Every week thousands of people from all over the world congregate on a small village about an hours drive from the capital of Brazil. Most of them have at least one thing in common, some crippling physical or mental disease that conventional medicine has failed to remedy. Between four hundred to two thousand people per day process before an individual who must by any standards be regarded as a phenomenon in the field of spiritual surgery and healing.
The person at the center of all this is sixty-eight year old Joao Teixeira de Faria, more affectionately known as “John of God,” a name he shares with two other significant historical figures, the renowned Portuguese/Spanish Mystic of the sixteenth century, and the great 19th century Portuguese poet. All three of them attained worldwide renown despite their total indifference to public opinion or the cultivation of personal fame.
It wasn’t until de Faria was sixteen that his life began to show signs of what he would later become. When he was out of work, penniless and hungry, he went and sat by a stream and waterfall in deep despair. He says a beautiful lady came and told him to go to a local Spiritist center where he was expected. When he arrived there, he lost consciousness, and when he came to he was told that he had healed many individuals and performed several surgeries on the people at the Center. He had no recollection of it and said he had simply fainted because of lack of food but after being given an excellent supper he was invited back the following afternoon when he once again lost consciousness and healed a large number of people. This was how his healing career was launched that has continued now for over fifty years.
To be a medium, he has stated, “requires loving God above all else, and your fellow human beings as yourself.”
For five or six years he traveled throughout Brazil healing and counseling. Inevitably he incurred the severe displeasure of both the medical and religious establishments. He says he lost count of the number of times he was arrested for illegally practicing medicine.
When the military government came into power after the 1962 Brazilian Revolution, Joao went to the new capital, Brazilia, and sought a job as a tailor for the military, following the trade he worked as a child. On the side, he quietly continued his healing work in the barracks, but once after he had operated on a doctor’s leg which healed remarkably quickly, his secret was out and he soon found himself recognized as the spiritual healer for the civil and military authorities. During this time he was protected from persecution by the military authorities and traveled a great deal throughout Brazil with the army.
His great passion in those years was to become a successful businessman, and he eventually acquired a large ranch and a gold mine, which removed his financial concerns and allowed him to focus on his work of healing the sick and helping the poor.
About thirty years ago, Joao received a message that instead of endlessly traveling, he should establish a permanent Healing Center where people could come to him. The place designated was the small town of Abadiana. In the beginning, he sat in a chair near the main road and attended to whatever sick people came to see him, but in 1993 the Mayor donated a site outside the town where Joao built his Center, called “The Casa Dom Inacio”, “The House of Ignatius” named in honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. The State Medical Association guaranteed that he would be allowed to practice his healing there in peace.
Few will contest that in his work at the Casa Dom Inacio, Jaoa Teixeira de Faria, in the full glare of publicity, has become the world’s most documented and respected spiritual healer. The administration of the Casa Dom Ignacio have as a deliberate policy invited the world’s media to witness his work without restriction, because of the numerous attempts over the years to dismiss him as a fraud. Failing in that effort, many sought to discredit him personally in any way possible, the age-old technique of those who have despaired of winning in any other manner. People very often freak out when they see powerful manifestations that cannot be explained in terms of current scientific knowledge.
When he arrived there, he lost consciousness, and when he came to he was told that he had healed many individuals and performed several surgeries on the people at the Center.
Joao Teixeira de Faria does not like the name “John of God” (“Jaoa de Deus” in Portuguese) but prefers to be known as “Medium Joao,” even though the word ‘medium’ is a damaged term in the English language because of its unfortunate nineteenth century associations. To be a medium, he has stated, “requires loving God above all else, and your fellow human beings as yourself.” His healing work at the Casa Dom Inacio is based on the principles of Spiritism, a system that has no dogma, but consists of teachings that investigate the relationships between the physical and non-physical worlds. The beings for which John of God becomes the medium are individuals who no longer have a physical body but who wish to intervene in the world to relieve suffering. If being a medium requires loving your fellow human beings as yourself, there can be no greater form of it than laying down one’s conscious self into a state of sleep, while disincarnate entities use your body as a vessel to perform their work. Joao acts as a medium for about thirty of these ‘spirit doctors’ who claim to be able to heal all manner of physical, spiritual and psychological illnesses, and on each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between four hundred to two thousand people from all over the world come to the Casa Dom Inacio to ask for help.
