The Five Tibetans
One afternoon some years ago, I was sitting in the park reading an afternoon paper, when an elderly gentleman walked up and seated himself alongside me. Appearing to be in his late sixties, he was grey and balding, his shoulders drooped, and he leaned on a cane as he walked. Little did I know that from that moment, the whole course of my life would be changed forever!
It wasn't long before two of us were engaged in a fascinating conversation. It turned out that the old man was a retired British Army Officer, who had also served in the diplomatic corps for the Crown. As a result he had travelled at one time or another to virtually every corner of the globe. And Colonel Bradford, as I shall call him---though that is not his real name- held me spellbound with highly entertaining stories of his adventures.
When we parted, we agreed to meet again, and before long, a close friendship had developed between us. Frequently we got together at his place or mine for discussions and conversation that lasted late into night.
On one of these occasions, it became clear to me that there was something of importance that Colonel Bradford wanted to talk about, but for some reason was reluctant to do so. I attempted to tactfully put him at ease, assuring him that if he wanted to tell me what was on his mind, I would keep it in strict confidence. Slowly at first, and then with increasing trust, he began to talk.
While stationed in India some years ago, Colonel Bradford had from time to time come in contact with wandering natives from remote regions of the interior, and he had heard many fascinating stories of their life and customs. One strange tale that particularly caught his interest was repeated quite a number of times, and always by the natives of a particular district. Those from other districts seemed never to have heard of it.
It concerned a group of Lamas, or Tibetan priests who according to the story knew the secret of the "Fountain of Youth". For thousands of years, members of this particular sect had handed down this extraordinary secret. And while they made no effort to conceal it, their monastery was so remote and isolated, they were virtually cut off from the outside world.
The monastery and its "fountain of Youth" had become something of a legend to the natives who spoke of it. They told stories of old men who mysteriously regained health, strength, and vigor after finding and entering the monastery. But no one seemed to know the exact location of this strange and marvellous place.
Like so many other men, Colonel Bradford had become old at the age of 40 and since then had not been growing any younger. The more he heard of this miraculous "Fountain of Youth" the more he became convinced that such a place already existed. He began to gather information on directions, the character of the country, the climate, and other data that might help him locate the spot. Once his investigation had begun, the Colonel became increasingly obsessed with a desire to find this "Fountain of Youth".
The desire, he told me, had become so irresistible, he had decided to return to India and earnestly search for this retreat and its secret of lasting youth. And Colonel Bradford asked me if I would join him in the search.
Normally, I would be the first to be sceptical of such an unlikely story. But the colonel was completely sincere. And the more he told me of this "Fountain of Youth", the more I became convinced that it could be true. For a while I was tempted to join the Colonel's search. But as I began to take practical matters into considerations, I finally sided with reason and decided against it.
As soon as Colonel Bradford had left, I began to doubt whether I had made the right decision. To reassure myself, I reasoned that perhaps it is a mistake to want to conquer aging. Perhaps we should all resign ourselves to growing old gracefully, and not ask more from life than others expect.
Yet in the back of my mind the haunting possibility remained: a "A Fountain of Youth"." What a thrilling idea! For his sake, I hoped that the colonel might find it.
Years passed, and in the press of everyday affairs Colonel Bradford and his "Shangri La" grew dim in my memory. Then one evening on returning to my apartment, I found a letter in the Colonel's own handwriting. I quickly opened and read the message that appeared to have been written in joyous desperation. The Colonel said that in spite of frustrating delays and setbacks, he believed that he was actually on the verge of finding the "Fountain of Youth". He gave no return address, but I was at least relieved to know that the Colonel was still alive.
Many more months passed before I heard from him again. When a second letter finally arrived, my hands almost trembled as I opened it. For a moment I could not believe its content. The news was better than I could possibly have hoped. Not only had the Colonel found the "Fountain of Youth" he was bringing it back to the states with him, and would arrive sometime within the next two months.
Four years had elapsed since I had last seen my old friend. And I began to wonder how he might have changed in that period of time. Had this "fountain of Youth" enabled him to stop the clock on advancing age? Would he look as he did when I last saw him, or would he appear to be only one year older instead of four?
Eventually the opportunity to answer these questions arrived. While I was at home alone one evening, the house phone rang unexpectedly. When I answered, the doorman announced, "Colonel Bradford is here to see you." A rush of excitement came over me as I said, "Send him right up." Shortly, the bell rang and I threw open the door. But to my disappointment I saw before me not Colonel Bradford, but another much younger man. Noting my surprise the stranger said, " Weren't you expecting me?"
"I thought it would be someone else," I answered, a little puzzled and confused.
"I thought I would be receiving a more enthusiastic welcome," said the visitor in a friendly voice. " Look closely at my face. Do I need to introduce myself?"
Confusion turned to bewilderment, and then amazed disbelief as I stared at the figure before me. Slowly, I realised that the features of his face did indeed resemble those of Colonel Bradford. But this man looked as the Colonel might have looked years ago in the prime of his life. Instead of a stooping, sallow old man with a cane, I saw a tall straight figure. His face was robust, and he had a thick growth of dark hair with scarcely a trace of grey.
" It is indeed I," said the Colonel, "and if you don't ask me inside, I'll think your manners badly lacking."
In joyous relief I embraced the Colonel, and unable to contain my excitement, I ushered him in under a barrage of questions.
"Wait, wait," he protested good-naturedly. "Allow yourself to catch your breadth, and I'll tell you everything that's happened. And this he proceeded to do.
As soon as he arrived in India, the Colonel started directly for the district where the fabled "Fountain of youth" allegedly existed. Fortunately he knew quite a bit of the native language, and he spent many months establishing contacts and befriending people. Then he spent many months putting together the pieces of the puzzle. It was a long slow process, but persistence finally won him the coveted prize. After a long and perilous expedition into the remote reaches of the Himalayas, he finally found the monastery, which, according to legend, held the secret of lasting youth and rejuvenation.
