By Indu Nair
Know that you are part of the universe and the universe is part of you. This will pave the path to energy consciousness, says Swami Isa.
The event will also include workshops on energy consciousness in the areas of language, arts and social sciences, as well as in the fields of biology, chemistry, medicine, mathematics, physics, engineering and earth sciences.
“A layman who walks through all these nine platforms will be able to appreciate the path of living in the energy plane and working towards total consciousness,” assures Swami Isa.
What is your mission? What is most needed in today’s world?
To help seekers achieve realisation of total consciousness by living on the energy plane. This can revolutionise life in today’s world.
There are several spiritual paths and as many gurus in the present age. How will a seeker recognise his destined path and his guru?
Each path focuses on one or more aspects of spirituality like bhakti, knowledge, tantra, yoga and so on. We are conducting the amba yaaga this Navratri, which has nine different platforms, corresponding to bhakti, knowledge, yoga, mantra, tantra, yantra, dhyana, manasa yaga and dravya yaga. This is a complete approach to spiritual development. Incidentally, the amba yaaga was last held 5000 years ago, during the reign of King Parikshit.
What is the next step after enlightenment?
There is no next step, it is the ultimate state of realisation.
Can the pursuit of spirituality be balanced with a householder’s life?
There is no difference between the material and spiritual worlds. A seeker is as complete as the consciousness he aspires for. Look outwards and you see the material world. Look within, and you realise the self. They are essentially the same.
What is the ultimate goal of human life?
To achieve the understanding that one is complete in himself, and is also part of the completeness of the universe. Every human being is whole, the totality that is not within you does not exist anywhere else in the universe.
You also write spiritual poetry. What is the relationship between spirituality and creativity?
When you feel happy, you smile.
From where did the smile come?
It is a reflex of the happiness within you. When your consciousness is elevated to a state of bliss, it manifests as creativity– poetry, literature and other arts.
Your mission has visions of developing instruments to measure thought-waves. How can an abstract entity like thought be quantified?
Thought is not an abstraction but a form of energy. The mind, intellect, ego, ignorance are all various forms of energy and all of these can be analysed scientifically. We are researching towards this objective.
Looking at the world today, what do you think lies ahead for mankind? What do you think of the belief in the New Age when society as a whole will be transformed?
Mankind is on the threshold of a New Age of awakening and realisation. With the awareness of harnessing and manifesting positive energy in everyday actions, the world will be edified to a state of bliss and peace.
What is your message for Life Positive readers?
The self is energy, the world is energy and all actions are manifestations of the same energy. Knowing and living this knowledge will help a seeker realise his oneness with the universe.
The ashram stands out as one drives through the small, irregularly sloping roads in Anayara, on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. ‘Take the second left turn from here. You can see the signboard,’ an old man on the road points out when asked for directions, adding helpfully, ‘Swami Isa just passed this way, returning to the ashram.’
The ashram is located in a residential area, a tall building that stands out amidst houses lining either side of a narrow side-road. The main entrance opens into a courtyard with steps leading into a large, somewhat dark hall, where a satsang is in progress. Swami Isa sits on a velvet cushion with a tiger-skin pattern beneath the platform decorated like a natural forest. A number of musical instruments lie on one side. Soothing bhajans fill the air as devotees sing to the rhythmic beat of cymbals. In the courtyard stands the Swasthilingam (of which more later) enveloped by several copper wires projecting from its centre, looking like a complicated piece of spiritual circuitry.
There is a small queue on the first floor consisting of devotees, members of the ashram and others apparently from diverse backgrounds, waiting to meet the swami. The passage is lined with bright, laminated collages of photographs of various pujas at the ashram. A multicolored poster of the swami with the inscription ‘Aum sweet Aum’ is pasted at the entrance.
The swami looks much older than his 49 years, like a venerable rishi. His voice is unusually vibrant and the words ring out emphatically when he expounds on his teachings. Yet there are no mystical airs about him, only a sense of peace that pervades his friendly conversation. His face reflects a deep serenity and his eyes radiate peace. He inquires if I pray. Yes, I respond, I meditate.
‘Show me your hands,’ he says, taking some fruit and a few flower petals from a plate. As he gives me the prasad something else falls into my hand with a forceful thud-a beautiful black shaligram, the sacred stone found in the Himalayan rivers. Swami Isa smiles affectionately all around, as if to say that the shaligram was a blessing, not meant to be a miracle.
Swami Isa heads the Isalayam ashram, a spiritual organisation that believes in promoting spiritual consciousness through a strong scientific approach. The ashram also engages in holistic research and education through the application of this dictum.
Born in Thiruvananthapuram in 1956, Swami Isa was spiritually inclined even as a child when he would fashion images of gods from mud and worship them with flowers.
‘My quest started right from childhood,’ reveals the swami, a smile playing on his lips. He recounts how he had his first experience of spiritual ecstasy at the age of 16. Returning home after delivering a spiritual talk on a Shivaratri night, he looked up at the crescent moon in the sky and had a vision of a beam of light descending on him. He went into a trance and awoke from it transformed.
While in college, he served as a priest in a Kali temple. Here, the concept of woman as the Divine Mother took root in his mind. As a young seeker, he spent a long time in rigorous spiritual practices that culminated in a divine vision on yet another Shivaratri night in a hill cave in Kanyakumari. In that state of bliss, he felt a celestial voice calling him ‘Isa’. After this experience, he was blessed with the yogic power of materialization and gained insights into the Vedas, Upanishads and other holy scriptures.
Swami Isa undertook an extensive pilgrimage visiting temples and caves across the Western Ghats during the course of which he had visions of the sage Agasthya, Lord Muruga, the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, Lord Dakshinamoorthi and various incarnations of the Divine Mother. At Palani, he experienced nirvikalpa samadhi. This journey ended at Rameshwaram where he formally commenced a monastic life. On the day of Guru Poornima in 1991, he assumed the name of Swami Isa and founded the Isalayam ashram in Thiruvananthapuram, dedicated to working towards energy consciousness.
‘Energy constitutes, sustains, and dissolves the universe. Everything is made up of energy, from a blade of grass to a fleeting thought to the entire cosmos. Recognizing this knowledge from both its objective and subjective aspects will reduce the gap between the seeker and the universe, and elevate him to a state of total consciousness,’ says Swami Isa.Energy consciousness is what Swami Isa prescribes to attain this state of heightened awareness.
The swami continues: ‘ A seeker who understands the equivalence between him and the universe will experience his inherent oneness with the universe. The individual is a miniature of the universe at both physical and subtle levels. ‘
Just as the human body is composed of the same elements as the manifested universe, the individual subtle body also has the same powers of the universal subtle body that can be realized through energy consciousness. This is the underlying principle of Swami Isa’s philosophy.
‘I and my Father are one,’ said Jesus Christ. To comprehend this idea in its entirety would be to achieve the ultimate goal. Main hoon manzil, main toh safar bhi, main hi musafir hoon, sings the wandering minstrel. I am the destination, the journey and also the traveler,- the ultimate realisation that the self, the seeker and the sought are the same. There is no difference between the seeker and the Supreme Truth.
Om purnamadam purnamidam purnat purnamudaschate,
Purnasya purnam adaya purnameva vashishyate.
(That is a complete entity. This is a complete entity. From the complete entity alone arose the other complete entity. After the complete entity is removed from the complete entity, still the complete entity remains as an unaltered, complete whole.)
This invocation of the Isha Upanishad comments on the concurrent oneness and duality of the spirit by symbolizing it as two variables, each assigned the value of infinity, and thus reducing it to a seemingly simple algebraic equation. As everything is derived from the universal consciousness, the individual self is complete in its true nature.
An individual’s physical body, the swami believes, and his subtler layers of existence like mind, intellect, ego, ignorance and consciousness are closely interconnected. The root cause of all positive or negative changes in the physical body can be traced to changes in these subtle layers of existence, each of which is essentially a flow of energy. Just like matter, these energy layers too exist in different forms. Intellect exists in the solid state, mind in the liquid state, ego as heat, ignorance as air and consciousness as space. They have their cosmic counterparts-the cosmic mind, the cosmic intellect, the cosmic ego, the cosmic ignorance and the cosmic consciousness.
