Spiritual experience in conformation to the scriptures
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Spiritual experience in conformation to the scriptures
It is usually witnessed that people are following rules and regulations in performing various rituals to please God, but remain unsuccessful in achieving the goal, i.e., peace of mind and compassion at heart. Contrary to this, one who has not followed the rituals and certain observances, may turn to a pious nature overnight. Certainly he happens to witness or feel some supernatural phenomena and gets convinced too! This sudden change makes people suspicious about him, thinking he has lost his balance of mind.
There is a hairline of difference between hallucination/illusion and spiritual experience. Whether one is pursuing God with form or formless, the first experience makes one’s mind enjoy the jubilant mood for some duration. While the newfound joy continues, one’s outlook changes and in due course of time one finds explanations for the experience, contained in the scriptures. Further, one starts marching towards sainthood gradually and steadily for one’s own sake internally, and outwardly one spreads love to all! However, as one has not traversed a particular path or followed a code of conduct, it baffles the onlooker or any close associates.
While thinking about a problem on 4 July, 1977 (Please see my article: Death - a great spiritual teacher, indeed!) I got a terrible stroke and I heard a thundering voice explode: “His Karmas (actions) are responsible if not of this life then of a previous life.” I immediately concluded that it was God’s voice. The joy of this happening was so enchanting that I forgot my sleep and proceeded to my hometown, 2200 km away, spending 3 nights and 2 days in the trains. There I met my parents, and my father was very happy to see my condition. He himself was a devotee and I remember, when I was about 10 years of age, that he was composing long poems about love between the different categories of devotees1
and God and singing in public ecstatically.
But my mother-in-law in another town misunderstood my mood of God intoxication, and she tried to apply witchcraft. She was supposed to wave a piece of sweet substance (Laddoo) around my head while I was sleeping and throw it away in a well. But she had no chance to do that, as I was not sleeping for more than a few minutes. Responding to the commotion created in the in-laws’ house I politely requested my mother-in-law to show me to a doctor or a spiritual man who was well versed with the scriptures. She took me to her spiritual teacher who was a renowned astrologer, too. I was carrying my horoscope which I showed him, and requested him to tell my mother-in-law, for her satisfaction, the influence of the stars’ position on me, and whether I was going in the right direction, or not. However, in my mind I was sure that all was well with me. After going through the horoscope thoroughly, he told me that I would be able to save myself. He suggested certain things so that my excitement would subside.
His prediction, “that I would be able to save myself”
turned out to be true when I survived my death experience on 20 August 1977.
Moreover, I maintained a diary for writing my feelings round the clock just to confirm the same from the Srimad Bhagawad Gita (SBG). A similar sudden change in the personality is described in the SBG (6th Chapter), wherein Arjuna (a devotee) raises the question to Lord Krishna about what happens to a person who is sincerely pursuing spirituality and dies without getting the desired result. Lord replies he has two options:
1. enjoy the unfulfilled worldly desires first, joining a noble family, and at a suitable time take up spirituality very sincerely;
2. go straight to a pious family, if no desire is left, and start his spirituality right from the beginning.
Such a person may rightly be called a fallen angel. He knows the causes of his fall and tries to be more careful in fulfilling his mission, i.e., to taste the fruit of spirituality.1
In his poems, my father covered the following 3 relations of love between God and a devotee:
1. Friendly love with God – A poverty-stricken friend (Sudama) went, after a long time, to meet his schoolmate who had become a great king (Lord Krishna), on the insistence of his wife who couldn’t tolerate that the children were starving. On meeting, the Lord took extreme care of his friend and they enjoyed the shared memories of their school days in the Ashram of a Guru (Spiritual Teacher). The poor fellow was not there to ask for anything, however; his intention was just to meet his bosom friend. The Lord didn’t pay attention to his pitiable condition, either. Rather He discussed with him the benefits of renunciation. After some days the poor man returned to his village. Bewildered at seeing the marvelous building instead of his hutment and his family in a well-to-do condition, he realized the greatness of his friend. However, he himself remained a simple devotee. This was an example of a model friendship.
2. Love between God and a devotee – In another case, Lord Krishna took care of all the worldly requirements of a devotee when the devotee remained indulged in the company of saints and forgot his duties and responsibilities. Here was the unique relation between a devotee and God.
3. Love between God and His wife (compared to the love between a soul and the Supreme) – In the third case, a widow and childless queen, Meera, considered herself to be a bride of Lord Krishna from childhood, and finally she left the palaces, when confronted by her kinsman. Her in-laws suspected her devotion to the Lord and considered her mixing with the saints below their dignity. Finally, she became a renowned devotee and her songs are still considered as marvelous.
I used to watch my father, always trying to complete a line of his poem by repeating it many a time, until he got the suitable and effective word to fit in. While composing he must have made a perfect image of the situation and feel himself the pangs of that ecstasy of the above-mentioned relations.