I used to wonder why Baba did not personally give microvita sadhana to everyone. In my opinion He often selected people for this sadhana who worked very hard and had less time for their spiritual practices. For some, too, who had more fear than love for the Cosmic Consciousness, microvita sadhana was one of the special means by which Baba aroused this love in them.
This caused me to think deeply over the connection between internal spiritual dynamism, i.e. always thinking of Parama Purus'a, and external dynamism, i.e. remaining extremely active in service work.
Finally I met a sannyasii who had both internal longing and a desire to work hard for Baba. He was torn between the two. Once, when he was alone with Baba, He demonstrated many spiritual experiences.
First He asked the Dada to sit in siddhasana and do dhyana. A sweet smell began to pervade the room that filled Dada's mind with bliss. Soon Baba interrupted, saying, "Don't get lost in this, there are still higher realizations." Next Dada began to see a divine light. His mind again experienced waves of bliss, but Baba repeated His warning. Then he heard the beautiful sound of crickets. This was the subtle anahata nada vibration, which starts with this sound and progresses through various stages. The second sound is like the rippling of a mountain stream; the third like the call of a celestial flute; the fourth like the roiling of tropical thunder; and the fifth like the roar of ocean surf. Of course, these descriptions are very inadequate approximations of the actual sounds which can only be experienced in deep meditation.
Dada later told me that when he heard the last sound he felt like entering into an unbreakable embrace with the Cosmic Consciousness. In this way Baba united sound with love.
Sound is the first, most subtle tanmatra (sensory inference); and love is beyond all tanmatras. If a special dish is prepared with wonderful spices but without salt, it will not taste delicious. Love, like salt, is the essential ingredient which transforms the bondage of Cosmic devotion into liberation. If a drop of water falls into the ocean, it does not worry about losing its identity; rather it becomes the ocean by expanding its limited awareness to infinite awareness.
Baba was omniscient. He could transport a person's mind to both the future and the past. He performed these kinds of demonstrations until 1971. I had the unique opportunity of joining Ananda Marga in 1964, and until 1971 I personally witnessed dozens of demonstrations. I was most interested in the psycho-spiritual and spiritual aspects of the anubhuti (direct spiritual experience).
Baba used to read the past of different people through Acarya Dasarath. Once He took this devotee's mind back more than 15,000 years. Baba explained that all the tanmatric vibrations of the past are eternally present. An A-grade sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) can reassemble and experience these vibrations, but it is extremely difficult. Only Lord Shiva and Lord Krs'n'a were able to give this capacity to others, which is beyond even the occult powers. On one occasion in Ranchi in July 1968, Baba explained that many centuries ago Tulsi Das sang the Ramayana while composing it. He then touched His stick to the ajina cakra (centre of the forehead) of a nearby sadhaka and asked him to concentrate. The sadhaka could hear the voice of Tulsi Das singing.
The five stages of onm'kara (the uncaused or "seed" sound of the cosmological system) were all made audible to various sadhakas in 1968. Baba permanently gave this siddhi (occult power) to Jaidhari, an illiterate man who used to look after Baba's garden (he is still alive as I write this).
Recently Jaidhari told me that when he listens to instrumental music, a sympathetic vibration starts in him and it is very difficult for him to maintain psycho-physical parallelism. He becomes lost in a trance.
Not once in His life did Baba make a public exhibition of His siddhis. Great gurus never exhibit these powers because they can be misleading to spiritual aspirants. However in Ranchi during the Sadhana Year of 1969, He demonstrated siddhis to a small group of His disciples. He did this to illustrate the nature of knowledge and how the boundaries of knowledge can be expanded through the use of siddhis. Great gurus help their disciples through spiritual experiences in order to elevate them and to goad them along the path of spirituality. The wise do not consider this to be a mere exhibition of powers, but rather as a fillip to help others move ahead.
What are these occult powers?
1) Anima means reducing one's psychic existence into a small point and then transforming it into a minimum entity. One may understand anything and everything by entering into each and every physical particle and becoming one with the different waves of expressions and emanations, by dancing with the waves of objects and ideas. This occult power acquired through positive microvita is called anima. The only way to understand these subtle entities is to increase one's powers of perception through spiritual practices.
