Recently we came across some relevant questions a from an otherwise brilliant and dedicated practitioner who suddenly discovered a kind of ‘relaxed contentment’ ranging around the associated feeling “what’s the need of these practices and whether sadhana needs to be continued in it’s present form?”. Added wisdom was “If all is ‘I’ and about what’s happening within then all one needs to do is – Just be and whenever required to make choices, should choose love and forgiveness!”
Well, the way a person thinks or perceives things tell a lot about the personality that is. With the knowledge of Tattvas you all know that each person is unique and it is also true that the way you look at things, others may not. The choices are guided by one’s Prakriti. When you came to Tattva Shakti Vigyaan you all made varying choices in your life, sang in different notes, responded in your uniquely different ways and had ‘your way’ of looking at different aspects of life. And.. And you were handed down a discipline that most of you started working through, taking baby steps but meticulously..
Well, It’s time you all collectively revaluate your current state and you’ll be surprised that most of you would agree on many of the below points –
- You find yourself less concerned about the past and future as the present becomes more important to you.
- You find yourself in more harmony with your thoughts and emotions and able to detect incoherence sooner or later.
- Your perception towards life has changed, and you mostly see the world in an unbiased way. If not while the ‘Action’ is on then almost immediately after that.
- You are aware of the truth that Ma Bhagwati, the Shakti that governs the universe is all around us and ready to help us.
- You find yourself relatively more peaceful and in the times of inner conflicts, worries or fears the inherent inner light shows the path and brings clarity much sooner than before.
- You give importance to the compassion and how easy it has become to truly empathize with your own people and others.
- Many of you have moments of realization of your being a part of this cosmic presence.
- You, have developed the acceptance of death albeit the fear of it may not have been completely gone.
- You may no longer feel driven towards material pleasures of life.
- You mostly feel surrounded with nothing less then a state of positivity, and improved feeling of well-being.
- You, through our divine exchanges have developed a wider perspective so much so that trivia no longer bothers you. Anything and everything apart from spirituality has become trivial.
- You get highs of contentment where you acknowledge what you have and appreciate it deeply.
- You long for de-limiting yourself, and with some amount of success have expanded your identity beyond your body and family.
- You feel a moderately heightened sense of responsibility and kindness towards others.
- Some of you find joy and solace in nothingness realizing happiness, calmness, or quietness comes by doing nothing at all.
Great Progress made! Magical it may seem but it all happened by dedicatedly working on Prana, Tattvas, Nadis, Chakras, Upattikas, Vayus and making ourselves aware!
Question is is this ALL that we aimed for through Sadhana? Is the journey over? Have you arrived? Can you just relax and drop your ‘practices’ or is there ‘more’ to do? To answer that we must know what are different stages of Enlightenment; Although even a Tantra practitioner, who very well knows minimum of 7 layers from Ahamkar to Shuddha Vidya should never be confused about different stages nevertheless when for the first time the joy of nothingness and non-doing is experienced – stepping up the ‘Active Sadhana’ seems completely redundant! No surprises here..
There are more than 11 stages to the final salvation, I won’t be discussing them all but broadly the first Five cognizable stages of spiritual awakening that one encounters while being engaged in the discipline of Sadhana:
The First Stage of Awakening:
The first stage is when you are able settle your emotions, material fears, relationships and feel relaxed and calm in your given surroundings. Things that are naturally spontaneous feel more satisfying thus sexual drive may increase and sensitivity may also be heightened. Some people may contest how increased sexual desire is sign of spiritual ascension. In fact the in the beginning of the first stage these things happen quite naturally because of some kundalini activities and the practitioner is more present in everything what he/she does. In fact in this phase sex may become a means to some deeper inner experiences instead of bodily ones unlike before.. Most dedicated of the practitioners reach this stage in almost 9 months to 18 months. It is that state where one quietly lives in the present without worrying much about future or dissipation of energies in mulling over what happened in the past. Sometime ‘beginner’s luck’ is activated (this happens due to one’s similar sadhana of previous lifetimes) and one may witness some miracles as well. All this happens if the practitioner is able to overcome the doubts about the path for this is a crucial stage. Handholding on the part of teacher is needed in this stage yet despite all sorts of supports many monkey-minds fall prey to their old habits and wither away.
Depending on one’s progress Masters would add some more practices to fine-tune and deepen the Sadhana so that one is able to move to the next stage.
