The Journey of a Seeker – My Story

In this post, I am going to talk about my spiritual journey and the two most influential people in my life, Osho and Sadhguru. I am going to walk you through the journey of my life and give you accurate description of the changes that I went through in my sadhana. Then I will provide an honest unbiased review of both Sadhguru and Osho. Finally, I will put the concept of spiritual enlightenment in a scientific perspective and try to explain it using the terminology of academic psychology.

My Spiritual Journey – Me to Me

Early years

I grew up in a Hindu family which required me to believe in a personal God and his family of Gods. My grandparents taught me that God had a family with children who had God relatives. I was asked to pray to them to have my wishes granted and threatened to be punished by God if I was morally wrong. My early childhood days were spent in listening to stories of mythology and singing devotional songs. I showed more devotion than any of the other children of my age in my neighborhood. Eventually, I began to fall in love with all these heavenly beings and had a deep desire to see them with my physical eyes. I was told that it was possible if I prayed enough.

In those early days, I have watched movies in which devotees performed Tapas (penance) to get a vision of God and to get their boons granted. They were shown to be sitting or standing with closed eyes in various positions for years with no food and water so that they can have such visions. Seeing those people in movies, I too tried to imitate them. I used to sit with closed eyes for fifteen to thirty minutes every day when I was seven years old. Unknowingly, I had tried to do my first meditation this way.

I had learnt to read very early in my life. When I was seven years old, I could read and understand stories in children’s magazines written in Tamil. This was going to help to me to learn some advanced topics in the years to come. The same year, I was also taught in school about Buddha. I was taught that Buddha attained enlightenment under a bodhi tree and I had no idea what it meant.

Introduction to Ramakrishna

When I was about nine years old, I happened to read the book ‘Gospel Of Ramakrishna’. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa was the guru of Swami Vivekananda. He was considered to be enlightened but was not as famous as Vivekananda. I was fascinated about the trances that Ramakrishna used to go through, a state in which he was immersed in divine bliss with no consciousness of the outside world. The trances are called Samadhis. I also read about the unbelievable stories of how he used to have visions of Goddess Kali and talk with her. His words were filled with pearls of wisdom. One thing he insisted was to stay away from women and gold. He considered the desires for women and gold to be the common obstacles to spiritual enlightenment. The Indian word for spiritual enlightenment is Moksha, the event which frees an individual from the cycle of birth and death and makes him to be directly united with God. This concept is same as salvation or the union with God in Christianity.

Reading this book increased my desire to see God in a physical form. Ramakrishna used to say that if somebody shed tears in the desire to see God, then he would definitely see God in this lifetime and attain liberation (enlightenment).Reading this, I immediately shed tears after shutting myself in the pooja (worship) room.

I was also impressed about the fact that Ramakrishna followed Christianity and Islam to see if they also led to the same goal of Samadhi. He was able to get the same results by doing sadhana in Christian and Sufi paths.

Exposure to Yoga and other concepts

After a year, I started reading a book about Yoga and came to know about Ashtanga yoga, the eight limbs of Yoga in the path of attaining Samadhi. Samadhi is the highest goal of Yoga but it required years and years of practising meditation, doing asanas and pranayamas (exercises manipulating the breath). I tried to do meditation often but ended up fighting with my thoughts and had no success in concentration. After seeing continuous failures in getting my mind to focus on a single object, I finally gave up the confidence that I could do it.

Then I started reading Bhagwad Gita and Periya Purnam (A collection of stories of 63 enlightened devotees of Lord Shiva). I had also read a few mythological books including Skanda Purana and Shiva Purana. I also read texts about Vedanta and self-inquiry but I could not understand them. Finally, I started to believe that God is one, formless but can show himself to devotees in the form they worship.

When I read more about science, I understood that many of the things which are in the religious domain are not accepted by science. One day I thought, ‘May be I should do something to create a bridge between science and religion’. I always dreamed of becoming a scientist when I was a child. I believed that if religion is approached in a scientific way, we can discover many things.

Teenage Years

During my teenage years, I developed depression and inferiority complex. I had trouble in forming friendships and I saw myself as unworthy. But I had a lot of ambitions. I had mastered the art of writing poetry in Tamil in classical metres like venba, asiriyappa, virtutham etc. I was known as a good poet and orator in my school, by the time I was 14 years old. Even though I had inferiority complex, I had absolutely no stage fear. But my depression deepened in the coming months and I began to show some abnormal behaviour in school. I used to shut myself in a classroom and cry without any reason. I also developed a crush on a girl and started convincing myself that it is love. I lived far away from reality and had developed a fantasy prone and neurotic personality. I clearly showed the traits of bipolar disorder. I used to be known as the most brilliant student in my class. But the depressive phases and my so called ‘love’ had made me to seek more time in solitude.  After recovering from depression to some extent and finishing my tenth grade, I wrote hundreds of poems about love, life and God during the summer vacation. By this time, I had also formed an image of an ideal self, a self that I wanted to be. Everybody has an actual self and an ideal self. The less they overlap with each other, the more anxiety they feel. My actual self and ideal self didn’t seem to even touch each other.

First, I wanted to be seen as normal by people and conform to the standards of society. I wanted to develop my social skills and interact with people with confidence. Then I wanted to be known as an accomplished poet or an author in the future. Finally, I wanted to marry the girl I loved and live happily ever after. Before I die, I wanted to make sure that my name is registered in the history. That was my ideal self. I realized I had to work really hard to achieve my goals.

Also, when I looked back on what I read about Yoga and attaining Samadhi, I realized that was not going to be possible. How can I ever stop my desire for money, women and other things? After all, everyone is striving for well being. If I stop going for things that will increase my well being, then what else I would do to bring myself lasting happiness? I realized that spirituality is not for me.

College years

I lived away from my parents when I was studying in a polytechnic college in Chennai. I initially stayed in a hostel but due to pathological ragging that was done by seniors in the hostel, I moved to a room shared with other students. I faced a lot of issues during those times but I have just made the long story short. I had chosen to study chemical technology but unfortunately in a few months I realized that it was not the subject I wanted to study. So, for the first year and a half, I did not score well in the exams.

In the fourth semester I took a decision. I decided to dedicate myself to studies, accomplishing my goals and showing ultimate devotion to God to earn his grace. I also tried to be morally perfect in every aspect. If God chooses to show his grace to people who are moral and devotional, then it should happen to me. So, I pushed myself to the extreme. The life for the 6 months was very intense and I gave my 100% in everything, in every moment of life.

During mid December of that year, I started to walk 2 kilometres in the morning at 4 am everyday to a nearby temple and pray for about an hour. Then I would walk back to my room. I did the same thing in the evening and I continued this for a month.

Here is the gist of my prayers: “Dear God.. you know me very well and you are aware of what I can do and what I cannot do. I am trying all I could do to change myself, work hard and also be a good person. But I have difficulty in controlling my impulses and exercising self-control. Why did you create me like this, with this kind of genetics? Please show me the way.. I don’t know what else to do. I have what you have given me as my available resources.. You gave me this body, you gave me these tendencies.. How can I alone be responsible to correct those tendencies and be a good, kind, hardworking person? You gave me the environment and genetic factors that made me neurotic, selfish and irresponsible. I tried my best and I am not able to change that. Is it fair if you punish me for something that I don’t have full control over? Please be kind and help me”..

I literally used to have a mental conversation with God everyday in the temple. In the mean time, I started analyzing my thoughts and behaviors seriously. Every time I behaved in a negative way, I sat and analyzed what went wrong. I made my thought process conscious and engaged in a deep contemplation every day.

In the mean time I started to wonder how much control an individual has over one’s behavior. Consider the following facts:

  • People with low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter produced by the nervous system, are predisposed to show impulsive activity and emotional aggression.
  • People who have high levels of testosterone are more likely to show aggressive behavior.
  • A brain tumor caused an individual to be sexually abusive towards girls. Once the tumor was removed, he became normal.

These psychological findings show that a person’s behaviour is highly influenced by hereditary factors, hormonal levels, other biological factors and the environment. They can even affect self control. So, somebody’s moral behaviour is not completely under his or her control.

“So, If God created me like this, is it fair for the God to punish me for the behaviour that is simply the result of my biology? Also, what kind of God he is if he chooses to favour the people who prays to him? I am willing to change and trying my best, so what is stopping from God to help me?”

I used to put these questions to God when I prayed. I reasoned with him a lot and I told him I really had no idea what to do more than what I was doing then. Whatever the problem was, I asked God to fix it. If it seemed impossible for any reason, I asked him to take my life and give me eternal peace.

When it came to studies, I made sure I dedicated a few hours each day. I pushed myself too hard and started to bite off more than I could chew, in all aspects. I remained alert about my thought patterns and behaviors and constantly monitored myself. I could manage all this until the end of the semester. After that, there was no way I could continue doing what I was doing. The grip that I had over myself began to loosen and I started losing my self control.

I did really well in the exams that semester. I had got the third highest score among my peers. But I had expected to come first. I did all I could do for this. I obviously worked harder than others but I still couldn’t reach my goal. My ideal self appeared to be so far away. I felt restless, anxious and unhappy.

In the next 6 months, I experienced a tremendous fear of loss. I started to get thoughts like, ‘what if I lost everything I have, What if I become a beggar?’…. I didn’t resist those thoughts, instead I waited to see what those thoughts are up to. Whatever bad situation that I imagined, I made myself mentally strong to face it. I told myself ‘I can face anything in my life!’… One of my favorite proverbs those days was ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst’..

I gradually started questioning everything in my life.. What is the purpose of this life after all? Why should I continue to live? Everything seemed to be meaningless. My rational mind started to question the existence of God. When I dug deeper into my mind, it seemed as if nothing had any purpose. There seemed to be no way to fulfill the expectations of mind. I thought I would rather die instead of having to suffer with my immature, neurotic and unpredictable personality.

Then I thought, ‘If I have decided to end this life now, then I have a freedom of doing anything I like… I can die at any minute when it seems to be impossible to live any longer.’… The idea that death is an open choice all the time gave me a sudden sense of freedom and peace. ‘Let me let this life going and see what happens’ I thought.

Introduction to the books of Osho

I got a membership in a nearby library later that year, in my fifth semester. That is where I saw a book by Osho. I had heard about him before but had no idea who he was and what he taught. So, I borrowed that book and began to read.

The first thing that caught my attention was what he said about meditation. He said that trying to concentrate and fighting with thoughts generate more and more thoughts as a result. He made very clear that meditation was not concentration. He suggested a new technique for meditation which was to witness my thoughts non-judgmentally, as an observer. He taught to observe my thoughts as if I had nothing to do with them. I was kind of already doing this and I felt it very easy and doable.

Next, he said that God is not a person. There is no personal God. ‘That is what I thought’, I said to myself. He told that there is Godliness, which is the very essence of life, which is the very essence of who I am.

Third, He made very clear what ego is. One of the things that both shocked me and sounded true was the fact that even trying to be humble can be a subtle way for ego to show superiority over others. We tend to think we are more humble than others and that kind of gives us a humble ego. He made me aware that ego tries to find meaning in everything and attaches itself to it. It makes me to define myself with concepts and always makes me in a constant pursuit of enhancing itself. It maintains a story, the story of ‘me’ and makes us constantly to be identified with it and protect it all the time. He also revealed that cutting of the identification with this self-concept created by ego is enlightenment. It is just realizing our own nature which is hidden behind the veil of ego. That is what Buddha realized under Bodhi tree. That is what Ramakrishna found in Samadhi. That is what every individual is searching for. That true nature of yours is what people actually call God. God is not somebody who is sitting in the heaven, watching you and granting your true nature. Everybody has a potential to realize their true nature.

I realized that a new door was opened for me. A new possibility of attaining complete fulfilment in my life has been just revealed to me. I found it to be refreshing, exciting and illuminating. I continued to read many books of Osho and became addicted to it. In one of his books, he revealed his own story of enlightenment and how it happened to him.

(I will explain my own criticisms about Osho later in this post. I am listing whatever happened in a chronological order)…

Here is a list of facts and teachings revealed by Osho, a gist of what I understood from many books I read after that:

  • As you start witnessing your thoughts and be alert each and every moment, you will start noticing gaps between thoughts. The gaps will get bigger and you will soon be able to witness your unconscious patterns, emotions, moods and subtle sensations. Gradually your thoughts will reduce and you will come to a point where there is absolute stillness. Then suddenly, when you are least expecting anything to happen, enlightenment happens.
  • Then you realize you are what you have been searching for. Your true nature which is beyond space and time is revealed to you which leaves you absolutely blissful and content.
  • If you try to become a morally good person, it leads to suppressing your desires. Then you will become hypocrite. You will be a good person at the periphery, but in the center all those tendencies that cause immoral behavior will exist and erupt at anytime. But once you are enlightened, you will naturally be a good person.
  • The presence of an enlightened person radiates peace and love, and has the ability to quieten your mind. If you get to live near an enlightened person, your spiritual progress will naturally accelerate.
  • Love is another path to enlightenment. You can either start with witnessing or love.
  • If you pay attention to what you are doing and witness everything that happens inside you, than anything that you do is a meditation. Simple things like walking, eating will become a meditation if you are mindful, alert and witness every thought, sensation and activity that happens. It is important to have a non judgemental attitude.
  • When you live moment to moment like this, you will simply do what is required at the given moment. Preoccupation with past and future disappears. There will not be even necessary to make plans for the future. You will be absolutely satisfied with whatever the present moment brings to you.
  • He gave a controversial discourse series called ‘From Sex to superconciousness’ in which he said being mindful during sex can be a good meditation and become a doorway for enlightenment.
  • He insisted that there is no need to renounce the world to be spiritually enlightened. One can become enlightened by living a normal life as a householder.
  • Phrases like ‘achieving enlightenment’ or ‘becoming enlightened’ are actually wrong because we are already what we are looking for. We just have to realize or uncover that. He made very clear that words can be misleading and they are just like a finger pointing to the moon.

There are many other strange facts that he revealed in different discourses. He has given many examples of enlightened people who can leave their body at will. If they want to die, they will just shed their body like shedding their clothes. In one discourse he said that an enlightened person has an aura of 24 miles radius and anybody who is sensitive within that 24 miles radius will feel the effect of his presence.

He has talked about his past lives. In many of his early talks, he talked about various things regarding reincarnation, the time it takes for a soul to take a new womb, karma etc. He said that dreams during sleep will completely disappear after enlightenment.

He also mentioned in a couple of discourses that most of the time, enlightenment and death happen at the same time. Many people, when they get enlightened, immediately leave their body due to the extreme shock that they go through in their body.

I noticed a style in Osho. Osho had a tendency to exaggerate things. When he narrated an event that happened in the life of somebody who was enlightened, he often made his own screenplay and dialogues and made the story very dramatic. So, If somebody copies and rephrases what he said, it will be very obvious to people who have read many books of Osho’s discourses.

Also, he said many times that what he talks in his discourses is not at all important. His discourse is simply a device to silence our minds and make us receptive to his presence. Once we are receptive and available to his presence, then it can directly work on the seekers to progress in the path. He insisted more on a silent transmission than the content of his talks.

He also insisted that enlightenment should not be seen as a goal. That is a subtle way of ego entering through the backdoor. Enlightenment is not an achievement; it is simply uncovering our true nature. Everybody has the potential for it. But a desire for enlightenment can also be a hindrance in getting it.

He has contradicted himself many times and has openly admitted it. Life is full of contradictions. So, there is no way to explain about reality in a completely logical way. Sometimes it is natural for his statements to seem like contradictions. But whenever somebody asked about a contradiction, he often explained it to prove that in fact there was no contradiction.

Osho was very creative in his way of talking. His talks were filled with anecdotes, jokes, harsh criticisms against many popular people, repetitive statements and sometimes pointless gossip. He gave commentaries on Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita, Buddhist texts, Zen, Sikhism, Christian mysticism, Sufism and many more. He made very clear that all these paths lead to the same goal and explained the true essence of these paths.

Witnessing – Phase 1

As soon as I started reading Osho, I have also begun to put his witnessing meditation into practise. His witnessing meditation is an age old technique which is called Sakshi Bhav in Vedanta, Shikantaza in Zen and Sati (Mindfulness) in Buddhism. In the recent years, science has found substantial evidence for the role of mindfulness meditation in decreasing stress and increasing well being.

Soon, I went to my native place for my semester holidays and I got enough solitude to practice witnessing. A month earlier, I was practicing his other meditations like dynamic meditation, gibberish meditation and more. I created my own therapy based on his various meditation techniques and I do believe that it resolved a lot of unconscious issues.

As I progressed in my witnessing meditation, I started feeling calmer and peaceful. The thought process gradually slowed down. I continued to do it every day with great involvement. One day, when I was staring at the ceiling witnessing my thoughts, there was a brief moment of stillness with no thoughts. There was an absolute clarity and peace of mind that I had never encountered before. For the first time, I realized that I can exist without thoughts. It gave me a clear and firm knowledge that thoughts are not me.

This was like a Eureka moment. An immediate excitement followed that gave me a new strength and peace which continued for the next six months. I went back to college for the final semester, which is the happiest period that I had in the entire three years. This momentary realization was a confirmation that there is something indestructible. I interpreted it as a glimpse of my essential nature. Osho used to call this Satori.

After this, I was able to concentrate on a single task for hours and be immersed in it. Recently, as I began to learn psychology, I realized that there is a name for this. It is called ‘flow’. Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. These states were very common and occurring everyday when I was immersed in a task. During those states, there was no feeling of my individual existence. It was as if I had disappeared.. There was just pure awareness, focus and a sense of being alive.

I felt that the complete flowering of enlightenment is very near. But I also remembered Osho saying that there will be many beautiful moments that you will pass through. Don’t make any of those moments your home. Just keep going. You may feel that you have arrived but it is not necessarily so.

I talked to one of my close friends regarding this and I started to explain him about the beauty of meditation. I also told him that I felt like I might be enlightened soon. But I was wrong. After about six months, the initial excitement of this Eureka moment faded. But the feeling that there is something indestructible and everyday occurrence of flow continued and never stopped.

As I continued to read Osho’s books, I felt very unfortunate that there was no enlightened master like Osho at present time that I could meet and ask my questions. I felt that if there was someone like him around, then he could guide me on my spiritual path.

Encounter the enlightened – The First Satsang With Sadhguru

In January 2003, I saw a wall post regarding a satsang at Marina beach, Chennai. It was titled ‘Encounter the enlightened’ in Tamil with the photograph of a man with a long beard. He looked like Osho. I saw the name ‘Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’ printed in the wall post. It was to be held on January 22, 2003. As soon as I saw it, I made up my mind to go there.

It was a beautiful evening at Marina beach with thousands of people gathered. Sadhguru spoke about many things which were similar to what Osho had said about enlightenment. He spoke in Tamil flavored with Kannada accent, sounding like the dialect of actor Rajinikanth. Most of his views were matching with the views of Osho. When he gave us instructions for a guided meditation, he asked everyone to focus in the middle of one’s eyebrows. I remember him saying ‘Just keep a slight focus in between your eyebrows, but don’t concentrate’. This instantly reminded me of Osho. ‘So, there is someone here who is enlightened’, I told myself. But it seemed almost impossible to approach him as he was already quite popular.

He spoke about his foundation called Isha Foundation based in Coimbatore which conducts Yoga programs all over the state. At the end of the satsang, his book ‘Encounter the enlightened’ in Tamil was on sale. But I had no money to buy it. I returned home with mixed feelings; A happiness on having seen another modern day enlightened Guru and a disappointment for not being able to buy that book.

After finishing my course in Polytechnic, I noticed a weekly article in Anantha Vikatan authored by Sadhguru, with a title in Tamil that translates to ‘Desire for everything!’.. This again reminded me of Osho’s advice saying that we should not repress our desires. At the same time, another clean shaved guy with the name Nithyananda showed up with his own article in Kumudham which introduced him as another enlightened modern day Guru! But for some reason, he didn’t quite appear enlightened to me, may be because he didn’t have any beard J..

My Career in BPO and My First Isha Yoga program

After spending a few months at home reading books by Osho and searching for a job, I started working. After working in two different companies in various profiles, I finally got a job with good salary in a call center in Chennai. I started earning money, made new friendships, faced a lot of ups and downs and changed four different companies in about 5 years time. I had stopped reading spiritual books and went ahead with life. Finally, I saw an announcement for Isha Yoga program which was to be conducted in Anna University for two weeks. (or one week, I don’t remember). I enrolled in the program with my friend.

I had a good time over the whole program. We were given detailed information about Isha and its activities for social welfare. I also came to know more about Dhyanalinga, which is said to give you the same effect that you will get in the presence of an enlightened guru. They said that if one sat in front of Dhyanalinga and closed his eyes, he would automatically become meditative. According to Sadhguru, the Dhyanalinga has all the seven chakras that a human being has. It has been consecrated in such a way that the energy and peace that radiates from Dhyanalinga is the same as the energy and peace radiated in the presence of someone who is enlightened. We were taught a kriya called shambhavi mahamudra, which had to be practiced twice a day. At the end of the Isha Yoga program, I immediately enrolled for the upcoming next level program called Bhava Spandana. It was a three day residential program in Isha Yoga centre, Coimbatore.

I arrived in Isha Yoga centre in the evening on the first day of Bhava Spandana. We were asked to submit our mobile phones, bags and money as there will not be any contact with the outside world for three days. I went to the dome of Dhyanalinga for the first time and meditated for fifteen minutes. To be honest, I just felt a normal relaxed state and stillness and nothing much in the presence of Dhyanalinga. The atmosphere was definitely conducive for meditation but I felt nothing more than how I would usually feel when I meditated in my home or room. May be I was not receptive enough or maybe the effects of the linga are overrated…  But usually, according to Sadhguru and Osho, trying to figure out such things with our rational mind is not going to work. Their usual argument is, our logic cannot figure out something that is beyond logic. But I had an immense trust on Sadhguru. So, I was confident that I was on the right way.

I felt very insecure on the first night of Bhava Spandana. I felt like I had been disconnected from the outside world. But the next morning, the insecurity disappeared. I participated in all the meditations in BSP with 100% intensity. Some of the meditations involved action and were similar to the concept of dynamic meditation by Osho. The feelings of oneness and peace I felt there was not new to me since I had already experienced that with my witnessing meditation. But the three days were very beautiful and the overall experience was good.

After the BSP program, I came back to Chennai and my regular routine started again. A lot of things happened in my life then which gave me extreme suffering. I used to become emotionally dependent on certain people that I liked a lot; If the people I liked didn’t give me the same attention to me, it made me to suffer and become anxious. That was exactly what was happening in those days. It took a few months for me to become alright again.

Exploring Spirituality further

I had bought two books by Sadhguru, ‘Encounter the enlightened’ and ‘Mystic’s musings’. The book Mytic’s Musings was about many things that any rational person would never want to believe in. But I had no problem with that because of the trust I had in Sadhguru. I always remembered what Sadhguru said, ‘Don’t believe me or disbelieve me! Don’t come to a conclusion about anything by yourself. Be ready to say I don’t know and be a seeker’… Osho has said the same thing many times. It has always been my own approach to life too.  I finished reading those two books and watched a lot of videos of Sadhguru’s talks.

I continued my meditations and I had many peak experiences. Peak experiences were described by psychologist Abraham Moslow as “rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter”. In the mean time, I read the teachings of Ramana Mahirishi. I also came to know about Eckhart tolle and his awakening experience. I read three of his books, ‘The Power of now’, ‘A New Earth’ and ‘The Stillness speaks’.

I came across the teachings of another Indian guru named Poonjaji. Soon I discovered that there are many people who claim to be enlightened, especially in the west. Some of them I read about were Gangaji, Andrew Cohen, Ramesh Balsekar, Mooji, Joan Tollifson etc. I read their testimonies about the awakening experiences. Are each of one of them really enlightened or they just had some peak experiences and glimpses of their reality? There seemed to be no way to find out. Can we really draw a single line called ‘Enlightenment’ in someone’s life which is the ultimate line after which there is no progress further? Is everyone who claims to enlightened talk about that same line? I emailed a couple of these people and got answers too. They said that their enlightenment was a gradual process and not something that occurred in the single moment as Osho described. They also didn’t have a totally thoughtless mind, ability to leave the body at will or memories of previous incarnation. Did Osho exaggerate the effects of enlightenment by saying that there would be no thoughts or did these people just conclude that they were enlightened with no basis to support their claim? I had no answers to these questions.

I had already integrated Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Bhakthi yoga in my life and made my life itself a sadhana. Every moment was an opportunity for me to explore the depths of unconsciousness and clear out the clouds which were hiding my own reality. The concepts of Advaita taught me ‘acceptance’. I learnt to accept the life as it is.

My Marriage and the life after

I got married in December 2008. The first two years of my marriage were spent in a lot of conflicts and quarrels between me and my wife. I became addicted to alcohol and started drinking twice or thrice a week. I started learning about PHP programming, chess tactics, astronomy, photoshop and many other things. Photography became my new hobby. Nothing much happened in my life those days. I used to go to Ramana Mahirishi’s ashram in Tiruvannamalai with my wife whenever I got a chance and spend time in meditation.

Two years later, I moved to my own native place, Tirunelveli and got a job there. I spent my time in learning, writing articles and trying out new things on the internet. New interests always popped up and got me going. The moments of flow helped me to stay on focus.

After another two years, I moved to Coimbatore. I started exploring places nearby. I climbed mountains and hills on weekends and took pictures. I enjoyed trekking in various places of Nilgiris. I had stopped drinking alcohol and started experimenting with cannabis. It seemed to be a magic herb. It enhanced my creativity, focus and compassion. We had no kids and there were no big responsibilities. I used to visit Isha Yoga centre occasionally but wasn’t thinking much about enlightenment or spirituality. I didn’t think anything about the future or the past. Living in the present moment was quite satisfying but there was still something incomplete in me which was yearning for fulfillment.

On May 5, 2014, I climbed the Velliangiri mountains. It is a holy mountain near Coimbatore. Isha Yoga centre is right at the foot of the mountains. Sadhguru himself had spent time there and he had said that many enlightened people left their bodies there and their energy can be still felt in the mountains. There was no one to accompany me to trek the mountain so I went all by myself. I started walking uphills at about 7:30 AM and reached the summit by 1:30. The mountain is very steep and difficult to climb. The view from the top is amazing. I had the darshan of the linga in the summit, took rest for about 30 minutes and started walking downhill. I took many photographs and finally reached the bottom at about 7:30 PM. The experience was wonderful.

The Major ‘Change’ – Is it Enlightenment?

The trip to Velliangiri mountains triggered the seeker in me and I decided to go deep in meditation as much as I could. I started paying attention to every moment, every thought and every sensation. I made very clear to me that whatever I observe, perceive, think, experience and know is not me. I witnessed all the passing emotions and moods as a passive observer.

I went to Isha yoga centre every week, took bath in Theerthakund and meditated for an hour. I spent almost half of the day there. In the office, my nature of job was to talk to the customers over the phone during the whole night and answer their questions. I became deeply involved in the present moment and enjoyed my work. I soon stopped thinking about many things in the external world. I noticed my thoughts slowing down leaving a peaceful, clear stillness in the large gaps between each thought. Very soon, I started feeling intense euphoria at times which lasted for hours. The quality of my work increased, the clarity in my voice and speech increased and I started to feel waves of bliss in my head. It was like a cool breeze flowing in my head.

Soon, I stopped my interactions with other people. It was not my conscious decision but happened automatically. I couldn’t believe that all these things were happening to me. I didn’t feel any intense negative emotion or anxiety but almost the whole day at my work was filled with bliss and peace. Soon, the psychological boundaries between me and the world started to disappear. I started getting a lot of attention and I was pretty sure that something tremendous was happening.

I went to attend Sadhguru’s darshan that happened in the Isha ashram on June 18th and 19th, 2014. I felt one with the whole universe during the entire satsang. The feeling of oneness with the world was then continuous. Whatever I did seemed to happen without much of my conscious will. Everything I did was spontaneous like a river flowing down the hills. The doer in me seemed to have completely disappeared and everything seemed to be happening out of cosmic will instead of my own will.

It was a huge blessing. Every day at work, I felt tremendously happy and satisfied. For the first time in my life, I felt complete and fulfilled. I wondered, ‘Is it really possible for me to suffer ever again?’… I felt like the king of the whole world.

I went to another satsang that was held on July 12, 2014 (Guru Purnima day). I remember getting on the bus feeling so light as if I had no weight on the body. Everything seemed to be so transparent. During the entire satsang, I was immersed in my Self. That night while I was lying on my bed, there was a sudden clarity. It seemed that my search was over. There was nothing else to achieve and nothing more to do to make me complete.

The days after the change

The excitement and the wave of bliss were gradually reduced in the days to come. Though I no longer felt the waves and breeze of bliss in my head, being peaceful and complete has been the normal state of my mind from those days of transformation to till date.

Though I had no doubt that the journey as a human being in my life was over and it wouldn’t matter if I die at any moment, the transformation didn’t exactly fit into the description of enlightenment as implied by Osho and Sadhguru. When I thought about it later after the next two years, I noted down my observation of the changes it had made in my thinking, well being and my way of life:

  • Self image is no longer important to me.
  • My past no longer plays a role in giving me a mental identity in my mind.
  • I cannot think about future the same way I did before. In a sense, I seemed to have lost the sense of time. I don’t and can’t rely on an event in the future for satisfaction.
  • I stopped feeling that there is an ‘other’. The psychological boundaries between me and the world disappeared. A lot of concepts in Psychology doesn’t seem to apply to me or relevant to me. For example, I no longer felt the psychological self-consciousness and cognitive dissonance.
  • Emotions like sadness and fear seems to have disappeared. But I continue to show the sign of a sudden fear in my facial expression and bodily movements. (For example, if a moving vehicle suddenly comes close to me enough to hit me, I respond to it in the usual way. But it doesn’t have the same impact on my mind as it did before. May be it is so subtle but I don’t usually feel fear or sadness)
  • I continue to feel angry when I am disturbed by others. As a person, I always used to be high in neuroticism and easily angered ever since I was a child. It seemed to a genetic factor. It makes sense to assume that meditation or an awakening experience doesn’t mysteriously change a person’s genetics. But the factors that will make me angry were reduced completely. I could easily change my mood from being angry to being normal.
  • It is not like feeling continuous bliss and being drugged all the time. But there is always a peace and fulfillment and there is no longer a feeling that something is incomplete.
  • The thoughts have not completely disappeared but they have been tremendously reduced. My thinking is usually not about the past or the present. For example, at any moment I may be thinking ‘May be there is life on one of the moons on Saturn’, or ‘How come humming birds are really too small? They are cute’… I hardly think about me.
  • There is absolutely nothing paranormal. I don’t have any memories of past life and have never seen a damn aura in my life.
  • Biological drives like food and sex motivates my behavior as usual. But motivation theories like expectancy theory or goal setting theory doesn’t seem to apply for me much. I am not driven to do something because I will get something as a result in three months time. I have to remember to consciously involve myself to do it. But I will do something to get a bottle of brandy to drink this evening. These days I have developed a conscious practice of planning ahead and thinking about doing things which are necessary for the future. The drawback with that is, I may completely forget to do it.

Also, while some changes obviously occurred as an immediate result of the transformation, some changes are gradual and still occurring within me. It took a long time to learn to live with this transformed personality and there were challenges that I faced. It is hard to put it in language, because in one way or the other, it will be misleading.

I continue to learn by my experience with this new phenomenon (in fact, people will say that it is not a new thing, it is just a person’s real essence which was and will be always present. That is true… But it is still gives a new outlook. The way it affects our behavior and our experiences is new).

I went through a great deal of suffering after this transformation when I lost my job in the next two years.  That is long story and I don’t want to go into that in detail now. I had to find a new job, had no money and depended on my parents for a couple of months. During those days, I actually missed my old job and the people. Then I realized that I had a subtle attachment with that environment which was not obvious. It took a while for things to settle down. But it was only temporary and soon it became like nothing actually happened. I have written more about what happened in the next three years after awakening in this post: Spiritual Enlightenment – Is it a Myth or Real?

 

   Osho and Sadhguru – What I noticed about them

Osho – A second look

So if this transformation is not enlightenment, then there must be another shift which is going to happen. But is that really true or enlightenment has been simply exaggerated and over rated than it really is?… Many stories of enlightenment from the west are same as my transformation. So, according to them, I am enlightened but according to Sadhguru and Osho, I am not.

This is something to figure out to prevent people from being misled. Scientific research about enlightenment is the only way to go about it. It is interesting to note that, Osho himself was completely not free of ego. To be exact, his need to feel superior seemed to be still there after enlightenment.

Let me give you some obvious examples:

  1. In the initial years, Osho regarded Nostradamus as simply a crazy man. This is what he said about his predictions:

“Nostradamus can be interpreted in any way you want. The sentences are not clear, the grammar is not correct. The words are such that you can fit them into any context you want”.

But just read what he said about the same man later, when it seemed like Nostrademus predictions about a great future teacher fit with Osho:

“Just a few days ago, I was seeing one of the most significant books to be published in this century, ‘Millenium’. It is a deep research into Nostradamus and his predictions. Eighty thousand copies were published – which is very rare – and they were sold within weeks. Now a second publication, a second edition, is happening in America, another is happening in England, and the book is being translated into many other languages – Dutch, German….

Nostradamus was a great mystic with an insight into the future. And you will be surprised to know that in his predictions, I am included. Describing the teacher of the last days of the twentieth century, he gives eight indications. Krishnamurti fulfills five, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi fulfills three, Da Free John fulfills four – and I was amazed that I fulfill all eight.

In this book ‘Millenium’, they have made a chart of the teacher about whom Nostradamus is predicting – that his people will wear red clothes, that he will come from the East, that he will be arrested, that his commune will be destroyed, that flying birds will be his symbol, that his name will mean moon…. Three hundred years ago that man was seeing something that fits perfectly with me – my name means “the moon.” And in their chart they have declared me the teacher of the last part of the twentieth century.”

Obviously, when Osho found this as boosting his superiority, he regarded the same man as mystic.

  1. Initially Osho didn’t criticize S.N Goenka and even asked his disciples to attend a Vipassana retreat by Goenka. But once Osho heard that Goenka in an interview had said that Osho was his student before, Osho started criticizing S.N Goenka so harshly.
  2. Osho always considered J.Krishnamurti as enlightened. When he heard that J.K had criticized him recently, Osho immediately reacted to it in his next discourse. He said that J.K was just in the border of enlightenment and is not enlightened yet. He also made the same statement in his last book Zen Manifesto.

Also, you will find a significant difference between what Osho has said in his early talks in India and the talks he gave in America. Even though Osho had his own rationalizations on that, anyone who carefully observes this difference can notice many things which clearly indicate that a lot of what Osho said about enlightenment could be just his opinions and exaggerations but may not be facts.

Osho had a really nasty habit of labeling people he criticized as stupids and idiots. His natural defense mechanism would usually come into play when he tried to rationalize things like this as “It is a device. I am just trying to shock you people”. But I don’t agree that many of the things that he calls as device were really consciously devised by Osho to help people towards their spiritual progress. It is pure rationalizing, one of the defense mechanisms of ego that you can observe in any human being. But I did believe that those were genuine devices when I was reading those hundreds of books of Osho. Some of them could be, but not all of them.

Many people who know Osho are probably aware that nitrous oxide was used during dental sessions with Osho. He dictated three books under the influence of Nitrous oxide. If you read those books, you will certainly notice that nitrous oxide did influence his clarity and thought process. But Osho has said that a drug will not impact an enlightened person’s alertness and consciousness in anyway. Also, it is more likely that Osho became addicted to Nitrous Oxide even though he denied it. That affected his thinking process a lot. When you read the books of his talks in the US, you will notice that those talks were just repetitive and pointless ramblings.

My assumption is that behavior, personality and opinions greatly vary between enlightened people because they still retain their genetics and even old habits. A person who was a jerk before enlightenment can retain some of those tendencies after enlightenment and a person who was like a sage before enlightenment may look like an absolute and perfect sage after enlightenment.

But they are just my assumptions. If you ask me ten years later, I may have a different answer. I am more inclined now to approach enlightenment in scientific way. For science, both skepticism and open-mindedness are necessary and important.

Osho’s Influence in the world

Osho definitely made a great contribution to the world. He brought spiritual enlightenment from the heights of great sages to the valley that most of the people in the world live in. He created awareness about enlightenment and showed to people that there is really a way to reduce a great deal of unnecessary suffering in the daily life.

Osho influenced many people who we believe today as enlightened. I can smell that influence in many books written by gurus who are alive today.

sadh

Image credit: https://twitter.com/DerekBaconART

How Osho influenced Sadhguru

Sadhguru has never endorsed Osho, even though he has talked about a lot of other mystics. In Mystic Musings, he claimed that most of what he knows came as a direct transmission from his guru. But it is certain that a lot of what he knows also came from Osho.

Enlightened people certainly share the same knowledge and experience of reality. So, in those aspects they can certainly rely on their own experience even though it may appear that one person might have copied the ideas of another person. But it doesn’t apply to everything. A lot of what Sadhguru knows seems to have come from the books by Osho. But I wonder why he never gives him credit.

Here are a few examples..

  1. Here is an anecdote given by Sadhguru:

“When you sit in front of a living Guru, you have many problems, judgments, likes and dislikes, because invariably you end up looking at his personality. People have left their Gurus for all kinds of frivolous things. This happened with J. Krishnamurti, a realized being and very wonderful man. There was a certain lady who was very close to him and deeply involved with his work. She was always around him and traveled to many places with him. Once when he was in Amsterdam, Holland, he went into a shop to buy a tie for himself. He was so meticulous about choosing a tie, because he was very conscious about everything and also what he wore. He could throw the tie away if he wanted to, but when he wears it, he wants it to be in a certain way. So he went into the shop and spent nearly four hours picking out one tie. He pulled out every tie in the shop, looked at it, put it on, and then said, “No.” It took him four hours to select just one tie. This woman watched and watched and watched, and as minutes passed, in her mind his enlightenment receded. She thought a man who could be so concerned about what kind of tie he wears couldn’t be enlightened, and she left him. Many such stupid things are done because of your judgments.”

Source: http://www.dhyanalinga.org/difference_qa.htm

How did Sadhguru came to know about this incidence? There is absolutely only one way he could have known this. You cannot find this information anywhere except in Osho’s talks. Osho knew this because the lady herself told Osho about this incident. You can find this anecdote from the book ‘The Book of Wisdom’ by Osho.

Here is a link to that excerpt:

http://oshosearch.net/Convert/Articles_Osho/The_Book_of_Wisdom/Osho-The-Book-of-Wisdom-00000012.html

  1. Sadhguru once told a story that supposedly happened when Aristotle met Heraclitus. Heraclitus was trying to empty the ocean with a spoon. You can read the whole story here:

    http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/li…

    But Aristotle lived between 384–322 BC and Heraclitus lived between c. 535 – c. 475 BC. There is no way that this meeting took place.. Obviously, it seems there is some mistake…

    How did Sadhguru know about this anecdote?

Obviously, you cannot find the story of Aristotle meeting Heraclitus, except in a book of Osho. The story is from the book ‘Hidden Harmony’ – Chapter 5, by Osho.

Here is the link: http://www.osho.com/iosho/library/read-book/online-library-look-aristotle-flower-51daeb6a-147?p=5ae86f113210d477f5542e2c5aa6a6e5

So, did Osho make up this story? No… The story actually happened in St. Augustine’s life. Osho simply mismatched the names because memory doesn’t work perfectly all the time.

  1. In the same link, you can find Sadhguru criticizing the statement “I think, therefore I am” made by Rene Descartes.

But as far as I know, the first person who ever criticized this statement in the context of spiritual enlightenment was Osho. And, Osho actually made a mistake in interpreting Rene’s statement.

Just by reading that statement, anyone can misinterpret that as “Thought is the basis of existence, you cannot exist if you don’t have thoughts’….

But that is not what Rene Descartes intended to say. He said that you can doubt any belief or concept but you cannot deny your own existence. The doubt implies that there is a doubter. A doubter has to exist to doubt. If you don’t exist, you cannot doubt, and you cannot think. So, if you think, that actually means you exist. That is what he meant by saying ‘I think, therefore I am’.

Here is more clear interpretation of the statement that I found in a forum:

“I think, therefore I am” is a crude mistranslation of Descartes’s proposition. It misrepresents the essence of Descartes’s philosophy because most philosophers now regard the process of thinking as a kind of invisible mechanical action (i.e. stimulus-response).

Historians, philosophers and many scientists have repeated this mistranslated phrase for more than three hundred years. But Descartes’s meant something entirely different, as can be seen when “cogito ergo sum” is read in context.

The Latin word, cogito can mean “I think”, “I know” or “I am aware”; ergo always means “therefore” in any context. However, sum can mean “I am” or “I exist”. To suggest that, “I know, therefore I am” would be wrong as it’s possible to accept wrong knowledge as correct.

If you read Descartes’s Philosophical Writings in context, it becomes obvious that he was concerned with awareness rather than with thinking or knowing and with existence rather than being.

Properly translated, Descartes’s phrase should therefore read: “I am aware, therefore I exist” – a subjective rather than a mechanistic generalization. No machine can be self- or globally aware, no matter how many sensors are attached to it.

In fact, the philosopher Spinoza translated cogito ergo sum as “I am conscious, therefore I exist”. Even that’s wrong, although it’s closer to the truth than the usual lazy mistranslation which has unfairly earned Descartes’s the reputation of being a crude reductionist.

It’s true that he stated the obvious: that physiological functions are pseudo-mechanical. But he also insisted that man was much more than a machine because of his subjective awareness of the self and of the universe.”

How will a teacher find out if a student has copied another student? If both made the exact same mistake, then one person must have copied another.

Sadhguru simply used Osho’s example without realizing that Osho himself has interpreted it in the wrong way.

  1. Sadhguru once said that seventy percent illness are created by the mind..

http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/video/the-symptoms-of-an-ill-mind/

Is it a fact? How did he come up with 70%.. Why not 72%? Why not 80%…

Because, Osho also said the exact same thing: http://www.osho.com/read/featured-articles/body-dharma/the-mind-and-disease-hypnosis-and-health

  1. Read the following excerpt from Sadhguru:

“So, this is…this whole idea of right and wrong, good and bad is all human nonsense. Existence is not human centric. They have always told you… many religions of the world have been going about telling people “You are made in God’s own image” and once you are in God’s own image naturally the place that you live They believed this for a long time, isn’t it? Even now they are insisting. You’ve heard of this guy Copernicus? Copernicus was one of the first guys who came and said, “Earth is not the center of the universe; not only not the center of the universe, it is not even the center of the solar system.” And he promptly died. That’s not bad thing; it’s a good thing because the next man after him, when he uttered the same thing the local church decided to skin him alive. They wanted to peal his skin off and the skin would not cooperate. So, they decided to burn him alive. The next significant man who has uttered the same thing was Galileo; he said the same thing. Then they got ready with the skin peelers. Then he said, “No, no, no, no; earth is the center of the universe and the cosmos. What is my problem? (Laughter) As you say earth is not only the center of the solar system and not only the center of the universe; it is the very center of the cosmos. Anyway I do not know what is the center of the cosmos, you want to assume. I want to save my skin. That much I know.” (Laughs)

So, today science has proved to you that definitely earth is not the center of the solar system, in the universe you are just a miniscule. Tomorrow morning if you and your planet disappears, if it evaporates nobody is going to miss it. Hmm? The whole solar system evaporates tomorrow morning it will be just a small vacant place that nobody is going to miss in the existence, nothing is going to happen. Yes? God won’t come rescuing you. It’ll just pooff it will go. This is a good thing. This whole idea that I am made in the image of God has left man so crude and he has been walking upon this planet so wantonly without any concern for any other life on this planet, simply because he believes he is in the image of God. If you knew that your life is as significant or as insignificant as that of an ant – it is actually.”

–  From http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/video/are-you-looking-for-solace-or-a-solution/

Now read this excerpt from Osho and you will find that the above excerpt is the exact rephrase of what Osho said. It sounds almost like Sadhguru had just read this before coming to the discourse:

“Human beings have thought of God in human terms. It is natural. We have said that God created man in His own image. If horses could think they would deny this: they would say that God created horses in His own image. Because man has created the philosophy, he has made himself the center.

Even God must be in our image. He must have created us in His own image. Man’s ego has asserted these things. This is not knowledge, this is not knowing – this is simply an anthropocentric feeling.

Man feels himself to be the center. We have thought that the earth is the center of the universe and man is the center of creation. These conceptions are false imaginations, dreams of the human ego. God has not created anybody in His own image because the whole is His image. The trees, the earth, the stars; the animals, men, women – everything that exists is His image, not just man.

Then too, we have divided the world into good and evil. The world is not so divided: good and evil are our evaluations. If man did not exist on the earth there would be neither good nor bad. Things would exist, things would be there, but there would be no evaluation. The evaluation is man’s: it is our imposition, it is our projection.”

–  From ‘The Eternal Quest’ by Osho

  1. Both men surprisingly had the same views about nations:

“Someday, we must overcome the idea of a nation. Such a silly idea – someone draws a line and that becomes so immensely important. These boundaries have become meaningful only because there is such inequity in the world. If there was no inequity, if for example, Mexico and the United States both had the same level of economic prosperity and wellbeing, would one side be guarding the borders with guns, barbed wires and all that, and would the other side be digging tunnels to get here? No. Whoever wants to go in either direction could do so – no one would care. But in our lifetime, we may not see the abolishment of national borders. Europe has done reasonably well, but it looks like they are beginning to step back from the European Union because those who have, do not want to share with those who do not have.”

By Sadhguru – From http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/lifestyle/does-it-matter-where-you-live/

Osho said the same thing:

“NATIONS HAVE BECOME out of date – but they go on existing and they are the greatest problem. Looking at the world with a bird’s eye view, a strange feeling arises that we have everything – just we need one humanity.

For example, in Ethiopia people were dying – one thousand people per day – and in Europe they were drowning billions of dollars worth of food in the ocean.

Anybody looking from the outside will think humanity is insane. Thousands of people are dying and mountains of butter and other foodstuff is being drowned in the ocean. But Ethiopia is not the concern of the Western world. Their concern is to save their economies and their status quo. And to protect their economic structures, they are willing to destroy food which could have saved the lives of thousands of people.

Problems are worldwide – solutions have also to be worldwide.

And my understanding is absolutely clear, that there are things somewhere where they are not needed, and somewhere else the very life depends on them. A world government means looking at the whole situation of this globe and shifting things where they are needed.

It is one humanity. And once we think of one world, then there is only one economy.”

  • From ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ by Osho

http://oshosearch.net/Convert/Articles_Osho/Hari_Om_Tat_Sat/Osho-Hari-Om-Tat-Sat-00000005.html

  1. Here are a couple of comparisons as well:

Sarada giving the knife to vivekananda:

http://oshosearch.net/Convert/Articles_Osho/Early_Talks/Osho-Early-Talks-00000010.html

http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/sadhguru/masters-words/stories-swami-vivekananda-life-inspired/

Alexander and immortality:

Osho https://oshostories.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/alexander-and-immortality/

Sadhguru http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/history-of-yoga/when-alexander-chased-immortality/

  1. Have you heard about a story told by Sadhguru about Ramakrishna’s obsession over food to keep his body alive? Try as much as you can to find out the source of the story and you can only find this story in Osho’s talks. I have read in many places Ramakrishna liked certain fruits and sweets. But the conversation between Sarada and Ramakrishna regarding the obsession over food and Ramakrishna saying that it is necessary to keep his body alive seems to be just an imaginary incident created by Osho. Even if it was true, it is highly unlikely that both Osho and Sadhguru somehow independently got access to this information which is not found in any other sources.

I have all three volumes of ‘Gospel of Ramakrishna’ which is the most honest account of Ramakrishna’s life incidents. When you read the book, you will feel like watching a movie. Everything that happened was exactly recorded by the author and there is not even a single place where it is mentioned that he had an obsession over food and he was often checking the kitchen to find out what is cooking. But Ramakrishna always used to ask for a glass of water which was necessary for him to come out of Samadhi.

9. Sadhguru narrates a story of Svetaketu in a podcast:

Svetaketu and the Cows

But you can’t find this story of Svetaketu as narrated by Sadhguru in Upanishads… Because it seems that the story is a mixture of two different stories from Chandogya Upanishad, one story is of Svetaketu (His father questions him if he has known that which cannot be known) and the other is the story of Satyakama (the one who is sent to forest with 400 animals)..

So, how did Sadhguru come up with this story? You guessed it. Osho made this mistake of mixing up the two stories:

http://www.osho.com/iosho/library/read-book/online-library-supreme-svetaketu-taught-78d59dde-9b0?p=867d5652b07d80469abc69481a91e28f

10. Sadhguru says in a discourse that there are two paths :

“Fundamentally, on any Spiritual path, there are only two types of spiritual processes in the world – the path of Samadhi and the path of Pragna”

This is actually a Buddhist distinction, but usually the terms Samatha and Vipassana are used, instead of pragna and samadhi, respectively. Osho was the one who used these terms when talking about this distinction. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev also used the same terminology and even gave the same examples given by Osho.

Check my post here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/path-of-samadhi-and-pragna-talks-by-sadhguru-and-osho/

So, It is very obvious that Sadhguru has read books of Osho and greatly influenced by him. I respect Sadhguru a lot for all the phenomenal work that he is doing for this world. But while he is taking a lot of effort to give credit to Adiyogi, why did he fail to give credit to Osho? He hasn’t even talked about him in his discourses.

                                             Spiritual enlightenment and Science

We think we are rational human beings. But unfortunately it is not so. Every human being’s thinking is naturally biased, which is a nature’s way of helping human survival. We must consider all the cognitive biases that can happen when people interpret their own enlightenment. Cognitive bias can influence our logical thinking in various ways. No matter how intelligent a person is, he is not free of cognitive bias. I used to believe that enlightenment destroys the bias, but if you observe the enlightened people and their talks, you will find out it is not true.

Many reports of spiritual enlightenment are self-reports. The individuals who go through a spiritual experience and shift their centre from self-concept to their being, they often try to conform to the believed standards of enlightenment. It is natural, because a human being as a social animal wants to conform to the standards of society. Conformity is studied by social psychologists.

Only a few people have revolted against the conventional standards and proposed some new standards. Osho is an example. But still, they don’t completely ignore all the standards as they cannot completely avoid conformity, which is a human tendency when it comes to social behaviour.

For example, almost all enlightened people agree with existence of Karma.. Sure, we all know that natural laws exist. But Karma is not explained as a natural law all the time. They imply that something from an individual continues to another new born individual and affects him. But did they really come to that conclusion with some knowledge that they gained out of their own experience and interpreted that knowledge in unbiased way or are they simply repeating what has been said? Is the role of collective unconsciousness (Carl Jung) understood falsely as the role of karma?

Some people report that they remember their previous reincarnation. But you also need to know that there is something called ‘False memory’ which is a psychological phenomenon wherein a person recalls something that did not occur.

Interestingly, when scientists did research about reincarnation, they analyzed reports of past life memories from various people and found that most of the people who report such memories come from the eastern part of the world. The obvious reason is the fact that reincarnation is a belief which mostly comes from the East. So, obviously when they have false memories, they associate it with reincarnation. While false memories are not intentional, some people are also likely to intentionally make up such stories.

How about seeing auras? Can it be Synesthesia? (a neurological phenomenon that causes cross wiring of senses)..

I am not saying that all these claims of seeing auras or remembering past lives cannot be real.. It could be. I am just suggesting all the possibilities. When it comes to science, you have to be both open minded and skeptic. But people are usually inclined more towards believing or completely denying.

But I assume that there is certainly a link between enlightenment and neural plasticity. Scientists now believe that mindfulness meditation can rewire the brain. An enlightened brain could be a completely rewired brain that inhibits the activity of sympathetic nervous system when there is no need. SNS is supposed to be activated when an animal feels that there is a threat for life. If a lion is chasing the deer, then SNS of the deer activates its fear and makes it to run fast. But as human beings evolved from being an animal to human, the SNS gets activated even for trivial issues and makes human beings to suffer. Rewiring the brain through meditation or self-inquiry may be the way to get rid of this human suffering.

The most reasonable way to study enlightenment is to study the brains of enlightened people. Scientists can observe many things from techniques like fMRI and PET scans. They have been already studying the brains of mediators but only a couple of so called enlightened people have volunteered to have their brains studied.

 

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Author: Shanmugam

I am a blogger and I was a spiritual seeker. I had a tremendous awakening experience in July 12, 2014 on a Gurupurnima day in the presence of Sadhguru but I wouldn’t call that as spiritual enlightenment. But it did free me from many things and changed many things.

129 thoughts on “The Journey of a Seeker – My Story”

  1. Found your post via Dharma Overground and read the whole way through. Really enjoyed your story and appreciate you sharing it – thank you. May you your practice continue to grow as your state further integrates!

    Like

  2. I have just read the first half of your writeup above. Will read the rest soon and comment. I think I will benefit greatly from it.

    I saw a TV interview of Arun Shourie by Vir Sanghvi the other day on CNN-News18 (available online). You may be interested in his book that is about to come out: “Two Saints: Speculations around and about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi” (the interview was held in this connection). I am waiting for the copy I have ordered online.

    (I respect Shourie but he seems to have fallen into what I call the Scientific Trap. Anyway I think the book will help me at least a bit.)

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  3. Your story is interesting, there is very much similar things happening in my life too.
    I’m currently studying civil engineering

    Thank you very much.

    How to contact you?

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  4. I happened to come across videos of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev on You tube, after watching one I went on to watch another and then another and so on and got influenced a lot. But I also came across articles and videos where people referred to him as fake. Whatsoever I really like his talks and wish to visit his Ashram once for some lessons but again I found people warning on various blogs etc. about the dangers, I was doing lot of research on internet when I happened to come across your writing on Quora and from there I came here. I really enjoyed reading your blog. The comparisons between Osho’s teaching and Sadhguru are also interesting. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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  5. Thank you very much for your sharing, it’s very informative. 🙂

    You are questioning why Sadhguru is greatly influenced by Osho but never credited Osho about his anecdotes and stories. Sadhguru had explained this as below:

    “Its not that I have not spoken about Rajneesh-I have. It’s just that his approach was different than what we have taken so it is not necessary for me to speak about Rajneesh. I don’t speak of JK also because his approach is very different as well.”

    I’d say Sadhguru makes use of Osho’s anecdotes as tools to convey his ideas, rather than he’s been ‘influenced’.

    If he credits everything he uses, would it be a huge burden? We use language to communicate, but we don’t credit the language every time we speak.

    Maybe the emphasis should be put on what two different approaches they take. I am very curious about this.

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    1. He doesn’t even talk about Osho at all, let alone giving credit to Osho…But he talks about all other mystics and even those list of mystics is also exactly same as Osho’s list.. In my more than 13 years of spiritual journey, I have certainly learnt to find the difference between being influenced by someone else vs just quoting someone else anecdotes; more than that, I have certainly learnt many things by observing, reading and listening to so many people who have taken up Guru’s role today…. So, I can definitely say that Sadhguru’s behavior is a little fishy… But this is not to say that he is a conman or badman altogether… He has done many things which are good, just like any human being who has some authority and power will do… He is promoting a lot of things about our culture including native martial arts like kalaripayattu, which is awesome… But, when it comes to enlightenment and guiding people towards it, I have a question mark about him..

      I have already answered many such comments before in Quora.. You can go through the following answers especially the comments section:

      https://www.quora.com/Has-Sadhguru-copied-the-ideology-and-thoughts-of-Osho/answer/Shanmugam-P-12?srid=hJCJi

      https://www.quora.com/Is-Sadhguru-a-conman/answer/Shanmugam-P-12?srid=hJCJi

      https://www.quora.com/Is-Sadhguru-really-enlightened/answer/Shanmugam-P-12?srid=hJCJi

      https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-Sadhguru-Jaggi-Vasudev-has-hurt-some-women-including-his-wife/answer/Shanmugam-P-12?srid=hJCJi

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  6. Hi Shanmugam, thanks for sharing your experience about enlightenment. I found it genuine and inspiring. Have enjoyed also reading about Ramakrishna and Osho.
    I wonder if you’ve had the opportunity to get familiar with other famous spiritual leaders such as Yogananda, Nisargadatta, Papaji, Adiashanti, and if you have formed also an opinion about their prevalent message and enlightenment ‘technology’.

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    1. thank you Chris.. Yes I am familiar with all of the gurus you have mentioned.. Have read some parts of ‘Autobiography of Yogi’ and Yogananda’s book about Jesus Christ. Have seen Papaji’s videos and read a book as well. Read Nisargadatta’s ‘I am that’ and have also watched some of Adyashanthi’s videos…

      Don’t really have specific opinions about Nisargadatta or Adya but I did find their teachings useful.

      Papaji was quite different. One thing that I found weird about him was that he declared most of his disciples as enlightened. But he did say later that he simply did that to ‘get the leaches off his back’.. I have heard that many people found his guidance quite useful. I recently read Sam Harris book ‘Waking up’ where he shows his high opinion about Papaji but he also points out how he was culturally biased. Of course, from what I have observed, all human beings are subject to bias whether enlightened or not.

      Regarding Yogananda, I have mixed opinions. When I read his book, the style of writing itself reveals that he is probably influenced by a lot of confirmation bias. I feel that there are certain things that he overlooks when he interprets Bible. For example, the 4 Gospels are actually written many years after Jesus’s death and I don’t think those Gospels do complete justice in revealing what exactly Jesus preached. And Yoganda, although says that he had direct contact with Jesus, places those Gospels as full authority to explain Jesus’s teaching. From what I read in the book so far, he doesn’t seem to have even a single doubt that the way things are explained in Gospels may have even slightest deviation from what Jesus actually spoke.

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  7. Thank you sir for sharing such a comprehensive and wonderful experience of your life. There are lot of questions which linger in my mind but I don’t know where to go. could you please help me?

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      1. According to my observations or rather perceptions, I have a clue that nature itself could be called as ‘GOD’. What I am thinking is that if the natural principles are fabricated in favor of us and therefore if we do something good(my view is that good and bad are absolute and defined by nature itself) then we are on the god’s(nature’s) side . This idea is also called pantheism.I want you to shed light into it. Thankyou

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        1. Pantheism, according to the definition in Wiki, is “Pantheism is the belief that all reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god”

          This is similar to what Advaita Vedanta teaches. Everything is Brahman. Chandogya upanishad says that just like all vessels of clay, though having different forms are made up of single source, the entire universe springs from Brahman and is Brahman itself…

          Now, this oneness of everything is something that is realized experientially. Enlightenment is just the experience of reality without the distinctions that has been superimposed on it. When the personal boundaries of ‘me’ vs ‘world’ disappears, you automatically feel one with the universe. In that oneness, you realize all that exists. That is what we call as Brahman. You can use any name you want, the name is not important. So whether you call that as God, Shiva, Krishna, Brahman, doesn’t matter.

          But the word ‘Pantheism’ may mean different thing to different people. I don’t really prefer to use that word for it. I don’t even use the word God, because it has the same problem.

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          1. But could it be a possibility that nature itself regulatess the system of not only materialistic things but also the human consciousness. Also could it be true that the cause and effect process of nature judges between good and bad

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            1. Good and bad are just the ideas of mind… If a lonely bull is roaming in the lion’s territory, it is not good for the goat but it is very good for a lion.

              There is nobody other than humans who is judging whether something is good or bad…

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              1. Then this world is unfair.The logic of being vegetarian only because animals would feel pain has no meaning. Good and bad emotions are just an illusion. A criminal lives life of prosperity and an honest man succumbs against the hostility of criminals and the list of such examples goes on. Justice has no universal meaning. It is an artificial design.

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                1. Yes, existence is not always fair towards us.. Life is totally unfair. An earthquake can happen right now and take my life as I am typing this message.

                  We as a human beings should have compassion to not to cause suffering to others. Nobody else is monitoring what we do and grant reward or punishment according to that.

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                  1. Sir couldn’t be a unique answer to all these questions and shouldn’t we hunt for the answers which would fit into physical as well as moral aspects of the life. If not then we are compelled to behave in a way our circumstances as well as hormones make us to act. Something looks really missing

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                    1. There are lot of atheists in the world who don’t believe in God. But they are not acting according to how their hormones prompt them. Many of the atheists I know are really good people.

                      In fact, belief in God has actually caused a lot of violence more than anything else. Human beings don’t need a supernatural judge to act good and be nice. All that is needed is proper education and proper upbringing. And we have meditation to go beyond a lot of our compulsive behaviors.

                      When you go deep into meditation, it will automatically make you behave in a way that doesn’t cause suffering to others.

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                    2. Sir, do you believe in soul? Please tell us something about anadmaya Kosh

                      On 18-Sep-2017 10:27 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      > Shanmugam commented: “There are lot of atheists in the world who don’t > believe in God. But they are not acting according to how their hormones > prompt them. Many of the atheists I know are really good people. In fact, > belief in God has actually caused a lot of violence more t” >

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                    3. Soul according to me is something which is not materialistic. It is the very identity or the ‘self’. Is it true that we are just a complex system of atoms which somehow become conscious or something else?

                      On 02-Oct-2017 10:59 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      Shanmugam commented: “What do you mean by the word ‘soul’? Please define it and I will give you the reply..” Respond to this comment by replying above this line

                      New comment on *Shanmugam’s Personal Blog *

                      *Shanmugam* commented on The Journey of a Seeker – My Story .

                      in response to *saurabh mishra*:

                      Sir, do you believe in soul? Please tell us something about anadmaya Kosh

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                    4. If you call the absolute reality, the sakshin or the witness as soul, then yes it does exist.. (you can’t deny your own existence)

                      Koshas are little similar to the Buddhist concept of 5 aggregates.. When you witness your mind and your body, first you witness the physical form which is annamayakosha, then there is your life energy which is pranamayakosha, then there is your manas, the part of the mind which has to do with your likes and dislikes, emotions etc, then there is vigyanamaya kosha, which is your discriminatory power; finally the witness or anandamaya kosha, which is usually referred to as sat-chit-ananda (truth-conciousness-bliss)..

                      These concepts are just used as teaching techniques or devices….

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                    5. Is it immortal?

                      On 02-Oct-2017 11:12 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      > Shanmugam commented: “If you call the absolute reality, the sakshin or the > witness as soul, then yes it does exist.. (you can’t deny your own > existence) Koshas are little similar to the Buddhist concept of 5 > aggregates.. When you witness your mind and your body, first you wi” >

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                    6. Thats what vedanta says…

                      But anyway, when you die nothing actually disappears.. Everything merges into existence.. your body merges with the earth. The energy in the body is also not lost, as we know that energy cannot be destroyed.

                      There are many metaphysical theories regarding these things… . I am not sure whether consciousness will survive after death- it may or may not.But nobody can be certain about what happens to consciousness after death. We don’t have an answer based on evidence yet.

                      But you will not worry about all these things once you are spiritually awakened… Once you feel that you are one with existence, death appears to be an illusion.

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                    7. Sir is it sensible to think that this gigantic universe is designed (say it is self designed) then also we could say that the whole universe is consciousness in itself. If you talk about the oneness with the nature then can we think that the creator of this conscious being is in itself conscious ( literally conscious) and thereby the whole universe is conscious.

                      On 02-Oct-2017 11:21 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      > Shanmugam commented: “Thats what vedanta says… But anyway, when you die > nothing actually disappears.. Everything merges into existence.. your body > merges with the earth. The energy in the body is also not lost, as we know > that energy cannot be destroyed. There are many me” >

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                    8. Yes.. it makes sense to think that way.. But do we know for sure? Unless we know it for sure, we cannot say that with certainty.

                      There is a mystery in the existence.. We can fall in love with the mystery, we can write poems about it, we can do research, we can philosophize about it and come up with metaphysical theories; But we don’t have a definite answer yet.

                      But there is a way to become a part of the mystery; In fact, you already are! But you feel separate and limited now. If you get into serious spiritual practice, these questions will stop bothering you one day.

                      Thats why Buddha refused to answer such questions. Instead, he guided people to actually practice the techniques he gave to end their suffering. You can find more details about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unanswered_questions

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                    9. Sir , please help me to achieve this. I am searching for something but I myself don’t know what for.

                      On 02-Oct-2017 11:40 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      > Shanmugam commented: “Yes.. it makes sense to think that way.. But do we > know for sure? Unless we know it for sure, we cannot say that with > certainty. There is a mystery in the existence.. We can fall in love with > the mystery, we can write poems about it, we can do research,” >

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                    10. Sir thank you so much. Actually this “thanks” word can’t express how grateful I feel for you.

                      On 02-Oct-2017 11:53 PM, “Shanmugam’s Personal Blog” wrote:

                      > Shanmugam commented: “Go to this link: http://www.satrakshita.com/ > witnessing_a_simple_phenomenon.htm Read this and also read all the links > which are given in the bottom. What Osho calls as ‘witnessing’ is the only > practice that I did in the long term. ” >

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  8. Was Osho/Rajneesh enlightened? Was he a saint? I haven’t read his books, maybe out of prejudice. But I would like to provide some information which younger people may not be aware of.

    Before he moved to the U.S., there were bad rumours about his Pune ashram which, of course, were denied. I recall an article in The Illustrated Weekly of India (which was published by the Times of India group) with a picture of a row of benches with two or three naked Westerners on each bench.

    A lot of European men had settled in the Pune ashram and married Indian women. When Rajneesh moved to the U.S., many of these men divorced their Indian wives so that they could marry Americans and live in the U.S.! I can’t give you the source of this report.

    In the Oregon ashram, Rajneesh had a fleet of Rolls Royce cars. As far as I know, he lived a life of great luxury. They also had a TV channel which was reported to show what can be described as adult material.

    After a few years, the U.S. govt kicked him out. I don’t recall the circumstances; maybe there was a deal and he escaped arrest by agreeing to leave. He returned to Pune and died a few years later. After that his followers changed his name as they do to dead emperors in Japan (Hirohito became Showa).

    Such a man should not be compared with Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta Maharaj!

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    1. Yes, I am aware of all the controversies surrounding Osho. Yes, He did have a lot of Rolls Royces. But I also know the man through what he has talked all his life… Here is what he said about his Rolls Royces: http://www.oshoworld.com/biography/innercontent.asp?FileName=biography8/08-20-rolls.txt

      Anyway, there is no way to prove whether he is enlightened or not. This goes back to the whole issue that I have raised. As I said, enlightenment should be studied by Science. And as far as I have observed, enlightenment doesn’t make anyone morally perfect…

      But the impact he made in my life is so much. I cannot write about my spiritual life without mentioning Osho.. It is impossible!

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          1. That site is down now also. The point I wanted to make is that the ability to go into nirvikalpa samadhi is not enlightenment or liberation (it may be the first step). The mind should become completely pure. Therefore, a person who is fearful or boastful is not enlightened. This seems to apply to Rajneesh and Jaggi. I must admit that all this is just based on what I have read, not personal experience.

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            1. I agree that nirvikalpa samadhi itself is not final. Because, it is temporary and the person returns to duality once he comes out of samadhi. Ramana Maharishi says that Sahaja samadhi is final, which is nothing but living without duality but still retaining body consciousness and being able to function in the world as everybody else. Ramana has also clarified that not everyone goes through nirvikalpa samadhi and it really depends on the prarabhda karma.

              In the Advaitic tradition of the lineage of Shankara, nirvikalpa samadhi is not discussed at all.

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          2. The reason for my mentioning Silva here, although it isn’t directly related to your experiences, is that Jose Silva claimed that he had scientifically analysed the working of the brain/mind and created techniques which were experimentally verified. Reading this material may help some of your readers (who wrote above) answer some of their questions. I don’t think you need this, you have progressed much further as far as I can see!
            The site http://www.josesilva.net gives a summary and could be a starting point. There seem to be at least two organisations at present, one run by his son Jose Silva Jr and the other by his daughter Laura Silva Quesada. (Jose Silva (1914-1999) had 10 children.)

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  9. Namaskaram
    I just read your blog and that is great. And i have a question that what we call those people who can know everything about our whole life just being in their presence and cure the people even without touching them.
    I know a guru who have these kind of ability

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    1. Namaskaram Kapil… thats an interesting question..

      Let me first tell you what our scriptures say regarding these special powers called Siddhis…Patanjali yogasutras lists tons of those siddhis which can be acquired in the process of spiritual sadhana. But acquiring these siddhis are not the intention of a spiritual sadhana; it only focuses on one and one thing only: Moksha or liberation (spiritual enlightenment). Also, many gurus warn about these siddhis. They can distract one from a spiritual path and make him get stuck without ever getting the actual liberation. So, a person who has siddhis is not necessarily enlightened. Usually spiritually enlightened people are less interested to exhibit any siddhis even if they possess them. Also, not all these spiritually enlightened people have any siddhis either.

      What I said above was just a summary of what all these scriptures say and what I have heard. But I don’t believe in things just because they are said in scriptures.

      I have encountered a person who was blind and living in a crematorium. He could actually say certain things about the present for eg. He could find out something that was going on inside my mind that I had never revealed to anyone. (it was not something that is ambiguous but very clear). But he made a future prediction which actually did not come true. Based on this, I can say that some kind of extra-sensory perception may exist with its own limitations. I am using the word ‘may’ because I have learnt in my life that what seems to be real is not always real (Take a simple magic show that we have watched, as an example)

      Also, I know that 999 out of 1000 people who claim that they know everything about your life are probably fake. They use techniques such as hot reading and cold reading.

      You can read about them up here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_reading

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading

      And regarding curing diseases immediately, I am totally skeptical about it. Did you encounter such thing in a stage performance or the person cured a serious disease of someone whom you know very well? What kind of health issue was that? How much money does that person collect for such a thing? (He should be a millionaire by now if he was genuine)…

      By the way, no offense intended. Don’t take it as a disrespect towards whoever that Guru is.

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      1. yes , i have met such people personally even today i met him and one who is receptive can feel the positive energy in his room
        yes i have seen so many cases like that he cure the people even without touching them . Some of the cases i have seen with my eyes like he lets the people get rid of negative energy
        of course he charge good for that but also he assure that in future that negative energy will not disturb them again in their life.
        and one more thing i have seen with my own eyes that he can do “Shakti path” only with his presence and he performed this on one of friend . I know osho can do shakti path by touching the person and transmit energy to them and i have seen such video of osho in which he perform shakti path by touching the person on his center point of eyebrows.
        one more thing i would like to add is that i believe in Aura. yes it does exist ,i don’t know why you don’t believe in such things but i assure you that these things really exist .
        Whatever i have read,learn,listen i come to a conclusion that he is Enlighten

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        1. Belief is actually a poor substitute for knowledge… We try to fill in some gaps in the knowledge by using our beliefs. Human beings have always come up with their own imaginary explanation whenever they encounter something that cannot be explained by what they already know. Also, we are quick to form conclusions about things.

