This is an incident of 1942 when the king of Kumaon invited an army officer of Western Command, LP. Farrel for a picnic trip to the hills. There was a special reason for inviting Mr. Farrel; in spite of his being a Britisher he was very much interested in Indian religion, philosophy and culture. He had a few opportunities of witnessing demonstration of miraculous feats of some Indian yogis. He had become a pure vegetarian. That is why he always welcomed any opportunity to go towards the Himalayan wilderness, with the hope of meeting some saint or yogi who could initiate him into spiritual sadhana.
Mr. Farrel, the king and the queen and their entourage reached a place near Nainital full of natural beauty. It so enchanted them that they decided to camp overnight there. So, the dozens of tents were pitched and the lonely place got filled with the hustle and bustle of servants. Gossip, merriment, eating and drinking went on till midnight. Everyone went to bed and due to exhaustion of the whole day’s exertions, immediately slipped into deep sleep. The first phase of the sleep was hardly over when Mr. Farrel felt that there was someone near his cot.
He waked up and clearly listened-“We need the place where your tents have been pitched. You vacate this place. If you are unable to understand, then you should come to that northwestern hill in front of you. I will explain you everything.” “But who are you?” – saying this Mr. Farrel got up from the bed and lit his torch. But there was no one. He came out of the tent but there too no one could be seen nor heard anyone’s footsteps. After a momentary fear he became normal and then went back to his bed again for sleeping. It was 3.30 AM by his watch.
Despite his best efforts he could not sleep. Somehow he was keeping his eyes shut. Again he felt someone’s presence. Still lying on the bed he opened the eyes and he saw a shadow of a person standing in front of him. This time again he uttered the same words. In order to identify that person, as soon as Mr. Farrel lit the torch, even the shadow vanished. His body started shaking and perspiring. This army officer who did not get frightened even by watching the horrible bloodshed in the war, momentarily got un-nerved and dumbfounded by mere imagination of a supernatural being. He lay awake in his bed with his eyes closed till the morning but heard nothing. A strange attraction was arousing within him to see the hill mentioned by the shadowy presence. He put on his clothes and shoes and silently came out of the tent and walked towards that hill.
Describing this incident Mr. Farrel has himself written: “The way to the place where I was directed to reach was very difficult, narrow and dangerous. I was not at all able to climb up by myself but I was constantly feeling that somebody was showing me the way and was providing me the energy to climb up. After a hard effort of three and a half hours I could climb up. It seemed difficult to go ahead due to heavy breathing and perspiration. So I sat down on a square stone, lying down on it to take some rest. Hardly two minutes had passed and the same voice awakened me. ‘Mr. Farrel! Now you put off your shoes and slowly climb down the stone and come to me. With these words in the ears, I looked around and saw that a saint, with very weak constitution but brilliant splendor on the forehead, was standing in front of me. Leave aside the acquaintance, I had never met or seen him earlier. Then how could he know my name? He was here, then how did his shadow reach in my tent in the night? There was no communication link like a radio or a microphone etc between us. Then how could his voice reach me? Several such questions arose in my mind. Putting a stop to the unending trail of questions the sadhu said-whatever you have heard and seen cannot be understood by ordinary human mind. For this purpose one has to do long sadhana and the practice of yoga, abandoning the worldly pleasures and attraction of the senses. There is a specific purpose for which you have been called here.”
Farrel could not make out whether the saintly person was a human being or a god. The thoughts arising in his mind were being constantly read by that person like an open book. Mr. Farrel climbed down the rock and in a short time reached the place where the Sadhu was sitting. The place was so small that only one person could take rest there. There was nothing except the fire burning in the Dhooni (firepit).
Farrel further writes- “The Sadhu patted me on the back with his weak hand and I was stunned how could this electricity like power be there in that old body. My body that was almost breaking with pain due to exhaustion – now seemed light like a flower. As an humble gesture of respect for him I knelt down and touched his feet. I had seen many sadhus; but I have always felt that sahdus and saints who had influenced Indian philosophy and increased its dignity were not those who were roaming around on the roads but they were truly such secluded and devoted persons only. Their physical bodies might weigh 80-90 pounds but intensity of their energy and power was more than that of thousand bombs and they were the storehouses of knowledge.”
