“…the hall was suddenly abolished, its walls rendered invisible, and the new space was radiant with the appearance of a summoned being, the tender presence of the great mother, protectress of the island and its secret ways. The swirling energies of this being were everywhere, making the spaces alive with something akin to the electrification of the spirit, and a mighty collective hum of praise now seemed to have lifted off into the air, and the city seemed in flight. Such a splendid weightlessness pervaded everything, and all those in the great hall seemed to be afloat on a silver cloud, spiralling into the sublimity of the great mother. It wasn’t long before he felt that something about him had changed forever in that celestial mood.” (p. 142)
Ben Okri, Astonishing the Gods
Ben Okri won the Booker prize for The Famished Road. Astonishing the Gods is a fable exploring deep metaphysical ideas.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi founded Sahaja Yoga in 1970. Since that time She has given hundreds, maybe thousands, of public lectures all over the world during which she has spoken about the evolution of human beings into what she calls “super-human beings”.
Shri Mataji describes the last breakthrough of evolution as the attainment of Self-realisation. Self-realisation is the process by which the residual life-force in every human being (called the Kundalini) which resides in the sacrum bone, the triangular bone at the base of the spine, rises up the spinal column and up through the limbic area (the “old” brain) and out of the fontanelle bone area to unite with the All-pervading Power of the universe.
When this happens, we become connected to the power that created us. We become more knowledgeable about ourselves. We become collectively conscious, as Carl Jung has described. We are more connected to, more knowledgeable about and more compassionate towards others. We feel peaceful and joyful, and we feel loved and more loving towards others.
As we begin to meditate and to strengthen this connection after attaining our Self-realisation we become “thoughtlessly aware”, we become better people, we automatically act in more selfless and constructive ways and all our bad habits drop out. We gain the benefits of better health, good self-esteem and improved relationships with others. We receive inspiration to help us in our endeavours and experience being “in the flow”, where everything happens effortlessly and spontaneously, more often. In this way we become, as Shri Mataji says, “super-human beings”.
Shri Mataji describes this new state as the last step in our evolution and says that it is our birthright as human beings to receive it. It is very helpful on the microcosmic level, the personal level, to achieve this new state of being, through our Self-realisation, but even greater benefits accrue when this breakthrough is achieved on the macrocosmic level, the collective level.
Just as Self-realisation integrates all the best qualities of the human being in each individual, when many human beings have their Self-realisation then integration can take place on a global level. People of all cultures and backgrounds can then transcend their differences, live in peace and work co-operatively towards a new era of harmony and prosperity in a truly multi-cultural world.
These are the futile moments
Where the peace that You have granted
Flies away into temptations;
In unwisdom it gets planted.
For such fickle things as these
I tear myself from You.
With burnt-out histories and crazy ideas,
You disappear from view.
You graced me with the right
To choose what is wrong,
But now I see the light
And I know where I belong.
It seems a gentle balance
That a Yogi has to find,
To keep You always close at heart,
In thought and word and mind.
I look to Your eternal eyes,
Am faced with my mistakes.
To clear the aching false desires,
The ego here must break.
I wish today to turn back time,
And choose a wiser path,
To catch myself the instant that
My blindness turned to wrath.
I wish that I could see myself
When I’m thinking as a fool,
Pull myself back into line,
To Your auspicious rule.
I now must take tapasya
To strengthen what is weak,
To find instead the innocence
And purity that I seek.
Forgive me, Mother, for the times today
I forgot to see what’s true,
For ignorance in thoughts and words
I wish I could undo.
I’m tired of having days like this;
Please give me pure desire,
To stop my mind from wandering
and indulging in the Maya.
(Photograph: National Parks and Wildlife, Australia)
The Heart Chakra is the place of our Spirit, our joy, our security and our responsibility. It is placed in the centre of the chest which is also at the centre of the whole Subtle System. Our security is felt from this chakra: if we receive a fright we often spontaneously cover our hearts. It is the power of love and joy and confidence, emanating from heart, which testifies to the eternal, unconquerable Spirit that resides therein. The Sahaja Yoga affirmations for the Heart (Anahat) Chakra are, “I am the Spirit. In my Spirit I am completely secure. In my Spirit I am a completely fearless person.”
After Self-realisation, the heart is felt to have three distinct aspects: the left, right and centre. On the left is the Spirit, the Atma or Self which manifests pure existence, awareness and joy (Sat-Chit-Ananda). Once our Spirit comes into our attention we begin to drop false identifications with the body, mind, ego, emotions and conditionings. We are then free to be, open, spontaneous, natural instruments of the Divine. When we know we are the Spirit, we have the security of knowing we are eternal, children of God.
The deity or principle of left heart is God the Father, Lord Shiva, and His Shakti, Shri Parvati. In India and other Asian countries, people upon meeting each other acknowledge the Spirit in the other person by raising their hands to prayer position, in Namaskar, and by bowing. These gestures recognise and respect the essential divinity in the other person. As the poet says, “It is not for the sake of the person that the person is dear, but for the sake of the Spirit in the person, that the person is dear.” Perhaps the most dear relationship is the love between the mother and her child. This earthly mother (physical) relationship is also felt on the left heart, and so this role and relationship must be truly valued.
The centre heart governs the sense of security and protection. Here, when we are children, antibodies are created to fight any negativity within the body. The principle here is personified as the Great Goddess Jagadambe, the most powerful, multi-armed destroyer Deity who protects Her children and ultimately conquers all that is against Her children.
The right heart governs our relationship to our earthly father, and to our sense of duty and our sense of correct behaviour. The well-being and protection of our father, our relationship with him and with other masculine figures – husband, brothers and sons – and also the appropriate conduct of the father – neither irresponsible nor overly dominating – are important. Difficult relationships do put pressure on the heart.
The Deity or principle of right heart is the perfect husband, son, father and king – Lord Rama and his spouse Shri Seeta. He laid down, by example, the ideals or maryadas for right behaviour in family life.
Love is the ultimate quality or power of the heart – not the fearful, grasping, dependent or dominating condition some may calle love, but the great, fearless, life-giving, quality of open-heart that affirms, nourishes and protects. Pure Love is detached. It wants at all costs what is truly best. Spiritual love is the fountainhead of all life. It gives to all, permeates all and does all the living work. It is said, “God is Love”.
The principal element of Heart is air. Air is a primary need for us to sustain life. To clear and strengthen the Heart Chakra you can take large lungfuls of air. This effectively provides energy and dispels negativity.
Extreme over-activity of the right side, physically or mentally, stresses the heart, as does anti-God activity.
Essentially, in Spirit we are all one. Competition and fear reduce the sense of Love and compassion and so make us strangers to our Selves. Shri Mataji has said many times that, “Sahaja Yoga is only Love”.