Sahaj Marg emerged in India in the mid-20th century as a practical system of spiritual training suitable to the exigencies of modern life.
It traces its roots to the 'Nakshabandi' order of the late 1800s.
Lalaji, the first spiritual guru of this path, modified the ancient traditions of rituals and disciplines to focus on retaining the spiritual essentials that would enable one to reach inner perfection or God-realization.
His successor, Babuji, further refined this approach, by integrating yogic transmission (pranahuti) with raja yoga. Babuji also set up Shri Ram Chandra Mission, named after Lalaji, to promote spiritual awareness throughout the world.
Meditation in raja yoga can only be taken up after the first six steps of Patanjali's eight-limbed yoga have been mastered - yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara and dharana.
But, according to Babuji, these earlier stages need not be done independently. They are taken up automatically through the sincere practice of meditation.
During meditation, as the body becomes tranquil, posture gets established naturally (asana), breathing slows and flows naturally (pranayama) and due to the cleaning of impressions (sanskaras), self-restraint (yama) and commitment to practice (niyama) are easy to observe.
The mind turns inward and becomes focused (dharana), thus withdrawing from the distractions of the external world (pratyahara).
In Sahaj Marg, not only do you make rapid progress through your own efforts at meditation, but you also receive a significant boost from yogic transmission (pranahuti) that has the effect of turbocharging your spiritual journey.
What is pranahuti?
When a yogi has control over 'prana' or life-force or life energy, it can be brought to the highest state of vibration and transmitted to another person with the explicit purpose of arousing a similar vibration in them.
This yogic transmission is called pranauhti or offering of life-force by which great teachers are able to transmit their own spiritual state to others.
This brings immediate transformation of the receiver, or at the very least, a move up the spiritual ladder.
Please remember that there are no short-cuts on the spiritual path. We all have to do our work in order to progress.
It is a travesty of our modern age that we have come to expect quick-fixes and instant solutions to our spiritual needs too. But, dear reader you are smarter than that.
Here is the brief outline of the practice:
Sit in meditation for an hour thinking that the Divine Light is present in your heart. You don't have to force yourself to see any particular kind of light. Mere supposition will do. Try not to pay attention to any thoughts arising by treating them as uninvited guests.
Sit for half an hour with a suggestion that all complexities and impurities including grossness, darkness and sanskaras are leaving your body through the back in the form of dark smoke. You will have to apply your will to accomplish this cleaning process, but be mindful of not meditating on the very things you are trying to get rid of.
"O Master! Thou art the real goal of human life. We are yet but slaves of wishes putting bar to our advancement. Thou art the only God and power to bring us up to that stage."
Just before going to bed at night, offer prayer in a supplicant's mood asking for forgiveness for any wrong doing during the day.
Fall asleep in a prayerful mode.
A guru, who teaches with the attitude of serving and works for humanity's upliftment without any thought of being revered or worshipped, is a rare gem indeed.
He will be of immense help to one's spiritual journey regardless of the type or technique of meditation he teaches.
Babuji used to say, "Meditation is the foundation of spirituality. If you meditate having your real goal before you, you are sure to arrive at the destination."
You can find more information about Sahaj Marg here.
Full Disclosure: I was initiated into Sahaj Marg eighteen years ago and have been practicing it ever since. I can vouch for Lalaji's and Babuji's teachings, but can not endorse the current President of the mission. Please follow your heart in all matters spiritual, especially if you decide to join the present set-up.
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