How I Met My Mentor James Wilkie

As I reflect on how I met my mentor James Wilkie many "COINCIDENCES" and "CONNECTIONS" stand out that continue to make me wonder. These concidences are highlighted in CAPSLOCK and ITALICS in the text and involve:

The art and science of - YOGA
The sculptor - GERHARD JUCHUM
The author - RAMAcharaka
The guide - RAMA
The occupation - House PAINTER
A musical movement and sign - LARGO
A highway - HIGHWAY 99
The writer - SPRAGGETT

"Me see a psychic? - I don't think so!"

Newsclipping about Gerhard Juchum
Newsclipping - GERHARD JUCHUM
I am not sure how it all started but I'll begin with a book my father gave me in my teens. "Why don't you try YOGA," he suggested as he handed me Yoga and Health by Selvarajan Yesudian and ELISABETH HAICH. I tried some of the Hatha yoga poses and liked them.

A decade later I had some unanswered questions concerning my friend, sculptor GERHARD JUCHUM, and his tragic death. I discussed them with a professor at the university I was studying. "Why don't you see psychic JAMES WILKIE," he can answer them for you, was the unforseen response.

That professor also recommended that I read a book called "INITIATION" by ELISABETH HAICH, when I had mentioned that I was stuck on Lesson 1 in a series of lessons in Raja YOGA as taught by Yogi RAMAcharaka. I had no intention on following up on the psychic but being an avid reader I looked for the book "Initiation." Not a single bookstore in town had the book. I was told repeatedly that I could order it since it was in print. There were other books already on my reading list, so I didn't order it.

Let me explain about Lesson 1: The "I"

"In India, the Candidates for INITIATION into the science of "Raja Yoga," when they apply to the Yogi Masters for instruction, are given a series of lessons designed to enlighten them regarding the nature of the Real SELF...

The Yogi Masters are not satisfied if the Candidate forms merely a clear intellectual conception of this Actual Identity, but they insist that he must feel the truth of the same — must become aware of the Real Self — must enter into a consciousness in which the realization becomes a part of his everyday self...

To some Candidates, this realization comes like a lightning flash the moment the attention is directed toward it, while in other cases the Candidates find it necessary to follow a rigorous course of training before they acquire the realization in consciousness.

The Yogi Masters teach that there are two degrees of this awakening consciousness of the Real Self. The first, which they call "the Consciousness of the 'I'," is the full consciousness of real existence that comes to the Candidate, and which causes him to know that he is a real entity having a life not depending upon the body—life that will go on in spite of the destruction of the body — real life, in fact."
Yogi Ramacharaka

The part I was stuck with was not having fully realized that: "[I am] a real entity having a life not depending upon [my] body—life that will go on in spite of the destruction of the body — real life, in fact."

I reasoned that as long as I feel any fear of death of my body, I have not felt the truth that real life is not dependent on my body. Several incidences confirmed that, sofar, that realization had not become a part of my everyday self.

Several months had passed and the psychic James Wilkie and the book "Initiation" were forgotten.

Inititiation by Elisabeth Haich
I was studying for some exams when I received a letter from a friend from Switzerland. The letter read: "I sent you a book several months ago but it was returned by the postal service marked as 'recipient unknown under this address.' Your mother confirmed that it was and still is the correct address and that you haven't moved. Perhaps you were not meant to have the book at that time? I mailed it again you should receive it shortly."

Somehow I had the intuition that the book in that parcel would be "Initiation" by Elisabeth Haich in its original German version. I was leaving the house to go to an exam when the parcel was delivered. I opened the parcel and found a note inside saying: "Thank you for giving me back the sun and the light. You remind me of one of the characters in the book." The book was "Einweihung" ["Initiation"] by ELISABETH HAICH.

The back cover of the book reads:
"Written at the request of her advanced students, Initiation is an illuminating autobiography that connects the twentieth century European life of internationally beloved teacher Elisabeth Haich and her lucid memories of initiation into the hidden mystical teachings of the priesthood in ancient EGYPT... Elisabeth Haich reveals her in depth insights into the subtle workings of karma, reincarnation, the interconnectedness of individual daily life choices and spiritual development.

Elisabeth Haich ends the book with:

I read the book and was impressed by it and the coincidence of getting it mailed to me, and because I was still full of questions regarding Gerhard's death, I thought, "Maybe I should give that psychic a try."

"Maybe I should give that psychic a try."

I tried to locate James Wilkie but he was not to be found nor was he listed in the phone book.

Several months had passed, I was working late PAINTING some doors in someone's house. The radio was playing in the room. I heard a gentleman speak on the radio on a talk show. He answered callers' questions and I was inspired by the mindful way in which he answered the questions. He spoke about metaphysics, on being psychic and made several predictions regarding future events. The host of the show was David Berner and he mentioned several times during the show that his guest was International Psychic James Wilkie. The show ended past midnight and the listeners were told that one can get Mr. Wilkies phone number by calling the station.

