A MEDIUM’S PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES OF INDIA
Medium Craig Hamilton-Parker talks about his experiences in India and explores sacred India to gain insight into their teachings and philosophy about the next world.
Our pilgrimage to India began two days before the flight with a trip to London to see the Hindu guru called Amma. My wife Jane, who paid for my adventure, was able to accompany me on this first leg of the trip. This would be an opportunity for the fifteen members of the yoga group to get to know one another and also would set a lovely tone to begin our pilgrimage to the East. All this was made possible because of the dedication and service that came from our yoga teachers (and gurus!) Debbie and Steve Harrison from the Yoga Sanctuary in Southampton.
They call Amma the hugging saint because she quite literally hugs everyone who comes to see her, whether it be a small group or a crowd of thousands. She is revered in her own country as a healer and guru and is credited with many miracles. Her organization is doing a huge amount of humanitarian work.
I have read a few posting on my Internet forum from people who have been hugged by Amma but some say they felt absolutely nothing. I was prepared to accept that the lady had power but it was also possible of course that her devotees were deluding themselves. And on top of all that I am, in normal life, not a particularly ‘huggy’ person; in fact the last time I suggested a group hug was when some angry farmers were about to chuck my rambling friends and me off their land.
Steve advised us that if we wanted to experience Amma’s energy we needed to open ourselves to her so while we sat in the queue waiting, I closed my eyes and energized my chakras using one of the Kriya techniques we have learned in yoga. Jane was finding it a little awkward to sit on the floor as she torn the ligaments in her leg some time ago and it was taking some time to heal.
Eventually, we came to the front of the line and kneeled in front of Amma. I noticed that the right-hand side of Amma’s face was bruised black and blue where she had brought her cheeks into contact with so many thousands of people. As Jane and I are a married couple we invited to hug her together: me first, then Jane and then both of us simultaneously. Amma squeezed us tight and whispered some Vedic words into our ears. She then let go and threw some rose petals over us. Her eyes twinkled as she made what sounded to me like a very mischievous giggle.
Jane stood up and to her surprise, her leg was absolutely fine. I stood up and nearly fell on my face. I had to sit down pronto. My leg was completely numb! “Good God,” I joked, “if she’s transferred our karmas I may get an urge to go shopping or whip the Hoover round when we get home!”
It certainly had the feeling of being the butt of a cosmic joke but I expect it was really caused by me sitting in an awkward position. There was nonetheless a wonderful energy projected by Amma. I felt for a while afterward the same way you feel when a really top-notch spiritual healer has been working on you for a half hour or more. I felt light, energized and very relaxed and yet all this had occurred in just a few moments of hugging. Clearly, Amma is a very special lady and if you are prepared to open yourself to her vibration she projects an incredible healing energy.
A couple of days after the trip to visit Amma we all met again for a Diwali firework display and the next day loaded our rucksacks and boarded the plane to Delhi. This was followed by a long white-knuckle bus journey to the holy town of Rishikesh.
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India is of course now a modern country with new heavy industries, call service centers, an expanding middle class and of course the atomic bomb. One day it may become a world superpower. But underlying this material aspect there remains ancient India– the land of Bharat that has been the home of so many enlightened souls. If you align yourself with India’s spiritual legacy then I believe you tap into this living vibration and a process of change takes place within you. India will embrace you – just like a hug from Amma.
For each of us in the yoga group, the trip would be a different experience, for a pilgrimage like this was not to a place but was a journey into ourselves. Some would be deeply affected by the experience but for others, it may be just another trip abroad or even an uncomfortable challenge. I hoped that my own passage to India would help me to reconcile some of my spiritual experiences and in particular help me to find a correlation between mediumship and yoga. And hopefully, I would be spared the toilet karma!
Steve and Debbie were seasoned travelers to India and their previous explorations led them to discover sacred places that are rarely visited by the casual western traveler. I had been to India once before, to see Sai Baba, so I had an inkling of what to expect: this was not going to be ladies’ keep fit yoga. When I packed my rucksack I took Sai Baba’s advice to heart – a saying that applies to both spiritual and physical journeying: “Travel light. Arrive quickly”.
And I also knew that when Steve said there may be a few points when we’d encounter situations that require Tapas that he was not talking about delicious Spanish food. (Tapas is a Sanskrit word meaning the ‘heat’ of austerity and mortification.)
Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba)
Totally exhausted after the plane journey and the terrifying, long bus journey we stopped just outside Rishikesh at a temple. This place had been a magnet for hippies in the 1960/70’s for it was the abode of the guru Neem Karoli Baba, or as he is better known in the West, Maharaj-ji. This guru was visited by Richard Alpert, a Harvard professor who together with his college Dr Timothy Leary conducted the first experiments on the effects of the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin on human subjects.
Alpert and Leary were dismissed from the university in 1963 – Leary for his conduct in general, and Alpert for illicitly giving psilocybin to undergraduates. Together they became the ‘gurus’ of the psychedelic era and continued their experiments with LSD from a private mansion in Millbrook, New York. Millbrook became the locum of the hippie movement attracting intellectuals from across America and the world including people such as Allen Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead, and Ken Kesey.
But there was a problem with these experiments with consciousness expanding drugs because the states of awareness could not be maintained. Dr Richard Alpert was beginning to get depressed “I realized that no matter how ingenious my experimental designs were, and how high I got, I came down,” said Alpert. “At one point I took five people and we locked ourselves in a building for three weeks and we took 400 micrograms of LSD every four hours…. What happened in those three weeks in that house, no one would ever believe, including us. And at the end of the three weeks, we walked out of the house and within a few days, we came down!”
Richard Alpert toured India in the hope that he could find an Indian holy person who could explain LSD. He eventually met Maharaj-ji who gulped down a load of LSD – 915 micrograms – enough to send a small army into orbit. And nothing happened. Maharaj-ji just continued as normal as if nothing was different. He explained to Alpert that LSD gave you siddhis (power) but that if a person attained the states of consciousness that meditation and yoga brought then even a powerful drug like LSD had no effect on the yogi’s awareness. Alpert became a devotee of Maharaj-ji and took the spiritual name Ram Dass, which means “servant of Rama” (God).
As I looked around the small temple to Maharaj-Ji I thought to my self how I’d have loved to have met this guru. I then ‘heard’ a voice: “You just have!” I looked around but I was alone. My group was far from me and out of earshot. I had heard an absolutely clear objective voice, not an inner impression of a voice that comes through clairaudience but an audible voice ‘out there’. In some of the other temples we were to visit later there was a sense of the energy of the person but here I felt the actual spirit of the guru who greets and helps those who come with good intent.