“We mark birthdays annually,
but celebrate Life constantly.
For birth and death are virtual,
while Life is perpetual –
a perpetual blessing.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Growing up I rarely thought about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.
Not until a transformative midlife awakening to self-identity as eternal spirit, followed by inner visions of apparent other lifetimes, and meeting my Guruji, who taught about death, dying and beyond, did I begin experiencing deep reflection about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.
And eventually I even began wondering whether our lifespans might be karmically predetermined upon birth. That reflection was triggered over thirty years ago when I received a memorable Vedic astrology prediction that I would die “at age 84”, based upon my precise time and place of birth.
Here is what happened.
Story of death prediction.
After Guruji returned to India in 1980, I met and learned from many other spiritual teachers, in addition to Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma, while always maintaining my heartfelt inner relationship with Guruji – above all other teachers.
Especially after my 1982 pilgrimage to India, for many years I considered myself a “born-again Hindu” and was especially attracted to Indian spiritual teachers. Thus in August 1986 I attended programs given by Sri Hariharinanda Giri, a self-realized Kriya Yoga initiate of renowned Master and Vedic astrologer Sri Yukteswar Giri and of Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who continued a spiritual lineage beginning with “Mahavatar Babaji” – an etherial being who apparently I beheld at the 1982 Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.
Inspired by Sri Yukteswar, Hariharinanda Giri [affectionately known as ‘Baba’] had become an expert Vedic astrologer, and offered optional readings to those receiving his Kriya empowerments. So on August 10, 1986, I had a private astrological reading with Baba in which he interpreted my Vedic chart – which I called a ‘karmic map’.
In Vedic astrology or Jyotish, the ascendant sign is often deemed the most defining element in the chart. Both my Vedic and Western astrology charts show Libra – which is ruled by the planet Venus – as my ascendent or rising zodiac sign.
And so in his reading Baba emphasized this significant aspect of my chart. But in his Indian English he unwittingly mispronounced the name of my ruling ascendant planet, Venus. In a tape recorded session, two or three times he approvingly told me: “Your Penus is rising”. And he lovingly offered enlightened advice for my skillful spiritual behavior under that auspicious rising sign.
On conclusion of his reading Baba showed me my written chart, and asked if I had any questions. I pointed to a notation at the top, and asked him what it meant. Whereupon Baba turned off the tape recorder and replied: “That shows when you will die.”
Until then I had never heard that Vedic astrology could determine time of death from a chart based on planetary configurations at time of birth. Nor had I begun to think about my time of death. So in response to this surprising revelation, I simply exclaimed, “Oh!”
Whereupon, without my asking him, Baba voluntarily told me: “You will die at age 84”.
Post-prediction death reflections.
After Baba’s surprisingly specific death prediction, I continued to reflect on death and gradually discovered persuasively apt writings about esoteric ancient Vedic philosophy, astrology and prophesy, as well as about Einstein’s revolutionary relativity science. And I found credible quotes from non-dualist masters suggesting that that not only one’s lifespan but our actions, and even our thoughts, are predetermined by natural laws of causality until we transcend the ‘wheels of karma’. [See Einstein’s Mystical Ideas About God, Death, Afterlife, and Reincarnation; and Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate? ~ An Amazing Synchronicity Story ]
On my 84th birthday anniversary (on November 8, 2016) I completed a full 84 year Uranus cycle, of exactly 1008 months. So since then I’ve increasingly wondered how much time is left for Ron Rattner; whether he is imminently ‘scheduled’ to say “bye-bye” to this twenty first century.
Life is eternal, but human lifetimes are ephemeral. So as an octogenarian (not knowing when this precious lifetime will end), I have been augmenting and updating my Silly Sutras postings concerning physical death – a profoundly important spiritual subject. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/dealing-with-death-and-dying-rons-memoirs/)
May these writings motivate our reflections upon our inevitable physical departure from this relative “reality”, where “however we may strive, nobody leaves alive”.
And may they hasten fulfillment of our deepest aspirations for Self realization beyond “birth and death”, as Eternal NOW.
And so may it be!
As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
“The entire physical creation, so awe inspiring to human mentality…provides only tantalizing hints to the underlying wonders of being.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The miracle is not to walk on water, but to walk with love on earth, as if your feet are kissing the ground. We must remember that our presence alone is a miracle. We must learn to say ‘Yes’ to the miracles of life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Directly experiencing the multi-dimensionality of manifest reality helps free the mind and open the heart, inspiring and encouraging ever new insights, while raising ever new mysteries.
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
Extraordinary Energy Experiences
Einstein revolutionized our understanding of physical reality by showing that everything everywhere is endless energy, viz. E=mc2. But rare are those who identify with this pivotal revelation.
Since realizing that my true essence and identity is eternal spirit, beyond form – beyond birth and death, I have been experientially blessed with unforgettable reminders of the ephemerally impermanent and energetic nature of our apparent physical reality, and of its eternal context in cosmic consciousness beyond time and space.
From these experiences I gradually have lost fear of death and have been opened to innumerable new revelatory insights about this magical and mysterious world of form. These experiences have helped me live an ever happier life, as predicted by my beloved Guruji, and have inspired ever new insights and questions concerning our infinite evolutionary potentialities.
Amongst my most noteworthy new experiences have been unprecedented subtle energy perceptions.
Immediately after my spiritual rebirth experience I had very briefly experienced myself as mere lines of energy – like those associated with Chinese acupuncture.
Then my experience of bodily consciousness returned, but never again was it the same as before. Previously perceived bodily boundaries expanded well beyond my skin, and in rare instances even melted or merged into mystery. And I became aware that my bodily self-perceptions constantly varied with varying states of vitality and subtle awareness.
Examples of new subtle energy sensitivities
Here are some examples of these new subtle energy sensitivities.
Starting soon after the rebirth experience, at times I have felt the energies of people, creatures and objects visually perceived to be far away. And beyond visual perception I became consciously sensitive to the energies of people and places both in and remote from my physical proximity – their ‘vibes’.
For example, I remember sitting with my then young son Josh in the grandstand at a San Francisco Giants baseball game, almost palpably feeling the energy of each pitched baseball as it left the pitcher’s hand and sped toward the batter. The entire playing field seemed within the ambit of my perceived energy field.
After meditating in my high-rise view apartment, I remember at rare times looking out and feeling the energies of birds flying in the distance. And while walking on a beach by the Bay I sometimes palpably felt the energy fields of people i saw moving at a distance from me.
Once when meditating alone in my apartment and concerned about a grove of Northwest Pacific coast old growth trees then being clear-cut for lumber, I empathetically experienced with endless tears the suffering of those ancient beings.
The foregoing unusual energy experiences seemed to involve supposed subject-object perceptions, viz. Ron aware of various supposedly separate distant forms. But other new energy experiences apparently transcended such supposed subject-object separation.
For example when I was talking in person or by phone with certain people with whom I felt special rapport – like my ‘high energy’ friend Betty Bethards, a spiritual teacher and psychic – I often experienced elevated energy, as if our subtle energy fields had synergistically expanded. And after I met Guruji I was consistently transformed and energetically uplifted when in his physical proximity, irresistibly resonating with his amazingly powerful “shakti” cosmic life-force.
Perhaps my most extraordinary new energy events were subtle energy ‘mergers’ that happened during out of body [OOB] experiences. The first ‘merger’ happened quite synchronistically, soon after my divorce. Just before awakening one work-day morning, I beheld an extremely vivid and large inner image of a blue-eyed blond woman who I’d never before seen. Quite puzzled I wondered who she was and why she had appeared in my inner vision. Those questions were soon answered.
A few days later, alone and lonely on a Saturday evening, I searched the SF Chronicle’s weekend event calendar for something to do. There I learned that a Tibetan bell concert was about to happen in an auditorium not far from my apartment. Though I then knew nothing about Tibetans, and never before heard Tibetan bells, this concert seemed interesting. So I made a last-minute decision to attend.
There were no reserved seats, and by the time I arrived the only remaining seats were on a small back balcony far from the stage.
So I sat there waiting for the concert to begin. After a few moments, I noticed the person already seated immediately to my left. It was undoubtedly the woman who had appeared in my vision a few days earlier. She was a yoga teacher with whom I soon had a brief but very important romantic relationship.
Once during that relationship I had the unprecedented experience of leaving my body during physical coition with merger of our subtle bodies above the intertwined physical bodies, which I viewed from above. Apart from that OOB experience, it seemed that our subtle bodies had remained conjoined even when we were physically apart. One week I had a mysterious leg pain not traceable to physical trauma. That weekend I learned that my friend had injured a leg, and that we were simultaneously experiencing the same leg pain.
After we were together physically, I initially experienced amazingly enhanced vital energies. But later because of very stressful life circumstances she became quite devitalized and enervated. Thereupon, she unknowingly began “vamping” my vital energies whenever we were together. When we parted, instead of having amazingly enhanced energies, I became so debilitated that I couldn’t jog or even walk to work as usual. Finally, without vital energy it became impossible for me to continue to be with her. Our relationship ended. It was virtually my last romance before becoming abstinent for the remainder of my adult life – so far.
A few years later I had another memorable OOB merger experience, but this time without any physical intimacy. Here’s what happened.
In October 1981 I was invited to attend an archetypal Halloween costume party in Sausalito, California. Attendees were asked to dress as a personality or image important to them in this lifetime. Never before had I attended an adult costume party. Nor had I ever before thought about any “archetype” important to me.
But on learning that I could borrow a Franciscan monk’s habit from my friend Michael Toms, I decided to attend as Saint Francis of Assisi, with whom I had discovered a deep inner rapport. Dressed as St. Francis, I went to the party alone. It was held in a large old warehouse space where there was live music and an extensive dance floor area. The warehouse was hot, noisy and crowded – not an atmosphere apparently conducive to spiritual experience or elevated awareness. But that’s what happened to me.
I was standing alone on the dance floor when a woman stranger costumed as an angel invited me to dance with her. I gladly accepted. Then she told me that as a spiritual practice she was “toning”, and asked if I would like to “tone” with her as we danced, explaining that while dancing together we could make harmonious tonal sounds. I hadn’t before heard about toning, and was curious.
So, at her suggestion, we danced and twirled and toned together like Sufis. Soon, while we were thus twirling and toning, I had a memorable OOB experience.
Fleetingly I ‘left my physical body’ and from above the two twirling dancers perceived our subtle bodies merged. This was a revelatory experience for me, because I learned from it the possibility of “tantric” merger without physical union.
After dancing and toning for a short time, we shared contact information. I learned that her name was Mary Saint-Marie, and that she was a visionary artist from Mount Shasta, California. But I did not speak to her about my merger experience. We parted without dancing again. Thereafter, we briefly exchanged correspondence when Mary was considering enrolling in graduate studies at CIIS where I then was Board Chairman. But we never met again for almost thirty years.
In the meanwhile, I wondered why I had such an extraordinary experience with an ‘angelic’ stranger in a crowded, hot and noisy place. Ultimately, I decided it happened because my dancing partner was indeed an extraordinarily elevated being who (then unknown to me) had recently experienced a prolonged period of out of body cosmic Oneness.
As I write, Mary Saint-Marie is still a visionary artist and spiritual guide who shares her rare transcendent perspectives and experiences via inspiring art and spiritual writings, and in work shops and consultations. [See:http://www.marysaintmarie.com/].
Several years following my subtle merger experience with Mary Saint-Marie I had another unforgettable revelatory merger experience even more extraordinary than the first ones.
One night I was awakened from a deep sleep to behold within the face image of an Indian yogi, who looked familiar but who I could not then identify. Thereupon, the yogi merged our subtle fields, and we became ONE. Words cannot describe the orgasmic thrill of that merger. It was for me thrilling beyond any other experience of this lifetime – so far.
For many years after that thrilling glimpse of evolutionary potentiality I wondered about the identity of the benevolent yogi who had bestowed the experience, and why it happened. Finally, through synchronicity, I intuited his identity.
One evening while on-line at my computer I was wondering about the yogi when a familiar portrait appeared in a file I was searching. It was Mahavatar Babaji the legendary timeless saint and root guru of Paramahansa Yogananda’s kriya yoga lineage, who was pictured and described in “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Instantly I intuitively recognized him as the compassionate yogi with whom Ron had been merged.* [See footnote.]
I can’t yet say why I was granted these “peek experiences”. Like other blessed experiences, they have helped free my mind from illusory limitations and to open my heart to ever new Divine insights, with ever growing gratitude and faith in our infinite potentiality – in the Mystery of Divinity.
Perhaps they were portents showing that – after eons of endless evolution – we can ultimately experience and realize descent of the supernal on our precious planet, as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo.
And so may it be!