Without The Guru by Mike Finch
How I took my life back after thirty years
TO VISIT THE MASTER
For a week or two after getting 'the Knowledge' I was ecstatic. I did not have any profound experiences in the meditation, but I had the ecstasy of knowing that I was one of the Lord's devotees. As a bus driver, working long hours, it was difficult to find time for sitting in formal meditation anyway, although I did keep my promise to do it every day.
The meditation practice was divided into two categories: 'formal' meditation, where one sat upright and still for at least one hour, and practiced all four techniques sequentially in one sitting. Then there was 'informal' meditation, when you practiced the last two techniques (Holy Name and Nectar - following the breath and placing the tongue up into your nasal cavity) all the time, during your daily activities. While driving my bus I obviously could not practice the first two techniques - Divine Light involved closing your eyes and pressing them with the thumb and middle finger, and the Music meant putting both thumbs in your ears.
Nor could I practice the Holy Name, since Mahatmaji had instructed us to hear the sound 'so-hung' as we breathed - 'so' on the in-breath, 'hung' on the out-breath. This instruction was dropped within a year or two, but in 1970 it was the way to do it. The cabin of my bus was very noisy, and I could hardly hear anything other than the engine, and certainly not the sound of my breath.
So for my 'informal' meditation I practiced the only technique I could in those circumstances - Nectar. When I had first been shown the technique, I could hardly touch the back of the roof of
Without the Guru
my mouth with my tongue, let alone put it all the way back behind the uvula (that little bit of skin that hangs down at the back of your mouth, at the entrance to your throat). In fact, the thought of doing that revolted me, and I thought it was just plain weird. But I was now the humble devotee of the living Lord, and had to surrender to him, and if that involved putting your tongue into strange places, then so be it.
Once in my bus, fired up with holy zeal, I practiced this technique as hard as I could. My initial revulsion subsided, and after a week or two I had made good progress. On one of my visits to see Mahatmaji in London, I told him what I had been doing. He burst into smiles, and asked me to show him. So I opened my mouth, and showed him my tongue disappearing behind my uvula.
That evening, he gathered all the people around who had the Knowledge, and asked me to show them too, which I did. I went to each small group in the satsang room, and opened my mouth to show them. They squinted into my open mouth, trying to see what my tongue was doing. When they finally saw where it had got to, there were gasps of admiration or revulsion, often both together.
Mahatmaji asked me to attend as many of the Knowledge sessions as I could, when he was giving people the Knowledge, so that I could be on hand to demonstrate how the Nectar technique was actually done. I often wondered why he did not do that himself. Was it against some rule for a mahatma to open his mouth and demonstrate it? Or could he not in fact do it? I never asked, and I never found out.
This was all exciting stuff for me. I had found the true Guru of the time; had been blessed by the gift of his Knowledge, so that I could keep clear that connection to him to receive his Grace; and now I was being touted as one of the few devotees who could actually do the Nectar technique, and was being used as a model to demonstrate it.
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8 - To visit the Master
After a few weeks, however, the euphoria began to die down, and I started taking stock. The first issue I started to think about was the meditation itself. It was very different from the Buddhist meditation I had been practicing for the past year. Both meditation styles involved sitting upright and still for anything up to an hour; but beyond that, they were quite different.
The Buddhist meditation was an attempt to see how your mind worked, an attempt to witness your own mental functioning, and to learn from it and to see deeper into it. Guru Maharaj Ji's meditation, the Knowledge, was focusing on four areas of the body, roughly connected with the four senses of sight, sound, kinesthetic feeling (the breath) and taste. But there was no program of how to go beyond that or carry it forward in any way, except as a devotional practice.
I found later that this style of meditation was in the 'bhakti' (devotional) tradition of Hinduism, particularly that originating in the second half of the 1800s with the Sant Mat and Rhadasoami traditions, and that in fact Guru Maharaj Ji was only one of several hundreds of assorted gurus from that stream, all claiming to be one and only, and dismissing or ignoring all the others.'
To underscore this, we who had got Maharaji's Knowledge, that 'connection' to him, his devotees, were called 'premies'. 'Prem' means 'love' in Sanskrit, and so we were lovers; not of course lovers in the worldly sense, but lovers of our Guru, our Lord, who had come to save us.