I am a radiologist from Bengalooru. I have been following your website and read a few books also and i have found the practises ascribed by you quite genuine. I would like to start my journey on this path. Kindly guide me as to how I should proceed. My interest is in attending “The Power of Five Elements” and “Nadishodhan” and how would I know that I am doing the processes right?
– Dr. Radha M.
The question has asked pertinent questions like a genuine seeker seeking guidance and since my answer to her questions would enlighten many other seekers therefore i have taken the liberty to reply it here on the blog. It shall be more helpful if i choose answering some unasked questions that will help every reader.
REFRAIN FROM “SPIRITUAL SELF-MEDICATION”
It is quite common a scenario in today’s time where thousands of overly enthusiastic spiritual seekers choose the practices themselves based on their own liking and inclinations.. the only teacher they have is Guru Google. In fact the role of any spiritual teacher is like a doctor, vaidya or hakeem who would first assess your inherent tendencies, strengths and weaknesses etc. before prescribing you some medicines. You being a doctor yourself would agree that self-medication is not only dangerous but can be fatal too. People follow this in case of physical health and well being but fail to recognize and apply the same principle while dealing with their spiritual health. Only a spiritually healthy individual can reach the highest experience of ‘self-illumination’ and not the one who has worked against oneself by virtue of ‘spiritual-self-medication’.
It is sad state of affairs but not all the blame can be put on the innocent seekers because there are some obvious compulsive factors that push then in such self-destructive behaviour; ignorance, lack of self-study, falling prey to marketing gimmicks etc. However the biggest contributing factor is unapproachable spiritual teachers for even if someone wishes to speak with or take guidance from a spiritual teacher one only lands up being more frustrated as their mails/questions etc. never get more than system-generated auto-replies. Hardly a single popular teacher (popularity has a formula – having Million+ followers on Twitter and Youtube) is available now a days to listen to the queries of a person who is just about to begin his/her journey. So what happens at the end is that person joins a programme or chooses one of ‘the best Gurus’ in virtual space.
READ AUTHENTIC BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT
Having avoided the ‘spiritual-self-medication’ one must try to read authentic literature at home. Authentic literature is the one which you tag as scriptures. Find out the original books on the subject you are attracted to and duly read them. For example if you want to pursue the path of Yoga, read books like Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gherand Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Goraksh Samhita, YogaChoodamani Upanishad etc. For Tantra you have volumes of scriptures on the subject, such as Spanda Karikas, Pratyabhignya, Shiva Sutras and many many other books such as Bhagwad Gita, YogaVashishtha, Shiva Purana, Saundarya Lahari etc. etc. Such books are the original source of information on the subject serve as the foundation stone for personal spiritual journey.
One thing must be remembered that such reading may not always clarify your doubts rather create more confusions but being informed of the subject is better than not. Also an important rider I would like to place here : Read everything but do not self-experiment! You must not start experimenting. Picking up practices (even if you find them easier than expected) from these books is most likely than not going to worsen your situations and damage mind-body-energy systems beyond repair. So having acquired authentic information (views of different founder teachers) on the subject, now more confused than ever what should a seeker do then? Approach a teacher for clarifying your doubts and showing you the right way.
A TEACHER’S ROLE – PROVIDING PERSONALIZED, NEED-BASED AUTHENTIC PROCESSES & PERSONAL ATTENTION
There is no challenge in finding the best today. Just Google, Lo & behold! A great and famous teacher pops up. The syberspace and social media will give you thousand clues each day about whom to go for but for sure it is extremely difficult job to find a teacher who is available to help you personally. So do spend quite some time in this search. Knock 100 doors, wait for the answers to come, stay patient and hopeful for genuine efforts never miss in paying back. With my personal experience I can tell you that There are great teachers waiting to be approached by sincere seekers so while it may take time but if you stick to your search keeping the criterion of personal attention and authenticity close to your heart your callings are definitely going to be heard.
It is equally your own responsibility to cross-check and verify the authenticity of teachings offered and lineage of your Teacher for it is quite possible to find yourself landing in a great campus of a celebrity teacher who himself has never been a disciple. Here your being informed (by virtue of your scripture reading) comes to your rescue. Frankly speaking, the Guru Lineage is of utmost importance – in fact the Indian spiritual code of conduct demands us to have a teacher or Guide on the path of God (Even avataras like Rama and Krishna had to accept some or the other contemporary Rishi as their Guru) by the same logic how can we choose a Guru who has never practised discipleship. Such a person probably wouldn’t understand the challenges of a disciple for he has never been one. If you don’t understand what I mean, I would encourage you to experiment and come to your own conclusions.
Another thing that comes to the mind of a seeker – Should I accept someone as my Guru on my first meeting? People can’t and probably should not make someone their Guru on day 1 for it takes time to get accustomed to and comfortable with the peculiar ways of teachers. So if someone does that in hurry (takes one as Guru in his first meeting) then sooner or later he/she is most likely to abandon his/her Guru in hurry. Compatibility is the key word here!
So spend some time learning from the teacher you have zeroed on. Focus on the quality of teachings and their coherence with the theory you have already read. Focus more on what opportunities of selfgrowth your teacher offers you on the meditation/yoga mat than off the mat. This is important because many at times it is observed that teachers push their students to overly focus on Seva (service) projects and promotional aspects.. if that happens the students mostly forget their real agenda of self-realization due to the limelight, ego-pampering and recognition received in their being the leader of a project or presentor etc. While Seva and other such things do play their role in self-development and self-discovery but indulgence is the greatest spoiler. The key point is to stay watchful of such distractions and keeping yourself focused on ‘Real Goal’ of being a student of spirituality.
You start your journey as a student but then if everything moves well by the grace of Mother Divine in natural course of time your ‘Teacher’ may become your ‘Guru’ and you ‘The Student’ becomes a ‘Disciple’. It happens when you repose your 100% faith in your teacher. Story of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa exactly reflects this.
ANSWER PERTINENT TO THE QUESTIONER BELOW
Read further only if you are sure you too have the same question as Dr. Radha.
Beloved Dr. Radha, Now since you asked for the guidance on where to begin then my answer shall begin with an exercise for you…
IDENTIFY – WHICH CATEGORY YOU BELONG TO
In fact it has been close to two decades since Ma Shakti Devpriya and I started serving and assisting people in their search for excellence. As an extension to our endeavours ‘The Shakti Multiversity‘ platform caters to variety of students worldwide through our different empowerment programmes and workshops. No chest-thumping here but only as the context of our observations.
What we have observed that there are still categories of so called seekers. Some people have issues in their lives such as finance, health, relationship etc. and they feel spiritual practices can come to their rescue. They come only to mend their material lives. We have many programmes for them – for example Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya, Swar Vigyaan, Prachya Prateek Vigyaan, Tattva Shakti Therapy, Dharna, Power of Five Elements, Solar Power Therapy, NadiShodhan, Personalized Mandala Reading etc. This group has a clear goal in mind mostly concerning with getting relief and strength to tackle their life-issues they are facing. Choosing to further explore their inner world ONLY after they get relief. This category generally does not seek ‘The Truth or God’. It is not in their priorities however we must appreciated them for their clarity on what they want.
Second category is of those who are hungry for information. This group wants to know everything in the world a category of info-gatherers. These people keep hopping from place to place, teacher to teacher only to satiate their itch. Some students of this category are ambitious to become teachers themselves and they hope to do so by collecting info from here and there. Whatever be the case such students find it hard to settle with any practice or Teacher for long as their drivers are different. Further they not only lack in patience but also find themselves helpless.. to their deep rooted inquisitiveness. Such students are seemingly quick learners of theory but lack in application. As teachers we do our best to serve them. We give them enough information knowing fully that not one but even hundreds of multiversities will probably not suffice to feed to their thirst for Avidya (knowledge of words). (smiles)
PATH FOR SERIOUS AND SINCERE SEEKERS
In hindi/sanskrit a true Guru is called Sadguru (Sat+Guru=Sadguru). Sadguru is one who facilitates your journey to Sat (Truth). Every journey has some or the other types of milestones to indicate you are on the right path, that you are doing your processes right. When you are on a journey and milestones don’t seem to move opposite to the direction of your travel it means you aren’t moving. In spiritual journey although it is somewhat difficult to share the milestones in advance due to some obvious reasons but a tiered system of practices wherein your individual progress is evaluated by your teacher periodically and then if found eligible you are given a higher practice/process is definitely far better than getting a ‘Single practice for Life’ (for all). Such systems of practice ensure the students are evaluated from time to time and also there is more of student-teacher interaction. You must find out if despite tiered system existing no periodic evaluation is done by your teacher and there is absence of real-time (as and when required) guidance, it should be treated as red-flag.
If there’s sincere desire to discover inner bliss and one wishes to learn with us at ‘The Shakti Multiversity’, we induct that individual in Tattva Shakti Vigyaan. In brief, this tiered system of tantric practices has III levels and you are inducted at Level – I (Pratham Koti) and make progression from Level-I to II and likewise. After each level the practitioner is evaluated for the eligibility for higher practices. Once Triteeya Koti (Level – III) Sadhana is successfully completed to the satisfaction of Guru, the practitioner is given few chosen practices and rituals (depending upon his/her orientation, inclinations and capacity) and when siddhi in this final practice is seen manifesting, the Krama-SriVidya Sadhana or Vama Sadhana begins and practitioner is formally initiated in corresponding sacred lineage (Guru-Shishya parampara).
This is a continuous process, all the while (during these three Kotis) every practitioner has complete freedom to connect and seek guidance from us. In this enriching journey practitioners get many opportunities to strengthen their spiritual makeup. Every festival like Navaratri, Purnima, Amavasyas, Sankrantis and Shiva ratris they are given some practices to be performed. You get to attend long residential retreats where Ma Shakti Devpriya ji and I personally interact with you and teach so many other processes around healing, empowerment rituals and applied Tantric principles.
This should be more than enough for you Dr. Radha.
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath