We know and understand something in totality only by experiencing it. The succulent taste of a juicy fruit is best understood, not by reading or theorising about it but by savouring and relishing it slowly. Similarly, one would have heard or read about the expanse of an ocean, but only when he stands before that vast blue does one really ‘know’ what an ocean is.
Humans are creatures of experience. One of the purposes of our lives is to experience the diverse life on this plane. In fact, we the Souls have arrived from our Source so that we can experience the rich and varied life that has been created here on this planet. We grasp these experiences through our senses and make meaning out of them through our faculties of feeling and understanding.
This process of experiencing occurs at various levels, from the gross to the subtle. We experience the gross in the course of our everyday lives, in various physical sensations of sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch. A slightly elevated experience happens when we are moved by a melodious musical note or by the beauty of a Sunrise. A further refined experience occurs when we feel love and affection towards another individual.
The highest and most refined experience happens when the Soul experiences the subtlest aspect of all Creation — the Light that shines deep within everything! This experience of Light is the greatest experience that a Soul can have while still existing in a physical body on this Earth.
Why Experience Light?
The Soul is equipped with unlimited capacities to experience Creation. But since it has to survive in the diverse environment of Creation, it is surrounded by the sheaths of the body-mind-intellect of an individual. These sheaths restrict the experiences that a Soul can have because of their own limitations. So a Soul can perceive only a part of the experience which can be grasped by the mind.
The mind, which is a wonderful tool of perception, is not unlimited like the Soul in its capacities. It can perceive experiences only to a limit, and beyond that, the excessive experiences form a residue around it. These residual experiences, also called as Karmas, force the Soul to incarnate again and again in various lives in order to go through or clear those experiences. The Karmas gathered over innumerable lifetimes, form thick layers over our mind. They hinder the capacities of the mind and also block the channels of communication of the Soul with the Higher Intelligence.
So the awareness of an individual remains, most of the time, at the level of the body-mind-intellect. The person perceives himself not as the radiant Soul, but as an ordinary human being, living a life of struggles and triumphs between life and death. Being cut off from the higher intelligence, the individual leads his life as per the directions of the collective intelligence of his body-mind-intellect, also known as the Ego. This limited awareness continues in every lifetime and the individual gets caught in the web of life, restricted by the laws of Creation and re-incarnating again and again according to his Karmas.
The experience of Light breaks all these limitations and awakens an individual to his divine nature!
When the individual experiences Light for the first time, it is similar to waking up after a very long sleep. The awareness shifts from the limited self of body-mind-intellect to the unlimited, luminous Soul. Along with experiencing Creation, the individual will also experience the divine Light that pulsates within everything that is created — even a blade of grass or a raindrop. His perception and hence his entire life undergoes a profound transformation when this higher experience happens.
The processes involved in this experience of Light also results in clearing of Karmas and opening up of the blocked communication channels with the Higher Intelligence. The individual Soul re-establishes its contact with the Ocean of Light — God Himself! Many dormant faculties become activated and the individual gains access to great Knowledge, Energies and Wisdom. He breaks free from all limitations and confinements of this world, and continues to experience life and reality here, while being established in the permanent reality — Light. He regains the freedom to move through the innumerable worlds and dimensions of Creation and becomes a truly unlimited being, radiating the light and love of the Supreme Intelligence.
This extraordinary experience is the birth-right of every Soul! Internal purity is the main requirement and the doorway that leads one to this experience. Meditation is one of the main ways through which this can be achieved.
The Initial Stages of Meditations
Meditation is the process of silencing our systems of body, mind and intellect. (The silencing helps the awareness to release itself from the system and then rise and expand in pure consciousness.) A cleansing process also gets initiated when we begin the practice. As our system becomes purer, we become sensitive to the presence of Higher Energies. We will be able to experience these subtle energies during meditations.
As we progress, we slowly begin to experience the various qualities of Light like peace, purity and fulfilment. We experience Love, which is our nature itself. All these spill over to our daily life where we manifest these qualities with less effort. We will be at peace and contented in any situation. We also share unconditionally and accommodate others. We interact with people and approach situations with unbiased love.
