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Olavi H's Experience

Experience description:   

In 1994 I received a research grant from Stockholm University to study. I was working on my PhD-thesis and went to Calcutta to do some research on Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize Laureate in literature 1913. Before going to Calcutta I went trekking in the Himalayan mountains together with some friends of mine. 

We planned to follow a traditional Hindu pilgrimage route called Panchar Keda. We planned to visit five different temples in the mountains. The trip would take us a couple of weeks. In order to get adjusted to the high altitude, we visited a village by the name of Gangotri (10000 feet above sea level) before the actual trekking. 

Gangotri is close to a glacier named ”Gomukh” (”the mouth of the cow”), which is the source of the Ganges river. The water in the river looks milky from all the ice and the mud in the glacier, which is 16000 feet above sea level. We planned to stay stay one night at the glacier, and then visit a famous local guru named Gangadass Babaji. He was blind and around 90 years old. All the other sadhus (or ascetic monks) left Gangotri in October, but Gangadass Babaji stayed the whole winter.  

On the morning of our departure to the glacier I realized that I had a fever and an upset stomach. We decided that I should stay in an ashram (a monastery) in the village. The others would walk up to the glacier, and then return the following evening. The next day we would visit Gangadass Babaji together. 

But when I woke up on the following morning I felt much better. Suddenly I was struck by a desire to visit the guru on my own. It was a two kilometer walk, and I believed that I could make it safely to his ashram. My hosts advised me not to go, but I grabbed my bamboo stick and left. The path to the ashram lead me right into the wilderness. There was hardly any vegetation in the area, and the sun was intensely hot. After half a mile my fever returned, and this time it was really high. I started to shiver and was unable to proceed. Going back to the village was not an option either. There were no people around, only rocks and desolated mountain ridges. 

I realized that I was in great danger. My decision to leave the village seemed stupid, and I felt embarrassed. There was nobody there to help me. What would my wife say? What a miserable way to end my life!

Just as things seemed hopeless, I heard a voice from somewhere above the spot where I was standing: ”Hey Mister, where are you going?” I looked up to my left and saw a white-dressed wealthy looking Indian man with a moustache. I answered him: ”Gangadass Babaji.” He bowed his head in respect and told me to come and have a look: ”There is a big cave here.” 

I had always dreamt of seeing a real cave in the Himalayas, so I crawled up to the stranger. When I reached him, I introduced myself by whispering: ”I am sick.” He replied: ”O, I am a doctor.” Then he diagnosed my illness by checking my pulse at various spots on one of my arms. ”Yes, you have very high fever”, he confirmed.  

The doctor pointed towards the opening of a cave. A young and very healthy looking yogi stepped out from the cave and approached me. He smiled and said: ”I will treat you too. But first tell me where you come from. Germany?” I told him I came from Sweden. The doctor thanked the yogi (who seemed to be his teacher) and left. I asked the yogi about his name, but he just told me to call him ”yogi.” 

I was invited to step into the cave, and I lied down on a blanket. The yogi had an assistant (I learned later that the assistant came from Austria). The yogi plugged one of my nostrils with cotton and instructed me to breathe through the other nostril. The yogi gently massaged various spots on my body while I was breathing. The treatment went on for a few minutes. Then he told me to rest. After quite a long rest (maybe an hour), the procedure was repeated, and I felt better. 

More rest (again, it felt like an hour) was followed by more massage and rest. After some time, the yogi touched my forehead very gently with the tips of his fingers. This had an amazing effect on me. Instantly I felt as if I was floating around in the cave. It was not as if had left my body. Instead, it felt as if my body had been dissolved. There was no longer any separation between me and the rest of the world. I felt incredibly peaceful and happy.  

The sensation lasted for some time (it felt like maybe ten minutes), and then I just lay on the blanket feeling happy and healthy. The yogi told me that I would be fine (the stomach problems would stay with me for some time, though), but I should stay on the blanket, while he and his assistant went down to the village for ”some shopping.” 

I followed his recommendations. My health had returned. In fact, I felt more alive and strong than ever. I noticed that the stars were shining outside the cave. It was already dark, which meant that I must have spent more time in the cave than I had realized (I had left the village in the morning). 

My friends were probably back in Gangotri. I jumped up from the blanket, full of energy and ran down to the village. I felt like an athlete in the Olympics. Almost back in the village, I met the yogi and his assistant. They were carrying lots of food and other items as if they were expecting me to stay for a long period.  

