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the grace was there
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My father felt that I would do something great in this life.
I don’t know if he dreamed it or simply understood it, but all the time he used to say, “You have to find out the way of giving en masse Realization.” By Realization he was meaning the need for a deep, spiritual awakening in people.
He gave me a good education in different religions and also a good education about human beings: what are their problems, why do they act the way they do, why don’t they take to God, why are they hypocritical. All kinds of things he told me.
I knew all about it from my very childhood. I was a very aware person, but I did not know who to talk to because people did not have the same awareness then. You could not talk to anyone just like that.
My mother was a very strict lady. She taught me so many things. Indeed all of my sisters and I are expert cooks and in each of our lives we are doing very well. We do not trouble anyone. All these things have come from our mother, who was a strict lady and she would not tolerate any nonsense. She would never tell a lie. If you told her, “When this gentleman comes, you tell him that I am not in the house,” she would say, “Don’t tell me to tell lies. I’ll tell him that you told me to tell the lie.” That is how she was and that is how she treated us. We lived with that, but we did not mind it because what she did was for our good. We knew that she was doing it for our good.
Even President Roosevelt once said that an Indian woman is like a magnolia in a forest. Even one flower in the forest may be hidden. You cannot see it, but you can smell it. The whole forest is fragrant. You cannot see it anywhere. The fragrance is only in one flower, but yet you know this magnolia very well. It has the greatest quality, that of love.
Love is the most attractive thing in this world.
My parents were great people, realized souls. My father was a person who knew why I was on this Earth. Even my mother knew about it. When I was small, I used to tell my father that it was my desire that like the stars in the sky, many people on Earth should also shine and spread the light of God.
So there was a special rapport between us, and they could understand why I was busy meditating or finding out about how to give Realization to others.
I was regarded as a very joyful person, at the same time very serious and deep. When I started my studies as a child, I was not very much interested, although I did them, but also I used to read about the lives of great people. At a very young age, I did not have any particular interest in reading textbooks.
When I was about seven years of age, I happened to go with my father to see Mahatma Gandhi. He was about seventy miles from us. The first time he met me, he liked me very much. He said, “Leave this child here.”
I was a little girl, but he understood that there was something about me. Surprisingly, he consulted me on very serious problems.
One day he wanted to make a prayer book, so he asked me, “How should I put this series of prayers?”
I told him to do it according to the different centers within us. I said, “You do this one, then this one.” He said, “All right, it’s a good idea.” He changed the order. It was so smoothly and silently done that it was not made obvious to anyone that we had our rapport on these things. He never asked me about the spirit, nor did he ever meditate.
Every year after that I would go back and visit Gandhiji. It was a time of emergency in India and in a small way I contributed.
Gandhiji loved me very much. He used to call me Nepali because I have a broad face. Everybody used to call me Nepali at that time.
Gandhi was a man born for an emergency, at a time when India wanted to be politically independent. A political leader need not worry about spirit and religion, but he considered our country to be a land of yoga. He always based his theories, philosophies and activities on the fiber of the people. We are a very religious people and he sought to create an atmosphere of satisfaction.
He used to talk to me as if he was talking to his grandmother. He was a very sweet man, especially with children and he would try to learn from them. It was surprising how he understood that children often have more wisdom than do older people.
Although he was a very kind person to children, he was an extremely strict man, with himself and with others. He was a big disciplinarian. He would make everyone get up at four o’clock in the morning, take their baths, with everything ready for morning prayers at five o’clock. He used to walk very fast and I also learned fast walking with him.
Gandhi was an extremely loving, nice person and he would listen to me because I was a child. Supposing I had forced him to eat more, he would have laughed and accepted it.
I would make some orange juice for him and he would discuss small things with me. I remember once I told him, “Why do you make everyone get up so early? If you want to get up, you can, but why do you make everyone else? It’s all right for me, but why do you have to make everyone else?”
He said, “Everyone should be made to get up early, we are passing through a crisis, we have to fight the British and attain our independence. If people are lethargic, how are we going to succeed? We have to be disciplined.”
He said, “You are a little girl. You get up in the morning, why can’t they get up?”
