Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reality of Sahaj Marg

The Sahaj Marg way neither promises marvels nor suggests images that can stir the seeker’s dreams. On the contrary, Sahaj Marg places the seeker face-to-face with a reality: the need to advance with the help of a simple but decisively effective practice. Why would a human being not move towards the discovery of his or her own being? This subtlety of the being is ignored by science, as it is still so far from the material realm; they stand a world apart. 

- Babuji Maharaj

Babuji Maharaj talks about the “Obstacles” of a Negative Material Plane. A seeker on the path of reality has to overcome these and many more obstacles, each step leading to the goal. What has Sahaj Marg, Shri Ram Chandra Mission (www.srcm.org) to offer in this journey of the seeker. Sahaj Marg Raja Yoga meditation practice, the Heartfulness approach, offers the human beings of the 21st century, a simple system of routine and practice that regulates the mind and moderates the tendencies of the human being.

There are no apparent miracles in Sahaj Marg. The Masters of Sahaj Marg, Chariji Maharaj and Shri Kamlesh D. Patel have always emphasised on the simplicity of the approach towards self perfection. How a simple practice of meditation like Sahaj Marg, when coupled with the power of Transmission from the Master, helps in real transformation. This transformation, when it happens, is the real miracle of Sahaj Marg. Such a human transformation has to be worked for, cannot be just dreamt about. It is hard reality and hard work, not just some magic wave of the hand and lo and behold, something new has come out. It is long and drawn out persistent effort, with sincerity and joy driving the efforts and love at the base of everything. That is the reality of Sahaj Marg.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happiness Inside

By Victor Kannan 
(Sahaj Marg Abhyasi and SRCM Preceptor)


“If you want to have infinite happiness, infinite bliss, then minimise your desires, from more and more to less and less and finally to zero!” – Kamlesh Patel www.daaji.org

This is nothing new but today I got a real glimpse of unhappy people that seem to either live in the past or fantasize their future. The past, they selectively remember and the future that they have no clue of. Yet they think they have been happy in the past or they will be happier in the future if certain careers, cities, houses, cars or vacation were to be pursued.

I have come across people that show their inherent dissatisfaction with the present and start accumulating many things in the pursuit of happiness. They accumulate beyond decency - clothes, shoes, purses, cars and the like only to continue to remain unhappy.  They also blame others for their unhappiness.

Yes, It is a fact that if things outside are in order, one would be comfortable. Nice shoes, clothes, air conditioned cars and plush houses would make us all comfortable. It could also make one feel proud and externally confident. People misunderstand comfort, pride and confidence for happiness. Happiness is not something guarantied by external possessions and achievements.

They forget what Neil Gaiman said  “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

When I was a teenager, it occurred to me that the people are unhappy because they are not willing to be happy.  After perhaps 40 years I am more convinced of that observation. I think we need to cultivate the attitude and the tendency of being happy. This will come about only when we withdraw from the rat race but do the best we can in everything we are involved in; not looking for favor or praise but derive immense satisfaction in doing things right; not waiting for someone to appreciate and notice but noticing and appreciating others as appropriate; it is not to become a recluse but to find joy in one’s own inner self. To be drawn to one’s own inner self quietly and calmly require certain thinking and doing.

Happiness is also to admire nature, participate in its bounty by just being one with it. Have you ever sat quietly during a starry night looking at the sky; have you ever sat on top of a hill and watched the landscape below; have you ever looked at the blue sky and wondered how deep is the blue? The human mind, consciousness and even the brain partakes the essence of nature. So, when we let ourselves be carried away by the simple mergence of ourselves with the quiet grandeur of Nature we find happiness inside. When we let ourselves be carried away by the limitlessness of the sky, the ocean and the starry night, we partake in the infinity of our own selves. When we bring joy and happiness of others, it makes us happy more than anything else we can do for ourselves.
In these lie the wonder and the joy of happiness.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In Search of Realisation

“The practice of Sahaj Marg allows a significant advancement; a true spiritual journey is a real boon for a fervent soul in search of realisation. It cannot be achieved easily and requires genuine commitment on the part of the abhyasi, but you can be sure the result is worth it. A life is not given in vain; it is an element, both tiny and imposing, of this immense creation that is so amazing at all levels. The benefits obtained by practising Sahaj Marg are not yet recognised for their abundant effects. Substantial changes yet to come will further highlight these effects by promoting the evolutionary cycle of life in the world. Everything is so slow 
at the worldly level. The action of Sahaj Marg is geared towards refining the sensitivity of beings incarnated in an Earthly journey that fosters each one’s evolution. None of this is easy to understand, but these matters must be mentioned in order to prepare and further open up the path to knowledge that will become more accessible to all.” 

