I grew up in an atheistic family. My father made his career in the Vietnam War (on the communist side), and my uncle was a military general. In short, God had no place in our family. My sister has still not been baptized, and my parents live in grave sin. Only I seem to be living in a state of sanctifying grace — and that by God’s grace alone.
Satan had twenty-four years in which to mold me as he pleased. The process began at the age of four or five with my seeing strange colors and hazes around people. In the media these are popularly known as “auras.” But that was only the start. I began to experience far stranger things.
At age ten, I realized I had powers no one else had, a kind of energy that I could direct with my hands and will. It began with simple things such as the release of powerful amounts of heat energy. I would touch someone if they were in pain, and the pain would immediately stop. I remember how proud my mother was. “I have an incredible son,” she would say. “His touch heals!” And she was right. To all appearances, outwardly, I could heal.
In addition I practiced yoga. Devoting myself to my exercises, I became aware of an interior voice, which began to instruct me. I performed the correct yoga poses, and that is when I heard the voice — a real, palpable voice, not just in my mind. “You have been chosen,” it said. “You are an extraordinary person. You come from a special family. It will give you opportunities few people have in this world.” This was true. The voice continued: “This is because of who you were in your previous life. You are Mahatma, an extraordinary soul — a great soul, a chosen one, unlike all others. Now I will teach you how to unlock the powers within you — vital powers.”
For many years this voice acted as my mentor. It told me how to progress, what to do to strengthen my physical and mental powers and increase my influence over others. It gave me powers that Hinduism calls sidhi in Sanskrit — “supernatural powers.” My touch-healing gifts flowed naturally from these practices. Most strikingly, I was able to read peoples’ consciences — or so I believed.
That is how Satan acts. He is spirit and penetrates all material things. If you serve Satan, you can close your eyes and ask him, “What’s on the other side of this wall?” — and he will tell you. That is how it was with me. For the first twenty-four years of my life Satan never failed to tell me what was on the other side of the wall. In other words, he told me things people were unable to perceive with their senses, by their own efforts. And so I would say, “You, Mr X, have such and such a problem because such and such a thing happened to you so many months or years ago. That is the cause of your illness, your pain etc, etc.” People without faith in Jesus Christ are incredibly easy to control. They come to you like sheep to the slaughter. For my part, I was glad I wielded the knife. I felt safe. This sense of security would relieve the pain, which had been gnawing inside me ever since I came into this world.
At age fourteen and fifteen I practiced yoga intensely, at an advanced level. I exercised around the clock — like a soldier preparing for combat. Being the son of an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the nephew of a general, I came by this martial spirit honestly. I wanted to be a super commando. I trained myself in the art of war. It was not just about physical prowess; my whole mental attitude was that of a warrior. The essence of a warrior is efficiency in killing — killing with skill and dispatch. That was both my greatest temptation and my greatest sin. I continue to confess it to this day.
These powerful forces, which were destroying me and the people around me, caused me terrible inner pain — existential pain. I could find no answers to my questions: “Why do I suffer? Why all this pain? Why can’t my parents explain it? Why isn’t there a remedy for this pain?” No degree of physical prowess (I was well above average in this regard and prided myself on it), no amount of intimate soul sharing (even with the girl I was keen on) could give me the happiness I sought or provide an answer to my questions. Why all this inner pain? Why these suicidal thoughts? Why the depressions? Outwardly, I was an idol for young people: I was super-fit. I was super-intelligent. I had four foreign languages. Many envied me these outward qualities, but inside I was a wreck.
At age seventeen, I experienced a moment of truth. For the first time in my life I was brought to tears. I literally cried out that I was in pain — this despite all my efforts, despite all those years of practicing yoga and desensitizing myself by spiritual means. “God!” I cried. “My God, if you exist, then answer me now. Because if you do not, if there is no First Cause that explains the meaning of my pain, I will put an end to my life.” Without God, nothing had meaning.
For the first time in my life I heard another voice. Until then no one had spoken to me but Satan. This time it was not an exterior voice, as if from a loudspeaker, but an inner one. God told me he had heard my call. At last he heard the prayer He had been waiting for. “Serge,” He said, “you will see fruits later, not now, not right away. Patience!” This gave me hope. It was the first time I had ever had hope. Until then I had no idea what hope was. I had never had need of hope. I had always been a star. Things had always gone my way. When fortune is with you, what good is hope? And so my real spiritual journey began not with faith or love, but with hope — the simple hope of a seventeen-year-old boy.
