reprinted from the May 2000 issue of Thresholds Quarterly

Leonard Orr on Physical Immortality

Born in Walton, New York, Leonard Orr became a born-again Christian when he was in high school.  Filled with Spirit, he attended Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and majored in Bible.  His original intent was to become a minister until the day he received a message from Jesus saying that he was to minister to the unchurched.
     At the time the meaning of this message was unclear to Leonard Orr.  Over the next 12 years a  series of what he describes as "spiritual accidents"  led to the discovery of rebirthing, and in 1974 he started rebirthing other people.  As he rebirthed over 100 people he became totally, consciously aware of what he was doing, and started the first training center for rebirthers in Walton in 1975.  Since that time, rebirthing has spread all over the world and over 100,000 rebirthers have been trained.
     Leonard describes the breathing rhythm of rebirthing as "the most powerful form of prana yoga.  The secret to life and death in the body is breathing."  His own practices have evolved in his quest to fulfill his goal, which, he says, always has been "to enlighten people spiritually and to make them spiritually self-sufficient."  It is a pleasure to share just a bit of our time with Leonard Orr with you.

Threshold: You speak of core fear each person must purify the self of. Is this the same as what you call the death urge?

Orr: That’s part of it. Fear of displeasing their parents even though they are rebels overtly they still have that fear of displeasing that inner parent than of just change, fear of change. That’s a biggy. It is reinforced by the death urge and by birth trauma, everything else.

Threshold: How do you go about healing the death urge or unraveling it as you described it?

Orr: The first step is to question the idea that death is inevitable and beyond our control and to realize that everybody is responsible for their own death and to realize that we also have programs, death programs, from our family tradition as well as from past life deaths. We just have to confirm all that stuff and then we also have lifestyle choices. We have lifestyle habits that systematically produce death and we have to change those lifestyle habits and develop new ones in their place.

Threshold: So, in terms of dealing with the attitudes, like the parental conditioning, does that come about through rebirthing alone or that plus Self examination? What kinds of ways do people go about doing this?

Orr: All of those. Rebirthing alone is not enough. I talked about earth, wind, water, and fire. Just sitting with an open flame burns the death urge more efficiently than anything. The breathing rhythm, bathing regularly and diet is a biggy. In fact, three basic causes of death are ignorance of our divine potential, emotional energy pollution, which is not dealing successfully with the energies that we observe from other people unconsciously, and then diet. Those are the three basic causes of death. Even the people who have become fruitarians, they die if they don’t learn enough about spiritual purification of the elements to be able to deal with emotional energy pollution. We get emotional energy pollution from contact with people. We can get emotional energy pollution from our mattress. We can get emotional energy pollution from our home, by living in cities, from our car. All of those are energy inputs into our body. We just have to become conscious of them and learn how to deal with them successfully and the ultimate tools for success are the practices of spiritual purification that clean and balance the energy body. If we clean and balance our energy body on a regular basis then emotional energy pollution can’t kill us. But if we don’t purify, then our body gets stiffer and stiffer as we absorb more energies from outside, until our bodies become stiffer and stiffer until eventually, we become a stiff.

Threshold: When you were talking about spending the time you did with Babaji, is that where you learned, and put all those things together?

Orr: Yes. Babaji systematically taught me the yoga of immortal yogis and that is why I went to see him other than just to enjoy his presence. Because that body was 9000 years old and being in the presence of a 9000 year old person is unforgettable. Being with Babaji - there’s that passage in Genesis when Babaji appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre he came in threes as the angel of the Lord came in three bodies. Whether it was Babaji and two friends or whether Babaji had three bodies is subject to interpretation but if you study that story carefully, then when Abraham saw him coming, and it wasn’t his first meeting with Babaji, he ran and killed the fatted calf and started preparing dinner. So it’s so funny if you really think about it because you are having a visitation from the Lord in a human body, right, and so what do you do? You go into a meditation? He did what is normal to him, which is to prepare lunch. When he prepared lunch the scriptures says that they were sitting there and he was just standing by waiting. Well, he already had experience of the Lord and he knew that the Lord knew every thought that ran through his mind so he didn’t have to say anything. So there’s nothing to do except stand there and wait until the Lord delivers the message he wants you to hear. That’s what it’s like being with Babaji. You just go there and wait until he’s ready to give you what he wants to give you. Then you take as much as you can handle and then you run away. You run away and try to assimilate it and integrate it. It usually took me a year to recover and then I went back for another month and took as much as I could handle.

Threshold: As far as having a physical body that will last through all eternity,what is the benefit of that rather than having your soul last for all of eternity, without even having a physical body anymore?

Orr: Mastery. It’s one thing to earn enough money to support the family and put your kids through college and then check out (die), the goal of the American Dream. Then, another thing is to know what you are doing here and become a master of your mind and body. Integrating our mind and body into conscious expressions of the Spirit is the answer to all questions. When we become the master of our body as well as our mind then we can do anything we want with it.
The goal of human existence, I think, is mastery. If we don’t become masters then we are victims. If we are victims then we have to die and we come back and have another chance to become a master. That’s kind of spelled out in all the scriptures, mastery is the goal of human existence.
When you master the body, you can dematerialize it and turn it into a ball of light and travel through the universe at the speed of thought and you can rematerialize anywhere. When your Spirit, Mind and Body is totally integrated, there is no better place to be. Living in the here and now, enjoying the physical universe for the same reason that God enjoys this physical universe is the goal. That is the way I look at it.
Then the question is, “how long does it take to reach that state?” Two of the immortals I met through Babaji are named Bhartriji and Gopajin. And they were born at the time of Christ. Gopajin is Bhartriji’s nephew. He’s the only member of his family who became immortal. They’ve had a local address on planet earth for 2,000 years. Bhartriji wrote many books when he was about 300 years old and they’re still considered the greatest literary classics of their kind. He wrote the most sophisticated understanding of epistemology ever written. And it is just now becoming popular in the United States among professional philosophy professors.
Through Babaji, I met Bhartriji. It took Bhartriji 700 years to become totally enlightened and to be able to manifest his thoughts at will in the physical universe. I wrote a book about him, and how he achieved physical immortality. When he was about 300 it was the height of his teaching career and after that he surrendered to being a yogi. Babaji taught me that there are immortal yogis but there aren’t any immortal gurus. Bhartraji stopped talking about physical immortality and just practices it except for once every 108 years he gives a public demonstration. The next one is in the year 2006. I want to go there and take as many scientists and media as possible to watch this demonstration. I think that he thinks that if anybody is there for two or more demonstrations then they are serious students, otherwise, you might as well do your demonstrations and forget about it for the next 108 years. That’s an amazing phenomena and there are many, many immortal phenomenas like that, that nobody knows about because there is not enough interest to do the research.

Threshold: Are there any in America? It seems like they are all in India.

Orr: There are some in American Indian tradition. About 15 years ago I heard about a group of American Indian spiritual teachers and leaders that formed a physical immortality group. I haven’t personally met anyone in that group but I heard about it. One of my students told me about those people and gave me a couple of names but I’ve never been able to organize a meeting with those people. My time is kind of loosening up a bit so I am interested in meeting those people.
One of my close friends and students from the early days knows one of the American Indian immortals who can turn his body into hawks or animals. He has had several meetings with that person. I haven’t had a chance to get together with him since he told me that and to actually go meet that person who has become his teacher. So, they are around.
I came across a Methodist minister in Binghamton, New York who wrote a book called The Bible of the Undead. He met a Western immortal in the Western world. With that minister it was like he had met a freak. He had no question about the fact that this person was immortal. He had several meetings with him. The lifestyle of that immortal - and I ran across him through Robert Monroe - Robert Monroe also met him on the astral plain a couple of times. I had a talk with him about it once and his lifestyle was basically to hide his immortality. I guess he had been mistreated enough times so that he realized that it wasn’t good for his health to let it be known how old he was. He’s probably about 500 to 1,000 years old and just keeps running around, doing his thing and living in the world. And only reveals himself to people when he feels they are ready for it. He stays anonymous.

Threshold: What does the body of an immortal look like, whatever they want it to?

Orr: Ultimately. All different stages. Some look very, very old. Some have arrested the process at a certain point in their process and they have stayed that way indefinitely. Babaji expresses total mastery as the ability to create a human body directly out of spirit with the mind. I had a sense that it could take a long time to do that. Because of course, every atom is a thought in manifestation and every cell is a complex group of atoms and molecules in manifestation. Then there’s all the organs of the body. So to construct all of that and to put the art into it is fascinating to think about.
Bhartriji says that he became enlightened when he was 700 after meditating for 700 years. I know now that he is a total master of the physical body. I have met him about eight times. Every time he was in a different body, a young kid one time looked like he was maybe 17, an old man, middle-aged. He is a total master of the physical universe at this point.
I have never been able to stay at his ashram long enough. I always get blown away every time I go there. He is a Yogi who teaches with energy. He can plant a seed of energy in your mind and it can take several years to unravel until you learn it. I keep looking for immortals that are accessible.
Next year there is the great Khumbamela, which happens only every 12 years where there are a whole group of immortals, maybe 50 to 100 of them show up. I have never been there I’ve only heard from people who know.
The Khumbamela actually happens every year. It is basically a spiritual convention, everybody from all religions and traditions meet at this gathering. Then at the Grand Khumbanela there’s many millions, ten or twenty million come to this.

