C. W. (Charles Webster) Leadbeater.

Invisible helpers online

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icific Building



_LauraS^ HuntL






"Krotona," Hollywood,












CHAPTER L The Universal Belief in Them... 5

CHAPTER II. Some Modern Instances 9

CHAPTER III. A Personal Experience 18

CHAPTER IV. The Helpers 25

CHAPTER V. The Reality of Superphysical

Life 34

CHAPTER VI. A Timely Intervention 39

CHAPTER VIL The "Angel" Story 42

CHAPTER VIIL The Story of a Fire 50

CHAPTER IX. Materialization and Repercus-
sion 56

CHAPTER X. The Two Brothers 63

CHAPTER XL Wrecks and Catastrophes 72

CHAPTER XIL Work Among the Dead 78

CHAPTER XIIL Other Branches of the Work ... 92

CHAPTER XIV. The Qualifications Required.... 97

CHAPTER XV. The Probationary Path 108

CHAPTER XVL The Path Proper 118

CHAPTER XVII. What Lies Beyond 129



The Universal Belief in Them.

It is one of the most beautiful characteristics of
Theosophy that it gives back to people in a more
rational form everything which was really useful
and helpful to them in the religions which they
have outgrown. Many who have broken through
the chrysalis of blind faith, and mounted on the
wings of reason and intuition to the freer, nobler
mental life of more exalted levels, nevertheless feel
that in the process of this glorious gain a some-
thing has been lost that in giving up the beliefs
of their childhood they have also cast aside much
of the beauty and the poetry of life.

If, however, their lives in the past have been
sufficiently good to earn for them the opportunity
of coming under the* benign influence of Theo-
sophy, they very soon discover that even in this
particular there has been no loss at all, but an ex-


ceeding great gain that the glory and the beauty
and the poetry are there in fuller measure than
they had ever hoped before, and no longer as a
mere pleasant dream from which the cold light of
common-sense may at any time rudely awaken them,
but as truths of nature which will bear investigation
which become only brighter, fuller and more per-
fect as they are more accurately understood.

A marked instance of this beneficent action of
Theosophy is the way in which the invisible world
(which, before the great wave of materialism en-
gulfed us, used to be regarded as the source of all
living help) has been restored by it to modern life.
All the charming folk-lore of the elf, the brownie
and the gnome, of the spirits of air and water, of the
forest, the mountain and the mine, is shown by it to
be no more meaningless superstition, but to have a
basis of actual and scientific fact behind it. Its answer
to the great fundamental question "If a man die,
shall he live again ?" is equally definite and scien-
tific, and its teaching on the nature and conditions
of the life after death throws a flood of light upon
much that, for the Western world at least, was pre-
viously wrapped in impenetrable darkness.

It cannot be too often repeated that in this teach-
ing as to the immortality of the soul and the life
after death, Theosophy stands in a position totally


different from that of ordinary religion. It does
not put forward these great truths merely on the
authority of some sacred book of long ago ; in speak-
ing of these subjects it is not dealing with pious
opinions, or metaphysical speculations, but with
solid, definite facts, as real and as close to us as the
air we breathe or the houses we live in facts of
which many among us have constant experience
facts among which lies the daily work of some of our
students, as will presently be seen.

Among the beautiful conceptions which Theo-
sophy has restored to us stands pre-eminent that of
the great helpful agencies of nature. The belief in
these has been world-wide from the earliest dawn of
history, and is universal even now outside the nar-
row domains of protestantism, which has emptied
and darkened the world for its votaries by its at-
tempt to do away with the natural and perfectly true
idea of intermediate agents, and reduce everything
to the two factors of man and deity a device where-
by the conception of deity has been infinitely do-
graded, and man has remained unhelped.

