THE RAMALA CENTRE

As many of you know I have been writing a book for some time now about my spiritual journey in this life, based on the public talks that I have given over the years.  It has been taking a long time coming, firstly, through a lack of self-discipline and, secondly, because I have changed the format of the book on two occasions.  I am still not sure as to how to present it or as to what my final conclusions will be.  Perhaps I have to include one or two more experiences, which still lie in the future.  Anyway I thought that I would let the readers have a sight of the first chapter since we are a little short of material to include in this newsletter.  The book is provisionally entitled 'Full Circle - The Story of One Man's Journey from God to God'.  I debated for some time as to whether or not to include details of my personal life, but in the end I did because I feel it will help the reader to understand better certain incidents in my life which I refer to in the talks and, secondly, because a little human interest serves to lighten the tone of the book and to flesh out the bare bones, so to speak.  I also believe that you will find the story that I am about to relate a fascinating and an inspiring one.   Incidentally, the next chapter is entitled.... 'ALONG THE WAY'.

FIRST STEPS

Where does my story begin?  Certainly not in this present life because I believe that it is the sum total of all that we have been in our many past lives that determines the nature of our present life.  The Law of Karma, of Action and Reaction, is all-pervasive in this respect.  I believe that we choose our incarnations, the roles that we want to play on the great stage of Earth, long before we take birth.  I also believe that we choose the souls with whom we want to incarnate and experience and share human life and, more particularly, if we have associated with great spiritual Masters in the past, then, we choose to be on the Earth with them when they incarnate again.  So if, for example, I had been a devotee of Lord Krishna, when he was on the Earth five thousand years ago, I would most certainly choose to incarnate with him when he returned in the form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba today.  I say this not to justify my interest in him, because as an avatar I would be interested in him anyway, but simply because Sai Baba has told me that I was with him when he was in incarnation as Lord Krishna.  There is also another reason.

        Some years ago I went to see a seer in Bombay, India, who gives readings from the Book of Brighu, which is a collection of records of the lives, both past, present and future of certain souls who are listed in it.  These records are written in Sanskrit on palm leaf scrolls and were set down thousands of years ago.  The Book of Brighu contains the significant events of the lives of the souls who are listed in it.  The seer, Kantilal Pandya by name, measured the dimensions of my right hand, the length of each of the fingers on that hand and then asked me for my birth date in my present life.  Armed with this information he managed to find my record in the Book of Brighu and began to read from the scrolls some interesting facts about myself, that is to say about my soul's journey through many lifetimes.  All that I will recall here is that he said that I had lived my last life in Northern India, where I was a devout devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, a great saint, who lived from 1835 to 1918, and who has reincarnated as Sathya Sai Baba in this life.  In support of this statement it cannot be a coincidence that Sai Baba has given me a ring, which he manifested for me one day with a wave of his hand, and which has the figure of Shirdi Sai Baba embossed upon it.  When I asked him to change the figure to one of his own form, Sathya Sai Baba, something which I have seen him do on several occasions, he would not do so, thereby indicating to me, as far as I was concerned, that Shirdi Sai Baba is significant for me.  The astrologer then went on to say that I would be incarnating in Southern India in my next life, where I would spend much of my life in the ashram of Prema Sai Baba, the next incarnation of Sathya Sai Baba.  So it would appear that I am inexorably linked to the one spirit behind these three physical forms.  He also mentioned something else of interest.  He said that although I had lived in India in my last life, I was very much attracted to life in the West and, in particular, to Western technology, and that I had deliberately chosen a life in the West in order to experience both of these things.  He also prophesied that I would be living full time in Sai Baba's ashram in India after the age of 75 and would remain there until my death at the age of 89.  Time alone will reveal whether or not this is correct, but it certainly helps me to understand the reason for the lifestyle that I have followed in this incarnation.

        I was born and raised in the Midlands of England and enjoyed all the benefits of an upper middle class English family - a nice home, an affluent lifestyle and a good education.  I was very blessed and had an idyllic childhood, which included going away to boarding school, an event that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The one and only crisis in my life came when I was about eight years old.  My father was rushed into hospital in a semi-coma and passing large quantities of blood.  Numerous tests could not reveal a reason for this and after pumping over twenty pints of blood into him with no visible effect, the surgeon came and told my mother to expect the worse.  He also said that they were going to open my father up in the operating theatre just to see what they could find.  I vividly remember walking around the streets of a suburb of Birmingham in the early hours of the morning talking and praying to God.  Where this faith came from I do not know, because my only exposure to God up to that point in time had been in scripture classes at school.  Moreover my parents were not religious in the orthodox sense of the word.  So I found myself praying to God, with tears in my eyes, to save my father, and I promised that if He did this for me, then, I would offer my life to Him in His service.  The surgeon found an ulcer in my father's stomach that had been hidden from the X-ray machine by a fold of skin and so my father was saved.  Nevertheless my father told me, many years later, that he felt that he should have died then and I have always felt that my 'bargain' with God, not that you can really bargain with God, had something to do with this.
        
