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! Moksha moolam guru kripaDr Anil Kumar Agrawal, VaranasiIn 1976, at the age of 26, I was initiated into sanyas by Osho. I had been reading him extensively for about six years. After initiation I started wearing saffron clothes, Osho’s mala and started doing meditation. Meanwhile, I also got busy with my family and career. I, however, maintained my contact with Osho. I would read his books, ashram’s newsletter, listen to his cassettes and meditate. Twice a year, I would visit Pune to sit in Osho’s presence and attend his discourses. In 1990, when Osho left his body I was crestfallen. My journey to self-realisation had hardly begun and my guide had left me. I immersed myself in his work. I would prepare extracts from his discourses and get them published in newspapers and magazines. I would organise his taped discourses and distribute his books and Osho Times. But I had no peace as I missed him very much. Two things bothered me: Shall I ever meet such a man again who is at the ultimate height of consciousness, and if I had questions, who will reply. Through sheer coincidence, I again met a man who was fully capable to answer all my questions. Since then, I am with this enlightened master, Sri Sadhuram Sadhoo, whom we call Guruji. He lives in Shri Awadhut Ashram in Kurukshetra, Haryana. A vaidya by profession, he is known as ‘doctor sahab’ in and around Kurukshetra. According to him, spiritual practice is not what you do for an hour or two in a day—it is a day-long process. He explains: ‘‘When you are engaged in some work, some act, be total in it. Do it with 100 per cent involvement. When you are interacting with someone, your behaviour and conduct must be right. And when you are unoccupied, doing nothing, put your total attention on your incoming and outgoing breath. And at any given time, you will be doing one of these three things.’’ With Sadhooji, my life has become unending bliss. Every moment spent with him is a benediction. Looking at my association with Osho and now with Guruji, I have no hesitation in saying that there is no difference between the two. My own experience is that attending masters’ discourses, reading scriptures and meditating help you in your sadhana. But if you want to go farther, you need the company of a living master. The path of truth is not a path where you can go on walking and reach your destination once the master has shown you the way. It is more like a labyrinth, a path with tracks going in all directions, and unless your guru is near you, you are sure to be lost. However, it is difficult to be with a living master. Your concepts, beliefs and ideologies are mercilessly crushed. Your self-image falls into dust. You become a nobody in his presence. Now I go to Kurukshetra every month on Full Moon day and live with guruji. For the first time in my life, I have developed the faith that through accompaniment, surrender and service, I shall be able to have his grace that will lead me to my ultimate aim—liberation. Moksha Moolam Guru Kripa(the cause of liberation is guru’s grace), says Guru Gita.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sri Aurobindo’s Integral YogaIntegral Yoga, or Purna Yoga, is the term given by Sri Aurobindo to the path of sadhana evolved by him and his spiritual counterpart, the Mother. As its name suggests, Integral Yoga seeks to integrate all aspects of life for the purpose of evolution of planetary and human consciousness. Nothing is to be excluded in this path, for, as Sri Aurobindo said: ‘‘All life is yoga.’’ Traditional yoga speaks of different ‘planes’ of being, each of which has its own qualities and degrees of awareness. Of the lower planes we are more immediately aware—the physical being, the vital being (life force) and the mental being, or mind. Above the mind, according to Sri Aurobindo’s classification, are the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, the Intuitive Mind and the Over Mind. Each of these planes represents a further ascent towards the Source of all, and consequently, each plane embodies a larger awareness and power of illumined action. According to Sri Aurobindo, there was a plane above the Over Mind, which he called ‘Supermind’. This is not another aspect of mind, but a principle of active will and knowledge superior to mind, a kind of ‘truth consciousness’. ‘‘As its knowledge is always true, so too its will is always true; it does not fumble in its handling of things or stumble in its paces,’’ wrote Sri Aurobindo. The Supermind is the critical element that makes Integral Yoga truly transformational. Only the Supermind can ‘‘descend, create a