I was recently re-watching a little-known film, “Valley of Flowers” by Indian film director Pan Nalin (Great stuff if you’re into films about reincarnation, fate, destiny, gurus, sadhus, the Himalayas, floating Tantric sex and how space and time work against several lifetimes). In a nutshell, it’s about two star-crossed lovers, drinking the elixir of immortality and how these immortals change over time and with technological changes. part of the film is in medieval Silk Road Tibet (the film was principally shot in Ladakh which is as close to Tibet you’ll get without actually going to Tibet) and then it’s juxtaposed up against uber-modern and hyper-slick Tokyo.
It reminded me of these stories which persistently pop up in spiritual literature around the world, of highly evolved immortal beings, in human form, who are constant presences to the human story. Usually somewhere in the background, always steadily watching what’s happening, impervious to change like political revolutions, environmental catastrophe, like giant rocks, they just stay still and impartially watch everything. I’m not talking about vampires either (and if you ask me, there’s something very spiritually unhealthy and immature about this recent obsession with vampires). From time to time, they make contact with certain persons who are spiritually mature and evolved enough to merit a meeting but they largely keep to themselves. You can’t just contact them and force a meeting to take place. Instead, they’ll contact you if they feel inclined to do so.
The main names which are better known are Melchizedek, Mahavatar Babaji, the Comte de Saint Germain and even in Islam as Al-Khidr, the Green Man. Native Americans have their version, particularly the Cherokee tribe who believe in the Nunnehi. Taoism believe in the 8 immortals (He Xiangu, Cao Guojiu, Li Tieguai, Lan Caihe, Lü Dongbin, Han Xiangzi, Zhang Guolao, Zhongli Quan). It would seem, every culture and very spiritual tradition has its own spin.
I’m going to quickly describe some of these aforementioned names, where they have popped up, the role which I think they play and how they manifest in our times.
First off, you have to realize that they are usually very, very mysterious beings. If you go looking to read about these folks in mainstream, exoteric religious and spiritual literature, you’ll be out of luck. What very little we do know comes mostly out of the esoteric, mystical strains of some of these traditions.
Melchizedek is without a doubt, the most mysterious figure in the entire Bible.
He shows up twice, by name, in two completely different books, time periods and each time, to assist a prophet. (In fact, I’m surprised the Church doesn’t talk about this disconnect more often but why would they? It would show up what a bunch of hog-wash they try to promulgate to cover up inconsistencies in the Bible). He also shows up unnamed in other places in the Bible. The first time is in Genesis 14: 18-20, where he is depicted as the King of Salem and brings bread and wine to the prophet Abraham and is said to be a “priest of the most high God”. The second time, he shows up in the Books of Psalms 110:4 where King David is told that he is “a priest for ever after the manner of Melchizedek.”
The third time he shows up nameless in the Bible is in the Book of Revelations, the Apocalypse as the figure with a face of pure light, two swords coming out of his mouth, feet of burnished brass, holding seven lanterns, seven stars and a voice like the roar of the oceans. He is the one who gives John the Beloved the visions of the Apocalypse. Mainstream Biblical scholars say this figure is Christ but if you start reading up on Rudolph Steiner, Aivanhov and Deunov and other Gnostic big shots, they are unequivocally clear about this: This figure is Melchizedek and all the prophets of the Abrahamic traditions are considered to be members of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, including Jesus and Mohammed.
William Blake, Emmanuel Swedenborg and Hebrew Kabbalah get even more specific, that there is an order and certain hierarchy to this universe, with specific Elders/Beings assigned to oversee, assist and develop each level or plane of consciousness and existence. Melchizedek is the head of the order assigned to Earth. He shows up in the Mongolian prophecy in Ferdinand Ossendowski’s book, “Men, Beasts and Gods”. Aivanhov says that he resides in Agharta and also has the name of the King of the World and shows up now and then to us humans. He is also in Mitar Tarabic’s prophecy of the future. He is supposed to have a red hair and a red beard (natural or henna’ed I don’t know) and the symbols of the Lamb and the Golden Apple are usually associated with him.
The most recent mention of him in popular culture is in the opening chapters of Paulo Coelho’s book, “The Alchemist” where he shows up as a peasant to the boy Santiago by a village plaza and advised the boy to not forget his dream and gifts him with the Urim and Thummim stones. (I should add that Coelho has been involved in secret, Gnostic orders for years so that symbolism doesn’t come out of nowhere.)
Al-Khidr, the Green Man
“Three things of this world delight the heart: water, green things, and a beautiful face.” – The Prophet Mohammed
With the current wave of Islamophobia being promoted by the current American administration, I think people in the West often forget that Islam, as a continuation of the Abrahamic tradition, also has its own particular set of mystical sects, myths, fantastic stories, saints, mystics and supernatural beings which are well worth reading about, even if it is only for inspiration.