I only wish that time and space permitted me to record all of the things that Colonel Bradford experienced after being admitted to the monastery. Perhaps it is better that I do not, for much of it sounds more like fantasy than fact. The interesting practices of the Lamas, their culture, and their utter indifference to the outside world are hard for western man to grasp and understand.
In the monastery older men and women were nowhere to be seen. The Lamas good naturedly referred to the Colonel as "the Ancient One" for it had been a very long time since they had seen anyone who looked as old as he. Though them he was the most novel sight.
"For the first two weeks after I arrived," said the Colonel, "I was like a fish out of water, I marvelled at everything I saw, and at times could hardly believe what was before my eyes. Soon, my health began to improve, I was able to sleep soundly at night, and every morning I awoke feeling more and more refreshed and energetic. Before long, I found that I needed my cane only when hiking in the mountains.
One morning after I arrived, I got the biggest surprise of my life. I had entered for the first time a large well ordered room in the monastery, one that was used as a kind of library for ancient manuscripts. At one end of the room was a full-length mirror. Because I had travelled for the past two years in this remoter and primitive region, I had not in all that time seen my reflection in a mirror. So with some curiosity I stepped before the glass.
"I stared at the image in front of me in disbelief. My physical appearance had changed so dramatically that I looked fully 15 years younger than my age. For so many years I had dared hope that the "Fountain of Youth" might truly exist. Now, before my very eyes was physical proof of its reality.
"Words cannot describe the joy and elation which I felt. In the weeks and months ahead, my appearance continued to improve, and the change became increasingly apparent to all that knew me. Before long, my honorary title, 'The Ancient One', was heard no more."
At this point the Colonel was interrupted by a knock at the door. I opened it to admit a couple who, though they were good friends of mine, had picked this inopportune moment to visit. Concealing my disappointment as best I could, I introduced them to the Colonel, and we all chatted together for a while. Then the Colonel rose and said I am sorry that I must leave so early, but I have another commitment this evening. I hope I shall see all of you again soon. " But at the door he turned to me and said softly, "Could you have lunch with me tomorrow? I promise, if you do, you'll hear all about "The Fountain of Youth."
We agreed to meet at a time and place, and the Colonel departed. As I returned to my friends, one of them remarked, "He certainly is a fascinating man, but he looks awfully young to be retired from the army service."
"How old do you think he is?" I asked.
"Well he doesn't look forty," answered my guest, but from the conversation I would gather he's at least that old."
"Yes, at least," I said evasively. And then I steered the conversation to another topic; I wasn't about to repeat the Colonel's incredible story, at least not until he had fully explained everything.
The next day, after having lunch together, the Colonel and I went up to his room in a nearby hotel. And there at last he told me in full details on "The Fountain of Youth".
"The first important thing that I was taught after entering the monastery, "said the Colonel," was this: the body has seven energy centers, which in English could be called vortexes. The Hindus call them Chakras. They are powerful electrical fields, invisible to the eye, but quite real nonetheless. Each of these seven Vortexes centers on one of the seven ductless glands in the body's endocrine system and it functions in stimulating the glands hormonal output. It is these hormones which regulate all of the body's functions, including the process of aging.
"The lowest or first Vortex centers on the reproductive glands (1). The second vortex centers on the pancreas in the abdominal region (2). The third centers on the adrenal gland in the solar plexus region (3). The fourth vortex centers on the thymus gland in the chest or heart region (4). The fifth centers on the thyroid gland in the neck (5). The sixth centers on the pineal gland at the rear base of the brain (6). And the seventh, highest vortex centers on the pituitary gland at the forward base of the brain (7).
These energy vortexes revolve at great speed. When all are revolving at high speed and at the same rate of speed, the body is in perfect health. When one or more of them slow down, aging and physical deterioration set in.
"In a healthy body each of these vortexes revolves at great speed, permitting vital life energy, also called 'prana' or 'etheric energy' to flow upward through the endocrine system. But if one or more of these vortexes begin to slow down, the flow of vital life energy is inhibited or blocked. And well, that's another name for aging and ill health.
"These spinning vortexes extend outward from the flesh in a healthy individual, but in the old weak and sickly they hardly reach the surface. The quickest way to regain youth, health and vitality is to start these energy centers spinning normally again. There are five simple exercises that will accomplish this. Any one of them alone is also helpful, but all five a re required to get best results. These five exercises are not really exercises at all. The Lamas called them 'rites' and so that is how I shall refer to them too.
"The first rite", continued the Colonel, is a simple one. It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes. Children do it all the time when they're playing.
"All that you do is stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor. Now spin around until you become slightly dizzy. One thing is important: you must spin from left to right. In other words if you were to put a clock on the floor face-up, you would turn in the same direction as the clock hands.
"At first most adults will be able to spin around only about half a dozen times before becoming quite dizzy. As a beginner you shouldn't attempt to do more. And if you feel like sitting or lying down to recover from the dizziness, then by all means you should do just that. I certainly did at first. To begin with practice the rite only to the point of slight dizziness. But with time as you practice all five rites, you will be able to spin more and more times with less dizziness.
"Also in order to lessen dizziness, you can do what dancers and figure skates do. Before you begin to spin, focus your vision on a single point straight-ahead. As you begin to turn, continue holding your vision on that point as long as possible. Eventually you have to let it leave your field of vision, so that your head can spin on around with the rest of your body. As this happens turn your head around quickly, and refocus your point as soon as you can. This reference point enables you to become less disoriented and dizzy.
When I was in India, it amazed me to see the Maulawiyah, or as they are most commonly known, the whirling dervishes, almost unceasingly spin around in a religious frenzy. After being introduced it rite no one, I recalled two things in connection with this practice. First the whirling dervishes always spun in one direction, from left to right, or clockwise. Second the older dervishes were virile, strong and robust. Far more so than most men of their age.
"When I spoke to one of the Lamas about this, he informed me that this whirling movement of the dervishes did have a very beneficial effect, but also a devastating one. He explained that the excessive spinning over- stimulates some of the vortexes, so that they are finally exhausted. This had the effect of first accelerating the flow of vital life energy, and then blocking it. This building up and tearing down action causes the dervishes to experience a kind of 'psychic rush', which they mistake for something spiritual or religion.
"However," continued the Colonel, " the Lamas do not carry the whirling to an excess. While the whirling dervishes may spin around hundreds of times, the Lamas do it only about a dozen times or so, just enough to stimulate the vortexes into action."
"Following rite number one," continued the Colonel, is a second rite which further stimulates the seven vortexes. It is even simpler to do so. In rite number two, one first lays flat on the floor, face up. Its' best to lie on a thick carpet or some sort of padded surface. The Lamas perform the rites on what Westerners call a prayer rug, about two feet wide and six feet long. It's fairly thick, and is made of wool and a kind of vegetable fibre. It is solely for the purpose of insulating the body from the cold floor. Nevertheless, religious significance is attached to everything the Lamas do, and hence the name 'prayer rug'.
Once you have stretched out flat on your back, fully extend your arms along your sides, any place the palms of your hands against the floor, keeping the fingers close together. Then, raise your head off the floor, tucking the chin against the chest. As you do this, lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, let the legs extend back over the body, towards the head: but do not let the knees bend.
"Then slowly lower both the head and the legs, knees straight, to the floor. Allow all of the muscles to relax and then repeat the rite. With each repetition, establish a breathing rhythm. The more deeply you breathe the better.
"If you are unable to keep your knees perfectly straight, then let them bend as much as necessary. But as you continue to perform the rite, attempt to straighten them as much as you possibly can.
"One of the Lamas told me that when he first attempted to practice this simple rite, he was so old, weak and decrepit that he couldn't possibly lift his legs in a bent position so that this knees were straight up and his feet were hanging down. Little by little he was able to straighten out his legs until at the end of three months he could raise them straight with perfect ease.
"I marvelled at the particular Lama," said the Colonel. "When he told me this, he was the perfect picture of health and youth. Although I knew he was many years older than I was. For the sheer joy of exerting himself, he used to carry a load of vegetables weighing fully a hundred pounds on his back from the garden to the monastery several hundred feet above. He took his time but never once stopped on the way up. When he arrived, he didn't seem to be in the least exhausted. The first time I attempted to follow him up the hill, I had to stop at least a dozen times to catch my breadth. Later, I was able to climb the hill as easily as he was, and without my cane. But that is another story."
"The third rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two. It too is a very simple one. All that you need to do is kneel on the floor against the thigh muscles.
"Now incline the head and neck forward, tucking the chin against the chest. Then throw the head and neck back as far as they will go, and at the same time lead backward, arching the spine. As you arch you will brace your arms and hands against the thighs for support. After arching return to the original position, and start the rite all over again.
"As with the rite number two, you should establish a rhythmic breathing pattern. Breathe in deeply as you arch the spine. Breathe out as you return to an erect position. Deep breathing is most beneficial, so take as much air into your lungs as you possibly can.
"I have seen more than 200 Lamas perform this rite together. In order to turn their attention within; they closed their eyes. In this manner they eliminated distractions, and could focus themselves inwardly.
"Thousands of years ago, the Lamas discovered that all of the answers to life's imponderable mysteries are found within. They discovered that all of the things which go together to create our lives originate within the individual. Western man has never been able to understand and comprehend this concept. He thinks, as I did, that the uncontrollable forces of the material world shape our lives. For example, most westerners think it is a law of nature that our bodies must grow old and deteriorate. By looking within, the Lamas know this to be a self-fulfilling illusion.
"The Lamas, especially those at this particular monastery, are performing a great work for the world. It is performed, however at the astral plane. From this plane, they assist mankind around the globe, for it is high above the vibrations of the physical world, and is a powerful focal point where much can be accomplished with little loss of effort.
"One day the works will awaken in amazement to see the result of great works performed by these Lamas and the unseen forces. The time is fast approaching when a new age will dawn, and a New World will be seen. It will be a time when man learns to liberate the powerful inner force t his command to overcome war and pestilence, hatred and bitterness.
"So called 'civilised' mankind is in truth living in the darkest of dark ages. However, we are being prepared for better and more glorious things, as each one of us who strives to raise his of her consciousness of mankind as a whole. So performing the five rites has an impact far beyond the physical benefits which they achieve."
"The first time I performed rite number four," said the colonel," it seemed very difficult. But after a week it was as simple to do as any of the others.
"First sit down on the floor with legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12 inches apart. With the trunk of the body erect; place the palms of your hands on the floor alongside the buttocks. Then, tuck the chin forward against the chest.
"Now drop the head backward as far as it will go. At the same time, raise your body so than the knees bend while the arms remain straight. The trunk of the body will be in straight line with the upper legs, horizontal to the floor. And both the arms and lower legs will be straight up and down, perpendicular to the floor. Then tense every muscle in the body. Finally relax your muscles as you return to the original sitting position, and rest before repeating the procedure.
"Again breathing is important to this rite. Breathe in deeply as you rise up the body. Hold in the breadth as you tense the muscles. And breathe out completely as you come down. Continue breathing in the same rhythm as long as you rest between repetitions.
"After leaving the monastery," continued Colonel Bradford, " I went to a number of larger cities in India, and as an experiment I conducted classes for both English speaking people and Indians. I found that the older members of either group felt that unless they could perform this rite perfectly from the very start, no good could come out of it. It was extremely difficult to convince them that they were wrong. Finally, I persuaded them to do their best they could just to see what might happen in a month's time. Once I got them to simply do their best in attempting the rites, the results in one months' time were more than gratifying.
