In this diary of yogic revelations Deepa Kodikal takes us on a gripping adventure of inner awakening. During the odyssey into the spiritual unknown we encounter rishis, yogis and deities, experience moments of mystical enchantment and the terror of entering nirvikalpa samadhi for the first time, riding the roller-coaster of spiritual excitement into the bliss and calm of atma dnyana, the self-realization. We come face to face with God attaining oneness with the Absolute Reality.
Told with unusual frankness... The voice of Truth has its own unmistakable authenticity. . . a model of non-appropriation.
—M P Pandit, The Hindu
Tourney is a true and unusual account... unputdownable.
Extraordinary diary. . . rich contents.. . elegant, graceful style... leaves a lasting impression. . . stokes the fires of detachment and dispassion. . . A rare book that should not be missed by spiritual aspirants.
—SM, Prabuddha Bharata
Deepa Kodikal, a graduate in science, has varied tastes. She has taken training in playing the sitar, Indian dance and music, and glider-flying. She has written and directed plays, and is a painter. She is interested in ceramic art and gourmet cooking. Her Teachings of the Inner Light: A Blueprint for Right Living(also published by Viva) has received wide critical acclaim.
The editor, Raja Kodikal, a science graduate and an industrialist, is himself a keen student of mysticism. He has made this selection from the author’s copious notes.
A vast body of writings is available about the experiences of the seekers of True Knowledge; of the practitioners of spiritual disciplines, such as, different types of yoga; of the saints seeking the Lord in love and compassion; of the mystics; of the sufis; of the renunciates practising the rigours of penance or hatha-yoga or self-imposed isolation. These writings are mostly ‘post-facto’, in that the spiritual practices and experiences are recollected at a later date and written down either by the seekers themselves or by their followers.
Rarely does one come across a spiritual saga of the seeker’s trials and tribulations, his innermost thoughts and mystic experiences, written down by the seeker himself whilst he is actually going through them, during his spiritual ‘apprenticeship’, and on to the revelation of Truth, of God, in whatever form or aspect it is vouchsafed to him.
A jotting down of every thought, every experience, as it is lived, with no diluting on subsequent reflection. No emendation the light of later experiences of a more advanced level. No filtration through the minds of the followers, and thus no distortions or misconceptions.
Rare though such memoirs of mystic events and spiritual adventures are, still they are mostly by seekers of Truth as it is revealed in the form of their favourite deity, the Lord in an incarnate form; or, of Truth revealed in manifestation of primal or primal sound, without an ascribable source. Still, these at revelations of Truth in duality ... the experiencer is distinct from the experienced. On the one hand, the spiritual practitioner, the devotee, the yogi, or the saint; on the other, the Lord. The seeker and the sought. The lover and the beloved. This distinction is maintained. However, the rarest of all are the writings of those beings who are blessed with the ‘becoming’ of oneness with the Lord, the non-dual ‘experience’ of Oneness, of merging one’s identity with the Universality.
And these extremely rare, as-it-occurred memoirs of a non- dualistic ‘experiencer’ are to be treasured, as they give us a glimpse of the ultimate in spiritual attainment, at least insofar as it is understood by man in his development so far.
Having pointed out the rarity of an aviation’s ‘experiences’ being made available to posterity in first-person accounts, one must now look at the statistical odds of a person being the witness in person, in continual attendance, at the ‘advaitic’ flowering of, at the non-dualistic ‘experiencing’ by, a spiritual seeker. The odds could be one in millions
It so happens that I was given the perhaps unique opportunity of being literally the bedside witness of the tribulations undergone by a human being in the attainment of ‘advaita’, of oneness with the Lord, of the merger of the subject and the object, of the annihilation of the individual ego and its dissolution into the Universal. I was the witness to the hardships, yes, and the pain endured with extreme fortitude by both the mind and the body of the person so ‘chosen’ to be blessed with such an exalted, blissful spiritual state. It was all an inseparable mixture of discomfort and helplessness combined with indescribable ecstasy and bliss, according to the author.
My wife, the keeper of this day-to-day account of her state of mind and thoughts and ‘experiences’ during a period when she was first vouchsafed the ‘advaitic’ state, had, surprisingly, never aspired for anything even remotely resembling ‘advaita’. On the contrary, for her, the rightful place for God was as a deity kept in the household altar, to be remembered with love and worshipped. The reader will agree that it is most unusual for a person who had never read scriptures or philosophical treatises or undertaken any rituals or penances or yogic disciplines to be made the recipient of not just the more prevalent dualistic revelations but the extremely rare non-dualistic, ‘advaitic’, self-realization.
