Glory All Around

Reflections on Beauty and Wonder


Sahaj Marg

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 24 Jun 2012 04:01:11 GMT  <== Glory ==> 

From 1973, the summer of my junior year in high school, through 1982, I imbibed a lot of recreational drugs. This ended with free-base cocaine (later called "crack"), during November and December of 1982. On New Year's eve of 1982 (just before 1 January, 1983), I found myself without desire for the first time ever, and the drugs just dropped off. Didn't want them any more. Shortly thereafter, I got the first actual command I remember ever getting from my subconscious: stop eating meat. So I did. In March, at a bookstore in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA), I found a poster with a photo of Lalaji, the adi-guru (originator) of the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. I called the number on the poster, and went for my first "sitting" with the 11-year-older-than-me "preceptor" who was within walking distance of the 6-person-and-6-cat shared house where I was living at the time.

Sahaj Marg (the natural path) is meditation on divine light in the heart, supported by pranahuti, yogic transmission. The transmission comes through preceptors, people who have been opened up as channels by the master. The practice consists of an hour of meditation in the morning, half an hour of "cleaning" in the evening, a short prayer before bed, and "constant remembrance", what the sufis call "zikr", and what Brother Lawrence called The Practice of the Presence of God (Kindle edition). In addition, abhyasis (practicants) are recommended to take a weekly individual sitting with a preceptor and to attend weekly satsang, group meditation, also with a preceptor. I felt the transmission right away, being ripe at the time. Some people take a little while to feel it. I took to my practice like water to one lost in the desert on finding an oasis.

I practiced Sahaj Marg religiously from 1983 until I was married in 1991. Shri Ram Chandra Maharaj of Shahjahanpur (Babuji), the founder of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM), was the master when I started, but he left his body in April of 1983, and Partasarathi Rajagopalachari (Chari) took over. Chari visited the US in 1985, 1986, 1987, and a number of times afterwards, and the US Mission grew and grew. I went to all of the US visits, and also traveled to be with Chari in France and Denmark.

I discovered fairly quickly after my first sittings that nobody remembered putting up a poster with Lalaji's picture. I saw plenty of posters with Babuji's picture, but none with Lalaji's. The one I saw was apparently for me alone. Namaste.

From 1991 to 1995, I still did my practice regularly, but without the same urgency as before. It slowly dwindled until 2006, when I stopped completely. Political blogging had moved my focus from spirit to anger to hate.

Over the last month, I missed a week of work due to burnout (what I used to call "coffee lobotomy" and what I think is probably adrenal over-exertion), excruciatingly twisted my ankle four times, was hit by a financial bomb of my medical insurance deductible going way up, and was feeling tired, depressed, and suicidal a lot. Finally, last Tuesday, the idea came to drop the politics, defriend on Facebook everybody I haven't met in person, slow down, and resume my Sahaj Marg practice. I called my old preceptor, who's been leading satsang on Tuesday nights in Troy since Babuji visited there in 1978, and he introduced me to a preceptor only 35 minutes from my house. The practice starts with three sittings over three days. My wife, surprisingly, decided to start with me. We took our first two sittings yesterday and today, and plan to take the third tomorrow.

I'm now spending the hour I used to spend on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Google Reader, and web surfing in morning meditation, and I'm feeling much more balanced and happy. Amazing what a small change can do. I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with my Sahaj Marg family.

I live at The Abode of the Message, a sufi spiritual community in the Berkshires of upstate New York. Moved here when I got married, 21 years ago. It's a retreat center, with lots of gatherings on the mountain in the summer. Yet I was inviting all the ugliness of the outer world into my home every day, via the internet. How dumb was that? Well, no more. Blessed Be!

Add comment   Edit post   Add post

Comments (17)

Bill --- lovely to read

Submitted by Alima on Sun, 24 Jun 2012 14:03:29 GMT

Bill --- lovely to read about this aspect of your history and your life now, Alima

