SEEKING THE NEXT DIMENSIONS | Excerpt from the Book: Death ~ An Inside Story by Sadhguru
Updated: Jan 13
SEEKING THE NEXT DIMENSIONS
People ask this question: If my life is going well, why not continue this endlessly? What is wrong with this? Why seek something else? Now, it is not because we are suffering this that we want to move on. The very nature of the being is such that it wants to go to the next dimension or to the ultimate dimension. It is like this: after you were born, you learned to walk. It was the most exciting thing. And then you grew up, then you got married, you made money, you produced children and you died. And again you were born, again you were excited about standing up and you were also excited about riding a bicycle and again you met your boyfriend and you were very
happy and then you were disappointed and again you got married. This is happening again and again. Suppose you actually realize this, not because someone told you, but because you actually saw that you have done this a thousand times over and still are going through the same process again and again. Would you want to go through it again?
About people’s lives going well: people think if they are married, if they have a house and children and if they have tons of money in the bank, they are living well. That is not so. Living well means that you have grasped all aspects of life. If you have grasped everything that is there to know about life, then you have broken through the bubbles of memory in which you are storing these different things. If it all bursts out in you, you would definitely like to move on to the next dimension. Once one realizes one is repeating the same thing, they will suffer. They will want to move on to the next dimension.
Or look at it this way—suppose we make you watch your favourite movie over and over again. Seven times a day, every day, for the next one month. After all, it is a wonderful movie and you like it the most. You will be coming out with tears in your eyes when you watch it the first five times or ten times. Then unless you are totally gone, you will see, it is just a play of light and sound. Once there is no involvement from you, you will simply sit back and look at it. Suppose, in addition to this, I also took you to the projector room and it really sinks into you that the whole goddamn thing is just two wheels and a light bulb tricking you, churning up all these emotions and making you believe all this. You may still enjoy a movie, but you will not be involved any more.
The longing to move on to the next dimension becomes urgent, especially if you look back and realize you have been in the same movie for a long time. This dimension is about ‘this’ and ‘that’. In your present state of mind, ‘this and that’ or ‘that and that’ is interesting right now. But the next dimension is just ‘this and this and only this’. What is seemingly many, will turn out to be One. This may not seem to be interesting to you right now because you can think, feel, understand and project only from the dimension in which you exist. But that is how it is. The sooner you realize that you have been in the same dimension, the more you will long for what is beyond that. Until then, it will seem uninteresting to you.
~Mahasamadhi is the end of the game. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth; it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.~
SAMADHI AND DEATH
People often make an association between samadhi and death. They think samadhi means some deathlike situation. It is far from that. The word ‘samadhi’ has been largely misunderstood. It is made up of the words ‘sama’ and ‘dhi’. ‘Sama’ means equanimity and ‘dhi’ means ‘buddhi’, or the intellect. If you reach an equanimous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi.
The fundamental nature of the intellect is to discriminate. This discriminatory quality is very important for survival. You are able to discriminate between a person and a tree only because your intellect is functioning. If you want to break a stone, you have to discriminate between the stone and your finger. Otherwise, you will break your finger. Discrimination is an instrument that supports and executes the instinct of survival present in every cell of the body. If you transcend the intellect, you become equanimous. But this does not mean you lose the ability to discriminate. If you lose the discriminatory intellect, you will become insane.
In the samadhi state, your discriminatory intellect is perfectly in place but, at the same time, you have transcended it. You do not make a distinction—you are simply here, seeing life in its true working. The moment you drop or transcend the intellect, discrimination cannot exist. Everything becomes one whole, which is the reality. A state like this gives you an experience of the oneness of the Existence, the unification of everything that is. In this state, there is no time to space. Time and space are a creation of your mind. Once you transcend the mind as a limitation, time and space don’t exist for you. What is here is there, what is now is then. There is no past or future for you. Everything is here, in this moment.
