1. Unforgettable satsang of a saint!
Once I got an opportunity to attend the satsang of a saint. He told me to write down my spiritual experiences that I narrated to Him that day. So, I am writing down whatever that I had told. This satsang was indeed unforgettable. I was so engrossed in speaking to Him that I don’t remember what and how I spoke. But, I was speaking very easily and spontaneously. And I was unaware of my very existence at that time.
2. When the seeker told that she sees Deity Shiva and Shiva Pindi always in her dream, the saint asks her to worship Shiva as it is her sadhana from past births
My mother and I first came to Ramnathi Ashram, in January 2015. At that time, I told the saint, “I see Lord Shiva and Shiva Pindi in dreams. So far I have not worshiped or performed any spiritual practice of Deity Shiva. So, I don’t understand why.” Then he said to me, “This is the sadhana of your past life. You continue with it. You see what is in your subconscious mind.” These words were etched in my mind.
3. As advised by the Saint I began chanting Om Namah Shivay
From that day onwards, I started chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya.’ As a result, my devotion to Lord Shiva increased a lot. So here is the changes I realized and the experiences I had.
3A. Spiritual experiences pertaining to chanting
3A 1. Chanting spontaneously along with the breath, when walking the speed of chanting getting altered in tune with the walk, feeling that someone is chanting from within and whispering the chant in my ears
Now my chanting happens automatically. I don’t have to remember it differently. Gradually my chanting was connected to the breath. When inhaling it is ‘Om Namah’ and when exhaling it is ‘Shivay’. At times when my breathing is fast when inhaling it becomes Namah and when exhaling Shivay. Hence nowadays even when walking I am chanting. With the first step it is Om, with the second it is Namah and with the third Shivay. When I walk slowly chanting also occurs slowly and when walking fast it is hastened. When my thoughts or speech stop chanting starts. Sometimes I feel someone is chanting from within and that someone is whispering the chant in my ears.
3A 2. Chanting occurring even in sleep, thoughtlessness and becoming aware that there is no existence without chanting
When I fall asleep, I often feel like, ‘Someone inside me is chanting.’ Chanting continues in my sleep. When I wake up in the morning, the chant automatically comes to my mind. So I have no other thoughts. Sometimes the chanting is so loud and from the bottom of my heart that I think ‘Only those 6 letters of the chant exist and nothing else. I shouldn’t utter a word, other than only the 6 letters ‘Om Namah Shivay’. I have often experienced that, ‘breathing stops and only chanting continues.’ When I come out of that state, I realize, ‘I was not breathing.’ I feel, ‘At that time I was alive not because of breathing, but because of chanting and actually now it is like that. I think ‘If chanting stops, I will not exist. The chant has taken place of all the organs in my body’.
4. Changes in personality
4A. If I experience depression after any incident, i forget the incidence after giving auto-suggestion
and get rid of the depression after getting engrossed in Shiva’s thoughts
I never remain entangled in any bad incidence for long and never experience mental stress as before. If I feel dejected after an incident then I jot it down, frame an autosuggestion for it and do a session. I make spiritual efforts as advised and forget the incident. Side-by-side I surrender unto Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale. Then someone in the ashram tells me about how he/she remembered me when he/she received a message about Deity Shiva. Someone asks me a query about the drawing of Shiva or any query pertaining to Him and then I forget the incident, dejection vanishes and I get engrossed in thoughts of Him once again and then realise that despite my forgetting Him, He did not forget me. It is He who is reminding me of Him through the medium of seekers.
4B. When I feel hurt I pray to Him for a fraction of His virtue of detachment
I often felt bad if a seeker did not talk to me, did not respond, or behave frankly with me. Deity Shiva is an icon of detachment, unaffected by the behaviour of another, just continuing His spiritual practice. I feel that if I imbibe even a small fraction of this virtue then I too will get detached so I pray accordingly and do not feel hurt.
4C. On inflation of my ego perceiving that
Shiva will not like it and pray to Him only for devotion
I often get egoistic thoughts such as ‘I have high spiritual emotion, I am good, I am unique, I am beautiful, I do good seva, I do multi-tasking’ etc. Then I think ‘Shiva must be angry with me, He does not like ego. Due to my inflated ego, I will not get a chance to live on Kailas. Then I will not be able to live away from Him for long.’ So I pray to him all the time. Let not ego of any kind develop in me. I do not want any kind of knowledge, art or publicity, all I want is devotion and the ability to chant continuously. At every moment He alone supports me, I feel I will never be able to live without His support.
4D. My hot-temperedness decreasing
Formerly I used to get angry with others. Consequently my defects of irritability, losing temper, not talking, talking aggressively etc would manifest. Then pondering on why I was getting irritated I would feel bad. Several times I would get angry with my mother or people who were part of my life but now I do not get angry with them.