The Sadhu told me-“I have inspired a youth to reach the place where your tents have been pitched. He was my disciple in his previous birth. His sadhana is half-completed. Now I want to guide him again to undertake his sadhana and penance for the universal welfare. But the memories of his previous birth are dormant. The impressions and circumstances of this birth are attracting him. Therefore he is unable to take up the sadhana again. I have called him through subtle inspiration. If he comes here and is unable to locate the directed place, then he will get confused. In that event, whatever I want will not become possible, Therefore, please vacate that place immediately.”
Mr. Farrel said – “Lord! Please tell me also a few things about my previous birth “? The Sadhu replied-“My son! These siddhis (accomplishments) are not for demonstration. They are meant for some special purposes and it is better they are utilized for that only. Of course, if you wish you can be present at the time when I show him the events of his previous birth. Now you go. People are searching for you in the camp. I too am in a hurry.”
Mr. Farrel returned to the camp. Indeed, people had been searching for him. Mr. Farrel narrated the incident to the king. They then left that place and pitched the camp some 200 yards away.
By the evening of that day a young man did indeed come searching for that place. After satisfying himself in all respects, he sat down there. In the meantime, Mr. Farrel also reached there. His curiosity was getting more and more intense as the time passed. In a short while sadhu too reached there. Mr. Farel and the young man touched his feet and stood waiting for his instructions. That place was in the centre of a grove of trees.. After lighting the fire sadhu did some puja, recited some mantras and told us to sit down in a meditating posture. A ray of light emanated from his forehead and a circular spot of light appeared on the trunk of a thick tree. Then whatever was seen in the spot was just like a cinema where they saw the characters actually walking and talking. Like a movie, they saw the events of the previous birth of that youth with their own naked eyes. In between that youth used to get excited and would say – ‘Yes-yes I had done that’.
At the end, that youth touched the feet of that sadhu and said “Lord! Now my attachment with the mundane world is broken. I am ready to take up the unfinished sadhana of my previous life. Please guide me so that I can complete the unfinished task.”
The Sadhu said – “My son! Today you take rest here. In the morning, you return to your home. At an appropriate time, I will call you.” After that Mr Farrel did not know when that youth was called again? What he became later and with what name he became popular? But he became a staunch devotee of Indian religion and spirituality. This incident has been narrated by Mr. Farrel himself in an article in the May 17, 1959 issue of Saptahik Hindustan (a weekly Hindi magazine).
A similar incident is narrated to have happened in the life of a famous Indian yogi Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri, popularly known as Lahiri Mahashay, in the book “An autobiography of a Yogi”, by Swami Yogananda. Lahiri Mahashay happened to be Yoganand’s Dada Guru. He too was called by Babaji, an immortal siddha of Himalayas, who taught him the science of kriya yoga so that this knowledge does not become extinct.
Indian scriptures are filled with descriptions of immortal souls like Shiva, Bhairav, Hanuman, Ashwatthama and many siddhas. There is a story in Kalki Purana, which goes like this. When Lord Kalki saw that the entire world has sunk neck-deep in perversities like sex indulgence, anger, greed, attachment, ego, laziness, etc. and the light of the souls had been extinguished, he decided to guide the masses groping in the darkness of ignorance. The darkness was dense. The entire world was badly trapped in the materialistic pursuits and the pleasures of the senses. Lord Kalki felt that he lacked the power required for this awakening of the masses. Then his spiritual mentor Parashuram called him to the Himalayas and made him undertake a penance at a place where he (Parashuram) had himself done it. This penance awakened the enormous power, which was needed for the transformation of the era, within Kalki. Lord Parshuram was born in Vedic Yuga, which came much earlier than the Kaliyuga. His presence in Kaliyuga too is an indication of his immortality and a testimony of the fact that immortal souls like him are still present in the Himalayas. Dr. Hari Dutta Bhatta, Shailesh has given an interesting description of his mountaineering experience of Janwali (Garhwal) hill, which is 22000 feet above the sea level, in Dharmayuga (Hindi weekly, 23 rd August 1964 issue). He was convinced that some supernormal power saved him and his group from getting buried under a landslide. All these incidents prove the fact that immortal souls possessing fierce supernatural power are still present in the Himalayas and they will remain there for an infinite time.
