There is joy before Realisation and after Realisation, but before Realisation there is no capacity to enjoy. That capacity to enjoy comes to you after Realisation and the main thing that happens to you is the discretion. Then, like the swan, you just take the milk of eveything. Your attitude towards everything becomes very different. You start seeing things from a different angle.
Once we had to go to a very ancient temple to see some art. I, My son-in-law and My daughter were walking about. We had to walk for miles up the hill and then, when we were very tired, we went into a temple and just lay down. They were so tired.
At that time I said, “See these elephants here, how beautiful they are. Every one has a different type of a tail and a different type of a trunk. All the poses are different. So many of them are like that.”
My son-in-law said, “We are so tired. How can we look at these things?”
Because My attention didn’t go to My tiredness, but to these beautiful things, same thing – you start sucking in the milk. There is joy, but you cannot feel the joy because the power – that subtle power of divine discretion – is not there. Once that comes in, you start enjoying everything.
Things are just the same. Life is just the same. Nothing has changed. Same house, same family, same city, same environment, but you start enjoying because the sensitivity of your Hamsa chakra is now only for divine discretion and you immediately know and then you don’t want to do anything with the thorns. You only want to gather flowers and you know how to gather flowers and you are in joy.
Shri Mataji, 1992
All around us, penetrating all space and all beings, exists a conscious energy, a living power. This all-pervading power (the Paramchaitanya) is an energy of love and joy and is the ultimate basis of reality. If we can experience this energy, then we will experience a pure joy that is completely independent of life’s circumstances.
Although this power is all around us we are not aware of it, in the same way that we are surrounded by radio waves and yet we cannot hear them. We need an antenna and the electrical components that turn the received signals into music in order to experience it. To feel and experience this divine energy we need the proper instrument.
Now, thankfully, inside of us we already have the instrument capable of receiving and transmitting the all-pervading divine energy into our consciousness. We do not have to invent some new device. It does not depend on human cleverness or invention. Every human being has placed inside of them this special instrument which is our own spirit, our Atma. Physically, the Atma is located in the heart and it is like a mirror that can reflect the Paramchaitanya into our consciousness.
Human suffering is a result of not being able to feel this energy. We are all the time bathed and surrounded by God’s love but we cannot feel it. We are buffeted on the surface of a tumultuous ocean which is our perceived reality, and yet all the time beneath us is the silent immense depth. If we are still we will slide away from the surface which is unreal and experience the joyful reality.
Our consciousness must merge with the Atma. Only then will the spirit be able to transmit the energy of the Paramatma, “the universal spirit”, into our awareness. “You should first realise your Atma because man cannot reach Paramatma without knowing his Atma.”
What is the Atma? “It is said that Atma is the reflection of Paramatma in our heart. This reflection is like that of the sun in water.” The reflection of the sun is seen in the water, but it is not there. The sun is in the sky sending its light everywhere on all things. But not everything is a good reflector of this light. “For any reflection to be clearly visible the mirror which is the cause of that reflection must be clean. If the mirror is not clean, or instead of a mirror a stone is there, the sun’s reflection will not be seen in it.” In the same way, if your mirror is not clean then you will not be able to see the reflection of the Paramatma within yourself, nor will you reflect this light to others.
“The reflection of the Atma appears to be absent or it just shines for a moment and disappears, in the person who is full of sin and wickedness or whose heart is loaded with false ambitions and desires.”
“Sahaja Yogis must know that they have come to Sahaja Yoga primarily to clean their mirror, to wash their sins and past deeds, to become purified of all the dirt that has been accumulated within.” This cleansing is done by the Kundalini. She is that “current which passes through the Chakras and awakens them.” As the light comes onto your chakras you become aware of which chakras are damaged. You can then use simple Sahaja Yoga techniques to cleanse these centres.
