Notes by H.P.B. on an article quoted from Chamber’s Journal
Sometime ago one of the London daily papers referred to the ‘khabar,’ as a thing of extreme mystery in India. From all we can learn, the Arabic word khabar signifies news; and as used in India, it means a method of communicating news in some extraordinary manner, which, it is alleged, science fails to unravel. The speed with which the news travels is said to be greater than that of the electric telegraph; but that we take leave to doubt. At any rate, should you walk through an Indian market-place to view the silks of Cashmere, or stroll into a Turkish bazaar in quest of a serviceable saddle, your hospitable native acquaintance will ask: “Have you any news of So-and-so, or of such-and-such a place?” Your reply being in the negative, he may probably proceed to tell you what the khabar says on important affairs transpiring at a distance. To your astonishment, you find, after a few days, or even weeks, that your loquacious Hindu, Turkish, Arab, or Persian friend has told you the truth with tolerable correctness.
The Earl of Carnarvon in his interesting little volume, Recollections of the Druses of Lebanon, makes this observation: “No great moral or religious movement can be confined to the country where it is first born, and through all ages—sometimes by a subtle and almost mysterious agency—the spark of intelligence has flashed along the electric chain by which the nations of the East are darkly bound to each other.” And in proof of the existence of this potent agency, he relates that during the Sikh war (1845-6) there were cases in which the news of defeat or victory forestalled the arrival of any letters on the subject; and further that in the late Indian Mutiny the somewhat exaggerated intelligence of General Windham’s repulse at Cawnpore actually reached the Indians of Honduras, and the Maoris of New Zealand, in a manner truly astonishing. A relative of the writer of the present notice states, that when in Jerusalem during the Crimean war, he often found that the khabar of the bazaars anticipated the ordinary channels of communication by many days, and, generally, with but little departure from accuracy.
Various theories have been adduced to account for the marvellous rapidity with which news is transmitted, or intercommunicated amongst nations who possess neither the electric telegraph nor steam-power. Some even allege that a certain mysterious psychic force is brought to bear between man and man, separated by long distance from each other in a manner somewhat similar to the revelations we sometimes hear of as given by one relative to another at a distance. But be it as it may, there can be no doubt, that there exists in Eastern countries some means whereby intelligence is conveyed with marvellous celerity, without the aid of either steam or electricity. The subject is worthy of further investigation.—(Chambers’ Journal.)
[Editor’s Note, H.P.B.]—Alas, that there should be no khabar between Universal truths and Western minds! Like the news of the earth’s rotundity and heliocentricity which were a stale news for the nations of the Vedic period and left by them as a legacy to Pythagoras, but which had to reach Europe as a scientific fact less than two centuries back,—and even that after finding itself stuck and delayed in the prison of the Inquisitions—the khabar will penetrate into Europe when the nations of the East will have found out something still more wonderful. Only “some allege” that the “khabar” is due to “a certain mysterious psychic force.” “Eppur si muove” [“And yet it moves”]—Western friends; and you may find it out some day yourselves, and then, of course, you will believe in it. Till then, however, you will go on repeating, “Can there any good thing come out of ”—Asia? Thus you have done before, and so will you do again.