Elvis Presley died way too soon. The King was only 42. But according to his ex-wife, Priscilla, he studied a type of meditation that would’ve allowed his soul to control his body after death.
Now, Elvis was a Christian. He grew up in the Assembly of God church and he kept a Bible in the nightstand by his bed. He recorded gospel music and won a Grammy for his live performance singing How Great Thou Art.
But Priscilla Presley said her ex-husband also was curious about the teachings of other religions. He was entranced by Paramahansa Yogananda after he met Daya Mata in Los Angeles.
According to Priscilla, Elvis thought Daya Mata reminded him of his mother. Plus, writers of Elvis: His Life from A to Z said Presley kept Mata’s book Only Love in his library. Mata was from a prominent Mormon family. Her grandfather even helped design the Mormon Tabernacle. But she came to California and eventually led the Los Angeles-based Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda, who died in 1952, created the fellowship. He dedicated it to the harmony of all religions.
Priscilla Presley wrote about her ex-husband’s spirituality in the book Elvis and Me.
Elvis Studied Meditation For Self Realization
Priscilla wrote of Elvis: “He made several trips to Mount Washington, high in the Hollywood Hills, for sessions with Daya Mata in the hope of attaining kriya, which is the highest form of meditation in the self-realization fellowship.”
She continued: “He read that Yogananda had reached such a high state of consciousness that his spirit could control his body even after death. Yogananda’s body lay in an open casket at Forest Lawn Cemetery for over twenty days without showing any signs of decomposition. It was this kind of higher state of consciousness that Elvis was hoping to achieve.”
When Daya Mata died in 2010 at age 96, the fellowship included more than 600 temples and meditation centers. It had two large centers in the Los Angeles area.
Elvis studied spirituality in the 1960s. It’s not clear if Elvis continued his spirituality studies in the 1970s. But he always considered himself a Christian.
He died Aug. 16, 1977, at Graceland in Memphis. He was only 42. Millions mourned his sudden death. Presley had gained weight and didn’t look healthy at the end of his life. Doctors said he died of a heart attack. Elvis also was addicted to prescription pain meds. Elvis and fiance Ginger Alden were supposed to be married later in 1977. She discovered him unconscious on the bathroom floor.
“Elvis was definitely controversial because of his elaborateness, but no one ever questioned his heart,” said Jackie Patillo, president of the Gospel Music Association. “He was always very overt when it came to gospel music and his expression of his faith.”