Modern scientists are also actively engaged in the research for finding the elixir of life. Zoologists of Russia, France, Britain, Germany, USA, etc. have been investigating for a long time the process of aging and death. On the basis of the results obtained so far, they have concluded that death is not an inevitable phenomenon. Aging is a kind of disease. If it be possible to find a cure for it, a person could live for a thousand years. The modes and methods of kayakalpa (rejuvenation) mentioned in Ayurveda also prove this fact.
In fact death is the result of collapse of life sustaining mechanism in the body. The gradual reduction in the efficiency of the body organs is the cause of senility, leading to death. If the life sustaining mechanisms are kept healthy and if the process of cell renewal is kept intact, a human being could be kept alive for an infinite time. Genes are immortal so there is no inevitability of bodily death.
After studying Ayurveda, one can easily conclude that ancient seers and scholars had identified several herbs, fruits and chemicals, which help in the rejuvenation of the body. There is a popular phrase. “A person does not eat food; it is the food that eats up a person.” Our physical body is nourished by blood. The latter provides oxygen to the entire body. Oxygen and other nerve fluids sustain consciousness in the body. All this is accomplished through emotions. It is the thoughts and emotions that give rise to secretions of hormones. These hormones control the metabolic processes within the body. Therefore, it appears that the responsibility of keeping the body healthy rests with our emotions and thoughts which are the real essence of life. There is a bird called ‘Salyon’, which gets sick after laying eggs. After investigation it has been found that after laying the eggs, her pituitary gland (which is centre of thoughts and emotions), gets excited and it starts secreting a hormone called A.C.T.H in huge quantities, which leads to her sickness. This has been found in the case of some other creatures as well. This shows that, if a person makes his thought process robustly positive and keeps his food light, he can keep himself alive and active for a long time.
Modern science has no knowledge of the thought control mechanism. Is there any power in the sentiments, which can catch in its purest form the life (genes) floating in the sky? This vidya (knowledge) is known only to Indian yogis. But now scientists too are agreeing with this. For example in 1975 some zoologists of Strasberg carried out an experiment for changing the genes of a duck. Two ducks, one of Campbell variety and the other of Pekish variety, were chosen. The DNA of the first were injected in the second and that of the second one were injected in the first. This gave rise to change in the color of both. Within a few days the dust colour of Campbell started appearing in the Pekish variety and the neck of Campbell variety started getting white.
Science can perform only a few experiments of this type. Changing one or two chromosomes is the first step towards success. The reproductive cells of a human being contain about 10 billions pairs of nucleotides and every pair has 46 chromosomes. It is difficult to change the behavior of a person without changing them. Then there are several cells in the body, which after being formed never change. The question of keeping them healthy is much a more daunting task. It will take a long time for science to search the solution for this. But that knowledge already exists in the science of yoga and Indian chemical methods. This needs unbiased scientific research of a different type. This depends on appropriate environment in addition to difficult sadhanas. For this purpose scientists have suggested that atmospheric temperature should be subzero. Mr Clark in his book ‘Space Odyssey’ has written that in order to undertake space voyage lasting for 200 to 400 yrs, it will be essential to keep the space voyager in the sleeping state at sub zero temperatures. Looked at from this scientific finding, the existence of immortal beings in the perennially frozen regions of the Himalayas cannot be considered as a myth.
In fact, Himalayan region has been a special haven of true Yogis and Mahatmas from times immemorial. The likes of great yogis who have lived in this sacred region cannot be found elsewhere. It is said that there is Gyangaj Yogashram in Tibet, which is a training institute for yogis. Hundreds of such yogis are reported to be living and researching into the mysteries of the inner realms. This Siddhashram isolate in the subtle-physical realm is not accessible or visible to ordinary persons. Only psychically awakened and gifted Sadhaks have the privilege of entry into this Siddhashram.