Man visible and invisible
The resplendent aura that manifests around sacred shrines and sages
by C. Shanmuganayagam
@ The Island 2000
It is an indisputable fact that despite the preoccupations of all human beings with the problems of their daily lives, there is an inherent urge in man to know the truth about himself and about the universe. The ultimate and absolute truth about oneself, namely, one’s inner-most Self, will, on deep Self-inquiry on the Gnana or Wisdom path, reveal itself as the One Transcendental Non-dual Reality that cannot be comprehended by the finite human mind. But in the penultimate stage of the inquiry, where the state of duality or relative truth would necessarily persist, there are two significant types of spiritual endeavour that one can embark on, namely: the Bhakthi path, where one’s devotional fervour is directed towards various aspects of the Divine namely, the One universal source of all manifestation, or the Karma yoga path, where out of great compassion one renders selfless service to one’s fellow beings considering them as embodiments of the Divine.
In both these types of spiritual endeavour, prayers, mantras, devotional songs and rites and rituals constitute the hall-mark of a devotee; and the vast majority of people are interested only in these religious activities which provide a meaning and fulfillment to their lives. Self-inquiry is a far cry for them at present.
The mysteries of ancient religions
We shall therefore examine the spiritual and occult significance of some of these religious activities. All the ancient religions of the world, apart from their philosophical content, have had a set of Mysteries involving ceremonial worship of the Divine with devotional ardour. Judaism, Christianity, Rosicrucianism, Free-Masonry, Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Sufism, and the earlier Babylonian, Greek and Egyptian religions have all evolved their own systems of ceremonial worship of the Divine.
In examining the matter from a scientific point of view, one finds that apart from the experience of self-realized Sages, several trained occultists of great integrity in the field of Theosophical research as well as in Kriya Yoga practice, such as Bishop C. W. Leadbeater, Dr. Annie Besant, C. Jinarajadasa and Paramahamsa Yogananda, whose chakras or psychic centres have been fully awakened, under the guidance of great Mahatmas, have vouched for the spiritual efficacy of the religious rites and forms of worship set out above. They have also described in detail the results of their research carried out by them in their subtle bodies in the astral and mental planes of consciousness.
Occult research and the third eye
They have been able to see with their awakened ‘third eye’ the brilliant pulsating colour bands of the aura surrounding great Mahatmas as well as the sacred shrines of all great religions. It is said that in the case of most village temples or churches a beautiful blue dome can be seen soaring above the sanctum-sanctorum or spire of the church, as a reflection of the devotional thoughts and aspirations of the simple-minded village-folk assembled there.
According to Mahayana Buddhism, on every Wesak day a majestic figure of Lord Buddha appears on a plateau in the Himalayan range with a resplendent aura fanning out like a rainbow in the sky and hundreds of pilgrims and initiates trek to that area to have ‘dharsan’ of this holy presence.
C. Jinarajadasa, who was the only Ceylonese to be world president of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, had told the writer of this article when he met him in the nineteen forties, that, in view of the psychic training that he had undergone under the guidance of the Masters, he was able to switch his consciousness in a matter of seconds from a perception of the physical world to that of the astral world, with all its alluring colours, and brilliant auras, and switch back again at will. Paramahamsa Yogananda also was able to do likewise, as disclosed by him in his talks to his disciples at Encinitas.
There was also one Elijah Grey a tall handsome Samoan prince and an advanced initiate in the Rosicrucian Order, whom the writer met in the forties in Colombo. He was an adept at conscious astral projection and was able to describe the resplendent beauty of the astral world and its phenomena which was hidden from our eyes.
The spiritual vibrations at Kataragama
Marshall Govindan, a Westerner who had a rigorous training in the Kriya yoga technique of meditation under the direct guidance of the 1800 year old Kriya Babaji of the Himalayas had given the following account of his psychic experiences when he visited Kataragama in recent years: ‘As I approached the Kataragama temple I was overwhelmed by the vibrations of peace and beatitude emanating from it... The spiritual vibrations of this forest rivalled those of the Himalayas.’ He described his experience when he witnessed a temple car festival in Sri Lanka carrying the sanctified idol of Ambikai the Divine Mother as follows: ‘At one point I went into a deep trance with my gaze transfixed on Her (the idol) in the distance. I was unable to move for nearly a half hour, as waves of bliss poured out of Her and passed through me’.
It is said that idols in temples become a live channel for Divine grace as a result of three vibrational factors, namely, the devotional fervour of the worshippers, the effect of the sacred mantras recited by the dedicated priests of the temple and in several instances the sanctity of the samadhi of a saint interred near the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is a strange and welcome coincidence that the samadhi at the well-known Hindu Nallur Kandasamy Kovil at Jaffna is that of a Sufi saint. Likewise the late Guru Bawa, whose premier disciple was the late Dr. Ajward Macan Markar, Professor of Medicine, was a Sufi mystic and also a great devotee of Lord Muruga, the Deity at Kataragama, who is venerated alike by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.
Scientific testing of the Aura
Modern scientific advancement has provided us with the astounding discovery of the Kilrian camera which can capture the subtle vibrations of the astral dimension. An experiment in this connection was once carried out by Swami Shantanand of Malaysia on one of his trips to U.S.A., when he was invited by his hosts there to place his hand under a Kilrean camera. In the beginning it recorded a luminous glow around the impression of his palm and later there appeared a sudden burst of brilliant golden rays shooting out from the palm. When he was asked the reason for this change in the pattern of rays, he said he was mentally reciting the well-known Maha Mrytunjaya mantra at that time.
Sri Sivaya Subramania Swami of Hawai, a Westerner who became a disciple of the well-known Yogaswamigal of Jaffna had his ‘third eye’ awakened by him, and has recently published a record of his psychic and spiritual experiences entitled ‘The Lemurian Scrolls’. One of the discoveries that he made in regard to occult phenomena was that a scroll of paper or ola leaf with a message inscribed on it, when placed inside a ‘Homa’ fire, turns to ashes on the physical plane and manifests fully in the subtle astral plane with the message distinctly visible to one’s astral sight.
He has stated further that he has been able to read the Akhasic records in the astral world and discover several secrets relating to the history of mankind covering several millennia, similar to the studies done by the Theosophist researchers like Leadbeater concerning astral phenomena and the tracing of the past lives of many of the great spiritual leaders of our time.
The presence of invisible Mahatmas in our midst
Sri Muthukrishna Swami, who is deemed to be an Amsa-avatar of the ancient Sri Agastya Maharishi, has stated recently in the course of many of his talks, following the elaborate pooja and Homam ceremony and singing of bhajans conducted by him, that several saints and sages (invisible to our sight) invariably frequent the auditorium where the pooja is held in their subtle luminous forms, to participate in the ceremony and confer blessings on all those assembled there.
It might be relevant to recall in this connection a unique experience had by Vidwan Lakshmanan, the well-known Vice-President of the All-India Council of Astrological Sciences and one who has had vast experience in the conduct of Yagams or ‘Homa’ religious ceremonies in Himalayan shrines on innumerable occasions. When he recently met Mataji the present spiritual head of the Sri Muthukrishna Swami Mission in Colombo, being psychically sensitive, he went into a trance and had a Cosmic Viswarupa dharsan characterised by intense joy and bliss, which others beside him were naturally unable to see or experience - as recorded by him at length in his ‘Bala Jothidam’ publication.
As Shakespeare so aptly describes: ‘There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’.