The Brahma Kumaris: Spiritualism and Channeling

for ex-BKs to discuss matters related to experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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desi_exbk

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post11 Feb 2009

Let me begin by saying that I am in the camp of the skeptics when it comes to spirits, souls, ghosts etc. Do I want to believe? Well, I did for more than 28 years. Not any more. I like to believe that I moved on ... evolved, I guess.

Tom, I read through the enitre article (rather painfully). Where is science in this? With due respect, here is something to think about and I quote "Philosophy is to science as pornography is to sex: it is cheaper, easier, and some people seem, bafflingly, to prefer it. Outside psychology it plays almost no part in the functions of the research machine".

Unfortunately, I too like Philosophy ;).

ex-l, I know you are very particular about no mention of Shiva before 1950. It's not clear to me what you are implying. How about a simple explanation: it was just convenient. This was to cater to most in the Bhakthi marg.
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ex-l

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post11 Feb 2009

Sure, I guess there are two aspects; the phenomenon that may or may not exists and what mode governs it ... and the more obvious and sure mode of what governs groups and societies that do believe in it. If you are dealing with a group or society that does believe in it, then you have to start from that level and, to an extent, talk in that language if you want them to understand. Building bridges to and from their level of consciousness.

As regards to the 1950 business ... it is just very good, concrete evidence of the both the pattern of deception practised by the leadership over the following and to the extend they will go. For me, I am fascinated. I want to know what happened on the day they decided to change the religion so hugely, the run up to it and the individual's involved.

For it all to have been covered up hides a key formative episode in the development, or corruption, of Brahma Kumarism. That they dig in obstinantly over the issue and still pump out the myth for the sake of the business is even further evidence of where they are at.
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tom

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post11 Feb 2009

deccani wrote: I am in the camp of the skeptics when it comes to spirits, souls, ghosts etc. Do I want to believe? Well, I did for more than 28 years. Not any more. I like to believe that I moved on ... evolved, I guess.

Good for you, deccani, if you don't believe any more in the soul Brahma Baba and the point of light God Shiva. They have not given us in the BKWSU any other option to research, to believe or to know, have not they?
I read through the enitre article (rather painfully).

Welcome to our campus, dear buddy, where we ALL go through painful experiences which - if we survive - open us to new horizons. ;)

You should not read it entirely, this article was put there for the interested ones to give an idea of that website from Spirit Release Foundation and of many other links for websites on issue "Spirit Researches" in the search engines.
Where is science in this?

All faculties of science were once upon a time fiction.

Allow me to ask you one question? Do you advise your BK kids to read this forum?

Here is an interesting video - for the interested ones - of one hour talk and presentation given by David Furlong at the Spirit Release Foundation Conference in London in 2006 on Possessions, Attachments or Soul Fragments: New Paradigms in Spirit Release.

Have fun.

john morgan

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post11 Feb 2009

There are many people who delve into the world of spirits and ghosts, they consider that their activity is something worthy of sharing with others.

I know of a healer who claims that Paul from The Bible enters his body, this being who has a form of x-ray vision and subtle tools at his disposal to treat those ailing from physical maladies. This person has and continues to successfully comfort and aid someone I know. Where conventional medicine cannot help, this man can or at least the being within him can. He was trained as a trance medium for many years and when "Paul" comes he remains in trance.

There are other mediums and psychics too, from what I know these people mainly focus on communication with departed loved ones. Some of the more esoteric come from Tibetan Buddhism where the gutteral utterings on national matters are recorded and translated by priests.

Psychiatry seeks to cure or at least help in cases where the disturbed individual cannot help themselves. It seems that some practitioners who have explored less conventional methods have been able to help some.

In the Murli, it clearly states that there are two souls in BB's body. The one soul speaks to the other and Brahma speaks his words. Some considered the effect of those words disturbing and others felt that they were receiving the nectar of the God's during Brahma Baba's satsangs. Some would have loved to refer Brahma Baba to a psychiatrist and others gradually came to understand that God was incarnating in him. Brahma Baba did not even understand what was happening and at various times would burst into tears wondering what was happening. I would not be surprised if at times BB wondered if he was good asylum material.

So how does one discriminate between a disturbing entity and a benign one? A good start might be to examine what they have to communicate and the effect of that communication on the lives of others. It may be that on the basis of that enquiry one would, if the entity taught, begin to practice some teachings. If the message is a personal one - just for one person it is of no use to anyone else. If the message is both personal and universal it may be worth knowing about.

Some have witnessed a circle being drawn on the ground and a coiled rope reaching for the skies, a fakir then shins up the rope and returns to the ground. Marvellous you may say ... a miracle! Someone performed a stunt, perhaps he really did it or perhaps it was mass mesmerism. Contributions to a "good cause" were given and everyone walked away no better for their experience and in evolution terms seemingly worse than useless.