Samadhi is a state of equanimity where the intellect goes beyond its normal function of discrimination. This in turn loosens one from this physical body. A space between what is you and your body is created. Death means the physical body is completely lost. There is no contact with the physical body. Samadhi means that the physical body is intact, but the contact with the physical body has become very minimal.
For the sake of understanding, people have categorized samadhis into eight different types or levels. Of these eight, they have been broadly categorized as ‘savikalpa’ and ’nirvikalpa’ samadhis. ‘Savikalpa’ samadhis are samadhis with attributes or qualities. They are very pleasant, blissful and ecstatic. ‘Nirvikalpa’ samadhis are without attributes or qualities. They are beyond pleasant or unpleasant. Those who go into ’nirvikalpa’ samadhi states are always kept in protected states because their contact with the body becomes very minimal. The smallest disturbance, like a sound or a pinprick, can dislodge them from their body. It is a significant step in one’s spiritual evolution, but still not the ultimate.
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, yogis go into deep states of samadhis for certain periods because they want to evade certain situations within themselves, or they ant more time to work out their karma. Let us say, a yogi knows that his life situation is such that the next day he will have to leave his body, but still his karmic score is not settled, his karmic account is not complete. So he does not want to go. Instead, he goes into a samadhi state for, say, a week or ten days. Now, he gets a short extension to finish what he wants to finish. This is the way of turning the clock back, this is a way of deceiving the process of time. When someone makes himself neither the mind nor the body, he avoids the Kala Chakra, or the wheel of time. So one deceives time and stays there and gets extra time for himself.
Samadhis by themselves have no great significance in terms of Self-Realization, or knowing the true nature of the Self. Many of Gautama the Buddha’s disciples went into very long samadhis. They did not come out for years. But Gautama himself never did so because he saw it as unnecessary. He practised and experienced all the eight kinds of samadhis before his Enlightenment and discarded them. He said, ‘This is not it. This is not going to take you any closer to Self-Realization. It is just moving into a higher level of experience and you might get more caught up because it is more beautiful than the current reality.’
If your goal is set, if you have made Self-Realization the top priority in your life, then everything else which does not take you one step closer is meaningless.
ENLIGHTENMENT AND DEATH
How are death and Enlightenment related? Death and Enlightenment are entwined in the sense that if the life energies become overly intense, you cannot keep the body. Also, if the life energies become too feeble, you cannot keep the body. Only if it is in a certain band of intensity can you hold on to the body. If you raise the intensity beyond a certain pitch, you will get Enlightened and leave. If you drop it below a certain level, you will die. This is the natural process. Most of the Enlightened people cannot hang on to the body unless they do some tricks with it. Either they should know the mechanics of the body very well or they must constantly create some conscious karma—like some desire or some longing which will look absurd in their life because it does not fit into the rest of the person at all. People may think they are crazy, but they have to carry on with it just to keep their body going.
This is the reason sadhana is inevitable if you want to work your karma out in stages. At Isha, we don’t believe in sudden Enlightenment. If sudden Enlightenment happens, most people may not be capable of withstanding it. It may cause either death or absolute introverting. If you do not know this, thousands of people realize in the world, but 90 per cent of them will leave at the moment of Self-Realization. The moment one realizes, ‘I am not this,’ one cannot stay in the body any more, because they do not have the maturity nor the understanding to stay and continue the work. So the moment someone realizes, they will slip out of the body; that is the end. This is why most realized beings go unnoticed. It is a rare few who attain a certain level of understanding, who manage to retain this body with their Self-Realization.
There is a lot of sadhana going on here at Isha. In terms of real activity, for me, programmes are a very small part of my life, though they take a lot of time. The activity is very different. There are many people here who, if I let them go, will become fully realized beings. But they do not have the mastery over their systems to retain their bodies. They will drop their body if I let them go. So, usually, we peg them down at the last step so that their body can run its natural course. To peg them down is not a good thing to do, but you know we have taken social responsibilities. So I always peg them down at the last step and let the body run its natural course. When it finishes a certain phase, then we will leave it to them.
