Monday, March 24, 2008

Origins and Specifics

Authored by Alexis...Translated by Google Translate by 4d-Don...

The best-known form of yoga in the West is Hatha Yoga, which boils down mostly to the practice of Yogic postures. But yoga is much more than a discipline from the Hindu ancestral home (almost 5000 years), whose goal is to achieve the unification of the human being in its physical, mental and spiritual components.

1. From Raja Yoga to Sahaj Marg

Raja Yoga (Royal union or RoyalYoga) is the Yoga outlined in the "Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the assumed author of that Yoga treatise written between -250 and + 500 years of our era.

It is also called Ashtanga Yoga (8 spoked yoga), which reflects the 8 steps of this path:

* Yama - Code of Conduct, self-restraint
* Niyama - Level religious commitment to the practice, study and devotion
* Āsana - Integration of the mind and body through physical activity
* Pranayama - Control of breathing that leads to intération of mind and body
* Pratyahara - Abstraction of the senses, removal of objects from their perception
* Dharana - Concentration, mind on one thing
* Dhyāna - Meditation: acitvité silent leads to the samadhi
* Samadhi - The state silencing of conscience

Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur (1899-1983), also known as Babuji, is the founder of Sahaj Marg in 1945, a spiritual teaching said to be the equivalent to Raja Yoga. Its characteristic is to avoid the 6 first steps and to begin with the meditation (step 7-Dhyana), according to Babuji and KC Varadachari. (see article by preceptor of Sahaj Marg)

While Babuji claims Lalaji as a precursor, he hides the Sufi origins of his spiritual thought for the dress of yoga which is much closer to the thoughts of the prominent Hindu, Ramakrishna (1836-86) and Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who strongly contributed to Hinduism in the West in the early twentieth century, at the same time as (re) discovering yoga (More ...).

According to the material,

"Sahaj Marg is closely related to raja yoga. Few changes were made to the system known thus far by the name of raja yoga-in order to eliminate the superfluous."

Clearly, Sahaj Marg is a major refinement of Raja Yoga.

2. The "Transmission" (pranahuti)

Starting the practice directly at the "meditation", the seventh stage of raja yoga, is apparently made possible only through the transmission, or pranahuti, said to be exclusive to Sahaj Marg, by it's supporters.

The most unique part of Sahaj Marg, would be that the Master assists the aspirant's spiritual progress by pouring divine energy into his/her heart, that will allow its transformation.

From Event Horizon (2002)
Sri Ramchandra Publishers, Secunderabad, AP, India

06.03.58 -p. 167...
Extact from conversation between Babuji and K.C. Varadachari.

"All the different sects of Mahammedanism (72 in all) have Transmission as their base, directly or indirectly."

When one looks closely at this exclusivity of Sahaj Marg, it is a fallacy. The Sufis were already using this technique long ago. And facing the fire of its critics, the advocates of Sahaj Marg recognize that themselves. They then argue that the transmission quality is much better with them than elsewhere. In this exercise, one can say what one wants, because each experience is personal and unique, so not comparable to any other. Clearly, the Sufis can say the same, and we may never resolve the issue.

It should also be noted that the unification of the human being, the goal of yoga, became the Sahaj Marg goal of "unity with the divine". Hence the claim that the great Masters have reached the so-called "central region". Nobody clearly defines nor describes this region. So much so that again, there are many of the gurus who claim to have gone to the central region, from Sahaj Marg and its various (self-appointed?) Masters to Radhasoami, passing through many more ...

Evolution of Sahaj Marg Practice

(Updated: March 29, 2008)

To take full advantage of this divine energy, the spiritual aspirant must provide a personal effort, codified in a set of spiritual practices, Sadhana. It includes several abhyas (the practice), designed to create the best conditions to assist the Master.

1. The Ten Commandments

Babuji summed up the whole of the spiritual practice to be recommended to abhyasis (those who practice the abhyas) in his 10 commandments. Beyond humanist attitudes, they include a prayer, if possible before sunrise, and a repentance for the sins (erasing of samskaras (impressions on the soul by our actions) ) committed since sunset. Not to mention having a heart filled with love and devotion, and that the goal is to achieve unity with God (male). So this is claimed to be a simple practice, which enables the SRCM (California) to say that Sahaj Marg is suitable for the family and the professional life of today.

But things have changed considerably since 1945. The 10 commandments were transformed into the 10 maxims, except for the break-away Institute of Ram Chandra Consciousness (ISRC) of KC Narayana, son of Dr KC Varadachari, the guru in waiting before Chari came on the SRCM scene. And the practice has become more complex. At the moment, it is a practice of meditation centered on the heart, including the main frame which rests on a daily practice (abhyas), the weekly sittings (with a preceptor) and some permanent bonds (constant remembrance).

Meditation, cleaning and prayer are the three daily abhyas that are imperative to practice assiduously if one wants to make rapid progress, therefore become oriented towards the ultimate aim, but mostly to please the Master.

* Meditation: it must be done for an hour before sunrise and after having "cleansed". This is a moment of total passivity where it is necessary to abandon to the divine. Ie internalized adoration of the Master by total devotion.

* The Cleaning: This method involves the active cleaning of impurities (samskaras or impressions on one's soul created by one's actions) accumulated during the day. It therefore takes place in the evening before dinner for half an hour. Impurities, or samskaras must escape from the backside like smoke ...

* Prayer: These are a few words to formulate one's complete dependence on the Master. It must be repeated two or three times before going to bed, for around ten minutes, with devotion and with an supplicant (begging) attitude.

In addition to the daily abhyas, there is added some individual sessions. These sittings or satsanghs are collective meditation sessions. They take place twice a week, on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings in general, in various centers of the SRCM. It is strongly suggested that abhyasis attend at least one per week. A "sitting" or a meditation with a personal preceptor is also recommended at least twice a month.

In addition to keeping one's daily journal and abhyasi group sittings, it is advisable so as to progress rapidly, to read and reread the ten maxims of Sahaj Marg, as well as to practise non-attachment, and renunciation and to develop constant remembrance of Master (constant remembrance). Finally, it is naturally suggested to meet the Master as often as possible.

But above all things, to begin, the new abhyasi must attend a minimum of three individual "sittings" of introduction with a preceptor for one's initial cleansing or cleaning, over a period of two to three consecutive days at a time cost of one half-hour each time. Only then can one start one's daily abhyas (practice) ...

2. Drifting towards the Cult of a Personality

The constant remembrance of the goal, unity with God, is fully transformed over time into constant remembrance of the Master.

This trend began well before Chari, as Babuji wrote in Role of the Abhyasi in Sahaj Marg:

"The easiest and most secure way to achieve the goal is surrendering to the Grand Master and become oneself a "living dead"(...). The abandonment of self is nothing more than a state of complete resignation to the will of the Master, with a complete lack interest in one's self. Staying permanently in this state leading to the commencement of the state of self-denial (...). In this state a man thinks and does what is the will of his Master (...). His will is completely subordinate to the will of Master. "

The practices have evolved, with a slow but permanent shift, from the 10 commandments in their entirety to a preponderance of practices that promote the Cult of a Personality. Thus, writing to, and meeting the teacher are strongly encouraged. In addition, or alternatively, the constant remembrance of the Master and total abandonment to his will become the basic rules.

For their part, the abhyasis readily lend themselves to the game. They send their (daily) journals to Chari, question him (or his pool of secretaries) regularly on all the decisions that they must make on a daily basis and display his portrait everywhere in their home. Finally, they crowd to his feet regardless of where he goes in the world, desperate to see him, touch him, or stimulate a reaction from him, much like any teen-ager, who is a groupie or fan of a popular singer (or movie or sports star) ...

The confusion between God and the Master has been skilfully managed. From abandonment to the Master, it has passed to the Cult of a Personality. Who began the drifting, the abhyasis or Chari ? Nobody knows any more, it's like the chicken and egg, it does not really matter, the result is there. The abhyasis are totally dependent on Chari, and Chari always asks for more.


