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Sunday, December 6, 2015

The most important text in the "Gospel according to Spiritism".

"The Helper...He will teach you all things. 
And He will help you remember everything 
that I have told you." (John, 14:26)

What man destroys and kills, God's Law 
(which is Nature's law) recreates and rebuilds elsewhere.


What is  the most important text in the Gospel According to Spiritism ? By "importance" we understand a relevance degree that is surely dependent on the moment we live. Here we suggest a good reading motivated not only by present day terrorist attacks in the name of Religion but  also by the everlasting human problem of survival and life meaning.

Launched by Allan Kardec in 1864 as a new interpretation of the Gospels, the Gospel According to Spiritism (1), GAS (in French L'Évangile Selon le Spiritisme) is a compendium of the maxims of Christ in accordance to spirit teachings both within the contexts of the Spiritist and Spiritualist movements that appeared in Europe in the last half of the XIX century. 

But here we have a curious situation. Spirit teachings were always rejected by the immense majority of Christian denominations (protestant and Catholics alike) on the base of their very implications (the acceptance of reincarnation, for example, is a seen as ban of these creeds) and the Old Testament prohibition to invoke Spirits. If Spirits cannot be invoked it is because they exist, but the prohibition was kept as a dogma that contrasts with many other commandments long abandoned by modern society. Moreover, Internet has further complicated the situation because now we can get in contact with many people in the world, cultures which surely hold diverse ideas about Religion.  

Rather, the spirit teachings expose the ridicule and error in present day interpretations of the teachings of Christ and many other dogmatic religions that came afterwards. Spiritualism is the "new comforter", the "Helper" that came to teach all things and remember what Christ have told us but was long forgotten. The advancement of Science has made topics such as psychic and reincarnation research accepted possibilities to continually threat established religion of dogmatic nature.  Which religious view can update dogmatic thought in face of such scientific achievements? Which new doctrine could provide solid grounds for the much deviated interpretations of Christian teachings? Let the spirits answer...

Chapter 2: My Kingdom is not of this word. "A point of view".

In the Section that opens Chapter 2 ("My Kingdom is not of this World"),  "The Future Life", Kardec points out why the subject of Chapter 2 is of utmost importance: 
Therefore it has been placed as the first item in this work. It must be the point to be most closely looked at, as it is the only one that justifies the anomalies and irregularities of earthly life and also shows itself to be in accordance with the justice of God.
To accept and understand well the future life is the crucial point, the "bifurcation" of though about to change Humankind altogether. Regardless the lack of worldwide acceptance (both in the way described by the spirits and in the number of people to hold this view), survival is the only possibility in accordance to God's justice ("Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven", GAS Chapter 4, Fig. 1). The other option is materialism and eternal nonexistence. If certainty in the future life - as well as the details of their reality (a "clear and precise idea" as Kardec says) - can be provided in a scientific way, Humankind would reach a new level, a new understanding of life and its purpose.

Fig. 1 The notion of reincarnation is a key ingredient to restore  the original meaning of Christ teachings and to sustain the basic idea of God's justice,  regardless the consequence to the established dogma. See the GAS,  Chapter 4: "Except a man be born again he cannot see the  Kingdom of Heaven". What man destroys and kills, God's Law (which is Nature's law) recreates and rebuilds elsewhere.
The text below entitled "A Point of View" was written by Kardec and represents a brilliant argumentation summarizing the consequences and the logical implications of survival. Remember, this text was written prior to 1864, well before the foundation of the "Society for Psychical Research" in London by the founding fathers of Psychic Research or the Theosophic movement. This extract of the GAS testifies the deepness of thought Kardec already had in the 3rd quarter of the XIX century as a conclusion of his own psychic research.
The clear and precise idea which can be formed of a future life provides an unshakable faith in what is to come. This faith places enormous consequences upon the moralization of Man because it completely changes the point of view as to how life on Earth is regarded. For those who place themselves by means of thought in the spiritual life, which is undefined, bodily life becomes a mere temporary stay in an ungrateful country. The vicissitudes and tribulations of this life become nothing more than incidents, which can be supported with patience as they are known to be of short duration and will be followed by a more amenable state. Death no longer has terror attached to it; it ceases to be a door opening on to nothingness and becomes a door that opens to liberation, through which the exile enters into a well-blessed mansion, and there finds peace. Knowing that the place where we find ourselves at the moment is only temporary and not definite, makes us pay less attention to the preoccupations of life, resulting in less bitterness and a more peaceful Spirit.
Simply by doubting the existence of a future life, Man directs all his thoughts to earthly existence. Without any certainly of what is to come he gives everything to the present. With the mistaken idea that there is nothing more precious than earthly things, Man behaves as a child who can see only his toys and is prepared to go to any length to obtain the only possessions he judges to be solid. The loss of even the least of these causes pungent hurt. A mistake, a deception, an unsatisfied ambition, an injustice to which the person has fallen victim, hurt pride or vanity, to name but a few, are just some of the torments which turn existence into an eternal agony, so in this manner causing self-inflicted torture at every step. From the point of view of earthly life, in whose centre we place ourselves, everything around us begins to assume vast proportions. The harm that reaches us, as well as the good that touches others, takes on a great importance in our eyes. It is like the man, who, when in the middle of a great city sees everything on a large scale, but who, when looking down from a mountain top sees things in only minute form. 
This is what happens when we look at life from the point of view of a future existence Humanity, just as the stars in space, loses itself in the great immensity. We begin to see that great and small things are confounded, as ants on top of an ant hill, that proletarians and potentates are the same stature. We lament that so many short-lived creatures give themselves over to so much labour in order to conquer a place which will do so little to elevate them, and which they will occupy for so short a time. From this it follows that the value given to earthly things is completely in reverse to that which comes from a firm belief in a future life. 
But "if everybody thought in that manner, it could be argued that everything on Earth would be endangered because no one would bother about anything" continues Kardec as if foreseeing an opponent counter argumentation in the form of a modern diving into a new "age of darkness" after worldwide acceptance of survival. Against this reasoning Kardec regards:
But Man instinctively looks after his own well-being, so even if he knew it was but for a short while, be would still do his best. There is no one who, when finding a thorn in his hand, will not take it out so as not to suffer. Well then, the desire for comfort forces Man to better all things, seeing that be is impelled by the instinct of progress and conservation which are part of the Laws of Nature. Therefore, be works not only through necessity but because he wants to, and because of a sense of duty, so obeying the designs of Providence which placed him an Earth for that purpose. Only a person who occupies themselves more with the future can give relative importance to the present. This person is easily consoled in all his failings and misfortunes by thinking of the destiny that awaits him. (Paragraph 6)
Besides Kardec's defense of man's well-being as cited above, we could add the importance of understanding well the condition of operation of the future life. For it is not a state freely obtained, it cannot be equated to entering into a paradise or be forever separated from eternal good as the old Christian conceptions still believe. The continuous effort the soul has to undertake in order to progress makes every second spent in this material life a blessing and an opportunity not to be lost. For spirits that are still evolving - the condition of almost the entire Humankind -  the future life is, in a certain sense, the assurance of continuous return to the material life so that the more the being dedicates to improve itself by helping its equals, the more rapid it will be able to detach itself from this world.  On the opposite side, the more a person sustain progress by destroying, killing or harnessing his neighbours, the slower will be his ability to cope with his future: he will have to restore everything he has destroyed because Nature's law demands it.   