So, to have reached the final step and still retain the body, one must either understand the technology of the body or one must play some kind of drama to hang on. People ask me, ‘What is your trick to keep the body?’ I have no compulsions. I have an anklet on my foot which is actually more of a shackle. It is not just an anklet, it is like a fix. It is done in a certain way. It is loaded with mercury and certain things have been done to it. It is a live thing. If you don’t see this anklet on me one day, just know that there is very little time left.
MUKTI AND MAHASAMADHI
In the Indian way of life, reaching God or heaven is not the highest goal of life. They always spoke about ‘mukti’ or Ultimate Liberation or freedom from the cycle of birth and death as the highest goal of life. But in English, when you say word freedom or Liberation, people visualize becoming a bird and flying in the sky. If you are a birdwatcher or if you have seen birds flying, you will know that even the most magnificent birds like the hawk or eagle are constantly looking down at the ground while flying. They are looking for something to feed on, down below. They may not even be enjoying the flight. For them, it is a survival process, just like you going to the office. So ‘mukti’, when translated, could create wrong images in one’s mind.
The words ‘Moksha’ and ’Nirvana’ are also referring to ‘mukti’. Nirvana is a more appropriate word because Nirvana means non-existence. What it means is that you are free from the very burden of existence. When I say you are free from existence, I am not talking about existence as a quantity and you are free from that. You are free from your own existence. Your existence is finished. When there is no existence, you are even free from freedom, because freedom is also a certain bondage. As long as you exist, one way or the other you are bound. If you are existing physically, it is one kind of bondage. If you leave the physical body and you exist in some other way, there is still another kind of bondage. Everything that exists is ruled by some law. Now, ‘mukti’ means you have broken all laws and they can be broken only when you cease to exist. That is the ultimate freedom.
Ultimately, every seeker wants to go beyond existence. They do not want to be in the process of existence, which may mean birth and death or hanging around or whatever. Whether you are actually physically born or not, as long as you exist, you are going through some process or the other. Existence is always a process. Existence is not a thing. The sun is a process, the whole solar system is a process, the galaxy is a process, all the galaxies put together is a process. If you ant to be free from all processes, it means that you must cease to exist; there is no other way. Existence, as you know it, must cease; only then there is no process.
What is the use of this? When one really looks at one’s life and sees, ‘What is the use?’—that is exactly the thought which makes one seek ‘mukti’. Right now, such a depth of ‘What is the point?’ is still not occurring to people, because people are still children. They might have grown-up bodies, but in terms of understanding, they are still children. They want to see this, they want to see that. Let us say, the memory of a hundred lifetimes opens up to you, you will see that you are going through the same nonsense over and over again. Then you will definitely ask the question, ‘What is the point? Once again getting into the womb of another woman, another childbirth, another nonsense—what is the use?’ If you ask this question in the deepest possible way, your longing for ‘mukti’ will become absolute.
‘Mukti’ means you want to become free from the process of life and death, not because you are suffering. People who are suffering cannot attain ‘mukti’. You are fine, you are joyful, but you have had enough of kindergarten, you want to move on. However beautiful your school life was, don’t you want to go to college? That is all. Death means the end of the physical body; everything else continues and finds another body soon; whereas with ‘mukti’, everything comes to an end. In a way, ‘mukti’ is the end of death—and birth as well.
Mukti is also called as Mahasamadhi. Mahasamadhi means one is able to walk out of one’s body, consciously, without damaging it. Generally, if you want to leave the body, do what you want, you cannot come out of it unless you damage the body in some way. Unless you make the body unsuitable to cradle the life that is within, life will not leave. When things go bad, people say, ‘I want to die,’ but they don’t, because they cannot. Mahasamadhi means without using any other external means, you leave the body at will. For someone to be able to do this, it needs tremendous energy. Such a person knows where the body is connected to life, and they untie it and leave.
