Celebrating Guru Poornima 2017

Celebrating Guru Poornima 2017

vande Gurunam caranarvinde
samdarsita svatma sukhava bodhe 
nih shreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halahal mohasantyai
 
“I bow to the lotus feet of the Guru and his lineages, through which is revealed eternal joy and wisdom of the SELF. He is like the snake charmer who destroys the poisonous web of samskara, by reducing the illusions that bind us.”
 
We all know that Shankara was the greatest exponent of Advaita Vedanta and almost everything we read and understand in the form of Upanishads are popular commentaries given by him. However not many know that he also wrote a yogic text by the name “Yoga Taravali” which provides a glimpse of his mastery over the science of experiential Yoga. Yoga Taravali is a rare gem of a scripture. Unfortunately not many have offered their commentaries on this and so it remains a hidden and unknown text.
 
The first verse of Yoga Taravali is in praise of one’s Guru. In India we always begin any prayer by paying respect and homage to one’s Guru. In fact we place the Guru before even Self and God. Saint Kabir in one of his famous couplets wrote :
 
Guru govind dono khade, kaake lagu paaye
Balihari guru aapno, govind diyo bataye
 
“If the Guru and Govind (Lord Krishna) are standing together, at whose feet will you bow down first? I owe the Guru first for he has revealed Govind (God or SELF) to me.”
 
Interestingly pop star Madonna also sang the first two lines of the verse of this text on her popular album, “Ray of Light” in the song “Shanti/Ashtangi”. I will begin with these two lines of the verse:
 
vande Gurunam caranarvinde
samdarsita svatma sukhava bodhe
 
“I bow to the lotus feet of the Guru and his lineages, through which is revealed eternal joy and wisdom.”
 
These first two lines of this verse talk about bowing at the feet of the Guru. Bowing at the feet of the Guru is a part of tradition and is considered a very auspicious way for a shisya to get blessings. However many take it in the literal sense and physically fall to touch the feet of the Guru. This is mere outward ritual while real bowing should be from within. Bhagavan Sri Ramana always pointed us to that inner ritual of bowing.
 
A devotee once approached Bhagavan and asked him if he could prostrate to him and touch his feet. 
 
Bhagavan replied, “The real feet of Bhagavan exist only in the heart of the devotee. To hold onto these feet incessantly is true happiness. You will be disappointed if you hold onto my physical feet because one day this physical body will disappear. The greatest worship is worshipping the Guru’s feet that are within oneself.”
 
 
The word “Gurunam” is very important. Gurunam means lineage or tradition and not just a Guru or teacher.
 
So when a shishya bows at the feet of a Guru a few things are being conveyed. First the shishya vows to the Guru that he will walk the path that his Guru walked upon as laid down by his Guru (tradition). In the physical dimension legs are organs of actions to reach any destination. Symbolically by worshipping the Guru’s feet inwardly a sadhaka vows that no matter what obstacles come his way he will keep walking until he has reached his goal. He will keep putting efforts into meditation and Self-inquiry until he completely eradicates all his vasanas.
 
The physical feet are also symbolic of the two antahkaranas (inner organs) – manas and buddhi, which mean mind and intellect respectively. Holding the feet indicates that the shisya is willing to place full trust in the mind and the intellect of his Guru and the process given to him towards his sadhana. In a Guru’s Consciousness his mind and intellect are well-integrated while in most seekers they are in conflict with each other. Mind says something and intellect another thing and it becomes hard to recognize the true inner voice. Therefore it is better to follow the advice of one’s Guru.
 
Lastly falling at the feet also indicates that he has surrendered his ego to the Guru because without surrendering his ego there will be no space or room for the Guru’s teachings to enter, grow and deepen. Ego thrives on comfort especially on that which reflects familiar patterns and tendencies. The Guru has to often do a spiritual “surgery” to weed those out. The ego is there guarding these tendencies. Therefore one has to mentally surrender his or her ego to one’s Guru for the “procedure” to be successful. One cannot have one half of the body on the “operating table” and the other half off the table and ready to leave midway through the surgery. One has to leave all at the hands of the Guru until the very end.
 
“The benefit of performing namaskaram to the Guru is only the removal of the ego. This is not attained except by total surrender” ~ Sri Ramana.
 
The last two lines provide a glimpse into the heart of the Guru’s presence–his wisdom and grace.
 
Nih shreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halalala mohasantyai
 
“He is like the snake charmer who destroys the poisonous web of samskara, by reducing the illusions that bind us.”
 
“Jangalika” means snake charmer. A real Guru is truly like a snake charmer. If a Guru is not a charmer he cannot be a Guru. A lot can be felt through the intoxicating eyes of a Guru. Look into the eyes of Sri Ramana, Sri Lahiri Mahashay, Yoganandaji or Osho and you will see the eyes that can draw anyone towards them, almost hypnotize them. Oshos eyes could pull large crowds towards him while Yoganandaji eyes pulled people towards love. Sri Ramanas and Lahiri Baba’s eyes were more inwards and instantly drew people inwards into their own hearts straight into truth. 

My Guru, Dubeyji, too had powerful eyes. They were very loving and kind but at the same time sharp like a hawk. He had this constant “bullshit meter” where he could sense things straight without any filters. He was openly critical of everyone who talked about love for SELF/God but had very little experience or practices to back the talks. In most cases the ones he criticized were often his own shisyas. Anytime any one of us went into an “All is Awareness” or “There is no I here” or “We are never born or never die” kind of neo-Advaita rambling he would make a funny face and ask how many hours we had sat for practice in the past two days. He would call many of us “Faki baaz”. “Faki baaz” means those who talk too much without substance. He was extremely thorough with the science of Kriya Yoga and no one could get away with any bullshit.
 
