At Rouen he was sentenced to pay a fine of three thousand francs in addition to imprisonment for seven years. He died in prison. The imposture regarding the Dauphin was like a torch-race — so soon as the lighted torch fell from the hand of one runner it was lifted by him who followed. Brunneau, having disappeared into the prison at Rouen, was succeeded by Henri Herbert who made a dramatic appearance in Austria in His account of himself, given in his book published in , and republished — with enlargements, by Chevalier del Corso in , is without any respect at all for the credulity of his readers.
The story tells how an alleged doctor, one answering to the not common name of Jenais—Ojar-dias, some time before the death of the Dauphin had had made a toy horse of sufficient size to contain the baby king, the opening to the interior of which was hidden by the saddle-cloth. The wife of the gaoler Simon, helped in the plot, the carrying out of which was attempted early in It would almost seem that the narrator here either lost his head or was seized with a violent cacoethes scrihendi, for he most unnecessarily again lugs in the episode adapted from Trojan history.
The worthy doctor of the double name had another horse manufactured, this time of life size.
Into the alleged entrails of this animal, which was harnessed with three real horses as one of a team of four, the Dauphin, once more drugged, was concealed. He was borne to refuge in Belgium, where he was placed under the protection of the Prince de Conde. By this protector he was, according to his story, sent to General Kleber who took him to Egypt as his nephew under the name of Monsieur Louis.
After the battle of Marengo in , he returned to France, where he confided his secret to Lucien Bonaparte and to Fouche the Minister of Police , who got him introduced to the Empress Josephine, who recognised him by a scar over his right eye. In still according to his story , he embarked for America and got away to the banks of the Amazon, where amid the burning deserts as he put it he had adventures capable of consuming lesser romancists with envy. Leaving the hospitable home of Don Juan, he returned to Paris in Having been repulsed by his alleged sister, the alleged king made a little excursion, embracing in its erratic course Rhodes, England, Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy.
When in Austria he met Silvio Pellico in prison. Having spent some years himself in prison in the same country, he went to Switzerland. Leaving Geneva in , he entered France, under the name of Herbert. To this appeal he appears to have received no direct reply; but apropos of it, Baron Mounier made a proposition to the Chamber that in future no such application should be received unless properly signed and attested and presented by a member of the Chamber.
He gathered round him some dupes who believed in him. To these he told a number of strange lies based on some form of perverted truth, but always taking care that those of whom he spoke were already dead. Amongst them was the wife of Simon, who had died in In the course of his citation of the above names, he plays havoc with generally accepted history — Desault according to him did not die naturally but was poisoned. Pichegru died from a similar cause and not by suicide. Fualdes was assassinated, but it was because he knew the fatal secret.
With regard to one of his dead witnesses whose name was Thomas—Ignace-Martin de Gallardon, there is a rigmarole which would not be accepted in the nursery of an idiot asylum. There is a mixture of Pagan mythology and Christian hagiology which would have been condemned by Ananias himself.
In one passage he talks of seeing suddenly before him — he could not tell naturally enough whence he came — a sort of angel who had wings, a long coat and a high hat. This supernatural person ordered the narrator to tell the King that he was in danger, and the only way to avoid it was to have a good police and to keep the Sabbath.
Having given his message the visitant rose in the air and disappeared. Later on the suggested angel told him to communicate with the Due Decazes. The Duke naturally, and wisely enough, handed the credulous peasant over to the care of a doctor. Martin himself died, presumably by assassination, in But the consequences of this effort were disastrous to him. He was arrested in August, After hearing many witnesses the Court condemned him to imprisonment for twelve years. In and he published his memoirs — enlarged but omitting some of his earlier assertions, which had been disproved.
He returned to France after the amnesty of In he appealed — unheeded — to the National Assembly. He died in at Gleyze. This individual had appeared in Berlin in , and was married in Spandau eight years later. He may be considered as a fairly good all-round — if unsuccessful — criminal. In England he was imprisoned for debt. He died in Delft in This time the claimant to the Kingship of France was none other than a half-bred Iroquois, one called Eleazar, who appeared to be the ninth son of Thomas Williams, otherwise Thorakwaneken, and an Indian woman, Mary Ann Konwatewentala.
This lady, who spoke only Iroquois, said at the opportune time she was not the mother of Lazar Iroquois for Eleazar. She made her mark as she could not write. Eleazar had been almost an idiot till the age of thirteen; but, being struck on the head by a stone, recovered his memory and intelligence. He said he remembered sitting on the knees of a beautiful lady who wore a rich dress with a train. He also remembered seeing in his childhood a terrible person; shewn the picture of Simon he recognised him with terror.
He learned English but imperfectly, became a Protestant and a missionary and married. His profile was something like that of the typical Bourbon. The seal used was the seal of France, the one used by the old Monarchy. THE story of Mrs. Olive Serres, as nature made it, was one thing; it was quite another as she made it for herself. The result, before the story was completely told, was a third; and, compared with the other, one of transcendent importance. Altogether her efforts, whatsoever they were and crowned never so effectively, showed a triumph in its way of the thaumaturgic art of lying; but like all structures built on sand it collapsed eventually.
She, and a brother of no importance, were the children of a house painter living in Warwick, one Robert Wilmot, and of Anna Maria his wife. Having been born in she was under age when in she was married, the ceremony therefore requiring licence supported by bond and affidavit. Serres were separated in after the birth of two daughters, the elder of whom, born in , became in the wife of Antony Thomas Ryves a portrait painter — whom she divorced in Ryves twelve years later filed a petition praying that the marriage of her mother, made in , might be declared valid and she herself the legitimate issue of that marriage.
The case was heard in , Mrs. Ryves conducting it in person. Having produced sufficient evidence of the marriage and the birth, and there being no opposition, the Court almost as a matter of course pronounced the decree asked for. In this case no complications in the way of birth or marriage of Mrs. Serres were touched on. Robert Wilmot, the house-painter, had an elder brother James who became a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and went into the Church, taking his degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Through his College he was presented in to the living of Barton-on-the-heath, Warwickshire. The Statutes of his College contained a prohibition against marriage whilst a Fellow. James Wilmot D. James and Robert Wilmot had a sister Olive, who was born in and married in to William Payne with issue one daughter, Olivia, born in Robert Wilmot died in Out of these rough materials Mrs.
Olive Serres set herself in due course to construct and carry out, as time and opportunity allowed, and as occasions presented themselves and developed, a fraudulent romance in real life and action. She was, however, a very clever woman and in certain ways — as was afterwards proved by her literary and artistic work — well dowered by nature for the task — crooked though it was — which she set for herself. Her ability was shown not only by what she could do and did at this time of her life, but by the manner in which she developed her natural gifts as time went on.
In the sum of her working life, in which the perspective of days becomes merged in that of years, she touched on many subjects, not always of an ordinary kind, which shewed often that she was of conspicuous ability, having become accomplished in several branches of art. She was a painter of sufficient merit to have exhibited her work in the Royal Academy in and to be appointed landscape-painter to the Prince of Wales in She was a novelist, a press writer, an occasional poet and in many ways of a ready pen.
She was skilled in some forms of occultism, and could cast horoscopes; she wrote, in addition to a pamphlet on the same subject, a book on the writings of Junius, claiming to have discovered the identity of the author — none other than James Wilmot D. She wrote learnedly on disguised handwriting. In fact she touched on the many phases of literary effort which come within the scope of those who live by the work of their brains.
Perhaps, indeed, it was her facility as a writer that helped to lead her astray; for in her practical draughtsmanship and in her brain teeming with romantic ideas she found a means of availing herself of opportunities suggested by her reckless ambition. But when she saw her way to an effective scheme of enlarging her self-importance she acted with extraordinary daring and resource. As is usual with such natures, when moral restraints have been abandoned, the pendulum swung to its opposite. As she had been lowly she determined to be proud; and having fixed on her objective began to elaborate a consistent scheme, utilising the facts of her own surroundings as the foundation of her imposture.
