"Few in our culture Realize that living Gurus walk among us."
Donald Schnell, known as Prema Baba Swamiji, has a typically American background in many
ways. Although he was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany in 1955, he immigrated to the United
States in 1957. He was raised in Ajo, Arizona, a remote copper mining town on the border
of Arizona and Mexico. Dr. Schnells mother was an Austrian citizen.
His father was half Native American Indian and half German, a soldier
during the fifties in Germany, and an engineer in the copper mines after his
discharge from the Armed Services. Donald was an A student, an Eagle
Scout in high school, and as a soldier, he has a medal for commendation for his
work in Parapsychological Operations. He married, put himself
through college, earned a Bachelor degree in Education and a Masters in Computer Science,
and became a grade school and junior high school teacher.
Donald was guided in his adult spiritual development by Swamy Nagananda, and several
other living teachers. He studied with Dr. Rammurti Mishra, the Swamy Brahmananda
Saraswati, who was also a prominent psychiatrist and endocrinologist at New York
University Bellevue Hospital. It was at a workshop given by Dr. Mishra that Donald first
witnessed the miracle of levitation. Shortly thereafter, he himself levitated during a
deep meditation session. He studied seventeen years with Dr. Hugh Greer Carruthers,
Tibetan Lama, psychiatrist and surgeon, and founder of The Theological Society. After
twenty-five years of study in the Rosicrucian Order, Donald achieved the coveted degree of
Illuminati. He was embraced into the highest ranks of that organization and affiliated
organizations, including the Order of Freemasons, Martinists, and the Order of the Golden
In many ways, Prema Baba Swamiji was a typical New Age seeker. He explored meditation and
Indian philosophy, made the obligatory visits to ashrams in India, took a degree in
chiropractic medicine, and studied hypnotherapy. He even co-wrote an alternative health
book with his wife. However, in 1997, at the age of 42, his life took a radical turn. He
was summoned to India by his teacher and encountered the "deathless avatar"
Babaji, and was initiated into one of the oldest monastic traditions, The Order of the
Swamis, in a remote temple in the South of India. The Initiation relates the author's
extraordinary encounters, where saints and deities appear and offer guidance, and sacred
objects materialize from thin air. It is a spiritual adventure story that includes
encounters with an Indian rabbi, levitating gurus, disappearing taxi drivers, and
psychedelic (without the use of chemicals) mystical experiences. It is also the story of
one man's quest for answers to the "big" questions: Who am I? Where do I fit in
the universe? How can my life have meaning? How can I touch the infinite? The
Initiation is a journey of self-discovery, allowing abundant possibilities. With the power
to open minds, Swamiji's words allow a spiritual awakening, and an affirmation of
identity. A true story capturing one man's profound experience in India, The Initiation
bears a timeless, transformational message.
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