Edit comment

Sahaj Marg headed by CHARI is a gang of criminals

Submitted by lawenforcer on Sun, 10 Feb 2013 18:47:01 GMT

Hi Bill,

I read your blog on Sahaj Marg and I believe you were associated with the genuine Sahaj Marg that was headed by Lalaji and Babu ji till Parthasarthi Rajgopalachari assumed control over it.
I am acquainted with a family here in India whose 34 year old son,"embraced spirituality" aka "Sahaj Marg" Chari brand a few years ago. This fellow is a manager with a leading multinational firm. I just wish to throw light on what "Sahaj Marg" has done to him considering that he attended premier educational institutions in India and abroad.
This fellow's family is unaware of his "spiritual" devotion to Sahaj Marg and in the absence of the same wonder why their son behaves strangely all the time. The "spiritual" son openly proclaims his disdain and contempt for the weaker, poorer sections of society and has even ended up being violent on some of them a couple of times because according to him, to his mind they are silly people and by this logic alone, he has assumed the right to hit them!
According to this Sahaj Margi, his "ascended masters" from the BRIGHTER WORLD (so bright that the abhyasis become blind!! lol) transmit him "messages from above"!! They have asked him to "connect to the source" (while the masters of SM "connect to the resources" flowing from all parts of the world, again lol). This man calls his parents "puppies" as he did before me ( he has been brainwashed to believe that parents are evil, wow!!), talks in an auto-centric language (he believes he is GOD), is socially withdrawn, does not take meals, and shows all the symptoms of acute narcissistic/schizoid personality disorders. These disorders usually afflict people with very low self-esteem and naturally a bogus spiritual organisation like Sahaj Marg appeals to such a diseased mind. They tell such assholes that they are the "chosen ones" (their only chance at glory) who will go to the heavens (the sooner the better)...When I told this fellow that real men (since he has muscles) hit people more powerful than them and that owing to his behaviour I thought that he was "mentally disturbed", he immediately took a U turn because it caused him acute embarassment that that was how he was perceived among his neighbours. He tried his best to manipulate the situation by telling me that he was just joking about spirituality. At Sahaj Marg, the victims are brainwashed with a very limited and vague 'spiritual'vocabulary. While preaching his SM philosophy to me, he used the word "connect" a bit too often. Look at the irony: a man totally estranged from himself and one and all loves using the word "connect"!
After the U turn for a few days, he returned to his SM ways. He told me that he was not against marriage but he will marry a woman with whom he can "connect" . There it was. I caught him. The word "connect" gave him away! When I confronted him with his lies he said that he felt like committing suicide!! Obviously, because he had failed to manipulate me and was feeling humiliated. I had smashed his ego to pieces. A man is known by the company he keeps and obviously the only company this man keeps is that of Sahaj Marg and Sahaj Margis and the effects are visible on him...and I am not surprised.
As far as evidence for my claims is concerned, I work for a law enforcement authority and am associated with a leading organisation that works on mental health issues in India. Please pick up any work by Dr. Arthur Diekman, Psychiatrist at the Harvard Medical School. He has researched intensively on cult psychology and has concluded how brainwashing is effectuated on men, women and children. It is the morally and emotionally weak persons who gravitate towards cults such as Sahaj Marg (the kind Chari is heading). If you need hard-hitting evidence, please get in touch with the EUROPOL at Hague (EUROPEAN POLICE) that has placed Sahaj marg centres all over Europe under its surveillance after receiving Government Reports from France, Spain, Belgium and Netherlands that list Sahaj Marg as a "harmful sect" engaged in dubious activities. There are psychiatrists down South India treating "spiritual" patients from Sahaj Marg for hypnosis, hallucinations, depression, personality disorders, and suicidal tendencies. They have noted that these "abhyasis" were marked by "Zombie-like" behavior, that is they were incapable of any normal human reactions. This man I wrote about is also a ZOMBIE-emotionally dead.
As far as Rev. Master Chari is concerned, well, there are a host of court cases against him on charges of violence on dissenters and abhyasis who wished to be freed from his clutches, forgery, land grabbing, sexual abuse of female relatives of brain-dead abhyasis, and on and on (see the Report in THE PIONEER, India, Dec. 2001). In fact, Chari is a businessman who is running a thriving spiritual business and developing real estate through Sahaj Marg. It is just a matter of time when these "ascended souls" will be where they deserve to be: HELL...All thanks to the curses of those families who have suffered and are suffering, thanks to Sahaj Marg...
I request you to tell as many people as you can to stay away from Chari and gang and their brand of "spirituality". Vivekananda was and as a true "ascended soul" still is the leading light for those who wish to understand the true spiritual traditions of India. Unfortunately his discourse has been misappropriated by some criminal gangs posing as spiritualists.
Please see if there are any Sahaj Margis around you who need urgent psychiatric treatment. I am certain there are.

Edit comment

Interesting allegations.

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 10 Feb 2013 22:45:46 GMT

Interesting allegations. Not at all in line with my personal experience, however. I started Sajaj Marg meditation in 1983, shortly before Babuji Maharaj left his body. I never met Babuji, but Chari came to the US in 1985, and almost every year thereafter until his health made that impossible. I know plenty of people who met Babuji in the seventies, and witnessed the transition. I have heard of a few people who didn't follow Chari's branch of the mission, but I have heard no discouraging words from those I know who did. I never felt Babuji's transmission directly, but I have felt Chari's. It's real, and it's miraculous. I have never heard evidence of the Mission cheating anyone. All events I've attended have had a recommended donation in line with covering their costs and little, if any, more. And nobody is turned away because they can't pay.

