Tall, thin, silver haired, he lived in a small village near Patna in Bihar. To outsiders, except for his penetrating eyes and striking dignity, there was nothing really distinctive that would set him apart from the hundreds of Brahmin Agradanis or Kantahas in Bihar who conduct ceremonies when Hindus are cremated and who receive the offerings made on the eleventh day after a person’s death, and during the shraadhs — the annual fortnight when loved ones and other spirits descend to earth to spend time with their kith and kin. But people in several villages around Patna revered Kantaha Baba.
Nobody bothered about his real name. But every family was keen that when they were observing a shraadh ceremony, Kantaha Baba should be present to partake of the special meal prepared in honour of the souls of ancestors and family members, especially on Pitri Amavasya — the last day of the shraadh period. And the amazing thing was that Kantaha Baba would be simultaneously present not just in several homes in the same village but in several villages kilometres apart at the same time too. How was that possible? Kantaha Baba had mastered the art of bi-location or multi-location, also known as astral travel or projection or nano-travel.
According to the Wikipedia, “Bilocation, or sometimes multilocation, is an alleged psychic or miraculous ability wherein an individual or object is located (or appears to be located) in two distinct places at the same time.” Wes Penre writes in The Vedic Texts, The Fifth Level of Learning Paper #1: Hindu Cosmology’, “When we read these ancient texts, we are often told that beings just appear and disappear out of nowhere. According to the Vedas, this is just their ability to make use of a natural mystic power called siddhi…”
The word siddhi can be translated as an accomplishment or perfecting an art. Ancient Indian scriptures list, along with nunerous other powers, 8 main powers that can be acquired by a spiritual person: Aṇimā, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prāpti, Prākāmya, Iṣiṭva, and Vaśitva. Of these, it is from Laghima that the power of bi-location and other powers like levitation and flying in the air are said to flow. Laghima comes from the word laghu, which means small or light. Laghima is the ability to make the body very light. Some beings, ancient scriptures explain, inherit these abilities at birth while others need to practice them.
Wes Penre writes : “…according to Krishna, you can, through appropriate and intense meditation, merge the physical body with the soul/avatar and bring it with you in space, from one location to another — again without interacting and intervening with gross matter…This is in a sense what happens when a person bi-locates, i.e. a person can sit on the couch, talking to you, and at the same time being seen talking to somebody else in the grocery store in another part of town. In both instances, the soul-fire splits in two, and one split travels to a different location, followed by the avatar.”
Closer to our times, among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bi-location during the 1940’s and 1950’s were those related to Italian Padre Pio.
A part from mastery of Kriya Yoga and other yogic powers, many instances of bi-location are linked to yogis and babas in this age too. Devraha Baba, from whom incidentally, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also sought blessings, was well known for bi-locating. Once, he was travelling by car from Delhi to Lucknow to address a public gathering. On the way, disturbances held up the Baba’s car and his driver fretted that people would wait in vain. But Devraha Baba just smiled and told him not to fret. They reached Lucknow long after the scheduled time where the driver was stunned to discover that the very same Devraha Baba who had been sitting in the car he was driving had addressed and blessed the crowd and everyone had gone home happy. Curiously, in the North-east, in Bastar, and in some Himalayan villages I have heard about and witnessed cases of bi-location by non-yogis too. In fact, bi-location is not confined to India. It has been recorded globally since times immemorial and cuts across lines of religion, culture and geography.
There is for example, Martin De Porres, described by Wikipedia as “a lay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837… and canonized in 1962. Martin De Porres, who died in 1639 spent his entire life in Peru but was seen to appear in various locations in Mexico or in far off China or Japan. One popular story had him making repeatedappearances to assist captives in northern Africa. De Porres also claimed to have been in other countries, and he often offered detailed descriptions of places he had visited overseas.”
Closer to our times, among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bi-location during the 1940’s and 1950’s were those related to Italian Padre Pio. The closest he ever came to an explanation of bi-location was to say that it occurred “by an extension of his personality.” Of course, non-believers and rationalists have long dismissed such paranormal happenings as fanciful thinking not backed by any scientific evidence. But across the world, to those who have witnessed or experienced such phenomena, it is a “parallel reality” .
Talking of nano-travel and evolved living beings in ancient times being able to travel in space without spaceships, and anywhere on earth, Wes Penre writes, “Interestingly, there is more about this written in the Vedas. Not only can beings appear and disappear at will, they can also move objects through time and space in the same manner. This kind of travel, where the beings bring objects with them, is called vihāyasa. A physical object is moved directly through the ether to some other location, without interacting with intervening gross matter.” This fascinating siddhi, art, call it what you will is still practised in the Himalayan villages of Garwhal and elsewhere in India but will write about it another time. Kantaha Baba, Devraha Baba and other entities who had mastered such esoteric arts are no longer in our midst physically but the timelessness of what they practised is obviously eternal and indestructible.