- Babuji Maharaj

Some of the points raised in this above divine text from Babuji Maharaj, the founder of Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga Spiritual Practice are key to observe and understand. The advancement needed to achieve the realisation being talked about here is not obtainable easily. It requires true commitment as Babuji says above, but at the same time, the results produced by the efforts that an abhyasi puts in, is obviously worth it. Unfortunately neither the abhyasi knows nor the world understands or recognises the contributions that Sahaj Marg is making towards these evolutionary changes that are happening. But as Master Chariji and Shri Kamlesh D Patel puts it, these changes are happening at the inner-most core of the hearts of abhyasis and not visible to all. This silent work that happens in anonymity is the signature work of Sahaj Marg and its Masters, Preceptors and Abhyasis. Let us all benefit by this inner work, derive our essence of life itself from the Transmission (Pranahuti) that we receive from our Master, Shri. Kamlesh Patel and the hierarchy of Masters, and most importantly, participate in this divine movement to the best of our possibilities.

Monday, March 14, 2016

What is Sahaj Marg

"Behind the drop the sea extends, the sea supports the drop.
To make the drop realize the ocean is all the Reality." 
Shri Ram Chandraji of Fatehgarh

Sahaj Marg is a simple and natural method of spiritual training that enables the practitioner to efficiently reach profound depths of meditation and achieve a total spiritual transformation. The practice evolved in the early 20th century in North India, and its philosophy is influenced by the rich and deep eastern spiritual traditions of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga, the Vedas and Sufi mysticism. Sahaj Marg translates to ‘Natural Path,’ as it was designed to allow the practitioner to live a natural life without the need for renunciation of the world and family. The ultimate goal of the practice is the merging of our individual consciousness with the divine consciousness. Although the method is simple, the practice allows the seeker to attain this pinnacle of spiritual achievements while maintaining a balanced material life. The Sahaj Marg philosophy states that family life is an ideal training ground for developing love and tolerance. From its origins in India, the method has spread throughout the world and is available free of charge to people from all walks of life; the only requirement is a willingness to participate with an attitude of openness and wonder.

The key elements of the practice include a morning heartfulness meditation that focuses on the divine light in our heart, an evening cleaning that allows a ‘letting go’ of the daily complexities, and a bedtime prayer that refocuses our attention on the divine before we drift off into sleep. The practitioner is also encouraged to maintain a journal of their spiritual journey and to attempt to remain in remembrance of the divine presence within their heart throughout the day. Preceptors (meditation trainers) are available for individual and group weekly meditation sessions. The unique aspect of the practice is a phenomenon known as pranahuti, or yogic transmission. Pranahuti is the utilization of divine energy for the transformation of the human being. As sound and energy can be transmitted, spiritual essence can also be transmitted. Through pranahuti (prana, or life force, and ahuti, or offering) this spiritual essence is offered to the seeker. This transmission may not be felt by everyone in the initial meditation, but most seekers feel the effects of transmission within 3 months of sincere practice.

The phenomenon of transmission is an ancient yogic discovery that had been passed down for centuries through various spiritual traditions but eventually passed into oblivion. In the late 1800’s, Shri Ram Chandraji of Fatehgarh (Lalaji), a precocious spiritual genius who studied and researched extensively on creating effective spiritual training, rediscovered this ancient art, and his research laid the foundation for the Sahaj Marg practice. But given the limitations in transportation and communication in that time period, this method was restricted to a small geographic area surrounding his home town of Fatehgarh. One of Lalaji’s most capable disciples was Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjanhanpur (Babuji), who dedicated his life to spreading the teaching of his Guru. In 1945, Babuji, in honor of his Guru, established the Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM), a non-profit organization created for the purpose of offering the Sahaj Marg method of spiritual training free of charge to interested individuals from all walks of life. Babuji established a network of meditation trainers (preceptors) who were given the capacity to impart spiritual training through pranahuti. In 1983, Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari (Chariji) was appointed the spiritual successor of SRCM by Babuji. Chariji prodigiously spread the SRCM infrastructure throughout the world by building ashrams, traveling extensively to assist practitioners in their journey, and developing a larger base of preceptors so that seekers throughout the world would have access to Sahaj Marg. Chariji appointed Kamlesh D. Patel to be his spiritual successor, and since December 2014 Kamleshji has been carrying on the work as the Spiritual Representative and President of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Kamleshji has started a Heartfulness meditation initiative, which makes the Sahaj Marg method of spiritual training more open, accessible, and available to all spiritual seekers.