"Well," I thought, "I'll give that psychic a try."

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Why a Questionnaire?
I was able to get Mr. Wilkie's phone number from the radio station. I called Mr. Wilkie, to ask if I could see him. "Do you know how I work?," he asked. "Well, the person who recommended you told me you want people to make up a questionnaire with their most important questions."

"Yes, prepare your questions up to 10 questions will do then call me in a week," Mr. Wilkie replied. "One more thing I want to mention," Mr. Wilkie added, "I'm not a fortune teller and there are no guarantees."

I prepared the questions dividing them evenly into four for my friend, the sculptor Gerhard Juchum, and four regarding my life and spiritual development. After a week had passed I called again. "Mr. Wilkie this is..." - "I know who you are," he interrupted "have you prepared your questions?" - "Yes, I have." - "Good, I'll see you on Thursday at 8 p.m. Here is how you get to my house. Then followed a series of convoluted instructions. Take HIGHWAY 99 exit at ... drive another mile ... you'll think that you are lost ... after the railroad tracks ... turn into the driveway when you see the large LARGO sign." - "That's wonderful," I replied, The Largo movement by Vivaldi is one of my favorite guitar pieces. I will see you at eight."
Largo by vivaldi
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Largo by Vivaldi

On my way to Mr. Wilkie, when I thought I was lost I came across the railroad tracks, then the sign "Largo." The driveway curved up to the house and the headlights of my car swept across the huge front lawn.

Suddenly a life size sculpture by my friend Gerhard Juchum appeared on the lawn, glowing in white and then disappeared as I continued driving up to the house! Wait a minute he never made a white sculpture I said to myself noticing my goose bumps - most his sculptures were cast in black concrete!

Morning has Broken - Sculpture by Gerhard Juchum
Sculpture by Gerhard JUCHUM
There was something eerie about this! I must either leave now or confirm what I saw. I decided to stop the car and walked out on the lawn where the statue had appeared. There it was in the dark. I touched around the base where I knew Gerhard would have signed his work, where I would find "JUCHUM" imprinted in the base of the statue. I could trace the name. It was a sculpture he had created and it was real.

I walked back to the car continued to drive up the driveway to the house parked the car and knocked.

Mr. Wilkie opened the door welcomed me and showed me to his sitting room.

James Wilkie in his Sitting Room
Mr. Wilkie looked like a mixture between the southern gentleman Colonel Saunders and the flamboyant Liberace. His hands were filled with huge rings. I couldn't help but notice the lavishness of antiques and art that surrounded him. This man can't be spiritual, I thought. He must be into money and possessions.

He pointed toward a chair and asked me to have a seat. He seated himself across the room. After the initial few minutes of casual conversation he asked me to start with my first question.

"Mr. Wilkie I would like to begin with a few questions regarding a friend. You happen to have one of his sculptures on your front lawn."

"Oh yes Chakum [Juchum] I remember when he brought the statue to the house. He was so happy that it found a home that appreciates art. He delivered it to our home and I still can't figure out how he managed to move that 600 pound sculpture by himself. I don't really know much about the artist. We walked by his house and I wanted to buy the one with the outstretched hand [Why - Sculpture by Gerhard Juchum] but he said it was not for sale. He showed us the ones that were for sale and so we bought this one, it reminded me of Tommy, my son."

"Well," Mr. Wilkie, "Gerhard died tragically in a car accident on HIGHWAY 99."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Oh what a shame."

I mentioned how I had met Gerhard and how I wasn't sure how to document his work and edit his notes on art. [This work in progress can be seen here.]

Mr. Wilkie replied: "Your friend is right here with us. Ask him anything you like."

"Your friend is right here with us. Ask him anything you like."

I could not believe in that. Nevertheless, I asked my questions regarding Gerhard and Mr. Wilkie answered them all while I took notes. When we had them all covered I started on the topic regarding my spiritual development.

I started to read a quote from the I Ching, which I thought was meaningful regarding my spiritual development.

Mr. Wilkie interrupted. "You may have wondered if your friend was killed instantly or if he suffered."

That question had not been on my mind but I recalled his brother had asked me that question and I told him that I didn't know, but would let him know if I ever found out.

Mr. Wilkie then proceeded to describe the trauma of the accident and concluded with how Gerhard feels now and what he is doing now in the spiritual realm - still sculpting.

I restarted the quote from the I Ching, read for about a minute when Mr. Wilkie interrupted: "I don't understand half of what you are reading. This is way too complicated for me. How does this relate to your question?"

I explained that I feel stuck on my spiritual development regarding the true self, suffering, Maya, I tried to describe the issues that related to Lesson 1 that I did not understand.

"Here is what you need to do to advance spiritually," Mr. Wilkie explained. "As a first step find a place where there is real suffering. And you don't have to look far to find real suffering. And yes, suffering is real, you should know you have suffered. It could be the Burn Unit at a hospital, or perhaps the Cancer Ward, you'll find something. Volunteer there once a week for a few hours. Once you have done that for a few years let me know and I'll tell you what you can do for the next step."