Let me tell you all something else. None of us actually practiced less, yet Dubeyji called us all “Faki baaz.” Because for him there was nothing like too much practice. “If we are breathing we should be practicing” was the best way to describe his attitude.
 
Dubeyji was also very good at hunting down egos. I remember he once told his close sangha disciples that I had attained kechari mudra (a difficult mudra) in under one month and that it can happen only through the Grace of God. I was super-elated and my ego began to swell. Dubeyji obviously sensed that in me. Later my dear friend, Rishi, was talking to him and told him that since I had attained Kechari I now believed I could attain many more siddhis. 

​Guruji was furious. He told Rishi that I first needed to graduate school before I could talk about PhD subjects. Guruji knew Rishi would often take instruction from me for Kriya practice. What better way to teach me a lesson on humility! So he told Rishi, “Go advise Rajiv to work harder and not rest on his past laurels.” I obviously got the message and even though I felt really shaken at the time I saw the compassion and love he truly had for me. Dubeyji was not angry with me. He was dealing with the ego that the world (samskara) often brings as poison in our spiritual life. When I saw that clearly in my mind, my love for my Guru increased even more. He was a charmer, charming the snake of vasanas away from our lives slowly but surely.
 
Dubeji would warn me against dangers, perils and traps that lurk around us and often times he had to pull me out of them. He would do it so very lovingly and then would smile and say it was all good. There were periods when I drifted into a bhoga and missed my practices, and then I would feel guilty about it. He would say, “Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone here is a bhogi. Just get back into practice. Be a big bhogi but a better yogi.”
 
I remember the last advice Dubeyji gave me was “Remember whenever you get into a ditch again, fall back more strongly into practice.” The real master is within our practice. To me Dubeyji will always be the best snake charmer I have ever met and I would again gladly be the “Faki baaz” if that could bring him back in my life.
 
The word “halahal” has special significance in Indian mythology. During samundra manthan(churning of the ocean) the devatas and the asuras were expecting the nectar of immortality. But what came out first was poison (halahal). That created panic amongst both the devatas and the asuras. Shiva then appeared and drank the poison and Shakti, the consort of Shiva, anxiously pressed his throat with her hands to prevent the poison from descending into the stomach.
 
When deep churning takes place due to one’s sadhana, the activated kundalini first brings to the surface a lot of negative tendencies (halahal) which have been kept hidden. This can often overwhelm a sadhaka and he may not know how to get rid of it or process it. The Guru appears as Shiva due to his compassion and through Shakti, the power of transmission and grace helps his shisya through such challenges.
 
Gurus may or may not be physically present but they continue to guide us from subtle realms. I always feel the protective sheath of Bhagavan Ramana, Dubey Baba and Devi Maa Shakti guiding me through the darkest phases of my life.
 
Jai Guru!

Why Holding the Sense of I-Am Exclusively is NOT the Most Effective Method

Why Holding the Sense of I-Am Exclusively is NOT the Most Effective Method

 

Holding the sense of I-Am is considered one of the most valid methods among traditional teachers. Those of us who have followed Self-Inquiry or Advaita teachings are well aware of the I-Am , especially after this method was advocated by the great Advaita Master Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

This method is popular and easy to understand. The technique can be summarized as follows:

You know that you exist — not as this or that, just simple existence — an existence without any reference to thoughts, names or forms. Now hold on to this feeling as your I-Amness. Keep coming back to this feeling and hold on to it at regular intervals. In time, with perseverance and dedication, the I AM will reveal itself and then, one day, it will finally disappear, leading you to your SELF.

This is a simple and profound truth. However, in practical situations it does not prove very effective nor productive for achieving the goal. In fact, the results from this practice, when used exclusively, are very inconsistent and can often leave a practitioner confused as to why they experienced a ‘drop’ in their state, or cannot feel their joyous being which they were able to feel a few days before.

The reason for this is due to the impurities collected at the gross, subtle, and subtlest levels at play within the I-Am feeling.

It is important to understand that the I-Am  feeling usually perceived by a practitioner is often a mixed feeling (awareness) of all the layers (koshas) at work within. These koshas have their energy, vibrations and codes which exert a ‘pull’ and influence over the Pure I-Am . Hence, when we abide in the sense of I-Am, what we are actually feeling and intuiting as our ‘existence’ is nothing but the totality of these koshas — and NOT the PureI-Am .

These five koshas, which act as coverings over the SELF, are the:

 

  1. Annamaya kosha – outer body feeling or sensation
  2. Pranamaya kosha – breath, the life-force that feeds and nurtures our actions, feeds our senses
  3. Manomaya kosha – mind, thoughts, emotions, memories
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha – intellect, discriminating faculty which decides what is right or wrong
  5. Anandamaya kosha –bliss sheath

These koshas are unreal, but still veil, conceal, and keep us from our real SELF.

In fact, the practitioner will find that each day of practice brings forth a ‘feeling’ from a particular kosha, and it is that kosha that is experienced instead of the Pure I-Am (Anandamaya Kosha).

So, some days, body sensations (Annamaya) will predominate the seeker’s awareness. On other days, energies coursing through the body (Pranamaya) will prevail. Yet other days, visions, intuitive ‘downloads’, or messages from higher Consciousness (Manomaya) will be more prevalent. And on some rare occasions, a torrential flow of Joy in the Heart (Anandamaya) will captivate the seeker’s awareness.

So the feeling of I-Am will vary. 

Sometimes the feeling of I-Am will be unstable, and progress will be inconsistent, depending upon the state of one’s mind. Often, when rare bliss (Anandamaya) is felt, it will quickly be disturbed by one of the four preceding koshas. This is because the practitioner has no awareness of how to control the workings of the preceding koshas. They have no awareness of the techniques available to control them quickly and effectively. This cycle will continue until a lot of effort, seeking, and ‘hunting of the I’ is done and enables one to finally transcend all the koshas and arrive at the final destination — the Spiritual Heart.

