Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Jan Esmann, who lives in Denmark. Jan was recommended to me by my friend Anatol Zinchenko, who recommends a lot of people. I’ve read quite a few pages of information on Jan’s site and in my opinion he has a very fascinating story to tell. He has had a very fascinating spiritual journey over the last many years. Welcome Jan.
Jan: Thank you. Happy to be here.
Rick: I read all that stuff from your site that you recommended I read and I would recommend that our listeners read that as well. I get feedback from people sometimes saying, “Enough with the stories, it’s just mind candy. Why do people have to all tell their stories?” But other people say, “I love the stories. I can relate to them. They make it seem more like it’s possible for me too, if it’s possible for this guy.” I usually invite guests to do whichever they feel is most appropriate, either to tell their story or to just sort of tell their teaching if they have one. But in your case, since you don’t seem averse to telling your story, you’ve told it in some detail on your website and I think it’s quite fascinating. If you don’t mind, perhaps we can go through it because most people listening to this will not have read your website and would probably rather hear you tell the story personally than just have to sit there and read it in print.
Jan: Yeah, sure. No problem.
Rick: Great. So start wherever you like.
Jan: Well, we can do it chronologically.
Rick: If that makes sense.
Jan: Yeah, in some way it does because I have recollections from very, very early, lying in the crib before I had any language or anything. I would go into states where I would become full of light and bliss and totally catatonic. I couldn’t move.
Rick: So you’re just an infant and you remember that?
Jan: I was an infant, yes, and I remember this. And I would have these experiences going on again and again later in life. That’s why I recall them probably. And they would come back when I meditated later, without being catatonic, but the same bliss, the same light. I didn’t know what was going on then, of course, so when I got a language I termed the state “the log” because I was like a log when it happened. But that went on and off until I was about seven years old. And then I had a fairly boring childhood, I think. Then when I was about 16, 15, 14, probably 14, I decided to meditate. And I didn’t know anything about meditation, so I just sat down, crossed legs on the floor, and looked inside. Suddenly something exploded up my spine and blasted me out of the head, out of the body. And there I was about three feet above the body, swinging from side to side in extreme bliss. And my heart would beat rapidly and I would sweat and hairs would stand on end.
Rick: So you were still feeling your body even though you were three feet above it?
Jan: I was feeling my body completely and the bliss was very physical. It wasn’t just an out of body bliss kind of thing, it was very, very physical.
Rick: But some vantage point was three feet above it?
Jan: Yeah, swinging from side to side very rapidly, it was an odd experience. That was my first meditation.
Rick: Not bad, got your money’s worth there.
Jan: And of course I was very enthusiastic and I told my family to meditate, but nothing happened when they tried it.
Rick: What did they think of the experience you had had?
Jan: I don’t know, maybe they thought I lost it a bit. Well anyway, I did this on and off. No, I had some other kind of meditative experiences where I went out of the body. And I was listening to music with headphones on. I listened to baroque music, Bach and Händel, like that. And I would also get full of bliss and light and frequently leave the body. I don’t know about this leaving the body stuff, I don’t care about it, but it happened.
Rick: Just spontaneously?
Jan: Yeah. And then when I was 17 I decided to learn proper meditation. And for some reason, Transcendental Meditation was very popular in the ’70s, this was in ’77.
Rick: I was teaching it myself back then.
Jan: Oh, okay. So I learned Transcendental Meditation and I had the same out of body and bliss experiences during the week of initiation. And the teachers didn’t know what to say about it, so I just thought, okay.
Rick: Yeah, as teachers, many of us were rather ill-equipped I’d say, because our own personal experience wasn’t necessarily as profound as the people we were teaching. But we had sort of a lot of rote learning, a lot of actual memorization. But sometimes things would come up that were not within the context of what we had learned and memorized. So you either had to pretend you knew something or just say you didn’t know or whatever. It was sort of a compromise Maharishi had to make, I think, in order to have tens of thousands of teachers.
Jan: Yeah, probably a good compromise. It reached a lot of people.
Rick: Yeah, it did that.
Jan: Yeah. Well I did the TM practice and I had a lot of blissful samadhis. I also had some unconscious samadhis which were very profound.
Rick: What do you mean by that?
Jan: I mean I would meditate for like two minutes and then I would have a feeling, now I have to stop meditation. I would look at the clock and half an hour had passed and I was just gone. No sense of anything, any time passing or anything.
Rick: And you hadn’t been asleep?
Jan: I hadn’t been asleep, definitely not.
Rick: It was like your head wasn’t down on your chest?
Jan: No, no, no, no.
Rick: I’ve had a few of those.
Jan: So have I. Well, and I would be extremely blissful and the crown chakra would be sizzling with energy. The skull would be sizzling with energy. And just, you know, an experience, a good meditation, in a long line of other good meditations. I’ve been very fortunate to have good meditations, I think.
Rick: And with all these good meditations you’re having, what was that doing to the rest of your day, outside of meditation?
Jan: Yeah, in the beginning nothing. But then I had a very, very special experience. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Blue Being. Have you read Muktananda?
Rick: I’ve read his books, yes. The Blue Pearl.
Jan: The Blue Pearl, and there’s a blue being inside the Blue Pearl. And I don’t know what the Blue Pearl means.
Rick: He’s the only one I’ve ever heard use that term. But I mean, Blue Being is sometimes a term for Krishna. Krishna is said to be a blue.
Jan: Yeah, and Shiva.
Rick: Yeah, who knows.
Jan: But Muktananda speaks of a blue being. Anyway, I hadn’t read Muktananda at the time, so it’s probably not relevant. I was meditating, and for some reason I got an intense longing for God. This is when I was 19.
Rick: Doing TM still?
Jan: I was doing TM still, then I suddenly stopped TM, and I was just full of this longing for God. And for some reason I thought of God as Krishna. I’d read a Hare Krishna book earlier, and probably that’s why. So I was thinking about Krishna, and an eye appeared for my inner eye.
Rick: An eye?
Jan: Yeah, an eye, like an eye, before my inner vision. And I looked at this eye, and I got extremely blissful, as usual, the usual intense bliss. And the center of the eye turned out to be blue, cyan blue, very clear like the blue sky. And I had an intense feeling I had to look at this blue pearl, which it probably was, and enter it. And fortunately I entered it.
Rick: You had a choice?
Jan: I could have said “No,” yes, definitely. But I went into this blue pearl, and entered a space of infinite blue consciousness. It was infinitely blissful, infinitely Pure Being, pure awareness, everything you could desire as a meditator.
Rick: At this point I can hear non-dualists saying, “Who is this I that entered it?” And, “How does consciousness have a quality such as blue?” and so on and so forth.
Jan: It’s very mysterious, I don’t know.
Jan: I wish I could explain it, but I don’t know. Now, this is just how I experienced it.
Jan: And I knew in this blueness that this was Pure Being, this was my Self I was bathing in. So there was not a duality as such between the sense of beingness prior to an I, and who I considered myself to be.
Rick: You were that beingness.
Jan: I was that beingness. And somehow I was filled with this longing for God, still.
Rick: So there was still a feeling then that God might be something separate from this beingness that you were?
Rick: Okay, because there must have been that separation if there was a longing, right?
Jan: Yeah. Sure. And suddenly out of this blue, Pure Beingness, space, whatever it was, Krishna appeared, or a blue being appeared, or it was Shiva, I don’t know. I was later told by Swami it was Shiva, and that’s probably true.
Rick: Did it look like the posters?
Jan: It did.
Rick: Really? Like a river coming out of his head and all that?
Jan: No, no, no. No, no. Blue, two arms, like this [with palms placed together in Anjali mudra].
Rick: So a being just presented himself like that.
Jan: Yes, yes. And I surrendered completely to this being, and then I went unconscious.
Rick: Surrendered meaning just sort of a sense of submission, or “Thy will be done” kind of thing?
Jan: Yes, but more intense than that, my whole being was full of this longing for God, and suddenly God was there. So I completely …
Jan: … merged. Exactly, merged. I don’t know how this merging came along. It just happened and I went unconscious. And then I don’t know for how long it lasted. It could have been 30 seconds, it could have been 10 minutes, 15 minutes, I don’t know. But when I opened my eyes, I had wild kriyas. Kriyas are spontaneous movements caused by kundalini.
