Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Unique practice of Tantra

My brother disciple, whose father was a learned Sanskrit pandit, was from Medanipur, Bengal. When he was eighteen years old, before I had met him, his family forced him to get married. The marriage ceremony was being performed in the evening, and this suited his plans well.

During a Hindu wedding the bride and groom participate in a fire ceremony and take seven steps around the fire. On the fourth step he jumped out of the ritual and ran into the fields. The people in the wedding party did not understand his behavior. They began to chase him, but could not catch him.

He walked for several days until he reached the banks of the Ganges and started following the river in search of a spiritual teacher. For six years he went through many experiences, but did not find a teacher. Then he met my master at Shrinagar, in the Himalayas. When they met, my master embraced him and knew that they had known each other before. My brother disciple lived with my master for three months and then was instructed to go to Gangotri, where we stayed in a cave together.

One day he began talking about his hometown, Medanipur, and told me that if ever I visited there I should tell his family that he had become a renunciate and lives in the Himalayas. Soon after that I visited his home and met the woman to whom he was to have been married. She was waiting for him to come home. I suggested that she get married to someone else because the marriage ceremony had not been completed. On hearing such advice from me, she said, “You and your brother disciple are the worshippers of the devil and not of God.” She was in a fit of anger.

I went back to my hut, which as situated outside the village. In that area tantra was practiced. Practically all the homes of this area worshipped Mother Divine, calling her Ma Kali. I had heard much about tantra and had read a few scriptures.

I wanted to meet someone who could really demonstrate the practices so that I would have no doubts of their validity. One of my brother disciple’s cousins in that village introduced me to a Mohammedan tantric who was ninety-two years of age. I went to see him and we talked for three hours. He was famous there as a maulavi, a priest who leads the prayers in the mosques and knows the Koran, the sacred bible of Islam.

The next morning the maulavi took me to a pond outside the village. He also brought a chicken. First he tied this chicken with a string and then he tied the other end of the string to a banana plant. He told me to sit down and watch attentively. He was muttering something and throwing black-eyed peas on the string. The chicken fluttered and became lifeless. He said, “The chicken is dead.”

I thought, “This is not being creative. It s a very bad power. It’s black magic.” He asked me to make sure that the chicken was dead. I said, “Can I put the chicken under water for some time?” He said, “Go ahead.”

I kept the chicken under water for more than five minutes and then took it out. To my knowledge the chicken was dead. Then he brought the chicken back to life by performing that same ritual of throwing black-eyed peas and muttering something. This really shook me up. He said, “Now tie one end of the string on the banana plant and tie the other end to your waist. I’ll show you something different.”

Instead of doing what he said, I ran as fast as I could toward the village, leaving the old maulavi and his chicken far behind me. When I arrived I was breathless and the villagers did not know why I was running so fast. I told them that the old maulavi wanted to kill me, but no one believed me, for in that area he was considered to be a very holy man. I thought, “I’d better leave this place and tread my path instead of seeking such miracles.”

From this place I went to Calcutta to stay a few days with the chief justice, R P Mukharji. When I told him of my experience and asked if I had imagined it or hallucinated, he said, “No, such things happen.” Later I asked some sages how such a miracle was accomplished. They could not explain it, but acknowledged that Bengal was famous for such practices. When I related this story to my master, he laughed at me and said, “You need exposure to all sorts of things, although you should not attempt to practice yourself. You should follow only that discipline which has been given to you.”

This sort of tantra is not the real science of tantra, but is an offshoot of tantrism. The power of the mind can be used in many ways. Without knowledge of the goal of life, mental faculties can be directed negatively for harming others. But ultimately this misuse of mental powers destroys the person who practices it. There still exist a few people with such tantric powers. But out of a hundred, one is genuine and the other ninety-nine are magicians.

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