PHILOSOPHY & PRACTICES
Gurudev lived a life of constant awareness. This fact was evident in his body language; the way he walked, the way he sat, the way he looked at someone, etc. It was as if his internal radar was on, and he was observing way more than our observation of him suggested. He would casually shrug off the curiosity of those who watched his every move, saying, “Try as you might, you will never know me even though you think you do.”
In the middle of a conversation, the mahaguru would often lapse into reflective silence, returning to the moment in seconds or minutes as if nothing had happened. Many experiences confirmed that he was always astutely aware of his surroundings.
Sitting next to him on a flight from Delhi to Hyderabad, I noticed him going into his trademark trance. Observing my quizzical glance, he smiled and said, “Indu is putting the clothes out to dry at the sthan in Gurgaon”. While we were waltzing the clouds, the mahaguru was witnessing the play of time in the lives of his devotees and disciples.
Many small and big episodes proved the existence of the mahaguru’s vigilant cyclopean eye.
Certain experiences, such as the one with the elderly couple he saved from suicide, have convinced me that he tuned in to everyone who came to his sthans, no matter where they came from and even if they were newcomers. On any given seva day, his disciples knew they had to remember the name and face of the first and last visitor. The chain of visitors between the first and last would automatically link in when the sevadaars sat to contemplate the help needed from the sthan for everyone who visited that day. The mahaguru mentioned that at the sthans, any spoken word or unspoken thought reached him, as did the desires of the multitudes who came to seek help. Therefore, given the long queues going into the thousands on any Bada Guruvar or other seva day, visitors were requested to offer their prayers at the sthan even if Gurudev was not physically present.
The mahaguru and his sthans were like notes
of the same spiritual symphony.
In my early years at the sthan, I took a detour to Gurgaon while driving my father from Chandigarh to Delhi. It had been a bumpy ride for both of us, not only because the roads were potholed but also because we had a massive argument along the way. My father, who was not a believer, waited in the car as I stopped by the sthan to meet Gurudev. My guru looked at me as I entered, welcomed me, and then went into a trance for a few seconds, narrating the entire conversation that transpired between my father and me!
His ever-watchful gaze could pick up on significant actions and events in our lives, even when we were unaware. For the most part, his constant awareness served as a protective shield. He would frequently drop hints or appear to us, either physically or in dreams/visions, to warn us of impending danger.
I recall an incident where his awareness of future events worked to dilute the effects of destiny. A family staying at the Gurgaon sthan for treatment decided to spend the weekend with relatives in New Delhi. Gurudev was not too keen that they should but eventually relented. It was past midnight when they headed out in their vehicle to their relatives’ place. As soon as they left the sthan, the mahaguru handed Bittu ji the keys to his car and told him to tail their vehicle. A few minutes later, Bittu ji noticed that their vehicle had rammed into a truck and skidded under! The vehicle was brutally crushed, but he managed to pull out the family members. Although they had suffered injuries, death had been averted. Being aware of what would happen to the family, the mahaguru had reduced its impact. He later told Bittu ji, “I am a guru, and I can change the probability of an event’s occurrence from 100% to lesser. Yet what is destined to happen will happen.”
Gurudev knew our past not only of this life but also prior lifetimes. He dowsed Ravi ji’s curiosity about their past connection by showing him visions of not one but two previous lifetimes. When he told me that my last life’s legacy still lives on, I found it hard to swallow that I was a saint in my previous incarnation. Santlal ji was told that in this lifetime, he had received the benefit of the mahaguru’s tutelage two years before his destined time only because of his mother’s piety. Since Vashisht ji saw the mahaguru in his visions for almost ten years before meeting him, Gurudev explained that he was destined to meet Vashisht ji in Renuka in 1970 but only made it in 1980. Furthermore, some of us have heard our guru speak about how he had to wait for 500 years before he could gather his disciples at almost the same time as him to accomplish their collective spiritual mission.
While these incidents can be augmented with a gazillion more, the mahaguru’s connection with time still eludes me. He is supposed to have said, “I am not bound by time, time is bound by me”. His body clock was programmed to function with little or no sleep. “The world believes I sleep” he explained to his wife, “but how would they know that I keep an eye on them and guide them?”
His awareness of time extended to the spiritual realm. When we pitched accommodation at the Bathri State Electricity Board guest house, he told me that the spirit of an advanced yogi had sought refuge there for nearly a century, awaiting his arrival. The spirit wanted him to grant it human birth. The mahaguru allowed the spirit to choose the womb of Shobha Taneja ji, a disciple’s wife. Shobha ji and her husband had a platonic relationship during the two-month tour with Gurudev, camping in Bathri and other districts. So their son, Abhay Taneja, is a product of immaculate conception.
