The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Balthazar, the Gastronome Spirit
2nd conversation

One of our subscribers read in The Spiritist Review last November about the evocation of the spirit known by the name Balthazar and thought that he could be a person of his acquaintance, whose life and character coincided perfectly in all details. He was likely to be the one who had also used a pseudo name in another manifestation, thus he asks us to verify in the next evocation. According to him, Balthazar was no one but Mr. G… de la R…, known for his eccentricities, his fortune and gastronomical tastes.

1. Evocation. – A. Ah! I am here. But you never have something to offer me. You are not, definitely, very kind.

2. Could you tell us what we can offer you to please you? – A. Oh! Not much: some tea; a little and sophisticated dinner; I would enjoy that better and the ladies here, not forgetting the gentlemen, would not reject that either, you must agree. 3. Have you met a certain Mr. G… de la R…? – A. I think you are curious.

4. No; it is not curiosity; please tell us if you knew him. – A. You then want to know my secret.

5. Then, are you Mr. G… de la R…? Well! Yes, but without lunch.

6. It was not us who discovered the secret. It was one of our friends, present here. – A. He is a chatterbox. He should have stayed quiet.

7. How can this upset you? – A. It cannot but I would have preferred not to be identified so soon. That is okay. I will not hide my tastes because of that. If you only knew about the dinner parties that I used to throw you would agree that they were good and had a value that is no longer appreciated.

8. No, I don’t know. But let us speak more seriously, please, and let us leave the dinners and feasts aside, since they teach us nothing. Our objective is to learn and that is why we ask you to please tell us what was the feeling that led you to make your colleagues to have dinner, on the day of your graduation as a lawyer, in a room decorated like a mortuary chamber? – A. Don’t you notice from all my eccentricities of character a stain of sadness caused by the mistakes of Society, particularly the pride of the one in which I lived since birth, enjoying fortune? I tried to baffle my heart through all imaginable crazy things, and that is why I was called mad, extravagant. I couldn’t care less. Each time when I left those original feasts I would promptly do a good deed, ignored by all, and that was okay with me: my heart felt better and men were also happy. I laughed at myself while making fun of them. What would you say about a dinner in which each guest had a coffin behind their backs! I had a lot of fun with their horrified faces. As you see, it was apparent madness added to a sad heart.

9. What is your current opinion about the Divinity? – A. I did not wait until I left the body to believe in God. The only thing is that the body that I loved so much has materialized my spirit to a point that it will take a long time for me to be able to break all earthly bonds, every passion that attached me to Earth.

OBSERVATION: As it can be seen, from an apparently frivolous subject we can still obtain useful teachings. Isn’t there something eminently instructive about this spirit, that by keeping his corporeal instincts in the spiritual world he acknowledges that the abusive passions have in a way materialized his spirit?

The Education of a Spirit

One of our subscribers whose wife is an excellent writing medium cannot communicate with relatives and friends, in spite of that, because a bad spirit interposes and intercepts, so to speak, every communication, causing them great distress. Notice the fact that it characterizes simple obsession and not subjugation since the medium is not absolutely deceived by the spirit that, as a matter of fact, is frankly bad and does not try to hide his game. He asked for our advice and heard that he would not get rid of that spirit by rage or threats but by patience; that she should try to dominate him through her moral ascendency and try to make him better through her good advice; that it is a mission entrusted to her soul and whose difficulty will result in merit for her.

Following our advice, husband and wife had undertaken the process of educating the spirit and we must say that they are doing remarkably well and if they are not successful there will be nothing to regret. We extracted some passages from their instructions which we provide below as an example of that type of spirit and because his nature is shown here in a characteristic manner.

1. Do you need to suffer to be bad like that? – A. Yes, I suffer and that is why I am bad.

2. Don’t you ever regret the bad things you do or try to do? – A. No; I never regret, and the bad things I do give me pleasure, because other people’s happiness make me suffer.

3. You don’t believe then that it is possible to be happy with other people’s happiness instead of finding happiness in their disgrace! Haven’t you ever thought about that? – A. I have never done that… I think you are right but I cannot … I cannot do good; I am…

OBSERVATION: The periods indicate doodle marks made between the words when he couldn’t write or did not want to write the word.

4. Anyway, wouldn’t you like to listen to me and try the advice that I could give you? – A. I don’t know because everything that you tell me makes me suffer even more, and I don’t have the courage to do good.

5. Well, will you promise me to try, at least? – A. Oh No! I cannot because I would not do it and therefore I would be punished. You still have to ask God to change my heart.

6. Let us pray together then. Let us ask together for God to help you better. – A. I am telling you that I cannot; I am very bad and that gives me pleasure.

7. But honestly, did you want to do that to me? I don’t consider your mystifications a really bad thing because so far they have been more beneficial than harmful to us, since they served the purpose of our instruction; Well, you know you are wasting your time. – A. Yes, I did as much as I could and if I don’t do more it is because I can’t.

8. What is it that stops you? – A. Your good guardian angel and your Mary, without whom you would see what I am capable of doing.