There is no instantaneous upgrade of the soul, no easy attainment of "eternal glory", and this is, quite understandably, fiercely resisted by traditional Christian thought. However, it is very clear that future life understood in these terms will hardly impose Humankind a return to a new age of unconcern with the material life. Rather, moral evolution requires care and attention to present life in all its aspects, both moral and material. 

References

(1) A. Kardec. "The Gospel According to Spiritism". An English translation by H. Duncan (1987) of L'Évangile Selon le Spiritisme  can be found here:
(2) A paper version can be found at Amazon:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The 'spirit' side of pyschic phenomena: toward a spiritist explanation of psi events


If every effect has a cause, every intelligent effect 
must have an intelligent cause.
 (A. Kardec, "Spiritism in its simplest expression", History of Spiritism.)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed 
about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, 
and let us run with patience 
the race that is set before us. (Paul, Heb. 12:1,KJV)

Recent debates about the nature and cause of many psychic phenomena have been polarized between two antagonistic explanations. On one side, the so called "super-psi" supporters seek to explain all events by hypothesizing the existence of yet unknown human "superpowers" which would be responsible for all events. On the other hand, proponents of human-spirit interaction explain many facts as an interplay between an unknown force of Nature - the Spirits - and the human mind. Moreover, the existence of Spirits is directly linked to the idea of survival, therefore, modern spiritualists and spiritist are naturally called "survivalists".

Much o what we read about super-psi was laid out during the onset of "metapsychics" (1) as a rejection of spiritualist explanations in terms of spirit influence. At that time, psychic researchers were seeking scientific acceptance (that is, to be accepted by academic mainstream), so that they avoided at all cost what is still today regarded a "non-naturalistic" explanation: the existence of Spirits. However, the idea of a "super mind" poses a simple but often neglected consequence: the lack of modern versions of old outbreaks such as table turning, raps, materializations and even less impressive occurrences such as somnambulism clairvoyance (which was studied by A. Kardec in the XIX century and many other pioneers) and mesmerism. If super-psi really exists, we need to explain the lack of super-psi minds nowadays given the fact that population has grown since the XIX century.

It is easier to recognize the need of an external and independent cause necessary to initiate and feed the phenomena. This cause was correctly found in the Spirits. Many say that the idea of independent minds floating around us and providing the "hardware" for life after death still need to be proven. However, since they are really subtle forces, we should proceed more scientifically and admit the existence of Spirits beforehand and see the consequences.

Virtual particles and information carriers

In physics, the idea of "mediating particles" or "force carriers" are invoked to explain many of Nature's forces. The so called "virtual particles" (3) are not directly observable but are important elements believed to exist in many physical events involving the fundamental forces. There is no distinction between "real" and "virtual" particles except that the later have a much shorter lifetime than the former. However, the unique features of the quantum world allow "virtual particles" to behave in ways that are not permitted to the real ones - for example - as interpretations of the theory say, virtual particles can travel backward in time. Virtual particles are incessantly created and destroyed in vacuum. This comparison is just an imaginable metaphor to explain the role of spirit in psychic events: they are the mediating ingredients necessary for the onset and maintenance of all physic phenomena. Spirits are the information "carriers" for certain humans who are able to get in contact with them.
Feynman diagram showing the exchange of a virtual photon in an electron-electron interaction. The idea of "virtual particles" is a metaphor for the role played by Spirit in psychic phenomena as information "carriers" for many psi-events.  
Part of the "super-psi" features associated to events as near death (NDE) or "out-of-body" (OBE) experiences are entirely due to our very spirit nature. Therefore, the interplay between the spirit nature of the human being and the external spirit forces is surely the best starting hypothesis for the variety and intensity of psychic experience in general. Some examples are commented below.

Examples

Psychic readings. The unconventional or controversial characters of many descriptions reporting, for instance, photograph "readings" can be explained by assuming Spirits directly assisting mediums. It is necessary to admit we are surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses" or, as we can read in (4):
Spirits are everywhere, on our side, they jostle us and watch us constantly. By their incessant presence, they are the agents of several phenomena, playing an important role in the moral world and, to a certain degree, in the physical one. They represent, so to say, one of nature's forces.
Hence the mysterious power certain mediums can have of peering into the future or of knowing the circumstances of a murder, the character of a dead person etc. However, much still needs to be known about the mechanism of medium acknowledgement: Spirits access the internal memories of mediums in order to build symbolic messages which are reinterpreted by the medium's mind (also a spirit) often with several distortions. This is the source of frequent inaccuracies in medium's readings. 