Rick: Yes, I’ve had some myself.
Jan: Yes. I would have wild electric spasms in the body and would be jerking around. That lasted for a couple of hours, and my body was on fire, literally on fire.
Rick: Well, virtually on fire. Literally means there were actually flames coming off of you.
Jan: Yes, sorry, virtually. And the beautiful thing was, suddenly I saw God in everything. So it wasn’t just an internal vision thing, it was actually something that transformed my perception of the world and my sense of who I was. There was still a duality, in the sense that a hard-core Vedantist would say, or a non-dual teacher would say, “Oh, there’s a duality there.” Yes, there was definitely a duality.
Rick: Well, there was you seeing God.
Rick: What would you say, could you elaborate on what it means to see God in everything? I mean, you look at the lamp or whatever, and what are you actually seeing that makes that a vision of God, as opposed to ordinarily looking at the lamp?
Jan: You see something transcendental, imminent in the lamp. You see a Pure Being, not a being as a person, but you see Pure Being, your own Pure Being.
Rick: Like pure existence?
Jan: Pure existence, which is infinite love, and infinite bliss, and infinite kindness and compassion. And you see that existing within everything around you.
Rick: Everything is just soaked with that?
Jan: Everything is soaked with it, permeated with it. So you see the lamp post, but you also see something else, and your heart overflows with love for it.
Rick: Does it have an intelligence quality also? Feeling of just sort of saturated with intelligence?
Jan: Yeah, but not intelligence in a …
Rick: Not in an intellectual sense?
Jan: No, no, no. Like it’s conscious, it’s awareness.
Rick: As if everything is sentient, like you look at a rock, and it’s as if the rock isn’t just a dead rock, it’s like pure life.
Rick: I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, I’m just trying to drag out every little nuance of this that we can.
Jan: You’re right on. And I was in that state for six months, totally, totally intense, for six months.
Rick: 24/7 as they say?
Jan: 24/7, yes. And then it faded out somewhat, but it generally lasted a couple of years.
Rick: And let me just ask, what happened during sleep during those six months, when you were fast asleep at night? Was it just a blackout, or was there some kind of continuum of that, of something?
Jan: No, it wasn’t witnessing, if that’s what you’re asking for. It wasn’t that, yeah, that came later.
Rick: Okay, good.
Jan: But at this point, sleep was just regular sleep, unconscious, regular sleep. I became a TM fanatic after this, because somehow I ascribed this to the Transcendental Meditation. And I hadn’t been doing TM, I’d been doing something else, but I ascribed it to TM, and became very enthusiastic about that.
Rick: Why did you ascribe it to TM, if you had been doing something else?
Jan: I don’t know. It was just context within which it happened, and I needed something to, I needed a peg to hang it on.
Rick: I’m sure TM was involved, I mean, you did a bunch of TM, so it must have had an influence, you know?
Jan: Yeah. Then I did the TM-Sidhi program. And during that we had an interview with Maharishi, and I had a chance to ask Maharishi about this blue being.
Rick: On the telephone or something?
Jan: On the telephone, yes, and I had a TM teacher ask on my behalf, and he simply ignored it. He didn’t want to answer it. But it mystified me, I was very puzzled about what this blue being was, and what had happened to me.
Rick: Now the blue being had happened six months beforehand or something, but was it something that was still an element of your experience?
Jan: The God consciousness was still going on, in a milder degree. That went on for two or three years, and then it stopped.
Rick: But not so much the blue being aspect of it, though?
Jan: No, no, that’s just what triggered it.
Rick: Aha, that was like the initial, yeah, okay.
Jan: But I wanted to know what this blue being was, or who it was, or what had happened, and why it had happened to me. I mean, I was only just a teenager when it happened. But nobody could answer, and I still want an answer. If anybody has the answer, I’d be happy to hear.
Rick: Had you stumbled across the Muktananda books by that time?
Jan: Yeah, by that time I stumbled, no, that was only a couple of years later, actually. I read his autobiography.
Rick: “Play of Consciousness.”
Jan: “Play of Consciousness,” yes. And was happy to read about the experience with the blue being. Still I didn’t know what to think of it, what to do with it. It was just something that awakened energy and Pure Being, and this immense bliss and love within me. But it faded out, and then I became very depressed. And now we are in 1982.
Rick: And how old are you now?
Rick: No, then I mean.
Jan: Then, 23.
Rick: Okay, 23.
Jan: Yeah, in ’83 I’m 23. So I decided I needed a guru. And I stumbled upon a guru called Gururaj Ananda Yogi. And he was a very interesting guru because he was very worldly. And yet he was apparently enlightened. He would go into samadhi every Wednesday evening on his courses, and people would just sit and meditate on him, and that would be a very interesting experience.
Rick: He was worldly in the sense of what, married?
Jan: He was married, he had a job, he had a normal life. He would drink alcohol, eat meat. You know, just a regular guy, but he was enlightened.
Rick: Or at least so everyone thought.
Jan: So everyone thought.
Rick: Yeah, and somehow you were attracted to him.
Jan: I was attracted to him. And I didn’t discuss the blue being with him. I haven’t discussed that with anybody. But I had a very interesting experience, I should probably tell about, on one of the meditation weeks with Gururaj Ananda. We were setting his table. I was doing kitchen work, seva. And in the dining room I was setting the plates, and I got overwhelmed with an urge to meditate. So I pulled out a chair and sat down, and then I lost consciousness. And when I woke up, or whatever we should call it, the table was set, so I guess 10-15 minutes had passed. And I was, as usual, immensely blissful. But something else was happening. I cried and cried and cried, like I had had tremendous release of something. Something had simply vanished from me. I don’t know what. But I was crying, and I just wanted to see my Guru and talk to him about it. So I stumbled to his room and knocked on the door and came in. And he calmed me down, which was quite a job. And he asked me what my name was. And I couldn’t answer. I didn’t know. It was just Pure Being without a name, without a form, without anything, absolutely pure, in the sense of nothing that could limit it or contract it in any way. So I said I couldn’t remember my name. Then he asked how old I was. And I didn’t know either. I couldn’t answer that. So I thought, well, this nice Guru is asking about how old I am. So I thought maybe if I count the years backwards until I was born, I might get some sensible answer which would be sort of approximate. So I remembered back, but I didn’t stop at my birth. I went back and stumbled into a previous life, and then a previous life, and a previous, previous, previous life, etc.
Rick: And were all those previous lives just as sort of vivid to you as this one?
Jan: Absolutely. But it was in glimpses, it was flashes.
Rick: Right. So what were some of them, just out of curiosity?
Jan: The previous life I was in India. I started as a Swami in the Ramakrishna Vivekananda order. Then I went into politics for the independence of India. And, yeah, I should have kept on meditating, probably.
Rick: Indian independence is a good thing. And then some of the earlier ones?
Jan: Some of the earlier ones, I have been a Christian monk a couple of times. One time I was painting altarpieces. And another incarnation I was copying manuscripts. And, yeah, let me see. I had a previous one where I had been together with this Guru.
Rick: The same one that asked your name?
Jan: This is a couple of thousand years ago. I had been with him, and I remembered I had been with him, and I had sort of left him very disrespectfully. I made a scene and sort of hated him, and started speaking against him and stuff like that. And I remembered this, and I sat there silently thinking about this. And then Gururaj turned to one of the other meditation teachers in the room and told an anecdote about a student of a Guru who had behaved exactly like I was remembering.
Rick: It’s like he knew about it.
Jan: He knew about it, and then he turned around, he looked me in the eyes, and he said, “Do you remember?” And I could only reply, “Yes, you bet I do.” And that’s all. We didn’t talk about it further than that.
