An interview with Nityaananda (Dr. Clint Thompson), September 27, 2009
Most of us have had the experience of a small event that seemed insignificant at the time, but in retrospect was a turning point in our lives. I had such an event almost 11 years ago while taking my small son for his medical appointment at the local health center. It was during that appointment that our physician, Dr. Clint Thompson, mentioned that he was teaching a weekend workshop in meditation; I had been interested in meditation and spirituality all of my life, checking out various traditions and teachers, but nothing seemed to hook me, nor did I find a meditation practice that I could stick with. I went to that weekend workshop oblivious to the fact that my life would never be the same.
I was pleased with the local health center; the care was good, and I was happy with Dr. Thompson. I liked his compassionate patient manner and appreciated his willingness to complement allopathy with alternative approaches. And although I didn’t know it at the time, not only was Dr. Thompson a beloved doctor locally, but he also had a strong reputation in the medical field, having interned in San Francisco and written a textbook in internal medicine. It was he who first introduced me to the profound meditation and healing techniques of Sri Kaleshwar, becoming a spiritual mentor to me in the process. I felt like I had found something I had been looking for, although to be honest, I didn’t understand it with my mind; it brought an unexplainable happiness, and the energy made me feel like I was floating above the ground, like being in a new relationship. Then in 2000, Dr. Thompson resigned his position as medical director of the Long Valley Health Center and began living in India for extended periods of time to study healing and train with Sri Kaleshwar, an amazing master healer. Although he still considered Laytonville his home, it wasn’t the same. Many of his patients missed him acutely; they felt abandoned, confused, and even angry at his leaving. I understood his leaving, but I too missed him very much. In addition to losing a wonderful family doctor, I missed the spiritual guidance and community that had started to develop in Laytonville.
It’s been over ten years since that day, and for Dr. Thompson and the rest of us in our little spiritual community, it has been a profound journey. Recently, Dr. Thompson returned to Laytonville to share and spread to interested people the spiritual technology that he learned in India. This technology is thousands of years old, passed down from ancient “rishis”, or soul researchers, who dedicated their lives to understanding God and this creation, and to discover the hidden potential inside themselves; they discovered how to connect with the “unseen” aspects of this reality, such as angels and other divine beings, and how to pull the cosmic energy to their soul and to grow the potential that is inherent in every soul. They discovered about how energy flows, and saw how negativity was created, perpetrated and how it implemented on people; they learned soul mechanisms and ways to purify that negativity to bring about healing for yourself and others. They discovered how energy flows through structures and it’s relationship to the five elements of earth, fire, sky, water, and air. This information was carefully recorded on ancient palm leaves, and kept highly secret and guarded, for good reason: although incredibly powerful and with the capacity to be used for healing and good, it also had the potential to be abused, and if it was abused then that negativity would flow back to them. This is why historically enlightened beings have been reclusive, passing the knowledge on to only a few select students in whom they had complete trust.
It is my huge pleasure to interview Dr. Thompson and to share in his own words his experiences and the knowledge that he has gained these last twelve years he has trained with Sri Kaleshwar. An understanding of what Dr. Thompson has been doing is impossible without introducing Sri Kaleshwar; although Dr. Thompson has traveled extensively in Europe teaching on his own, he has also been Sri Kaleshwar’s “right-hand man” and has personally traveled with him all over the world, spending thousands of hours in his presence. He is also the author of Awareness of Healing, a book about his experiences with healing.
Trish: What compelled you to leave your job, your community, your patients, and your home at the height of your medical career to live in rural India and study with a man barely out of his teens?
Dr. Thompson: Leaving my mainstream medical practice in late 2000 was one of the hardest decisions I had ever faced. Ultimately, after 15 years as a practicing internist and general physician, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study with one of the world’s greatest healers and spiritual masters, Sri Kaleshwar of Penukonda, India. For many years before meeting Sri Kaleshwar, I had literally researched all of the complementary medical fields that showed any clinical results, and while there was value in many forms of health care, allopathic, traditional Chinese, western herbology, acupuncture, etc, nothing that I had ever encountered came close to yielding the healing results of the ancient Indian knowledge.
Trish: Can you talk about the relationship between Sri Kaleshwar and this ancient knowledge; why is Sri Kaleshwar able to release this knowledge now when for thousands of years it hasn’t been possible?
Dr. Thompson: It’s a fascinating drama, a real-life tale that’s older than history, or what we know as the history of this planet. Spanning thousands and thousands of years, spiritual researchers in the far east in the areas around India and the Himalayas belt dedicated countless lifetimes investigating and discovering amazing insights and mechanisms related to life on this planet, and the incarnation of souls. These rishis codified this supernatural science and recorded it by hand in manuscripts made of specially treated palm leaves. These ancient manuscripts are the source of an ancient lineage of divine healing knowledge. Sri Kaleshwar began to study these ancient manuscripts when he was just 15 or 16 years old.
rish: How did he get these manuscripts?
Dr. Thompson: I don’t know, but I can say that these manuscripts are sacred texts that have been protected throughout history in India, generally through being hidden because of the saints mistrust of the manuscripts being damaged or destroyed. Sri Kaleshwar often says that what he is teaching and sharing with the world is not his knowledge; he didn’t make it up or discover it himself, he is simply sharing the formulas and techniques contained in these manuscripts. I’ve personally seen dozens and dozens of these manuscripts and can attest to their authenticity (with regard to age and content) as to being ancient and in terms of what they are saying.
Trish: Have these manuscripts ever been carbon dated?
Dr. Thompson: Yes, I know of one manuscript that has been carbon-dated and determined to be 1800 years old.
Trish: How is Sri Kaleshwar different from other spiritual masters and teachers?
Dr. Thompson: I’m not a good judge of how he is different because I did not shop around…I don’t have a lot of experience with teachers. I didn’t want a teacher; I was satisfied with my life as a medical doctor. I was searching for greater healing modalities.
Sri Kaleshwar was born in 1973; he experienced his first enlightenment experience at age 14, and since that time has solely dedicated himself to the study, practice, and dissemination of the ancient knowledge still alive in India today. He founded his ashram in Penukonda in 1992; one of his main life missions is to share the ancient Indian knowledge with western students. He says frequently that the world, and especially the west, desperately needs supernatural healers in every city and town, not just in India. For this reason, he has focused the majority of his work on his western students, who now number in the many thousands in America, Europe, and Japan.
Trish: How did you know Sri Kaleshwar was the “real thing”?
Dr. Thompson: I was an unlikely candidate to become a devotee of an Indian spiritual master! When I first met swami in 1997 I went to meet him to observe his healing, as miraculous healings were reported to be happening in his presence in Los Angeles. Again, I was not looking for a teacher, and I had no interest in Indian gurus or Indian philosophy. But what I encountered upon that first meeting was to witness a truly remarkable healing session; I came away convinced that a more powerful type of healing than I even knew existed was being embodied in this young man. Since that time I’ve come to know even more powerfully the authenticity and effectiveness of these healing techniques and knowledge of enlightenment.
I can say however that Sri Kaleshwar does not conform to conventional ideas of what a guru looks like: he has no flowing beard, he doesn’t wear white robes. In 2005, he got married to an Indian woman named Shilpa, and they have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, Navya. The human face of the energy embodied in Sri Kaleshwar has played a role in my continuing to study with him all these years. His life demonstrates undeniably the possibility that every life can embody this energy, while still acknowledging the reality of human day-to-day interactions, which are ubiquitous whether in an ashram in India or in your home in Laytonville. One of the messages in his teachings is you can live in the world and not neglect spirituality; they are not mutually exclusive. That separation is artificial and unnecessary.
Trish: Sri Kaleshwar has stated: “My mission and my aim is to bring a new kind of spirituality that creates happiness in every person’s heart, to change the world’s belief system and the way spirituality is practiced in the world, to make your life a divine message to this planet and to create spiritual masters, not students.” Can you explain what you understand this to mean?
Dr. Thompson: Well, Swami is a true egalitarian; he believes in the equality of all human beings. He disagrees with man-made hierarchies, especially regarding basic human rights. He considers access to divine presence, healing abilities, and enlightenment channels a basic human right. The ancient manuscripts accurately and eerily foretell that this present age is filled with unnecessary suffering with such things are heartbreak, depression, endless anxiety, fear, distrust, and anger. This suffering is present no matter which country you live in. But there is a remedy, a solution; there are ways to help. For this, we are eternally grateful to the ancient rishis whose life’s work is now coming into our hands through the teachings and presence of Sri Kaleshwar and his students. Sri Kaleshwar often asks, “Why are there so few masters, and so many students?” This does not need to be the case. It’s another reflection of an artificial hierarchy that has developed literally in countless spiritual traditions and religions on this planet in the last 2000 years. When asked how to become a master like him, his answer is invariable, “There is no difference between you and me, except that I know something that you don’t know. I’m here to give you that knowledge. Once you receive that, you are on your way. Then it’s up to you: your attention, your practice, and your pure-open heartedness to help others in your life.”