Another way of discriminating between a disturbing and a benign influence may be to examine its intent. Is it hell bent on disturbing me or does it actually improve my life? I can easily imagine a case of spirit possession so benign that no priest exorciser or psychiatrist would even hear of it. I do not for one moment consider that the possession would really be benign as I like to think that we are all here for a reason, the development of discrimination and the making of effort seem part of this reason. Unusually close proximity to another being may be an impediment rather than an aid. These are not easy value judgements for example a seemingly credible and kind voice could tell a person that they must atone for their sins and harm themselves.

Many recognise that good company can be most beneficial. The vibrations of an elevated soul can uplift and make others feel closer to God. The vibrations contained in a curse seem to go the other way. We are all betwixt and between so a curse does not send us straight to hell and a blessing doesn't transport us to heaven. They are tasters, it is the intent and the effort of the individual that determines our eventual destination and the experience of these things helps us decide what is best.

The BK knowledge goes very deep, every aspect of the individual is brought into alignment to specific ends. For some, massive change is necessary in order for them to continue on the path. Often this change is so deep that the person resists and bails out. It is not wrong to bail out. One can only take what one can take, be it benefit or disturbance everyone has a different pleasure and pain threshold. For example, persons with a low pleasure threshold can be very fond of sex whilst those with a very high pleasure threshold are attracted by more spiritual endeavours. Massive change is not a sign of failure, it is often a sign of success. I am not advocating massive change, it is merely that massive change can be an extraordinary factor in the building of an extraordinary life.

To be continued ...

john morgan

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post11 Feb 2009

Continuation ...

If one does not recognise Baba as the highest on high but instead demotes him to a spirit of some form or other there is little point in making effort to attain Yoga with that entity as they would have very little to offer.

I think the Version goes, "Siva Baba is the highest on high, then come the subtle deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar, and then Brahma and Saraswati. The way I see it in reverse order is that the seemingly physical Brahma and Sarawati practice Gyan and become the angelic Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar by meditating on the form attributes and actions of God together with the time that he comes. To attain fixity in Yoga is to my mind some achievement.

I don wanna be a sleepy human goin round yelling why everyone is wrong. I wanna be a peaceful person who can help others become peaceful too.

So we have the theory, God comes and plays the part of Guru teacher and Father. Aldous Huxley wrote that we are all playing the part of our favourite character in fiction. Is it that we can choose to play the part of or at least help God in his work? Is God ficticious? It may be so, nevertheless by practising Gyan it is possible to live a better life than otherwise.

Sometimes I think that principled people can find it most difficult to stay "In Gyan." Take for example the version, "The present-day Guru's have a lust for money". It is in the real Gita available in the library on this site. It reads

"As a matter of principle these Gurus ought not to amass wealth. For, the doctrine of their faith is that wealth is Maya. To hold wealth is, therefore, against the motto of Vairagya (Dispasssion) which is the backbone of the philosophy of most "Gurus" today. But see, today they are having large sums of money, palatial buildings and some have golden thrones and canopies also! They preach that all wealth is like the excreta of a crow. But they practice quite differently in their lives. So how can they be called Gurus or Jagat Guru's?"

This version is not saying that the BKs ought not to amass wealth, as it does not state that this is their philosophy, it is the philosophy of those Jagat Guru's etc. But the BK philosophy is that this world, soon to be destroyed, is perishable whilst the imperishable things will last forever. Even so the BKs take every opportunity to increase the assets in their balance sheets, so are they practising what they preach?

They did an excellent job of getting rid of me when I queried their motivation. They do an excellent job of getting rid of many who are not quite the material that they need. Interestingly, many that leave think that they are bad people or that they have deliberately been asked to do the impossible and "bull baited" in some way. Whilst some of these female yogi's may have eliminated their feminine wiles their Godly wiles are far worse. Is God's work to screw so many up? Something is not quite right. Does this mean that I reject the versions upon which they have based their lives? Most emphatically, no! For me there is a workable paradigm.

It is this - Bap Dada speaks versions, they are for everyone. Each person approaches the Versions from a different viewpoint and it is up to them how they interpret and make use of them. Certain aspects of the official BK approach are to me cruel, heartless and extremely unkind. Have they understood Gyan properly? Well, they are a lot more powerful than me and they have built up quite a large following since the original incarnation of God. But what if Bap Dada knows that some will stay and some will leave. And what if The Knowledge is so complete in itself that after many years of working through sanskaras and trial and error cul-de-sacs, backwaters, layby's etc. the day dawns when one "gets it?"

I am not saying that I have "Got It" but just perhaps Drama is OK and we play in some instances a painfully accurate part. Is it that the seeming failures of Gyan are the very ones that will attain perfection? Frequently people around me touch their foreheads and I wonder if Bap Dada could be in some way working through me, yeah we all get our flights of fancy. But back to the point which is - Can using Gyan improve my life whilst I have no contact with the BK and am even banned from their centres? For me the answer is yes. if the versions mean something to you then it is a yes for you too, if not just leave them alone. I don't think you can live a good life when the main focus is anti someone or something. To find what you can live for is a far better way. Learn to move your attention around and do not be fixated by past events.

