‘A warrior steeped in the call of his Karma and having faith in justness of the cause he is fighting for, may be excused for calling enhanced extra sensory perception on the battlefield as Divine intervention!’
– Veteran Col RS Sidhu
Setting The Context
‘Role Of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) On The Battlefield’ may be deemed culturally a more appropriate subject headline for this approach paper, as it sounds more holistic and acceptable. Though erroneous, in general perception, the word ‘occult’ is synonymous with something evil and dangerous. But dictionaries variously describe it as supernatural, mystical, hidden, with even astrology coming under its broad purview. Thus we find that the term occult provides a wider interpretation of the subject at hand than ESP, which is restrictive in scope. Hence, after extensive thought the original caption has been retained to broad base the discussion and achieve a greater intellectual impact on the minds of the interested readers, since the principal objective is to bring this subject out of the closet into the mainstream and be studied afresh from an unfettered prism.
My exploratory attempts to study this phenomenon in first person accounts generally met with an uncomfortable hesitation. Most did open up eventually, but majority averred the proviso of anonymity. The closed approach to understand this field in current domestic environment of cultural conflict, the likely impact on career progression of undertaking a non-conformist stand, and a marked reluctance to put under public glare the most intimate individual experiences, all go against mainstream acceptance and formal study of this aspect of military battles.
But the existence of religious teachers embedded within the armed forces organisations, the presence of well patronised revered shrines of guardian deities – in most cases themselves posthumous ‘soldier saints’ – in well-recognised battle theatres, the religious warfighting cries, all cry out loudly of the overwhelming presence of a key battle influencing factor, whose public acceptance would be tantamount to professional hara-kiri. What a paradox?!
Even in the comparatively freer intellectual space in the US it has taken them seven decades just to publicly accept the study of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (a less stigmatized term for the ubiquitous UFOs!).
My first brush with an interlinked phenomenon occurred as a young combat leader and was fortunate to have my article ‘Management of Fear on the Battlefield’ published in The Infantry (India), Journal of Infantry School, Mhow December 1988 issue.
The run up to writing my first book, “Success From Being Mad’, led me to further explore the aspect of sixth sense and its influence in the army and corporate environment, while researching the life of the ten protagonists of the book.
More recently my article on a related field ‘ Sixth Sense of a Successful Leader’ was published in Financial Express Online edition
The same can also be accessed on my blogspot https://valleysandvalour.blogspot.com/2020/12/the-sixth-sense-of-asuccessful-leader.html
The readership responses helped me in assessing the viability of mainstreaming this critical aspect of battlefield. Understanding and employing this phenomenon, after due military and scientific evaluation, can at times be the difference between victory and defeat, as also saving precious lives.
Already there have been extensive studies in the field of employing changes in animal behavioral pattern to predict natural disasters. ‘Icarus’ is one such recent joint project funded and being carried out by the German Aerospace Center and the Russian space agency Roskosmos, supported by the European Space Agency. On the Siachen Glacier, dogs have been successfully employed by mobile patrols to provide early warning of snow avalanches.
The involvement of humans in paranormal activity, ESP, and even psychic experiences too is a matter of detailed, though non-conclusive, scientific study within India and abroad. It also stands to reason that people subjected to life threatening situations, such as prolonged deployment on battlefield, undergo severe psychological stress and behavioral abnormalities, behavioral patterns also linked to individuals showing enhanced sensory perceptions or paranormal abilities. Either way it should be a matter of organisational concern needing in-depth study.
Realm of Conjecture
India is an ancient civilisation with strong metaphysical traditions of belief in spiritual growth through enhanced conscious, which is also synonymous with ESP and paranormal activity. The ancient lore of the land dwells upon ancient ‘Rishi Yodhas’ who wielded weapons which harnessed elemental forces of nature on the battlefield. Here it is of interest to recall the prominent coverage by mainstream Indian media of one of the member of CIA Director William Burns delegation to India in September 2021, being afflicted with the ‘Havana Syndrome’. The US National Academy of Sciences panel findings attribute this phenomenon to the most plausible theory of “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy”, that is a weapon fielding an elemental force of nature.
In the tribal cultures of Africa and America the shamans were employed for divining the future and even psychic intervention on the battlefield. There have been renowned personalities both within the Orient and Occident cultures who have been attributed with supernormal capabilities in public perception. However the existence of overwhelming numbers of charlatans muddies these waters and detract from the veracity of this field.
Much closer to home and in the present there has been substantial presence in the rural communities of ‘Khojas’ and faith healers who, for good or for bad, are now a dying phenomenon. During Operation RAKSHAK in Punjab in the 1980s, certain lower formations and units are reported to have employed ‘Khojas’ to search, and neutralise militants. Unfortunately, the reluctance of eyewitnesses to come forward, places this aspect in the realms of conjecture.
