From the time of my first spiritual awakening, I have understood that the most significant sorrow in the human soul is the sense of separation and the lack of understanding any significance to one’s life. Many feel a deep sense of isolation; feel separate from their families, from others and from their own souls. And therefore from the source of That which manifested their Being. This condition is the ultimate spiritual malady, known as soul-sickness. Our seeming inability to feel at One with the Omnipresence is at the heart of the existential dilemma. And not feeling we really belong. Here or anywhere else.
The point of my life’s work was made vividly poignant for me during a Conference in Israel for Peace in the Middle East Through Yoga (just outside Jerusalem)—to which I was an invited delegate—when the Master of Ceremonies told us the story of his visit to an Old People’s Home. He said the talk he was about to give went out the window when—as he began—an old lady in a wheelchair rolled up to him and asked piteously, like a little child, “Please, have you come to take me home?”
He was devastated.
As he said these words, I was overcome with a powerful rush of emotion. My throat choked. Tears filled my eyes. I vividly recalled a scene at the age of thirteen, when my father had taken me to visit an orphanage. Whilst he talked with the director, a little boy had sidled up to me, put his hand in mine and pleadingly asked, “Uncle, have you come to take me home?” At the time I was stricken to the heart, because even I felt like an orphan in my own home. I was powerless to do anything for this poor lonely little boy. But his request had unknowingly burned deep into my soul. At that moment, as the Master of Ceremonies spoke—it all came back to me. Suddenly I saw and felt the connections. Rising, my hands trembling, I took the microphone—and not caring that tears were streaming down my face—I shared my story with 600 people in the audience. I had just made the sudden discovery that ever since—I had dedicated the rest of my life to ‘taking people home’.
And this book is one of the ways I hope to achieve it.
If you are spiritually seeking to make sense of your life, You are the Light will help you ‘join the dots’ in comprehension, which many other books leave open or gloss over altogether.
Some of these writings are transcripts from recordings of question and answer periods, known as Satsangs, during sessions in India and from workshops in other countries around the world. Others are sudden insights and revelations which arose spontaneously in contemplative moments.
In many instances I have elaborated on my immediate responses to these questions with further clarifications after deeper reflection, making concepts as clear as possible for those new to them.
As certain extracts are taken from workshop recordings, there will inevitably be a number of repetitions here and there, in order to make understanding clear in context. I am attempting to express the same things in as many different ways that I can. Some people may use this book for reference, just dipping in and looking up a particular concept when they need it, so certain aspects will necessarily echo explanations made elsewhere in these pages. I trust this repetition will help your assimilation of the concepts. By the time you have absorbed this A-Z, I am sure that somewhere along the line you will have had a few Aha! moments—or what I call quantum leaps in consciousness.
If at times you perceive what appear to be inconsistencies or contradictions in the way I express things, it is only because I was speaking to the level of understanding of my questioner at a specific time, by talking his or her language. When I am relating to people at different degrees of perception and understanding, I am obliged to speak accordingly. Therefore I am not talking pure advaita all the time, but speaking according to where people are at, so I may switch from the Absolute viewpoint to the relative where necessary.
For example, I may state that in my understanding, “there is no such thing as “mind” or “God” (as a mental conception) and elsewhere, in another place, I might say, “it is God’s gift to humanity” or “it’s your mind playing tricks.” Realise that these are merely figures of speech used simply to make an issue clearer according to the mindset of my questioner at the time. This is simply because we have to use inadequate words to get the ineffable across in a way that it is most easily assimilated.
For those who are fixated on achieving Self-realisation, I offer many steps and pointers in that direction, yet ultimately I may say ‘forget about Self-Realisation;’ it is a stumbling block
The ripe reader will understand and not baulk at what may appear to be contradictions.
Just take what speaks to you for the present and leave the rest for another reading a year or so later. You will be surprised at what you missed!
In any case, it is your true Self—your essential nature—reminding you of what is inherently known. If any of the truths expressed here resonate within you, then you are recognising the Reality of something you have known all along, but may have not consciously formulated. If it is not something that you already know deep down, you would not be able to re-cognise it. It is your own innate Knowledge that recognises the Truth when it is felt in the Heart of your Being.
It is my fervent hope that something in the many different ways of expressing the spiritual insights of advaita will awaken a joyous jolt of recognition in the state of awareness in which you presently exist.
What then, is Advaita? It is not a tradition or a philosophy: but the revelatory transmission of sages who have attained Oneness in the highest experiential awareness of the Reality—the way Existence really is—just as it is (otherwise known as Knowledge of the Absolute).
However, for someone who has never been granted a mystical experience, it is virtually impossible for them to grasp the insights of a mystic, or for the mystic to make such insights comprehensible to the materialistic mentality of those who tend to be rigid and fixed in their beliefs and concepts. And when one attempts to explain advaitic awareness, the ‘rational’ sceptic will denigrate any such effort, being convinced that their narrow viewpoint is that of the ‘real world.’
It is a thankless task, akin to trying to explain different colours to someone blind from birth. However, these writings are an attempt to bridge that gap for the sincere seeker.
As a mystic, having being blessed with Cosmic Consciousness (which was the turning point of my life) a month or so before my 24th birthday, and later, through Samadhi states and a Near Death Experience, I have done my best to make these mystical perceptions comprehensible to any sincere and enquiring reader. In this book you will find the quintessential understandings of the Sages of all times, explained as simply as possible, and evaluated and aligned according to my own experience and a lifetime of contemplation.
But if you read this from the point of view of your intellect—that is, your education, your conditioning, your beliefs and previous conceptions (and I know it is difficult not to)—you will not derive the most benefit from these sharings. If you really wish to understand something, you need to be open-minded, open-hearted and without preconceptions.
One who tends to immediately argue from a fixed viewpoint is not willing to explore a possible alternative truth regarding what might really be the actuality of our existence.
The insights in this book are not to be wolfed down like reading a novel, but to be imbibed, bit by bit, and allowed to settle softly in your soul. Do not try to comprehend the significance mentally, but simply absorb the essence of these offerings with the intuitive intelligence of your heart.
Only in this way can this work hope to be of value.
Accept what speaks to your heart right now and leave the rest for another day.