Later, when I was twenty-one and studying physiotherapy, I came into contact with the Hare Krishnas. Hare Krishnas believe in a personal God who preaches reincarnation. Since I was a Buddhist, I already believed in reincarnation. So I threw myself wholeheartedly into this movement. (Incidentally, the Chaitanya Mission is one and the same thing, but, being pseudo-scientific, it has a subtler guise). Hare Krishnas practice religious syncretism, which might seem like an attractive attitude, but reincarnation is quite simply hogwash. I do not blame the Krishnas for worshiping the devil, for if you do not worship Jesus Christ who is truly present, then whom do you worship? An idol, be it ever so beautiful, is still not the Lord God of Love to whom you owe your being. Idol worship is idol worship — a sin against the First Commandment.
My three years of association with the Hare Krishna sect came to a dramatic climax. The Evil One was now attacking me constantly, for by this time I was putty in his hands. Satan has no scruples about finishing off those who serve him. In my case, he tried to suffocate me to death. Flattened by Satan’s attack, I felt a crushing weight on my chest. I could hardly breathe. Five times I repeated the Krishna mantra, “Hare Krishna! Hare Rama!” The repetition of the mantra produces vibrations that induce a trance-like state — the Hindu version of techno music, which has the same effect on the brain. Suffocating to death, my heart ready to burst, I resorted once more to an act of the will. Despite the pain and lack of air I managed to get out the divine words — alas, not “Jesus Christ!” but “Hare Krishna!” But with what result? None at all! Clearly, Krishna was not up to the mark. The suffocation became worse, and I lost consciousness. When I came to, I felt betrayed, for the Krishnas always taught me that Krishna was like Jesus. He was supposed to help you in your hour of need. The cries of a suffocating man are of the sincerest kind (I had no doubts on that score), but still Krishna did not come to my assistance.
Realizing I was involved in a sect, my girlfriend arranged a meeting with a Catholic nun, Sister Michaela Pawlik. With the Bhagawadagita (Krishna’s bible) in hand I went to see her, though even at this point my intention was to convert her. What saved me was that despite everything I was sincerely seeking the truth. What was there to fear? If I sought the truth then everything would make sense. So off I went to win a convert.
Our conversation lasted two hours. For the first time in my life I met a Catholic who spoke my language. I spoke the language of Sanskrit. I had no knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sister Michaela had spent thirteen years in India and knew the true face of Hinduism. She gave an expert explanation of syncretism, an attitude that informs Buddhism, Krishna, the Chaitanya Mission, and all the Western sects preaching reincarnation.
There are many things the Lama Ole Nydahl will not tell you unless you happen to be a super-initiate. As a “super-initiate,” you make certain irrevocable choices. Thus, the leaders of these satanic sects can be reasonably certain you will not renege on these choices.
Practically speaking, religious syncretism means keeping quiet about certain elements of Hinduism, which Christians, particularly Catholics, consider unacceptable. There are three things no Christian would accept if he knew about them. One of these is the matter of burning widows. The reasoning behind this practice is as follows: a widowed woman is so enflamed by love for her deceased husband that she, united in essence with her spouse, will throw herself on the funeral pyre and perish. Thus when a husband dies, the wife must also die. A woman is often simply seized and burned alive: sati is the formal name for it. Of course, no Krishna will tell you about this, and, if you bring up the subject, he will say it is a “distortion” of true Hinduism. Such barbaric practices are allegedly foreign to the true Hindu creed.
The second thing is sacred orgies, that is to say, sexual witchcraft. No Krishna will tell you about it, but I know that high-ranking initiates — the maharaja gurus among them — take part in these rites. Those who believe in reincarnation consider the maharaja guru (their spiritual master) to be the embodiment of divinity. Everything he says, his very physical presence, and even the smell of his sweat, is divine.
Another thing you will never learn from the Upanishads and Vedas published in the West is the true meaning of the term “caste.” Make no mistake about it: the philosophy of reincarnation is 100% racist! Worse still, my belief in reincarnation killed dead any concern I might have had for the sufferings of those close to me, since I was convinced their pain and distress resulted from sins committed in former lives. Indifference and callousness ruled my heart — justified by my belief that if I helped people in difficulty, they would still have to pay their debt in the next life. By not helping them I was accelerating the purification process of their souls — in other words, I was actually doing good.
