October 16th, 2006
Greta Mo’re, Australia
Having grown up in Myanmar till the age of 14 years, I was surrounded by the culture of Buddhism and I had become accustomed to seeing monks on their early morning rounds for alms. Of pagodas and of religion being an intergral part of ones life. I also grew up with the notion that one must do good in this life to accrue merit so that one would be given a better life in the next rebirth. The concept of “ko-chin’sa’, meaning to puts oneself in the place of the other was drilled into us, as was the need to use our commonsense and discrimination in our daily life. Giving alms and being generous with food and to strangers was also something we were taught.
However, I did not belong to this religion by birth. I was born into a Catholic Christian family. Our ‘culture’ imbibed more of the western happenings and it was expected of us to adhere to this. I was also taught that if I went to explore any other religion I was sure to go to hell. To my childish imagination, I expected perhaps a thunder bolt to come and strike me. So, I looked from afar and never went into the silent pagodas that dotted the landscape.
I sort of imbibed the culture of my country in an indirect way. However, one day I was invited to a friend’s birthday party. Her house was located at the top of a street that led into a village and there was a pagoda called Ko-dhat’gyi Phaya, meaning the Nine Storied Pagoda. It was a dark brown wooden structure and there were many rooms some of which opened out to the nature. The pagoda seemed to be part of the landscape. I noticed the silence and coolness within the building and wondered at the silent golden statues of the Lord Buddha. As usual, everything was spotlessly clean.
I had gone with my friend and two of her Burmese girl friends who were Buddhist. My friend was a Euro-Asian like myself but considered herself very stylish and of the times and so did not care much for the scare tactics that our families had used to keep us away from exploring other religious beliefs.
As is the custom for the Buddhist, when visiting such holy places, they always perform a ‘phu-jya’ or bowing before the statue, their foreheads touching the floor and their with joined hands recite a silent prayer before the statue of the Lord Buddha. I watched the Burmese girls do this and I saw that my friend also followed suit. I noticed that nothing extraordinary happened to any of them except that they seemed have gained an inner pleasure from having performed such a worship. So, being an experimental sort of personality, I followed and did ‘phu-jya’ as well. I loved the sense of peace it gave me and there was a sense of having done something quite special. I also noticed that no lightening bolt had flashed from the sky and that nothing untoward had happened to me. So it was that turning point in my life, the first of many that broke the myth of the beliefs that were a part of my Catholic religious upbringing.
I never forgot that beautiful moment of being inside the temple and somehow it added to the sense of questing that was a part of my nature. I was on a quest for something but I didn’t know what it was. Years later, after spending 12 years in Australia, I really needed to go back and explore my roots. I felt cut adrift and needed to find out what was my anchor. However, I couldn’t just fly home like most people would as the Myanmar authorities did not, at that time, allow ex-nationals to return, not even for just a short visit. The sense of isolation was quite profound.
So the next best thing was to explore the Buddhist culture I had seen all around me. I reasoned that the main religion of a country was what shaped the culture of that country. So to understand the Burmese I felt I needed to study the Burmese style of the Buddhist religion. I also remembered that a lot of it had to do with meditation and reciting slokas.
Just as I had finished forming the desire in my mind I encountered a couple of people who actually were practitioners of the Burmese style of Vipassana meditation.
I booked myself in and monks from Myanmar were the guest teachers. Out of the 20 day retreat, I did 10 days and in that time realised all that this Buddhist meditation could teach me. I also felt I had done this in my previous life and that it was not what I had to search for. But as there did not seem to be any other alternative, I decided to continue to practice the meditation at home until I found that which would stop the feeling of questing in me.
It was an extremely difficult practice to do outside of the structured and controlled environment of the retreats. It was not something a layman could easily incorporate into their hectic normal everyday lives and the concepts, all lofty ideals, were no longer achievable as, even in Buddhism, people had lost their true understanding of their meaning. The concept of Kudo, was mostly practiced as lip service and self promotion. Or, the concepts were followed by route and put into practice without true insightful understanding. The Vipassana technique had been designed to give insightful understanding into the nature of things. The Burmese Buddhist whom I personally knew also followed their religion just as I had once followed my Catholic religion. By route and lip service.
I decided that what the Buddha had said was true but that we lacked the means to understand it properly. I kept an open mind about things and kept on searching. It led me down many paths some of which really got me into trouble, health-wise.
Then one day just when I had given up the thought of ever finding what I was looking for - it was difficult to know what that could be as I didn’t have a name for it - I reconnected with someone I hadn’t seen for quite some years and he invited me over to their home for dinner. When I arrived there I realised that it was collective house and that the people who lived there were all practitioners of Sahaja Yoga. It was a large house and the people there were from all different age groups, like a large extended family that I had grown up in, in Myanmar.
My friend told me about Kundalini and explained how it would manifest when awakened. I had heard of Kundalini in my journey of seeking but did not know if it could be awakened. I didn’t know that there would be such a Divine Being on Earth who could do such a great feat in my present life time. In Buddhism it was always the next lifetime when one should expect to get it, so when my friend started telling me about it with such enthusiasm I felt I should give it a try. I had nothing to loose but everything to gain. I knew that this was the great ’secret’ happening that gave a person access to the unlimited divine knowledge. It was that which all great seekers of truth had sought and that enlightenment was the ultimate goal for a human being. I had always wanted to become like the Lord Buddha. I also realised, with a great sense of relief, that I no longer need to do the arduous Vipassana meditation for the next 80 years! to maybe! achieve my enlightenment. It was being offered to me here and now.
After dinner, I think they said to me we don’t need to awaken you Kundalini because it’s awakened already. It probably came up when we were talking about Kundalini earlier. - This can sometimes happen with very ardent seekers of enlightenment. They asked me to put my hands above my head and see if I could feel a cool breeze. Then I was asked to look at something without thinking, i.e., thoughtless awareness. I said yes to both. I had experienced thoughtless awareness before when doing Vipassana but had not been able to sustain it afterwards when away from the retreat environment. I was also familiar with the concept of there being a silence between two thoughts and that thoughts would rise and fall, and that the space between them could be elongated which is what gives the silence, bringing us into the present moment. This is a state known as Nirvircharya Samadhi.
They told me I had achieved my enlightenment through the awakening of my Kundalini and that I should now meditate everyday with my attention on my Sahastrara, i.e. the chakra on the top of the head. In Buddhism this centre is known as the Thousand Petal Lotus. If there were any questions I was to just ask my Kundalini and the answers would come to me. Kundalini was my mother who had been with me throughout my whole existence up to this point and that this was my birthright. I was also asked to be aware that cool breeze, which I could feel emanating from the top of my head, during the course of the day. I was told that if I kept this flowing I would become all right in everyway. The problems that I had in my life, would also work themselves out in a way that would be most benevolent for me and for all those concerned.
I have been practicing Sahaja Yoga now for 13 years and through out have learnt so much and all that I had gleaned in Buddhism has come into actualisation. I have learnt that the Middle Way of the Lord Buddha’s teachings is actually the path of Kundalini which rises within our Sushumna Nadi. The Middle Way is the path of Sahaja Yoga. Mother Kundalini awakens within the Brahma Nadi (channel), which is the innermost nadi of the Sushumna Nadi. And, the Sushumna Nadi is within the hollow of the spinal column. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder and teacher of Sahaja Yoga, has explained that the hollow of the spinal column was created by the decent of Kundalini into our being at the stage of the foetus. The spine constitutes the centre of our being and this divine energy which flows within, threading and nourishing all the chakras and the left and right nadis of the sympathetic nervous system, is the same energy which nourished and gave the Lord Buddha His enlightenment. When the seeker is ready to receive this divine blessing, the event takes place.
If taken in a logical progression of thought, it goes without saying then that Kundalini manifesting within a person gives balance - the Middle Way. Within us there are the different principles of the divine and one of them is that of the teacher/disciple principle known as Guru Tattwa. This was a principle upon which the Buddha drew a lot and the principle upon which the scores of meditation centres throughout the Buddhist world are built upon. This Guru Tattwa becomes enlightened within us by Kundalini and we slowly but surely become our own teacher/disciple.
When we are able to exercise this Guru Tattwa properly in our personality and in our daily lives we become balanced people. We know when to move forward and when to pull back. We know when to speak and when not to. We know what is right and wrong instinctively and intuitively. And balance when achieved is not a fixed point. It always need to be redefined for every situation that arises. It’s like the pointer of the scale. I also liken it to the rudder of a ship that is always alert to the slightest motion, it being responsible for defining the balance of the ship again and again. From our accumulated experiences a library is built up within us and slowly this new state of being in balance becomes a part of our nature. It’s an innate happening.
Enlightenment knows no boundaries of religion, culture, race, age, or gender. It is for every individual soul to achieve for themselves and every individuals birthright to live life in a balanced way. To be able to enjoy the bliss and peace. To have divine awareness for themselves and to become eternal personalities. Kundalini awakening connects us to our Spirit or Atma which is the source of all things seen and unseen. This Atma is the eternal aspect of our personality and when we become totally identified with it, just as the Lord Buddha had, then we also become like the Lord Buddha, eternal and filled with pure knowledge.