The Church

Part 3 -  Sites and Relics

he church's site and relics and its architectural significance continues. All cultures shared experiences in birth and death. Through life, the energy in between birth and death which has no opposite, the sun and elements, food and sustenance, the necessity for water were common. Structures reflected humans' awareness of these things that support life and were used to speak to the invisible forces that governed them.

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from "By Centres Of Magnetism" from The Hidden Sides of Things by C.W. Leadbetter

Church Sites And Relics

A partial recognition of another facet of the facts which we have been mentioning accounts for the choice of the site of many religious edifices. A church or a temple is frequently erected to commemorate the life and death of some saint, and in the first instance such a fane is built upon a spot which has some special connection with him. It may be the place where he died, the spot where he was born, or where some important event of his life occurred.

Ethiopian Church carved from a single piece of rock.

The Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem and that of the Crucifixion at Jerusalem are instances of this, as is also the great Stupa at Buddhagaya  where the Lord Gautama attained His Buddhahood, or the temple of the ` Bishanpad' where it is supposed that Vishnu left His foot-mark. All such shrines are erected not so much from an historical sense which wishes to indicate for the benefit of posterity the exact spot where an important event happened, as with the idea that that spot is especially blessed, especially charged with a magnetism which will remain through the ages, and will radiate upon and benefit those who bring themselves within the radius of its influence. Nor is this universal idea without adequate foundation.

The Temple of the Sun

The spot at which the Lord BUDDHA gained the step which gives Him that
august title is charged with a magnetism which causes it to glow forth like a sun for anyone who has clairvoyant vision. It is calculated to produce the strongest possible magnetic effect on anyone who is naturally sensitive to such influence, or who deliberately makes himself temporarily sensitive to such influence by putting himself in an attitude of heartfelt devotion.

In a recent article on Buddhagaya in The Lotus Journal Alcyone wrote:

When I sat quietly under the tree for awhile with Mrs. Besant, I was able to see the Lord BUDDHA, as He had looked when He sat there. Indeed, the record of His meditation is still so strong that it needs only a little clairvoyance to see Him even now. I had the advantage of having met Him in that life in 588 B.C., and become one of His followers, so that it was easier for me to see Him again in this present life. But I think almost anyone who is a little sensitive would see Him at Buddhagaya by staying quite quiet for a little time because the air is full of His influence, and even now there are always great Devas bathing in the magnetism, and guarding the place.

Colossus of Memnon at Luxor

Other churches, temples or dagobas are sanctified by the possession of relics of some Great One, and here again the connection of ideas is obvious. It is customary for those who are ignorant of these matters to ridicule the idea of paying reverence to the fragment of bone which once belonged to a saint; but though reverence paid to the bone may be out of place, the influence radiating from that bone may nevertheless be quite a real thing, and well worthy of serious attention. That the trade in relics has led, all the world over, to fraud on the one hand and blind credulity on the other, is not a thing to be disputed; but that by no means alters the fact that a genuine relic may be a valuable thing. Whatever has been part of the physical body of a Great One, or even of the garments which have clothed that physical body, is impregnated with his personal magnetism. That means that it is charged with the powerful waves of thought and feeling which used to issue from him, just as an electrical battery may be charged.

Such force as it possesses is intensified and perpetuated by the thought-waves poured upon it as the years roll by, by the faith and devotion of the crowds who visit the shrine. This when the relic is genuine; but most relics are not genuine. Even then, though they have no initial strength of their own, they acquire much influence as time goes on, so that even a false relic is by no means without effect. Therefore anyone putting himself into a receptive attitude, and coming into the immediate neighbourhood of a relic, will receive into himself its strong vibrations, and soon will be more or less attuned to them. Since those vibrations are unquestionably better and stronger than any which he is likely to generate on his own account, this is a good thing for him. For the time being it lifts him on to a higher level, it opens a higher world to him; and though the effect is only temporary, this cannot but be good for him-- an event which will leave him, for the rest of his life, slightly better than if it had not occurred.

This is the rationale of pilgrimages, and they are quite often really effective. In addition to whatever may have been the original magnetism contributed by the holy man or relic, as soon as the place of pilgrimage is established and numbers of people begin to visit it, another factor comes into play, of which we have already spoken in the case of churches and temples. The place begins to be charged with the devotional feeling of all these hosts of visitors, and what they leave behind reacts upon their successors. Thus the influence of one of these holy places usually does not decrease as time passes, for if the original force tends slightly to diminish, on the other hand it is constantly fed by new accessions of devotion. Indeed, the only case in which the power ever fades is that of a neglected shrine-- as, for example, when a country is conquered by people of another religion, to whom the older shrines are as nothing. Even then the influence, if it has been originally sufficiently strong, persists almost without diminution for many centuries, and for this reason even ruins have often a powerful force connected with them.

Fallen Colossus of Ramesses in the Courtyard of the Ramesseum, Thebes, West_Egypt

The Egyptian religion, for example, has been practised little since the Christian era, yet no sensitive person can stand amidst the ruins of one of its temples without being powerfully affected by the stream of its thought. In this particular instance force comes into play; the Egyptian architecture was of a definite type, intentionally so erected for the purpose of producing a definite impression upon its worshippers, and perhaps no architecture has ever fulfilled its purpose more effectively.

The shattered fragments which remain still produce that effect to no inconsiderable degree, even upon members of an alien race altogether out of touch with the type of the old Egyptian civilisation. For the student of comparative religion who happens to be sensitive, there can be no more interesting experience than this-- to bathe in the magnetism of the older religions of the world, to feel their influence as their devotees felt it thousands
of years ago, to compare the sensations of Thebes or Luxor with those of the Parthenon or of the beautiful Greek temples of Girgenti, or those of Stonehenge with the vast ruins of Yucatan.



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