This phenomenon differs in its nature and character, especially by reason of the nature of different personalities. In the first place the person whose thought becomes reflected in the heart of another may have a concrete form in his thought, may be able to hold it as one design or a picture. In that case the reflection falls in the heart of another one clearly, but if the mind is so weak that it cannot hold a thought properly, then the thought is moving and it cannot reflect in the mind of another properly. If the memory of a person is not in good condition, then the picture there is not clear.
If a person's mind is not clear, if it is upset, if it is too active, then that mind cannot take reflection fully. The mind is like a lake. If there is a wind blowing and the water is disturbed, then the reflection will not be clear; but when the water is still the reflection is clear. So it is with the mind. The mind which is still is capable of receiving reflection.
The mind which is powerful, capable of making a thought-picture, of holding a thought, can project its thought beyond any boundaries that may be standing there to hinder it. Nothing can separate two minds that are focused on one another. No person with an affectionate heart, with tender feeling, will deny that two sympathetic souls communicate with one another. Distance is never a bar to this phenomenon.
Have we not seen in the recent war the women folk of the soldiers, their mothers, their wives, their children linked with their dear ones fighting at the front and feeling their conditions and knowing when a soldier was wounded or dead? Many will say that it is the thought which reaches. But at the same time even the thought vibrations in the profound depth become a picture, they are a design. One thought is one particular design, one particular picture becomes reflected and as it is so mirrored upon him, the other person feels it in an instant. Reflection is not like a conversation. In a conversation every word unfolds the idea and so the idea gradually becomes manifest. But in the reflection in one instant the whole idea is reflected, because the whole idea is there in the form of a picture, and it is mirrored in the mind which has received it.
It is this theory which opens up the mystery that lies in the connection between the living and the dead. The idea of obsession may be thus explained that a reflection of the thought of someone on the other side, held fast by a creature living on the earth, becomes an obsession. Very often a young anarchist may assassinate someone, and in the end you will find that there had not been such a great enmity between him and the one he has killed. The mystery behind it was that on the other side some enemy of the person who was killed had reflected his thought in this passive mind of a young person who through his enthusiasm and strength felt inclined to kill someone, himself not knowing the reason, and caused someone's death. Especially among anarchists one finds such cases. Owing to their extreme point of view their heart is in a condition to be receptive, they can receive a good reflection or a bad reflection and act accordingly.
Now you may ask, "Is it possible that a person living on the earth should be able to project his thought on those who are on the other side?" And the answer is that every religion has taught this lesson, but the intellectual evolution of man at this time has not grasped it fully. For instance, among Hindus there is a custom today to offer to the dead all that he loved, in the form of flowers and colours, in the form of natural environments, river, stream, tree, the mountains behind. All this that the dear one loved, they make of it all an offering to him. Among some people there is a custom to make delicious dishes, to burn incense, to prepare flowers and perfume. And then, after offering it to the dead, they partake of it. It may seem amusing. Yet, if they partake of it, it is their experience which is reflected, and so it is right for them to partake of it although it is offered to the dead, for it is through them that the dead receive it. They are the medium for the dead to receive that offering. Therefore, if they partake of it, it means that they offer it, they give it to the dead. It is the only way how they can give it.
This teaches us another idea: that those who mourn over their dear ones certainly continue to give those who have departed pain; because from this world, instead of having a better experience and reflecting it to them, they gather pain and offer it to their dead. The wisest thing that one can do for those who have passed is to project a thought of joy and happiness, a thought of love and beauty, a thought of calm and peace. It is in this way that one can help the dead best.
At the present time, when materialism is growing prevalent, very few recognize the cases of obsession. Very often those obsessed are sent to the insane asylum where they are given medicine or different treatments, physicians thinking that there is something wrong with the brain of the person, with his mind, that something has gone wrong with the nerves of a person. But in many cases that is not so; that is the outcome of it. When once a person is obsessed, naturally he has lost his rhythm, his tone, and therefore he does not feel himself, he feels queer. A continual discomfort causes a disorder in his nervous system, causing thereby different diseases. But at the root of it there is obsession.
In short, either a communication between living beings or a communication between the living and the souls who have passed from this earth is in the reflection, a reflection which depends on the power and clearness of mind.
Question : Could there not be some obsessions which would be beneficial to the ones who receive them?
Answer : Yes, it is possible, but what generally happens is that souls who are attached to the world are either earth-bound or the inspirers or the protectors of the earth. As to those inspirers and protectors of the earth, their love comes like a stream. No doubt, it could come to the individual, but it is mostly for the multitude. Therefore it cannot be classed with what we call by the general term of obsession. It can be called a blessing.
But the other souls, those who are earth-bound, when their soul is reflected, it is for the reason of a want. And however great the reason or the want may be it is imperfection, because it is limited. Besides this, the creation is a phenomenon where every individual must have his freedom to which he has the right. When he is deprived of that freedom by obsession, however much he may be helped, that person remains in a limited condition. Furthermore it is possible that the obsession may become most interesting, and if the obsessed one is cured of his obsession he does not feel himself. He feels that some life that he has experienced for a long time is taken away from him.
Question : Would you, please, explain the strong concentrated effort for automatic writing and give your appreciation of it?
Answer : The inclination for automatic writing comes from a mediumistic tendency. A person who has a mediumistic tendency is naturally inclined to automatic writing. The reason is that by automatic writing he feels in connection, he forms a connection with souls floating in the air. It does not matter whichever soul he contacts, from that soul he begins to take its reflection and then he begins to put it on paper.
Sometimes, if a person has become interested in a soul on the other side and the soul on the other side becomes interested in this particular soul, then a connection is formed. Then it is natural that day and night, or often in the day and night, a communication is opened. But there is a danger in this play. It is interesting to begin with, but then it could be most difficult to get rid of. I have known a person who had put himself in spirit-communication so profoundly that the spirits would not leave him alone one moment. It was just like the telephone ringing every moment of the day. The most curious thing is that he used to live with them. He said, "I do not want you, go away!", but they came again day and night. The poor man, exposed to the telephone ringing, could not protect himself. Once he had laid himself open to them, he had focused himself on the other world and then he could not close the doors.
Besides this, it is a great strain on the nerves, because the nerves must be very fine in order to get a communication. The intuitive centres in the body are made of fine nerves, finer than one can imagine. They are not matter, they are not spirit, they are between. When once these fine nerves have become sensitive, the communication is open with the other side. But then the difficulty is that the gross vibrations of this earth are too hard on the nerves, and the nerves cannot answer the demands of this gross world, this material world; they become too fine. The result is a nervous illness.
It was for the betterment of some mediums who were used by the great explorers of spiritualism that I showed my disapproval of this line. Not as an unbeliever, nor as someone who makes fun of these things, only for the wellfare of these simple ones who are made use of and whose lives are ruined in order that others may find some secret of it. But what secret do they find after all? Nothing. It is not the spectator who will find the secret of a play, it is the player himself. That is where is the joy. If people want to experience they must experience themselves and take the consequences. But this way of taking a young inexperienced mediumistic person and profiting by his ruination neither brings a blessing nor does it bring the knowledge which illuminates the soul.
Question : Is there any risk of obsession when one is treading the spiritual path?
Answer : I do not know what connection there is between the spiritual path and obsession. They are two things. Either you exist or someone else exists in you. In the spiritual path it is that you exist in God. God exists in you and you exist in God. It is the oneness between yourself and God that is the spiritual path. In the case of obsession you are a part from the spirit that obsesses you. It is a different path altogether, it is no path, it is idelness, a chaos.
Question : Can obsession only be caused by the dead or also by a living person?
Answer : By both. Only in the case of the former it is called obsession, in the case of the latter it is called impression.
Question : Is mind-communication more difficult for those who do not visualize easily?
Answer : Yes, for them it is difficult to project their thought; but it is not difficult to reflect a thought.
Question : Can one focus one's mind on an unreceptive distant mind?
Answer : The one wbo can focus his mind can do so whether the other mind is receptive or unreceptive. Of course the receptive one receives sooner and with less difficulty.
Question : Is it not painful for the dead to know that their beloved ones left behind dress in black as a sign of mourning?
Answer : It is as we look at it. It is true that this impression is bad, and yet there is that feeling that so many sympathize with one; there is happiness in it. A thinker was sitting in his house and a maid came and said to him, "I saw a funeral go by of someone who must have been received in Heaven". The thinker was amused; how did she see the man in Heaven? He asked her, "Did you see him in Heaven? How do you know that he will be received there?" She said, "I did not see him in Heaven, but I saw some in the funeral who were wiping their eyes with their handkerchief. This made me think that he will be received in Heaven". What we learn from this is that it is sure that, if in his life he won the sympathy of some few, certainly there must have been something good in him, he must be received in Heaven.