall, beautiful figure in white, standing in the half open door. His large deep-set, luminous eyes were fixed upon me with a look of such intensity, such tenderness, such love, the memory of which all the long intervening years cannot efface. Child-like I was frightened, and hid myself under the bedclothes trembling violently. After some moments I ventured to look again. The figure had then advanced into the middle of the room, and he stood in the shaft of sunlight, and it seemed as if the sun shone through his body, so transparent was it. And still those great eyes were fixed upon me with the same ineffable tenderness and yearning. Yielding to the childish terror which again overwhelmed me, I cried aloud for my Mother, who immediately ran up the staircase, followed by my brothers and sisters. I remember how she passed through the body of my vision without in anyway removing or disturbing it as she came to my bedside. She gathered me into her arms, and I hid my face in her bosom and cried,—"Send him away, mother," "Send who away?" she asked. "That man," I cried, "do you not see him? See he stands there looking at me." And again I hid my face on her gown and trembled. Soothing me with many words of fond love she carried me down stairs, thinking—as I heard her explain to the others—that I was "light-headed." As I passed the silent, luminous, majestic figure, standing there in the sunlight with his great eyes fixed upon me, filled with that strange light and love, I hid my face again in mother’s bosom, and so passed out of the room. I never saw that face again. But the love, the tenderness, the infinite compassion, the yearning in those beautiful eyes I have never forgotten, nor can I ever forget. Someday, somewhere, I shall see him again."
His first glimpse of the Cosmic Consciousness came to him about the age of twenty-four when reading The Light of Asia, and of which he himself has written. "I could not rise from my seat until I had read the last word. When I did rise from the reading of this book it was as though I had become a different man. A curtain seemed to have rolled back from the face of the universe, and I saw the causes and meanings of things which had hitherto been dark mysteries. There was a revelation which was almost blinding in its brilliance and suddenness; an exaltation which alarmed me, while it transported me into felicitous insight. The vision quickly faded but its influence remained, the memory of it saving me in many an hour of darkness and temptation, until that calmer time of meditation and knowledge, ten years later, when it returned, never again to fade from me."
I imagine the "ten years" later was the time when the following events occurred. One summer he had been much exercised in mind, having received again and again a call from the Spirit to give up all his work for material things, and devote himself to teaching and writing. He was, it seems, wrestling much with this call which was becoming clearer and clearer, but he hesitated to take the step, feeling it involved so much.
As I walked across the fields to meet him one evening in June, as was my custom, the clear sunlight bathed the whole landscape in a golden shimmer, and my mind and heart were deeply concentrated on his life and work, and with my whole soul I prayed that he might do the right thing, and not be disobedient unto the heavenly vision. As I walked I shaded my eyes again and again from the golden glare of the sun, and peered into the distant meadows for the first sight of his approach.
Suddenly, as I came into a certain meadow. I felt a strange uplifting influence, and I saw his future and my own clearly before me. I stood still, unable to move from the spot, while the light, not of the sun, surrounded me. A few moments and I saw him coming towards me, and ran to meet him, shouting as l ran,—"Oh, I have had a wonderful experience! I have had a clear vision of what you must do." I remember his face and his whole bearing as I came up to him, it glowed with a strange light. He seemed altogether different, yet the same. We stood looking at each other for some seconds, and then he said.—"How do you know?"
I told him what had happened, and he asked me to take him to the very spot where I had received the message. On taking him to it he told me that that very morning as he walked to the office, while passing over that vary same spot he was suddenly enveloped in light, and he seemed to be walking about ten feet above the earth. So strange was it that at first he was very much alarmed, but was quickly reassured as with this sense of great height came also a sense of peace, understanding, and holiness, and a great, deep, divine calm filled his whole being, such as he never before had experienced. He, in that moment, again, as ten years before, understood the universe, and seemed merged into God. This state of exaltation lasted for about three days; days in which he "walked with God" all the time feeling that he moved about ten feet above the ground. One morning when he awoke the feeling had gone, but he never again lost the Cosmic Sense.
I believe I was the only one who knew of this, and he very rarely referred to it. From that time he gave up everything and devoted his whole life and thought to delivering his message to the world. This must have happened in the year 1902 and in the month of June. He was then in his 35th year. Next month I may tell you more about the teacher.