A theosophical term referring to an universal filing system which records every occurring thought, word, and action. The records are impressed on a subtle substance called akasha (or Soniferous Ether). In Hindu mysticism this akasha is thought to be the primary principle of nature from which the other four natural principles, fire, air, earth, and water, are created. These five principles also represent the five senses of the human being.
Some indicate the akashic records are similar to a Cosmic or collective consciousness. The records have been referred to by different names including the Cosmic Mind, the Universal Mind, the collective unconscious, or the collective subconscious. Others think the akashic records make clairvoyance and psychic perception possible.
It is believed by some that the events recorded upon that akasha can be ascertained or read in certain states of consciousness. Such states of consciousness can be induced by certain stages of sleep, weakness, illness, drugs, and meditation so not only mystics but ordinary people can and do perceive the akashic records. Some mystics claim to be able to reanimate their contents like they were turning on a celestial television set. Yogis also believe that these records can be perceived in certain psychic states.
Certain persons in subconscious states do read the akashic records. An explanation for this phenomena is that the akashic records are the macrocosm of the individual subconscious mind. Both function similarly, they possess thoughts which are never forgotten. The collective subconscious gathers all thoughts from each subconscious mind which can be read by other subconscious minds.
An example of one who many claimed successfully read the akashic records is the late American mystic Edgar Cayce. Cayce did his readings in a sleep state or trance. Cayce's method was described by Dr. Wesley H. Ketchum who for several years used Cayce as an adjunct for his medical practice. "Cayce's subconscious...is in direct communication with all other subconscious minds, and is capable of interpreting through his objective mind and imparting impressions received to other objective minds, gathering in this way all knowledge possessed by endless millions of other subconscious minds." Apparently Cayce was interpreting the collective subconscious mind long before the psychiatrist C.J. Jung postulated his concept of the collective unconscious.