A Journey, inwards10, Mar, 2013, by Seema Bhatnagar
India has been known as a spiritual country since ages. She has taught spirituality to the whole world. The concept of realizing God and getting enlightened discovered by our revered sages and masters, is absolutely an unparalleled concept in this world. Our great sages have spent their lifetimes to understand and experience self and gave a science in the form of Yoga, which is the greatest gift so far to humanity for wellbeing.
Generally, there are very few people who understand the clear difference between spirituality and religion. As per common understanding, anybody who is religious is spiritual also, to some extent it sounds true but, actually, this is not true. Spirituality is a different realm altogether and it is not bound to any particular religion. Religion is more about practising guidelines and beliefs while spirituality is more about diving deep inside and reaching to the core of self. Of course, this is purely my understanding and not written anywhere or validated by any authority.
Personally, I find religion very narrow in approach and it creates insecurity and superstitions in people while spirituality is a journey inwards with no guidelines or conventions, purely individualistic and experiential, once again, it is purely my definition, based on my own experience. Somewhere, seven eight months back if somebody had asked me what is spirituality, I would have answered very confusingly, rather I had no answer, because I had never experienced anything, based on which I could remark what it means by spirituality. Deep down, I was desperately searching for the true meaning of spirituality and to experience something about which I have no idea.
Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by spirituality. I am a born Hindu and in Hinduism the concept of spirituality is intricately woven in everyday life. Though I do not practice Hinduism on everyday basis and do not go to temple but I embrace some of the practices quite dearly. My home environment has been very religious and my parents have been practising Hinduism since I have started experiencing life. My father is no more but my mother and siblings practice Hinduism by following certain daily rituals.
By the way, I am popularly known as an atheist in my family and nobody expect me to do any ritual or practice etc. Some 10 years past, I used to worship and pray to God every morning as a ritual but slowly I realized that it is simply a ritual and nothing more than that and moreover, I was not able to experience anything inside as it became a part of routine. It was not that I had some heart breaking experience which made me to stop following anything religious. It was simply my understanding that following rituals and practices does not mean believing in God. The idea was, I wanted to have my own way and conventions of following and seeking God.
Since some last 12 years I have been reading about spirituality. I was mainly reading Osho and some other eminent personalities of spiritual world, like Dr. Deepak Chopra, Swami Parmahansa Yogananda and read whatever I could grab in order to develop my own understanding and definition of spirituality. I explored science, metaphysics, philosophy or any religious books (Gita, Mahabharat, Quran) in the hope of understanding and experiencing something. But every book I read or lecture I heard never left any impression but left some questions unanswered and the same quest of experiencing something remained inside me. But surely, reading all those books, made me intensely clear about what I want to experience. I wanted to experience more of practicality than pure philosophy and wanted to know how spirituality can change our thoughts and life without becoming Buddha or Zen. Indeed, a very simple statement, but it took me years to reach to this level.
A new Dawn
Continuing with the same quest, somewhere 8 months earlier I was as usual going through books and websites when I incidentally stumbled upon a website which had an embedded video of Sadhguru (Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev) as he is popularly known, in which he was talking about living the best of personal potential. I found it quite interesting as I am always after something which talks about human growth and potential. This grabbed my interest and then I listened more and more of his videos and it felt as if his and my thoughts are simply one and we are completely aligned. Some three years back, my friend who follows him suggested me to attend his lecture in Delhi but I politely refused thinking myself perfectly comfortable soaked in my own thoughts about spirituality and quest for experience. I remember, my friend, she often used to comment that my and Sadhgurus' thoughts are quite aligned and I must see him once. I am not sure if it was my arrogance or just the plain determination to follow my own way which never let me think of meeting Sadhguru.
But this time on finding my thoughts perfectly aligned to him after listening his over 200 videos on YouTube and reading more about him, I felt convinced that he is an open minded person, practical with a touch of modernity and does not believe in any particular religion and helping millions to harness personal potential. With this thought in mind, I started following Isha and started practicing Isha Kriya by reading instructions on the website.
As said by Sadhguru, "Isha kriya is a Yogic practice which if followed can bring some changes which can touch our thoughts and results in inner peace and harmony.". So it was very closely matching to what I wanted to experience from spirituality. With this thought in mind I started practicing Isha Kriya with required discipline and dedication and kept a log of my everyday feelings and thoughts. When I started it, I was not at all influenced by any dominant thought that I must experience something by doing it. I simply started it without any expectation. To my surprise, after a month or so, I started feeling changes in myself, in my body, thoughts and overall outlook about life. I experienced more openness and fearlessness in my attitude and thoughts. This made me desperate to see Sadhguru in person.
After subscribing to Isha Newsletter, I came to know that in the month of January, there would be an Inner Engineering program where Sadhguru himself would come to initiate people in another powerful yogic kriya called Shambhavi Mahamudra. So I instantly reserved my space by making required payment and attended 3 days (Jan 18 - 20, 2013) Inner Engineering program. Attending this program had given me altogether a new dimension to experience. Since I was already practising Isha kriya, doing Shambhavi has added more benefits as it is more powerful than Isha Kriya.
There were more than 3000 people who came there for Inner Engineering program. After having conversations with fellow attendees I realized that not all of them would be able to experience benefits from the program, only those who already had achieved certain level of discipline and willingness to step themselves up experientially will be able to make use of this opportunity. Had I not attended that program I would have missed the great experience of life. It was only my quest to experience something higher, which helped me to experience this. Now, on every day basis I enjoy the heightened experience of wellbeing and dive deep inside the other dimension which is not available otherwise.
I offer my heartfelt gratitude to Sadhguru for his grace. Doing this kriya has really made me energetic and I have stopped feeling exhausted and do not feel sleepy easily. Anger has to really try hard to overcome me. My sleep quota has reduced remarkably. As my day is full of physical (brooming, moping, dusting, washing, caring for plants, pet, walks, meetings) and mental (researching, reading, writing, marketing and communication) activities but I do not feel any exhaustion rather it feels as if I have not done much and can do more, that too with more joyfulness. Now, I can say more confidently, that I will be able to maintain same level of health and stamina till 80 years of age or till I am alive.
My quest for experiencing something has got fulfilled and the practicality in philosophy is also answered by Sadhguru. This was possible because I was steadfast about the fact that I cannot accept, follow and believe anything unless I experience something inside me. In fact, this is the whole philosophy of Sadguru, he makes it a point that you must not believe anything until you experience it. Also, there is no religion involved and it is purely Yoga which brings a transformation in an individual. With all my questions and concerns answered I am a more satisfied being now and have a better definition and first-hand experience of spirituality.
In my own words and experience, spirituality is that subtlety that can only be experienced by an individual and it is indescribable. Doesn't matter how many books you read or listen to spiritual talks but the real spirituality lies inside you and that can only be experienced by you, with your own keen efforts and intense desire.
What I have experienced recently, is just a beginning of spiritual experience. It is said in spiritual realm that the more you experience the more you get addicted to it and this addiction only will take you to the inner most core of self which is a centre of abundant bliss where everybody wants to reach. Not sure, when will I reach there but now I know quiet confidently that I will definitely reach there.
What for you?
As per common understanding, people have notion that if somebody is spiritual s/he tends to become ascetic and will leave worldly pleasures. Well, it is not straightforwardly true, this is a very extreme state of spirituality and only few fortunate can reach to that stage, because it takes immense amount of perseverance, dedication and austerity in personal life and it is not everybody's cup of tea. So, if this fear is holding you back then think again. If you really want to experience your true self and want to experience continued state of joyfulness then you must think at least once to give it a try. Especially, in these times when stress, anxiety, anger, rage and aggression have become part of blood, it is more than ever necessary to check inwards what is that which is causing this pollution and how it can be controlled at earliest.
Before you start doing any spiritual exercise, it is important to clear up your mind with all the biases you carry against spirituality, only then it is meaningful to pursue, because it is not like an antibiotic pill which if taken twice a day will make you alright in 6 days course. Develop patience and dedication in your routine to incorporate it and time will surely help you to experience your inner beauty.
Those of you, who are already on their path of spiritual development, it is worth giving a try to Isha Kriya, which is freely available to all on the Isha website. Give yourself some time and you might also experience some changes which you might have never experienced before. Well, you never know how one particular experience may open a window to another dimension which you have never experienced so far. For this, I have my own favourite quote:
You never know which action of yours becomes the greatest opportunity of life. So always keep yourself in action. ~Seema Bhatnagar