2) Mahima means vastness. With the help of positive microvita, the mind can expand to become vast. Its radius may encompass the entire universe and so we acquire ideas about many different subjects without reading books. In this way, too, we may feel our oneness with the varied entities of this universe - unity in variety, unity in diversity. By associating our benevolent thoughts with each and every entity, we will contribute to universal progress and prosperity.
3) Laghima makes the mind light, free from the bondage of so many liabilities. This carefree mind, freed from so many fetters and bondages, can understand and think clearly. So by dint of this occult power, one may understand any idea, subtle or crude, abstract or concrete. Unless you understand how much pain and sorrow is accumulated in other's minds, how many tears well up in their eyes, you cannot completely alleviate their sorrows and sufferings. Through laghima, your own mind becomes unburdened so you can clearly appreciate the minds of others.
4) Prapti means helping oneself and helping the souls of so many people to acquire and be benefited by the grace of the Supreme.
5) Iishitva – Iish means to guide and administer. Iishitva enables the spiritual aspirant to guide other people who suffer from different causes. So many people in this world are crying in pain and agony. So many miseries and afflictions paralyse both physically and mentally. lishitva enables one to correctly lead afflicted humanity to their physical progress and psychic well-being.
6) Vashitva means to keep everything under control and properly regulated for welfare. In order to bring people goaded by defective ideas to the path of Supreme greatness, vashitva is necessary. If people work haphazardly and do not follow the right path, they cannot be expected to establish a state of welfare for all. So if you really want to help people, you will have to inspire and influence them in a positive way, and then direct them along the right path to their goal.
7) Prakamya means the ability to accomplish whatever one desires, to translate wish into reality with a view to promote universal welfare, to bring light to the entire universe. Through this occult power, spiritual aspirants acquire the capacity to serve the entire world.
8) Antaryamitva is to enter the ectoplasmic or endoplasmic structure of others and thereby to know their pain and pleasures, their hopes, aspirations and longings and to guide them properly. It is somewhat like transmigration of the soul. Regarding this occult power, spiritual cult alone will not suffice - it requires the special grace of Parama Punts 'a. He usually does not give this power to sadhakas because if they do not possess universal love, it can be abused for personal gains. Baba explained that this power makes the mind so subtle that it can enter the intra- and inter-ectoplasmic mind stuff of every individual as well as the collective human society.
Until that time, I had a big question in my mind about this. If these occult powers are an impediment to spiritual progress, and no great saints ever used them, then what is the purpose of their existence?
Baba advocated the maximum utilization of all mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities. For the first time in the history of spirituality, He explained that all eight of these occult powers can and should be used as a special knowledge to do greater service and help society progress. Then I realized that great saints and preceptors also occasionally used these powers to elevate spiritual seekers.
It is interesting that the ancient Indian spiritual traditions had mental yardsticks to measure these psychic capacities. The critical mistake made by today's psychologists is to apply physical yardsticks to measure mental health and capacity. This is absurd. Antaryamitva is not granted to one who has not attained universal love, because it would harm both that individual and the society. A true spiritualist must love all equally and hate no one.
This is easy to say but extremely difficult to achieve. Baba once gave a good example of the human predilection for favouritism: if you happen to come across a game of football and watch it for some time, though both teams are unknown to you, still you will discover your mind slowly starting to favour one team. This is a limitation of the human mind.
He also said that every human mind obeys some special dynamics. Only the Universal Entity can catch the chains of action and reaction and, without disturbing the universal flow, do something to accelerate the collective or individual human progress. Within this universe, millions of things exist, yet we perceive only a minute fraction of them; and of what we perceive, only a little can be explained.
Future biopsychologists might use these occult powers as yardsticks to measure psychic progress and to some extent psycho-spiritual progress. The powers of omniscience and Supreme Knowledge are above these eight occult powers, and according to the scriptures, only Taraka Brahma, the Supreme Entity in Its liberating aspect - Baba - possesses them.
Before meeting Baba, I had studied most of the important literature published by the Ramakrishna Mission. I had read that Paramahamsa Ramakrishna had the power to rouse the kun'd'alinii (sleeping divinity) of his disciples. It resides in the lowest plexus of the vertebra called the kula. I often wondered what this kun'd'alinii is like. Despite my skepticism. I believed the experiences of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, since he was a realized soul and had the innocence of a child. He could not lie.
