- History of Spirituality
- Religion vs Spirituality
- Spiritual Benefits of Sahaja
- Sahaja Founder
- Character and Personality
- Doubtless Awareness
- Karma and Meditation
- Nirvana and Beyond
Nirvana May Not Be What You Think It Is
You’re probably familiar with the term nirvana. Nirvana is the kind of word that seems to be surrounded by an aura. It instantly triggers familiar associations with American values, such as peace, bliss, harmony, wholesomeness, well-being, and natural goodness, thus it has inevitably been put to use in the popular vernacular.
The concept of nirvana is often commercialized in literature as a symbol of ultimate peace and tranquility and in product brands as a reflection of a “longing for something more,” targeted to a culture that has what it needs (food on the table, a little money in the bank), but is not fully satisfied and ever searching for transcendence above the daily human condition. Targeting human aspirations as a marketing strategy aside, it is natural for humans to seek heaven on earth.
What Nirvana really means
Nirvana is widely written about by spiritual truth-seekers. Some believe that it is a state of spiritual perfection in which one realizes that there is nothing outside of nirvana and that once you reach nirvana, it is a permanent, everlasting state. Some believe that it is achieved only through devotional acts and that one cannot reach nirvana without completely detaching from the material world. Others believe that Nirvana cannot really exist until all have reached it.
But what is Nirvana, really? Well, certainly, it’s more than a grunge rock band or a mattress that promises a blissful, idyllic night’s sleep. The distilled essence of nirvana is: liberation, self-realization and enlightenment. Nirvana is all about discovering and unleashing the Spirit or Inner Self. And during Sahaja meditation’s Self-Realization process, that’s exactly what happens.
As the subtle inner energy (Kundalini energy) rises, there’s a union of the inner being with the cosmic being or all-pervading power. This causes us to realize or perceive our Inner Self and being in tangible terms, through the experience of a cool breeze or vibrations that we can actually feel acting our central nervous system.
Nirvana is often said to be liberation from the cycle of births and deaths, but this is a slight misinterpretation.
What liberation means is that once we discover and realize our Spirit within, we have the freedom to choose our birth or re-birth. More simply, become one with the divine — the all-pervading, omnipresent power. So how much does being on earth or in the heavens matter when we’ve actually experienced heaven on earth? Not much. In the state of nirvana, we’re able to access a higher spiritual state of existence, even as earthly human beings. We feel liberated because the cycle of birth and death becomes irrelevant to us and we don’t fear anything, including death. We care only about our subtler self. This state is also known as the state of salvation, or Moksha, in Sanskrit.
How Nirvana is related to enlightenment
Nirvana is closely related to the concept of enlightenment. Enlightenment is about having this subtle knowledge and experience of the all-pervading power and our own Inner Self in tangible terms. Enlightenment means being illuminated from within so that we may know the Inner Self. It’s about achieving all-important long-term improvement of our personality and character, allowing us to become better beings. In that sense, Self-Realization serves as the gateway to enlightenment, giving us an opportunity to achieve enlightenment during our lifetimes.
It’s important to understand that Nirvana is not a discrete state — it is actually a continuum of states in our spiritual pursuit throughout our lifetime. Achieving Nirvana begins with Self-Realization, but we need to work toward complete attainment of the state of nirvana by transforming ourselves into subtler beings who innately and automatically follow our personal dharma, or moral code of conduct. This is important because in this transformation, one actually goes beyond dharma and the need to constantly check and regulate oneself against dharma. It simply happens effortlessly, indicating that dharma is now intrinsic to one’s being. It’s almost as if you’re operating in cruise mode and no longer need to worry about pressing the brake or accelerator to maintain constancy.
To achieve nirvana, we must also transcend two additional dimensions and become independent of them: time and qualities (the Gunas). The transcendence of these three dimensions, or being in a state where their effects and linkages cease to exist for us, are known as Dharmateet, Gunateet and Kalateet (in Sanskrit, Guna means “quality;” Kala means “time;” Ateet means “in the past”). Simply stated, one has evolved so much that these three dimensions are a thing of the past. They no longer matter, and we are no longer bound by them. Yet, this transcendence also means that we are in complete harmony with these three dimensions — they are fully absorbed within us.
We ordinary mortals may struggle to transcend these three dimensions — hard work may be required. But when we reach this higher spiritual plane of nirvana, we have, in fact, transcended them — mastered them, you might say.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we suddenly possess mystical powers such as the ability to control time. Every aspect of spirituality is about becoming a more evolved human being. It’s not about developing magical or extraordinary powers. Transcending time means that the effects and bindings of time cease to have any effect on us. We automatically show up on time, intuitively do the right thing at the right time without thinking or planning. Uncannily, we’re always in perfect synchronicity with time.
Experience and Actualization: Ultimately What Matters
Many who are looking for “something more” turn to spirituality and may seek spiritual truth through meditation. A surprising majority of people assume that extensive knowledge about a concept such as nirvana equates to spiritual improvement. But, sadly, it doesn’t. You can be incredibly well-read and knowledgeable about nirvana and other deep spiritual concepts, but that gets you nowhere until you first experience your own Self-Realization. Your behavior, character and personality must change for the better. Then and only then, do these concepts begin to have real meaning and relevance in your life.
At Sahaja Online, we’re all in the same boat. Experienced practitioners or beginners, each of us is pursuing our own journey of self-improvement through a process of experimentation, introspection and experience. However, we’re there to help and share our experiences. If you ever need help, please feel free to reach out to us.