Rick: I think it’s significant to have discussed this for the last couple of minutes about previous lives, because a lot of times I suspect, and many people suspect, that if someone has profound spiritual proclivities from a young age, they are just kind of picking up where they left off. Actually, even the Gita talks about this. Arjuna asked Krishna, “What happens if a person dies before they finish their spiritual progress?” And he basically says, “Well, you pick up where you left off,” in so many words. My wife actually asks me about that too sometimes. She always says, “I’m curious to know if this person or that person you interviewed had anything significant as a young child that predicted that this stuff would blossom for them later on.” And it commonly has happened. But I think if you believe in reincarnation, which for me is kind of a matter of fact, then it goes way back before that, and you’ve built up a momentum over many lives, which has resulted in the somewhat extraordinary nature of this one.
Jan: Yeah. I agree. [laughter]
Rick: My wife’s just saying, obviously, if they bring it in from a previous life, it’s going to show up as a child, when they’re a child in this life.
Jan: Yes. And I had some interesting episodes as a child. I was, I think, three or four years old, and suddenly one day I told my mother that she was not my mother. And she asked me, “What do you mean?” And I said, “My mother wears” — I didn’t have the word “sari,” but I described her a sari — and said she lived in a country that was warmer than this. I lived in England at the time. I grew up in England, until I was seven. And then she became angry because I was speaking nonsense in her eyes. And at another time I was sitting with my father, reading comic strips. There was a Yogi Bear comic strip where he was with a swami. And I told my father, “This swami, that was me. That was how I was before I came here.” And I said that. And he, of course, again said, “What nonsense are you talking about?” And I said, “That’s what I was before I came here, before this.” And he couldn’t comprehend that, so I just shut up.
Rick: I mentioned this in the last interview I just did, but I saw a cartoon the other day where this young boy and an old man were sitting together on a couch. And the young boy said to the old man, “I didn’t believe in reincarnation either when I was your age.”
Jan: I don’t get it.
Rick: Well, in other words, when I was your age, he’s just a young boy. How could he have been the age of the old man? But what he’s saying is, “When I was an old man in some previous life, I didn’t believe in reincarnation. Now I do. As a young boy, maybe I remember past lives or something.”
Jan: Yeah. Well, where were we?
Rick: Well, you were with that guru and you had this …
Jan: Yes, that’s right.
Rick: He asked you to count back your age and you had this recollection of a whole string of past lives.
Jan: At that point, I lost identification with Jan.
Rick: With what?
Jan: With Jan.
Rick: Oh, with Jan. You pronounce it “Yan”? Is that the way you pronounce it?
Jan: “Yan” is the Danish way of pronouncing it. But you can say “Jan,” Jan is OK.
Jan: All identification went away. I mean, I couldn’t even remember my name. So there was just Pure Being at this point. And I didn’t think anything about it because there was nothing to think about it. It was just pure, Pure Being. It was nothing, nothingness, void. So there was no sense of elation about having achieved anything or anything like that. It was just, you know, “Here I am and I’m nothing. There’s nothing.” There was not even the thought “I am nothing” because there was not that “I” to think that thought. Guruji, Gururaj Ananda, he told me to go to bed. It was only half past eight at the time. And so I went off to bed. I was very obedient. If my Guru says, “Go to bed,” I go to bed. And I couldn’t sleep, of course. I was just lying there being nothing and having nothing going through my mind. And then at three o’clock in the night I suddenly had a vision of him in the room. He would appear in the room. And I told him, “Well, Guruji, I couldn’t sleep. You told me to go to sleep but I can’t sleep.” And he said to me mentally, “No problem.” And then I was gone. And the next morning I woke up, there was a Jan again. So there was the ability to function in the world was restored.
Rick: So when there was no sense of Jan, you felt like you couldn’t really function?
Jan: I could within the narrow space I had to function in there. I mean, go to bed and do nothing, that functioned very well.
Rick: But you would have had a hard time driving a car or, you know?
Jan: No, not driving a car, but relating to people. How can you relate to people if there is no name and there is no personality and there is nothing going on for you in that sense? I would just have been a very spaced out, wacko kind of guy if he hadn’t restored some sense of identity for me.
Rick: Yeah. Well, another way of putting it is you had had a significant shift but it wasn’t integrated, right?
Jan: Yeah, you can say that, it wasn’t integrated. I guess so. But then again, the shift was such that there was nothing to integrate it in. There was nothing. There was only the Self, nothing else. And there was nothing to integrate or integrate into at that point. It was so extreme and so radical and so absolute that you can’t talk about integrating it in anything, no.
Rick: When I say integrate, I kind of mean learn how to function in a new state. I mean, sometimes people become quite dysfunctional for a while when they undergo a kind of a radical shift and it takes a while to learn how to sort of do things again. Like Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, well-known teachers like that, they had these radical shifts and it took months if not years before they could sort of behave normally again.
Jan: I would have had a very difficult time behaving if Guruji hadn’t done something during the night for me. Well, this happened and then there were some very tough years in my life. I became depressed. Guruji died a couple of years later, so I left him and I didn’t know where to go. And my meditation was basically to follow how kundalini worked in me. The Shakti was of course very intense. It had been so since the out-of-body experience in my first meditation with the blue being and so forth. So at this point I simply meditated by observing how the Shakti would work in me, or in the body, rather.
Rick: But you were depressed?
Jan: I was depressed. I was experiencing bliss in meditation, but there was a depression.
Rick: Interesting paradox.
Jan: Yes, very, very.
Rick: It almost seems like the two of them couldn’t coexist.
Jan: Yeah. But nevertheless I felt there was no reason to live. Life was totally without any content of any sort. There was no reason to live at all. It’s not that I had dark moods, it was just this sense of total meaninglessness that permeated everything.
Rick: Yeah, it didn’t go in waves, it was sort of this consistent underlying sense of meaninglessness.
Jan: Yeah. And I experimented with various therapies, psychoanalysis, body work, various stuff, and nothing helped, of course. Let me see, where are we with my story? Now we’re about 1986.
Rick: Yeah, you’re observing the kundalini when you meditate, and there’s this continuum of meaninglessness at the same time. So it’s bliss and meaninglessness together.
Jan: Yes, and there’s more than that, because at this point I observed that I had become contagious. If people meditated with me, they would catch on, the Shakti would catch on in them.
Jan: And that’s of course called shaktipat.
Jan: And that would begin here, it just blossomed later to a full-blown ability I’ve got. But at this point it would happen randomly. I would meditate with people and I would think lovingly about them, and suddenly in meditation they would start shaking and crying, and I would ask them afterwards what happened, and they say they experienced this fantastic love and bliss and they had no idea how it came about, and I could just say, “Well, I was in that state and apparently it was contagious.” And it didn’t happen just once or twice, it happened so many times, there was no doubt about it, being contagious. It wasn’t random, like they just had a good meditation, there was a connection.
Rick: Were you leading a little group or something? Is that why you were meditating with other people?
Jan: Yeah, I began having a group because of this, I thought this was interesting, so I had a group for my sake and others’ sake, so I could study the phenomena and they could hopefully benefit from it. And that worked very well, most of them got their kundalini going. I still had to learn how to do it, it was sort of, it might happen, it might not happen.
Rick: “Do it” meaning trigger it in other people?
Jan: Trigger it, yeah.
Rick: So it wouldn’t happen if you just sat passively and just engaged in your own experience, there would have to be an intention to enliven it in the others?
Jan: Sometimes it would happen spontaneously, but mostly there had to be an intention to do it. So I got some training in what kind of intention you could have while you were in this deep meditation that was necessary to give the shaktipat.
Rick: Who trained you?
Rick: Oh, just in your own experimentation?
Jan: A lot of years went on with this, nothing special happened during these years. I mean I was still this nothingness and I would often see God in everything. And I would live with this Shakti in the body all the time, it’s like a tingling electric sensation in the spine and in the skin going on all the time. But there were no radical breakthroughs for a number of years.
Rick: Was there still a sense of meaninglessness going on for a number of years along with this other stuff?
Rick: So it was just a condition you were in for quite some time.
Jan: Yes, like 15 years.
Rick: Oh, that’s a long time, yeah.
Jan: That’s a long time.
Rick: Were you managing to hold down a job or any such thing during all this?
Jan: I was a student at the university.
Rick: For 15 years?
Jan: No, for 7 years at the university, 6 years at the university, and 3 years I studied art restoration.
Rick: OK, like taking old paintings and restoring them?
