Shraddheyji: The Eternal Energy “Beyond the Microwave World”
Edited by Helen Clapham. Download the PDF document.
When a sportsman is competing, his mind shuts off the cheering around him and all that matters to him is his game. Any sportsman, any person, we all meditate on something or the other when we concentrate the mind on a single point. The problem is that, whenever we try to concentrate this mind on worldly things, there is a beginning and an end to it.
Swami Brahmanandji, who was a famous sage of India, wrote a very beautiful poem in which he basically said that everyone has a tradition of remembering God by His name. You have rosaries. In India we have rosaries which have 108 beads. It is supposed to be a sacred number. It is all related to the prana, in that during a day we inhale and exhale one cycle of prana, so in a day you have 10,800 cycles of prana. It is not scientifically proven of course. So when you remove the zeroes you get 108. So basically the significance of the number is that God has given us this cycle through which we remember Him. So the easiest way to do it is to chant his name 108 times, so the cycle of your chanting matches the cycle of your prana. You can do it any number of times. If you do it 10,800 times you are chanting his name with each and every cycle of your breath, that is constant meditation. That meditation will take you to a certain stage, but it is still dependent on an external factor, it is still dependent on the rosary. However, Swami Brahamanand said that you do not need the rosary to chant the name of God because there is an eternal rosary, which is happening inside you, and that is the cycle of the breath.
You see, wherever there is a religious text, where there is a master, it is all there as a guide to help us to realise our Self, but the moment you have realised your Self, there is a direct connection between you and your spirit and God, so then you do not need the rosary, you do not need texts, because you are free. Then the meditation happens with your breath, through the essence of the Knowledge. What Guru Maharaj Ji has been giving to everyone, what Mahatmaji talks about, what we all talk about is directly related to the breath.
Eventually when you are ready to take Knowledge and you ask for it and the kriyas (the techniques) are transferred to you, you will see that they have nothing to do with any external factor.
I was on a world tour about 2 1/2 years ago, during which I went to South Africa and we had a very good tour around Durban. We visited temples and people’s homes and we had some very good programs. A lot of Indians live in South Africa whose ancestors reached there 3 or 4 generations ago and they were taken there to till the land. Once they settled there they maintained their temples and their culture, but the one thing they have forgotten is how to speak Hindi! So all the texts are like in an ancient language for them, because if you cannot read and understand the texts you will be alienated from your own religion. So then they had to depend on a few people who could read those texts and they had to take their interpretation of it as truth. And this happened over generations. So when I went there it was a beautiful opportunity because I could talk to them in English and they were happy because they could finally ask their questions and get an answer which they could understand, not words which had no reference for them and were therefore useless. The main thing is the meaning behind those words which brings about change inside us.
Finally I went to Johannesburg from where I had to catch the flight to London. In Johannesburg a very old couple came and we were sitting and having satsang just like this. Afterwards I asked, “Do you have any questions?” They said, “Yes, we have one question. You talk about the Truth, but what Truth is or what Knowledge is, you didn’t mention in your satsang.”
I replied, “You are absolutely right!” So they continued, “Our doubts still remain, because you know how to get Knowledge but you’re not giving out the techniques.”
So I explained, “It is not my place to give you the techniques right now, because you won’t understand what Knowledge is all about. You have to build a base to understand Knowledge, to accept Knowledge in your heart. If there is a taint in your life it will taint the Knowledge you are bringing in your life and then the impact of that Knowledge is not 100%.” And I told them, “You’ve been living in a microwave world.”
They asked, “What do you mean by a ‘microwave world’?”
I replied, “See, you don’t even have patience to cook your own food! You put it in the microwave and in 2 minutes you want it to be hot and ready. My point is that in spirituality there’s no microwave world, you know. You say, ‘I’ve got Knowledge and in 2 minutes everything should be ready. I should be able to talk to God, I should be experiencing Him and love and compassion should just flow out of me!’ You live like that and that is why I cannot give you the Knowledge right now. You may accept it but you won’t understand it. Until you are aware of the understanding, it cannot affect you, it cannot bring about change in you. And when the change does not come you will be upset and then you will not walk the path”.
So first of all clear your mind of the doubts. This happens only through satsang. When we listen to satsang, when we listen to the Master speak, what is happening is our doubts are being removed. When our minds are completely free of doubt then we should ask for Knowledge because then we are ready. In India, we use the word ‘pakka’ to mean that you are ready to receive Knowledge. And if you receive it before you are ready, the effect will be a little slower in your life.
