Monday, August 27, 2012

"How Does God Talk to Us"?

It is said that we are made in the image of God, which translates into the fact that He resides inside us.…if that is so, how does He actually communicate with us? God is always in communion with us…unfortunately most of us are not aware of this since our minds are so preoccupied with billions of things. This “noise” prevents us from appreciating His call to come Home. To quote the Christian Bible “Thou didst love me always, but I heard Thee not”. God’s voice is silence, which can only be heard when our restless thoughts cease. When the devotee is mentally silent, God’s silence ceases. There are, of course instances of God appearing as visions to advanced devotees and talking to them directly or through the lips of a deity but this certainly is not a common occurrence. The “Akashvaris” as described in our scriptures are yet another form of communication. Our soul is essentially a “ray of the Spirit” or a reflection of the Spirit. One, therefore, needs to connect to one’s soul in order to perceive Him… and also for Him to communicate with us. Both the soul as well as the spirit manifest as light, wisdom and sound and this happens through the development of our intuition. He, therefore, communicates to us through our intuition. Through our intuition, He ‘plants” the truth in our minds, which is “nothing but the truth” When one develops deep intuition, one sees the soul as an amazing mystical light. Sri Yoganand Paramhans has said “If you saw God right now you would see Him as one mass of light scintillating over the whole Universe”. Others perceive the soul as an audible vibration of Aum (Shabd, Naam, Amen etc). Some feel the soul as a ray of Cosmic Intelligence manifesting as Wisdom. What is Intuition? It is the father of reason and bridges the gap between intellectual knowledge of the soul and the actual realization of the divine Self. It has also been called our “Sixth Sense” and is like a “hunch” (which most of us have experienced some time or the other). It has also been described as “a deep, immediate, and accurate sense of knowing something that we could not necessarily know using simple logic”(Dr Rick Levy, “The Happiness Sutra”).Very often we get strong inner feelings, premonitions or “prophetic” dreams…. .. This type of intuition is present in all of us but, being rudimentary is not of much significance, hence these experiences have no great spiritual value. This, the crudest form of intuition is that of the Annamaya kosha or food sheath and is concerned with matter only. It is only when our intuition becomes deep that it permits God’s thoughts, ideas, visions etc to percolate through to us. It, therefore, needs to be developed by regular meditation. The second form is that of the pranic energy and is the intuition of the Pranamaya kosha. In this form of intuition, one can hear subtle sounds, see lights, feel subtle sensations and even taste subtle flavours during meditation. This happens when one has been able to connect internally to the Shabd/Aum/Naam etc which make these experiences possible. The technique for this needs to be learned from a God realized Guru. The Intuition of the Manomaya Kosha, is the third type in which one has direct knowledge of the mind. In this form visions are seen and one is not conscious of the outside world (or very little) during meditation…depending on its depth. These visions may initially be of any type and not under one’s control but later, when one becomes adept these can be controlled. It is known scientifically that our mind comprises of a Conscious, Subconscious, Individual and Universal Superconscious levels. The type of thought associated with the conscious mind is analytical, which does not help in communicating with Him. The type of thought in the Subconscious mind is in the form of symbols or metaphors, while that of the Individual Superconscious mind, is through Intuition. Meditative thought is the route to access the Universal Superconscious mind. Meditation, therefore is the best method of God communion as through this all the levels of the mind can be accessed. Our mind has actually “birthed’ out of the Cosmic Mind (the Universal Superconscious Mind), which expresses itself as our soul in our individual superconscious mind. Our soul then expresses itself as our subconscious mind, which, finally is expressed as our conscious mind. This actually means that the Universal Superconscious Mind (God) has to pass through our individual superconscious mind (soul), then through our subconscious so that we become aware of it at the level of our conscious mind. It is obvious, then, that if our minds at the lower level (conscious level) are full of conflict, distress etc God’s thoughts are difficult to be perceived. The fourth form is that of Jnanamaya kosha or the intellect plane and associated with the understanding of truth which manifests as wisdom. Finally, the fifth form of Intuition is that of the Ananadmaya kosha associated with the direct knowledge of bliss. It is intuition through which our seers and sages communicated with God and “Vedas”, the ancient Scriptures came into being and are spoken as Shrutis….”That which