When I was arrested in India, Chidghananda immediately went to the police station where we were detained and said that he was our host and was going with us to wherever they were taking us. When we were finally released under house arrest I spent my time meditating and reading Anandamurti´s books, among some other books on yoga. I was supposed to be the first student in the tantric research project at Ananda Nagar and I was living near Chidghananda.
I was supposed to learn under two teachers, Samanvayananda and Chidghananda. Samanvayananda was really a wizard. He overtly demonstrated all kinds of occult powers. He wanted people to understand the higher intelligence and power of the mind and because he knew so many secrets he was always showing them off. Later, Anandamurti would discover that his disciple was abusing occult powers and then beat him with a stick. Later, Samanvayanda would learn a new trick and start showing it off and then get beaten again. I will write more about my relationship with him later. He was controversial but his friend Chidghananda was more of a sage. He did not really seem to have any vanity. He spent a lot of time alone but he really loved people and was always interacting with people who would come and see him. People always got the impression that he could see right through them and give them advice based on his intuition even without engaging in psychological dialogues and disclosures.
I was reading the yoga sutras of Patainjali one day while under house arrest at Ananda Nagar. In one of the later chapters Patainjali is speaking about how advanced yogis connect with higher spiritual forces that help divide the personality into separate components so that the yogi can finish his samskaras, or karmic reactions more quickly. Instead of one person doing the work, there could be 2 or 3. It sounded like multiple personality disorder but Patainjali was speaking of it as a very advanced and subtle practice of connecting with the fundamental structures of the personality. Could this be an enlightened understanding of the “Gestalt Round Table” in which one starts to dialogue with the different aspects of the pesonality?, I wondered. It is a psycho therapeutic technique where one gets all of one´s internal personalities together in an imaginary round table so that they can all communicate. For example, in an imaginary dialogue the angry part of the person expresses his view, and then the insecure part and then the strong part. Instead of having separate wills competing for the control of the ego, the therapist guides the dialogue so that the fragmented parts of the personality all begin to understand each other and synthesize into an integrated being.
This Gestalt idea helped me orient myself to this strange idea of Patainjali. While discussing this idea with Chidghananda about Gestalt Psychology he began to say that an enlightened or nearly enlightened mind has integrated the disparate parts of the personality. They are beyond the duplicity and the incongruities of the lower mind. Instead, the enlightened parts of their personalities come to full expression. Dada explained that certain microvita intelligence connect with each part of the person and the yogi uses his or her own personality as a vehicle to express these deep aspects of the personality. He explained how Anandamurti could be so sweet and loving and would heal people spiritually. On other occasions he was the task master and social leader that had to keep everything in order. He could be like a mother as well as a 5 starred general, and had full confidence in all of the various aspects in his integrated being. He also explained how the guru would have certain moods that he expressed, each one according to situations and people he was guiding, and each one with a very special transformative power. He was always taking the samskaras of his disciples and using the different parts of his personality to do this. Chidhananda´s explanation went far beyond what Patainjali mentioned. Patainjali was speaking of how a nearly liberated being uses this technique to achieve liberation from all samskaras. Chidghananda was explaining how Anandamurti completed this process and instead of finishing off his own samskaras, engaged with other beings to help them evolve the samskaras that bind them.
I playfully asked Dada if I had any “friends” accompanying me, because I felt like I was moving so fast that I would disintegrate. He laughed and said we would speak more of that later. Later, I got deported. He died, but kept his promise and we began to speak about that again, but more on that later.
There were also dreams with the form of Anandamurti which were always illuminating. I once had gastritis and it had bothered me for 6 months. I dreamed that Anandamurti came to me as a doctor dressed in white. I did not recognize that it was Anandamurti. The doctor touched my stomach and I felt immense psychological pain which revealed the reasons why I had gastritis. Then a soothing light from his hands passed into me. I looked up to see who this doctor was because I was doubled over in pain and had not seen his face. I saw the face of Anandamurti just for a fraction of a second and then saw an infinite white light. At the same time I woke up and felt the light inside my stomach curing me. I stopped taking medication that very same day and have never suffered from gastritis again.
Chidghananda was there when I had these experiences. I was living next door to him when I had these experinces and I strongly suspect Chidghananda´s influence. I was surprised that such a mature and great man acted like I was his best friend. It was the greatest honor of my life.