Eventually each soul is destined to be perfect. Eventually along the way we will reach our goal. But time is of the essence. Let’s put it this way: we are all climbing a mountain. For example, there are various sides to a mountain, and each path that a climber is taking is filled with its own set of challenges. One person will start the climb facing the cliff, obviously it is a more difficult climb for him. For another person the climb is much easier, he isn’t facing any cliff, it is a gentle slope, so obviously he will reach the peak much faster than the person climbing the cliff face, but eventually that person on the cliff face will overcome that hurdle, and then his path becomes easier for him. But the destination for all of us is one, there aren’t two peaks to a mountain. There can be many starting points around the mountain, there can be hundreds of them, millions of them. Each person will take his own path, but eventually the goal is one. It is very important for us to understand that, with right karmas, you can never go wrong. With correct knowledge you can never go wrong, but you have to be ready.
So this couple started telling their story. They told that they had gone to other places. At one place someone taught them, “Put a candle in front of you, keep on staring into the candle and you will realise God eventually.” That’s what they were told and they kept doing that and the candle finished, but they did not realise God! Because, you see, all these things are techniques to concentrate your mind. For sure it is a form of yoga. I mean, you can do yoga, you can do asanas, you can stand on one leg, you can keep your hands above your head. All those things. I suggest next time come to India during the Kumbha Mela. It is India’s biggest religious festival; it will be happening in 2010 in Hardwar. The whole festival will last for a month. It is the biggest congregation of spiritual people in any one gathering – it has gone beyond one religion. We will talk about Buddhism, about Hinduism and beyond, but when you see the varieties of ways people go to find God you will be amazed. There was one person at Kumbh Mela who hadn’t put his arms down in 14 years. It’s a form of yoga, but what do you get if, after 14 years you’ve been searching and your hand is still up! You could have found God in a much easier way, if you had concentrated all the power, all that shakti within you, within your spirit.
So if you were concentrating your mind on a candle, when your means are wrong, your goal can never be reached. God is internal, He is not externally present. Obviously He is present in the candle, but His manifestation is not present there. The closest manifestation of Him is you, because there is spirit inside of you and people do not realise that. It has even been said that ‘God made man from the dust of the ground, He breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul’. These few sentences speak volumes. What are we? We are made from the dust of the ground and what makes us human is the breath of life that God has put into us and we became living souls. It is only because God put a little of His image, a little of His power inside of us, a little of His connection inside us, that we are living, we are talking, we are walking, we have life. So the easiest way of finding Him is catching that connection and tracing that connection back to the source, that is the easiest way. But if the mind gets tainted by the world, then we look for that satisfaction, or we look for that connection in external things.
Then that couple said they went somewhere else where they had a poster, the poster had different circles of different colours which were going in and out that lead in to one point, which we call a bindu. They were told to keep focussing on that one point and the posters were given out to everyone who came to that class. They were told, “Take it home, put it on your wall, then every morning for 1 or 2 hours, whatever time you have, focus on that point.” See, again you are externalising God and His experience cannot happen like this, concentration of mind will develop, but until that concentration is focussed on your breath, real manifestation does not exist, you will have momentary bliss. For the 2 hours you are sitting and staring at the wall you might blank out the world and all your problems, but the moment you get up, everything comes flooding back in: your problems, your insecurities, your troubles, your suffering, everything comes back.
So this person said, “I thought the poster is a very good thing. I can keep it at home, we don’t need to go anywhere, but what if the poster gets stolen one day? What if someone robs my house and removes that poster? Then I will not have the experience of God. That means God is taken away from me if the poster is the only way to Him.” He and his wife were saying that they were searching for more than 30 years for the true path. So it was incredible meeting them, because they were the first people who realised that satsang, or talking about Knowledge, is not the same thing as Knowledge. I went all over the world, many people came and listened to me and they thought that was it! They thought they had done their duty, they’ve come and listened and that will bring about change. We don’t know, they are just words and we will forget them also. With time we forget so many things, with time so many other questions come into the mind that need to be answered.
When you are dependent on external factors, you will always be limited. When you are dependent internally, internally is where the Satguru lives. Satguru – not the guru – means ‘beyond time’. When the Satguru is manifested internally, all questions are answered internally, there is no need for doubt to arise, because we meditate, we focus, we concentrate inside ourselves and the answers are given to us.