- King, Jason.
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- La morte amoureuse et autres contes fantastiques (Petits Classiques Larousse t. 47) (French Edition)!
She probably realised early that there must be a base somewhere, and so proceeded to manufacture or arrange for herself a new identity into which the demonstrable facts of her actual life could be wrought. At the same time she manifestly realised that in a similar way fact and intention must be interwoven throughout the whole of her contemplated creation. Accordingly she created for herself a new milieu which she supported by forged documents of so clever a conceit and such excellent workmanship, that they misled all who investigated them, until they came within the purview of the great lawyers of the day whose knowledge, logical power, skill and determination were arrayed against her.
By a sort of intellectual metabolism she changed the identities and conditions of her own relations whom I have mentioned, always taking care that her story held together in essential possibilities, and making use of the abnormalities of those whose prototypes she introduced into fictional life. The changes made in her world of new conditions were mainly as follows: Her uncle, the Reverend James, who as a man of learning and dignity was accustomed to high-class society, and as a preacher of eminence occasionally in touch with Crown and Court, became her father; and she herself the child of a secret marriage with a great lady whose personal rank and condition would reflect importance on her daughter.
But proof, or alleged proof, of some kind would be necessary and there were too many persons at present living whose testimony would be available for her undoing. So her uncle James shifted his place and became her grandfather. To this the circumstances of his earlier life gave credibility in two ways; firstly because they allowed of his having made a secret marriage, since he was forbidden to marry by the statutes of his college, and secondly because they gave a reasonable excuse for concealing his marriage and the birth of a child, publicity regarding which would have cost him his livelihood.
At this point the story began to grow logically, and the whole scheme to expand cohesively. Her genius as a writer of fiction was being proved; and with the strengthening of the intellectual nature came the atrophy of the moral. She began to look higher; and the seeds of imagination took root in her vanity till the madness latent in her nature turned wishes into beliefs and beliefs into facts. As she was imagining on her own behoof, why not imagine beneficially? This all took time, so that when she was well prepared for her venture things had moved on in the nation and the world as well as in her fictitious romance.
Manifestly she could not make a start on her venture until the possibility vanished of witnesses from the inner circle of her own family being brought against her; so that she could not safely begin machinations for some time. She determined however to be ready when occasion should serve.
In the meantime she had to lead two lives. Outwardly she was Olive Serres, daughter of Robert Wilmot born in and married in , and mother of two daughters. Inwardly she was the same woman with the same birth, marriage and motherhood, but of different descent being imaginatively grand-daughter of her real uncle the Rev. The gaps in the imaginary descent having been thus filled up as made and provided in her own mind, she felt more safe. Her uncle — so ran her fiction — had early in his college life met and become friends with Count Stanislaus Poniatowski who later became by election King of Poland.
To them was born, in , a daughter Olive, the marriage being kept secret for family reasons, and the child for the same reason being passed off as the offspring of Robert the housepainter. They fell in love with each other and were privately married — by the Rev. They had issue one daughter, Olive, born at Warwick 3 April After living with her for four years the Duke of Cumberland deserted his wife, who was then pregnant, and in married — bigamously, it was alleged — Lady Anne Horton, sister of Colonel Luttrell, daughter of Lord Irnliam, and widow of Andrew Horton of Catton, Derbyshire.
The alleged Royal Duchess died in France in , and the Duke in Thus fact and fiction were arrayed together in a very cunning way. The birth of Olive Wilmot afterwards Serres in was proved by a genuine registry. Likewise that of her daughter Mrs. For all the rest the certificates were forged.
Moreover there w T as proof of another Olive Wilmot whose existence, supported by genuine registration, might avert suspicion; since it would be difficult to prove after a lapse of time that the Olive Wilmot born at Warwick in daughter of Robert the house-painter , was not the granddaughter of James the Doctor of Divinity. In case of necessity the real date of the birth of Olive Wilmot sister of the Rev. It was only in that Mrs. Serres began to take active measures for carrying her imposture into action; and in the process she made some tentative efforts which afterwards made difficulty for her.
This she amended later in the same year by alleging that she was a natural daughter of the Duke by the sister of Doctor Wilmot, whom he had seduced under promise of marriage. It was not till after the deaths of George III and the Duke of Kent in , that the story took its third and final form. It should be noticed that care was taken not to clash with laws already in existence or to run counter to generally received facts. Therefore Mrs. Serres had fixed the alleged marriage of the alleged Olive Wilmot with the Duke of Cumberland as in — five years earlier — so that the Act could not be brought forward as a bar to its validity.
Up to such marriages could take place legally. Indeed there was actually a case in existence — the Duke of Gloucester another brother of the King having married the dowager Countess of Waldegrave. The various allegations of Mrs. Accordingly a law-case was entered. One which became a cause celebre. It began in — just about a hundred years from the time of the alleged marriage. With such a long gap the difficulties of disproving Mrs. But there was no help for it; reasons of State forbade the acceptance or even the doubt of such a claim.
The really important point was that if by any chance the claimant should win, the Succession would be endangered. There was a special jury. Ryves, daughter of Mrs. Serres, was the petitioner. Associated with her in the claim was her son, who, however, is of no interest in the matter and need not be considered.
The petition stated that Mrs. Ryves was the legitimate daughter of one John Thomas Serres and Olive his wife, the said Olive being, whilst living, a natural-born subject and the legitimate daughter of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Olive Wilmot, his wife. That a child, Olive, was born to them on 3 April , who in was married to John Thomas Serres. And so on in accordance with the alleged facts above given.
The strange position was that even if the petitioner should win her main case she would prove her own illegitimacy. For granting that the alleged Olive Serres should have been legally married to the Duke of Cumberland, the Royal Marriage Act, passed five years later, forbade the union of the child of such a marriage, except with the sanction of the reigning monarch.
In the making of the claim of Mrs. Ryves a grave matter appeared — one which rendered it absolutely necessary that the case should be heard in the most formal and adequate way and settled once for all. The matter was one affecting the legality of the marriage of George III, and so touching the legitimacy of his son afterwards George IV, his son afterwards William IV and his son the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria — and so debarring them and all their descendants from the Crown of England.
The points of contact were in documents insidiously though not overtly produced and the preparation of which showed much constructive skill in the world of fiction. Amongst the many documents put in evidence by the Counsel for Mrs. Ryves were two certificates of the alleged marriage between Olive Wilmot and the Duke of Cumberland. On the back of each of these alleged certificates was written what purported to be a certificate of the marriage of George III to Hannah Lightfoot performed in by J.
The wording of the documents varied slightly. It was thus that the claim of Mrs. Ryves and her son became linked up with the present and future destinies of England. These alleged documents too, brought the Attorney General upon the scene. There were two reasons for this. Firstly the action had to be taken against the Crown in the matter of form; secondly in such a case with the possibility of such vast issues it was absolutely necessary that every position should be carefully guarded, every allegation jealously examined.
In each case the Attorney General was the proper official to act. The Case of the Petitioners was prepared with extraordinary care. There were amongst the documents produced, numbering over seventy, some containing amongst them forty-three signatures of Dr. Wilmot, sixteen of Lord Chatham, twelve of Mr. Their counsel stated that although these documents had been repeatedly brought to the notice of the successive Ministers of the Crown, it had never been suggested until that day that they were forgeries. This latter statement was traversed in Court by the Lord Chief Baron, who called attention to a debate on the subject in the House of Commons in which they were denounced as forgeries.
The case for the Crown was strongly supported. Hannen and Mr. The Attorney-General made the defence himself. At the outset it was difficult to know where to begin, for everywhere undoubted and unchallenged facts were interwoven with the structure of the case ; and of all the weaknesses and foibles of the important persons mentioned, full advantage was taken. The marriage of the Duke of Gloucester to Lady Waldegrave had made him unpopular in every way, and he was at the time a persona ingrata at Court.
