The Himalayan Connection

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: Journal of Humanistic Psychology
Publication date: 1984

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


Chapter Six 


U.F.O.'s and the Chandian Effect

A major problem facing the study of unidentified flying object
sighting reports is the lack of an accurate and comprehensive
classification system.  What are subsumed under the term "U.F.O.'s"
are not merely extraterrestrial space crafts but a whole array of
psychological, sociological, and even religious phenomena.  In order
to alleviate the "category errors" inherent in such a diverse field,
I have employed the discoveries of Baba Faqir Chand (on the nature
of religious visions) and the work of Ken Wilber (in transpersonal
psychology) to propose a paradigm from which U.F.O. reports will be
studied under three distinct divisions: translative (read: empirical);
transformative (read mental); and transfusive (read: the fusion
of empirical and mental modes of knowledge).

With such a tripartite classification system we can begin to view
reports of unidentified flying objects in a
more understandable light.  First, we can distinguish natural
occurrences from transmundane apparitions, without damaging the
intrinsic quality of the experience itself.  Second, though we may
continue to search for authentic translative encounters from life
forms outside of our own solar system, our main emphasis (in light
of transformation) will be to develop a
state-of-consciousness-specific understanding of U.F.O.'s.  And
thirdly, with transfusive experiences--where transformation and
translation intersect--our investigation will no longer be
hampered by the apparent "confusion" of such incidents, but will be
able to examine the close link between experiential modes of knowing
and empirical-sensory data.

Delhi (July 1978)

In July of 1978 I was doing genealogical research at Sawan Ashram in
Old Delhi, India.  Although I was aptly forewarned that the heat in
the summer was excruciating, the ninety percent humidity and one
hundred degree plus temperatures overwhelmed me.  My only relief
from the weather came in the evenings.  But even then it was slight.

On the second to last day of my stay, Jean Lyotard, a noted
architect from Northern California, and I decided to spend some time
on the roof of the monastery.  He was leaving in a few days to go
back to America.  I was to go northward for further research on the
Radhasoami tradition.  The Indic sky sparkled with stars that night
and our conversation eventually turned to astronomy--the natural
extension of which led to the subject of exobiology and UFOs.  Jean
commented, "I believe UFO's exist and that we have been visited by higher
intelligences from other galaxies."  Knowing first hand of Jean's
intelligence and perceptive observations, I probed further, "Why do
you say that?"  "Because I have seen them myself many times!"  His
answer was nonchalant.  "What were they?  Strange lights in the sky,
like a luminous ball or a shooting star?"  "Yes, but more than
that. . . I have been contacted by extraterrestrials personally."  I
gulped, realizing that my dinner of dal and chappatis had not yet
been fully digested.  "What! come with that again."

"It was in Southern France ten years ago.  I was in the countryside
when I beheld them.  The most beautiful being I have ever seen
radiated before me and pointed to the sky.  He told me to
concentrate on the brilliance above.  As I became attentive I was
pulled up toward the light.  However, the experience was so intense
I hesitated and turned away.  I have seen them on many occasions.
The being was the most exquisite creature.  His face, his eyes
were. . . well. . . beyond description."

I could not help thinking of several fanciful stories I had read
before.  Jean's account sounded too much like a headline in
 National Enquirer .  But I listened with attention and respect.
I appreciated his rationality too much to dismiss his encounter
simply as "swamp gas."  Jean perceived the alien as a person of
advanced spiritual capabilities, distinguishing his visitor from a
technological construct.  His description had a mystic ring to it,
slightly detached from the cold, hardware experiences I had read
about happening to Mississippi fishermen and Louisiana housewives.
And then, in the midst of our conversation, a remarkable thing
occurred.  While both of us were taking a momentary glance at the
sky, a fine point of light, like a star, caught our attention.  Jean
immediately recognized it to be a UFO, and predicted what would
happen next; "Watch! The light will speed across the sky and will
reappear on the opposite side."  To my bewilderment, it did exactly
that.  In its next appearance, which took Jean and I a bit of
tracking, he mentioned that it would most likely be joined by
another of its kind.  And so it was.  By this time I was totally
absorbed.  Four star-like lights streaked across the sky.
Maneuvering in an unusual manner, they circled several times in the
deep blue vault, disappeared, and came into view distinctly again.
Then Jean indicated that the lights would go across the sky once
more and reappear.  They did.