Joao states that divine consciousness is the guiding force that inspires all of the work of these entities at the Casa Dom Inacio that have identified themselves. The principal beings are individuals who were physicians in Brazil during their physical incarnations such as Dr. Bezerra de Menezes (+1900), Dr. Augusto de Almeida (+1908), Dr. Oswaldo Cruz (+1917), and Dr. Jose Valdivino, about whom very little is known. Above all of these is the presence of Inacio of Loyola, in whose honor the Casa is named. Inacio was born into a Basque noble family in 1491 and after a full life of adventure as a Spanish Knight at the court of King Ferdinand of Spain he was severely wounded in both legs at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. This brought about a profound change in his life, which led to his becoming a priest in 1537, and his founding of the Jesuits in 1540. He had once come under suspicion by the Inquisition but after intense questioning was released.
He quietly continued his healing work in the barracks, but once after he had operated on a doctor’s leg which healed remarkably quickly, his secret was out and he soon found himself recognized as the spiritual healer for the civil and military authorities.
The central building at the Casa Dom Inacio is known as the Great Hall where the participants gather at 8.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. They are asked not to wear colored clothing as it makes it more difficult for the incarnating Entity to read the energy fields of those seeking assistance.
Participants are then taken into the First Current Room. ‘Current’ refers to the creative life force which Joao teaches can be intensified in every living person by focus and meditation. In the First Current Room the participants are requested to reflect on what it is they wish to have healed and to become aware of what it is that is blocking their full health. These procedures admirably fulfill what Professor Amit Goswami has described as “the process of preparation and surrender before the quantum leap of healing takes place.”
After a period in the first Current Room, the participants go into the Second Current Room when the entity incorporating into the body of Joao is seated in a chair. He is referred to as “the Entity” when incarnating some of these spirit doctors. Each person seeking healing passes before him and is ‘scanned’ by the Entity who will perform the healings. The healings may be mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. The Entity may prescribe healing herbs or an operation.
The operations are done in the Surgery Room and may consist of spiritual surgery, where the physical body is not touched, or physical surgery for those who may feel the need for some more tangible evidence that something has been done for them. According to Joao the healing is the same, whether the operation is spiritual or physical.
John of God says that what he does is ultimately possible for anyone to do.
Some of the techniques used in the physical surgeries may include inserting a hemostat or medical forceps several inches into the nasal cavity, or the scraping of the eyeball with a knife. This treatment is not just for eye ailments, because according to the Entities the eye represents the entire system of the body. If tumors or other growths are to be removed the skin is cut open to do so. There is no anesthesia used and there is minimal bleeding, while the patient feels almost no pain, if any at all.
Several years go John of God suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on one side. He also suffered a heart attack more recently. In both cases the Entities did physical surgeries on his body and he was restored to normal. John of God cannot stand the sight of blood, but fortunately for him he was not aware of any of these operations on himself. Many individuals have had physical surgeries without their bodies being physically touched. My friends witnessed a woman who had opted for a physical surgery become panic-stricken when she stood before the Entity. She had a cancerous tumor beneath her left rib cage. He asked for her to be seated in a chair next to him in order to calm her down, and after he had seen the four or five hundred remaining people in the line, he then asked her how she felt. She said she was much better. He then asked her to lift up the left hand side of her shirt in the place where the problem was. The marks of an incision were there and the cancer had been removed, without her ever being touched or being aware of anything. There are many similar accounts, some of which have been featured in the various documentaries made about John of God.
I believe any fair minded person who is willing to look objectively at the phenomena surrounding John of God will have to concede that something extraordinary is happening here, however much it may insult their view of how reality actually is.
If tumors or other growths are to be removed the skin is cut open to do so. There is no anesthesia used and there is minimal bleeding, while the patient feels almost no pain, if any at all.
How one explains that is of course another matter entirely. Some will see the occurrences as magical in nature, others will locate them in that borderland area of religion where superstitions thrive. And of course for seasoning’s sake there will always be the sprinkling of those who believe it is the work of the devil. Others will see it as a ‘blick’ into possible future states of humanity, when healing comes from a larger understanding of the quantum states of reality than we have customarily had. And of course John of God says that what he does is ultimately possible for anyone to do.
The day my friends and I were departing from the Casa Dom Inacio, to say goodbye we went to meet John of God in a small living room beside the Great Hall where he was taking a rest between sessions. I had purchased a volume that recounted his recorded healings and asked him to autograph it for me. I knew he was not able to read and write but also knew that a few years ago he had learned to sign his name. I had seen his autograph, a childish, unformed hand with a backward slope. He signed the book and handed it back to me. It was only later when I opened it on the journey home that I saw the autograph. It was not in the childish hand of Joao Teixeira de Faria, nor was it even his name. In a stylish, mature, and flowing hand was boldly written “Inacio.”