Psi-tracking of distant spots. Although OBE are invoked to explain the access to hidden information from distant places, we should not disregard the important "guiding" role played by Spirits. Some Brazilian mediums (e. g. Yvonne Pereira) reported being allowed to visit certain places only under the supervision of their spirit guides. Therefore, many mediums cannot control where they go: the uncontrollable character of the psi experience is directly related to the spirit (external) influence.

No more raps or table turnings (6). In the past, the table turning phenomena triggered the Spiritualist movement. Raps and other physical effects were historically reported in the United States (1848) from which the phenomena spread to the world. This was described as an "organized invasion" (5) so common were the events. Why the silence today?  Again the explanation is found in the Spirits.  The conditions for the existence of such organized invasion no longer exist, they ceased to support the phenomena although some scattered events appear from time to time (7), mainly in the form of the so called "poltergeist". These are again quite uncontrollable phenomena which show up as suddenly as go away, but some form of "benign" physical effects are still alive today in the form of healing manifestations.  

Failure to replicate telepathy and other tests in parapsychology. Since the human mind is not an isolated system, but suffers the influence of both physical and spiritual surroundings, Spirits are behind the many failures to replicate parapsychology tests. We should not limit the Spirit influence to well recognized mediums. In fact, every person may be influenced by Spirits to a certain degree. Those who have the highest level of influence are called mediums or psychics. Since Spirits are independent, they may accept to collaborate with a given experiment (in spite of researcher's ignorance of that influence) in which case the scores will be high. Add to this, the need of tuning between Spirits and the participants: the simple presence of Spirits in the physical environment of the experiment does not warrant success. 

Telepathy is often seen as a case of "mind-to-mind" interaction. However, given the spirit nature of man, one cannot disregard the important role played by Spirits in many telepathy experiments. As "information carriers" they may enhance or undermine the level of information exchanged among experiment's participants.
Final remarks 

The two causes, spirit nature of the human mind and the Spirit's influence, cannot be separated when an explanation for the many psychic phenomena should be given. In fact, they are complementary: the mediums ability to perform a given psychic act is much enhanced by the presence and spirit intervention. Not only that, Spirits apply direct control despite the medium's will to the contrary. Although it is possible to find instances in which the event is probably caused by the mediums ability (for example, during NDE or OBE), in many of these cases guiding Spirits may be under control. In summary, psychic events are maximized every time the following ingredients are present (7):
  • A person able to get in contact with the Spirits (medium or psychic);
  • The presence of one or many spirits;  
  • An ideal "tuning" between the person and the Spirit(s);
  • If maximum control is required, an agreement with the Spirit(s) should be obtained first in which case replication will be easily achieved.
Experimenter intention and presence (the so called "Experimenter effect", 8) may be ultimately associated to the Spirits. Negative or positive intentions require a constant positive and negative mind state which acts like "spirit evocations", therefore, the environment becomes naturally favourable or detrimental to a given experimental result in many parapsychology tests. 
Control theory requires that all causes necessary and sufficient for a given phenomenon should be acknowledged and properly managed. Therefore, replicability or reproducibility of psi experiments will only happen when Spirits are taken into account as necessary causes.
This text is based in part on many spirit teachings about the subject as available in the Spiritist literature (Kardec's and other sources in Portuguese). 

References

(1) See C. Richet (1923) "Mediums and Metapsychics" published in Charles Richet's "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", London: W. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. and available at http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/richet/mediums.htm



(4) Kardec A. "What is Spiritism?", Chapter II - Elementary notions of Spiritism: On Spirits.

(5) Doyle A. C. (2007). The history of Spiritualism. Book Tree.

(6)  Colborn, M.L.C. (2007). The decline effect in spontaneous and experimental psychical research. JSPR 71, 1-22

(6) A recent report occurred in Brazil. Several ones are described (in Portuguese) here

(7) To know more, read "The mediums' Book", by A. Kardec. An online version can be accessed here.

(8) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer-expectancy_effect



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Crisis and its meaning


It is not to be thought, however, that all suffering in this world denotes the existence of a
determined shortcoming. Many times it is simply an ordeal requested by the Spirit, which will help
it towards purification and active progress. So atonement is always a test, 
but a test is not always an atonement. 
(A. Kardec, "The  Gospel According to Spiritism", Chap. 5, 
"Blessed are the afflicted", Paragraph 9, see ref. 1)

A crisis always reveals the consequence of something not properly done in the past or an action erroneously undertaken. We suffer the effect of the past living in us because we are its product. We are informed by the spirits that our actions today have two goals: to solve life's problems and to act upon current events resulting in either moral gains or losses, just as to influence the future when we will sistematically reap gains or losses again. 

As a result, if we fail to act today towards the future, we will hardly harvest or gain anything. A condition for a crisis then emerges. Modern spiritualist literature adopted the word "karma" to denote the conjunction of past action giving rise to present day negative conditions. However, the word used by Kardec was "expiation". Their meaning are somewhat equivalent, keeping in mind the changes in the original term in Sanskrit. 

A broadened undestanding of life portrays our existence as a "continuum" of two major streams: on the material side, a flow of events rooted in our actions and, on the spiritual side, a corresponding flow of consequences for our future life. Since we are immersed in both realities, any material action imparts the spirit side just as any spiritual influence acts upon the material side.  It is however unfortunate that the vast majority of incarnated people, for a variety of reasons, remain illiterate on regard to the interplay between these two life aspects and thus go through crises. People at most feel the flow of time before them  but are incapable of inferring any conclusion about the phenomenon. But the most extraordinary fact about such higher law of life is that its existence may be somewhat ignored: regulation is attained through the dynamics of crises.   

The spirit Emmanuel in the book "Study and live" (Ed. FEB) defines the condition for the emergence of a "painless crisis" characterized by the onset of a situation not necessarily linked to heath impairment or disease:
We suffer however regrettable painless crises that are hidden beneath superficial safeness:
Every time we accommodate ourselves on the excuse of excessive work.

