“When the student is ready, the master appears.”
~ Buddhist Proverb
When something or someone wonderful happens in our lives many of us feel grateful and lucky, especially if our good fortune happens seemingly by chance.
Can you recall times or incidents when you felt really lucky? Have you ever thought that something or someone in your life was a wonderful blessing? Have you ever considered yourself lucky to be alive? Blessed to be living during important times?
I want to share with you a story about the luckiest day and biggest blessing of my life – a blessing which I couldn’t understand when it happened and can’t yet fully appreciate. Because of what happened that day, I am happier than ever before, enjoying a wonderful life on our precious planet and able to share with others ever more love, happiness and gratitude.
Paradoxically, this biggest blessing of my life followed my most painful experience, and has helped me realize that even my life’s most difficult experiences have been disguised blessings, which have helped me to open and to evolve spiritually.
In 1976, during a psychologically traumatic divorce separating me from my young children, I experienced an extraordinary and dramatic rebirth experience opening me to the spiritual dimensions of life.
Before the divorce, my most memorable spiritual experiences had happened in hospital delivery rooms when, in my presence, my former wife Naomi gave birth to our children, Jessica and Joshua.
But beginning with my dramatic rebirth experience and spiritual opening, I gradually have learned that each birth – and every other appearance and experience in this world – originates with unseen energies arising in Infinite Awareness; that our true essence and identity is eternal spirit, beyond form – beyond birth and death; and thus, that spirituality, consciousness and mind, are of immeasurably preeminent importance to us as genesis of all physical or material appearances.
I couldn’t have experienced these blessings but for what happened on the luckiest day of my life – April 15, 1978 – two years after my spiritual rebirth experience.
On that day I received a spiritual initiation from an extraordinary Holy man – venerable Hindu guru Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji).* Until meeting Guruji, I knew very little about Gurus or their teachings and had no intention of becoming involved with a spiritual teacher. Nor did I have any idea of how a rare and authentic Guru could help me both in this world and from subtle planes – like an incarnate ‘guardian angel’. So, I couldn’t begin to imagine how fortunate I was.
Before meeting Guruji, I didn’t understand the karmic law that we reap as we sow. But since then I have learned that in this world nothing – however mysterious – escapes the law of cause and effect. So I now intuit that the biggest blessing of my life did not happen by chance; but, that it was my destiny to meet Guruji as my spiritual master and that I was led to him through synchronicity.
Before meeting Guruji, I wasn’t familiar with Indian culture or religion. But I began to have synchronistic experiences which seemed associated with India.
First, Mahatma Gandhi surprisingly and vividly appeared to me as an inner spiritual guide advising me at various times in response to my questions to him, even though I then knew little about him and hadn’t invoked him. (Later I learned that Gandhi had been a lawyer, and that from childhood his principal spiritual practice was constant repetition of the name “Rama” – an Indian name for God which was his last utterance on his assassination in 1948.)
Soon thereafter, in Hawaii while lost in a jungle-like nature preserve and frightened, I spontaneously and inexplicably began calling and repeating “Rama” – a name for God which I’d never before recited in this life, found my way out of the jungle tangle, and immediately thereafter began seeing my own aura, and afterwards auras of others.
Later, in San Francisco, I was suddenly awakened from deep sleep one night to behold (sitting up with eyes wide open) an extraordinarily vivid vision of a golden Indian Divine Mother which morphed into a golden image of myself.
Thereafter, at night before retiring, I began seeing blurred inner visions of an elderly Indian man with a beard, though I had not yet begun meditating regularly.
Apart from these “inner” experiences there was a series of “outer” synchronicities that led me to Guruji.
Attempting to scientifically understand what was happening to me after my spiritual re-birth experience, I found and read with tremendous interest and fascination a medical case study book by Lee Sannella, MD, entitled: “Kundalini-Psychosis or Transcendence” about an esoteric psychophysiological transformation process long known to Indian yogis and adepts but not to Western medicine; a process initiated by awakening of dormant ‘kundalini’ energy at the base of the spine.
