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What the Hindu Spirit Told an Anglican Priest

Posted on 02 May 2016, 13:06

As the Rev. Arthur Chambers, the vicar of Brockenhurst and associate of King’s College, London, saw it, Christian teachers and writers had failed to provide sufficient information about the afterlife. They had “so enshrouded it, as it were, in mental mistiness, that to many it has seemed a vague, inhuman and unreal existence, a veritable ‘world of shadows’.”  Thus, Chambers took it upon himself to further study the subject and report on it, which he did in an 1894 book, Our Life After Death, and again in a 1900 book, Man and the Spiritual World.

Chambers’s studies included sitting with a young trance medium, although he does not use the word “medium” to describe him.  He was simply a young man, the acquaintance of a friend, “who had recently manifested extraordinary powers that astonished himself and upset the ideas of the members of the religious community to which he belonged.”  He was told by those members that the cause of what he had exhibited was Satanic, but Chambers was more open-minded and decided to talk with the young man.  He discovered that “he was by no means a well-educated person.  He dropped his aspirates, made grammatical blunders, and badly constructed his sentences.”  After Chambers talked with him for some time, the young man appeared to faint and remained motionless for about five minutes. 

“My friends had previously seen him in this condition, and told me he was under control, and in a trance-state,” Chamber wrote, taking careful notes. 

The man raised himself in the chair, his eyes still closed, and commenced to speak in a language unknown to Chambers.  A lady in the group who had lived in India for several years said she recognized it as Hindustanee.  According to the friends of the young man, he did not know the language in his normal state.  At some point, the young man began speaking in English with the accent of a person from India. The following lengthy conversation was recorded and reported in the 1900 book.

Chambers:  You claim – do you not – to be a spiritual intelligence speaking through the physical organs of Mr. A?

Answer: Yes.

Chambers:  Who are you?

Answer: I am a man who lived in India, when in the earth-life, and spent a great portion of my time in studying the truths that relate to this World in which I now am.

Chambers:  Is Mr. A. conscious that you are speaking through him?

Answer: No.  The controlling power of his material body, which is his spirit-body, is in a state of unconsciousness, and I am exercising the control.

Chambers: If you, as you say, are taking the place of the spirit in Mr. A. in regard to his physical body, has his spirit left that body?

Answer: Yes.

Chambers: Where is it, or rather, where is he?

Answer: In this room, in a state of unconsciousness.

Chambers: But how can that be? Can a man’s spirit leave his body before death?

Answer: Most certainly it can, and does, at times.  But you as a teacher of the Bible should know that truth.

Chambers: Does the Bible then declare it?

Answer: Most assuredly.  Does not an apostle say that he was caught up into the third sphere of the Spiritual World; and yet his earthly body did not die until some years afterwards?

Chambers: Yes, I am familiar with that statement; but St. Paul himself did not seem to be quite sure whether he was in his outer body, or out of it.

Answer: This is quite possible.  Many persons, after passing through what you call “dying,” having left the earthly body behind, do not, for a while, realise that it has been cast off.  They are still, after the change, so really men and women.  The apostle when he had the experience mentioned was out of his earthly body, and the latter was in a state of trance.

Chambers: When the spirit of a person is outside his body, is the connection between the spirit and the body maintained?

Answer: Yes, were it not, the earthly body would die.

Chambers: Would it under such circumstances be possible to break the connection between an external spirit and its earthly body?

Answer: Yes.  A sudden shock might bring it about.  Hence to violently arouse a person in a state of trance – when very often the spirit is absent from the body – is very dangerous.  It may break the connection, and then the body would die.

Chambers:  I have taught and still teach that the separation of the spirit and spirit-body from its earthly encasement takes place shortly after the death.  Am I right in this?

Answer: No: you are wrong.  The separation takes place immediately before
the death of the body.

Chambers: That rather astonishes me.