“This virgin power (the kundalini) makes us clean and pure.” The greater our purity, the more we reflect God’s light. This light shines both into our consciousness and outwards towards others. As our awareness merges into the silent meditative oneness of the stillness of God we project this light. A light to dispel darkness.
(All quotes in this article are taken from a translation of a lecture given in Hindi by Shri Mataji, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, on 18 August 1979 in Delhi, India.)
(Photograph by Vishnu Bonneau)
Sixteen years ago I made a New Year’s resolution to join a meditation group. I rang a couple of the more well-known ones from the Yellow Pages but they didn’t answer. Maybe they were on holidays. I kept trying all during January. By the time February had arrived I had given up on them.
I was feeling stressed, having just gone through a marriage break-up. I had read many self-help books, been to counselling, and joined various groups on assertiveness, self-esteem and similar topics. I had had health problems for many years and had tried all sorts of things from vitamin supplements, to books advocating affirmations to cure the various illnesses. Some things I tried were a little helpful but I was becoming confused as they were not consistent with each other and were even contradictory. I thought there must be some ultimate truth. That’s what I needed to find.
I had decided to look for a Buddhist or Hindu meditation group. I had been brought up a Christian but had not been convinced by their arguments and had never felt that going to church or praying had been helpful to me. I had done Hatha Yoga in my teenage years and had found the relaxation techniques we did at the end of the class beneficial. The yoga teacher had spoken about Hinduism and Buddhism and I had found it interesting. I was looking for a meditation that would make me feel better, help me to find peace and enable me to forgive and to stop feeling angry and bitter.
I had heard about Sahaja Yoga but didn’t know anything about it. I decided that as nothing else had worked out I would go along and try it. The first class I went to was interesting and the people were friendly but I didn’t feel very much. They said that Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, was visiting Australia and was holding a free public lecture the following week. I decided to attend.
A half hour before I had to leave I still hadn’t organised a baby-sitter. Out of the blue my ex-husband rang and asked if he could take our son to Cubs. I said, “Yes”, and asked if he would like to have our daughter over for a visit as I wanted to go out. Suddenly I was free to go.
I sat in the front row at the Canberra Playhouse and after an introductory talk by a Sahaja Yogi, all of a sudden a great stillness fell over the hall and there was absolute silence and a feeling of great anticipation and expectation hung in the air. It gave me goose bumps. At that moment Shri Mataji slowly walked onto the stage from behind the curtain.
I was surprised that Shri Mataji looked like a very soft, natural, gentle and unassuming, short, Indian woman. I liked her instantly. I had been expecting someone much more made-up, more sophisticated, harder, more brash, more like a saleswoman. I thought she looked like a simple and naïve woman and I hoped that this sophisticated and intellectual Canberra audience wouldn’t heckle her. I needn’t have worried. I now realise that what I saw then as naïvety was an absolute confidence based on total innocence and complete fearlessness.
She gave a lecture in which everything she said related to my life. She spoke about how a lot of Christians were not as they were supposed to be, which had been my experience, and she talked about how in these modern times men had women fooled. She spoke about acupuncture which I had had that day and about how Sahaja Yoga cures illnesses. The lecture answered all my concerns and I felt as if it was directed at me. She had an incisive intellect, she was an excellent speaker and her lecture was wide-ranging, humorous, surprising, insightful, witty and delivered with great passion and conviction.
We went through the Self-realisation process, and again I didn’t feel the cool breeze at the top of my head. I didn’t really expect to, I suppose, as I wasn’t sure if it was real or if it was some kind of a con. Then Shri Mataji said that she was happy to meet anyone who would like to meet her. I had never followed a guru before, being wary of them after seeing exposés of various gurus in the late 1970s, but I felt that Shri Mataji seemed to be a person of dignity and integrity. She didn’t appear to be a charlatan.
