The Life and Understanding
Copyright 1971 By Franklin Jones
All rights reserved
Chapter 13: The Return to India and the Problem of Spiritual Consciousness
In May of 1969 I had definitely decided to separate myself from Scientology. From then until August I was devoted to the understanding of the problem of the mind rather than to its solution. But this was also a period of expanded experience in the Shakti, the manifesting energy that proceeds from the highest reality or Divine Consciousness.
During the exercise of the Scientology O.T. (“operating thetan”) processes I gave up all effort to suppress that Force in me. One evening, while I was still in California, it rushed again into the form of my being with tremendous power, so that it seemed I was no longer even remotely concerned with the petty contamination’s of the mind. I was suddenly returned to an experience of my Self-nature and a sublime recognition of the Divinity of even the physical world. I lived entirely in this consciousness, making no effort at all to maintain or create it. The O.T. levels ceased to involve matters of importance to me. I passed through them quickly and returned to New York.
In the weeks that followed I became aware of a new dimension of the activity of Shakti. Not only was my own state expanded in its Presence, but the people who were closest to me began to experience the effects of Shakti through contact with me. My wife Nina, Patricia Morley, a girl whom we had met in Scientology and who had come to live with us, and Sal Lucania, now a former Scientologist and my business partner, were particularly affected with these experiences. And there were a few others who seemed drawn by this Presence that had begun to operate through me.
At first I merely talked to them about my understanding of real spiritual life, and they began to discover parallels to this understanding in their own experiences and doubts. Then they began to have uncommon experiences of a Presence that affected them separately and in different ways while they were otherwise apart from me.
These experiences took the form of visions, or the sensation of a real but invisible Presence, or the sense of being sublimed and surrounded in a form of energy and fulness that quieted and clarified the mind. They would ask me about these experiences and, before long, I found myself having to function as a teacher and an instrument the Shakti.
My own state was so profoundly drawn into that Consciousness that I found no difficulty in speaking to them and making recommendations that seemed wholly intelligent and even inspired. At times I even experienced visual communications of a psychic nature. I would see auras of light about the person, or see his thoughts appearing in my mind, or intuitively perceive certain images in his forehead or his body. I would also become directly aware of the Shakti as it passed through these people or was expressed in them, and I could easily trace the currents of energy and see where they became concentrated, halted or obstructed at the various vital points or “chakras.” On more than one occasion I saw Baba appear and initiate a person with the Shakti by touch, and I could see a blue light appear and surround the person’s body.
But the most common experience was one in which my own being and that of everyone I saw were contained in the inclusive form of the Shakti itself. Thus, I needed no uncommon visionary communications in order to intuit the nature of anyone’s existence, experience or problem. These things were simply obvious to me on the level of uncommunicated, direct knowledge. I seemed merely to live in an inclusive intelligence that was not limited to my reflective awareness or my ability to read “signs.” I simply knew the truth of what I perceived and had no sense at all of living as a separate, conditioned entity.
As all of this became more and more obvious and continuous I remembered Baba’s statement that I would become a spiritual teacher in about a year. It seemed now that this event was occurring even without my volition or control. I wrote to Baba and informed him about my experience. I told him that I felt I needed instruction in the conscious use of these abilities. And I said that I did not wish to carry on this teaching without his consent and blessing. I asked him to give me the authority to teach in this way, and to bless me in the traditional way by giving me a spiritual name. Baba replied by telling me to come to India as soon as possible.
At first I thought I would be unable to leave until the following year. We were heavily occupied with business, which we hoped would eventually lead us to a high degree of financial security.
Our business involved the creation of new corporations, gathered together by our partner, who was a former corporate lawyer. Sal and I functioned mainly as “finders” or promoters, and our work involved the attempt to gather funds or a commitment of support from various private parties and brokerage houses.