When we demand others to become our support by playing the game of usury and ambition.

At any time when we demand to become allegedly superior to others.
At any time when we regard ourselves infallible while enjoying the most elevated positions among men.
Every time we supposedly believe to be so wise and virtuous that we are dispensed of any warnings or corrections at the position we may occupy. 
In such cases, therefore, the onset of a crisis is almost exclusively related to a moral issue. Such situations greatly characterize what was left behind poorly done. Our attachments and illusions give rise to obstacles binding us to the past and prevent renewal. But renewal relentlessly comes and becomes manifest today as a crisis from which we try to escape. During the crises, negative balances in the spiritual side are settled since new prospects are generated for the future. True life is all about the spiritual flow hence nothing lost in matter will cause a loss in the spiritual side. This knowledge should satisfy those endowed with superior understanding of life. However, physical reality is too strong and affect us in such way that, many times, we neglect the higher teachings. 

We should regard crises as answers of the situation, of the "Universe" or of the environment where we live. Many could argue we unfairly suffer in life without doing anything. However, "do anything" is also a kind of action and of a negative type. Whoever longs for not suffering by not acting will almost surely be hurt. The higher laws wait for our right actions, the ones given rise to the right harvest. Consequently, those who waste money and fortune will lack money; those who excessively save money will be compelled to face situations rarely solved by using wages; those defying health will face disease and those who do nothing will muddle through to survive. But it is not always the case a past action can be found when we suffer. The Universe pushes us forward every time we face a new situation either as a result of the past or not. Past actions instead engender specific situations that are deeply rooted in the way we used to be. On account of past obligations new lessons are accumulated. Therefore we must always fight.  

References

1 - Original title ‘L’Évangile Selon le Spiritisme’ first published in France, 1864. 1st Edition of this translation 1987 Translated by J. A. Duncan, 1987. ISBN 947823 09 3. Freely available at http://www.ssbaltimore.org/PDF/Gospel.pdf

Monday, June 1, 2015

Divaldo Franco and Rabindranath Tagore

This life is the crossing of a sea, 
where we meet in the same narrow ship. 
In death we reach the shore 
and go to different worlds. 
(R. Tagore, in Stray Birds, 1916 (4))

So I will sing and mine will be poems and songs of immortal kind. 
(R. Tagore, psychography Divaldo Franco, Pássaros Livres, 1990 (5)).

Certain things had happened to me 
when alone in my room which convinced me 
that there are spiritual intelligences 
which can warn us and advise us.  
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).
According to A. Kardec, mediumship, as the faculty of "people who can serve as intermediaries between the spirits and men" (1), is not simply a hability to communicate and exchange information. Psychography in particular is the ability that mediums have to lend their minds so that spirits can use them for writing including for manifesting artistic content. In this process, the spirit mentally induces ideas and concepts to the medium who can then either write with his own words what he perceives or use entire semantical expressions suggested by the spirit author. In this sense, we conceive the existence of a scale of mental transparency between the medium and the spirit author so that some mediums may faithfully replicate what the author intends to write while others only poorly transmit what they mentally listen or see. The use of poetic language, however, is a good indication of an efficient "channeling" process between the discarnate and the medium because subtle elements of identification may be transmitted. Automatic writing is the name given to a very specific kind of mediumship. The term "psychography" encompass a much broader kind of writing experience than automatic writing. Therefore the preference for this term by spiritists. 

An example of such phenomenon is Divaldo P. Franco (1927-) (2) collaboration with Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). According to Divaldo, he never heard about Tagore when he was first visited by his spirit in the year 1949. The episode is described by Divaldo himself as quoted in the book Semeador das Estrelas (3)  
In the year of the first psychographic works by Marco Prisco in 1949, I was lying on the bed a certain night when I heard a music of indefinable beauty played by a kind of zither. With the sound of such mournful and plangent music, I had a beautiful vision of grassy and flowered gardens severed by a brook of clear water on which a boat was sliding. On the boat a honorable entity dressing a white robe with a dark skin showed me a face with large, black and bright eyes and a blanched beard where silver threads could be seen. - "I'm Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet and wanted you to write some of my thoughts", said the spirit. I woke up immediately and got some material for the psychography, entering psychic trance after a while. I could still hear the beautiful and pervasive melody while I was writing. I confess that I never heard about that name before, nor had read anything on that spirit. From that night on, for a certain period, Tagore dictated several messages that were gathered in a book only published in 1965 entitled Filigranas de luz.
The author of "Stray Birds" (4) returned to sing new birds in books like Pássaros Livres ("Free Birds", 5) and Estesia ("Aesthesia"), after the first cited work Filigranas de Luz ("Watermarks of Light") in 1965. There are no English translations for the verses or texts (prose) in these books so I decided to provide rather sketchy versions from some excerpts below.   

It has been said that Tagore works in English do not faithfully represent their original beauty in Bengali (6). The famous Irish poet W. Butler Yeats (1865-1939) said "Tagore does not know English, no Indian knows English" (6 and 7). Is it then possible that, by writing through Divaldo's mind, Tagore managed to convey his thoughts better than if he had used Bengali and then an English translator? Anyway, the original language here is Portuguese and is very probable that some noise exist in the Tagore-Franco "mental link" as in the poor translation that I provide. However, we can imagine the potential use of mediumship in the future when the great discarnate artist of the past could be back to transmit new works in the medium's own language.

For that aim, they need only a faithful medium instrument.

Free Birds

My singings are songs that the heart unfasten with rapture thrill.
My songs are melodies that tenderness liberates from my soul's depths and launches toward travelling winds to reach far distances.
My sensibility is sharpen by love and I release the sweet music of hope standing on the tiny window of my pettiness.
I spread through the air the scores of a pentagram chanted by life from the bottom of my being.
By searching my King and my Lord, I modulate my word, I call, I sing and implore.
Like free birds dressed in light they fly to reach open space toward the infinite.
During either the heavy monsoons or droughts, my birds in the same way sing in freedom, enhancing the landscape with sound and beauty.
My birds are living poems of love that liberate themselves from the narrow cage of emotion where they are born to earn the vastness, like birds of happiness.
Take my songs my Lord and convert them into peace carrying birds heralding the eternal springtime for all the unfortunate ones in the world.
So I will sing and mine will be poems and songs of immortal kind.

R. Tagore (Divaldo Franco's psychography. Original in Portuguese, Pássaros Livres, in Pássaros Livres, 5)

Place of love

In everyone there is
A bare, unfathomed
Soundless, deep
Spotless hedge.

In every being there remains
A holly and ignored
Never encroached,
Enriched of tenderness,
Watchful world.

In the abyss of every soul there is
A rock,
A place, an isle,
A paradise
A corner of wonder
To be discovered.

In every heart
Dawn takes an open space,
A wide field
To be worked on,
Land of God,
Place of dream,
A haven for the future.

In every life
There is place for more lives,
As on every happiness,
A sweet gloom hovers
Presaging distress.

There is a place in me however,
In the isle of my undisclosed feelings,
An abyss of longing,
An ocean of hapiness,
A cosmos of fantasy,
To offer you
My Lord!

Come my beloved
King and Lord
Master my mistress,
Lead me on the way
Of redemption.

And take this odd and lone land,
To reign and cast your heavenly lights upon it
And happily will I move forward
Until the end of my forces
Bound to your redeeming duty.

Come my King
Into my nook
And make my life
A hymn of service
And for you an everlasting
Song of love.


R. Tagore (Divaldo Franco psychography. Original in Portuguese, Lugar de Amor, in Pássaros Livres, 5)

Birds of recollections

My recollections reach the depth that my memory allows. 
They are like migrating birds which often run away from past winter, searching for the pleasant heat of current summer and hovering on greyish landscapes so difficult to be rebuilt. 
In the time of the ever fleeting today, they become the hallmark of permanence, covering the distances created by the relentless passage of time. 
Your presence shade me either with the sadness of commited mistakes or with the lights of ennobled actions like a magic kaleidoscope of returns and evasions. 
Tears of regret run down my eyes that a hot kiss of happiness wipes out when the birds of my recollections arrive. 
Yet, your presence reaches me up as much as the cage of my memories permits, setting them free.   

R. Tagore (Divaldo Franco's psychography. Original in Portuguese, Os pássaros das recordações, in Pássaros Livres)

Far away reality

I dreamed of a dream...
Where all was cheerfull and sweet fascination
Where pain, suffering, sadness and evil were diluted
like soap bubbles in the air of a singing spring.
Cascading rivers were coloured by rays of a long lasting light
and men, in chattering groups, 
Celebrated love.
Unsuspected communion was everywhere
and the work was voluntary.
The poetry of the good declaimed touching verses
that creatures used to better understand and complete themselves.
I recalled war and hate, plagues and punishments. 
But nobody answered me, 
when I asked the happy citizens of the paradise.
Young and wise they were all at their conquered ages,
beyond conquered times...
Neither shadows nor stains could I find
and I realized that the pervading and flickering glare
was born here and there,
never extinguished in a night of lying victory.
I dreamed about a dream of a future,
when the carriage of the King of Youth and Peace
will tear a road in the infinite toward the never end.
Beloved king, whom I wish so much, I always dream of you,
However, today I dreamed about a dream...
Reality came and woke me up,
and told me a song of hope:
Love and wait!
Tomorrow you will no longer dream
because your dream will ever be.

R. Tagore (Divaldo Franco's psychography. Original in Portuguese, Realidade distante, in Estesia)

When I left

When I left wishing to earn the world but never loosing peace, you said: "Go my son, I will be with you".
I was then very young. I strived to conquer everything...
At the door of a lodge adorned with orange blossoms I asked you: "Will you write me, my mother?"
And you replied: "I will send you my news, because I will always be with you".
I took infinite routes of time and waited for your letter that never arrived.
My hands became callous.
My feet bleeded.
My body bent down with the weight of time but your words never reached me.

Pouring monsoons came dozens of times and the burning of land killed the orchad dozen occasions.
I eagerly stood before the gate of hope, waiting for your news.
Now when the snow of the years decorates my head and my sight fades away with the glazing light, I came to realize that I am the letter and message you delivered to the world, my mother, so that hope and beauty never miss in the hearts.

R. Tagore (Divaldo Franco's psychography. In Pássaros Livres)

References

(1) A. Kardec (1861) "The Medium's book", Spiritist Vocabulary. Chapter 32.

(2) http://www.divaldofranco.net/

(3) S. C. Schubert (1989). O Semeador de Estrelas, "The Sower of Stars", 4th Ed., Published by Livraria Espírita Alvorada.

(4) http://www.kkoworld.com/kitablar/Rabindranat_Taqor_Kocheri_qushlar_eng.pdf (access May 2015)

(5) D. Franco (1990). Pássaros Livres. 2nd Edition. Ed. Livraria Espírita Alvorada.

(6) See Amartya Sen opinion cited in Wikipedia: "anyone who knows Tagore's poems in their original Bengali cannot feel satisfied with any of the translations (made with or without Yeats's help). Even the translations of his prose works suffer, to some extent, from distortion." Originaly cited work: Sen, A. (1997), "Tagore and His India", The New York Review of Books.

(7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabindranath_Tagore.






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What death really is (by Andrew J. Davis)


"I do not promise to believe tomorrow exactly 
what I believe today, and I do not believe today 
exactly 
what I believed yesterday. I expect to make, as I have made, 
some honest progress within every 
succeeding twenty-four hours." A. J. Davis 
Beyond the Valley (1885) p. 134.

Andrew Jackson Davis (1826 – 1910) was a prominent American medium (1), regarded as "John the Baptist" of Spiritualism. We present an interesting text (2) by him below (extracted from his book "The Temple"), a report of his sights at the instant of death of a person. Obviously, his description below is not valid for every person and all types of deaths (he explains some conditions for this death in his text).  Even so, his vision transforms death into a glorious moment in the life of those who lived well to deserve it.
Death is the word used to signify "the end of life", spoken by persons who see not that seeming death is really ‘the beginning of life,’ and the opening of the sacred volume of eternity.  But let us peer through the seeming, into that which is within the veil.

The person is now dying; and it is to be a rapid death.  Observe something about temperature.  The feet are cold; the hands hot and white; a coldness pervades the entire cuticle.  See?  What is that accumulating in the atmosphere just over the pillowed head?  It is an ethereal emanation – a golden magnetic halo – a throbbing, almost self-conscious atmosphere.

The bodily temperature is now lowering rapidly.  The coldness has extended upward from the toes to the knees, and from the fingertips to the elbows; while, in exactly the same ratio, the emanation has ascended higher over the head.  The arms are now cold to the shoulders, and legs to the hips; and the emanation, although not higher in the air, is more expanded, with a compact white center, resembling the bright nucleus of a miniature sun. This brilliant central spot, is, in very truth, the brain of the new spiritual organism now forthcoming.

The death-cold steals over the heaving breast, and around on either side the temperature is greatly diminished.  Look now! The psychic emanation contains some proportion of every principle composing the soul – motion, life sensation, ethers; essences, vital magnetism, vital electricity, instincts – and, much enlarged by accessions, it has floated up in a compact mass, and now occupies a higher altitude near the ceiling. 
Now the lungs have ceased to breathe, the pulse is still, the physical heart is motionless; while the brain cells, the corpus callosum, the medulla, and the spinal cord and ganglia, are ablaze with contractive and expansive energies, which gently pulsate and seem to direct and govern themselves by a kind of automatic self-consciousness.  See!  The negative (gray) substance of the brain is interiorly throbbing – a slow, measured, profoundly deep throb – not painful, but massive and harmonious like the deep heart-beat of the sea.

Look up! The exalted emanation, obedient to its own changeless laws, is now elongated, and has attained a position at right angles with the horizontal body below.  Behold!  See how the outline of a beautiful human form is being fashioned within that emanation.  Beneath it is still tied by a white life-cord to the medulla and the corpus callosum within the brain.

You observe that a very fine vitalic thread still connects the vortices and central fibers of the dying brain with the lower extremities of the exalted outlined human being in the atmosphere. Notwithstanding the existence of this life thread, which acts like a telegraphic conductor – conveying messages in opposite directions at the same moment – you observe that the shadowy image enveloped in a golden emanation, continues almost imperceptibly to ascend skyward.

There! What do I now see?  A symmetrically shaped human head rising above the mass – slowly, beautifully rising out of the golden cloud of substantial principles.  And now appear the outlines of a spiritual countenance – a quiet face and full of beauty, surpassing the power of words to delineate.  Look again!  behold emerging the fair neck and beautiful shoulders; and see! as we gaze, out come one after the other, in a rapid succession, as if influenced and directed by the wand of a magician, all the parts of a new body – a bright, natural looking, yet spiritual image – only a little less than the deserted physical body, a perfect re-appearance of the person in the immediate heavens, prepared to accompany the celestial group of superintending intelligences to the Summerland.

What was that?  In the twinkling of an eye the vitalic electrical telegraphic thread was snapped – the yet lingering particles and principles were suddenly attracted upward and absorbed into the spiritual body – and lo! the new organization is free of terrestrial gravitations, is instantly and absolutely independent of the weights and cares that chained it firmly imprisoned to earth.  (Those only are free at death who have lived righteously. Any enthralling passion, the least feeling of duty undischarged, of injustice committed, holds the spirit to earth, as a ship is fastened by a heavy anchor.  Only the pure are free.)

Here now behold a true, substantial, immortal, spiritual body.  It was sown in darkness and dishonor; it is raised in beauty and brightness. Behold the contrast – the vastly wide difference – between the interior and outward.  Cast your eyes around the room.  There are many friends, aged relatives, and little children, in the death chamber; they mourn, without the comfort even of blind faith; they grieve, with only the whisperings of hope to the doubting ear; they gather around the prostrate, cold body; they press together the lids of the sightless eyes; in silence and in sorrow they withdraw from the scene; and now other hands commence those final preparations with which the living consecrate the dead.

But let us open our brighter eyes – the eyes that we shall all have when clothed with the deathless garment of immortality.  See! The newly organized spiritual body – surrounded by a group of guardian angels – moves gracefully off in the direction of celestial shores.  The arisen personality follows a vibrating thread of magnetic attraction, which while the dying mutations were in process we noticed penetrating the apartment and fastening itself to the earthly brain of the resurrected.  It comes floating down from the sensorium of superior intelligences – a golden fibrillous stream of telegraphic light – sent from on high, to greet with love and guide with wisdom the newly arisen.  The thought-laden love-thread tranquilly draws the new born higher up and farther away.

Over the velvet lands and flower fields of the celestial country the bending bow of eternal promise is visible, filling with indescribable beauty the boundless ocean of world-laden skies, which cover the infinite loveliness the immeasurable zone-lands of the Hereafter.”
References

(1) http://www.andrewjacksondavis.com/
(2) http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/the_death_process_as_described_by_andrew_jackson_davis 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Music sheets in video of discarnated composers (medium Rosemary Brown)


An unintentional search on the web made me find someone on youtube who has recently posted "video music sheets"  by famous discarnated composers under the mediumship of Rosemary Brown. As many people might know, we have already posted a text on her medium (1) who can be safely regarded as the most relevant manifestation of musical mediumship ever, a strangely and extremely rare kind of psychic ability.

These are the works I could find according to the spirit composer:

1) By Brahms:

Waltz in b-mollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPlRGLqeHwY

2) By Rachmaninoff:

Lyric in h-mollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bxuRekN0b0

3) By Debussy:

Danse Exotique in Fis-durhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpZ1gBAxFWY

4) By Chopin:

Nocturne in As-durhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JqnJ5qgDZI
Impromptu in f-moll, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-CzCd4AJyQ
Impromptu in Es-dur, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UT8dqabdf0

5) By Liszt:

 Lament in e-moll, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBhYgZoQpak
Waltz in b-moll, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPlRGLqeHwY
Jesus Walking on the Water, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdPQj4pXovQ

7) By Schubert (and played by Leslie Howard):

Sonata in f-mollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN3R_xwj1Rs

Schubert's sonata in particular called my attention because it is a complete work (not simply a "piece" as many Mrs. Brown's communications are presented). According to Wikipedia:
Sonata form (also sonata-allegro form or first movement form) is a large-scale musical structure used widely since the middle of the 18th century (the early Classical period).
The simplest sonata pattern has three phases: an exposition, a development and a recapitulation. The same reference explains:
The standard definition focuses on the thematic and harmonic organization of tonal materials that are presented in an exposition, elaborated and contrasted in a development and then resolved harmonically and thematically in a recapitulation. In addition, the standard definition recognizes that an introduction and a coda may be present. Each of the sections is often further divided or characterized by the particular means by which it accomplishes its function in the form. 
Regarding such Schubert sonata, it would be interesting to make a detailed musicological study in order to identify potential composer's signatures. Such study would remarkably demonstrate the influence of the discarnate mind, its intention and operational methods besides serving remarkable as new evidences of immortality.

References

(1) E. Bomfim (2014) Rosemary Brown and Psychic art, https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzdGM5lC6GhJRUY4R09UamxtSWM/edit?pli=1



Friday, February 27, 2015

The case for reincarnation (by Brian Foster)

The last one hundred and fifty years 
has commenced a quiet revolution, 
which is only beginning. The full extent has still 
not been revealed. The material disseminated so far 
is just the first push, to rebalance the equilibrium 
between materialism and spiritualism. For English 
speakers only a small percentage is yet translated. 
Hence, as each books is translated, new facets 
of spirit life and methods come to light.
Brian Foster, "The Case for Reincarnation - your path to perfection", Chapter 28, "Last Words") 
Brian Foster has just published his book "The Case for Reincarnation - your path to perfection" deserving some comments. Brian Foster is an American Spiritist who has been active in publishing several texts for the "Spiritist Knowledge" (1) blog, our repository of Spiritist articles. He is also the author of NWSpiritism (2) containing many illuminating articles about Spiritist books and fundamental concepts. Such fine analyses contribute to explain Spiritism to a wider audience in English speaking countries and, for this reason B. Foster is probably the American who best know Spiritism nowadays. 

The book scope is to answer some "easy" questions such as:

Why do we reincarnate;
How reincarnation works;
How many reincarnation we must have;
What memories are retained after reincarnation;
What kind of control do we have over the process;
Why suffering is necessary;
How to insure a better next life;
How many one must progress to become a perfect spirit.

Answers are given far from current controversies still existing in the Spiritualist movement and in such a way that they are one step ahead of present tentative explorations that only regard reincarnation as a hypothetical mechanism for anomalistic memories in children or in past life therapy reports. Foster has captured the inherent rational competence of Spiritist principles in explaining hidden aspects of the world around us - an ability requiring the recognition of what should be questioned first. Accordingly, only those who deeply know the principles can make the right questions in order to grasp and understand the true answers. 

Foster analysis are interesting because they show how the Spiritist knowledge can be assimilated worldwide, despite pessimistic views. According to some opinions, Spiritism was able to influence only a very restricted place in the world, namely, Latin America and, in particular, Brazil. The common argument is to invoke the adaptation of Spiritism - popular recognized as a religion - to the cultural Brazilian environment. This reasoning is however flawed because Spiritism is established upon solid philosophical (and not religious) basis. Therefore, Spiritism principles can be appreciated by any serious person, group of people or country, regardless the culture. 

Book Chapters

Brian's book is written as a manual of easy reading for the general audience. Some chapters, however, are even shorter in length than others. 
  1. Reincarnation - Why is it important?
  2. Why believe in Reincarnation.
  3. How do we tie our spirit to our body?
  4. Preparation for birth.
  5. Childhood.
  6. How you map out your trials on Earth.
  7. Why we must go through multiple trials.
  8. Interlude 1 - The past lives of Camilo Castelo Branco
  9. Why are some burdened with disabilities.
  10. Interlude 2 - The life of Amadeu Ferrari.
  11. Reincarnation and families
  12. Why are there difficult people in your life.
  13. Interlude 3 - The past life of Joseph Mery.
  14. How the process of reincarnation improves us.
  15. Introduction to Spiritism
  16. The power of thought.
  17. The difference between anger and indignation.
  18. Interlude 4 - The past life of Alfred and Ismalia.
  19. How to ascend.
  20. Types of trials which are not due to past wrongs.
  21. Interlude 5 - Beggar Woman found by Prince Galetzin.
  22. Trials of the rich.
  23. Trials of the poor.
  24. Trials of the middle class
  25. Interlude 6 - Two lifes - Souria-Omar and Epaminondas de Vigo
  26. Suicide - An undesirable method to escape your trial.
  27. Reincarnation - What have we learned.
  28. Last Words.
Chapter 24 was logically included by Brian since the world today is no longer divided between the "rich" and the "poor", there is fast-growing middle class. Also interesting are the "Interludes" where several practical cases are studied, providing a rich content for further discussions. Many of the chapter titles explain why the book may be considered a  "practical guide". 

References used by Foster are taken from the fundamental codification works by A. Kardec besides L. Denis (see "Bibliography"). The author also knows quite a lot about André Luiz whose works are cited in the book. Although the book scope is restricted to reincarnation, the book also touches other subjects of Spiritist interest and may be regarded as an introduction to Spiritism (See Chapter 15). What drew my attention the most was the peculiar way the author explains his understanding about the proposed questions. 

