Sahaja Yoga – A Unique Discovery
by Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, 1979
The beautiful article, A Unique Discovery was written by Shri Mataji Herself in 1979, and appeared in a magazine called “Yoga Today”, which does not exist any more. The image shows what it originally looked like in the magazine.
MAN in his search of joy and happiness is running away from his Self, which is the real source of joy. He finds himself very ugly and boring because he doesn’t know his Self. A human being seeks joy in money or possessions, in power or human limited love, and ultimately in religion that is also outside. The problem is how to turn one’s attention inward. The inner being, which is our awareness, is energy. I call it the energy of Divine Love. All evolution and the manifestation of material energy is guided by the supreme energy of Divine Love. We do not know how powerful and thoughtful this unknown energy is. The silent working of awareness is so automatic, minute, dynamic, and precious that we take it for granted. After self realisation, this energy appears to us as silent throbbing vibrations flowing through our being. But we have been unable to achieve self realisation because we cannot fix our attention on something that lacks form (abstract Being). Instead, our attention wanders outside on forms.
Now there is a method to tap the Divine power – Sahaja Yoga. At the very outset, I have to say that the working of Sahaja Yoga is very simple, although the operation within is quite complex. For example, if you want to watch television, it is very easy. But to explain the engineering technique of a television set is very difficult and the explanation is complicated. To learn about a television you also need a qualified engineer who understands it and who can explain its working.
I will try to explain Sahaja Yoga in the simplest way, but please note that it is really complicated if you want to know it in detail. The best way to enjoy television is first to switch it on and watch. Then later you can try to understand its engineering. As a Mother I would say that I have done the cooking for you. Why should you worry about how it is done? If you are hungry you should start eating. If you are not actually hungry, but only inquisitive, what can I do? I can neither force you to eat nor make you hungry with discussions or lecturing. I leave it to your wisdom and to your freedom to feel that longing.
SOME BACKGROUND ON SAHAJA YOGA
The word ‘Sahaja’ (Saha + ja) means born with you or inborn. Whatever is inborn manifests without any effort. Hence Sahaja Yoga is the name given to my system, which is effortless, easy, and spontaneous. It is a part of Nature, you may call it life’s source-the vitality of the Divine.
To understand life, consider the case of something that is living: a germinating seed. The seed grows by itself into a tree, blooms into flowers, and then the flowers become fruit. Any human effort cannot change the process of growth from a seed into a tree. The gardener can only look after the growth of the tree. In the same way, the process of the growth of our consciousness, to further evolution, takes place effortlessly.
When a foetus is between two and three months old, in the mother’s womb, a column of rays of consciousness, emitted through the all-pervading Divine Love, pass through the developing brain to enlighten it. The shape of the human brain is prism-like. So, the column of rays falling on it gets refracted into four diverse channels corresponding to the four aspects of the nervous system.
1. Parasympathetic nervous system
2. Sympathetic nervous system (right)
3. Sympathetic nervous system (left)
4. Central nervous System (This need not be discussed as it is the link with objectivity).
The set of rays that fall on the fontanel bone (apex of the head known as Taloo) pierce in the center and pass straight into the medulla oblongata through a channel (Sushumna). This energy, after leaving a very thread-like, thin line in the medulla oblongata, settles down in three and a half coils in the triangular bone at the base of the spinal cord (Mooladhar). This coiled energy is known as Kundalini.
The subtle energy enters through the center of the brain (Sahastrara Brahmarandhra) and precipitates six more centers on its way down. The gross manifestation of this subtle energy, in the Sushumna channel of the spinal cord, is termed the Parasympathetic nervous system. The centers of Chakras are expressed as plexuses outside the spinal cord. Surprisingly, we have the same number of plexuses and sub plexuses outside, as the number of Chakras and their petals inside, the spinal cord.
