My spiritual life began when, at the age of nineteen, my mother handed me a copy of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. Like many, that book changed my life. It ignited within me an intense desire to locate and surrender to an authentic Guru. A few months later, I found myself in a well-known ashram in the Catskill Mountains standing before the life-size black and white picture of a mysterious and austere looking saint I immediately recognized as my Guru. Even though that saint had long left his body, I understood within my heart that his lack of physical presence would pose no obstacle. His name was Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri (1897 – 1961).
I began meditating daily for one hour, and I discovered to my great surprise that my mind fell into a vast expanse of silence and inner peace. In that ashram, I was fortunate to be initiated into a powerful mantra by Swami Chidvilasananda (aka Gurumayi). The mantra took my meditation to a whole new level of stillness, which released wave upon wave of bliss. After another eight months of practice, I was awakened by Bhagawan Nityananda in what would become the most important and auspicious day of my life.
One afternoon, after returning home from college, I dropped my backpack on the floor of my room and sat on my bed. In the next moment, Bhagawan appeared and touched me on my head with his right hand, causing me to feel a powerful rush of energy. I lost all sense of being a body and mind and experienced myself as nothing but a rushing stream of pure Consciousness, vibrating intensely and devoid of spatial or temporal limits. I existed in this universal state for some time before returning to bodily awareness. This experience is known as shaktipat, the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti.
After receiving Bhagawan’s blessing, I continued to experience deeper states of meditation until I attained the first stages of samadhi (perfect meditative absorption) where one exists as nothing more that pure Being which is infinitely peaceful and blissful. Exalted as these states were, they did not mean I had attained permanent Self-awareness (enlightenment). In fact, my journey was just beginning and continues to this day.
True, final enlightenment is rare and we should not elevate people to the status of Guru just because they are advanced meditators or have accumulated a lot of knowledge. That said, yogins like myself can serve as friends and guides on the path, sharing the insights and wisdom we have gathered along the way. It is in this spirit of friendship that I founded the Mahāsāra School of Meditation. From a philosophical point of view, my yoga is grounded in the Non-dual Shaiva Tantra (Kashmir Shaivism) and Advaita Vedanta traditions.
The school operates in two facets: online through the blog and other offerings and live through courses and workshops. The school’s courses are carefully designed to appeal to both secular and spiritual meditators. Individuals who have never meditated before as well those with years of experience will benefit from learning Mahāsāra Meditation. As for live courses, I schedule free introduction talks that explain Mahāsāra Meditation’s Essence of Meditation, which is taught two hours a day over four days. For the event calendar, please visit the events page.
My book, The Essence of Meditation: Advanced Practices for New and Experienced Meditators, is the school’s principal publication, which I encourage you to explore. I also publish a blog on a weekly basis as well as a podcast. As you read the weekly articles, please leave a comment or email me directly. I would love to hear your thoughts and insights on this divine gift we call yoga. Also, be sure to join the mailing list so you can receive teachings, exclusive content, and gifts right in your mailbox.
With folded hands, I welcome you to the Mahāsāra School of Meditation.
Start from the beginning. Read the first Blog here.
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