However, it was at this time that the financial market went into a slump, and it became almost impossible to gather free money for investment in new corporations. Within a matter of weeks after I returned to New York it became clear that we would be unable to survive the difficulties emerging in the financial market. I spent the last days in July severing my connection with Scientology and securing a refund for the money I had spent on the “upper levels.” By August 1st our business was liquidated as far as we were concerned. Sal went off to find new employment, and I made ready to fly to Bombay.
I flew to Bombay alone and arrived there on August 3rd. Peter Dias met me at the airport, and we took a taxi to the home of one of Baba’s devotees in Bombay proper. Baba was to arrive that morning for an extended stay in the city, away from the Ashram.
He arrived about 11 a.m. I bowed at his feet and gave him a few Gifts I had brought from America. Then there was a brief discussion about my trip. I would spend four weeks constantly in Baba’s Presence, but this brief conversation was to be the only one we would have from that moment. Just prior to leaving I addressed him about an experience I had in meditation, but I have never since had a personal discussion with him.
I realized at that moment that I did not have a personal relationship with Baba. He did not appear to me as a human individual. There was not the slightest movement of interest on my part in his personal attitudes, or anything that amounted to personality. But neither did I perceive myself as a personality in any sense. The revolution in my understanding of the mind and the ordinary adventure had finally removed any sense that I operated on the level of character and personal life.
The discussion of my trip, brief as it was, seemed the most tawdry kind of nonsense, totally beside the point. It seemed required of us under the circumstances, and it was handled as a formality, but afterwards there was not a single attempt on Baba’s part to communicate with me verbally. And, apart from bowing to him as I entered or left the room, I never again communicated with Baba man to man.
I retired to a position several feet away and in front of Baba. Apart from a brief trip to spend a few days at Baba’s Ashram and the burial shrine of Bhagavan (“Lord”) Nityananda, I spent the next four weeks sitting in this large meeting room or meditating in the area that adjoined Baba’s bedroom.
We were staying in the expansive but very modestly appointed apartments of Ram Pratap, a captain in the Indian navy. At night I slept on a hard cot in a small room with another visitor. During the day and evening hundreds of people would come to sit in Baba’s Presence, chant devotional hymns, and enjoy meals prepared by the women as an offering to Baba. In the early afternoon I would sometimes take exercise by walking in the nearby streets of Bombay. Sometimes I would go to a bookstore, or have a cab drive me through the city. But the constant routine was to arise at 5 a.m., meditate, and sit with Baba for hours at a time. I would eat a light meal twice a day and rest briefly after lunch. And I would meditate almost constantly, either sitting before Baba or by retiring to the small room behind him.
I was rarely involved in conversations, but I passed through the weeks in a perpetual silence and internal solitude, observing the unusual phenomena that were arising in consciousness. After our first and terminal conversation I removed myself to sit among the men in front of Baba. I sat quietly, concentrated on Baba, and withdrew my attention within.
My own state at the time was uncommon. I no longer was engaged in a continual experience of the mind rising in thoughts, impulses and memories. This had ceased to occupy or interest me. Instead there was a continuous awareness of consciousness itself, witnessing not thoughts in the concrete mind, but forms of energy, space, vision, and pure self-awareness, without conflict, dilemma or identification with bodily limits.
As I sat with Baba I wondered if he could perceive my internal state. The brevity of our conversation seemed to indicate that he was aware that personal communication was only a formality and a distraction for me. Then, as I sat meditatively in his Presence, I became aware of existence totally beyond the physical body. My awareness moved in a space that was not in the concrete mind. I swooned and floated in a limitless void bright with cosmic force. As I moved in that space I sensed that Baba was also with me. I wondered if he was aware of this cosmic adventure of spiritual being, and I opened my eyes. He was looking at me, smiling and swaying his head as if to imitate the movement of consciousness in limitless space. I smiled back at him, and took this sign as an acknowledgment of my own state. From then I assumed that Baba knew why I had returned to him, and I looked to experience his teaching on a purely internal level.