Divine Experiences: An Autobiography

Divine Experiences: An Autobiography

by Acarya Parameshvarananda Avadhuta

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ISBN-13: 9781482831702
Publisher: Partridge Singapore
Publication date: 06/11/2015
Pages: 468
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.93(d)

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Divine Experiences

An Autobiography


By Acarya Parameshvarananda Avadhuta

PartridgeSG

Copyright © 2015 Acarya Parameshvarananda Avadhuta
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4828-3170-2



CHAPTER 1

MY EARLY DAYS


The past, present, and future are fused. A probe on the past is illuminating. It throws light on the present and future. As I trace my early life before renunciation, I fondly recall the circumstances that led me to the golden path of spirituality and renunciation in search of the ultimate truth. More importantly, those circumstances provided me with an early introduction to Baba's divine stature and the grandeur of divine realizations.


Initiation: The First Step

Kabir Das, the renowned Indian mystic-poet, said,

If pilgrimage to holy places yields one a fruit of knowledge,

Then the meeting with saints yields two.

Fortunate is the one who has found the Sadguru,

That is the surest way to realise the Cosmic Consciousness.


These lines extracted from the book Kabir published by the Publications Department, Ministry of Information and Publicity, India express the saint's deep spiritual realizations. They were originally written in the Avadhi and Bhojpuri languages. He emphasizes that the supreme goal of spiritual aspirants can be attained only by the grace of the Sadguru. Effort alone is insufficient.

St. Kabir further explains that the guru is like a potter and the disciple a pot. The potter tinkers with the pot and molds it to the desired shape. He must ensure that it is internally durable as he hammers the outer body to the desired form. If not, the pot will crack in the process of molding it. When the pot is shaped, it is hardened by heating it in a kiln at high temperature. Once hardened and polished, the pot is ready for the market. The potter proudly shows off the attributes of the pot by tapping its sides with his fingers, producing the beats that are characteristic of a strong, durable pot.

Likewise, the Sadguru selects a disciple and slowly transforms his or her personality in the fire of spiritual practice. Through the hearth of sacrifice and nonattachment, the spiritual aspirant slowly attains magnanimity of mind and compassion by the grace of the Sadguru. Eventually, one attains freedom from the cycle of birth and death after merging into the eternally blissful form of the Sadguru.

I am fortunate to have been selected by the Sadguru as His disciple, despite my unworthiness. It is really His inscrutable grace. I do not have any noble deed or quality to my credit to be a recipient of His grace. Yet He has offered me a place at the altar of His lotus feet by His causeless compassion.

Initiation is the prerequisite for progress in spirituality. It is the first step in the long journey. Through the process of initiation, the Sadguru opens the door to absolute knowledge that leads the disciple to oneness with the Supreme Consciousness. The process of initiation opens up the path and illuminates it at the same time.

I was not like other children. Since my childhood, I had a deep-seated desire to attain God-realization. I was inspired to read spiritual books, especially those about the lives of saints. I did not miss any opportunity to be in the company of elevated souls. Despite suffering serious health problems in my youth, my craving for things spiritual was intense. I wanted to meet the Lord face-to-face. Many a time, overwhelmed by emotion, I would cry for Him. It was against such a backdrop that I met my acarya while I was a high school student. My acarya was a teacher in the same school. He had a charming disposition, a hypnotic voice, and an attractive personality. In his classes, he occasionally talked about spirituality and Yoga sadhana. Inspired by his talks, I sought an appointment for initiation.

Initiation is a one-to-one process between the acarya and the initiate. The acarya acts as the representative of the guru. During initiation, he meditated for some time, and after a while, he opened his eyes. He said that I was fortunate to have Parama Purusa, the Supreme Consciousness, as my guru in the name and form of Shrii Shrii Anandamurtijii, also known as Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. He added that Shrii Shrii Anandamurtijii combined in Himself the attributes of both Lord Shiva and Lord Krsna. Ever since childhood, I had a natural attraction to Lord Shiva and Lord Krsna. His words struck a magical chord in my heart. I was instantaneously elated. I thought that I was fortunate that the Lord Himself had accepted me as His disciple.