Practitioners of Sahaj Marg also note several other practical appealing elements of the practice. Sahaj Marg allows this complete spiritual transformation to occur while living a balanced material life. It does not ask for any austerities or renunciation. Seekers do not have to shave their head, wear a robe, practice celibacy, renounce material possessions, or live a monastic life. Practitioners come from all strata of society; they are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. They work and maintain a family life while still actively pursuing a spiritual goal. The spiritual journey complements their material life rather than becoming a hindrance to material progress. Practitioners often claim that they notice that both their material and spiritual lives are blossoming.

Another appealing aspect of the practice is the absence of dogma; for example, there are no obstinate rules on the type of diet or lifestyle one should adopt. Instead of having a laundry list of do not’s (do not do this, do not do that), Sahaj Marg gently encourages several do’s (do meditation, do think of divinity, do journal about your spiritual progress). With this fundamental shift in approach, Sahaj Marg creates a culture of love and tolerance rather than that of guilt and fear. This culture fosters an atmosphere of acceptance where practitioners can cultivate change at their own pace. As seekers deepen their practice, they note negative habits and tendencies that are unsupportive of spiritual growth naturally fall away. Also, a recurring theme among seasoned practitioners is the profound positive changes in character, temperament, and confidence that they experience; changes which occur in a natural and organic manner without any external pressures. These changes resonate with the deeper changes that occur in the inner canvas of the seeker as various spiritual energy centers are awakened.

In the history of spiritual and faith traditions, Sahaj Marg is relatively new. Its founders felt that there should be a natural way towards divine consciousness. They wanted to create a system devoid of superfluous rituals and unyielding dogmas. Sahaj Marg offers a dynamic practice, offering encouragement and guidance for seekers to advance at their own pace. Preceptors are available throughout the world to assist new seekers on their journey. Practitioners are able to live a fulfilling, balanced life as they progress speedily in the material and spiritual aspects of life.
Sahaj Marg has removed the guilt and fear in the search for God and filled it with love, hope and wonder. In essence, Sahaj Marg put the spirit back into spirituality.

"All knowledge, all powers, everything is within. Your destiny is within, your future is within, the ultimate is within." - Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari 

Radheshyam Miryala MD
www.heartfulness.org

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sahaj Marg Clarifies: Yawning during or after meditation

Clarifications from a conversation between Chariji Maharaj and Sanskrit Kannan (SRCM Preceptor), narrated by Sanskrit Kannan.

I asked Rev. Chariji Maharaj once in 1985" is Prana and mind inter-related? " He asked me, " why are you asking me this?"I told Him that even PataƱjali refers to this. The texts on HATHA YOGA are replete with such reference. " Chariji said, " You see, in deep meditation the breathing automatically slows down. So this is a natural Pranayama in our Sahaj Marg practice.  The deeper the sitting,  the slower is the flow of air. To compensate for this slowness in breath resulting in lack of oxygen, sometimes you can see some people yawn after a meditation session. You might have seen me yawning after some sittings.  That means the sitting was deep."

One more incident related to this topic is as follows:

In 1985,  when Rev. Chariji Maharaj was in Europe,  after a Sunday morning Satsangh one Prefect chided an abhyasi for yawning after the sitting and said that it was wrong and it reflected grossness. That abhyasi naturally was upset and hurt. I consoled him by repeating what Rev. Chariji Maharaj had told us.  He was happy, but the Prefect did not accept what I said. So, I sent a letter to Rev. Chariji Maharaj narrating this incident, asking for clarification. Chariji Maharaj replied," yawning, during or after meditation is not wrong. "

However, I may add in lighter vein that this is not applicable to those who sleep during the sitting. 


Sahaj Marg Meditation: What to do?

Sahaj Marg Meditation: What to do?
By Sanskrit Kannan - SRCM Preceptor

In the previous article (Sahaj Marg Meditation - Condition: Some tips), we heard from Chariji Maharaj and Shri. Kamlesh D Patel on what we should not do after meditation.

Let us see what Chariji Maharaj tells us what should we do before Sahaj Marg meditation. I asked Him once about this, especially before morning meditation . He told me that we should first do meditation in the morning.  Some people go for walking and then do meditation in the morning which is not right.