It has happened so many times that we when are in doubt, we look up and pray and we have this feeling manifest inside of us, ‘God, please help me. Show me the way’. It won’t happen instantaneously, but in two or three days we suddenly get what we call a brainstorm, or like a light bulb switching on above our heads, an idea of how to look at our problems. At that point of time we might think this is coming from us, but we don’t realise that it was our prayers being answered.
There is a story about this Irishman who was driving along and he was getting late for an appointment. He reaches the parking lot and all the spaces are full. So he’s driving around and around and after some time he prays, ‘O God, please help me find a parking space. I’ll give up drinking for the rest of my life!” The moment he says that, a car a few spaces ahead moves out and a spot becomes vacant. The moment he pulls into that parking spot he says, “God, God, don’t worry about my prayer just now, I’ve found one!”
It’s a joke but the reality of it is that this kind of thing happens in all our lives. When we ask and we receive, we think it is all our own accomplishment, not thanking God for granting our wishes.
What is important for us to understand is, when you perform perfect karmas, when you are in touch with your Self, when you have removed the doubts, everything happens in your own way, in your own perspective. See, all of us are different in many ways, different experiences have influenced our lives, different feelings that we attach ourselves to, different thought processes, different schools of thought that we follow in our day-to-day life. That’s how there are so many differences in the world. People believe something to be right, other people believe that same thing to be wrong. So there are differences in each person’s spiritual experience, so each spiritual experience is unique and personal for you, when you set out on the path, there can be no common denominator. When you read the scriptures, they show you the path; they are not showing what exactly will happen to you.
Over here in the ashram I hear many people talk. For example, there’s a person who may have had Knowledge a long time, he will sit there very proudly and he will say to a couple of people who haven’t been meditating as long, “Okay, tell me your experience.” One person will say, “When I sit in meditation after some time I experience a flow of yellowish light that comes slowly inside of me.” Another person says, “I experience reddish light,” then the older person says, “You both are wrong. The light has to be blue!” So those two people will think, ‘We have been trying so hard and everything we have been doing is wrong!’ But instead of encouraging those two to meditate and go deeper, you know, he is confusing them. Each experience is unique and in its own given time, when you are ready, the experience will manifest for you. If you are not ready for it and the energy surge comes, you cannot handle it, you have to be prepared for that. That happens and people have gone mad. That is why the kundalini should rise from one chakra to the next. You should not be so proud that you miss one chakra and you go up, that is what happens when you are impatient and you want to do more. Hatha yoga is not a very practised form of yoga. Why? Because it accelerates everything very fast in your life. It is for those people who want everything in this lifetime, but it has its negative repercussions, because if you are not strong of mind you can have surges of power come inside of you and you do not know what to do with that power. The kundalini will rise too fast and it will damage your nervous system. That’s why people go a little unstable, I mean they will talk funny and they will do things strangely. When you come to the Kumbha Mela you will see a lot of people like that. You will experience firsthand how such people are. Not all schools teach this, there are certain schools, certain followers who do that.
It is very important that, when we are doing the right action, we should do it according to our own capabilities. Plato said that when setting goals it is very wise not to set impossible goals for yourself. Don’t say, “This is my goal and I will do it” when you know you cannot achieve it. Set goals in your life which are possible, which you know you can achieve, once you move higher. Then you will move on higher. During the day you don’t need headlights because you can see where you are going, but at night you must switch on your car lights. Why? Because you can’t see where you are going. Now, the light is not illuminating the whole road from your point of origin to your destination, is it? It illuminates what needs to be seen 10 feet, 20 feet in front of you. But you won’t say, “I can’t see my destination, so I won’t start my car.” You do start your car, and you slowly move forward. The moment you reach the point where the headlights reach, then you move forward, and the next 20 or 30 feet are illuminated. Your whole way does not have to be already shown to you, but eventually you reach your destination. If something happens and your headlights go off, you won’t travel further. You will stop your car and stay there or call somebody and then you proceed.
Knowledge is also like that. It will illuminate the goal that we have to reach. See, the ultimate goal is far for all of us, the ultimate goal is very very far, but to reach there we have to move forward. You have to move in steps, so when we are trying to change our lives the first change is internal, but we have to fight with our mind, we have to fight with temptation, we have to fight with greed. We have to fight the negative aspects of human nature which all of us have, which are pride, arrogance, hate and lust, predominately negative human nature which is always binding. But this human nature is also the creation of the mind. If your mind is happy there is no hatred, while if the mind is sad, there can be so many things that will manifest. When I see someone who has something that I don’t have, what is the problem? That I am envious of my neighbour’s happiness. That root cause is a problem that manifests inside you, it is not that somebody externally is telling me to be jealous of that person. It is all internal. The first fight is internal. When we sort of level our playing field, when we know that these negative attributes are there and they influence us, we remove them from ourselves. Remove them how? Stop listening to those influences. When I am getting angry and I know I am getting angry and I know that this is a part of me that is not right, then I can control my anger, I can choose not to be angry. I can choose to be forgiving, I can choose not to hold onto hate. See, the mind is so tricky. It will hold onto something that has happened in the past so that it influences us to the present day .
For example, you all are sitting here and I start scolding this person here right in front of everyone, out of the blue, for nothing. Now we meet after a year, same program, same place, and he remembers that Shraddheyji scolded him in front of everyone. That’s something he held onto which is past. Past is nothing but your memory. Does it have any significance for today? It doesn’t, but the mind will hold on to it. And all that year he keeps on thinking, ‘Shraddheyji scolded me in front of everyone, it was not good, it was not good’. That hate or that feeling has influenced his life for a year, whereas it is only a memory that he is holding to. It’s not real. Reality is the present, and today when I meet him and I am smiling and go to say hello to him, he’ll say, “Shraddheyji, you scolded me last time.” Then our meeting is automatically soured, you know. So we limit ourselves from experiencing what is now, because of a single memory.
Now there are so many memories, so many experiences that we tend to hold in our lives. ‘This happened, then that happened, then this person did this to me’, that is how we choose between our friends and our foes. We will say, “This person is good”, because he has done good things for us, so we go around telling everyone how good he is; but if some person has done something bad to us, even once, we will go around telling the whole world that this person is bad and you shouldn’t have anything to do with him. In the same way, the mind also holds onto the past like this in the form of memory, which taints the present, the current experience, and it also holds to the future. How? We are always constantly planning for the future, not focussing right now. You have limited days left in India, but you have already started making plans about what you will do this day, that day. You think, ‘I will see Agra, I will see Jaipur, I’ll see this, I’ll see that’. You are imaging you will go there, and you haven’t seen anything of it yet, but we waste the present on only the imagination of the future or the memory of the past. The mind moves in both these places. That is why the mind is unstable, that’s why either we live our lives in regret, or we hope for something good to happen in our life, not realising that if you perform action now, if you perform karmas now, understanding the nature and essence of karma, then the past and the future influences in your memory and your imagination have no say in your life today, but we still live under its influence.
The moment you start performing the right action, it happens first in a physical way. We have to be polite to one another, we have to be respectful of other people, no matter whether they are elder to us or younger to us. These things help us to grow in love and compassion, which is the essence of a spiritual existence. If you do not have love, if you do not have compassion, then what do you have? You will have hate, you will have ill feelings, what we call durbhavna, bad feelings, negative feelings towards other people, and when we have that, do you think that we can progress spiritually? It can never happen, because the means and the end are not two different things; they are one and the same. So the physical manifestation has to be understood, that how we slowly, slowly change ourselves, in very normal ways, then we accept Knowledge into our hearts. Once we accept Knowledge, that makes us see things differently, it removes all boundaries that we have created. We all have lived very conditional lives, we have been taught ‘This is our religion, this is what you have to do, you have to cheer for your country, you can’t cheer for another country!’ All those things are taught to you, they have been taught to you from a very young age. You have to believe for these things to be true, we have to be proud of this, in all countries, in all religions, cultures, everything. But then, when we spiritually see, we see that there is no difference, because the outside shell has fallen off, and we see the person for who the person is.
When you went around Haridwar you may have seen saddhus come up to you and say, “Om namah shivaye” or “Om Vasudeva Namah”. Now, ‘Vasudeva’ is another name of Vishnu, the Preserver. The Hindu Trinity is comprised of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Three aspects, like body mind and spirit. But the three eventually lead to one. The three aspects are different but when you see the essence, the essence is one. So when you say “Om Namah Shivaye” or “Om Vasudeva Namah”, it is not just a salutation, what you are trying to convey is that the spirit of God which is within you is also within me. I recognise that spirit and I bow to it. But half the problem is that nobody wants to bow nowadays, everyone holds their head up and yet they say “I bow”. Everyone is headstrong and says, “Whatever I say must be done!” But when we start accepting each other, when we see each other differently, if we had such respect for everything, then we’d solve the world’s problems in an instant. If everyone realises that, sees that with heart, with true feeling, we’d solve all our problems. When we see each other as one, why is there a need to fight? Why is there a need to have wars?