After initiation, as I practiced my meditation earnestly, I experienced states of spiritual ecstasy and had many spiritual experiences. One fine morning, to my utter surprise, I found that all my health problems, which I had been suffering from since childhood, had vanished into thin air. I also developed a newfound self-confidence to face all difficult situations in my life. I had lacked these desirable physical and mental attributes as a young boy.

As I intensified my spiritual practices, I once experienced that I was floating on an ocean of ineffable bliss. In this wondrous state, I beheld the hypnotic vision of Bal-Krsna, the Lord Krsna as a child, playing His flute. The sweet melody of His flute was so charming that it caused my mind to be drenched in an indescribable state of bliss. At other times, I would see Lord Krsna in everything — in the leaves of the trees, in the rocks, in every atom. I can say that the bliss one experiences on hearing Lord Krsna's flute defies description.

Slowly I devoted more time to my spiritual practices. I would meditate for long hours. Occasionally I would get different types of spiritual experience. I really enjoyed my meditation. I involved myself in the intensive propagation of Ananda Marga as a spiritual path. I also never missed any opportunity to be in the company of my acarya, whom I respected tremendously.

I grabbed every opportunity to convince my classmates of the benefits of spiritual practice and the Ananda Marga way of life. In this way, many people I knew were initiated. Seeing my spiritual progress, my acarya developed a liking for me. He always inspired me to intensify my spiritual practice. On many occasions we meditated together.

Slowly the number of new spiritual aspirants swelled. Dharmacakra, a weekly spiritual gathering, was regularly held in a dharmashala, a pilgrim's inn, close to my acarya's residence. About fifty people would attend dharmacakra regularly. For me, it was the most important event, since it was very inspiring and devotional.

As my acarya was a Kapalika, a practitioner of an advanced form of Tantric meditation, I used to accompany him to the cremation grounds on specific days for his spiritual practice late at night. It was a very exciting experience for me. Whenever I visited my village, we would go to the cremation grounds late at night, accompanied by a few friends. My fear of ghosts and spirits diminished slowly but steadily.

As the days passed, my personality changed for the better. My friends, my family members, and the village community recognized the rapid changes in my conduct and my health. I adopted a sentient vegetarian diet without onion and garlic, as prescribed by Ananda Marga. My family members also decided to follow suit, becoming strict vegetarians. In the Indian context, this was a remarkable achievement, as Indians include a lot of onion and garlic in their diet. Another visible change was the marked improvement in my studies. Due to regular spiritual practice, my concentration and memory improved by leaps and bounds. Although I spent less time studying, my exam results improved greatly. I normally was at the top of my class in examinations.

These positive changes influenced the way people looked at meditation and spiritual practice. They began to believe that there was something in meditation that must be good. I was also encouraged by the changes in my family's and friends' perceptions.


My First Dharma Maha Cakra

The days passed happily. One fine morning, my acarya, Acarya Narendra, disclosed the wonderful news that Baba would visit Raipur for the Dharma Maha Cakra (DMC). I was not aware of what DMC actually meant. All I knew was that Baba would be physically present to deliver a discourse and His blessing to the Margiis. The Margiis were jubilant to hear the good news. This inspired us greatly, and many more of my schoolmates were initiated. On the appointed day, I went to Raipur, along with my Margii friends. It was December 1960. The DMC was to be held in a dharmashala provided by the government.

Baba arrived by train from Tatanagar with Acarya Nityananda, who later became the first avadhuta of Ananda Marga. He adopted the name Acarya Satyananda Avadhuta. Accompanying him were Baba's younger brother Manas and Acarya Kshitish. A tumultuous reception awaited Baba at the railway station in Raipur. He was received amid the deafening chanting of slogans such as "Ananda Marga Amar Hai!" "Manava Manava Ek Hain!" and "Vishva Bandhutva Kayam Ho!" The devotional fervor of the Margiis was unlike anything I had seen before.

Initially, I had some doubt about Baba when I saw Him dressed in a simple white kurta and a dhoti, just like an ordinary man. I had expected to see an intense-looking, otherworldly, bearded, saffron- clad, Himalayan Yogi. I could not imagine that someone looking so ordinary was God in human form. I wondered whether He was really the personification of Lord Shiva and Lord Krsna. I thought that my acarya had lied to me about Baba being God. I had never seen His photograph before this. With such doubt lurking in my mind, I had my first audience of Baba at the DMC. Although I enjoyed His discourse, I could not accept Him as the embodiment of Lord Shiva and Lord Krsna.

