When I was arrested in India, Chidghananda immediately went to the police station where we were detained and said that he was our host and was going with us to wherever they were taking us. When we were finally released under house arrest I spent my time meditating and reading Anandamurti´s books, among some other books on yoga. I was supposed to be the first student in the tantric research project at Ananda Nagar and I was living near Chidghananda.

I was supposed to learn under two teachers, Samanvayananda and Chidghananda. Samanvayananda was really a wizard. He overtly demonstrated all kinds of occult powers. He wanted people to understand the higher intelligence and power of the mind and because he knew so many secrets he was always showing them off. Later, Anandamurti would discover that his disciple was abusing occult powers and then beat him with a stick. Later, Samanvayanda would learn a new trick and start showing it off and then get beaten again. I will write more about my relationship with him later. He was controversial but his friend Chidghananda was more of a sage. He did not really seem to have any vanity. He spent a lot of time alone but he really loved people and was always interacting with people who would come and see him. People always got the impression that he could see right through them and give them advice based on his intuition even without engaging in psychological dialogues and disclosures.

I was reading the yoga sutras of Patainjali one day while under house arrest at Ananda Nagar. In one of the later chapters Patainjali is speaking about how advanced yogis connect with higher spiritual forces that help divide the personality into separate components so that the yogi can finish his samskaras, or karmic reactions more quickly. Instead of one person doing the work, there could be 2 or 3. It sounded like multiple personality disorder but Patainjali was speaking of it as a very advanced and subtle practice of connecting with the fundamental structures of the personality. Could this be an enlightened understanding of the “Gestalt Round Table” in which one starts to dialogue with the different aspects of the pesonality?, I wondered. It is a psycho therapeutic technique where one gets all of one´s internal personalities together in an imaginary round table so that they can all communicate. For example, in an imaginary dialogue the angry part of the person expresses his view, and then the insecure part and then the strong part. Instead of having separate wills competing for the control of the ego, the therapist guides the dialogue so that the fragmented parts of the personality all begin to understand each other and synthesize into an integrated being.

This Gestalt idea helped me orient myself to this strange idea of Patainjali. While discussing this idea with Chidghananda about Gestalt Psychology he began to say that an enlightened or nearly enlightened mind has integrated the disparate parts of the personality. They are beyond the duplicity and the incongruities of the lower mind. Instead, the enlightened parts of their personalities come to full expression. Dada explained that certain microvita intelligence connect with each part of the person and the yogi uses his or her own personality as a vehicle to express these deep aspects of the personality. He explained how Anandamurti could be so sweet and loving and would heal people spiritually. On other occasions he was the task master and social leader that had to keep everything in order. He could be like a mother as well as a 5 starred general, and had full confidence in all of the various aspects in his integrated being. He also explained how the guru would have certain moods that he expressed, each one according to situations and people he was guiding, and each one with a very special transformative power. He was always taking the samskaras of his disciples and using the different parts of his personality to do this. Chidhananda´s explanation went far beyond what Patainjali mentioned. Patainjali was speaking of how a nearly liberated being uses this technique to achieve liberation from all samskaras. Chidghananda was explaining how Anandamurti completed this process and instead of finishing off his own samskaras, engaged with other beings to help them evolve the samskaras that bind them.

I playfully asked Dada if I had any “friends” accompanying me, because I felt like I was moving so fast that I would disintegrate. He laughed and said we would speak more of that later. Later, I got deported. He died, but kept his promise and we began to speak about that again, but more on that later.

I have recently been writing about my early mystical experiences with the apparition of Anandamurti, particulary one such experience in which I saw what turned out to be visions of my future, most of which has already come to pass. In this mystical trance I saw my whole life flash in front of me. I saw my future homes and life situations and so many things I experience in my life are like deja vu in that I have already seen these situations occur. However, the deja vu is not of a completely unknown origin and I remember this lucid dream with Anandamurti in which I first saw these situations.