Today people are talking about the world food crisis. Is there a crisis or is it man-made? People are hoarding food and profiting from it, that is why they are saying there is a world food shortage. Is there a need? So many people, if they truly want, can help other countries. Not only by giving aid but also by opening up their natural resources, by opening up their borders. We have a serious refugee problem worldwide, because a secluded few don’t want these people in their lands. If they kick them out where will they go? Where are their homes? But we are all God’s children. He gave us this world. When the world was created there were no borders – they are all man-made.
So all these things change. No matter what we are taught, we decondition ourselves. We empty ourselves. Your parents give you your physical birth but there is also something known as ‘dwitya janam’, which is your second birth. Spritual birth happens on the spiritual plane. When the light of God touches us and we change spiritually, then we see the world as one, not living in duality, not seeing ourselves as separate. Not that I am believing in a particular faith and the other person believes in a particular faith. We realise ourselves as children of God, as spiritual people. There is a very good saying that we should always remember: we are not human beings having a spiritual existence, but spiritual beings having a human experience. There’s a big difference.
So this transformation happens when you accept Knowledge into your hearts. Now, accepting Knowledge is the first step. It is the first step. We should not say, “Okay, now I have Knowledge and I’m freed from the world”. No! Then the real hard work and the spiritual journey starts. The spiritual journey also has its own difficulties that we have to face. The journey is long, the journey is strenuous and there is a lot we have to still focus and build on. We have been given the tools, now the mission starts, now we pave the way to God in our lives. Like I said, there are certain karmas which will trouble us in this lifetime which cannot be changed. They are called the ‘prarabdh’ karmas and when these karmas arise, the mind becomes unstable. But when you have the power to concentrate on a point through Knowledge, you do not worry about the problem and you can concentrate on your objective, on your goal, so you don’t get diverted. Slowly it happens.
Now, when you are performing the right karmas, the first thing that will develop in you is ‘iccha shakti’, which is self-confidence, the power of will which is in you. We all know that if we want to do something in this world, first of all we set our mind to it. Whether it is getting a good job or getting into a good college or having excellent grades, you set your will to it. If there is no will, what will you be able to do? Nothing. You will not be able to proceed even a step forward in life. This is called ‘iccha shakti’, which basically means that the will should be there to reach God, to know God. If you do not have that will, if you do not have that love, if you do not have that feeling towards Him, you will be stagnant. Now when your iccha shakti develops, what it does is use your ‘ahamkar shakti’, the shakti you were born with which separates you. Just as Purusha became separated from Prakriti. Prakriti became the manifested universe while Purusha remained in its original state, in the unmanifested state. That is why we say that God is nirguna, without any attributes. You cannot tie God down. If you give Him attributes you tie Him down. The moment you put Him in a painting, from being nirguna you are giving Him attributes. But that is not His true state. You have given Him the attributes. You are worshipping a statue, you are worshipping a painting, you are manifesting that spirit inside it. That is ‘bhavna’, that is feelings of love and devotion, unconditional. But even then you are changing the form of God according to your will.
There is sagun and there is nirgun – two ways you can worship God. You can worship God in its physical attributes and in its non-physical attributes. But why only a statue? Why only a painting? Why only a shrine when everything we see, even ourselves, is an attribute of God? It is Prakriti – Mother Nature – what we call ‘Ma Shakti’. It is in many manifestations. We are also manifestations. But this manifestation has not happened in the original state. The original state, the Purusha, the nirgun, the nirakar, has no form. This is what we call the omnipresent, omniscient aspect of God. If we fix an attribute of God how can He be omnipresent? Because we’ve given Him a place, we’ve given Him a positioning in time. But what is formless is still present and our ultimate goal is to reach it.
So what happens is, that this ahankar shakti is the basic force of our creation, like Prakriti became separate. Why did Prakriti become separate? People say that is the course of life and it had to happen, but it only happened so there would be proof that there is something more. If only the nirgun existed in its formless state, who would be the witness to it? So to have a witness and to know that there is nirguna, there is nirakar, there is the formless form of God, the true source of divinity, the true source of power, the true source of all things, if there is no one seeing it or experiencing it, then how do we know it is there? So our creation is there because we need to experience that one source. But to experience that we have to be separate from it. If we were already a part of it, if we were already formless and without attributes, then we would be part of Him, then there is no life, there is no need to be born, there is no death, there is no need for this world to exist. But the world exists so that it can be a witness to that one source.
