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Alien Identities
Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena

by Richard L. Thompson

Foreword by Whitley Strieber

Once in a great while a book appears that genuinely furthers insight into unusual and unknown phenomena. One such was Jacques Vallee's legendary Passport to Magonia, which related modern UFO and alien abduction stories to the fairy lore of the past, and revealed how both were clearly generated by the same underlying process.

Another such book is Alien Identities. By examining one of the most remarkable bodies of literature ever produced, the Vedas, it reveals without a doubt that the modern experience of apparent confrontation with technologically advanced civilizations are part of a very, very, old process. It challenges glib assumptions about the novelty of modern reports by showing that many flight characteristics and to an extent even the appearance of vimana aircraft described in the Vedic literature parallel modern UFO descriptions. What is most remarkable about the ancient descriptions, of course, is that they emerge out of a cultural context that was apparently many generations away from flight of any kind, powered or not. In this sense, they represent at the least a seminal act of imagination of staggering originality. There are no other places in ancient literature where instruments of technology are described in such detail, and where powered flight is discussed in any detail. The most famous myth of flight outside the Vedic literature is typical of the genre: the Greek hero Icarus flies too close to the sun on bird's wings constructed out of wax and feathers. In other words, the imaginary instrument of flight closely parallels the observable world.

What is so very remarkable about vimana aircraft is that they are in no way imaginary outcomes of available observation. They are apparent imaginings of a type of technology that does not exist in nature and could not be derived in any way from observation of the natural world. During that period, there were only three means of locomotion available to man: the horse, the sail, and his own body. Birds could be observed on the wing.

However, the Vedic literature contains a staggering array of apparently imaginary technologies--many of which are clearly viable by modern standards. Some, such as missiles that are sensitive to sound, are actually in modern use.

Then there are the parallels between Vedic texts and the modern reports of UFO phenomena. Some of these parallels may be derived from modern Theosophy, which drew on the Vedas. But there is a richly detailed body of Vedic experience that shadows the modern UFO phenomena and the abduction experience in such odd and subtle ways that it cannot be a matter of simple derivation.

For example, the whole structure of the Vedic universe is built around the concept of there being numerous planets that are all at different levels of spiritual and intellectual development, and that these planets are arranged hierarchically, so that the lower ones have only the faintest access to the higher, while the higher can observe the lower at will.

Above the highest material planets there is the spiritual effulgence of Brahman and the supreme Vaikuntha planets of Vishnu. The Vedas discuss these matters in detail, but it turns out that Brahman plays an important but generally unrecognized role in the UFO phenomenon. In fact, some of the clearest and most vivid descriptions of Brahman have been made by modern UFO witnesses, to the extent that the witness experience is potentially one of the most direct approaches to this level of being that we possess. "Words cannot explain it. It's wonderful. It's for everybody. I just can't explain this. I understand that everything is one. Everything fits to together. It's beautiful!" This was said by Betty Luca, in describing what was beyond the door that so many UFO witnesses have faced.

I well remember when I faced the door on the night of December 26, 1985. It was small, with a curved top, and a black reflecting object where there might have been a porthole. I can recall how this object reflected and distorted the room.

I was asked if I wanted to go through the door, but feared that some kind of drastic annihilation awaited me on the other side. Had I understood at the time what the Vedas say about Brahman, I might have been ready to pass through. But my fear lost me, at the time, the chance to see the light.

As I was reading Alien Identities for the third time, trying to commit each detail to memory, I reflected on the extraordinary promise suggested by this ancient material. The reason is, that the Vedic descriptions suggest that a much deeper level of contact once existed between mankind and higher levels of being; indeed, kings and leaders were often given access to vimana craft and other devices of higher technology.

Could it be that we might gain access to such things? Is the beginning and end of our modern encounter with this ancient phenomenon to be so limited by confusion, fear, and ignorance that it is wasted just at the time that it is most needed? My mail, which still runs at the rate of as many as five hundred letters a month, is increasingly asking the questions, `Where do we go from here? Now that we've achieved contact, how do we make it work?'

An important part of the answer may very well lie in the deep past, and it could be that the Vedas have a great deal to offer us. For example, the states of mind necessary to achieve richer contact with higher levels of beings are explained in great detail, and the potentials of the meditative stance are described as being far greater than we ourselves expect. If we expected it, or knew that it was possible, would we also be able to reach a state of mediative passion sufficiently intense to raise the body itself to another level?

I have certainly had experiences that would suggest that this is possible, ranging from levitation, to extraordinarily clear out-of-body movement, to physical shifts in space-time, once in the company of another witness.

The extraordinary value of Alien Identities lies in its power to relate these seemingly new potentials to ancient human experience. Suddenly one finds that one is not alone, and in the best possible way. The Vedas offer strikingly clear guidance, and Alien Identities is a luminous key to their vast potential for the UFO witness. It is this kind insight that is going to broaden contact. There is no question that, structurally, many multiple-event witnesses are being led into higher spiritual realms. Those who are most deeply realized, such as Betty Andreasson Luca, whose luminous experiences have illustrated the great value of the Christian approach, gain the most. But what of those of us who approach matters as technological agnostics, deeply mired in the illusions of the physical world?

For me, there has often seemed to be no way through that door. Again and again the visitors have come to me, offering every kind of support and assistance, and again and again I have recoiled in fear. It isn't that I am not ready; they wouldn't be here if we weren't ready. What is missing, oddly enough, is an element of the practical.

One soon gets the feeling, upon close contact with the visitors, that they are very old. I've encountered specific individuals who claimed great age, and the material objects I have seen, the room I have been in, have usually communicated an impression of great age.

Understand, I am not asserting here that I think that this is a physical phenomenon in the same sense that being in an airplane is physical. Indeed, one of the difficulties we have in dealing with the phenomenon is that it is so indeterminate that even communication about it raises implications one way or another that cannot be accurate.

The authors of the Vedas experienced an even more intense version of this problem, because they were compelled to describe the function and performance of technologies that were not only beyond their understanding, but even their conception.

In the literature of other religions, there are one or two flying objects described that are not of the natural variety like Icarus' wings. Chief among these is the wheel of Ezekiel that rolled through the heavens spitting sparks. "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee." (Ezekiel, 2) It could be that this is the demand to which we must respond if contact is ever to fulfill its extraordinary promise, which is to grant the human mind a breathtaking level of direct control over the physical that it does not now possess. In the Bhagavata Purana, as quoted by Dr. Thompson, Krishna describes a part of this potential called mano-java: "The yogi who completely absorbs his mind in Me, and who makes use of the wind that follows the mind to absorb the material body in Me, obtains through the potency of meditation on Me the mystic perfection by which his body immediately follows his mind wherever it goes."

Stand on your own two feet. Gain primacy over yourselves. In this sense, one of the deepest implications of Alien Identities is that our technological world is itself a kind of illusion: we are devising physical objects to do things that we ought to be able to do with our minds.

A reader of Communion wrote me: "I was meditating one night out on the porch, and I had been there a long time. I was thinking and thinking about the light I had seen, when all of a sudden, I noticed this cool air coming down into my head, like a wind but it was a still night. Then I got lighter and lighter and I seemed to move. It was so gentle, but I weighed nothing. Then I opened my eyes and I was way up above the house! Way up above the house, so high I could hardly see it, just our neighborhood and the fields in the moonlight. And I thought, O my God, I am going to fall. And there I was back."

Now, if he had understood the concept of mano-java, what might have happened? Just as what happened with me quailing in fear before the door into the truth, he was thrown out of focus by his own surprise and fear.

This is what we must get beyond if we are to continue. It comes down to this: we must find our way along a very old path, but in our own way. The remarkable thing that Dr. Thompson has done is to provide an element of clarity where previously all was clouded and out of focus.

Alien Identities is a decisive next step in understanding. Where the present and the past shall meet, there we will find the future.

Foreword copyright (c) 1995 Wilson & Neff, Inc.


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Last updated on May 17, 1999.
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