Sunday 3 June 2007
In the early years after my coming to Auroville in 1972, as there was no real library yet in infant Auroville (just barren land then, with a few lonely huts here and there under a scorching sun), I used to go once a week to ‘town’ – that is, nearby Pondicherry – and among other things spend some time in the great, big Library that Auroville’s elder sibling, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, existing from 1926 on already, had developed since long.
One day, probably towards the end of 1975 or beginning of ’76, exploring as usual whatever would catch my attention, my eyes fell on a small, slim book, hardly visible on its shelf among various bigger volumes. Its title said:
‘There is a River…’
What a strange, beautiful inner feeling in this enigmatic title!…
I pulled the book out – a quite old and battered copy it was – and started leafing through it.
No, it was not about Nature or any of the geographical beauties our planet offers us so much of everywhere. It was about a man who had lived in America some time back (he was born in 1877, just a year before the Mother) and had become not only famous, but deeply appreciated and loved, because of the thousands of healings he had helped to bring about, first by diagnosing the ailments with perfect accuracy, and then by indicating exactly what to do to restaure the well-being of the person.
The fascinating ‘detail’ about this wonderful capacity was that it expressed itself only when this man – who was not very educated, and not at all a medical doctor – was lying down under a self-induced hypnotic trance.
In that rather peculiar condition, Edgar Cayce – that was his name, pronounced ‘Casey’ – could be asked any question about the individual requesting help. Wherever that person would have said he or she would be at the appointed time, Edgar’s consciousness would go there and once his entranced voice would say ‘I have found the body’, his consciousness would then proceed to find out the causes of the problems affecting that particular body, all the while describing aloud what it found, so that it could be noted down by the attending person sitting next to him.
All of this was for mel considerably eyebrows raising stuff, a totally knew domain of investigation opening up, that I would explore with ever increasing interest in the years to come, and to this day as well.
Edgar Cayce’s very special inner talent enabled him, when asked, to find out in that way about many other areas of knowledge, directly from the huge source he came to call ‘The Akashic Records’: a subtler dimension of Reality where are stored as in some immense Hall the personal records of any individual having ever lived, each instant of their existence having automatically left its trace engraved so to say, in the specific substance that dimension is composed of. Once there, Edgar’s consciousness would simply have to open the ‘book’ of the individual concerned and ‘read out’ the information relevant to the question asked. Hence the name that came to be given to the ever growing amount of material made available in that way by Edgar Cayce: the Readings.
As all was scrupulously noted down, the Readings came gradually to constitute an enormous, extremely diversified, well-documented body of knowledge – but also of wisdom.
For, to me even more interesting than all those fascinating topics in themselves, ‘There is a River’ immediately revealed to my inner being the most deeply valuable dimension of all the information contained in the Readings: the spiritual and evolutive meaning they were all converging to give to our world and to our lives in it.
‘There is a River’ was a biography, a wonderfully moving and inspiring one: the very childhood of young Edgar showed how, besides his spontaneous ability to see deceased relatives or little friends no one else could see, or to see the auras of the normal, living people, his whole being was already oriented towards ‘God’ and wanting to consecrate all his life to serve Him. But as he grew up, the lack of formal education and of finances made it clear to him that he could never become a Minister; yet, he had had a promise made to him once in his youth, by a beautiful lady/angel that had appeared to him: his prayers would be granted, his ardent wish to help heal others – especially children – would become indeed his lifelong service to God.
Edgar trusted that Promise; but how could it ever manifest, given the outer conditions of his life?…
Well, God has His/Her own ways of making things happen, that in Edgar’s case proved to be so unusual and surprising that at first he wasn’t sure if the uncanny trance abilities that revealed themselves were really from God, and not from the Devil!…
After a while, seeing that the strange medical knowledge he was exhibiting while in trance had perfect accuracy and brought about excellent results whenever the treatments indicated were followed to the letter, he grew more confident that his gift was indeed a God-given one.
But then one fine day after a session he woke up from his trance, only to find all the persons present sitting silently, staring at him, ill at ease; and he found out he had, while in trance, attributed the patient’s problem to… another lifetime, which he had then proceeded to describe, in whatever detail was useful for the case!!!
Edgar was stunned.
And horrified: Reincarnation?!…
His beloved Bible – which since childhood he was reading fully one more time over each new passing year – was not mentioning Reincarnation at all. Was he now misled while in trance, and pulled away from true Knowledge into some weird notions having nothing to do with God’s Truth???
