Ramtha is the name of an entity that spiritual medium JZ Knight claims to channel. According to Knight, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who raised an army and fought against the tyrants of the times, the Atlantians, over 35,000 years ago. Ramtha led an army of over 2.5 million across the continents, conquering 2/3 of the known world, which was going through cataclysmic geological changes. According to his teachings, he led the army for ten years until he was betrayed and almost killed.
Knight further claims that Ramtha spent the next seven years in isolation recovering and observing nature, among other things. He later mastered many skills, including foresight and out-of-body experiences, until he led his army to the Indus River when aged in his late seventies. Ramtha taught them everything he knew for 120 days, before he ascended before them. He made a promise to his army that he would come back to teach them again, and so he appeared to JZ Knight in 1977 to re-educate the "forgotten gods", those who had forgotten themselves and their divinity.
Ramtha is the central figure (the "master teacher") of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment (RSE), a school started by JZ Knight in 1987 in Yelm, Washington. Classes (or "dialogues") had been held around the world for the previous ten years. A central theme of Ramtha's teachings involve the internalization of divinity (God is in Us, You are God, Behold God, etc.). Ramtha is described as having brought his knowledge to many ancient civilizations in the world such as the Ancient Egyptians. The website also suggests that traces of the lineage of the original teachings and philosophies he taught 35,000 years ago have appeared throughout history in the schools of philosophers like Socrates and Plato, religions like Hinduism, and the works of great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
In Ramtha's system of thought, the material world - the densest plane of existence - and the physical body are never regarded as evil, undesirable, or intrinsically bad. A dualistic interpretation of reality typically found in the gnostic traditions - emphasizing the struggle between good and evil, good and bad, light and darkness, sin and righteousness - is intrinsically excluded in Ramtha's system of thought. What becomes an undesirable condition is to remain in a state of ignorance or denial as to our true nature and destiny.
The four cornerstones of Ramtha's philosophy are:
- The Statement, "You are God"
- The mandate to Make Known the Unknown
- The concept that Consciousness and Energy Creates the nature of Reality
- The challenge to Conquer Yourself
When Knight claims she is chanelling Ramtha, she speaks only English, although in an accented and sometimes simplistic way, as if Ramtha is struggling with the language. Through Knight, Ramtha has expressed confusion about modern items "What is a Safeway?" but also professes intimate knowledge of worldly affairs and conspiracies, while existing outside of time and space.
J.Z. Knight has been involved in several court disputes, some personal (her divorce from Jeff Knight) and others business related, for example, one involving the dissemination of material containing the copyrighted Ramtha. In Knight vs Knight 1992-1995 Jeff Knight alleges that he lost years of his life by postponing modern medical treatment for his HIV infection, due to advice from his wife that Ramtha could heal him - he died before he could appeal the courts decision against him. Another in Austria, involved a Berlin woman who also claimed to channel Ramtha. The Austrian Supreme court decided that JZ Knight was the only person with the sole trademark and copyright license for the name Ramtha and its associated teachings.
There are many skeptics of Ramtha and JZ Knight's channeling abilities.
Most books regarding Ramtha and RSE come from JZK Publishing, one of the several companies started by JZ Knight. Other books somewhat sympathetic to Ramtha like Finding Enlightenment: Ramtha's School of Ancient Wisdom (See Literature section) have ties to RSE in other ways. J. Gordon Melton, the author of Finding Enlightenment, testified for J.Z. Knight in a 1992 court case against her former husband Jeffrey Knight.
Other skeptics point to Ramtha's story as proof that he does not exist. Ramtha claims to come from the continent of Lemuria and to have conquered Atlantis (what he terms as "Atlatia", which was only one of several major civilizations at his time he claims). The existence of either location is dubious.
James Randi, a famous skeptic, criticised J.Z. Knight for charging people $700 to attend a retreat on how to become rich and, tongue-in-cheek, suggested that the advice was likely on how to fake channelling.
The movie What the #$*! Do We Know!? is also a major source of controversy involving Ramtha and a number of scientists. Critics of the film describe it as a pseudoscientific fiction and not the documentary and scientifically based film it projects. JZ Knight appears briefly "channelling" Ramtha in the film to reinforce the apparent connections between ancient spiritual beliefs and new discoveries in quantum physics. Two of the three directors of the film are admitted students of RSE.
Ramtha was one of the more popular channelled entities during the New Age explosion of the 80's in America and was figured in Shirley MacLaine's book Dancing in the Light, amongst others. The book Finding Enlightenment: Ramtha's School of Ancient Wisdom (J. Gordon Melton, 1998, ISBN 1-885223-61-7) describes Ramtha's Teachings and RSE. The book was written after several years study of the school, its environs and the school's body of teachings. It was presented as a balanced and accurate research by a religious scholar, but this claim has come under attack by others as biased and incomplete. There have been over 120 books and 40 DVDs released by RSE, JZK Inc. or independently in the past twenty-five years