In Batman #673, published a few years ago, Batman recalls how he underwent the Thogal ritual in the caves of Nanda Parbat (a fictional location).
What follows is transcribed from that issue. Would someone know if what Batman is experiencing is based on reality? Would a real person undergoing Thogal experience anything similar?
The Thogal Ritual is one of the most highly advanced and dangerous forms of meditation. During a seven-week retreat known as Yangti, the practitioner undergoes an experience designed to simulate death and after-death.
And rebirth, too.
[Panel shows rock being pulled in front of a cave.]
13th day of Thogal.
Thirteen days of silent isolation. In a cave. In Nanda Parbat.
Hearing voices is normal. Hallucinations from the past and present are normal. Flashing lights and imitations of mortality are normal.
All of this is normal.
[Pages of flashbacks to various points in Batman's career, interspersed with self-asked questions like "How long have I been in here?" "How long have I been in this cave?"]
23rd day of Thogal.
I can feel eyes watching me. Eyes with human intelligence watching. Always watching.
I must be around five years old when I first sense the presence of a gaping, toppling void in the center of existence. For the first time in my life, I suddenly grasp something. Mom and Dad are going to die.
We're all going to die.
[More flashbacks, interspersed with internal exclamations: "Isolation chamber?" "No, this is the 30th day of Thogal. Or is it the 27th?" "When did I die?"]
[see a panel with a rock being removed from the entrance to the cave. Sunlight enters, illuminates Batman's serious face.]