"I remember that in one city I had quite a few elderly people in one of my classes. In attempting this particular rite-number four-they could just barely get their bodies off the floor; they couldn't come close to reaching a horizontal position. In the same class, there were some much younger persons who had no difficulty performing his rite perfectly the very first day. This so discourages the older people that I had to separate the two groups. I explained to the older group that when I first attempted this rite, I couldn't perform it any better than they. But I told them; I can now perform 50 repetitions of the rite without feeling the slightest nervous or muscular strain. And to prove it, I did it right before their eyes. From then on the older groups broke all records for progress.
"The only difference between youth and vigor, and old age and poor health is simply the rate of speed, and the old man becomes new again."
The Colonel went on " when you perform the fifth rite, your body will be faced down to the floor. It will be supported by the hands, palms down against the floor, and toes in a fixed position. Throughout this rite, the hands and feet should each be spaced about two feet apart and the arms and feet should be kept straight.
"Start with your arms perpendicular to the floor, and the spine arched so that the body is in a sagging position. Now throw the head back as far as possible. Then bending at the hips, bring the body up into an inverted "V". At the same time bring the chin forward, tucking it against the chest. That's all there is to it. Return to the original position, and start the rite all over again.
"By the end of the first week, the average person will find this rite one of the easiest to perform. Once you become proficient at it, let the body drop from the raised position to a point almost, but not quite touching the floor. Tense the muscles for a moment both at the raised position to a point almost, but not quite touching the floor. Tense the muscles for a moment both at the raise the point, and at the low point.
"Follow the deep breathing pattern, pattern used in the previous rites. Breathe in deeply as you raise the body. Breathe out fully as you lower it."
"Everywhere I go," continued the Colonel," peoples at first call these rites isometric exercises. It's true that the five rites are helpful in stretching stiff muscles and joints, and improving muscle tone. But that is not there is not their primary purpose. The real benefits of the rites are to normalise the speed of the spinning vortexes. It starts them spinning at the same rate of speed. On the other hand, if you could see the seven vortexes of the average middle aged man or woman, you would notice right away that some of them would be working together in harmony. The slower ones would be causing that part of the body to deteriorate, while the faster ones would be causing nervousness, anxiety and exhaustion. So it is abnormal condition of the vortexes that produces abnormal health, deterioration, and old age."
As the Colonel was describing the five rites, questions were popping into my mind. And now that he was finished, I began to ask a few.
"How many times is each rite performed?" was my first question.
"To start with," replied the Colonel," I suggest that you practice each rite three times a day for the first week. Then every week that follows, increase the daily repetitions by two, until you are performing each rite 21 times a day. In other words, the second week, perform each rite five times; the third week, perform each rite seven times; the fourth week perform each rite nine times daily, and so on. In ten week's time, you'll be doing the full number of 21 rites per day.
"If you have difficulty practicing the first rite, the whirling one, as many times as you do the others, then simply do it as many times as you can without getting too dizzy. Eventually you will be able to whirl around the full 21 times.
"I knew a man who performed the rite more than a year before he could spin around that many times. He had no difficulty in performing the other four rites, so he increased the spinning very gradually until he was doing the full 21. And he got splendid results.
"There are a few people who find it difficult to spin around at all. Usually, if they omit their spinning, and perform the other four rites for four to six months, they find that they can then start to handle the spinning too."
"What time of the day should the rites be performed?" was my next question to the Colonel.
"They can be performed either in the morning, or at night," he answered," whichever is more convenient, but I would not advise so much of stimulation for the beginner. After you have been practicing the rites for about four months, you might start performing them the full number of times in the morning, and then at the night perform just three repetitions of each rite. Gradually increase these, as you did before, until you are performing the full 21. But it isn't necessary to perform the rites more than 21 rimes either morning or night, unless you are truly motivated to do so."
"Is each of these rites equally important?" I asked next.
"The five rites work hand-in -hand with each other and all are equally important." said the Colonel. After performing the rites for a while, if you find that you are not able to do all of them the required number of times, try splitting the rites into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. If you find it impossible to do one of the rites at all, omit it and do the other four. Then after a period of months, try the one you are having difficulty with again. Results may come a little more slowly this way, but they will come nevertheless.
"Under no circumstances should you ever strain yourself. That would be counter productive. Simply do as much as you can handle, and build up gradually. And never be discouraged. With time and patience there are very few people who cannot eventually perform all five rites 21 times a day.
"In attempting to overcome a difficulty with one of the rites, some people become very inventive. An old fellow in India found it impossible to properly perform rite number four, even once. He wouldn't be satisfied with just getting his body off the floor. He was determined that his torso should reach a horizontal position quite nicely.
"Now this gimmick may not have enabled the old gentleman to perform the rite the full 21 times. But it did make it possible for him to raise his body as high as much stronger men were able to do so. And this had a positive psychological effect, which in itself was quite beneficial. I do not particularly recommend his technique, but it could help others who think it's impossible to make progress any other way. If you have an inventive mind, you'll be able to think of other ways and means to help yourself perform any rite that may be particularly difficult for you."
Following up on my last question, I asked," What if one of the rites were left out entirely?"
"These are so powerful," said the Colonel," that if one were left out while the other four were practiced regularly the full number of times, excellent results would still be experienced. Even one rite alone will do wonders, as the whirling dervishes, whom I spoke of earlier, demonstrate. The older dervishes, who did not spin around so excessively as the younger ones, were strong and virile-a good indication that just one rite can have powerful effects. So if you find that you simply cannot perform all of the rites, or you cannot perform the full 21 times, be assured that you will get good results from whatever you are able to do."
I next asked," Can the rites be performed in conjunction with other exercise programs, or would the two conflict?"
"By all means said the Colonel,"
If you already have some kind of exercise program, then continue it. If you don't, then think about starting one. Any form of exercise but especially cardiovascular exercise helps the body maintain a youthful equilibrium. In addition the five rites will help to normalise the spinning vortexes so that the body becomes even more receptive to the benefits of exercise."
"Does anything else go with the five rites," I asked.