I said, “I am little, that’s why I get up. They are big, so they can’t get up.”
Mine was a very free expression of a personality. People accepted it. I was very loving, compassionate and generous. I was a unique person as a child.
Then I told him that we also needed to have inner discipline and so he knew that I was a wise person and he used to love me and respect me in a very fatherly manner. He would discuss things with me and he impressed me. He had a sense of integrity, was absolutely honest with himself – something I appreciated. He never cheated himself. This was the greatest thing about him. In all matters, including money, he was so integrated. What he said, he did.
He criticized himself, but Gandhi did not talk of spiritual Self-Realization. For him, Realization was not the problem at that time. After independence, we should have taken to Realization. We had the problems of the partition of India and Pakistan and everyone’s attention was diverted to this problem and nobody thought of Realization at that time.
Gandhi was a great soul, no doubt. He was an extremely great human being, but true Realization is very different. It is another realm altogether. His meditation was to ponder things and to guide himself, but not the kind of meditation of thoughtless awareness. That is a different dimension of awareness.
Gandhi’s main contribution was to establish balance in people and to make them more Indian, removing the slavish mentality that had trickled down into us.
My family was a part and parcel of the freedom struggle, my parents were a part and parcel of it as well. My father burnt all his suits because they were stitched in England, my mother burnt all her saris. They would spin their own clothes and wear them. My father sacrificed everything – every paise [less than a penny] that he had – for the freedom struggle.
So much was snatched away by the English. We had lived in beautiful houses and then we shifted to huts. The sacrifices were to the maximum and we were very happy about it and very proud. We had only two changes of clothes. We washed our clothes and lived like very poor people, sleeping on thin, rough floor mats. I remember I never had a pillow. I never used shoes for years. I had only one sweater. I had only one coat throughout my college years. When I was in Lahore, which is terribly cold – sometimes it can be like London – that coat was worn out and finished.
We never grudged and never grumbled and we never said that our father should have looked after us or done something different. Even today, when people from that time see us, they know we are children of such a great man.
They have tremendous respect for us because of him.
My parents dedicated their lives to the cause of the freedom of India and I also felt it was very important because if we are not free we cannot do anything on a religious basis.
Because of the resistance to the British occupation of India, my father went to jail twice, once for about two and a half years. He was the only supporting member of the family, so we had to leave our house and live in huts and we had all kinds of problems and hardships.
When I was eighteen years old, I remember one day some people came and told us, “Your father is being transferred from one jail to another.”
My mother was worried because I was a young girl. The police used to torture me, they used to give me shocks and make my life very miserable. My mother was crying and she told an old gentleman, “I’m worried about my daughter. I don’t want her to be tortured any more.” This man told me to stop and he said that what I was doing in fighting the English wasn’t proper.
My father took me aside. He said, “Don’t listen to this old johnny. Forget him. I would like all my children to be sacrificed on the altar of freedom. If you are doing it, I am a proud father and I’ll tell your mother to behave herself. I am so proud of you.” The police were after my life.
Such were the times I lived through. I had to give up my college, having absconded for eight months. I know what the Indian people have gone through.
The British were also after me because I helped many people. I had joined the independence movement and, in a very serious way, I became a leader among the young people.
I thought unless and until I take a positive stand, it may not work out for India.
In the end, all these problems work out with divine power, not with human powers. Divine power is there and it works things out in such a smooth manner that there is no need to use human powers.
It is not gracious to say in detail how the British tortured me, what they did to me, but they did really torture me. I was a young girl. It is over now, so it is finished.
My parents neglected us in a way because they gave their lives to the country, but that never deterred us from schoolwork and we came up very well. After studying science for two years at college, I went into medical school. I was studying in Lahore Medical College because I wanted to know about medicine. I knew about the complete nervous system, but I did not know the vocabulary attached to it, so I studied there for two years.
I did not complete my studies because just at that time the 1947 riots broke out and the college was closed, but I felt I had learned what I needed, so I did not need to return and I soon married.
During all that time, my pastime and my full-time work was to find out about human beings. What are the problems they have? How do they avoid reality? How do they shun it? How do they run away from it? How are they seeking? What do they have to offer? What will they accept? How do you handle them? It was quite an intricate set of questions.
