The physical basis of all psychic belief is that the soul is a complete duplicate of the body, resembling it in the smallest particular, although constructed in some far more tenuous material. In ordinary conditions these two bodies are intermingled so that the identity of the finer one is entirely obscured. At death, however, and under certain conditions in the course of life, the two divide and can be seen separately.
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Vital Message, 1919
While growing up I have heard my share of stories of hauntings. The usual fare carried down from grandmother to grandchildren. There were tales of girls trying to contact spirits through the ouija board and being terrorised by some spirit who refused to go. All this kept me away from even letting the possibility of doing something like this,even enter my head.Then there was Hollywood with its horror movies just adding to the fears.
Through a series of events that unfolded in 2007,my fears turned to curiosity,then to being open and finally belief that we continue to exist in a separate dimension a vibration away. When I was working in UK,there was a Spiritualist church down the street where we lived. I passed by this single storeyed structure everyday..and always thought it was something spooky and to do with Satanic worship. These preconceived notions came from my Christian upbringing, where things can have only two explanations..either its God or the Devil s work. Who decides which work is which.There s no space to question or reason. Its either in the Book (Bible) or you ignore it and its Satan's work. So I had this same attitude of just looking away from this place, till I happened to read a book by the famous British medium Tony Stockwell. Tony was a psychic since he was a small boy and his mother never disbelieved him. This helped him hone his skills and now he is a very popular medium. His book just dispelled a lot of doubts and fears I was harbouring. So the next thing, I did was to muster enough courage to go to this church one cold winter evening.
I was in for a pleasant surprise as the whole place was alive with cheerful and loving countenances and hardly spooky. They welcomed me and it looked like I had landed at some family gathering. When I introduced myself and said I was Indian..they surprised me all the more by saying what can we tell you about spirituality, you come from India the land of spirituality. I had to just act as if I knew what they meant, I had no clue what they were talking about.
There was a stage and an audience of around 50-60 people...all white faces..I was the odd brown face...not that anyone made me feel left out. This public gathering happened twice weekly and they had a guest medium give messages to the loved ones of people who had passed away. I was just curious and had no expectation of receiving any messages that day..The medium was a thorough gentleman the typical Brit..around 60 years..He seemed to be an experienced medium. He started with a message..
I can hear and see an elderly gentleman with grey hair and seated on an easy reclining chair..old fashioned with his hands behind his head. He tells me this is his favourite position, but it looks like a rather uncomfortable position to me... It sure reminded me of a loved one, long since dead..I wasnt aware of the protocol and I was also skeptic and doubtful so I just waited for him to give more clues..oops I d missed it ..I was supposed to lift my hand..as the message was not taken he just went on with other messages. Strangely I felt a knawing sense of guilt with each message being taken by someone or the other for not putting my hand up. The whole evening went on and he have maybe 30 odd messages. All of them were taken by someone in the audience. He gave them such touching messages..most of them were cases of young deaths..in accidents and fatal diseases. I was visibly shaken and emotional as this has happened without any expectation. My grandfather had died in 1988 almost 20 years back. The description had matched him so well and I had let it go cause i was testing and waiting for more clues.
After the session I went backstage and met the medium and told him how sorry I was and that it was for me. He said this old man was trying hard to get across and was sending you so much love..maybe you can come again to get a message.
I went back twice to get no messages. The 4th time I went I was lucky..I sat in the front row so I should not get overlooked,as if spirit is restricted by any of this.
The guest medium was a lady this time...very soft spoken almost like a fairy tale grandmother with a shock of white hair. She hardly looked the part and I was not expecting much anyway. She started with a few messages , she had a different way of operating..she would choose the area in the audience where the loved one was seated ..Somehow this was not always very easy as she went off mark sometimes with the positioning. So when she chose an old man sitting 3 rows behind me but diagonally opposite..i was pretty disinterested with what she asked him...she said i can see this milk selling depot. The man had no clue and was racking his brains as his expressions showed to get at anything remotely connected to this. He was sorry he said I dont remember anything like this...
In my grandparents time when i was little boy we had a horse carriage deliver milk in bottles..thats about all he could remember. So I thought poor lady is off the mark. Then she said something that almost instantly made me stand up with my hand raised as if I had been pushed out of my seat..this time I didnt want to lose my chance..so many spirits must be whispering in her ears she will just move on to the next message..What she said was something to the effect of...
I can see a white building,single storeyed where they have a primitive way of selling milk. People go with containers to buy milk. This looks like a third world country. And that was enough..I had this flash of memory back to the early eighties..Calcutta, India where I grew up, queing up with my grandfather to buy milk at a Mother diary depot with a steel container. Not sure if spirit had helped me make that connection. This time I did not waste the chance. She started..
I have a lady here..she's about 70 she s saying she had 4 children and was a happy woman . She sang while she worked.. She had a problem with her throat or chest when she died..the medium was indicating her throat and chest region...
I sprang up and started saying thats my grandmother..She admonished me for revealing too much. They like coming up with all the details..and do not want you to interfere. I kept quiet and sat down..very excited. A few more details she gave and then she said something so beautiful I was deeply touched. She said..
Your grandmother wants to tell you she loves you a lot and is beside you..and now i can see her touch your right cheek..Oh that was so close and I could feel nothing, nothing at all..But the way it all happened that day I didnt have a single skeptical thought. My doubts were erased for all time to come. Indeed there s more to life than what we know or perceive and I did not need any further proof. There was so much love and compassion all around and energy..it could not be Devil's or Satan's work at least. Maybe there is a relevant scientific explanation and it is not some magic or trickery..maybe we are not equipped to measure this phenomenon. Just like any theory that takes time to be proved..it is just a matter of time ..waiting to be discovered by science.
Later I went on to read more books by others and the common experiences these mediums shared only went on to strengthen my ideas. It is a great thing that the West is so open and always researches the paranormal so that we can read and clear so many doubts and drop being superstitious.
However, a client of mine recently mentioned something which set me thinking..that India was where all this began. She mentioned how the Theosophical society and Madame Blavatsky started its work in India and how performing seances was very common in her ancestral home in Calcutta and how her granfather wrote a book on the Afterlife in Bengali, almost a 100 years back detailing what a medium should do to call a spirit and all such details of conducting a seance. This practise she said the British took back with them. I have heard how during the Raj bored officers wives would entertain themselves with seances and the occult.
Ok , now I had heard most of this and studied it in my History textbook but never co-related the two. So this is what the man at the spirituality church seemed to be telling me how there was no need to introduce me to this concept as I was an Indian.. Far from the truth, as usual being a modern indian who just aped the west..I knew nothing of all this till recently. Yet again, one more part of our culture repackaged and taught to us.
I came to Bombay after that and found channeling to be quite popular among a certain kind of South Bombay elite. That is a different story as this is more like channeling great masters and spirit guides,unlike what i saw in UK. Also would like to add a fact that till the late 1940s this kind of activity was illegal in the UK and was conducted in underground circles as it was considered blasphemous. Not sure what we look at this as..I think we just choose to ignore it as we do with so much of our culture,we have given up to the west to improve upon whilst we sit back and adopt all their Capitalistic, materialistic ways. Change is inevitable, so I am not complaining..we indeed come full circle the snake biting its own tail.