I did not want to be deceiving myself with false visions. I was educated as a scientist and always tried to be very critical of my own subjective experiences, especially these strange mystical visions. I ate psychedelic mushrooms once in college and it was beautiful, but it was really nothing compared to these meditation experiences at Ananda Nagar. The experiences were so much more powerful than mushrooms and did not require an altered state of consciousness. The practice of yoga and a few hours of meditation a day induced these experiences. I was vegetarian, used no drugs nor alcohol, and in the company of Chidghananda I truly felt like a monk. He was a perfect gentlemen around women and he showed them so much respect, yet I never saw him overstep his monastic boundaries. Having an example like that really made a young man feel confident that one could live a happy monastic life like him.
Every time I meditated near him he went into trances. All of the air would immediately be pushed out of his body with an extremely loud “Humm” sound as the kundalini would rise. Then his body would get really tense and shake and then he would stop breathing and was totally calm, as if he were dead. I asked him what he experienced. He said he always heard the Om sound but when he meditated he would let himself go and be absorbed into it. Sometimes he would see the form of Anandamurti just before entering into this samadhi trance, other times the experience was completely formless. He encouraged me to meditate on formlessness but always said there was something very special in the form of Anandamurti. He never dogmatized about it and when people asked him if Anandamurti was really the incarnation of god, or Taraka Brahma, or some other concept, he would simply say, “Baba was Baba. Anandamurti himself said he was a mystery and will always remain a mystery, so what can I say?”
I look back on my time with him and some other older disciples of Anandamurti and realize that the form of the guru worked through all of them. It is not that the entire force of the guru manifested through one particular person, but it was so clear that these men were connected to some invisible mind field that was very powerful and benevolent, that could awaken the kundalini within any person who had prepared themselves. These monks really understood the inner, mystical secrets of yoga. However, as you can see in this video, Chidghananda never leaves rational and practical thinking or asks the listener to accept some authority or dogma or fantastic idea. He was a true and rational disciple of Anandamurti who understood that proper and balanced reason awakens intuitive faculties with a very balanced vision of spirit.
These dreams and visions through subtle form and intuitive concepts give one some confidence in the practice of contemplation, but are not proofs in themselves. They simply clear the confusions from the path so one can have formless experience. These were all preparatory experiences for learning to achieve the state of total peace in meditation, like Chidghananda experienced regularly in the breathless state of samadhi. The “proof” comes in samadhi, with the revelation of OM within the eternal I-feeling which absorbs the little “I” of the relative ego. One understands that one is infinite and pure behind the mirage af mind and world. After that one has no doubts. Remaining in the body one can suffer greatly, pass through trial and torture yet never, ever be able to deny That, “Tat Tvam Asi” – Thou Art That
Eating For Kundalini
“I am the food of life. I am the eater of the food of life. I am the two in one. I am the first born child of immortality born before the gods.” – Upanishad
At Ananda Nagar I sometimes only slept a a few hours and heard Om through the night. I started getting really far out. Fortunately, I was with some good friends that always made fun of me and that kept me in line. Whenever I would go without eating and get really high they would make me eat. At other times, after hours of meditating, I would eat and eat and eat and never get full. They were constantly laughing at my bottomless pit and each new full plate was a new joke.
I got very, very thin but I had tremendous energy. Sometimes while sitting in the lotus posture I would enter into a state of bliss all too suddenly. My body jumped 2 feet off of the ground when the kundalini would rise. My friends told me that when they were sitting next to me. It was involuntary, but it was not one of those energetic manipulations of TM and kundalini yoga where people bounce around like clowns and call it yogic flying. The kundalini rose from the base of the spine like a lightning flash and struck the Anahata chakra in the chest. This resistance shot my body up 2 feet into the air very quickly. It was not a gradual levitation but it was a vigorous jump. There was also once an experience of levitation, but that is another story.
After these experiences I got terribly hungry and would hurry home to eat but I hardly had energy to walk. I bought a can of ghee and started pouring the ghee on top of mounds of rice and lentils. I would then sleep a few hours in the night and start the cycle again. At breakfast I would force myself to eat until it hurt because I knew I would be hungry again in an hour. Then I would quickly go down by the river to meditate before I got hungry again. I would immediately enter into some trance. I could just barely keep my observing intellect active so as to not get swept away. I was a student the year before and was very interested in bio-psychology. My friend Lowan and I would talk about mysticism, psychedelics and neuropsychology for hours on end. I still had those questions in my mind and wanted to observe my mind and brain in these states of concentration. I tried to keep reading scientific books but I was losing interest. I felt it was too much of an attachment for my mind. Chidghananda said that the desire was almost finished and that I should just indulge it. I once found him reading my copy of “The Tao of Physics.” He said he really liked it. He browsed through “Order Out of Chaos” by Prigogine and said “these are revolutionary ideas but you will soon loose interest in them.