has been heard”. It is through astral sight that the truths issuing forth from Aum may be perceived as luminous writings, which have been called the Akashic Records. The Bible too talks about intuition… “And as this is the will of Him that sent me that every one which seeth the son, and believeth on him may have everlasting life”(John 6:36-40). By the word “seeth”, Jesus means the perceptive power of intuition or feeling which can see, hear, smell, taste or touch without the help of the senses. Advanced meditators can “feel” His presence. Very often they can “see” advanced beings, spirits, and angels and can actually communicate with them through their power of intuition. So very often an advanced meditator gets a thought “planted’ in his mind during meditation…something for which he had been seeking an answer without actually having asked for it! This means that if we meditate deeply enough so as to reach beyond the Jnanamaya kosha to the bliss sheath during meditation, we have direct access to Him and can feel Him “talking” to us in thought form…language may not be necessary as He communicates to us directly and we perceive His counsel without actually vocalizing any words. One does not need to ask…one gets the solution without any sound being produced. Sri Yoganand Paramhans describes these experiences so beautifully…”According to the devotee’s spiritual inclination and degree of advancement, answers from the Infinite may manifest as spoken words or as unvocalized word-thoughts conveyed to the devotee, or through the soul’s intuition-pure knowing by realization or direct experience of truth-and through expression of cosmic consciousness , the devotee may receive enlightenment in the form of definite pronounced perceptions or feelings; or as visible or audible words or sounds materialized by the all-knowing intuitive power of the soul or by the divine fiat of the cosmic power of God” Most advanced meditators are so well tuned to Him through the Shabd flowing through the ether, that they remain “connected’ to Him not only during meditation but even when they are busy with their chores! They keep receiving His bounty in the form of the scintillating divine light…the beautiful inner music… and profound wisdom at all times! Ramkrishna has summed it up so well…”If you are fortunate enough to be born in human form, and do not find God, you have wasted your life”….let us try not to waste ours’! Sources: ‘God Talks to Arjun The Bhagwat Gita” and “The Second Coming of Christ by Sri Yoganand Paramhans , ‘The Happiness Sutra” written by Dr Rick Levy

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Mantra Meditation...Chakras...And Health"

We have all taken birth through cosmic energy or Pranashakti, which after giving birth to us lies dormant at the base of our spine, called the Muladhar Chakra where it is called Kundalini Shakti, and controls the functioning of our entire body through nadis. This pranashakti, as it descends to the spine, gives rise to seven subtle energy centres which are called Chakras. These chakras are junction points where matter, Energy (oorja) and consciousness (Chitta) come together in a very high concentration. Mantra meditation on the various chakras can give rise to tremendous health benefits if practiced correctly. In order to understand it one needs to comprehend the basics of the chakras. Characteristics of chakras: They are related to the five elements from which the entire universe is formed, namely Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. By virtue of their relationship with these elements, they bear typical characteristics of these elements. Each has a number of petals which have a specific significance Each chakra controls the functioning of an endocrine gland (which produce hormones) and specific parts of our body. Each chakra has a specific colour (the colours of the Rainbow VIBGYOR) and stores emotional memories, which is why we “feel” certain past memories in different parts of the body. Each chakra can be activated by a mantra specific for it. The mantra brings it into balance as a result of its vibration. Chakras also have a relationship with the Gunas of Prakriti, namely Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The Vishudhi and Agya Chakras are related to a Sattvic pravriti, concerned with purity and virtue, and the consciousness is centered at the Third Eye Centre. The Anahat Chakra is responsible for Rajas, which is characterized by passion, and wordly activities etc. The lower chakras, namely Manipur, Svadisthan and Muladhar are related to Tamas, characterized by inertia, arrogance and pride. Muladhar Chakra: “Mula” means root and “dhara” means vital part. Hence it is the foundation of all the other chakras. It is known as the first chakra, Root or the coccygeal chakra since it lies at the base of the spine. It is also called the Saturn Chakra. It is related to the Earth element, hence responsible for our foundation (just like Mother Earth is responsible for the foundation of the entire planet), grounding, stability, balance, and structure as it is responsible for our skeleton, blood production, hair skin, etc. It is related to our sense of smell and to Apana Prana, therefore, responsible for elimination of wastes from our body. Predominance of this chakra makes us hard working, determined, and also lead to attachment with our surroundings, people etc. This chakra has four petals which denote the four psychic functions, namely Mind (Manas), Intellect (Budhi), Consciousness (Chitta), and Ego (Ahankar) which originate here. It is related to the colour Red which signifies Shakti, symbolizing awakening of sleeping consciousness to alert consciousness. The Mantra for this chakra is “LAM”…..Laaaaammm When this chakra is out of balance it makes us lazy, stubborn, and cynical while its deficiency leads to weakness, infections like flu, common cold and to attachment to the world around us. The most characteristic negative feature of this chakra is a sense of profound fear, which is related to annihilation of the self or the human race. This chakra is, therefore, related to our survival instincts. Svadisthan Chakra: ‘Sva’ means vital force and “dhisthana” means abode…hence “seat of the soul” It is also called the Sacral Chakra as well as the Jupiter Chakra and is related to the Water element and supposed to be the seat of the subconscious mind. It has six petals, which represent our negative qualities like Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mad and Matsya, all of which need to be overcome. This chakra is related to the fluid elements in our body (because of its proximity to the water element) like blood, urine and semen and also to the reproductive system and the organs associated with it namely, uterus, ovaries etc. The functioning of the urinary bladder and prostate are also controlled by it. The Sacral chakra has a very strong relationship with our emotions, receptiveness and intuition, hence imbalance in this chakra leads to depression and misery. Water is a symbol of hidden danger and immense power when out of control leading to feelings of lust and features of Tamasic acts. It is responsible to the sense of taste and Vyana Prana (Circulation). Deficiency in this chakra leads to menstrual problems, uterine fibroids, prostatic dysfunction, cancers of the urogenital tract etc. The colour it is associated with is Orange, symbolic of the rising Sun indicating rising consciousness. The mantra associated with this chakra is “VAM”…Vaaaaammm Muladhar and Svadisthan Chakras together constitute The Dosha of Kapha as described in Ayurveda, which is characterized by a heavy build, fine skin, beautiful eyes, a fairly stable personality, a graceful walk and a happy temperament. The negative qualities of this dosha, when out of balance are tendency to the development of Obesity, weight gain, laziness etc. Manipur Chakra : The other names for this chakra are Lumbar and Solar plexus chakra as well as the Mars Chakra and is related to the element Agni. It has ten petals, symbolic of the five pranas (Prana Udyana Samana Vyana Apana) of which Samana Prana predominates and also the five Up pranas namely Nag (Burping), Kurma ( Blinking), Devadutta (Yawning), KriKala(Sneezing) and Dhananjaya or movement of heart valves. Manipur chakra responsible for digestion absorption and assimilation. Here digestion indicates digestion of not only of the food we eat but also our thoughts. It also takes care of the functioning of the liver, pancreas and stomach as well as the immune system. It is associated with the sense of sight. When imbalanced it leads to anger, destructive qualities restlessness and turbulence, manifesting as a Type A personality (characterized by anger, hostility, aggression etc). Imbalance also aggravates gastro intestinal, liver, pancreas, stomach problems as well as Diabetes Mellitus. Often, when one is tense or worried one feels a tightness in the stomach area. Manipur chakra is associated with the colour Yellow and its Mantra is “RAM”….Raaaaammmm” The colour yellow is associated with the neuromuscular system. Manipur chakra is responsible for the ‘Pitta” body type of ayurveda, an imbalance of which leads to heart burn, peptic ulcers and heart disease also (due to anger) Pitta body types are farsighted, have a sharp intellect, often very hungry, ambitious and are over achievers. Imbalance of these lower centres ie Manipur, Svadisthan and Muladhar lead to Tamasic tendencies. Anahat Chakra: Also called the Heart Chakra as well as the Venus Centre and is related to the element Air or Vayu and is the seat of Naad or Anhad shabd which means “Unstruck” sound and has twelve petals which indicate Bliss (ananda), peace, harmony, love, purity, unity, understanding, empathy, clarity, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. It is responsible for our feelings and, therefore, to the sense of Touch. Anahat Chakra is related to Prana and responsible for the functioning of the heart, lungs, thymus and the immune system. Those who have a well balanced anahat chakra are sociable, forgiving, full of love and are fast thinkers. When out of balance, it leads to loneliness, depression, greed (Lobha) avarice, hoarding possessions etc. Diseases like heart disease, lung problems, also occur. The colour it is associated with is Green which indicates a balance of mind body and spirit. Its