It wouldn't surprise me if some unbalanced people have gotten into the Mission. It's big, and that's unavoidable. But those I've met have been practical people with good hearts. I'm glad to call them my spiritual family.

Edit comment

Dear Bill,I respect

Submitted by lawenforcer on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 06:58:37 GMT

Dear Bill,

I respect your line of argument, more so because it seems to flow from your personal experience. Please follow this link to understand that the transmission you felt from Chariji was a manipulated pseudo-spiritual experience that is effectuated when the subject is sent into a trance. It is an article on how a notorious cult "Falun Gong" manages to hypnotize its followers.

Since spiritual experiences cannot be objectively validated they are prone to "emotional validation" (that is, "its true if it feels true). This is what we call a manipulated pseudo-spiritual experience. Cult brainwashing involves repeated inductions of trance like states of consciousness, what we confuse with the "transmission of spiritual energy from one being to another". The most powerful weapon in the armory of these cults is mass hypnosis. It effects a special, altered state of mind subjectively different from the natural alert state, where the subject's beliefs and perceptions can be changed. Cults create these conditions using techniques that dampen the subject's critical faculties and arouse emotional responses in him that he confuses with spiritual awakening.
Please read about the use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and "autosuggestion" by cults to produce the "desired effects" in subjects. If you have a session with a reiki healer, you will experience the same kind transmission of energy from the reiki master but it is not spiritual awakening.
The Sahaj Marg claims to be the "natural" path to meditation-the Raja Yoga meditation. I am sorry to disappoint one and all but the Raja Yoga meditation is not a discovery of Sahaj Marg. It is a principle of VEDANTA and was popularised by our spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda who famously said: "Sects are for children".
The prerequisites for even attempting Raja Yoga meditation are daunting as before one sets out to even attempt it, one has to satisfy the requirements of Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga and Bhakti Yoga (in that order). In the absence of these, the Raja Yoga meditation becomes the SUPERNATURAL (as opposed to natural) path to meditation where one can hear "messages from the Brighter World" and be driven to suicide and depression as my lawyer and doctor friends are witnessing among a group of Sahaj Margis!! This has happened to people who entered the sect as perfectly balanced men and women. In the 21st century, "spirituality" is marketed like a quick-fix solution to all overwhelming problems confronting our humanity.
I must tell you that Lalaji and Babu Ji were my relatives (yup, we belong to the same clan and state) who learned Reiki transmission but they were good souls unlike the Chari faction. Lala ji was a typist in a District Court in Shahjahanpur who was interested in mysticism. He wished to simplify the teachings of our spiritual gurus to make them accessible to the masses but in the process of simplification they ended up oversimplifying the rigours of a genuine spiritual discipline. Their intentions were commendable but "a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing" (a result of oversimplification). Over time, the Sahaj Marg became a notorious organization with its leaders involved in cases of land grabbing, forgery, money laundering, frauds and even a rape case. There is evidence on record so I did not make mere allegations.

Just do a google search with the following keywords: "autosuggestion", "mass hypnosis", "neuro linguistic programming" and "cult psychology" for detailed information on how the mind can be manipulated to experience "bliss".


Edit comment

Get Lost

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 15:30:26 GMT

Babuji mentioned Vivekananda a few times in his autobiography, claiming to have intercommuned with him. Is there such a thing as intercommuning with the spirits of the dead? I don't know. I have never experienced it. I know about NLP and cults. But I've never seen, in 30 years of sadhana, anyone in Sahaj Marg attempt anything like that. Can't say it doesn't happen some places in India. As I said, it's a big organization. I also know about Reiki, having been opened to Reiki level 1 in a weekend seminar. Is Sahaj Marg pranahuti the same as Reiki? I don't know. If it is, what's the difference? It works. Am I going to take the word of a lawyer, a supporter of the biggest and most dangerous cult in the world, the state, over my own experience? No chance. Go peddle your FUD elsewhere, Mr. Law Enforcer.