Medical science knows very little about this system. Science calls it the autonomous nervous system, meaning the system that works spontaneously-on its own. For example, if we want to increase the rate of our heartbeat, we can do so by exerting ourselves (activity of the sympathetic nervous system). But we cannot directly reduce the heart (activity of the parasympathetic nervous system). The parasympathetic nervous system is a system that is like a petrol pump through which the petrol of Divine Love fills us. But when a human child is born and the umbilical cord breaks, a gap is created in the Sushumna (the subtle channel in the spinal cord). And on the gross level, one can see there is a gap between the solar plexus and the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system. This gap is known as the void in the Zen system of religion and Maya (or Bhav- Sagar) in Indian thought. Later when ego and superego bloat up like balloons and cover our brain at the apex of the left and right sympathetic nervous systems, the fontanel bone calcifies, and the all-pervading vital force of Divine Love gets cut off completely.
Then the human being identifies himself as a separate entity and the consciousness of ‘I’ (Aham) presides. This is why Man does not know His universal unconscious. His ego severs this subtle connection.
The sympathetic nervous system uses the vital energy. There are two systems-left and right. The two channels, which carry this energy, in subtle form (in the medulla oblongata), are known as Ida and Pingala respectively. The right-side system (in the right-handed person) caters to the emergencies of the active consciousness (extra efforts and emergencies). The left-side system (in medicine they say it remains dormant) caters to the subconscious mind of the psyche (libido).
Both these sympathetic-nerve systems are called the Sun and Moon channels (i.e., Surya nadi and Chandra nadi). Hatha Yoga comes from the words Ha and Tha, meaning the Sun and Moon. By this yoga you can control the activity of the sympathetic; you can use more stored energy or else completely stop the activity of the sympathetic for a short time. Just by using the stored energy you cannot achieve the eternal flow of the Divine. With control over the sympathetic you can slow the heart rate or even stop the heart for a short time. You may achieve all the physical gross symptoms of the parasympathetic. But you cannot activate the parasympathetic which is the channel for your real yoga (meeting of the Divine). With Hatha Yoga you may even control your mind. But the mind thus governed is heavily conditioned for the spiritual flight into the divine. One may keep good health and good mind to be a good citizen in a society, but that is not the only aim of life.
THE CHANNELS OF ATTENTION
Both sympathetic and parasympathetic act on the plexuses, but in opposition to each other. The parasympathetic relaxes the plexuses while the sympathetic squeezes the energy by constricting them. One fills in the vitality and the other consumes it.
There is a gap in the parasympathetic nervous system (Sushumna) but no gap in the sympathetic nervous system (at the navel). This is the hurdle that has rendered all our searching-and entry into the parasympathetic-fruitless so far. It is like three ladders, two of them touching the ground while the central one is hanging in the air. So whenever we try to rise in our consciousness, we move on to the sympathetic system.
If we pass toward the right side we enter onto the activity that goes on bloating in the balloon of ego. Thus we feel responsible and active. When this activity increases beyond limits, like a growing tree whose roots are not equally grown, the being falls to the ground.
Over activity of the sympathetic nervous system causes tension, sleeplessness, and ultimately all deadly diseases like cancer. These diseases are caused by the constricted plexuses that have been drained of their energy. If you can make the parasympathetic dominate the right side, then we can antidote the effects of over activity. Then all the diseases and the effects caused by this right side get cured automatically.
The left side sympathetic nervous system (libido) has the power to store all that is dead in us. It connects you with store houses of the subconscious mind and with the collective subconscious (Bhootlok or Paralok).
At the backside of the brain, at the apex of this channel, the super ego exists like a balloon. It becomes heavy by storing, the conditioning of the mind through libido. So if the tension is heavy it breaks the superego into many fragments. If you still overexert by conditioning, a partial vacuum forms and this sucks another dead personality from the collective subconscious (Paralok) into your superego. So in your pursuit of truth, if you take to further efforts and indulge in concentration, training of the mind, forced abstinence, forced meditation, or complete slavery to the emotional attachment of the mind, the libido with the aid of the affected superego may connect you to the collective subconscious (Paralok) where all dead souls-bad, good, or saintly-exist. These souls start manifesting through you and you get siddhis or extra sensory perceptions. Actually these are the different subtle (dead) personalities dominating us through super ego.
There is another method that may be effortlessly employed by many so called teachers. This method, by which they turn the Chakra in the direction of the libido, can put you into your subconscious. This method either makes the aspirant go into a trance or accept the complete domination of the dead spirits introduced by the teacher through the plexuses.