At the ashram plans are underway to develop techniques and instruments to measure and tune these subtle energy layers and to measure thought-waves to assess a person’s distance from consciousness. This equipment would track the mind, thought, intellect, ego and ignorance of an individual to show him where he stands, and help him chart a roadmap for progress.
The Isalayam ashram endeavors to rigorously implement their spiritual findings in everyday spirituality. Towards this end, the Swasthilingam constituted of 1008 herbs, interconnected with 1008 copper wires, has been installed in the ashram, and it radiates positive magnetic energy beneficial to the environment. It is believed to have nine circles of magnetism representing the pancha bhutas or five elements, air, water, earth, fire and ether and the four energy levels of the mind, intellect, ego and ignorance.
Chintamani Sara, one of the disciples of the Swami and teacher at the Isa Viswa Vidyalayam (a school run by the ashram to promote holistic education) says: ‘Environmental disturbances in Kerala like colored rain and instances of wells caving in have come down a great deal after Swamiji installed the Swasthilingam.’ She continues, ‘The effect of the positive vibrations produced by pujas and spiritual practices is tremendous. Temples at Kanyakumari and Tiruchendur were unaffected by the tsunami waves. Such incidents are not miracles, rather the interaction of natural forces with highly charged sources of positive energy. These are simple natural phenomena that can be easily understood by looking at it from the energy point of view.’The school with specially trained teachers tempers the present-day curriculum with the study of the self to develop intuition, creativity, spirituality and internal consciousness within a child. Self-emancipation and total consciousness are its ultimate objectives. The swami puts it thus: ‘The teacher while teaching and the student while learning must realize how strongly they are interconnected, between themselves and the lesson at both levels of consciousness.’ While within the present education system, the teacher and the student treat the lesson as an object that falls outside their subjective consciousness, the endeavor here is for both the teacher and the student to realize that the lesson taught and learnt are part of them both.
The benefits of this method of learning, Swamiji explains, are immediate and enduring. For example, the earth is composed of 29 per cent solid matter and 71 per cent water, students are usually taught this objective fact. But when the student is also taught that the human body too is composed of 29 per cent solid matter and 71 per cent water, it becomes subjective knowledge. The student would then be able to comprehend that just as the loss of water content from the human body leads to death, the depletion of water from the earth will destroy it. Similarly, the minerals present in the earth are also present in the human body in similar proportions. Thus the student automatically thinks in terms of himself in relationship with the entire universe and acquires a mindset that encourages him to love water, earth and all beings including himself.
Such knowledge helps him to look upon all animate and inanimate objects around him with love and compassion, as they become one with his own external and internal existence. He realizes that man is a microcosm of the universe and has no independent existence of his own. When education provides this complete knowledge, the individual’s bliss gets transformed into the bliss of the whole universe, adding to its overall peace, harmony and happiness.
The Isalayam ashram also conducts ‘Life for Total Consciousness’ courses at various levels synthesizing pranayama, pranavopasana, meditation, yoga, mantra chanting, mudras and other spiritual practices that help alleviate stress and accelerate spiritual development. Participants testify to these having provided maximum relaxation to the body and mind with minimum effort, and have also reported marked improvement in their health, such as increased hemoglobin levels in the blood within a short period of commencing the practices.
Agnihotra or fire puja and Swasthilinga puja are conducted regularly at the ashram, in addition to spiritual discourses and weekly satsangs. Other spiritual practices at the ashram include aksharopasana (chanting sacred words) and music therapy by harnessing the positive vibrations of classical ragas. These practices are individually prescribed taking into account the seeker’s physical, mental and intellectual state.
The Isa Viswa Prajnana Trust also does philanthropic work providing free education to children from poor families, conducting free medical camps, hosting awareness campaigns on women’s empowerment and environmental protection, providing free meals to the poor and organizing visits to hospitals, old age homes, prisons and institutions for mentally challenged children.
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