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! Envisioning the AlmightyDr W. Raj Mohan, CoimbatoreSpirituality is man’s guide to excellence in life. I owe my present position as the chief executive and an effective HRD facilitator of a company to the spiritual guidance I got throughout my life. I received the blessings of and initiation by Swami Satchidananda in 1975 as a young village schoolboy. His guidance and love of God inspired me to pursue spirituality actively. Here is the method that benefited me. Every morning, visualise your life goals and feel through your five senses all that you wish to happen today. This visualisation has to be done in deep meditation. Place your wishes at the feet of God and request him to fulfil them if so inclined. At night before sleeping, recollect the happenings of the day as if watching a movie, without judging events and people as good or bad, because only God can distinguish between good and bad. We are guided by him through our inner feelings. Swamiji said: “The mind is the main source of health and happiness.” It is really true. I fell sick many times, but never felt ill in mind and spirit. A few years ago, I met with an accident while riding on my motorcycle. My right side was damaged very badly. Despite the severe injury, I rode my motorcycle all the way to the neighbouring hospital. The doctors were amazed at my will power. Recently, a Forest Department Official approached me to conduct a motivation-training programme for the tribes in Anaimalai hills. During interaction with them I learnt that they were struggling to survive. They eat only once in a day. My companions and I offered them food, which they ate as if they were starved. Moved, I approached many leading business houses in Coimbatore city. Many came forward to help and aid them. Today, there is hope in their life. Cancer affected my mother and the doctors decreed that she might die within a day or two. I prayed. God assured me that she would live for more than 18 months. Almost at the end of that period, I had a dream in which, on December 18, 1999, many angels would come to see my mother and give her a violet shawl and request her to say goodbye to her children and come to stay with the angels the next day. This very thing did happen. On the 19th, my mother called all her children, daughter-in-law, and grandson, blessed them, handed over her responsibilities and left with a smile on her face. The art of livingSudershan Kumar ‘Vashisht’, New DelhiOnce I thought: “Can I be able to air-condition my rocking sensations? Can I be enlightened?” The answer came to me after a year, in the form of Sudarshan Kriya. My infinite velocity of mind and small velocity of the body have been controlled by The Art of Living (AoL) basic course and its Sahaj Samadhi Meditation in 1996 in Delhi. Sudarshan Kriya was the next big step. Now people are at ease with me. They say: “When we are with you, we can be what we are.” Sri Sri Ravishankar’s grace has helped me calm my mind and reach self-realisation. Now I can use my mind with my own accord-using the AoL practices. This has transformed me and kindled the love deep inside me. I achieved the harmony of body, mind and soul. A new kind of awareness with blossoming of spiritual energy is shining in me like a diamond. I am in the flow of positive thoughts. I am feeling that my dormant energy has awakened, opening the locks of this subtle body. I have also attained a blissful state of contentment, like the Buddha. My biological diet pattern has changed. Tolerance has increased. I am able to control my actions within milliseconds of actual work, which is a symbol of good power. Hence, Ravishankar’s grace has proved like a gold mine for my creative thoughts and personal growth. I can say it is a powerful yogic injection. This has infused in me an ability to take responsibility on my shoulders. It is an attitude to do what is required to be done at that moment. AoL is based on specific physical and spiritual discipline and mental code of conduct. So let us unlock our energy to gain spiritual power and other potential benefits in the form of human progress, self-realisation, limitless joy and peace. This meditation is an effortless mental practice that provides quietness to the mind and deep rest to the body. One finds divine peace and joy that has always been one’s true nature. Guru’s grace is always with me. But we simply need to be grateful to experience it. I observed that Sri Sri’s wisdom is beyond the power of words. He is the greatest spiritual master of the world. Sound spiritualityDr Rajpal Singh, Ropar, PunjabIn 1985, I realised that life is more than activity. As age grows, self-worth enhances