What is Sahaja Yoga?
“At the very outset we have to understand that truth is what it is, we cannot conceptualise it, we cannot organise it and we cannot use it for our own purpose. Moreover, with the blinkers on both the sides like a horse, with all our conditionings, we cannot find the truth. We have to be free people. We have to be open-minded people, like scientists, to see for ourselves what is the truth. If somebody preaches something, professes something, says something, it is not to be accepted blindfolded.” – Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Sahaja Yoga is a meditation technique developed by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi that involves the awakening of a subtle spiritual energy known as the Kundalini which lies dormant in the sacrum bone at the base of the spine in three and a half coils. The word ‘sacrum’ is derived from the word ‘sacred’, which suggests that this is not new knowledge. Sahaja means ‘born with you’ or ‘spontaneous’ and Yoga means ‘union with the divine’. The gentle awakening of this Kundalini energy and the inner journey of Self-discovery is known as Self-realisation or Yoga.
Those who have received Realisation are known as ‘realised souls’ or ‘dweejaha’ in Sanskrit, meaning ‘the twice born’. The awakened Kundalini rises up the spinal column until it reaches the limbic region of the brain from where it flows gently through the top of the head at the fontanelle bone. Even more remarkably, once awakened, the Kundalini can be felt coming out of the fontanelle bone as a cool breeze or cool vibrations (chaitanya). These cool vibrations can also be felt on the fingertips and on the palms of the hands. It is very important, at this point, to understand that we actually feel these sensations on our central nervous system. It is for this reason, that Sahaja Yoga cannot be referred to as a blind belief. On the contrary, it is an experience and a scientifically provable phenomenon. In the same way that all human beings can feel the heat of the sun’s rays upon their skin, all human beings can feel the cool vibrations and can experience Sahaja Yoga in the same way, if they approach it with an open mind. In the Gospel of John, Christ makes references to both the cool breeze and the need for second birth as documented in the New Testament. Furthermore, Christ says that “We speak of what we know” (John 3:11) which clearly indicates that spirituality is an experience on our central nervous system and not a blind belief:
"Truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus replied, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again?" Jesus answered, "Unless one is born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. "Do not be amazed that I say this to you. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit...Truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony” – The Bible - New testament, John (chapter3)
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still.” - Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching, verse 16
The Indian scriptures contain many references to four principal states of human awareness, which are described as:
- Jagruti – the waking state of consciousness.
- Swapna – the dreaming state of consciousness.
- Shushupti – the state of deep sleep in which the mind, the ego and superego are still
- Turya – the state of super consciousness beyond the mind.
The first three states of awareness are commonly experienced in our daily lives. The fourth state is the state of thoughtless awareness or ‘Nirvichara samadhi’. This is the state in which the constant rising and falling of thoughts in the mind comes to an end. At first a gap begins to appear between the thoughts, this gap is known as ‘vilamba’. As this gap grows the thoughts diminish and, with the regular practice of meditation, the mind enters readily into thoughtless awareness and becomes still like a lake without any ripples on it and a deep inner peace begins to dawn upon our awareness. When there are no ripples on the water of a lake, its surface becomes almost invisible as it reflects the beauty of the landscape around it - the trees and the sky and clouds. In the same way, the still mind reflects the beauty of the creation and melts into the bliss and the peace of the divine.
“Now, instruction in Yoga (Union). Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to What is Sahaja Yoga the mind. Then the seer dwells in his own nature. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thoughts.” – Patanjali - ‘Yoga Sutras’
“Enjoyment is only possible when you are beyond your mind. With your mind you can never enjoy. It’s like a big load. It will not act, it will not help. Enjoyment comes when you are in complete silence - in a rippleless lake. The reflection of all the joy that is created on the shores of that lake are completely reflected, they are not deflected. If there were ripples it would have been a different image altogether and would have been something nowhere near the image of reality.” – Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi - Italy, October 1st 1995 In the state of thoughtless awareness we think neither of the past nor of the future. We are entirely in the present moment, in the state of ‘being’ and do not waste the precious moments of life thinking about times that are finished forever or yet to come. We start to enjoy our Self, our Spirit, our own inner beauty and the beauty of creation. We start to enjoy ‘being’.
We are able to enjoy the singing of birds and the scent of flowers at a much deeper level as we are no longer bombarded by the meaningless mental chatter that assails our awareness and pollutes our attention, distracting us from the simple joys of our existence. In this state, we start to feel the vibrations of our chakras and our surroundings (and the effect of our behaviour and lifestyle) on our fingertips. Also we feel the vibrations in either the presence or absence of our inner joy and peace. As a result we spontaneously and naturally, gradually change ourselves and our environment so that we maximise the joy, both for ourselves and for those around us. Shri Mataji has described this as ‘innate religion.’
"The Self, which is in fact the Lord and which is called ‘I’ because it abides in the body, is different from the physical and subtle bodies. ‘I am that Spirit. I am without attributes, actionless, eternal, ever free and indestructible. I am not the body which is ever changing and unreal.’
This is called Knowledge by the wise." - Shri Adi Shankaracharya
Sahaja Yoga is about experiencing, not believing
Our growth in Sahaja Yoga lifts us to a higher level of consciousness. It is a natural and spontaneous process that gently transforms us from within, enabling us to manifest and express positive human qualities and to enjoy the peace and the bliss of life described in the ancient scriptures. Sahaja Yoga is an inner revolution that brings about the transformation of human beings into spiritual beings who gradually manifest sublime qualities of compassion, generosity and detached, unselfish love, and who live in a pro- found state of bliss and inner peace. It is a living process and a gradual transformation of our awareness and not a mental projection, nor the conception of a human mind. Sahaja Yoga is not a cult movement that grows big overnight and then collapses like communism or hippyism or any other ‘ism’ that we believe in one day and then denounce the next day, when we have seen that it is, in fact, falsehood. In the same way that a seed sprouts, then grows from a small shoot into a mighty tree, Sahaja Yoga grows both individually and collectively in an entirely natural way. Sahaja Yoga is today a spiritual movement of global proportions. People from more than 100 countries around the world, from all age groups, and diverse religious and social backgrounds are united by their experience of the same inner joy and peace.