There were also other dreams with the form of Anandamurti which were always illuminating. I once had gastritis and it had bothered me for 6 months. I dreamed that Anandamurti came to me as a doctor dressed in white. I did not recognize that it was Anandamurti. The doctor touched my stomach and I felt immense psychological pain which revealed the reasons why I had gastritis. Then a soothing light from his hands passed into me. I looked up to see who this doctor was because I was doubled over in pain and had not seen his face. I saw the face of Anandamurti just for a fraction of a second and then saw an infinite white light. At the same time I woke up and felt the light inside my stomach curing me. I stopped taking medication that very same day and have never suffered from gastritis again.

Chidghananda was there when I had these experiences. I was living next door to him when I had these experinces and I strongly suspect Chidghananda´s influence. I was surprised that such a mature and great man acted like I was his best friend. It was the greatest honor of my life.

I did not want to be deceiving myself with false visions. I was educated as a scientist and always tried to be very critical of my own subjective experiences, especially these strange mystical visions. I ate psychedelic mushrooms once in college and it was beautiful, but it was really nothing compared to these meditation experiences at Ananda Nagar. The experiences were so much more powerful than mushrooms and did not require an altered state of consciousness. The practice of yoga and a few hours of meditation a day induced these experiences. I was vegetarian, used no drugs nor alcohol, and in the company of Chidghananda I truly felt like a monk. He was a perfect gentlemen around women and he showed them so much respect, yet I never saw him overstep his monastic boundaries. Having an example like that really made a young man feel confident that one could live a happy monastic life like him.

Every time I meditated near him he went into trances. All of the air would immediately be pushed out of his body with an extremely loud “Humm” sound as the kundalini would rise. Then his body would get really tense and shake and then he would stop breathing and was totally calm, as if he were dead. I asked him what he experienced. He said he always heard the Om sound but when he meditated he would let himself go and be absorbed into it. Sometimes he would see the form of Anandamurti just before entering into this samadhi trance, other times the experience was completely formless. He encouraged me to meditate on formlessness but always said there was something very special in the form of Anandamurti. He never dogmatized about it and when people asked him if Anandamurti was really the incarnation of god, or Taraka Brahma, or some other concept, he would simply say, “Baba was Baba. Anandamurti himself said he was a mystery and will always remain a mystery, so what can I say?”

I look back on my time with him and some other older disciples of Anandamurti and realize that the form of the guru worked through all of them. It is not that the entire force of the guru manifested through one particular person, but it was so clear that these men were connected to some invisible mind field that was very powerful and benevolent, that could awaken the kundalini within any person who had prepared themselves. These monks really understood the inner, mystical secrets of yoga. However, as you can see in this video, Chidghananda never leaves rational and practical thinking or asks the listener to accept some authority or dogma or fantastic idea. He was a true and rational disciple of Anandamurti who understood that proper and balanced reason awakens intuitive faculties with a very balanced vision of spirit.

These dreams and visions through subtle form and intuitive concepts give one some confidence in the practice of contemplation, but are not proofs in themselves. They simply clear the confusions from the path so one can have formless experience. These were all preparatory experiences for learning to achieve the state of total peace in meditation, like Chidghananda experienced regularly in the breathless state of samadhi. The “proof” comes in samadhi, with the revelation of OM within the eternal I-feeling which absorbs the little “I” of the relative ego. One understands that one is infinite and pure behind the mirage af mind and world. After that one has no doubts. Remaining in the body one can suffer greatly, pass through trial and torture yet never, ever be able to deny That, “Tat Tvam Asi” – Thou Art That

Eating For Kundalini

“I am the food of life. I am the eater of the food of life. I am the two in one. I am the first born child of immortality born before the gods.” – Upanishad

At Ananda Nagar I sometimes only slept a a few hours and heard Om through the night. I started getting really far out. Fortunately, I was with some good friends that always made fun of me and that kept me in line. Whenever I would go without eating and get really high they would make me eat. At other times, after hours of meditating, I would eat and eat and eat and never get full. They were constantly laughing at my bottomless pit and each new full plate was a new joke.

I got very, very thin but I had tremendous energy. Sometimes while sitting in the lotus posture I would enter into a state of bliss all too suddenly. My body jumped 2 feet off of the ground when the kundalini would rise. My friends told me that when they were sitting next to me. It was involuntary, but it was not one of those energetic manipulations of TM and kundalini yoga where people bounce around like clowns and call it yogic flying. The kundalini rose from the base of the spine like a lightning flash and struck the Anahata chakra in the chest. This resistance shot my body up 2 feet into the air very quickly. It was not a gradual levitation but it was a vigorous jump. There was also once an experience of levitation, but that is another story.

