The following is excerpted from a question answered by Sr. Kriyāvān Kriyāchārya Shivraj and compiled by Hamsāchārya Nikhil Yadav.
Speaking of the nature of spiritual wealth, medieval Bhakti saint Mirabai has said “kharch na khootey, chor na lootey, din din badhat sawayo.” (Although it accumulates daily, it cannot be expended, nor can it be stolen away). By its very nature, spiritual wealth is “amolik” or incalculable in lesser human terms. The saint’s message is not at all an exaggeration brought about by love and reverence alone. At its heart lies a profound spiritual truth. For how can something permanently inducing towards growth be compared with the impermanent material wealth that comes and goes?
Only a Satguru who knows the myriad pathways to Supreme truth can guide a disciple to the keys of this spiritual locker. An embodiment of Divine grace, he takes upon himself negative karma thus freeing some of the obstacles lying in the path of the disciple. He does so selflessly for the betterment of the disciple’s health and spiritual progress. It is indeed beyond the disciple’s capacity to repay the karmic debt that is incurred at least in this lifetime. It is only to free the disciple from this karmic obligation that the tradition of gurudakshina has been authorized by Mahavatar Shiv Goraksha Babaji.
Gurudakshina is a sacred exchange of spiritual wealth with material wealth that has been necessarily completed from the Ancient of Days. To cut the cord that binds the soul to the delusion of worldly attachment, an offering of love, reverence and material wealth is given by disciple to the Master.
Nor can anybody other than the Satguru decide upon the terms of this exchange. If it is his wish that some of the techniques that he has originated be disseminated for free, then instead of having a doubting mind, the disciple should instead open his heart in acceptance to the spiritual generosity of the Satguru. In any case, neither free techniques nor others can be given to material calculations of profit and loss. Free techniques are just as priceless and the disciple is encouraged not to measure the worth of the spontaneous outpourings of Satguru’s priceless offerings. Some techniques are free because it is the wish of the Originator that they be free, that’s it.
On the other hand, there are techniques which are bound by the principles of spiritual lineage or parampara. The techniques of Kriya Yoga have been passed down from times immemorial by Masters of the Kriya lineage who have laid down precise instructions of Gurudakshina that must be followed wherever practices from this hallowed tradition are taught. They have themselves said that this knowledge should not be given for free, thus leaving no room for the exercise of anybody else’s will or discretion.
Perhaps they felt that even the Satguru faces several obstacles on the physical plane and in order to continue teaching, a necessary exchange of material well-being may ease and resolve some of the hurdles of his physical existence. In this sense, it becomes the disciples’ utmost duty to see that the Satguru who is the Source of Spiritual Wisdom may be sustained well in his physical form. Only then will they be able to continue to draw from the deep wells of his spiritual wisdom. Perhaps as the originators and custodians of these techniques, it was their wish that it be NOT taught for free, that’s it. Our own petty calculations can never fathom the incalculable spiritual insight that is behind the laying down of these sacred principles.
To conclude, it may only be said that the Satguru’s Wisdom and Grace are priceless, the money and the willingness to pay for them will decide the worth of the seeker.
The following is a question/answer response given by Sr. Kriyāvān Kriyāchārya Shivraj.
Is group meditation necessary and how beneficial is it?
In which stages of the Spiritual journey is it the most essential and beneficial?
The spiritual faculties of concentration and meditation on the divine light, sound, and vibration are enhanced. So are the feelings of faith in the Satguru’s energy transmissions for healing, transforming and enlightening the disciples with wisdom. These are faculties that are essential and required for the spiritual development of the disciples.
In the initial stages of sadhana, not all these faculties are developed in the amateur sādhak with equal strength and/or at the same time, making the practice of techniques a bit complicated or confusing. Also, for some struggling sadhaks, stuck in a phase of life where there are a lot of karmic disturbances, mental turmoil, and emotional pains, being able to concentrate on these meditative faculties or feeling the energy transmissions bestowed by the Satguru is a very difficult task. That’s where the spiritual family and the spiritual brotherhood of being co-disciples has a very crucial and vital role to play.
When one sits in a group meditation, then different sadhaks have different strong faculties, due to which the whole group equally and uniformly avails of the benefits bestowed by the Satguru. Even the transmissions of Shakti-Paath, Praan-Paath, and Shiva-Paath, are felt more prominently and strongly.
Yogiraj always says that “Humanity Is Tied By The Self Same Cord Of Breath.”
That is exactly why the spiritual energy of the Master doesn’t work on any one particular individual, but has its impact on the group as a whole and thereby the group works as a spiritual booster and propeller to the lesser attuned seekers.
When more than one or two human beings with the same faith and the same modus-operandi tune in to the same spiritual frequency, under the divine shelter of the same Master, then the possibilities of making mistakes while practicing the techniques, getting bothered and deterred by personal karmic obstacles, mental negativities and emotional pains of life, or missing out on or not receiving the Satguru’s spiritual grace are reduced and the cord of breath is stronger than a single person’s cord of breath.
In a group meditation, we are creating and harmonizing the universal principle of uniting individual consciousness to strengthen universal consciousness as a result of which we expedite the process of awakening the cosmic consciousness. All the rough edges are well rounded off and all the bumps and ditches on the path are uniformly filled up.
That is why in the traditional sadhana system group meditations are always more helpful and beneficial for all the sadhaks whether they are “new and amateur” or “old and proficient”. This is especially important for disciples and sadhaks who are struggling with physical/emotional/mental and karmic issues.