Yes, it is definitely possible for all koshas to roll back revealing the SELF exclusively through holding theI-Am method, but it is like walking into a dark room not knowing what lies ahead. It is a very slow, tiresome and inconsistent method. Most often a seeker will understandably feel dejected and demotivated when they realize that they have practically no control over how they will feel in their meditation. That is why ‘holding the sense of I-Am’ exclusively as one’s practice of Self-Inquiry will not work for 90% of seekers (unless they have been a very strong meditator in this or past lives).

The other problem with this method, apart from its inconsistency, is that one usually ‘peaks out’ relatively early and feels that they have ‘hit a wall’. There does not seem to be much headway or progress, and their state feels static. Nothing seems to be happening. They will feel much the same as they did a few years back.

Remember, the great Nisargadatta Maharaj himself had to persevere with this method continuously, like a man possessed, for three (3) years. But such perseverance is rare to find in a busy, worldly life. Hence we need to use other methods along with I-Am to be able to sustain the state for deeper and longer periods of time.

The reason is that there is no insight or importance given to purifying oneself. This is one of the biggest flaws of current non-dual teachings. They do not lay down spiritual principles or ethics aimed at an inner cleansing of the life-force (Prana) and nerves (nadis) dealing with habitual tendencies/projections/vasanas, and outer adherence of non-violence in thoughts, speech, deeds, etc.

No matter how many times you dip a white shirt into dirty water, it will never come out clean. It will remain dirty. Similarly, no matter how many times you bring the mind to yourI-Am, it will still remain the same — unless you clean your koshas too (the layers that make up the I-Am).

It is, probably, for this reason that Sri Ramana hinted that the Heart is the seat of Jnanam (knowledge) as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). The nadis (nerves) that connect the Heart to the brain, prana, and spine must be purified, otherwise they can easily mislead the practitioner away from the SELF and into a state of ignorance.

It can be seen that those who abide in, or hold to, the feeling of I-Am as their sole practice usually do so at their Heart centre. As a result, it is not uncommon to witness these practitioners as being impulsive, unstable, reactive and predominantly driven by heightened emotions, even though they occasionally feel a sense of peace and love emanating from their Heart. The ‘high’ they experience in their meditation is often replaced by a new ‘low’, or depressive ‘gloom’, within a few days.

The reason for this is that they have little control over the inner workings and influences generated by impure nadis. This reinforces the fact that purification is a must for stability and sustained abidance in Pure I-Am.

That is why the correct way to practice ‘holding the sense of I-Am’ is to do it either in combination with a practice where the breath, prana and mind are relatively stilled, and kept suspended through either breath control techniques (pranayama), or by using Sri Ramana’s method “Who Am I?”, in both the waking state and the sitting meditation (where the breath is automatically controlled).

Breath control is, relatively, an easier method to practice than Sri Ramana’s “Who Am I?”, where a subjective awareness of ‘I’ is often difficult to maintain and sustain. Hence, a fusion of both is needed for the best, most effective, and longest lasting results.

It was from this perspective that the Implosive Self-Inquiry Protocol™ (ISIP) was designed — wherein holding the sense of ‘I AM’ is also accompanied by simple, yet highly effective techniques for removing and filtering the impurities of the distracting layers of koshas within the I AM. This provides each seeker with an instant glimpse of the real I AM, and enables him or her to sustain deeper and more stable abidance in the SELF.

2 Profound Truths to a Faster and Deeper Awakening

2 Profound Truths to a Faster and Deeper Awakening

Do NOT Believe the Mind

Even The I-Amness is False



These two truthes will help you awaken from this dream and then help you to deepen your awakening. Let us explore them now. 

Do NOT Believe the Mind


The Mind’s nature is to swing between extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. It lacks the basic clarity to give you the real truth. So what you are seeing through the instrument of the mind is mostly your own projection and that is why you cannot trust the mind. You have to learn to disbelieve the mind. It is a learning process, and it is not easy.

You trust and believe in the mind and do not look at it with suspicion at all; you do not doubt it. You believe your beingness, your existence, is dependent on your mind because that is what you have been taught. The mind is like an unqualified employee that you have entrusted to be the head of your organization without evaluating whether it can be trusted, or not trusted.

And what happens when you trust an unqualified employee to be the head of your organization? Chaos! Clarity is the last thing that will happen.

You have so much invested in your organization… a big investment! And what is the goal of your investment? AWAKENING. And what does the mind do? It takes you away from it… not because it doesn’t have great abilities… but because it is confused. And that is why you need to keep watching the mind and to seriously doubt it. Do not believe what it says. 

What you need to do is get to know your mind and develop a relationship with it. Do not take it at ‘face value’… get to know it better, more closely.

As you know, the world is full of problems, all kinds of problems. The world is always going to have problems for you to think about. But what is at the origin of these problems? The mind. 

What is at the origin of the world? The mind. 

What creates this world and its problems? The mind

So, if you were to discover someday and somehow that the mind itself is unreal, could your problems or the world then be real? If the basic instrument that is at the origination of your world… in which you experience so many problems… is itself unreal, then how can you take your problems seriously?

You have taken your problems far too seriously because an unqualified employee has told you the problems are too many. Your organization’s balance sheet has more liabilities than assets! So you need to check constantly, check what your mind (your unqualified employee) is telling you, and keep checking it. Is what it is telling you reality? Or is it trying to deceive you? 

The mind is like a projector; it projects the images on the screen.

Your problems are also images; your perceptions are images. 

The mind is projecting these images, just like a movie projector projects images onto a screen… and without the projector, there is nothing there!

You will experience many situations in your life where you will take a position based on what you are identified with. You will read a newspaper or watch TV and the mind will try and take a position but you must deny the mind its position.

You must deny the mind any position where it tries to make you uncomfortable and that is why I tell you, do not believe the mind.

Even with very advanced seekers the mind tries to seep in, so it is important to understand how the mind works, to keep watching it, and not believe what it is telling you. 

Do not try to stop the thoughts or control them; just do not get too involved with your mind.

Know the nature of the mind and let it go on and do not engage with it. Learn to ignore it, learn to move out of your head. When you move out of your head, wherever you go, it is going to be ‘no mind’ and you will be near the Truth. Do not be in your head.

From time-to-time just pull yourself out of your head and think about how the mind deceives you into believing your reality. Have you noticed the mind at night? When you go to sleep, you dream something, and in that dream you have become somebody else. Or you go into another reality, and in that reality, in that moment, the mind has played with you again, and deceived you into another play, and you get carried away into it. That is, if you remember your dreams. For once you start to awaken, you begin to have very vivid dreams. You become nearer to your dreams. You become aware of your dreams and can then watch more closely how the mind is playing these tricks on you because the reality is different there. In some dreams, you will get carried away into that reality; in others, as you more deeply awaken, you will know in that dream that you are dreaming. So your reality keeps changing. 

And then you wake up in the morning, and again you have a dream reality. We call this the ‘waking state’, which is basically a dream state, nothing else. So your reality has again changed. Then you go back to sleep and dream another reality and become identified with that reality. And then the mind goes into deep sleep and becomes submerged and is no longer there. And when the mind is no longer there, the world is no longer there, and when the world is no longer there, there is no more dream… absolutely zero… nothing. Again your reality has changed. From the waking-dream to the dream-dream to no-dream. Absolutely zero.

So this instrument you have put your faith in is very faulty; it is changing all the time. That is why your world is changing all the time, why your feelings are changing all the time, and why your perceptions are changing all the time. It is because the instrument is changing all the time.

So you cannot trust the mind. Do not believe the mind. When you reach the stage where you deeply realize this truth, not just intellectually, but in the core of your Being deeply realize this truth, then everything becomes entertainment. EVERYTHING.

You may still have pain, but you will not be broken.

You will still have disappointments, but you will not be a failure.

Even in your pain or disappointments, you will find it very entertaining.

In the middle of a problem created by the mind, you will suddenly start laughing and wonder how you ever got trapped into believing ‘this’. And you will understand this as you start going deeper and deeper. 

Even the I Am-ness is False


All the Masters say hold on to your I AM-ness… but now I am telling you… even your “I AM-ness” is false.

As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj has said, I AM-ness is an illusion, it is not real. This is the ultimate Truth.

However… while I AM-ness is false… it is important to understand that…

                                “AM-ness” is not false, it is real.

Do you know (see) the difference between the two?

The first one has “I” at the beginning, and anything that has “I” in it has to be false, a fraud, a deceiver.

So I AM-ness is completely illusionary, and this point needs to be made clear:

 “I AM-ness” is false.  Only “AM-ness” is real.

Whenever you attach “I”, “me”, or “mine” to something it becomes impure. And this seeps into everything… even with your AM-ness you attach “my”… “I”.

Everything is made egoic — see how you have even transformed “AM-ness” into “I AM-ness”? It leaves you because it is false; it is a fraud. It is very important to understand this difference.

Another important point to understand is how you try to contain the I AM-ness as an experience in your body.

Have you thought about this? How the minute you think about I AM-ness you close your eyes and start to feel the I AM-ness as if the I AM-ness is confined within your body. When you meditate on the I AM-ness, your Beingness, you close your eyes to feel your I AM-ness, your Beingness. Is your I AM-ness inside your body? Or is it the substratum?

So why do you have this feeling that the I AM-ness is within you? Because you have this habit, this tendency, of holding everything to yourself.


So you have two problems with respect to your I AM-ness:

The first is related to feeling.

The second is that you are trying to contain it within your body 
as if it is a
body-mind experience. 


I AM-ness is not a feeling, or confined to a particular feeling. But you have restricted it, confined it within certain parameters and said that this is what it is…

“Oh, peace is I AM-ness”… Oh, joy is I AM-ness”… Oh, bliss is I AM-ness”. 

So you have two problems with respect to your I AM-ness:

Thfirst is related to feeling. 

The second is that you are trying to contain it within your body as if it is a body-mind experience.

And then, if you do not feel the same I AM-ness or Shakti, you start to wonder what went wrong, why you no longer feel that way… “Why has my Bliss dropped?”, etc., because you are always trying to compare the I AM-ness of today with the I AM-ness of the past.

So, predominantly, I AM-ness is concerned with feeling. 

BUT… AM-ness is not concerned with a particular feeling. It could be much more than what you are feeling at this particular moment. And the moment you compare it to an old experience of bliss or joy or whatever, you have polluted it, become attached to it, and turned it into “I AM-ness”.

AM-ness can be any feeling. Even depression can be AM-ness. And sometimes, AM-ness can be there to teach you something. 

For people who are far too vested in “I AM-ness” being a particular feeling, the AM-ness can come to teach them the lesson of not being too attached to this feeling. So even depression can be AM-ness, and you need to wait for it to unfold in the Totality.

Do not let the mind come back and try to make stories out of it. Stay there, just let it be, whatever it is. Do not compare it with the past. Do not let the mind go there because that is the past, that is possessiveness, that is attachment.

So, now you understand that AM-ness is not confined to a particular feeling, or to your body. That whatever feelings arise within you, or outside of you, whatever you feel, it is all AM-ness.

BUT… how then do you learn to distinguish the difference between “I AM-ness” and “AM-ness”? The only way to know this is to understand that AM-ness does not belong to you. This is an important point…

AM-ness is not yours, it is not your private property… AM-ness is given to you… it is GRACE.

You cannot possess AM-ness. The moment you try to possess AM-ness it becomes polluted and becomes I AM-ness… and then it leaves you. AM-ness can leave you because AM-ness is not yours in the first place! It is a blessing, a gift to you. 

You have to complete the Circle of Completion… full Totality… and for that AM-ness is given to you.

So always remember that AM-ness is a gift given to you. It is not yours; you cannot claim it. 

The moment you say “I” AM-ness you have claimed it and moved into possessing it and attaching to it, and then it will fall. And then it can also leave.

If AM-ness was yours or mine for the taking, then why does it leave us when we die? It leaves us, it is finished, it is gone. So do not attach to It. 

It is a gift given to you. Always remember this. And when you do remember that it is a gift, it is Grace that is bestowed onto you, then you have dropped control over your I AM-ness and how it should make you feel. You accept that whatever Consciousness wants you to feel, you will feel. And then a miracle takes place… AM-ness never leaves you. Never. 

Your desirelessness and surrender were important components you had missed. 

Whenever you do any meditation on your I AM-ness, or on your breath, or on anything, you can have a Samadhi experience, you can control your life-force and learn control of many things, but your effort only teaches you control, it cannot give you Grace. 

Now effort can help lead you to Grace, I am not disputing that, but effort alone can not lead you to Grace.

This is why it is important for you to combine effort and surrender together to know AM-ness. 

So if your “I AM-ness” has gone… let it go; if your “AM-ness” has gone, let it go. This is teaching you something. So do not restrict your I AM-ness to your body. It is not just within your body — though it feels like it is within your body and can be accessed through your body. It is also outside… it is also in the other… it is also in the plants and in the animals… it is EVERYWHERE.

Everything is contained in the AM-ness, not just yourself… EVERYTHING… and every being… and this you cannot realize in the mind, or by practicing I AM-ness.

The important thing is to drop the control over your I AM-ness. Be completely desireless in how your I AM-ness is feeling. Do not worry about it. Open yourself and be receptive to Grace by allowing Consciousness and the Masters to work through you. Allow them. Do not work overtime on your I AM-ness. Rest, let them do the work, drop the control, just leave it. I AM-ness is not in your control. It appears from Grace, and disappears into Grace… it is not in your control.

So stop expecting what will happen… how your I Am-ness will take place, how your AM-ness will behave, what it is, how consistent it is, how inconsistent it is. Do not think like this.

The more you become desireless about it, no matter what it is, the stronger your AM-ness will become, and the more you will be able to feel Grace in your life.

You will, of course, have to put effort in, for effort is part of Grace. But… if you only put effort in, and do not become desireless, then you may have an awakening experience, but you will be humbled in life. This has happened to many Gurus. So beware of this. 


“I Am-ness” is an idea, it is a concept… pure “AM-ness” is not.

I AM-ness is your attachment to AM-ness.

AM-ness cannot be attached to you.

Remember this important difference and open yourself to Grace.


Be receptive, do your work and your sadhana in your most humble way, and leave the ‘fruits’ to how God wants it to be… however Consciousness wants it to be. Please understand this.

It is written that all the great scriptures in the world are false… your birth and the elements are also false… everything is false… and so is your I AM-ness. It is also false. Do not be deceived by it.

Just be involved with your work, as you are doing, and leave the fruits to Consciousness. Open yourself, be receptive to Grace.

If you are meditating on your AM-ness, this is fine. Meditate on Grace as well, allow It to flow.

The trick is this… the more you become desireless, the more the AM-ness will latch on to you. The more you surrender to It, the more it will latch on to you, and you will experience your Self.

So remember, Am-ness is not yours. Anything that you consider ‘yours’ will leave you. This does not mean that you are not going to meditate on your I AM-ness or your Am-ness. Nor does it mean that you will not explore the mind.

Part of what ISIP teaches is attention to the I Am-ness and the mind. That is one part.

The other part is not to have any attachment to it, because whenever you pay attention to something, you are purifying it, you are becoming empty of it.

When you pay attention to your mind, your mind becomes empty of contents.

Anything you pay attention to starts to become purified… all the muck gets thrown out. So paying attention to your mind will remove all the contents from your mind and throw them out.

Paying attention to your I AM-ness will remove the “I”… any contents of the “I-ness”, any attachments, anything that you are holding on to, anything that you identify with. All of that will be removed from your “I-ness”.

But emptying something out does not mean that it will cease to exist just because it has become empty. The only way that the contents can completely and totally leave you… the death of mind, the death of I Am-ness, is through Grace, and only if you can allow yourself to know that they do not belong to you.

If you hold this truth as a deep realization and realize that “it is not mine”, “it is a gift”, the mind and I AM-ness will completely dissolve, they will disintegrate. And the death of mind, and the death of I Am-ness, is the rise of AM-ness, the pure reflection of the Self.

The purest reflection of the Self is AM-ness.

This is the rise of It. It will never leave you and will always be with you. It will transcend life and death… everything. It will become the Self, Itself.

The Foreground I-Am

The Foreground I-Am

Most teachings, especially New Age, advocate a “romantic idealism” form of spiritual practice, rather than acknowledge the stark reality of the relative plane. But while we are in the body, the world continues to affect us all, including our abidance in SELF. This aspect of reality has repeatedly been ignored, and we have discovered new ways to escape from what stares us in the face. Hence, we are not prepared for calamity when it strikes.

Knowledge is freeing. It may not get rid of the situation we face, but knowledge can prepare us for the many things that can otherwise confuse and create doubts in us as seekers. I am addressing those sincere seekers who, in spite of their unflinching devotion and abidance in SELF, often lose their connection to their Being, or are suffering miserably on the earthly plane. I believe that if these seekers understand the workings of the foreground I-Am, they will stop looking for answers in places from where answers will never come, and hopefully stop criticizing themselves for their inability to fix the situation. Truth, no matter how harsh, is always liberating and healing. 

Many of us have been told about the background I-Am, which I call the “male principle.” All the spiritual practices we have all been doing are concerned solely with strengthening this male principle I-Am. Practices like witnessing, abiding in the “I” or the Self, and actively raising the Kundalini up the spine, are all concerned with the male background I-Am. 

The qualities of the background I-Am are that of stillness, peace, joy and bliss. As we deepen our relationship with this background I-Am, these qualities become more and more profound, and eventually lead us to the Absolute. There, everything dissolves. 

But there is another I-Am, a very important one. It has not been talked about, but presents itself again and again in our lives: The “Foreground I-Am”. 

That foreground I-Am is like Mother Kali who arrives with the noble motive of freeing us from our habitual tendencies (vasanas). But She then intensifies Her attack directly on anything we have latched onto, protected, or guarded. Having our attachments broken can be brutally painful and terrifying for us, for we cannot find any refuge in anything, whether God or the world. Even the Absolute, Shiva, absolutely collapses under Kali’s Lotus feet, and finds no favor. All our identifications, even the slightest, are Her enemy, irrespective of whether they are spiritual or material in nature. In Her eyes, all are the same.

Ego is never really eliminated until Kali visits. Facing Her, the subtlest trace of ego that remains hidden in us is plucked out. Such is Her power and glory. 

As I sat pondering Kali’s immense power, beauty, and terrifying form, the Truth about Her came to me as verses collected into the Song of Kali. I was fortunate to have Daniel Mills next to me recording them as they flowed through me. He helped me choose the verses, edited them, and offered his own input as my student, my friend, a teacher to many, and one who has finally awakened and continues to awaken deeply in his heart.

Together we present these verses to all those who feel the need to know the Truth as it is.

As a prelude to the Song of Kali, I share with you all a work by the Bengali poet, Dwijendralal Ray called “Clinging to Your Feet”: 

I lie clinging to your feet,
but you never look at me, Mother.
You’re lost in your own play,
and engrossed in your own emotion.
What is this sport you revel in
across earth, heaven and the underworld?
The entire universe closes its eyes in terror,
and calls out “Mother, Mother!”
while clutching at your feet.
In your hands, Kali, you hold
the world’s final destruction.
Under your feet
even the great Shiva
lies unconscious.
Wild laughter issues from your mouth
and streams of blood flow down your limbs.
Tara*, forgiving one, end our fear!

Pick me up like a baby in your arms.
Come shining like a star,
with a smiling face
and in fair dress, like the dawn
after a pitch-black night!
All these days, O Terrible Kali,
I’ve worshiped only you.
My puja is done, Mother.
Won’t you put down your sword? 

*Tara means star
The Evolution of Human Consciousness

The Evolution of Human Consciousness

The Evolution of Human Consciousness occurs in seven cycles: 

1. The first cycle is acute IDENTIFICATION with the body/mind

The identity we have in terms of our name and form, that we have inherited or acquired in this birth, forms the basis of our identification. The name and form acquired always have a reference to an object, whether it is this body, a person, a relationship, position at the workplace or wealth.

The human existence, therefore, is nothing but a constant interaction/stimulation with these objects which creates a deep bond between us and the objects. We become dependent on them and try to possess them because we become habituated by them. We fall into a trance.

Our loyalty towards these objects is impeccable, but unfortunately the same thing can’t be said about the objects. These objects are always changing around us — our bodies, positions, relationships, wealth, etc. — they are all fleeting and transient.

Most people suffer silently as they have no idea how to deal with a situation where one is constantly deceived by the ever changing objects and situations. This results in insecurity and fear and the drive to possess more and more of these objects. However, such an act only strengthens the hold the objects have on us and we find ourselves getting more and more insecure and fearful.

Dependency on the objects for true happiness can never be accomplished in this world. It will only lead to more delusion. The reason is that the world is an imperfect place and, to seek happiness, one has to first go inwards and stop seeking it outwards. One has to move away from the waves of the mind and dive within the ocean of the soul.

2. The second cycle is the WITNESSING state

Once a being becomes sensitive enough to realize that he is getting repeatedly thrashed, smashed and jolted by the waves of objects, he starts to look for cover within.

It is when a seeker begins to look within, that he begins to witness. He witnesses the coming and going of all thoughts, emotions, objects. Everything is in constant flux and he gains the knowledge that, over time, everything passes. Initially, many things touch his state of witnessing and he gets pulled into a thought, or emotion, or story; but over time they begin to affect him less and less. He is obviously not free from them as yet, but the act of witnessing creates the necessary ‘gap’ between him and the objects whereby he doesn’t get so easily swayed by them. 

3. The third cycle is the recognition of the WITNESSER

The act of witnessing points to the witnesserEvery thought, emotion, story, feeling, points to whom, to what? It points to the witnesser. First there is attention only to objects, then it turns to witnessing, and finally one arrives at the witnesser. One can refer to it as ‘being’, or ‘background self’, or ‘I AM’, or whatever — but one finds himself attending to a background stillness. Even the act of witnessing merges with the witnesser at the background, manifesting as growing silence and peace felt at regular intervals.

4. The fourth cycle is EXPLORING the layers of the witnesser

The witnesser is a labyrinth of various emotions, thoughts, dreams, images, void, suppressed desires — everything is mixed together and one needs to tease out all of this from the witnesser to arrive at pure I AM or being.

Many things hidden below the surface are brought up during the abidance of the witnesser. The witnesser watches these many hidden and suppressed desires and emotions surface, and he teases them out one by one, layer by layer, much like the layers of an onion.

