Friday, November 28, 2008

India's 911: Synchronicity and Coincidence in Mumbai

Astrology and a murdered astrologer. Synchronicity and a Synchronicity Foundation. An actor who had played a terrorist bomber was in the midst of one of the first waves of Mumbai attacks. One of the first people killed was the chief of the Mumbai police's anti-terror squad.

Synchronicity is the coincidental occurrence of events that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality. As we look more closely at the attacks in Mumbai, India, how does one separate the human planning from the synchronicity that apparently underlies these events?

The events will reveal many "coincidences" as the attacks are charted and deconstructed.

How does an actor who played a terrorist bomber find himself in the midst of a terrorist attack? Daily Mail photo, above.

Where, who, why?

A gunman enters the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, November 26, 2008, opening AK-47 gunfire and throwing hand genades, killing at least ten people immediately, including three railway officials. Teams of gunmen in coordinated attacks, storm luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station across India's financial capital, killing people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege for three days. (Mumbai Mirror, Sebastian D'souza)

Before even an attempt at "why," first let's get straight to the "where" of the attacks. What sites have been hit? Of ten reported, these are the known targets:

1) South Mumbai Police Headquarters;

2) Metro Adlabs cinema (historic Art Deco movie theater; Mumbai is the center of the Bollywood film industry);

3) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (railway station);

4) Cafe Leopold (a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area);

5) Nariman House, site of the Chabad Lubavitch Centre (Jewish center);

6) Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel (above, a castle-like 1903 landmark, across from the Gateway of India monument);

7) Oberoi-Trident Hotel (five star hotel used by foreigners, such as former guests Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates);

8) Cama Hospital;

9) Vile Parle suburb, North Mumbai; and

10) Mazagaon docks.

It has also been reported that, "Low-intensity blasts were reported in Vile Parle and a grenade attack in Santa Cruz. Two blasts were reported in the Nepean Sea Road area of south Mumbai. Local Mumbai Suburban Railway trains on the Western Railway are running, whereas those of the Central Railway are suspended. More blasts were reported at the Oberoi as the siege continued. Meanwhile, police seized a boat filled with arms and explosives anchored at Mazgaon dock off Mumbai harbour."

I have privately been noting to associates that I think probably eleven sites were actually attacked, not ten. The twilight language use of "11" has been very significant in the history of such terrorist attacks, and sends a message to other founders. (Noted researcher Brad Steiger, "I will swear that the first announcement that I heard regarding the attacks stated that eleven locations had been hit." But even though his wife said she heard ten "10" all other mentions told of "10," Steiger still is certain he heard "11.")

The July 11, 2006 Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, killing 209 people and injuring over 700. The reason the 2008 attacks are being called "India's 911" versus the 2006 attacks is due to the 2008 Mumbai's coordinated multi-attacks at several sites, the destruction occurring, the individuals killed, and, for the terrorists, the great media impact they were able to deliver. Media attention is very much a motivation for terrorists, and the wall-to-wall cable news coverage for over three days in the West was a goal, no doubt.

This is how artist Hemant Morparia remembered the earlier 7/11/2006 attacks on Mumbai. He entitled his work, "Mumbai's 9/11."

The site, The Daily Behemoth took a look at the name game apparent with "Mumbai.":

Its present name of Mumbai- used, formally, since 1996, and informally for many centuries before that by speakers of Gujarati- is combined from the local goddess Mumba, and a word meaning 'mother', 'Aai'.

According to Wikipedia, Mumba was the patron of the original inhabitants of the seven islands, the salt collectors and fisherfolk; and is still deeply venerated in the city's seventeenth-century Mumba Devi Temple.

Most intriguingly, Mumba is depicted inside the temple as a black stone sculpture: evoking obvious comparisons not only to the Black Madonnas of Templar-infused Catholicism and Isis, but to the origins of Islam in the pagan worship of the Kaaba at Mecca (a word related to Cybele.) Devi is a Sanskrit word, synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine.

Other insights can be gained by reading about the "Trident" name at Through the Looking Glass, where Todd Campbell points to the iconic "Indian trident or Trishula of the Goddess Shiva,"linked to the name of one of the major hotels attacked.

Also the astrology of the events is examined at Etemenanki. Indeed, Etemenanki has posted an elaborate astrological precusor chart (below) linking the time and space to the sites of India and Indiana, and a couple opposing temporal points on the calendar. (Bizarrely, on Friday, November 28, 2008, Indiana was in the news again, when five deer jumped off an interstate highway.)