So when we were born, the ahankar shakti separated the two. Now the formless is present there, like the father. We are prakriti, we are of Nature. The Father is in the formless state and the Mother has taken form for our benefit, to help us. Through its attributes (what we call the gunas) and with the power of the elements (what we call tattwas), Ma Shakti, or the female aspect or the mother aspect of that divinity or that One Source, has created this world, has created you, has created me. Now the objective of our creation is to realise God. So the Mother helps us through our lives to realise who the Father is, because it is only the mother who can introduce the child to the father. When we first open our eyes we don’t see our father standing there in front of us, do we? It is the mother who tells us who everyone is. That’s how we know who our father is. Otherwise we don’t know our father, do we?
In spirituality, too, it is the mother, Nature, who through its attributes, through the mind, through the tattwas, helps us know who our father is. Now the father is not worldly pleasure. We choose that. We choose to live in this world, tainted by the world, because we get instant gratification from worldly pleasures. But they are not permanent. That means they are false, that means our life is meant for something more. Now when we focus the ahamkar shakti – not externally in the world like we have been living our lives, but when we focus through spiritual eyes – and convert that ahankar shakti into iccha shakti and focus it within ourselves, that’s when the kundalini rises. Now there are many ways of explaining it, but the point is that these are tools to help us. There is no ‘snake’ crawling up our spine, it is just a representation of what that shakti is. We only believe when we touch something, right? That’s what instant belief is. If God was sitting in front of us it would be so easy to believe in Him, because we could see Him.
There is an old movie called “Oh God”. In the movie God comes to Earth and he is telling everyone, “I am God, tell me your problems.” and people take him to court! They put him in the courtroom and accuse him of claiming to be God. The title of the movie signifies that “Oh God, even if you come to Earth we are so trapped that we won’t be able to recognise you!” So how can we know? It’s good to know something that we can touch and see because that’s the way the sensory organs work. But in the spiritual world there is nothing we can touch and see, it is all manifestations and experience. So when we focus the iccha shakti inside us, slowly, slowly, our chakras open. The moment our chakras open, the iccha shakti can travel from one point to another.
Now there are various chakras. The Buddhists talk about 5, the Hindu tradition has 7, but why get into the details of names, how many petals and lotuses there are etc, which are again words which have no relevance unless we understand the significance of it. Chakra points are basically power points in our body. When we move from the lower source of spirituality to a higher source, that basically is represented by the chakras, the different stages you have to pass to reach the One Source. They start from the base of your spine to the top of your head. Science too acknowledges the importance of your central nervous system. Your brain sends a signal and your hand responds. Sometimes you don’t even have to think to perform a bodily function. Imagine how fast our brain is sending a signal to our hand for it to move, for us to understand everything. How fast our brain and our nervous system is processing everything! So the central part of our existence is our spinal cord. Everything that is happening inside us is controlled from there. That’s why if you have a spinal injury your body can fail you. Many people who have brain injuries go into coma. If you have a spinal injury, even a simple slipped disk, you cannot get out of bed. Your spine has to be in place, your bones have to be in place. Now these are all physical aspects, but what it is showing is the main aspect of our life. If anything happens to our spinal cord – which implies the kundalini shakti – then anything can go wrong in our lives. This existence can come to an end or be very painful for us. So it is very important to make that shakti go slowly and gradually. That’s why spirituality is all about taking small steps at a time and moving on towards the higher goal.
So when the kundalini starts rising it starts opening the chakras slowly. Now, for example, what does the first chakra, which is at the base of your spine, signify? It signifies the animal instincts, the basic instincts that we all have, in the form of lust, greed, etc. It is the animal instincts we have inside us. Animals fight over something; we also fight, we give in to our emotions, to our anger, we do things without thinking. How can we control that? By changing our nature. You sacrifice these negative things through tyag and tapasya – tyag means to sacrifice and tapasya is your sadhana, your penance. But penance has to be from within. I have to be ready to know what is wrong with me and to give it away. That is penance and sometimes it becomes very difficult to do. It is always easy to give ourselves up to anger, to give ourselves up to hate. If somebody pushes us we won’t look back smilingly at him. We will try and push him too, or that feeling will manifest inside us at least. That means there is still a lot of work to be done.
