Radio Falmer Interview. University of Sussex, Falmer, near Brighton (UK), 25 October 1982.
Phil Ward: Sahaja Yoga Program for Radio Falmer to be broadcast on the 25th of October 1982.
Five, four, three, two, one…
And this is Phil Ward presenting a look at Sahaja Yoga, a new method of natural meditation through awakening a spiritual energy laid into within each of us called Kundalini. Some quite astonishing claims have been made for this yoga and the effects it has on people’s lives. People have eligibly been cured of various illnesses and addictions and some pretty miraculous seeming transformations have been wrought. The University Sahaja Yoga Society will be holding its inaugural meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, 26th of October, at seven o’clock, in Refactory, level one. And there you can find out for yourself whether its claims are true.
Apparently they’ll be giving realization at that meeting and it’s all free. I went to London to interview the leader of Sahaja Yoga, Mataji Nirmala Devi, and we’ll be presenting that interview later in the program. Meanwhile, I talked to the organizer of Sahaja Yoga on campus, Jason Copeland, to find out how Sahaja Yoga had affected him and to get an idea of what it’s all about.
Jason, you are a mature student, studying international relations in [?] in, during your…?
Jason Copeland: …first year…
Phil Ward: …your first year. Tell me, did you have any religious inclinations before you came to Sahaja Yoga?
Jason Copeland: None whatsoever. I was brought up a Catholic when I was a child which put me off for religion for good I think. And I spent most of my life organizing revolutionary activities of various sorts, mostly latterly housing co-ops. And I don’t think really I had any attitude about God, except that a scientific training in school gave me the attitude that if I didn’t know for definite, it didn’t exist. I ought to keep an open mind just to the possibilities. I did have some idea that there was something in Eastern mysticism to be discovered and a few years ago I looked at one of the gurus that was going around then and spent six months trying his alleged meditation. And I found it was such a load of pernicious rubbish that now put me off trying further for another ten years. So really after I had done that I had absolutely no inclination to look at anything religious or mystical at all and I was just concerned with constructing some sort of revolutionary way of making conditions for people on the planet a bit better than they were.
Phil Ward: So, after all that, what brought you back to seeking God?
Jason Copeland: Failure. I found that in trying to organize people that there was a built-in problem that people however much they strove for collective action and collective sharing a vision, it just didn’t work. The disintegration of the left in the 1970s depressed me enormously and when the conservative government came to power the newspapers were full of nuclear weapons every day. I just got really freaked out at the object mess the left that got itself into. And it seemed that no efforts at organizing among people was having any success at all. I got into a very big state of despair and I found myself out one night, although ostensibly I didn’t really believe in God, I just found myself yelling out, “God, if you exist, help!”
Phil Ward: And did God help?
Jason Copeland: Well. Yes, it seems like that’s what happened because a couple of weeks after that I met a friend who have been ringing me wanted me to meet her new spiritual teacher. And I went round her place and I was sat down in a chair in front of this photograph of Mataji Nirmala Devi and I was taught to put my hands out, palms upwards and not to think of anything. And what I felt was absolutely astounding. The, what I know now to be the Kundalini came rushing up. I felt a great cool breeze in my hands and suddenly all the appalling anxieties that I’ve been carrying around for years just sort of evaporated and my mind was, in the old [?] phrase, completely blown.
Phil Ward: And you felt, “This was God”, did you?
Jason Copeland: I was absolutely certain of it. The tremendously powerful feeling I’ve got when the Kundalini came up, left me in no doubt at all that this was a physical experience of the spirit. I mean there’s just… It wasn’t anything imaginary. It wasn’t a mental trick that went on it. It was a very physical thunderclap. And you could feel this immense breeze and this sensation of energy coming out of the top of your head. And it just seemed to me that there’s only one way that that sort of thing could happen. And it’s not by any form of trickery. I mean it’s only… if there is a God that you could get that sort of tangible internal process happening. It wasn’t only that. It’s that when, when I did feel the spirit coming up, it was accompanied by an absolute mind shattering certainty that this was God, that after all God did exist and that God’s energy does pervade the whole of creation and is in fact manifested in everybody as the form of life within us. And that the theories of all the Eastern mystics in fact were absolutely true. You can get in direct touch with this and have a sort of realization as the Buddha had. It just blew my mind completely that here I was and this thing happening to me. It still blows my mind because it’s happening every day [laughing].