I explained the situation to them. They looked a bit disappointed, but the guru said: ”The main thing is that you are feeling all right!” I told them that I could come and see them the following day, and they agreed on that. The next day I went with my friends to see Gangadass Babaji. On the way to his ashram, I looked for the yogi and his cave, but I could not find him. I could only see wilderness, rocks and mountain tops. 

I felt embarrassed again, as if I owed something to the yogi. But I never saw him again.  

I the trekking was very successful. We walked for many hours under challenging circumstances, but I had no problems with my health whatsoever. 

That’s my near death experience. I suppose it could be interpreted in many different ways, but here I have only tried to give an accurate description of my experience. 

I have oftentimes experienced the miracle of being rescued in difficult situations. But this is the most obvious example I can think of. One could say that I was miraculously saved by divine grace, or by an angel.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   Yes  At the time of my experience I had a high fever and a stomach disorder. I was alone in the wilderness, in the Himalayan mountains. There were no people around to save me. Except those involved in the story. And they appeared out of the blue.

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  Yes     The sensation was beyond words. How does one express the feeling of total peace? I received information, but not through any cognitive channels.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    In the middle of the experience (when the yogi had touched my forehead with the tips of his fingers) and for some time afterwards.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?      More consciousness and alertness than normal   I felt incredibly peaceful, healthy and happy. I had no sense of having a stable physical body. Instead I merged into the surrounding physical environment ( a cave).

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   Prior to the experience I felt tensed and sick. Just before the experience I was sure that I would die within minutes. Prior to the peak of the experience I gradually escaped this fear and became calm and peaceful.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   I did not hear anything at all, other than the sparse comments from the yogi ("breathe through your nostril etc.").

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   Uncertain   I was floating around in the cave, without having any sense of having a body. I felt united with the physical surrounding (which did no longer feel "physical", but rather "spiritual").

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   Peace. Safety. Gratitude and surprise.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   No  

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   No

Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)?   No  

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?   No  

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
Everything around me seemed to have merged into one living being.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time had no meaning during the peak of the experience.

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   Everything about myself or others
Everything in the universe seemed filled with love.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   No

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   No

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)?   Uncertain   Time seemed irrelevant. There was no "after". It was all so intense.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Uncertain   The concept of "God" seemed irrelevant. Love seemed more essential.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   Yes   Everything was united into one consciousness.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   Yes  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   Love was everywhere. It was the basis of all existence.

During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?   Yes   Just relax and trust that the divine love will guide you.

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?   Yes   I had special knowledge of how simple life can be.

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience   The experience confirmed what I had sensed in the past: That there is a great love at the core of our entire existence.

How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience?   I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience   The memory of the experience comes in my mind every day. I remember it with gratitude and awe. It is crystal clear. However, I remember a lot of details  from the life events around the experience as well. But not as sharp as the actual experience.  

Whenever I find myself in troubles I seek to return to the experience (And similar ones) as a reminder.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   Question 48: currently I am in a crisis which challenges the stability of my faith. I still have lots of fear, and that makes me less compassionate than I would like to be. Remembering the experience is very encouraging, though.

My experience directly resulted in:   Large changes in my life

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes   Now I belive in maracles.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Yes   I became more aware of the psychic gifts that I have.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
Yes, the sense of synchronicity. The doctor appeared just in time to save. The yogi knew how to treat my fever with his hands. And above all, I was amazed at feeling the great love during the peak of the experience.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  I shared it with my friend a few hours after the vent. They were astonished. One of them was angry on me. I don't know why.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   Yes   I had read a lot. And I had previous NDE experiences before this one. Many in fact. Like meeting a deceased psychic on a public library (in 1985)

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real   I knew that I was subjected to an immense love.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   In the experience, I saw a glimpse of the true reality behind all illusions of being separated from the rst of the world.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I value them more now. I have a desire to share the love I felt during my experience. I am less interested in loose talk.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   After many years, the experience (and similar ones) lead me to the practice of praying. I give thanks to the source of this benevolence.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?   Yes   Yes, whenever I sense the love from the invisible world, I remember the experience in Himalaya, and can return to my feelings during the experience

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience?   I have not had any of those "the body-dissolves"-experiences later in life. I am convinced that I will experience them again in due time.

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Uncertain   The experience was hard to describe.

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?       Provide a forum where I can talk to people who have the same type of experiences. I feel quite alone with my experience.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                        Suggestion for a questions:

Have you ever hesitated before telling the story to others? If so, why?

Has the personal value of the story changed in some way when you told it to others?

Do you find it difficult to talk about the experience with others? If so, why?