June 26th, 2006
Bernard first met Shri Mataji in May 1980 at the age of 27, although the story of his seeking started in childhood. Thinking of the eternity of time and space completely freaked him out. Life before life was as bewildering as the question of life after death. Also asking himself what it was that actually cognised the asking of the question, produced a very strange sensation.
At school he had to study the poetry of W.H.Auden, which was all about how mundane life can be. This gave him a frightening vision of a dull adult life. There had to be more to life than that.
After leaving school he had a very tentative look at politics. Rejecting party politics due to the fact that no one seemed to be able to agree with one and other, led to reading anarchist literature in which there was one doctrine that struck him, this was that a mans head is his own court, his own government and his own church. Unhappy with the negative side of anarchy he found the term “ Autonomy” much more to the way he looked at things.
At the same time he was treading a musical path, which was always intrigued with improvisation. This led him into the field of jazz and his first experience of ‘Sahaja’ in the wider term. One night only two weeks after acquiring a saxophone, he was trying to find out what the key a piece on a record was being played in. Suddenly he found it and effortlessly proceeded to play along with the record. Wherever he went, what ever he did, he could go anywhere and it all worked, it was bliss! The next evening however the magic was gone and it was a few weeks before he was to experience this again.
The search was now on to find out how this experience worked, for he could now register it happening in other musicians and also in other inspired pieces of activity. Musicians summed it up as “When my instrument becomes me and I become my instrument, I am no longer human” or as “This music is coming to you direct from the creator!”
Looking at jazz, there was the whole thing of being cool, i.e. being relaxed and in command of oneself (being your own master). Practising breathing techniques for the saxophone also lead to focusing inside oneself. The obvious outcome of this was to look at meditation.
Luckily not too many subversive books were read on the subject. Some how at the same time an interest in world religion took over and he read the Bible, the Koran, Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Dhammapada and Bhagavad-Gita. He could not understand why such a division between the religions exists, for they are all being urged to look for wisdom, love and self-knowledge.
At this dark hour when he felt alone in this understanding and everything around him seemed ignorant and superficial, a Yogi named Paul who had met Shri Mataji came to stay with a mutual friend. Immediately apparent was the fact that Paul did not smoke or drink, which was extremely uncommon in that group of friends, the first question was “Why was this?” The reply was that it would affect his meditation. Bernard had already come to the conclusion that his own indulgences were on the way out and this reply instantly aroused his curiosity. Interrogated further, Paul mentioned something about his Kundalini. “Kundalini? What is Kundalini?” asked Bernard.
“Well I can’t exactly tell you”.
“Is it Tao, for it is said ‘the Tao that is spoken is not the sacred Tao’?”
Well Paul knew nothing of Tao at the time but that is what it is. After further discussion Paul gave Bernard a tape of Shri Mataji’s to listen to which was enough to make him want to drive from Somerset to London to meet her. And so it all came about.
Bernard has now at time of writing been around Sahaja Yoga for twenty-one years. How long he has been actually in the state of meditation is another matter, as it is only in that state that one really understands properly what Sahaja Yoga is. But he will undertake to put in to words some of the things that he has got out of it.
Sainthood is the only thing really worth aiming for. Bernard would say that he has progressed a long way along this road (although others may beg to differ).
After this time one thing that can be seen is that one becomes less judgemental. You should become more aware, in a detached way, of your qualities but also of your shortcomings. When these shortcomings are so plain to see then how can we judge others.
In relation to this Bernard has seen some people who have looked hopeless have risen beyond recognition and those who have been held in great esteem have often fallen. So to rise in ones Self Realization one has to be a bit self-contained and not to be swayed too much by what is going on around with others. After all this is Self Realization and we are often tested as to whether we are our own person. The centre, the balance we achieve when in meditation has to be kept in focus.
Sahaja Yoga gives one a great capacity for introspection, again only properly when one is clear and in the thoughtless state of meditation. But even when things seem unclear and there appears no way ahead, it can all be traced to a loss of virtue and when virtue becomes the centre of attention we are back where we need to be. It is this ability to rectify oneself without the intervention of a priest, psychiatrist or guru (yes even Shri Mataji directly), which makes Sahaja Yoga unique. Shri Mataji gives us the wings, shows us how to use them and off we fly.
In the early eighties Shri Mataji would spend the whole weekend with us at seminars going through the practical side of things. Nowadays she will appear at the evening programs leaving the interaction between the yogis to work everything out. This has led to building up a large network of friends around the world with whom one has a special affinity. This means that anywhere you go in the world where there is Sahaja Yoga there will be a welcome from people who are aware that we are the spirit and you hardly need introducing. The borders between countries are seen as superficial barriers between people who cannot forgive each other.
As for Shri Mataji herself, what can be said that has not already been repeated a thousand times? She has worked unceasingly to give us this insight that we now have of life, which will change the world in a way that is and was unimaginable even twenty-one years ago for which we can only be eternally grateful.