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Fourth Way Perspectives

The Castaneda—Muktananda Interview

Castaneda begins by acknowledging Muktananda, telling him, "I am very delighted to be here with you, in such holy company." Muktananda tells him that in the Indian tradition aspirants must seek the company of yogis, saints and other spiritually evolved people.

Castaneda wants to know how Muktananda chooses his disciples—"Is it a matter of the teacher's selection, or are they pointed out by some independent force?"

Muktananda says it takes place in a most natural manner with seekers. They choose themselves by their devotion. Muktananda doesn't do it, the inner Shakti does it.

Castaneda says this is similar to don Juan's method. "The only difference," Castaneda declares, "is that once the apprentice is pointed out, the teacher has to trick him into coming for instruction."

Muktananda doesn't have to trick his disciples into accepting him, he says, and as the Shakti is universal, there can be little difference between the two approaches.

This gives Castaneda the opening he has perhaps been seeking and a reason why he came. "Is there anything like sorcery or magic in your tradition?" he asks.

Muktananda speaks at some length about this but it doesn't answer his question, so Castaneda presses the point: "But do you emphasize the practices that lead to the attainment of these powers or are they only incidental to great development?"

When you go deeper into yourself through meditation, Muktananda explains, centers begin to open and powers may appear.

Pressing the point, Castaneda wants to know if these centers are "in another body?"

Muktananda says that within the physical body there are three more bodies and that the subtle centers are situated in these bodies. This evokes a long explanation about the various bodies.

What is said Castaneda believes is directly applicable to what happened when he jumped into the abyss. He wants to know how Muktananda sees this. (This is likely the deeper reason why Castaneda came to speak to Muktananda.)

A long explanation follows which ends with Muktananda telling him, "We think that it [the body] is physical, that it is gross, but in reality, it is pure Consciousness."

Castaneda then asks about Muktananda's seeing his own double. "In don Juan's knowledge," he says, "one of the key facets is development of an 'outer self'—an exact replica of what we are—which will act in the world for us. Is there anything similar in your tradition?"

Muktananda agrees that in his tradition the double is recognized and that yogis or divine beings can assume many different forms. Muktananda then speaks of his Guru, Nityananda, who though no longer in the physical body, appears to him.

Castaneda says don Juan "does not have the concept of transcending death at all. The sorcerers believe that once the body disintegrates, that is the end of everything."

Muktananda disagrees saying that whoever has departed from this body can come back in a different body. He would like to know what Castaneda does to attain the state, which he is supposed to attain.

"I have finished my apprenticeship," Castaneda says, "which lasted fifteen years. Don Juan has left me; he has thrown me out into the world." What Castaneda is saying is that he has already "died." Therefore he has attained the state about which Muktananda inquires.

Castaneda then turns the conversation to the subject of dreams. Muktananda explains that some are ordinary sleep dreams, whereas others are quite close to meditation, and those are the most dependable dreams. He concludes by saying that there is a meditative state called tandra, It is neither dream nor waking, and whatever you see or dream in that state turns out to be true.

"So you could have validation of that?" asks Castaneda.

Muktananda doesn't respond to the question directly but instead praises Castandea, telling him that he is a very good listener and that what Castandea says shows a great deal of depth.

"For fifteen years don Juan trained me to listen attentively," Castaneda says, "so I am always hooked to what is being said—all of me is." In other words, he has stopped the internal chatter, stopped the world, and is empty. The attention is strong, focused, not fragmented.

Muktananda agrees and tells Castaneda that he is one of the "rare people" who can do that.

For the complete interview, see In The Company of a Siddha: Interviews and Conversations with Swami Mutkananda, (South Fallsburg, N.Y.: Syda Foundation, 1978), pp. 147–152.