This new, totally unexpected development threw Edgar into a terrible inner crisis again; but luckily by that time he had acquired enough confidence in his own inner discrimination, in the strange process that enabled him to access this Source of Knowledge, and in this Source of Knowledge itself. After asking questions about that whole new topic during his trance-sessions, and after discovering that the Bible actually does mention cases of Reincarnation (and very matter-of-factedly at that!…), he finally reconciled himself with what seemed to indeed make a lot of sense, all well considered.
From then on, Edgar explored through many of the Readings that kept being asked from him a number of historical or also pre-historical periods of Humanity’s presence upon Earth, describing in astounding detail the relevant portions of lifetimes set in Ancien Greece or Ancient Egypt, or during Jesus-Christ incarnation.
All this shed more light on relatively known historical facts, but more often than not also revealed totally unknown or negated other facts, such as the existence in the long forgotten past of Humankind, of various civilisations and cultures now considered as mythic, the very mention of which is usually scoffed at: Atlantis particularly, and Lemuria, were repeatedly described, two whole continents that have long since disappeared through cataclysmic circumstances, but over a sufficiently long period for groups of refugees to have reached other shores in time, securing there one way or the other some precious documentation about the Ancient Knowledge that would soon fall into oblivion.
When some of the researchers who had started to study the growing amount of Readings took the trouble to piece together even Readings given many years apart or for completely different individuals, to their utter astonishment they found that it all came together with the greatest accuracy regarding this or that episode that happened to come up more than one time; and all together, those thousands bits of descriptions of individual ancien lifetimes wove a vast, seamless tapestry of what the history and fate of those entire forgotten civilizations had been.
Moreover, everything fitted most interestingly well into an overall understanding of a divinely guided Meaning and Purpose of Life, that illumined not only the Past, but gave precious indications as well about the Future:
In trance, Edgar Cayce made a number of predictions, which because of the usual superficial curiosity and appetite for drama most of us human beings have, became soon the most publicized part of the Cayce Material; and people often neglected to publicize as well what the Readings also added: that such predictions were simply warnings, of events that could still very well be avoided if only Humanity was taking a different, higher course, and would grow spiritually.
For what was essentially announced, beyond all the possible ‘Earth Changes’, as they have become known, was a most wonderful new step in terrestrial evolution, that would be the Dawn of a more evolved Human species, better able to take care properly of a planet now endangered as a whole by human technical progress, not matched by the progress in consciousness that would put the technical progress only to good use.
A New Era was soon to start, that had been predicted in various ways but unanimously by about all ancient cultures, and even by some of our more recent religions too, Christianism one of them. But most Christians themselves have never taken such predictions seriously, nor understood them; and many pay attention only to the dangers and catastrophes described in what is often a vision seen of a part of the future by a certain individual; they don’t always notice the happy later outcome and the beautiful new life that will at last bloom on our lovely Earth after whatever cleansing might prove to be necessary.
It is difficult for human beings to recognize it when the time has come for such drastic changes. From all already existing signs, though, it would seem that we are indeed reaching that time.
Edgar Cayce lived to see the two World Wars, and died finally of exhaustion in February 1945, giving, in his irrepressible compassion, as many as six Readings a day to help the wounded and their families, in spite of the warning he had given himself in trance, not to do that, for his body wouldn’t be able to take such excessive stress on a daily basis.
While I was devouring that incredible biography, which quickly became one of my all-time favorite books (no photocopy machine being available yet in Pondicherry then, I am afraid this is the one time I never returned a book taken out of a library!!!), I couldn’t help but noticing how astonishingly close to Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s teachings the contents of the Readings seemed to be: even such far-fetched topics as the future transformation of our physical bodies, and, in order for that to happen, the necessity that our body-cells too awaken to their own divine potential, were part of what the Readings were announcing and explaining!… I was amazed, as nowhere else before, except in Sri Aurobindo and Mother, had I ever read yet anything concerning the consciousness of the cells.
So, after having been introduced through that book, first of all to that wonderful man himself (he was by no means perfect, though, I hasten to say, but his relationship to ‘God’ was totally sincere all his life, and he had a profound humility as well as love for all), I decided I would buy any other published work on a topic or another taken from the Readings. Over the years, having started the ‘Laboratory of Evolution’ and its specialized library, I got opportunities to go beyond Pondicherry into bigger bookshops in Madras (now Chennai), and proudly gathered a whole shelf of various Edgar Cayce books. Of course I was always the first one to research eagerly those new acquisitions, as will be seen in various further documents I will post here, now that this introductory one is up.
Later, I have been able to go even to the US and visit directly the Edgar Cayce Foundation: the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), but that will be another story, one that would be too long to add here!…
I hope simply to have already sparked in most of my readers the same love for the man and the same interest for his work, that I myself have started feeling since that fateful day at the Ashram Library…