Back to this spirit stuff. Minor spirits that the BK access during Bhog etc. If one thinks that The Knowledge has not been understood. There are four subjects Knowledge, Yoga, Dharna and Service. There is no Bhog subject - so put that in your pipe and smoke it. ;)
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ex-l

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post12 Feb 2009

Thank you for your Murli, John, and demonstrating to me the virtue in short posts.
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paulkershaw

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Re: The Brahma Kumaris and Spiritualism

Post12 Feb 2009

.. and often the problem is such that the tiger on the path, (that is ony an Inner Self projection) bites one. Then the whole theory falls apart.
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paulkershaw

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post12 Feb 2009

John Morgan wrote:If one does not recognise Baba as the highest on high but instead demotes him to a spirit of some form or other there is little point in making effort to attain Yoga with that entity as they would have very little to offer

My experience of many people around me attend spiritual mediumship meetings and put all their faith in the information gathered at the time, and repeat the exercise time after time. Often it seems to me that their disbelief or even inability to perceive any form of structure in a 'God figurehead' (perhaps through disappointment in the past for one reason) makes some of these people trust rather in the channeled entity, and often elevate that being to a God-like status in their lives and beliefs.

These people will then do everything they can (one could say 'have Yoga with' ...) to attain whatever that being says can be attained. To them, the channeled entity offers just as much as a connection with 'God' would offer and to my logic, it simply says that this suits their current perceptions, which we all know, would probably change over time.

People seem to have a deep instinctual desire to worship something/someone be it a rock/pop star, actor or lover or some unknown discarnate/incarnate being (or all!).
Tom wrote:Now I am understanding from this distance, after having rescued myself from the influence of the BKs with the help of this forum, that the spirits to which BKs are channeled during meditation and to which Dadi Gulzar and other mediums of the Leadership are attached, are low level earth bound spirits, who probably have been initially attached to Dada Lekhraj and the Kumaris and Kumars in Om Mandli during their days they spent "in trance ". These Kumaris and Kumars became later the Seniors in BKWSU.

Tom

I do feel the same, however we should also perhaps try to clarify what is meant when the term "low level earth bound spirits" is used, many people on this forum have reported in the past that they have stood in front of BapDada and felt whoever to be there to be very powerful but 'not God'. I personally am not sure how one can define God per se, as this energy and expereince does change for me over time.

How do we define God and who is not?
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tom

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post12 Feb 2009

paulkershaw wrote:try to clarify what is meant when the term "low level earth bound spirits" is used

Dear paul, in my humble opinion and simply, without quoting anybody, i mean, these are the souls of human beings with not much inner spiritual endeavor, with all average human weaknesses like greed, feelings of guilt, attachment to material belongings, ambitions to be loved and respected by others, tendency to control human beings in order to fill the gap of the unfulfilled desires from the past life, mostly departed with a sudden death or accident, or maybe were victims of cruel crimes, whatever.

Without having the possibility to prepare themselves innerly to death, having left many unsolved human relations problems behind, not capable to accept the reality of the other side to walk to the "light" and go beyond, not able to accept the help of the higher entities like angels, stuck somewhere in between, having lost the concept of time, still believing to be living on this earth, they are attaching themselves to any human beings they encounter, mostly by random, who's higher self is at that moment emotionally weak and does not resist their presence and accepts them.

And these souls may continue to believe to 'live on earth' through these human beings,trying to control them, pushing them to some thoughts and actions. And getting their power source from their energies, as long as these human beings' higher selfs and mindsets with weaknesses and tendencies accept and host these souls or are channeled to them.
These people will then do everything they can (one could say 'have Yoga with' ...) to attain whatever that being says can be attained. To them, the channeled entity offers just as much as a connection with 'God' would offer and to my logic, it simply says that this suits their current perceptions, which we all know, would probably change over time.

I agree. This relationship can become a mutual symbiosis between these spirits and those human beings,the higher self of these human beings can become attached to these spirits also.

According to the background of these earthbound low level souls and the background of the hosting human beings they may both create an illusion of co-operation and mission. Like "God Prajapati Brahma has come to save our souls before destruction", later "BapDada is coming to save the human souls from suffering of Kaliyuga and to take them to the Soul World after destruction and to prepare the future deities who will establish the SatYuga" etc.

I think, different earthbound departed souls' with tendencies of controlling power and need to live on earth through living beings got attached to Dada Lekhraj and to the Seniors and vice versa. And both sides have been feeding this relationship with a false mutual mission with some scenes and archetypes from Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and Hindu beliefs, with some pearls from Sufi tradition, with some wisdom from different Hindu Saints and from other sources according to the trends of time and giving-getting some orders from "up above" to the BKs to hold them under control and to frighten them with false predictions of fearsome world destruction. Of course promising Golden Age to the obedient BKs and all other stuff.
many people on this forum have reported in the past that they have stood in front of BapDada and felt whoever to be there to be very powerful but 'not God'.