Group meditations are a vital support system at all levels of existence. Sometimes suffering the pain becomes much less and easier because of the strength of the united core of prana, and the heightened awareness and faith in the Satguru.
Traditional group meditation is called SAMĀRĀDHANĀ.
The purpose of Yoga, in general, and in this instance Kriya Yoga, in particular, we could say, is to comprehend ‘God’ in a final state called Samadhi. A God who is often said to be beyond comprehension!
So how do we comprehend a God who is incomprehensible through the practice of Yoga?
What seems like an impossible dichotomy to the mind is to the realised masters very achievable through the tried and tested of practice of Yoga.
In yoga, the first stage of this comprehension begins from the body. Preparing the body to be healthy, to be fit, have no aches and pains, have a healthy digestive system, a healthy circulatory system, a healthy endocrine system, a healthy respiratory system, and a healthy nervous system achieved by the practice of asana.
As a leaking vessel (diseased body/mind) never can fill
The waters of life so pure and still
So distracted mind fails to retain
Wisdom’s nectar in its brain.*
For the practicing Yogi, a healthy process of circulation, assimilation and elimination is also the power of god working in the body.
In the next level of comprehending God through Yoga, the practitioner finds that the balsam of yogic breath soothes turbulent emotions, the hurt, and the suffering, refining and transforming them to devotion and love. All the insults that the person has borne, all the hardships, the treacheries that the near and dear ones have committed, all these are healed by the rhythmic devotional breath of Kundalini Pranayama.
In the mental process, the same pranayama, the practice of a systematic rhythmic breathing, cures psychosomatic disorders, like ulcers and asthma and sclerosis by calming the mind.
To ease disease of random mind
A remedy suitable we must find.
A rhythmic breathing tension free
With Kriya Yog the sovereign key.*
Then moving to the next stage, the emotions that are hurt are transformed into devotion and life becomes a flowing stream towards God in pratyahar; which gives rise to Love. This manifests in devotional chanting, singing Christmas carols, singing God’s praise, bhajans and hymns. The process of refining carries on step by step through consistent Yoga practice.
Then as the Yogi begins to concentrate (dharana) and meditate (dhyan) the mind gradually becomes a placid crystal pool. The undisturbed crystal mind is a beautiful mind.
Steady poise the arrow of your will
And shoot the fleeting mind to still
The deer of thoughts hinds and harts
Felled by your concentrated darts.
As one by one they die away
Mind opens up to new day
Where streams run tranquil and willows sway
Here tame and gentle deer do play.*
Then begins the journey through various states of Samadhi. This thought-free state becomes the constant state of the Yogi’s mind. With additional practice of special techniques given by the Satguru, the mind is gradually transcended leading to an internal glow.
Then tamed and tuned to nature’s flow
Mind melts into an opal glow
Which radiates from the soul within
Where wisdom’s mystic fire is king.*
Mind you, the practitioner has still not yet reached the stage of comprehending an incomprehensible God but step-by-step through the practice of Yoga, the Yogi is getting there.
Continuing the journey of Yog, the Yogi gets into states of mysticism, from an unkempt, disheveled and disorderly mind, the Yogi has organised the mind and the mind dissolves into the opal glow of divinity and becoming one with it, the Yogi gradually transforms to light.
The refinement of the mind continues further, the Consciousness expands, and intuition sharpens. The Yogis get visions of gods and saints and goddesses. A vision of the beautiful Krishna, of Christ; walking with Jesus transported way back 3000 years walking along the sea of Galilee and the Yogi may or may not realise himself or herself to be a disciple, Simon, Peter or Paul or connected to other masters from before. From this state of Sarvikalpa Samadhi, the constantly striving Yogi is ready to move into more profound states.
After getting these deep intuitions and finishing with them, the Yogi gets to the Mount of Olives, contacting the higher portion of Jesus, the son of man, and Christ, the Son of God. The Christ state of temporary Nirvikalpa Samadhi is a radiant aura of electric blue. The Yogi merges into that aura, and here there’s no form or figure, just an eternal bliss called the Christ Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness.
This is what the persistent gradual practice of Yoga does; from curing a practitioner’s anklebones of pain and ulcers and headache to getting into the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. And in the transfiguration, the Yogi not only sees Elijah and Moses and Christ- the trinity on earth- the trinity in creation-Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh- but is transformed into this state.
Finally moving further from the Christ state, the Yogi gets into the ineffable state of the Christos, Shiv Goraksha Babaji, the Babaji state of comprehending God.
But this, my dear souls, is not the final stage yet because the Yogi not only has to comprehend the God who is incomprehensible but also the God who is complete and therefore also comprehensible, complete and incomplete. All dualities have to dissolve and merge for the Yogi to achieve this state.
The Yogi then in this ultimate leap merges into the finality of the comprehensible and the not comprehensible, the zero and the not zero, whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere, the state of Niranjan Nirvan, Kaivalya. I address this Consciousness simply as the Isness.
That’s where the finality of Yog takes one, to the true innermost being who is one with the Supreme Being.
“Composed of nothing yet of which all else is sure composed
It stands Supreme beyond all dreams Eternally reposed.”*
*From Yogiraj Siddhanath’s poem, “Mind Transformation”
Note: This is a reprint of an article published March 8, 2019, in the online publication, The Pioneer.