Trish: In most spiritual traditions, profound spiritual experiences are not shared with others. However, Sri Kaleshwar is also a spiritual maverick; can you pick one of your experiences to share with our readers?
Dr. Thompson: Maverick is a good word to describe Sri Kaleshwar. Hmm…I’ve had innumerable experiences of a greater reality than most assume is possible, as well as experiences of direct supernatural miraculous energy, and supernatural miraculous healings. Such events flow constantly in Sri Kaleshwar’s presence. In one such episode, a cobra bit a German woman visiting the ashram in Penukonda one night as she walked in the dark. It was a severe envenomation, and she collapsed on the spot. I was called and reached her side within five minutes. She was already exhibiting early symptoms, and in my experience as a medical doctor, without the immediate institution of anti-venom therapy and transportation to a hospital, she would almost certainly die in the next 3-6 hours. As we carried her towards a waiting car, Sri Kaleshwar called everyone present to bring her into his Hindu temple, the Baba mandir. What transpired next I witnessed completely, from start to finish, sitting at her side, just one to two feet away from Swami’s interaction with her. He began implementing ancient techniques using the knowledge of the five elements philosophy of this creation.
First, he requested that a specific type of leaf growing in the temple garden to be brought to him immediately. Taking those leaves in his hand, he crushed them with water into a rough poultice and applied it over the area of the cobra bite. He then took one foot and placed it over the poultice, pressing down into the area of the envenomation, and using sacred prayers or mantras he withdrew the poison from her body, through the entry site of the cobra fangs, into his own foot, though a large part of the poison was also withdrawn into the leaves. Within minutes, her symptoms began to diminish, though she was still in a critical state, hypotensive and exhibiting an altered mental status. Sri Kaleshwar told those of us watching that her soul had already started to take off, though the poison was largely removed. He then began talking to her in both English and his native Telegu, talking to her soul, and coaxing it to return to its home, that its job in this lifetime wasn’t finished yet. Remarkable, her mental status cleared over the next 5-10 minutes, though it still took her 24 hours to regains her full physical strength and stamina. When the healing was complete, Sri Kaleshwar decharged the poison that was now in his body using another of the 5 elements channels, this time the fire element. He placed a large plate of burning camphor on the floor in front of him and placed his foot which had touched the cobra bite in the fire. I still recall my alarm at watching his foot in that hot fire, and how he left it there, clearly burning his skin, unflinching and silent. He remained like that for an impossibly long time; then he removed his foot, and said, “It’s done.” When I tried to examine his foot and treat the wound there, he adamantly refused any of my care, saying it would be fine in a short time. “God is great, God will take care.” The next day when I came to examine his foot, though it was only twelve hours since the healing, I could find no trace of any burn or wound.
Trish: Dr. Thompson, you were instrumental in the founding of a temple of Indian Spirituality in Laytonville, the Church of Divine Lineage. What was the purpose of establishing a new temple, or church, and can you explain the name to us?
Dr. Thompson: Well, I founded Divine Assistants International in the summer of 2004 when I returned to my home on Bell Springs road in Laytonville after several years of mostly living in India. I did this in order to share here in America most powerfully this incredible knowledge and practices with anyone who was interested, as well as to help in any way possible through charitable works such as feeding the hungry. Though Divine Assistants was founded as a 501C3, it quickly became obvious that because of the religious connotations a church would be the most appropriate vessel with which to practice and share this ancient spiritual tradition in America, and hence it became the Church of Divine Lineage. The name is a reference to the lineage of ancient knowledge which has been practiced by great souls on this planet, the same knowledge, the same technologies, the same philosophy; saints such as Jesus, Shirdi Sai Baba, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, and now Swami Kaleshwar practice. One aim of the church is to make this knowledge and these practices available to anyone in America without having to travel to India, though of course, I would recommend visiting India if you can. Still, many life circumstances don’t allow such travel. Now this knowledge, information, and spiritual healing practice are available here and in many countries around the world.
