A spiritual journey across time and space
The author beside the statue of Chinese scholar-general Yang Hao (Courtesy: Iqbal Chand Malhotra)
AS I SIT DOWN to write this piece on past lives, I am confronted by a dilemma. How do I convince an overwhelming majority of sceptical holiday readers to at least enjoy my tale and not dismiss it as poppycock? What I am about to relate is entwined with a melange of religion, spirituality, martial arts, quantum physics and sorcery. These are realms most people only explore superficially as a deeper journey involves transformational experiences.
I shall begin with my introduction to Shiva which happened in 1987, and which was the foundation of my experiences in past lives. I will use the knowledge and insight I gained from the works of Robert Svoboda, a modern-day American aghori.
Shiva, as we commonly know, is the destroyer in the holy trinity of Hindu gods. He has an alter ego known as Mahakala. While Mahakala is formless, Shiva manifests a form that a devotee like me can relate to and visualise. Mahakala is the God of Time and in a true sense, represents Sat Sri Akal, which really translates into that truth that is divine and beyond time. Incidentally, this is the form of holy greeting in the Sikh faith. Since my birth mother was a Sikh, these words resonate within me all the time.
The Shivalinga is Shiva’s penis and the base on which it is mounted is his wife’s vagina. However, Shiva has exorcised lust from his consciousness and his penis eternally resides in the vagina without ever losing control. This is why Shiva is also revered and worshipped by sorcerers and alchemists who practise the dark arts, because mercury embodies Shiva’s semen in its earthly manifestation and it is only through Shiva’s grace that these sorcerers can succeed in solidifying it so that it will not melt even when it is cast into the fire. For earthly mortals, however, there is a Sanskrit shloka, “Bhagamukhe linga, agnimukhe parada”, which translates into the fact that no matter how much control you have over your penis or solidify mercury alchemically, the penis will always ejaculate when placed inside the vagina, and mercury will always melt when poured into fire.
The life of a human being is a collection of memories. There is no life without memory. The Sanskrit term for memory, smara, also describes the God of Love, Kamadeva. Desire or lust is the cause of karma and when desire is destroyed, memory will be erased. Shiva is thus called “Smarahara”, or destroyer of both memory and lust. Shiva thus destroys the memory of karma when one realises that all karma is due to rna, or debt. This is called rnanubandhana, or the debt that binds a soul through many lifetimes, and which can only be erased by a process of atonement. The atonement can be performed through prayer or service.
Having introduced these concepts to you in as brief and lucid a manner as I have been able to muster, I now move to my individual story.
The intoxicating experiences of my somewhat hedonistic lifestyle in my twenties caused me to come under the ambit of evil spells cast upon me by several sorcerers and practitioners of the dark arts. Suffice to say that I was a man possessed and prone to many reckless acts. Desperate to break out of this stranglehold, I sought the help of a then good friend of mine who later became a politician, and has now served three terms in Parliament. She told me that her own Guru had passed on to her a solution to absolve oneself of the power of the dark arts. This was a prayer to Shiva called the Amogh Shiv Kavach. This is a stotram or eulogy to Shiva that extends his halo of protection to the person who chants it continuously, day in and day out. It is what is known as a swayam siddha, and the benefits kick in right after the first recitation.
The Amogh Shiv Kavach was part of a sermon preached by Maharishi Rishabh and is contained in the ‘Brahmottar Khand’ of the Skanda Purana, which is the largest Maha Purana. Among other benefits, its daily recitation burns one’s karmic debts over time.
Regression in our present world is using hypnosis to take an individual into a past life and help eliminate the root cause of a karmic problem. Here, a hypnotist takes the subject back into his/her past life, as an observer who sees himself/herself as a subject in the past. So, what a hypnotist does is that he hypnotises you, and you go into a past life, where you see yourself as an observer. Then you are able to find the root cause of the malady that is confronting you in this current life.
The pioneer in this field is Dr Brian Weiss, whose famous book is Many Lives, Many Masters. I have read his book and it helped me to understand the subject. However, Dr Weiss does not have a cure for karmic debt. If we turn to yoga, and to the father of yoga, Patanjali, we find as far back as the 2nd century BCE, Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras discussed the idea of the soul becoming burdened with the accumulation of impressions of past lives, or karmas. Patanjali called the process of past life regression “rebirthing” and saw it as addressing current problems through memories of past lives.
Now, I would like to share with you my accidental discovery of a third way, apart from the induced hypnosis or rebirth to access one’s past lives. In my own experience, after 15 years of daily accumulative recitation of the Amogh Shiva Kavach, Shiva made it possible for me to visit Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar and perform the circumambulation of Mount Kailash along with my wife Anu in 2002. It was an amazing experience that cleansed the soul, purified it of a lot of the debris and enabled one to re-emerge as a human being or a traveller with a better understanding of what his responsibilities and duties are in this lifetime.