Through all this period, which is described in detail in the billowing pages, I was by her side most of each day and throughout each night. Being myself a voracious reader of the lives of spiritual seekers and of mystic accounts and spiritual literature, and having practised ‘sadhana’ with the blessings of and initiation by my Sadguru, I could appreciate and, to a certain extent, evaluate the author’s thoughts and ‘experiences’ narrated in her writings. I was ‘there’; I had the ring-side seat. I was the Sanjaya of Mahabharata, in our bedroom, as each day, each night; the author went through both the bliss and the pains of her extraordinary spiritual transformation.
I could witness for myself; admittedly from the outside, the beginnings of a never-ending spiritual adventure, and its profound accumulating effect on the life of an otherwise ordinary though highly multi-talented housewife; how she battled to maintain her equipoise and win mastery over the mysterious forces bestowing upon her, though unasked for, the divine boon of oneness with the Lord, the awareness, the realization that God is within man, and that, in truth, man himself is God.
The author did not show me her diary during the time she wrote it from the copious notes she maintained on a day-to-day basis, On being allowed to read it later on, I immediately realized its immense value as a contemporary, first-person, authentic document of a person going through a spiritual transformation culminating in ‘atma-dnyana’, self-realization of a non-dualistic ‘advaitic’ nature.
The author was averse to the idea of her diary being published. She had been totally factual in her writing, leaving herself vulnerably open to possible misinterpretations. For, finally, spiritual yearnings and aspirations can only be fulfilled experientially, in a manner unique to each individual.
Fortunately I was able to convince her of the importance of her spiritual log-book for aspirants in all walks of life, irrespective their religion, caste or creed. I am confident that this journal about the author’s journey within the Self will be a beacon of encouragement to the many who, with faith and hope, sit in meditation, or worship before the altar, or contemplate upon the mystery that is Life and wonder at its origin and its purpose.
The author and I would like to acknowledge the tremendous encouragement and help given to both of us, at various times, by several of our friends who are travellers on the spiritual path, as also by others, in the course of getting this book ready for publication: Among them, our special thanks to our friend and mentor, the late Kisanbhau Nemlekar; to our cousin, Vasanti, for patiently making sense out of the hand-written text and diligently typing the first draft; and to my colleague, M. Gopalakrishnan, for preparing a faultless, final typescript.
To attempt to render thanks to my Sadguru, we feel, would be inadequate in any words.
Despite a continuing demand for it, A Journey within the Self has remained out of print for the last several years.
Then in 2005, the author’s latest book Teachings of the Inner Light was published. It is steadily acquiring an increasing repute as a book of excellence for the experiential authority, simplicity, lucidity and the persuasiveness of its blueprint for right living. It inspires the modern reader to a secular pursuit of spiritual development. One need not wait to encounter an enlightened personality for spiritual guidance to embark on a journey of self- improvement, that, over a period, automatically transforms life and living for the better.
The increasing popularity of Teachings of the Inner Light has also led to a fresh, wider demand for A Journey within the Self Recognizing this, Viva Books, the publishers of Teachings, have come forward to bring out and enlarged third edition of the Journey.
A fresh chapter, ‘The Years Roll by’, has been added to this edition, acquainting the reader with the author’s further spiritual development from 1981 to 1986, when events narrated in the main body of the book took place. It re-emphasizes the main theme of both the books, namely the relationship between Man and God.
This journal is a day-to-day account of the unfolding of a saga where the actor, the action and the audience are one. In this oneness is contained all.
In this journal is contained the truth of and the reasons for our existence as was revealed to me step by step. I had not read any scriptures prior to my experiences outlined here, nor had I any yearning at all for Knowledge of the Divine. Life was perfect for me. I needed no change. Desire for this or hankering for that was unknown to me. Then one day I began perceiving a new dimension to life, stark and spread everywhere. I began to wonder how I had been blind to it when it was all-pervasive and so obvious. How could I have been so insensitive to all this divine grandeur?
I began writing down every thought, every feeling, every event, as it occurred to me, as it was revealed to me. It was an urge I could not suppress. Impelled by an inner force, I put my pen to the paper. I have not striven for a literary style. I have not strained for any particular effect. I could not have possibly done so because the words would just pour out of me and the hand would rush across the page.
