AUS Pentagon team studying unidentified flying objects (UFOs) will for the first time publicly release findings, the American media reported on 23 July. Amid stressful challenges of life during these strange coronavirus days, an earlier significant incident went by without much attention: the Pentagon releasing three videos of UFOs on 27 April.

The search for extra-terrestrial beings took a historic turn with officialdom releasing the three UFO videos that two US Navy pilots had filmed in 2004, and unofficially leaked in 2017.

Cmdr. David Fravor was flying an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet with Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight off the Pacific coast when US Navy cruiser U.S.S. Princeton alerted them: a mysterious aircraft suddenly appearing at 80,000 feet and moving strangely.

The dark disc-like object hurtled towards the sea and then moved towards the two fighter pilots before veering away and vanishing. The Pentagon’s ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force’ studying such UFO phenomena will report to the Senate Intelligence Committee every six months, the New York Times reported on 23 July. Cmdr.

Fravour had said the UFO was “like nothing I’ve ever seen” and that he was “pretty weirded out.” “Weirded out” serves as standard reaction to non-normal phenomena accompanying humanity from endless time: secrets of ancient pyramids, UFOs during World War 2, haunted homes, Bermuda Triangle, the ghostly ship ‘Flying Dutchman’, time travel eerily portrayed in the Netflix German series ‘Dark’, to past lives, telepathy and supernormal mind powers.

The “supernatural” does matter and also does not matter. Flying saucers and unexplained phenomena expand boundaries of conventional science into Mother Nature’s realms yet unknown. Sentient beings from other dimensions or ghosts in the abandoned Rajasthan fort town of Bhangarh – called the most haunted place in India – do not matter much in our supra-mundane existence. Our mundane struggles day and night are filled with work, money, relationships, possessions, aspirations, fears, joys and anxieties. Yet in this mundane life of apparent realities, we use a tiny fraction of the inherent power of the mind. Mind matters most.

We live on the edge of an ocean of the unknown, its waves lapping at our feet of everyday life – when suddenly and fleetingly, sometimes frighteningly, a ghost wanders into our life and suggests realities beyond the beyond.

Call them ghosts in the mindmachine. We know scientific wonders of today were far-fetched fancies of past. Mr Abhijit Bandyopadhyay in year 1543 might have roared at anyone suggesting 250 people flying 42,000 feet above the Earth in something called an “aeroplane”; or a hand-held object called a smartphone through which we can interact with people thousand miles away.

The “magic” and “blasphemy” concepts of past centuries became the reality of today and might become redundant in decades – like audio cassette players that 21st-century children might never have seen. Likewise, circa year 9020, the reality will not be farfetched of celestial beings of ‘devas’ and ‘brahmas’ – angels in western culture – of sentient life in 30 planes of existence other than the human world.

This is a cosmos of 31 planes of existence, with uncountable universes arising and passing away, of realities not yet known to conventional science but clearly known to minds that experience subtler realities beyond the limited mundane.

Therein dwell ghosts in the mind-machine. For how we deal with the unknown reveals our character: blind belief, presumptuous disbelief, healthy scepticism or respectful neutrality. How do we receive news of UFOs that fighter pilots saw; or the ghost of a white-clad female hitchhiker seen in the Delhi Cantonment, the spirit of engineer W. A. Chambers said to be haunting the old wing of hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, or the ghosts of Hastings House in Kolkata.

Blind belief can be as foolish as blindly sneering at the yet-to-be known. Arrogant assumptions can often ignorantly dismiss recorded experiences of others as imagination, delusions, drunken hallucinations or even mental illness. Five centuries ago, respected people had rejected as insane Nicolaus Copernicus declaring the earth revolves around the sun. Revolutionary ideas, scientists and inventors invariably faced initial ridicule.

Reality boils down to objective experience – the truth, as it is. A person touching fire knows it burns, and is unlikely to reject that experienced reality because others do not believe him. I have not seen ghosts but I do not dismiss their existence simply because I have not met them. I do not laugh at people dedicating their lives to research of hauntings or UFOs of Roswell – just as I do not laugh at those kicking a soccer ball as a profession or choosing Coleopterology as a career – the study of beetles. Each to one’s own life as each sees fit, without harming anyone. A “live and let live” approach nicely fits our impermanent existence. The truths of cosmos exist independently beyond what little we individually know. What we do not know is infinity – until experience bridges the distance. I know from experience that telepathy is real.

I experienced many times how a very pure-minded person with whom I was voluntarily serving had read thoughts in my mind as clearly as words on a page, while dictating letters to me. He would verbally answer clarifications that I silently asked in the mind. I have experienced other happenings that conventional science has no explanation.

Truths await conventional science that too evolves like an infant to mature adulthood. We can know and yet not know. Deeper levels of consciousness lurk in dungeons of the mind – until the pure light of enlightened awareness demolishes walls of ignorance. Not all those sneering at the idea of ghosts will dare stay alone in a haunted house or a graveyard at night. Sometimes we experience the tantalizing ‘sixth sense’ from shadowlands in the mind. We feel a strange familiarity with places we never before visited this lifetime, déjà vu passing unnoticed like unlit ships in the night. Amid humdrum of the mundane, the unknown beckons. Ghosts and galaxies far, far away, grip the mind, and likewise movies such as ‘ET’, ‘Matrix’ and ‘The Omen’– works of fiction barely scraping at frontiers of fact.

Ultimately, we will know. We will experience. The truth that matters most awaits discovery within – not through laboratory experiments of the mundane. The subtlest truth of nature, at the subatomic level, can be experienced individually only within, with an ultra-pure mind. Experiencing this ultimate truth can be a journey across lifetimes, across aeons as innumerable as grains of sands in an ocean beach.

The journey will end in enlightened freedom for those who fearlessly work hard for the final goal of liberation beyond every suffering, beyond the mundane world of mind and matter, and share benefits thereby gained with all beings – including ghosts, celestial devas and extra-terrestrials.

The writer is a senior, Mumbai-based journalist.