Four years later, I accidentally started my karate practice of Shotokan karate. I am a black belt, Shodan, in Shotokan karate. I started late in life after doing four years of yoga every day. But I found that yoga wasn’t giving me the kind of benefit that I was seeking, and I needed something else because there was something missing in my life. Yoga was a very mild and calming experience, but what was missing in my life was the Qi (life force, also called prana). Yoga did not give me that Qi. The Qi came to me through karate.
Within six months of the commencement of my karate practice, my base chakra or mooldhara chakra opened and I graduated to a new stage in my spiritual journey. After two years into the practice, I started acupuncture in 2008. Under the diagnosis of my friend, Raman Kapur, I have now spent thirteen continuous years undergoing acupuncture every week, once a week, essentially to preserve and nourish my prenatal Jing energy.
This Jing energy comes from your ancestors. Now, this Jing energy powers your spirituality, and it powers your motion through this journey of life. And I discovered that the Jing energy had to be nurtured, and had to be freed. You can also do it through what we call ancestor worship. For Hindus, this is in the period of Pitru Paksha in the Vedic system, where we remember our ancestors. We pray to them and invoke their blessings so we can move on and attain a greater understanding of our karmic debt and karmic purpose.
So, the practice of recitation of the Amogh Shiv Kavach, the practice of karate and the application of acupuncture opened up the portals that enabled me to step into the world of the Qi. Now, let me explain the world of the Qi.
While practising karate, I discovered that my sensei or teacher, a gentleman called Rajeev Sabharwal, who is in fact a black belt 6th Dan (I am just a 1st Dan and I stopped competing because I am fairly advanced in years, and I could not take the physical beating), was the gatekeeper who was entrusted by the universe to transmit the knowledge of the Qi to me when I qualified to receive it as a result of the time spent on reciting the Amogh Shiv Kavach. Was faith in Shiva the price of freedom from one’s karmic debt? I didn’t know what the price was, but I did know that I had to go on chanting. It was very essential for me to achieve a breakthrough and find out what makes me tick, and what makes this world tick, and why I face all these challenges that I come across every day.
So, during the years of karate practice, I spontaneously began receiving downloads from a morphic field linked to the Shinjuku Dojo. According to the famous British biologist Rupert Sheldrake, morphic resonance is the influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity organised by morphic fields. It enables memories to pass across both space and time from the past.
A dojo is a monastery where you go to learn karate. Shinjuku is in Tokyo, Japan, where I was in many past lives, not just one. In one particular past life, in the Shinjuku Dojo in Tokyo, I was a samurai, and I was a shinobi. A shinobi is a warrior of the light, known as the yonin. A yonin is a shinobi warrior of the light. Inin is a shinobi warrior of the dark. When you are a warrior of the light, you also know the dark because you have to counter the darkness. Ronin (1998) is a famous Hollywood film featuring Keanu Reeves. A ronin is a shinobi without a leader. He is just hunting and fighting without purpose.
The download came directly from a famous samurai and ninja warrior called Hattori Hanzo. Hanzo is the original ninja warrior who crystallised and gave form and shape to the ninja philosophy. I will digress a little into this ninja philosophy. It’s very important because this ninja philosophy looks at the world as kyo jitsu—kyo means untrue, and jitsu means honesty. These two things exist side by side. As a ninja warrior, you have to be honest with yourself in an untruthful world. Yet, you cannot reveal yourself because if you reveal yourself, you don’t know how or if you will be deflected from your path, or whether you will have to confront many other challenges. So, you must remain a secret, a secretly honest person in an untruthful world.
As described, historically, there was once a dojo for the samurai warriors in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. And, through my karate practice and initiating rituals, which involve certain unique movements, and using the correct movements, gestures and words, I was accessing the Shen Qi, or the Divine Qi stored in this dojo’s morphic field. This brought me into synchronicity with the Shinjuku morphic field and morphic resonance occurred between my sensei and me, with all those souls who were taught at the Shinjuku Dojo in the past. This was going back to the 15-16th centuries, and my sensei was also part of that. He experienced and saw the same things that I experienced and saw.
Now, the morphic field is created by consciousness. I created a consensual bond with that consensual reality of the energy of all the souls who passed through the dojo over centuries. One has to resonate with that consensual reality. Once you embody it, you link to the power grid or morphic field, you are resonating with it. So, when you are actually performing the martial art, you are performing it with the whole army of other warriors. The Qi flows, and you cannot control the Qi. You cannot capture it. You have to be open to it. It flows in and out of you, and you are embodied with that power or energy at that moment. You are in this world, in this time, yet in a different dimension. It’s like being in a trance, in an altered reality. If you smoke a joint, you get to see an altered reality but if Qi flows through you, the Shen Qi, then you are on a different planet. What this enabled me to do was to practise karate with thousands of shinobis who had passed through the Shinjuku portal.