Dada explained to me how Anandamurti said that microvita research must be conducted by people with conceptually developed minds along with yogis who could guide them intuitively. So therefore the yogi must also be somewhat familiar with modern scientific ideas. He said I did not need to read any more books. What was more important was to remember these ideas when the mind was coming down from samadhi, to see these ideas in a new light, an eternal light. One understands that the object one thinks upon is unified with the deep thoughts about that object. For example, if you think of a plant, your mind becomes at one with the plant. The plant becomes part of your objective mind, or chitta. Knowledge is the subjectivization of external objectivity, or bringing outside what is inside. A superficial conceptualization of it sees the plant outside of oneself in time and space. One may study it deeply, dissect it, discover the secret of its genes but the plant still remains outside of one self. A partial subjectivization is an intuitive understanding of the plant in which there is a feeling of “oneness” with the plant. One conceives it deeply but also feels into it and knows its inner secret. Healers may have this connection with plants and also with the human body and understand the healing relationships between them. Total subjectivization is when there is no longer subject and object. There is no longer a plant nor a mind perceiving the plant. The mind spiritually merges into the Atman and there only remains pure subjectivity. This is spiritual knowledge. One who knows the supreme Knower or Subjectivity attains liberation.
Just as one overcomes the objective-subjective barrier to reality created by the limitations of the conceptual mind, the intuitive mind also transcends its subtle concepts and realizes that all cognition is ultimately dependent on the witness of the mind, the atman. From the point of view of the atman, one is capable of seeing all things. And from this vantage point one can see what nature and mind really are and have very exact ideas about them. Furthermore one sees the structure of thought itself, the stuff that dreams are made of. I asked him if he could see microvita. He said yes but it is more important to conceive them than to simply see them. He said they were a moving collage of geometric forms and colors that were in constant flux behind the physical world. The quantum void is full of prana, or vital energy, and the microvita play these strings of prana which ultimately “collapse” into material reality.
He said I should do as much meditation as possible at Ananda Nagar because he was not sure how long the house arrest would last; months, or years, perhaps. I continued with my meditations and the more my breath stopped in meditation the less my intellect could analyze these states, and the less that I desired that it continue analyzing them. The bliss that was entreating me called, “Just let it go now, it is time for bliss. Adios little German intellect”
Meanwhile, these experienced really required a lot of energy and I became even more exhausted. I asked Samanvayananda, the wizard friend of Chidghananda, for advice. He told me to get a can of ghee and a mound of rice as well. It was hilarious that we came to the same conclusions. He used to get the younger monks to prepare him food. He would entertain everybody by really pigging out. They could not believe how much he could eat. Then he would say “I am going to the river to meditate now. Have some more food ready for me in two hours when I return.” He passed through these states for so many years without sleeping and meditated all through the night.
Video with Dada Chidghananda
Persons and Places
Everybody I have met has been very nice to me on these 46 orbits around our Sun I have traveled thus far. It is as if an invisible god has been accompanying me who jumps out and enters everybody I meet, giving that eternal salute from yet another unique perspective.
All of the unresolved questions that remained for me about the mystical experiences of my childhood and youth were answered in those brief years I was living with yogic monks and nuns in India and in Missouri. Before that, I had many deep and powerful experiences that my friends also shared and experienced with me. My mother always believed me and helped me find some answers to these mysteries. She introduced me to her friends that meditated and practiced yoga.
Such experiences were blasts of clarity and insight that always seemed to occur with interesting existential and emotional “synchronicities” connected with my friends and family since childhood. However, it was when I learned tantric meditation that all of these experiences became clearly understood. It was as if these earlier experiences needed to be cleared up in my mind so as to make space for newer experiences.
And so it was; the more I assimilated the earlier mysteries, the more I experienced newer ones. By the time I went to India I started entering in states of deep, breathless meditation. It was as if I were dead but my mind was very active on the inside, processing memories of those deep experiences in my youth with friends and family. Everything made sense and all was good…my family and friends gave me everything.