It’s just amazing, I can’t describe it. The only thing I can say is that “Just don’t believe what I’m telling you. Don’t believe anything I say. Try it for yourself.” And it’s extremely likely that if you have sufficient desire to want to try it, then the same thing will happen to you. And if it feels good to you and you feel this strong spirit and you feel at least the possibility that there is energy behind all the creation in the universe and that you can actually feel it and integrate with it and weave its vibrations and its laws of operation into the very stuff of your life… You know, if you get that feeling, then, “Great, you’ve got it.” It’s not an effort. It’s not something that you do by learning a lot of theory and then striving to put into practice, striving to implement. It’s just, it’s a totally natural fountain within you that comes up and literally quite magically if you let it, if you become aware of its subtle gentle functioning, then all you have to do is refrain from putting obstacles in its way. And in its own gentle fashion it’ll sort of push you in the right direction and reveal to you the ways that life becomes so gentle and loving and easy when you don’t actually try.
Phil Ward: Does everybody have such a dramatic experience as you had?
Jason Copeland: It seems to vary immensely with what sort of state the individual is in when you approach the experience. It’s…, if you’ve been poisoning your liver, for example, with a lot of alcohol, or dope, or whatever, then your attention is actually going to be somewhat impaired. Liver, being the seat of the attention and the source of putting your concentration on anything at all to that extent if your liver is damaged, than your awareness, your attention will be less. And that chances are you have a slightly less dramatic experience. Also with smoking, smoking damages another spiritual centre, a chakra, called the Vishuddhi at the throat. And that’s the place of which the nerves from the hands join the spinal column. And if you’ve been a very heavy smoker of tobacco or anything else, then that centre will be numbed and a bit desensitized and you gonna get some impaired functioning there. So it really depends on the overall condition of your physical body and your spiritual body that you bring to the experience. That said, I think most people get a pretty definite experience during their first acquaintance with Sahaja Yoga. It can be very gentle. It’s not always as dramatic as that. And often it’s only perhaps a few days afterwards when people have walked away from the experience and then they look back on it and they realize that during that time they felt a peace and a mental quietness and a very blissful feeling of being at one with the whole universe, of sharing the same spirit with everybody else and again I do reiterate this isn’t a mental trip. It’s a definite feeling, it’s a gut emotion.
Phil Ward: I’ve heard that experimenting with Kundalini can be dangerous?
Jason Copeland: Absolutely, can be extremely dangerous. And if you manage to raise the Kundalini at all, it could put paid to your chances of getting proper realization at any point in your lifetime. Various spiritual charlatans of various times have evolved alleged techniques of messing about with people’s Kundalinis. I mean this jumping up and down and sitting in peculiar positions and all sort of tricks that people put about. But in fact what most people, what sensation most people get that tried these things is they get a very hot feeling, a very burning feeling at the base of their spine and they then think this is the experience they’re after. But in fact that’s not the case. If you get a hot burning feeling at the base of your spine, it means that the Divine is angry because you’re messing about with it, when you are not authorized to and you’re doing wrong things with it. In fact the only way that Kundalini can be raised is if you do know what you’re doing and if you’re connected to the source of the knowledge of how to raise the Kundalini. And then, when it comes up, you don’t get a hot feeling at all. You get a very cool, very nice feeling.
Phil Ward: Could you tell us about how much it costs to become fully trained in Sahaja Yoga?
Jason Copeland: Nothing, absolutely nothing. Every aspect of Sahaja Yoga, every stage of the training – well there isn’t really stages of the training, it’s just an organic process – but every bit of it is given away completely free. I mean, look, this is a – the basic test of what’s real and what isn’t in spirituality. How can a human being make a profit out of God? I mean the very idea is completely blasphemes, it’s obscene. The one thing you can be sure of in seeking is that if any alleged spiritual teacher is charging money for it. Then it’s not real, it’s bound to be fake. I mean it’s… It’s as absurd as trying to pay a tree money to produce apples out of its flowers for you. If it is the spirit, it’s nature. It must be natural. It must be something that’s within your body, that you were born with if it has anything to do with God. I mean… What does God know about money? Is God interested in money? God existed long before humans did [?] money. So what’s God gonna be interested in money for? Now the whole idea is completely absurd. We give it away completely free, anybody who wants realization, anybody who wants to learn how to meditate, learn how to keep themselves clean, learn how to become one with God, it’s totally free.
Phil Ward: In your posters you say “Become your own guru” – what does this mean?
Jason Copeland: It means the most staggering thing about Sahaja Yoga and the other index by which you can tell whether or not it’s true spirituality and that is quite simply. That once you have your own Kundalini raised, once you’ve been given realization, in the very next minute you can give it to somebody else, you can pass it on. Once you’ve had your spirit awakened, you become a guru and you become able to pass on the enlightenment to the next person, to anybody who wants it. So you become exactly as spiritually powerful as our teacher is. Straight away you feel where your chakras, your spiritual centers are on your own body and you also feel correspondences is in your hands. Each fingertip and one or two other parts of the hands represents, corresponds to a chakra on the body and you can feel from tingles and various other sensations what is the spiritual condition of your chakra system and indeed what your physical condition is. You can diagnose physical illnesses just by reading the tingles and various other sensations in your hands. And you can also do exactly the same with that mechanism of the sympathetic nervous system for other people by turning your hands towards other people. You can read what their physical condition is, what their spiritual condition is, what illnesses they’ve got, what they’re thinking, what their emotions are. It’s absolutely astonishing. You can read people like a book.
Phil Ward: That’s a very astonishing claim.
Jason Copeland: Well, all I can say is, “Don’t believe a word of it. Try it out for yourself. Come along tomorrow night. Test what I’ve said.
And if you feel those sensations and if the suggestions we make can help you make sense of it then you know that I’ve been telling the truth. That’s all there is to it. Just try it.”
Phil Ward: Jason Copeland, thank you very much.
Phil Ward: The founder of Sahaja Yoga is Mataji Nirmala Devi, wife of the distinguished United Nations diplomat based in London. And last week I talked to Her at Her home for Radio Falmer: “Mataji, what is Sahaja Yoga. Could You describe it?”
Shri Mataji: The “sahaj”, the meaning of the word “sahaja” is, “saha” means “with”, “ja” means “born”. It is born with you, “sahaja”, means it is spontaneous. It is a living process. As whatever is born with us is also very easy. In the same way, it also means it’s easy, it’s simple, spontaneous. For example the breathing mechanism within us is born with us. So it is spontaneous. We don’t have to read books about it or put any effort. In the same way it’s effortless. You cannot do it through your metal projection. And “yoga” means the union with the Divine. And union with the Divine is to be understood through the technique of yoga. So it also means “technique”. It means the union and then the technique of the laws of the Divine.
Phil Ward: Would it be possible, Mataji, to describe Sahaja Yoga or yoga generally as related to man’s evolution?
Shri Mataji: This is the only way now human beings can evolve into their higher realm of collective consciousness or what you call Self-Realization where they become the self, the spirit. It is said in all the scriptures that you are a spirit but you have to be born again. So there is something that is lacking in this human life, in this human awareness. And this human awareness has to be enlightened by the light of the spirit. But how to do it? We think that by reading, by talking about it, by thinking about it, or by crying for God, or worshipping God we can get it. It’s wrong. It’s a living process. Just like a seed sprouting. Just like a primule coming out of the seed in a living way. In the same way there is a Kundalini within us, a power, a residual power which is actually our primal desire, the power of primal desire which manifests this happening. She’s sleeping there till somebody who is the authority or has a capacity to awaken it. Like the Mother Earth has got the capacity to awaken the primule in a seed. Nobody can do it. Even if you try to read the whole of Bible, the whole of Koran before a seed, it will not sprout.
Phil Ward: Could you tell us, Mataji, if there are any links or comparisons between Your teachings and scientific discoveries?
Shri Mataji: It’s absolutely related between each other, science and Sahaja Yoga, as a shoot is related to the root. You see, you just see the shoot which is there, you see a flower. You say, “All right, this is a flower. Now it has got a corona, it has got a chalices, it has got petals.” But from where does it come? How does it come? Science doesn’t answer certain questions. It says, “It is so. It is here. This is it.” But it cannot say how, why? These questions can be only answered if you go to the root of it. And Sahaja Yoga is the one which takes you towards the roots, while science takes you towards the shoot. And now you have done quite a lot of research and understanding on the shoot’s side. But if you have to go to absolute, then you have to go to the roots to find out why these things are there. For example you say “There is gravity.” But how? Why? How gravity has come in there? How will you know there is gravity? So all these questions can be answered once you become the spirit. Otherwise in this human awareness you can only know what you see and what is there. To this your organs which are very grossly sensitive I should say. They have to become subtler.
Phil Ward: Could you tell us a little about Sahaja Yoga benefits on ordinary persons in everyday life.
Shri Mataji: Now you can imagine that if all that what you see is the shoot and if Sahaja Yoga gives you the roots, then all the benefits that are possible can manifest through this. First of all, you become collectively conscious. Means that you start feeling you are collective. Not mentally, emotionally but you really feel on your fingertips that this is the problem with you and this is the problem with others. The centers that are within you, the subtle centers you start feeling of other people within you. So other person doesn’t remain. He becomes you, part and parcel of you. This is the biggest advantage, I think, when we talk of all these things that “You are my brother, you are my sister” – it’s all artificial. This is a very big thing that happens to a human being. I think personally that is the greatest enlightenment that we need. But the others are, personally you get your physical, emotional and mental problems solved, absolutely solved. You get your peace. You get your blissful existence. Then what remains is nothing but love. Because this is the power of love of God which manifests through you and you start feeling this vibrations flowing through you which is the power of God. So what you feel is real love which doesn’t take anything, which just gives.
And I cannot in this short interview give you all the A, B, C, D’s of the advantages, but they are so innumerable you become a transformed person. If you ask a bird “What is the gain of becoming a bird rather than an egg?” So the bird will say “It’s easy to answer this question in one sentence that egg has no existence at all while I have an existence”. Or in any way you cannot explain this in such a short thing.
Phil Ward: There are nowadays many cults and sects and groups that claim to give enlightenment in some form or another and often they seem to charge very large amounts of money for it…
Shri Mataji: Hmm.
Phil Ward: …or demand a lot of strange practices. Could You briefly tell us Your views on some of these cults?
Shri Mataji: You see, by God’s grace you have lots of brains which you use for scientific purposes and also you must use your brains even for spiritual purpose in the way that you must first of all reach right conclusions, must reach right conclusions. With your brains you must reach right conclusions what you are seeking, what are you to achieve, what should happen to you? You must reach right conclusions. Once you have reached the right conclusions, then you will be surprised to find out that there is some sort of a living thing that has to happen within you which Christ has said “To be born again”, or we can say in Sanskrit is called as “Atma Sakshatkar”, or say in the Koran it is said “You have to become the Pir”. There are so many people who have talked about it, tried. Especially Mohammed Saab has talked about the resurrection time, resurrection time. And in the resurrection time He has talked that “When you’ll be resurrected, then your hands will speak”. I mean He has given a right indication as to what should happen to you. Then we have got great psychologists like Jung who have talked of collective unconscious and all those things.