"There are two more things which would help. I've already mentioned deep rhythmic breathing while resting with the repetitions of the rites. I addition between each of the rites, it would be helpful to stand erect with your hands on your hips, breathing deeply and rhythmically several times. As you breathe out, imagine that any tension which may be in your body is draining away, allowing you to feel quite relaxed and at ease. As you breathe in, imagine that you are filling yourself with a sense of well-being and fulfilment.
"The other suggestion is to take either a tepid bath or a cool, but not a cold one after practicing the rites. Going over the body with a wet towel, and then with a dry one is probably even better. One thing I must caution you against: you must never take a shower, tub or a wet towel bath, which is cold enough to chill you internally. If you do you will have undone all of the good you have gained from performing the rites."
I was excited at all the Colonel had told me, but deep down inside there must have been some lingering scepticism." Is it possible that the "Fountain of Youth" is really as simple as what you have described to me?" I asked.
"All that is required," answered the Colonel," is to practice the rites three times a day to begin with, and to gradually increase until you are performing each one 21 times a day. That is a wonderfully simple secret that could benefit all the world if it were known."
"Of course," he added," you must practice the rites every day in order to achieve the real benefits. You may skip one day a week, but never more than that. And if you allow a business trip or some other commitment to interrupt this daily routine, your over all progress will suffer.
"Fortunately, most people who begin the five rites find it not only easy, but also enjoyable and rewarding to perform them everyday, especially when they begin to see the benefits. After all it takes twenty minutes or so to do all the five. And a physically fit person can perform the rites in ten minutes or less. If you have that much trouble finding even that much spare time, then just get up a few minutes earlier in the morning, or go to bed a little late at night.
"The five rites are for the express purpose of restoring health and youthful vitality to the body. Other factors help determine whether you will dramatically transform your physical appearance, as I have done. Two of these are mental attitude and desire.
"You've noticed that some people look old at 40, while others look young at 60. Mental attitude is what makes the difference. If you are able to see yourself as young, in spite of your old age, others will see you that way too. Once I began practicing the rites, I made an effort to erase from my mind the image of myself as a feeble old man. Instead I fixed in mind the image of myself when I was in the prime of my life. As I put energy in the form of very strong desire behind that image. The result is what you see now.
For many people this would be a difficult feat, because they find it impossible to change the way they set themselves. They believe that the body is programmed, to sooner or later, become old and feeble and nothing will shake them from that view. Inspire of this, once they begin to practice the five rites they will begin to feel younger and more energetic. This will help them to change the way they see themselves. Little by little they will see themselves to be younger. And before long, others will be committing that they have a younger appearance.
"There is one other extremely important factor for those who want to look dramatically younger. There is an additional rite which I've mentioned been holding back on. But rite number six is a subject which I will save for a later time."
It had been almost three months since Colonel Branford's return from India and a great deal had happened at that time. I had immediately begun practicing the five rites, and was greatly pleased with excellent results. The Colonel had been away tending to personal matters so I had been out of contact with him for some time. When he finally phoned me up again, I eagerly told him all about my progress, and I assured him that it had already demonstrated to my complete satisfaction how very effective the rites can be.
In fact, I had become so enthusiastic about the rites, I was eager to pass the information on to others that might also benefit. So I asked the Colonel if he could consider leading a class. He agreed that it was a good idea and said that he would do it, but only on three conditions.
The first condition was that the class must contain a cross section of men and women from all walks of life; professionals, blue collar workers, homemakers and so on. The second condition was that no member of the class could be under 50 years of age, though they could be a hundred or more if I could find anyone that old willing to participate. The Colonel insisted on this, even thought the five rites are beneficial to the younger people. And the third condition was that the class is limited to fifteen members. This came as a considerable disappointment to me, because I had envisioned a much larger group. After trying without success to persuade the Colonel to change his mind, I agreed to all three conditions.
Before long, I had managed to assemble a group that met all of the requirements, and right from the beginning the class was a huge success. We met once a week and as early as the second week, I thought that I could see signs of improvement in several of its members. However the Colonel had asked us not to discuss our progress with one another, and I had no way of knowing whether the others would agree. Then, at the end of the month my uncertainty was put to rest. We held a kind of testimonial meeting at which all of us were invited to share our results. Everyone present reported at least some improvement. Some had glowing accounts of progress, and a few of these could even be called remarkable. A man nearing 75 had made more gains than the others had.
Weekly meetings of the "Himalaya Club" as we named it continued. When the tenth week finally came, practically all of the members wee performing all the five rites 21 times a day. All claimed not only to be felling better, they also believed that they were looking younger, and several even joked that they wee no longer telling their real ages. This reminded me that when we had asked the Colonel his age some weeks back, he had said that he would hold that information until the end of the tenth week. Well the time had arrived, but as yet the Colonel hadn't put in an appearance. Someone suggested that each of us guess the Colonel' age and write it on a slip of paper. Then, when the truth was announced, we could see who came closest. We agreed to do this, and the slips of paper were being collected as Colonel Bradford walked in.
When we explained what we were up to, Colonel Bradford said, "Bring them here so I can see them how well you've done. And then I will tell you what my age really is." In an amused voice, the Colonel read each of the slips aloud. Everyone guessed him to be in his forties and most had guessed the early forties.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he said," thank you for your very generous compliments. And since you've been honest with me, I'll be the same with you. I shall be 73 years of age next birthday."
At first stared at him in disbelief. Was it really possible for a 73 year old man to look nearly half his age. Then it occurred to them to ask, why had the Colonel achieved results so much more dramatic than their own?
"In the first place," the Colonel explained," you have been doing this wonderful work for only ten weeks. When you have been at it for two years you will see a much more pronounced change. But there is more to it then just that. I haven't told you all that there is to know.
"I have given you five rites which are for the purpose of restoring youthful health and vitality. They will also help you regain a younger appearance. But if you want to completely restore the health and appearance of youth, there is the sixth rite which you must practice, I've said nothing about it until now, because it would have been useless to you without having first obtained good results from the other five."
