Going Beyond and Going Within
In this time of lockdown and what for many people can be described as social isolation, perhaps we can learn a lesson or two from Brahma Baba. In his time he was a spiritual pioneer, and that was during the early 20th Century. But, Brahma Baba’s strength of character and his spiritual insights have not been diminished by time.
One of the key factors to transforming his life was the ability to use the power of silence through the practice of meditation. To be able to bring silence to an over busy mind! Wow! That is no mean feat! When so many people are afraid of isolation and being alone, it is good to be able to learn how to find inner freedom, and to use this time and space in a worthwhile way.
With so much of our attention focused on everything related to our body, on the material world, and on the dramas of life, it’s so important from time to time that we practice going beyond it all. The ‘Avyakt’ stage is one of the stages yogis aspire to in meditation. Avyakt simply means to become subtle, spiritual, non-worldly or angelic. It is not just a state of mind, but a way of life. If you step into an Avyakt consciousness now, even these words on the page will take on a new meaning.
If we would just recognize one mistake in our thinking, if we could remember that we are spiritual beings living a physical existence and not physical beings trying to be spiritual. If our focus was more on the spiritual aspects of life, then perhaps we would be more concerned with delving into the infinite matters of the spiritual world. We would not be so caught up in the acquisition of the finite things of the here and now, which are ultimately all perishable. We would be able to find some inner freedom and peace of mind too.
To rush is worldly, to slow down is Avyakt. To speak and come into sound is worldly, to signal with the ways of subtle silence is Avyakt. To hold onto things is worldly, and to let go is Avyakt. This Avyakt-ness penetrates all areas of our life, making us more peaceful and divine.
Being subtle is about knocking down the wall of body consciousness. I am a pure eternal light and as soon as my focus changes to this material body made of clay, then the light disappears behind that wall. The grossness of the body consumes the beauty of ‘I’, the eternal inner light of ‘self’.
The benefit of learning to become more Avyakt is that I no longer feel trapped by the world. The Avyakt consciousness is a dimension that I can fly to whenever I am feeling confined or imprisoned by the limitedness of this world. There is hope. There is light. There is another world that is waiting to be discovered.
As one meditates intensely and consistently, then one’s physical body begins to become subtle also. One such example of this was Brahma Baba, the founder of the Brahma Kumaris. He used to sit in such deep meditation day and night that he melted not just his ego, but the grossness of body consciousness with the intensity of his meditation. People who knew him would often say that when they held or shook his hand, it felt as soft as cotton wool. His body of light had infused his physical body, so to speak, so that all that was visible was his subtle physical form, the grossness of his physical body did not draw the attention of others. They felt the subtleness of his being. There was also no hint of body consciousness. Brahma Baba’s vision was a lovely, pure and divine one.
Brahma Baba worked very hard at concentrating his mind. Much like a lens which can concentrate the rays of the sun to create fire. It may sound like a paradox, but when there is 100 percent concentration, one can really experience the subtlety of life. Having a gentle focus is the key to a peaceful mind, and a relaxed and calm mind. This inner peace allows us to take proper decisions in our lives, decisions that we will not regret later!
If we all concentrate enough, we can feel our own subtle body of light. Some call it the aura, some call it the astral body, and some souls are able to see it as a glow or shimmer around the physical body. The more we attune to this stage of consciousness, then the more it can work in our favour, it can protect us, guide us and light up our way in hard times.
This week, on 18th January, we will celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Brahma Baba, the founder of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, a meditation organization. Brahma Baba’s soul departed in 1969, yet his legacy continues. He was a great visionary, and a noble and good-hearted person.
During his lifetime, and even up until today, he has inspired probably millions of people with his simple and elevated lifestyle and aspirations to become a better and truly benevolent person… a world benefactor. Here are a few examples of his life and how we too can take inspiration from his life as a spiritual pioneer.
From the late 30’s until 1969, Brahma Baba lived in an ashram in Sindh and later in Mount Abu, North West India. There he lived with a dedicated group of about 300 men and women. Everyone adored him so much. He was like a spiritual father, mother, teacher, friend, and much more. Each one has beautiful and touching stories to tell about his life.
In those days, cow dung patties were used for fuel. Brahma Baba himself, along with others, would make them in the front yard of the ashram. When someone came to the ashram to meet Brahma Baba, they would ask: “Where is the head of this institution?” And others would answer: “This is him… helping us make these patties from cow dung…” The person would be shocked and amazed that someone so senior would be doing a menial task such as this. At this time no other guru would even get off his Gaddi, (his holy seat), to get a glass of water.
On Caring and Sharing
During the early days of the organization, they had to very carefully plan their meals in order to be economical. Only a certain amount of lentil soup was made, and only a certain number of chapattis, so that nothing would go to waste. One day a few of the old mothers came up to take more soup, but there was none left in the pot. Baba found out and gave them his own soup for them to eat. The reason they wanted more soup was because they didn’t have teeth, and so they couldn’t chew the dry chapattis and were still hungry!