A moment's thought will show that the ordinary
view of providence the conception of an erratic
interference by the central power of the universe
with the result of his own decrees would imply the
introduction of partiality into the scheme, and there-


fore of the whole train of evils which must neces-
sarily follow upon its heels. The Theosophical
teaching, that a man can be thus specially helped only
when his past actions have been such as to deserve
this assistance, and that even then the help will be
given through those who are comparatively near his
own level, is free from this serious objection; and it
furthermore brings back to us the older and far
grander conception of an unbroken ladder of living
beings extending down from the Logos Himself to
the very dust beneath our feet.

In the East the existence of the invisible helpers
has always been recognized, though the names given
and the characteristics attributed to them naturally
vary in different countries; and even in Europe
we have had the old Greek stories of the constant in-
terference of the gods in human affairs, and the
Roman legend that Castor and Pollux led the legions
of the infant republic in the battle of Lake Regillus.
Nor did such a conception die out when the classical
period ended, for these stories have their legitimate
successors in mediaeval tales of saints who appeared
at critical moments and turned the fortune of war in
favour of the Christian hosts, or of guardian angels
who sometimes stepped in and saved a pious traveller
from what would otherwise have been certain de-

Some Modern Instances.

Even in this incredulous age, and amidst the full
whirl of our nineteenth-century civilization, in spite
of the dogmatism of our science and the deadly dull-
ness of our^ protestantism, instances of intervention
inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint may
still be found by anyone who will take the trouble to
look for them ; and in order to demonstrate this to
the reader I will briefly epitomize a few of the ex-
amples given in one or other of the recent collections
of such stories, adding thereto one or two that have
come within my own notice.

One very remarkable feature of these more recent
examples is that the intervention seems nearly always
to have been directed towards the helping or saving
of children.

An interesting case which occurred in London
only a few years ago was connected with the pre-
servation of a child's life in the midst of a terrible
fire, which broke out in a street near Holborn, and
entirely destroyed two of the houses there. The
flames had obtained such hold before they were dis-


covered that the firemen were unable to save the
houses, but they succeeded in rescuing all the in-
mates except two an old woman who was suffo-
cated by the smoke before they could reach her, and
a child about five years old, whose presence in the
house had been forgotton in the hurry and excite-
ment of the moment.

The mother of the child, it seems, was a friend
or relative of the landlady of the house, and had left
the little creature in her charge for the night, because
she was herself obliged to go down to Colchester
on business. It was not until everyone else had been
rescued, and the whole house was wrapped in flame,
that the landlady remembered with a terrible pang
the trust that had been confided to her. It seemed
hopeless then to attempt to get at the garret where
the child had been put to bed, but one of the firemen
heroically resolved to make the desperate effort, and,
after receiving minute directions as to the exact
situation of the room, plunged in among the smoke
and flame.

He found the child, and brought him forth entirely
unharmed; but when he rejoined his comrades he
had a very singular story to tell. He declared that
when he reached the room he found it in flames, and
most of the floor already fallen; but the fire had
curved round the room towards the window in an


unnatural and unaccountable manner, the like of
which in all his experience he had never seen before,
so that the corner in which the child lay was wholly
untouched, although the very rafters of the frag-
ment of floor on which his little crib stood were half
burnt away. The child was naturally very much
terrified, but the fireman distinctly and repeatedly
declared that as at great risk he made his way to-
wards him he saw a form like an angel here his
exact words are given a something "all gloriously
white and silvery, bending over the bed and smooth-
ing down the counterpane.' ' He could not possibly
have been mistaken about it, he said, for it was visible
in a glare of light for some moments, and in fact dis-
appeared only when he was within a few feet of it.

