- Charles, Master
- (1945– )founder of Synchronicity FoundationMaster Charles is a popular American meditation teacher, who combines the teachings of Swami MUKTANANDA (1908–82) with the insights provided by contemporary psychology and parapsychology.Master Charles Cannon was born on March 14, 1945, in Syracuse, New York, to Italian Ameri-can parents and raised as a Roman Catholic. At one point he seriously considered joining a Cath-olic religious order, but in his later teen years he backed away from the church. He practiced Zen Buddhism for a period and explored parapsychol-ogy. Then in 1970, some friends who had recently returned from India showed him a photograph of Swami Muktananda. Seeing the picture had an immediate and intense effect upon him. In the midst of the altered consciousness into which he had moved, he had a vision of God as Mother (a relic of his earlier devotion to the Virgin Mary), and she instructed him to go to Muktananda. He obtained a copy of the first of Muktananda’s books, Guru, which had just been published in the West, and soon afterward left for India.Cannon settled in at Muktananda’s ashram in Maharashtra (about 75 miles from Mumbai). He remained in India with his guru for 12 years and for a period he served as Muktananda’s pri-vate secretary. Halfway through his stay, he took vows of renunciation (SANNYAS). Shortly before his death, Muktananda instructed him to return to the United States. His experience with Muk-tananda culminated in his reaching a state of pure consciousness, which Master Charles described in mystical language.Back in America, he withdrew from the Sid-dha Yoga Dham, the organization that perpetuated Muktananda’s work, and settled in rural Virginia. He also dropped the garb of an Indian monk, began wearing Western clothing, and began to call himself Brother Charles. A small commu-nity gradually gathered around him. In 1983, he founded Synchronicity Foundation to facilitate his work and built a sanctuary to hold various meetings and classes. As his leadership manifested he assumed the name Master Charles.Unique to Master Charles’s teaching activity has been his mastery of contemporary data, gen-erated by transpersonal psychology and parapsy-chology, concerning MEDITATION and altered states of consciousness. He integrated this information into the meditation he learned from Muktananda to create what he termed the Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation Experience.Master Charles continues to teach and develop his scientific form of meditation from the head-quarters of the Synchronicity Foundation in Nel-lyford, Virginia. He publishes compact discs of meditative music that use binaural-beat technol-ogy to induce meditative states.Further reading: Master Charles, The Bliss of Freedom: A Contemporary Mystic’s Enlightening Journey (Malibu Calif.: Acacia, 1997); ———, Synchronicity Experience (Nellyford, Va.: Synchronicity Foundation, 2002).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.