About feature image: This is what I drew when our teacher gave us HW. Interestingly, the expression in the original photo was a serious one, but the expression which came in this drawing was a grin. As the previous one, it took me more than one hour to draw this.
So, in mid 2017, I found something. A book named Art of Breathing in our school library, by grace of Mother who is Mahamaya. The book was already there before, but I never found it (this is Maya). Such books are hardly issued so it was in brand new condition. One of the words mentioned on cover page of book was “Kundalini”, the word that I have heard before. It was like discovering a treasure. That year I issued it 2-3 times, even scanned some of its pages and kept in a folder in pc. I came to know about reiki, meditation, breathing properly, etc. Although I skipped a few parts of book as I was scientific minded and was little doubting. The book gave me a new direction. I tried some of the visualisation given in it and felt very nice. I was introduced to basic knowledge of Kundalini and chakras. From that book I came to know that Shiva is the Paramguru. It said that at Ajna Chakra, he in form of one’s guru gives the command (Ajna).
By the end of 2017, I had learnt Rudrashtakam (I felt like crying when I recited it), Shiv Panchakshari Stotram and Shiv Tandav. As I watched the series Kaal Bhairav Rahasya, I got more interested in such mysteries. I realized that fear of the Bhairav form of Shiva is baseless. In early 2018, before the board exams, I got some nice texts such as Shiv Yog Samhita and many works of Swami Sivananda, one of which was completely on Shiva. I began realising that Shiva and Shakti are one though they separate for existence. If one is disrespectful towards any one, he could never make any progress.
Once an article on study by BHU was published in newspaper which said that those who read or recite Sanskrit have higher mental abilities. It increased my enthusiasm of learning Sanskrit mantras. During that time I downloaded the Sri Rudra Namakam and Rudra Chamakam (20 10=30 mins). From the special article on Shivratri in newspaper, I got to learn a mantra dedicated to Aghora form and Dwadash (12) Jyotirlinga Stotra. That Shivratri I danced for him (probably for first time) on this song. During those times, I wrote “Jivan ek sa kaha rahta hai.” On the days of exams, I used to do a mental Abhishek in morning in a dark room for 30mins, listening to Sri Rudram, using different mental offerings such as ghee, milk,etc. During the Pareeksha pe Charcha program, our PM mentioned “Yog Nidra.” So I was introduced to one more yogic practice.
After board exams, I had about 3 months in my hand. I had planned to do Kundalini awakening meditation but somehow plans changed. I was not physically fit enough, nature wanted me to wait for proper time. During that time I found sites such as shaivam.org, greenmesg.org, etc. I learnt many other Sanskrit stotras such as Shivashtak, Devyashtak, some mantras of Ma Saraswati, etc. Over the year, I learnt some more sanskrit stotras. One of the most beautiful was Nirvana-Shatakam which presents the supreme truth in 6 verses. In those times, I read a lot about different types of yoga. I started regular Pranayama in evening. I was a bit skeptical about Pranayama. My heart believed in ancient yogic sciences but my mind was doubting. Once I found an article on medium.org which said holding breath was good for health. This pacified my skeptical mind a little and I started pranayama and breatholds. Soon, I began enjoying the practice. I also used to do a little yog nidra also.
Pranayama increased my body heat and removed impurities through perspiration. I would drip wet in sweat without any physical exercise (I still do if I do intense pranayama some day). One day, I threw the T-shirt due to my body heat. Another day I threw away the vest also and soon I was meditating completely naked. I would bathe in my own sweat. During the peaks, I increased my breathold to 8-10 mins at stretch. I also did some cooling pranayama. My health, stamina, immunity improved a lot. Earlier as a kid, my stomach would pain after 1 min of running. Now, I had taken physical as an optional subject and would play for 1-1.5 hrs.
On the other hand, that year I started intense chanting of Sri Rudram. I would learn it sometimes even in free classes. The first stanza of Sri Rudram is to pacify angry Rudras. Rudra also means form of Shiva which destroys and it also refers to all the thousands of ganas of Maharudra who roam about in the Universe and have same appearance as Maharudra,i.e., Shiva. Subtly, the Sri Rudram showed its effect on me and my anger pacified because any mantra you chant will surely affect you if it reaches you deep inside. Now frequency of anger decreased. Sri Rudram, Rudra Suktam (short extract from Sri Rudram) is very close to me as more than once, I have heard it in my dreams. I resonate with it. When I recite even few lines, I become still as well as experience great vigour. The combined effect of pranayama and Sri Rudram was that I didn’t wear woolens for most time in winters. That year I also got to know about Mahishasurmardani Stotram and learnt some Devi mantras such as “Ya devi sarvabhuteshu …”. I heard song Adiyogi for first time during annual function preparations. I resonated with each word and felt very emotional when I sang that. Sometimes I tried to dance on it.
There were some more incidents which made the year 2018 a great turning point. Many times I saw myself worshiping a Shivlinga at unknown places in dreams. Once I saw a golden Shivlinga. In one dream I saw mountains and Shiva and Parvati in another. Apart from hearing Sri Rudram, I once heard some Devi mantra in dream. I still don’t know which but I know I heard a Devi mantra. That year I had the vision of Nataraj. Around the same time I once had a strange vision. After Bhramari, I was listening to anahata naad and focusing in brow center, my eyes and ears closed with fingers and thumbs. Suddenly, a face flashed in my brow center for few seconds. I don’t remember it exactly. The appearance was smoky. There was a serious expression on that face. His eyes were completely still, as if stoned. His eyes were fiery, he looked into me. His gaze pierced me, I couldn’t remove my gaze. Face was smeared with ashes. The long hair or locks were untidy. I have never ever seen that face in my life again. Only two beings can have such appearance : Aghoris and Rudras. There are less differences, both identify themselves with Shiva and are free from all bonds.
In this way, everything changed in 2018. There remained no doubt that such things exist or not. I think that it’s more than enough for today, more in next part.
Har Har Mahadev !