Six months after first meeting Baba, I had begun to recognize that He was an extraordinary personality. I thought that if Baba could lift the kundalinii of someone in my presence, I would accept Him as Sadguru. I never said it to Him personally for fear of being disrespectful, 'but He very clearly knew what was in my mind.
In those early days in Jamalpur, Baba came to the jagrti every morning at 7:00 a.m. After a little organizational work, He gave darshan (spiritual discourse) to the workers and Margiis; then he returned home and walked to the Railway Workshop to start work. On Saturday, which was just half day at the office, he came to the jagrti at 3:00 p.m. and gave darshan. Sundays he came at 9:30 a.m. and gave darshan in both the morning and the evening.
On one Sunday morning in February 1966, Baba was in a very pleasant mood and talked in English about kulakun'd'alinii, the fundamental negativity. Baba explained that for each group of important physical glands there is a corresponding psychic plexus nearby. Photography of the psychic plexi is of course impossible.
Suddenly He became grave. He asked me to move a bit to the back and called an young man called Bishambhar who was then a Science student in mathematics and is now an officer in the of Police department, some where in India, to sit in my place near the front.
Let me say a few words about this man. I had only a nodding acquaintance with him in those days. He was was from a middle class background and faced very sharp opposition from his family and village when he joined Ananda Marga. They would not allow him to sit for meditation and would always criticize the organization. He was by nature a reticent person with strong likes and dislikes, and remained always in a sentient mood. He possessed an overwhelming love of people and often cried to Baba about his inability to adjust with the calculating ways of worldly people.
That day, Baba asked him to sit in siddhasana, close his eyes and concentrate at the ájiná cakra. Suddenly He ordered, "Utho!" which means "Rise!". Next without touching, He ordered the kun'd'alinii to pass through all the six plexi, commanding, "Muládhára! Svádhis't'hana! Man 'ipura! Anáhata! Ajiná! Sahasrara!". Finally He commanded in Hindi, Dhiire niche ao. ("Come down slowly").
Bishambhar gave a sharp shout, "Hum!", that conveyed an air of courage. He arched his back, and, unable to withstand the vibrations, fell backwards with both legs out-stretched. I knew from the writings of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, that the body in nirvikalpa samadhi becomes very stiff and one cannot speak. So I stealthily tried to feel his limbs but was a bit afraid of Baba. Suddenly Baba told me not to be afraid and to examine the body as I wished.
To my amazement, I found his body very, very stiff. Baba turned to Acarya Dasarath and explained, "When one goes into nirvikalpa samadhi, the body becomes stiff" Dasarathji also examined the body and confirmed the stiffness. Baba left the jagrti saying that we should massage Bishambhar’s body until he regained consciousness.
Some time later Baba told a householder Margii that He had performed the demonstration for the benefit of someone else in the room. Little did anyone know that I was that person!
More surprises were to come. When Bishambhar came out of samadhi, I pestered him for nearly an hour, and also on several subsequent occasions, to get a satisfactory account of his anubhuti. He would say only that it was "unique", which was confirmed by his tears of joy.
"First comes the divine ecstasy and then the divine inebriation," said Paramahamsa Ramakrishna. Recalling his further words, I asked Bishambhar if he felt as though he had left the solar system and passed through many celestial bodies and galaxies until merging into an ocean of divine light. He replied it was not just that but something more. Pushed further, he described feeling clearly that "I am not this 'I' who is in the body." After a lot of pestering, Bishambhar, who tends to be a man of few words, terminated the discussion with, "Yah goonge ki gur hai?" ("If you feed a dumb person molasses, how can they describe the taste?").
Language is a very poor medium to express such an experience. I can say that a rasagulla and a jelebi are sweet, but I can never adequately express the difference between them.
Over time, I witnessed many demonstrations of different samadhis: Salokya, Samipya, Sayujya, Sarupya, Sarshti, Kaevalya, all collectively known as Savikalpa Samádhi; Brahmananda, Kankalamalini, Tanmátrik, Apluta, Samprajináta and Asamprajináta. He demonstrated all these just to explain the difference in the experiences.
For me, all these demonstrations only intensified the mystery that was Baba. I wish to describe another demonstration conducted in 1965. A high school headmaster, Mr. Tej Karan (from Kotah, Rajastan), came to Jamalpur and stayed ten days. During his stay he wrote a letter every day to a Margii who was an officer in the Indian Administrative Service. His first nine letters carried the same message: "Today I saw nothing to prove the extraordinary qualities of Baba. I will stay another few days." In the ninth letter, he wrote, "Tomorrow will be my last day. Until today I have seen nothing to make me believe in Baba."