Actually, I stood in front of BapDada, near BapDada on the stage countless times, have been sitting during the sessions very close to BapDada and never ever felt there was something very powerful, was always surprised why I could not feel, like others, intoxicated. I was trying to rationalize that, talking to myself, that God is not in this body etc. The royal apparency of the medium, the meditation with drill during the medium going into trance, was always very powerful for me indeed, I was always influenced through it. But during Murli and afterwards during BapDada's hugging and feeding time with the Seniors, i felt this influence disappeared.
paulkershaw wrote:I personally am not sure how one can define God per se, as this energy and experience does change for me over time. How do we define God and who is not?

Again sincerely, I feel God's presence when i am watching the nature's beauty around me, I feel God's presence when I meet somebody with great mercy who forgives their enemies, I feel God's presence listening to a great concert, watching a great artistic performance, i feel God's presence in the crowds protesting violence, I feel God's presence watching a baby smiling at me, or when I am laughing with good friends about simple things, these are the moments tears fill my eyes, feeling my heart blossoms, gets bigger and bigger and becomes one with the whole universe.

And I feel God's presence whenever I sit and think thankfully about the gifts life has presented to me. But the moments I think of others and do something for others - how small does not matter - I feel surrounded by His energy and my heart beats with overwhelming love and energy as if I don't feel my body. Believe me, i lost this connection which i had since my childhood, during my BK life after the so called "Honeymoon Period", except some moments of karma Yoga or some moments of exchanging drishti. I was wondering why.

Now I am understanding that I was during my BK life under the influence of those earth bound spirits who are acting through the Seniors to whom they are attached to, and to whom I became channeled during the meditation times starting from Amrit Vela, who cut away my natural connection to God, I mean, my inherited connection to the love - energy which created the universe.

God is not there, wherever one human being is hurt by another human being, one animal is tortured, habitats and forests are set on fire with all livelihood, and wherever children and adults are left to die from malnutrition and sicknesses while others are feeding themselves to obesity with their so called God's money. God is not there wherever love between human beings is forbidden.

Here is one interesting article from Dr. Alan Sanderson with the title, "The Case For Spirit Release" describing different cases with different low level earth bound spirits attached to human beings, sometimes several of them attached to one human being.

sanderson_Spirit Release19_11_03.pdf
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paulkershaw

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post12 Feb 2009

Thanx Tom - for your clear wording - it strikes me that so many, like yourself (am I including myself in this post-Bk life), seem to be able to find God in many of one's everday moments, and that this experience is opposite to some of the teachings we were under the spell of, one such word "omnipresence" comes to mind here.

Trying to stay in tune with the thread's mantra, I did have an experience whilst in Gyan, where I was transported in trance into what I only knew then to be the subtle realms and met Brahma Baba, as real as he would have been in the flesh, and had a real 'good' visit with him for around 20 minutes. ANd there were another 20 plus people in the room with me at the time all receiving a flood of "happy vibes" from him through me (all I heard was "Oh My God, I can feel the happiness" or similar wording from many in the room), as we sat in meditation. We were offering Bhog at the time, in honour of my recently departed mother.

I did not then think that this was any low-level energy being, but one who was filled with complete charisma of joy and love, in ways I'd never experienced it until then. This is my experience I s'pose and at the time really felt as if this being/entity was most certainly connected to a Higher Source but it remains for me as an exclusive experience where I felt I was with Dada but not with Baba, so to speak. In fact, the 'happiness' vibe overloaded me emotionally and it took me a while to accept the situation as such but it was a clear as sitting next to someone in a physical sense.

In my work as a metaphysical healer, I often come across spirit attachments (which can really cause many problems such as you describe) and I myself have been attacked and attached to several times, so I have a clear understanding of this area.

Just to share here, and considering the topic, my experience of Brahma Baba was not of a low level energy system (and I've had many similar experiences since to confirm my own clarity on this experience) but I do feel that what is coming through the BKs medium may not always be the same one that channeled through me all those years ago.

Would ths make sense in saying this?
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tom

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Re: Spirit Attachment

Post12 Feb 2009

paulkershaw wrote:Just to share here, and considering the topic, my experience of Brahma Baba was not of a low level energy system (and I;ve had many similar experiences since to confirm my own clarity on this experience) but I do feel that what is coming through the BK's medium may not always be the same one that channeled through me all those years ago.
Would ths make sense in saying this?

Of course it makes sense, even for somebody like me, who is not an expert on this field but has had a life full of different experiences.

It is only through common sense we can get a clear understanding. We understand the stage of all living and non living beings from the results of their works, do we not?

From the results of the works done by the Seniors following the steps of "Brahma Baba" and obeying the orders of their God Shiva, we are now understanding that these beings can not be elevated souls.

But your bliss experience during your trance while offering Bhog for your departed mother's soul must be truly coming from the highest realms.

You know better than me, as you are working as a healer and had many other trance experiences, that, souls=entities do not have any bodies, and of course no forms. They show themselves to us in a form which is familiar to us and gives us in the form of a well known archetype a meaningful message so that we can process that message.