Often a lot of time is spent in dealing with all that arises and falls within the witnesser. This is where the Implosive Self-Inquiry Protocol™ (ISIP) comes into play. Instead of repeatedly watching what is happening with the witnesser, one uses the scientific tool of focusing on the higher centres of the Third Eye (Ajna Chakra) and the Spiritual Heart.

Through the ISIP freeze and release method, all the energies that are being scattered among the various emotions, thoughts, images and states are brought into one place. At the same time, a natural catharsis or healing of the three centres which block the channels for sustained abidance is also undertaken. This serves to bring the life force to the Third Eye, and then to the sahasrar (top of the brain).

5. The fifth cycle is the VOID state

Scientists have discovered that there are ‘default’ neural pathways, or circuits, that determine how we act, think and feel and that our reality, or perception, is based upon these default neural pathways.

What are these default pathways? They are what we have acquired from past births, or tendencies inherited in this birth, but most of these pathways are only in reference to the world. We are completely oblivious of the spiritual neural pathways that can be harnessed and discovered, as a result we use only the default pathways. The value of ISIP to the seeker is that it facilitates opening these spiritual neural pathways in the brain.

Science now knows that there are approximately 100 billion active nerve cells in the brain, and each of these cells can create a new connection (apart from the default pathways) to explore our hidden potential, both material and spiritual.

One of the world’s preeminent psychologists, Robert E. Ornstein, states in The Amazing Brain, Ch. 1, pg. 21:

“There are perhaps about one hundred billion neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain, and in a single human brain the number of possible interconnections between these cells is greater than the number of atoms in the universe.”

Such is our potential, but it remains largely unexplored and underutilized. 

The importance of ISIP is that it triggers, or magnetizes/energizes, the spiritual neural pathways creating connections between the cells of higher spiritual centres leading to different spiritual dimensions/planes and, ultimately, revealing to us our True Nature. 

When the life force collects or gathers at one point between the eyebrows, then it automatically withdraws from the sense organs and the other parts of the body. The withdrawing of the prana (life force) from the senses reveals “Nothingness” or the “Void” state.

It is in this Nothingness, or Void, that the seeker finds solace and respite from the continuous distractions of his senses and external objects. This, however, can be a very ‘dry’ state and can be depressing for many seekers as the senses seem to be numb, giving a lifeless existence.

The seeker, however, soon realizes that the tendencies and distractions are only temporarily submerged, or arrested, and that they arise again in their daily activities. At this stage, the seeker intuits that he has to return to the waking state while embracing his newly accomplished state, and not continue to ‘escape’ through sitting meditation.

6. The sixth cycle is the BURNING state

Having intuited that he needs to work on his tendencies (vasanas) not just in his sitting meditation, but also in his waking state, the seeker carries his Void state there (waking state). He then prefers to face his vasanas/tendencies in the waking state, rather than retiring into his sitting meditation. This is the burning state where a lot of dross and accumulated muck gets burned away and released through the ISIP practice.

7. The seventh cycle is the TURIYA state

Carrying the “burning” state into the sitting meditation reveals the secret nadi (neural pathway) between the sahasrar and the spiritual Heart.

It is not easy to locate this secret pathway, but with the help of the “burning”, and the ISIP freeze and release method, the Amrita nadi is ultimately revealed — where the state of SATCHITANANDA is finally revealed. 

The Essence of Tantra

The Essence of Tantra

Introduction 

I have spoken on many aspects and various practices — from Kriya Yoga to Self-Inquiry techniques… from effort to grace… from the Absolute to the wrath of Kali… from affirming to burning.

The reason is simple. One particular teaching or technique cannot be prescribed to everyone. Each seeker is different — with differing temperaments, inclinations and approaches that suit them in their own unique manner.

So today I am going to talk about Tantra. The term ‘Tantra’ often sends a sense of uncomfortable energy into the Hearts of many seekers, particularly traditional Advaitins and Yogis who, because of a particular mindset, believe that this form of practice is somehow ‘impure’ or ‘unholy’ as compared to Inquiry and Raja Yoga.

Trust me, I know that feeling. And I do not blame them as we often associate Tantra as a playground for free sex. This is a common misconception.

Many of the revered saints of India were Tantra practitioners — Shri Ramakrishna, Aurobindo, Shivananda, and Nityananda.

Adi Shankara himself was not only the most famous Advaitic Guru, but also one of the most important Tantric teachers. His great poem to the Goddess, Soundarya Lahiri (Waves of Beauty), remains perhaps the most important Tantric text that is used for Sri Chakra (also called Sri Yantra) worship.

Tantra 

There are many books on Tantra which describe it in greater detail as so much has been written about it. My purpose is not to go into too much detail from an academic point of view, or go into detailed philosophic interpretations. Instead, I would like to bring out the real essence of real Tantra by presenting the practical aspects through the light of my own personal practice and experience. I am simply writing down my own personal experience here.

Inclusiveness 

Most spiritual paths have a central ideology… system… approach… or way of practice… which forms the basic theme of its teaching.

Raja Yoga — the classical approach based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali — talks about breath control with some moral and ethical restraints as the main tenet.

While Self-Inquiry (direct path) — through the approach of ‘Neti Neti’ — purely emphasizes sole abidance in the subjective awareness of ‘I’.

Because these approaches have a theme or an ideology, they become fixated and attach some boundaries to themselves. They get trapped inside a box. Both of these approaches consider the world to be an ‘illusion’ and ‘Maya’, and something that one needs to reject and be careful about so that one doesn’t get caught up with the world. One can’t deny that there is an element of escapism in these approaches.

Tantra, on the other hand, has no fixed theme or ideology. It has no problem being inside a box, outside of the box, or even getting rid of the box. That is its beauty. It has the symphony of all paths, and of life itself. It denies nothing.

If I were to give a one word description of Tantra, I would say ‘Inclusiveness’, and end it there.

