Again, by means of clairaudience, the person may hear the things of the astral world, past as well as present, and in rare cases, the future. The explanation is the same in each case— merely the receiving of vibrations on the astral plane instead of on the physical plane. In the same way, the astral senses of smelling, tasting, and feeling operate. But though we have occasional instances of astral feeling, in certain phases of psychic phenomena, we have practically no manifestation of astral smelling or tasting, although the astral senses are there ready for use. It is only in instances of travelling in the astral body that the last two mentioned astral senses, viz., smell and taste, are manifested.
The phenomena of telepathy, or thought transference, occurs on both the physical and the mental plane. On the physical plane it is more or less spontaneous and erratic in manifestation; while on the astral plane it is as clear, reliable and responsive to demand as is astral sight, etc.
The ordinary person has but occasional flashes of astral sensing, and as a rule is not able to experience the phenomenon at will. The trained occultist, on the contrary, is able to shift from one set of senses to the other, by a simple act or effort of will, whenever he may wish to do so. Advanced occultists are often able to function on both physical and astral planes at the same time, though they do not often desire to do so. To vision astrally, the trained occultist merely shifts his sensory mechanism from physical to astral, or vice versa, just as the typewriter operator shifts from the small-letter type to the capitals, by simply touching the shift-key of his machine.
Many persons suppose that it is necessary to travel on the astral plane, in the astral body, in order to use the astral senses. This is a mistake. In instances of clairvoyance, astral visioning, psychometry, etc., the occultist remains in his physical body, and senses the phenomena of the astral plane quite readily, by means of the astral senses, just as he is able to sense the phenomena of the physical plane when he uses the physical organs— quite more easily, in fact, in many instances. It is not even necessary for the occultist to enter into the trance condition, in the majority of cases.
Travel in the astral body is quite another phase of occult phenomena, and is far more difficult to manifest. The student should never attempt to travel in the astral body except under the instruction of some competent instructor.
By Swami Panchadasi – Courtesy of Project Gutenberg