A Christian would get a vision from the highest realms seeing Christ or Mary or others. A Muslim, would maybe hear the voice of Mohammed, as Mohammed's face is forbidden to draw in that religion. An Aikido teacher would see Morihei Ueshiba in his vision.

And you, as a firm BK that times, during offering Bhog to "Baba" (Baba and Dada in combined form) following Maryadas, get suddenly into trance with the highest realms and experience blissful joy and happiness through ... you tell me, which form?

Would you see Christ, or Mohammed or Morihei Ueshiba? Of course the higher realms would give you that bliss experience through the form which is familiar to you, in which you believed those days, through Brahma Baba, Baba and Dada in combined form, just like the BK Bhog messengers (Gulzar Dadi and both Mohini's) are describing in their Bhog messages their experiences from the Subtle Region.

Bestowed with bliss and accepted thankfully and unforgotten. Lucky you.

Terry

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Re: The Brahma Kumaris and Spiritualism

Post14 Feb 2009

Hey, I know these last few posts have been dense. I am sure we can return to simpler things shortly. But I have been requested to make a case, so I include here for your consideration.

"The History & Psychology of Spirit Possession & Exorcism" by Mark Bancroft, MA.

It's in three parts I include here excerpts from part 2 and 3- Part 2: The Psychology of Spirit Possession & Exorcism, Part 3 Therapeutic Considerations: (part 1 is a list of spirit experiences through history and different cultures)

In this thread and elsewhere has been a discussion about whether or not "spirits" exist as separate entities. My position is that they do not. (I have also mentioned that even the concept of "soul" as a separate entity is arguable, that's for another time). Elsewhere on these pages there are attachments and links to writings on spiritualism, and on SRT or Spirit Releasement Therapy by practitioners and "believers" (my term).

I have edited this down a fair bit so you can get the gist quickly. If you want to read the full paper and references, go toThe History & Psychology of Spirit Possession & Exorcism'. It appears to have probably been an academic dissertation which the author has posted on to his own web site.

I like this paper as, firstly, the author seems to be very objective, not pushing any particular barrow. Secondly, I like it because it really covers a lot of territory but very quickly and succinctly, not perfect but simple and easy to comprehend. An overview which is suited to this forum's needs. I also like it because it saved me a lot of work(!) and, to my reading anyway, it appears to back up my view on the subject. Although others may find it confirms their own view!

I leave it to you, but ask that you read agreeable and disagreeable parts with equal diligence and a critical but open mind. Bold and italics are my edits.
Excerpts from : The History & Psychology of Spirit Possession & Exorcism by Mark Bancroft, MA (edited for this forum by Terry Constanti)

This writing demonstrates the relative nature between objective and subjective reality. It provides a unique exploration into how the two "realties" can merge to form a singular, event experience.
 
PART II

The Psychology of Spirit Possession & Exorcism


Although spirit possession is commonly considered to be an objective threat to humankind, it remains an exclusively subjective experience.

Historical observation reveals that the social and cultural background of a civilization determines the variations, degrees, and meaning of possession. The very experience itself is dependent upon the beliefs, norms, customs, and expectations of society; as are the rites of exorcism.  Due to societal variables, "It is not for us to judge who is and who is not really "possessed". If someone is, in his own cultural milieu, generally considered to be in a state of spirit possession, then he (or she) is possessed [Lewis, I., p.46, 1971]."      
 
In Haitian voodoo, the possessing spirit (a loa) enters the head of the victim and displaces the person's soul [Lewis, I., 1971].  In the West malevolent spirits generally attach to the victim's aura causing various disturbances; inspirational spirits, on the other hand, typically cause soul withdrawal resulting in total possession.  The Zar spirit mainly possesses women who are experiencing domestic tension; it appears to leave after the women's needs have been satisfied.  Spirit possession ebbs and flows depending upon the current belief system operating within any given society.  Possessing spirits have repeatedly sought to possess particular subgroups within a population. 

Japanese history divulges that the wives and daughters of Emperors are particularly prone to possession [Lewis, I., 1971].  Within societies where spirit possession is validated it [often] functions as a last resort for oppressed citizens to acquire attention and get their needs met.  "The situation is that spirits which are central to one sub-group in a plural society are marginal to other units within the same system. The enemy is not at the gates, but within the heart of the composite society" [Lewis, I., pp.115-116, 1971]." 
 
Belief in spirit possession is the prerequisite for the existence of entities which interfere with the living.  It is simple: if a person does not believe in spirit possession he/she will not experience being possessed by outside beings; whether the spirits be evil or inspirational.  Where belief in possession is strong, entities are busy possessing individuals and causing all sorts havoc upon the particular society.  "In situations around the world, if one believes in possession by a demon or god, the entity will often behave as if it is that demon or god that has been called upon [Auerbach, p.234, 1993]." 

The beliefs held by the exorcist also directly shape the experience of possession for the possessed. An exorcist seeking to dialogue with possessing spirits is far less likely to encounter the traditional demonic behaviors of hissing, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and the screaming of obscenities as is the exorcist who believes he is "doing battle with the forces of hell".  "It is the belief system that often serves as the determining factor in conclusions of possession, whether by an individual thinking himself or herself possessed or bothered by psychic forces, or by an investigator or other outside observer [Auerbach, p.231, 1993]."
 
