In July of 1978 I was doing genealogical research at Sawan Ashram in Old Delhi, India. Although I was aptly forewarned that the heat in the summer was excruciating, the ninety percent humidity and one hundred degree plus temperatures overwhelmed me. My only relief from the weather came in the evenings. But even then it was slight. On the second to last day of my stay, Jean Lyotard, a noted architect from Northern California, and I decided to spend some time on the roof of the ...
In July of 1978 I was doing genealogical research at Sawan Ashram in Old Delhi, India. Although I was aptly forewarned that the heat in the summer was excruciating, the ninety percent humidity and one hundred degree plus temperatures overwhelmed me. My only relief from the weather came in the evenings. But even then it was slight.
On the second to last day of my stay, Jean Lyotard, a noted architect from Northern California, and I decided to spend some time on the roof of the monastery. He was leaving in a few days to go back to America. I was to go northward for further research on the Radhasoami tradition. The Indic sky sparkled with stars that night and our conversation eventually turned to astronomy -- the natural extension of which led to the subject of exobiology and UFOs. Jean commented, "I believe UFO's exist and that we have been visited by higher intelligences from other galaxies." Knowing first hand of Jean's intelligence and perceptive observations, I probed further, "Why do you say that?" -- "Because I have seen them myself many times!" His answer was nonchalant. "What were they? Strange lights in the sky, like a luminous ball or a shooting star?" -- "Yes, but more than that. . . I have been contacted by extraterrestrials personally." I gulped, realizing that my dinner of dal and chappatis had not yet been fully digested. "What! come with that again."
"It was in Southern France ten years ago. I was in the countryside when I beheld them. The most beautiful being I have ever seen radiated before me and pointed to the sky. He told me to concentrate on the brilliance above. As I became attentive I was pulled up toward the light. However, the experience was so intense I hesitated and turned away. I have seen them on many occasions. The being was the most exquisite creature. His face, his eyes were. . . well. . . beyond description."
I could not help thinking of several fanciful stories I had read before. Jean's account sounded too much like a headline in National Enquirer. But I listened with attention and respect. I appreciated his rationality too much to dismiss his encounter simply as "swamp gas." Jean perceived the alien as a person of advanced spiritual capabilities, distinguishing his visitor from a technological construct. His description had a mystic ring to it, slightly detached from the cold, hardware experiences I had read about happening to Mississippi fishermen and Louisiana housewives. And then, in the midst of our conversation, a remarkable thing occurred. While both of us were taking a momentary glance at the sky, a fine point of light, like a star, caught our attention. Jean immediately recognized it to be a UFO, and predicted what would happen next; "Watch! The light will speed across the sky and will reappear on the opposite side." To my bewilderment, it did exactly that. In its next appearance, which took Jean and I a bit of tracking, he mentioned that it would most likely be joined by another of its kind. And so it was. By this time I was totally absorbed. Four star-like lights streaked across the sky. Maneuvering in an unusual manner, they circled several times in the deep blue vault, disappeared, and came into view distinctly again. Then Jean indicated that the lights would go across the sky once more and reappear. They did.
As the objects manifested, disappeared, and lighted up again in the Asian blackness, I experienced the vividness of a UFO sighting. But the question that remained was one of explanation: satellites? beam reflections? too much curry?
David Christopher Lane is a Professor of Philosophy at Mount San Antonio College and a Lecturer in Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Professor Lane received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego, where he was a recipient of a Regents Fellowship. Additionally, he earned an M.A. in the History and Phenomenology of Religion from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Dr. Lane is the author of several books including The Radhasoami Tradition and Exposing Cults (New York: Garland Publishers, 1992 and 1994 respectively). He is the founder of the Neural Surfer website. Professor Lane won the World Bodysurfing Championships in 1999 and the International Bodysurfing Championships in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004.