As the objects manifested, disappeared, and lighted up again in the
Asian blackness, I experienced the vividness of a UFO sighting.  But
the question that remained was one of explanation: satellites? beam
reflections? too much curry?

The Himalayan Connection


Little did I realize that night in Old Delhi that a vital clue to
the significance and meaning of UFOs would come a month later when I
was doing field work in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Because of my research on the gurus in the Radhasoami tradition, I
visited Faqir Chand, a 92 year old sage who had been engaged in
intensive spiritual practices since 1905.  He was regarded within
the Shabd Yoga community to be one of the most advanced yogic
masters in India.  It was in Basra Bagdad (Iraq) during World War
One when Faqir realized the pivotal secret in
understanding transmundane phenomena.  The implications for
comprehending UFO sightings are staggering.
In his autobiography,  The Unknowing Sage ,
Faqir relates how in the middle of a battle at Hamidia the
form of his guru Shiv Brat Lal manifested to him and said, "Faqir,
worry not, the enemy has not come to attack but to take away their
dead.  Let them do that.  Don't waste your ammunition." 
Faqir then sent for the Subedar Major and narrated the
appearance and direction of his guru.  He followed the same strategy
and all were saved.  When Faqir reached Bagdad after the fighting,
however, many of Shiv Brat Lal disciples began to worship him
instead.  Faqir recollected:

It was all unexpected and strange for me.  I enquired of them, "Our
Guru Maharaj is at Lahore.  I am not your Guru.  Why do you worship
me?"  They replied, "On the battle field, we were in danger.  Death
lurked in hand.  You appeared before us and gave us correct
directions.  We were spared."  I was wonder struck by this
explanation.  I had no knowledge of it at all.  I, myself, being in
trouble at that time, had not even remembered them.  A mystery
shrouded the whole thing, "who appeared inside them?"

When Faqir discovered that his own guru (Shiv Brat Lal) was unaware
of his manifestations, he concluded that the answer to the
perplexing problem of religious visions must rest in the nature of
consciousness itself.  Faqir elaborated:

People say that my Form manifests to them and helps them in solving
their worldly as well as mental problems, but I do not go anywhere,
nor do I know anything about such miraculous instances.
O' Man, your real helper, is your own Self and your own Faith, but
you are badly mistaken and believe that somebody from without comes
to help you.  No Hazrat Mohammed, no Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, or any
other Goddess or God comes from without.  This entire game is
that of your impressions and suggestions which are ingrained upon
your mind through your eyes and ears and of your Faith and Belief.

Thus, following Faqir's lucid argument, the modus operandi for
religious visions is not due to outside or disconnected forces
(although exterior stimuli can act as a catalyst for it), but to the
internal process of concentration.  A force that for approximately
sixteen hours a day enables one to see the everyday, common sense,
lawful world, and for another several hours at night can allow one
to fly to the moon, converse with unknown people, and create
incredible panoramas.  Consequently, the appearance and duration of
such visions is intimately related to consciousness and focality.
Dreaming serves as the classic and perhaps most misunderstood


The Chandian Effect: The Experience of Certainty


What bearing do the discoveries of the sage of Hoshiarpur have on
Jean's experience and those of others like him?  Simply this: the
nature of one's attention is related directly to the perception one
experiences.  If our perspective alters so does what we perceive.
As ancient Upanishadic speculation and current studies in
consciousness have shown, we do not see
the world as it "is."  Rather, owing to our neurological structures,
we see the universe--incoming stimuli--relatively; appearances
flowing in and out depending on our own biologically defined
anatomies.  This "predicament" has meaning, content, and purpose
within the framework of our own lived-through experiences.  However,
it is naive to say that our interpretation of life from science,
philosophy, or religion absolutely explains the world as it really
is.  Instead, what we have are metaphorical models of explanation,
which work respectively within the brackets of our own purviewed
existence.  The unseen thread, the larger gestalt, however, will go
by undetected.  With sharply contoured
(mathematical, if you choose) operating mechanisms, we find
ourselves living in a universe understood not by pure perception but
by alternating analogs.