          Even if you see a shade of light around a person, you shouldn’t immediately give a mystical meaning to it. Instead, you need to find yourself the reason why it happens. There are people who can see things that other people can’t see, simply because of some differences in their nervous system. Synesthesia is a good and interesting example.

          Yes, It is possible to see what they call as auras. But it doesn’t mean that all the beliefs that we attach to auras need to be true. Read this article: https://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_aura_a_brief_review

          Also read about placebo effect and confirmation bias. And I suggest you read Sam Harris’s ‘Waking up – spirituality without religion’. He talks about ‘pointing out instruction’ that he received from a guru which caused an epiphany for him. And he gives a rational explanation for it as well.

          The answer ‘I don’t know’ may be something that people don’t want to hear or say, but it is more genuine than a belief. Even Osho taught the same thing…

          Thats why I don’t believe in things… I either know or don’t know.

          What is the name of your Guru? Is the information about him available online? Also, what kind of diseases he actually cures? If I look him up, I can comment about him more.. (Osho talked a lot of imaginary diseases that can be cured by placebo.. If you have got convinced that you have some negative energy then a cup of water given by your favorite Guru can cure it, not because the water has healing properties. It happens because of placebo effect)

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  10. Readers may be interested in “The Silva Mind Control Method” by Jose Silva, a Mexican-American, and other books by him like “You the Healer”.

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    1. It seems my comment above was too short and rather cryptic! Silva claimed to have developed a technique for meditating and solving problems including healing oneself and others, otherwise known as remote healing. He didn’t say it was instant. His organisation held classes in many countries including India. He wrote that earlier he used to train people to read auras but found that it was unnecessary. His books (paperback) are widely available. It appears that some people had some success with these techniques and some didn’t.

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  11. The web page of Ed Muzika was available just now and I made a PDF of it. I would like to send it to you. Would you please send me your email address?

    I was surprised to read that Shankara doesn’t mention nirvikalpa samadhi. How can I verify this? (I can’t ask for a reference if there is none!)

    I attended some lectures of Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda in the 1970s and 80s. The former used to mention nirvikalpa. He also emphasised the elimination of vasanas. The latter made it clear that understanding had to be through the intellect. He said that a quiet, alert mind could receive the truth from a guru. I think I wasn’t really qualified.

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    1. Thank you.. You can send the pdf to borris83[at]gmail.com

      Actually, the word nirvikalpa is somewhat synonymous with ‘advaita’, and in that sense, a person who is enlightened is experiencing reality without ‘vikalpas’ or as ‘nirvikalpa’…Shankara is also in agreement here…

      But when we say nirvikalpa samadhi, we often refer to a temporary state where a person loses body consciousness and immersed in his nature. It is this that Shankara didn’t consider as necessary. He doesn’t talk about it in any of his bhashyas and doesn’t say that it is a necessary step in self-realization.

      However, in the book ‘Vivekachudamani’, this nirvikalpa samadhi is mentioned in detail. But the authorship of ‘Vivekachudamani’ is debated and scholars generally don’t agree that Shankara is the author of ‘Vivekachudamani’.. I have also read it and it sounds completely different from his bhashyas.

      Swami Dayananda doesn’t even agree that there is an experiential side to enlightenment. He says everything is completely intellectual and even the word ‘anubhava’ means ‘understanding’. He used to make fun of samadhi experiences… If I find some links I will comment. But however, Swami Dayananda’s explanations sound a little misleading to me. Because I know that this oneness of non-duality is not mere an intellectual understanding alone.

      I actually initiated a debate with some western Vedanta teachers and one of them was a student of Swami Chinmayananda. But he had also adopted a lot of views from Swami Dayananda. I challenged him against his views with some scriptural evidence. You can read it here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/an-invitation-to-debate-swami-satchidanandendra-saraswati-vs-modern-vedanta-teachers/ .. Then I exchanged some emails with him, but I haven’t posted it in my blog yet.. I will be doing that soon.

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  12. Hi, I have enjoyed reading your article after a friend shared with me. As one who is also walking the path of awakening to their true “self”, it has given good food for contemplation and consideration.

    I have a comment on attempting to apply modern scientific approaches towards deeper aspects of existence. As one with a background and slightly more than ley understanding of the physical and human sciences, I have seen that current scientific philosophy of observe, associate with referent, replicate and make conclusions (finite tangible knowledge) is ill-equipped to address matters of enlightenment. The foundation for this reasoning is my understanding of how existence comes to be where I see enlightenment being to do with “concepts” outside the space/time – time/space continuum, thus not observable through the 5 aggregates of being. From my study and spiritual seeking, I have formed a world view as below (largely influenced by The Law of One – http://www.lawofone.info/ );

    THE CREATION AND US.
    There was, is and always will be, infinity, without boundaries or polarities, within this infinity there was the “potential” for awareness (which can be characterized by freedom of will – that which is seen as the first distortion from unity) and awareness arose, within this awareness, arose the potential for finity and finity arose, and thus the sequence follows – finity bringing forth ‘manyness’, onwards and onwards ad-infinitum.
    Within this infinite manyness, arose the ‘prime mover’ Love(Logos), that which has been called God by our peoples. This Love can be characterised by its focusing of intelligent infinity to give rise to ‘intelligent energy’, this energy being characterised by a distortion (i.e. movement from original state) or frequency, this frequency, we call Light, the foundation of the manifested creation or in other terms ‘densities of illusion’.
    This vibration, Light (along with its concomitants – space/time & time/space), can then be seen to be a projection of the Logos/Love, being its free-will distortions which we (all sentient beings), being a part of, experience as life and the creation/existence…. and follows that our moment to moment choices, being us, as ‘sub-sub-sub-sub…..logoi are, our free-will distortions as a part of the greater whole.
    And just as in the physical universe, from any point of observation, all directions are the same (cosmological isotropy), it follows that our religions tell us that the ‘Kingdom of God’ is within us. For everything manifest is a projection from portions of that original ‘concept’.

    It would be interesting to share perspectives with another scientifically inclined seeker.

    Namaste.

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    1. Hi Amwayi.. I understand what you are saying.. But the research that I am talking about has to do with observing the brain activity and structural and functional changes of the brains of the people who report spiritual awakening… It is definitely possible to narrow down the neural correlates of non-dual consciousness but it will take time. I have already written a detailed post regarding this here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/is-there-a-scientific-evidence-for-spiritual-enlightenment/

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  13. Shanmugam, Vanakam again! I read your life sketch. Very interesting spiritual journey! But I feel you have missed out some fundamental points about spirituality in general because of which you seem to have gone off tangent a little despite the interesting spiritual awakening that you have had. What those point are I hope you will come to know as we correspond. I have no doubt there is much I can learn by interacting with you.

    Let me start off by asking you some questions:

    1. You say that Paramahansa Yogananda “is probably influenced by a lot of confirmation bias”. Could you please elucidate this opinion of yours with more specific examples?

    2. You say you don’t believe in beliefs. But isn’t that itself a belief?

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

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    1. 1)Regarding Paramhamsa Yogananda, that is the overall impression that I got after reading some of his books. I don’t remember the details now, to give you examples.. May be if I read his books again, I will come with some examples..

      2. What I meant was, I don’t believe in anything.. I either know or I don’t know…

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      1. Hi Shan, (don’t mind my calling you so), you say you have read Yogananda’s Autobiography only partly. Why not read it completely and see if you can justify your opinion of him with suitable examples therefrom. I have read the Autobiography several times and I feel that he is one of the greatest spiritual luminaries of India and that is why I am surprised at your characterization of him as “influenced by confirmation bias”. Please oblige me. Tq.

        Sorry, I don’t think you have answered my 2nd question. To say, I DON’T BELIEVE IN BELIEFS is itself a BELIEF. Don’t you agree? I think you are a little confused about the term BELIEF. This I think is a very fundamental spiritual point you have missed in your spiritual journey. Knowing what BELIEF actually connotes is of utmost importance for your spiritual progress. BELIEF constitutes a very significant part of our lives. The IMPRESSION that you have formed of Yogananda is nothing but a BELIEF. You BELIEVED what you heard/read about Osho’s advice on meditation and then validated the BELIEF by practising what he had preached. Isn’t that so? I can go on and on but the 2 examples will suffice for now, Now, over to you for your comment. Tq

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        1. I didn’t get this impression after reading ‘Autobiography of the yogi’ but his book ‘The Second coming of Christ’.. This was only regarding his commentary on Bible and not regarding his meditation techniques.

          Anyway, let us forget Paramhamsa Yogananda for a minute. As much as I have seen, all people, whether enlightened or not, are prone to confirmation bias.

          It is clear that you are impressed by Paramhamsa Yogananda.. I admit that I don’t know much about him except what I have read so far. The only reason why I gave my opinion about his books is because someone in the comments asked my opinion about him.

          I don’t disagree in anyway that he is a great master. But one thing I have learn’t in my life is that no one is infallible or perfect.

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  14. Hi Shanmugan, thank you for this very genuine story of your spiritual journey. It was absorbing, at times amusing (“meditation techniques” that didn´t work), well structured and it seemd truthfull to me, after having had quite a lot of similar experiences on my own path.

    I also very much enjoyed your opinion about Osho and Sadhguru. I have aksed the same questions to myself: there seem to be so many enlightened or awakened people, but the “degree” or level of ripening or the way it happenes and progresses in their later lives seems to differ a lot as well.

    The other point for me as a spiritual seeker is also the question, whether any of these awakened humans are on the same path as me. With this I want to say that we have a lot of so called enlightened gurus, or saints, or how to call them- maybe even gods or paramahamsas, throughout history. But it does not automatically mean that their path and way of living and acting is proper for the specific student. Gurus, who went the path of ascetism, are difficult to follow by those involved in family life, gurus who lived in the past lived under other circumstances then us, it is also of big importance, as my own experience shows it, whether the person is a woman or a man, because some of the problems are simply different. It is also different for a child seeker, who is dependant on it´s parents and for an adult who has money or does not (you had this nice exemple from your life about the fact that you could not even afford one book by Sadhguru after attenting to your first meeting with him).

    So, having read your experiences with Osho and Sadhguru and also some of the “critical” points about some aspects of their acts, I am curious whether, after your awakening experience and the feelings that continue within your life (feeling of fullfillment),you still feel the necessity for having your own particular spiritual teacher or guru with whom you could speak about your present experiences?

    I would also like to ask if you had any experiences with Linga Bhairavi or also generally, if you have engaged in any practices with personalised gods or goddesses (like Bhairavi for example)? Was this part of your experiments on your path?

    Agnieszka from Europe

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    1. Thank you for a detailed comment about my post. I agree with the questions that you raised, they are very reasonable.. Thats why I stress the importance of bridging science and spirituality.

      Right now, I don’t feel the necessity of having a Guru. I don’t sense a consistent self in me at all and hence the life is very different now. It is almost like I don’t exist at all! I only exist as existence.. To put it metaphorically, the wave called Shanmugam has disappeared into the vast ocean of existence.

      I have experimented practices with personal God and deities but I don’t do that anymore. And I haven’t had any experiences in particular with Linga Bhairavi. I thought I did, but when I look back now, I can say that it was a placebo or probably have more to do with the attitude I had rather than Linga Bhairavi itself. I am skeptical about the claims on consecrated spaces made by Sadhguru, Because I have Linga Bhairavi gudi in my home for the last two years and there is no difference between being at home or office. None of my relatives who have visited my home have felt any difference as well. It can work as a device for devotion and surrender but nothing more than that…

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  15. You say, you have been enlightened.I know you don’t want to be called as an enlightened man.Are you aware of the fact that enlightenment is the most mysterious thing in universe??So obviously it must be the most confusing thing also.Many mystic have said that out of 100 enlightened people 90-95 percent people are not enlightened.Some are pseoudo gurus who want name and fame and rest are confused gurus who have read a lot of books about enlightenment.You say,you still have thoughts which come by themself?? You still have food and sex craving and many more things.Can we have a little discussion on this to find out what is truth.I am not knowledgeable as you and my English isn’t perfect.So forgive me if I do some error in writing.And also help me to understand you if I fail.ok ?

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    1. I am sure you will get a good reply from Shanmugam. But I can’t resist saying a bit myself. Shanmugam has described his own development in a totally honest way (at least apparently). He has made it clear that he is not trying to become our guru! As you say (and Shanmugam also says, although I can’t give a precise reference) “enlightenment” is quite a confusing word; maybe we should stop bothering about it and just try to understand ourselves. In this, I find his writings helpful.

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      1. Dear shanmugam ji,
        To me enlightment is a mysterious conception which is enhighlighted by many gurus to make that more glorify so that all human would crave for that experience which has no concrete base.But if you go through chandogya upanishad,brihadarnyaka upanishad,brahmasutra,you would find that all the statements are confusing.Even rishis of one upanishad
        don’t agree with another upanishad’s statement on enlightment and disciplies of shankara don’t agree with some of shankara’s statements.
        And Buddhism totally represents different perspective for enlightment.And jainaism does the same with their approach.
        But everywhere we find a clear-cut path to walk up on for enlightment but who have become enlighted are still in chaos in their views .They differ their views from each other on what is enlightment.And people like Osho, Vivekananda have expressed all the statements by moulding them according to their point of view so that somehow they all could sync with each other.
        To me enlightment is an overglorified,overhighlighted, overemphasized abstract which has been propagated by many to influence people,which is called as #Dharma prachar,#Re-establishment of religion.. etc
        Thank you for reply ji,

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  16. “To put it metaphorically, the wave called Shanmugam has disappeared into the vast ocean of existence”. This statement or state of Sri. Shanmugam is the ultimate goal in Advaita philosophy. This is the ‘Jeevan Mukta’ state, whether we can call it self-realisation, self-actualisation, liberation or enlightenment. In my humble opinion, there is nothing beyond this to achieve. Of course, such a state being highly subjective, it is impossible to find out from one’s worldly transactions whether he or she is a jeevan mukta and you cannot question such souls moving about in the world as normal human beings, immensely enjoying a good meal or anything that nature offers. It is none of other’s business too. Questions are raised only if such men go about becoming (or calling themselves) ‘Gurus’ are masters. In the recent times we have seen cases of gurus who had mass following, falling steeply from their spiritual heights succumbing to carnal pleasures. This is a lurking danger faced by those in spiritual field from which we have guard ourselves.