The Colonel warned them that in order to take advantage of this sixth rite; they would have to accept a very difficult self -restraint. He suggested that they take some time to consider whether they were willing to do this for the rest of their lives. And he invited those who wished to go on with rite number six to return the following week. After thinking it over only five of the group came back though the Colonel as a better showing than he had experienced with any of his classes in India.
When he had told them about the additional rite, the Colonel had made it clear that it would lift up the body's reproductive energy. This lifting up process would cause not only the mind to be renewed, but the entire body as well. But he warned that it would entail a restriction which most people were unwilling to accept. Now the Colonel continued with this explanation.
"In the average man or women, part- often a large part- of the vital life force that feeds the seven vortexes is channelled into reproductive energy. So much of it is dissipated in the first vortex that it never has a chance to reach the other six.
"In order to become a superman or super woman, this powerful life force must be conserved and turned upward, so that it can be utilised by all of the vortexes, especially the seventh. In other words, it is necessary to become celibate so that reproductive energy can be re-channelled to a higher use.
"Now turning vital life force upward is a very simple matter, and yet through the centuries, man in attempting usually fails. In the west whole religious orders have tried this very thing and failed, because they sought to master reproductive energy by suppressing it. There is only one way to master this powerful urge, and that is not by dissipating or suppressing it. There is only one way to master this powerful urge, and that is not by dissipating or suppressing it, but by transmuting it, transmuting it, and at the same time lifting it upward. In this way, you have not only discovered the 'Elixir of Life', as the ancients called it, you have also put it to use, which is something the ancients were seldom able to do.
"Now rite number six is the easiest thing in the world to perform. It should be practiced only when you feel an excess of sexual energy, and there is a natural desire for its expression. Fortunately this rite is so simple that you can do it anywhere at any time, whenever the urge is felt. Here's all you do:
"Stand straight up and slowly let all of the air out of lungs. As you do this, bend over and put your hands on your knees. Force out the last trace of air, and then with the lungs empty, return to a straight up posture. Place your hands on your hips, and press down on them. This will push your shoulders up. As you do this pull in the abdomen s much as possible and at the same time raise the chest.
"Now hold this position as long as you possibly can. When you are finally forced to take air into your empty lungs, let the airflow through the nose. As you exhale relax your arms, letting them hang naturally at your sides. Then take several deep breadths through the mouth or nose. This constitutes one complete performance of rite number six. About three repetitions are required for most people to redirect sexual energy, and turn its powerful force upward.
"There is only one difference between a person who is healthy and vital, and a person who is a superman or superwoman. The former channels vital life force into sexual energy, while the latter turns this force upward to create balance and harmony through all of the seven vortexes. That's why a superman or superwoman grows younger and younger day-by day and moment by moment. HE or she creates within himself the true 'Elixir of Life'.
"Now you can understand that the 'Fountain of Youth' was within me all the time. The five rites, or six to be more precise, was merely a key that unlocked the door. When I recall Ponce de Leon and his futile search for the 'Fountain of Youth', I think what a pity it was that he journeyed so far in order to come up empty handed. He could have achieved his goal without ever leaving home. But like me, he believed that the Fountain of youth must be in some distant corner of the world. He never suspected that all the time it was right within himself.
"Please understand that in order to perform rite number six, it is absolutely necessary that an individual have active sexual urge. He or she could not possibly transmute reproductive energy if there were little or nothing to transmute. It is absolutely impossible for a person who has lost sexual urge to perform this rite. He or she should not even attempt it, because it would only lead to discouragement, and more harm than good. Instead, such an individual regardless of age should first practice the other five rites until they regain a normal sexual urge. When this is achieved, he or she may then go into the business of being a superman or superwoman.
"Also an individual should not attempt rite number six unless he or she is motivated to do so. If an individual feels incomplete in terms of sexual expression, and must struggle to overcome its attraction, then an individual in not truly capable of transmuting reproductive energy and directing it upward. Instead energy will be misdirected into struggle and inner conflict. The sixth rite is only for those who feel sexually complete, and who have a real desire to move on to different goals.
"For the great majority of people, a celibate life is simply not a feasible choice, and they should perform the first five rites only. However, in time the five rites may lead to a changing in priorities and a genuine desire to become superman or superwoman. At that time the individual should make a firm decision to begin a new way of life. Such an individual must be ready to move forward without wavering or looking back. Those who are capable of this are on their way to becoming true masters, able to use vital life force to achieve anything they desire.
"I repeat that let no man or woman think of turning sexual currents upward until he or she is prepared to leave physical needs behind in exchange for the rewards of true mastership. Then let the individual step forward, and success will crown his or her every effort."
After the tenth week, Colonel Bradford no longer attended each meeting but did keep up his interest in the "Himalaya Club". From time to time he would speak to the group on various helpful subjects, and occasionally members of the group asked advice on something in particular. For example several of us were especially interested in diet and the tremendously important role that food plays in our lives. There were different views on the subject, and so we decided to ask Colonel Bradford to describe to us the Lamas' diet, and their policy concerning foods.
"In the Himalayan monastery where I was a neophyte, said the Colonel when he spoke to us the following week," there are no problems concerning the right foods, not in getting sufficient quantities of food. Each of the Lamas does his share of work in producing what he needed. All the work is done in the most primitive way. Even the soil is spaded by hand. Of course, the Lamas can use oxen and plows if they wished, but they prefer direct contact with the soil. They feel that handling and working the soil adds something to the man's existence. I personally found it to be a thoroughly rewarding experience. It contributed to a feeling of oneness with nature.
"Now it is true that the Lamas are vegetarian, but not strictly so. They do use eggs, butter and cheese in quantities sufficient to serve certain functions of the brain, body and nervous system. However they do not eat flesh, for the Lamas, who are strong and healthy, and who practice rite number six seem to have no need of meat, fish or fowl.