What these metaphors are (or, more precisely, which level of reality
we behold) depends on what I call the Chandian Effect--the
experience of certainty, named after the late Faqir Chand who was
the first person in the Sant Mat tradition to bring this issue to
light.  It is from this bedrock quality that we distinguish,
acknowledge, and discriminate so-called reality from appearance or
illusion.  What we call the actual world is dependent solely upon
the vibration and consistency in the persuasiveness of certainty.
Although we can see, hear, smell, and touch our reality, what
determines our conviction that this world is real is not based
empirically but is rather an immeasurable quality--an undefinable
feeling.  This is strange indeed, for quality is an experience that
science cannot study (save as an epiphenomenalism) but without
which there would not be any scientific or intellectual endeavors!
Science, which is itself rooted primarily upon the concept of
materialism (a unified theory of what is real and substantial)
excels or disintegrates upon the degree ascertainable of this
primordial quality.  Hence, quantity--that which is measurable and
which science holds as true and permanent--proceeds a priori from
quality and not vice versa.  Huston Smith has elaborated more on
this important distinction.

The experience of certainty is a propelling force behind how we make
up our days, fashion our plans, articulate our hopes.  If there
occurs a break in the Chandian Effect, our normal waking state
would collapse into a passing phantasm.  Like our nocturnal dreams,
it would be stored away and temporarily forgotten.  The experience
of certainty is so overwhelming that when it radiates forth the
question of illusion seldom arises.  Just as the chair is quite
solid when we strike it with our hand, so too does the world appear
concrete and vivid when the Chandian Effect pervades.

Our state of reality is determined by the movement of consciousness
into various expressions of the Chandian Effect.  Each level of
awareness is controlled and empowered by its inherent degree of
certainty, which is determined by the intensity and duration of its
minimum threshold.  Thus, for example, we are
predisposed to call the waking state "real" because it is longer
(and hence, by extension, more vivid) than the dreaming stage.  We
say this only when we are awake, however, never while we are
dreaming.  The reason behind this is simple.  At
each level where attention is established, a
certainty boundary is in effect, which, owing to the given center of
awareness, varies in strength, time, and permanence.  Hence, even
the waking state, although extremely real, only lasts about eighteen
hours normally until the Chandian Effect structured upon this level
runs down below the minimum threshold and our consciousness shifts
to another region.  So it is with the dream stage.  At the moment of
sleep (itself nothing but the transition of attention) we find
ourselves occupied in a world that just hours before we thought was
nothing but an incredible illusion--because it was dimmed by the
intensity of the certainty force inherent in the waking state--but
with which we now deal quite seriously: running away in terror from
death or luring attractive mates for orgasmic satisfaction.  From
this native pattern of awareness we can see that our lives are
simply natural progressions of consciousness from various boundaries
within the Chandian Effect.  Wilber has detailed this
progression, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically, in his
transpersonal view of evolution.

The Development of Consciousness


Wilber illustrates in his book  The Atman Project  (l980) that
consciousness develops essentially along two major avenues:
translation and transformation.  When attention gravitates within a
given state (e.g. the waking state), neither altering it nor
transcending it, translation ensues.  Awareness is thus established
within a particular field of the Chandian Effect, being held in
constriction by the inherent certainty boundary.  This does not
mean, however, that change is not taking place--it indeed is--
but only that the change is within given parameters.  In other
words, although there is a constant flux in our waking world, the
changes themselves do not radically convert the state itself.  Smith
describes this same movement of attention as horizontal,
development that proceeds along (i.e. within) the given plane of

On the other side, the shift of consciousness from one state to
another (Wilber points out clearly that it can both ascend and
descend), or the conversion of the realm itself,
is called transformative.  In this regard an entirely different
state of awareness is experienced.  It is an ontologically diverse
expression of the Chandian Effect with a new certainty boundary and
threshold.  Smith calls it vertical ascension, and
religiously it is known as ganz andere, the mysterium tremendum.

