While they had gained control over paranormal forces through different methods and their motivations were dissimilar, the mastery they achieved over a part of the unknown were similar. They shared a common rationale too. A person’s thoughts, the mind or spirit are free and can roam and know no boundaries other than their own self imposed limitations; In contrast, the physical body has a major handicap. It can’t fly like thoughts. Instead, it has to be powered by thoughts; it has to be fueled by food to survive.
Therefore, to gain access to certain or various aspects of the paranormal, it would be far better, quicker, and more reliable to rely on a state which is free of the physical body. It meant undergoing many hardships, making sacrifices and a great deal of discipline. The initial rewards included a line of communication with a spirit and a deal struck on certain terms. The ultimate rewards included a spirit guide. Persons who have gained genuine control over paranormal forces are relatively rare, but the fact that paranormal seekers and mystical practices can be found in different, distant parts of India is an important indicator of a deeper meaning and connotations about the other world.
I’ve found persons with rare, remarkable powers across the length and breadth of India, from the snowy heights of Uri in Kashmir to Land’s End on the shores of the Indian Ocean at Kanyakumari, from the sandy wastes of the Thar desert in Northwestern India to the lush green jungles of the Northeast. Whether it was Lal Baba or Chiragh Baba in Delhi, Dabral Baba in Ujjain, or Yusuf Khan in Uri or Jyotishiji in Agrakhal in the Garwhal Himalayas or the late Amlanand in Dehra Dun, or others I have met, they shared a mastery over at least one if not more paranormal powers. Take Lal Baba for instance. Some people say he is a Sufi, some people say he is a Muslim, some people say he is a fakir, some people say they don’t know his religion, but they know he is a man of god. All agree that he has powers beyond the ordinary. He’s called Lal Baba because he always wears a long, flowing, maroonish red kurta with a red cloth twirled round his head.
When you ask Lal Baba to identify himself, he laughs heartily , pauses thoughtfully, then smiles again. “You’ll get your answer perhaps”, he says mysteriously, “if you ponder over who a seeker is and who a fakir is, if you ponder over what a bubble is, if you ponder over what life is, if you ponder over what giving and taking are all about, if you ponder over what love is...”
Though no one seems to be able to agree on who or what exactly the Baba is, they all know that he is equally at home with the style of worship of all religions. He is equally at ease with the poorest person and the most influential person. Everybody knew that most years, it was the bare footed Lal Baba who led the “Chari” procession as it started from Delhi and wound its way along dusty roads and paths to its ultimate destination – the world famous Dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer.
Lal Baba is now in Bangladesh but his usual abode when in Delhi was the peaceful, revered Dargah of Mai Sahiba, the mother of the venerated Nizamuddin Aulia and the “pir” sister of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Unquestionably, Lal Baba has the power to look into the future and help you find solutions to your problems, to lead you towards a more meaningful existence, to blow away much of your unhappiness and much of your physical sickness as well.
Dabral Baba in Ujjain had a stream of people waiting at his residence every day, seeking a solution to their problems. He met one in a semi-dark room, and divined one’s thoughts almost immediately. The source of his powers was, he explained, a spirit. In picturesque Agrakhal in the Garwhal Himalayas, Jyotishiji could, in less than half an hour, get you a letter or anything else that was not too unwieldy from hundreds of kilometers away. The secret of his amazing powers too, he averred, was a spirit. The late Amlanand also relied on a spirit to provide astoundingly correct predictions about the future. Way up in Uri in Kashmir, Yusuf Khan, too relies on help from a spirit guide.
“There’s a difference between being a paranormal seeker or expert or being a mystic and gaining control over paranormal, mystical powers”, Amlanand had once explained to me. “Not all paranormal seekers or experts or mystics wish to help others. Often, they’re on their own search and become paranormal seekers or experts or mystics as part of the natural process of conscious evolution of the soul and they keep their interaction with other humans to a minimum.
“They’re on a different, I would say, more exalted level. True paranormal practitioners or mystics actually possess the power, for instance, to look beyond into eternity and know no barriers. On the other hand, people like us who gain control over certain paranormal or mystical powers have to rely on borrowed sources of energy such as spirit guides. But then we’re also bound under a deal to help whoever comes to us for guidance”.
“Being guided by spirits is an unusual, mystical form of communication and cooperation”, points out Yusuf Khan, “but it has immense scope for helping mankind. Not everyone believes in reincarnation but each culture believes in the existence of spirits. Efforts are being made to ascertain whether there is life on other planets. New experiments like cloning and so on are being carried out. There is enough evidence about the existence of spirits. Why doesn’t someone carry out an experiment under controlled conditions about developing useful links with the spirit world?” Why not indeed?