Jnana Yoga

At one point I started detecting some significant symptoms in me during my practice. I was now getting a gentle swaying movement in my spine during certain moments of particularly clear concentration. That swaying was quite similar to the way an enchanted serpent is supposed to sway when it moves. Along with the swaying there were also very satisfying feelings of joy, quite similar to those I have felt in the company of women during moments of intense sensuality. I was also getting some occasional but intense bursts of body vibration during moments in which I had to use unusual amounts of will to attain higher levels of concentration.

These symptoms have been mentioned by some Yoga teachers, and they are supposed to indicate to the practitioners that they are on the right track. Still, at times I had moments of impatience and doubt as to whether I would be able to attain my goal. I knew I was practicing Ramana’s method the way he intended me to, but I could not visualize how long it would take me to get there. These sporadic moments of doubt, however, did not make me drop my practice or diminish the intensity of my search. This time, my determination was unbreakable.

I knew that if I did not relent in my efforts I would get precisely where Ramana said I would get. I had seen the path he traced up to the Self with absolute clarity. I knew this was a direct knowledge I could attain. My unbreakable determination to pursue this, however, had not sprung solely from the books I had read about Ramana’s method. There is another master who gave me a few tips on how to go about this. That Master is Shankara and the tips he gave me are written in his magnificent masterpiece, “Vivekachudamani.” I would have probably Realized the Self without Shankara’s help anyway, but I do not know how much longer it would have taken me to do it. What helped me most about Shankara’s teachings is his laser-focused attention on the importance of discarding our earthly identities.

He just does not have the smallest degree of sympathy for the body and proposes that it is in our identification with it where the roots of our ignorance reside. On top of this, he describes the desire for liberation almost as an obsession, without which the success of our efforts may be jeopardized. I read somewhere that once you are bitten by the desire for liberation there is no turning back, that the true desire for liberation is like the jaws of a tiger that never lets you go until it has devoured you, that is, until you have attained Realization. Well, that is precisely how strong my desire for liberation was. I became obsessed with it, to the point of practicing the Atma-Vichara even while I ate.

The Atma Vichara caught my mind in its jaws and it would not let go off it. So I practiced always, non stop, day and night, anytime, anywhere, until I finally got there.


It all downed on me quite unexpectedly, like a sudden wind that swept my mind up into some unknown realms which actually turned out to be quite known to me. Like when you are looking for your lost eye glasses and then suddenly you realize that you had them on your head all along. “Ah! Now I remember I put them there,” you say. Similarly, when you finally realize who you really are you say “Ah! But this is what I have been all along!” I even asked myself: “But how could have I forgotten this?!” It is like struggling for ages to get to the top of a mountain looking for yourself only to find yourself already waiting for you up there when you get there. When you attain the knowledge of your Real Self you know without the slightest microscopic tinge of a doubt that THAT is who you are because THAT is what you have always been and THAT is what you will always be, since forever. No shred of a doubt about it.

The final phase of my journey towards Realization began one night at the Vedanta Center in Olema. I had gone up there on a Friday afternoon intending to stay until Sunday. As usual, I had brought my own food and beverages with me so that I would not have to leave the compound for the duration of my stay. I did not practice till late that Friday thinking that I should better rest well that night to wake up fresh and ready early the next morning. The following day was rather common by the standards I had already set for my visits there. Early morning practice in my room until 9 or 10, shower, Orange juice, short walk on the grounds and back to my room to continue my practice there.

Then I would go through a similar routine in the afternoon, to finally retire for the night at around 6 or 7 PM. This time I was staying in one of the rooms that give to the grassy grounds on the left of the house, which in turn give to the road that leads outside the center. There were deer pasturing there that morning and I had had a particularly entertaining time watching them when I woke up, contemplating how peaceful those creatures can usually be. So there I was around one o’clock in the morning practicing my Jnana Yoga, sitting at my desk, facing those grounds where the deer feed themselves, when I suddenly felt something like a knot in the lower portion of my spine. “That is unusual,” I thought.

By then I was accustomed to throwing energy up and down my spine in synchronization with my breathing whenever the idea of doing so crossed my mind. I had felt that little knot there in the past, but it had never blocked the energy from flowing up and down my spine as much as it was blocking it that time. So I decided to unblock that knot and concentrated in bringing energy up from the coccid, right through the knot, slowly up towards the cervix.

It must have taken me some time to achieve my purpose and for a tiny moment I even felt a little bit of pain in the area were the knot was, but I finally managed to pass the energy through the blocking knot, thereby feeling like I had dissolved it. As soon as the energy went freely upwards I felt a sense of relief all over my back followed by a sensation of weightlessness in the upper portion of my body. It was all very pleasant, almost amusing, like if I had liberated something that had wanted to be liberated for a long time. I still practiced a bit more that night and I probably went to bed at around 2 or 2:30 AM.

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