(Updated: March 26, 2008)

Testimony of Madeleine:

*After years of unconditional adherence, Madeleine became a preceptor of SRCM's Sahaj Marg. But she began to doubt the quality of this teaching, gangrened by material expansion, especially after the centenary of the birth of Babuji in 1999. She gives us here the result of her historical research on Sufism, Lalaji and Babuji, and on the "transmission" (more ...)

Dr. K.C. Subramaniam:

* In the excerpt chosen, the doctor whose article was published by the SRCM, acknowledges that the transmission is not specific to Sahaj Marg, far from it (more ...with comments by 4d-don)

The following are excerpts from an article by Dr. K.S. Balasubramaniam originally published on the website of SRCM (California). He acknowledges that the transmission (pranahuti) existed long before Sahaj Marg so is not "unique" to Sahaj Marg as previously claimed, and is present not only among the Hindus but also among the Sufis, in Buddhism and Saivism (Chari's religion before being a Sahaj Marg abhyasis and then it's disputed Master)

It existed long ago, between Saint Vasishtha and Lord Rama, but it has also been used recently between Ramakrishna and and his disciple, Swami Vivekananda.


"The method known as Sahaj Marg which is practiced in Shri Ram Chandra Mission. It is a simple, subtle, safe and sure method which takes the aspirant towards human perfection in the shortest possible duration. The greatest advantage in this path is that, the guru or the Master or the guide, whatever one may call him, takes the responsibility of transforming an individual into a perfect human being without much effort on the part of the practitioner. This is made possible through the unique method adopted by the Master, which is termed ‘Pranahuti’ in Sahaj Marg. Pranahuti means ‘offering one’s life energy’. The Master, offers his own life-energy, directs it to the hearts of the disciple through his will power, and awakens the Soul which lies dormant in the heart of the seeker. The seeker has just to receive it in his heart, which he can feel once he turns his attention inwardly. The Pranahuti is defined as “The utilization of the divine energy for the transformation of man”. Sahaj Marg does not bar any one from experiencing this divine energy. Any one without any barrier of colour, caste, creed, sex, religion, nationality etc., can derive the benefit of the Master’s services, without paying anything in return!

Now, naturally a question arises whether this is true or just a fancy. Is there any such reference in early texts on Yoga where such phenomenon was available in ancient times ? The answer is ‘Yes’. We do have many such references in ancient texts where the Yogic energy or the divine energy was transmitted by the teacher to the disciple, resulting in the transformation of the latter. We shall see just a few of them here.

The Yoga Vasishtha, ascribed to the legendary saint Valmiki (who wrote the Ramayana), contains reference of the great saint Vasishtha transforming his disciple lord Rama at once, using this method of transmission. Here three methods of Yogic transmission, viz., by touch, by sight and through words are mentioned. The Sutasamhita, which forms part of Skandapurana, which is at least one thousand five hundreds years old, adds one more to the above list. It includes transmission through will power (or thought) and says that this is the subtlest and the highest method of transmission. It may be pointed here that Sahaj Marg adopts the same method.

In ancient and medieval Sufi systems, this technique of transmission from the heart was known as Tavajjhoh. It may also be noted that ancient Chinese Buddhism also contains references to such practices. The 9th -10th cent A.D. text on Kashmir Saivism also contains references to such method of Yogic transmission adopted by the Master in effecting spiritual evolution of the disciples.

Lord Krishna transmitted the divine energy to Arjuna on the battle field and made him an immortal hero, as can be seen from the great epic Mahabharata.

In recent times, 19th century, A.D., the great Master of Bengal, Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa transformed his disciple, Narendranath into a Yogi of immortal fame viz., Swami Vivekananda, through the method of transmission of divine energy, Such is the efficiency of this method. The tradition has continued from generation to generation for thousands of years."

Excerpts from "Evolution Of Sahaj Marg From Vedic And Yogic Practices" Dr. K. S. Balasubramaniam, published in full on the website of SRCM (see comments by 4d-don)