Rajalakshmi, Mahayogini - Examples of levitation abilities
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Levitations of Rajalakshmi [from Human Levitation – Preston Dennett
A truly compelling mid-twentieth century case (exact date not-given) account was investigated by Doug Boyd, author, Native American civil rights leader, and founder of the Cross-Cultural Studies program in Tucson, Arizona. In the 1980s, he was funded by the Menninger Foundation to travel across the world to interview a variety of yogi adepts and study their ability to control states of consciousness and psychophysiological states, or in other words, mind-body connections.
One of their subjects was an extraordinary woman by the name of Mahayogini Rajalakshmi of Tirupati, India.
At the time, Rajalakshmi was the professor of biochemistry at the University of Sri Padmavathi. Boyd couldn’t help but notice that Rajalkshmi was different from the many other yogis he had met. She was young, female, drove a fancy sports car, dressed with expensive jewelry, and was strikingly beautiful.
However, Boyd was assured by those around her that she was a genuine yogi. As a child, she had created a local sensation because of her ability to levitate. Writes Boyd,
"Rajalakshmi had been somewhat of a legend in her own hometown during her childhood, we were told. As a child, she had begun to meditate and had experienced many occurrences of transcending gravity. At times she would levitate, and at times she would turn upside down and levitate on her head....She was so often and so long in levitation that people came from near and far to see her. These things occurred spontaneously...and were not entirely in her control. It created a problem for the wealthy family and they had to hire guards because of the crowds."
During his meeting with Rajalakshmi, Boyd was shown photographic evidence of her levitations.
“Among the snapshots of Rajalakshmi were several photographs taken by a newspaper journalist, showing her sitting in a lotus-posture and levitating about a foot off the floor. On one of these in particular, it looked as though some external force-almost like a great wind, or perhaps vacuum-were acting upon her and lifting her into the air. Her hair and clothing seemed to be blowing in several directions, while her expression and her posture appeared still and calm."
Boyd was amazed by the photos and learned that Rajalakshmi had given demonstrations of her levitating abilities on prior occasions, including once for a group of students and faculty at the university where she taught. Boyd finally asked her about her ability to levitate. Rajalakshmi replied,
"lt does not happen nowadays...well, not spontaneously as before. And it was never an objective of mine-not something I was seeking. It was like an automatic sort of thing, and it gave me problems at times. In college I had to stay alone because I had several times alarmed my roommates. This is a surprising thing, you see, when it is so unusual for them and unexpected....As a young girl when this happened, I was amazed, l can say, but I was not frightened. Yet it startled my parents. To them it appeared an emergency, something dangerous happening to their daughter, so they were quite upset enough to seek help, not the first time-the third or fourth time, perhaps. You see, I went straight up from my bed, which was against the wall. We have these high windows with inside shutters... and I hit the shutter. Normally I could not reach the shutter, and it made such a loud sound in the night, my parents came rushing in. Seeing me suspended in the air in that manner, they were startled, and my father shouted at me. Perhaps that in itself brought me down, and I became fully conscious."
Rajalakshmi also knows exactly what first caused her ability to levitate.
"l was in meditation, and even though I was not fully conscious of my body, I knew what had happened and why...you see, my teacher chose for me this wonderful book, The Gospel of Ramakrishna....So I would read this book, and it was so, so inspirational for me, it opened me to something. I used to meditate on this, though I had not been doing meditation. I would read some pages and become so moved, and I would meditate on this emotion. I read it in the evening instead of my homework. I had not much worry for homework, as I was excelling in my class work, and I read this book instead when my parents thought I was doing homework. So this thing did it-it put me into levitation. This book was the cause of it in the beginning."
The book is more than 1,000 pages and details the life of spiritual master, Ramakrishna, himself a levitator. To stop the levitations, Rajalakshmi's parents forbid her from reading the book and sought help from the leading sage of their village, who advised them that their daughter was a yogi and to seek a guru.
The guru instructed the parents to have no fears, that levitation was natural and to allow her to read the book. The parents agreed, but were not mollified. Says Rajalakshmi,
"So then it went on for a time. I went on reading my book and remained long hours in meditation and long hours in levitation....so the villagers learned of this and they came. Others began to arrive from here and there. My father would not let them see me, and at last there were crowds of people-men, women, children-sleeping and washing and preparing meals on our property."
The police were called, who said that they were unable to order the people away and the best solution would be a compromise. Allow them to view the levitating girl for short periods. The parents reluctantly agreed. Says Rajalakshmi,
"So the days of the week and the hours were set, and the people could come in, a few at a time, in one door and out the other. There were ropes put between so they could not touch me."
After a few months, Rajalakshmi was advised by her guru to stop the levitations as she was "lost in bliss" and becoming "useless in your lifetime." At that point, Rajalakshmi stopped the levitating trances. Today she has focused her energy on more practical pursuits including running a yoga institute, teaching at a university and working at a health clinic. One of her students credits her with helping to cure his diabetes.