Trish: I’m sure many people have seen the local listing in the paper for the church, with the Sanskrit words Aarathi, Abishek, and Bhajans. For the vast majority of readers who don’t know what those words mean, can you tell us more about the practices up at the temple?
Dr. Thompson: The spiritual practices you see performed at the Curch of Divine Lineage temple come directly from the spiritual philosophy of the ancient manuscripts. They utilize knowledge of the five elements and how those elements interact to make up this creation, but all in a devotional practice to deepen every participant's personal relationship and experience of the divine energies in their own life. Further, both directly and indirectly, these spiritual practices are healing technologies that facilitate healing at all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Trish: Sri Kaleshwar has been officially recognized as a “National Treasure of India”; television specials have been done in India about his life, as have numerous magazine articles been written throughout the world. Sri Kaleshwar earned a degree in botany at college, and he was also given an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Complementary Medicine in Malaysia, placing his name alongside such notable figures as Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. He had already received an honorary doctorate degree from the Sri Krishnadevaraya University in India. Although he is virtually unknown in this country, can you talk about the sort of recognition he has globally?
Dr. Thompson: It is true that Sri Kaleshwar is recognized as one of India’s greatest living spiritual figures today. Aside from his work with students to create spiritual healers, in India his charitable public work in social services is monumental in scope.
Trish: I know. The extent of what Sri Kaleshwar has created is almost beyond belief. I have heard him say that our lives must leave a “sweet fragrance, and be a great message that lives long after we are gone.” He created the “Shirdi Sai Global Trust” for his charitable works. When I look at pictures of some of these events, the gratitude in the eyes of the people brings tears to my own eyes! In 2007 he created a free eye clinic to restore the sight of people blinded by cataracts, and already more than 2000 people have had their sight restored. He has provided relief for victims of tsunamis and provides on-going food aid to HIV children. During the droughts in his home state during the last few years, over one million meals were provided in camps set up that provided food and shelter. Sri Kaleshwar personally performed and financed the marriage ceremony of 505 couples who were too poor to otherwise get married, providing new clothes, the wedding necklaces, and a new sewing machine for each couple, along with food for the 50,000 guests who showed up at the ashram for the ceremony. He has “adopted” 100 villages surrounding his ashram – taking responsibility to provide the infrastructure of schools, roads, medical clinics, drilling wells, laying pipes, and providing pumps to provide clean drinking water to everyone, and cows to families. Temples and churches of all faiths were provided with microphone sets to promote spirituality and harmony between all faiths. On his wedding anniversary in 2009, he and his wife distributed over 1,000 tri-cycles to the poor and physically handicapped people, with a commitment to provide 10,000 more still needed in his home state of Andhra Pradesh. This action inspired other organizations and government agencies to implement similar programs. Sri Kaleshwar has plans for a Medical college, dental college, and nursing college in 2010. I have also heard the story that when Sri Kaleshwar found out that the high school student who scored the top mark in school was selling sugar cane on the streets, too poor to attend college, he personally agreed to finance the top 1000 students to attend college. He also provides scholarships for American and European students who wish to attend the “soul university” at his ashram.
How does Sri Kaleshwar finance such huge charitable works, and can you tell us about your experience with the events you were personally involved with?
Dr. Thompson: His ashram and charitable works from the beginning have been supported by donations. Sri Kaleshwar firmly believes in not putting off till tomorrow what you can do today, especially when it comes to solving your own or other people’s problems. It’s also related to how suffering is formed on this planet; we shouldn’t trust the time when it comes to healing or relieving suffering of any kind. I can say from numerous occasions he performs the impossible, with resources that aren’t existent until after the fact. I’ve seen him literally give everything in his pocket to someone in need who asked for it in that moment. He has amazing faith that when we do the right thing, the Divine energies will always support it, and when we do our maximum best, the supporting energies the Divine provides will also be the maximum.
Over the past few years, I’ve helped staff several free medical clinics for the poor villagers surrounding Penukonda. These medical clinics were administered and paid for solely through the Shirdi Sai Global Trust. A typical day at such a clinic sees 2-4 thousand often destitute men, women, and children lining up and standing in the sun often for hours, for the rare opportunity for free medical care and medicines. The most recent example of that humanitarian giving nature was in August of this year, when Swami Kaleshwar visited an orphanage in Kadapa, India for the first time. After seeing the ramshackle facility, home to more than fifty orphaned children, he was so touched by the service being provided there that he personally arranged for the orphanage to receive more than US $60,000, an entire year’s operating expenses. Additionally, he arranged for the Indian non-profit which runs the orphanage to begin construction of a new, modern, and appropriate facility for these children. After returning from his visit, he spoke of the staff there, saying, “They are the real saints. No selfishness, no name, no fame, no ego, simply caring and taking care of these children who are purely innocent but facing the worst hardships here in India.”
Trish: As a student of Sri Kaleshwar, I know that service to others is expected on this path. Can you talk about the importance of serving others on this spiritual path, and why it is necessary?
Dr. Thompson: That’s a great question…we enter this life with nothing, and we leave this body with nothing. Whatever is ours has been given to us. And whatever we believe is ours can be taken from us: health, relationships, reputation, status, money, house, or possessions. What is the real meaning and purpose of these things that we leave behind after our life is over? In the ancient Indian tradition, the purpose of all of this in this grand leela (Divine play), is to discover our true nature as Divine light, as helpers, serving and lifting whatever is in need around us, just as the God energy is constantly serving it’s own creation and answering all prayers.
Trish: Sri Kaleshwar says, “All religions are one, the candles are different, the flame is the same.” He teaches that there are as many pathways to God as there are souls seeking God. In India above the main temple at his ashram, there is a beautiful Jesus temple; on the wall in the dining hall, there is a large 6-foot painting of Mother Theresa that I personally really love. His students are of all ages and faiths, including many Christians, Buddhists, and Jews. I have heard him say that he doesn’t belong to any religion except the religion of truth and love. How would you describe the relationship of Sri Kaleshwar with other religions and traditions?
Dr. Thompson: Swami and the ancient Indian knowledge teach that all religions are One, that that one is Love. True mutual understanding, harmony between belief systems, and a huge sharing and giving nature are the marks of the Truth. Sri Kaleshwar respects all religions and beliefs systems but disagrees that it’s ever appropriate or right to hurt another, especially based on religious belief. He has an amazing relationship, connection and deep understanding and love for Jesus, for that great Divine Soul. Throughout his lectures he often scatters stories and references about saints from numerous traditions, including Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, and of course, he speaks most often of his own master Shirdi Sai Baba, who died in 1918 in his eighties, after living the austere life of a saint in northern India. Baba proclaimed throughout his life that he was neither Muslim or Hindu or Christian, that all religions were One. The true reality of spirituality transcends labels such as this religion, that religion, this path, that path. There are many paths, but one mountaintop; many candles, but One Light.
Trish: Last month the Church of Divine Lineage temple in Laytonville hosted an event that drew three hundred people from all over the US for a process called the “Surya Nadi”. Can you tell us more about that event and the significance of it?
Dr. Thompson: Well, the Surya Nadi is a teaching from the ancient manuscripts that describes how to personally experience and directly channel the light and divine power of the sun into your own soul and beingness. That event in August was the most striking example yet of the interest in this knowledge and spiritual experience that is really starting to take off in America. Like most of the energy systems that Sri Kaleshwar teaches, the Surya Nadi and it’s companion system the Chandra Nadi relate to both the individual in terms of personal healing, enlightenment experiences, consciousness, bliss states and peace, and it also relates to the greater society as it lends itself to anyone practicing it to help and work on behalf of others as a healer.
Trish: Can you say a few more words about this Chandra Nadi event in October?
Dr. Thompson: We are very excited about this event, and the chance for Sri Kaleshwar to return once again to Laytonville, where he has already visited 4 times: in 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2009. Many hundreds of people literally from around the world will be converging at the Church of Divine Lineage temple to meet and receive transmissions of healing energy and knowledge from Sri Kaleshwar in person.
Trish: I appreciate so much you taking the time to talk with me because I know how busy you are. But I feel that sharing this information and experiences to those who are interested is so important. As Sri Kaleshwar would say, “Make your life a divine message to the planet.” May everyone reading these words discover their true nature and soul purpose.
Nityaananda (Clint Thompson, MD)
is a physician who trained directly for 15 years with Sri Kaleshwar until his mahasamadhi in 2012. He resides at the Divine Lineage Healing Center in Laytonville, California and gives teachings, healings and healing energy transmissions around the world.
Nityaananda is the author of The Awareness of Healing.