Book Reviews - Blessing the world
by Suma Varughese
Awakening into Oneness, Author: Arjuna Ardagh, Published By: Indus Source Books, Pages: 210 pages, Rs 299
The Oneness movement founded by Shri Bhagavan and Amma is probably one of the most unique spiritual movements of recent times, because it focuses on what they call
deeksha, or a direct transference of grace, for human transformation. This book, written by American Arjuna Ardagh, author of the well-known, The Translucent Revolution, is about the organisation, its founders and the deeksha phenomenon, referred to also as the Oneness Blessing outside India.The writer calls the Oneness Blessing the fastest growing spiritual development in the world, and offers scores of amazing experiences to prove its impact on ordinary people. He himself went to the University for a holiday and submitted to having a young dasa (or guide as the teachers are called), bless him for a few minutes each day. Each day the blessings were for different things, for healing, for completing the relationship with the parents, and so on. He writes, "It went on and on like that. A short deeksha, a powerful inward release something like a shamanic journey, and then more and more space, simplicity and love." Does the deeksha pre-empt spiritual effort? Can we get enlightened only through that process?
In my own experience, the truth is not quite that simple. Having visited the Oneness University in Vardiapalem, Andhra Pradesh, I was privy to the most amazing sights – a group of people undergoing an advanced process
called mahadeeksha were evidently experiencing altered consciousness. All the dasas claimed to be enlightened, and certainly they seemed extraordinarily equable, peaceful and loving. Every day we were led to what they called Divine or Oneness beings, people who were more or less immersed in deep samadhi, and who laid their hands on our heads. I saw
people topple over, faint, burst out crying after the deeksha. However, nothing happened to me! And to quite a few others as well. Without doubt the deeksha has an
uncanny power, but from what I have understood of the phenomenon, one requires effort
from our side to achieve an enlightened
state. They place a lot of emphasis on completing relationships, on overcoming hurt, on
experiencing pain. All this calls for inner
work, which, after all, is what all spiritual
work consists of. Still, there is little doubt
that the deeksha is playing a powerful role
in raising world consciousness. Anyone can
be a deeksha giver, once they have been
initiated. Ardagh says, "I have talked with
doctors who give the Oneness Blessing to their patients, with CEOs who have brought the Blessing to their companies, and with teachers who have brought it to their classes."
Having long believed that this organisation has a remarkable purity and sincerity, I would strongly recommend this book. After all, blessings can't hurt, and they may frequently help.