In Islam, the mysterious figure of the Green Man, also known as Al-Khidr (Hizir in Turkey) shows up in Sufism in particular and in certain Hadith commentaries and is one of the more fantastic mystical figures which block-head imams, orthodox Muslims and jihadis will never ever talk about but is a hero and worshiped in the folk versions of Islam in countless forms from Turkey to Indonesia. Many say he pre-dates Islam. Some scholars think that Al-Khidr and Melchizedek are one and the same, just under a different name (which I am inclined to agree with).
Other scholars equate him to the Christian Celtic figure of the Fisher King associated with the Grail legends. Al-Khiḍr is widely known as the spiritual guide of Moses and Alexander the Great, a “wali” (saint), a prophet, and one of four immortals along with Enoch (in Arabic known as Idris), Jesus, and Elijah mentioned in the Koran. Al-Khiḍr is Khezr, the Hidden Prophet, the Green Man, King of Hyperborea, wily servant of Moses, trickster-cook of Alexander the Great, Khidr who drank from the fountain of life in the Land of Darkness. He comes to stand for a certain kind of esoteric knowledge, which can only manifest in our mundane, everyday life as shock, awe or surprise either of outrage or of laughter, or both at once.
Khidr is one of the “afrad”, the Unique Ones who receive illumination directly from God without human mediation; they can initiate seekers who belong to no Order or have no human guide; they rescue lost wanderers and desperate lovers in the hour of need
The stories and myths attributed to Al-Khidr are too numerous to recount here, but this website has fantastic information and will ring some bells among the more inquisitive among you. There is fierce debate among Islamic scholars if Al-Khidr even exists yet many insist he still walks among us and I for one believe it. To even invoke his name is to invite guidance and help into your life.
Meetings with Mahavatar Babaji has been documented in the writings of many modern-day seers and teachers. Paramahansa Yogananda, the founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship movement and the perennial spiritual primer “Autobiography of a Yogi” devotes large sections in that book about Babaji and how the teachings were transmitted via Babaji to Yogananda.
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, spent an entire year in India between 1959-1960 and his final initiation and transformation from Brother Mikhael to Master Aivanhov happened under the direction on Babaji towards the end of his year. Other gurus who have spent time with Babaji include Sri Yukteswar, Shyāmacharan Lahirī, Kebalananda Giri and Ram Gopal Muzumdar. Depending on what account you read, Babaji could be anywhere from 500 to 2000 years old, living in a remote part of the Himalayas somewhere but many of the aforementioned encounters happened in places like Badrinath or the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Nobody really knows anything about Babaji, where he really comes from or any other biographical detail.
Babaji is said to be an immortal who is here to send teachings to specific teachers. He’s not a personal guide but seems to select those who have the ability to teach and end up having their teachings transmitted to millions of minds over time. The global popularity of Yogananda’s work as well as Aivanhov’s and the fellowships/brotherhoods they created, seems to attest to this pattern.
Paramahansa Yogananda, in his Autobiography, described Mahavatar Babaji’s role on earth:
“The Mahavatar is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully illumined masters–one with the body, and one without it–is to inspire the nations to forsake suicidal wars, race hatreds, religious sectarianism, and the boomerang-evils of materialism. Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times, especially of the influence and complexities of Western civilization, and realizes the necessity of spreading the self-liberations of yoga equally in the West and in the East.”
The Comte de Saint-Germain – The Immortal Alchemist
“A man who knows everything and who never dies,” said Voltaire of the Comte de Saint-Germain.
Like other immortal types, there seem to be a few versions of the Comte de Saint-Germain. There is an actual historical figure, documented in the French courts of the 18th century of Louis XV. There are stories of his miracle cures for the French court, tales of his work as an alchemist, his work as a diplomat on behalf of the court, the lovers he took, the friends in high places he made, his fondness for jewels, that in many accounts decades apart the same man appears never to age and to constantly look like a man of 45 years of age, the man who prophesied the bloody French Revolution and what it would mean to the royal family, the stories about Saint-Germain go on and on and on.
The spiritual stories about him as an immortal didn’t really take off until Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical movement got a hold of it. Between 1880 and 1900 it was admitted among all theosophists, that the Comte de Saint-Germain was still alive, that he was still engaged in the spiritual development of the West, and that those who sincerely took part in this development had the possibility of meeting him.
Saint-Germain didn’t become the New Age rock-star that he is nowadays until Elizabeth Clare Prophet and her Church Universal and Triumphant movement as well the Summit Lighthouse ministries began to spread a New Age religion/message combining elements of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Theosophy with ceremonies and sacraments. The religion’s teachings were derived from divine messages believed to be transmitted to Clare Prophet by the Ascended Masters, a pantheon of 35 mystic saints and sages, among them Jesus, Buddha and of course Saint-Germain. (Out of all the examples, I think the Saint-Germain one is least authentic, in my opinion.)