Another thing passed over in silence is that Hinduism (by the logic of the philosophy of reincarnation) denies people the chance to progress from one caste to another, though this mobility is possible in the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission. At first they treated me as a Shudra (a person from the lowest caste, scarcely higher than a beast of burden), and I cleaned toilets. Later, when they realized I was smart and educated, I suddenly began to rise in the ranks. (There are four different castes: Shudras, Vaishyas, Kshatriyas, and Brahmins. Members of the higher castes are considered more spiritually enlightened. Better karma — the net effect of their previous lives! Shudras represent the lowest caste, Brahmins the highest.) They groomed me to become a Brahmin, so I could tell others how wonderful Hinduism was and how benighted Catholicism was for not believing in reincarnation.
There is a huge difference between holiness as spoken of by Jesus Christ, and the holiness of Hinduism or Buddhism. Hinduism and Buddhism measure a soul’s purity and spiritual progress by the person’s level of awareness. A drunkard is no higher than a beast. Thus he will be denied a human body in the next life and given, for example, the body of a dog. Children of parents too poor to provide them with a higher education are considered to be spiritually unenlightened. Orthodox Hinduism would consider the illiterate children of the ghettoes of Mexico City as little more than dogs.
Looking back, I realize that the Krishnas told me none of this. Only later, after my being initiated and joining the ranks of more advanced souls, did they begin to explain true Hinduism to me. But average people, a good 90% of the Hare Krishna movement, are denied such favors and cannot progress from one caste to another — and these people do not really know much.
The Shudras are banned from school and university. Such is the case in India. This is dictated by so-called dharma — the moral obligations of each caste. The Shudras’ dharma is to serve members of the upper castes. Incidentally, when an advanced soul eats meat, he eats the karma of the spirit that inhabited the meat. Hence the Brahmin practice of vegetarianism. Yet even so they eat meat, but only in exceptional circumstances, though these come about regularly enough, most often during ritual ceremonies. Officially, however, they do not eat meat, for in doing so they degrade their soul. A pure soul cannot defile itself by contact with some Kshatriya (which is what I was) or — God forbid — a Shudra. So as not to worsen their state in life (which is bad enough, given the fact that they often end up starving to death on the streets, without any compassion shown to them), the Shudras often wait until an animal dies. In the dead of night they dig up the remains and eat the rotting flesh. And gladly so, since they are eating meat that has no spirit in it, and thus they cannot take on the dharma (i.e. the sins) of the spirit which inhabited that body. The Krishnas will not tell you about this either.
Only the Brahmins are initiated into the practices and techniques of mystical yoga, for no Brahmin is prepared to see a Shudra — a dog, to put it bluntly — securing powers from Satan, and then competing with his (higher) caste. Brahmins are infallible. Only they can lead a person to sanctity. Without a guru, spiritual progress is impossible. What a sweet patent they have! Guaranteeing power over peoples’ souls. It is all so simple. That gurus contradict each another seems to bother no one, for Hinduism is a matter of pure subjectivism. The spiritual master proclaims with divine authority whatever pops into his head. That was my experience. One guru would tell me to go right, and the other would tell me to go left.
Sister Michaela had me beaten. By the time the two hours were over, I had only one question: how to get baptized? It was then that the going got really rough. Satan showed me his true face. Without entering into details, I will simply observe that people in the state I was then can experience real difficulty in entering a church building. Sometimes it is impossible. I would see a pious old woman praying the rosary, and my stomach would heave. Whenever my fiancée prayed the rosary next to me, I would feel my healing powers waning. I was being stripped bare. My distress was unimaginable.
Since Ania and I were so anxious to get married, the Church allowed me to prepare for baptism over a period of three months instead of the normal twelve months. As the exorcists prayed over me, the whole truth about my life and who I was came out. Jesus observed that we are what we have in our hearts. I had three demons: anger, resentment, and hatred. During the exorcisms God’s voice spoke within me again. He asked me one question: “Do you want to be free of them?” “Yes, Lord, of course I want to be free,” I replied. Then three persons came out of me. Their shadows passed over my body, and then vanished. That is what it was like. It was entirely painless. There were no screams. Those who witnessed the exorcism say that they saw nothing but a simple ritual. But I have no doubt what happened to me.
After my deliverance I received the sacramental grand slam: Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. Two weeks before my baptism I told Ania our marriage would probably not take place as I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered the seminary. I am now a deacon in my sixth year of studies and will probably be ordained in 2010.
Though I was possessed, God gave me the grace of a vocation to the priesthood. God willed this vocation for me since before I was born. Nothing that occurred in my childhood (and I have not related everything) has altered this decision, for God’s decisions are eternal — for all time.
Translated by Alicja Kozłowska
The above article was published with permission from "Love One Another!" in August 2016.