The case of Mrs. Ryves, tried in , in which her own legitimacy had been proved and in which indisputable documents had been used, was taken as a proof of her bona fides. Ryves herself was in the box for nearly the whole of three days, during which she bore herself firmly, refusing even to sit down when the presiding judge courteously extended that privilege to her.
She was then, by her own statement, over seventy years of age. That its folly and absurdity were equal to its audacity; in every stage it exposed itself to conviction by the simplest tests. He added that the Petitioner might have dwelt so long upon documents produced and fabricated by others, that, with her memory impaired by old age, the principle of veracity might have been poisoned, and the offices of imagination and memory confounded to such an extent that she really believed that things had been done and said in her presence which were in fact entirely imaginary.
No part of her story was corroborated by a single authentic document, or by a single extrinsic fact. The forgery, falsehood and fraud of the case were proved in many ways. The explanations were as false and feeble as the story itself. Serres herself. Having commented on some other matters spoken of, but regarding which no evidence was adduced, he proceeded to speak of the alleged wife of Joseph Wilmot D.
The internal evidence proved that they were the most ridiculous, absurd, preposterous series of forgeries that the perverted ingenuity of man ever invented. This was but a new variant of the remark made by the Lord Chief Justice, just after the putting-in of the alleged marriage Certificate of the Prince of Wales and Hannah Lightfoot:. The Court has no difficulty in coming to the conclusion, even assuming that the signatures had that character of genuineness which they have not, that what is asserted in these documents has not the slightest foundation in fact.
With this view the Lord Chief Baron and the Judge—Ordinary entirely concurred, the former adding: the declarations of Hannah Lightfoot, if there ever was such a person, cannot be received in evidence on the faith of these documents. I think that these documents, which the Lord Chief Justice has treated with all the respect which properly belongs to them, are not genuine. Before the Attorney General had finished the statement of his case, he was interrupted by the foreman of the jury, who said that the jury were unanimously of opinion that there was no necessity to hear any further evidence as they were convinced that the signatures of the documents were not genuine.
On this the Lord Chief Justice said:.
Towards the conclusion of his summing-up he said, in speaking of the various conflicting stories put forth by Mrs. What was the irresistible inference? Why, that documents were from time to time prepared to meet the form which her claims from time to time assumed. Ryves, was the legitimate daughter of Henry Frederick Duke of Cumberland and Olive his wife; and they were not satisfied that Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, was lawfully married to Olive Wilmot on the 4th of March Serres is an instance of how a person, otherwise comparatively harmless but afflicted with vanity and egotism, may be led away into evil courses, from which, had she realised their full iniquity, she might have shrunk.
The only thing outside the case we have been considering, was that she separated from her husband; which indeed was an affliction rather than a crime. She had been married for thirteen years and had borne two children, but so far as we know no impropriety was ever alleged against her. One of her daughters remained her constant companion till her twenty-second year and through her long life held her and her memory in filial devotion and respect.
The forethought, labour and invention which she devoted to the fraud, if properly and honestly used, might have won for her a noteworthy place in the history of her time. I FEEL that I ought to begin this record with an apology to the manes of a great and fearless scholar, as earnest as he was honest, as open-minded as he was great-hearted. I do so because I wish to do what an unimportant man can after the lapse of centuries, to help a younger generation to understand what such a man as I write of can do and did under circumstances not possible in times of greater enlightenment.
The lesson which the story can tell to thinking youth cannot be told in vain. The greatest asset which worth has in this world is the irony of time. Contemporaneous opinion, though often correct, is generally on the meagre side of appreciation — practically always so with regard to anything new. Such must in any case be encountered in matters of the sixteenth century which being on the further side of an age of discovery and reform had hardened almost to the stage of ossification the beliefs and methods of the outgoing order of things.
Prejudice — especially when it is based on science and religion — dies hard: the very spirit whence originates a stage of progress or reform, makes its inherited follower tenacious of its traditions how- ever short they may be. This is why any who, in this later and more open minded age, may investigate the intellectual discoveries of the past, owe a special debt in the way of justice to the memories of those to whom such fresh light is due. The name and story of the individual known as Paracelsus — scholar, scientist, open minded thinker and teacher, earnest investigator and searcher for elemental truths — is a case in point.
Let us begin with the facts of his life. He was born in It was not uncommon for a man of that age who was striving to make a name for himself, to assume some nom de plume or de guerre; and with such a family record as his own, it was no wonder that on the threshold of his life the young Theophrastus did so. Celsus appears to have had views of great enlightenment according to the thought of his own time.
Unhappily only fragments of his work remain, but as he was a follower of Epicurus after an interval of between four and five centuries, it is possible to get some idea of his main propositions. Like Epicurus he stood for nature. He did not believe in fatalism, but he did in a supreme power. He was a Platonist and held that there was no truth which was against nature. It is easy to see from his life and work that Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim shared his views. His intellectual attitude was that of a true scientist — denying nothing prima facie but investigating all.
His father moved in to Villach in Carinthia, where he practised medicine till his death in Theophrastus was a precocious boy; after youthful study with his father, he entered the University of Basel when he was about sixteen, after which he prosecuted chemical researches under the learned Trithemius Bishop of Sponheim who had written on the subject of the Great elixir — the common subject of the scientists of that day, — and at Wurzburg. From thence he proceeded to the great mines in the Tyrol, then belonging to the Fugger family.
Here he studied geology and its kindred branches of learning — especially those dealing with effects and so far as possible with causes — metallurgy, mineral waters, and the diseases of and accidents to mines and miners. The theory of knowledge which he deduced from these studies was that we must learn nature from nature.
In , he returned to Basel, where he was appointed town physician. It was a characteristic of his independence and of his mind, method and design, that he lectured in the language of the place, German, foregoing the Latin tongue, usual up to that time for such teaching. He did not shrink from a bold criticism of the medical ideas and methods then current. The effect of this independence and teaching was that for a couple of years his reputation and his practice increased wonderfully.
But the time thus passed allowed his enemies not only to see the danger for them that lay ahead, but to take such action as they could to obviate it. Reactionary forces are generally — if not always — self — protective, without regard to the right or wrong of the matter, and Paracelsus began to find that the self-interest and ignorance of the many were too strong for him, and that their unscrupulous attacks began to injure his work seriously.
He was called conjurer, necromancer, and many such terms of obloquy. As he had kept a careful eye on the purity of medicines in use, the apothecaries, who, in those days worked in a smaller field than now, and who found their commerce more productive through guile than excellence, became almost declared opponents. Eventually he had to leave Basel. He went to Esslingen, from which however he had to retire at no distant period from sheer want.
Then began a period of wandering which really lasted for the last dozen years of his life. This time was mainly one of learning in many ways of many things. When he got tired of his wandering life, he settled down in Salsburg, in , under the care and protection of the Archbishop Ernst. But he did not long survive the prospect of rest; he died later in the same year. The cause of his death is not known with any certainty, but we can guess that he had clamorous enemies as well as strong upholding from the conflicting causes given.
Some said that he died from the effects of a protracted debauch, others that he was murdered by physicians and apothecaries, or their agents, who had thrown him over a cliff. In proof of this story it was said that the surgeons had found a flaw or fracture in his skull which must have been produced during life.
He was buried in the churchyard of Saint Sebastian; but two centuries later, , his bones were moved to the porch of the church, and a monument erected over them. His first book was printed in Augsburg in His real monument was the collection of his complete writings so far as was possible, the long work of Johann Huser made in — This great work was published in German, from printed copy supplemented by such manuscript as could be discovered.