In the first case, the Sadhaka feels relaxed, his mind is switched off. But after a few years of practice, he realises his weakness. He cannot face reality and takes to heavy use of drugs. In the second case, the aspirant becomes a complete slave of the teacher and starts giving away all material possessions to the teacher without understanding the logic behind it. These teachers never explain the technique they have employed, nor do they give their powers to anybody else. In short, all efforts in the name of religion, or the mishandling of Kundalini by so called realised people, can only activate the sympathetic nervous system (Ida and Pingala). These activities cannot make any progress toward bringing about the play of parasympathetic (Sushumna).
All mesmerize powers such as materialization power (enslaving masses for money or fame), visionary powers (Drishti Siddha), speech powers (Vani Siddha), curing powers, transcendental feelings (powers of switching off the mind), separation of body, and many other powers, are very ordinarily found among those who practice the control of spirits (Pret siddhi or Smashan Vidya). All such powers can be proved to be the powers of the dead in any one of our experimental Centers.
These are not Divine powers because the Divine has no interest in these gross subjects. It is interested only in the miracle of the inner being and its further manifestation to bring about human evolution. Thus those who indulge and use their attention (Chitta) on such ‘siddhis’ and those who run after such gross miracles find it difficult to follow Sahaja Yoga.
We have noted that when such people confront Sahaja Yoga, they start trembling and shaking like lunatics. If with very great difficulty such a person reaches the state of Self-realisation, he completely loses all interest in such powers and in their exhibition. He is freed of all extra dead personalities who dominated him.
There is no need to pass through the subconscious strata to jump the unconscious. The subconscious is an end by itself and one gets lost after entering its realms. These strata are placed vertically. The only direct way is through the parasympathetic (through Sushumna)-the central path that takes you to the Divine (the universal unconscious)-through Sahaja Yoga.
It is very dangerous to use the powers of the subconscious which may become uncontrollable and torture the practitioner and Sadhaka. Those who are temporarily benefited may suffer irreparable loss to body, mind, or grace.
THE PROMISED GOAL
All religions have promised inner silence when you reach the state of Self-realisation-the inner miracle of the subtle awareness and not gross jugglery. The Bhagavad Gita says that you become the witness (Sakshi Swarup) of the play of the Divine. Many modern thinkers are also talking about the new awareness. This has been described as ‘thoughtless awareness’ which results in collective consciousness. We hear of many prophesies made by ancient and modern writers about the evolution of a new race of super-human beings of unique awareness. These are no longer empty words. Through the discovery of Sahaja Yoga it is possible to achieve the transformation of the human consciousness to the higher planes promised by various seers.
The subject of Kundalini is no longer a matter of book knowledge. Now you can see, with the naked eye, the breathing of the Kundalini at the Mooladhara. You can feel the different Chakras in the spinal cord with your fingers. Formerly, bridging the gap in the Sushumna was the insurmountable problem. But it is being discovered that this gap can be filled with the vibrating power of Divine Love. The Kundalini rises like a majestic mother and breaks the apex of the brain (Brahmarandhra) without giving the slightest trouble to the child (Sadhaka). It happens in a split second, in the short spell between two successive thoughts. Of course, if the aspirant (Sadhaka) is diseased or his Chakras are constricted by over activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the Kundalini, being the Mother of every individual and the embodiment of love, knowledge, and beauty, knows how to reveal Her love beautifully and to give rebirth to Her child without causing any hurt. There are many descriptions about Kundalini warning us against the dangers and perils of the taming of Kundalini. Also many books describe various gross or frightful experiences of the Kundalini awakening.
Actually this is caused because Kundalini cannot rise without Sahaja Yoga, i.e., if someone, who is not Self-realised, tries to awaken Her, the Kundalini does not leave Her seat and, without the proper invitation, the Kundalini becomes adamant and angry. Thus the sympathetic gets into activity. When She is accused of sex, She sends heat waves over the sympathetic nervous system which causes the constriction or blockage of the plexuses and the path of the Kundalini is completely broken down.
Sometimes one gets into funny gesticulations or loses complete awareness of the outside. Moreover with mishandling of Chakras and Kundalini due to the ignorance or greed of the teacher, the chance of realisation for the aspirant can become very poor and sometimes impossible.
