White Tantric Yoga.

Daljit Singh continues his personal account of Summer Solstice Sadhana 2008 at Raam Daas Puri in New Mexico.

A Mostly-true account of a White Tantric day at Summer Solstice

10... 11 ........ 12 ............... 13 .... I stood on my yoga mat doing frog poses (for those of you who don't know what a frog pose is - it's where you squat and then heave your body upwards; and then repeat - all the while using your breath like there is no tomorrow) - anyways, when you doing frog poses, tomorrow is the last thing on your mind. The only thing on your mind is how to survive the next heave up.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the facilitator move towards the mic -
"Aha! this is it!" my mind shouted in joy, she is going to say, "Relax" and that will be the end of this pose.

But what did I hear? "Keep up!!"

Ahhh, come on ... I can't keep up much longer, I'm dying, you hear me? ....
14 ..... Ahhh, I curse all the frogs and their poses - and come to think of it, I have never seen a frog doing this pose - why should humans have to do it?! I thought *we* were on top of the food chain - why do we have to imitate the lowly *reptiles*? ... 15 .....

She's moving towards the mic again... this is it, THIS IS IT!!

"Half way there!" she said sweetly. YIPES! I looked around to check on my partner (who looked half my age but was only a decade and half younger - more about that in a minute ... after I die)... he kept on going strong! Everyone kept on going strong - except Yours Singh Truly.

I looked up and I swear I saw an angel laughing his head off at me!! I couldn't believe it - out of the infinite number of caring angels in the heavens, I get Peeves!! For those who don't have children, Peeves is the naughty spirit at Hogwarts. What? You don't know Hogwarts either? Well, that's the school that Harry Potter went to. If you don't know Harry Potter, then you obviously have been spending the last few decades in a cave up in the Himalayas - if so, I have one (long) word for you (after I bow to you)... OOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! 

I stuck out my tongue at Peeves. That made him laugh even harder.

Ok, Ok, I breathed - this too shall be over! And sure soon enough, "Inhale" came the command. "Hold, hold, hold...." OMG, I am dying... "Relax!" I flopped on the floor. Sweat dripped from every pore...and from every pore's pore. I looked at my young partner for some sympathy .... naah wrong place - a wide grin danced across his young face from young ear to young ear (not sure if I mentioned this - he looked half my age but was only a decade and half younger). He looked at me, I immediately smiled and gave him the thumbs-up sign. "Piece of cake, give me more!" I said in the best macho voice I could muster. He smiled sympathetically.

"26 more frogs!" - I couldn't believe it - somebody listening in to my wishes had granted the wrong one at the wrong time!!

2 minutes later, I dropped and flopped again - I had managed only 6 frogs (and a couple of tadpoles). How would I ever survive the day? I asked myself.  

Let me just step back and tell you about the beginning of the day. Well, the previous day, this person, who I will call Niraj (although that's not her real name - in fact, her name doesn't even start with a N, it starts with a "R" and "upinder" comes after that. You might ask why use the name "Niraj"? Great question! Well, because she reminds me of this great friend I had during my College days (yes, I did attend College). Actually, I don't want to reveal my College friend's real identity either, so let's just call her Nargis. Mainly because she looked like Nargis, the bollywood yester-year star. Anyways, Nargis married this great spiritual guy Vijay, who we all called Gandhi, because he reminded everyone of Gandhi...). But that's another ahimsa story...

So "Niraj" had promised to be my partner today. She is this strong, spiritual soul who just draws people to her like a magnet. Not sure why she even bothers with me; but I think I remind her of herself ... before she became spiritual and strong.

Anyway, I got pretty excited about being her partner. I always hoped for a really spiritually strong partner who would give me the strength to go through some of the tough spots. But she met me that morning and announced casually that she had found a new partner ... AND (to put masala to the wound) she had the gall to introduce me to him!!!

Well, he didn't look like much. I counted just three ways it could be argued that he could possibly be better than me – 1) better-looking, 2) physically fitter and 3) more spiritual. Other that, he had nothing on me, nothing! (ok, maybe he was 3 or 4 decades younger too). I told Niraj (in my mind) "sure go ahead ... you will come crawling back to me when... when... " I couldn't think of anything, so I stuck out my mind's tongue at her third eye, "whenever!"

Anyway, out of her pitying heart, she found me another partner and introduced me. As it turns out, this guy, Karen (not real name, real gender though - why "Karen" and not some boyish name like .. I dunno ... "Alex", you ask - mainly because he reminded me of this great friend I had in Grad school - ok, ok, not actually in Grad school but how else could I have casually mentioned that I have been to Grad school?).

Karen turned out to be my long-lost brother and who, at the end of the day, kept punching me in the arm like younger brothers do. We became such good buddies, that we giggled literally for hours on end - and he turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip; but that's another gigglish story.

Let's just get back the exercises. So we start this long (31 minutes) exercise - "keep your eyes 9/10th closed, look at the tip of your nose and listen to the mantra". I felt determined to have a spiritual experience. And it did come; almost at the end. I saw this blue light shimmering in front of my eyes. I got really excited and couldn't wait to tell my partner.

His muted reaction seemed a little unenthusiastic. He smiled and asked me what shade of blue I had seen - I described it. He pointed to the yoga mat we were sitting on, "Perhaps this color?"

"Uh.." I said blankly (I'm good at saying "Uh" blankly ... but more about that later). Karen smiled sympathetically.