Then and ever since there has been a perpetual rain of statements against him and his beliefs. Most of them are too silly for words; but it is a little disconcerting to find one writer of some distinction repeating so late as all the malignant twaddle of three centuries, saying amongst other things that he believed in the transmutation of metals and the possibility of an elixir vital, that he boasted of having spirits at his command, one of which he kept imprisoned in the hilt of his sword and another in a jewel; that he could make any one live forever; that he was proud to be called a magician; and had boasted of having a regular correspondence with Galen in Hell.
The same indifference may now and again have been exhibited in the case of men like Paracelsus. Some things said of him may be accepted as being partially time, for his was an age of mysticism, occultism, astrology, and all manner of strange and weird beliefs. For instance it is alleged that he held that life is an emanation from the stars; that the sun governed the heart, the moon the brain, Jupiter the liver, Saturn the gall, Mercury the lungs, Mars the bile, Venus the loins; that in each stomach is a demon, that the belly is the grand laboratory where all the ingredients are apportioned and mixed; and that gold could cure ossification of the heart.
Is it any wonder that when in this age after centuries of progress such absurd things are current Paracelsus is shewn in contemporary and later portraits with a jewel in his hand transcribed Azoth — the name given to his familiar daemon. Those who repeat ad nauseam the absurd stories of his alchemy generally omit to mention his genuine discoveries and to tell of the wide scope of his teaching.
That he used mercury and opium for healing purposes at a time when they were condemned; that he did all he could to stop the practice of administering the vile electuaries of the mediaeval pharmacopoeia; that he was one of the first to use laudanum; that he perpetually held — to his own detriment — that medical science should not be secret; that he blamed strongly the fashion of his time of accounting for natural phenomena by the intervention of spirits or occult forces; that he deprecated astrology; that he insisted on the proper investigation of the properties of drugs and that they should be used more simply and in smaller doses.
To these benefits and reforms his enemies answered that he had made a pact with the devil. For reward of his labours, his genius, his fearless struggle for human good he had — with the exception of a few spells of prosperity — only penury, want, malicious ill-fame and ceaseless attacks by the professors of religion and science.
The same goes double for gods. Also, outlaws and exiles live in miserable camps in the interior and raid any hunting parties they come across, while deceptive geography and weather also kill their fair share of Madlanders every year. Game Idea A hunting party has encountered a group of outlaws desperate for weapons and food! Can the players outsmart the hardened criminals and destroy their camp, navigating past traps, ambushes, and dangerous wildlife?
Game Idea A giant bear is threatening the village. The players are tasked with hunting it down and killing it, but must also face its enraged mate and near-mature offspring.
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Good question as well as squid and crab. Crabs deserve special mention; crabbing boats are smaller and have a much easier time than their fishing-focused cousins, and hunters scramble to claim a position on them and avoid the more dangerous open water. And dangerous it is; though the water is actually warm enough to prevent hypothermia, drowning is a concern and storms are frequent and often devastating. Game Idea A storm has swept your crabbing boat out to sea, into the shore of a mysterious island.
Can your party, the mixed hunters and fishers who survived the wreck, find out where they landed and eke out survival? The party must prepare their fleet for war, building warships, collecting weapons, and even calling on neighboring villages for help. Food is a huge deal in the Madlands; pleasure needs to be found wherever it can, and food and drink serve that purpose admirably. Madlander food is strong in taste and smell beyond belief due to heavy use of many different kinds of tubers, all of which grow fast in village plots tended by the women but need intense care to protect them from weeds, insects, and the shitty, sandy soil the women grow them in.
Once grown, these tubers are carefully stored, then shredded and dried before use. The authors then list the varieties of tuber grown by Madlanders: bozatu not-potato , kakew spice plant with many uses , kawi not-carrot , pi ev mega-horseradish , katti sweet and sweetener , nuwidap not-sweet potato , te ekke flavorless plant that absorbs tastes from the soil it grows in and nivi preservative.
If these are to be used, the book presents a healing salve not a health potion, just helps you heal faster , an addiction cure and universal antidote, and a short-term memory loss drug. Game Idea 21 : The healing salves so important to the village have stopped working! The characters are tasked by the village council with finding out what supernatural forces are foiling these vital brews. By the way, the Madlands are extremely deadly and without medicinal brews your characters have a good chance to die in every combat.
Is it just me, or does that fish have the face of Danny de Vito? Cooking is important to Madlanders but less important to me. Basically, they have little oven-pots they heat up in the fire and then use to grill, boil, or fry food; said cooking is done in the wavobak and served communally.
Speaking of zoxibek! Somehow I managed to go through 3 years in a fraternity without learning shit about alcohol. Also, we spent more time on nerd things as we did on booze; I played my first tabletop RPG there and when I left there were 3 active campaigns and 2 homebrew systems under construction. In other words, typical frat life Both genders brew zoxibek and brewers gain great prestige; their products are usually too strong to drink without watering down and super-watered-down versions are given to kids. Though booze is beloved, being boozed up is not; drunks are shamed and censured by the community.
Of course Madlanders use static blueprints and build their buildings in exactly the same way! Wavobeks are where every Madlander lives; each clan occupies one by itself. Resembling upside-down boats, these longhouses are divided up into little alcoves for each family Madlanders like it crowed. Cooking is done on wood fires in a trough down the center, while smoke holes let woodsmoke out and can be plugged to keep the heat in.
Apparently, sleeping areas are covered in a periodically-changed layer of wood chips and shavings, which I believe people have to sleep in. I hope you like splinters! Can the players come up with a way to fight back, using any means at their disposal to kill the whale? By the way, a sidebar talks about carpenter stereotypes; Madlanders consider carpenters arrogant pricks who think they know everything and have stories to back this up.
Mostly, Madlanders build shit out of wood or bone, depending on the object, with a few objects such as cooking pots made out of clay. It outright informs us that women are more creative and would totally innovate with metal if they were allowed to smith, once again reinforcing gender roles while trying to break them. However, they do love their arts and crafts, which are mostly used for decoration. For some reason, the book gives us an entire 3-paragraph sidebar on hairstyles; men shave their heads before fishing season and sometimes wear a ponytail, women wear braids or multiple ponytails with decorative things woven in, and both genders dye their hair.
Moving on. How interesting! This image is too boring to give a funny caption. The music section opens with telling us instruments are made by women and played by men, Thanks, game! Madlanders use wood flutes, drums, and a 3-string double bass; some songs are purely instrumental and improvisational, others include singing and follow a more set form — and this time women are included as singers! Only men can play instruments. Why are they doing this? Are they a shaman? Are they just stuck in their ways? Will the target villager do anything about it? The disadvantage of loincloths.
No, not tabletop games; how would illiterate villagers make character sheets? Madlanders love their games, which come in many shapes and sizes, and they also love to bet; they use hypothetical useless fish as pseudo-currency and just have somebody with a good memory keep tract of them all. As games serve the purpose of diffusing tension through fair competition, cheating in a game is viewed as a possible indication of possession or shamanism which can lead to execution or exile.
Beetle fighting is popular; villagers take not-stag beetles, train them and paint them in clan colors, and have them fight until one gets flipped over. The book also mentions not-hackeysack in some detail, and not-chess, not-dice, vole racing, and wrestling without detail. But there is one game that outshines all the others, a game I saved for last. These two like getting each other sticky.
Normally, the games described in the book have their name given in Madlander, often with a translation. This game is just called Trouble Fish, with no translation given. Before the game, each villager is given a basket with three of those useless fish mentioned earlier coated in glue. The idea is to run around the village slapping each other with fish, as a slapee is visibly fished and out of the game; no physical contact is allowed between players outside of fish-slapping but otherwise anything goes.
Stealth and cleverness are rewarded with victory except in two situations; the glue can be dissolved in seawater, so any wet player is automatically disqualified, while leaving village limits also disqualifies you. Finally the book points out everyone of every age and gender plays Trouble Fish as long as they want to. Game Ideas: 23 Should I stop doing these? I think I've made my point. Then, we can get to the gods that make the Madlands so, well, mad.
The gods of the Madlands are the ultimate source of its supernatural troubles. Though it seems weird to ask if a god can be insane, these ones certainly appear to be; nothing they do is consistent 'cept for Bett Agwo, we'll get to him and they warp reality around them in unpredictable ways. According to the book, encounters with the gods should be exceedingly rare, usually indirect, and always significantly alter the campaign.
The insanity of the gods extends to their behavior; the GM is encouraged to have rules the gods follow but change them up from time to time, allow them to travel through space and time, and alter their personalities to keep players guessing. The book also suggests they might be beholden to outside forces that modify their behavior, but I feel that cheapens their unpredictability so fuck that.
Would you like to sign a contract? Bax Powu Kag, the moose, is not depicted above; he has no picture. He manifests as a weird moose-like animal with grey fur and usually no antlers and he generally avoids humans; nobody seems to know all that much about him because of that. Some people become so desperately unhappy they attempt suicide or just give up, stop moving and starve to death on the spot. However, that pressure could very easily go wrong. I guess you could say that for the other gods, though. They all pose issues for use in a campaign, but, eh. Pictured above is Bett Agwo, the Hare.
Unlike his fellow gods, Bett Agwo is aware of his godhood, only shows up as a regular hare instead of a giant magic whatever, has a consistent personality, and actively tries to help the people he encounters. If spoken to, Bett Agwo is distracted, wordy, and forgetful, with a low quavery voice. However, he makes a great backstory character and a solid randomizer if applied to NPCs. Is it the gods? The way they manifest varies wildly; they might be encountered as transparent versions, disembodied body parts, completely disembodied voices in the woods, normal except for see-through skin showing internal organs, fading in and out, black-and white, shapes with fewer or more dimensions than are strictly necessary, hallucinations or visions, constructed from nearby materials like pine needles or boulders they sometimes leave these temporary bodies behind as stat , transforming into something else or all of the above.
If they show up as something visibly impossible, they inflict insanity Call of Cthulhu-style. Since just being around the gods can bring on the crazy, the book advises you as I mentioned earlier to be indirect and have them encounter divine detritus. Holding your sword like that just makes you look like a tool, guy. Gakox Pezep, the Cougar, is described as the most dangerous god of all — even though they said the same of Bett Agwo three pages back. The book mentions him razing a village, popping into friendly-form, and asking what all the fuss is about.
He can be helpful to his shamans and lucky encounterees, but usually he just eats them. Or invites them to a tea party. In game, Gakox Pezep mostly useful as a threat of some kind, either menacing the village or stomping something into oblivion and changing the game. Bubzavav is a giant, sentient bear. Bubzavav is eternally hungry. Or ignore the post Madlander TV is pretty wild. Vuvuti, like many mythical owls, represents knowledge and wisdom.
Vuvuti, like all Madlander deities, represents shit you want to stay away from. He tends to manifest as a big honking horned owl, usually human-sized, with massive dishpan eyes. As far as Madlander gods go, though, his particular brand of shamanism is light; in exchange for the ability to see the future, find hidden objects, and learn secrets, he just wants to peck out your eye.
As far as Madlander gods go, Vuvuti is pretty good for games; his visions are great for sparking quests to save doomed villages or go adventuring deep into the Madlands, while his shamans make great villains. Since they only have to give up body parts with no further strings attached, Vuvuti shamans have freedom of movement and incredible intrigue potential; the only way to identify one aside from catching one casting a spell is to look for lost body parts, which are pretty common in a place as dangerous as the Madlands.
A-, would use. Madlands gods, for all their inherent violence and insanity, seem to actually get along pretty well. Their chests and torsos are like those of big potbellied grizzly bears. Their postures are upright, like a man's. Mounted on their shoulders are tiny arms like those of a small child. On the end of each arm are the sharp claws of a wolverine. Their powerful legs are designed like a toad's, but their huge feet resemble those of no known beast, long and flat like planks from a ship deck.
With these fearsome appendages they bound across the landscape, leaping miles at a time, smashing anything they touch down on. They anchor these leaps with a thick tail, resembling a shortened squid's tentacle, protruding from their hindquarters. Their freakish bodies are covered from head to toe in thick brown fur like a moose's. The gods of the Madlands are distant, alien, and rarely encountered. The monsters of the Madlands are none of those things. In general, hunters will encounter one of these things at least once a year, possibly more, which is bad because their stats are fucking bonkers to a man.
While the gods symbolize Madlander failings in a more abstract, generalized way, monsters hit much closer.
Kris Aquino (Author of Dimensions by Kris Aquino ( Books ))
I could go through the gods without delving into what they mean in Madlands culture. Every Madlands monster used to be a human being. To Madlanders, society is literally built into human blood, and becoming a monster corrupts your blood and makes you incapable of social function. The book goes out of its way to say this theory is a best flawed, though, so. They move through the air as a manta ray swims through the ocean. Their hides match the complexion of Madlander skin. A pair of human-looking eyes is mounted front and center on its top surface.
Anyone foolish enough to closely examine a boneless will discover vestigial remnants of its original human form scattered randomly about its hide - an ear, a few teeth, some hair, a nipple. Along its underside they'll find hundreds of enlarged pores about a fifth of an inch in diameter. In living specimens each pore will be sealed with a layer of yellow mucus.
Even hacking them apart doesn't stop them. If a faceless' legs are chopped off, it'll pull itself forward with its arms. If its arms are removed, it'll edge along on its stomach muscles like a caterpillar. If decapitated, its head will roll towards the one it seeks. If the skull is cracked open, the exposed brain will crawl out and creep on ahead. Other severed parts may also continue the pursuit: one victim may be pursued simultaneously by a faceless' head, both arms, torso, legs and ambulatory entrails. Each part carries the same degree of bad fortune as the whole.
Headless look kind of like normal humans except for, well, having no heads and faces in the middle of their chests. The only way they deal with the outside world is through violence against anything moving; animals, monsters, swaying, waterfalls, the gods. Survivors of headless encounters might begin to fear crowds, develop delusions that their chest is growing a face, or begin emphasizing their individuality to irritating extents. Headless represent mindless violence. A headless-equivalent approaches all problems with aggression and force, only for it to backfire when an attack goes wrong.
Those who resemble headless in mind leave a trail of destruction in their village like headless in body. The second-worst elves in the book. Ever heard of a redcap? Then how about a serial killer? Heightless are both. A few come from people smashed flat by gods. Unlike most monsters, however, most heightless originate as Madlanders. Occasionally, a Madlander will get away with murder. Such people, when they realize no retribution is coming, and even if the original murder was an act of passion, start to feel the impulse to kill again, and usually eventually succumb. They consider it an art form, choosing victims based on some twisted pattern and torturing them in some deeply fucked-up pattern before they finally expire.
For reasons unspecified by the book, all heightless wear felt caps they dip in the blood of their victims redcaps lol. Also unspecified is what they do if they encounter other monsters, which would be nice to know. Those who somehow survive a heightless attack will likely suffer PTSD. In the villages of the Madlands, no person is truly irreplaceable.
The heightless back up this notion by attempting to refute it. Elevating yourself above others through skill and intelligence, though our culture often prizes it, is dangerous and destructive in the Madlands. God, eyelid muscles are just the worst. Skinless lack, well, skin; their muscles are exposed to the open air and encircled by pulsing arteries and veins, and many have bags of glistening fat that hang off their bodies. Skinless remain as smart as they were in life after they transform though they do tend to develop [usually controllable] singular obsessions and they still have all the physical needs of a human being, unlike almost every other monster on the list.