"Like myself, most of those who joined the ranks of the Lamas were men of the world who knew little about proper food and diet. But no long after coming to the monastery, they invariably began to show signs wonderful signs of physical improvement. And this was due in part at least to their diet there.
"No lama is choosey about what he eats, He can't be because there is little to choose from. A lama's diet consists of good, wholesome food, but as a rule it consists of only one item of food at a meal. That is an important secret of health. When one eats just one kind of food at a time, there can be no clashing of foods in the stomach. Foods clash in the stomach because starches do not mix well with proteins. For example, bread, which is a starch, is eaten with proteins such as meat. eggs or cheese, a chemical reaction is set up in the stomach. It not only can cause gas and immediate physical distress. Over time it contributes to a shortened life span, and a lesser quality of life.
"Many times in the monastery dining hall I sat down to the table along with the Lamas, and ate a meal consisting only of bread. At other times we ate nothing but fresh vegetables and fruits. At other meals, I ate nothing but cooked vegetables and fruits.
"At first I was hungry for my usual diet. And the variety of foods which I had been accustomed to; but before long I could eat and enjoy a meal consisting of nothing but dark bread, or just one kind of fruit. Sometimes a meal of just one vegetable would seem like a feast.
"Now I am not suggesting that you limit yourself to a diet of just one kind of food per meal, or even that you eliminate meals from your diet, But I would recommend starches, fruits and vegetables separate from meats, fish and fowl at your meals. It is all right to make a meal of just meat. In fact if you wish you could have several kinds of meat in one meal. And it is all right to eat butter, eggs and cheese with a meat meal, or dark bread if you wish coffee or tea. But you must not end with anything sweet or starchy-no pies, cakes or puddings.
"Butter seems to be neutral. It can be eaten with either a starchy meal, or with a meat meal. Milk agrees better with starches. Coffee and tea should always be taken black, never with a cream, although a small amount of sweetening will do no harm.
"The proper use of eggs was another interesting and useful thing that I learned during my stay in the monastery. The Lamas would not eat whole eggs unless they had been performing hard manual labor. Then they might eat one whole medium boiled egg. But they would frequently eat raw egg yolks, discarding the whites. At first it seemed to me a waste of perfectly good food to throw the whites to the chickens. But then I learned that the egg whites are utilised only by the muscles and should not be eaten unless the muscles are exercised." I had always known that egg yolks are nutritious, but I learned of their value only after talking with another Westerner at the monastery, a man who had a background in biochemistry. He told me that common hen eggs contain fully half of the elements required by the brain, nerves and organs of the body. It is true that these elements are needed only in small quantities, but they must be included in the diet if you are to be exceptionally healthy and robust, both mentally and physically.
"There is one more very important thing that I learnt from the Lamas. They taught me the importance of eating slowly, not for the sake of good table manners but for the purpose of masticating my food more thoroughly. Mastication is the first important step in breaking down food so that the body can assimilate it. Everything one eats should be digested in the mouth before it is digested in the stomach. If you gulp down food, bypassing this vital step, it is literally dynamite when it reaches the stomach.
"Protein foods such as meat, fish and fowl require less mastication than complex starches. It is just as well to chew them thoroughly anyway. The more completely food is masticated, the more nourishing it will be. This means that if you thoroughly chew your food, the amount you eat can be reduced often by one half.
"Many things which I had taken for granted before entering the monastery seemed shocking when I left it two years later. One of the food things I noticed when I arrived in one of the major cities in India was the large amount of food consumed by everyone who could afford to do so. I saw one man eat in just one meal a quantity of food sufficient to feed and completely nourish four hard working Lamas. But of course the Lamas can never dream of putting into their stomachs the combinations of food, which this man consumed.
"The conglomeration of foods in one meal was another thing that appalled. Having been in the habit of eating one or two foods at a meal, I was amazed to count 23 varieties of foods one evening at my host's table. No wonder westerners have such miserable health. They seem to know little or nothing about the relation of diet to health and strength.
"The right foods, the right combinations of food, the right amount of food and the right method of eating combine to produce wonderful results. If you are overweight it will help you to reduce. And if you are underweight, it will help you to gain There are quite a few other points about food and diet that I would like to go into, but time doesn't permit.
Just keep in mind these five things:
1. Never eat starch and meat at the same meal, though if you are strong and healthy, it need not concern you too much of concern now.
2. If coffee bothers you drink it black, using no milk or cream. If it still bothers you eliminate from your diet.
3. Chew your food to a liquid, and cut down on the amount of food you eat.
4. Eat raw egg yolks once a day, every day. Take them either just before or after meals-, not during meal.
5. Reduce the variety of foods you eat in one meal to a minimum.
Colonel Bradford was addressing the "Himalaya Club" for the last time before leaving top travel to other parts of the US and his native England. HE had chosen to speak on various themes other then the five rites, which help in the rejuvenation process. And as he stood before the group, he appeared to be sharper, more alert, and more vigorous than ever before. Immediately after his return from India, he had seemed to be the image of perfection. But since then he had continued to improve, and even now he was making new gains.
"First of all," said the Colonel, I must apologise to the women in our group, because much of what I have to say tonight will be directed to the men. Of course the five rites which I have taught you are equally beneficial to men and women. But being a man myself, I would like to speak on a subject of importance to other men.
"I'll begin by talking about the male voice. Do you know that some experts can tell how much sexual vitality a man has just by listening to hi speak? We have all heard the shrill, piping voice of a man who is advanced in age. Unfortunately, when an older person's voice begins to take on that pitch, it's sure that physical deterioration is well under way. Let me explain.
"The fifth vortex at the base of the neck governs the vocal chords, and it also has a direct connection with the first vortex in the body's sexual center. Of course all of the vortexes have common connections, but these two are in a manner of speaking, geared together. What affects one affects the other. As a man's voice is high and shrill, it's an indicator that his sexual vitality is low. And if energy in this first vortex is low, you can bet that's its lacking in the other six as well.
"Now, all that 's necessary to speed up the first and fifth vortexes, along with all the others, is to practice the five rites. But there is another method that men can use to help sped up the process. It's easy to do. All that's required is willpower. You simply need to consciously, make the effort to lower your voice. Listen to yourself speak, and if you hear yourself becoming higher or shriller, adjust your voice to a lower register. Listen to men who have good, firm speaking voices, and take note of the sound. Then whenever you speak, keep your voice down in that masculine pitch as much as possible.
"A very old person will this to be quite a challenge, but the reward is that it does bring excellent results. Before long, the lowered vibrations of your voice will speed up the vortex in the base of the throat. That, in turn will help speed up the vortex in the sexual center, which is the body's doorway to vital life energy. As the upward flow of this energy increases, the throat vortex will speed up still more, helping the voice to go still lower, and so on.
"There are young men who appear to be robust and virile now, but who will unfortunately will nit remain that way for long. That is because their voices were never fully matured, and remained rather high. These individuals, as well as the older ones I've been talking about, can get wonderful results by consciously making the effort to lower their voices. Ina younger person, this will help to preserve virility, while in the older one it will help to renew it.
"Sometime ago I came across an excellent voice exercise. Like other effective things, it is quite simple Whenever you are by yourself, or when there is sufficient noise to drown your voice so you won't disturb others, practice saying in allow tone, partly through the nose, 'Mimm-Mimm-Mimm." Repeat it again and again, lowering your voice in steps until you have forced it as low as you possibly can. Its effective to do this first thing in the morning when the voice already tends to be in a lower register. Then, make an effort to hold your voice in a low pitch for the rest of the day.
"Once you start making progress, practice in the bathroom so you can hear your voice reverberate. Then, try to get the same effect in a larger room. When the vibrations of your voice in intensified, it will cause the other vortexes in the body to speed up, especially the first one in the sexual center, and the sixth and seventh in the head.
"In older woman, the voice can also become high and shrill, and it should be toned down in the same manner. Of course, a woman' voice is naturally higher than a mans, and a woman should not attempt to lower their voices to the point of sounding masculine. In fact it would be beneficial for a woman whose voice is abnormally masculine to attempt to raise her voice pitch, using the method already described.
"The Lamas chant tin unison, sometimes for hours, in a low register. The significance of this is not chanting itself, or the meaning of their words. It is the vibrations of their voices and its effect on the seven vortexes. Thousands of years ago, the Lamas discovered that the vibratory rate of the sound 'Oh-mmm...' is especially powerful and effective. Both men and women will find it highly beneficial to chant this sound at leat several times each morning. It's still more helpful to repeat it again throughout the day whenever you can.
"Fill your lungs completely with air, and standing erect, slowly expel the full breadth to create one 'Oh-mmm...' sound. Divide it roughly half and between the 'Ohhh...' and the'Mmmm...'Feel the 'Ohhh...vibrate thought eh chest cavities and the'Mmm...' vibrate throughout he nasal cavities. This simple exercise helps greatly to align all of the seven vortexes, and you'll be able to feel its benefits right from the start. Don't forget it is the vibration of the voice that is significant, not the act of chanting, or the meaning of the sound.
"Now," said the Colonel, after pausing a moment, everything I've taught you so far has concerned the seven vortexes. But I'd now like to discuss a few things a few things that can make us all much younger, even though they do not directly affect the vortexes.
"If it were possible to suddenly take a nagging man or a woman out of a decrepit old body. And place them in a young, new body of about 25 years of age, I'd be willing to bet that he or she would continue to act old, and to hold on to the attitudes that helped make them old in the first place.
"Thought most people will complain about advancing age, the truth is that they get dubious pleasure out of growing old and all the he handicaps that come with it. Needless to say, this attitude isn't going to make them any younger, If an older person truly wants to grow younger, they must think, act and behave like a younger person, and eliminate the attitudes and mannerisms of old age.
"The first thing to pay attention to is your posture. Straighten up! When you first started this class some of you were so bent over that you looked like question marks. But as vitality began returning, and your spirits improved, your posture improved also. That was fine, don't stop now. Think about your posture as you go about your daily activities. Straighten your back, throw your cheat out, pull in your chin and hold your head high. Right away you have eliminated 20years from your appearance, and 40 years from your behaviour.
"Also get rid of the mannerisms of old age. When you walk know first where you are going; then start out and go directly there. Don't shuffle; pick up your feet and stride. Keep one eye on the place where you are going, and the other on everything you pass.
"At the Himalayan monastery there was a man like myself, whom you would have sworn was not over 35 tears of age, and who acted like a man of 25. He was actually more than a hundred years old. If I told you how much over a hundred, you wouldn't believe me.
"In order for you achieve this kind of miracle, you must first desire to do so. You must then accept the idea that it is not only probable, but also certain you will. As long as the goal of growing younger is an impossible dream to you, it will remain just that. But once you fully embrace the wonderful reality that you can indeed become younger in appearance, health and attitude, and once you energise that reality with focused desire, you have already taken your first drink of the healing waters of the "Fountain of Youth".
"The five simple rites which I have taught you are a tool or a device that can enable you to achieve your own personal miracle. After all it is the simple things of life, which are most powerful and effective. If you continue to perform these rites to the best of your ability, you will be ever so richly rewarded.
"It has been most gratifying to see each of you improve from day to day, concluded the Colonel. "I have taught you all that I can for the present. But as the five rites continue to do their work they will open doors to further learning and progress in the future. In the meantime there are others who need the information which I have taught you, and it is time for me to be on my way to them."
At this the Colonel bade us all farewell. This extraordinary man had earned a very special place in our hearts, and so of course, we were sorry to see him go. But we were also glad to know that before long others would be sharing the priceless information, which he had so generously given us. We considered ourselves fortunate indeed. For in all of history, few have been privileged to learn the ancient secret of the "Fountain of Youth".
Copyright © 2007 Edgar Cayce Australia, PO Box 114, Pomona, Qld., 4568 Australia.