Question: What was your first profound experience in spirituality?
It’s hard to convey a profound experience because that’s a very internal thing. I will, however, share some anecdotes on my spiritual journey that really stood out for me.
The first time I read the Bhagavad-gita was profound, but not for the reasons you may imagine. I opened the book in great anticipation that many mysteries would now unfold before my eyes. After a few pages of reading, however, I closed the book because practically everything was incomprehensible to me. Interestingly, I was still super inspired because something within me had grasped the fact that I had contacted profound wisdom, but it would only be accessible through the help of established teachers. The knowledge and words seemed to be touching another part of my existence beyond the mind and intellect. It was the first time I had read something and been inspired without even understanding it!
Another profound experience was the first time I danced while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. I tend to be quite introverted, reserved, shy and generally very quiet. In kirtan (congregational chanting) I usually stayed in the back, observed others, keeping a distance from the dancing, which to me was out of my comfort zone. In one particular event, however, I remember how I almost instantaneously lost that inhibition and started dancing. That was profound because nothing in my life had previously impelled me to ‘go beyond my mind’ in that way and transcend my self-consciousness. I knew this was something powerful.
Japa, mantra meditation on beads, has also been very uplifting for me. Though I won’t testify to divine encounters and mystical visions of God, there have been numerous times in chanting when I felt completely in the moment – a sense of absolute liberation from the past or future. For something so seemingly simple to capture my mind and lock me into the moment so profoundly, amazed and astounded me.
Another beautiful experience in my life was going to Vrindavana, the sacred village where Krishna was present generations ago. It’s said that when we visit such places, we are actually returning to our eternal home, the place where we feel most natural and comfortable. In Vrindavana, I found myself most happy in a ‘normal way!’ Usually, happiness comes from an achievement, a unique experience, an unexpected fortune or a break from the norm. In Vrindavana, however, I felt a different type of happiness which was based on complete simplicity and spiritual connection, such that external conditions seemed inconsequential.
Like this, over the years, there have been numerous other experiences. I’m not claiming them all to be deeply spiritual in nature, but definitely indicators for me of a different reality. Krishna Consciousness is like an ocean and once you dive in, you start encountering more and more. You remain an eternal student, waiting for the next revelation of Divinity.
Excerpt from “Tattva2: Old Words Open New Worlds”, available on: books.keshavaswami.com/tattva2
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