And it is a paradox he will not even know how he will kick the bucket — illness, accident, suicide or murder. That is the mystery of life and death! Therefore, the question is, of what avail these powers? Yes, while alive these powers do help, as we could see them enjoying a comfortable, luxurious and audacious life of power and pelf. Well, who cares what happens when dead?
Towards the tether end of last year 2022, I had re-published in this column an Abracadabra titled ‘Godman Chandraswami & Margaret Thatcher’ on Dec. 22 (first published on 15.4.2013). It was inspired by an episode mentioned in K. Natwar Singh’s book ‘‘Walking with Lions: Tales from a Diplomatic Past.” It was about a well-known tantric of the 1970s Chandraswami and his esoteric power of prediction and such mystic pursuits.
Those years he was an ubiquitous Swami exercising influence over the high and mighty, the powerful government officers and ministers. He ruled the roost in Delhi for nearly two decades with his uncanny mystic powers and interactions with VIPs. He would fix an appointment for a diplomat with the Presidents, Prime Ministers, Dictators and Kings even when it appeared impossible. Such was his mystic power or whatever power it was.
Natwar Singh narrates an incident when he fell ill while in Paris on some diplomatic mission and he thought his mission would be aborted as a result. Suddenly, he gets a call from Chandraswami with whom he had lost contact for many years. Actually, he didn’t want to talk with this wandering Swami but couldn’t resist speaking to him on this occasion. Chandraswami simply asked Natwar Singh, ‘Kunwar Sahib, you are not feeling well. Who is looking after you?’ It was not known how Chandraswami came to know that Natwar Singh was in Paris and he was not keeping well. The next thing that happened was Chandraswami telling Natwar Singh that ‘I am bringing French President Mitterrand’s doctor to see you.’ And indeed he came with the doctor and attended Natwar Singh. All was well and hunky-dory.
Be that as it may, Natwar Singh also writes about ‘A medium called Albert Best.’ And reading this I thought of the recent blockbuster Kannada film ‘Kantara’ where the story revolves around a medium who would get possessed of the spirit of a village divinity and then acting as an oracle, a bridge between the villagers’ life and the world of spirits.
Natwar Singh writes about Albert Best, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who because of his extra sensory perceptions could communicate with spirits of the other world!
As we know, Hindus generally believe that our body perishes but the soul, which is resident in the body, is immortal as it (soul) departs from the body after death. The belief is that a highly evolved powerful medium of a man or woman can help us to establish contact with people who have died. It could be one’s father or mother, wife, husband or children or dear and near ones or a friend or even a prophet (!).
But then, I was always left wondering what is the purpose of such communication as long as those spirits remain invisible and unable to speak directly, needing a medium of a third person to communicate. Can such contact with the dead help the living persons who are in trouble? Can this ‘spirit’ help the poor to become rich or suggest (like business consultants) what business, trade or profession this poor person should undertake? Will this ‘spirit’ of the dead help a person who is suffering from some disease to get cured with or without medical intervention? When I posed this question to a believer in this phenomenon of a ‘medium’, he narrated an example of a medium who went into a trance before answering the question. The question was: ‘My wife had died a week back and I find her jewels missing. Could she tell me whether it is misplaced or stolen?’ The medium said, ‘The ‘spirit’ of your wife is here and she is asking you to look at the bottom shelf of the almirah in your bedroom.’ Indeed it was found there. Well, Sir. Does one sparrow make a summer?
Interestingly, while writing about this mystical, enigmatic aspect of human life, Natwar Singh gives a foot note mentioning about our own R.K. Narayan, the famous English writer and novelist, who lived in Krishnamurthypuram and Yadavagiri, Mysuru. Let me quote what Natwar Singh has written in the note:
“Readers might be interested to learn that R.K. Narayan, the author of the Malgudi novels, remained in almost daily contact with his wife, who died aged 30 in 1940. RK lived to be 96. His novel ‘The English Teacher’ is largely about this dimension of his life.”
Indeed so. I have read that book and it was then I learnt of what is known as communicating with the dead with the help of planchette. My friend and I experimented on calling the ‘spirit’ one night using a limestone slate and pencil to enable the ‘spirit’ to write using our fingers to answer our questions! We found it very abstract, vague and a sort of Abracadabra. Let it be.
However, a person getting possessed of a ‘spirit’ in many parts of India seems very common and prevalent even now. I have already mentioned about the Kannada film ‘Kantara’ that revolves around such a belief. There is an ancestral house in Kodagu with a history of over 600 years where ‘Naga puja’ is performed. One year a woman suddenly got possessed of a ‘spirit’ to the shock and horror of those who had gathered there. She became normal after a few minutes. Otherwise, she too would have become a ‘medium’ for the devotees to communicate with the ‘Naga Devata.’ GOK.
At the end, no matter what kind of power a person has — power of wealth, power of physical strength, political power, divine power or of the ‘spirit’ of the dead or the ghost —, the person so possessed with powers of the kind mentioned above must also die one day. And it is a paradox he will not even know how he will kick the bucket — illness, accident, suicide or murder. That is the mystery of life and death! Therefore, the question is, of what avail these powers?
Yes, while alive these powers do help, as we could see them enjoying a comfortable, luxurious and audacious life of power and pelf. Well, who cares what happens when dead?
e-mail: [email protected]
It appears Mr Ganapathy is easily swayed by any book ( the term sucker comes to mins), this time the book of Natwar Singh, The story about that Swami was made up, particularly as Margaret Thatcher was strictly Christian. Natwar Singh was known to be a lier,. After all, he was a Congress leader-a failed one and hence was bundled off top England as High commissioner.
Mr Ganapathy, a bit of advice. Do not believe things written in a published book.