The downloads from Hanzo were in the form of what appeared to be disjointed words that I instinctively formed into short sentences, and had them translated. The most famous one was, “Shinjuku Hayobashi Nippon Hanzo”, which roughly means that in Japan, the bridge to Hanzo’s world lies through Shinjuku. Therefore, a visit to Shinjuku was on the cards to connect more deeply with the Qi.
Thereafter, through a series of events that were convoluted and are difficult to describe in this relatively short essay (I have plans to write a book on my experiences), I discovered that I have had at least three shinobi lifetimes in Japan. The most intriguing of these was Kato Kiyomasa, a daimyo, or feudal lord from 16th-17th century Japan. I discovered certain unique aspects of my current life that resonated with Kiyomasa’s own. I shall reveal these later in a book on this subject.
In early February 2015, a Chinese Taoist Qigong Master called Yuanming Zhang visited me in my house in New Delhi where I welcomed him and his travelling companion, an American lady called Tara Shambhala, in the presence of my sensei. Certain unexpected and unusual events transpired at this meeting, wherein it was revealed that he was a past life adversary of mine in the form of a Chinese scholar-general called Yang Hao during the siege of Ulsan, Korea, on December 22nd, 1597. In the persona of Kato Kiyomasa, the Japanese general who led the expeditionary force to conquer Korea, I had insulted and tricked Yang Hao to successfully thwart his seizure of Ulsan castle which I was defending. This led to the slaughter of thousands of Koreans allied with Zhang, many of whom were non-combatants. This had created a cycle of karma that had manifested itself in this lifetime and needed resolution. I asked for forgiveness from Master Zhang, and he accepted my apology. This set in motion a further series of events, which resolved themselves in March 2019. In gratitude, I decided to undertake a modern-day pilgrimage of atonement to Ulsan in Korea and to the Asakusa temple
in Tokyo and finally to Kumamoto castle on the island of Kyushu to expiate the original karma in entirety.
What happens is that the universe itself enables you to get to that once you’ve chanted or you’ve done the adequate amount of service; the universe opens up a portal because the final act left to perform is the act of asking for forgiveness. The karma that is expiated through prayer or service has to be finally settled. Once you’ve done your time, and you have chanted for the necessary period of time, or you’ve done your service, you have to ask for forgiveness and you have to forgive yourself. The process is only completed with the act of asking for forgiveness because that is the humility that will atone for the arrogance that you had shown in your past life, where you disregarded the sentiments of the victim. And you perpetrated some devastation on that person, whether mental or physical. So, essentially, that person has to forgive you for the karma to get the whole karmic cycle completed. Thereafter, you have to forgive yourself. The universe will create the conditions for you, and you don’t have to go searching for it; you’ll chance upon it if you follow the path. And in all likelihood, you’ll probably meet that person in your current lifetime.
I specifically went to Korea for two days to pray on the battlefield of Ulsan. There, upon my orders, thousands of persons had been slaughtered. At Ulsan castle, there was an English-speaking Korean guide, and I said to him, “You know, I, in my past life as a Japanese samurai, had inflicted untold misery upon your countrymen. And you might think I’m crazy, but for God’s sake, please forgive me for my sins.” He said, “I forgive you.” And that was the end of that karma.
Because my past life actions in the persona of a Japanese general had led to the slaughter of hundreds of innocent, pregnant Korean women, amongst the thousands of soldiers also slaughtered, I next flew to Tokyo and offered prayers at the Asakusa temple to Goddess Kuan Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion.
Finally, I flew to the island of Kyushu in southern Japan to visit Kumamoto castle, the castle of my past life alter ego, the daimyo Kato Kiyomasa, and offer prayers at the site of the family temple.
A divine, serene calm descended upon me at the site of the Kiyomasa family temple, and my entire being felt extremely light as one of my specific karmic debts had been cleared. The feeling of déjà vu was very intense, and my entire being resonated with the morphic field at Kumamoto castle.
My karmic journey has not been restricted to my own karmas but extended to those I have facilitated, who had qualified themselves in some way or the other to access their past life, and I have helped them to expedite their karma and bring an end to it. This has been my journey; it’s a process and it’s ongoing. I am a karmayogi. I live my karma. I live my life. Yet, I am committed and dedicated to the spiritual path, and I owe everything to the enlightenment that Lord Shiva has given me.