Once I was alone with him at the sthan when an inland letter arrived for him. His expression grew stern as he looked at it, and he lay the letter on the bed, instructing me to leave his room and wait outside. When he summoned me after about five minutes, the torn letter was lying on the bed, assembled into a jigsaw puzzle in a manner that visibly exposed a yantra meant to take his life. He was aware of the letter’s contents but did not want me to see it before he opened it because he believed it would endanger me. A practitioner of negative tantra had tried to harm or kill the mahaguru with his black art, but by failing, the tantrik gave us an example to learn from. Gurudev’s vigilance helped him thwart deadly attempts.
The mahaguru was always grounded in awareness. When people came to meet him, he already knew what was playing on their minds, and conversation was merely a formality for the other’s sake. He could read our minds even if we were geographically apart. Connect that with his telescopic ability to home in, and you have nothing short of a spiritual Superman!
Almost five decades after a seven-day adventure as a teen runaway, Gaggu ji still can’t fathom how his uncle homed in on him at the bustling Shadipur bus depot (nearly forty kilometres from the mahaguru’s home in Shivpuri) and escorted him home! The journey home from Mumbai required changing trains and three buses. Gaggu ji was unsure and hardly bothered about returning after a failed and aborted stay in his dream city. So spotting the mahaguru on deboarding from the bus in Delhi was a mixed bag of shock and awe! How did the mahaguru track him down when no one in his family knew where he was? Cellular phones were not even on the map, and GPS was built only into aircrafts and not telephony, so how could an ordinary human know?
Gurudev waits for his nephew, Gaggu, at a bus stop at Dhaula Kuan.
Gurudev was an ordinary human with extraordinary powers. Visiting his childhood friend Subbhash ji, in a dream, twenty-two years after they lost touch, the mahaguru had said, “I am an ordinary man, not an ordinary guru”. His guru consciousness was always aware of this world and beyond.
Contradictory to what it may seem until we experience it, conscious awareness is not about being gripped by thoughts. It’s about the mind telepathically tuning in to several frequencies at will. Aside from Gurudev, I am aware that King Janak, Guru Vashisht, and Jesus, as well as a few known and unknown others, lived in a state of conscious awareness.
I can suggest two ways to enhance conscious awareness. First, focus on any point a foot away from your forehead; second, visualise the OM in everything and on every surface you see. I recommend you practise both because one helps develop attention while the other in manifesting a visualisation.
I believe that constantly staring at a chosen imaginary point a foot away from your forehead can reduce the cacophony of thoughts and surround sound, vastly improving your brain’s attentional and cognitive abilities over time. With this practice, you develop single-pointed concentration. Every time your mind begins to wander, you bring it back to focus on the imaginary point. With constant practice, you can learn to focus and defocus at will.
Visualisation of OM
Surinder Kaushal ji, who runs a sthan in Chicago, remembers his guru saying to him, “OM is the sound that created everything in the universe. OM is the guru. When you chant OM, you chant my name, and when you think of OM, you think of me.”
Gurudev visualises the Om.
The mahaguru regarded the OM as the beginning, the end, and the continuum. His directive was to visualise the symbol of OM as often as possible, every day. I did so since it was his instruction but could connect the dots between practice and result only years later when I had the guru charan prapti, a feat signifying the movement of the kundalini to the third eye chakra.
The guru’s consciousness is an amalgam of the three consciousness (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiv) and yet goes beyond it. This statement may appear absurd because it sounds illogical. The fact is, we are attempting to make logical sense of reality using only perceptible data. That is precisely why even the scriptures seem irrelevant, although their language emerges from intuition rather than logic. Intuitively speaking, the guru consciousness encompasses the three existential planes (physical, astral, and causal) and extends beyond them. The guru’s feet are situated at the Ajna (third eye) chakra, whereas his head is at the Sahasrara chakra. The journey from awareness to enlightenment, gyan to divya gyan, runs from the sixth to the seventh chakra.
Let me reiterate that Gurudev instructed us to visualise the OM without explaining why. He advised, “Buddhu ban ja”, implying that I should stop filtering my perception through the prism of perspectives. I’ve learned that intuition begins where logic ends. However, I am sharing additional information to qualify this practice for those trying to make logical sense of the mahaguru’s teachings.
OM & AJNA
Prana or breath flows in the human body via energy pathways called nadis. The nadis form a plexus at specific points within the body. These points are rotating energy vortices known as chakras. There are several chakras in the body, but seven of them are the most dominant. Each of these is localised at different points along the subtle pathways. They keep the body’s energy magnetised and underutilised in their designated areas. These valves must open for consciousness to rise, allowing energy to flow from the base of the spine, or Mooladhara, to the crown of the head, or Sahasrara.