The next day, in the evening, I had a strange experience. We were waiting in the hall with about 250 Margiis for Baba's arrival. Most of the people were deeply absorbed in a devotional state of mind as they sang spiritual songs, awaiting Baba. The atmosphere was mystical. There was something electric in the air that I could not put my finger on. I saw many devotees in tears. Some were rolling on the ground in an extraordinary state of mind. Occasionally, I could hear outbursts of humkara, which was a little frightening and made me shiver. As I entered the hall to look for a sitting place, I felt a strange, overwhelming sensation. Moments later, I saw a brilliant, effulgent white light pervading the entire hall. The light permeated every atom in the hall, engulfing me entirely. I was drenched in an unknown bliss, something I had not felt before. I closed my eyes, immensely enjoying the blissful sensations that thrilled every cell of my body. After a while, still drenched in a blissful state, I slowly opened my eyes. Baba had already taken His seat on the dais. He looked majestic and exuded command. I could sense that He was in total control of the situation, of everything. Yet there was something fatherly about Him, something soft.

As my eyes were focused on Him, I saw another mystical vision. From the dais where Baba sat, I saw Bal-Krsna emerging from the dazzling white light that emanated from Baba. The child Krsna was playing an enchanting tune on a wooden flute. The celestial music was intoxicating, deepening the bliss I was experiencing. The vision was absorbing, incredible. Seeing the magnificent form of the child Krsna and hearing the hypnotic melody of His divine flute, I was transported to another world. I was immersed in that wondrous vision for some time, thrilled to the bone. After a while, the vision changed. I saw Lord Shiva emerging from the same blissful, effulgent light emanating from Baba. Lord Shiva was majestic, dressed like a Yogi. By this time, I lost all sense of consciousness. I was in another world. I was not aware of what was happening around me. I really don't know how long I was in that state of mind.

As I emerged from this extraordinary experience, the veil of doubt that had cast a shadow on Baba's divinity vanished. By His grace, I saw the divine forms of Lord Krsna and Lord Shiva in Baba. I realized that my acarya had told the truth. I felt blessed to have had such an extraordinary experience.

After that divine experience, my devotion to Baba deepened substantially. I practiced my meditation more intensely. This resulted in concrete progress. My love for Baba increased, and I yearned to be in His physical presence all the time.

The spiritual experience had a profound effect on me. Whenever there was any Ananda Marga program, I made sure that I was there. Every program I attended left a lasting impression on my mind. The programs inspired me to dedicate myself to a life of intense spiritual practice. I attended five such camps in all. It was in these spiritual camps that I met Acarya Vandanananda Avadhuta, Acarya Acintananda Avadhuta, Acarya Shantananda Avadhuta, and Acarya Asheshananda Avadhuta. Over time, we became close friends.

I also attended various DMCs, two at Raipur in 1962 and 1964 and one in Jabalpur in 1963. Baba's refreshingly new DMC discourses and the holy vibrations emanating from His Varabhaya Mudra had a profound effect on me. My devotion soared to Himalayan heights. I craved to be close to Him and to do His work. As my devotion increased, my attachment to the world correspondingly decreased. After returning from the first Raipur DMC, I quietly resolved to renounce my worldly life for His mission. However, I did not share this secret with anyone.

The next year, in 1963, I attended another DMC at Jabalpur. I went there along with twenty-five Margiis. My acarya accompanied us. Our group was in the affectionate care of Acarya Ramlal Dani. It was at this DMC that Acarya Keshava became Acarya Shantatmananda Avadhuta when he became an avadhuta of Ananda Marga. Sixteen of my Margii friends also decided to dedicate their lives as missionaries of Ananda Marga. Their application as trainee monks was accepted. Mine was rejected, however, as I was not yet eighteen years old, the cutoff point. Acarya Arun was Baba's attending secretary at this DMC. He later became Acarya Svarupananda Avadhuta.

After the DMC program, I returned home rather dejected. The fire of my craving for Baba was now burning intensely. The thought of the sweet moments spent in His holy presence lingered in my mind like a waft of fragrance.

Once again, in 1964, I got another opportunity to have an audience with Baba at the Raipur DMC. I got my Personal Contact at this DMC. The DMC intensified my decision to become a renunciant missionary of Ananda Marga.

After returning from the DMC, I thought of Him day and night. I couldn't stop thinking of Him. I wanted to dedicate my life to His mission. Day by day, my detachment from the world deepened. The attractions of the world appeared colorless, insipid. But I struggled with a titanic clash between two opposing forces: the attachment to my family and the desire to become a monk. In the end, however, my desire for renunciation prevailed.

Finally, in 1965, strongly attracted by His divine inspiration, I left home to dedicate my life to being a missionary. I stayed for some time with my acarya and two other acaryas of Raipur, Acarya Ramlal Dani and Acarya Kailash Bhalla. I enjoyed their love and inspiration. From there, I went to Patna to attend the DMC. When I met Baba, I offered myself as a missionary of Ananda Marga. That DMC was unique in that thirty-six Margiis decided to become missionaries and proceeded to Ranchi for specialized training in Yogic monkhood. They included stalwarts such as Acarya Jagdishvarananda, Acarya Vitmohananda, Acarya Pareshananda, and Acarya Shantananda.

At that time, there was no formal training center in Bihar. After spending a few days in Ranchi we traveled to Patna and from there proceeded to the Sigra training center in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. After about a month, I was posted as the Secretary of the Progressive Federation of India in Patna, even before formally qualifying as a full-fledged acarya.


Patna DMC

I arrived at Patna to attend the Ananda Purnima DMC on May 23, 1965. The function was held in the Senate Hall of Patna University. It was the biggest DMC I had ever attended in my life. Before that, I had participated in small DMCs organized locally. More than ten thousand Margiis attended the Patna DMC.

The environment at the DMC was intensely thrilling. The deep devotion of the Margiis and the soothing tunes of the devotional songs and kiirtan cast a magical spell on the program. Scores of devotees danced in abandon inside the hall to the hypnotic tune of devotional songs, waiting for Baba. When Baba arrived at the hall, the environment suddenly changed. It became electric and transformed into a frenzy of devotion. I saw many devotees crying uncontrollably. I also heard the mystical humkara sound from some of them. This sound is involuntarily uttered by spiritual practitioners as their Kundalinii rise. Others were simply dancing, unmindful of the surroundings, and crying out His name in deep reverence. They were all absorbed in divine ecstasy. I too was deeply moved by feelings of love for Him. It was here that I met many elevated souls. In the magical spell of this otherworldly, deeply spiritual environment, I experienced Baba's mystical influence directly.

There and then, I resolved to renounce my life for His mission. This DMC was the most significant event in my life. It was here that I took a vow to be a monk of the order of Ananda Marga.


Field Training

In the early days, it was a rule that new missionary workers undergo practical training under the supervision of a senior missionary worker, a departmental supervisor, or a senior family acarya.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Divine Experiences by Acarya Parameshvarananda Avadhuta. Copyright © 2015 Acarya Parameshvarananda Avadhuta. Excerpted by permission of PartridgeSG.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword, xi,
Preface, xiii,
Editor's Note, xv,
Introduction, xix,
Chapter 1: My Early Days, 1,
Chapter 2: The Ananda Nagar Phase, 31,
Chapter 3: 1969: The Year of Spiritual Demonstrations, 44,
Chapter 4: Tantric Experiences, 102,
Chapter 5: Post-Emergency Phase, 117,
Chapter 6: Dharma Maha Cakra, 139,
Chapter 7: Experiences in Europe, 178,
Chapter 8: Manila Sector: "I Will Measure the Depth of Your Devotion", 197,
Chapter 9: Lessons on the Path, 243,
Chapter 10: The Making of Graceland, 258,
Chapter 11: Gems of Devotion, 302,
Chapter 12: Epilogue, 318,
Chapter 13: In Remembrance, 329,
Glossary, 421,
About the Author, 435,
About the Book, 437,

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