Chidghananda said my spiritual work was done. All I have to do is give and serve others. I was no longer bound by attachment to my past. What now?, I wondered. As time went by he started to speak of the future, as if he really wanted to tell me something important about not just my future but the future of humanity. I began to have very uncomfortable experiences and visions after those very blissful trances. Everything that I experienced was sublime yet terrible. I saw so much suffering and knew that there would be difficult times ahead. Chidghananda confirmed this and said that I would suffer miserably and be involved in huge political dramas for some time but after it ended I should just live a normal life.
At the same time I met another yogi who gave me another piece to the puzzle. I didn’t know him at all but we liked each other instantly and he started to tell me very interesting and insightful tips that seemed to be exactly what I needed. He told me that yogis could consciously invoke the “Near Death Experience” with certain yogic techniques. In such a state, one can see what one needs to see, and all of the way into eternity. He said that I could enter into the Hall of the Immortals and ask any liberated being any question that I wanted. He gave me the technique, I practiced it and indeed verified that he was correct, that yogis can invoke the near death experience through meditation.
I saw my whole life flash in front of me. I saw my future homes in great detail. I remember many of these vivid visions but recall with each new experience in life a feeling of deja vu and realize that I have already seen this too. I saw everything in that vision, yet I consciously remember fragments. When I have deja vu, there is no mystery of where the feeling of familiarity comes from; the familiarity came from the fact that I had already seen this part of the drama unfold in that near death experience, or what really became a series of near-death experiences. It is like when a friend shares a memory with you. It was the same experience but when he or she recalls it to you then you remember the picture more completely. You hadn’t forgotten those aspects, they were just unconscious. Similarly, when I would have feelings of deja vu I would contemplate on where I actually did experience that memory and actually recalled when and where and it the origin always came back to those experiences of near death, in the eternal now. Near death is so close to Life.
I once became good friends with a young monk from Europe. He was an exceptionally bright person, fairly well educated but not an intellectual in the formal sense. He seemed like the type of person who remembered everything he ever learned and that school was probably very easy for him. I think his intelligence became more focused on intuitive and practical questions than intellectual ones.
One day we were talking about how very few people in the order really understand ideas like karma and past lives yet everybody seemed to accept these ideas implicitly because the guru spoke of such ideas and people just accept them because of that. He was more critical, however. He told me that if one wants to know of one’s past lives, then it is really as simple as recalling one’s earliest childhood memories. Before the abstract intellect and self-concept develops in a child, their minds often wander beyond time and the present incarnation. Small children can recall their past lives and in their day-dreaming are actually remembering their pasts. His ideas were sincere and he seemed to be speaking from experience, which was much more than the dogmatic people who just accepted these ideas because they made some sense or just because the guru said that they were true. He told me how he remembered very clearly since his childhood that he was a Russian monk in his past life.
I recall this conversation several years later. I was never interested in knowing about past lives, but the idea of clearly remembering all of my early childhood was very appealing. I felt that as time goes on my memories become purer and clearer and that childhood was a well-spring of happiness. Sometimes I would meet people who suffered things that were unimaginable for me, traumas in childhood that had left them psychologically hindered. Later I would have dreams about their state of mind. It was sometimes incomprehensible because I did not have the experience in my own life to draw similarities with. Later, I would begin to have dreams about traumas that happened to me. I knew these dreams weren’t mine but that somehow our sharing of these powerful emotions worked their way into my own sub-conscious and I began to dream of them as if they were my complexes. I found myself as the protagonist in these dreams and experienced terrible traumas. When I awoke i was not disturbed but relieved. I felt that the dream helped me release this unprocessed content that my mind was experiencing with another. For this reason was I interested in early memories. Mine seemed so positive that the shared experiences of others didn’t leave a mark on me. I felt that my own past was a mighty fortress that no present suffering, mine as well as others, could penetrate. It is for that reason that I would use my birth name, William Enckhausen, while processing these experiences. Nobody ever calls me by that name any more and it was a quiet and tranquil place to be. Three distinct friends connected with native American traditions have taught me three distinct yet very similar truths. According to them, when one is being affected by some negative mental energy (spirit) one should: remember who is breathing your breath, remember who is beating your heart, and what is your name? I have found all 3 of these ideas extremely valuable in situations involving bizarre, confusing energies of mind. They help one to return to the moment, into non-dual awareness.