self-respect and self-esteem. Over time, I came in contact with Satguru Thakar Singh of Ruhani Satsang, Manav Kendra Mission, New Delhi. A pleasant state of mind, equipoise, fulfilment and bliss came into my life, after I received the powerful diksha (initiation) of light and sound meditation; the sound principle, especially, is God power translated into expression and action. Since then, I practise sadhana, seva, swadhyaya and give satsangs to fellow beings. Self-knowledge precedes God knowledge. Professionally, I am a satisfied integrated medical practitioner, besides being a preacher of Manav Kendra, which has a simple gospel: “Be God. Do Good. Be One.” Daily meditation on the sound current is a panacea for all physical, mental and spiritual knots. The mind is a wild, restive colt or wild elephant that can only be subdued, tamed and trained by a powerful, wise, higher agency. Practice of sound current, called Naad Brahma, Akaashvani, Anahat Naad, Word or Divine Melody by the ancient mystics, is a permanent answer. Vegetarianism, teetotalism, ethical and moral living, are to be cultivated. The soul goes on awakening by the daily practice of sound current lovingly and devotedly. This meditation is not to be confused with spiritualism, mesmerism, hypnosis and faith healing, etc. It is Surat Shabad Yoga or Sahaj yoga. During an advanced Art of Living course, I also learnt asanas and pranayama. Scientifically, meditation, guided by a competent master, co-ordinates electrical activity between the two hemispheres of the brain, the left being calculating, logical and negative and the right side being intuitive. Now I can say that with the guru’s grace, I live in a prayerful, peaceful, and loving state, saved from lower animal tendencies. Contact: Ph: (01881) 263527 Kashmir ShaivismThe ancient tradition of Kashmir Shaivism is an Advaita school of philosophy with its source in the 92 tantras (texts) attributed to Lord Shiva. In recent times, its pre-eminent teacher has been the philosopher-mystic, Lakshmanjoo Maharaj. Kashmir Shaivism is so detailed in its descriptions of the ascent of individual consciousness to Universal Consciousness that it has been called a ‘mystical geography’ of awareness. It emphasises direct realisation over intellectual understanding. Kashmir Shaivism offers different approaches depending on the ability of the seeker. Its three main upayas (means) are: sambavopaya (the highest), saktopaya (medium), and anavopaya (regarded as inferior). The highest must be tried first, and only upon failing that should the lower paths be tried. • Sambavopaya: In this, the aspirant achieves entry into Supreme Consciousness just by the grace of his master. The yogi must possess supreme strength of awareness so that he can maintain unaided his consciousness of Self. By this strength of awareness, whatever he wills happens. In sambavopaya the aspirant has only to maintain the thoughtless (nirvikalpa) state continuously. Residing in the thoughtless state is the means and the end. Therefore in sambavopaya there are no means separate from what is to be achieved. As Lakshmanjoo says: ‘‘The means exists in the state of the meant.’’ • Saktopaya: In this, the aspirant concentrates on the Supreme Being in the junction between any two actions or thoughts. Between the end of one thought or perception and the beginning of another, there exists a gap in which the Universal Reality is accessible. The yogi is required to maintain a continuity of unbroken awareness so that he can discover this gap. In saktopaya all actions, all thoughts are fit for practice for these gaps exist everywhere—while raising your arm and putting it down, between two steps, between sleeping and waking, between the outgoing and incoming breaths. According to Lakshmanjoo, the goal of the saktopaya aspirant is to develop an ever-increasing firmness of awareness, making one capable of receiving the guru’s grace. • Anavopaya: This method is concerned with anu, the individual soul. Here, the aspirant needs techniques to maintain and strengthen awareness. He may employ concentration on breathing (uccara), experiencing through a particular sense organ (karana), meditative contemplation (dhyana), or concentration on a particular place (sthana-prakalpana). These may be undertaken together or separately to develop awareness. Through the strengthening of awareness, the aspirant will enter into the centre between two breaths/perceptions/thoughts and his practice will become saktopaya. Finally, the yogi will attain the mystical realisation of sambavopaya. Though there are different upayas, all lead to the state of one transcendental consciousness. Cont
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