Mantra is “YAM’…Yaaaaammmmm This chakra, as mentioned above is related to a Rajasic tendency, which means that when in contact with people of Sattvic temperament, it can progress to Sattva but if in contact with Tamasic people, it can regress to Tamasic habits. Vishudhi Chakra: It is also called Throat Chakra. Another name for this is the Mercury Chakra and is related to the element Akash or Space and has 16 petals which are symbolic of our sixteen potential qualities as well as the 16 vowels of the Sanskrit language. It is concerned with the functioning of the Thyroid and Parathyroid glands, larynx, vocal cords rational thinking, intelligence and communication by virtue of its relationship with the sense of Sound and hearing sounds of the Universe. When out of balance it leads to self centredness, ego (Ahamkar) and feelings of “I, me, Mine ” and diseases of the larynx, like laryngitis, laryngeal disorders, thyroid problems etc. One often feels a sense of tightness or constriction in the throat when this is imbalanced or when one cannot ‘speak up” The Vishudhi Chakra is associated with the colour blue (Aasmani) and the Mantra “HAM”…Haaaaammmm Both Akash and Vayu together constitute the Vatta Body type which is characterized with movement and people of this type are usually thin, very intelligent, creative, good at grasping things(but forget very easily too)!When out of balance they are nervous , anxious, may have premenstrual problems, Hypertension, and irregular heart beat. Agya Chakra: It has various names like Ajna Chakra, Command Centre, Third Eye Centre, the Sun-Moon Chakra etc and is the centre for clarity, wisdom, insight and is the boundary between human and divine consciousness. It is also the meeting point of the Ida, Pingala and Sushumana Nadis. Agya chakra is related to the Mind element and has two petals symbolic of the presence of the Atma (Self) and Parmatama (God). Its qualities are Sat (Truth), Chitta (Consciousness), Ananada (Bliss), Ekta (Unity), and Shunyata (Emptyness) and is related to the Mind as it controls the functioning of the Manomaya Kosha (Mind Sheath) and the Vijnanmaya Kosha (Intelligence sheath) and related to intuition, clairvoyance, awareness, insight etc. When out of balance due to stress , physical trauma etc it can lead to headaches, Migraine etc. Its colour is Indigo (neel) and Mantra is SHAM”…Shaaaammmmm Lifting your eyebrows repeatedly activates this chakra. The Vishudhi and Agya chakras, as mentioned above are related to a Sattvic temperament. Sahasrar Chakra: It is also called the Crown Chakra, is situated about four fingers above the top of the head and has a thousand petals which face downward. Its awakening means revelation of Divine splendor and is, therefore, beyond, space and time. It is related to the colour violet (Baigani) and to the Mantra “AUM”….Ohhhhhhmmmmm If one remembers the pneumonic VIBGYOR it is easy to remember the colour of the chakras. Starting from the top, V stands for Violet (Sahasrar), I is for Indigo (Agya Chakra), B is for Blue (Vishudhi Chakra), G is for Green related to the Anahat Chakra, Y stands for Yellow ( Manipur Chakra), O is for Orange ( Svadisthan Chakra) and R stands for Red related to the Muladhar Chakra. Chakra Meditation: Sit with your spine straight (as we sit for Pranayam) though any comfortable position can be adopted but the head and spine must remain straight (legs hanging down if sitting on a chair), eyes gently closed, and in ‘Gyan Mudra” For all the chakras, take a deep breath and concentrate on the respective chakra and its colour, chant the appropriate chakra while exhaling. One needs to do this frequently during the day for proper relief. Method: Take a deep breath and while exhaling concentrate on the Muladhar chakra at the base of the spine and the colour red, chant Laaaaammmmmm (Just like we chant Aum, loudly at first, then a little softly, stressing on the Mmmmmm part). While doing this tuck your stomach in. On doing this you can balance the red colour in your body as well bringing about an improvement in your feelings of fear, insecurity, and problems related to excretion and elimination. While inhaling, one can visualize energy in the form of white light (prakash) entering the muladhar chakra from the earth. With exhalation, it is a good idea to visualize the colour red traversing your body and entering into your aura. Similarly chant Vaaaammmm for the Svadisthan chakra, concentrating on this chakra on your lower spine a little higher than the Muladhar chakra and the colour orange. This way you can balance your Orange colour, and help improve sexual problems, or problems related to menstruation, endometriosis, ovaries, uterus, prostate and urinary bladder. In this case also you can visualize energy or white light entering into your Svadisthan chakra from the earth through your legs and orange colour circulating in your body and going out into your aura during exhalation. For the Manipur chakra, concentrate on this chakra on your spine just behind the umbilicus and the colour yellow. Chant the mantra Raaaaammmm. By meditating on this chakra, control over anger, stress as well as stomach problems can be improved. Again, visualize white light entering this chakra from the earth during inhalation and the colour yellow flowing through your body and into the aura during exhalation. Do the same for the heart chakra concentrating on the heart chakra( situated behind your heart on the spine at the back) and Green colour for problems of loneliness, depression, grief, heart or lung problems etc. chanting the appropriate ,mantra, Yaaaammmmm ….during inhalation, visualize white light entering this chakra from the front and green colour circulating through your body and going out during exhalation. For the Vishudhi Chakra, concentrate on the spine behind the throat and the colour blue (Asmani) and chant the mantra “HUM”…Haaammmm for problems related to the thyroid, parathyroid or communication.