Another curious feature of this story is that the
child's mother found herself unable to sleep that
night down at Colchester, but was constantly har-
rassed by a strong feeling that something was wrong
with her child, insomuch that at last she was com-
pelled to rise and spend some time in earnest prayer
that the little one might be protected from the danger
which she instinctively felt to be hanging over him.
The intervention was thus evidently what a Christian
would call an answer to prayer ; a Theosophist, put-
ting the same idea in more scientific phraseology,
would say that her intense outpouring of love consti-


tuted a force which one of our invisible helpers was
able to use for the rescue of her child from a terrible

A remarkable case in which children were ab-
normally protected occurred on the banks of the
Thames near Maidenhead a few years earlier than
our last example. This time the danger from which
they were saved arose not from fire but from water.
Three little ones, who lived, if I recollect rightly, in
or near the village of Shottesbrook, were taken out
for a walk along the towing-path by their nurse.
They rushed suddenly round a corner upon a horse
which was drawing a barge, and in the confusion two
of them got on the wrong side of the tow-rope and
were thrown into the water.

The boatman, who saw the accident, sprang for-
ward to try to save them, and he noticed that they
were floating high in the water "in quite an un-
natural way, like/' as he said, and moving quietly
towards the bank. This was all that he and the nurse
saw, but the children each declared that "a beautiful
person, all white and shining," stood beside them in
the water, held them up and guided them to the
shore. Nor was their story without corroboration,
for the bargeman's little daughter, who ran up from
the cabin when she heard the screams of the nurse,


also affirmed that she saw a lovely lady in the water
dragging the two children to the bank.

Without fuller particulars than the story gives us,
it is impossible to say with certainty from what class
of helpers this "angel" was drawn; but the prob-
abilities are in favour of its having been a developed
human being functioning in the astral body, as will
be seen when later on we deal with this subject from
the other side, as it were from the point of view of
the helpers rather than the helped.

A case in which the agency is somewhat more de-
finitely distinguishable is related by the well-known
clergyman, Dr. John Mason Neale. He states that
a man who had recently lost his wife was on a visit
with his little children at the country house of a
friend. It was an old, rambling mansion, and in
the lower part of it there were long, dark passages,
in which the children played about with great de-
light. But presently they came upstairs very grave-
ly, and two of them related that as they were run-
ning down one of these passages they were met by
their mother, who told them to go back again, and
then disappeared. Investigation revealed the fact
that if the children had run but a few steps farther
they would have fallen down a deep uncovered well
which yawned full in their path, so that the appari-


tion of their mother had saved them from almost
certain death.

In this instance there seems no reason to doubt
that the mother herself was still keeping a loving
watch over her children from the astral plane, and
that (as has happened in some other cases) her in-
tense desire to warn them of the danger into which
they were so heedlessly rushing gave her the power to
make herself visible and audible to them for the mo-
ment or perhaps merely to impress their minds
with the idea that they saw and heard her. It is
possible, of course, that the helper may have been
someone else, who took the familiar form of the
mother in order not to alarm the children; but the
simplest hypothesis is to attribute the intervention
to the action of the ever-wakeful mother-love itself,
undimmed by the passage through the gates of death.

This mother-love, being one of the holiest and
most unselfish of human feelings, is also one of the
most persistent on higher planes. Not only does the
mother who finds herself upon the lower levels of the
astral plane, and consequently still within touch of
the earth, maintain her interest in and her care for
her children as long as she is able to see them ; even
after her entry into the heaven- world these little ones
are still the most prominent objects in her thought,
and the wealth of love that she lavishes upon the


images which she there makes of them is a great out-
pouring of spiritual force which flows down upon
her offspring who are still struggling in this lower
world, and surrounds them with living centres of
beneficent energy which may not inaptly be described
as veritable guardian angels. An illustration of this
will be found in the sixth of our Theosophical man-
uals, p. 38.

Not long ago the little daughter of one of our
English bishops was out walking with her mother
in the town where they lived, and in running heed-
lessly across a street the child was knocked down
by the horses of a carriage which came quickly upon
her round a corner. Seeing her among the horses'
feet, the mother rushed forward, expecting to find
her very badly injured, but she sprang up quite mer-
rily, saying, "Oh, mamma, I am not at all hurt, for
something all in white kept the horses from treading
upon me, and told me not to be afraid."

