Day 4, 16 August 2018
The fourth day of the seminar began with a wonderful satsangh conducted by Daaji. Nature also rejoiced and showered us with light rain.
This was followed by an exercise for inner discovery, an ‘inventure’. All the young participants explored the workbook designed especially for this seminar. For correct understanding of the theme, the Role of the Seeker in Spiritual Evolution, it was necessary to discover the real meaning of the word ‘seeker’.
We introspected on questions like, “Who is a seeker?” and “What is his or her duty?” along with insights from Babuji and Daaji’s book, The Heartfulness Way. We were asked to spend some time in silence and let our thoughts and feelings about the subject flow intuitively from the heart, writing in our workbooks.
Later, with the help of articles in the workbook, the qualities of the points from one to four of the Heart chakra were experienced, as we created our own vocabulary for expression and diary writing.
Connecting With Kenya’s Youth
A delightful surprise awaited us after breakfast as we found out that we would be connecting with the youth from the conference in Kenya. Daaji joyfully greeted all the participants in Nairobi and answered their sincere and earnest questions. The informal interaction was filled with light moments and marked by instances of sheer joy, laughter and insight. It gave all of us a chance to witness Daaji at his most informal, as his humility, love and light-hearted humour shone through the answers.
The questions were mostly about the Heartfulness practice and the deepening of Heartfulness as a way of life. The youth in Kenya were joyful and grateful to have received such an opportunity. Their questions reflected their eagerness and they listened and captured the essence.
Daaji was asked to introduce them to the practice of prayer, and to enlighten us about the significance of prayer, regardless of religious and cultural boundaries. Daaji then recounted a story about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and how every climber saw a different view according to the route, even though they had climbed the same peak. He related this to prayer as perceived by different religions and emphasized that the essence of prayer remains the same regardless of the language or religion in which it is offered.
Today's session of Awareness-based Human Flourishing picked up momentum as we revisited the basics of Theory U with Vasco and formed groups to express our emotions. We moved one step deeper in the process of opening our hearts as we gave a voice to the feelings and emotions inside us. We realized how our inner voices yearn to be expressed and heard, if only through sounds. It felt like a cleansing and we felt much lighter by the end of our activity.
The voices and feelings inside our hearts were no longer stuck and a huge weight had been lifted as we learned to let our emotions flow and find a passage to be expressed. Clarity emerged after the session, which continued to resonate as we let it spread during the Yoga session that followed.
A fit and healthy body
The last day of the Yoga Asana session started with the usual schedule of Heartfulness relaxation, Sukshma vyayam, Utkrist asana, Surya namaskar, Sarvanga asana and Pranayama, including Kapalabhati and Anulom vilom. Ira shared the benefits of Asanas and Pranayama in maintaining a fit and healthy body while we meditate and encouraged us to include them in our daily life.
She also shared with us a diet plan for a Yoga practitioner, which includes Sattvik bhojan – a fresh, clean and pure meal. According to her, it is best to take meals only twice a day.
Day 5, 17 August 2018
Bright sunshine crowned the sky as we prepared for a new day. Eager hearts awaited Daaji, and following a blissful satsangh he addressed us:
“Good morning dear friends,
“These last few days have been wonderful and we have a few more days to go. I would like us to ponder over our specific role as individuals in our own sadhana. We spoke a lot about synchronicity yesterday, and some of you are enthused with this idea of how to create synchronicity, back and forth from the future to the present etc.
“Often we have seen and experienced it in our daily life, and we need not be a meditator to experience such things, because others also feel it. For example, a few minutes before someone calls you, you think of them and then say, ‘I was thinking about you!’ Now, when you have such an encounter, do you wonder, ‘Did the phone call come because of my thought, or did my thought come because that person was already thinking to phone me?’ Which was the cause? Did my thought cause the call or did the intention of the other person to call me trigger the waves that reached my consciousness? There are many such events, especially between mothers and children. Somehow mothers come to know before things happen to a child, such as sickness, exam results or love affairs. A mother comes to know intuitively, and says, ‘What is the matter? Tell me the truth.’ She loves, and that is why everything is intertwined. It is like the Internet – the mothernet – you are in the net of your mother.
“When we read Babuji Maharaj’s autobiography, we observe that there are times when Lalaji and Swami Vivekananda remain baffled. Why? Because they are contemplating something in The Brighter World, and before they can complete their discussion there, even before their intention comes, Babuji Maharaj has perceived it, adjusted himself and started the work. Later Lalaji has the thought, ‘We should do this,’ by which time Babuji has already finished the work.
“What do we call this? Is this normal synchronicity or something beyond? It is like what they call in cricket a bouncer. We cannot grasp how such things happen! The only explanation to my heart is that when you are dissolved, merged in the Ultimate, in existence itself, in God, anything is possible.
“But are we doing this? Or instead are we approaching God just for the sake of creating synchronicity and extraordinary, paranormal things in our life? There is no need; you don’t have to call for such things. The moment you deviate with your intention, and focus on synchronizing the future event now or projecting something into the future, then you lose the path.
“If you create minor goals in your life, while treading on the highest expressway towards the highest goal, and look to see what’s happening below the expressway, then every little thing will attract you. Think about what happens when you go on a car trip from one place to another. Imagine that you leave home to go to Florida from New York – it takes two days. And within one hour your wife needs to go to the bathroom, and when the children go to the bathroom there is a toy store, and they are attracted towards the toys. Then after some further distance they want to stop for McDonalds. Life goes on like that, distractions after distractions after distractions. There is nothing wrong with stopping out of necessity for food and for restrooms, but let’s say on the way you also want to stop at Bogo Restaurants or you go to a casino. When will you ever reach your destination? Sometimes you get fed up because after three or four days you have not reached the destination. Then suddenly you remember that you only have a four-day vacation, so you make a U-turn, and then what happens? You’ll have a fight with your spouse, or with your children because you promised them a vacation and now you are going back! But who caused all these things? As a good senior family member you wanted to satisfy every little requirement of a child, every little need of others, and this delayed the process of reaching the destination.
“Forget others now, what are we doing with our ultimate destination? We can’t blame others when we take a detour from our path, when every little thing attracts us. That’s why Patanjali, as a great spiritual scientist, created eight angas, eight limbs. Most people consider them as eight steps, but steps means one after the other and that will not serve our purpose. Instead we take them all up.
“Yama means to destroy. Destroy what? When we take up Yama we are destroying all bad qualities, all unnecessary things that grip us, hold us back. We get rid of them. How do we do that? We have a simple intention that, ‘Yes! I would like to get rid of this habit, this quality I have,’ and pray to God. Our methods are already there in The Heartfulness Way; the cleaning process is there. Discuss this with your coach, with your preceptor. You can write to me.
“See what happens, how easily all these negative qualities can be dropped. But the question is, do you want to drop them? That’s the fundamental question you have to ask yourself: ‘Should I get rid of it now? What will I become if I get rid of this habit I have? What will my friends say?’ Let friends say whatever they want. After you graduate, move away into real life, the ten friends you had at school will become two. After you get married, you may have only one. Once you have children, perhaps none of them will be in your life. Take my word for it; there’ll be nobody. It is not that you want it to happen, it just happens like that. That person is also busy with his family, you are also busy with your family.
“Then you suddenly think of God. It’s difficult to cultivate certain habits as you grow older. In order to really perform tapasya, Yoga sadhana, you need physical strength. Even when you are serving others in the capacity as a preceptor, when you have to travel and sit for hours and meditate together with others, you will need good health. It will not be possible once you cross a certain age, as your legs will start cramping etc.
“The second anga recommended by Patanjali is Niyama. It means to adopt certain principles, to impose certain rules in your life that will go well with your goal, that will alleviate heaviness, and that will sync with what you are searching for. Ego will not go a long way in this, so create humility. Forget about synchronicity, if you have so much ego, if you are full of yourself, there is no room for any good vibrations coming from the future or from the surroundings. What will help you sync with God? How can you remain in sync with God, and with the rest of the existence? The only way is to yourself become a vacuum. The ultimate aim of Ashtanga Yoga is only this – to arrive at Samadhi, the final anga. I am skipping the other limbs for now.
“And what is Samadhi? Sama and adhi. Adhi is that which prevailed before creation came into existence, and what is that state? Imagine for a moment that there is no Earth, no solar system, no galaxies, what is there? When there are no stars there will only be darkness, no?
“That is why Lalaji Maharaj describes the condition that prevailed before the creation as darkness, veils of darkness within darkness. And when creation was set forth there was a burst of energy, the Big Bang as they call it in physics, and that set things in motion. Energy slowly took various forms. Imagine billions of atom bombs blown in one place – nothing less than horror and violence. And after so many millennia we are here, so much has been created.
“Our rishis were so intuitive that they created symbols. One of those symbols is Kali – Mother Kali we call her – and she symbolizes the state that prevailed just before the creation and at the moment of creation. Have you seen the statue of Kali? There is nothing blacker than her, right? She is also portrayed with her tongue out, with a sword. It shows how much blackness was there before the creation and how much violence was there during the creation. It is symbolic of what prevailed before creation and how was it at the moment of creation.
“But what do we do with this knowledge, when we have the idea of nothingness, of absolute darkness? Through Samadhi we are able to experience the state that prevailed before creation. There was nothing and inside we also feel nothing when we are resonating with that state. There is nothing to be felt. There is no ecstasy inside.
“People talk about sat-chit-anand, but it is only an interim step towards the final merger with God. That’s why, when an abhyasi from the south once asked Babuji Maharaj, ‘Babuji, can you tell us about the state of sat-chit-anand?’ he jokingly replied, ‘It is like a worm relishing cow dung.’ He poured water on the question, you see. He meant, don’t think about such a state, because it is nothing. I am here to offer you something grander, much greater than sat-chit-anand. Sat-chit-anand is the state that we feel when we arrive at Sahasra-dal-Kamal, but we go beyond that.
“Now, coming back to Ashtanga Yoga, we don’t eliminate any of the eight limbs, though we begin our meditation with a simple Dharana. Dharana means ‘to suppose’. Suppose what? That there is divine light in my heart. Through the process, either we prove it to our heart, or disprove it through experience or the lack of it. But if scientists fail to prove something through an experiment, do they give up immediately? No. They continue for some time until their hearts are satisfied. They don’t experiment only once. So be prepared, as this is also a science.
“When all the elements come together, you will see how magically this transformation can happen. Then there is a quantum leap in your consciousness. With your efforts, the Master’s Grace, and his Transmission, the result is 100% sure. But two things are required for this to happen instantly. The first is your intense effort. It should not be a lukewarm effort, a casual effort. If today you meditate, and tomorrow you skip it, or you skip it for a week until a friend comes and says, ‘Let’s meditate today,’ it will not do. Tapasya means solid tapasya.
“The second thing is regularity. If I meditate today at 6 o’clock for one hour, and then tomorrow at 10 o’clock for ten minutes, and another day at 4 o’clock for half an hour, this is also not ideal, although it is better than doing nothing. The first discipline should be to fix our timing. If it is 6 o’clock, fine. Even if it is 11 o’clock in the morning, fix that time and don’t keep changing. On a day when you are unable to meditate at 11 o’clock, try to meditate at least for five minutes, even if you have no time. Register yourself. You need not finish half an hour on the day you don’t have time, but at least do it for a few minutes.
“Connect yourself with God, offer your prayer, and don’t rush. Those two minutes should be also very intense. Imagine something you normally do in half an hour condensed into two minutes; imagine the inner attitude you will have to have, and absolute sincerity about the whole thing. Be truthful to yourself, genuine to yourself. Let your search be authentic.
“In the beginning you may start because your teacher says so: ‘Let’s go to Kanha to meditate.’ A lot of NSS and NYKS students are here who are not pre-exposed to long sessions of meditation. I sympathize with you, because it is like someone who is just learning cricket suddenly having to play at the international level. Everything is a bouncer. So create that environment within yourself, that sincerity and authenticity. Have a pure approach: ‘I want to meditate because I want to know what God is all about, I want to know what I am all about, I want to know why am I here, what is my purpose, how can I make my family even happier.’ That’s all.
“As youngsters, you are often worried so much about others and what they think of you. What can you do about it? Have you listened to your parents well? Fully? If not, then how will others listen to you? Have you thought about it? You want to make a difference in the lives of others and it’s a good intention, but will they listen to your good advice? All this advice will not work.
“Instead, set an example through practice. When you meditate your parents will watch you, they will be witnessing that you are meditating. They will also change in the process. Isn’t it a topsy-turvy world where children have to teach their parents how to meditate? Be the example, and motivate your parents. With such a prayer, I’ll end my talk. Thank you for listening, and this evening we’ll take up questions.”
Supporting new life in Kanha
Reflective silence followed Daaji’s talk as we prepared for plantation work. After a hearty breakfast, 1,200 of us gathered in the fields near the memorial star building, and planted saplings. The atmosphere came alive with joy and goodwill as we planted new life in the heart of Kanha. Daaji surprised everyone with a visit, planted a sapling, and sat and meditated with everyone amidst the new plants, the bright sun and a cool breeze. The plants gently swayed in the breeze as they revelled in the serenity following the satsangh.
In the afternoon, we gathered in the meditation hall to enjoy a musical performance live by abhyasis in Denmark over Skype. We sang along, finding joy in togetherness.