DR.TUESDAY LOBSANG RAMPA
Published in 1956
Review by Dr.V.S.Gopalakrishnan Ph.D.,IAS Retd.
BOOK: THE THIRD EYE
In the 1960s, the talk of the town in India veered around Lobsang Rampa, a musical Tibetan name. His book called ‘The Third Eye’ (1956) came into my possession for a good read only in 1971. This enigmatic author fascinated many of my friends, not to ask of myself and Revathy, my wife.
At that time the identity of the author was a mystery and not revealed. ‘The Third Eye’ was supposed to be autobiographical but there was not a single photo of the author Lobsang Rampa. The author said that he lived in Ontario, Canada. There was nothing beyond this revelation by a so-called Tibetan author. I wondered then as to how he could write in beautiful, flowing English. I concluded then, without any good reason, that he was actually an American who had lived in Tibet and studied Lhasan life and had an assumed Tibetan name and identity. I thought that if his real name were to be publicized, his relatives would suffer at the hands of the Chinese!
The contents of the book were highly mystical and magical and took the reader into an altogether different mind-world. Rampa said that astrologers predicted that he would take up priesthood (lama-hood) at the age of seven. And that came true. The poor youngster then lost complete touch with his parents and people.
Rampa describes at length the Lhasan brand of Buddhism which would strain our credulity. It seems that monks were asked to do kite-flying and kill themselves! A third eye is fixed to a lama by a painful process of drilling in the forehead by which he acquires special spiritual powers which can be channeled for the welfare of humanity. New-born Tibetan babies were washed in ice-cold flowing river waters so as to ensure that the physically weak were eliminated and only the babies who could take the rigour of ice-cold water and thereby judged to be fit, could form the Tibetan community!
The book mentioned no social customs of the Lhasans except that the dead bodies were disposed off in the open air! There is no description of the love-life of the inhabitants. There is a chapter on Yeti, the mysterious snow-animal which is yet to be captured. The author’s sighting of and encounters with Yetis, raises interesting questions! The author’s theory about ‘invisibility’, and his writings on clairvoyance and levitation, would have greatly interested the western readers. The author talks about the alleged superstition of Tibetans about “wheels”. We all regard that the wheel was a great invention of the man in ancient times, and we always talk about “wheels of progress”. Yet, it is stated by the author that the Tibetans believed that ‘wheels’ would drive away peace! The author practically and in a round-about manner would have seemed to want us to think that the men who drank yaks’ milk also inherited yaks’ properties!
No wonder that while the book was fascinating to read, the critics and the media believed that Rampa was a fraud, a fake, a charlatan.
The piqued author therefore gave no interviews to media-men except thrice in his lifetime.
After this book, Rampa went on to write 17 more books, thus eighteen in all, before he died in 1981 at Calgary, Canada. Now, with the internet revolution, we can get fabulous information about the nature of contents of the remaining 17 books.
Presently, many facts stand revealed about Rampa. He was an Englishman who spoke with a Devonshire accent. He married Sarah and yet remained celebate! Sarah’s book about him reveals if not the whole man, much about him. A good-looking lady named Sheelagh Rouse had a ‘coup de foudre’ effect on seeing him and became his secretary, assistant and companion and served him for 25 years. After keeping quiet for 50 years, she hascome out with a book about this wondrous man. The particulars are available on the internet.
Rampa’s photographs can be accessed through google. He had a shaven head and grey beard. He had two cats. Rampa claimed that he could talk with them by telepathy. Rampa claimed that he was a born lama, and he studied medicine in Lhasa and Chunking, China. He took part in the Sino-Japanese war as a ‘medical pilot’. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese who tortured him so badly that later he developed many ailments. He made an escape, secretly reached the USA, passing through the USSR by the trans-Siberian Railway and then came to the UK where he transmigrated into the body of an Englishman! Thereafter he married Sarah and finally settled down in Canada to avoid hounding media and live in comparative peace. It seems that he was a gifted psychic and clairvoyant and had eidetic memory. Rampa has allegedly said that he conceived a whole book word by word in his mind and then only he typed the matter. There is no doubt that he was an unusual man and had unusual insights. He said his mission was to propagate Tibetan Buddhism and its esoteric aspects in the West. I wish I had the time to read all his crazy and fascinating books!