On Wisdom and Intuition
One night, the head cook came to Baba and said: ‘Baba, we have a dilemma. Either we cannot give milk tonight to the children… (Those living with him were known as the children, since he was Baba – their spiritual father), or we can’t give them yoghurt in the morning. This was because some of the milk that was meant for tonight has become spoiled, and we need the good milk to make yoghurt for the morning’. So Baba thought quickly and said: “Tonight, Baba will distribute the milk”. As each child came up to Baba and looked in his eyes and felt his love, they did not see how much milk Baba was pouring. Normally the head cook distributing the milk would fill their glasses to the top; today it was only half a glass. But everyone was so contented with Baba’s loving gaze that they felt full and satisfied. The milk was secondary and they did not notice that they had receive less that day. In this way, there was milk for everyone at night, as well as yoghurt in the morning.
There was someone in the ashram who was sick and had diarrhea on and off for about two months. The sister had not slept well during that time. In those days professional medical help was not easily accessible on the mountain. Baba found out that she was not well. He came up to her and said: “Child, don’t worry, everything will be alright. Baba will give you an injection and you will soon be ok.” He soon asked for an injection and also some milk. Without her knowing what it was, Baba gave her an injection of milk. She slept very well that night and began to heal. She felt she would have died without that injection, it was an ‘injection of love’.
Brahma Baba had a special sense of humour and liked to play. Once it was ‘April Fool’s Day’ and Baba had special sweets made for the children. As he passed them around to everyone, they all felt something in their mouth, something strange. He had filled the centre of the sweets with cotton wool. And Baba had made sweet fools of them.
Another time. Baba had the soap coloured with some dye. He gave it to one sister specifically. When she started using it, that dye started to colour her skin. In this way Baba used to play with this little family around him.
Another one of the senior sisters, a meditation teacher relates: “It was 1957 when I first met with Brahma Baba. He was like a grandfather to me then. I was only 8 years old. His personality was very charismatic. Following that we moved to London. When I was aged ten, we received a parcel by airmail. In the parcel there were Alphonso mangoes from Mumbai. My brother and I were quite delighted, as at that time there was no name or trace of mangoes in London. We wondered who the box was from… and we found it was from Brahma Baba. He had been sitting in Mumbai eating mangoes, and he remembered us and airmailed the mangoes to us. I was quite taken aback. Up until that point none of our relatives from India had remembered us, or gone to the trouble of sending us anything!” Such was Baba’s love and generosity.
On Having A Farsighted Vision
The same sister continues her story. “We met Baba again in 1968 in Mt Abu. At that time he told me: ‘Child, you will go to London and serve many people and share this knowledge. And they will ask you: Where did you get this knowledge? And you will reply, from Mount Abu!’ And surely that is exactly what happened. When I moved to London and went to give lectures in various places, many people would ask me that question and I would give that same reply. He foresaw my future role and continued filling me with power to be able to fulfill that role.”
Once one teacher related: “There was a training for teachers taking place in Delhi, and I was sent to be part of that group. But when Baba found out that we had to cross a very busy main road each day to go from where we stayed to the hall where the training was, then Baba cancelled the training and asked us all to come to Mt Abu instead. Such was his care and attention for our safety.”
One meditation teacher related that she went to Brahma Baba and asked him a question: “Why was I made a female in this birth?” In India at that time women had a low position and were not given many opportunities, status or respect, they were denied much that was easily afforded to men. Baba gave her so much love and reminded her about her own specialties, and also how important women were in the role of world upliftment. She left with a renewed sense of self-respect. Baba knew that the feminine qualities of love, nurturing and compassion were exactly what the world needed at this time, and that women had a very special role to play. Even today women run the Brahma Kumaris Organization.
There was a time when Baba asked one brother to look for some land to purchase in his city. Baba thought that a very good ‘museum’, (a place for a permanent exhibition), should be built so that many people would be able to receive spiritual knowledge and take benefit. Baba immediately understood and responded to the brother’s surprised look, and said: “Don’t worry about the cost child, the money will come from somewhere. You just look for the land and someone will be inspired to help. Baba is here with you”. The brother found the perfect piece of land easily and, as Baba had envisioned, the money arrived and a museum was built. Baba simply had undoubting faith that anything was possible. We just have to keep a determined thoughts and unwavering trust, that’s all.
And the stories can go on and on. Brahma Baba saw himself as a spiritual instrument and felt called to start the institution in 1936. The organization has grown from one little room on a mountain top where Brahma Baba experienced deep and intense meditations. Today, there is a network of many thousands of centres in over 130 countries around the world.
Those who knew him, and those who knew of him, can never, ever, ever, forget him. Brahma Baba was such a spiritual giant that he is hard to forget.
It’s Time… to learn from such a noble personality. Brahma Baba led by example, and today he is still an inspiration for many souls to transform their lives.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK