“We witnessed once in India a trial of physical skill between a holy gossein and sorcerer, which recurs to us in this connection. We had been discussing the relative powers of the fakir’s Pitris – pre-Adamite spirits, and the juggler’s invisible allies. A trial of skill was agreed upon, and the writer was chosen as a referee.
We were taking our noon-day rest, beside a small lake in Northern India. Upon the surface of the glassy water floated innumerable aquatic flowers, and large shining leaves. Each of the contestants plucked a leaf. The fakir, laying his against his breast, folded his hands across it, and fell into a momentary trance. He then laid the leaf, with its surface downward, upon the water.
The juggler pretended to control the “water master”, the spirit dwelling in the water; and boasted that he would compel the power to prevent the Pitris from manifesting any phenomena upon the fakir’s leaf in their element. He took his own leaf and tossed it upon the water, after going through a form of barbarous incantation. It at once exhibited a violent agitation, while the other leaf remained perfectly motionless. After the lapse of a few seconds, both leaves were recovered.
Upon that of the fakir were found – much to the indignation of the juggler – something that looked like a symmetrical design traced in milk-white characters, as though the juices of the plant had been used as a corrosive writing fluid. When it became dry, and an opportunity was afforded to examine the lines with care, it proved to be a series of exquisitely-formed Sanskrit characters; the whole composed a sentence embodying a high moral precept. The fakir, let us add, could neither read nor write.
Upon the juggler’s leaf, instead or writing, was found the tracing of a most hideous, impish face. Each leaf, therefore, bore an impression or allegorical reflection of the character of the contestant, and indicated the quality of spiritual beings with which he was surrounded.
But, with deep regret, we must once more leave India, with its blue sky and mysterious past, its religious devotees and its weird sorcerers, and on the enchanted carpet of the historian, transport ourselves back to the musty atmosphere of the French Academy.”
H. P. Blavatsky