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 disciples who watched his every move, saying, “Try as you might, you will never know me even though you think you do”.
Often the mahaguru would lapse into reflective silence in the middle of a conversation, returning to the moment in a few seconds or minutes as if nothing had happened. Many experiences proved, he was always astutely aware of his surroundings.
Sitting by Gurudev’s side on a flight from Mumbai 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, including the one of the old couple he saved from committing suicide, have convinced me that he tuned-in to everyone who came to his sthans anywhere in the world, even if that person was visiting for the first time. His disciples knew that on any seva day, 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 Sunday seva, visitors were requested to offer their prayers at the sthan even if Gurudev was not physically present there. Being in constant awareness, 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 since we had a massive argument during the ride. 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 minutes, narrating the entire conversation that had transpired between my father and me! His ever-watchful gaze was always upon us even if we were not aware of it.
The constancy of his awareness worked as a protection shield for most of us. On many occasions, he would give us hints or appear either physically or in dreams/visions to warn us of the trouble ahead. He gave me a glimpse of my scooter accident a few minutes before it happened. In a vision, I saw myself falling off the scooter and bleeding slightly. Almost two hours later, when the scooter I was riding pillion on, skid, I fell in precisely the same way I had envisioned, yet escaped without being bruised but with torn clothes. I recalled seeking his permission before venturing out that “accidental” evening. He had reluctantly agreed, although he didn’t look too comfortable about it. After my accident, I reached the sthan and thanked him. He looked at me with a wry smile, but his eyes said more than he did.
I recall another incident where his awareness of future events worked to dilute the effects of destiny. A family made to stay at the Gurgaon sthan for treatment decided to spend the weekend with their relatives in New Delhi. Gurudev was not too keen but eventually relented. It was past midnight when this family headed out in their vehicle to their relatives’ place. As soon as they left the sthan, the mahaguru instructed Bittuji to trail their vehicle. Usually, Bittu ji would have gone on his scooter, but upon his advice, followed them in his car, instead. A few yards away from their vehicle, he noticed that it had rammed into a parked truck and skid under! The vehicle was brutally crushed, but Bittuji 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, “What is destined to happen, will happen. I am a guru and I can change the probability of an event’s occurrence from 100% to lesser. Yet what is meant to happen will happen.”
Gurudev could see our past not only of this life but also prior lifetimes. He dowsed Ravi ji’s curiosity about his connection with him from the past by showing him visions of not one but two previous lifetimes. When he told me that my previous life’s legacy still lives on, I could not ingest the fact that I was a spiritual baba or guru in my previous lifetime. 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 he met him, Gurudev explained that he was destined to meet Vashisht ji in Renuka in 1969 but only made it in 1979. 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 seemed to have been engineered to function with little or almost no sleep. He told his wife, “The world thinks I sleep, but how would they know whether I sleep or not? When they think I am sleeping, I am watching over people and guiding them.”
His awareness of time extended to the spirit world. 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 almost a 100 years, awaiting his arrival. The spirit wanted Gurudev to grant him birth in human form. The mahaguru allowed the spirit to choose the womb of Shobha Taneja ji, a disciple’s wife. That yogi is living in our times as Abhay Taneja. He is a product of immaculate conception since Surender Taneja ji and his wife, had a platonic relationship in the months they were camping with Gurudev at Bathri and other districts during a soil survey tour.
Once I was alone with him at the sthan when an inland letter arrived for him. As he looked at it, his expression grew stern, 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 knew what was in the letter but did not want me to see it before he opened it because he thought 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 alertness helped him foil deadly attempts.
He was always grounded in awareness. When people came to meet him, he knew what was playing on their minds, and conversational dialogues were a mere formality for the sake of the other. He could read our minds even if we were geographically distant. Connect that with his telescopic ability to home in, and you have nothing short of Superman!
Almost five decades since Gaggu ji’s seven-day escapade as a teenage runaway, this man can’t seem to fathom how his uncle surreptitiously met him when he landed at the bustling bus stop in Shadipur (almost forty kilometers from the mahaguru’s home in Shivpuri), patted him on his back and escorted him home! The journey from Mumbai involved changing trains and three buses, and Gagguji was unsure or hardly bothered when he would reach home after a failed and aborted stay at his dream town, Mumbai. So, spotting the mahaguru as he deboarded the bus was a mixed bag of shock and surprise! How did the mahaguru know about his whereabouts when no one in his family was aware of his runaway destination? When cellular phones were not even on the map and GPS was built only into aircrafts and not telephony, 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. Besides Gurudev, I am aware that King Janak and Guru Vashisht also lived in a state of conscious awareness, as have a few known and unknown others.
Gurudev recommended two methods for enhancing conscious awareness. First, focus on any point a foot away from your forehead and second, visualise the OM. I would suggest you practice both since one deals with developing attention while the other with manifesting a visualisation.
I believe that constantly staring at a chosen imaginary point a foot away from your forehead, can over time, reduce the cacophony of thoughts and surround sound, vastly improving your brain’s attentional and cognitive abilities.
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.
Concentration improves your brain’s ability to prioritise sensory information rather than be flooded by a deluge of stimuli, which may detract you from your goal.
While one needs to be in one place to practice this exercise, visualisation of the OM is to be attempted irrespective of place, posture or time. Moreover, you don’t need to stay or stare at one spot. You can visualise the OM anywhere you turn to look, and at whatever is in your line of sight.
Visualisation of OM
Surinder Kaushalji, who runs a sthan in Chicago, remembers his guru telling him, “OM is the sound that created everything in the universe. OM is the guru. When you chant OM you are chanting my name, and when you think of OM, you are thinking of me.”
Gurudev visualizes 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 we could, everyday. 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 excitation 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. When I make a statement like this, it seems ridiculous because it sounds so illogical. The fact is, we are trying to make logical sense of reality based only on perceivable data. This is precisely why the scriptures seem irrelevant even though their language emerges from intuition rather than logic. Intuitively speaking, the Guru consciousness comprises the three existential planes (physical, astral and causal), and goes beyond this combination. The guru’s feet lie at the Ajna (third eye) chakra, whereas his head is at the sahasrara chakra. Traversing from the sixth chakra to the seventh is the journey from awareness to enlightenment, gyan to divya gyan.
Let me reiterate that Gurudev told us to visualise the OM without giving us any reason. His advice to me was ‘Buddhu ban ja” implying that I must stop passing my perception through the prism of perspectives. I have come to understand, intuition starts where logic ends. However, for the intellectuals trying to make logical sense of the mahaguru’s teachings, I am sharing additional information to qualify this practice.
OM & AJNA
Prana or breath flows in the human body via energy pathways called nadis. The nadis form a plexus at specific points with the body. And these points are rotating vortices or discs of energy, called chakras.
There are several chakras in your body, but seven of them are dominant. Each of these is situated at specific locations in the subtle pathways. They keep the energy of the body magnetised and underutilised at their respective locations. To harness the bodily energies maximally, these valves must open, allowing the energy from the base of the spine or mooladhara to move upward to the crown of the head or sahasrara. If energy is stuck at any chakra, it results in bodily and mental disturbances, inhibiting the jivaatma’s full access to itself.
Since every chakra rotates at a particular frequency, it has its 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 is localised between the eyebrows in the centre of the forehead and functionally governs the mind. Therefore, this chakra is responsible for decrypting perception and heightening the sixth sense (intuition). The activation of the Ajna allows the mind to come into its own, empowered to command the bodily energy flow. Since attention goes where energy flows, this chakra becomes the channel for astute awareness and accessibility of latent mental abilities like mind-to-mind communication (telepathy) and Clair perception, including clairaudience, clairvoyance, etc.
When my third eye opened, many bizarre things happened. It started with my being able to hear sounds and seeing things beyond ordinary perception. 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, there was no music system in my room, so where was this song coming from? Without effort, I was tuning in and out, being led by what I surmised then and believe now, to be my jivaatma. When I discussed this with Gurudev, he moved his hand over my head, down the nape of my neck and lowered my kundalini. I knew he was shutting my extrasensory abilities but concealed my disappointment.
He did not want me to get trapped at the Ajna since my journey is to the sahasrara and beyond. The transcendence to the seventh chakra happened many years later when I was sitting in meditation. Something that sounded like a sheet of paper being torn, tore at the back of my head, at the level of my nose. I could suddenly see what was behind me. Symbolically, I suppose it could be called the opening of the fourth eye. This happened only once in the waking state and has never happened since. I have no conscious awareness of how it opened and shut automatically.
Despite the mahaguru shutting the third eye, my fourth eye had opened. I figured the Clair senses were merely the by-product of the kundalini’s rise and not the jivaatma’s primary goal. These days I can hardly enter into a state of conscious awareness, though in critical situations related to seva, intuitive awareness heightens beyond ordinary levels. Staying constantly in a state of such awareness is a huge burden and not 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 right side of the body is regulated by the left brain while the right brain controls the body’s left side. The Pingala Nadi channels the energies in the right side of the body while the Ida Nadi directs the left side’s energies. Pingala is under the influence of the solar rays while the lunar rays influence Ida. Hence, the body’s right side is warm and radiant, while the left side is cool. Thus, the body’s right side is active masculine energy while the left side is the passive feminine energy. In this way, it can be said, every human is half male (shiv) and half (shakti).
Sushumna Nadi is the most critical energy channel in the human system. Its physiological counterpart is the spinal cord or the stem of the brain. The Ajna is the only point in the body where the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna converge, resulting in an energy triangle (triveni).
When the Sushumna gets fortified at the Ajna, the two hemispheres of the brain synchronise. The resulting entrainment improves the brain-mind coordination.
The five chakras below the sixth are activated by one of the five elements (ganas) of nature: earth, water, fire, wind and ether. Each element is associated with a particular sense; 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 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 format. In this way, imagination can construct memories that never really came to pass.
Scientists confirm visualisation is conscious imagination driven by specific intent. Brain research has shown, thought produces the same effect as an action. When you think of doing something, the brain’s physiological changes are the same as those produced when you perform that action. In other words, the brain cannot differentiate between thought and the activity induced by that thought.
By regularly and repeatedly visualising the OM, 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 your potential and manifesting it. Most Olympic players visualise their manoeuvers and victory before their game begins. 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.” Uri Geller could bend spoons by concentrating on them. Monks can mentally will their bodies to levitate.
Are these superpowers or simply accessing passive human powers? The answers will surface as you dive deeper into your self.