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    1. Thats right… Not many people understand it, thats the problem. A huge number of people understand enlightenment as something that one achieves or becomes.. There is no question of another stage when the person himself has disappeared.

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  17. Dear Shanmugan, thank you for your last reply. It was very clear to me and I agree with all. I would like to ask you now particulary about your physical sensations. How do you feel your physical body after your awakening experience – has anything changed for you?

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    1. Yes.. I feel so much lighter than before.. Before this awakening, I used to feel like I was dragging my body and felt very heavy.. But now there is an enormous sense of freedom when it comes to body. I don’t feel like a person who is carrying a body anymore.. I am not sure if I am using the right words but when someone describes such an experience, I can recognize it very easily. There is also a tremendous amount of energy that I feel which was not there before. This feeling of boundlessness is certainly one gift which is totally worth all the pain I have gone through..

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  18. Dear Shanmugam, thank you for answering my questions so openly. They raise new questions for me, as of course, I am very curious what else might be of any significance for those who are on the path towards feeling this lightness, energy and also experiencing boundlessness- as you have described the sensations you have now in your own words.
    Have you also experienced any difference in the sensations of heat/cold or vibration (electricity) in the physical body – at a specific time or most of the time before, during or after your awakening point? In case you did, have they shifted in any way or increased or decreased? Did you practice any specific hatha yoga or pranayama or visualisations of subtle energies before? How do you feel in general about sleeping and also how is you awareness during dream time and during deep sleep? Do you still have “samsaric” dreams (this kind of “ordinary” dreams about daily topics, when we et sucked into the dream story without knowing that we are actually dreaming)? Thank you so much for sharing your broad personal experiences!

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    1. You are welcome.. No, I haven’ experienced or at least noticed any difference in the sensations of heat/cold or vibration (electricity) in the physical body.. I haven’t practiced Hatha yoga or other yogic techniques you mentioned either… When I am sleeping I am not conscious of the external world or sensations but I can witness mental sensations if there are any.. I have dreams but they are different from the kind of dreams I used to have before.. In dreams, I am totally in different places and sometimes with different people which are not present in real life. The dreams are very vivid and there is almost no difference between real life and dream.. Both in real life and dreams, there is no identification and I am not caught up in the story.. I am the same whether I am dreaming, sleeping or wide awake.. There is a continuous, unbroken stream of my existence throughout all these three states. In other words, I don’t feel like I am in a different state the minute I am awake from sleep. If I compare this with how it was before awakening, I used to sense myself having transitioned from one state to another state… The distinction was very clear before awakening but after awakening it is not like that.. But I don’t recognize a dream as a dream when I am sleeping..

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  19. Sorry, but Rajneesh was clearly a fake. He is known to have plagiarized lots of the content of his books from other books – word for word – because those same books were sold to him earlier by someone who read his books for review.

    That is why his views were all over the place when he had to speak spontaneously – as you have already noted. Here is another example, you say Rajneesh “said that dreams during sleep will completely disappear after enlightenment.” Well that is the opposite of what Ramana said:”Q: Does a jnani [enlightened being] have dreams?

    Ramana Maharshi: Yes, he does dream, but he knows it to be a dream, in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream no.1 and dream no.2. The jnani being established in the fourth state – turiya, the supreme reality – he detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, as pictures superimposed on it.’ – from Guru Ramana, p. 100

    That’s just one example of many things Rajneesh simply made up on the spot.

    Many people have received some benefit from reading or hearing Rajneesh simply because he copies some good material. 🙂 It is easier to be seen to be “enlightened” if you copy things said by enlightened people.

    From your detective work on Sadhguru, it sounds like he is using the same technique – except that he is copying a fake.

    So forget about both of their definitions of “enlightened” and use what Ramana or Shankara have said. If you can read Ramana’s works in the original Tamil, then you have a big advantage, because you won’t have the translator’s viewpoint filtering everything.

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      1. I have actually read criticisms about him which sound worse than this. There is a guy called Christopher Cadler who has a long article critisizing him and two ex-disciples of Osho, Satya Bharti Franklin and Hugh Milne have written books completely bashing him.. But this particular article you gave me sound more like a defense of orthodox Christianity against Eastern traditions.

        Anyway, Osho is dead now. And I am not a fan of idealizing a human being or cult of personality. It is just that the way he explained certain things was very helpful for me in understanding many things…It is not an exaggeration to say that his talks changed my life.

        My point is, when we look at any human being and make an opinion about him based on his actions, we tend to categorize him either as evil or as Godly. I don’t do neither anymore.. When I see that my own sense of a separate self as illusion, I can’t see another person as a separate self either. I see the behaviours and statements of a particular human being independently, rather than attributing them to a personality.

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  20. Oh, I forgot one other issue (which probably is good to be in a separate post) – “Past Lives”.

    The whole point of Advaita Vedanta is – “Who Am I?” – which is why it was the title of Ramana’s original book (if you have not read it in original Tamil, you should do so, although even in English it is excellent).

    Some religions posit the idea of “eternal individual souls”, but this is from believing things without thinking about them. How could could a finite thing be eternal? And – as Buddhism and Advaita point out – how can a constantly shifting mixture of countless elements have a single fixed identity?

    So, as Ramana and others point out, what we call “I” is merely the one and only Absolute (Satchitananda), and our seeming individual person is based on the “I am the body” thought/feeling. So, there is only one “I” that looks at the world through 7 billion bodies. Therefore, if “you” were to entirely leave your body, and enter someone else’s body, it would be the exact same experience as that person has in their body-because all the difference are just due to the body-mind.

    Thus, if through some vision or siddhi, someone experiences some part of another person’s life of a previous era, that feels EXACTLY like them – because the “I” is the same. So, the mind says “MY past life”, even though only the formless Absolute “I” is in common.

    But, causality and karma do exist and have important roles in making our world “make sense” rather than being chaotic. So, the things done in a life have momentum and do affect future lives. But there is no individual identity that is common between the two lives, any more than is common among all 7 billion people.

    So, here is how you can think about past lives. Suppose you rent a “flat” or “apartment” and in the closet (wardrobe) you find the previous tenant has left a suit – that happens to fit you and you wear it. This suit is a continuation from the previous tenant, but there is not a real identity between him and you.

    Note that Ramana – and all his disciples – agree that an enlightened being is never reincarnated. This make complete sense because there is no longer a suit (vasanas) to be passed on.

    Here are some Ramana quotes confirming the above analysis:

    “Q: Is reincarnation true?
    Ramana: Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”

    “Q: How long does it take a man to be reborn after death? Is it immediately after death or some time after?
    Ramana: You do not know what you were before birth, yet you want to know what you will be after death. Do you know what you are now?
    Birth and rebirth pertain to the body. You are identifying the Self with the body. It is a wrong identification. You believe that the body has been born and will die, and confound the phenomena relating to the body with the Self.
    Know your real being and these questions will not arise.
    Birth and rebirth are mentioned only to make you investigate the question and find out that there are neither births nor rebirths. They relate to the body and not to the Self. Know the Self and don’t be perturbed by doubts.”

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    1. Hi.. thanks for commenting.. I saw your comments in the other post too.. I will shortly comment on the other post regarding the debate because I have to give some background to why I started the debate in the first place.. It may even need a separate blog post.

      Regarding Osho, there is no way for me to know if he is enlightened or not… But I don’t agree with many things he said. At the same time, It is an undeniable fact that I found his guidance extremely helpful. The best part about his talks was how he pointed out the unconscious tendencies and the game that our mind plays with us. He always talked about the books he read and one of his books was dedicated to the books he loved. There is no question of plagiarism here because he has probably quoted about thousand people or more in his talks. He mentioned who said it and gave commentaries on them too. I also know about the controversies about him including the bio-terror attack and others.

      The problem with many people is that, they always listen to one side of the story, cling to only one possibility and see a person as being either all good or all bad. For most of the people, a human being is either all good or all bad. But any human being cannot be really categorized in that way and no human being can be described with just a label.

      But you seem to so be so certain about him and I generally like to question anybody’s certainty about anything..

      Anyway, thank you for quoting the related talks of Ramana Maharshi in your comments. It adds something to the blog posts and will be certainly helpful for the readers. I will shortly comment more on certain things you said when I have time.

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      1. I used to think of Rajneesh as a total fake until I read your comments on him. He certainly had some deep insights. It appears that you only encountered the sensible parts of his teachings, and they helped you, since you started after he died and became Osho. As for the other part, I came across an article which I mentioned above (reply to “Hep Yo”).

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      2. It seems that Rajneesh has helped lots of people through his books and videos after he became Osho. The Christian account of events in his Pune ashram was worse than I thought; people were definitely harmed, for instance women who were raped. But maybe it is no longer relevant, because of the good that he did after he died. As you say, I should stop judging others and concentrate on myself.

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        1. When a whole organization is created around a person, it gives raise to an unavoidable problem. When there is an allegation against the organization, it gets difficult to find out if it was the mistake of the leader or the follower. Also, it becomes very difficult to separate facts from myths with just anecdotal evidence.

          The encounter groups that the article is talking about was actually quite popular at the time of Osho, even outside his organization. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-groups . Osho simply added the encounter group as a form of therapy. But we are not sure how therapists who actually led them conducted those therapies and whether they followed everything according to Osho’s instructions. But when there were such complaints about violence, Osho made changes and removed the violent aspects.

          Many such encounter therapies are now kind of out of date. It was only after 1970, many negative effects were discovered.

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    2. There may be a bit more to reincarnation than what you say. I read somewhere that Ramana said that child prodigies, for instance musicians, are continuing what they were doing in past lives. This suggests that some part of the individual mind survives the death of the body and attaches itself to a new body. I realise that this is not the same thing as the existence of an eternal individual soul.

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      1. RS – The child prodigies are entirely consistent with my closing remark on the subject, which I repeat here:

        ‘So, here is how you can think about past lives. Suppose you rent a “flat” or “apartment” and in the closet (wardrobe) you find the previous tenant has left a suit – that happens to fit you and you wear it. This suit is a continuation from the previous tenant, but there is not a real identity between him and you.’

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  21. A better analogy could be, as an actor you are given a role in a play and after curtain drops, a different role is given to you in a new play depending on the story line, but more importantly how effectively (or ineffectively) you played the role in the previous play.

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  22. You people are nuts. He had a realization. Atma gyan. He still not attained brahma gyan and beyond. The idiot has no hope when so stupidly trying to discuss enlightenment, enlightenment is beyond sound, it’s a transcendence, do you know what that means? You will know when you go beyond physical. Have you seen a person sitting in samadhi? He has attained. You have not! You want science to scan enlightened persons brains and give answers, that statement itself is enough to say you have not gone beyond 5th body, which is very obvious to the eyes of evolved people. You can go on your whole life trying to speak like Osho, hell, Osho was a 7th center person, so is Sadhguru, but you’re nowhere near their experience of being, you will look silly to an enlightened person’s eyes. I challenge you to visit realized beings and test. Try Nityananda for example, Nithyananda is a 7th center person, his disciples who are showcasing so called superpowers are at 6th center and you are at 5th, maybe take a visit to his Ashramm and have a talk with them, you will clearly see you’re not yet up there. I must also mention Eckhart Tolle is a 6th center person. You can’t level him with Sadhguru. See, Sadhguru has a problem of communicating and it was his conscious decision to not speak of this inner experiences. He will look silly when speaking compared to Osho, hell, anyone with average speech will look silly next to Osho. Enlightenment goes beyond sound, beyond physical, you will only find reasons to stay in your conditioning if you don’t undertsand a buddha’s silence, and that silence is available from everywhere. For your intelligence only when you evolve to higher you will understand what you have attained is a crystallization of the 5th body, not enlightenment. Your stupidity is a shame. I suggest you to first read Osho explanation of the 7 chakras, next experiment the techniques from Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, any one technique will do. every technique of those 112 will take you to the center. If you are a 6th center brahma gyani like you claim, you will have no problem doing all 112 methods, but if you are at the 5th center then you will clearly see to attain the beyond you will have to discard everything you are now and become one with that which-is. Are you man enough to take the test? You won’t be anymore when you come out of it. You will not in this life bring the names of Osho and Sadhguru for your silly conclusions again. This time are you going to read and delete my response again or you will let it pass for everyone to read?

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    1. you must be a joker.. I didn’t approve your previous comments because I know you will come back and will say the same thing again.. You sounded too defensive.. I was waiting for you to say a word and you just said it.. the word is ‘idiot’..

      I have a criteria to find out Sadhguru’s followers and admirers.. They will usually start the comment by saying “I am not a blind follower of sadhguru”.. Second, they tend to quickly and blindly use the word ‘idiot’ whenever anyone criticizes Sadhguru or even questions his claims.

      But the irony is, Sadhguru himself says that a skeptic is a true seeker: http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/sadhguru/masters-words/skeptics-are-true-seekers/ .

      And yet, his followers tend to attack anyone who shows even a little bit of skepticism. They expect everyone to be blind yet they themselves would say “I am not being blind”.. You are not even aware of the tricks your own mind is playing against you and you are analyzing about what chakras I have reached..

      I have been very mild in this post and I haven’t even criticized Sadhguru. I just made an observation about him which is pretty clear and evident and I have just asked some questions. It is only after seeing the blind reactions of his followers, I started to actually criticize him. Seems like you haven’t seen the worst criticism about Sadhguru written by me. To start with, read this: https://www.quora.com/Is-Sadhguru-a-hoax-How-did-he-heal-his-asthma-and-ankle-fracture-in-an-hour-09-15/answer/Shanmugam-P-12

      That is Quora. You can comment there and even I myself won’t be able to delete your comments. So, go ahead. I am waiting to see the extent you will go and abuse me and personally attack me.

      Let me tell you something. I know Sadhguru is talking about ‘going beyond the physical’ when it comes to enlightenment. But enlightenment is not going beyond physical. Absolute reality is not something which is beyond physical; it is before physical. It is before everything, including the mind and the body.. It is the essence, the substratum.

      You are talking as if enlightenment is an achievement. It is the dissolution of the person who tries to achieve anything. It seems to be a journey but it is actually an inquiry to realize that there is no journey and there is no person to make a journey.