In the West, spirit possession is experienced as one of the most powerful "spiritual" experiences a person can encounter.  It is the experience of being taken over by an outside force that one cannot normally perceive, a force which maliciously seeks to inflict harm, pain, and torture upon its victim.  Spirit possession is a subjective phenomenon which often becomes overwhelming due to the objectified inner interpretation by the victim.

Dr. Beth Hedva explains, "... there's something there, but it's not what we think it is. For example, our experience of our mind's projection may be as a demon, or as an evil entity, or as a devil [Auerbach, p.270, 1993]."  Most people who encounter poltergeist or PK activity (psychokinesis) in their home attribute the strange occurrences to evil spirits - evil because it is the unknown, an objective entity because the person cannot believe that the mind can affect matter. The strange phenomenon almost immediately ceases once the "agent" (the person whose mind is creating the disturbances) is identified and psychological issues addressed. 

Parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove points out that beneath the attack of entity attachment will be found something within the person which has allowed for the possession to occur
[Auerbach, 1993].     
 
Spirits who communicate with the living through channelers often provide certain facts relating to specific individuals in the  audience which the person channeling could not possibly have known.  This extraordinary ability creates the assumption that there must be a spirit coming through from the spiritual realms; especially in cases where a deceased relative shares facts which only a family member could know.  It is rare for people who experience the channelers unique talents to consider alternative explanations. 

The "super-psi" or "super-ESP" hypothesis states that it is the psychic abilities of the living person (in this case the channeler) who is accessing the information (details of the deceased persons life) thus creating the impression that a discarnate soul is speaking [Auerbach, 1986].  The channeler may be unknowingly receiving the information from a living family member who would know the factual details; psi abilities are unimpeded by time and space.  Recent studies into the effects of magnetic fields suggest that information may be "locked into" the environment itself [Auerbach, 1996].
 
Multiple personality disorder (MPD) and schizophrenia are sometimes associated with spirit possession ... MPD is a severe form of psychological disassociation.  A history of childhood incest, torture, or other abuses are found in 95% to 100% of MPD cases [Baldwin, 1991].  Personalities are linked to past traumatic episodes.  Each discrete personality retains the person's age, characteristics, and emotional mood of the traumatic event- they are literally stuck or frozen in the incident. 

Schizophrenia is distinctly different from MPD.  Schizophrenia is associated with psychotic symptoms and delusional thinking.  Living in an inner reality where one can project their thoughts into the heads of others, that others are implanting thoughts, and/or experiencing hallucinations are typical characteristics of schizophrenia.  While it may be tempting to associate multiple personalities as being discarnate spirits, the history-specific nature of each personality arising from the victim's own past makes the spirit possession hypothesis improbable        
 
Spirit possession serves several functions in our society For those who firmly believe that they are possessed an exorcism may be the only means by which to evoke a cure.  It is often turned to as a last resort for those experiencing obstinate psychological disorders.  More common it serves as a form of psychological disassociation. Deep, troublesome psychological material need not be owned by the individual if he/she adopts the ideology of spirit possession.  Professor Jeffrey Reiman ... proclaimed "It (exorcism) means that we don't have to take responsibility for the conditions in our society that breed crime and violence and other forms of evil. We can blame that on the devil as well. [Exorcism, ABC Nightline, 1991]." 

A great deal of research had been done on the effects of excessive stress.  During World War II, numerous soldiers developed battle neuroses, including "shell shock".  Severe cases of "shell shock", caused by the horrifying realities of modern warfare, resulted in mental and emotional overload causing the victim to completely withdraw from the outside world, locking him into an inner reality of terror no longer being able to function or relate to the outer world.  Drugs such as ether and methedrine were given to help create a state of intense emotional excitement which often lead to a state of emotional catharsis. 

Intense emotional release was the primary agent facilitating recovery.  Exorcisms function in the same way.  William Sargant explains, "The age-old method of curing the possessed and getting rid of undesirable entities which have invaded them follows the same sort of pattern as our drug abreaction treatments of battle neuroses. The "possessed" patient is worked up into a condition of frenzied emotional excitement, in which he expresses intense anger and fear, and this leads very often to a collapse, which may be followed by a feeling of calm and release from the "demon" which has been tormenting him, just as our patients felt released from traumatic memories [p.45, 1973]."
 
The dynamics of spirit possession exhibit peculiarities as well: "The person who fears that the Devil is near him, suddenly starts to feel with absolute certainty that the Devil is actually in him, and possessing him. Exactly the same mechanism is behind sudden feelings of possession by God, of God dwelling within one or of becoming part of God [Sargant, p.74, 1973]." 
 