Who are the victims? (Piles of bodies were found Friday after commandos stormed the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the last of three buildings that terrorists had occupied in the city. The death toll may be close to 300 killed, who were mostly Indians.)

Gunmen who burst into the Taj "were targeting foreigners. They kept shouting: `Who has U.S. or U.K. passports?'" said Ashok Patel, a British citizen who fled from the hotel.

Authorities believed many foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Early reports on Wednesday night indicated at least three top Indian police officers — including the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed. Indeed, most media accounts mention Hemant Karkare, the chief of the Mumbai police's anti-terror squad as one of the first people killed. These individuals were one of the first targets, apparently.

Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans were admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds. All were brought in from the Taj Mahal hotel, the officials said.

Brooke Satchwell, an Australian actress who starred in the television soap Neighbours, said she narrowly escaped the gunmen by hiding in a bathroom cupboard at the Taj, where she was staying for a film shoot.

Only a little news is slowly being released on the victims, with, of course, the Americans being noted by the American press.

Who are the known Americans killed in Mumbai?

Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivkah, 28, died in the attack on the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement's center in Mumbai, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin said in New York. Their son, Moshe, was rescued by a brave staff member who had earlier been able to flee with the baby.

The group said three other victims in the building apparently had been visiting there. Shmotkin said the dead included Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli with dual U.S. citizenship; Rabbi Leibish Teitlebaum, an American from Brooklyn; and an Israeli woman whose name was not released. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the body of a fourth victim, an unidentified woman, was also found inside the five-story building.

Some of the victims had been bound.

Two other American individuals have been identified as Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, both there on a spiritual trip with a group called the Synchronicity Foundation. Alan Scherr was a Vedic astrologer.

According to the foundation's Web site, the community is led by Master Charles, a former leading disciple of Swami Paramahansa Muktananda. He is described on the Web site as "one of the most popular spiritual teachers from India to build a following [in] the West in the 1970s." He taught a form of yoga.

The Washington Post says this about the Scherrs:
Twelve years ago, Alan Scherr committed his life to meditation and spirituality, moving his family to the Synchronicity spiritual community in Faber, Va., about 30 miles southwest of Charlottesville in the Blue Ridge mountains.

It was that spiritual journey that led the former art professor at the University of Maryland to be in Mumbai Wednesday evening, eating a late dinner with his 13-year-old daughter at the Oberoi Hotel, when armed gunmen attacked. Both Alan and Naomi Scherr were killed. Local media had reported that they were killed at the historic Leopold Cafe, but U.S. officials later said that the two died at the Oberoi.

The Scherrs were among 25 participants from the Synchronicity community who had traveled to a program in Mumbai. Four other members of the group were injured in the shooting, the Associated Press reported.

According to a statement put out by Synchronicity this morning, Scherr, 58, and his wife, Kia, had been part of the community since the 1990s. Kia Scherr and the couple's other children had not traveled to India on the spiritual mission, the AP reported.

"Alan committed most of his adult life to meditation, spirituality and conscious living," the statement from Synchronicity said. "He was a passionate Vedic astrologer and meditation teacher who inspired many people to begin a journey of self-awareness and meditation. He was committed to making a positive difference in the world and devoted himself to the community he lived in."

The Synchronicity statement described Naomi as "a bright and lively young woman who loved spending time with people and living life to the fullest. She was passionate, if not a little mischievous, and will be fondly remembered by many of us for colorful hair styles and radiant energy."

In an essay in the Web magazine Realization in 2000, Alan Scherr described his journey from college professor and follower of Eastern meditation to a member and full-time staff member of the Synchronicity community, led by Master Charles, described as a contemporary mystic and master of meditation.

After listening to Master Charles speak in 1994, Scherr wrote, he and his wife decided to join the community, which promotes high-tech meditation and a holistic lifestyle. They moved to Faber in 1996.

"For me, real freedom means living life in each moment, as it unfolds, without concepts or conditions." Scherr wrote. "It is a life very few choose because it requires an orientation and re-prioritization of life that is, in many ways, antithetical to our modern Western culture. And yet, it is always available whenever one is truly focused upon self-mastery. The miracle of this life continues to unfold for me on daily basis."

Bobbie Garvey, a Synchronicity spokesperson, told the Associated Press that other members of the mission narrowly escaped the armed attack.

Garvey identified those from the group who were injured in the shooting as Helen Connolly of Toronto, who was grazed by a bullet; Rudrani Devi and Linda Ragsdale, both of Nashville, who both underwent surgery for bullet wounds; and Michael Rudder of Montreal, who remains in intensive care after being shot three times. Other members of the mission narrowly escaped the attack.