Chariji Maharaj also added that we should not do meditation in empty stomach. " Take milk,  or at least water before meditation. But don't waste time in making coffee etc. Water will do.  He told me a story in this regard. 

Once a person went to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and told him, " Master,  I am interested in spiritual progress. What should I do? " The Master repled, " please read some verses of Bhagavad Gita daily and also take grape juice. " The seeker asked, " Master how much grape juice should I drink daily? "The Master laughing replied, " you are not yet ready for spirituality. Had you asked me how much verses of Bhagavad Gita should I read daily, I would have advised you. Instead you are more interested in grape juice. Please go now and come back after some days. "

Rev. Chariji Maharaj said,  " So, if I say you may take coffee or milk in the morning before meditation, your time will be spent /wasted on this. So water will do".


What about yawning during or after Sahaj Marg meditation?  We will address this question in another article. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sahaj Marg Meditation - Condition: Some tips

Sahaj Marg Meditation - Condition: Some tips

From Dr. Sanskrit Kannan

With respect to the excellent advice given by the Sahaj Marg Master, Shri. Kamlesh Patel (Kamleshji) recently not to disturb our condition after meditation by either switching on or switching off the fan, Kamlesh D. Patel added one more interesting and valid advice not to take water after meditation.

I had occasion to ask the same to Rev. Chariji Maharaj in 1983 while travelling by car with Him. " is it not right to drink water immediately after meditation/sitting? "

He told me, " you should avoid taking water after the meditation at least for some time. "

I asked Him, " why?"

He told me, " you see, what happens during meditation is some heat is generated... ( incidentally the word tapas also used for meditation which means heat). So if you take water immediately after meditation it affects the condition. "

He  also told me regarding the hand-position during meditation. " You see the great Masters Buddha and others, how they keep one palm over the other. Or you can keep all your fingers in locked position.

What is the benefit?

He added, " you see during meditation, Yogic energy permeates the whole body.  If you keep your palms on each other or close the fingers in locked position, then the energy is circulated within the body.  On the other hand, if we keep both hands on the thighs or knees with stretched fingers, then the energy is let out.  But in cinema or TV shows we see the so called saints sitting with their fingers either stretched or not joined. This is not the right way. "

We always see the pictures of Rev. Lalaji Maharaj,  Rev. Babuji Maharaj sitting with their palms one on the other. Rev. Chariji Maharaj and Rev. Master Kamleshji also sit in the manner described above by Rev. Chariji Maharaj.


These are simple, yet useful tips.  Also Rev. Chariji Maharaj used to say that some people read news paper immediately after the sitting or see the mobile for messages or calls. This is also not right. We have to educate the Sahaj Marg abhyasis.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SRCM Preceptors of Sahaj Marg: Radheshyam Miryala MD

SRCM Preceptors of Sahaj Marg: Radheshyam Miryala MD


In our-day-to day lives, we seek guidance in many areas. We get advice on family matters from our elders, look to professional mentors to advance our careers, and even pay financial advisors, lawyers, personal trainers and life coaches. In general, as a society we feel very comfortable seeking counsel from lawyers, doctors, therapists and coaches to improve our quality of life. Do we approach our spiritual life and our spiritual goals with the same forethought and enthusiasm? Do we even need guidance in spirituality?

Early in my spiritual journey, I did not feel the need for any mentorship or guidance. I was reading books from all the great spiritual traditions and did not think anything more was necessary. Soon, however, I realized books would not give me any experiential knowledge. I tried meditation on my own, but found it difficult to sit quietly for more than a few minutes. Despite my best efforts to be a spiritual loner, I realized that I was not getting very far. After many years of unfulfilling isolated spiritual practice, I searched for a group of like-minded individuals to help me. 

My initial findings were gloomy, as many groups required a financial commitment, which I could not afford – at the time I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. After a few months, by happenstance or divine intervention, I found my way into a practice of Sahaj Marg Heartfulness meditation, which was offered without charge. This group had a spiritual Guru and a group of spiritual trainers called ‘preceptors’ spread throughout the world. Initially I rejected the concept of a spiritual Guru and resisted the notion of becoming anyone’s disciple. However, as my practice deepened, I began to develop a connection with the Guru and later came to understand the need for a spiritual guide. I realized, contrary to my earlier beliefs, that to make significant spiritual strides, it is of paramount importance to follow someone who has gone the distance. 