Jan: Fixing and restoring them, yes, retouching damages and whatever. And I finished that in ’91. Then I met Amma, the hugging saint, hugging Amma. And I became totally in love with her. I could see she was in the state that I experienced with the blue being. She was in that state constantly. So I surrendered to her and asked her if she would take me to that state. And she said yes. And then she manifested inside my brain somehow. I was there being hugged by her and suddenly she was inside my brain, inside my mind, my head. And then she stopped her chanting of Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma like she does. And then she went away from within my mind and then she started Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma again and then she reappeared. And I, meanwhile, thought, “Oh, darn it, I’ve lost it!”
Rick: When you say what you just said, was all that happening while you were physically getting Darshan from her?
Jan: While I was being hugged, yeah.
Rick: OK, good.
Jan: Then for the second time we connected somehow. And I don’t know what benefit has come from that, but we connected. That was very important for me to have this connection established with someone in this state.
Rick: What do you mean for the second time you connected? Do you mean …
Jan: First time she appeared inside my mind and we didn’t connect. Then she went away and then she came back again and we connected.
Rick: All during one single Darshan you’re saying?
Jan: One single Darshan, yeah.
Rick: OK, so somehow she appeared. So it must have been a fairly long Darshan. It was in the early ’90s.
Jan: Yeah, we were all …
Rick: Like, five minutes or something?
Jan: It was a long Darshan and there was only 500 people there. Now that’s thousands.
Jan: Anyway, that was a great inspiration for me, knowing her. But nothing really came out of it. I got bored with it in the end. You go there, you get this Darshan, you get the bliss, then you go home and everything is as it used to be.
Jan: So I began getting … I had a feeling I’d been meditating for so long and then suddenly nothing was happening and I had all these wild experiences. So I decided now I’d meditate six hours every day until my kundalini went out of the root chakra into the spine and up into the brain. So I set a very rigorous program for myself.
Rick: Early in the morning?
Jan: Yeah, from 10 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Rick: And it took about six hours for it to build through all those stages?
Jan: No, no, no. I meditated six hours every day for four months.
Jan: Or five months, I don’t remember, something like that. And in the end, the kundalini crept out of the root chakra into the spine. It’s about this long, 12 centimeters or so. And it was extremely blissful. And it entered the spine and then when it came into the spine it dissolved, stopped being a snake and then it became a light energy, energy light substance, thing, whatever, that permeated the entire spine and went up to the brain.
Rick: And this happened over the course of four or five months of six hours a day?
Jan: This happened on the last meditation, after four or five months of hard work.
Rick: Yeah. And what were you … I’m sorry, go ahead.
Jan: No, no, what was your question?
Rick: Oh, I was going to say … well, I have a couple of questions. One is, when you refer to the kundalini as a 12 centimeter thing, obviously it’s not a thing which some surgeon could locate if they cut you open, it must be a subtle thing. And so, first question is, what is that subtle thing made of and how does it look? I mean, I’ve always heard of it as an energy and sometimes it’s referred to as a snake, but I’ve never heard it referred to as a 12 centimeter … It sounds like a worm or something.
Jan: It was like a worm. Actually, it felt like, you know, something penetrating my spine, very physical.
Rick: But it’s an elongated little band of energy.
Jan: Yes. The reason I said 12 centimeters, that’s an estimate, but I had a sense of the speed with which it entered the spine, and that gave me a sense of the length of it. So that’s why I say about 12 centimeters.
Rick: Could you actually visually see it, or was it more felt kind of thing?
Jan: It was felt and I could see it. It was light, it was a light phenomenon.
Rick: So it was like a little worm of light.
Jan: A worm, yeah, a worm of light.
Rick: And as it moved up the spine, did it sort of, could you sort of observe it progressively going to each chakra and awakening that?
Jan: No, when it had fully entered, it dissolved and spread out into the entire spine as light. And then it filled the brain with light and energy.
Rick: Okay. And you say it was hard work.
Jan: Yeah, four or five months, six hours a day, that’s pretty hard work.
Rick: Yeah, a lot of times people think of meditation as not involving work, but it’s just you’re surrendering, you’re relaxing, you’re settling in or whatever, but there are forms of meditation which do involve work. So what kind of actual work were you doing there?
Jan: I was following my breath, and on the in-breath I sensed energy moving up the entire spine, and on the out-breath I sensed it spreading from the brain in all directions.
Rick: And you were able to, well, it would be hard work to sit and do that for six hours, I would say.
Rick: Yeah, takes a lot of dedication. And did you find your mind kind of wandering off during the process, or were you really anchored into it?
Jan: I was very anchored into it.
Rick: So it wasn’t a lot of distraction, you weren’t thinking, “Oh, I’m hungry, oh, my legs hurt.” You were just really focused in on that process.
Jan: For some reason I was absolutely focused into it. Nothing like, “I’m hungry,” or “I want a drink,” or, it just worked.
Rick: Yeah. Well, it must have been something that it was time for you to do, you know?
Rick: I mean, I don’t think the average person could just sit down and do that, but, you know, it was right for you at that time.
Rick: Okay, so then six months or four or five months, you said, and the energy had come up to the top?
Jan: To the brain.
Rick: Yeah. Okay, then what happened?
Jan: Then I had very violent kriyas going on. I had electric shocks, very, very dramatic electric shocks when I meditated. So it was very difficult for me to meditate, and these electric shocks were contagious also. So people I was meditating with would have these electric shocks, and certain spasms of the arm or legs or the body would jerk.
Jan: So I stopped meditating, and the Shakti would still go on at full force, traveling up the spine, working on the chakras, as you asked. Yes, I began to feel that afterwards.
Rick: I went through a phase of this myself, actually. Like 1970, I had been on a long meditation course, and I came back and I was driving an ice cream truck. And whenever I got settled, especially when I meditated, my head would be thrashing around and stuff, but when I was driving the ice cream truck, even if I stopped at a stop sign and sat still for a moment, my head would start to go.
Jan: And were you initiated with shaktipat?
Rick: No, I was just doing TM. I had been doing it for a couple of years, and I had just come back from a one-month course with Maharishi, but there was this kind of shaking going on, and also some other things too. Like one time I was sitting in a living room and my face spontaneously went into all these really strange grimaces, like gargoyles almost, I felt like my face must look like if someone was looking at me. But I just sort of thought, “Okay, something interesting is happening here, I’m working something out,” so I just kind of let it go through all that spontaneously, and after a while it just subsided and went away. But anyway, this is not my story, I just wanted to throw that in just for kicks.
Jan: Well, then I decided I needed proper shaktipat from somebody.
Jan: So I googled, I heard about Anandi Ma, somehow, I don’t know, but I googled her and I discovered she had just been in Europe, and the course had ended the day before. So I wrote to her ashram and asked if there was any way to get shaktipat from her, in absentia as they call it, which in effect means by mail order. And I got the reply that, “Yes, you did that,” and I could send a photo and she would give me shaktipat, and I would receive some items and at a certain point, a date, I should meditate before her picture, and offer some fruits and flowers and the usual Indian ritualistic stuff. So I did that, and I was asked to place a rosebud on the top of my head at the time of initiation, and I clearly felt an energy drilling into my brain down the spine, when I received the shaktipat from Anandi Ma.
Rick: The rosebud was something they had sent to you?
Jan: They had sent that to me.
Rick: I see.
Jan: And it obviously or apparently held the Shakti from Anandi Ma. And that solved my spasms and I could meditate again.
Rick: Interesting, so you just sat still after that.
Jan: I could sit still and I could meditate, and I did that regularly, morning and evening again, after that. And now we’re in 2002. We’ve jumped some years. They were boring.
Rick: Yeah, boring and depressing. Was the depression over at that point then also?
Jan: Yes, it was fairly over at this time.
Jan: And I was having bliss in the body, and I was having that while I was depressed, which is paradoxical.
Rick: You mean over those 15 years?
Jan: Yes, the bliss would become stronger and stronger.
Rick: Was it possibly that the bliss was more on the physical level and the depression was more on the emotional level? Something like that?
Jan: The depression was in the mind and the emotional level, and the bliss is definitely in the body. It’s very physical, but it’s of course transcendental awareness, consciousness.