One night I lie awake trying to clearly see and feel my earliest childhood memories. One was actually a dream that I remember from when I was very young. It was strange that one of my first memories was actually a dream. In the dream I was sitting in my high chair surrounded by mysterious figures. They were kind and loving but altogether different entities. I always remembered that dream but could never figure out who those strange loving beings were. Their skin was dark, their eyes large, and their faces were very round. When I grew older and learned about surrealistic art I thought that perhaps I was dreaming of some primitive archetypes as they really did look like masks. I saw the dream as a union of my life with the life of my human ancestors. I was never sure about the interpretation but the memory always produced a feeling of security and love.
So I lay awake that night trying to feel and remember that dream; trying to see clearer the faces and ask my memory is there was something more. The vision wasn’t any clearer and I still saw the same faces. It had been several years since I had tried to recall this dream and I had encountered many new people in my life. I began to think that these faces were the faces of indigenous Meso-Americans. I liked the idea and it made me think that perhaps I dreamed of significant people I would meet in my future while I was a toddler. All of these very personal and idiosyncratic ideas would have remained solely in the unconfirmed and unverifiable realm of imagination if it weren’t for a certain experience that occurred at precisely the same moment as I had those ideas. There arose the idea that those faces were actually my indigenous friends with whom I lived. At exactly the same time, not even a second apart, an indigenous friend enters my room and tells me that she was dreaming that she was visiting me in my childhood. I immediately knew that the dreamed happened right now, not in childhood nor in the present flow of time, but in the Eternal Now. It is from this space that we can understand our lives and see all of the meaningful connections, both past and future. Perhaps this is where one also is able to see beyond one’s birth? Children live more in the eternal present but we can return there at any time if we know how to understand and interpret the flow of consciousness both in and beyond time.
Everything we experience in human life is an expression of the Macrocosm. Whether one calls the Macrocosm “Brahma”, or “Tao”, or a “Unified Quantum Field”, it is the source and ground of our physical, mental and spiritual being. The source of the Macrocosm is purely spiritual, It is pure Consciousness; the silent I-Witness behind the active, oscillating mind. When you are quiet, this infinity is yours. The mental part of the macrocosm only faintly manifests in human intelligence. When humans become more intelligent they will have then merged a little deeper into the mental and spiritual aspects of the Macrocosm. Only the outer reflection of this pure and unified web of being is material. It is material and separate only in our minds, however. One can have a spiritual experience of the physical world of matter and form and still not be convinced of the absoluteness of matter. Form is but a manifestation of spirit.
Everything and everyone has deep, reserve parts of their being that are latent and only waiting to manifest when the external ego is a little more mature and calm. A person who has lived away from civilization for many years returns to see the world of form and matter. His physical world had become the mountain, river, sky, and body. They all secretly speak of spirit, however. He remembers the old forms of cars and malls and wars and all of the dread of material existence. These forms only seem a little more dead now.
If one really believes in the reality of these things then the mind actually becomes like those things. Mind is a living entity that vibrates and takes on the form of material objects. “As you think, so you become.” If you believe that “objects” are a part of the unified web of the Macrocosm, then matter is a delight. Your being may flow into the being of all at the delight of a flower or taste of a berry. Things vibrate and are sustained and invigorated by an invisible, vibrant energy that pervades even empty space. If objects are something to purchase, posses, and fill inner voids, then the objective material world is quite simply an existential hell of separation from natural truth.
If people are a manifestation of spirit, then “brother” and “sister” are everywhere. If people are objects instead of Subjects, then we have separation, continual strife and chaos.
Places and spaces, physical, mental, and spiritual- all vibrate with the tone of spirit behind them. Energy and ideas congeal into things. A sensitive person will easily detect an unhappy house or an unhappy city. There is an aura of discomfort vibrating around these places. The mental energy that created and inhabits these spaces is desperate, compulsive, separate and fearful. Humanity’s unconscious being is simply revealed in our social and personal habitations. Dada Chidghananda couldn’t stand entering cities. He always saw deep into the being of others and knew even their inmost thoughts. When he entered the city he was bombarded by so many unseen thoughts and energies that inhabit those spaces. Little was hidden from him. It is the same phenomenon with cyber spaces. To enter the internet, most especially social media, is but to enter into all of the unseen mental desires and needs that drive humans to project themselves into mental-social spaces. People also project their unseen needs into these spaces and they in fact vibrate and live there. Some spaces are vibrant while some are really dead and only try to devitalize the mind with cyber reflections of what was already a mundane, unnatural, and uncreative mental projection to begin with.