As we continue to progress spiritually, we enter the zones of Stillness! We begin to experience deeper states of Peace, which slowly grows towards Bliss. This is also the stage where our awareness, which is usually confined to our system, begins to rise and expand. We feel lighter and lighter as our awareness transcends the limits of our body-mind-intellect and expands. We experience an extraordinary vastness.
As our awareness expands and encompasses all Creation, we begin to experience Oneness with Creation. These two stages of experiencing Expansion and beginning to experience Oneness are commonly referred to as Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
The actual experience of Light starts after these stages!
Higher Stages of Experiencing
The stage where one experiences Light is called as Turiya. By this time, there will be a huge transformation in the individual. The experience of Light leads to further transformation and growth. In this stage the veil of Maya drops and the individual sees everything in its pristine pure state — as Light itself. He perceives a flying bird, the clouds and the sky as pure light. This is a stage where the individual requires assistance to lead a normal life because he will not be able to distinguish one thing from another. With a few exceptions, most individuals will not be allowed to continue in this stage for longer durations by the Higher Intelligence, as it affects their normal living.
In the next stage, Turiyatheetha, the awareness of the individual expands in other planes and realms of Light. Along with experiencing that expansion, he will still be able to live a normal life, without that higher experience interfering with his life.
In one of the highest stages, the Paripoorna Samadhi, the individual will be experiencing all the dimensions of existence, all the manifestations of Light and yet continue to live this life simultaneously. He will be in communion with Light at all times. This is the stage of perfection which is attained by highly evolved Souls.
Revised Approach Towards Sadhana
In the earlier age of Kali Yuga and in the present transitory phase, one had to go through various purifying processes like cleansing the naadis and activating the chakras, before experiencing Light. All these processes will not be required when we enter the New Light Age. There will be no other medium between an individual and Light.
In the New Light Age, the Light body and other Koshas of the individuals will be highly advanced, pure and equipped with various inbuilt capabilities and potentials. Faculties like telepathy, teleporting, having a direct link with Light etc will be a common occurrence. A new Kundalini energy will be flowing in the entire system. Every individual will be living with a higher awareness. Light will be present everywhere and its help will be taken in every area of life.
With the present understanding, one can say that all of humanity will be in the stage of Paripoorna Samadhi in the New Light Age!
Hence the focus of spiritual growth will be entirely different in the New Age. The present stages of Samadhi will become obsolete and will be replaced with other advanced stages which take the aspirant into areas beyond Paripoorna Samadhi. There will be newer areas of Spiritual Sadhana which are yet to be revealed and understood.
Living in a Light Body
When an individual makes sufficient spiritual progress and experiences Light, he will be able to gather and hold this Light in his system. As he continues to gather more and more Light, the physical body slowly evolves into a Light body, with each cell radiating Light. The Immortals who transcend the laws of birth and death usually live in such advanced systems.
A Light body can be achieved with persistent efforts in any age. These advanced physical bodies will be the ones we use when enter the Light Age. Those who qualify to live in the Light Age will ultimately be able to transmute their present bodies into Light bodies, with extraordinary capabilities and fully functioning faculties.
The Light Age that awaits humanity in the near future is a unique era and part of a new experimentation process. Hence an entirely new and extremely advanced Light body will be available to all those Souls who shift into the Light Age. This advanced body not only helps to live the pure and divine life of the New Age but also assists the individual to make further progress in the higher stages of spiritual Sadhana. It helps in experiencing and holding the very pure and higher frequencies of Light which can be accessed by meditating in those advanced stages.
Enlightenment normally indicates a state where an individual experiences his oneness with Light and all the manifestations of Light, all the time. The Rishis say that the real enlightenment occurs at a much higher level than this. Such a state can be achieved only by those who are ready to serve the higher intelligence and work for the betterment of all creation. This vast growth cannot be achieved by individuals who are focussed on their personal growth.