On the tenth day, Baba announced in the jágrti, "Tomorrow, one of us is leaving Jamalpur." Then looking in the direction of Tej Karan, "You see, in order to see a miracle you have to be a miracle yourself. If I purchase a first-class ticket for a movie and hand it over to a blind person, will it be beneficial? There is nothing miraculous in this world. When people with limited understanding perceive a phenomenon quite unknown to them and beyond their capacity to understand, they call it a miracle."
Then speaking directly to Tej Karan, Baba said, "You have no strength in your body or nerves. Even if I wanted to give you something, you lack the power to withstand it. But still I will do something."
Then He called, "Tej Karan!", simultaneously snapping His thumb and index finger. Instantly, Tej Karan collapsed on the floor and started twisting and twirling like a serpent, as though he had no bone in his body. Even eight strong men could not bring him under control. A very strong sannyásii was thrown away like a feather in the attempt.
Finally he became quiet. Before leaving the room, Baba asked us to massage him and give him hot milk after he recovered consciousness.
After one hour Tej Karan could sit up. Then I asked him to describe the experience. He said that a strong light emanating from Baba had passed into him, electrifying his body from head to toe. A wriggling snake as tough as a steel rod (the kun'dalinii) started rising from his muládhára cakra at the base of his spine and pushed upwards like a "piston moving in a steam engine." The flow of energy was so strong that he felt it could light many powerful bulbs. At one point he felt that he might explode like a bomb. Unable to assimilate the vibrations, he collapsed and was lost in an ineffable ocean of bliss.
Needless to say the tenth letter he wrote was positive! He was a double MA. and a very rational man, but after that experience, he would declare in superlatives to all sorts of people, that Baba was Parama Purus'a. Cynical persons declared that he was out of his senses. In fact he remained divinely intoxicated for several months, and it took more than two years for Tej Karan to regain normalcy.
Baba gave these and many other dramatic demonstrations to facilitate the progress of disciples on the spiritual path. It cannot be claimed that they were public displays of miracles.
In early February of 1969, in the Ranchi jagrti, I watched Baba conduct three death demonstrations. The modus operandi was that Baba would call someone attending the general darshan and ask that person to sit in front of Him He then would announce, "I am going to conduct the death demonstration." Then without touching the person's body, He would order nine of the vayus (vital airs) - prán'a, apána, samána, udána, vyána, krkara, nága, kurma, devadatta - to leave the body. (The tenth vayu, dhanainjaya, leaves only after the disintegration of the corpse on the funeral pyre or in the grave.) As the váyus left one by one, the subject would start gasping for breath, frothing at the mouth and ultimately fall down, dead!
There was always more than one doctor present. In one case I remember, Dr. Ramesh (recently retired as vice-principal of Ranchi Medical College) examined the subject thoroughly and declared him clinically dead. Baba said that if left in that condition, ants would start congregating around the body within half an hour. But then He ordered, one by one, all the vayus to return, bringing life back to the body. He advised us to massage the body for a long period and administer hot milk since the joints had become very weak as a result of the experience. According to Baba, normal death is not painful, though death caused by accident or certain diseases may be.
I knew a Margii called Diipak who had a very deep desire to take part in Baba's demonstrations. He enjoyed the samadhi demonstrations, but after experiencing one death demonstration, he backed out whenever Baba called his name again. When I teased Diipak as to why he refused, he replied, "A strong body is required for such demonstrations, especially the death experience. The effect on me was devastating. I felt very weak afterwards and it took me months to become normal again."
 For a more complete account of the eight occult powers, the reader is referred to Discourse XXIII, `Parthasarathi Krs'n'a and Bhakti-Tattva' in Namami Krs'n'a Sundaram by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, pub Ananda Marga 1981.
 As a footnote to this story, in 1968 Tej Karan took his only son, a graduate, to visit Baba offering that he could become a WT (whole-timer worker-sannyasi). Baba declined the offer gracefully saying that WT's are person's already selected at birth. They are born from time to time to join His mission.
 Baba declared 1969 to be 'Sadhana Year' and He conducted all sorts of demonstrations that year.