However, the probably need more iron because their bodies leak a steady stream of blood from exposed muscle and veins. This leads to a slow, constant source of pain that makes them eternally irritable and resentful of more comfortable humans. Skinless, again like humans, gather with other skinless and form social structures.
They tend to gather around charismatic leaders who organize their troops in whatever method pleases them, often leading them in raids against human villages and sometimes trying to form vast skinless empires. In the warm er months, these communities live in makeshift camps and hunt in the surrounding forest; in the winter they go into caves and hang out near fires because cold makes them sluggish and exacerbates their pain.
I looked directly at the saint; his quick gaze rested on mine. He was plump and bearded, with dark skin and large, gleaming eyes. Can you materialize flowers? My own purpose is to demonstrate the power of God. Philosopher, you please my mind. Now, stretch forth your right hand. I was a few feet away from Gandha Baba; no one else was near enough to contact my body. I extended my hand, which the yogi did not touch. To my great surprise, the charming fragrance of rose was wafted strongly from the center of my palm.
I smilingly took a large white scentless flower from a near-by vase. A jasmine fragrance instantly shot from the petals. I thanked the wonder-worker and seated myself by one of his students. He informed me that Gandha Baba, whose proper name was Vishudhananda, had learned many astonishing yoga secrets from a master in Tibet. The Tibetan yogi, I was assured, had attained the age of over a thousand years. He is marvelous! Many members of the Calcutta intelligentsia are among his followers.
I inwardly resolved not to add myself to their number. With polite thanks to Gandha Baba, I departed. Sauntering home, I reflected on the three varied encounters the day had brought forth. A ludicrous bafflement passed over her face as she repeatedly sniffed the odor of jasmine from a type of flower she well knew to be scentless. Her reactions disarmed my suspicion that Gandha Baba had induced an auto-suggestive state whereby I alone could detect the fragrances.
Because the yogi was reputed to have the power of extracting objects out of thin air, I laughingly requested him to materialize some out-of-season tangerines. Each of the bread-envelopes proved to contain a peeled tangerine. I bit into my own with some trepidation, but found it delicious.
Years later I understood by inner realization how Gandha Baba accomplished his materializations. The method, alas! The different sensory stimuli to which man reacts—tactual, visual, gustatory, auditory, and olfactory—are produced by vibratory variations in electrons and protons. Gandha Baba, tuning himself with the cosmic force by certain yogic practices, was able to guide the lifetrons to rearrange their vibratory structure and objectivize the desired result.
His perfume, fruit and other miracles were actual materializations of mundane vibrations, and not inner sensations hypnotically produced. Having little purpose beyond entertainment, they are digressions from a serious search for God. Hypnotism has been used by physicians in minor operations as a sort of psychical chloroform for persons who might be endangered by an anesthetic.
But a hypnotic state is harmful to those often subjected to it; a negative psychological effect ensues which in time deranges the brain cells. Its temporary phenomena have nothing in common with the miracles performed by men of divine realization. Awake in God, true saints effect changes in this dream-world by means of a will harmoniously attuned to the Creative Cosmic Dreamer.
Ostentatious display of unusual powers are decried by masters. The Persian mystic, Abu Said, once laughed at certain fakirs who were proud of their miraculous powers over water, air, and space. A true man is he who dwells in righteousness among his fellow men, who buys and sells, yet is never for a single instant forgetful of God! Neither the impartial sage at Kalighat Temple nor the Tibetan-trained yogi had satisfied my yearning for a guru. When I finally met my master, he taught me by sublimity of example alone the measure of a true man.
Kali represents the eternal principle in nature. She is traditionally pictured as a four-armed woman, standing on the form of the God Shiva or the Infinite, because nature or the phenomenal world is rooted in the Noumenon. The four arms symbolize cardinal attributes, two beneficent, two destructive, indicating the essential duality of matter or creation.
Laymen scarcely realize the vast strides of twentieth-century science. Transmutation of metals and other alchemical dreams are seeing fulfillment every day in centers of scientific research over the world. The eminent French chemist, M. This noted French scientist has produced liquid air by an expansion method in which he has been able to separate the various gases of the air, and has discovered various means of mechanical utilization of differences of temperature in sea water.
Let us visit him tomorrow. This welcome suggestion came from Chandi, one of my high school friends. I was eager to meet the saint who, in his premonastic life, had caught and fought tigers with his naked hands. A boyish enthusiasm over such remarkable feats was strong within me.
The next day dawned wintry cold, but Chandi and I sallied forth gaily. After much vain hunting in Bhowanipur, outside Calcutta, we arrived at the right house. The door held two iron rings, which I sounded piercingly. Notwithstanding the clamor, a servant approached with leisurely gait.
Feeling the silent rebuke, my companion and I were thankful to be invited into the parlor. Our long wait there caused uncomfortable misgivings. This psychological ruse is freely employed in the West by doctors and dentists! Finally summoned by the servant, Chandi and I entered a sleeping apartment. The sight of his tremendous body affected us strangely. With bulging eyes, we stood speechless. We had never before seen such a chest or such football-like biceps.
A hint of dovelike and tigerlike qualities shone in his dark eyes. He was unclothed, save for a tiger skin about his muscular waist. Finding our voices, my friend and I greeted the monk, expressing our admiration for his prowess in the extraordinary feline arena. I could do it today if necessary. One cannot expect victory from a baby who imagines a tiger to be a house cat! Powerful hands are my sufficient weapon. He asked us to follow him to the patio, where he struck the edge of a wall. A brick crashed to the floor; the sky peered boldly through the gaping lost tooth of the wall.
I fairly staggered in astonishment; he who can remove mortared bricks from a solid wall with one blow, I thought, must surely be able to displace the teeth of tigers! Those who are bodily but not mentally stalwart may find themselves fainting at mere sight of a wild beast bounding freely in the jungle. The tiger in its natural ferocity and habitat is vastly different from the opium-fed circus animal! It is possible for a man, owning a fairly strong body and an immensely strong determination, to turn the tables on the tiger, and force it to a conviction of pussycat defenselessness.
How often I have done just that! I was quite willing to believe that the titan before me was able to perform the tiger-pussycat metamorphosis. He seemed in a didactic mood; Chandi and I listened respectfully. The body is literally manufactured and sustained by mind. Through pressure of instincts from past lives, strengths or weaknesses percolate gradually into human consciousness. They express as habits, which in turn ossify into a desirable or an undesirable body.
Outward frailty has mental origin; in a vicious circle, the habit-bound body thwarts the mind. If the master allows himself to be commanded by a servant, the latter becomes autocratic; the mind is similarly enslaved by submitting to bodily dictation. My will was mighty, but my body was feeble. An ejaculation of surprise broke from me. I have every reason to extol the compelling mental vigor which I found to be the real subduer of royal Bengals.
No spiritual benefit accrues by knocking beasts unconscious. Rather be victor over the inner prowlers. The Tiger Swami fell into silence. Remoteness came into his gaze, summoning visions of bygone years. I discerned his slight mental struggle to decide whether to grant my request. Finally he smiled in acquiescence. I decided not only to fight tigers but to display them in various tricks. My ambition was to force savage beasts to behave like domesticated ones. I began to perform my feats publicly, with gratifying success. I would save you from coming ills, produced by the grinding wheels of cause and effect.
Should superstition be allowed to discolor the powerful waters or my activities? But I believe in the just law of retribution, as taught in the holy scriptures. There is resentment against you in the jungle family; sometime it may act to your cost. You well know what tigers are—beautiful but merciless! Even immediately after an enormous meal of some hapless creature, a tiger is fired with fresh lust at sight of new prey.
It may be a joyous gazelle, frisking over the jungle grass. Capturing it and biting an opening in the soft throat, the malevolent beast tastes only a little of the mutely crying blood, and goes its wanton way. Who knows? I am headmaster in a forest finishing school, to teach them gentle manners! How could my good actions bring ill upon me? I beg you not to impose any command that I change my way of life. Chandi and I were all attention, understanding the past dilemma. He followed it with a disclosure which he uttered gravely.