Sai Baba
Sai Baba Miracle Man?
Mr. Wilkie also suggested a few books to read. One of them was "Sai Baba The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist" by Samuel H. Sandweiss, M.D.

I was pleased with the answers I received from Mr. Wilkie and after the lengthy consultation ended I paid my fifty dollars and thanked Mr. Wilkie. "Come by for a cup of tea anytime," were Mr. Wilkie's final words.

I bought the book Sai Baba The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist but could not believe most of what was written in the book. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

Who needs volunteers, I wondered as I scanned the Volunteer Bulletin Board at the university. The Health Sciences Hospital had posted a notice at the bulletin boards at the university asking for volunteers for Friday nights. That's how I spent my Friday nights for the next seven years. I also volunteered occasionally at the Emergency ward.

During those years there were a few emergencies that prompted me to call Mr. Wilkie.

I was living in a house shared with four house mates when I was asked by the refugee coordinator from Amnesty International to accommodate a refugee. He had been living in a church basement for a year waiting for his refugee claim to be processed. The refugee coordinator thought I would be a good calm influence since he was becoming agitated. I replied that he was welcome to stay in my room. I would come home from my courses at the university and then spend time with the refugee. Over several days a feeling of uneasiness about the refugee developed and it expressed itself as a concern about the safety of the four house mates. I told my concern to the refugee coordinator who told me not to be so paranoid.

The feeling grew stronger so I picked up the phone. "Mr. Wilkie, you might not remember me, I am" - "I know who you are, when are you coming for a cup of tea?" "Mr. Wilkie, I live in a house with four other house mates ..." I briefly explained our living arrangement and that I agreed to house a refugee. "Do you pick up anything about the refugee that is staying with us?" - "Get rid of him fast, he has harmed people and he will harm people again." - "Well, lots of refugees have been in unpleasant situations and that doesn't mean that ..." I tried to reason. "Get him out of the house as fast as you can he is capable of killing people." After my telephone conversation with Mr. Wilkie I immediately called the refugee coordinator, explained my feelings and told her that she has to come and pick him up. "I think you are paranoid but I'll come and get him," she replied.

The volunteer work at the psychiatric unit was going well. The director of volunteers asked me if I would pay special attention to a young man on the ward who was hard to communicate with. On my visits Wayne [pseudonym] didn't say much, I didn't know what to talk to Wayne about so I told him about one of my hobbies, training dogs for tracking. I described how smart the dogs are and how keen they are to show off their ability to locate people. Wayne asked me what kind of dogs I trained and he told me that he always wanted to have that kind of a dog. He also told me that he liked motorcycles. Over the next months the communication improved. Since Wayne liked motorcycles my friends and I took him on short motorcycle trips. Wayne improved and became an outpatient and I saw him now only occasionally. Then I received a call from the director of volunteers to see her in her office. Wayne had disappeared, did I know where he might be? I had no idea. I was asked to contact his his mother who was very concerned.

"Well," I thought, "we could call Mr. Wilkie."

I asked his mother if that was something she would consider. It was decided that I should call Mr. Wilkie.

"Mr. Wilkie, this is" - "I know who you are, when are you coming for a cup of tea?" I explained the situation and asked: "Do you have any idea regarding Wayne?" - "Tell his mother that I get a strong life current and not to worry. He is in the southern states and will run out of money in a couple of weeks. He will call his mother and she will get him and take him home."

"Mr. Wilkie I also wanted to thank you for you advice regarding the refugee. I was told by the refugee coordinator of Amnesty International that he has been arrested in Montreal for killing two people." We continued our conversation and Mr Wilkie reminded me: "Next time call as a friend not as a client." - "Thank you Mr. Wilkie for your advice."

Wayne's mother told us the story several weeks later. Her son had taken money out of his father's bank account, bought himself a motorcycle, crossed the border and ran out of money in California. He called his mother and she flew down to get him. "I didn't know he had that in him, I think we did a great job," the director of volunteers commented.

A year passed and I was still stuck on Lesson 1. During my semester break I travelled to India to find a guru, perhaps Sai Baba the Miracle Man? I stayed at the WMCA in Madras for a week when I met a young man from Norway. I asked him what brought him to India and he mentioned that he was on his way to see Sai Baba in Phuttaparti. I asked him if I could join him and two days later we left for Phuttaparti.

I travelled from Madras to Cochin. On my return from India I gave a slide presentation about my impressions and experiences at the ashram to a psychology class and later as an open presentation. The presentation focused on the book Sai Baba the Holy Man and the Psychiatrist. Unfortunately all I saw and experienced were lies, magic tricks, and fraud. Now sexual abuse allegations have been added. However, I spoke with people who were totally delighted with Sai Baba and his ashram. Since my field of study and work was research oriented I am more critical when looking at reported 'facts.'

To be continued...

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