The Baltimore Sun also noted:

"I would call them bright stars," said Bobbie Garvey, a spokeswoman for the Synchronicity Foundation meditation group, of the Scherrs. "Extraordinary, bright, very positive -- examples to the world."

The Scherrs had lived at the foundation all of Naomi's life, Garvey said. Alan Scherr's wife, Kia, and her two sons did not travel with them to India.

One captured individual (pictured widely from the train station attack), Azam Amir Kasav, a 21 year old terrorist, has told authorities that the terrorists arrived at Mumbai from Karachi via Porbandar. He reportedly said that he and other terrorists had received automatic loading revolvers, AK-57, bullet magazines and dry fruits from their coordinator.

Azam confessed to the police that they wanted to replicate the attack that destroyed the packed Marriott Hotel in the city of Islamabad, Pakistan, on September 20, 2008, and reduce the Taj Hotel to rubbles, replicating the 9/11 attacks in India. Pakistan's Human Rights Minister Farooq H. Naek said after the Islamabad attack: "This is 9/11 of Pakistan."

Azam melted in with the crowds, and reportedly wore an innocent looking "Versa" shirt, according to one reporter. Or did it say "Universal"? Probably it does refer to "Versace," as suggested by Todd, which is an Italian fashion label founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. Gianni Versace was killed by serial killer Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997.

The Versace logo does appear to be the "innocent" icon visible on Azam's shirt.

The television coverage appeared unreal, at times. The violent movies of Hollywood seemed to be playing out in reality on the same streets that gives us Bollywood, where violence like it is not part of their scripts.

Update: Some of the well-known victims have begun to be identified.

Ashok Kapur, chairman of Yes Bank, was killed at Oberoi Hotel (attacked in dining area, but found dead on the 19th floor).

Bollywood actor Ashish Chowdhury's sister, Monica Chhabaria, and her husband were killed at the Oberoi. Chowdhury has appeared in numerous Indian films. According to the Indian media, he reportedly had a small role in the U.S. film Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt. But this is incorrect. Pitt's Fight Club was a 1999 film. Chowdhury's Fight Club: Members Only was a 2006 movie, according to the IMDBb

The body of Sabina Sehgal Saikia, a Times of India consulting editor and food critic, was recovered from the Taj hotel.

Boris Rego, a management trainee at the Taj Mahal hotel, was killed in the hotel's restaurant when gunmen barged in and opened fire.

The Taj hotel's general manager lost his family in a fire that broke out in the hotel Wednesday night. The bodies of Karambir Kang's wife and two children were burned beyond recognition in the fire, but it was unclear whether they were killed in the blaze.

A military funeral was held Saturday in Bangalore for Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a National Security Guard commando who was killed at the Taj hotel.

The body of another Security Guard officer, Gajendra Singh, was taken to New Delhi before being transported for last rights in his native Dehradun. He was killed at Mumbai's Chabad House, a Jewish community center where American-born rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his Israeli wife, Rivka, were killed along with another American rabbi, Leibish Teitelbaum.

As mentioned before, Hemant Karkare, chief of Mumbai's Anti-Terrorism Squad, among 17 police killed.

IBN listed other slain police officers as:
Ashok Kamte (IPS), additional commissioner of police, East Region, Mumbai.
Vijay Salaskar, police inspector, anti-extortion cell, Mumbai.
Shashank Shinde, police inspector, CST Railway Police Station, Mumbai.
Praksh P. More, police sub inspector, LT Marg Police Station
Bapusaheb Durugade, police sub inspector, L.A.1, Naigaon
Tukaram G. Omble, assistant police sub inspector, D.B. Marg Police Station
Balasaheb Bhosale, assistant police sub inspector
Arun Chitte, police constable
Jaywant Patil, police constable
Yogesh Patil, police constable
Ambadas Pawar, police constable
M.C. Chowdhary, police head constable, R.P.F.
Mukesh B. Jadhav, Home Guard constable

Sources: Associated Press, IDN India News, CNN, MSNBC, Synchronicity Foundation, Mumbai Mirror, Times of India, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Yahoo News, Through The Looking Glass, and The Daily Behemoth.


FilmNoir23 said...

Great work Loren. The synchronicity connection was very strange...The major human targets seem WELL thought out. Granted, I realize the Taj is a big night spot and the victims are likely random but...

CNN seems to keep floundering on the total number of strike sites...earlier today they listed the Gateway of India monument as 1 of the locations.

Christopher Darren Horn said...

Liked the post. Indiana is having some strange things happen, at least to me anyway. Seem to be having some more strange dreams and an odd case of not being able to sleep, which is unusual for me. Like the blog.