new Truth-Consciousness and divinise Life’’. The ‘movement’ being worked towards in Integral Yoga is a double one—an ‘ascent’ towards the supramental plane, and the ‘descent’ of that force into all other planes and aspects of being through a process of surrender and self-opening. The ultimate aim is the complete divinisation of life. Sri Aurobindo has given three steps to achieve this integral transformation. The first is psychic transformation where the individual acts from guidance of the psychic being (core of the self) rather than the ego. The next step, often concurrent with the first, is to become aware of the universal self. The third is supramental transformation in which the power of the Supermind acts upon the individual and transforms him into a supramental being. Contact: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Ph: Central Bureau (0413) 2339648;E-mail: email@example.com The grace of the guruMeera Dutta, DelhiSri Ganapathi Sachchidananda of Datta Peetham, Mysore, has been guiding millions over the last four decades and I have been his ardent disciple for the last 30 years. Swamiji transformed me from a mindless, involved and intense romantic into a consciously caring, affectionate and considerate human being, a strict employer and a mildly detached individual. He freed me from my shackles by gently guiding me through the paces of the karmic cycle with dharmic ways. He speaks with love and compassion, reassuring us of his constant presence and giving a caring ear to all personal problems. Not all my problems were sorted out, yet I learnt to accept them with understanding and discrimination. The inner mind strengthened itself against all disappointments, disasters and often devastation. In my guru’s presence I forgot the outside world and derived peace from his speeches, soul-stirring bhajans and music therapy for which he is world famous. Just a glance from him, a smile or even just a darshan, has been enough. Even when distances deprived me of darshan in person, dreams were the medium, and the inner voice was always there…. There have been so many lapses on my part in these 30 years but instead of harsh judgments it has been lessons given to understand the relentless law of karma unfolding itself. To be honest, I turned to Sri Swamiji only for his love and compassion and not for some great spiritual realisation. The latter, too, came quietly, unobtrusively, as I followed the path. The path was easy. I did not change my lifestyle or my way of thinking or behaving. I automatically did all the things I was comfortable with. When I deprived myself of ‘temptations’ or ‘pitfalls’, my self-confidence and self-esteem improved enough to totally trust myself. Once this transformation took place, I was able to discriminate with wisdom why people did what they did and to accept it. Swamiji’s music is entwined around Nada, so cleverly hidden in melodies to give the nerves a soothing massage through sounds. Some of the sounds awaken you, some enter your spine and some rhythmic beats blend with your heart. You don’t need to close your eyes and strain to meditate… meditation is what the Nada drowns you in. My nerves calmed down, the migraine stopped, the loneliness diminished and I am whole again. Swamiji is childlike and always asks us to shed those acquired inhibitions and laugh and be cheerful. He had once reprimanded my tendency to brood and advised: ‘Look at creation, revel in nature and its bounty.’ I laughed and learnt to talk to my plants in my garden and was amazed to see them grow strong and healthy because I touched them. Buddhism—The eight-fold pathBuddhism is a moral philosophy that advocates a singularly individual pursuit of wisdom. Though referred to as a religion, Buddhism’s rejection of the belief in God as Creator who controls cosmological human actions makes it more a philosophical or psychological way of life. Every true Buddhist aspires for the ultimate goal of Nirvana, liberation from the cycle of rebirth in his lifetime by living according to the moral code preached by Gautam the Buddha, in whose unwavering search for the Truth, is reflected the simplicity and directness of the path he taught. Crown prince of the ancient kingdom of Kapilavastu, Gautam Siddhartha grew up in luxury, shielded from the harsh realities of life behind till, stepping out of the palace grounds, he was confronted with the inevitability of pain in the form of old age, sickness and death. Inspired by a hermit’s tranquil poise even in the face of life’s sorrows, he donned the ascetic’s robe and, leaving behind his wife and infant son, went in
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