William James shared an interest in the psychology of spirit possession.  In 1896 he spoke on Demonical Possession in his Lowell Lectures.  Expanding on a previous lecture in which he gave 3 types of mutations of the sense of self (insane, hysteric, and somnambulistic), he added to this lecture a 4th: Spirit possession or mediumship [Baldwin, 1991].  Responding to the refusal of the scientific community to consider this 4th mutation he wrote, "That the demon-theory will have its innings again is to my mind absolutely certain [Baldwin, 1991]." 

James also believed that if there were entities they would have to enter through a cracked or fragmented self. He quotes Professor Leuba's conclusion that, "The specific assurance in religious dogmas is then an affective (emotional) experience. The objects of faith may even be preposterous; the affective stream will float them along, and invest them with unshakable certitude. The more startling the affective experience, the less explicable it seems, the easier it is to make it the carrier of unsubstantiated notions" [Sargant, p.68, 1973]."  This explanation offers deep insight into the eager acceptance of spirit possession, as well as the unfathomable powers witnessed in the exorcism ritual.
 
The individual's psychological processes involved with spirit possession are crucial in understanding the phenomenon.  In the Spirit Releasement Therapy, Technique Manual psychological factors are discussed which inadvertently bring the notions of spirit possession and psychological explanations much closer together.  Baldwin's observation that "most attached spirits do not make their presence known to the host [Baldwin, 1991]" is indicative of how the subconscious mind typically operates.  The author goes on to elaborate that entities "seem to function at the level of the subconscious [Baldwin, 1991]." 

There is no evidence which exists that indicates possessing spirits are not from the subconscious mind. Parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach explains, "There's nothing to connect the "demon" with reality, and certainly nothing that says that the new personality is not some "monster from the Id," from the subconscious [Auerbach, p.258, 1993]."
 
The psychology of Carl Jung provides a spacious container for considering the psychological elements involved with spirit possession.  Rather than exiling the experience to the basement of the unconscious and labeling it a neurosis, Jung affords a deeper explanation.  He sees possessing spirits directly related to archetypes and warns, "The chief danger is that of succumbing to the fascinating influence of the archetypes, and this is most likely to happen when the archetypal images are not made conscious ... It may even happen that the archetypal figures, which are endowed with a certain autonomy anyway ... will escape from conscious control altogether and become completely independent, thus producing the phenomenon (gk: appearance) of possession [Jung, pp.323-324, 1959]." 

Interestingly, many of the causes for spirit possession (prolonged fatigue, harboring negative emotions, alcoholism, drug use, depression, stress) are the very causes which allow for unconscious content to "spill over" into the conscious mind.  Because a great deal of unconscious material is not "owned" by the individual it will most likely be perceived as an incredibly negative existence coming from the "outside".  Describing the event as demonic possession is highly accurate; except that the demon originates from within- there do appear to be times when we literally have to "battle our demons" if we like it or not. 
 
Spirit possession and the rites of exorcism are rarely equated with altered states of consciousness (ASC).  This is unfortunate because research done in the area of altered states can assist in explaining how and why spirit possession manifests.  We know that ASC cause a change in perception, a change in perception results in a change in an individual's reality.  The heightened suggestibility characteristic of ASC is valuable in understanding the effectiveness of exorcisms.  The fact that exorcisms utilize consciousness altering techniques, such as ecstatic dance, emotional fervor, and hypnosis should not come as a surprise. 

Spirit possession is a subjective phenomenon which is experienced as taking place objectively.  While the person may know the "demons" are within the body or mind, he/she is totally unidentified with them - they are experienced as alien (objective) intruders.  The state of possession usually would not be a persons normal waking state, though this too can occur.  Spirit possession, demons, earthbound spirits, and exorcisms are all related to ASC.                 
 
PART III Therapeutic Considerations:

The practice of SRT, conducted by a knowledgeable therapist within the therapeutic context which incorporates conventional therapy as well, functions as a therapeutic tool available for integrating deep unconscious (shadow) material - material deemed so wretched and vile by the person's psyche that initial work at integration must assume the form of disassociative story-telling. Past-life regression therapy works in a much similar manner, yet there is greater "owning" of the story's contents by the individual. 
 
The practice of SRT also poses serious threats as well, to both client and therapist.  Literal interpretation by either will likely result in a serious distortion of physical reality.  The client ... may begin to view events in life as the cause of evil demons inflicting unjust punishment.  Personal "baggage" is thrown onto the discarnate beings and is no longer "owned" by the client.  Self-responsibility is threatened into extinction. 

As a therapist one generally finds in his/her clients that which they most expect to find.  Freud began to speculate that women suffered mental illness due to childhood molestation from their fathers.  Upon testing the hypothesis he discovered that 100% of his female patients were molested by their fathers.  Freud soon realized that he was responsible for the findings due to suggestion.  It makes sense that therapists who go through a training in SRT find that in their practice new clients, as well as old ones, are suddenly showing signs of possession - recall that "It was as if the clients and entities were waiting for the therapists to learn the techniques [Baldwin]." 
 
