Occult Science in India, by Louis Jacoilliot, , at sacred-texts.com
We have already seen what a long life of prayer, maceration, ablution, and fasting the novices were required to pass in the different degrees of initiation. We now dismiss that branch of our subject.
It may not be amiss, however, to remind the reader that the initiated possessed powers, more or less extensive, according to the class to which they belonged, and to indicate the nature of these powers.
The first class comprised:
The Grihastas or heads of families do not forsake the world. They are a sort of connecting link between the temple and the people. They are formally forbidden to make any manifestations of external phenomena. It is their right, however, and their duty to evoke the souls of their ancestors, in some retired part of their dwelling, and to receive from them, as their direct descendants, only such instruction as they need for their guidance in this earthly pilgrimage.
The Pourohitas, or priests of the popular cult, take part in all family ceremonies. They evoke familiar spirits and drive away evil spirits. They cast horoscopes and preside over births, marriages, and funerals. They perform all the phenomena of auspicious or inauspicious
omens and intervene in all cases of over-excitement or possession, to remove from the subject all malign influences. They confine themselves strictly to the domain of religion.
The performing Fakirs collect alms and money in the temples, and wander over the country and through the cities. They produce at will the strangest phenomena, entirely contrary to what are conventionally called natural laws. With the aid of spirits, who are present at all their operations, as claimed by the Brahmins, they have authority, as well as power, to evoke them.
The second class includes:
The third class includes:
In these two higher grades of initiation the power is the same, only differing in degree. They claim to have subjected the visible as well as the invisible world to their will, and only produce their supernatural manifestations in the interior of the temples and, in very rare cases, before the Rajahs or other eminent personages in India.
According to their account, time, space, specific gravity, and even life itself, are nothing to them. They enjoy the faculty of laying aside, or resuming, their mortal envelope. They command the elements, transport mountains, and drain rivers. Upon this point the Oriental imagination, which knows no limits, gives itself the fullest scope, and these spiritual lights are regarded in India as gods.
There is here presented, as we see, a complete organization resting upon the caste system, and adapted to the sup. port of a social state, entirely sacerdotal.
It is claimed that these different initiates undergo, during a period of many years, in the subterranean sanctuaries of the pagodas, a course of training, which modifies their
organization, from a physiological point of view, and increases to a large extent the production of the pure fluid emanating from them, called agasa. It is impossible for us to obtain any authentic information concerning these occult practices.
It is mainly with reference to the Fakirs that we propose to investigate these different phenomena.