Answer:  I will explain.  A little while before death, the spirit-body of a person releases itself from the physical form and floats at full length above the latter, with which it is still connected by something not unlike a fine cord.  The physical body, as yet, is still alive, but it no longer contains the man. He is in the spirit-body, but unconscious.  When that fine spiritual cord is snapped, the separation is effected, and the material life expires.  You have the physical counterpart of this cord in the connection that exists between mother and the babe at birth.  The severance of a cord is the preliminary entrance of both the man and the babe into a higher plane of being.

From this point on the dialogue is abridged.

Chambers: What is your object in controlling the body of Mr. A?

Answer: To establish a communication through him with the world I have left.

Chambers: For what end?

Answer: To try and convince men of the fact of a World of Spirit.

Chambers: But surely, that fact is acknowledged, is it not?  We Christians, for example, acknowledge it.

Answer: Yes; in a way.  Your Bible is full of testimony regarding it, and you profess to accept its teaching; but not one in every thousand who attend your churches grasps the truths concerning the Spiritual World that Scripture declares.

Chambers: Is that not too sweeping an assertion?

Answer: No; you well know that many who read their Bible school themselves to think that all the spiritual facts recorded therein actually did take place thousands of years ago; but ask them to believe that like things are happening now; what will they say? Will they not declare it to be incredible and absurd?

Chambers: Are they wrong?

Answer: Why ask such a question! Do you suppose that the Spiritual World is now different from what it was before, and at the time when Christ sojourned on your earth? Nearly all the phases of spiritual manifestation described in the Bible are present occurrences.

Chambers: If that be so, how comes it that the truth is not better realised?

Answer: Because the tendency of men’s minds is too materialistic.  When that is the case, a revelation of the Spiritual becomes more difficult.

Chambers: Why?

Answer: Because of the feebleness, through disuse, of internal faculties by which the Spiritual can be approached.  You have the correspondence of this in the physical world.  Were you never to use your eyes and your ears there would come a time when, although the organs might still remain, it would be exceedingly difficult to get those eyes and ears to perceive sights and sounds which exercised eyes and ears can perceive.

Chambers: Do you imply that many Christians who believe in a World to come fail to perceive the whole truth concerning the Spiritual?

Answer: Most certainly I do. If you doubt this, question them on the point.  Will you find more than one in every hundred, or thousand, who has any idea of a Spiritual World, except as a far off Heaven at a future time?

Chambers: I am afraid your assertion is true. ...Is it granted to all who leave the earth-life to set up – as you claim to be doing – this phase of communication with the physical?

Answer: No; many wish to do so, but are not permitted.

Chambers: Why so?

Answer: In the case of many spirits, the wish does not spring from a desire to benefit you on the earth plane, but from a mere longing for contact with the world they have left.

Chambers: Is this longing wrong?

Answer: It is harmful unless dictated and sanctified by the promptings of love and unselfishness.

Chambers: Explain, please; I do not fully understand you.

Answer: If a spirit, not prompted by love and unselfishness, control a person, he harms both himself and the person he controls.

Chambers: In what way does he harm himself?

Answer: By retarding his progress in the Spiritual World.  The desire to continue in close contact with the physical, for the sake of contact itself, checks his advance on a higher plane of life and thought.  In the case, however, of physical contact being desired only that love and unselfishness may find a field of exercise, the spirit is unharmed, nay more, he is often advanced by the experience.  Thus, the contact of Christ with the physical did not diminish aught from the moral and spiritual excellence of His being. His love and unselfishness grew grander thereby.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.

To be continued on May 16



Thank you for your comment.  I do believe, however, that you must have a very select group of friends.  In my observations and experiences in many venues over many years, I have not met many people who would qualify for membership in that select group. smile It would be far less than one percent. I guess I am not meeting the right people. I am glad to know it, however.