In twentieth century western civilization, with its persistent
materialism and psychological reductionism (aspects of translation),
anything which is exterior to the translative world must be reduced
down to a simpler, and thus graspable, component.  If the
transformative event cannot be collapsed, which Wilber,
Smith, and others argue that it cannot, it may be classified
as a "hallucination"--which explains nothing.  Or, the "ganz
andere" experience may be elevated to the unapproachable ideal,
goal, or god of the culture.  Wilber
explicitly details the difference between translation and

It comes to the same thing to say that translation is a change in
surface structures, and transformation is a change in deep
structures.  Recall our simple analogy of an eight-story building;
each of its floors is a deep structure, while all the particular
objects (rooms, furniture, offices, etc.) on each floor are its
surface structures.  Translation, then, is moving around on one
floor; transformation is moving to a different floor altogether.

A third aspect to the development of consciousness that Wilber
briefly touched upon in  Up From Eden  but did not define
concisely is what I call transfusion, the intersecting of translation
with transformation.  Often when consciousness proceeds to a higher
level it does not do so wholly, remaining partially within the lower
order.  It is, therefore, difficult to determine
what is genuinely transformative from a radical translative event.
And this situation is especially compounded when both forms of
development are taking place simultaneously.  With a reductionist
paradigm we presume that the higher comes from the lower (where in
actuality the opposite is true; Smith, 1976) and thus tend to
misread transformation as an aberration on the real (read:
translative) world.  This concept of transfusion, which is why there
exists so much confusion in the field, is important in understanding
how consciousness can at one end transform and on the other
translate but at the same instant not be mutually exclusive.

It should also be added that mistaking the higher with the lower can
also work in reverse.  For instance, certain religious experiences
that appear nonrational are sometimes elevated to a transrational
status, when, in fact, they are prerational.  Transfusion can work
in both directions, thereby causing scholars to commit what Wilber
calls a pre/trans fallacy.  Materialistic science has a
tendency to reduce higher modes of being, whereas uncritical
transpersonal psychologists have a proclivity to categorize
nonrational experiences as transmundane.  Both lack a clear and
incisive structuralism according to Wilber.

Toward a Tripartite Classification System of UFO Reports


This leads us to the main thesis of this article: a tripartite
classification system of unidentified flying object sighting
reports.  Employing the preceding terminology on the development of
consciousness, we can place experiences of
UFOs within three major categories: translative, transformative, and

Translation (Fusion: Empirically Verifiable)

Simply put, translative experiences of UFOs are perceptions of
natural phenomena within the consensus reality that have yet to be
named or identified correctly.  For the most part, UFO researchers
have been trying to prove the empirical (that is, scientifically
verifiable) basis behind unidentified flying objects.  This is,
above all else, primarily a translative endeavor, attempting to
place UFOs within a rational and, therefore, explainable paradigm.
However, there is a major problem confronting this attempt.  The
term UFO has become synonymous with alien creatures or spaceships
that have come from other planets or galaxies.  The near
impossibility of such visits by extraterrestrials has been pointed
out by several eminent scientists, including Carl Sagan.
Besides the evidence being scant (or nonexistent), the explanations
for "close encounters" or sightings do not necessarily have to be
exobiological or exotechnological; in fact, as Vallee
indicates, they could well be sociological.

Thus, it is likely that most of what we call unidentified flying
objects are nothing more than satellites, "falling stars"
(meteorites), weather balloons, disguised defense operations and a
whole array of natural phenomena.  Nevertheless, translative
investigations conceivably could encounter extraterrestrials and
place their findings before the general public as long as there was
empirical data sufficient to support such an event.
Transformation (Diffusion: Experientially Verifiable Through

Among the millions of UFO sightings reported each year, there are a
select few that describe vivid and remarkable personal encounters
with extraterrestrial beings.  No matter what rational (i.e.,
translative) explanations may be offered to account for this type of
experience, the contactee while undergoing the event will perceive
it as extremely real (and, in some cases, more real than our own
waking world) and will be convinced of its authenticity.  Science
generally will not be able to grasp this experience in itself and
will classify it as an "hallucination", as some scientists have done
with Near-Death Experiences, or, if following Carl
Sagan's lead, "a miswiring in human neuroanatomy."
Although these may look like plausible explanations for such
transmundane phenomena, they do not in essence explain the
occurrences "as is."  Rather, they reduce the experiences down to
fit an empirical-sensory model.  This reductionism is particularly
misleading and, if allowed to dominate our thinking, reduces higher,
more unified modes of being.