Enlightenment is a state of a very high order. The awareness of the individual will be connected to Light all the time and the cells of his body also hold a lot of Light. The person will be experiencing Light at all levels and live with an expanded awareness every moment. He will be a channel of Light. The Light that radiates will be experienced by those around him as love and peace. The individual will also radiate knowledge and wisdom which can be grasped by those who’re sensitive by just being in his presence.
An enlightened person is above the general karmic laws that are applicable to others. It is a state of perfection where the individual does not commit mistakes. Such individuals can live as long as they wish and they usually continue to live until the purpose of their life is fulfilled.
The individual who achieves Enlightenment dedicates his life towards working for the betterment of humanity and all life. Such individuals will be advanced spiritual Souls who would’ve focussed on their spiritual growth for many lifetimes.
This state of enlightenment has been achieved only by great Lord and Avatars!
Even this is not the final stage in the spiritual growth of an individual. There are stages which are beyond this very exalted and advanced level of experience. Just as Existence has no end and its mysteries are still being probed by the great Rishis, the avenues for spiritual growth also have no end.
The Rishis say that even Vishwamitra Maharshi, the greatest Soul in Existence who has achieved extraordinary heights, is still growing spiritually!
Conclusion… Other ways to experience Light
Meditations and higher spiritual practices lead us to the experience of Light. Yet these are not the only ways which bring us this divine experience. It is possible to connect to different aspects of Light and its manifestations in various other ways.
When we have no complaints about life and are content and fulfilled we experience Light (or God) as Peace. We experience God as vastness when we expand our emotions and thoughts. We also experience Him as elevatedness when we rise above and view things from a higher angle. We experience Him as purity when we recognise the inherent goodness and selflessness of individuals, of Existence itself. And as Love, when we overflow with affection for another Soul or receive it from others.
We can also witness God in the beauty of Nature around: the sailing clouds, chirping birds, flowing river, blooming flowers or the tender dewdrops on a misty morning. The majestic silence that is intrinsic in Nature can also be felt within ourselves, in moments of deep stillness, in situations of total present-moment awareness. We can experience Him in the exalted qualities of Truth and Honesty. And also in the pristine pure innocence of a child’s smile!
Sri Aurobindo said, ‘All life is Yoga’. When we recognise and feel the sacredness of every moment of our existence, we open ourselves to the influence of Light. When Light arrives into our lives, all confusions, questions and problems end. Light illuminates and divinises every aspect of our lives and guides us further on our journey.
Kindly contemplate on the below two questions. These questions when asked over and over in a state of relaxed concentration, help in taking the awareness of the individual beyond thought, into the realms of direct experience.
These are the fundamental questions of every spiritual seeker. They help the individual to ponder over whom he really is and what is his connection and relation to the whole and the creation around. The contemplation and intellectual understanding, along with the ‘deep feeling’ of the answers to these two questions, move his awareness towards actually experiencing higher truths.
These questions, like Zen Koans, still the mind and take the inquirer beyond contemplation into deeper areas of stillness and experiencing.
Who Am I?
“Who am I” is the famous way given to humanity by the master Ramana Maharshi. The purpose of this question is self-enquiry and this seemingly simple method can help an individual to realise directly that he is a particle of Light at his core. The intellectual realisation leads the individual to actually experience himself as a luminous particle of Light, as a part of an immense Presence. He experiences himself as God, manifested in a form to know Creation. The answer to the question ‘Who Am I?’ becomes evident as a direct experience.
Ask yourself ‘Who Am I?’ over and over and ponder over the answers that your mind throws up.
Where Am I?
The parallel query the individual seeks is “Where am I?” On deep contemplation on this query, the individual understands by direct experience that he exists not just inside a limited form but also everywhere in Creation. He exists in each particle of everything that ever manifested and will manifest further. And he also belongs to no-where, to the nothingness, to the deep void which gave birth to and permeates all of Existence! In essence, the individual is everywhere and also nowhere, all in the present moment, in no-time.
Ask ‘Where Am I?’ again and again and reflect on the answer that arrives with each questioning.