By Suma Varughese June 2004 The search for enlightenment is what drives us, consciously or unconsciously. however, finding the right path is no easy matter for it has to suit our inclination, interest and temperament. while we can’t promise you a custom-made path, we give you the next best alternative—a compilation of 100 paths including 59 formal paths and 41 readers’ experiences to pick and choose from. happy seeking! KabbalahThis is a mystical Jewish doctrine received through the tradition of oral transmission. It is a symbolic representation of the path the Divine followed in creation of the universe, and the process by which humanity may return to Divinity along the same path. It is somewhat akin to esoteric Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, and discloses mysteries of Nature, seeking to show the real tie which binds all things together. There are many schools of Kabbalah and numerous writings and traditions. Two of the main ancient volumes are the Sepher Yetzirah and Zohar or the Book of Splendour, first published by Rabbi Moses de Leon in Spain, in 1290 AD. It is usually classified under four heads, first of which is the practical Kabbalah which deals with talismanic and ceremonial magic. It includes the technique of ascension whereby one enters into trance and sends one’s soul to enter the Merkabah, God’s throne chariot. Next is the literal Kabbalah, based on the relative numerical value of words, a short-hand system of writing, and various permutations of words for metaphysical work. Third is the unwritten Kabbalah, which is purely to be given in oral communication. Finally, there is the dogmatic Kabbalah, which indicates philosophical conceptions respecting Divinity, Angels and beings more spiritual than man; the human Soul and its several aspects or parts; and also pre-existence and re-incarnation and the several worlds or planes of existence. One of the principal conceptions of the Kabbalah is that spiritual wisdom is attained by Thirty-two Paths, typified by the 10 numbers and the 22 Hebrew letters, these 10 again being symbols of the Divine Emanations, the Sephiroth, the Holy Voices chanting at the Crystal Sea, the Great Sea, the Mother Supernal, Binah; and of the 22 occult forces of the Nature of the Universe symbolised by the 3 primary Elements, the 7 Planets, and the 12 Zodiacal influences of the heavens, which influence human concerns through the path of the Sun in its annual course. The Tree of Life is central to the practice of Kabbalah, which must be ascended symbolically through meditation. The Tree illustrates the path of reaching the Divine during one’s lifetime. The 7 lower sephirot (paths) are Sovereignty, Foundation, Endurance, Majesty, Beauty, Loving-kindness and Judgment. The top three, Understanding, Wisdom and Crown (Humility), are mystical steps to unity with God. Reiki to the rescueSugandha, New DelhiIn February 1997, I visited the New Delhi World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan to buy a few books for my sister who was initiated into Reiki. While leafing through some books I was startled to hear the person manning the stall, who had been trying to catch my attention, say emphatically, “One of your kidneys has stopped working and the other one is very weak.” One of my sisters had died of renal failure and I myself was moderately diabetic and hypertensive. I asked him what I should do about it. He simply told me to stop thinking and stop drinking tea and coffee. My medical reports did not show any sign of abnormality and I forgot this whole incident. However, after a month or so, I became completely bedridden and then I decided to visit this person: Mr Sharma of Mahipalpur, New Delhi. He started healing me with cosmic energy. It was a miraculous healing. My health improved under his practical holistic guidance, and I was inspired to venture into spirituality. Ms Renuka initiated me into the Reiki I and II. Within a short time I was a totally changed person who understood the meaning of the word, priority. Many things became unimportant. My next guru, Madabusi Subramanian initiated me into the mastership and then grand mastership of Reiki. Since I was working in a school, I had ample opportunity to give healing energy to children either as a first aid or as cures. In 2001 September, my sisters and I went on a pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath. En route, we encountered heavy rain and landslide, forcing us to break our journey and trek arduously to our place of stay. Around 10 p.m. my elder sister complained of difficulty in breathing. There was no electricity and the rain had already made us trek for a long distance. I sat next to my sister and gave her Reiki healing for 30 minutes, after which she slept. Next morning she was fine. We completed our pilgrimage and returned home. She again complained of uneasiness. A cardiologist was consulted and after a routine check he said she had suffered a heart attack two days back. I was stunned by this miracle. Reiki had saved her without medication for two days. Reiki has helped my sister, me and many others. My experiences are not in the annamaya kosha (physical body) level only. They have risen to pranamaya and, going towards vigyanamaya kosha. I am waiting to reach anandamaya kosha of Eternal Bliss. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Divine Secret ScienceAmit Kumar Chatterjee, New DelhiThe mind is the source of all feelings within us, such as happiness, sorrow, doubts and despair. Generally our feelings shape our outlook and attitude. A positive attitude and inner motivation is essential to achieve success in life. The motivation to change our thoughts and actions is generally caused by the influence of one or more external factors, such as religion, books, spirituality, change in place and contact with one or more persons. However, it is better if we take the guidance of a good spiritual teacher or guru who is able to listen to us, talk with us and guide us towards a better future. An able guru is one who is genuinely interested in the welfare of his followers and equips them with the tools to help them overcome their problems themselves. In this respect, I would like to mention the name of my friend, philosopher, guide and guru, Swami Krishnanand Maharaj. I came to his contact at a phase in my life when I was in a bewildered, frustrated and melancholic state and negative emotions were running high inside me. Guruji gave me several physical and mental exercises, and several unknown tools of meditation to follow and hymns to chant. I followed all these earnestly and it made me positiv; my feelings began to change, most of my problems were solved and I found happiness in my life. Guruji is a great innovator. According to him, the power of God lies within ourselves but in a sleeping state and we need to enliven this power and harness its full potential to achieve success in life. He has devised a set of tools called collectively as ‘Divine Secret Science’ which, if followed properly, could help us awaken the power within us. The science consists of some new forms of meditation and some tools called Divyastra and Devyastra. It also makes us a receptor and conductor of the healing powers of Mother Nature. Using these powers and energies, we can solve our own problems as well as problems of others miraculously. Whenever I visit guruji’s ashrams, I find the atmosphere cheerful. He has infused a new spirit in us. Guided by him, we wish to create a new society called ‘Sadvipra Samaj’ that will not be plagued by terror, fear, war, disease, poverty or any other social or political evils. We welcome all in this drive not only for self-improvement but also to make the world a better place to live. Let the divine and cosmic energies, that we call for help in times of distress, bring peace to the world and happiness in everyone’s life. Email: email@example.com G.I. GurdjieffGeorge Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866-1949) was a Russian Armenian teacher who taught a system culled from eastern religions (including Sufism) and the occult, in Europe in the early 1900s. His system, aimed at self-transformation, is called the ‘Fourth Way’. The Fourth Way uses ordinary life—with all its uncertainty, suffering and pleasures—to come to ‘real’ life. One learns to live consciously, without fear or regret. One works on the body, emotions and mind simultaneously. The aim is to develop a harmonious individual capable of creative responses to life’s opportunities and challenges. Gurdjieff’s basic belief is that human life is lived in waking sleep; transcendence of the sleeping state requires specific inner work that includes: • Know thyself: To attain our full potential, we must understand who we are. According to Gurdjieff, if we can see ourselves objectively, we would find that we are actually like machines, living in a trance-like state. Thus the Fourth Way begins with observing oneself. Through specific efforts coupled with guidance, we can awaken. • See what is not thyself: Self-study involves seeing ourselves as we are, and struggling with the characteristics that prevent us from developing further: a) We lack unity: The human machine is made of different minds or functions. There are four lower functions: instinctive centre, moving centre, emotional centre and intellectual centre. We need to study these and become aware of their functioning. b) We lose energy: The process of awakening requires energy, and we lose much of it through harmful tendencies: identification with objects, events or persons; imagination (fantasy); negative emotions based on wrong attitudes, misinformation and imitation; and unnecessary talk. c) We lie: It is not the small lies we tell others that are harmful. It is when we speak as if we know without direct verification that lying leads us away from the truth about ourselve
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