Rick: Subtle, yeah.
Jan: Subtle. I began having a group again at this time, meditating with people, and I discovered I could control the shaktipat thing more and more. Let me see what happens here. Nothing special happens actually, except I have these groups and I find out I can transmit this bliss to other people more and more.
Rick: Even now you mean?
Jan: No, no, in 2006.
Rick: 2006, OK, we’re up to ‘6.
Jan: No, no, now I can do it whenever I want to.
Rick: I see.
Jan: In 2002, then in 2006 I heard about something called Gnan Vidhi. Have you heard of that?
Rick: Only from reading your thing, and I’ve heard those words before, but not with that specific reference.
Jan: No? It’s a very peculiar initiation that some Indians give, one Indian person, he’s the third generation in this lineage. And the initiation is for self-realization. And it’s done by the Guru, the master says a sentence, a teaching about the Self, like the Self is pure bliss, he says it in Gujarati, and sometimes in English, but you don’t understand anything if it’s in Gujarati. And then you’re asked to repeat the sentence. So he says the Self …
Rick: Oh, Gnan Vidhi, this is Deepakbhai, right?
Jan: Deepakbhai, yes.
Rick: Yes, I’m familiar with that. I have a friend who’s also the daughter of a very old friend, who lives in that ashram, and she gave me a DVD of it a little while ago, which I’ve watched some of. So I’m more familiar with that than I realized.
Jan: OK. But for your viewers, I’ll explain.
Rick: Yes, please.
Jan: He says a sentence, and you’re asked to repeat it. And that goes on for 48 minutes. And then that’s the end of the ceremony. And for some it works wonders, and for a lot of people nothing really happens, for some reason.
Rick: What is the sentence?
Jan: It could be, “The Self is pure bliss, the Self is Pure Being.”
Rick: So for 48 minutes he would say that, you would repeat it back and forth, back and forth?
Jan: Yes, he would say different teachings, different sentences.
Rick: Almost like a Christian thing, where they say something and then you repeat it in church, you know?
Jan: But what happened to me was remarkable. During the ceremony … The original founder of this tradition is called Dadashri.
Jan: And when I was doing the ceremony, he appeared from my inner eye, like this. [With palms placed together in Anjali mudra.] Excuse me. Oh, it’s nothing. And I felt a tremendous surge of energy within me, rising up and up to the brain. The chakra, the crown chakra, like a thousand little bubbles would explode, gradually, gradually, gradually, slowly, slowly, slowly, until it was open all the way down here.
Rick: And for those who are just listening in audio, I just want to describe the gesture you just made. You just covered the, it came down from the top of your head all the way down to your eyebrows, and all the way around the head, you know, like a hat that would fit just over your eyebrows.
Rick: Yeah, OK.
Jan: And that was 48 minutes for me. And when I opened my eyes after the ceremony, I saw the Self in everything. I had earlier seen it as God, as Krishna, but at this point I recognized it as my own Self, as a oneness. There was no bliss at this point, it was absolutely cool, pure, simple, Pure Being. So I was not ecstatic or elated or anything, I was totally cool, I just saw the Self in everything. Very vaguely, but it was there, and within the next couple of days it expanded. We had a meeting the next day, of course I told Deepakbhai about this right away, and he was impressed, he thought it was marvelous. And the next day we had a meeting, and I was totally fascinated, because all these Indian ladies were sitting here chatting. And I was, I marveled because I saw the Self in them. And how could the Self, which was absolute and silent and motionless, sit there, chattering? That was a very odd experience. And it’s integrated even more and more since, so it’s not so odd anymore. And after two weeks, bliss began to erupt, out of nowhere, within the body, but not in particular in the spine, just the body would become electric, and I would feel this Pure Being vibrate, that’s the best word I have for it, it would vibrate with bliss. And the Pure Being suddenly became alive, as Shakti. So we had the Shiva aspect, and suddenly there was the Shakti aspect also. And I would recognize this in everything.
Rick: So the Shiva aspect would be the Pure Being, silence, and the Shakti aspect would be the vibrating, blissful aspect.
Jan: And I would perceive both in everything, and in other people. And when I sat for meditation with other people, and I would perceive this in them, or rather them as this, because that’s the truth about them, about everybody. And perceiving this, and at the same time, having an intense prayer, that the Shakti should awaken in them, then the Shakti awakens in them, usually. And that’s the trick about the shaktipat, it’s very simple actually.
Rick: So you wouldn’t need to touch them, or anything like that, it would just all be sort of on the …
Jan: I would sit next to them, I would put my left hand or right hand on their knee, I still do that, but it’s not needed, but I do it, sometimes it boosts the process somehow. I would place my hand on their knee, and I would identify with the Pure Being in them, I would sort of remove my awareness from the Jan level, to the level of Pure Being, and I would recognize the Pure Being in them, as them, I would see the unity of their Pure Being and my Pure Being, and then I would pray for their Shakti to awaken.
Rick: Do you feel that this might be similar to what Amma is doing, when she is giving Darshan to people?
Jan: Yeah, I’ve had that thought.
Rick: Because obviously something very profound is happening, I don’t claim to know the mechanics of it, but she is waking something up in people for sure.
Jan: Yeah, that’s for sure. But this has lasted for six years now, six years since I got the Gnan Vidhi initiation.
Rick: Seeing the Self in everything.
Jan: Seeing the Self in everything, and enjoying being in bliss, always.
Rick: You are probably familiar with that Gita verse, “He sees the Self in all beings, and all beings in the Self.”
Jan: Yeah, that’s what it is.
Rick: So bliss is kind of a 24/7 phenomenon?
Jan: It goes up and down, but it never goes away.
Rick: There is always a baseline at least.
Jan: There is always a baseline of this vibrating, sizzling, Shakti presence, and the Pure Being, this joy, it’s almost like a love affair between Pure Being and this Shakti, sizzling as everything, within everything. And that goes on 24/7. I don’t lose awareness when I sleep, that’s your next question.
Rick: It was actually. I won’t credit you with being psychic, because I tried to ask it earlier. But it’s an obvious next question. And so what is sleep like now? Let’s say you are fast asleep, it’s 3 in the morning, you’ve been asleep for five hours. What is the nature of that state that you are in?
Jan: I’m not aware of what’s going on around me.
Rick: Right, because that would imply that your senses are functioning, which they don’t do during sleep.
Jan: They don’t. But there is an awareness of existence. Before, earlier, this would go away. There would be going to sleep, unconsciousness, waking up, and then reminiscence about your dreams.
Rick: Right, reminiscing.
Jan: Right, thank you. But now there is continuous awareness of being alive, of being present, while the body is sleeping and Jan is dreaming.
Rick: Yeah, and correct me if I’m wrong, but you are probably not lying there thinking, “Oh yeah, this is cool, I’m aware during sleep.” It’s more like just a sort of a presence, or an awareness, which is there without needing to think about it or do anything or whatever. It’s just there, right?
Jan: Yeah, it’s passive, inactive. You can’t even say it’s passive and inactive, it’s just there.
Rick: I have a friend who was born in Finland, actually, not far from you, and he’s older than I am, in his mid-60s, and he’s been in this state since he was about 11 years old. He says he hasn’t lost consciousness since he was about 11. So far he hasn’t agreed to an interview, but one of these days, man, it’s going to knock people’s socks off. So, now, do you have something to add? Because I have another question, but I don’t want to cut you off.
Jan: Oh, please, please, go ahead.
Rick: Okay. One thing Maharishi always used to talk about was the progression from inner witnessing, all the time, like you’re saying, and then waking, dreaming and sleeping. He used to call it witnessing, and he’d say that this witnessing of sleep is kind of an acid test of Self-realization, because if you lose awareness during sleep, then the Self-awareness hasn’t really been as solidly established. And then he also talked about ultimately seeing the Self in everything, which of course was not a unique idea to him. It’s in all the scriptures and everything, seeing the Self in all you apprehend. But he spoke of an intermediary stage of what he called the God-consciousness, where there was a sort of an appreciation of the most refined aspect of the relative or celestial perception, he would call it. And he sometimes alluded to a whole world of beings there, a whole realm of the celestial that is ordinarily beyond our crude perception. So what would you say about all that?