An example of the basic flaw in this outlook is language.  To
understand the novel,  The Great Gatsby,  for instance, the
whole story must be read.  It is on that level alone that the
intention of the writer is most completely apprehended.  Now you can
break the work down to its chapter headings, and then to its
paragraph arrangement, then to its sentence structure, and finally to
its words.  Yet if you were only to examine the letters themselves,
not the words they make up, nor the sentences they form, nor the
entire paragraphs they construct, and finally the story they
compose, then the entire point, intention, and purpose of the novel
is lost.  Reductionism is often anti-informational and does not
increase our understanding but only constricts it.  Wilber

The truth of the naturic realm is decided by empirical (sensory)
data, but the truth of the mental realm. . . is established only by
intersubjective discussion among a community of concerned
interpreters, whose data is not sensory but symbolic.  The point is
that even though truths in the mental-symbolic sphere are
non-empirical and cannot be determined by empiric-scientific
inquiry, nontheless they can be decided. . .
I consider exclusive empiricism to be radically and violently
reductionistic, no matter how cleverly concealed; the demand for
"empirical proof" is really a demand to strip the higher levels of
being of their meaning and value and present them only in their
aspects that can be reduced to objective, sensory, value-free
univalent dimensions.

Thus, following Wilber's argument, there can be transformative UFO
encounters that are symbols emerging from a separate ontological
ground of consciousness.  Some may argue about why there isn't any
physical (empirical) proof for such a novel and important event.
Just as a dreamer cannot bring the actual "substance" of his or her
dream into the waking world, but only its symbols, and just as the
materialist cannot carry his or her universe into a dream (except
symbolically), so too is it for the UFO contactee who experiences a
transformative incident.

Transfusion [Confusion: The Intersection of Translation with

The third and last category represents the intersecting of
translation with transformation that I have termed transfusion.
Perhaps the reason why many UFO reports are so fantastically mixed
up, irrational, or weird is because of the fusion of these two forms
of development.  A good example of this was presented on the ABC
news show  20/20 .  In an attempt to explain how one young man
had a close encounter of the third kind, it was shown that at the
moment of his experience an underground vault emitted electrical
currents of light that formed strange apparitions in the sky.  When
that same light struck the young man it may have invoked a temporary
alteration in his brain and thus produced an hallucination
(later recounted as a "UFO abduction").  Viewers of the television
program, after hearing two scientists give rational (i.e.,
translative) explanations for apparent UFO landings, may have become
convinced that what the man witnessed was a natural, if uncommon,
occurrence.  However, the contactee himself, because he underwent a
transformative experience (seeing it as real and as objective as the
print on this page), could not really accept the translative natural
explanation.  This con-fusion of many UFO encounters accounts for
why the subject is riddled with fanaticism, religiosity, and
garbled hokum.

It should be remembered, however, that simply because a UFO contact
is nonrational does not mean that it is necessarily a transrational
experience.  As Wilber has shown about dreams the same
applies to UFO encounters.  Psychologists and UFO-ologists must
distinguish between prerational states (which, in Wilber's
terminology, includes the archaic-uroboric, magical-typhonic, and
the mythic-membership stages) and transrational states (which
encompasses psychic, subtle and causal structures; Wilber, 1981a).

