Psychic Medium experiences of Varanasi and Delhi
Article about Varanasi by Craig Hamilton-Parker.
EXPERIENCES OF VARANASI
Varanasi (Benares) is chaotic. Its labyrinth of narrow lanes and alleys are stuffed full with cows, goats, bikes, carts, people, and gold-clad corpses being carried on stretchers past fly-covered food counters. Apart from the occasional belching moped that forced its way through the jammed passageways the scene we walked through to our lodgings at Scindia Ghat had not changed for thousands of years. (It’s the guest house in the picture above. I describe the experience in my book at bottom of page)
Mark Twain described it perfectly when he said: “Benares Is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
As my sandals hit another patch of lung-numbing effluent I observed that if I fancied getting really, really sick then this place had everything you could hope for. The last time Steve and Debbie had stayed in Varanasi they were flat out in bed for two weeks.
Craig Talks about his Recent Experiences in India
Varanasi: Benares, the holy city
But of course, once you see beyond the litter, dangerously built buildings, wall to wall cow pats and grime, Varanasi reveals another extraordinary world. This is the world of Benares, the holy city that is to the Hindus why Jerusalem is to Christians. Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva, the capital of spiritual knowledge, the city of light.
The beauty of Varanasi revealed itself at dawn as we practiced our yoga on the flat roof of the guest house. The early morning light revealed the opposite bank of the Ganges illuminating in soft tones of purple and orange the flood planes and distant outline of trees.
Closer to us we could see, as we stretched into our postures, sunken temples in the mud and the last whiff of wood-fuelled cremations. To our left, the cows were being milked while all around ash faced sadhus, and beggars emerged from their slumbers.
As we moved into the somewhat vulnerable full reclining hero pose, a group of monkeys scrambled towards us over the rooftops and washing lines. Three big ones jumped up onto the veranda railings and looked down at me laid flat on the floor with my ankles by my waist and my crouch pointing at them in the come-and-hurt-me position.
Fortunately, they scrutinized us for a while, decided we had no food, looked at us with perplexed disdain, and eventually left us alone.
The waterside on the ghats
By day you can sit by the waterside on the ghats in India will come to you. It unfolds in a surreal pageant of orange-clad holy men, children selling postcards and chai, women carrying enormous loads on their heads.
I watched a man pushbike laden with fifteen Calor gas bottles, street masseurs, and hairdressers touting for business, others were sleeping on the floor, urinating on the pavement or bathing in the soup of the Ganges. But it is at night that this place is most fascinating for transforms into and an unfamiliar and eerie world soaked in death.
Ananda Mayee Ma
As the sunset on Varanasi, we boarded a rowing boat to take our group upriver to the temple dedicated to the woman guru Ananda Mayee Ma (1896-1981). The life of this woman saint is a fascinating story. As a young girl, she displayed an extraordinary spiritual awareness. Her parents made her marry at 13 but her husband Ramani Mohan Cakravarti or Bholanath as he was known was soon to realize that this was not to be a traditional marriage.
Whenever her husband tried to touch her in an intimate way he would either be thrown to the ground by electric shocks or Ananda Mayee Ma’s body would fall into a corpse-like state. Initially fearing what was happening, Bholanath took his wife to an exorcist but was told that she was not mad in the conventional sense.
The healers advised him that she had a kind of ecstatic god intoxication – a divine madness for which there was no cure. (Eventually, Bholanath became a devotee of his wife)
Yogic psychic powers
She was known for her siddhis or yogic psychic powers. Before devotees could voice a question she would read their thoughts and give an answer before they spoke. Her telepathic powers were very advanced and she could also intuit devotees’ thoughts and feelings from a great distance. She could make her body shrink and expand in size, cure the sick and brought one devotee back from the dead after a car accident.
The devotee claimed that the saint grasped her “life substance” and brought it back into her dead body. Ananda Mayee Ma was also guided by inner voices that advised her about what actions to take, her body would spontaneously contort into advanced yoga positions without her ever having had any formal training and at festivals, she was known to materialize religious objects and produce spontaneous fires.
Despite her miraculous powers, Ananda Mayee Ma remained a deeply humble and pious woman. To Sri Ma, everyone was the father and everyone was the mother for she always considered herself to be a little girl, a child of God.
By the time we docked at the ghat at this, the bad end of town; it was the night. The temple/ashram was hidden in a network of dark, somewhat sinister lanes full of ‘turbaned ruffians’ (to quote Vivian Stanshaw).
After some searching, we eventually found the temple door tucked away in an obscure alleyway. Here, in honor of the guru, we joined in with the Aarti, chanted some of the saint’s favorite mantras, and sat in meditation to absorb the darshan of this sacred place.