(Often one finds oneself unable to voice one’s opinions….meditating on this chakra is helpful for this condition). In this instance also, visualize white light entering your vishudhi chakra from space (akash), during inhalation and blue colour (asmani) circulating throughout your body and going out into your aura during exhalation. Concentrating on the Agya Chakra, situated between the eyebrows and the colour Indigo (Neel) chant the mantra ‘SHAAM’….Shaaaaammm for headaches, migrane etc. During inhalation, visualize white light entering into this chakra from above and dark blue colour circulating through your body and finally going into your aura during exhalation. Finally meditate on the Sahasrar Chakra, situated above the head, concentrate on this chakra, the colour violet (Baigani) and chant the Mantra “AUM”…Ommmmmmmm. While inhaling, visualize white light entering into your sahasrar chakra from above and violete colour circulating in your body and then going into your aura while exhaling. Aum mantra needs to be chanted loudly at first, then softly and finally mentally without any sound. Whenever meditating on any chakra for any medical problem, do so as frequently as possible but continue whatever other medical treatment you are taking for your problem, whether medicines, exercises etc as prescribed. Meditating on the chakras also brings about a feeling of profound peace. Sources: “Radical Healing’ by Rudolph Ballantyne, “Yoga In Daily life” Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, ‘The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga written by Goswami Kriyananda, Deepak Chopra/ David Simon lecture series and the internet.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are Near Death Experiences similar to experiences of advanced stages of Meditation?

Near Death Experiences, as we know, happen suddenly and have occurred to people of different faiths, even to those who do not believe in Him…they, are, therefore, “equal opportunity’ experiences. They can occur in people of any age. “The near death experience is said to occur when a person is close to death or actually clinically dead, but has been resuscitated or somehow survives to recount an intense, profoundly meaningful experience “ (Cherie Sutherland ‘”Within the Light” ) Most of the time an NDE is characterized by a feeling of peace, getting out of one’s body and being able to actually see whatever is happening “down below’ to the physical body (and also to be able to recount it in vivid detail later) .Often a sensation of travelling very quickly through a dark tunnel, generally towards a light, an encounter with the spirits of deceased relatives or friends or a ‘being of light”, an instantaneous life review and for some, entrance into a ‘world of light”. Some Near Death Experiencers (NDErs) have reported feeling that they are being guided, many realize that whatever one is, is a result of one’s thoughts. Most people who have experienced an NDE lose the fear of death (advanced meditators feel the same way).An NDE is a deeply spiritual experience…as is meditation. They feel that the only way one can find the path of understanding is by looking within themselves and going deeper and deeper. Many have developed the ability to communicate with people telepathically (a lot of advanced meditators do too). Similarly the out of body experiences are very similar to those experienced by those who have progressed in meditation and, therefore, spiritually. A tremendous feeling of compassion and a sense of unconditional love for all develops in almost all who have experienced an NDE ….does it not sound familiar? Everyone who meditates too feels the same….as they develop atmabhav”, love unconditionally and feel for everyone. Some feel that they must give love to everyone, even to those who bother them! Seeing a beautiful light is a very common experience….. “for nine days I was enveloped in a cocoon of golden light. Unconditional love poured from my heart; I was in a state of grace. Compassion, innate harmony and healing energy were my being ” (“Within the Light”). A feeling of being spoken to … something like a thought transference is also fairly common.. Most of them understand that “whatever happens is for your good”, and that whenever something bad happens to them it is only temporary and that they would grow from it. Just like those who have “awakened” through meditation, they understand that