The mind that is very much conditioned, or the mind that is the slave of self-indulgence or of egoistic actions and thoughts, is also a very slow conveyance for Sahaja Yoga. Even if you read too much about the de-conditioning of the mind, you may get only further conditioned. If you try to de-condition by efforts, you can become conditioned much worse than what you were. De-conditioning is only possible through Divine Love. The main ‘condition’ of Sahaja Yoga is that your will and freedom are always respected.
In Sahaja Yoga the person is fully aware and alert and receives inner silence and experience without doing any unnatural movements. He sits in a completely easy pose throughout or he also may lie down (Sahajasana or Shavasana). The breathing is normal or less than normal.
Religions are also the expressions and experiments of realised souls-the seers. They also talk about the inner being, second birth, and about realization. In the beginning, in India, they tried to take the attention inside by introducing symbols that they saw of this unconscious, universal being within. This gave rise to pantheism and the aspirant’s attention got stuck to symbols (Sakar) and to rituals which killed the main objective.
So the other type of experiments of talking only about the abstract (Nirakar) gave rise to many other religions which ended up as dogmas or ‘isms.’ The reason is obvious. Talking about the flower or the honey cannot take you to the honey but can only create dogmatic ‘isms’ in the mind. You have to be a bee to reach there, i.e., you have to be reborn. This has to happen within to take you inside. It is too great an achievement and unbelievable, but I feel the search of ages has brought great results.
THE END OF THE PATH
The mind, with a child-like innocence achieves very quick results. Whatever may be the loads of the mind, if the longing is honest and earnest, sooner or later, the aspirant can get Self-realisation. After reaching this state the vibrations start emitting from the extremities. These are described by Adi Shankaracharya in his work ‘Ananda Lahari.’ These vibrations are the waves of Divine Love that can fill also other persons’ inner being and give them the same experience of Self-realisation. This is how the chain reaction starts. One light enlightens another.
The physical manifestations are as follows:
The pupils of the eyes become dilated (Parasympathetic action). The face becomes radiant, the body becomes light, all tension is completely removed. The rising of the Kundalini can be seen by others and felt by the aspirant. First the throbbing is clearly felt at Sahastrara (apex of the brain) and when it stops, complete silence is felt within and in all awareness. The flow of grace is felt coming down, cooling the whole being. As the attention moves to the subtle, gross attachments drop out. A person gradually loses identification with falsehood and artificiality.
In matter, he sees beauty and not its possession value. In knowledge, he identifies himself with the Truth and is not afraid to profess, nor does he indulge in the double standards of life. His flow of love becomes spontaneous, generous, without any tinge of attachment, possession or any return. The person becomes ageless-a hollow personality.
Now let us see what happens inside.
The attention of the consciousness moves to the inner being (Kundalini). As the thread (Sutra) of a necklace is passing through every bead of the necklace, the inner consciousness (Kundalini) is also passing through every human being.
As soon as our attention moves to our inner consciousness we can move on to everybody’s Kundalini. One starts feeling the Kundalini, its nature, its position in other persons. Collective consciousness is thus established. Now you become a universal being. After some days you cannot say who the other person is. The power of love is so great and dynamic that with the movement of your fingers you can move the Kundalini of thousands. It becomes child’s play.
This is how the en masse evolution of human beings will take place. These are the signs of the advent of the Golden age of Truth (Satya Yoga).
Let us forget whatever hardships we have suffered in our search in the past. It does not matter if some could not find it before this. You have to open your mind and understand that though the discovery is unprecedented, it does not make any seeker or predecessor small. If some experiments are made, it does not matter if, ultimately, we have found out the way. It is a collective achievement. Perhaps in the chaos of Kali Yoga it was to happen and many of us, who have been earnestly searching in many lives, are reborn to have their promises fulfilled by the Divine. Maybe we were our own predecessors.
On the tree of life there might have been very few flowers but now the blossom time has come. Their fragrance of longing has collectively materialized the manifestation of Sahaja Yoga. Many are going to jump into the realm of thoughtless awareness where you get introduced to yourself and start identifying with your universal nature.
Those who deserve will get the throne of their inner being which rules the skies of peace, and the oceans of divine love and supreme knowledge within, which is limitless (Anand).
H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi