The great 20th century master Sri Aurobindo said ‘It is open for mankind to become awake to more profound depths and heights within himself. As he does so- new worlds open up and become the field of his experience.
More recently, another great teacher- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought to the world the Transcendental Meditation technique and the TM Sidhi Programme, which are capable of doing just that.
I would like to begin by sharing an article to illustrate my own experience of this, which was published by the Sanskriti Magazine and India Divine magazines:
Maharishi was right when he said: ‘it is possible to become enlightened in a single lifetime, whilst raising a family and pursuing a career.’
I learned TM in 1968, which was invaluable in giving me ideas to make my lessons interesting and also inspirations for poems. About eleven years later I learned the TM Sidhi programme. Both were invaluable and made my life very pleasant.
However, probably the most momentous thing happened to me on the 20th February 2001 but the peculiar thing about it was that I knew nothing about it until quite recently.
My trip to India was very much like my desire to learn TM. It was initiated by my inner guide. I wasn’t thinking of going anywhere. I was enjoying the quietness of a week long retreat in a TM academy in Suffolk. In the middle of one of his brilliant explanations about Maharishi’s knowledge – Alistair, our teacher – added an aside saying he was taking a group to the Kumbha Mela the next February.
Whilst he returned to his explanation, I received a strong inner prompt for me to go. There was no sound this time but its meaning was absolutely clear. I immediately signed up for it afterwards.
During my time in the TM movement I learned quite a lot about both Maharishi and the time he spent with his guru Swami Brahmanand Saraswati. The latter often said “I feel sorry about anybody who hasn’t got an ishta devata.”
I hadn’t a clue about what this meant until I went to the Allahabad Kumbha Mela in 2001. It is held there every twelve years because Allahabad is the sangam
– the confluence of the three holy rivers – the Ganges, Yamuna and the Saraswati. It is believed that it is here that Lord Brahma performed the fire sacrifice that began this particular cycle of creation.
On my first boat trip down the Ganges – I was overcome with emotion – crying, laughing, while chanting spontaneously in Sanskrit without a clue of what was pouring forth from my lips – nor for that matter – what was going on in my pocket!
Indian philosophy cites that the names of these three rivers also correspond to the three main nerve channels in the human body. The sangam of these three major nerve channels is the Ajna centre – often called the third eye located deep behind the forehead.
Later that morning, I was sitting in the hotel lounge writing my diary, when my room-mate arrived and introduced himself to me. He was anxious to relieve himself of his luggage and have a shower after a long car journey. He asked for the key to our room. Without looking, I felt in my pocket and gave it him. His eyes opened wide in surprise!
He was staring at a badly mutilated, exfoliated key-ring – minus the key. I apologised and gave him the key. He went to the desk, held up the offending object and asked for another. Even our knowledgeable guide was unable to explain this strange phenomenon – but he said that it must have been a strong burst of spiritual energy that had caused it to happen.
He was right! The very next day was a pivotal day in my life, which I will never forget. We visited the famous Hanuman Temple. The central and most ornate part of the temple was dedicated to Lord Hanuman – the monkey god. I was still hovering around the Ram and Sita altar to the left, when Alistair gestured the rest of the group to the other end of the temple. On the right of the central Hanuman altar there was one that I didn’t recognise. Our guide was already explaining about the image to the rest of the group when I went over to join them.
The moment I saw it I was overwhelmed by love and bliss. I prostrated myself before her and was once again chanting fluently in Sanskrit, even though I had no conscious knowledge of what I was saying.