The book defined the kundalini process as an “evolutionary process taking place in the human nervous system”. As I read therein medical case studies of fifteen different people undergoing the kundalini process, I realized that I too had been experiencing that process since my April 1976 spontaneous rebirth episode; and, that the kundalini process might explain some of my ‘weird’ new experiences.
Thereupon, I wanted to meet Dr. Sannella, who practiced in the Bay Area as both a psychiatrist and ophthalmologist. On learning that he was a principal officer of the California Society For Psychical Study, I joined the society and began attending its bi-monthly meetings, where I met him.
One evening in early April 1978, I attended a regular meeting of the Society. As I entered the meeting room, I saw a poster announcing a forthcoming series of meditation programs at the University Christian Church in Berkeley. The poster featured a prominent picture of an elderly man with a gray beard. As the meeting progressed, I irresistibly kept looking at the poster. Something about the picture of the old man fascinated me.
After the formal meeting concluded, I asked Dr. Sannella about the pictured meditation teacher and his announced meditation programs. Dr. Sannella told me that this would be an exceptional opportunity for “darshan” of an Indian master yogi, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, with rare power to activate and guide the Kundalini transformation process, which when activated could accelerate spiritual evolution but cause problems without such guidance. (I later learned that Dr. Sannella had received an initiation from this master yogi.)
I took a printed flyer with details of the schedule and decided to attend the first of the announced meditation programs. A crucially important new life phase was about to begin.
The meditation programs proved unlike anything I had anticipated or ever before experienced. At the front of the room was a pleasant, bright-eyed elderly man with a beard, wearing a white robe, and accompanied by an interpreter. Unknown to me, this small elderly gentleman was then about 100 years old, and had attained an exceptionally advanced state of spiritual evolution with unbelievable mystical powers which were largely esoteric in the West and clearly beyond the comprehension of Western science.
I soon began experiencing some of those extraordinary powers, and began perceiving him differently than anyone else I’d ever yet met.
In the interpreter’s introductory remarks we were informed that Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas was empowered to awaken dormant kundalini energy via thought, gaze, sound or touch; that in the ensuing meditation program we were to be given an experience of communication of this energy via the sound of sacred Sanskrit mantras, which he would sing. We were instructed to sit with closed eyes, watch our breath, and listen to the mantras.
Listening to Dhyanyogi sing Sanskrit mantras was for me reminiscent of hearing Jewish cantors singing Hebrew prayers and chants. But I had never before felt such intense subtle energy. Nor had I ever before perceived someone with a luminous silvery aura like his. After the singing, audience questions were entertained and answered via interpreter. On conclusion of the program, I decided to – and did – attend the next night’s program. It was similar to the first, and I experienced it similarly. And so I decided to attend the final program.
At the last program I experienced Dhyanyogi’s exceptional spiritual energy more intensely than ever before, and felt somehow changed by it in an ineffable way. That program ended with an announcement that on Sunday morning Dhyanyogi would be conferring a shaktipat initiation on anyone requesting it, after they made appropriate arrangements. It was explained that this shaktipat initiation would entail his formal transfer to each initiate of Divine shakti energy via touch and otherwise.
Still an uptight lawyer, I felt quite reluctant to participate in an esoteric initiation involving unknown formal commitments to an Indian guru with whom I was barely familiar. So I didn’t sign up for the shaktipat initiation, but retained the contact information for shaktipat participants. I returned to my San Francisco studio apartment still experiencing the intense subtle energies which had been transmitted that night, and feeling quite strange – like I’d never before felt.
Within a few minutes after entering my apartment, I spontaneously began extraordinarily intense crying and sobbing, as had first happened during my 1976 rebirth experience. Then, with closed eyes I beheld amazing inner visions. First I saw a small bright blue circle. Gradually, the vivid circle grew larger and larger. Then, within the circle, with the clarity of a good color TV image, I beheld Dhyanyogi, who had come for an inner visit knowing I was in a receptive state of consciousness after meditating with him in Berkeley.
I had learned from my inner experience with Gandhi, that disembodied spirits could intentionally manifest to me while I was in an ‘alpha state of consciousness’. But this was my first such experience with an incarnate being. And thereupon I suddenly realized that, long before I met or heard about him, it was Guruji who had frequently appeared to me as the blurred inner image of an elderly man with a beard.
This experience and realization changed my mind about taking the shaktipat initiation. I thought “this yogi is someone very special, who I must learn more about.” So, the next day I phoned and made arrangements to participate in the esoteric initiation ceremony.
During the ceremony I was given a sacred mantra to repeat as a primary spiritual practice. Like Gandhi’s mantra and the mantra I had first spontaneously repeated in Hawaii, it was a Rama mantra. Also, I was given a Sanskrit spiritual name: “Rasik”. Before leaving the ceremony I asked Guruji’s assistant for the meaning of “Rasik”, and was quite surprised and puzzled when he replied “one engrossed in devotion”. He wrote this new spiritual name and its meaning on the cover of a small meditation instruction pamphlet which I had received after the initiation ceremony.
“Why has a secular lawyer like me being given a name like this?”, I wondered. The answer to that question gradually became quite evident.
After meeting Guruji in 1978, I was fortunate to see and be with him on various occasions during his remaining time in the US – mostly in group retreats and meditations. In his holy presence, I was invariably moved to intense devotional tears. And more and more Guruji’s saintly simplicity, compassion, love, and humility captured my heart.
And as he presciently foresaw in bestowing the name “Rasik”, I became and have ever since remained “engrossed in devotion”, intensely yearning for the Divine, and often spontaneously calling and weeping for “Rama” with deep emotion of devotion.
In December, 1979, Guruji was interviewed for a “New Dimensions” radio broadcast, which is linked below. I was lucky enough to have been present then and to have briefly participated in that interview, explaining how I became Guruji’s disciple.
During the interview, Guruji told how he had come to the United States in 1976, to find and help American devotees many of whom he had previously seen during a near death visit with Lord Rama, the aspect of universal Divinity most emphasized in Guruji’s devotional practices.
Further he explained the importance of meditation and “shaktipat” and how his kundalini yoga path was not a religion but a spiritual practice and science bringing lasting inner peace and happiness to individuals of any belief or religious affiliation. He concluded the interview by chanting mantras with which he subtly transmitted his exceptional spiritual energies.
[To listen to interview click here]
In addition to emanating an amazingly intense shakti energy field, Guruji displayed extraordinary physical prowess. I saw him as a centenarian demonstrating difficult yogic postures – like head stands – and walking so fast on a beach that young people had to jog to keep up with his extraordinary pace.
But, after four years of tireless efforts in the US, Guruji became extremely debilitated and in 1980 was obliged to return to India. My apartment in San Francisco, was the last place in the US where he stayed for a few weeks. During that period I was blessed not only with his holy presence but with rare opportunities to speak with him directly.
On one of those memorable occasions, I effusively and spontaneously exclaimed to him: “Guruji, the day I met you was the luckiest day of my life!” After a pregnant pause, his unforgettable reply was: “That’s true.”
More than thirty years have now passed since I received shaktipat initiation. But the kundalini evolutionary process which Guruji initiated still continues. Thanks to Guruji’s subtle guidance, it seems irresistibly to be removing my egoic limitations, so that there is today (self-identified with this life-form) much less “Ron” and much more “Ram” than there was on April 15, 1978. Like ‘magical’ spiritual alchemy, the kundalini shakti is transmuting and transforming Ron’s humanity to Divinity.
At age 102, Guruji returned to India where he spent his fourteen remaining years until leaving his physical body at age 116. Nonetheless since then, with tears of deep devotion and gratitude, I have continued to experience (at subtle levels of awareness) his profoundly transformative shakti energy.
Thus, from the depths of my heart, I still feel that the day I met Guruji was the luckiest day of my life.
* See Facebook page Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas for a brief biography of Guruji, and many photos.