The awakening and synthesis – INTRODUCTION

The awakening and synthesis – INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION : Awakening and Synthesis
I was an intelligent, sharp, sarcastic, vitriolic, self centered as well as irreverent person. Hailing from an ordinary middle class family from Mumbai, without any special advantages of neither birth nor education, all the while struggling to make two ends meet. Fortunately, my family was not very religious and I was neither exposed to “God” nor pious thoughts and books. I was an atheist, examining everything from a rational and logical perspective, all the while searching for any smallest opportunity to mock at the belief of others. It was my practice to wait outside temples as my wife or mother would go inside, observing the faithful and feeling amused at their illogical foolishness.
I was reasonably active during the Emergency in 1975, fighting for civil rights against the government, but soon afterwards, I got disillusioned with politics and withdrew into a normal routine life. But at the age of 42, I once again got involved in public life, working with various NGOs on governance issues. Poverty, deprivation and injustice to the poor were bothering me a lot. I would weep often while crossing Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, looking at the state of the poor. I kept of hoping and praying for some power to improve their lives.
The awakening
Since childhood, I was suffering from Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and when I read that one of the major causes of IBS was stress, I decided to sit in meditation to reduce stress. It was probably on the fourth day of sitting in meditation (Feb ’03) that began a series of intense, life transforming spiritual experiences that changed the course of my life. From the bottom of my spine, I felt liquid energy surging relentlessly to the brain every few seconds while coiling round the spinal column. The rapid movement would end with a white liquid light entering the head with a roar again and again. This became an incessant and overwhelming movement like a hungry, roaring snake rushing up. These strange inner energy currents inside my body were intense and like nothing that I had ever heard or experienced. This was the beginning of my new life at the age of 44 years.

I later found that it was a rare evolutionary phenomenon called “spontaneous Kundalini awakening”. What was accidently or spontaneously aroused was the mysterious Kundalini force, that secret power-reservoir in the human body, that has the potential to achieve higher consciousness  The mind was in turmoil and the desperation to understand and to validate all that was happening was all-consuming. It was a precursor of amazing changes and events in my life and had a tremendous impact on my life, thoughts, feelings and my complete existence. The prolonged enlightenment led to some major transformation taking place in my body, in my feelings, heart, mind and thinking, almost a discontinuity from the past. 
Kundalini awakening

Were this experience and the subsequent transformation real? Could these be part of a hyper active, overworked mind? Could some scattered reading or hearing added up in the subconscious mind and played a mind game? Never having read religious books, articles or exposed to these subjects – it was surely not an end product of a trend of thought, nor was it an intellectually arrived conclusion. So how credible was this worldview? I needed to be sure that this was real. I was obsessed about finding out and I was worried for I had no control over these constant currents rushing inside me.

The awakening soon led to serious biological problems and endangered my health and mind as my body started experiencing tremendous heat, with my eyes blood-shot red and body feverish all the time. To control the heat in my body, I was forced to learn ayurveda, acupressure, meridian and chakra cleansing, as I tried to manipulate the hypothalamus to cool the body, but to no avail. Then, one day I discovered that I could heal people by touching them, laying my hands on the areas where there was pain and inflammations thus opening some of their physical blocks. That allowed me to reduce my energy as well as serve the ill and needy. I started healing many people, but soon stopped the practice as my energy was getting disturbed due to touching patients. Eventually, over a period of time, I slowly learnt to live with the currents in my body, modifying its effects and learnt methods to cooperate with the biological changes that were being brought about in mind and body.
Just like a woman’s body has the potential and capacity to become pregnant and bear children, similarly every human has the potential to arouse this evolutionary energy called Kundalini. The arousal of Kundalini has been designed by nature to create a new physiological activity in the body in which the upward flow of the energy occurs spontaneously leading to more and more regular supply of energy to the brain. This constant energy flow to the brain leads to enhanced consciousness, intelligence, wisdom and sensitivity, thus creating a new personality.  
But more than the physical, the need to intellectually understand this occurrence was desperate and I was being sucked into a vortex of compulsive meditation, especially during the nights. I would sit in automatic meditation for hours on end with the foremost question in my mind of “What is this?” and “Why me?” Unswervingly, all the time examining the findings received by subjective knowledge of meditation and reflection by using the blazing searchlight of logic and reason to sift the real from the illusion. It became an obsession and while my meditation kept me awake nights after nights, my reading gave me comfort of precedence and familiarity. 
As mentioned in earlier blogs, my family was not too religious. This irreligiosity coupled with my irreverence, made me question all tenets and beliefs. In my earlier avatar, I sneered and mocked all rituals, symbolisms and dismissed all derivatives of a dogmatic religious system like astrology (jyotish), tantra, mantra, sadhus (saints), yantra, bhakti    ( prayers) etc. As I delved deep into a desperate attempt to get answers to my experiences, I found that all the answers were available in the same books – the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagwat Gita, and the Manu Smriti that I was once rubbishing. The answers were available in the various practices and life of saints that amused me. And to my everlasting surprise, everything that I used to sneer at started making perfect sense. The yagna that I used to laugh at was absolutely sensible. Astrology, Vastu, Prayers, Mantras, Idol worshipping, Temples, touching feet, wearing ornaments, satsangas all these and more that I used to make fun of, was perfectly logical, scientific and sensible. My ignorance had become my imaginary shield. I, foolishly and childishly had equated the charlatans and fraud of the practitioners to the knowledge. It is akin to rejecting Hinduism, Islam or Christianity’s knowledge, depth and truth due to the action of a few fanatics.
I knew that the picture of reality I had arrived in my vision was not unique and that it had been proposed and experienced by numerous mystics. While it was critical to understand and validate the Reality for myself, it was equally necessary to share my experience and vision. But, it could not be just an assertion – it would not hold any value or credibility for me or for others. The best way to understand this Reality was by exploring it scientifically – by forming verifiable theories based on inference and testimony – most definitely not by freezing it on basis of faith or religious dogma. 
The synthesis
Till the sixth century BC – Greek, Indian and Chinese philosophers professed that science, culture; philosophy and religion were not separated but an indivisible one. Then the Eleatic worldview of the west started prevailing with assumption of a Divine Principle standing above all Gods and men. This principle eventually led to an intelligent, personal, benevolent God standing above the world and directing it. Thus began the separation of matter and spirit and led to the dualism in western thought.

The dualistic religious movements in the west along with the Eastern religiosity consisting of various Gods, their messengers and their books created a worldview where humans were only connected directly one-to-one with the creator and sent to the world for various purposes – leading to claims and counter claims of superiority, proselytism (religious conversion) and competition leading to violence, strife, wars and tremendous unrest and indescribable horror and misery.

In the seventeenth century, philosopher Rene Descartes proposed the ‘Cartesian’ division of nature as two independent realms – the mind and matter. Modern scientists started seeing matter as dead and completely segregated from themselves and the world as materialistic, working on principles of a Monarchical God. This view has led to huge advances in the field of science, technology, organizing of cities, political structures, medicines, agriculture, and economy and similar. But due to this worldview, individuals started identifying themselves as separate mind and separate body parts with the futile expectation of the mind trying to control the separate compartments of talent, feeling, beliefs, and individuality leading to endless inner conflicts generating confusions, stress and frustrations.

Rene Descartes
The inner fragmentation mirrors our alienation from nature and from our fellow beings treating natural environment as separate from us and therefore to be exploited by different interest groups. This fragmented view is further extended to society which is split into different nations, races, religions, groups and political entities leading to the present ecological, political, social and cultural crises.
In an allegorical reference, someone wrote that 300 years back the mystics told the scientists to find the building blocks of nature (smallest particle that can be multiplied to explain creation). The scientists started going deeper and deeper from the molecule to the atom to the sub-atom to hadrons, mesons, baryons, nucleons etc. It was Heisenberg’s theory of uncertainty and further experiments of quantum physics that made them understand that every particle in nature is connected to each other. The scientists bowed their head to the Vedic world view of “vasudeva kutumbikam” (everything is part of the family).
So, after 300 years of the attempts of the scientists, it is probably time for mystics to explain the comprehensive Indian Knowledge System using the language of science. Coming from a non-religious background, I did not want to believe that it was God who ordained all that was happening to me. I started reading and studying material science and it was in quantum physics that I started seeing the synthesis between my experience and science.
While the mystics spoke about the same realization as I did, their journey and observations were taking place in inner realms, inaccessible to the ordinary senses, and in a language, foreign to most. While I could accept the Truth as espoused by them, the task should be basically to provide explanation of phenomena as well as investigation of the true nature of things – not depending on evidence given by mystics nor books nor scriptures, but to provide a cogent exposition, depending on reasoning and insight.