After these experiences I got terribly hungry and would hurry home to eat but I hardly had energy to walk. I bought a can of ghee and started pouring the ghee on top of mounds of rice and lentils. I would then sleep a few hours in the night and start the cycle again. At breakfast I would force myself to eat until it hurt because I knew I would be hungry again in an hour. Then I would quickly go down by the river to meditate before I got hungry again. I would immediately enter into some trance. I could just barely keep my observing intellect active so as to not get swept away. I was a student the year before and was very interested in bio-psychology. My friend Lowan and I would talk about mysticism, psychedelics and neuropsychology for hours on end. I still had those questions in my mind and wanted to observe my mind and brain in these states of concentration. I tried to keep reading scientific books but I was losing interest. I felt it was too much of an attachment for my mind. Chidghananda said that the desire was almost finished and that I should just indulge it. I once found him reading my copy of “The Tao of Physics.” He said he really liked it. He browsed through “Order Out of Chaos” by Prigogine and said “these are revolutionary ideas but you will soon loose interest in them.

Dada explained to me how Anandamurti said that microvita research must be conducted by people with conceptually developed minds along with yogis who could guide them intuitively. So therefore the yogi must also be somewhat familiar with modern scientific ideas. He said I did not need to read any more books. What was more important was to remember these ideas when the mind was coming down from samadhi, to see these ideas in a new light, an eternal light. One understands that the object one thinks upon is unified with the deep thoughts about that object. For example, if you think of a plant, your mind becomes at one with the plant. The plant becomes part of your objective mind, or chitta. Knowledge is the subjectivization of external objectivity, or bringing outside what is inside. A superficial conceptualization of it sees the plant outside of oneself in time and space. One may study it deeply, dissect it, discover the secret of its genes but the plant still remains outside of one self. A partial subjectivization is an intuitive understanding of the plant in which there is a feeling of “oneness” with the plant. One conceives it deeply but also feels into it and knows its inner secret. Healers may have this connection with plants and also with the human body and understand the healing relationships between them. Total subjectivization is when there is no longer subject and object. There is no longer a plant nor a mind perceiving the plant. The mind spiritually merges into the Atman and there only remains pure subjectivity. This is spiritual knowledge. One who knows the supreme Knower or Subjectivity attains liberation.

Just as one overcomes the objective-subjective barrier to reality created by the limitations of the conceptual mind, the intuitive mind also transcends its subtle concepts and realizes that all cognition is ultimately dependent on the witness of the mind, the atman. From the point of view of the atman, one is capable of seeing all things. And from this vantage point one can see what nature and mind really are and have very exact ideas about them. Furthermore one sees the structure of thought itself, the stuff that dreams are made of. I asked him if he could see microvita. He said yes but it is more important to conceive them than to simply see them. He said they were a moving collage of geometric forms and colors that were in constant flux behind the physical world. The quantum void is full of prana, or vital energy, and the microvita play these strings of prana which ultimately “collapse” into material reality.

He said I should do as much meditation as possible at Ananda Nagar because he was not sure how long the house arrest would last; months, or years, perhaps. I continued with my meditations and the more my breath stopped in meditation the less my intellect could analyze these states, and the less that I desired that it continue analyzing them. The bliss that was entreating me called, “Just let it go now, it is time for bliss. Adios little German intellect”

Meanwhile, these experienced really required a lot of energy and I became even more exhausted. I asked Samanvayananda, the wizard friend of Chidghananda, for advice. He told me to get a can of ghee and a mound of rice as well. It was hilarious that we came to the same conclusions. He used to get the younger monks to prepare him food. He would entertain everybody by really pigging out. They could not believe how much he could eat. Then he would say “I am going to the river to meditate now. Have some more food ready for me in two hours when I return.” He passed through these states for so many years without sleeping and meditated all through the night.

by Vishal Eckhart email: vishal@vishaleckhart.org