Many of us, looking at the current situation with Australia’s Indigenous population, could form the view that their condition is a reflection of much deeper problems facing modern society – dispossession, displacement, disadvantage.
I found myself at Martin Place on a grey and rainy Sydney Wednesday morning, with a surprisingly large number of my fellow citizens, listening to the Prime Minister’s apology to the Stolen Generations of Aborigines. There was a real sense of the unity and wellspring of community goodwill, which has swept our nation over the preceding few days, which could not be manufactured. It has been invigorating to witness this spirit unfold as a spontaneous, collective community expression of the highest principles and ideals. The unity of all people, the importance of reconciliation – it was a time when people across our country, separated by race, have become united in something beyond the mundane, commonplace, and routine, by the need to apologise and to heal.
At times it has felt similar to the spirit which pervades a large gathering at a Sahaja Yoga event, being felt and experienced right across our country. People everywhere were experiencing collective awareness, and were sharing the joy of an open-hearted expression of real forgiveness.
As Shri Mataji has indicated, a conflict between the forces of evolution and those of devolution are ever at play. The day of apology was an occasion when the heart triumphed over the head, a time for love to triumph and to purge hatred and division from the body of our country, and to move away from racism, discrimination, segregation.
The day of apology was a time for the expression of a much more enlightened view of a type rarely seen in public. The opinions of our national leaders were focussed more towards introspection and self-evaluation, on the question of the moral integrity and spiritual wellbeing of our nation.
Popular wisdom was that as soon as John Howard had retired, the new Prime Minister – of either political persuasion – would induce Parliament to apologise to Aborigines for past wrongs, and so it turned out to be the case.
Will its contribution mean an end to Australia’s particular form of apartheid, in which Aborigines are reduced to invisibility in everyday life? Except as issues, not many of us know a single Aboriginal face. They are truly the invisible men and women of Australia, usually only seen or read about in the news.
It is hoped that the official, heartfelt National Apology is one of those “great-leap-forward” concepts our nation can pursue, in its efforts to enable Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to see one another more clearly.
Many events pull our citizens onto the streets – days celebrating sporting success, or commemorating a great historical event. These are days of joyful celebration. But this day, when so many were united in our community, celebrating something much more important and unique, was a mighty day, more important perhaps than many others before it.
J.K. Galbraith once remarked that the tribulations at the margins of society would eventually upset the contentment at its centre. It seems as if the time has come when the Australian Government realised that the human spirit has to be nurtured through forgiveness, together with a renewed commitment for the future.
As one walked through the city on this day, people in business suits and those in shorts and T-shirts, all seemed to be equally affected by the gravity of the occasion, the magnitude and depth of this moment in our history. By all measures it was a stunning day, and hopefully its great purpose will succeed if it provides a new beginning, and insights into the dignity of Indigenous culture. With our positive desire it will also play a larger role in reconciling a range of issues relevant to all Australians.
This was a coming together of people of varied backgrounds, and a collective expression of an apology freely offered and graciously accepted. It gives us a glimpse of what a wider, enlightened society may one day be like, one where the values of selflessness and social improvement, enlightenment and inclusion for our Indigenous population as the great body of the first Australians, can be renewed.
It seemed that this one day in our history, filled with noble words and deeds and with that most healing of words, “sorry”, was somehow pitted against years of mean observances, of broken lives, and of families rent asunder. And by some miracle of the human spirit, many of those who had suffered most terribly, found it to be most worthy.
It is now widely acknowledged that our life and what happens to us on the outside, in our relationships, at work, at home, depends on the state of our being on the inside, that is, how we think and feel and how we act, whether it be with kindness, selfishness, anger or compassion. This is because all human beings have inside them a “subtle system”, which is a blueprint that incorporates all the ways we should conduct ourselves in our lives. Our lives on the outside are a reflection of the condition of this subtle system. If we live in accordance with this blueprint and are able to balance our subtle system, then our lives will be happier, healthier and more productive.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who founded Sahaja Yoga in 1970, has given many public lectures about this subtle system and how it works. The subtle system consists of seven chakras, three channels and the residual life force, which is a dormant energy called the Kundalini which resides in the sacrum bone at the bottom of the spine.
Each of the seven chakras has certain qualities which manifest in our lives when the chakras are clear. For example, if our heart chakra is clear we will show the traits of courage and compassion in our lives. If there is a blockage in a chakra, it manifests in our lives. For example, a blockage in the Nabhi chakra may lead to us having problems with money. When the Nabhi chakra is cleared either the financial difficulties will disappear or we just won’t be worried about them any more and we will find a way to manage.
The three channels need to be in balance. When the left side and the right side are balanced we can operate in the central channel, which is the present. In order to be in the present, we need to achieve our Self-realisation, which occurs when the Kundalini rises up the central channel, through the limbic area in the brain and out of the fontanelle bone area at the top of the head to unite with the All-pervading Power of the universe.
When this happens, we become connected to the universal, Divine power that created us. We become more knowledgeable about ourselves and are able to know the state of our subtle system, our chakras and channels. As we begin to meditate and strengthen this connection after attaining our Self-realisation, we become “thoughtlessly aware” and our Kundalini flows through our chakras, clearing them. As a consequence we become better people, we automatically act in more constructive ways and all our bad habits drop out. We begin to demonstrate the positive characteristics of the chakras in our behaviour, and the positive qualities of the chakras manifest in our lives.
Recent research has shown that people are happiest when they demonstrate the “virtues” in their lives. It is already well-known that people who are happy have stronger immune systems and are healthier than those who are not. Investigation of over 200 religious and philosophical texts including the Upanishads, the Koran, ancient Greek philosophers and Christian texts has demonstrated that there are six universally accepted traits that are regarded as virtues that are revered in every society. They are wisdom, courage, compassion, judgement, self-discipline and forgiveness. The universality of these traits indicates that they are innate and are part of the blueprint of human beings. The fact that people feel happiest when they express these virtues in their behaviour also indicates that they form an innate part of the human experience.
It is time that we looked inside and looked to our roots, in order to find happiness and fulfillment that will be for our good, and for the good of our family, our town, our country and ultimately for the good of the whole world. As Shri Mataji considers it the birthright of every human being to have their Self-realisation and the knowledge of the subtle system, Sahaja Yoga is always taught free of charge.
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.
The essence of all the religions, of all the prophets, of all the incarnations, is compassion and is placed in this chakra of Heart. Thus we understand that in the second era now, we have to have compassion. It’s the manifestation now of the compassion.
If God Almighty had no compassion, He would not have created this great universe. Actually, His power, or the Adi Shakti, is the embodiment of his compassion. And this compassion has brought forth all the evolution to the human level…
And compassion is always completely covered with forgiveness, so you can see the trinity meets at this point… God Almighty, who is the witness; the Mother, who is the compassion; and the Child who is the forgiveness – all of them meet at the Heart chakra in the Sahasrara…
The next era is of compassion… All the chakras that are within us are to be looked after, to pay attention to every chakra and put compassion, the feeling of compassion on these chakras…
To manifest compassion, you have to ask nothing but one thing, that, “O God of innocence, give innocence to all the people of the world.”
Shri Mataji, 1984