Tantra includes everything — the practices of Raja Yoga, Bhakti and Inquiry, and the experiences from them. All merge into one. Mantras, yantras, rituals, pranayamas, bhakti, energies, worship of deities, chakras, etc. all form part of Tantra.

It also does not deny this world, the body, the mind, the senses — nor does it deny any form of practice or deny your experience.

For Tantra there is only one rule ‘Experience and Embrace’.

If anything is in your experience, then it is real, and on becoming aware of it, this becomes Tantra.

For Tantra, every experience (human, spiritual, or in any dimension) is valid. There is no room for suppression. No escape from anything.

Tantra is about being fearless, as everything is an expression of the SELF Itself that needs to be embodied to reach real happiness. In spite of Tantra embracing all the paths within itself, there are some remarkable principles that separates it from these paths.

1) The Goal is an Ever Present, Ever Available Companion

Tantra practitioners are not goal oriented, they are Rasa (juice) oriented. These are teachings for those who are lovers of passion, sweetness, wetness, aliveness, spontaneity and beauty. In Advaita or Yoga, the bliss is in attaining a goal — stillness, bliss or joy.

In Tantra, bliss is NOT something that one needs to wait for. It is immediate and never delayed.

They are like honey bees. They seek flowers and find the sweetness of honey in them, collecting them and accumulating them within themselves — ‘the hives of SELF’ — full of juice and sweetness, and then move again looking for the next flower.  So bliss is always their companion.

Similarly, Tantra practitioners — due to the inclusiveness of all paths, practices and teachings, and also of the relationships they develop in the world — find sweetness in everything they connect with. They find their ‘honey’ through the senses — and even beyond the senses.

While in stillness, they are in bliss — and in movement too. So ‘bliss and joy’ is their constant companion. Even in the element of seeking, there is joy. That is the beauty of Tantra.

2) Both Subject and Object are Equally Important

Even though Tantra recognizes the non-dual state of awareness as the final state, it is not obsessed about the SELF alone.

In Tantra the object is as important as the subject — the flower is as important as the hive (the SELF). The Tantra practitioner (the ‘bee’) does not compromise the flower for the hive, for he knows that the hive exists because of the flower, and that the purpose of the flower is to help build the hive. One cannot exist without the other. It believes that being tied down to the subject is no different than being identified with the objects.

An object without the SELF is useless, and the SELF without objects is juiceless. This is the essence of Tantra.

So in Tantra, ecstasy and joy is a constant companion, where both the SELF and the object co-exist together in order to fulfill your Divine destiny of being in joy and bliss.

3) Attached to Neither Subject nor Object

A worldly man attempts to find his ‘centre’ in objects, the wise man in the SELF — but a Tantra practitioner believes in MOVEMENT.

What is most prominent for him is the dance… the swing (movement) from subject to object to subject and so on. Even though both the SELF and object are equally important, the Tantra practitioner is not attached to either of them.

He stays in the middle and moves from one to the other — much like a honey bee moves the honey from the flowers into the hive, stays there for sometime, and then moves again looking for the honey.

The journey is more important than the destination.

He is ruled by aliveness, spontaneity and the joy of travel.

He is the only one who can begin a journey again and again… even after reaching the goal.

It is like a pendulum. Swaying back and forth, and at the end of every swing there is complete stillness. In Tantra you are allowed to halt or pause… but never to stay in one place because the belief is that with momentum, your reach even greater heights.

That is why a Tantra practitioner is the most adaptable of all practitioners. Like a bee, he can be happy alone or together (building and sharing hives of joy with others).

Osho once said: “…Tantra is indulgence with awareness.” (unlike worldly indulgence, to differentiate). I do not know whether this is so, or not. It could be, or it may not be. It depends.

In my experience, the question of ‘indulgence’ becomes quite unimportant in Tantra as ‘indulgence’ would be a position that is taken towards an object.

In Tantra, both the SELF and the object lose significance over Rasa. There could be abstinence, and yet still be Tantra in my opinion because the main focus is not on indulgence, or identification, but on the purpose, the juiciness that is attained.

One could abstain and yet derive the juiciness from the object through Tantra. Thirst has a unique juicy feeling too. This principle holds true in all situations, whether in relationship with your practice, or with the world, or with the SELF.

Real Tantra is not about forgetting the SELF and indulging in objects, 
 or vice versa, but about the juiciness that connects both.

It becomes clear that the Tantra practitioner approaches his relationship with every object as an opportunity to fall back into the SELF, and takes every delight to witness the SELF reflected in his beloved object.

4) The One Object that Halts All Seeking

You have heard about the SELF — where all seeking stops. But have you ever heard about an object that puts an end to all seeking? This is only possible in Tantra. And this is where Tantra meets its own end too.

A question that may arise when I talk about the bees and the relationship they have with flowers is: “Does Tantra suggest that we keep moving from one object to another in search of Rasa (juice), much like the bees move from one flower to another?”

This is why we have so many Masters, so many practices, so many relationships to choose from. But this comes to an end too. Through Grace, you can come across one such practice, one such Master, one such beloved or lover, from whom you can derive such juiciness, such variety, such quality, such flavor, that seeking other objects will become unnecessary.

The Kula Teaching: The Heart’s Secret Teaching states (verse 2.80):

“The followers of the Heart, knowers of the essence, do not consider other religion, just as bees who serve themselves the blossom of the coral tree don’t seek to obtain other flowers.”

When the ‘coral tree’ is known, such intimacy will be formed that it will no longer be possible to maintain a SELF apart from it. That one ‘coral tree’ could be your lover, your wife, your husband, your teacher, or your practice. The walls of separation between the two will be torn down and all will merge as ONE.

There will not be any separate ‘hive of the SELF’, nor the flower… not even the Rasa. There will exist only the blissful buzz of BEEing.

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