By TA Balasubrramanian
Mystic Experiences with Himalayan Masters
Dr Sant S Dharamananda, Life Positive Books, INR 325, 324 pages
“My throat felt itchy and I had lost my voice. I had developed laryngitis. Since I could not speak or sing, I planned to wrap myself in Swamiji’s shawl to comfort myself with his gift of love and blessings. On stage, the master of ceremonies touched me on my shoulder to signal that it was time to begin. At that very moment, I felt a twitching on my forehead. It felt like someone was walking up and down from my nostrils to my eyebrows. I felt my eyes opening, and heard a deep voice emanate from within me, chanting in Sanskrit. The same deep voice went on to talk for two hours on a subject that was very different from what I had prepared.”
This experience is one of many such miraculous stories in this fascinating book. Sant Dharamananda (or Sant) has worked as a microbiologist in the US for over a decade. He is a direct disciple of Swami Rama (referred to as Swamiji in the extract above), the legendary Himalayan mystic and founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, based in Pennsylvania. The word “Himalayan” in the book’s title refers to many yogic and spiritual gurus such as Swami Rama (who is associated with that mountainous region because he lived there for most of his life).
Following his lifelong interest in mystical experiences, Sant has followed the example of his guru, Swami Rama, and set up many cultural community institutions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Trinidad and Tobago. His aim is to blend modern science and technology with the wisdom of the many Himalayan yogis that he has encountered.
In the introduction and in one section, he describes how his encounter with Swami Rama in 1987, at the age of 28, changed his life. Thereafter, he has sought out various other Himalayan yogis, such as Swami Hariharananda Bharati and Swami Atmananda Saraswati who helped him understand and channel incredible manifestations of their spiritual powers. In this book, Sant has put together assorted mystical insights and inexplicable happenings that transformed his life. He describes phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, guiding voices and visions in dreams that help him or his associates in difficult circumstances, and miraculous escapes from life-threatening situations.
If you are a seeker interested in exploring the value of a guiding spirit in the form of a guru, the assorted mystical insights and tips in these stories offer plenty of inspiration. If you already have a guru, perhaps these tales of a fellow-seeker will help you refresh your energies to build the basis for a blissful spiritual life. If you are a casual reader, you can simply enjoy reading any of the artfully narrated stories here. Perhaps some insight or the other will spark your curiosity about mysticism, and take you a step closer to enlightenment!