We have to find out from there that we have to reach a certain type of an awareness. It is something that should happen to our awareness. As human beings, we have an awareness which is higher than the animal awareness. So we have to reach an awareness which is higher, definitely higher than what it is today, minimum of minimum that should happen to you. If it is not going to happen, then all these nonsensical ideas that you can jump, or you can swim, or you can fly and all these ideas – that you can do otherwise also. And if these things appeal to you and you think by that you are going to improve, then it is not the mistake of your fate but is the mistake of your not understanding.
I feel in the West people are extremely naive and they don’t understand that a guru whose life itself is a parasitic life is not at all a life which can be called righteous. A guru who has interest in your money and interest in your women, this kind of a base personality, how can he be guru? ‘Guru’ means a deeper personality. ‘Guru’ means ‘depth’. And if a person calls himself a guru, he should have some depth. How can he take your money? He’s a parasite out and out, no doubt. But we are used to this kind of a thing because we have seen in all so called religions also, people take money. They live on the earnings of God’s name. You cannot. You cannot take even a single pie in the name of God whether it is a church, or a mosque, or a temple, or any place. Alright, if you have to pay for the church building it’s alright, but you must have your own work. You shouldn’t work in the name of God and make money out of it. This is a simple thing, absolutely simple. But human beings cannot see simple things. That’s the trouble. They are not so simple to see simple things, I think.
Phil Ward: Might I finally ask You, Mataji… Many people are seeking happiness in many different ways in the world. Is it true that, well, would You say that Sahaja Yoga really satisfies all these different sorts of seeking by different people? Does it really give people what they are seeking?
Shri Mataji: You see, under illusion man thinks that. Sometimes he thinks that he wants money, sometimes he think he wants power, sometimes he thinks he wants emotional help and all that. But actually that is what human beings think that “Perhaps this will give us happiness, that will give us happiness”. But you know the economical laws are such that wants in general cannot give you happiness or satisfaction. It’s written. They are not satiable. It’s accepted by economics. So these things that we think of do not give us real joy. Happiness is a thing that is perishable. Unhappiness follows happiness, again happiness comes, unhappiness comes. So a man is dwindling between these two stages of so-called mythical enjoyment or a mythical unhappiness.
But there is something like absolute joy and that emits through your spirit. But if you do not go for your primal desire, the only desire for which you are made, to be one with the Divine, all other things cannot give you the joy. Because that’s the primal in you existing and if you do not pay heed to that, you cannot be happy.
But I must say that everybody doesn’t have the seeking. They do not have. There are some people who are really of a very deep nature only who have seeking. Most of the people are seeking something else, nonsensical. And those who are also seeking God are so much misled. But doesn’t matter. They are born with the seeking because this they had for years and ages. And those people who have no seeking at all I don’t know what’s going to happen to them because time is very short and they must do something about it, to find out why they don’t have any seeking. How are they satisfied with these mundane things and useless transitory things of life? If they can see around, they can find out that all the people who are supposed to be very successful are extremely dominating, or extremely unhappy, or funny type of people. So why do all those things which are of no use to us? Instead of that if we become the spirit, we solve all the problems on every level, on social, economic, on political, on spiritual level, all problems are solved and thus the whole human race will be saved because it is on the brink of destruction now by its stupidity.
Phil Ward: Your Holiness Mataji. Thank You very much.
Shri Mataji: Thank you very much. May God bless you.
Phil Ward: Well, we’ve heard the claims made for Sahaja Yoga and I must say that during both of the interviews I did feel a calm and the sense of coolness playing about the fingertips. It made me wonder. But you can find out for yourselves tomorrow evening at seven in Refactory, level one. And if you want any more information, you can find Jason Copeland who’s organizing Sahaja Yoga on campus via [?] Pigeon Holes or at 62 Park Village. Or if you’re off campus, you can ring the Sahaja Yoga Centre in Brighton on 561 847, again that’s Brighton 561 847.