WHAT OTHERS HAVE SHARED
BURNING FEARS AWAY
Sadhus, yogis and other holy men have practiced fire walking since times immemorial but a layman generally considers it next to impossible. During a course on Past Life and Transformation, conducted by Dr Karl Everdin in Lonavala, India, I saw a lady walk on fire, where the surface temperature was 1300°F. I was flabbergasted but decided to try it out for myself.
A similar course was soon conducted in Jamshedpur, India and a senior colleague of mine, who had already been initiated in this art, asked me to join him in fire walking. I was cold with fear.
To allay my fears I met the German master who said: "Have faith in yourself and be confident. Do not worry." With full confidence I reached the stadium and drove away all negative thoughts. The time came to walk on the 1300°F surface. On seeing my senior walk into the fire, I followed, and in my excitement rushed full-tilt into his back. After that I do not recall how many times I walked through the fire, though at some point I was asked to stop. I also performed dances; not classical kathak or bharatanatyam, but fire-dance. I did not harm my feet in any way, not one sore, blister or burn injury.
Before going out to fire walk, I allowed my most negative, fearful thoughts and feelings to surface, to be acknowledged and examined. I've learnt that in doing so, we can learn to deal successfully with fear whenever it confronts us, converting it from an enemy to a friend and turning adverse situations into opportunities for growth.
Subha M, India
DAY I MET SAI BABA
ON ASTRAL TRAVELING
In my schooldays I used to fantasize about traveling to places without other people seeing me. Growing older, I heard about astral travel. And I obtained a small practical book: The Secret of Astral Travel by David Savage. I even attended workshops where I learnt a few techniques of astral projection. Some of my friends also narrated their out-of-body experiences (OBE) to me. To them it happened automatically and unexpectedly and they did not even realize that it was astral projection.
One friend claimed to have seen his physical body separate from himself while he was suffering from severe fever. Another close friend described how she felt thirsty while sleeping. She tried to go to the kitchen to drink water, but found it difficult to get up from the bed. Forcefully, she got up and then looked back. She saw her husband, children and herself sleeping on the bed. Shocked, she immediately returned to her physical body.
I was thrilled to hear all these incredible stories and had this deep desire to try the 'mystic transport'. One whole night, lying on the bed, I tried every method I knew, but all in vain. Frustrated, I slept off, simply letting go off everything. Early in the morning before I was wide-awake, I became aware of a tingling sensation all over my body. Then I felt myself floating above near the ceiling. It was pitch dark. In that particular moment I sensed my physical body lying down on the cot separate from me. Before I could make out what was happening, I got terribly scared and rushed into my physical body. Then I realized what it was to have an OBE. I felt very fresh and happy. And I continued to practice.
After a few days I had another beautiful experience. Dreaming while asleep, I was talking to a person. Suddenly I remembered that this was a dream and I became aware of the astral body. I felt the same tingling sensation as before and a suggestion came from within that I could go for an astral projection. And I took off from my body with the sound of a jet propeller. This time I opened my astral eyes.
Everything looked brighter. The walls appeared taller and vibrated like a river current. I passed through the ceiling and reached up to the dark blue sky, gliding along with it. I was ecstatic and could not express it in words.
During another attempt I succeeded also in directing myself to certain places, which I really wanted to visit. On another occasion I had vivid and colorful visions, which I believe belonged to one of my past lives.
In retrospect, these extraordinary experiences happened not just because of any technique I knew, but more because of my intense desire to master this art of inner journey.
Swami Ananda, India
RHYTHM OF MEMORIES
Whenever I sit down to write about my father, I am struck by how less I think of him. Except when there is a shake from within and I am thrown to the floor, guilt hanging around my neck like a millstone. I am reminded of a haiku:
The evening haze
Thinking of past things
How far off they are
Once I had done just that. Thought about my father as I got up from my bed and sat down out in the backyard. Staring at the sky, listless about death, I saw the moon paling in the bright light of the morning sun. My father... I saw the sun climbing up the blue sky. My father... I saw a small cloud, slightly gray, disappearing behind a huge blanket of cloud that came in drifting with the wind. My father... I was a boy then.
Life is an equation of expectations. One expectation adds up with others to equal another. The sum of expectations is what you live and the result of what they drive you to is what you leave behind.
As the evening descended with a cold thud one January day, I sought comfort in a concert by L. Subramaniam, the Indian violin maestro. It also happened to be my father's death anniversary. I gathered together sublime images of my father smiling as the maestro began with an ode to a departed soul. Many years ago, I sought solace in his tribute to his departed father in the album " Beyond". I cried. As the drumbeats died away, I recollected the reprimands of my dad. I used to hold my hands around him and be sorry for my mistakes. His scolding would get louder, perhaps in an effort to slide me from my silence.
Sometimes, as I enter the passages of my dreams about childhood, I reach out in apology only to grab at thin air. Where do we stand? Between life's exigencies and death's dominance. You know it is there. You have already lost someone to it.
Yet, I wake up with the solemn thought that I have realized my mistakes, repented for it. And I am spurred into action. I always ask myself: when was the last time I thought about my father?
Now that I write this, I think about him. I meditate. I get on with life. I am sorry. I am not sad. That's spirituality for me. We remember those who are no more. We move on to ever more. Subramaniam's requiems, they teach us that.
Emen, New Delhi, India
WORSHIP WITHOUT WORDS, IDOLS OR TEMPLES
When people face troubles in their lives, they pray more fervently. For me, prayers have always been something that impress the subconscious mind in a positive way and provide the inspiration to surmount obstacles. But my prayers do not require any idols, flowers, or temples. They are always silenta confidential pact between me and the supreme power who controls the universe. And my prayers have always been answered too.
I remember the times when, as a child, I would observe my grandfather praying. Even then, what struck me most was his silence before he started his prayer. Very quietly, he would go about cleaning the pooja (prayer) room and all the necessary articles. In the stillness, his silence would resonate like a thousand temple bells! Grandfather would sit in the prayer room for nearly an hour in absolute silence. When he came out, I used to find his face radiant and bright.... The room would be spick and span. So clean, so sacred!
I have always felt that to commune with the Godhead within us, we don't have to attempt any kind of model prayers or rituals. All we need is the purity and integrity of thought while we pray in silence. This small act alone goes a long way in understanding ourselves and thus makes us better individuals.
Srijaya Char, India