A literal interpretation does present a threat to the exorcist- remember the words of Father Surin, "I have engaged in combat with four of the most potent and malicious devils in hell [Sargant, p.51, 1973]."  Surin was soon possessed by the "demons of Loudun" which he exorcised. "Father Surin finally developed a state of severe persistent melancholia - his mental illness lasted for no less than twenty years [Sargant, p.52, 1973]." 

For me, the main theme is that these things manifest in accordance with inherent culture and belief.
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ex-l

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Re: The Brahma Kumaris and Spiritualism

Post14 Feb 2009

Academic dissertation!?! Come bro, if you have to copy and paste an essay ... can you not find one that has been copied and pasted from a better source than Microsoft Encarta!?! I thought you were going to be serious ... Its a kids' encyclopedia given away free with Windows PCs.

Encarta is based on a periodic promotional item that used to be sold in supermarkets because no proper encyclopedia manufacturer would have anything to do with Bill Gates. I would not trust Microsoft to write an operating system for my computer never mind a map of the soul! And, anyway, what are you saying ... there is a soul, there are no souls or "all spirits and souls are one"?

I am no psychic but I certainly predicted he or you would kneejerk the Skeptics' old favourite ... the Fox Sisters controversy. There were three not two and the circumstances around Margarets jealous, penniless and alcoholic confession, and religious conversion, really have to be taken into consideration (... As an aside, a far more interesting component of 'Modern Spiritualism' is actually its part and influence on the feminist movement).

Now, I am completely uneducated but to underline how clueless this guy is, just take one of his logical fallacies.
The Oni of Japan are demons said to bring about storms; ancient Japanese history tells of suddenly arising storms which caused superior enemies from successfully invading the island.

Well, the "Oni" are on a par with ogres or trolls and have many different attributes ... the Kamikaze winds, of which he is writing, were mythologised as being having been created by Raijin who was a "Kami-sama" or demi-gods of quite a different order ... and the 13th Century is hardly "ancient" history! So what is he arguing, that spirits do exist because Japan did fend off Kubla Khan's fleets? (Does "more" equal "superior"?).

Given the scale of errors, what sort of credibility does he give your opinion? You can write better yourself.

Its copy and paste crap, not even terriary research, by some West Coast alternative therapist who has done an adult further education course in "Holistic studies" in order to stick some initials at the end of their name.

I am sorry ... but no. Please don't do that again. A few links to some Wikipedia pages would do just fine.

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Re: The Brahma Kumaris and Spiritualism

Post15 Feb 2009

Thank you ex-l for your expected critique. Obviously I am not willing to put in as much time as your standards require! The specific points you made were the ones I thought you'd make; I was going to edit more heavily at first, and now have. I have removed all of part 1 as I agree it is overly simplistic, and merely a list that does not argue anything. You pick out an easy target to criticise (Encarta! - which is far from being the main reference) and ignore the main game. That is dialectic - keeping the the other bastard honest! Again, thank you.

I was not looking for a complex, arcane, jargon filled, high arching exposition, just an overview, which I thought this did in a simple (if less than perfect) way. I leave parts 2 & 3 as is, because they are the main points anyway. I would prefer any discussion to be about the main propositions of parts 2 and 3 rather than be picky about any particular reference (or where trolls stand in the heirarchy), unless they are pertinent to the main proposition.

I will also point out that some researchers' quotes are in agreement with ex-l's view that events should be responded to according to how they present (i.e. if it appears as a "possession" then treat it as such). Personally I'd see that possibly as a starting point only.
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ex-l

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Re: The Brahma Kumaris and Spiritualism

Post15 Feb 2009

No, I am sorry it does not. In its first edit, it was an insult to this forum's intelligence.

The yukti you are using is kind of similar to a Brahma Kumaris' public programme. Lots of extensive, convincing sounding waffle and then slip in the double whammy at the end once folks' minds are tired out trying to follow it all.

It gets worse when you discover that the part-time lecturer the author is parroting is Lloyd Auerbach, quote-unquote, "The Sam Spade of real ghostbusters", chocolate "expert" at 'Haunted by Chocolate' and psychic entertainer "Professor Paranormal" ... a magician and "mentalist" for hire at private parties, colleges and restaurants who performs with Madame Molotova, the acclaimed Flamboyant Russian Clairvoyant. I could not make this stuff up if I tried ...

It gets even more seriously worse if you know that the another main source, William Sargant, was heavily involved with the Intelligence Services including the CIA's Project MK-ULTRA, investigated the use of mind-bending drugs and who "routinely advocated and practised ways of circumventing the consent to treatment". Amongst of Sargent's better known quotes are,
William Sargant wrote:Jesus Christ might simply have returned to his carpentry following the use of modern psychiatric treatments.

OK, so let me paraphrase. The guy did a master's degree in X-Files at a night school for 'PSI-beyatchs' who believe "Supernatural" is based on reality, and his tutor is a kind of low rent, fraudbusting James Randi.

    ... so what do you know, what do you believe and what practical benefit has it had?
You were going to tell us that there was no soul ... I hope you tell us HOW you know this too. Thank you.

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