Mahasamadhi is when you are also transcending discrimination so that there is no such thing as you and the other. It is completely finished. Now, as you sit here, there is you and the other. It is a certain level of reality. But Mahasamadhi means that individual existence is finished and who you are does not exist anymore.
Mahasamadhi is essentially that dimension of equanimity which gathers such a level of intensity that one can effortlessly dismantle the very nature of physical existence. One can dismantle not just the physical body, or the Annamaya Kosha, but also the Manomaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha and the Vignanamaya Kosha. When the life within and life without become one, naturally, this dismantling happens. Once these four koshas are dismantled, that life is truly, truly no more because the fifth body, the Anandamaya Kosha, or the bliss body, is essentially consciousness or the fundamental life element. There is nothing to dissolve there. It will just mingle with life as it always did. This is the end of the game. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth, it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more. It is the fortune of seekers at Isha that they have been in the presence of Mahasamadhi. Its fragrance and essence permeates Isha Yoga Center.
In reality, death is not the end because there is no such thing as death. Death exists only to one who has no awareness of life. There is only life, life and life alone. But Mahasamadhi means the real end. This is the goal of every spiritual seeker. Even an accomplished yogi will struggle with it because it is not simple. Or, rather, it is so simple that one who has a mind can rarely figure it out.
•What is referred to as ‘jeevasamadhi’ is a samadhi where a person decides to close oneself in an enclosure and end one’s life. One reason for doing this is that he or she does not want to trouble people after their death. They want to handle the body themselves before they go. That is how this thing started. Another reason is that there are realized beings who are free in a certain way within themselves but lack the know-how to leave at will. Even if you are liberated within yourself, even if you have attained to a certain state within yourself, to leave the physical body, you need the skill, you need to know the science of how this body got connected and what you need to do to disentangle from it. This understanding has to be there, otherwise, it will not come. Such a person, who is liberated but cannot disentangle from the body by themselves—will seal themselves in an enclosure, so that slowly as the breath goes away, they will leave. But there should be no struggle in the body. If there is even a little bit of struggle, it just amounts to suicide.
People who are on the Yogic path will not do such a thing. They will sit in the open and leave because they know the science of how to eject from the body, how to leave the body. Just as you drop your clothes and walk away, you can drop your body and walk away. It is possible. This is Mahasamadhi. There is also something called ‘Diksha Mrutyu’, where the Guru initiates one into death. It is not a deathlike experience but death itself. It is very good to do this if you have everybody’s permission and are in a mature society. This is usually done when the Guru sees someone who is capable of attaining Mahasamadhi, who has the potential but does not know how exactly to do it. So you initiate them in such a way that they can leave. It is perfectly fine. For that life, it is fantastic, actually.• But in today’s society, it is a disaster for one who gives this initiation because of all the social repercussions that will arise.
A FEW MAHASAMADHIS
We have seen Mahasamadhis of two people whom we knew and who were dear to us. One was Swami Nirmalananda, who I knew for a long time, and the other was Vijji, my beloved wife.
Swami Nirmalananda lived in Biligiri Rangana Betta, or BR Hills, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. In his younger days, Nirmalananda travelled outside India for many years, visiting holy men from all religions. During World War II, he was in Europe and was deeply disturbed by the suffering he saw there. He then came back to India in the 1960s and, towards the end of his life, set up an ashram in BR Hills. He spent eleven years in silence there.