      Anyway, I know you are not going to find peace unless you continue to try to personally attack me or insult me. But that is not going to make any difference to me. But you are welcome to give it a try..

      If you are looking for more abusive words to label me with, use a dictionary or search online to find a list of abusive words.. Good luck!

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  23. Every damn thing about enlightenment have got decoded in India thousands and thousands of years ago. There’s not a single thing you can add to it if you knew the whole work done in history. Yoga is the living proof for you to experiment with it. But these silly people are blind. what they do is form a group of people on same level to discuss and make conclusions, in reality they don’t wanna know the truth themselves they only wanna hear stories from people who have known. Those who have known have clearly said there’s no way to talk about it. All the talkings are only the finger pointing at the moon, people these days look at the finger and begin to describe the beauty of the moon. This is a mental disease! Stop fooling around for fuck’s sake. Just do what I tell you. You might’ve have read many books in your life, from school books to random books til now, make the same effort to read one more book called Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. If you can complete just one technique from that book..you’re enlightened! like Buddha, like Jesus, like Osho! Only when you do the methods you will see how talking is useless for enlightenment. SO what’s your take? You want nirvana or you want stories? lol

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    1. Even though you are parroting, what you say about finger pointing to the moon is true.. Absolute reality can’t be talked about because it cannot be conceptualized in anyway. People give you pointing out instructions to point it out. But you need to understand that this only applies to absolute reality… Do you know what it is?

      Unfortunately, that is what Sadhguru doesn’t point out..He goes on talking about consecrated spaces, disembodied beings, water memory and all that but never touches the core.. He doesn’t even attempt to point it out. So you are simply repeating phrase ‘finger pointing to the moon’ that you read in some book, without understanding the significance of it…

      Since you mentioned Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (which I read about 10 years ago), let me quote a passage from Osho’s talks:

      ” My way of meditation is very simple. There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation. Out of all of those I have chosen the most simple – the most easily done. I call it witnessing.

      The moment you witness something you become separate from it, you are the witness, the thing becomes an object – the witnessed.

      If you are walking on the road, and you are also witnessing that you are walking – not going along just like a robot, mechanical, everyday habit, the road is known, the legs know it, you can even walk with closed eyes. But walking with absolute alertness every step, every fall of a leaf, every ray of the sun, every bird flying in front of you, fully alert… slowly, slowly, you become aware that you are not the body that is walking, you are something inside which is witnessing.

      Once you have witnessed your body, you have got the knack of the method.

      Then you start witnessing your thoughts – sitting silently, just watching the rush of thoughts, not interfering, not saying, “This is good. This is bad.” Not justifying, not appreciating, no judgment… non-judgmental witnessing, just like the mirror. Anybody passes by, the mirror reflects it; that’s all, it makes no comment.

      Strangely enough, when you stop making comments on the thoughts, they begin to stop; your comments keep them alive. Once you are simply a mirrorlike witness, thoughts disappear, and you become aware of a deeper layer, of emotions, moods, which are very subtle. You are not even aware many times that you are sad. You are often not aware of what your emotional state is – it is very deep, there is a thick layer of thoughts. When thoughts have stopped, then you become aware of a very subtle breeze – and there is a great joy to see it pass. The method remains the same – you remain a witness without judgment.

      First body, second mind, third heart. And the fourth happens on its own.

      I call my way the fourth way because after the third you cannot do anything.

      Once your emotions and moods disappear, suddenly there is a quantum leap – the witness has nothing to witness anymore. It comes home. It witnesses itself. It becomes both the seer and the seen, the object and the subject, and for the first time you have unity. This experience of absolute organic unity of your consciousness has been called by different names – moksha, nirvana, liberation, enlightenment, illumination. Whatever word you choose makes no difference.

      But this is the ultimate peak, this is the ultimate goal of human life.

      So my method is very simple. You need not even sit to do it. You can do it anywhere – walking on the street, sitting in the bus, sitting in the plane, eating, even sleeping. When you are going to sleep you don’t fall asleep suddenly, it takes a few minutes; just watch how the sleep comes in. Slowly, slowly, you will see sleep coming in, and as your witnessing becomes deeper there comes a moment when you can see that the whole night you are asleep yet still alert.

      I have tried almost all one hundred and twelve methods. That list is exhaustive, there is no possibility of adding a single method more. You can make a method of combinations, but those one hundred and twelve are exhaustive.

      Out of them all I have chosen witnessing, because most of them are based on this in different ways. ”
      – The Last Testament Volume 4: Chapter 15

      What Osho called as witnessing is exactly what I practiced. Witnessing, self-inquiry, mindfulness and nididhyasana are all essentially the same, even though described differently and approached differently. It is the most direct approach and extremely powerful.

      That is exactly the reason why Ramana Maharshi advocated self-inquiry. It is a deep inquiry of every thought, experience, emotion and sensation that arise moment to moment and recognizing that none of these objects of consciousness is ‘me’ or ‘mine’.

      It is negating everything that arises in your consciousness as ‘not me’, ‘not me’ by simple recognition; not by thinking or analyzing or verbalizing it but just noticing for what it is. It is also called as ‘neti-neti’ method, which literally means ‘not this, not this’…

      If a person understands this, he really doesn’t have to bother about those 112 dharana techniques. I know the reason why you even talk about these 112 techniques. It is the influence of Adiyogi statue. Everything you say here comes from the influence of Sadhguru. You can go on parroting the phrases which have profound wisdom the same way Sadhguru parrots Osho, But if you don’t understand the real meaning of it, you just have another dogma, another philosophy and at the end, another religion.

      You suggested me a book that I have read multiple times. Let me suggest you something. Read the talks of Ramana Maharshi, he is very direct and doesn’t talk any mumbo jumbo.

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      1. Enlightenment or liberation are surely not just a matter of following the right meditation technique. Not everyone can succeed with this approach.

        The mind has to be purified first, for which purpose I believe Shankara suggested devotion to a personal God. Buddha also talked about this.

        Without fulfilling this prerequisite, one can become something like the inmates of the Pune ashram! Or the Jaggi bhakts who are filling up these columns.

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  24. Like Shanmugam, I was carried away after reading Mystic’s musings in the year 2003 and strongly believed Sadhguru is the sole redeemer of humanity! There was a time I was ready to take the plunge but luckily changed my mind. If I remember right, he has mentioned in the book that he would live only for 4 years (or so); perhaps he was talking about his subtle body! Anyway, as Shanmugam rightly put it, unless the seeker or the doubter dies i.e. “wave realizes that it is ocean itself and not separate from it”. To understand this, it is easier to follow a Guru of Upanishadic tradition, rather than the upstarts. I don’t mean to say other philosophers and thinkers have no role to play in the spiritual path. Maybe they offer the initial inspiration, but it is for the individual to pursue with the self-inquiry. We should remember the upanishadic statement that the spiritual path is like walking on the double-edged sword. There are temptations and pitfalls all the way and people tend to fall a prey to the ‘siddhis’ they gain before they achieve the ultimate goal.

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  25. That’s not a story book damn it lol don’t read it many times, just complete one technique, when you do, that’ll be the end of your obsession with sadhguru and osho

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  26. The purification process you’re talking about happens at 5th body, then there’s 6th and 7th! To know the 6th is a different dimension which you cannot put it in words you will need to experience otherwise you won’t shut up. That’s why I bring into topic the practical methods of those 112. It takes you to that state in an instant. You can stop at the verge before slipping into samadhi if you like but for fucks sake experience it! then bullshit all you want!

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    1. Dear joker, Do you really know or understand anything about what you are talking about? The purification that I am talking about is the first step, something that I was working on in the year 2002..

      Are you reading my replies to your comments at all? And did you even read this full post? Because I know that it is a typical behavior of Sadhguru followers to comment on something without fully reading or understanding it.

      You are just feeling hurt after reading things I have written about Sadhguru. In order to defend him, you are talking whatever mumbo jumbo that comes to your mind.

      Just relax and don’t let my blog to disturb your peace..

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      1. You’re saying the same dumb shit you read from Osho. What is there to read? Nobody here is ready to practically see for themselves. That is sad. and I’m not sadhguru’s follower. Don’t put your cover on me. You’re his follower, you were living in misery and went out looking for gurus, you chose sadhguru and sit in his presence. the clarity you’r now carrying is attained in his presence, you calling me Sadhguru fan? man you’re a dumbass!. I have never met sadhguru and I haven’t been to Adiyogi statue. In fact I like Osho more than you do. I have read him too but all that don’t compare to one’s own experience. then what’s there to read? I can only say experience it and everything about your perception changes overnight. This is to everyone reading. Pick a method you like from Vigyan Bharav Tantra and use it, but I warn you, it will work if you use it!

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  27. I don’t follow anyone. In fact I’m better than Osho and Sadhguru in many ways. I can beat Osho in a running race and beat Sadhguru in a swimming race lol

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  28. I live a few hours away from coimbatore. I have been wanting to visit isha for sometime and also climb velliangiri hills. I plan to visit soon. Where you from?

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    1. The post that you are commenting on now says everything, including where I was born, the places I have lived etc.. That is why I said you didn’t read the post fully.. You must have skimmed through it.

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  29. I did read your full post when I first saw it on quora, that was months ago, now I forgot, I posted to you recently because I wanted you know this is not all. Many a times I opened my eyes before slipping into samadhi because I knew if I don’t comeback from there I won’t get up again. even if I did comeback to the body I was sure my work will only be around this. Have you crossed to that side? I think no so I only urge you to go further

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    1. There is a point in seeking where seeking completely ends and the sense of a separate self completely dissolves.. After that there is no more personal journey.. Changes may still happen, the experience of reality may continue to deepen for lifetime, but it is no longer a journey of a person… Because there is no more urge to reach anything or to attain anything. After that, whatever actions that the person does is in complete synchronization with the existence itself. There is no sense of a doership at all.. The speech and action then become the expression of the existence itself. This is my reality now.

      What you are talking about is nirvikalpa samadhi. Not everyone goes through nirvikalpa samadhi (the samadhi with the loss of body consciousness)..

      The word nirvikalpa means ‘without any distinctions’. It just means the complete absence of duality. If it happens along with the loss of body consciousness, people usually call it ‘nirvikalpa samadhi’… But if a person experiences reality as nirvikalpa without losing body consciousness, it is called as sahaja samadhi. Many people reach sahaja samadhi without going through nirvikalpa samadhi. In sahaja samadhi, the person simple engages in day to day activities just like anybody else. But the big difference is that the person doesn’t sense a separate self or a sense of individuality anymore.. There is a sense of boundlessness and complete fulfilment.. nothing is lacking anymore and there is nothing to seek further… There is nothing to lose and nothing to gain at the absolute level.

      Imagine you have just had a full delicious meal at lunch and your stomach is full. Someone is telling you that free unlimited meals with your favorite dishes are being served for lunch in the restaurant across the street. Will you be tempted to go and eat there? There is a chance to go and eat in the buffet even if you feel a little bit hungry but you feel completely full.

      When you tell me that I need to reach another level, this is how it sounds.

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    1. He is talking about the very basics of mindfulness, something that is really basic and preliminary that helps a person to get a glimpse… He is just describing a practice and how to do it.. And this is exactly what I recommend to people as well; not just watching the breath alone but everything, including thoughts, emotions and sensations while being fully present and available to them and while being completely detached and non-judgemental… It is the same practice that I did for years. I integrated it into my daily life instead of doing such practices by sitting eyes closed. In other words, I was practicing mindfulness all the time no matter what I was doing, instead of doing it just 20 minutes a day. It became a 24/7 thing sometime during April or May 2014 and it helped me to get completely established as a witness.

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  30. So you live in witness state and the whole time I was mentioning a state where losing the witness happens? So I was right when I said you have not known the whole, and there’s no hurry to go all the way because I tell you to, I only felt you have not known what Osho or Sadhguru did and I was right, isn’t it lol

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    1. I am talking about something that happened in 2014. I can’t call it as a witness state or any state now…. I have to mention the word ‘witness’ to distinguish it from the the state that most of the people live in. But as far as I am concerned, there is no need for any description.

      This is the problem with words. Language is dualistic. I never have any urge to describe me to myself or even think about me, as a personal self. The word ‘I’ is only used for communication. I never mentally say ‘i’.. I am not sure if you understand.

      Let me state a metaphor. A ball of sugar jumps inside a pot of water and it takes on a journey to absorb as much water as it can. It becomes smaller and smaller as time goes by until it is fully dissolved one day… Once the ball has completely disappeared, is there anymore journey for that ball? The sugar molecules which were in the ball are still there in the water, they may still undergo changes. But do those changes belong to the original sugar ball? The sugar ball is the person you think you are and the water is the existence… In a way, the sugar ball has now become water. But to be more precise and exact, the sugar ball is not there anymore. There are no clear boundaries between the sugar ball and the water. Another way of saying this would be that sugar ball and the water is one and the same now.

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    1. I am not interested in Jaggi’s jargon. And, clearly, he has not made you a happy or peaceful person. When I look at the posts here, I can almost hear you shouting and screaming!

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  31. Re: RSC’s comments on purification of mind – Adi Shankara’s Vivekachudamani says it all! Sadhana Chatusthaya Sampatti or the four prequalification is essential to even inter into the spiritual field. Of these four, ‘mumukshutva’ is highlighted as the most essential qualification, even if the other 3 are not in full measure. It may be noted that this is not prescribed by Adi Shankara on his own – he never fails to acknowledge that all his teachings are based on the ‘handbook’ of the humanity, the Vedas and Upanishads and that he never takes credit for any particular theory as propounded by himself, unlike Osho, Sadhguru, etc.

    The analogies of ‘waves and ocean’, ‘salt doll and ocean’ etc. are nothing new. Everything is contained in the Upanishads. It is strange that people who call themselves ‘enlightened’ or ‘awakened’ are still skeptical that Vedas are eternal and they are revelations. Even if we think that they are the collection of thought-patterns of great Rishis, why don’t we accept them as timeless. The awakening should lead us to the truth not only that there is no doer or individual, but this ever-changing phenomenal creation is illusory and cyclical. The technique prescribed in Osho’s book ‘The Path of Meditation’ is not new; it can be found in the Vedas. People call it new technique or inner engineering but there is nothing that our scriptures has not covered. It is agreed however that these days people have no time to study them. Therefore, if someone says he doesn’t believe in Sashtras or scriptures, we could only conclude it as a political statement.

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