He approached me yesterday as I sat on the veranda in my daily meditation. Let him cease his savage activities. Otherwise, his next tiger-encounter shall result in his severe wounds, followed by six months of deathly sickness. He shall then forsake his former ways and become a monk. I considered that Father had been the credulous victim of a deluded fanatic.
The Tiger Swami made this confession with an impatient gesture, as though at some stupidity. Grimly silent for a long time, he seemed oblivious of our presence. When he took up the dangling thread of his narrative, it was suddenly, with subdued voice. The picturesque territory was new to me, and I expected a restful change. As usual everywhere, a curious crowd followed me on the streets.
I would catch bits of whispered comment:. With what speed do the even-later speech-bulletins of the women circulate from house to house! Within a few hours, the whole city was in a state of excitement over my presence. They stopped in front of my dwelling place. In came a number of tall, turbaned policemen. He is pleased to invite you to his palace tomorrow morning. For some obscure reason I felt sharp regret at this interruption in my quiet trip. But the suppliant manner of the policemen moved me; I agreed to go. A servant held an ornate umbrella to protect me from the scorching sunlight.
I enjoyed the pleasant ride through the city and its woodland outskirts. The royal scion himself was at the palace door to welcome me. He proffered his own gold-brocaded seat, smilingly placing himself in a chair of simpler design. Is it a fact? You are a Calcutta Bengali, nurtured on the white rice of city folk. Be frank, please; have you not been fighting only spineless, opium-fed animals?
Several thousand rupees and many other gifts shall also be bestowed. If you refuse to meet him in combat, I shall blazon your name throughout the state as an impostor! I shot an angry acceptance. Half risen from the chair in his excitement, the prince sank back with a sadistic smile. I was reminded of the Roman emperors who delighted in setting Christians in bestial arenas. I regret that I cannot give you permission to view the tiger in advance. Through my servant I learned of fantastic tales. Many simple villagers believed that an evil spirit, cursed by the gods, had reincarnated as a tiger which took various demoniac forms at night, but remained a striped animal during the day.
This demon-tiger was supposed to be the one sent to humble me. He was to be the instrument to punish me—the audacious biped, so insulting to the entire tiger species! A furless, fangless man daring to challenge a claw-armed, sturdy-limbed tiger! The concentrated venom of all humiliated tigers—the villagers declared—had gathered momentum sufficient to operate hidden laws and bring about the fall of the proud tiger tamer.
He had supervised the erection of a storm-proof pavilion, designed to accommodate thousands. Its center held Raja Begum in an enormous iron cage, surrounded by an outer safety room. The captive emitted a ceaseless series of blood-curdling roars. He was fed sparingly, to kindle a wrathful appetite. Perhaps the prince expected me to be the meal of reward! The day of battle saw hundreds turned away for lack of seats. Many men broke through the tent openings, or crowded any space below the galleries.
Scantily clad around the waist, I was otherwise unprotected by clothing. I opened the bolt on the door of the safety room and calmly locked it behind me. The tiger sensed blood. Leaping with a thunderous crash on his bars, he sent forth a fearsome welcome. The audience was hushed with pitiful fear; I seemed a meek lamb before the raging beast. My right hand was desperately torn.
Human blood, the greatest treat a tiger can know, fell in appalling streams. The prophecy of the saint seemed about to be fulfilled. Banishing the sight of my gory fingers by thrusting them beneath my waist cloth, I swung my left arm in a bone-cracking blow. The beast reeled back, swirled around the rear of the cage, and sprang forward convulsively. My famous fistic punishment rained on his head. My inadequate defense of only one hand left me vulnerable before claws and fangs. But I dealt out dazing retribution.
Mutually ensanguined, we struggled as to the death. The cage was pandemonium, as blood splashed in all directions, and blasts of pain and lethal lust came from the bestial throat. I mustered all my will force, bellowed fiercely, and landed a final concussive blow. The tiger collapsed and lay quietly. His royal pride was further humbled: with my lacerated hands, I audaciously forced open his jaws. For a dramatic moment, I held my head within the yawning deathtrap.
I looked around for a chain. Pulling one from a pile on the floor, I bound the tiger by his neck to the cage bars. In triumph I moved toward the door. With an incredible lunge, he snapped the chain and leaped on my back. My shoulder fast in his jaws, I fell violently. But in a trice I had him pinned beneath me. Under merciless blows, the treacherous animal sank into semiconsciousness. This time I secured him more carefully. Slowly I left the cage. Disastrously mauled, I had yet fulfilled the three conditions of the fight—stunning the tiger, binding him with a chain, and leaving him without requiring assistance for myself.
In addition, I had so drastically injured and frightened the aggressive beast that he had been content to overlook the opportune prize of my head in his mouth! The whole city entered a holiday period. Endless discussions were heard on all sides about my victory over one of the largest and most savage tigers ever seen. Raja Begum was presented to me, as promised, but I felt no elation. A spiritual change had entered my heart. It seemed that with my final exit from the cage I had also closed the door on my worldly ambitions.
For six months I lay near death from blood poisoning. As soon as I was well enough to leave Cooch Behar, I returned to my native town. You are used to an audience: let it be a galaxy of angels, entertained by your thrilling mastery of yoga! He opened my soul-doors, rusty and resistant with long disuse.
Hand in hand, we soon set out for my training in the Himalayas. I felt amply repaid for the long probationary wait in the cold parlor! Sohong was his monastic name. I gave him an enthusiastic smile. Upendra nodded, a little crestfallen not to be a news-bearer. My inquisitiveness about saints was well-known among my friends; they delighted in setting me on a fresh track. Then he extinguished the thundering breath and remained motionless in a high state of superconsciousness.
He has lived indoors for the past twenty years. He slightly relaxes his self-imposed rule at the times of our holy festivals, when he goes as far as his front sidewalk! The beggars gather there, because Saint Bhaduri is known for his tender heart. Then it will levitate or hop about like a leaping frog. Do you attend his evening meetings? I am vastly entertained by the wit in his wisdom. Occasionally my prolonged laughter mars the solemnity of his gatherings. The saint is not displeased, but his disciples look daggers! The yogi was inaccessible to the general public. Worldly people do not like the candor which shatters their delusions.
Saints are not only rare but disconcerting. Even in scripture, they are often found embarrassing! I followed Bhaduri Mahasaya to his austere quarters on the top floor, from which he seldom stirred. The contemporaries of a sage are not alone those of the narrow present. The sage locked his vibrant body in the lotus posture. In his seventies, he displayed no unpleasing signs of age or sedentary life. Stalwart and straight, he was ideal in every respect. His face was that of a rishi, as described in the ancient texts. Noble-headed, abundantly bearded, he always sat firmly upright, his quiet eyes fixed on Omnipresence.
He offered me some mangoes. His own face was always serious, yet touched with an ecstatic smile. His large, lotus eyes held a hidden divine laughter. They are discovering India anew, with a better sense of direction than Columbus! I am glad to help them. The knowledge of yoga is free to all who will receive, like the ungarnishable daylight. Alike in soul though diverse in outer experience, neither West nor East will flourish if some form of disciplinary yoga be not practiced. The saint held me with his tranquil eyes. I did not realize that his speech was a veiled prophetic guidance.
They and their students will be living volumes, proof against the natural disintegrations of time and the unnatural interpretations of the critics. I remained alone with the yogi until his disciples arrived in the evening. Bhaduri Mahasaya entered one of his inimitable discourses. Like a peaceful flood, he swept away the mental debris of his listeners, floating them Godward. His striking parables were expressed in a flawless Bengali. This evening Bhaduri expounded various philosophical points connected with the life of Mirabai, a medieval Rajputani princess who abandoned her court life to seek the company of sadhus.
One great sannyasi refused to receive her because she was a woman; her reply brought him humbly to her feet. Mirabai composed many ecstatic songs which are still treasured in India; I translate one of them here:. Grateful friends are only the Lord in disguise, looking after His own.
How then have I denied myself anything? I know the joy of sharing the treasure. Is that a sacrifice? The shortsighted worldly folk are verily the real renunciates! They relinquish an unparalleled divine possession for a poor handful of earthly toys! I chuckled over this paradoxical view of renunciation—one which puts the cap of Croesus on any saintly beggar, whilst transforming all proud millionaires into unconscious martyrs. Their bitter thoughts are like scars on their foreheads.
The One who gave us air and milk from our first breath knows how to provide day by day for His devotees. With silent zeal he aided me to attain anubhava. Although it throws me ahead of my story by a number of years, I will recount here the last words given to me by Bhaduri Mahasaya. Shortly before I embarked for the West, I sought him out and humbly knelt for his farewell blessing:.
Take the dignity of hoary India for your shield. Victory is written on your brow; the noble distant people will well receive you. Methods of controlling life-force through regulation of breath.
French professors were the first in the West to be willing to scientifically investigate the possibilities of the superconscious mind. The existence of a superconscious mind has long been recognized philosophically, being in reality the Oversoul spoken of by Emerson, but only recently has it been recognized scientifically. Theresa of Avila and other Christian saints were often observed in a state of levitation.
Math means hermitage or ashram. Overhearing this provocative remark, I walked closer to a sidewalk group of professors engaged in scientific discussion. If my motive in joining them was racial pride, I regret it. I cannot deny my keen interest in evidence that India can play a leading part in physics, and not metaphysics alone.
The professor obligingly explained. But the Indian scientist did not exploit his inventions commercially. He soon turned his attention from the inorganic to the organic world. His revolutionary discoveries as a plant physiologist are outpacing even his radical achievements as a physicist.
In Turkey, Some Labels Keep on Giving
I politely thanked my mentor. I paid a visit the next day to the sage at his home, which was close to mine on Gurpar Road. I had long admired him from a respectful distance. The grave and retiring botanist greeted me graciously. He was a handsome, robust man in his fifties, with thick hair, broad forehead, and the abstracted eyes of a dreamer. The precision in his tones revealed the lifelong scientific habit. Their members exhibited intense interest in delicate instruments of my invention which demonstrate the indivisible unity of all life.
The microscope enlarges only a few thousand times; yet it brought vital impetus to biological science. The crescograph opens incalculable vistas. How admirable is the Western method of submitting all theory to scrupulous experimental verification! That empirical procedure has gone hand in hand with the gift for introspection which is my Eastern heritage. Together they have enabled me to sunder the silences of natural realms long uncommunicative.
Love, hate, joy, fear, pleasure, pain, excitability, stupor, and countless appropriate responses to stimuli are as universal in plants as in animals. A saint I once knew would never pluck flowers. Shall I cruelly affront its dignity by my rude divestment? Come someday to my laboratory and see the unequivocable testimony of the crescograph.
Gratefully I accepted the invitation, and took my departure. I heard later that the botanist had left Presidency College, and was planning a research center in Calcutta. When the Bose Institute was opened, I attended the dedicatory services. Enthusiastic hundreds strolled over the premises. I was charmed with the artistry and spiritual symbolism of the new home of science. Its front gate, I noted, was a centuried relic from a distant shrine. The garden held a small temple consecrated to the Noumenon beyond phenomena. Thought of the divine incorporeity was suggested by absence of any altar-image.
To my amazement, I found boundary lines vanishing, and points of contact emerging, between the realms of the living and the non-living. Inorganic matter was perceived as anything but inert; it was athrill under the action of multitudinous forces. They all exhibited essentially the same phenomena of fatigue and depression, with possibilities of recovery and of exaltation, as well as the permanent irresponsiveness associated with death.
Filled with awe at this stupendous generalization, it was with great hope that I announced my results before the Royal Society—results demonstrated by experiments. But the physiologists present advised me to confine myself to physical investigations, in which my success had been assured, rather than encroach on their preserves. I had unwittingly strayed into the domain of an unfamiliar caste system and so offended its etiquette. It is often forgotten that He who surrounded us with this ever-evolving mystery of creation has also implanted in us the desire to question and understand.
Through many years of miscomprehension, I came to know that the life of a devotee of science is inevitably filled with unending struggle. It is for him to cast his life as an ardent offering—regarding gain and loss, success and failure, as one. By a continuous living tradition, and a vital power of rejuvenescence, this land has readjusted itself through unnumbered transformations. Indians have always arisen who, discarding the immediate and absorbing prize of the hour, have sought for the realization of the highest ideals in life—not through passive renunciation, but through active struggle.
The weakling who has refused the conflict, acquiring nothing, has had nothing to renounce. He alone who has striven and won can enrich the world by bestowing the fruits of his victorious experience. Problems hitherto regarded as insoluble have now been brought within the sphere of experimental investigation. Hence the long battery of super-sensitive instruments and apparatus of my design, which stand before you today in their cases in the entrance hall.
They tell you of the protracted efforts to get behind the deceptive seeming into the reality that remains unseen, of the continuous toil and persistence and resourcefulness called forth to overcome human limitations. All creative scientists know that the true laboratory is the mind, where behind illusions they uncover the laws of truth. They will announce new discoveries, demonstrated for the first time in these halls.
Through regular publication of the work of the Institute, these Indian contributions will reach the whole world. They will become public property. No patents will ever be taken. The spirit of our national culture demands that we should forever be free from the desecration of utilizing knowledge only for personal gain. In this I am attempting to carry on the traditions of my country. So far back as twenty-five centuries, India welcomed to its ancient universities, at Nalanda and Taxila, scholars from all parts of the world. This restraint confers the power to hold the mind to the pursuit of truth with an infinite patience.
I visited the research center again, soon after the day of opening. The great botanist, mindful of his promise, took me to his quiet laboratory. My gaze was fixed eagerly on the screen which reflected the magnified fern-shadow. Minute life-movements were now clearly perceptible; the plant was growing very slowly before my fascinated eyes.
The scientist touched the tip of the fern with a small metal bar.
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The developing pantomime came to an abrupt halt, resuming the eloquent rhythms as soon as the rod was withdrawn. The effect of the chloroform discontinued all growth; the antidote was revivifying. My companion here in the role of villain thrust a sharp instrument through a part of the fern; pain was indicated by spasmodic flutters.
When he passed a razor partially through the stem, the shadow was violently agitated, then stilled itself with the final punctuation of death. Usually, such monarchs of the forest die very quickly after being moved. The ascent of sap is not explicable on the mechanical grounds ordinarily advanced, such as capillary attraction. The phenomenon has been solved through the crescograph as the activity of living cells.
Peristaltic waves issue from a cylindrical tube which extends down a tree and serves as an actual heart! The more deeply we perceive, the more striking becomes the evidence that a uniform plan links every form in manifold nature. The life-force in metals responds adversely or beneficially to stimuli. Ink markings will register the various reactions.
Deeply engrossed, I watched the graph which recorded the characteristic waves of atomic structure. When the professor applied chloroform to the tin, the vibratory writings stopped. They recommenced as the metal slowly regained its normal state. My companion dispensed a poisonous chemical. Simultaneous with the quivering end of the tin, the needle dramatically wrote on the chart a death-notice. The life-pulse in metals is seriously harmed or even extinguished through the application of electric currents or heavy pressure.
Would it not be easily possible to employ some of them in quick laboratory experiments to indicate the influence of various types of fertilizers on plant growth? Countless uses of Bose instruments will be made by future generations. The scientist seldom knows contemporaneous reward; it is enough to possess the joy of creative service.