There are [those] who, having the good fortune to possess some slight touch of this higher power, clairvoyance, are nevertheless so absolutely destitute of all right feeling in connection with it as to use it for the most sordid ends—actually even to advertise themselves as “test and business clairvoyants!.”
Needless to say, such use of the faculty is a mere prostitution and degradation of it, showing that its unfortunate possessor has somehow got hold of it before the moral side of his nature has been sufficiently developed to stand the strain which it imposes. A perception of the amount of evil karma that may be generated by such action in a very short time changes one’s disgust into pity for the unhappy perpetrator of that sacrilegious folly.
It is sometimes object that the possession of clairvoyance destroys all privacy, and confers a limitless ability to explore the secrets of others. No doubt it does confer such an ability, but nevertheless the suggestion is an amusing one to any one who knows anything practically about the matter.
Such an objection may possibly be well-founded as regards the very limited powers of the “test and business clairvoyant”, but the man who brings it forward against those who have had the faculty opened for them in the course of their instruction, and consequently possess it fully, is forgetting three fundamental facts:
1.. It is quite inconceivable that anyone, having before him the splendid fields for investigation which true clairvoyance opens up, could ever have the slightest wish to pry into the trumpery little secrets of any individual man;
2.. Even if by some impossible chance our clairvoyant had such indecent curiosity about matters of petty gossip, there is, after all, such a thing as the honour of a gentleman, which, on that plane as on this, would of course prevent him from contemplating for an instant the idea of gratifying it;
3.. In case, by any unheard-of possibility, one might encounter some variety of low-class pitri with whom the above considerations would have no weight, full instructions are always given to every pupil, as soon as he develops any sign of faculty, as to the limitations which are placed upon its use.
Put briefly, these restrictions are that there shall be no prying, no selfish use of the power, and no displaying of phenomena.
That is to say, that the same considerations which would govern the actions of a man of right feeling upon the physical plane are expected to apply upon the astral and mental planes also; that the pupil is never under any circumstances to use the power which his additional knowledge gives to him in order to promote his own worldly advantage, or indeed in connection with gain in any way; and that he is never to give what is called in spiritualistic circle “a test”—that is, to do anything which will incontestably prove to sceptics on the physical plane that he possesses what to them would appear to be an abnormal power.
With regard to this latter proviso people often say, “But why should he not? It would be so easy to confute and convince your sceptic, and it would do him good!”
Such critics lose sight of the fact that:
1.. None of those who know anything want to confute or convince sceptics, or trouble themselves in the slightest degree about the sceptic’s attitude one way or the other
2.. They fail to understand how much better it is for that sceptic that he should gradually grow into an intellectual appreciation of the facts of nature, instead of being suddenly introduced to them by a knockdown blow, as it were.
It is very hard for some of our friends to realize that the silly gossip and idle curiosity which so entirely fill the lives of the brainless majority on earth can have no place in the more real life of the disciple; and so they sometimes enquire whether, even without any special wish to see, a clairvoyant might not casually observe some secret which another person was trying to keep, in the same way as one’s glance might casually fall upon a sentence in someone else’s letter which happened to be lying open upon the table.
Of course he might, but what if he did?
The man of honour would at once avert his eyes, in one case as in the other, and it would be as thought he had not seen. If objectors could but grasp the idea that no pupil cares about other people’s business, except when it comes within his province to try to help them, and that he has always a world of work of his own to attend to, they would not be so hopelessly far from understanding the facts of the wide life of the trained clairvoyant.
Even from the little that I have said with regard to the restrictions laid upon the pupil, it will be obvious that in very many cases he will know much more than he is at liberty to say. That is of course true in a far wider sense of the great Masters of Wisdom Themselves, and that is why those who have the privilege of occasionally entering Their presence pay so much respect to Their lightest word in subjects quite apart from the direct teaching. For opinion of a master, or even of one of His higher pupils, upon any subject is that of a man whose opportunity of judging accurately is out of all proportion to ours.
His position and His extended faculties are in reality the heritage of all mankind, and, far though we may now be from those grand powers, they will none the less certainly be ours one day. Yet how different a place will this old world be when humanity as a whole possesses the higher clairvoyance!
— from Clairvoyance by C.W. Leadbeater, 1899