Quantum Physics

That led me towards Quantum physics and I discovered to my great relief that quantum physicists had come to many of the same conclusions about reality that I arrived at, only working from a completely different direction. Words cannot describe the joy that I experienced at encountering these strange and wonderful ideas offered by modern physics. Although I was confident in my own thinking, I had come to feel quite isolated in my strange view of reality. While many of my meditative thoughts found its reflection in quantum theories, I have no doubt, that the balance realizations would also be understood over a period of time. If I was born a century back, when classical physics was predominant, none of these validations that we find in quantum physics could have been possible, so it’s been my great fortune to have been born during these exciting times.
Therefore I started studying the parallels and interconnections between the energy dynamics as explained in quantum physics and spiritual writings on one hand and modern discoveries in neuro-endocrinology, genetics and the nervous system, on the other. 

While I did read many scriptures and religious writings of various religions it was only in the Hindu books, particularly Tantra, Vedas and the Upanishads that I could find the interconnections between the three – my realization, the new discoveries in science and the scriptures / sayings of the mystics.
So, my doubts assuaged about the “experience” and understanding of the physical and other changes continuously happening within me, I needed to be sure that my experience was not singular but based on plurality of experience.
 These blogs are an amateur’s attempt to synthesize spirituality and science.
The validation
Lahiri Mahasaya

Some of the reading that I found resonance and in a way, solace, were spiritual experiences by saints and yogis of all faiths and god-intoxicated souls. While the hindu spiritual tradition of spiritual awakening is well known and documented in the Ashtavakra Gita, some of the other faiths also mentions these spiritual awakenings eg. the Gnostic Christianity of direct, individual mystical experience of the divine, the Sufi tradition in Islam and many others. The rising spirit that I had experienced had a theoretical echo through a non-intellectual and cognitive process called “kundalini awakening” in hindu world view, the “holy ghost” in the Christian tradition and the “rooh” in Islam.

So, while the scriptures and tradition confirmed the presence of this kind of occurrence, I still needed validation of the experience and impact by reading personal accounts of those who had experienced this awakening. Most of the descriptions that I read, resonated with my experience and the doubts started dispelling and I became convinced that what had transpired was “reality”. 

For example, Lahiri Mahasayaji described his first experience” My divine guru approached

and passed his hand over my head. I entered the nirbikalpa samadhi state, remaining unbrokenly in its bliss for seven days. Crossing the successive strata of self-knowledge, I penetrated the deathless realms of reality. All delusive limitations dropped away; my soul was fully established on the eternal altar of the Cosmic Spirit “

Paramhansa Yogananda
I empathised as I read Paramhansa Yoganandaji describe his spiritual experience “My body became immovably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some strange magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from my every pore. The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense awareness, I knew that I had never been so fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body but embraced the circumambient atoms. The roots of plants and trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned the inward flow of their sap. The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously all-perceptive. My body, Master’s, the pillared courtyard, the furniture and floor, the trees and sunshine, occasionally became violently agitated, until all melted into a luminescent sea; even as sugar crystals, thrown into a glass of water, dissolve after being shaken. The unifying light alternated with materializations of form, the metamorphoses revealing the law of cause and effect in creation. An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. Blissful amrita, the nectar of immortality, pulsed through me with a quicksilverlike fluidity. The creative voice of God I heard resounding as Aum, the vibration of the Cosmic Motor.”

Osho describes his first mystical experience “For the first time I was no more an individual, for the first time the drop had fallen into the ocean. Now the whole ocean was mine, I was the ocean. There was no limitation. A tremendous power arose as if I could do anything 


whatsoever. I was not there, only the power was there. I was relaxed, I was in a let-go. I was not there, “it” was there, call it God – God was there. I would like to call it “it”, because God is too human a word and has become too dirty by too much use, has become too much polluted by so many people. Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, priests and politicians – they have all corrupted the beauty of the world. “It” was there and I was just carried away….carried by a tidal wave.”

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev on his first enlightenment “I was just sitting on this particular rock. I had my eyes open, not even closed. I thought it was about ten minutes, but something began to happen to me. All my life I had thought this is me. Suddenly, I did not know which is me and which is not me. The air that I was breathing, the rock on which I’m sitting, the atmosphere around me, everything had become me. What is me has become so enormous, it is everywhere. I was fully aware, but what I had considered myself until that moment had just disappeared.” 

There are many similar descriptions, be it Eknath Easwaran’s description of the spiritual awakening of Mahatma Gandhi in jail, or about Sri Aurobindo’s transformation vide his mystical awakening in the British Jail, or St Francis Assissi and his life-altering spiritual experience which led him to a change of heart and change of life, while being imprisoned after a battle and many, many others.

Article by Mayank Gandhi

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