Anonymous said...

This blog by way of coast to coast led me onward to wikipedia to learn of Devi goddess and Siki which can very easily be related to a dream I had of a murdered sand covered woman. Dream was right before the attacks and I thought it to be my sister. Since this research I realize it was either representative of Blessed Mother apparition surrounding the synchronicity foundation or directly related to Rudrani Devi. Rudrani is almost a look alike for my sister. I plan to send the following writeup to the foundation as it just feels kind of imprtant right now for some strange reason:
"Just wanted to share the following course of events in my life...
Tuesday evening the 25th of November I had a horrible dream. It involved a woman figure laying in front of a buidling with very open floor plan and a lot of windows. The woman was layered with sand of a gritty nature similar to kitty liter. She was covered just to the point of being part of the ground but still recognizable as a woman. I went over to her in the dream and uncovered her face. At the time I believed her to be my older sister from Rockingham, NC. The dream ended upon realizing she had been murdered and upon my walking around the inside of the building.
The following evening I corresponded this dream to my sister in NC via text messenging and we both felt a drive to interprit the dream. I urged her to check coast to coast radio show for guests that are versed in dreams and the like. Unsure if she ever did or not. Since then the Mubai attacks occured and so I checked the coast to coast web site and followed it first onto wikipedia. Once there I read about Mumbai, Mumbi, Divi and related the dream to the manifestation of a mother goddess or Siki. Please realize I am not a follower of Hindu or Budhism and only know some basics of what is involved and from this research I did today on wiki.
I did not know anything of synchronicity foundation organization until I further researched the loss of the two followers. I had not finished reading the link from coast to coast that led me on this research course. The link was: When I went back to the link I read further on to hear of Rudrani Devi as being injured in the attacks. The strange and shocking thing I realized upon visiting her site: is that she resembles the lady in my dream more so than my sister. Her and my sister both look very very similar. Woman in dream could just as easy be representation of this Siki goddess person and have some meaning that I don't fully understand yet. Anyways, just wanted to share this dream event. If anyone wishes to confirm this dream as being prior to current events I am sure my sister would be kind enough to forward the text messages."


Anonymous said...

Looks to me like his shirt probably says 'Versace.'

Anyway, kind of an interesting article, but I wouldn't put too much credence in those astrological 'findings.'

Anonymous said...

I agree on not putting too much into any such astrology things Todd...that said you can go ahead and chalk it upto coincidence that your posted first name follows directly after mine and but yours is my middle name... weird eh?
To continue on with the weirdness... Turns out I read that injured Rudrani Devi played dead in order to survive in the Tiffin restaurant. I pulled up the hotel website and there staring at me under the dining section is pic of the contemporary furnishings just like in my dream. There is many fashion types there in the place but the type in the Tiffin seemed the match to my dream before confirming it. The flooring turned out to be sand colored of course although in dream I remember the woman being in more of an outside dark area like the lobby would be in the dark. The woman of my dream being coated with sand could mean lots of things but logic would suggest it could stand for the carpet she likley laid on.Lobby has a wide open floor plan with trees in the pics I seen.Don't remember any trees in dream. I don't know the real floor plan yet but in dream the woman was to the left and my view point entered furnished lit rooms to the right and then went back and left towards open window areas. Don't know if the Tiffin has windows or not or if it will match as I only seen one pic.. In the twilight zone here pretty much... Too bad such coincidences can't play an effective role before things happen.

Anonymous said...

btw, I did the time conversions and it turns out the attacks took place while I was dreaming. I had went to bed about 5am pacific time and got up around 11am after an exhausting night.

Anonymous said...

if you count the boat taken off
the coast as the first strike by
terrorists there were eleven
targets,they tied up the owner and
killed him in cold blood.

Red Pill Junkie said...

A very thought-provoking read, Loren.

A young terrorist wearing Versace. That's something to mull about.

When will this end?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a tilted version of the Universal logo to me, not Versace:

That globe-shaped blob in the middle is the kicker. Again, probably a knockoff, just not the one you're thinking of.

TRUE said...

Thanks for the great post. I've become very interested in synchronicity lately--in fact, I posted a blog piece about it yesterday, which I linked to on my twitter account ( A person who follows my feed tweeted back that she was reading this post when she saw the tweet about mine--you might enjoy checking it out:

Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

FUNNY: Islamic terrorist wears a T-shirt designed by a GAY JEW. Can't stop laughing.

Anonymous said...

Of course there were 300 victims, the number had to resonate with sacrifice. Great compilation of events and [co]incidences here.

Contrary in Texas said...

Wikipedia says there were 12 attacks.