        I was baptised and raised in the faith of the Church of England.  I actually went to school at The King's School, Canterbury, which is generally recognised as being the oldest public school in England, and attended services in the cathedral there on a regular basis.  I was confirmed by no less a person than the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Fisher, in front of the high altar of Canterbury cathedral, but I was never very comfortable with High Church worship and something inside of me rebelled most strongly against the partaking of Holy Communion.  I could never accept either the Church's explanation of its symbology or its relevance in the world today.  Although I left school having won a place at Oxford University, I had to perform my National Service and so I joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, put God on hold, became an agnostic and enjoyed a glamorous life to the full.  I had more than my fair share of wine, women and song.  Flying became an all-consuming passion, the more so when it became apparent that I had a natural talent for it.  Fate, and a couple of flying accidents in the RAF, coupled with my parent's urgent requests that I do something less dangerous for a living, led me to join BOAC as an airline pilot in 1958, a career which I was to follow for the next twenty six years.  So few people are blessed with a career for which they really have a passion, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of my airline career, in fact I would have done the flying even if they hadn't paid me!  In those days crew parties were very much a part of the social scene, both at home, on days off between trips, and down the routes, on crew rest days, in exotic and, sometimes, very unexotic places.  It was at one such party, held in the summer of 1963 in Weybridge in Surrey, that I met my wife, Ann.

        It was just like any one of the usual parties hosted by an airline stewardess - crowded and noisy, with a smoky atmosphere and an abundance of alcohol, mostly brought in duty free from abroad.  I looked across the crowded room, as the saying goes, and there she was.  Whilst it was hardly a case of love at first sight, it was certainly a case of instant attraction, both on an inner and an outer level.  It turned out that my future wife was also a stewardess with BOAC but although we had many interests in common she was the exact opposite of me in every respect.  I was born under the sign of Sagittarius and she under Gemini.  I was introverted and she was extroverted.  She was a feminist, a rare bird even in those days, and believed not just in the equality of the sexes in every walk of life but in the superiority of the female sex!  I, on the other hand, believed that whilst women had their place, it wasn't in a man's world.  Our relationship on the physical level was doomed from the start.  We had a sizzling and passionate affair for a few months and then I backed away from this powerful and non-conformist woman.  She was just too weird to be true!  After all, her mother was a psychic, she believed in mediums and in life after death, in reincarnation and in karma and in many other esoteric things, and it was all too much, even for an albeit lapsed Christian boy like me.  However, this first encounter with Ann would turn out to be the second most important event in my life, the first being my encounter with Sai Baba.

        My meeting with Ann marked the start of my inner journey.  She was responsible for introducing me to the spiritual concepts and understandings of life that are now second nature to me.  I will be eternally grateful to her for that great service.  Although our affair ended and she left BOAC soon afterwards to go and work, firstly, in Canada and, then, in the USA and to carve out a successful career for herself in the business world, I still carried on seeing her and our relationship became one of brother and sister.  She would lend or recommend spiritual books to me, which I would then read and, when I was in New York on one of my many flying visits, we would meet over a meal and have deep discussions on spiritual matters.  I remember with fond memories the first book that she ever recommended to me, which was 'Winged Pharaoh" by Joan Grant, a story all about reincarnation.  Gradually I began to open my eyes and to accept esoteric concepts of life, which before I would have thought were quite laughable.  Ann alone was responsible for inspiring me to begin my search.  I was introduced to the psychic world, to mediums and sťances, to spiritualism, to channelling and esoteric writings, to the Gnostic Gospels, to the work of the Ascended Masters, to Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul, to Theosophy, to the writings of Krishnamurti, to the Bhagavad Gita, and so the list goes on.  The process of my spiritual education went on for almost seven years and would probably have carried on for many more years had not fate, or destiny, call it what you may, intervened.

        The year was 1969.  It was autumn and Ann was over in England to see her family.  A spiritual teacher called Dorothy Smith, who was also a trance medium of extraordinary talents, happened to be visiting from the USA on a lecture tour at the same time.  Ann had been attending spiritual and psychic development classes held by her in New York.  Dorothy was due to give a lecture at the headquarters of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in Belgrave Square and Ann invited me to attend.  I went along quite willingly and enjoyed the lecture, which was about the spiritual significance of heart transplants.  Dorothy Smith was a good speaker and I could see her casting her eyes over the audience as she spoke.  I saw her eyes rest briefly on Ann and a smile of recognition appeared on her face, and then she moved on to me and I saw her mouth drop open in astonishment.   However, she quickly recovered her composure and carried on talking.   After the lecture was over Ann took me up onto the platform to introduce me to her.  Dorothy, in a stage whisper, which I could hear, announced to Ann "That's the man you're going to marry."  Ann responded by saying "Oh no.  I have a boyfriend in the USA.  Surely you mean him?  David is just like a brother to me", but Dorothy would not be moved.  Ann and I were singularly unimpressed by her pronouncement and we both left the room feeling that that was the end of the matter.  Neither of us felt that marriage was even a remote possibility.  We pushed the idea from our minds and resolved to get on with our lives.  Happily for us, Dorothy Smith and destiny had other ideas.

        A few days later Dorothy Smith called Ann on the phone and told her to bring me to visit her in Brighton, where she and her husband had rented an apartment, as a matter of some urgency.  She offered to give us a channelling with Master Light, the being who used to speak through her, in order to help resolve the question of our marriage.  She said that it was very important that we came.  Now this was something that Dorothy rarely did and Ann was very impressed by her kind offer.  I was not particularly concerned about the question of the marriage, because to me there was no question, I wasn't about to get married to Ann or anyone, but the offer of a channelling intrigued me.  I had never been to one before, although Ann had told me what went on in them, because she had heard Dorothy's guide speak through her on many occasions.  She had even begun to develop mediumistic talents herself.  So Ann and I drove down to Brighton where Dorothy and her husband Melvin greeted us warmly.  After a few preliminaries Dorothy went into a deep trance and this wonderful being, Master Light, who also referred to himself as the World Teacher, began to speak through her in a deep powerful voice.  

Master Light told us that we were affinities, that is to say two halves of the one soul that came into being aeons of time ago.  He likened affinities to the two sides of the same coin.  He said that only rarely do the two sides incarnate on the Earth at the same time and that we had done so, as an act of sacrifice, because of the work that we had agreed to do together, to form a School on Earth teaching the Truth of the Heavens.  We had agreed to marry before we came down to Earth both to do this work and to have some special children who would all play significant roles in the New Age to come.  He went on to tell us about some of our past lives and relationships and the spiritual work that we had done and to describe the problems now facing the world and how we could help.  He finished by saying that there was no compulsion in this at all.  If we really didn't want to marry, then, we didn't have to.  We would still be able to work together on the higher planes of existence, but what a pity that would be, to miss this opportunity to work together on the physical plane of life.  Ann and I were both dumbfounded.  We felt trapped.  We drove back to London in complete silence.  I only spoke to her once, to ask her what an affinity was, because I hadn't understood, and she coldly tried to explain that to me.  She later told me that she thought to herself "How can I marry someone who doesn't even know what an affinity is!"  We parted, hardly speaking to each other, me to go back to my flying career in England and she to her American boyfriend and her job as president of a public relations company in New York.  Our marriage appeared to be doomed before it had even started.

Nevertheless, we were both soon to discover one of the amazing facts about life, namely, that once the soul has been touched by truth it cannot be denied.  Gradually, from a place deep within our beings, we both came to the realisation that what had been said to us in that channelling was indeed the truth.   The result was that three months later we agreed over the phone that we should get married, and trust that Master Light was right in what he had said.  Of course the very idea of an arranged marriage is a complete anathema to most people here in the West but that was exactly what we were about to enter into.  Whilst I respected Ann for her spiritual knowledge and wisdom I hardly knew her as a person, I hadn't kissed her for seven years and I certainly didn't love her in the conventional romantic way.  However I trusted the intuitive force of God within me, which was impelling me forward towards the marriage.  I felt very calm about the whole thing.  We told Dorothy Smith of our decision and she gave us another channelling when I was over in the USA on a flying trip a short time later.  This time Master Light gave us a great deal more information about our relationship and told us where and when to get married, the design of our wedding rings and what was expected of us.  He also promised to give the address at our wedding and to bless us.  The result of all of this was that on March 27th 1970 Ann and I married in a lovely spiritualist church in Old Greenwich, Connecticut in the USA.  The service was both moving and inspiring and in the middle of it Master Light, speaking through Dorothy, gave the address.  I don't know how many of Ann's business friends from New York knew that Dorothy was a medium and was in a trance, and that she didn't normally have such a deep booming voice, but Master Light gave a wonderful talk about marriage, took us and our rings back to ancient Atlantis and blessed us.   He warned us that if we ever did anything wrong whilst wearing these rings they would destroy us.  We had a wonderful reception after the wedding and left for England the following day to begin our married life together.