Jnana & Spiritism

I will not talk here about the practice of Voodoo, which is still practiced in Louisiana, Haiti and other parts of the world, (3) or about any trance-like, Dionysian states of mind such as those observed in the practice of Santeria and Candomblé, which are still practiced in Cuba and Brazil respectively (both Santeria and Candomblé allegedly involve the possession of the practitioners by some Orishas, or spirits) but I will talk about Channeling and mediumship.

Channeling is the latest version of mediumship; it came to the public eye in the last half of the 20th century. The major difference between the practice of Channeling and that of mediumship in general seems to be the type of otherworldly entity contacted by the medium. People practicing Channeling claim to establish contact exclusively with “enlightened” entities or “teachers” residing in the other world, whereas people involved in the practice of all other kinds of mediumship don’t usually claim to have exclusive contact with any specific kind of otherworldly entities.

Channeling mediums, therefore, are supposed to convey to us messages from the other world that are of a “higher” kind, that is, of the kind that is supposed to enlighten humanity and that are supposed to help us all to live in a more harmonious way with each other and with our planet as a whole.

But the act of channeling is just the act of lending your body to otherworldly entities, so that they can tell us whatever it is they want to tell us. The mediums themselves are not supposed to have any active role in that situation. They’re just the passive recipients of an inter-dimensional contact, just like our car radios are the passive recipients of any broadcast coming out of radio stations.

The mediums don’t gain anything from such séances other than recognition as mediums. But even such recognition is given to them by people in this world, so it is valid only in this world. Nothing in the act of channeling furthers the medium’s knowledge of any reality beyond this one, nor does it guarantee the mediums a safer passage into the Eternal Light once they die.

And what about the people who listen to, or read about those messages allegedly sent to us through the channeling means? Do they get some sort of enlightenment on how to live better lives or do they mainly get just a momentary emotional boost that makes them feel better or special? Has any channeled message you have read ever changed your point of view on anything in this world?

Many channeled writings that I’ve come across look suspiciously similar to many other writings I had read before. There are even some crass “messages” claiming to give people advice on how to better invest their money. Can you imagine this? An otherworldly being who supposedly knows that the riches of this world don’t count in the other, giving advice to someone in this world on how to make more money? Wouldn’t that sound like sheer charlatanry to you?

On top of that, a great number of those channeled messages look like drawn straight out of the bible, particularly from the Ecclesiastes or the Book of Revelations. How often have we heard people claiming to receive “messages” from beyond telling us that the end of the world is near? The world has been hearing apocalyptic messages for centuries, even before the bible was put together. Is there any credibility left in any such “messages”? I don’t think so.

But even if such otherworldly type of communication were true, wouldn’t it be utterly disappointing to find that the guys who inhabit the netherworld just keep repeating themselves and don’t have much to say that we haven’t heard before?

Sure, some of those channeled “messages” talk about lofty humanistic and environmentalist ideals that may lift our spirit or make us think deeper, but some good movies can do that too and many other writings and works of art published by people who simply have good knowledge of history, the human condition or environmental issues can do that as well. For example, did Al Gore need to channel any otherworldly entity to conceive the idea for his “An Inconvenient Truth” power point presentations, movies and writings? I very seriously doubt it.

In fact, in putting together that environmentalist body of work, Al Gore practically put to shame all those otherworldly entities who allegedly keep sending messages supposedly intended to help us save the world, for in all the wisdom that their otherworldly perspective is supposed to have given them, none of them has ever channeled down to us any environmentalist idea as effective as Al Gore’s work has thus far proven to be.

From a perspective of reason, therefore, the practice of Channeling and all other kinds of mediumship practice don’t really have much value. There’s an undeniable sensationalistic significance to such “paranormal” practices, but such significance is minimized by the meager benefits they may have contributed to the advancement of humanity. And whatever benefit they might have contributed in the minds of their adepts, it pales when compared to the benefit that the work of some “normal” artists, writers and thinkers has contributed to the world.

The same goes from the point of view of Jnana Yoga. From this perspective, spiritist practices such as Channeling don’t have much value for the simple reason that they generally don’t provide anyone with any key to solve the mystery of reincarnation or how to break the karmic cycle that keeps us reincarnating. As long as channeled messages don’t address with unequivocal clarity the issue of everyone’s transition to the disembodied world, channeling will hardly have any value from the perspective of any transcendental discipline.


So, in answer to the questions I posed in the first paragraph of this writing, and because of the reasons I explained in the paragraphs above, I don’t consider that any kind of Automatic Expression or Spiritist practice has any value from the perspective of Jnana Yoga or from the perspective of any other transcendental discipline, just as I don’t believe that either of those two groups of practices has much value from a perspective of sheer reason either.



(3) Louisiana Voodoo is supposed to differ from Haitian Voodoo in a few ways.

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