A case which occurred in Buckinghamshire, some-
where in the neighbourhood of Burnham Beeches, is
remarkable on account of the length of time through
which the physical manifestation of the succouring
agency seems to have maintained itself. It will have
been seen that in the instances hitherto given the in-
tervention was a matter of but a few moments,


whereas in this a phenomenon was produced which
appears to have persisted for more than half an hour.

Two of the little children of a small farmer were
left to amuse themselves while their parents and their
entire household were engaged in the work of har-
vesting. The little ones started for a walk in the
woods, wandered far from home, and then managed
to lose their way. When the weary parents returned
at dusk it was discovered that the children were
missing, and after enquiring at some of the neigh-
bours' houses the father sent servants and labourers
in various directions to seek for them.

Their efforts were, however, unsuccessful, and
their shouts unanswered ; and they had reassembled
at the farm in a somewhat despondent frame of rnind,
when they all saw a curious light some distance
away moving slowly across some fields towards the
road. It was described as a large globular mass of
rich golden glow, quite unlike ordinary lamplight;
and as it drew nearer it was seen that the two missing
children were walking steadily along in the midst of
it. The father and some others immediately set off
running towards it; the appearance persisted until
they were close to it, but just as they grasped the chil-
dren it vanished, leaving them in the darkness.

The children's story was that after night came on
they had wandered about crying in the woods for


some time, and had at last lain down under a tree to
sleep. They had been roused, they said, by a beauti-
ful lady with a lamp, who took them by the hand and
led them home ; when they questioned her she smiled
at them, but never spoke a word. To this strange
tale they both steadily adhered, nor was it possible
in any way to shake their faith in what they had
seen. It is noteworthy, however, that though all
present saw the light, and noticed that it lit up the
trees and hedges which came within its sphere pre-
cisely as an ordinary light would, yet the form of the
lady was visible to none but the children.

A Personal Experience.

All the above stories are comparatively well-
known, and may be found in some of the books
which contain collections of such accounts most
of them in Dr. Lee's More Glimpses of the World
Unseen; but the two instances which I am now about
to give have never been in print before, and both oc-
curred within the last ten years one to myself, and
the other to a very dear friend of mine, a prominent
member of the Theosophical Society, whose ac-
curacy of observation is beyond all shadow of doubt.

My own story is a simple one enough, though not
unimportant to me, since the interposition undoubted-
ly saved my life. I was walking one exceedingly wet
and stormy night down a quiet back street near
Westbourne Grove, struggling with scant success
to hold up an umbrella against the savage gusts of
wind that threatened every moment to tear it from
my grasp, and trying as I laboured along to think
out the details of some work upon which I was just
then engaged.



With startling suddenness a voice which I know
well the voice of an Indian teacher cried in my
ear "Spring back!" and in mechanical obedience I
started violently backwards almost before I had
time to think. As I did so my umbrella, which had
swung forward with the sudden movement, was
struck from my hand, and a huge metal chimney-
pot crashed upon the pavement less than a yard in
front of my face. The great weight of this article,
and the tremendous force with which it fell, make
it absolutely certain that but for the warning voice
I should have been killed on the spot ; yet the street
was empty, and the voice was that of one whom I
knew to be seven thousand miles away from me, as
far as the physical body was concerned.

