Summer of 2000; I, a 22yr old dental graduate bought a book with a paradoxical title, “Timeless in Time’’. It was a biography about a Tamil saint ‘Sri Ramana Maharishi’ by A.R.Natarajan. In school days, I would imagine God to be seated on a golden throne high above to whom we must pray everyday. It was my maternal grandfather who inspired me to pray at the altar everyday when I was 10yrs old. He would religiously wake up at 5 am, take bath and offer worship wholeheartedly to Lord Karthikeya by singing songs with puja for 2 – 3 hours everyday.
Three days later I finished the last chapter around 11 o’ clock at night . The saint’s whole life revolved around only one question, “Who am I?” through which he attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The insight from the saint’s biography was a revelation to me. It gave me a sense that this whole life of ours, the universe, parents, relatives and friends including me – the underlying basis of everything is God alone (God consciousness) and nothing else. For the first time ever ,I realized that God is not elsewhere. He is everywhere, inside us, outside of us. There is no place without him and that we exist in him. This was not my mind reasoning , but deep contemplation inside me based on the book I just read. Simultaneously, what followed was a sense of delight in my heart which I had never experienced before. Being quite late, went to sleep not aware of what’s to follow.
As soon as I lied down on the bed and closed my eyes, a snap was felt at the base of my spine and a golden light shot up to the brain inside my head (like a flower pot firecracker) in a matter of few seconds. I got up with a jolt thinking, what’s happening to me. This was something which I had neither experienced before nor heard from anyone . It was kind of scary as it happened without me having any sort of control. Not knowing what else to do, I went back to sleep. Not sure exactly what happened after that or how?, Was it a dream or a vision or an out of the body experience? It was a strange and vivid experience. I saw my body lay on the bed and I heard myself snore…. How was it possible? … I was witnessing my body sleeping! … you need eyes to see and ears to hear but they were in my body and it was lying down like a corpse. Then who was the one who saw and heard the body snore. I still remember the experience, the surroundings were not clear like how we see with our eyes, they were a bit hazy but no doubt that it was my body and not someone else’s. There was no fear or emotions of any kind. Not sure how long the experience lasted, I couldn’t awaken myself from the scenario ( as if I had any control over it). Next morning when I woke up , the experience was crystal clear in me. Not only that, something else also accompanied me for the next three days. There was an inexplicable extraordinary deep-seated bliss in my heart region, I felt very light than usual as if I was floating and that the heaviness of the body sense was missing.
I felt I had gone crazy and so did everyone in my family. Only my grandfather differed, he told me “you might have done some spiritual sadhana in your previous life and that the saint’s life story kindled your spirit within”. With little spiritual knowledge, I just nodded to what he said.
A few years later when I read the Upanishads, I came across the story of the two birds on a tree – the tree being the world or samsara, one bird enjoys the fruits of karma such as joy and sorrow. whereas the other bird is the shining atman silently witnessing all the actions of the other without taking part in it. One bird from material dimension subject to birth and death. The other one from the eternal spiritual dimension without birth or death. My thoughts immediately went back to my experience. Did I see the Spirit within myself? Did I see myself – (my “SELF”)? is it what they call “The Atman”. At one end was the material body in sleep enjoying the material world’s joy and sorrows. On the other end was the silent witness which can see without eyes or hear without ears from the spirit world, which is ever free without name or form.
As I read some of the ancient sacred texts, it made me realize that they were not mere mythology or folklore but authentic texts, written based on deep meditation in relation to the inner dimension of the Atman. Our modern medical science and technology are still in its infancy when compared to the ancient wisdom of the divine which shines within everyone. It’s a privilege to be born in this sacred land of bharat. Anyone and everyone with proper guidance and practice must be able transcend the mind-body material dimension and enter into the eternal dimension of the spirit. There’s so much more to life than just what meets the eye.
That’s how it began my spiritual journey within as a seeker . Nine years later after the first experience, in 2009 I had my second one. This time it was not in my sleep but during my morning meditation.