Divine messages

Human history is replete with stories of messages from the gods. The mother of the future Buddha, queen Maya of the Sakya tribe, had a vivid dream in which she felt herself being whisked away by spirits to a lake in the Himalayas. Here the spirits bathed her, anointing her with perfume and garlands of flowers. And then a white elephant appeared and magically entered her womb.

When the queen awoke she was convinced she had been given an important message. She told her husband about the dream and the king summoned advisors who suggested to the royal couple that the queen’s dream meant that the devas had chosen her to give birth to a child who would—like the elephant—become a very great being.

Queen Maya's dream

The founder of the Mormons, a sensitive young man named Joseph Smith, was often given to meditation and deep study. In 1823 he was visited by an angel named Moroni who told him of an ancient record containing an account of God’s dealings with the aboriginal people of America. Following the angel’s instructions, Smith retrieved the golden plates containing this record and translated them under what he experienced as divine guidance. The resulting work, the Book of Mormon, was published in 1830. Smith was persecuted for his beliefs for much of his life, and was killed by a mob in 1844, but the religion he founded—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—survives to this day.

Joseph Smith and
the Angel Moroni
That which is other and beyond