OBSERVATION: Mary is the name of a young lady who they evoke unsuccessfully and that cannot communicate because of this spirit. One can see, however, from the very answer of the spirit that if she cannot manifest in material terms it does not preclude her from being there like the guardian angel, watching over them. Such fact raises a serious issue that is how come an inferior spirit may hinder the communications of a good one. The inferior spirit impedes the material communications but cannot oppose the spiritual ones. It is not that the inferior spirit is more powerful than the good one, but the medium that is not strong enough to fight the obstinacy of the bad one, and it is the medium who must strive to win over him through the ascendency of good, improving progressively. God allows such trials to our own benefit.

9. What would you do to me then? – A. I would do a thousand of things, some more unpleasant than others; I would do…

10. Let us see poor spirit; don’t you ever do something kind? Don’t you ever entertain a single desire of doing something good, even if it is a vague desire? – A. Yes, a vague desire of doing something bad. It cannot be different. You must pray to God so that I am touched, otherwise I will certainly continue to be bad.

11. You believe in God then? – A. It cannot be different since he makes me suffer.

12. There you go! If you believe in God you must trust his perfection and his benevolence. You must understand that he does not create the beings to have them devoted to disgrace; that if they are unhappy it is their own fault and not God’s, but that those creatures can always improve and reach happiness; that God has not created us intelligent without an objective and that such objective is to make all creatures to concur to the universal harmony: charity and love to our fellow human beings; that the person who stays away from that objective disturbs the harmony and that person is the first victim to suffer the effects of such disturbance. Look around you and above you. Don’t you see happy spirits? Don’t you wish to be like them since you suffer? God has not created them more perfect than you; like you they may have suffered as well but they repented and God forgave them. You can do as they did. – A. I begin to understand that God is just. I had not seen that yet. You are opening my eyes.

13. There you are! Aren’t you feeling already the wish to improve? – A. Not yet.

14. Wait, this will come. I will wait. You told my wife that she was torturing you while evoking you. Do you believe that we want to torture you? – A. No, I know it is not the case but it is not less true that I suffer more than ever and you are the cause of that suffering.

OBSERVATION: Once interrogated about the cause of such suffering a superior spirit responded: “The cause is in his internal struggle, against himself; he feels something dragging him to a better path, inexorably, but he resists and it is that fight that makes him suffer. Who is going to come out as the winner: good or evil? Good, but the fight shall be long and difficult. It is necessary to persevere and show great devotion.

15. What could we do to avoid your suffering? – A. You must pray so that God may forg… (he crosses out the final letters) have pity on me.

16. There you go! Pray with us. – A. I cannot.

17. You said you have to believe in God since he makes you suffer. However, how do you know that he is the one to make you suffer? – A. He makes me suffer because I am bad.

18. If it is true that you believe that it is God who makes you suffer you must acknowledge the reason for that, so you cannot suppose that God is unfair. – A. Yes, I believe in God’s justice.

19. You said that we open your eyes. Be it true or false, the fact is that you cannot hide the truth of what we tell you. Well then, irrespective if you have learned about that truth from us or from before the time you met us, the essential point is that you know it. The big thing for you today is to take advantage of that. Tell us honestly if the satisfaction you feel to bad, leaves you nothing to desire? – A. All I want is that my sufferings end, that is all. And they shall never end.

20. Do you understand that it depends on you, that they end? – A Yes, I do.

21. Did you devote yourself to the bad things in your previous existence, like you do now? – A. You must realize that I am filthier than a monster. I am a miserable who has done everything, even…

22. Was it me or my wife who did you harm? Do you have anything against us from a previous existence? – A. No; I don’t…

23. Then, tell us why you take more pleasure by attacking innocent people like us, who wish you well, instead of doing that against evil people, who may be or might have been your enemies? – A. I don’t envy them.

OBSERVATION: This answer is characteristic: it portrays the hatred of evil against those men that are knowingly better than they are. It is blindness by envy that sometimes leads them to actions completely in opposition to their own interests. The same happens here on Earth where the mistakes of a man are often his merit to the eyes of certain people. Aristides is an example of that.

24. Were you happier on Earth than now? – A. Oh yes! I was wealthy and missed nothing. I did all sorts of mischievous things and all the evilness that is possible when there is money and miserable people at your service.

25. Why did you say to me the other day that I should leave you alone? – A. Because I did not want to answer questions. But I am okay now that you evoked me and I wanted to write, because boredom kills me. Oh! You don’t know how it is to be continually before your own faults and crimes, as I am!

26. What is your feeling when you witness a good deed? – A. I feel spiteful. I wish I could destroy it.

27. Haven’t you done any good deeds in your last existence, whatever the reason might have been? – A. I did for ambition and pride; never for benevolence. That is why it was not taken into account.

OBSERVATION: These conversations prolonged for many sessions and still happen at this point in time, unfortunately without much noticeable result. Evilness is always dominant in this spirit that only from time to time reveals some flashes of good feelings, thus turning into a tough task to his instructors. Nevertheless, we hope that they shall tame that rebellious nature with perseverance, or at least God will take their effort into account.

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