Thresholds: Do you know if this is the same as Wesak or is this something different?

Orr: I don’t know what Wesak is.

Thresholds: It occurs at the time of Buddha’s birthday, it’s a spiritual gathering in the inner levels.

Orr: It is different. Khumbamela is a physical gathering. It‘s the largest semblance of flesh in one place that ever occurs on the planet so for that reason I’ve never wanted to go because I like to avoid people as much as possible. I don’t know if I am ready to go to it yet.
I know other immortals. There’s Annalee Skarin and Sam Riggs who are Americans but they both dematerialize and so you can only meet them if they want you to meet them. It’s probably possible to visit them on the other planes but I have friends who are masters of astral projection but I haven’t worked at that myself. I’m not a master of traveling in the inner planes in that way. You would probably be able to meet them in that way if you had that gift.
People who have that gift can also meet Babaji at will. I have lots of friends all over the planet who Babaji appears to on a daily basis. They can just look and direct their attention and there he is sitting in the middle of a tree, or whatever. They can just talk with him. I get a lot of guidance from some of my friends who have that gift, Babaji sometimes tells them to call me up and give me this message. I really appreciate that but when he appears to me usually it’s a lela, a divine play. He’s more often than not appeared to me as bums on the street or little old ladies on bicycles. He’s so funny.

Threshold: Did you know that was him at those times?

Orr: That’s the art. The art is to know in that moment, to be able to recognize him in that moment. So I get better and better at it. Sometimes he appears to me as beautiful sexy young women. I know it afterwards, probably by design. But a few time I’ve known it at the moment, it’s been pretty interesting.
There is a guy in Seattle who I think is 160 years old. He has a group of about 100 students who meditate four hours a day. They have made investments, they’re all successful in the world, and they’ve made investments in apartment houses and restaurants. As soon as their investments are producing income then they are going to increase it to eight hours a day. They’re going to do that for a certain number of years and then he is going to take them all to the Himalayas to what is called the Siddha Ashram. Have you heard of this?

Thresholds: I’ve heard of Siddha yoga.

Orr: The Siddha Ashram is kind of the fulfillment of what is popularized in the word Shambala. It’s like an ashram which can be just some obscure village with all the members of the ashram are immortals who are 100’s of years old, 1000’s of year old. He evidently is a kind of missionary from that ashram to the West. I think he has only been around for about 20 years. I haven’t met him. I have talked to him on the phone several times and I have read some of the things he wrote when he first went out for students. He has done lectures and healing work with some rebirthing centers around the country. I am looking forward to meeting him to see what the real nitty gritty of who he is and what he is doing is. That would be a really fascinating connection. He won’t even talk to me about physical immortality on the phone. He keeps his age a secret.
There are some immortals in the Philippines I’ve heard about. One guy is 300 and another 400. The guy who’s 400 has a simple technique in that he just walks in the forest one day a week for 24 hours and communes with God. He doesn’t eat or sleep for 24 hours, once a week. Very simple practice and he’s been doing it for 400 years.

Threshold: Sounds like a good one. When you speak of dematerializing, would you describe what you mean?

Orr: It involves turning the physical body into a ball of light. Everything contracting into the chakras. When you do that, the chakras take on a shape which is referred to as a ball. When you are in that form you can travel at the speed of thought anywhere you want in the universe including the heavens and all the galaxies. That sounds like a pretty interesting talent. I’ve had a few friends who have had those experiences. It is kind of hard for them to talk about because the reality is a different kind of reality.

Threshold: Do you think that was what was happening in the Philadelphia experiment? There was a ship that disappeared and all the people disappeared. Is that what was occurring?

Orr: That could be. I don’t know much about that. I haven’t read that book. There is a book on unexplainable phenomena, it has like when it rains frogs or rains different kinds of substances. They also have a chapter on spontaneous human combustion, which is a fantastic thing to study. They also have the chapter on disappearances, where people are walking down the street and they disappear. It is probably more common than we realize. It hits the papers from time to time.
Many times in most of my meetings with Bhartraji, I wasn’t watching when he disappeared, but it was like something caught my attention and took me away, and when I came back he was gone. That’s amazing, and there’s nothing I can do about it. He just comes and goes.•
©2001 Vol. 19 No. 1

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