Great Spiritual Leaders
Freedom and Liberation is the title of an inspiring new film about the life of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. Having premiered in Germany in 2007, the film will shortly be shown in many countries of the world to celebrate the 85th Birthday of Shri Mataji, on 21 March 2008.
Freedom and Liberation traces the life of Shri Mataji from her very early years growing up in India as Nirmala Salve, the daughter of Prasadrao and Cornelia Salve. While the family was wealthy, having descended from the Indian Shalivahan dynasty, all that was to change with the coming of Mahatma Gandhi’s Independence movement, working to free India from many centuries of British rule. Shri Mataji had already met Gandhi and stayed at his ashram on many occasions. Gandhi was very fond of Nirmala, and recognised that there was something very special about her.
As Shri Mataji’s parents were very active in the Independence movement, helping to organise protests against British rule, they went to gaol many times. As a small child, she was often left to look after the family. From living in large, expensive homes, the family came to live in huts. However, the children knew how important their parents’ fight was.
With the coming of freedom in India, Shri Mataji was able to turn her attention to her vision, the liberation of human beings from the chains of ego, greed, hatred and conditionings. She knew that she had a special task to undertake, but it was many years before she started her spiritual work. In the meantime, she married, became a mother and then a grandmother. As her husband, Sir CP Srivastava, was a distinguished diplomat and later Secretary-General of the United Nations Shipping Corporation, she moved in very high-level circles.
One day, however, Shri Mataji realised that she had to do something to save humanity from the fraudulent “gurus” who were robbing, misguiding and ruining people in the name of spirituality. She meditated deeply for a long time, and on the night of 5 May 1970 she opened the Sahasrara of the world, an event that symbolised the next great step in the evolution of humankind.
From this time, her real work began. Starting with small groups in India, she developed a unique method for giving realisation to people. Then she developed a method for giving realisation en masse, to many thousands of people at a time. She called this method Sahaja Yoga.
After moving to London because of her husband’s work, Shri Mataji gave realisation to groups of people in England. From this time, she began to travel tirelessly , first to Europe and then further afield, talking to people and giving realisation. Her message spread throughout the world, and today Sahaja Yoga is practised in over 100 countries.
The film is unique in that it shows recent interviews, not previously seen, of Shri Mataji and her family. It provides insights into the tremendous love, compassion and humility of Shri Mataji that drove her to undertake this enormous work.
The film was made in Germany, directed by Carolin Dassel and produced by devifilm GbR (Carolin Dassel and Joseph Reidinger). If you want to find out more about the film, follow the link: www.freemeditation.com/freedom
During March 2008, the film is being shown all over the world. If you want to have details of screening sessions in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Romania, follow the link: www.freemeditation.com/freedom
Film session times for Australia are shown below:
Australian Capital Territory
Friday 14 March, 7.00pm
Belconnen Theatre, Belconnen Community Centre, Chandler Street, Belconnen
New South Wales
Sydney: Contact (02) 9037 5837
Saturday 15 March, 7.30pm to 10.00pm
Strathfield Town Hall, Cnr Homebush Rd and Redmyre Rd, Strathfield
Monday 17 March, 6.30pm to 9.00pm
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, 380 Military Rd, Cremorne
Tuesday 18 March, 6.30pm to 9.00pm
Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall, Cnr Oxford St & Oatley Rd, Paddington (entrance on Oatley Rd)
Sunday 16 March, 3 pm
Edge Cinema, Katoomba
Saturday 15 March, 2.00pm
Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, Avoca Drive, Avoca
Friday 28 March, 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
Meeting Room, Cairns City Council Library, Abbott St, Cairns
University of Adelaide
Saturday 15 March, 4.30pm to 7.00pm
Napier Lecture Theatre, University of Adelaide
Saturday 15 March, 4.30pm to 7.00pm
Goodwood Community Centre, 32-34 Rosa Street, Goodwood
Contact: (03) 6245 1476 or 0416 435 278
Tuesday 18 March, 7pm
Community Centre, Cooper St, Glenorchy
Wednesday 19 March, 7.00pm
Health Centre, Jones St, Burnie
Thursday 20 March, 12.00 noon
Library, 21 Oldaker Street, Devonport
Thursday 20 March, 7.00pm
Community Centre McHugh St, Kings Meadows
Contact: 1300 742 242
Friday 14 March, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Saturday 15 March, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Treasury Theatre, Treasury Place, Melbourne
The Agnya Chakra, sometimes called the Third Eye, is situated at the centre of the brain. This is the level of the mind. Our mind has two lobes: the ego, which gives us our sense of separateness; and our superego, which has our conditionings and memory. The goal in Sahaja Yoga is to bring the light of the Spirit to the brain and so achieve enlightenment, Self-realisation. The Sahaja Yoga affirmations for the Agnya Chakra are, “I forgive everyone, including myself,” “Mother, by your grace I am forgiven,” “Mother, please make me a forgiving person,” and “Mother, verily You are the forgiveness.”
When the Kundalini passes through this chakra, the thought waves elongate so that the space between the thoughts grows longer. The present moment begins to fill the attention and we enter the state of meditation in thoughtless awareness. Then we can see without colouring or projecting – simply, innocently, like a child.
Jesus Christ, the personification or Deity of the Agnya Chakra is said to have explained, “Unless you be as little children, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” This entry point is “the narrow gate” between the ego (ahankara) and superego (manas). This is the “now” point that remains clear and unpressured, beyond the mind’s remembrances of the past, and beyond the ego’s mental projections about the future.
The mind, like the body, gives us fairly convincing ideas of our existence. However, with an enlightened mind we find, as Shri Mataji has said, that we are not the body, the mind, ego and conditionings, but we are the Spirit. This was the essential revelation of Jesus Christ who fully manifested the Divine qualities of the Agnya Chakra – compassion and forgiveness. His testimony, of undoubted Oneness with His Father, is the Nirvikalpa experience of the Yogi, who has been cleansed and prepared by the Divine Mother, Kundalini. His assertion, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light,” is the ultimate expression of this enlightened Agnya.
It is through deep meditation, forgiveness and humility that the process of crossing the Agnya Chakra is worked out. The left and right channels cross just below the Agnya. If either of these channels is overly active they create a burden and an imbalance in the subtle body that pressures and closes the narrow gate and has us again feeling alone and unconnected. The right channel is easily inflated with the idea, “I do.” Too much thinking, planning, projecting, over-activity, anger, competitiveness or superiority will cause blockage and also deplete the left side of the essential ability to feel and love. Becoming too “right-sided” means we can enter the hot realm of the supra-conscious, the realm of the future. The left channel can catch if we are overly emotional, too expressive, feeling victimised, wishing harm to ourselves, becoming immersed in the past, and too involved in unhealthy habits, subconscious images or dead ideas. This is the realm where everything from the past is placed, including dead spirits and the Collective Sub-conscious.
A central idea in spiritual evolution is the idea of being “born again”. This is not a process of self- or group-certification. It is the process of Self-realisation in which we break through, surrender the lesser senses of ego and conditioning, and become resurrected, identified with the eternal awareness, the Spirit. Here we go beyond the mind and often humorously witness the play of the ego and conditionings as they battle to have their way. We are still in the world, yet in a detached, joy-filled and loving way. We easily forgive, for not to forgive causes problems. We know and enjoy our own Spirit, the same Spirit in all, and witness the play of the Creation. We are humble before the ultimate majesty of the Creator and also spontaneously experience true love and compassion for the human condition.
Before our physical birth we experienced a continuing sense of nourishment,
connectedness and security. After our physical birth we then experience our selves as separated, and so it is only natural that we seek and long for that sense of connection, nourishment and security.
This seeking finds expression in many ways. Sometimes we seek for gross, physical pleasures and external and material satisfactions in the world. Yet, these invariably do not fully satisfy us; they prove to be stormy, transient and therefore illusory. Perhaps this leads us to understand that the means to really satisfy ourselves, the Kingdom of Heaven, lies within us and so we may begin seeking in earnest for our inner or ultimate fulfilment.
There is a gap, between the separated and conditioned sense of self we experience ourselves as, and the eternal, spiritual core of our being which is completely secure, connected and joyful. This divide, between the illusory and relative nature of the world and the ultimate Reality, is manifest in a physical gap in the central channel, within the para-sympathetic nervous system. This gap actually exists physically between the sacral outflow and the vagus nerve, encompassing the Subtle area called the Void or the Ocean of Illusion.To cross this gap, this Ocean of Illusion, we need to develop balance, self-mastery and pure desire. We also require the help of a true Guru – someone who will awaken the Kundalini so that we can discern the correct Path and cross the Void to the heart, wherein lies the true Self, the eternal Spirit.
It is in this state of disconnectedness that seekers may search for a guide or Guru to help them to find the Way, a Path or process to cross the Void, the illusions, and connect with that Source of all satisfaction, joy and fulfilment – the Divine, the Source, Tao, or God. There have been many great incarnations of the principle of Guru or Spiritual Teacher who have incarnated to guide groups of sincere seekers towards their Self-realisation. The personifications or incarnations of this principle include Abraham, Moses, Muhammed, Zarathustra, Lao Tze, Confucious, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Guru Nanak, Raja Janaka and Socrates. Also, there have been false gurus who have plundered and damaged the seekers. The goal in Sahaja Yoga is to help the true seekers to find their Self-realisation so they can become their own gurus.
Most often for the seekers, so far, the only assistance has been to receive a set of guidelines, or rules, a dharmic way of behaving, that will help maintain individual and collective balance. So, we have sets of rules in the religions such as the Ten Commandments. Moses, as an example of the Guru principle, led his people out of slavery, across the ocean and to the promised land. Shri Mataji in this modern era holds a unique place in the tradition of Gurus because She has created a method for en masse Kundalini awakening and so facilitated the creation of so many potentially enlightened Gurus.
Only the Kundalini can bridge that great divide between illusion and Reality. On first awakening, Kundalini ascends the Sushumna (centre) nadi up to the Agnya chakra. It covers the lower plate (moordha) and then descends like melting clouds on the Ida (left) and Pingala (right) nadis to the Void. It fills the Void area, and then the three combined powers re-ascend the Sushumna nadi to open the lotus petals of the Sahasrara. The Spirit, which is said to be watching through the manifold subtle auras of the heart, has its seat at the top of the head in the centre. When the individual spark of the Spirit is raised and reunited in Union, or Yoga, with the all-pervading and all-powerful Source at the apex of the Sahasrara, then the Reality of the essential core of existence is realised. This enables a person to start to become his or her own Guru, based on a new enlightened awareness.
(Photograph courtesy of fromoldbooks.org)
Forgiving others, while often difficult, is one of the most important things we need to do for our spiritual growth. Shri Mataji, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, has said that if Jesus Christ had not come on the earth, we would not have been able to have the spontaneous attainment of Self-realisation which has been made possible through the methods of Sahaja Yoga. The reason is that the quality of the Agnya Chakra is forgiveness. By forgiving those who crucified Him, Jesus opened the Agnya Chakra. If the Agnya Chakra had not been opened, it would not have been possible for Shri Mataji to open the Sahasrara, the last Chakra in the human evolutionary process.
If we do not forgive, the Agnya Chakra remains closed, and we cannot experience the full blessings of Self-realisation. If the Agnya is not fully clear, we are dominated by our thoughts which come either from the past or the future. If the thoughts are coming from the past, we are governed by the Superego or conditionings. If our thoughts are of the future, we are governed by the Ego, the notion that we are responsible for creating what is going to happen in our lives. It is only when we are released from both the Ego and the Superego that we are able to be in the present. In the present, there are no thoughts, and we can then enter into a state of thoughtless awareness or true meditation.
One way of opening the Agnya Chakra is to recite the Lord’s Prayer which was given to us by Jesus Christ. The key phrases are:
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
Thus, the Lord’s Prayer is actually a mantra specially designed to open the Agnya Chakra.
Jesus also said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light.” Another way of opening the Agnya Chakra is to use light. Thus, looking at a candle flame or a fire is an effective way of clearing the mind of thoughts and opening this chakra.
This, then, is the true meaning of forgiveness: letting go of thoughts of the past or of the future, in order to prepare the Agnya Chakra for the last great breakthough in our evolution. When we do this, we are no longer burdened by guilt, regret or anger, but attain a peaceful state of mind where we can experience the joy of being in the present. Of great significance, however, is that this state also paves the way for the attainment of Self-realisation.
(Photograph courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)