Michael Tymn, Wed 1 Jun, 07:29

Such a fascinating account! But I have to take issue with the assertion that most of the “living” have only a vague sense of the scope of existence on the Other Side. It’s my impression, from conversations with women friends of mine—not parapsychologists—whose attitudes were influenced by the New Age thinking of the seventies and eighties, that they feel in contact with Spirit much of the time and sense that the spirit world is complex and vivid, and that Spirit often guides them.

Sylvia Hart Wright, Wed 1 Jun, 06:42

Especially interesting about the soul leaving the body just before physical death.  Various sources both agree and disagree with this.  I find it comforting to think that no one, including animals being killed by predators, has to actually experience their body being painfully destroyed in the case of a violent or painful death.  I remember that this was what the Seth entity had to say as well.  It is also similar to what we are taught in the realm of treating trauma—that the person or animal goes into a “freeze” state in which they don’t feel the terrible thing that is happening to them.

Elene Gusch, Tue 31 May, 19:33


I might add that the Robert Crookall books, including “The Supreme Adventure,” “The Next World—and the Next,” and “Intimations of Immortality” have a number of examples of violent deaths, all seeming to indicate that they had left their bodies an instant before the violence and therefore did not feel pain.

Michael Tymn, Tue 10 May, 19:43


I did not claim that few violent deaths have been reported through paranormal channels. Of course loads of them have been mentioned, mostly in hypnotic regressions. But to the best of my knowledge, few have described the immediate process and experience in anything like the detail so often lavished on “deathbed” scenarios.

You are right that the communicator might have been an Englishman who lived in India, although the fact that he began the session speaking in Hindi seems to argue against it. Even a Hindi-speaking Brit would probably use his native language under the difficulties of transmission from the other side to ours.

Michael, thanks for the heads-up about the June 2012 column. I had not previously encountered those sources. Maybe Giordano, the composer of the opera based on Andrea Chénier, has met him in the afterlife!

Rick Darby, Tue 10 May, 15:22

I would have just the opposite view that so many teachers and writers have little to say about violent deaths. Although I have read some reports of people who have died more or less peacefully, in bed, I have also read perhaps an equal amount or actually more reports of people who died a violent death, from people who were shot in the face, committed suicide, jumped from towers, fought in battles both ancient and modern, battles at sea, fallen down steps, murdered, drowned, submerged submarines, downed planes during World War II etc. I think that a violent death may be more likely to be remembered rather than one in which one just faded away.  Perhaps those violent reports are from hypnotic regression and it seems that many of those make a better story if the death was violent. Ian Stevenson in his “Twenty Cases Suggesting Reincarnation” reports several cases of violent deaths.

And I am not so sure that the spirit in the Tymn’s blog was an Indian in that it is reported that he said that,” I am a man who lived in India.” Perhaps he was an Englishman who lived in India for a long time when England ruled India. He may therefore have been well versed in the Bible or as an Indian at that time may have converted to Christianity. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 9 May, 22:51


I should have also mentioned that I dealt with the subject of violent death in my blog of June 25, 2012, which can be found in the archives at left.

Michael Tymn, Fri 6 May, 21:55


From “Death—An Interesting Journey” by Stanley Bedford:  “To understand what occurs, one must realise two things.  First, that at the actual moment of death everything happens at terrific speed, because the soul is passing on to a world in which we move on a much higher vibration.  Secondly, that our soul consciousness is very much ahead of our physical consciousness.  So when instant death occurs through an accident, the soul is aware of what is about to happen, a split second before the impact occurs, and leaves the body.  The soul having left no pain is felt.”

For whatever it is worth.  I would have to go back and read much of the book to recall how Bedford got his information.

Michael Tymn, Fri 6 May, 08:19


I agree that much more could have been said, although there is no indication that Chambers had an opportunity for a second sitting with the medium.  As you know, such trance communication is usually limited by the strength of the medium and/or the ability of the communicator to “hold on” to the medium’s body for any length of time.  It has been likened to holding one’s breath under water. 

