Green, Drs Elmer and Alyce – Experiments - With Mr Karabanda’s son, the numerical genius who turned out to be a savant
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Beyond Biofeedback – Drs Elmer and Alyce Green
The first opportunity to test the psychophysiology lab was with a fifteen-year-old "numerical wizard" in Kanpur.
We went with Swami Rama to the home of Mr. Karabanda, the municipal tax collector at Kanpur. Mr. Karabanda said we would not be able to forget his name because it meant "true man," the name of one of our presidents, but we have found it easier to remember Truman than Karabanda.
The numerical genius turned out to be an "idiot savant," who had apparently suffered brain damage at birth which subsequently interfered with normal cortical development. He was happy, cooperative, and seemed to have the general mental characteristics of a six-year-old boy, though in equanimity and poise he seemed more like a twenty-year-old.
The demonstration took place in a secluded garden. A rug was spread out on the grass and the boy sat on it, cross-legged. Swami Rama asked questions, and Mr. Karabanda checked the answers.
Questions consisted not of arithmetic problems in this particular case, but of naming the days of the week in the preceding few years associated with specific dates, such as what day of the week was January 11, 1969. This boy was famous in Kanpur, and we could see why. He named the day correctly in six out of seven trials. While resting, his heart rate, as shown by the cardiotachometer, averaged about eighty beats per minute. When asked a question he would close his eyes and his heart rate would go up to about 120 beats per minute and stay there until he said the day of the week, at which it abruptly dropped.
Idiot savants, throughout history, have been studied at length. Perhaps in these cases intuitive knowledge comes readily to consciousness because the cortical faculty of rational discursive thinking, which seems to inhibit intuitional thinking, is non-functional. At unconscious levels we seem to know things that are blocked from consciousness.
When they come, or try to come, to consciousness our rational faculty questions, dissects, analyzes, and often destroys.
The rational faculty introduces doubt and in the welter of psychological noise, intuition is often overcome or discredited. For psychic intuition to work effectively, the rational mind must be held quiet for a time, it seems. Here again we see a difference between psychics and scientists and can understand why it is so difficult for each to understand the other, even when they try sincerely.