I must admit I didn’t start walking on the spiritual path because of intellectual reasoning. The first prerequisite in the spiritual path is faith and without it progress is absolutely impossible.
But how did I come to believe? My inner experiences made me believe in yoga and spirituality. As if I had tasted chocolate for the first time wondering what it was, but I liked it and I wanted more. Thus I knew the experience but not the name. Many people do the opposite – they read about chocolate, they talk about it, imagine it, but they have never tasted it. It’s the same with some people from yogic circles. They gain abstract knowledge but lack personal experience. I had the spiritual experiences before I acquired knowledge about them.
My question was how I could get more transcendental experiences? I needed a wise teacher and a path to follow. For two years I was in perplex searching for my own way. Along the way I understood two important things: most people have never had any real spiritual experiences and secondly – there was no one I could trust and talk about my own experiences. I was really surprised to see people from all ages and spheres of public life openly discussing things they had no practical experience with at all. They were a mess of intellectual bits and pieces. I was really surprised and also a bit frustrated. I thought to myself “How could these people claim they understand anything at all?” and continued searching.
One day I went on a seminar in Harrogate, Yorkshire. The first words of Swamiji (a courtesy title for a renunciate) were: “Information is not knowledge”. She indeed explained the significance of inner experiences describing her own reaction when her Guru ordered her to go to England and conduct the scheduled programs there. Swamiji told us she wasn’t happy to hear she had to leave the ashram and go abroad. It was her first lecturing tour in her life as a sannyasin. Her reply was the following:
‘But western people don’t understand the difference between knowledge and experience.’
Her Guru replied to her:
‘Then go and tell them.’
You see we are all immature children and the role of the Guru is to point to us the right direction, to give us awakening and a new breath of inspiration.
One year later when I was invited to go to the source – to Guruji’s ashram in India, Swamiji was meeting all the different nationality groups. Her first question to everyone was: “What was your experience?” She didn’t ask “Do you like the ashram?” or “How was the program?” No, she wanted to know only the quality and the nature of the experience itself. When my turn came and she asked me the same question I hesitated and remained in silence. I held my breath – the very same question which has been chasing me for years and lurking in my consciousness was asked by Swamiji herself. I really felt I was on the right path and felt overwhelming gratitude to the Guru tattwa.
However because I didn’t answer at first, the leader of our yoga group thought I hadn’t understood the question in English and translated it to me in my own language. Of course I couldn’t talk to Swamiji about such intimate things in front of others. I thought to myself: “Be like a dog. Wait, observe and trust your guts. No, the time hasn’t come yet, but when it comes, you will feel it right away.”