Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East
By Baird T. Spalding
In presenting THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF THE MASTERS OF THE FAR EAST, I wish to state that I was one of a research party of eleven persons that visited the Far East in 1894.
During our stay—three and a half years—we contacted the Great Masters of the Himalayas, who aided us in the translation of the records, which was of great assistance in our research work. They permitted us to enter into their lives intimately and we were thus able to see the actual working of the great Law as demonstrated by them. We call them Masters, which is merely our name for them. One living the life described herein is entitled to reverence and consideration as a Master.
Records and manuscripts—our actual experience with the Masters—were preserved. Personally, at that time, I thought the world was not ready for this message. I was an independent member of the research party and I am now publishing my notes under the title LIFE AND TEACHING OF THE MASTERS OF THE FAR EAST, with the thought that the reader may accept or reject, as he wishes.
This book, which will be followed by others of the Sun series, gives the first year’s experience of the expedition in relation to the Masters. It includes their teaching, which was taken by us stenographically at the time, with their permission and approved by them.
The Masters accept that Buddha represents the Way to Enlightenment, but they clearly set forth that Christ IS Enlightenment, or a state of consciousness for which we are all seeking—the Christ light of every individual; therefore, the light of every child that is born into the world.
(Signed) Baird T. Spalding
We had been in India about two years, doing regular routine research work, when I met the Master known in these writings as Emil. While walking along a street in the city where we were staying, my attention was attracted to a crowd. I saw the center of interest was one of the street magicians, or fakirs, that are so common in that country. As I stood there I noticed beside me an elderly man who was not of the same caste as those about him. He looked at me and asked if I had been long in India. I replied, “About two years.” He asked, “Are you English?” I answered. “American.”
I was surprised and very much interested to find one who spoke English. I asked him what he thought of the performance then going on. He answered, “Oh, it is a common occurrence in India. These fellows are called fakirs, magicians, and hypnotists. They are all the name implies; but underneath it all is a deeper spiritual meaning that few discern, and good will come of it some day. It is but the shadow of the thing from which it sprang. It has caused a great deal of comment, and those commenting upon it seem never to have reached the true meaning, for there certainly is a truth underneath it all.”
Here we parted and I saw him only occasionally during the next four months. Our expedition was confronted by a problem which gave us a great deal of trouble. In the midst of our worries I again met Emil. Immediately he asked what was bothering me and began talking about our problem.
I wondered at this, for I felt that none of our party had mentioned it outside of our little circle. His familiarity with the situation was such that I felt the whole matter was known to him. He explained that he had a certain insight into the affair and that he would endeavor to help.
Within a day or two the matter was cleared up, leaving us without a problem. We wondered at this but, with other things to occupy our time, soon forgot.
As other problems came up it became a habit with me to talk them over with Emil. It seemed that as soon as I discussed our troubles with him they would cease to exist.
My associates had met and talked with Emil but I had said little to them about him. By this time I had read a number of books on Hindu lore, selected by Emil, and I was fully convinced that he was one of the adepts. My curiosity was keenly aroused and I was becoming more deeply interested each day.
One Sunday afternoon Emil and I were walking in a field when he called my attention to a pigeon circling overhead and casually remarked that the bird was looking for him. He stood perfectly still and in a few moments the bird alighted upon his outstretched arm. He said the bird has a message from his brother in the North. This proved to be a fellow- worker who had not reached the attainment whereby he could communicate directly, so he took this means. We later found that the Masters are able to communicate with each other instantly by thought transference or, as they call it, a force much more subtle than either electricity or wireless.
I then began to ask questions and Emil showed me that he was able to call the birds to him and direct their flight while they were in the air; that the flowers and trees would nod to him; that the wild animals would come to him fearlessly. He parted two jackals that were fighting over the body of a smaller animal that they had killed and were feeding upon. When he approached them they stopped fighting and put their heads in his outstretched hands in perfect trust, then resumed their meal in quiet. He even gave me one of the young wild creatures to hold in my hands. He then said to me, “This is not the mortal self, the self you see, that is able to do these things. It is a truer, deeper self. It is what you know as God, God within me, God the Omnipotent One working through me, that does these things. Of myself, the mortal self, I can do nothing. It is only when I get rid of the outer entirely and let the actual, the I AM, speak and work and let the great Love of God come forth that I can do these things that you have seen. When you let the Love of God pour through you to all things, nothing fears you and no harm can befall you.”
Every day during this time I had lessons with Emil. He would suddenly appear in my room, even if I had taken special care to lock the door before retiring. At first his appearance at will disturbed me but I soon saw that he took it for granted that I understood. I became accustomed to his ways and left my door open so that he could come and go as he pleased. This confidence seemed to please him. I could not understand all his teachings and I could not accept them fully, nor was I able, with all I saw while in the East, to fully accept at the time. It required years of meditation to bring me the realization of the deep spiritual meaning of these peoples’ lives.
Their work is accomplished without ostentation and in perfect childlike simplicity. They know the power of love to protect them and they cultivate it until all nature is in love with them and befriends them. Thousands of the common people are killed annually by serpents and wild animals, yet these Masters have so brought forth the power of love in themselves that serpents and wild animals do not injure them. They live at times in the wildest jungles, and sometimes lay their bodies down before a village to protect it from the ravages of wild animals, and no harm befalls the village or themselves. When occasion requires they walk on water, go through fire, travel in the invisible, and do many other things that we have been accustomed to look upon as miracles performed only by one supposed in some way to possess supernatural powers.
There is a striking resemblance between the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth and those of these Masters as exemplified in their daily life. It has been thought impossible for man to derive his daily supply directly from the Universal, to overcome death and to perform the various so-called miracles that Jesus performed while on earth. The Masters prove that all these are their daily life. They supply everything needed for their daily wants directly from the Universal, including food, clothing and money. They have so far overcome death that many of them now living are over five hundred years of age, as was conclusively proved by their records.
There are comparatively few of these Masters in India, other cults seeming to be but offshoots of their teaching. They realize their number is limited and that only a few scholars can come to them. In the invisible, however, they can reach almost unlimited numbers and it seems to be the greater work of their lives to reach out into the invisible and help all who are receptive to their teaching.
The teaching of Emil laid the foundation for the work which we were to take up years later in our third expedition to these countries, during which time we lived with the Masters continuously for three and one-half years, traveled with them, and observed their daily lives and work throughout the Far East.