This beautiful little jewel of a novel relates the life story of a man born into a wealthy Brahmin family in India in the time of Buddha. Siddhartha leaves his family as a young man and, along with his pal Govinda, heads to the forest to join a group of wandering ascetics in search of the meaning of life. The book is divided into three parts: Siddhartha as ascetic, as sensualist, and finally as ferryman on the river. There, under the tutelage of an old, unlettered wise man, Vasudeva, Siddhartha, with his fierce honesty, tries to find his salvation. Hesse struggles to find the words to convey experiences of bliss and transcendence which go beyond where language can travel. At one point, Siddhartha meets Buddha himself and, in a beautiful scene, tells Buddha that although he knows Buddha has found the answer, Siddhartha must seek it on his own—just as Buddha did. In the extremely moving conclusion, Siddhartha realizes his original aim by reaching a state of enlightenment and compassion for all.
The biblical basis is St. Paul's advice "Attend to reading" (1 Tim 4:13) which meant that Timothy his disciple should "apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time," said St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Catholic Church on Moral theology. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that "spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won."
Illusionists, such as Joseph Rinn have staged 'fake' séances in which the sitters have claimed to have observed genuine supernatural phenomena. Albert Moll studied the psychology of séance sitters. According to (Wolffram, 2012) "[Moll] argued that the hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters' social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena." The psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones in their book Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking (1989) wrote that spirits controls are the "products of the medium's own psychological dynamics."
The psychical researchers Eric Dingwall and Harry Price re-published an anonymous work written by a former medium entitled Revelations of a Spirit Medium (1922) which exposed the tricks of mediumship and the fraudulent methods of producing "spirit hands". Originally all the copies of the book were bought up by spiritualists and deliberately destroyed. In 1923, the magician Carlos María de Heredia revealed how fake spirit hands could be made by using a rubber glove, paraffin and a jar of cold water.
In recent years, we've seen the emergence of "celebrity mediums," who are people that have become famous simply for being mediums. This, in turn, has led to some fairly intense scrutiny of those who claim to have mediumship ability. People like the "Long Island Medium," Theresa Caputo and Allison DuBois, who inspired the hit television show Medium, have often been criticized for taking advantage of their clients' grief. Still worse, many are accused of being frauds.
Some scientists of the period who investigated spiritualism also became converts. They included chemist Robert Hare, physicist William Crookes (1832–1919) and evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913). Nobel laureate Pierre Curie took a very serious scientific interest in the work of medium Eusapia Palladino. Other prominent adherents included journalist and pacifist William T. Stead (1849–1912) and physician and author Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930).
Jump up ^ "Spiritism is not a religion but a science", as the famous French astronomer Camille Flammarion said in Allan Kardec's Eulogy on April 2, 1869, in Death and Its Mystery – After Death. Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dead; The Soul After Death Translated by Latrobe Carroll (London: Adelphi Terrace, 1923), archive version at Allan Kardec eulogy
“Help yourself during this troubled period by reading holy books. This reading provides excellent food for the soul and conduces to great progress along the path of perfection. By no means is it inferior to what we obtain through prayer and holy meditation. In prayer and meditation it is ourselves who speak to the Lord, while in holy reading it is God who speaks to us. Before beginning to read, raise your mind to the Lord and implore Him to guide your mind Himself, to speak to your heart and move your will.”
Everyone knows the great influence that is exerted by the voice of a friend who gives candid advice, assists by his counsel, corrects, encourages and leads one away from error. Blessed is the man who has found a true friend; he that has found him has found a treasure. We should, then, count pious books among our true friends. They solemnly remind us of our duties and of the prescriptions of legitimate discipline; they arouse the heavenly voices that were stifled in our souls; they rid our resolutions of listlessness; they disturb our deceitful complacency; they show the true nature of less worthy affections to which we have sought to close our eyes; they bring to light the many dangers which beset the path of the imprudent. They render all these services with such kindly discretion that they prove themselves to be not only our friends, but the very best of friends. They are always at hand, constantly beside us to assist us in the needs of our souls; their voice is never harsh, their advice is never self-seeking, their words are never timid or deceitful.
Of course, they don’t just visit when the going gets tough. By the same token, I often receive evidence that spirits were there to see their children get married, or witness the birth of a baby or a daughter’s graduation. Holidays and special occasions are also big for them — they want to see us happy and like to take part in that joy. After all, if they were here physically, it goes without saying that they’d be present at these important events. Being in spirit doesn’t change the fact that they’re still our family and still care about us.
The fifth, and final, thing you should know before going to a psychic medium demonstration or private reading is a piece of advice my friend John says best before every one of his demonstrations, “Don’t Feed The Medium!” If the psychic medium tells you that your Uncle Charlie is present. Don’t blurt out, “Oh, my goodness, my Uncle Charlie was a police officer who lost his leg in the war and died two years ago in a car accident!” Let the psychic medium tell you these things. If you offer that information yourself, then you miss out on the excitement and validation you could gain if the psychic medium was about to tell you those details.
So once again, it’s our bereavement or guilt that prevents us from moving on. Rest assured, they’re neither angry nor upset. It may just take a little time before you can even think about meeting someone else, and when you do, that person will never replace the one you loved before. It will be a new experience and a different kind of love; a love they want you to have.
Humans have been fascinated with contacting the dead since the beginning of human existence. Cave paintings by indigenous Australians date back 28,000 years, some depicting skulls, bones, spirits and the afterlife. Other cave paintings in Indonesia date back a further 10,000 years. Mediumship gained popularity during the nineteenth century, when ouija boards were used by the upper classes as a source of entertainment. Investigations during this period revealed widespread fraud—with some practitioners employing techniques used by stage magicians—and the practice began to lose credibility. Fraud is still rife in the medium/psychic industry, with cases of deception and trickery being discovered to this day.