Other spirit communicators have indicated that the separation of the spirit body takes place before physical death, but how pain plays into the picture in the case of violent death is never made clear, i.e., Does the “person” exit with the spirit body and therefore feel no pain?

Michael Tymn, Fri 6 May, 07:39

The young man sounds like a genuine trance medium, not hampered by “dropping his aspirates” in the waking state. (At that time, “dropping one’s aitches” [e.g., ‘Enry ‘Iggins] was proof of lower-class origins.)

The self-proclaimed ex-Indian spirit’s remarks seem much like those of dozens, if not hundreds, communicated through mediumship. But would an Indian be so familiar with the Christian Bible? Did he learn about it after passing over?

Speaking of passing over, this communicator like so many others speaks of a “natural” death experience, dying in bed. Why do so few teachers and writers on the afterlife have little to say about violent and sudden deaths, as prevalent in our world as peaceful ones? They should be as familiar with that process as with comfortable transitions, yet most ignore them or pass over them with a sentence or two.

Maybe Raymond Lodge was an exception, but we need more communicators to give us the full range of information, including about painful deaths.

Rick Darby, Thu 5 May, 18:55

Mike thanks for this
I had a new client today who lost her husband n December 2015 right before Christmas I’m going to print this out for her next visit. 
She had the repass after his funeral at a restaurant here in NJ on the ocean side.  They used to go there frequently when he was alive.  When they first started to go there, they saw whales swimming by which, they were told, did’t happen often.  My client stood after everyone had arrived to tell all attendees why they were at this restaurant when she happened to look out at the ocean to see a group of whales swimming by!!!  Have a great day!  Blessings/hugs Karen

Karen E. Herrick, Tue 3 May, 20:14


There is no indication as to how the words were recorded.  This was before tape recorders, so it must have been shorthand or paraphrased, so that the exact wording would not have been given.  Also, see my blog entry of March 10, 2014 in the archives at left concerning the possible effect of the filtering process through the medium’s brain.

Thanks for the comment.

Michael Tymn, Tue 3 May, 20:04

Do you know whether or not these answers are the actual words used by the communicator or are they a translation or paraphrase? The answers in English do not sound to me to be those of a native Indian who spoke ‘Hindustanee’.  It is not clear that the communicator was a native Indian or someone—-an Englishman—-who had lived in India for a while.  I note the construction “to try AND convince men…” rather than “to try TO convince men…” which it seems to me is a rather modern construction and not a way that an Indian having learned to speak English correctly would speak.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting find that I had not seen before.  Thanks Mike!- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 3 May, 16:10

Stafford, to answer your question, Part II will touch upon the afterlife environment, at least the many realms and earthbound influences.

Thanks to all for the kind comments.

Michael Tymn, Tue 3 May, 07:46

Mike once again you have presented us with some real spiritual gold dust that has been hidden away from our sight in a filing cabinet. Love the analogy of a person who does not use sight or hearing. Looking forward to the next episode.

Wendy Zammit, Tue 3 May, 00:56

It never ceases to amaze me the number of old books that turn up….so many found by you, that give wonderfully true perspectives regarding
spiritual realities. 
A wonderful and commonsense explanation by the spirit about mediumship/psychic phenomena being ever ongoing and part of the natural order.
So many people turning from traditional religions…so many want their own
spiritual experiences.

Yvonne Limoges, Tue 3 May, 00:40

For a long time I’ve been looking for a Hindu spirit to tell us about the afterworld.  You found one! What a fascinating exchange between spirit and medium this is. Later on in Chambers’ book does the spirit describe the world where he lives? If so, is it consistent with the Western accounts that you and I are so familiar with?

Great blog.  Thanks, Mike!

Stafford Betty, Mon 2 May, 22:10

Another thought-provoking blog. Well done, Mike

Michael Schmicker, Mon 2 May, 20:19

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