In communicating, one makes use of the language one is familiar with. I too have done the same. Even at the cost of being unoriginal in style. I did not want to break the stream of Knowledge that was pouring out merely to be original.
When the stuff is one’s own, one has the leisure to coin clever phrases and new words, but when one is conjoined to a hidden source of Knowledge and does not want to either miss or hinder the flow, explaining with the familiar words and phrases is the wiser thing to do. Words which had no meaning to me, profundities which I had not grasped before, presented themselves with a clarity that only an inner experience can give. All that I experienced, all that I perceived, all that I gathered, I wrote down daily, even at the risk of being repetitive. It is not that I underestimate the intelligence or the grasp of the reader. But this is a faithful chronicle of my state and my feelings at the various times. Besides, I feel that the repetition, wherever it occurs, has come in the right context and makes a point complete and clear. In any case, the subject being profound, repetition will, in my opinion, make certain points sink in all the more deeply, which will be all to the good. The unfolding of the Knowledge led me from one discovery to another and held me fascinated constantly; and the same points were shown in different lights and connected to various others so precisely that a grand pattern emerged through this very repetition.
This fascination and this grand pattern I would like to share with my readers and hope that they too surge forward in their own discoveries and investigations. A lot of people will find that they• too have experienced similar things, perhaps without fathoming their importance.
There is neither anything new nor my own in this journal; everything in these pages is purely that which was revealed to me. I have only been an instrument to jot them down. The diary covers a period of my life starting when I was forty- three years of age. Educated in the best of schools and colleges in New Delhi, I have been in Bombay since my marriage at twenty- one. Groomed in a life of relatively easy accomplishments in education and other activities, such as glider-flying, dance, drama, painting, I was, after marriage, deeply involved in being the wife of a successful executive (who later became an industrialist). My husband Baja and our three growing daughters, Nandita, Aqeela and Akshata, with our friends and relatives, formed my charmed circle. Then along came our fourth child, Tejaswi, the Shining One. She was less than three years old when the narrative commences.
Since childhood, I had been experiencing things differently from the way others normally do. Of course, at the time, I was nut aware of the exclusive nature of my experiences. I took them for granted, imagining them to be natural and common enough. I was also, naturally, not knowing that these were perhaps the lure-runners of such experiences as are narrated in these pages. It is only now, on checking with a cross-section of people, that I have found that very few have had similar experiences, at least not as consistently and over such a long period as myself.
Early in life, when I was eight or ten, I realized that I could direct my dreams. Ordinary dreams or nice dreams were, of course, a pleasure to have; but, during nightmares, of which I had a generous quota, this gift of directed ‘propulsion’ acted like an invincible arm our against any fear. I was a timid child and was always petrified at night. In my nightmares, I would be perpetually followed by a band of gypsies, or find a big feline stalking me or trying to enter the house, or I would have encounters with ghosts. I hunted thus repeatedly, one day I mentioned to my mother that I was scared at nights. An off-hand remark by her, to make light of my fright and to reassure me, changed my life altogether. She said, ‘There is nothing to be scared of It is your dream. Only you can see those creatures. They can’t see you.’
I was stunned. How true, I thought. If the creatures peopling my dreams cannot see me, then if I were to stand still where I was, they would bypass me. I would be safe! With a herculean effort of will, I put this to the test at night, in the nightmare that followed. I was being followed by the same band of gypsies. With ill the courage I could gather, I stood my ground and did not lice as I normally did. And, to my utter disbelief, I saw the band moving on from either side of me, oblivious of me. I was invisible to them. They could not see me, they could not feel me, and what’s more, they walked through me as if I was not there. I stood trembling in the middle of the road a long while, digesting this incredible occurrence.
The marvel of this discovery never really left me. A new vista what is possible had opened before me. Now I was my own master. Fully armed thus, nightmare thereafter became, after the initial fright and a slight uncertainty, a challenge from which I would come out unscathed.
From hereon, it was only a matter of time before I concluded that I could do all sorts of impossible things in a dream. So, when the gypsies arrived next, instead of willing myself invisible, I jumped like a blob of flubber and landed on a branch high up a tree. Now nightmares were fun. Any time the gypsies or the tiger or the lion appeared, I would become invisible or become a piece of flubber, or would just take off on a sortie. Now dreams became flights of fantasy.
Pleasant dreams I would let be, to see what they had to offer me. Besides, it took tremendous effort, at least in the beginning, to will myself to do such bizarre things. Of course, I need not have gone to all this trouble, as the gypsies could not see me in any case. All the same, I learnt a thing or two about flying and that was worth it.
Soon I found out that I was conscious in my dreams of the fact that I was dreaming and that it was not a reality. One day, I dreamt of a whole lot of skeins of wool in brilliant colours stacked in shelves as in a shop. I was all a-flutter because I could not choose any colour for myself, as each colour was so vibrant. I was greedily looking at the colours and wishing I could make up my mind, when my sister seemed to say, ‘What are you getting so excited about? This is only a dream. You won’t find all this in the morning.’
I realized that what she said was true. No point in choosing non-existent things. But, nevertheless, I chose a colour, reasoning that, if I were ready with my choice, I could avoid a similar frenzy of uncertainty the next day when we were actually going to the market to buy wool. Right enough, the next day, I made a quick buy of the same colour and came home happy and excited. From that day, the indecision involved in any choice departed. I simply knew exactly what I wanted. From then on, I was always conscious in a dream that I was dreaming. This reduced my fright as also my disappointments in the mornings.
When I was about six, I heard about the grandeur of the Mediterranean Sea. That night, I dreamt I was in a liner cruising through an ocean and I knew intuitively that it was the Mediterranean. It was a normal black-and-white dream, and I saw that the much-heard-of gorgeous blue of the ocean was missing. I fancied that either this was not the Mediterranean, or that the elders had exaggerated. At once, the ocean turned a spectacular blue. And since then, all my dreams have been in colour and in vista-vision. The blue of the ocean, the white of the foam and the super-liner, and the black of the slicing of water by the liner, are as vivid today.
I began bringing the objects of my dream into sharper focus. If a tree was far away, I would adjust the focus as one adjusts the binoculars or a microscope. Now each vein of each leaf, each flower, each insect, each grain of mud could be seen. The view could be brought forward or pushed back, the vision made sham or blurred, the colours made dark or light. All at will. It became a big fun game with me. Now, it was not restricted to dreams alone. Even when I was awake, I could close my eyes and conjure up any object or a scene, and repeat similar exercises. I could manage it perfectly.
Often, if I heard of, say, a temple on a hill, and wished I could see it, at night I would be allowed a glimpse of it. And, not only would I see the deity in a magnum size; I would also be shown the entire bill and the elaborate ritual of ‘puja’ and given the sacred ‘prasad’. All this to the accompaniment of the mellifluous tolling of the temple bells. I began seeing temple after temple, with deities as large as mountains, beautifully carved and alive. And I would always be travelling, not by any modern mode of transport, but by transmigration.
Often, I would foresee a coming event in my dreams; or sometimes get to view it after it had occurred, if I had somehow missed it. In this manner, I saw many weddings and other functions which I had not attended, and the events in them would be found to be matching the actual happenings when I would check them out with the right persons.
Along with this, even at that young age, I became aware of a state of perfection in all that made up life. Life was so perfect, as it was that even to crack a smile was to disturb this perfection.
So, I would often look at people, even acquaintances and friends, without giving even a flick of a smile. I would stare at them like an onlooker would, not participating in their talk or their excitement, not empathizing with them. I would be aware that they would be taking me to be anti-social or frozen-face. However, try as I might, the smile or the excitement would not come. There seemed to be a lock within, which would not open. And that was because, deep within me, there was calm and peace of such stillness and depth that it held tight the ripple that could have ended in a smile. But, surprisingly, I did riot lack in friends, and frozen-face notwithstanding, I was still much sought after by my friends. Perhaps, the peace, the quiet and the inner joy were somehow transmitted to them!
A trio of deities, Lord Krishna, Shri Ram and Maha-Vishnu, held me captive day and night. The nectar I derived from thinking about them was not a meagre quantum. Very considerate to a young devotee, they never Left me alone in my thoughts. Although strictly an outdoor girl, full of play and mischief and always in company of friends, I still led a private and intimate life with my beloved gods, even amid school and studies.
Bhakti Yoga (11)
Hatha Yoga (58)
Karma Yoga (18)
Kriya Yoga (53)
Kundalini Yoga (34)
Yoga For Children (9)
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