The covert employment in political space of personalities with perceived psychic abilities to influence future course of events, is also a matter of public conjecture. The existence of spiritual development centers is again a matter of open discussion both within India and abroad.
Individuals speak of meditation experiences where Time stands still. This phenomenon of warping of Time is already under deep study in modern science.
Realm of Reality
Extensive scientific studies and research in the past hundred years has succeeded in recording auras surrounding living organisms, existence of hitherto unknown magnetic force lines, and identifying areas of perceptive magnetic anomalies, resulting in greater understanding of phenomenon hitherto deemed to exist only in realms of conjecture. Extensive commercial application of these new findings is bringing into existence newer instruments and devices, and to that extent helping in establishing limited degree of provenance in these spheres. The ‘spiritual industry’ in the world is conservatively estimated at US Dollars two trillion, in India around US Dollar 40 billion, and in US at 70 billion US Dollars.
Conclusive studies of electrical waves generated by human brain have succeeded in identifying the various types of electrical waves, their frequency variations, and most interestingly, their co-relation to type of cerebral activities being undertaken. Stimulating specific parts of the brain have recorded enhanced sensory perceptions to certain extent under laboratory conditions. These may be taken as first tentative steps to come to terms with the phenomenon of ESP and paranormal activity.
Within modern times in India, there is at least one documented phenomenon of proactive psychic intervention on the battlefield, when during the 1971 War with Pakistan, the commandant of an armoured regiment used his psychic powers to successfully lead his tanks to negotiate an enemy minefield. He later on rose to the rank of Lt Gen, was widely revered as a soldier saint, and breathed his last while in samadhi at his ashram.
During the prolonged Operation PAWAN in Sri Lanka, there were occasions when at least two units did attempt to locate the wooden ‘Johnny’ mines with the help of ‘divining sticks’ in the deep Vanni jungles, albeit with poor result. There are again at least two eyewitness accounts of avoiding militant ambush through premonition, as also premonition of a soldier who was killed in action and eerily carried on his body a four days old letter to his wife speaking of his imminent death and his last request to her. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and once mainstreamed, the floodgate of volunteers voicing their own psychic experiences will follow.
Sharing the Experience of the Phenomenon by Individuals
Some are born with psychic gifts, some experience them under intense life threatening environment, and then there are a few who attain them through sustained practice. When queried to share their experience, the affected individuals speak variously of a tingling feeling along the spine, a ‘gut’ feeling, seeing flashes of vision, an expanded consciousness that assisted in piercing the fog of war on the battlefield and, when heeded, enabled saving precious lives and even achieving success in specific battlefield operation.
Human understanding of environmental phenomenon is heavily limited by their ability to perceive and interpret knowledge. As these limitations are reduced with the help of advanced scientific instruments which can detect and measure elemental forces of nature, human understanding and consequently acceptance of the occult phenomenon is widening. The ultraviolet vision of the birds, ultra low frequency chatter by underwater life forms, the impact of elemental geomagnetic forces on living organisms – a la ‘Havana syndrome’ – and even the influence of invisible energy waves surrounding us, are now within realm of human understanding and acceptance. Today’s voice modulation and futuristic three dimensional heliographic imaging technology, resulting in morphed videos and audios, is already forcing us not to accept at face value even what we see and experience.
Within the Indian armed forces some elementary steps have already been initiated which are assisting in acceptance of this phenomenon. Around the turn of the century yoga has already been introduced as part of the overall fitness regimen of the armed forces personnel. Senior officers on higher level management courses are being imparted out of syllabus exposure in spirituality and meditation. Field formations too are organising workshops through domain experts on spirituality and meditation, albeit under own initiative. These exposures are generating a greater degree of awareness within the military hierarchy to the existence of this phenomenon.
This is where open sharing of psychic experiences on the battlefield will influence the military hierarchy to understand the impact of this phenomenon and its possible military applications on the battlefield. The author would be happy to interact with gifted individuals in the field.
Col RS Sidhu, Sena Medal is a post graduate in History from Delhi University. His write-ups on strategic affairs have been published in magazines and journals of repute, and can also be accessed at his blogspot www.valleysandvalour.blogspot.com . He is also the author of two books, ‘Success from Being Mad’ on entrepreneurship ventures by veterans, and ‘Elephant on the High Himalayas’ on India China discourse.
[author title=”Shefali Kochhar,” image=”http://goachronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Screenshot_20210321-160233_LinkedIn.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle .
I am an entrepreneur who has tried her hands on various ventures like Electric Vehicle Charging Station , Online Retail Store / Trading and few more ventures. I have done my entrepreneurship from Amity University Noida.
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