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Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901], at


Blaise Pascal.


He was born on the 19th of June, 1623. As a child, boy and young man, he was exceptionally precocious—in this respect comparable to Bacon. It is said that, although his parents endeavored to restrain his mental development, yet "at the age of ten he had propounded an acoustic theory in advance of the views then entertained; at twelve he had evolved geometry from his own reflections; and at fifteen he composed a treatise on conic sections which Descartes refused to believe in as having proceeded from so young a mind" [88: 329].

Pascal's health was all his life delicate. He was probably always a perfectly moral man, though fond of gaiety and the social pleasures of his time and country.

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He gave abundant evidence throughout his whole life that he possessed in an unusual degree the mental honesty and earnestness that seems always to belong to those who attain to the Cosmic Sense.

In November, 1654, he being then thirty-one and a half years old, something happened which radically altered Pascal's life. From that date he practically abandoned the world and became and remained, until his death, markedly religious and charitable. From that date, however, his life was very secluded and few details appear to be known.

Bright as his intellect was before November, 1654, it was still brighter afterwards. About a year subsequent to that date he began the "Provincial Letters," and later wrote his "Pensées," both of which works (though the latter is only a series of notes for a book to be written) show extraordinary mental qualities. It is safe to say that he could not have written either of them before the above date.

A few days after Pascal's death a servant felt by chance something hard and thick under the cloth of his doublet. Ripping the seam in the neighborhood he found a folded parchment, and within this a folded paper. These both bore writing in Pascal's hand, the words of which are those here given. Both parchment and paper were taken to Pascal's sister, Madame Périer, who showed them to some friend. They all saw at once that these words thus written by Pascal in duplicate and preserved by him with so much care and trouble ( removing them himself, as he did, from garment to garment), must have had in his eyes a profound meaning. Some time after the death of Madame Périer (which happened twenty-five years after the death of her brother), her children communicated the documents to a friar, who was an intimate friend of the family. He copied the document and wrote some pages of commentary upon it, to which Marguerite Périer added some further pages. These commentaries are now lost, as is also the parchment. The paper copy, however, in Pascal's hand, is still extant in the Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris. It was Cordocet

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who gave the document the name of "Pascal's Mystic Amulette" [112a: 156].

Translated into English the words of the amulet are as follows: "The year of grace 1654, Monday, 23 November, day of St. Clement, Pope and Martyr. From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past twelve, midnight, FIRE. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers nor of the Wise. Assurance, joy, assurance, feeling, joy, peace. God of Jesus Christ, my God and thy God. Thy God shall be my God. Forgotten of the world and of all except God. He is only found in the ways taught in the Gospel. The sublimity of the human soul. Just Father, the world has not known thee but I have known thee. Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. I do not separate myself from thee. They left me behind, me a fountain of living water. My God, do not leave me. Let me not be separated from thee eternally. This is eternal life that they should know thee the only true God and him whom thou hast sent. Jesus Christ—Jesus Christ. I have separated myself from him; I have fled, renounced, crucified him. Let me not be forever separated from him. One is saved only by the teaching of the Gospel. Reconciliation total and sweet. Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director. Continual joy for the days of my life on earth. I shall not forget what you have taught me. Amen." *

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No one who has read this book so far will have, I think, the least doubt as to the meaning of the words of the amulet.

The subjective light was evidently strongly marked. Immediately following it comes the sense of liberation, salvation, joy, content, intense thankfulness. Then the realization of the grandeur of the human soul, immediately followed by the rapture of the realization of God. He glances back and sees how futile his life and ambitions have so far been. Then realizes his present reconcilement with the cosmos and that the rest of his life must be continual joy.

The words of the amulet, the care and secrecy with which it was preserved, its date in reference to Pascal's age, Pascal's splendid intellect and previous character so far as known to us, the change in his life, synchronous with the date of the amulet,

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his moral exaltation and intellectual illumination from and after that time; above all, the subjective light, which seems to have been more than usually pronounced and longer than usually continued, though in the case of John Yepes it is said to have lasted a whole night [112:108]. All these taken together make it certain to the mind of the writer that Pascal was a case of Cosmic Consciousness. Of course, it has been said of him, as it was of Jesus, Paul, Blake, and others, that Pascal was insane; but I see no evidence of anything of the kind. The words of the amulet bear testimony to having been written immediately after illumination (before he went to bed that night, it would seem). They are, therefore, naturally somewhat incoherent. They bear witness to joy, triumph, enlightenment, not to disease. The man who writes them has just seen the Brahmic Splendor and felt the Brahmic Bliss. That is all.


274:* Lelut (112a: 154] gives the exact words of the amulet, their form and arrangement, as follows

     L’an de grace 1654
Lundy 23e novbre jour de St Clement
Pape et m. et autres au martirologe Romain
veille de St. Crisogone m. et autres, etc. . . .
Depuis environ dix heures et demi du soir
jusques environ minuit et demi.
Dieu d’Abraham. Dieu d’Isaac. Dieu de Jacob
  non des philosophes et des savane
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Certitude joye certitude, sentiment, veue joye paix.
Dieu de Jésus christ
Deum meum et Deum vestrum
                             Jeh. 20. 17.
Ton Dieu sera mon Dieu. Ruth.
Oubly du monde et de tout hormis Dieu
Il ne se trouve que par les voyes enseignées
dans l’Evangile. Grandeur de l’ame humaine.
Père juste, le monde ne t’a point
connu. mais je t’ai connu. Jeh. 17
Joye, joye, joye, et pleurs de joys______
Je m ’en suis separé_________________
Dereliquerunt me fontem aqua vivæ____
mon Dieu me quitterez vous__________
que je n’en sois pas separé éternellement.
Cette est la vie éternelle qu’ils te connaissent
Seul vray Dieu et celuy que tu as envoyé
Jésus christ_______________________
Jésus christ_______________________
Je m’en suie separé_________________
je l’ay fuy renoncé, crucifé,
que je n’en sois jamais separé_________
Il ne se conserve que par les voyes ensignées
dans 1’Evangile

Renonciation totale et douce__________
Soûmission totale à Jésus christ et â mon Directeur.
éternellement en joye pour un jour d’exercice sur la terre
non obliviscar sermones tuos. Amen.

Next: Chapter 9. Benedict Spinoza