I first met him when I was probably twenty-one years old. I used to trek a lot in BR Hills, mostly alone. One particular time, I was in the forest for five or six days. So when I came out, I was really hungry. I had not had any food for over twenty-four hours. I went back to the place where I had parked my motorcycle, got on and rode up the mountain. There was not a single restaurant there, but I knew Nirmalananda’s ashram was there and he would have food. In the ashram there was a little temple and about twenty-five steps leading up to a small cottage. In those days, I wouldn’t get off my motorcycle for anything. So I rode up the steps and leaned my motorcycle on the wall of the cottage. I was smeared with mud and slush, after days and nights in the wild in the rains. Hearing the motorcycle right outside his room, Nirmalananda came out and looked at me. He always had a permanent smile on his face. He used to go into periods of silence, so he was in silence on that day. I told him I was very hungry. Then he did something strange. He came out and touched my feet. I was someone who had never even bowed down in a temple, my whole life. I would never ever touch anybody’s feet. It was unthinkable for me. And this man came straight to me and held my boots, which were covered in slush. I was deeply embarrassed. I knew people considered him a great man, but I did not want to know how great he was—whether this man was sanyasi or was Enlightened or whatever. It did not mean anything to me. All I wanted was his bread, but he came and touched my feet. This somehow disturbed me. But, anyway, I was hungry, so I ate the bread and honey he gave me.
After that, I went to BR Hills and met him many times. A sort of relationship developed between us—we kind of warmed up to each other. (Actually, I was the one who warmed up—he was always warm towards everyone.) He was mostly in silence. Sometimes, he spoke to me, but mostly he would write and I would speak.
Subsequently, my own process*1 happened and I started teaching Yoga. Many years passed and I met him again after a long gap. By then, I was fully bearded and my wife, Vijji, was with me. She also liked Nirmalananda and we visited him together a few times. We used to have long conversations during those visits.
Now, sometime in April/May 1996, Vijji, my daughter, Radhe, and I visited him. While we were talking to him, he suddenly said that the following January, at the onset of Uttarayana, he wanted to leave. I asked him, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I have lived as a Yogi, I don’t want to live as a rogi.’*2 He was then seventy-three years old. He was all in tears and he told me he really was not clear about how to leave. He had already build a small samadhi*3 for himself. He said he wanted to sit in the samadhi and leave. He was apprehensive if it would happen or not and had a lot of questions about it.
Suddenly, this became a different kind of a situation. It was no more a casual visit. This was Nirmalananda’s ashram. He was the man everyone came to see and I had also gone there with my wife and daughter, but now he was consulting me. Thought I had met him many times, he was now moving towards his final phase and was in a little bit of confusion. He did not know how to do this. He was just a simple and very joyful person. He had realized a few things, but still he did not know the mechanics of ‘how’ because he had no exploration of his own system. He was just aware.
So I opened up to him in a completely different way. We started discussing things which I have never discussed anywhere. I talked to him about what he should do, what he should not do. As death always happens because of the body being damaged either by disease or injury, to shed the body that one has acquired without any sort of damage to it demands a certain mastery. So I had to go into details of how he needed to prepare himself. Vijji was there. She was listening to all this and she burst into tears and cried relentlessly. I just ignored her and continued to speak to him because she could be crying for joy, she could be crying for anything. The sheer intensity of things always made her cry. She was like that.
*1 His experience at Chamundi Hills. See the section ‘Exploring Death’ in Chapter 1.
*2 One who is sick with disease.
*3 A spiritual tomb.
As I was talking, Nirmalananda was also overwhelmed by what I was saying. He was also weeping off and on and asking me more questions. It was then that we knew that Nirmalananda would leave.
Because I knew he would leave shortly, in December 1996, we took a large group of meditators and went there to see him one last time. He had already announced the date to many people. He had written one last letter to everyone he was in correspondence with. The news had appeared in the press too. By then these so-called ‘rationalists’ in Karnataka had started a big press campaign against him. They said this man was going to commit suicide and was trying to glorify himself with all kind of nonsense. They wanted the government to prevent the suicide and all that. They even got two police constables posted in the ashram to prevent this.
When I visited him the last time, he broke down and wept. He was really pained by this. He was a very gentle being. For his temple, he would not even pluck flowers from his plants. He worshipped his God only with the fallen flowers because he did not want to hurt the plants. He would never pluck a fruit from a tree either. He would take it only if it fell down. That is how he was. He said, ‘I don’t even pluck a flower from a plant, but they put police on me,’ and he wept. I said, ‘What is your problem? The police are sitting there. You don’t worry about this.’ Eventually, the policeman were withdrawn, but some people were still creating ruckus in Bangalore and Mysore.
He was suppose to leave on 15 January, but he left on the 10th itself. He left five days early because he feared that the rationalists would come and simply make a racket. On that day, he sat outside his cottage on a bench. Just few minutes before noon, in the presence of a small crowd, he simply left. Nirmalananda was someone who needed a Diksha Mrutyu; insted, we gave him a certain understanding of Mahasamadhi.
My wife, Vijji, was deeply influenced by Nirmalananda’s Mahasamadhi. She felt if one has to go, this is the way to go. Anyone associated with Vijji knew she was not someone who took one step at a time. She took no steps in Yoga. She did not do Yoga for her health, she did not do Yoga for her well-being. She did not care about her well-being. She did Yoga only because it meant something to me. It actually meant nothing to her. Any number of times she openly spoke about it to people. People thought she was a total sacrilege. ‘She is Sadhguru’s wife, and look what nonsense she is talking?’ they felt. But she was talking what was true for her. When all this talk about leaving the body business with Nirmalananda was going on in April/May, she was sitting there and silently crying. Halfway down the hill, there is a very beautiful place full of wildlife, so when we were driving back, I stopped the car there. Vijji was still crying, so I was joking about this and that. Then she said, ‘Whatever you were talking about to Nirmalananda, I want that.’ So I jokingly said, ‘Oh! You want to leave? That is great. When are you going to leave?’ And things like that. But she was very serious and was picking up a pitch. I thought, ‘Okay, this is no more a joke, it is getting big.’ Then I said, ‘Okay, let us see if you can do it, you just chant “Shambho”,*4 let me see.’ The scene is very clear in my mind even now. My little car was parked by the side of the road. I was standing there and Radhe was playing around with something. This was a deserted road where only once in twenty to thirty minutes a vehicle passed by. Vijji was kneeling in the middle of the road and telling me she wanted to go. And I said, ‘Okay, you chant “Shambho”.’ This is all the sadhana I gave. I gave it to her casually. I did not sit down and initiate her into something fantastic or specific.
I never thought she would have the perseverance to stick to it the way she did. It takes a lot to do it because your attention should be on it for twenty-four hours of the day. Otherwise, these things will not develop in you. I knew she had certain qualities in her; when she set her mid on something, she went all out. But I never thought she would have the determination to go all out. Especially being the emotional person that she was—her emotions towards me and Radhe—I thought it would be enough to deter her.
*4 One of the names of Shiva, also a powerful mantra.
But she picked it up. She started picking up so much momentum that, within a short time, she was somewhere else. She was not the same person any more; she was going away. She was no more my wife, but a super-intense ‘sadhaka’.
I tried to slow her down a little bit because nobody can sustain that kind of intensity for too long. It will burn out. I would say, ‘What is the hurry?’ Our daughter was not even seven years old. Vijji herself had gone through a phase of problems and struggles within herself and was now blossoming into a wonderful possibility. •So I said, ‘Things are working out well for you also, why now?’ She said, ‘Right now, my inside is feeling absolutely beautiful and outside everyone is wonderful to me. This is the time I want to leave. Right now, I am in a space where I want to be; I want to leave like this.’ I again said, ‘What is the hurry now? You can wait for a few years, enjoy this and then go.’ She replied, ‘Right now, you don’t want me to go, but after a few years would you want me to go?’• I did not know how to reason with her or stop her. I tried all means of persuasion but nothing worked.
She was already involved with Dhyanalinga consecration. Many things that had to be done as a part of the consecration were not easy at all. ‘Difficult’ is not the word because it would be extremely difficult for any normal person to do those things. But she gave herself to it and did fabulously well. She had set forth towards this process for her leaving. She wanted to leave after the consecration was over. For three consecutive full moon days—in December, January and February—she wanted to cook and serve the brahmacharis. Not with a serving spoon, but with her own hands. The desire to serve with your own hands is part of Indian culture. She wanted to do this on three full moons, and on the full moon in February she wanted to leave.