I couldn't believe it! I had been looking, through my 9/10th closed eyes, at my blue mat! I abruptly got up, mumbling, "bathroom" and went looking for someone to share my experience with. This Karen guy... yeah he may have been my long-lost brother and we may have giggled a lot, but what did he know about spiritual experiences?!! Nothing! I tell you, nothing! He had barely even been born when I had my first one - this time a friend named Mushrooms (real nickname) showed up at my apartment building ("Stoner Manor") with a wicked guitar and some really goooood <cough> <cough> herbs.

But that's another cloudy story...

Back to the tantric - so I saw this person sitting there looking miserable, rubbing her shoulders. I thought she is the one I can surely impress with my blue-light experience. I approached her, "Tough day, eh?" She brightened up like a flower, "Not at all - I had the best experience! I saw this Being come and touch the top of my head and I had mega-downloads of wisdom. It felt fantastic. Did you have any experiences?"

"Uh.." I said blankly (I think I mentioned I'm good at blankly saying "Uh"). "Well," I began, "I saw this amazing blue light... totally different from the color of the yoga mat I sat on.."

She raised her eyes skeptically, "Oh?"

I leaned close to her and whispered, "To tell you the truth, my mat is not even blue, it just appears bluish in this light...".

"Ahh, that's wonderful, really. But would you mind NOT stepping on my sheepskin? It has high vibration, you know?"

I suddenly had to go the bathroom again; she smiled sympathetically.

Well, lunch time finally rolled around and it was time for ... tantric burgers. And what comes after tantric burgers? Tantric burger gas!

Karen is an engineer of some kind and he suggested we use the gas for fuel - precisely that moment our giggling started; I suggested it might be better suited for anesthesia.

The good thing about everybody eating the same thing is that you can't really distinguish the gas inevitably produced - so it could be anybody - I kind of depended on that! And I had picked up a really good tip from Niraj/Nargis (yes, the aforementioned partner-dumping one) - that you let out gas right after a long group inhale and just before the mul bandh (those of you who don't know about mul bandh ... well... it's ... lemme get back to you on that one).

Anyway, I used that really great tip during the post-lunch warm ups. And when it came time to inhale again, the coast had, ahem, cleared ... but when I looked up, Peeves lay there pretending to have passed out! While all the other angels gathered around pointing their astral fingers at me; and shaking their astral heads in a sad sort of way.

Great! Exactly what I need - an astral guilt trip!


The exercise began again... and then IT happened!

After a 31 minute long exercise of "keeping up" while in excruciating pain, I suddenly stopped experiencing any pain at all; instead I started watching the body experiencing it. I completely became aware of every part of my body and knew exactly which position (spine straight, arms stretched out completely) reduced the discomfort that the body (not I) felt. I stretched up - Karen gave me a short smile - he knew I had caught on.

At the mental level, my mind just zoomed away to wide skies and remote snowed-packed mountain tops. A Sikh master had told me long time ago that when the mind becomes high, it seeks solitude. Solitude away from humans, animals and even the subtle "I am-ness" of vegetation. The mind feels scrubbed clean and it wants to go where the most pure and formless WaheGuru energy can be found.

I knew in that state, I could have an answer to any question I had. I asked the question that had been bothering me a lot lately, about my ego (you might have noticed from my blog writings that I have a major ego issue).

Up there in the mountains, I had become super-sensitive to my ego. In fact, within a minute, I could detect several ego-loaded thoughts arising within me. They hurt in a heart-shriveling sort of way; shrinking me away from me!

The question I asked was, "How do I kill the ego?"

The answer came: "You cannot kill the ego. But you can choose to step out of it. There are only two states your mind can exist in - SatNaam or Ego. When you are in SatNaam, you are not in ego; and vice-versa, when you are in ego, you are not in SatNaam. These two states are mutually exclusive."

I promised that I will be in SatNaam with each breath (and kept the promise for the most part while I was up there).

Then the major one happened!

This is the hardest one to explain and perhaps the least interesting one on paper; but the most profound one for me. It happened during a 62 minutelong  exercise while listening to mool mantra.

Mool mantra, as a Sikh Master once told me, is the most powerful mind-cleansing mantra available. In fact, the master suggested mixing it with the WaheGuru mantra just to ground it. There is a story about Baba Bhouche Vale, a great spiritual Sikh, who only meditated on the mool mantra all his life and had to cover his eyes at all times because they became so intensely powerful that they would set bushes on fire!

I hadn't given that story much thought - until then. In one exercise, I knew the power behind white tantric yoga.

And it is this: after we have dislodged the mind from it's perceived "reality"; it becomes rootless; we take that opportunity to make it listen to powerful mantras. With the power of the mantras, it is flung back to it's original reality - the one which existed before thoughts invaded it. And it loves it! It is powerful, pure and wonder-filled again.

I saw and felt ... nay, experienced the formless One - WaheGuru - peering out of Karen's eyes. My jaw literally dropped and my eyes opened in wonder! So that's where you are! I said. Not only in Karen's eyes but in all eyes; in all forms of life. 

There was no one to fear; because the one in all (including me) was my beloved one! Loving me, watching me and delighting in every part of my existence (no matter how small and insignificant).

O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light - recognize your own origin. the Dear One is with you; through the Guru's Teachings, enjoy the Dear One's Love. (Guru Amar Daas jee, sggs 440)

I smiled through the rest of the exercises and indeed through the rest of my time up there in the mountains.


P.S: As an epilogue, after I returned home; I remained relatively joyful. But I did feel some of the joy leaking out slowly. How much it leaked out I felt acutely when I attended a keertan 12 days after I had returned. During the keertan, I saw that my ego had regained complete control of me. It had slowly (but very, very surely) covered me up in it's suffocating "darkness" again. But I am wise (read old) enough to not get too depressed about it - like a writer once wrote,

"Be grateful for the gifts you have received, not remorseful for the ones you haven't."

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