Once you have changed your nature, automatically that chakra is opened because you have constantly fought those feelings and once you have understood their nature they will not hold any significance in your life. For example, we were all fascinated as small children by a candle or by a lamp burning. We were so fascinated that at some point in time (it is now in our subconscious memory) we may have put our finger into that flame. It was so beautiful, it was giving light, it was attractive. The moment we did that, what was our experience? Pain! Our finger got burned. And this must have happened to us ages ago, at a time we don’t even remember. We felt pain, our finger got burned. But what was its effect? Once you know the true nature of something – we didn’t even know its name, we didn’t know it is fire – but once we know that this shining thing will give us pain, to this very day we don’t put our hand into a fire. You may try to be brave and do it very fast to show people that you can play with fire, but you will not put it in and keep it there, because it will burn you.
So when Knowledge shows you what maya is, what the illusion of the world really is, its influence over you is no longer there. We still see fire but we now know its true nature. We use it to light our homes but we do not put our finger into it. When we know its nature, its attractiveness does not have any influence on us.
So the moment these changes happen, the kundalini rises. Now there are two ways of making the kundalini rise. Your spine has two central ‘nadis’, two central channels of energy flow. You can call them veins, arteries, whatever names science has given it, but according to our spiritual tradition they are called nadis. One is Ida and one is Pingala. When they combine they form Sushumna which is supposed to be the central cord from where the kundalini rises. Because if the kundalini shakti is not centrally located you will never open the chakras. Say somebody trapped you in a coffin and put you 6 feet under the ground, the only way of getting out of there is up. You can’t go left, you cannot go right. So when you focus this shakti within you, it rises. You should not channel it into your Ida or your Pingala, but Ida and Pingala are the factors which will focus the energy into sushumna.As you do this you are beginning to overcome Nature. You are going from the sakar to the nirakar. You are leaving the world of forms, but if you haven’t overcome all aspects and all forms and all attributes of Nature in the bigger picture you can never reach what is formless.
If I am trapped in this room I can never experience what the open sky looks like. I have to make an effort to break away from this room, to step outside and stand under the open sky to have that experience. As we aim for the formless, for the True Source, it becomes very strange for us because we are given all these powers (siddhis) over Nature, over things which we can use to perform miracles. And many people use it for other aspects also. There is the left hand path to God and the right hand path to God. The left hand path deals with tantra, it deals with beings and spirits and this is another whole aspect we can talk about, but the main thing is that you can use that shakti to do good, to help other people, or you can use it to trouble other people. In a simple way a tantra can be, say, black magic or influencing another person’s mind or creating chaos in his mind so that he cannot make right decisions for himself and he sort of spins a spiderweb of his own destruction. All these things are present in this world. Not everybody follows them, but people who do also eventually have to face the consequences because your goal is not to attain siddhis.
You must have heard about Swami Vivekananda. He arrived in America for the Conference of Religions in Chicago but by the grace of his Master, Shri Ramakrishna, he went from strength to strength and became recognised worldwide. Even today people read his books in schools and colleges because they give us so much inspiration, so much courage, so much power just by reading them, because his mind was so focussed, so clear in what he wanted, how to achieve the goal. So naturally and spiritually he motivated a lot of people.
There’s a story about him that one day he was going to meet a certain master about whom he had heard and about whom his own Master had said, “When you visit that area you should go and see him. He will have a lot of things to teach you. “ So as he was approaching the ashram, which was situated on an island in the middle of a river, because he was a spiritualised soul, because he was a liberated soul, the master in the ashram felt him coming from miles away. He told one of his disciples, “Go, Swami Vivekananda is coming. Please receive him and very graciously bring him here.”
So before Swami Vivekananda reached the place where the boat was waiting to take him across, he noticed a very calm person walking over the water to meet him. But Swami Vivekananda saw that he also had an aura of pride about him. So he bowed and asked, “How many years did it take you to accomplish this siddhi? Because it is the shakti that has manifested and you have used it to control one element of Nature, you can control water with it, so that is the siddhi over water.” This disciple had been focussing his energies totally on raising the kundalini and when he had raised it a bit and got this power he stopped, because his goal was to gain this power. So he replied, “It took me 14 years. For 14 years of my life I channelised my power to get this.”
So Swami Vivekananda gives one rupee to the boatman who was waiting there and he takes them both across the river. He then says, “What’s the point of wasting 14 years of your life when I got that siddhi in one minute and with only one rupee!” It served the same purpose – of getting from one bank to the other. So the point has to be to reach the Ultimate, not to give in to other distractions that come in the way. That’s why spirituality becomes very difficult. The more you have, the greater the chance of losing everything. The higher you rise, the greater is the fall also. That’s why your base has to be very strong. If your base is not strong, then somewhere along the line you may be a great soul but changes can happen. Something can bring you down or and hold you or not let you go any further.
The Pingala Nadi is called the surya nadi, related to the sun, and the Ida Nadi is related to the moon. That’s why in all ancient religions either the sun or the moon is worshipped. Why? Because they have a direct link to the body. The link has two parts. One is gyan – knowledge – which is the path of the sun. What is the sun’s job? To illuminate and remove darkness. That is the path of knowledge – it removes the darkness of the world, what we call maya or the illusion of the world from our hearts, so our hearts are enlightened and thus we progress. So that is one aspect. The other aspect is of the moon, which is called the bhakti marg, which is the path of total devotion. No questions asked. When I went to Mexico the premies took me all around and showed me their beautiful churches. I saw perfect devotion, no questions asked, and that devotion also helps you. Many people have experienced Mother Mary in that form. Many people have experienced Christ in their consciousness.
At the Kumbha Mela there is a person who worships Christ. He is a ‘baba’ but he follows all the esoteric practices of this faith and he has experiences. I haven’t had the chance to meet him personally but I have heard about him. When people asked him, “Why Jesus?” he said a very beautiful thing. He said, “You see, Jesus was like us. He was born in this world but he realised his true Self. And what change did it bring into his life? When he realised his true Self and pure awareness and pure consciousness flowed into him, what did he say? ‘I and my Father are one’, meaning that all dualities had ceased to exist and that ‘I and my Father’ – meaning the cosmic spirit – had become one. That means he became of Christ consciousness. After he realised himself, Jesus became Christ, not before. He was born as Ysu, Jesus. In India a lot of people believe in him, a lot of people believe in Mother Mary. We call Moses ‘Musa’. So he believed that and he said, “I meet Jesus whenever I want”, because his devotion is one-pointed, there is no duality.
So there are two paths and both have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of following the ‘gyan’ path is that it is quicker, it is faster because a lot of things have already been prepared for you and it is given to you. Like Knowledge is given to you. It is not based on our experiences, it is based on other people’s experiences but the doubt is removed. But it also has a disadvantage: unless and until we have experienced it we don’t understand the importance of it. Just like when a toy is given to us when we are small, we don’t understand the importance of it until we behave in a certain manner and it is taken away from us. Then we cry for it because we understand what it meant to us. It is the same with Knowledge. When we don’t understand or appreciate its true importance, when it doesn’t have any effect on us or it is taken away from us, then we repent, because then we face the suffering of the world and we realise what the path of Knowledge meant to us.
The only disadvantage of the path of bhakti is that it takes too long, in focussing on the world and getting it down to one point, because the distractions are manifold. The world will tempt you in many different ways and to keep yourself focussed totally on anything, on Jesus or Prophet Mohammed or on Mother Mary or on Krishna or on Rama or on Hanuman or any of the deities is very difficult to do constantly. But the people who have done it reap the same benefits because both these paths will take us to God.
But the Knowledge given by Satguru helps us to combine these two paths into one. When Ida and Pingala combine, Sushumna is formed and Sushumna is the perfect channel for your energy to rise. It will reach the crown lotus and once that is pierced you are no longer bound, but that stage is reached only by mahayogis, maharishis. Not even munis and sants, no. This is reached by very great people, where there is no distinction between them and God, like Jesus. He broke through all these barriers. In a single lifetime. Buddha broke through all these barriers. They were also faced with human choices, with human sufferings, but because they had Truth inside them and they had the will to not leave the Truth no matter what happened, they achieved their goal. Buddha was not born Buddha, he was Siddhartha, but when he realised the true consciousness inside himself he became Buddha, the Enlightened One. And what he told people was that they can also become Buddha. So many disciples after Buddha became buddhas also. The story goes that Milarepa in Tibet removed demons from the world. He controlled them and used them for the good of the world. That is also what? Channelizing the negativity within you and using it for the good of the world.
We all have our own demons inside us. We may be haunted by the past, and it can limit us and hold us back from what we want to do. The techniques will be given to you when you are ready, but it is only through meditation that you can realise Truth. The rest – all that I’ve said in the two days since I’ve met you – is just words. Nothing more. Real experience, real manifestation will start when you start your individual journey. I mean, these are just guidelines. They are things that encourage us to take that step. Otherwise if there’s no encouragement we would never even be here. Imagine, you’ve made this huge journey from your homes to over here because you were encouraged to do so. You must have met Maharaj Ji over there and you were encouraged to know more. When we meet great souls in our lives we are encouraged to do the right thing. When we meet saints we are touched by their love and we are inspired to be like them. It can happen anywhere.