What Eastern Gurus Say About Occult Practices – Possession

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2005
Possession is another hallmark of what Eastern practices can offer sincere Western seekers. IN this article, the Western Hindu sect of Da (Bubba) Free John and the Dawn Horse Community provides an example of deliberately cultivated possession for purposes of supposed spiritual enlightenment.

What Eastern Gurus Say About Occult Practices

Insanity or death is not the only hallmark of what Eastern practices can offer sincere Western seekers. Possession is another. As we saw, Muktananda obviously was pos­sessed by something, and most gurus admit to spiritistic influences and/or possession. Like mediums in general, they also attempt to make a distinction between “good” (i.e., voluntary) possession and evil (obsessional, involuntary) possession.

The Western Hindu sect of Da (Bubba) Free John and the Dawn Horse Community provides an example of deliberately cultivated possession for purposes of supposed spiritual enlighten­ment. Again, members do not view this as demonic possession (something evil or dangerous), but rather as God possession (that which is spiritually uplifting and safe). Thus, what is really demonic possession is now reinterpreted as divine possession. Some quotes by Free John show the results:

There is no madness like the madness of real freedom in God.[1]
Motherhood is just a binding archetype… and it binds you. It is an illusion. Giving birth is no more Divine than taking a crap…. Motherhood is garbage. Children are garbage. It is all garbage. It is all distraction.[2]

Morality is referred to as “the usual moralistic horse…” and his spiritual community had “mar­riages abruptly ripped to shreds”[3] because:

Spiritual life is leading to the absolute undermining of your separate existence absolutely.[4]
One of the secrets of spiritual life is continually to violate your own contracts [e.g., personal morality, standards, marriage bonds, etc.]. If you do that with intelligence, with understanding, you will continually be free.[5]

Possession, as in the following examples, was commonplace. Note that these people did not originally seek to become possessed; it resulted simply from joining the cult. The following examples only convey a small portion of the reality described.

Example 1:

Bubba’s eyes rolled up, and his lips pulled into a sneer. His hands formed mudras [yogic positions] as he slumped against Sal, who also fell back against other devotees sitting behind him. Almost immediately, many of those present began to feel the effects of intensified Shakti [spiritual power], through the spontaneous internal movement of the life-force. Their bodies jerked or shook, their faces contorted, some began to cry, scream, and moan. The whole bathhouse seemed to have slipped into another world…. I saw Bubba just enter into Sal, just go right into Sal. From there he went out over everybody else, and then everybody else started going crazy. Sal fell onto me, into my lap, and then everybody else started howling and so forth.[6]

In a later incident:

Then he turned to me, looked at me, and said, “You remember the agreement we made?” I said, “Yeah.” So then he said, “Are you ready?” And I told him, “Yes,” I was. At that point he entered the body completely, down to the cells, I could feel the entry taking place. It is a form of possession, only not by anything demonic, but by the guru. It is almost like anaesthesia, or like a form of radiation. After the entry was complete, he put his head against mine, and went into a yogic process, and we drifted out of the body altogether.[7]

Example 2:

We started having Satsang [spiritual teaching] and the Force was manifesting through me. It was really strong. My hands and my feet were both manifesting the Force, and everyone in the room was freaking out. It was coming through my eyes too. I remember looking at one girl and not having any control. I didn’t want to do this to anybody…. I felt utterly possessed, my body was possessed, and my hands started to move, and I couldn’t control them. I had no control at all. My face started taking on expressions.[8]

Example 3:

Then Sal began to speak. The intensity rose: animal sounds, screams, kriyas. It was difficult to hear what was being said. The fear of insanity. The rain got harder, the wind rose…. People were screaming and howling and weeping, emitting strange grunts and snarls, their bodies jerking, writhing and assuming yogic mudras.[9]

Example 4:

Then Bubba put his hand on the top of my head and I felt the Divine Force, literally, this tremendous Light and Force, coming down and filling my whole body, consuming me, as if it was turning every part of me inside out. The Force of the Divine was so great, my body assumed tremendous force, there was this tremendous expansion of the chest, much more than I could probably ever attempt to do, and of the arms. It was as if I were fighting something, and I literally was. It was my psyche being ripped out. I was very reluctant, and I was holding on, and so the Divine Force was actually pulling it out from the top of my head.
It was coming down and the psyche was trying to… it was like being exorcised. It was almost unbearable, but it was never painful. It’s just tremendous intensity. At that point I felt the psyche being drawn out. I knew that my marriage had dissolved. I also knew that my ordinary life, my coming from the ordinary point of view had absolutely dissolved. I knew there was nothing but the Divine…. I felt twitches, you know, like my mind was being dissolved at this time. Again it was very intense. It was so intense I kept pushing his hand like I wanted it and needed it on top of my head. And I pressed against his forehead. I felt like the top of my brain was being ripped off, and I needed more force to deal with this. Then the assumed region of my mind started to dissolve, literally dissolve.[10]


  1. Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess (Lower Lake, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 1974), p. 154.
  2. Ibid., pp. 119-120.
  3. Ibid., p. 4.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., p. 20.
  6. Ibid., pp. 47-48.
  7. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
  8. Ibid., p. 263.
  9. Ibid., pp. 71-73.
  10. Ibid., p. 82.

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