When energy becomes stuck at any chakra, it causes physical and mental discomfort, inhibiting the jivaatma’s full access to itself. Since every chakra rotates at a particular frequency, it has its own vibration (sound), form (colour and symbols), attributes (gunas), and governs some organ systems. The Mooladhara has the lowest vibration, whereas the Sahasrara has the highest and subtlest vibration.
The Ajna chakra governs the brain and is situated between the eyebrows in the centre of the forehead. As a result, this chakra is responsible for decoding perception and enhancing the sixth sense (intuition). The activation of the Ajna empowers the mind to come into its own and command the flow of bodily energy. Since attention goes where energy flows, this chakra becomes the conduit for astute awareness and access to latent mental abilities such as mind-to-mind communication (telepathy) and clair perception, including clairaudience, clairvoyance, etc.
When my third eye opened, many bizarre things happened. It began with my ability to hear sounds and see things that were not visible to the naked eye. What I heard was not a voice from the outside but an inner voice talking. Although I intuitively sensed and saw glimpses of the hidden and the future, not everything seen or heard was meaningful. Sometimes it was as trivial as hearing a Beatles song only from my left ear. Just like that! I couldn’t hear it from the right ear, my wife couldn’t hear it, and there was no music system in my room, so where was it coming from? When I discussed these developments with Gurudev, he moved his hand over my head, down the nape of my neck, lowering my kundalini. I knew he was curtailing my extrasensory abilities but concealed my disappointment. He explained that he did not want me to get stuck in Ajna on my way to Sahasrara and beyond.
Many years later, while meditating, I experienced a transcendence to the seventh chakra. Something that felt like a sheet of paper being torn snapped at the back of my head, at the level of my nose. Suddenly I could see everything that was happening behind me. Symbolically, I suppose this could be referred to as the opening of the fourth eye. It happened only once while awake, and it hasn’t happened since. I have no conscious awareness of how my fourth eye opened and shut automatically.
These days, I can hardly enter a state of conscious awareness, though intuition rises above normal levels in critical situations involving seva. Constant awareness is a huge burden and not even remotely as glamorous as it sounds. Gurudev’s ability to be perpetually aware was perhaps his life’s acutest difficulty. Given his role as a mahaguru, he was always aware of the physical and spiritual realms, perhaps more as a responsibility towards others than personal choice.
Physiologically, the left brain controls the body’s right side, while the right brain controls the body’s left side. The right side of the body’s energies are channelled through the Pingala Nadi, while the left side’s energies are directed through the Ida Nadi. Pingala is affected by solar rays, whereas Ida is affected by lunar rays. As a result, the right side of the body is warm and radiant, while the left side is cool. Thus, the masculine energy is on the right side of the body, while the feminine energy is on the left. In this way, every human being is half male (Shiv) and half female (Shakti).
Sushumna Nadi is the human system’s most important energy channel. The spinal cord or brain stem is its physiological counterpart. The Ajna is the only point in the body where the Ida and Pingala converge into the Sushumna to form an energy triangle (triveni). When the Sushumna gets fortified at the Ajna, the two hemispheres of the brain synchronise. The entrainment that results improves brain-mind coordination.
The five chakras below the sixth are activated by one of nature’s five elements (ganas); earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Each element is associated with one of the five senses; smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing. Five chakras, five elements, five senses. In this manner, Ajna, situated above the five chakras, is regarded as the lord of the ganas.
OM, the activator of the Ajna, is beyond the elements and senses. Let’s figure out how visualisation can activate this activator!
MANIFESTING THE VISUALISATION
Imagination is the bedrock of visualisation. Any human can imagine things, not only those seen earlier but infinite other objects never seen before. Images, numbers, sounds, forms, smells, and more can be construed by imagination in static and movie formats. In this way, imagination can construct memories that never came to pass. Scientists confirm visualisation is conscious imagination driven by specific intent. Brain research has shown that thought produces the same effect as an action. When you think of doing something, the brain’s physiological changes are the same as when you perform that action. In other words, the brain cannot differentiate between thought and the activity triggered by that thought.
By visualising the OM regularly, you use the power of thought and intent to activate the OM within you. Similarly, if you visualise the trishul, you will unleash its power within yourself. So on, so forth. Repeated visualisation is the most effective way of unlocking and manifesting your potential. Most Olympic players visualise their manoeuvers and victory before their games begin. History is full of examples of those who have successfully manifested their conscious thoughts.
Gurudev’s words were, “What you can do physically, you can do mentally”. Tibetan monks can raise their body temperatures with their minds, and Shaolin monks can train their minds to withstand intense physical pain without feeling it. Some other monks can mentally command their bodies to levitate. Are these superpowers or merely passive human abilities? The answers will surface as you delve deeper into yourself.