The consecration process, as it was going, was sure to be over before 23 January. But I knew something was going to happen which would postpone the whole thing in a big way, putting everything at risk. So somewhere on 14 January, I made the people involved take vow that by the next full moon in February, we would finish it. No matter what, whatever it takes, we would finish it. They said yes, but I said, ‘That is not enough, you have to really take a vow.’ I actually made them shout three times, that we are going to do it. I am so absolutely committed to fulfilling my Guru’s will, that I am willing to get into someone’s womb, take birth, make that women go through all that, grow up, all with a single-point agenda of doing one thing. I am that relentless. It was my Guru’s dream to consecrate the Dhyanalinga and, somehow, it was passed on to me. I had spent lifetimes trying to do this, and now that we were this close to finishing it, I wanted it completed with Vijji by my side. Without her, it would have meant starting all over again and that was almost impossible.
While the plans for consecration were in progress, concurrently, Vijji’s plan of leaving was on. We had visited her parents and my relatives one last time. She tried to convey the same to the family, but no one grasped it as she was healthy and well. When she said this was her last visit, they thought she was angry with them. We also attended a family wedding after a very long time. I had been so absent at these social occasions that many people met Vijji for the first time only then. Then, on 21 January, we dropped our daughter, Radhe, off at school. Vijji had already been telling Radhe for some time that she was leaving. Radhe’s birthday is in March, so she was telling her she would not be there for her birthday, and by then she would be gone. The girl and Vijji were talking in a very matter-of-fact manner that she will not be there and how I would come and do this and do that. I said, ‘Why are you doing this to the girl? Leave her alone.’ She said, ‘No, no. I have to tell her. I don’t want her to feel I left without telling her.’
We came back from Oooty on the evening of 21 January. On the evening of the 23rd, she left. What she thought would happen on the full moon in February happened a month early. On that day, there was an exceedingly rare and archetypically appropriate planetary alignment. They say it happens once in 200 years. It was also Thaipoosam, a day that many sages of the past had chosen for their own Mahasamadhi. So these things also factored in.
On that evening, a group of people from the Yoga Centre had assembled in the shrine, as they did on full moon evenings. Vijji had already cooked for them. We were going to mediate together and she was to serve them food after that. A few minutes after everyone had sat down for meditation and closed their eyes, she got up and went to the bathroom. I was little irritated with this because once we sit down for meditation, no one moves even a limb, let alone get up and leave. But she went to the bathroom and returned a few minutes later. She had taken off her gold bangles, earrings and toe rings, left them in the bathroom and returned. After some
time, she just uttered ’Shambho’ thrice and slumped to her left. And that was it. I noticed something was off and asked one of the brahmacharis to attend to her, and another fetched some water. But she was gone by then.
What she had accomplished is not a child’s play. Even accomplished yogis will struggle to attain this. Even a gnani*5 like Nirmalananda, who spent his lifetime in a spiritual sadhana, struggled to attain this. To throw this life out of this body without injuring the body, it takes somethings else. One has to generate a tremendous amount of energy, which requires intense sadhana. She knew the methods to achieve this and she was working towards this. But I never imagined that without my assistance she would be able to generate the necessary energy.
Moreover, there were certain things to be done, which she had no way of knowing. For example, when we initiate people to a certain sadhana, we give them something like a metal ring or a bracelet to wear.They are never supposed to remove it unless the Guru says so. This is because, sometimes, during that kind of sadhana, you might accidentally slip out of your body. If there is some metal on certain parts of your body, it will prevent it. I had never mentioned it to her. Yet, somehow, intuitively, she had taken off all her jewellery at that moment. She must have seen that they were preventing her from leaving.
*5 An adept in the path of Gnana Yoga—one of the four paths of Yoga.
Some people ask me, could she have been stopped? The consecration work was still not complete. Moreover, she was my wife and she was leaving behind a small child, so why did I not stop her? Could I have stopped her? I say, yes, it is possible. Anyone could have stopped her. You should know, not just a Guru, anyone can stop you. You have heard all those old stories where some sages were meditating and something would come and distract them. Why, even Shiva himself got distracted*6. So a simple distraction can do it. It does not take any Guru or some spiritual capability to distract them. It is just that if they have gone beyond a certain point, then whatever you do, such things cannot distract them. Still, a Guru can hold them if he wants to, but, at the same time, if they have gone that far, who would want to hold them? You may hold them before they go to that point, but if they have gone to that point, you will not hold them. There is no point holding back such a person; it is against the very grain of our existence.
Mahasamadhi should not be confused with committing suicide; as I have explained, it is different as it does not damage the physical body. Moreover, walking away from a healthy, living body means you have enough mastery over your life to make it or break it. So when someone is leaving that way, with such intensity, you don’t try to stop them. It does not matter who he or she is, whether this is your father, your mother, your wife or child, what does it matter? Such things don’t exist in that plane. Somebody being a wife or a husband is only true in our psychological and physiological sphere. Yes, Vijji was my beloved wife, but when she got into a certain state, I no longer saw her as my wife. She became a possibility that is transcendent and beyond personal relationships.
*6 Referring to a legend where Kamadeva disturbs Shiva’s meditation by shooting an arrow of flowers at him.
Her name was Vijaya Kumari, which means ‘victory’s daughter’. The highest-possible victory for any being became hers. All her life, she used to say that she was proud that she was my wife, but with this she made me proud as her husband and Guru.
“She knew Love
and nothing more
She was Love
and nothing more
The Lord needs Love
and nothing more
She wooed him with her Love
and she is no more.”
There have been many others instances of how people left their bodies at will. One such interesting case is that of Layman Pang and his daughter. Layman Pang was a lay Buddhist famous in China in the 9th century AD. He was born in a wealthy family, but at some point, he, his wife, his son and daughter renounced all their possessions and lived an itinerant life while being dedicated to spiritual pursuit. One day, when he was about seventy years old, he decided it was time to leave his body on a particular day. At that time, only his daughter was living with him. On the appointed day, the two of them prepared the room for his departure. He took a bath, done his robe and sat crossed-legged on his bed. He wanted to leave at noon. So he asked his daughter to look outside the window and let him know when it was exactly noon.
Having been raised under the tutelage of her father, Layman Pang’s daughter, Ling-chao, was an accomplished spiritual seeker herself. Layman Pang often commented about Ling-chao’s ability to grasp things very quickly. On that day, Ling-chao sat looking out of the window, waiting for noon. Suddenly, she reported to her father that there was an eclipse. ‘Is that so?’ Layman Pang asked. ‘Yes, please come and see for yourself,’ she answered. Then Layman Pang rose from his seat and looked out the window. Immediately, Ling-chao jumped on her father’s bed and, sitting cross-legged, left her body in a moment.
When Layman Pang returned and saw what had happened, he said, ‘My daughter’s way was always quick. Now she has gone ahead of me.’ People say Ling-chao tricked her father to leave before him.
But it may not be so. Probably, Layman Pang had prepared the ambience so well that his daughter was instinctively drawn towards the bed and the nature of the energies he had created was such that she, who was also a spiritual practitioner, was able to leave the body at that instant. Layman Pang looked at the situation and calmly went out, gathered firewood and performed a cremation ceremony. He then observed the traditional mourning period of seven days, at the end of which the governor of the province visited Layman Pang to pay his condolences. As they were talking, sitting by the side of the governor, Layman Pang left his body.
Excerpt from the Book: DEATH ~ AN INSIDE STORY BY SADHGURU ~ A Book For All Those Who Shall Die