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! Enlightenment Intensive workshopShivani Shrivastav, Bhopal When I think with my mind,I seek answers to my questions.When I feel from my heart, questions dissolve into answers.“Who am I?”“Why am I here?”“What is the purpose of my life?” Such questions had crowded my thoughts for as long as I could remember. They went round and round in my head, darting up unexpectedly and catching me unaware. My very existence was a mystery, making me question the relevance of all my actions and thoughts. Then I came across the Enlightenment Intensive workshop, which promises: “The Sole Workshop to finish the soul’s unfinished business.” This line touched some unseen chord in me and from that moment on, my life changed forever. Finally, we reached the resort where the workshop was to be conducted. After refreshing ourselves, we were asked to assemble at the Gompa, the meditation hall. The name sounded familiar; it raised some vague, shadowy images… When I reached there, it was as if lightning had struck me: I knew the place! The setting, the aura, the ambience—all seemed familiar. As I went through the workshop, long forgotten images and emotions came up: attachment, guilt, hurt, anger, fear and sadness. I felt caught in a delicate and invisible but strong web, which was largely self-created, and it really hurt. It was as if my life would ebb away if I did not free myself soon. I went crying to Sir (Shri Akhilesh), beseeching him to help me find my way out of the maze. He said: “Just let it go. It’s that simple.” I thought: “So be it!” Instantly, much of the useless baggage I had carried for so long fell away. Images of the Buddha and Sir came up. I again asked him for clarification, “Is this the embodiment of Enlightenment?” He said: “Let go of everything. Jump into the river. Give your 100 per cent.” His words drove me on and on, deeper still…Ultimately, bliss descended, joy filled my being. I asked him again: “Is this it?” He smiled and said: “Go beyond the beyond!” I was reminded of the Buddhist sutra:“Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha…” His encouragement and enthusiasm led me on, deeper still… It was the last day of the workshop, a full moon and Guru Nanak Jayanti. During the last session, I suddenly felt as if a vacuum had been created inside me… Suddenly, I was there, one with the existence. I could feel the single heartbeat of the Universe. It was as if existence showered unlimited blessings… I looked up at Sir, and for once, asked nothing. He too said nothing. Just smiled, with his twinkling eyes resembling the stars shining above… Along the golden sea shores,/Along the narrow mountain paths,/Along the brick road across the meadows,/There is only one path…/Through the mists of existence,/ Through the everyday strife,/Through the sunshine of life,/There shines the path…/It calls out to you again,/It urges you to remember,/It sings the song,/It is the path… SanyasSwami Prayag GiriFortunate to have been born into a spiritual family, I grew up listening to stories from Bhagavad and Ramayana. Once my mother’s words, “Everything in this world is unreal, God alone is real”, left a deep impression on my psyche and I decided to renounce the world and become a sannyasin. I left home after taking a master’s degree to join my Guru Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashram at Ranchi. A divine discontentment gnawed at my heart since childhood. Shying away from crowds and finding identity in Mother Nature, I often thought: “Who am I, from where have I come, where is my real home, parents? If there is indeed a God, why is he not responding or manifesting?” In Ranchi, I soon took my Brahmacharya vow. In 1980, the great Swami Anandamoy came to the ashram. I was away on the porch of the nuns’ office and he used eye contact to convey his blessings. Later one day, I saw him walking on the grounds by our office and greeted him. Something about my words touched a deep chord of his being and he uttered: “Master bless you.” The next moment I felt a tremendous bursting in my heart centre as consciousness of the body, world and all duality vanished. I went into a state of complete alertness and entered into a great void of darkless dark and lightless light, into a dimension of nothing, which yet contained everything. When I returned to normal consciousness, Swamiji was still there; seeing that I was normal, he walked away. With this my stay at Ranchi drew to a close as I requested leave. Later, the ashram encouraged me to go on a pilgrimage. I decided to settle at Benares to fulfill my long cherished desire to study Sanskrit and Sankara’s commentaries on the Prasthana Treya (Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras). Our teacher took off on a tour and I reached Vrindavan, where the lord kept me for 15 years. At that time I went to Allahabad to attend a Kumbh Mela and also took my sanyas vow. Then, in 2001, Life Positive entered into my life. Thanks to it, the ’lost child’ and ‘lone ranger’ found her true dimension and moorings, coming home to a practical, spiritual community who dared to be different. People who, refusing to follow the herd mentality, move forward as original pioneers of the ‘New Age’, on the brink of which we stand poised today. Email: email@example.com Transcendental MeditationIf you want to experiment with meditation, TM is your best bet. It is easy to learn and practise. You can learn it in six sessions of an hour each from a TM teacher. Afterwards you can practise it twice daily for about 20 minutes each. Learning TM involves two things: a mantra (monosyllabic sound, or beej mantra), and how to use the mantra. TM is not a technique of concentration, nor is it japa. You start saying the mantra mentally. If thoughts come, don’t resist them. TM gradually and spontaneously reduces the mental chatter, leading occasionally to a state of no thought. That state is called pure consciousness, because you are conscious, but not of anything in particular. The diminished mental activity brings down the metabolic rate in the body, giving you deep rest twice as deep as the rest you get during deep sleep. This is instrumental in dissolving accumulated stress in the nervous system. All other benefits accrue from there and have been validated by hundreds of scientific studies on TM. Scientific research has been carried out both on TM’s effects during meditation and the positive results it brings on the practitioner’s behaviour, physical and psychological health, mental development, and parameters of self-actualisation. TM was introduced to the world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958. A science graduate from Jabalpur, Mahesh Yogi was a close disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, Badrinath. Maharishi’s unique contribution is that instead of teaching himself he trained an army of TM teachers, who took the technique to four corners of the world. Initially, his popularity soared when the Beatles stayed with him in his ashram in Rishikesh. Later, Maharishi introduced the TM-Sidhi programme for long-time practitioners, using Patanjali’s system of developing sidhis or supernatural powers such as levitation. Today, the TM organisation runs universities (the main one being Maharishi International University in Iowa, USA), educational institutions, Ayurveda treatment centres and Sthapatya Veda (the origin of vaastu shastra) consultancy. There is also at least one city inhabited by TM meditators alone. Contact: www.tm.org Power of cosmic healingDr N.D. Qazi, Jammu TawiSince my childhood, I had the inclination towards religious studies and practices. I also learnt the philosophies of different religions and sects in India. I realised that deep meditation is the only way for self-realisation and to know the existence of God. As God is the creator of the cosmos, the quest to know his system, which human eye cannot see, led me to search about the cosmic energies, I found vaastu as a correct knowledge for realisation of cosmic energies. I studied vaastu extensively and started my practice as vaastu consultant. With the help of my own studies and practices, I was successful in contacting famous souls with the medium of ‘Soulplan-chette’. It was a wonderful experience to call the souls of personalities like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Hitler, Ghalib and get the answers to the queries of my clients. More and more people started pouring in with their problems. I believe children can feel cosmic powers. These powers can give any information of the past, present and future. They help solve the problems when requested. I feel that most of the tensions are created by us. To overcome them, I constructed a pyramid with a base of 18×18 feet. My healing touch pyramid is now working as an alternative therapies hospital. Treatments done inside the pyramid work better. Since my childhood, I have observed pirs, darveshes, sadhus, and spiritual practitioners and wanted to have a guru. But I could not find anyone. I now believe that “God is the light of skies and earth” and that great light guides me in all my endeavours. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Surrender to the momentAjay Kalra, MumbaiJ
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