Sahaja Yoga is about gaining self-realisation and developing, through meditation, those powers, those perceptions, that knowledge of the spirit, that oneness with Divinity which self-realisation grants. All of us are born with a life force, a seed of God’s love, within us. It is known by its Sanskrit name, Kundalini, and it resides at the base of the spine. This seed, sprouting, can rise up through the energy centres that exist along the spine, eventually piercing the crown of the head and emerging as a cool energy that can be felt.
The realisation of the self is just that – the process of gaining and becoming conscious of the self, the spirit. The spirit, in other words, becomes manifest on the central nervous system. In earlier days this process was a most arduous one requiring long-term sacrifices and dedication. Now, however, it has become possible for us to receive our self-realisation very easily, and very sweetly. This is because Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, discovered in 1970 a simple way of granting the moksha, the enlightenment, the liberation, the rhu, self-realisation – all names for the same thing. If the desire is strong and the circumstances are appropriate, self-realisation, with all its wonder, can be gained.
Self-realisation draws our energy, our attention, into the central path of our being. This implies, of course, that there are other parts of our being that are not so centered. Indian philosophy can help us here, especially since it is concerned with doing, being, living – not, as in the West, where philosophy is concerned with thinking and giving active shape to thought.
Indian philosophy holds that the attention can flow along the raja guna which is the right side, the tama guna which is the left side, or the satwa guna, the central path.
So, let’s consider the right side first. What is it? The right side, in its extreme, can be demanding, aggressive, hard-edged, harsh, sun-bright. It’s about self-promotion. It’s concerned with tomorrow, projecting into the future. And being in the right side can cause tensions, anger, even violence.
And the left side, the tama guna? Again, in the extreme, it is emotional, pulling on memories, moon-lit. It’s about the pain of lost joys; it’s regretful, yearning. It’s all about yesterdays and sorrows. Being in the left side can cause insecurity, depression, opting out.
And between left and right, there’s the centre. The centre is balance, grace. It is gently confident, drawing us into ourselves, reflective. A song that sings of the centre says, “Come, the Mother calls you to go deeper in silence, to find the earth of your beginning; that innocence within you, that innocence unfolding from which flow the rivers of your soul.”
The left and right channels are, of course, part of our being. A very necessary part. They are not all bad. We can have good memories and make good plans. And when we are centred, when we are balanced, the left and right sides play their appropriate roles. However, when aspects of the left or the right start to predominate, start to take us over, then we run into troubles. In the far left, insecurity can turn into depression and even forms of cancer. In the far right, heavy thinking and anger can turn into diabetes or violence. It’s the peace and open-heartedness we can achieve through our self-realisation, granted to us through the grace of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, that bring everything into the good balance.
My first permanent teaching position was in a small country town. Sahaja Yoga techniques had always helped me to deal with challenging children, not just by reducing my stress level, but also by providing tools to gently change even the most difficult pupil. So effective were these tools that I quickly earned the respect of the parents of these challenging children.
One such mother was Kate, a single parent to one of the most challenging children that I had ever met. His name was Timothy and I taught him in kindergarten. Kate and I met on a daily basis as we worked together to try to help poor Timothy adapt to school life. Kate and I became close over the seven years I worked there. She knew about Sahaja Yoga and was open to it. She even offered to mind my baby, Jamahla, for free when I returned to work. In return, I continued to help out with Timothy.
Timothy was a beautiful boy but he had been teased since kindergarten and found learning boring compared with playing boy games outside. As a result, he had learning problems and a fiery temper if rubbed up the wrong way. He was quick to recognize hypocrisy or any kind of trickery. This made his observations on a trip home from Tamworth even more incredible.
Some Sahaja Yogis from Sydney were conducting a tour similar to the Realise Australia tour held this year. They were coming to our hometown and Tamworth, the next major town a couple of hours north. I told Kate about it and that I would be going to Tamworth to put up posters advertising the tour. Kate could immediately see the difficulties involved in doing this with Jamahla, so she offered to come and help me. She had a brother in Tamworth that she rarely saw; so, we agreed to call in and see his family on our return. Timothy adored Jamahla and he was more than happy to help out with postering before seeing his uncle.
While we were in Tamworth there was a severe rain storm. On our way home, we talked about Sahaja Yoga, the coming tour, rain and other things. As we reached the mountains our conversation stopped. We simply enjoyed the drive until Timothy interrupted the silence, “Look! There’s an angel in the sky and it’s looking at us!”
Instead of running off the road I just went silent and cautiously looked up as I waited for Kate to scream or say Timothy was mad. Neither happened. Instead, I saw an angel formed from the clouds. It was huge and we could see every detail of its face. It was a classic cherub with curly hair. It appeared to be lying on its stomach with its head resting on its hands, as it looked down at us. Its beautiful, feathery white wings were there behind its head. The three of us just stared. I don’t remember what, if anything, was said, until Jacob once again interrupted the silence, “Look! It’s flying away.” As it flew away we saw its wings and the back of its head. Even the tips of its toes were visible.
I have no photographic proof of what we saw. It wasn’t safe to stop on that winding road and, to be honest, I was so thoughtless that I didn’t even think of stopping. The proof of its reality is the fact that Timothy saw it first. As I said before, he can see straight through any trickery.
(The names of some people in this story have been changed. Ed.)
“The basic seeking power is humility… If you think you know everything, you cannot humble down … and you cannot seek. Even if you seek, you don’t want to follow anybody else’s path …you’ll do whatever you want to do.”
“One thing is very important in your humility … you should be a humble person … not think that you are something special … or some sort of a self-important person… once you think you are important, then you are not part and parcel of the whole… If you start thinking like that, anywhere in your journey of Sahaja Yoga, then I must say that you are not in the Sahaja Vasta, the Sahaja State.”
“Those who are humble can only become friendly with each other, can share their problems with each other. So humility can only help you to articulate, to have rapport with your friends. But humility should not be sympathetic – it is a detached quality that does not get attached to any person.”
“Only a person who is not guilty will be really humble, because guilty people are aggressive … are sarcastic… A humble person is a free person, free to be humble, to be kindly, to be gentle, to be compassionate – that sort of Sahaja Yogis you have to be. When people meet you they will be impressed. Humility doesn’t have any subservience, and is very different to compassion. Humility is a very human quality, is a special quality only the bhaktas have. It is such a beautiful quality of taking the showers of bliss, and a person who cannot take, is so lonely. Such a person cannot get companionship with anyone.”
When Abraham Lincoln was campaigning to become the President of the United States, one of his arch-enemies was a man named Stanton. For some reason Stanton hated Lincoln. He used every ounce of his energy to degrade him in the eyes of the public. So deep-rooted was Stanton’s hate for Lincoln that he uttered unkind words about his physical appearance, and sought to embarrass him at every point with the bitterest of diatribes.
In spite of this, Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Then came the period when he had to select his cabinet which would consist of the persons who would be his most intimate associates in implementing his program. He selected Stanton to fill the all-important post of Secretary of War.
There was an immediate uproar in the inner circle when the news began to spread. An adviser was heard saying to him, “Mr. President, you are making a mistake. Do you know this man, Stanton? Are you familiar with all of the ugly things he said about you? He is your enemy. He will seek to sabotage your program. Have you thought this through, Mr. President?”
Mr. Lincoln’s answer was terse and to the point, “Yes, I know Mr. Stanton. I am aware of all the terrible things he has said about the best man for the job”. So Stanton became Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War and rendered an invaluable service to his nation and his President.
Not many years later Lincoln was assassinated. Many laudable things were said about him as the greatest of all Americans. Even today, millions of people still adore him as the greatest of all Americans. HG.Wells selected him as one of the six great men of history. But of all the great statements made about Abraham Lincoln, the words of Stanton remain among the greatest. Standing near the dead body of the man he once hated, Stanton referred to him as one of the greatest men that ever lived and said, “He now belongs to the ages”.
If Lincoln had hated Stanton both men would have gone to their graves as bitter enemies. But through the power of love Lincoln transformed an enemy into a friend.
It was this same attitude that made it possible for Lincoln to speak a kind word about the South during the Civil War when feeling was most bitter. Asked by a shocked bystander how he could do this, Lincoln said, “Madam, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” This is the power of redemptive love.