One can feel Brian Foster enthusiasm in his words cited in the beginning of this review once each new Spiritist book is translated into English. Far from confirming the thesis of immiscible cultural environments, the little impact Spiritim may have today on English speaking countries is probably cause by the lack of information transport: as new books are translated, a new world confirming and restating the reality of an American born movement and philosophical doctrine as Spiritualism is revealed (3).  

Such Knowledge together with recent Near Death reports and research on reincarnation will feed a very favorable future environment for a worldwide dissemination of Spiritist/Spiritualist principles - in line with the highest plans of moral reformation of our planet. This will take a lot of time, but the first steps were taken as revealed by Foster's book. 


Author's page on Amazon

Notes

(1) See: "Principles of Good Government as implied by the Spirit World" e "On the way to the light: the spiritist story of Earth as told by Emmanuel".
(2) See also: https://www.facebook.com/nwspiritism
(3) On the other side, the "new world" is described in the peculiar way this knowledge is represented and assimilated in the Spiritist movement in Brazil. The principles are however, exactly the same of Spiritualism.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

God and his causes III: unfolding a new image of the Universe.

In a series of previous posts, we saw that the Creation and the idea of God as described in "The Spirit's Book" (1) is significantly distinct from the commonly accepted notion of a personal God (according to most religions). The Spiritist notion is an alternative for those ideas in which God is not necessary (Atheism, for example), since the notion of God as a person - which make him an image of the human nature -  is not accepted by Spiritism. We explored the meaning in the concept of "primary cause" that can be applied even to the simplest phenomenon. Very often, the scope of scientific theories is the treatment of causes directly linked to phenomena, but scientific development can also lead to the discovery of more fundamental causes that should be regarded as primary ones.

The existence of a fundamentally distinct element in the Universe (the intelligent principle) has a complementary and paramount rule to play in the understanding of many phenomena around us, that are not directly accessible to our senses (see question #7 in (1)). The existence of such a principle was foresaw in question #23 of (1) as reproduced below:  

23.What is spirit ?
"The intelligent principle of the universe."

a) What is the essential nature of spirit ?
"This is impossible to explain in human language. For you, the spirit is nothing because it isn't tangible. For us, it's an objective reality as substantial as the body is to you. Know however: there is no such a thing as nothingness."

The more the spirit's existence and independence of matter are summarily ignored, the harder is to move forward, since in vain the causes of intelligent phenomena in Nature will be emulated by artificial and clever arrangements of matter. These simulations do not show that information can be generated by matter alone, but only that human intelligence is necessary to the task.  

On the other hand, a new way of understanding such totality - the base for future scientific development - will become apparent with the tacit acceptance of the intelligent principle as a fundamental and irreducible cause in Nature. 

Some comments about the Spiritist image of Creation
Fig. 1
Let us compare Fig. 1 with the equivalent image of the first post that invokes the Big Ban as the primary cause. Science has postulated the Big Bang as the primary cause of all that exist in accordance to the present scientific idea of "all". This cause not only generated the material principal (which is recognized as the only existent), but also the Universal laws at a very special moment of time. For the presently accepted cosmological theories, creation  was well determined process in "time" and "space" - in fact the Big Bang signaled the very creation of space-time.

However, the Big Bang is only an intermediary cause in creation. The origin of all is God, the true primary cause. Moreover, this creation is incessant (question #21, 1). Below God, there are three main causes that can be taken as "secondary": the material principle, the intelligent principle and Nature's laws. We saw that Nature's laws are also part of physical theories and by themselves they constitute a challenge for human understanding since not only an origin for matter is necessary but an origin for these laws must be found.

But, just as Nature's laws exist governing the relations among material ingredients in the Universe, there is also specific laws for the intelligent principle. Such laws dictate how this principle relates to other elements and how it evolves in time. Presently, we are incapable of speculating about the inner nature of this principle, but we know it exists. The attention of future science will be to study these new rules and to explain the spirit phenomena that derive from them. So, in the Fig. 1, we trace a parallel between how the laws relate to the material principle - resulting in purely material phenomena - and equivalent spirit laws that relate to the spirit principle and, therefore, cause the spirit phenomena.

In our present understanding level (2), Universal laws not only determine the relation among the principles, but how they interact. Therefore, we can foresaw an interface between spirit and mater that is governed by specific principles (see fluids, question #27,1).  This interface is full of rich phenomena and their own laws.

The primordial source of information in the Universe.

Acting on a higher level in relation to the principles that regulate matter, the intelligent principle is responsible for the perennial creation of information in the Universe. This information is transferred through a special language and a peculiar communication process convenient to this principle. In constant interaction with matter, which serves as sensory element, the intelligent principle evolves through a process we still do not dare to understand. After billions of years, this principle differentiated itself and became a Spirit, owner of a consciousness, personality and mental cosmos. 

Endowed with a conscience, the spirit starts to ask about its own existence. In an Universe of magnificent effects and infinite little causes, we find ourselves as part of Creation and, at the same time, creators at a microscopic scale. What secrets does Nature still hides from us on regard to our origin? On our level, we still grope in the darkness of our ignorance, but we can foresee our true heritage, the reason and destiny of our life - as far as we can know - an unreproducible act of love beyond any limits.

References and notes

1 - 'A. Kardec (1857), "The Spirit's Book";

 2 - We say "Nature's laws govern certain phenomena", however this is only a way to describe what we observe around according to our present level of understanding and sensory habilities. Very likely, there is a deep relation between the primary cause (God) and all things created so that "Nature's laws" are the way we apprehend tangibly the reality on our level of existence. In our "little world", everything happens as if "God were absent" since we have no special organs to sense him directly. (question #10, 1)


4 - God and his causes II - Primary and secondary causes - http://spiritistknowledge.blogspot.com.br/2014/07/god-ans-his-causes-i.html