When my turn came she was smiling at me as I walked towards her. She had her whole attention on me and I felt like she was pouring huge soothing waves of love and compassion over me. She looked at me as if she knew me very well and she didn’t say anything for a while as if she was waiting for me to recognise her and remember who she was. She seemed to know me so well I started wondering if I’d met her before anywhere, but I hadn’t.
Then Shri Mataji asked me to put my hands out, palms upward. She looked intently at my palms. She asked if I had felt the cool breeze. I lied and said, “Yes”. She knew I was lying and asked incredulously, “Did you?” Again I lied. She said, “Oh well, now you’ve got it. You must keep on with it and fix it all up”. And then she turned her attention to the next person in the queue and I felt like the floodlight of her love and attention that I had been bathed in was suddenly turned off and I was left in cold, hard reality.
Shri Mataji had had an enormous impact on me. She was so natural and down-to-earth, so wise and knowledgeable, so soft and unassuming, yet so strong and powerful. She had infinite patience, meeting each person in the long queue and giving each of them the individual attention she had given me. She was caring, compassionate and full of loving kindness and understanding. And so generous as she didn’t stand to gain financially from this free lecture.
I realised that Sahaja Yoga was vastly different from the various New Age philosophies I had been dabbling in, and that I had paid a lot of money for, and I resolved to give Sahaja Yoga a serious go.
So, for the last sixteen years, since that time, I have been practising Sahaja Yoga, meditating every day and clearing my chakras. I have found not only what I was seeking, but much more. I am less stressed, my health has improved, I am no longer angry and bitter and I have learnt to forgive. It took a while but I now feel the cool breeze at the top of my head. I have discovered the essence of the teachings of Christ, Buddha, the Hindu sages and all the great prophets, and found that they are not contradictory. And best of all, I have found joy, peace of mind and a sense of real meaning in my life. Thank you, Shri Mataji!
You have your emotions, your feelings like flowers that you have to keep to yourself, which are part of the same ocean of your heart. And, once you are ready, everything is done. If the whole house is ready, now bring the flowers, the emotions, the nice things, the beautiful things and nourish them.
One must learn. I think there should be some books about how to say nice things to others. We should try to find some books like that or should write some books, how nice things could be said, how we can take care of others, how we can make another feel our love, the expression of love and that work. Such a book will really help people to understand that this is nice to say. And once you say something nice to another, that niceness comes back … like the ripples that touch the shores come back, and then you feel very happy.
Go on saying things which are nice, which are pleasing, will be very much appreciated. But if you say it with sincerity, not just to tease someone or to say something just to be so superficially good … then you will be surprised that the heart of the other person will open and from that heart will flow those beautiful flowers of emotion that are stored.
So on one side, you have to expand your heart and, on another side, you have to reserve or preserve all the beautiful, nice, delicate feelings within yourself, absorb from everywhere and then to pour them out at the right moment. That’s the art… This is the way we have to be with ourselves in our heart because human beings are very delicate, very beautiful things and to beautify them you have to say beautiful things. This tongue is not for saying harsh things, for making fun of others, for teasing others, but is for saying something, such a beautiful thing that the other person also imbibes that beauty. I’ve seen some nice things people have said and that lingers in My mind. And I said, “When will I have the chance to say these things to others?”
So think about it, that, “Now this is a very nice sentence. This was a very sweet thing they said. All right, so now where should I use this …?” To find these nice feelings and nice emotions and nice things said, then what do you do? You collect them, all these things, give them and use them at the right time, at the right place. This is what is the wisdom of Shri Ganesha. Innocent people are the most sincere people, innocent people. Those who are clever and cunning cannot be sincere because they enjoy their cunningness, they enjoy their so-called brilliance. They can never be. Those people who are simple, who are loving, who care for love more than anything else, can only say very nice things sincerely …
When your heart is large, then whatever you do for others, you enjoy. You enjoy doing good things. You enjoy saying nice things. So we should have the choicest flowers of beautiful sayings. We should have the choicest emotions which we should be able to express to each other.
Shri Mataji, 1990