Most people who have achieved great success in any part of their life have a series of coaches and mentors to thank. If you want to casually play tennis on the weekends with a few friends, you may not need a coach. If you want to win Wimbledon, you definitely need coaches and trainers. Similarly, if you want to take your spiritual journey to greater heights, then a spiritual guide is of paramount importance. It is possible to meditate on your own, but a spiritual Guru can help you to win the Wimbledon of your spiritual journey! 

In the Heartfulness spiritual tradition as taught by the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation, the spiritual Guru imparts spiritual training through the transmission of ‘pranahuti’ (life force). To help the Guru spread this transmission, the Heartfulness system has established a network of ‘preceptors’. A preceptor is an individual who is permitted by the spiritual Guru to be a conduit of pranahuti. This is not an ability, but more of an opportunity to participate within the framework of the spiritual tradition. A preceptor does not have the ability to impart the transmission on his or her own accord but rather taps into the link that is established with the spiritual Guru and allows for the transmission to pass through him. 

The main qualification for being a preceptor is having the willingness to volunteer for the work. The spiritual tradition of Sahaj Marg encourages the balance of the material and spiritual planes of existence, and this tenet also extends to the preceptor. The preceptor volunteers for the spiritual work, but must balance this with material responsibilities of family, health, employment, finances, etc. A preceptor does not receive any monetary remuneration; however, the spiritual benefit of participating in the system seems to be more than adequate compensation. This is a universally shared belief from all the preceptors that I have met. 

A preceptor’s sole responsibility is to impart spiritual training through the use of pranahuti; however, the import of this role takes on a life of its own. The preceptor must rise to the position of one worthy of imparting spiritual training by behaving as a role model to others on the spiritual journey. Although preceptors are prone to carry the common list of human foibles, they must become examples of people who are constantly working to overcome their character deficiencies. The preceptor must attend to his or her own spiritual practice and must be an exemplar of one making efficient progress on the spiritual path. The preceptor must be well versed in the fundamentals of the practice and well-read in the  SRCM Mission literature. The opportunity does not imply that the preceptor is a perfect person, but is certainly someone working on himself constantly to move towards human perfection. 

The day-to-day role of a preceptor involves giving individual sittings and conducting group satsanghs. It also involves conducting Heartfulness workshops in the local community. The preceptor introduces new seekers to the practice, gives instruction on how to meditate, and gradually introduces other aspects of the practice. The preceptor supports the practice of established practitioners and encourages their growth. As spiritual growth and transformation can involve many hurdles, the preceptor also functions as a motivator. As change starts to take shape, questions may arise and the preceptor is available to clarify any doubts. By being intimately involved in someone’s spiritual journey, the role can also take on that of a friend and confidant.

The majority of seekers taking their introductory sittings may not feel the transmission initially. They may not understand the role of the preceptor or feel that any work is being done. For most new meditators, just the act of sitting quietly with eyes closed for 30-40 minutes is challenging enough. If you take an introductory meditation sitting with a preceptor, you know that someone else is sitting with you with their eyes closed for the duration of the meditation. Initially you may just spend the entire time fidgeting as all the aches and pains in your body come to the center of your attention. Gradually your body is able to sit comfortably for the duration of the meditation. 

Initially, your mind may be inundated with thoughts that are a constant distraction, but gradually these thoughts dissipate and you may start to get absorbed in the meditation. In this initial phase of the practice, just the awareness that someone is sitting with you while you are meditating for 30-40 minutes encourages you to sit for the duration of the meditation. Eventually you may start to feel the work from the preceptor and experience the bliss of the transmission. The preceptor is involved from the beginning when the meditation is difficult and helps to get you to a place where you are able to feel transmission with ease. In essence, the preceptor helps to facilitate this transition from discomfort to bliss by being an educator, motivator, and friend!

Radheshyam Miryala MD

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dil ki Awaaz – Shri Kamlesh Patel on Radio City Smaran

Kamlesh Patel, spiritual Master of the Sahaj Marg system of meditation and the current President of SRCM (Shri Ram Chandra Mission), shares his insights to help you lead life in a natural, simple and heartful way, balancing the material and spiritual aspects of existence.

Starting from 18th January 2016, this programme will be broadcast every Monday and Thursday at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (IST) for eight weeks on Planet Radio City. Please visit http://www.planetradiocity.com/devotional/radiocity-smaran at this broadcast time to listen to Kamlesh D Patel talk.