364. Sri M

Sri MSri M – spiritual guide, social reformer and educationist – was born into a Muslim family on November 6, 1949 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His transformational journey, from a young boy to a living yogi, is a fascinating story symbolized by single-minded discipline and dedication.

Entranced by mystical stories of Sufi saints and a brief encounter with a numinous Swami at a relatively young age, he was not only drawn to the ‘truth’ but also the compelling landscape of the snow-clad Himalayas. At the age of nine, his spiritual transformation was initiated by his future Master, Babaji (also known as Maheshwarnath Babaji), who miraculously appeared under a jackfruit tree in the compound of his house in Thiruvananthapuram. Though only fleeting, this meeting definitively set the stage for their future reunion in the Himalayas at Sri M’s age of nineteen.

The next three and half years, he lived and travelled extensively through the Himalayas with his Master. Maheshwarnath Babaji guided him right through his initiation, his Kundalini awakening, the grueling journey to Tholingmutt and, the eventual meeting with the Grand Master, Sri Guru Babaji also known as Sri Mahavatar Babaji.

Few years after his Master passed away, he received the spiritual go-ahead to commence his mission. In 1998, he started his teachings, eventually leading to formation of the Satsang Foundation.

In response to a query on the spiritual progress of a person and the path to that evolution, he responds, “Though, my parampara is kriya yoga, I don’t think it suits all aspirants. I propound satsang even between two people. It cuts across barriers of caste and creed. Spiritual evolution is not diverse from regular living. Intervals of solitude are necessary but you cannot shut yourself totally. The world around you is your touchstone to spiritual practice.” Conversant with teachings of most major religions, Sri M says: “Go to the core. Theories are of no use.” His message seeks to transcend the outer-shell of all religions, by exploring their mystical core to nurture the innate goodness in every human being.

Website: satsang-foundation.org

Books:

Transcript of this interview.

Interview recorded 10/6/2016

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

362. Radhanath Swami, 2nd Interview

Radhanath SwamiA Bhakti Yoga practitioner for more than 40 years, Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. He is a guide, community builder, activist, and acclaimed author. Rooted in his study of ancient India’s mystic devotional tradition, Radhanath Swami’s message is as profound as it is simple: by cultivating a rich inner life of self-awareness and a genuine practice of service, we can become instruments of compassion and agents of sustainable change in the world.

Today, Radhanath Swami is the founder and coordinator of multiple spiritual communities throughout the world, the most prominent of which is the Radha Gopinath Ashram located in Mumbai, India. Under his inspiration and guidance, the project has grown to include missionary hospitals, orphanages, eco-friendly farms, schools, temples, emergency relief programs, and a food distribution program that feeds more than 250,000 indigent children in downtown Mumbai every day. In spite of his many responsibilities, he also travels widely, teaching Eastern philosophy and spiritually throughout Europe, Asia, and America.

Books:

Website: radhanathswami.com

First Batgap Interview

Interview recorded 9/24/2016.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

322. Prajnaparamita

PrajnaparamitaOriginally from the Netherlands, Prajnaparamita has been in search of her true nature all her life. Initially investigating and studying psychology, religion and philosophy, she eventually met a truly awakened soul and surrendered her heart, her mind and her life.

Over several decades Prajnaparamita received a rich vista of non-dual teachings: Advaita Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, Zen and Ch’an. Once realized, she has dedicated her life to the self-realization of all. Through satsangs, retreats and interviews she continually directs the listener to their very wisdom heart.

These days, Prajnaparamita spends most of her time at La Roseraie de Sacha: a centre of awakening and natural living deep in the countryside of central France. With meditation and satsang daily, opportunity is given for contemplation and self-enquiry interwoven with the participation in projects around the property – from gardening to cooking. People remember the transformative force of play, and remember what it is to live without purpose.

All are welcome at La Roseraie, at any stage of their awakening journey, of any religion and no religion whatsoever.

When not at La Roseraie, Prajnaparamita is giving satsang in the Netherlands or travelling worldwide.

Website: www.prajnaparamita.nl

Interview recorded 12/19/2015

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

308. David (Davidya) Buckland

David (Davidya) BucklandDavid grew up on the SW coast of Canada. In the mid-70’s, he discovered the subject of consciousness, then Transcendental Meditation (TM). This was quite a revelation. He quickly became a keener, avidly attending many talks and courses. Nine months after starting TM, he arrived in NE France for a 6 month retreat where he would train to become a teacher of TM.

After 3 months with lots of purification and clearing, he had sporadic witnessing experiences where awareness shifted briefly into an observer mode. Then in the second 3 months, the lights came on. With a blinding flash of white light (which he much later learned was makara), the witness became permanent, throughout waking, dreams and sleep. At first, he was over-attentive, keeping the mind awake to observe sleeping and manipulate dreams. But quickly that settled into a simple continuity of awareness underlying all experience.

Soon after that, the first re-cognition happened, a form of experience where everything about the object is known. This enlivens that principle in consciousness, making it easier for still others to have the same. In this case, it was hiranya gharba or the golden egg – the seed and origin of the universe. It took months to unpack it. Perception continued to unfold from there. At the end of the course, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi confirmed the experiences and said there would be much more.

As David returned to normal life, it became clear that Self had woken internally but had not woken up to Itself in this form yet. Self co-existed with an identified ego. But subtle perception continued to unfold in a myriad of ways.

David’s life grew into career, marriage, and family. Inner development continued but took a back seat for a number of years to the usual demands of a householder’s life. This helped ground and integrate what was unfolding and culture the platform further. Then in 2005, life made several unexpected changes. The spiritual side of life again moved to the forefront. He reconnected with some old friends. A few it turned out had become Self-Realized. After some feedback and darshan with Lorne Hoff, Self at last woke up to Itself here as well. Probably because of the long witnessing, this was quickly followed by a series of profound shifts in Being. And that in turn by transcending Being into Brahman. The unfolding continues.

Accompanying this process, writing began to help integrate what was unfolding. Then the call came to share those discoveries on-line under the nickname Davidya. David was present for and helped support the awakenings of many others, leading to a broad understanding of the varieties of this process. The writing evolved into a large blog discussing many of the aspects of the approach, shift, integration and embodiment of transpersonal stages of development, otherwise known as enlightenment. In 2011, David obtained a graduate degree in Vedic Science. He anticipates releasing a first book on transpersonal stages later in 2015.

David has a professional background in software design and development in several industries but now works mostly with WordPress.

For this interview, rather than listening from the mind to a story, I invite you to take a different approach. Settle back into presence and notice the talking and the listening. Give the content less weight and notice the experiencing itself. This is where the magic is, in simple awareness.

Website

David Buckland in Panel at Sofia U. Part 1 | Part 2

About a month after the interview, David gave a talk at the Science and Nonduality conference on the stages he describes in this interview.

Interview recorded 9/25/2015.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

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299. Joan Shivarpita Harrigan

Joan HarriganBri. Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, Ph.D. is the spiritual director of Patanjali Kundalini Yoga-Care (PKYC-USA). Shiva has practiced, studied, and taught Raja yoga and Advaita Vedanta for more than thirty years. She has been tutored as the designated successor for America in the Kundalini Vidya lineage founded by Gomatagiri Maharaj, learning the oral commentary teachings of Traditional Kundalini Science from her spiritual mentor, Swami Chandrasekharanand Saraswati. A retired psychologist, she has been a brahmacharini (novice) in the Shankaracharya Vedic monastic order since 1987. She is the author of Kundalini Vidya the Science of Spiritual Transformationand Stories of Spiritual Transformation: The Fulfillment of Kundalini Process (to be published soon).

Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care is a spiritual guidance service for qualified spiritual seekers. Based on Traditional Kundalini Science (Kundalini Vidya), it supports serious aspirants in advancing their spiritual progress by providing individualized spiritual practices designed for their particular needs. The specialty of PKYC is to assess the kind of spiritual process that seekers have, to assist them in reaching a stable higher level, and to support them in their continued spiritual advancement by providing ongoing spiritual education, consultations, recommendations, and guidance so they can progress more skillfully and dedicatedly. This helps the divine within make efficient, untroubled, and speedy progress toward Liberation, awareness of oneness with the One.

Interview recorded 7/12/2015

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.