Jan: Well, that’s the state I’m in.
Rick: So the celestial perception?
Jan: The God-consciousness phase. It is an intermediate phase between cosmic consciousness and unity consciousness, in Maharishi’s terminology.
Rick: Correct. Although some people say that it’s not necessarily so linear, it doesn’t necessarily have to go in that order, but would you say that in fact it does go in that order?
Jan: It did in my case. The cosmic consciousness was back in ’84, when I lost the identification. That was definitely cosmic consciousness.
Rick: Although in his worldview, the cosmic consciousness would include the witnessing of sleep.
Jan: OK, it was almost there then. Thin, thin, thin layer, which was removed with the Gnan Vidhi. That’s probably more accurate.
Rick: All right, so maybe it fully matured with the Gnan Vidhi, and there was 24/7 awareness. But then you say that’s where you are now in the God-consciousness?
Jan: I would definitely say so, yes.
Rick: Can you elaborate on it a bit more, in terms of this whole idea of celestial perception?
Jan: There’s no celestial perception in the sense that you see divine beings, or anything like that.
Rick: Some phenomenon, angels, or auras, or all that kind of business?
Jan: No, no. I’ve had some experiences with celestial beings, yes, but they are … it’s been a one-time or two-time thing. I was meditating in my studio once, and it was very blissful, and then suddenly I had this sense of a being that came and sat before me. And then I asked this being, “Why are you doing this? And who are you?” And she said she was a celestial being, which came here to acknowledge and respect what I have achieved with my meditation. And that was a nice experience. Because nobody told me anything about what was going on in my meditation.
Rick: Yes, you needed a little bit of confirmation.
Jan: I got confirmation here, and that was what I needed. But apart from that, I haven’t had any of these experiences. But I’m very perceptive to people’s energy, state of mind, etc. I read people like an open book.
Rick: Yeah. And so, maybe just to clarify our terminology, would you, and if so, how would you, distinguish between cosmic consciousness and God consciousness?
Jan: Cosmic consciousness would be a state of Pure Being, no bliss. And in God consciousness you have the bliss of perceiving, almost recognizing it as the Self in everything. But you see it as divine, you project God onto it, there’s a duality involved. And then in unity consciousness, which I’ve had glimpses of, you recognize it directly as, “This is the Self.” There’s no duality whatsoever, and that’s why it’s called unity consciousness. And all these non-duality gurus today, I mean, they don’t know what unity consciousness is, unfortunately. They’re talking about something else, probably cosmic consciousness.
Rick: That’s my sense, actually. And I sometimes try to prod them on that point when I’m interviewing them, but I don’t really feel fully qualified to do so. It’s sort of a leap for me because I’m just a little bit going on my understanding and my intuition rather than claiming to have fully matured in this experience myself. But I do feel that … I found a quote the other day, I actually have it printed out. It’s a Tibetan proverb, it says, “Do not mistake understanding for realization. Do not mistake realization for liberation.” And I often feel that, firstly, people sometimes hear all this non-duality talk and everything, and they gain an intuitive understanding, and they think, “Ah, that’s it, realization. Hey, dude, I’ve got it. I can turn around and teach it, maybe.” But then sometimes also people do have genuine realization, a profound shift in their experience, and yet there’s an assumption all too often from my observation that that’s regarded as final or as complete. And I’m always saying to people, “You know, I think there’s more. I think there’s more progress.” And very often they say, “No, no, this is it. There couldn’t possibly be more.” The whole idea of progress requires you to be a seeker, and if you’re a seeker then you’re not satisfied with what is, and so on and so forth. And I sometimes feel a little bit ill-equipped to kind of get in there and provide a little bit deeper understanding.
Jan: I think you’re right. It’s right on. Realization and liberation is definitely not the same. I mean, I’ve had so many realizations without being liberated during the progress of my life, as I explained. I don’t know when liberation comes. It’s probably unity consciousness in its fullness. And I wouldn’t say these Neo-Advaita people are in unity consciousness. They don’t speak about bliss and love. They speak about Pure Being. That’s cool. That’s probably OK. I mean, the state they’re in, it’s Pure Being. I think the love, the bliss which I’m speaking of, which I’m bathing in, is missing from their teaching.
Rick: Yeah. Maharishi once said, someone asked him about what happens if a person just gets to this sort of cosmic consciousness state, Pure Being, without unfolding the bliss that could unfold after that. He said he felt like it was a bullet going through his heart, just the thought of them missing out on that. And he tried to evolve techniques to help people move beyond that state of just being, of being awakening.
Jan: Well, I feel the same way. It’s sad.
Rick: Although, you know what? What I have noticed is that a number of them were speaking that way, maybe a few years ago, and now they’re saying, wait a minute, there does seem to be an evolution taking place here, you know, and they’re kind of like, there’s a general … I see it as sort of an upwelling of kind of an evolving understanding or experience, which I suppose might be inevitable. I don’t know, you know, the evolutionary force being what it is, I don’t know if you can say stuck at a level which is not complete, although maybe you can linger there for a while.
Jan: If what?
Rick: I’m noticing just in surveying the landscape of spiritual teachers and what they’re saying, that many of them do seem to be moving beyond what they said initially, even though initially they might have been saying there’s nothing more than this, they’re beginning to realize that there’s a maturation that can take place and is taking place in them.
Jan: Well, that’s fantastic if it is. I’m not aware of that. But then again, I’m not aware of too much going on. I stick to my own business.
Rick: I’ll send you some references if I come across them.
Jan: Yeah, please do.
Rick: So in your own case then, you say you feel like you’re kind of established at the God consciousness stage, as we’ve defined it, with glimpses of unity. Perhaps you could elaborate a bit on the nature of these glimpses and what you might expect the full maturation of that will be when the glimpses become more permanent and complete.
Jan: Well, there’s another thing going on in this case. That is, you get an intense love relationship to what I would call the Divine Mother.
Rick: And you think everyone would at this stage?
Rick: You think everyone would at this stage?
Jan: I don’t know. I could say I do. That would probably be better. But I sense that at this point in my progress, there’s come this intense love affair with the Divine Mother. And everything is experienced as Mother’s grace.
Rick: Perhaps you could give us a better understanding of what the Divine Mother is.
Jan: I don’t know.
Rick: But there’s just a feeling that there is a Divine Mother and you love that?
Jan: It’s more than a feeling. It’s so physical. I mean, regular sex is nothing compared to this. It’s extremely physical. And it’s extremely emotional. Your mind is involved in it, but your mind is totally clear. There’s no fogginess. So you’re not dreaming or anything. You’re not making this up. This is a factual … This is real. You know that. And the only way you can describe it is intense, intense, intense love. And what you’re in love with is you project this Divine Mother onto it. I mean, somebody else would project something else probably.
Rick: Yeah, like some people in India, for instance, are Krishna devotees, or Ganesh devotees, or Shiva devotees, or whatever.
Jan: I’m a Shakti devotee, so I project Divine Mother onto it. But then, this is of course still God consciousness.
Rick: It’s what? I’m sorry?
Jan: God consciousness. Because you’re projecting an image of God onto it. It’s not unity consciousness at this point.
Rick: So it’s an aspect or a flavor of God consciousness.
Jan: Certainly the duality involved in this evaporates. And you have an absolute certainty that what you’re seeing is who you are. It’s very, very difficult to explain.
Rick:So, now wait a minute. So now there’s what you just said, and then there’s the whole thing about the Divine Mother. Are they one and the same thing, or are you talking about two different …
Jan: I’m talking about how it culminates and how it flips over into unity consciousness.
Rick: I see. So there will be this sort of profound, intense devotion to the Divine Mother, and then that will somehow flip over into the unity experience.
Jan: Yeah. But it’s not an intense devotion, because there’s not a subject being devoted. There’s just a sense of the Divine Mother as pure bliss, pure Shakti, which permeates you, and which you are. But you have this love, and this love is … Maybe it’s the love that projects the whole idea of the Divine Mother in order to have a peg to hang it on, I don’t know. It could be going on, this is what is happening in God consciousness. It’s very difficult to explain, I’m probably not being very clear right now.
Rick: Oh, you’re okay. You know who Shankara was, obviously, right? The great Advaita sage, founder of Advaita really, a couple thousand years ago. There was a saying from him that, “The intellect imagines duality for the sake of devotion.”
Jan: That’s what I’m trying to say. Thank you.
Rick: Yeah. And you just said as well that that duality sort of dissolves into a unity. So it seems to vacillate between this devotion and then unity.
Jan: Yeah. And what I realize is that I am this grace, this Mother’s grace. There’s no duality. So initially it explodes into this intense grace, love, I call it love-bliss. But you realize there’s no duality between you and it. And when you have that understanding, you can give shaktipat like that. It’s as easy as handing somebody an orange or an apple or whatever.
Rick: And so as this understanding has matured in you, or this experience has matured in you, have you noticed a more profound impact on the people?
Jan: Yeah. It’s much stronger and much deeper.
Rick: And how are some of them doing in terms of their …?
Jan: Well, they get … I don’t initiate so many. It’s my friends and their friends and friends’ friends’ friends, etc.
Rick: Close circle.
Jan: Yes, close circle. But they get, you know, the usual. They get kriyas, dramatic kriyas some of them have, and they experience fire up the spine and states of bliss.
Rick: Do you feel like for many of them it sort of kick-starts their …?
Jan: Oh, definitely.
Rick: … their spiritual growth and then they kind of keep that momentum going on their own?
Jan: Yeah, definitely. That’s what it is. That’s how they would describe it if they were to give me feedback. They would say it was a tremendous kick-start.
Rick: Right. And do some of them experience the phenomenon that you referred to earlier with Amma, where after a while it gets a little old, you know, just sort of going and seeing this person and having your energy enlivened and then going away again, having it diminish?
Jan: No, no. It’s awakened something in them which keeps going.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Jan: So it’s not connected to me. The initial meeting and the shaktipat meeting is of course connected to me, and the first couple of sessions is still connected to me. But then it gets so strong and they get so used to it going on, so they become independent of me in their spirituality, which is something I value deeply.
Jan: I don’t want devotees or students or anything like that.
Rick: Yeah. On the other hand, maybe it would beat restoring old photographs or old paintings, but maybe not.
Jan: What do you mean?
Rick: Well, in other words, if you could do this full time …
Jan: Oh, for a living?
Rick: … for a living, as opposed to having to spend most of your time restoring old paintings, would you find that more gratifying?
Jan: I have a software company. That’s how I make my money.
Rick: Oh, okay.
Jan: Plugins for Photoshop.
Rick: Oh, really?
Rick: Interesting. Do you write them yourself?
Jan: Yeah, I code them in C++ for photo retouching.
Rick: Oh, I see, which is something you had to do yourself, so you probably thought, “Well, I need a plugin for this because it’s not easy to do without a plugin.”
Jan: Exactly. I was retouching my paintings and I realized there was a problem and Photoshop couldn’t do it. And that kick-started the business, the company.
Rick: Did you somehow learn C++ on your own or had you learned that in school?
Jan: Oh, I learned it on my own.
Rick: Just got a book and studied it?
Jan: Yeah, I got a book and started it.
Rick: Not bad. Oh, I just suddenly ran out of questions. That’s a rarity. Do you have anything you’d like to add at this point?
Jan: Do I have anything I’d like to add? What can you add to something that is inherently nothing? I’d like to add that.
Rick: Yeah, that’s good.
Jan: No, it’s … I would love to be able to describe what life is like when you’re blissful all the time. Because people think it’s an emotion you’ve got, but it’s not.
Rick: Right. And I imagine even regular emotions are there on top of that underlying bliss, right?
Jan: Regular emotions are there, but the bliss is something completely different. So if people are looking for it in an emotional context, they’ll be disappointed. They won’t find it there. I think Maharishi called that “mood-making.”
Jan: And that won’t work.
Rick: And many contemporary teachers warn against trying to hang on to some particular experience that you have. Ramana Maharshi used to say that if it’s an experience which came, that experience is going to go again. And that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to something that doesn’t come and go.
Jan: It doesn’t come and go, that’s for sure.
Jan: It just stays there, just goes on and on and on and on and on.
Rick: Yeah, and I’m sure it’s not boring.
Jan: It’s definitely not boring.
Rick: Do you feel a little bit frustrated in your ability to adequately convey a sense of what it’s like?
Jan: No, because I see the Self in the people that I would like to convey it to. So in a sense I realize that they are realized already. I mean, it’s a paradox. You see people and you see they are identified with the mind, with the ego, with the personality, with the emotions, whatever is going on. People identify totally with what’s going on in the moment, and what has been going on in the past, and that is remembered in the moment. Everything is in the present moment, even ignorance. On the one hand you see this, and on the other hand you recognize the Self in the person, and you see the Self is perfect. There’s nothing to add to it, there’s nothing to develop, there’s nothing to grow. It’s just there, calm, waiting to be realized. So there’s no frustration in it. There’s only a great joy in being able to share it when you can.
Rick: And I suspect you wouldn’t be one of these people who say, “Well, you really don’t need to do anything because you’re perfect.”
Jan: I’m definitely not one of them.
Rick: No, because there are people who say that, and it’s all well and good to see that essentially a person is perfect, but of what value is that to them unless they have that realization of that level of life themselves and are actually living it as you have been describing in your own experience.
Jan: Yeah. But people should understand in this spiritual game that there’s nothing to develop. They don’t grow into higher states of consciousness. They’re already within, perfect and complete. They just have to be unfolded or discovered or rediscovered or whatever. And it’s not a matter of growing from something inferior into something superior. That’s a completely wrong notion of spirituality if you want to get to these states of being. That’s one misconception I often encounter when I work with people.
Rick: I read a quote from Ramana Maharshi the other day, and he said, “There are no levels of awareness, but there are levels of experience.” In other words, awareness is what it is, but there could be a great range of levels of experience of that, and degrees of appreciation or realization of that.
Jan: Yeah, that’s how it is.
Rick: I think a lot of times in some teachings there is a confusion of levels. I mean, it’s like the teacher or the speaker sees from his level of experience that maybe everybody is perfect and there are no levels of awareness and so on and so forth. And then he offers that description of his experience as a prescription to people. And in a way it sort of discourages them from actually pursuing in a diligent way the unfoldment of their experience, because it sort of tends to lull them into a sense of complacency, that, “Oh, there’s nothing to gain, it’s all just the self, and yada, yada.”
Jan: In the cosmic consciousness, in the Pure Being state, you can very easily imagine that there is nothing more than this, because you have this state which negates everything. And you definitely have this, “not this, not this,” “neti neti” attitude to everything. And therefore in this state you might not want to work with kundalini, for example. Because people in this state would say, “Oh, kundalini is just an experience, it’s a phenomenon.” And it is definitely a phenomenon for a while, but it culminates in that unity, which is not accessible in any other way. And one has to understand what kundalini is, maybe I should talk a bit about that.
Jan: Kundalini is not a restricted energy within the body, mind, astral system, wherever it’s located. It’s a condensation of the self, like a contraction. And as such it contains the essence of your ignorance. And because it contains the essence of your ignorance, and upholds your structure as ignorance, it’s the energy of the self constricted as you. And you function from this level of where kundalini has descended to, so to speak. Kundalini can then rise up and send energy, it doesn’t rise, but it sends energy up to the chakras. So you function on more levels than the lowest. But the level of contraction of kundalini defines your level of consciousness. So as kundalini begins to unfold, this contraction evaporates or dissolves. And at one point it returns back to the Pure Being, which happens in the brain when the crown chakra opens. And because kundalini is contracted awareness, individualized awareness, “I-ness”, is a contraction of everything that you are, it contains the essence of your ignorance, and at the same time the essence of your potential realization. Kundalini is, because of this knowledge kundalini has of your ignorance, the source which can unfold your ignorance and give you enlightenment. You follow me?
Rick: I think so, I think I got about 90% of that. So, yeah, when the kundalini has totally risen up to the head, has it become completely unconstricted? J
Rick: So there is no longer any contraction.
Rick: And so, I think the way you said it, it sort of contains your ignorance in its contracted state. So then when it is completely unconstricted, your ignorance has completely dissipated.
Jan: Yeah, and the kundalini snake goes away, it dissolves into Pure Being.
Rick: So there is no more kundalini phenomenon once it has completed its course?
Jan: Yeah, it goes away.
Rick: Sometimes teachers warn against any sort of intentional manipulation of kundalini or attempt to raise it because they say, you know, it can get you into trouble, you can go crazy, you know, it can get misdirected and cause all kinds of health problems and what not. In fact, I have a couple of people whom I have interviewed who had profound kundalini awakenings and one of them almost died because she was going through so much, her body was down to like 70 or 80 pounds and she couldn’t eat or anything, eventually she worked through that. So what would you say as a cautionary note?
Jan: I don’t really have much to say. I can say my progress has been fortunate. And my impression of kundalini is that it is entirely benign.
Rick: It is entirely benign?
Rick: So what about all these people getting into trouble?
Jan: I don’t know. Honestly. I am being completely honest with you right now. I don’t know. My experience is not like that. I had periods with intense kriyas, but I understood it as a transformational phase I had to go through. And I know of course there are these two nadis, Ida and Pingala, on each side of the Sushumna in the spine. And Gopi Krishna is the classic example of somebody who had kundalini rise up through one of the side channels. I think it was Ida or Pingala, never mind. Do you know his story?
Rick: No, I don’t. Never heard of it.
Jan: No? He is a classic example of a kundalini awakening that goes wrong.
Rick: Contemporary or a long time ago?
Jan: It was in the ’60s I think, or ’70s. And he nearly died from it. But his solution was to meditate and visualize kundalini entering the spine. And when he got it into the spine, it was a flow of bliss like the one I have described. And he ends by saying that kundalini is the greatest blessing that can happen to somebody, a kundalini awakening, even though he almost died from a misdirected kundalini awakening.
Rick: There is a group here in the United States, in Tennessee, that I forget what their tradition is, some Indian teacher, but their whole purpose is to help people whose kundalini is misdirected, redirect them properly. And a number of people I know have gone to that and say they have gotten good results. I’ve had a number of people come to me that have had problems with kundalini, and they get shaktipat and it tends to solve the problems.
Rick: Do you ever do shaktipat remotely, like over Skype or anything, or do you really need to be with the person?
Jan: So the next question is, could I do it now?
Rick: If you want, I don’t want to interrupt the interview, but in general.
Jan: I have had success with it sometimes over Messenger and on the phone, regularly on the phone.
Rick: Right, because you yourself got that initiation from the Indian lady from afar.
Jan: Yeah, but I haven’t experimented with that, so I don’t know. Maybe I could, maybe I don’t know. I haven’t. But over the phone that works very well. And the Messenger has worked also, but not as a …
Rick: Messenger you mean like video thing like Skype?
Jan: No, no, the Microsoft network.
Rick: Yeah, MS Messenger.
Jan: Yeah, MS Messenger.
Rick: And in terms of your own continuing progress, since you say you are just sort of having glimpses of unity, how do you see that as going? If you look back a year ago, is there much contrast from then to now? And you anticipate equal degree of contrast a year from now and so on. Is there a sense of continual unfoldment or development or clarification or however you would like to put it?
Jan: There is, and I would say that definitely what I try to describe as Mother’s grace is becoming more intense.
Rick: Divine Mother’s grace.
Jan: Divine Mother’s grace is becoming more and more present in my life. And the bliss which I experienced for six years is somehow receding and being replaced by this intense unity with Mother. Divine Mother.
Rick: Is there any sense of loss or is it an upgrade?
Jan: It’s an upgrade, yes. The version 7.6.
Rick: Interesting. Do you sort of feel like at some point there is going to be some kind of grand finale completion sort of thing where there is a breakthrough into complete unity 24/7?
Jan: Yeah, definitely.
Rick: What is your intuitive sense of how close that might be?
Jan: Oh, I wouldn’t want to talk about that.
Rick: It’s probably hard to say.
Jan: It’s hard to say and I am too uncertain about it.
Rick: Sure. And not to get too speculative on you, but when that does happen, do you feel like that will be the end of the story or do you feel like there will be a new horizon?
Jan: It will be the end of one story. Definitely it’ll be the end of the story that is going on right now and for the past, since I was born. And I think there will be a new story that unfolds afterwards. And it will be a story of greater, should we say, empowerment. The shaktipat phenomenon is only just beginning. That will unfold a lot afterwards. And the ability to work with other people will become very, very much more profound and effective. That’s for sure.
Rick: And you do seem to have a motivation to do that.
Rick: It’s not like you are just going to sit by yourself and enjoy it.
Jan: No, no, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the fun of it. Sitting with other people and just putting your hand on their knee and they freak out from bliss. That’s fun.
Rick: Just don’t try it on a public bus or something. Since we’ve referred to Maharishi a lot in this conversation, one other development that he alluded to was that he said, and as he defined unity consciousness, it was this thing you’ve described where you feel a unity with the object of perception, total “that is me” and you see the self in that. And what he said was that as that matures, there is a sort of an expansion of the circumference. So initially it may be the primary object of perception, then the secondary, then the tertiary and so on, until eventually it just expands out to encompass everything, the whole universe. And then he referred to that as Brahman consciousness, or kind of a more profound level of wholeness or completeness or something.
Rick: Does that ring a bell?
Jan: I can only say wow. No, it doesn’t ring a bell. It’s beyond me.
Rick: Can you sort of sense that it might go that way? Is there a sense of the expansion of the circumference of unity taking place in your experience?
Jan: There is.
Rick: Great. Well, I think we’ve covered quite a bit. Is there anything else that you feel like you might like to mention that we haven’t covered?
Jan: No, this is my life story and what’s going on, and I think we’ve covered everything. I don’t know what is missing.
Rick: Yeah, you’re the kind of guy that might be interesting to check back with you in a few years and see what’s happening, because it does seem to be …
Jan: Hey, one thing. I’ve written a book, and it’s being published 1st of November. R, Oh right, yeah, we were talking about that. We were thinking of waiting until then to do the interview or something, but I’m glad we went ahead.
Jan: It’s called “Lovebliss: The Essence of Self-realization.”
Jan: And you can get it on Amazon already. You can pre-order it.
Rick: Good, so when I put up this interview on my website, I will link to that Amazon page, and people can pre-order it.
Jan: Thanks! Great.
Rick: And of course to your website. And there are some interesting things to read on your website. Basically a written account of what we’ve been saying here, but also some interesting discussion about kundalini and stuff. Do you have some kind of email newsletter that people sign up for, anything like that?
Jan: No, I’ve been very private with all this, so this is a bit of a step forward for me to make an interview like this.
Rick: So far you’re kind of a local phenomenon in Copenhagen or something.
Jan: Local phenomenon in Copenhagen, yes. Definitely.
Rick: Well, it remains to be seen what destiny will bring you.
Rick: Great, well I’ve really enjoyed this conversation, and I’m glad we were able to do it. We had some technical challenges as often we do, but it worked out. So thank you again, and just to refresh listeners’ memory, this is part of an ongoing series of interviews, which I think this is number 78 or so, and if you go to www.batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, which is an acronym for Buddha at the Gas Pump, you’ll see them all, and you can sign up for an email newsletter to be notified each time a new one is put online. You can also subscribe to this as a podcast if you prefer to just listen in audio. And there’s also a discussion group there where almost every time I put up one of these new videos, people start posting comments and then discussion ensues, and sometimes the person I’ve interviewed jumps in and answers questions and all. So I’ll notify you, Jan, if anybody starts posting like that.
Jan: Oh, please do.
Rick: Yeah, you might want to hop in there and make a few comments.
Rick: So thanks, and thanks to our listeners, our viewers, and we will see you next time. I think my next one, I’m often wrong when I announce the next one because things change, but I think it’s going to be Bentinho Massaro, who is a very bright young Dutch fellow, about 22 years old, and I’ll be talking to him next week. So thank you all, and we’ll see you next time.