Without the Guru 7 - Receiving Knowledge

At some point he decided that I was ready, and the day was fixed - June 1 1970. I got up that morning with a number of conflicting emotions. At times I thought that this was going to be a watershed day, a day that would effectively separate my life in two - the dark days prior, when I was a slave to maya, and the bright days to come as a devotee of the living Lord of this age. Then I would think: What if it does not work for me? What if I am so ignorant and unfocused that I just don't 'get it' - the match that fails to ignite?

I bathed that morning as I had never bathed before, determined to be spotlessly clean. I agonized endlessly over which clothes I should wear. I wondered what should be the appropriate gift to place on Guru Maharaj Ji's altar as a token of my surrender and dedication to him.

When I arrived, the Knowledge session was in the usual satsang/bedroom where I had been many times before. But this time it was cleaned out and arranged differently, as if to emphasize what an important day this was. Two other people got Knowledge with me; in those days a Knowledge session of three was a large number, and this was thus quite an event. Within two years or so Knowledge sessions would often consist of hundreds.

Mahatmaji started by giving us satsang, telling us stories of saints and generally inspiring us so that we would be in a suitably spiritual frame of mind for this important event. When he presumably thought we were receptive enough, we started the Knowledge session with a vow to Guru Maharaj Ji.

I cannot now remember the words of the vow I made, bowing down with my head on the carpet in front of Maharaji's altar. Very soon afterwards there was a standard vow that every would-be devotee had to make to Guru Mahraji. It was either these actual words I spoke, or words very similar:

Vow to Guru Maharaj Ji

Oh my Guru Maharaj Ji, I dedicate myself to your Lotus Feet. I am weak and ignorant and am filled with the impurities of this world. Oh Guru Maharaj Ji, please take my mind and purge me of the impurities I possess. Reveal to me the Knowledge of all knowledge. Strengthen me, uplift me and reveal the Kingdom of Heaven within inside of me. Bring me from hate to love, from darkness to light, death to immortality. I will OBEY you implicitly and will never reveal this Knowledge to anyone for any reason. I will keep in contact with you through my DEVOTIONAL LOVE, satsang, meditation and service. Thank you my LORD for everything.

[The uppercase words were in the original].

After the vow, we were shown the four techniques of meditation. For the first technique, we sat with our eyes closed, and Mahatmaji came to each of us one by one, and touched us on our forehead with his index figure, simultaneously placing his thumb and middle finger on each eyeball, and squeezing hard. This was the 'Divine Light technique'. We were later told that Mahatmaji demonstrating the technique on us, and touching us, was the moment that Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace touched us, and when the connection with him was actually made.

I certainly saw light, and tried to convince myself that it was indeed the Divine Light, but I had this feeling that seeing the Divine Light should probably not be so painful. A more cynical observer might have noted that anybody squeezing their eyes hard sees lot of swirling colors and patterns.

Hie second technique was Divine Music or Harmony, where you blocked each ear with your thumbs, and heard the Divine Music, or the Music of the Spheres. This was also painful to perform, since sitting upright with each thumb in each ear meant that your elbows

Without the Guru

7- Receiving Knowledge

were held up at about shoulder height with no support. Later I was to hear about 'beragons', wooden T-shaped instruments on which you supported your elbows to take the strain. Again, our cynical observer might have noted that anyone blocking their ears with their thumbs hears some kind of sound, whether it be the blood in their thumbs, or the trapped air in the ear canal.

The third and fourth techniques were less strenuous. The third technique was called Holy Name or the Word. It involved simply following your breath. Here I was in my element, as I was a veteran meditator of at least a year at following my breath in the Buddhist monastery.

Following the breath is probably the most popular meditation technique of all meditation schools or styles. There are many ways to do this, and many nuances in a wide spectrum of practices, ranging from controlling the breath in a certain manner, to just breathing naturally and being aware of the breath as it is. Even in just following the breath 'as it is', a very common meditation instruction, there are many differences and subtleties of emphasis. I personally find the instruction to follow the breath 'as it is' can be confusing, as even just being aware of my breath changes it.

As Mahatmaji gave his very brief and simplistic instructions on this third technique of following the breath (the Holy Name), I realized that I was not being taught a meditation merely as a meditation. It was being taught as a practice to keep the connection with Maharaji open. In that case, it did not really matter how precisely you did the meditation technique, it was all about your openness and surrender to the higher power in your life, embodied as Guru Maharaj Ji. The results of one's sitting to meditate were not dependent upon the techniques of the meditation and how precisely you practiced them, but in the Grace you allowed into your life as you meditated with trust and devotion to Maharaji. It was why 'practicing Knowledge' was so much more than simply doing the meditation.

The fourth technique was called the Nectar, sometimes called by its Sanskrit name 'Kechari Mudra'. This involved rolling your tongue back as far as it would go, up into the nasal cavity behind the uvula if you could, and tasting Divine Nectar. Our cynical observer would certainly have tasted something, but whether it was Divine or Nectar was another question.

At the end of the session, Mahatmaji added our names to the numbered list in the notebook recording who he had given Knowledge to. I noted that I was the exact one hundredth person to get Maharaji's Knowledge in the West.