Realization is knowing the truth of existence at the experiential level by connecting to the Source, Ultimate Reality. It is self-knowledge, understanding our Self, our real nature, our conditioning, the functioning of our mind, our suffering, their causation and removal. Wherefrom have we come? What bars our advancement? What is the real goal of human life? How realization can be attained? What is the role of Master in realization?
Realized Masters in all ages and all parts of the world have tried to find an answer to these perennial questions and shared their experiences through their discourses and works. Those who were benefitted by these teachings became their followers and thus religion came into existence. With the passage of time a majority of these followers stopped practising the essence of these teachings and thus failed to experience the truth which these realized Masters had discovered and merely remained believers and many of them turned into fanatics, little knowing what the founders of the great religions of the world had discovered. Only rituals and customs were followed and religious heads who succeeded them enjoyed enormous power in the name of religion. Forgetting the application of teachings and practice of universal human values – Love, compassion, contentment, peace, truth, non-violence, honesty, mutual respect, tolerance, understanding peaceful coexistence….., as preached and practised by these founders, these ignorant followers started looking down upon other religions and thus hatred and violence against other religious groups started which even led to many battles and wars in the world in the name of religion. Sahaj Marg says where religion ends spirituality begins and where spirituality ends reality begins. The role of the religion was to build character and teach moral values whereas spirituality pertained to expansion of consciousness. Religion could have been a stepping stone to spirituality had it not been used to exploit the masses with fear and greed as its instruments. The sincere seeker of truth will have to apply the teachings of the Master in letter and spirit to directly experience the efficacy of these teachings in discovering the truth and realise self at the experiential level. We all know most of the people, the world over in general and India in particular believe in Spirit and God (Atma and Parmatma) but how many of those who believe and can deliver impressive lectures on them have actually experienced these subtle elements. Here the believers and non-believers fall in the same category. Both spirit and God are not material things, hence realization can’t be handed over by one person who has it to another as with the material things. Each one has to earn for himself.Those who are genuinely interested, are sincere and serious will have to investigate as per the guidelines of their Masters. It is said each one gets teacher which he deserves as per his stage of development. That is why we have different teachers at different level of schooling. What we call knowledge is actually the information about various subjects and different topics as provided by researchers and presented in our academic curriculum as per syllabi of different classes.
One may master one or many subjects and earn degrees, social status and lot of money but if we don’t have self-knowledge and mastery over our mind of what use is such knowledge. Knowledge must make us to find the real goal of human life and teach us how to lead a happy, peaceful and contented life so that we can contribute in creating a better world. ‘Know Thyself’ is an old saying. What prevents us from gaining self-knowledge? These are – our complexities, impurities, grossness of ignorance, mental conditionings, perceptions, belief-systems, prejudices, habit pattern, faulty life-style, desires, traits, tendencies, slavery of wishes…….The heart and mind have to be cleaned to see things as they are and not through the glasses which we wear. Being pure and simple is the first and foremost requirement. Meditation, introspection, self-study, company of the seekers, guidance of the competent Master who have realized the self are some of the aids to realization. The bondage is that of our mind and it is the truth that frees and not our attempt to be free as Krishnamurti says. We have bound ourselves through various attachments and desires and keep spending our time and energy in pursuit of these desires and hope that with the fulfilment of one particular desire, we shall be happy. The fact is that when one of the desires is fulfilled, the other raises its head and the vicious cycle continues till our stay on the planet is over.
Our mind is always in turmoil. It never sits still. Always chattering and chattering-pursuing one or the other thought. Meditation on the source of divine light of love and awareness already present in our heart is an effective tool which can help in regulating and purifying the mind. The Master outside through the prescribed techniques and his power of transmitting the Divine energy transforms the seeker and takes him to the inner Master. Positive attitude and regularity in practice are other prerequisite for realization. With regular meditation practice and method of cleaning we learn to regulate our mind. Positive affirmations, suggestions backed by will (Sankalpas) are also very helpful in creating conducive atmosphere for Sadhana within and without. Concentration is the result of meditation and as our meditation progresses, the disturbing thoughts start diminishing. What we are advised is neither to pay attention to these distracting thoughts arising during meditation nor try to suppress them. We are told to simply ignore them as uninvited guest or clouds in the sky as our paying attention will give them power because energy goes where our attention is.
Last but not the least is that the gross body which is the vehicle of spirit and temple of God is also to be cared for properly through suitable nutritious diet and exercises, yogic postures and Pranayama (breathing exercise). Maharshi Patanjali’s Yog Darshan, Bhagvan Krishna’s Gita and biographies and works of realised Masters can be immensely helpful and and need to be contemplated and their teachings need to be applied in daily life. This will help in expanding our consciousness and refining other subtle bodies as well. The intellect will be transformed to wisdom and intuition and ego will be refined to humility. The secret of Panchagni, the five elements-earth, water, air, fire and ether will be revealed. The energy centres will be balanced and purified. We shall imbibe the qualities of contentment, calmness, compassion, courage and clarity of understanding which will take us to the mind and the cosmic region and we shall unite with the higher Self as drop merges in the ocean. These techniques of self realisation can be learnt without any fee through Heartfulness Institute with its world head quarter at Kanha Shantivanam, Hyderabad working under the presidentship of Kamlesh D. Patel, global guide of Heartfulness Institute propagating universal human values in more than 150 countries of the world and having more than one million members. Heartfulness institute undertakes lot of programs for the development of all sections of the society. Heartfulness aims at individual peace to bring world peace and moderation balancing our worldly and spiritual life. Interested readers may explore www. heartfulness. org. for more information.
(The writer is senior Medical Officer, Ayurvedic (Retd) and a Heartfulness Yoga teacher.)