4E. An increase in love for others
4E 1. Formerly I did not have any love for seekers but now feel they are a part of my family
Formerly I would not feel anything about seekers in the ashram but now I feel they are all a part of my family. I have very few relatives so now I feel seekers alone are my family and feel love for them. No matter how others behave I will forget that behaviour without feeling hurt. Also I do not get attached to others if they behave well. Now I wish to transform myself into a good person. Earlier, I did not feel that way’. However I have to increase my efforts. I feel ‘thoughts about others, love for them and feeling that they are my family are growing’.
4E 2. Chanting starts automatically after looking at Nature
Now I feel love for birds, animals, trees, leaves and flowers after simply seeing them. When I see the leaves of trees moving my chanting starts, I become thoughtless and feel like remaining in that very state. I do not feel like doing anything, feel like continuing to experience that peace. I feel that the leaves are happy and are also chanting. After looking at any flower I feel that it is Shiva’s flower from Kailas. Then I feel like talking to those flowers and leaves and feel like asking them to chant. Nowadays I feel immense love for Nature. How beautiful the stones from Kailas must be, they too must be chanting.
4E 3. Now experiencing immense love for animals I feel like talking to them
I now feel immense love for animals, feel like caring for them. There is a dog below our house. When I ask him are you chanting Om Namaha Shivay he calms down and understands everything that I say. When bulbul birds visit our home I feel like conversing with them and fondling them. I also feel immense love for cows and calves that they are a part of my family, something I never felt earlier. All this has also occurred due to chanting.
5. Changes when rendering seva
5A. As Bhagwan Shiva has given the opportunity
to serve through art becoming aware of how He is getting it done from me
I am rendering the seva of preparing an album of photos of Saints and seekers. I feel that Shiva is getting even that seva done from me because I am not so intelligent to be able to do all co-ordination and seva. Shiva suggests ideas about that seva to me as per my spiritual emotion thus helping me. Saints being close to Shiva Bhagwan He has given me the opportunity to create photo albums for Him. Through the medium of these photos Saints will always remember Gurudev.
5B. Perceiving Shiva helping me through the medium of responsible seekers
He gets the seva of collecting photographs through me, that too is His grace, as I do not understand anything in it. I am incapable of doing it. When rendering that seva I often commit mistakes. When responsible seekers point out those mistakes and faults I get an opportunity to accomplish the seva to perfection. At that juncture I feel gratitude that Shiva Himself is helping me through that seeker.
5C. When performing ashram seva feeling that this
ashram is Kailas and that all are its inmates my seva occurs with love and
with all amenities available in the ashram only Shiva remains meditating on a stone
When performing ashram seva I feel that this ashram is the Kailas Mountain and that I am doing all seva there. When rendering the seva of preparing breakfast for seekers I feel that all seekers are residents of Kailas and that I have been bestowed the opportunity of serving them tea. After drinking it all will be able to chant and all their distress will vanish. When rendering the seva of clearing up the dining hall I feel I am doing this seva in Kailas, cleaning the washbasins there. All the material I am using belongs to Shiva so I have to use it judiciously. Shiva out of His immense love for His devotees has handed it all over to them . Providing us with so many amenities He is meditating upon a rock; living in simplicity.
5D. Not finding any difference in seva in the ashram
and in household chores instead experiencing that there is Shiva in everything
Now I find no difference in chanting, experiments to experience spiritual emotion (bhav), seva in the Kala department, ashram seva and household chores, on the contrary feel everything is Shiva. In fact I feel that everything is occurring in Kailas. At every moment it is ‘Om Namah Shivay’ in the mind. The happiness that I derive by doing seva of photographs in the ashram and household chores at the bank etc is the same as all tasks seem the same. Hence the mind is happy most of the time and my facial expression depicts a smile is what I perceive from within.
6. Due to chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivay’
the mind feeling calm, experiencing a hollow
around myself, that Shiva Himself is the hollow doing everything
After chanting Om Namah Shivay gradually the mind started becoming calm. I can perceive that the Sahasrar Chakra on my crown is open. Sometimes I feel that I am surrounded by nothing, not even this world. I feel even I am non-existing. God too is non-existent, everything is empty, only a vacuum. Even this experience endows happiness. I too am empty like that hollow and whatever I am doing is being done by Shiva Himself. Even this body is His, so are the thoughts. Even the chanting is being done by Him so in this entire picture I am nowhere.
Even after completing this article I do not feel I have written it, in fact I cannot remember what I have written and when writing this I could not feel my existence. I feel that my lifetime is too short to sing the glory of God.
‘Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale all this is beyond my thinking ability and has become possible only with Your grace. Had we not come here in 2015 than all this would not have happened. All this is happening with Your grace alone and I am offering all this at Your Holy feet. You are my Bholenath and I express gratitude at Your Holy feet.’
‘Om Namah Shivay’
– Miss Smital Bhujle, Sanatan ashram, Ramnathi, Goa