The Vaishnava saint Shrinivasa Acarya was a contemporary of Narottama Dasa Thakura’s. On one occasion, he was meditating on the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, who is an incarnation of Krishna. Shrinivasa was meditating on Krishna’s form as Lord Caitanya by placing a garland of aromatic flowers around His neck and fanning Him with a camara whisk: As Shrinivasa served the Lord in this way, he could not keep his composure and, looking at the Lord’s magnificent form, he began to exhibit ecstatic symptoms. This pleased Lord Caitanya, who then took the same garland of flowers that Shrinivasa had given Him and placed it around Shrinivasa’s neck. After the Lord made this loving gesture, Shrinivasa’s meditation broke; but the garland was still adorning his own chest. Its fragrance was unlike anything he had ever experienced. In this case, an object that was observed in trance in another world appeared in physical form in this world. This is certainly not a psychosomatic effect, but one might imagine that the mind of Shrinivasa, charged with intense spiritual emotion, might have paranormally manifested the garland as a physical object. Now, however, I turn to an example in which a human being in this world first meetssomeone from a higher realm and later visits that realm throughmeditative trance and again meets the same person. In this account, a Vaishnava saint named Duhkhi Krishnadasa was performing the daily service of sweeping a certain sacred area in the town of Vrindavana, a famous pilgrimage place in India. While doing this one day, he found a golden anklet that seemed to emanate a remarkable aura. Impressed by the influence that it had on his consciousness, he considered it to be very important, and he buried it in a secret place. Shortly thereafter an old lady came to him, asking for the anklet and saying that it belonged to her daughter-in-law. Because of its spiritual influence, Duhkhi Krishnadasa was convinced that the anklet must really belong to Radharani, the eternal consort of Krishna. After a long discussion, the old lady finally admitted that this was so, and revealed that her true identity was Lalita-sundari, one of Radharani’s servants. At this point, Duhkhi Krishnadas wanted to see his visitor in her true form, but she said he would be unable to bear such a revelation. After being convinced of his sincere desire, however, she finally acquiesced to his request and revealed her true, incomparable beauty. After giving him several benedictions and receiving the anklet from him, she disappeared, and he was unable to find where she had gone. One of the benedictions given to Duhkhi Krishnadasa was a special tilaka mark on his forehead, and a new name, Shyamananda. Since Lalita had sworn him to secrecy about their meeting, it was difficult for Shyamananda to explain the tilaka and new name to his guru, who thought that he had simply concocted them. In the course of dealing with this difficult situation, Shyamananda again met Lalita-sundari. This time, however, he met her by entering into her transcendental realm in a state of meditation. In this case, Duhkhi Krishnadasa met Lalita-sundari in this world, in his physical body, and he also met her in another world that he entered in his spiritual form by meditation. Thus both Duhkhi Krishnadasa and Lalita-sundari were able to operate on different planes of existence. It is significant also that Lalita-sundari was able to assume a disguised form. Thus in both ancient and recent Vedic traditions there are accounts of beings who can operate on different planes of existence.
These beings may be materialistic in orientation, like Vishvamitra Muni and the Rakshasa, or they may be spiritually advanced. The UFO literature likewise seems to contain examples of activity on both subtle and gross physical planes.The Vedic literature also describes a completely transcendental level of existence, and it is similarly possible for suitably qualified beings to function on both the transcendental and the physical planes. I will present three accounts illustrating this that date back roughly 500 years. As with the UFO stories that we have been considering, these stories display a bewildering combination of what appear to be physical phenomena and phenomena occurring on another plane of existence. All three accounts are religious in nature, which means that they have to do with spiritual worship and meditation. Although some would categorically reject such material as admissible evidence, I disagree. If so many strange phenomena mentioned in this book could be true, it doesn’t make sense to think that phenomena reported in religious contexts must all necessarily be false. In fact, I think that an imbalanced picture will be created if events of a positive spiritual nature are excluded, while those of a negative or at best neutral character are extensively presented. The first example involves the Vaishnava saint Narottama Dasa Thakura, who lived in India in the 16th century.Narottama would regularly meditate on living in the spiritual world in his siddha-deha, or perfected spiritual form. There he would perform the service of boiling milk for Krishna, and he would actually experience this as real in all respects. In Vaishnava philosophy, Krishna is the Supreme Lord, and He lives in the transcendental realm in an eternal personal form.