everybody has an obligation to contribute what they can to life and to mankind. Those who have advanced spiritually by meditation, have also reported seeing brilliant, scintillating divine light, which communicates with them through thought (“as is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind”) Most NDErs understand that the reason they did not actually die was because their work on this earth was not over and needed to be completed by coming back and that death was not the end, actually “there isn’t any death…it’s a just a different state of consciousness”. Some have described the realization they had after an NDE that we come here to accomplish certain things and that each of us have a destiny and that our higher self works out what we have to do and what is best for us before we come here. Sanatana Dharma has always believed that we keep coming back because of our karmas and desires, something which all advanced meditators have also realized. Loss of ego, compassion, kindness, a caring attitude for all is a very common result as also a feeling, a clear understanding that we are all interconnected…every plant, every tree has a consciousness of its own….and that we are connected to them. The concept of time disappears. A lot of those who have experienced an NDE feel that it is not a Near Death Experience but an actual death. NDErs have described an accurate description of specific, unique, events happening around the NDEr’s unconscious physical body that the person could not have seen or heard. This is called a “veridical perception”. NDEs has been reported in blind people and in someone who underwent brain surgery, with eyes taped, blood drained from the brain and cooled during repair of a blood vessel, and a small speaker producing a clicking sound! Almost all NDErs have reported having found improvement in themselves after the episode, some going to the extent of becoming totally spiritual There have been so many cases of complete cure of their medical problem following and NDE. One very important case in point is that of Anita Moorjani( Source: the internet) who was suffering from terminal Stage 1V B Lymphoma who had been told by doctors that she did not have more than 36 hours to live! They are the ones who understood the mechanics of Energy Healing, one of the best ways of transferring cosmic energy to a patient is done meditatively. There are numerous reports of patients being healed completely through meditative energy transfer. Am quoting some of her experiences …”I was shown how illnesses start on an energetic level before they become physical. If I chose to go into life, the cancer would be gone from my energy, and my physical body would catch up very quickly. I then understood that when people have medical treatments for illnesses, it rids the illness from the body but not from their energy so the illness returns. I realized that if I went back, it would be with a very healthy energy. Then the physical body would catch up to the energetic conditions very quickly and permanently. I was given the understanding that this applies to anything, not only illnesses…physical conditions, psychological conditions, etc. I was ‘shown” that everything going on in our lives was dependant on this energy around us, created by us. Nothing was solid…we created our surroundings, our conditions, etc depending where this energy was at. The clarity I received around how we get what we do was phenomenal! It's all about where we are energetically. “ She also realized that whatever happened to you was based on the choices you made in life…like she was shown that if she went back to life she would be completely cured but if she didn’t she would obviously be dead( she could actually “see” both versions of the doctor’s written reports)! As we now know, she did come back and made a dramatic recovery with a full and permanent cure, in addition, she experienced a complete “healing” We must not go with the idea that all Near Death Experiences are positive….they can be negative also. Very advanced meditators, can, if they chose, experience negative ones as well. I must add that NDEs often do have a cultural basis also, for example, Indian NDErs experiences may be a little different from those in the West due to cultural and religious beliefs. Meditation as we are aware leads to feelings of happiness, well being both physically as well as mentally, improvement in health, peace of mind , a quiet mind, profound increase of knowledge with a very clear understanding of why what is happening, every day events and situations start making sense, more and more knowledge is received, nothing else matters except to merge with Brahma, beautiful music can be perceived (depending upon what level of evolution one has reached)along with so many other things , visions, experiences of Divine Light, and the meaning of life becomes clear with one experiencing “happiness without any reason” (the Dalai Lama)and a feeling of bliss which may progress on and on…..and on…. Most of the time the benefits of meditation happen over a period of time, slowly but surely one keeps progressing, enjoying every moment of the journey. Here one savours every moment and