Nor was this the only occasion upon which I re-
ceived assistance of this supernormal kind, for in
early life, long before the foundation of the Theo-
sophical Society, the apparition of a dear one who
had recently died prevented me from committing
what I now see would have been a serious crime,
although by the light of such knowledge as I then
had it appeared not only a justifiable but even a laud-
able act of retaliation. Again, at a later date,
though still before the foundation of this Society, a
warning conveyed to me from a higher plane amid
most impressive surroundings enabled me to prevent


another man from entering upon a course which I
now know would have ended disastrously, though I
had no reason to suppose so at the time. So it will
be seen that I have a certain amount of personal ex-
perience to strengthen my belief in the doctrine of in-
visible helpers, even apart from my knowledge of the
help that is constantly being given at the present

The other case is a very much more striking one.
One of our members, who gives me permission to
publish her story, but does not wish her name men-
tioned, once found herself in very serious physical
peril. Owing to circumstances which need not be de-
tailed here, she was in the very centre of a dangerous
street fracas, and seeing several men struck down
and evidently badly hurt close to her, was in mo-
mentary expectation of a similar fate, since escape
from the crush seemed quite impossible.

Suddenly she experienced a curious sensation of
being whirled out of the crowd, and found herself
standing quite uninjured and entirely alone in a
small bye-street parallel with the one in which the
disturbance had taken place. She still heard the
noise of the struggle, and while she stood wonder-
ing what on earth had happened to her, two or three
men who had escaped from the crowd came run-
ning round the corner of the street, and on seeing


her expressed great astonishment and pleasure, say-
ing that when the brave lady so suddenly disappeared
from the midst of the fight they had felt certain that
she had been struck down.

At the time no sort of explanation was forthcom-
ing, and she returned home in a very mystified con-
dition; but when at a later period she mentioned
this strange occurrence to Madame Blavatsky she
was informed that, her karma being such as to en-
able her to be saved from her exceedingly dangerous
position, one of the Masters had specially sent some
one to protect her in view of the fact that her life was
needed for the work.

Nevertheless the case remains a very extraordi-
nary one, both with regard to the great amount of
power exercised and the unusually public nature of
its manifestation. It is not difficult to imagine the
modus operandi; she must have been lifted bodily
over the intervening block of houses, and simply set
down in the next street ; but since her physical body
was not visible floating in the air, it is also evident
that a veil of some sort (probably of etheric matter)
must have been thrown round her while in transit.

If it be objected that whatever can hide physical
matter must itself be physical, and therefore visible,
it may be replied that by a process familiar to all
occult students it is possible to bend rays of light


(which, under all conditions at present known to
science, travel only in straight lines unless refracted)
so that after passing round an object they may re-
sume exactly their former course; and it will at
once be seen that if this were done such an object
would to all physical eyes be absolutely invisible
until the rays were allowed to resume their normal
course. I am fully aware that this one statement
alone is sufficient to brand my remarks as nonsense
in the eyes of the scientist of the present day, but I
cannot help that; I am merely stating a possibility
in nature which the science of the future will no
doubt one day discover, and for those who are not
students of occultism the remark must wait until then
for its justification.

The process, as I say, is comprehensible enough to
anyone who understands a little about the more oc-
cult forces of nature; but the phenomenon still re-
mains an exceedingly dramatic one, while the name
of the heroine of the story, were I permitted to give
it, would be a guarantee of its accuracy to all my

Another recent instance of interposition, less strik-
ing, perhaps, but entirely successful, has been re-
ported to me since the publication of the first edition
of this book. A lady, being obliged to undertake a
long railway journey alone, had taken the precaution


to secure an empty compartment; but just as the
train was leaving the station, a man of forbidding
and villainous appearance sprang in and seated him-
self at the other end of the carriage. The lady was
much alarmed, thus to be left alone with so doubtful-
looking a character, but it was too late to call for
help, so she sat still and commended herself earnestly
to the care of her patron saint.

Soon her fears were redoubled, for the man arose
and turned toward her with an evil grin, but he had
hardly taken one step when he started back with a
look of the most intense astonishment and terror.
Following the direction of his glance, she was start-
led to see a gentleman seated directly opposite to her,
gazing quietly but firmly at the baffled robber a
gentleman who certainly could not have entered the
carriage by any ordinary means. Too much awed
to speak, she watched him as though fascinated for
a full half-hour; he uttered no word, and did not

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