Questions by various friends, and Answers by Swami Nirmalananda, abbot of Atma Jyoti Ashram
What is going on with the channeling phenomenon that seems to expand almost daily? Do high beings of light ever speak through human beings? What is the value (if any) of their so-called "wisdom" and predictions? Are these False Prophets, like it speaks of in the Bible?
The question of "channeling" is not a simple one because under that single term there may occur several differing phenomena: 1) a conscious tapping into the knowledge of the Higher Self through which a person can "read" the Cosmos; 2) direct inspiration from the Higher Self; 3) direct inspiration from another being; 4) mediumistic or shamanistic "control" by another entity; 5) simple fakery.
Let us take each one in turn and examine it.
Number One is rare because it takes a great degree of purification for the mind to be able to catch in an undistorted manner–and without interpretation interpolated by the "rational" mind–the subtle perceptions that take place on the level of the Higher Self. Those who have this ability do not make it public, so you can be sure that those who claim to do so really cannot! Moreover, no one who uses the "four soul killers"–meat, nicotine, alcohol, and mind-altering drugs–is capable of this at any time.
Number Two is possible, but only takes place within the context of the individual's spiritual life and is never "done" for others.
Number Three is very possible, but again when it is positive and reliable it takes place only for the assistance of the individual, and not for someone to communicate to another. Obsession by negative spirits and the psychic invasion of another's mind are both possible and greatly prevalent. One spiritual teacher of the East who has great experience with combatting negative psychic forces told a friend of mine that virtually every person living in the West–and the United States specifically–is obsessed to some degree by one or more negative entities. This is a terrible thought, but my personal observation confirms it. Those who make a public thing of relaying messages from invisible beings are harming both themselves and those who listen to them with faith.
Number Four is prevalent also and is always evil. You ask in your letter: "Do high beings of light ever speak through human beings?" The answer is: Never. For to do so the entity would have to invade and actually displace the individual, pushing him out of his body. This is a terrible thing to do, as it greatly harms the medium. Those great ones who have a message for humanity either appear objectively and speak their message, or they take human birth and live among us and teach us. Even God does not disdain to do so! But the lying or ignorant entities cannot–nor do they want to, for they have contempt for the human status, however noble their "channeled" words may be. A fundamental principle is enunciated by Saint Paul: "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."1 That is, a person with positive psychic abilities is always in control, and never relinquishes that control to anyone. A being that would seize control of another's body and will is never positive, but a being of darkness and destruction. This is without exception.
It is true that "tramp souls" do invade unsuspecting people, and even pretend to be great masters and figures from history (if they told their real identity the game would be up). They mix truth in with their error, using it as bait to convince those who are cautious that they are reliable. They continually speak "wisdom"–but what profit does it bring their hearers? It is not intellectual teaching we need, but practical instruction in spiritual development. A true master shows others how to become masters themselves rather than wasting their time with endless revelations that have no practical application."Channeled" books and messages are classical examples of this useless verbiage.
There are various types of false prophets, and "channelers" are one type, though many of them are sincere people who, because of their own negative karmas, are themselves as deceived as their hearers.