can contemplate on every experience…any doubt can be removed by one’s guru. The final result, for one who has evolved, is always an intense desire to be with Him at all times and to help others on to the path. One feels for others…soul beauty takes precedence over physical beauty…the intention is always to benefit mankind in any way possible. In addition, meditation leads to feelings of profound peace, very often out of body experiences, development of “powers’ called ridhis and sidhis, clairvoyance, clairaudience, feeling of “knowing” everything, sometimes connection with deceased relatives and friends, contact with other spirits along with interaction with them, feeling the presence of enlightened beings around them, realization of being “guided” by evolved spirits or angels, visions of previous births, sense of interconnectedness and above all a profound feeling of intense LOVE for all beings. Almost all these experiences can be very well explained if we understand how meditation progresses through the ascension of the chakras as well as involvement of the various “koshas” as described in yoga. With gradual transgression of the muladhar chakra, one develops grounding, balance and stability, going beyond the Svadisthan chakra, means transgression of the negative traits like kaam, (Lust) krodha ,(anger) lobha,(greed) moha, (delusion) mada (pride) and matsya (envy). As one progresses beyond the Manipur chakra, one develops a better vision, both outer and inner, a better understanding of things. Going beyond the anahat chakra, feelings of love, peace , harmony, empathy, kindness, compassion, unity, forgiveness etc start ruling us. This love is of the unconditional type. When one has gone beyond the vishudhi chakra, a tremendous increase in one’s thought process, better realization of the truth and appreciation of the ‘Aum ‘ sound( “shabd’) is better appreciated, which is well heard at the anahat chakra(this why the chakra is so named). The nature of the primordial sound gradually changes gradually as one progresses beyond the various chakras. Involvement of the Agya chakra means the opening of the “third eye” associated with” Sat, Chit, Anand “ where Sat is Truth, Chit is consciousness and Anand is bliss, along with their realization. This translates into a better appreciation of the primordial sound (music) as well as visions of the divine light. All of the abovementioned occur in an NDE as well. By the time one reaches this stage, one has transgressed the Manomaya as well as the Vijnanmaya koshas ie the Mental and the Intelligence sheaths which are associated with a tranquil mind, peace, and revelation of tremendous knowledge, wisdom and Divine splendour. Finally, opening of the sahasrar chakra, reveals the full splendour of Divinity, knowing everything there is to know setting the stage for merging with the Creator. Similarly as one transgresses the ‘Annamaya Kosha’ or the food sheath through meditation, one gets a feeling of well being along with an improvement in physical health. Consciousness pervades every cell in the human body and the communication between the self and every cell improves tremendously. Dr Candis Pert in her famous book “Molecules of Emotion’ has shown how information can affect matter by demonstrating the presence of Neuro peptides of emotion interacting with the neuroreceptors present on the cell surface…if both are compatible, the information enters the cell and brings about the desired reaction inside the cell. This communication is enhanced by meditation bringing about an improvement in the functioning of the body (“as is the atom, so is the human body”) The transgression of the pranamaya kosha affects our breath which becomes more even resulting in a lot of benefits. This makes our mind quiet and tranquil as a result of which the Manomaya kosha is affected along with the most beautiful experiences associated with revelation of knowledge. This is followed by the involvement of the Jnanmaya kosha or the Sheath of Knowledge resulting in the acquisition of different levels of chetna or awareness. The veils of Ignorance slowly lift, followed by the light of knowledge shining brighter and brighter. At this point thoughts are concentrated on Brahma alone.(Bimal Mohanty “The Spiritual Approach to Life”) One finally reaches the level of the Anandmaya kosha or the bliss sheath…where there is nothing but bliss! One touches Divinity manifested as brilliant, golden…silvery…scintillating…cooling…light (prakash), a feeling of happiness never before experienced…a total understanding of everything…the truth is revealed in all its brilliance! As is apparent, all these are part and parcel of an NDE. Meditation can lead to merger with the Divine in Samadhi… “the drop becomes the ocean”, time loses its significance and stands still, all involuntary functions stop…one actually experiences nearness to physical death or death for practical purposes….Jesus Christ said “I die every day..” a lesson for all of us! It is, therefore clear that meditative experiences are same as those of an NDE…but one need not wait for an NDE to occur….one should meditate and merge with the Divine with His grace and become part of the ONE!