In light of transfusion, what may be occurring in several UFO
encounters is a regression from rationality into subconscious and
prepersonal states.  Such relapses may be triggered, though, by
physiological or translative elements.  Carl Jung, for instance,
argues along this line in his book  Flying Saucers: A Modern
Myth , pointing out that many UFO sighting reports have the
earmarks of being archetypes projected into consciousness by the
Collective Unconscious.  However, because Jung is not clear in
distinguishing between prerational and transrational archetypes (he
usually fuses the two; Wilber, 1982b), he fails to differentiate
between regressive and progressive UFO encounters.  Nevertheless,
the important point in all of this is that we investigate all
nonrational experiences with a critical structuralism and an
empathetic phenomenological hermeneutics.



With the classification system I have proposed we can begin to view
reported experiences of UFOs in a nonreductionistic and more
understandable light (see Table 1).  First, we can distinguish
natural occurrences from transmundane apparition, without damaging
the intrinsic quality of the experience itself.  Second, though we
may continue to search for authentic translative encounters from
life forms outside of our own solar system, our main emphasis (in
light of transformation) will be to develop a
state-of-consciousness-specific understanding of UFOs.  And thirdly,
with transfusive experiences--where translation and transformation
intersect--our investigation will no longer be hampered by the
apparent con-fusion of such incidents, but will be able to examine
the close link between experiential modes of knowing and empirical
sensory data.

Hence, what I am arguing for in the field of UFO studies is the same
thing that Ken Wilber in  A Sociable God  argues for in
the study of religious phenomena: a hierarchical structuralism.
Because UFOs are not merely extraterrestrial spacecraft, but a whole
array of psychological, sociological, and even religious phenomena,
a "transcendental sociology" is needed in order that
UFO studies does not fall prey to materialistic reductionism or
uncritical phenomenological hermeneutics.

Indeed, such a transpersonal structuralism is concordant with the
Chandian Effect.  When the certainty boundary is questioned
intensively, or naturally transcended, the attractive and binding
force of that level of consciousness recedes, revealing the
tentative nature of its existence.  As Wilber has clearly indicated
there is an ascendant ontology behind the evolution of the
universe, one which is marked by an increasing degree of awareness.
This idea must be kept in the forefront of UFO-ologists' minds,
because unidentified flying objects are more than a exotechnological

By applying the tripartite paradigm that I have proposed (which
will, of course, become more sophisticated and exact in time) it
will serve as a critical normative to the UFO phenomena, allowing
for a much needed structural adjudication.  For instance, in looking
back at my experiences atop Sawan Ashram in Old Delhi, India, it
would appear that what I experienced was not remarkably ganz andere,
but was most likely a peculiar translative event with naturalistic
explanations.  However, what Jean Lyotard witnessed in Southern
France, or what Faqir Chand saw in Basra Bagdad, was of a
transformative dimension, in that a higher state of awareness was

The real mystery, therefore, is not in alien space creatures who
prey upon naive inhabitants, but in the very nature of attention.
To comprehend the restraining certainty hold of the Chandian Effect
and how consciousness evolves through its various boundary
thresholds is the most important frontier awaiting the study of
UFOs.  The problem, as several UFO-ologists have already stated, has
not been a case of "unidentified" but one of "misidentified".



Although I still hold that the tripartite schema via Wilber and
Chand is useful when studying unidentified flying objects, it has
become clearer to me--especially after hundreds of individuals now
claim to have sightings of Elvis--that cultural values and needs
plays a huge part in any kind of religious (quasi or otherwise)
phenomenon. True we should still be open to the faint possibility
that there may be some kind of alien contact in the future, but the
overwhelming evidence suggests that we have yet to be visited by
E.T.'s. It seems far more likely that what we classify as close
encounters of the third or fourth kind are really misidentified
projectiles of our own psycho-social biography. What is truly
impressive in all of this, of course, is the mind's ability to
adapt to new cultural trends with such religious zeal. The power
behind all of this is the brain's own chemistry which gives such
tremendous hardware (conviction, if you will) to the wide variance
of religious or cultural ideas. Such ideas may not be real in any
ontological sense of the term, but they nevertheless "feel" real
because of the brain's amazing plasticity and ability to energize
whatever it is conned into believing. Thus the current rage in
U.F.O.'s says much more about our almost infinite desire to believe
in almost anything (regardless of truth, facticity, or common sense)
than it does about some significant exo-biological invasion from

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.