We know that The Spirits’ Book has sympathetic readers all over the
world, but we wouldn’t imagine to find it among the natives of
South America, had it not been for a letter that came to our hands from
Lima, a few months ago, whose thorough translation seemed to us appro-
priate to publish, considering the significant fact contained in that letter
and its easily understandable reach. The letter has a comment that spares
us from any reflection.
“Your Excellency Mr. Allan Kardec,
Forgive me for not writing in French. I can read but cannot
write correctly and intelligently in French.
For more than ten years now I visit, with a certain frequency,
the natives that inhabit the eastern side of the Andes, in those
American regions of Peru. The Spirits’ Book that I purchased in
one of those trips to Lima follows me in my solitude. Do not
be surprised when I tell you that I read it with enthusiasm and
that I continuously re-read it. Also, I would not bother wasting
your time with so little if I did not have certain information that
should be of your interest and if I did not wish to receive your
advice. I have no doubt that your human feelings are in agree-
ment with the sublime principles of your book.
Those native people which we call savages are less ignorant
than generally assumed. If one says that they live in huts and
not in palaces; that they don’t know our arts and sciences; that
they ignore the etiquette of the civilized world, then they will be
true savages. However, with respect to their intelligence, we find
among them ideas of a remarkable fairness; a great finesse of ob-
servation, as well as noble and elevated feelings. They understand
things with a marvelous ability and have an incomparably less
slothful spirit as the peasants of Europe. They despise whatever
seems useless to them, with respect to the simplicity, which is suf-
ficient to their life style. The tradition of independence is always
alive among them, explaining their insurmountable aversion to-
wards their conquerors. However, whilst showing hatred towards
the race in general, they get attached to the individuals who in-
spire in them an absolute trust. It is to that trust that I owe the
blessings of sharing their intimacy. When I am among them I feel
safer than in some large cities. When I leave them they become
sad and make me promise that I will return. When I return it is
party time all over the tribe.
Such explanations were necessary for the following reason:
I told you that I had The Spirits’ Book in hands. One day I
had this idea of translating to them a few passages, which very surprisingly to me they understood better than I supposed, given
their very judicious observations.
Here is an example.
The idea of reincarnating on Earth seems absolutely natural
to them. One day, one of them asked me: “When we die, can we
be reborn among the white people?”
- Certainly, I said.
- Then you may well be one of our relatives?
- It is possible.
- That is certainly why you are good to us and we love you.
- It is also possible.
- Then, when we meet a white man we should not do any harm
to him since he could be one of our brothers.
You will for sure be impressed, as I am, by such a conclusion
from a native and the feeling of fraternity that grew in him. As a
matter of fact the idea of spirits is not new among them. It is pres-
ent in their beliefs and they are convinced that it is possible to talk
to their deceased relatives who come to visit them. The important
thing is to take advantage of that and to try and moralize them.
I do not think it would be impossible since they still do not have
the vices of our civilization.
That is why I need your advices and your experience. As I see
it, there is no reason to suppose that we can only influence the ig-
norant by talking to their senses. I do think, on the contrary, that
it would only be a way of keeping them with those narrow ideas,
developing in them the tendency towards superstition. I believe
that reason, when we learn to position ourselves on the level of
the intelligences which will always have a more lasting influence.
I wait for your response, with most cordial...etc.
DON FERNANDO GUERRERO