The Second Stage of Awakening :
In the second stage, there is qualitative improvements of the first stage, sexual drive is lessened. Even apathy and boredom may surrounds in the beginning. However if you keep yourself continued in Sadhana soon you feel motivated to go even deeper in your experiences of what there is. If handled amicably following the teacher’s advice hereon your ambitions turn inward. You feel distant to people but you may still connect with the environment around you like ‘just being there’ albeit with more clarity about others. You may have this tendency of labeling others as ‘spiritually inferior’ and may even get little critical, thinking “how can they be so ‘ignorant’. Mind you this is not purely intellectual judgement. It is much more than that and its joyous evaluation however with a sense of separateness. The second stage is generally achieved by best of the practitioners in 2-3 years but doubts still persist for monkey-mind is not fully under control.
And Sadhana continues..
Third State of Awakening :
Third Stage helps you get more self-aware. The judgements of second stage turn inward and now while connecting with others you feel mild sense of compassion. Here ‘others’ are still in two categories – Others and Our own. The feeling of compassion naturally varies depending on which category of others you are dealing with. Mostly you feel in sync with your surroundings and your teacher. You feel a deeper connect with your teachers/Guru and feel their divine presence. You complain less, get over your distress-responses quickly and feel quite content with whatever comes as a result of your endeavors or idleness. One may find joy in the most trivial things in this stage, and you may also have momentary glimpses of losing yourself in the nature or practices. Although there’s no fixed rule but most of the practitioners who report solo orgasmic experiences is during this stage. As I said there’s no fixed rule rare cases of orgasmic experience may be reported even during first or second phase but their recurrence is attenuated due to their state of shock, fear or desire for more.. anyways. In the very stage an increased sense of self-awareness ignites a some deeper sense of knowing and a characteristic contentment. Further in the last leg of this stage one gets the the experiential wisdom of truth’s availability within.
This renewed wisdom may come in the way of Sadhana as for the first time one understand the God, the source of Sat-Chit-Ananda that was perceived sitting somewhere up in the heavens or secret hideouts is very well within. This feeling of God is in me roughly (wrongly and out of ignorance though) gets translated to I am God! This is the first critical stage where samsakaras of a million lifetime come to surround a practitioner. In many practitioners the typical feeling at this stage is – What is the need of Sadhana, worship, prayers and chanting if there’s no existence of God other than me?
Transparency is the key. An honest seeker approaches the teacher describing the issue at hand and a clever Guru knows what is to be done in such cases and comes to rescue. If Guru has taken a right decision it doesn’t take long for the disciple to once again recognize the need of discipline, prayers, Sadhana, Yoga and those practices which made such marvelous progress and Sadhana continues..
You realize that you are not the body and Sadhana continues..
Rest of the Stages of Awakening :
The fourth and fifth stage of Sadhana if described in public, will do more harm than help so I would not give out details but for sure in these cognizable stages one may find extended periods of oneness with the cosmic presence. Turya stage comes for sometimes and goes. In these stages and even beyond the practitioner needs to continue with the Sadhana as directed. In these (4th and 5th) stages of awakening you don’t feel connected or in sync with the things around you, instead you have glimpses of being one with them but… but the Sadhana continues for there are exactly same number of steps beyond before the monkey mind is completely transcended.. The journey is from Samanaa to Unmanaa.
Some of you may be tempted to ask is Spiritual Awakening a gradual and slow Process?
Well, mostly it is! In a way it’s pace can not be graduated or calibrated because some may cross these stage real fast, while others, it may be a life-long journey and for some others it may be journey of many lifetimes. Buddha has clearly defined how a person can reach the ultimate state of consciousness in terms of lifetimes. There’s a stage of consciousness if touched during Sadhana one will need only 7 more births. Another stage if touched one requires only 1 more birth. Yet another stage has also been defined wherein after death the person is born but in ‘Brahm Loka‘ and becomes free after completing his journey. Lastly there is this golden opportunity as well – where you can get liberation during this lifetime itself.
All our efforts are to be Sthiti-Pragnya (stable intellect that is rooted in dharma) and in full control but you would observe yourself to be like a flame that is swaying in different directions. Most practitioners walk on the path of Sadhana like a drunkard, no fixation on goal – two steps forward one step backward… occasionally falling down too. One moment you are in ‘it’ and the next out of ‘it’. At certain junctures, you may find yourself at the higher stage of awakening, but on other occasions, you may find yourself being overcome by fear, anger, doubts and self-conflict. It is also a fact that the distractions will keep appearing as one struggles to stay in control amidst all the drift. The resolve to stay on the path, total faith to the guardians of the path is critical for the true battle is to get back to the point where one got distracted from and start seeking the truth again.
I have heard a saying that says “A true traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving”. The Spiritual travelers must also keep a slogan “A true spiritual traveler always has fixed daily plans but is never intent on arriving.”
with Ma Shakti
– Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath