Russell, George William - Candle of Vision
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
from Mysteries - Colin Wilson
ln 1889, when he was twenty-two, Russell gave up art-he told Yeats it would weaken his will-and joined the Theosophical Society, apparently uninfluenced by the widespread belief that Madame Blavatsky was a fake. Five years earlier, a housekeeper with a grudge had 'exposed' her employer in a Bombay magazine, asserting that various 'psychic' effects were achieved by trickery; not long before, it had been discovered that parts of the famous 'Mahatma Letters', supposedly dedicated by a supernatural being called Koot Hoomi, were lifted from the work of an American spiritualist, Henry Kiddle.
But, in spite of the scandal, Russell and Yeats became Theosophists.
An article on Russell's 'primeval language' had been published in The Theosophist two years before. Now Russell began to practise the Hindu system of rneditation, deliberately attempting to arouse the spirit-force, kundalini. He describes how
'once at the apex of intensest meditation I awoke that fire in myself of which the ancients have
written, and it ran like lightning up my spinal cord, and my body rocked with the power of it, and I seemed to myself to be standing in a fountain of flame, and there were fiery pulsations as of wings about my head, and a musical sound not unlike the clashing of cymbals with every pulsation.
He suddenly recalled the danger involved in the awakening of this power-that in one who was not completely purified, it could
'turn downward and vitalise his darker passions and awaken strange frenzies and inextinguishable desires'-
and deliberately refrained from attempting any more. His friend H. W. Nevinson asserted that he had twice seen Russell deliver a speech when possessed by this Power, and could see lights and hear voices; afterwards Russell could no longer remember what he said.
Eventually, he ceased to attempt to arouse the kundalini power; his natural powers of vision were enough.