As we sat at the restaurant window-table nursing after-dinner coffee and watching the last blue-violet rays of the setting sun, the chatter of table talk grew louder in the dining room around us. In the growing frenzy of activity, we enjoyed total privacy as we talked informally with our host, a channeler who prefers to remain unnamed in this article. Shall we call him Mr. C?

A few days before, we had asked Mr. C to help us with an article for Hinduism Today on channeling, the art of clairaudiently receiving and transmitting messages from disembodied beings. "Why ask me?" he had responded. "Why not ask the beings who speak through me?" "Novel idea," thought we. He named a popular, local restaurant for the interview. A restaurant? "Yes," he replied. "It's the perfect place." So, there we were as the clock struck eight, sitting pen-in-hand after a two-day wait. "Tonight is a good night," said Mr C. "We have a good contact. Ask some questions."

Hinduism Today: What is channeling, and how is it different from meditation?

The beings through Mr. C: Channeling and meditation are vast fields apart. Meditation is in the head. Channeling is in the heart. Meditation is mental medication. Channeling is heart dedication. One, you do. The other, we do. We do the channeling. It's not the other way around. Even this meeting was a long time in your time in the brewing. You think it's you wanting to know. It's really us wanting to tell.

Q: How do you choose your channelers?

A: The qualifications for our choices of "lers" for "ling" are few. But we prepare them by hastening their karmas, because they ask us to do this. They must go through suffering to obtain forgiveness, resentment for peace and sorrow for emotional equilibrium.

Q: How can we tell if a channeled message is genuine or not?

A: New knowledge built upon proven, written, handed-down or uncovered-from-the-past knowledge is right knowledge. A past, present, and future continuum is the key for judging the worthwhileness of channelings, writings, scientific research, philosophical discussions – in short, anything in words.

Q: Is the knowledge that you channel subjective or objective?

A: All knowledge is subjective, including objective knowledge. It's subject to question and approval, based upon previous objective and subjective knowledge. Nothing can be proven. Does "isness" prove itself to itself? Fact stands alone. The chakras within the head are absolute and have no inhibition. The grosser element within mankind – the ego – has limitation.

Q: Is there any danger in channeling?

A: Yes, danger is well acquainted with this profession. But the travel lanes are open and will open more.

Q: Is the practice of channeling, a distraction to personal, spiritual unfoldment?

A: Channeling and talking take over like walk-ins. We are not aware of any goal here. It's all heart service. Help/health, help/wealth, giving/living – this is heart. No path. Spiritual sadhana begins in the throat chakra. Yes, people do go further after channeling. They go from heart to throat to brow to head. Isn't that the path to God?

Q: How do you feel about having your message published in a newspaper? Do you think it will have any effect?

A: Many newspapers are receptive because heart-people are there to receive. We are published all the time. Much of what you read is our doing. All major and minor printed news reflects our thoughts. Our NOW is everywhere "heart people" are. When we speak to one, we are speaking to all. Each channels and receives his personal interests all in the blissfully NOW.

Channeling in a Nutshell

Historically, "channeling" is nothing new. Those embodied souls who have performed the practice have been extolled and condemned, acclaimed and scorned. As prophets, they founded religions; as heretics, they burned at the stake. They have been called mediums, oracles, seers, soothsayers, savants, visionaries, augurs, psychics, shamans, witch doctors, healers, medicine men, fortune tellers, light workers, adepts, masters and more.

As times have changed, channeling – as it is called today-has passed in and out of vogue. With the slow infiltration of Eastern thought into the Western culture over the past century, this aspect of mysticism has gradually become popular worldwide. But recently in the USA, it has achieved sudden and unique distinction through a massive media attention largely resulting from the influence of the high-profile actress-turned-mystic, Shirley MacLaine. Instantly, channeling became a household word. Like an old bottle with a new label, it all seemed brand new.

In the Eastern culture, channeling and similar phenomena have enjoyed a more consistent popularity down through the ages. Actually, the most highly-esteemed Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, are referred to as sruti, meaning literally "that which is heard." In other words, they were channeled by God Himself!

Today, in South India, Bangaru Adigal "channels the voice of Shakti" [Hinduism Today, Vol. 7, No. 4]. Shakti devotes, who listen to Bangaru with committed devotion, claim his channeled messages have built careers, cured fatal diseases and made barren women fertile.

The results of channeling are different from the results of meditation. While meditation is a mystical discipline by which a person changes spiritually, channeling is a procedure in which a person, acting as a conduit of information, does not change because of the experience itself, but benefits from the message of the experience (as would anyone else who learns of it).

As in all psychic sciences, a certain portion of the study of channeling eludes scientific basis and proof. Jon Klimo, leading investigator of the phenomenon and author of The Psychology of Channeling writes: "Channeling is the communication of information to or through a physically embodied human being from a source that is said to exist on some other level or dimension of reality than the physical as we know it." Klimo and others are careful not to specifically designate the source and nature of channeling or the quality of the information channeled in a formal definition since that is the one part of the process that cannot be studied objectively.

There are also different kinds of channeling. At one extreme, the channeler allows the guest entity full physical, emotional and mental control; while at the other extreme, the channeler maintains complete or partial consciousness and control. In this latter category, the channeler may receive words, pictures, impressions or combinations of some or all of these, which may or may not be colored by his personal interpretations.

With any sort of channeling there are basic guidelines for safety and accuracy. The channeler and the entity should get to know each other like two people get to know each other as friends on the physical plane. And they should develop working agreements, such as, for example, establishing identification codes for use during psychic communication.

The current fascination with channeling is new enough that its far-reaching effects are hard to determine, but it is certainly opening the minds of many. Psychology, philosophy and religion are stretching boundaries and breaking barriers to encompass its challenge of new possibility. Even the most rigid skeptics are driven to wonder if perhaps "is-ness" really can "prove itself to itself."