How one chooses to grow in spirituality depends greatly upon how one approaches the object of their devotion. Often, one approaches a divine being through their desire to have things or through petition in prayer for better health. Fear is a motivation too, for connecting with a Higher Power as one seeks protection for one’s self or for the wellbeing of a loved one.
There are many reason why humans seek out a superior power and many similar approaches. Hence the purpose behind religions and the tendency to gather in social settings such as churches, synagogues, temples and mosques – even Facebook, as we witness today.
Humans are social at their core and seek interaction to reflect their identity, which often, is not understood or even realized causing more chaos in life than what is necessary to endure. It is not common for the individual to rally their own spiritual awakening without a guiding force so they seek a spiritual teacher, synagogue leader or deity that represents their level of spiritual maturity.
Hinduism and the science of Yoga, the teachings for enlightenment
In the ancient texts we find that the spark of the Divine Creator lives within each human with the potential to achieve a level of enlightenment. Depending on one’s choices, the influencing company surrounding one in their environment and the grace of an enlightened being reaching out to change the hands of fate, consciousness blossoms.
Seen through the lens of astrology, at various stages throughout one’s life, an opportunity is presented to enter into worship of a deity, a spiritual teacher, a concept of god or to enter into a practice of devotion. Most of the time those opportunities are negated as people become incredibly distracted and challenged with the process of surviving and attempting to navigate through romance. That is why devotion, surrender and trust are paramount in one’s spiritual practice and touched upon in most of the ancient scriptures guiding the process of awakening. Devotion, surrender and trust sidesteps, goes around the chaos of social relating and challenges presented in the matrix concerning survival. With a higher force guiding the way, the experience is very different in the program.
In the Bhagavad Gita, verse 7:20-23, we find Krishna sharing that inside of every heart a divine, spiritual spark resides as the super soul. When a decision has been made to worship a particular deity or being, Krishna makes the devotion steady so that it can grow and flower the essence of consciousness inside one’s being. All of the various types of gods, deities, teachers and objects of worship are motivated to interact and engage with a seeker by this Divine Spiritual Spark inside of each heart.
In this process of maturation of consciousness one begins their spiritual journey as they move through the desires for riches and ego satisfactions, from fear to lust, from greed to attention seeking and other expressions of passion. There are many motivations that can cause a human to turn towards a spiritual path and drive them in a direction of seeking.
Bhagwan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam, my Guru, expounds on this process in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in this passage. As he explains, this initial step in the flowering of conscious self-realization begins with the decision to visit spiritual places such as temples, churches, synagogues, ashrams and other similar types of environments. In this first step, one explores the various pathways and methods according to one’s own inclination and speed of movement.
One will try methods of prayer, methods of puja (worship ritual), experience various teachers, relate to different deities and sample all the many offerings available as one is learning to seek the one true path that resonates most with their inner core. With this introduction onto the spiritual path, one begins to impress upon their physical form the spiritual experience as they engage in the various types of worship conducted while in the process of seeking. A change begins to manifest on the physical plane impacting all layers of their human form: physical, emotional, and mental.
After some time, this approach loses its attraction factor as fascination fades and the mind becomes hungry, yearning for a deeper more powerful connection with a divine source. Unconsciously, the human is motivated to move into a new direction and step into the second phase of seeking.
The second phase in process of seeking is establishing a temple in one’s own space, working with the tools, instruments, teachers and methods that are most resonate and creating an altar within a sacred environment. This second level includes a variety of gods, deities, tools and teachers as exemplified in many personal, home libraries and spaces in the home set up as altars. One can list the various teachers whose books grace their shelves imparting golden nuggets for pondering what they have gained an appreciation for. In the same way, many different types of deities are placed throughout the home, too. Many people reside in this place for an extended period of time as the world offers a plethora of genius minds with unique expressions and perspectives of how life evolves and is experienced, which can be quite entertaining – as well as misleading. Level two offers a great assortment of entertainment and education while gestating the evolution of self-realization, slowly.
The third phase is suddenly breaking free from the exploration and self-study so that one may focus on one place or teacher that offers the antidote for reaching in and touching the tender space of the heart. Many enjoy this phase to drink in deeply what is being imparted through the grace of a guru, a spiritual teacher who imparts significant teachings for maturing one’s spiritual process. The teachers who come into one’s life at this third level often, represent through their own experience and the various methods learned by their own spiritual teacher.
Through their teachings and through applying a specific set of disciplines or methods, one follows the pathway displayed and carved for the budding seeker. This level, just like the two previous levels mentioned above, can continue for many lifetimes entangling the teacher and student in the process of maturation for a series of lifetimes.
The fourth level of spiritual unfolding is the awareness of sound and the power of mantras applied in the process of meditation. In this powerful space at level four one realizes the subtle mechanics of consciousness and engages their practice through the darshan of a Higher Presence.
In this level, one is led to a truly, enlightened being who fosters the advanced awakening process through authentic, ancient initiation practices. Until this connection has been established through the guidance of a higher Divine Presence, one is not connected with an enlightened being. It must be orchestrated by a Cosmic Deity that appears through the intense efforts fostered through spiritual practice in meditation, In such a case, the form of Krishna or the form of Shiva, or similar, appears and initiates the interaction with one’s super soul, impressing the mind in a certain direction. For me, this Divine vision came as Krishna and led me to Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam.
One must go through all these steps mentioned above before they have acquired the capability of handling the powers of an enlightened being in their life, orchestrating the evolutionary process of awakening through the process of initiation. This fifth level of the pathway towards enlightenment is a super-power highway that requires a new operating system that has been shaped by spiritual disciplines and higher principles.
The fully enlightened Master who comes into one’s life at this advanced stage reveals the essence of “Oneness” as He impresses the mind and physical form, activating the super soul. When this happens, one realizes the profundity of both the seeker and the enlightened Master are one and the same, coming from the same source. This is the essence of samadhi, blissful, restful awareness. In this space, one realizes their own divinity and that they are truly the source of conscious realization – for their own unfolding. When one reaches this level of awareness they have entered into the sixth level in the process of awakening and achieving enlightenment.
At the seventh level one realizes the highest potential that is referred by all enlightened masters and sacred texts as YOU ARE THAT.
One realizes that they are consciousness and living out the leelah of Divine Play with a unique fragrance, presence and powerful ability to express Divine Cosmic Existence in human form. They have undergone a radical transformation of body, mind and emotional nature, creating a Divine being in form.
Through this modest explanation of steps towards achieving enlightenment, the easiest thing one can do is determine where they are in their process and raise their seeking to the next phase. If one is hopping about and sampling different methods then move into focusing on one teacher and one method for a period of time allowing it to effect change and impress upon one’s being into the next level of self-realization.
If one has enjoyed one teacher for many years and is ready to go deeper in their own process, start practicing mantras with greater intensity while sitting in a space of meditation longer than what is customary in one’s daily practice while applying the spiritual disciplines for refining the physical body and transforming the emotional nature.
Stringent application of spiritual disciplines as taught in the ancient Hindu science of yoga can rapidly lead one into the fifth step, if one surrenders, trusts and is ready to drink deeply the elixir of awakening.