Every person provided new problems and I had to find it out. In a way, it was a system which I knew because in order to enter into someone subtly, to understand the problems of the Kundalini, you go into the journey and find out about the person.
In this way, I found out the permutations and combinations of their problems. It is like the Periodic Table of Elements. One has to divide them into three, then into seven, then into their permutations and combinations. So one can imagine – three into seven, raised to power of eternity – it was like that. But it doesn’t matter. I knew it would work out.
That is how my life continued. All the time, my inner being was still seeking for the ways and methods of giving en masse Realization.
My father said, “Before you develop this technique, do not talk about religion. Let no one know that you know anything about it because they will not understand. First of all, you must give them Realization. If they get their Realization, then they will know that there is something about it in this human awareness.” My father always used to give an analogy, “Supposing we are born on the tenth story and everyone else is on the ground. You must at least make them climb two stories so that they will know that there is something above. Otherwise there is no use talking about it. They have to enter into the medium,” my father said. “So that is what you have to be – very careful that first of all you must give Realization to them.”
I was seeking a way of doing this, working it out inside myself through my own style of meditation. I was working out all the permutations and combinations. When I met a person, I would see what problems that person had, how they could overcome them. In that way, I would try to study that person internally.
Somehow or other, I knew I must open the seventh chakra.
I knew I wanted to do something, that is how I saw it. I wanted to find a proper time when I could discover a method by which an en masse happening could take place and everyone could achieve it.
In May of 1970, I was sitting near the sea. I decided there and then that it should happen and so it worked out that the last center was opened.
I saw the Kundalini, which is the primordial force within us, the Holy Ghost within us, rising like a telescope opening out and then I saw the whole thing open and a torrential rain of beams started flowing through my head and everywhere.
I felt that I was lost, I was no more. Only the grace was there. I saw it completely happening to me. In 1970, on the 5th of May, this happened.
If it is a job, you can do it. But God’s work is not just a job. The struggle began from the day I started giving Realization. I began with one lady, then twelve people achieved Realization.
Over the first two years, only about fourteen people received their Self-Realization, then gradually many others followed and it became known as Sahaja Yoga.
We have to understand that life should be enjoyable. Life should be a blessing. It should not be a misery. We create our own miseries by our false ideas, by our own conflicts. We have in our mind mental projections. It comes from our mind or from our obstinacy.
All these things can be cured if you take to Sahaja Yoga because you become a balanced person, a level-headed, mild person and you become a witness. The whole thing becomes like a show, like a drama and you become fearless. This is what a human being has to achieve.
We talk of peace, we talk of the end of war, but all that is not going to work out. The only thing that is going to work out is the transformation of human beings because if human beings are transformed, things will work out perfectly. Not only that, but people will also enjoy the bliss of life.
Human beings must ask themselves one thing: “What have I achieved out of all this?”
Just for a minute stop and think about this.
I was born in India and in a Christian family. If you are an enlightened person, you see the essence of everything. No matter into what religion you are born, you should not ignore any other religion. You should try to learn about other religions and you find that the essence is the same in every religion.
What is there to fight about? By fighting, you belong to no religion, while in truth, you belong to every religion.
My life, on the whole, has been very collective. I am by nature extremely collective and I expressed this temperament from my very childhood.
I was very friendly with all the people from the area in which we lived and my mother was known as Nirmala’s mother, father was known as Nirmala’s father. They said, “We have lost our identity because of our daughter.”
I never felt lonely. When I am with myself, I am never lonely at all. I enjoy myself very much.
When I came to London in 1974 because of my husband’s work, I had one Sahaja Yoga program. There were seven hippies who remained after that and so I had to work with them. For four years I was working with them to give them Realization. They were difficult.
At that time, I also used to visit India. In India too the work was done. We began working in the villages first, where we started moving in a very big way.
Gradually people found that this was the way they could transform themselves. Many people were taking drugs or were alcoholics or were in some way mad. They soon felt better and were cured.
Slowly, it was established that this Sahaja Yoga was something very important.