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The Possibility of Spirit Possession (Occult Nature of Meditation, Cont’d.)


“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
(Eph. 6:10-12)

I am currently presenting a series of articles exposing the dangers which the Occult practices, Eastern Religions, and New Age philosophies (and theologies) are posing both to the West and to Christianity. Many Christians are being led astray and shipwrecked by the demonic onslaught of Eastern religions, New Age thinking, and Occult teachings which are conditioning the world today.

The following article is part eight in the eight-part series…

Source: Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
Authors: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

Meditation – Part Eight
by Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

(The Occult Nature of Meditation, continued)
The Possibility of Spirit Possession

One problem with ASCs and psychic abilities is not only the false ideas that they produce, but that they can easily lead to demonic influence or possession. Even advanced meditators freely confess this. For example, Rolling Thunder, a shaman leader in the Shoshone and Cherokee tribes, states, “If it is not done correctly, evil spirits can get into people while they are meditating.”[1]

But the problem is that when meditation is done correctly, ASCs foster spiritistic influence or possession. Channeler Laeh Garfield writes in Companion in Spirit: A Guide to Working with Your Spirit Helpers, “Meditation simultaneously calms you down, uplifts you and sharpens your awareness, so that discarnate teachers can come through to you with the messages they convey.”[2]

Because of modern reluctance to deal forthrightly and responsibly with the category of the demonic, meditation is one of the common methods available for becoming possessed by spirits who are really demons. Endless numbers of gurus, psychics, mediums, other occultists, and even scholarly authorities testify to this. For example, Dr. Weldon’s Ph.D. dissertation researched over 30 different Hindu and Buddhist gurus, and every one had been spirit-influenced or possessed, apparently during their meditative practices.[3]

Should we believe that the spirits’ will not make use of meditative practices that alter people’s consciousness? Should we believe that this will not facilitate the spirits’ ability to possess individuals, when this is what serves their purposes? Indeed, the very nature and goals of meditation suggest the probability of spiritistic involvement. In Spirit Communication for the Millions, Doris H. Buckley correctly observes that through meditation “greater power [becomes available] so that the [mediumistic] channel develops more quickly.”[4]

Furthermore, the spirits themselves endorse New Age meditation. The books the spirits dictate through their human mediums enthusiastically recommend meditative practices as a means to contact them. For example, Ruth Montgomery, a former hard-nosed, skeptical newspaper reporter who eventually became a medium, has single-handedly interested millions of people in the spirit world through more than a dozen books inspired or dictated by her spirit guides. In one of her books, A World Beyond, the alleged spirit of a famous trance medium, Arthur Ford, endorses New Age meditation; “Now let’s speak of the value of meditation…. Remember in meditation to breathe deeply at first… use the mantra … and feel yourself melding with the universal whole…. [S]pend at least fifteen or twenty minutes each day in this stillness.”[5]

Ruth Montgomery, psychic
Ruth Montgomery

Here we cite several authorities to show that meditation can and does lead to demon possession. India-born Douglas Shah, the grandson of Yogi Ishwar Dayal, observes, “I have watched Hindu worshipers by the scores chanting for hours before idols during a special Puja (worship) Season, and I have literally felt the supernatural presence of the gods they were invoking.”[6] He comments that “being taken over by an evil spirit… is a very real possibility” in meditation.[7] British scholar Os Guinness states: “Many… who practice yoga or Zen Meditation have found they have opened their minds to blackness and spiritism, seeing themselves as mediums and describing themselves as possessed.”[8]

Consider an experience of Swami Muktananda, who describes the results of his meditation. In his spiritual autobiography he writes that “when I sat for meditation [my] own body acted as if [it] were possessed by a god or a bad spirit.”[9] Muktananda details an entire chapter of such experiences, including more bizarre encounters than we list below. We quote at length to give the reader an accurate feel for the potential consequences of meditation:

“I was assailed by all sorts of perverse and defiling emotions. My body started to move, and went on like this in a confused sort of way…. After a time, my breathing changed, becoming disturbed. Sometimes my abdomen would swell with air, after which I would exhale it with great force. Often the breath that I took in would be held inside me. I became more and more frightened.

My mind was sick with fear. I called Babu Rao and said to him, “Babu, go home now. The rhythm of my heart and the state of my mind are not good. I feel sure that I am going to die tonight of heart failure…. I don’t think I shall live through this night, and if I do, it will be to go mad. I am losing my mind….”

My thoughts became confused, meaningless. My limbs and body got hotter and hotter. My head felt heavy, and every pore in me began to ache. When I breathed out, my breath stopped outside. When I breathed in, it stopped inside. This was terribly painful, and I lost my courage. Something told me that I would die at any moment.

By now it was after 9:00. Someone had seated himself in my eyes and was making me see things. It seemed that I was being controlled by some power which made me do all these things. I no longer had a will of my own. My madness was growing all the time. My intellect was completely unstable.

My fear increased every second. I heard hordes of people screaming frightfully, as if it were the end of the world. I looked out of the small window of my hut and saw strange creatures from six to fifty feet tall, neither demons nor demigods, but human in form, dancing naked, their mouths gaping open. The screeching was horrible and apocalyptic. I was completely conscious, but was watching my madness, which appeared to be real.

Then, from over the water, a moonlike sphere about four feet in diameter came floating in. It stopped in front of me. This radiant, white ball struck against my eyes and then passed inside me. I am writing this just as I saw it. It is not a dream or an allegory, but a scene which actually happened—that sphere came down from the sky and entered me. A second later the bright light penetrated into my nadis [psychic channels]. My tongue curled up against my palate, and my eyes closed. I saw a dazzling light in my forehead and I was terrified. I was still locked up in the lotus posture, and then my head was forced down and glued to the ground…. Afterward I sat down in the lotus posture and once again started to meditate on the Guru. As soon as I sat down, my mind became completely indrawn. My body, fixed in lotus posture, began to sway…. This Meditation went on for an hour and a half, and then a new process began.

I started to make a sound like a camel, which alternated with the roaring of a tiger. I must have roared very loudly, for the people around actually thought that a tiger had gotten into the sugarcane field.

I am in a terrible state. I have gone completely insane…. My body began to twist. Now, it was not I who meditated; Meditation forced itself on me. It came spontaneously; it was in all the joints of my body. All the blood cells in my body were spinning, and prana flowed through the nadis at an astounding speed. Then, suddenly, a red light came before me with such force that it seemed to have been living inside me. It was two feet tall and shone brightly. I clearly saw myself burning, but I did not feel the heart of the fire on the outside. Every part of my body was emitting loud crackling and popping sounds.”[10]

Swami Muktananda
Swami Muktananda

After it was all over, Muktananda concluded that he had been spiritually enlightened. Like endless gurus with similar experiences, he teaches his students that while following the meditative path, they too will experience what he did. But, he tells them, they should not worry, for it is all part of the normal results of meditation leading to spiritual enlightenment. He also observes how easily their meditation will lead them to spirit contact: “They talk to and receive instruction from gods and goddesses.”[11]

Da (Bubba) Free John (Franklin Jones) also illustrates various kinds of possession, in particular being possessed by the “spiritual form” of the guru or master. His book Garbage and the Goddess describes the experiences he and his disciples underwent at his Persimmon, New York, ashram from March to July, 1974. While Free John describes normal everyday living as being “possessed by the most insidious demonic force in the universe,”[12] one would hardly suspect it from the descriptions of, as he calls it, “life in God.” In light of the experiences described, perhaps Free John is correct: “True wisdom is the capacity for perfect madness.”[13] We cite several examples by different individuals who encountered this phenomenon of mass possession, as given in Free John’s Garbage and the Goddess. The descriptions are reminiscent of the mass Shaker possessions in the 1840s and related spiritistic incidents[14]:

“The most significant thing about this event is that contrary to the usual beliefs, even of traditional spirituality, the Guru literally enters and transforms. It is a kind of possession. It is God-Possession. Bubba animates this body.”[15]

“People were screaming and howling and weeping, emitting strange grunts and snarls, their bodies jerking, writhing, and assuming yogic mudras.…”[16]

“I felt utterly possessed, my body was possessed, and my hands started to move, and I couldn’t control them. I had no control at all. My face started taking on expressions.”[17]

“My body wasn’t mine. I didn’t even feel my body as mine. There was only this sensation I’ve had before in Bubba’s Presence, the feeling that this body is being used…. I went in and at first I was totally out of my mind. I was screaming for a long time…. I was making very strange sounds…. It is God-Possession. It is God totally taking over your form.”[18]

“I was so insane I didn’t know what was happening at all.…”[19]

“… Last night I was led to this spontaneous experience of conducting the Force, and I felt possessed, really possessed. Then suddenly I wasn’t my body any more.”[20]

Bubba Free John
Bubba Free John

Muktananda’s and Free John’s experiences and teachings are not unique; they are the norm among gurus and their followers. Consider several other examples:

Swami Rudrananda

“Slowly Swami Nityananda [in spirit form] came toward me and entered into my physical body. For three hours I felt nothing of myself but that the saint had possessed me. It was a terrifying experience and it required all my faith not to fight it.”[21]

Swami Satchidananda

“I felt myself fall into a sort of trance…. I was overjoyed with the feeling that my Master [Sivananda] had entered into my own system [body].”[22]


“… There are times when the psychic system of the teacher will seem to control the student. He will feel possessed by his teacher. There is nothing to fear from this. It is only a stage of growth through which he [the student] is passing.”[23]

Sri Chinmoy

“… If you remain calm and quiet and allow your spiritual Guide to enter into you, you will become flooded with Peace. This kind of tuning in is not only a valid and correct practice, but is essential for one who has placed himself under the guidance of a spiritual Master.”[24]


“Whenever a master wants to help you, cleanse your energy channels, your passage [kundalini spinal passage], if it is blocked, he simply possesses you. He simply descends into you…. If the disciple is really surrendered, the master can possess him immediately.”[25]

From all of the above, we conclude that New Age meditation is generally occult in nature because it cultivates altered states of consciousness, psychic abilities, and fosters demonic influence and possession.


1 Cited by Stanley Krippner in Song of the Siren (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1975), p. 110.

2 Laeh M. Garfield, Jack Grant, Companions in Spirit: A Guide to Working with Your Spirit Helpers (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 36.

3 John Weldon, “Eastern Gurus in a Western Milieu: A Critique from the Perspective of Biblical Revelation,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Pacific College of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Australia, 1988; Tal Brooke, Riders of the Cosmic Circuit: Rajneesh, Sai Baba, Muktananda…Gods of the New Age (Batavia, IL: Lion, 1986.

4 Doris H. Buckley, Spirit Communication for the Millions (Los Angeles, CA: Sherbourne Press, 1967), p. 156.

5 Ruth Montgomery, A World Beyond (New York: Coward McCann and Geoghegan, 1971), p. 141.

6 Douglas Shah, The Meditators (Plainfield NJ: Logos, 1975), p. 98.

7 Ibid., p. 102.

8 Os Guinness, The Dust of Death (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), p. 298.

9 Swami Muktananda, Play of Consciousness (New York: Harper & Row, 1978), p. 122.

10 Ibid., pp. 75-79.

11 Ibid., p. xxii.

12 Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess (Lower Lake, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 1974), p. 51.

13 Da Free John, A New Tradition: An Introduction to the Laughingman Institute and the Crazy Wisdom Fellowship (Clear Lake, CA: The Laughing Man Institute, 1980), p. 1.

See Slater Brown, The Heyday of Spiritualism (New York: Pocket Books, 1972), pp. 75-83.

15 Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess, p. 151.

16 Ibid., p. 72.

17 Ibid., p. 263.

18 Ibid., pp. 282-285,285.

19 Ibid., p. 66.

20 Ibid., p. 312.

21 Rudi [Swami Rudrananda], Spiritual Cannibalism (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1978), p. 13.

22 Sita Wiener, Swami Satchidananda (San Francisco, CA: Straight Arrow Books, 1970), pp. 119-20.

23 Rudi, Spiritual Cannibalism, p. 103.

24 Sri Chinmoy, Yoga and the Spiritual Life: The Journey of India’s Soul (Jamaica, NY: Agni Press, 1974), p. 113, emphasis added.

25 Yarti, Swami Anand, comp., The Sound of Running Water, a Photo-Biography of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and His Work, 1974-78 (Poona, India: Rajneesh Foundation, 1980), p. 68.


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