Edit comment

Hey Bill, Your reaction

Submitted by lawenforcer on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:31:07 GMT

Hey Bill,

Your reaction is like that of a typical "Sahaj Margi" so I am not surprised-No argument on merits only glib rhetoric in the name of spirituality, fascination with the other worldly and a violent reaction to any view that conflicts with the views he has internalized at Sahaj Marg!! A man's spiritual disposition is revealed in his words and actions, not in his claims of "being spiritual". Please remember that. All those who were truly spiritual became leaders not followers of cults and sects because they were courageous, original and intuitive-prerequisites for spiritual awakening. Such men can never move around in herds because they possess a free will that questions everything, they act from very high levels of awareness motivated by love and compassion for one and all. One such person was a French preceptor of Sahaj Marg, Michael, a close aide of Chari who left Sahaj Marg after witnessing its corruption from close quarters and helped all those who wanted to leave Sahaj Marg when they were threatened by their preceptors with "eternal damnation of their bodies and souls" in the event they quit SM! What kind of spiritualists blackmail Mr. Bill? The Charis of the world are mere painkillers who benumb those very faculties that a genuine guru awakens. The Sahaj Margi confuses that numbness for real "peace of mind". It has been scientifically proved that a person's energy field can be easily manipulated via energy transmissions from one body to another. In the hands of an unscrupulous guru this transmission is used for perpetrating control on followers; just as nuclear energy can be used both for making bombs and supplying power for generating electricity.
In my country, the Supreme Court where I work takes on the state so I am definetely not an agent of the biggest peddler in the world. In fact your Chariji directly appoints influential police officers to the board of directors of SRCM/Sahaj Marg to circumvent the laws and investigations into serious charges against him. So he is definetely an agent of the state.
Vivekananda does not need Lalajis, Babujis and Chariji and their followers to stand where he does just as I don't need your forum to prove my claims. Truth stands on its own evidence.

Edit comment

Sir. Stop pretending

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:45:38 GMT

Sir. Stop pretending you know me, or my reasons for anything I do. You have presented precious little actual evidence for anything. Just sowed a bunch of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Chari is an old man, who can barely get around any more. His successor, Kamlesh Patel, cried when he read Chari's resignation, and was unable to finish reading (the board convinced Chari to stay on in name, but turn over most of his duties to Kamlesh). These are soft-hearted men. I am proud to be associated with them. I quit Sahaj Marg for six years, and only resumed practice last summer. At no time did anybody apply any kind of pressure on me. I don't do cults. Any hint of that, and I'm out the door. So far, no hint from SRCM. It will take a lot more than a few comments on my web site to convince me of what you allege.

Edit comment

Bill, I am a lady.

Submitted by lawenforcer on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:41:11 GMT

Bill, I am a lady. I just read about your daughter and I don't think it's ethically right to engage you in a debate on spirituality or spiritual gurus. There is one common factor between the two of us-a dear one's illness. Your daughter's illness and my friend's illness since the time he joined Sahaj Marg. As Buddha said, "We cannot dispute a person's experience". So our different experiences with the same organization stand on an equal footing.
Chari may be an old man now but there are families here that are suffering, esp. old parents and one such lady is personally known to me. Trust me, if a man has a strong mind, even the most violent forces in the world cannot harm him. You could be one such man.
There is incriminating evidence all over the internet against these people but as I said I am in no mood to carry this further.
Please try alternative healing for your daughter if you have faith in alternative healing systems or let me know if I can find out.
Before I sign off, let me tell you something: the rule of law is strictly enforced in the USA and European countries where all registered organizations like the Sahaj Marg are strictly under the surveillance of police, which is not the case in my country. For this reason alone, these organisations don't dare to take liberties with people in the western countries as much as they can back home.

Edit comment

That may explain our

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 21:19:34 GMT

That may explain our different experiences. I have never been to India. I am sorry to hear that your friend has been harmed.

Edit comment

Please try Ayurvedic

Submitted by Garima on Fri, 22 Feb 2013 16:33:32 GMT

Please try Ayurvedic medicines for your daughter. I have no idea where in USA exactly a reliable Ayurvedic doctor would be available but there is a definite cure for Lyme's in Ayurveda. Allopathy cures only the symptoms and never the disease really. I've seen Ayurveda yielding enduring benefits.

Edit comment

You were right

Submitted by lawenforcer on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:35:19 GMT

Dear Bill,

Hope you're doing well. How is your daughter's health.
I went to sahaj marg to learn meditation and it turned out to be a good experience. You were right when you said that there are many mentally unbalanced men and women who join spiritual organizations like Sahaj Marg. I discovered that this chap who I wrote about in my previous posts had projected sahaj marg in the wrong light on account of his illness. I also found out that at no point in time had he ever taken sittings with any preceptor at Sahaj Marg. These shocking revelations opened my eyes to the truth.
I request you to remove my derogatory posts against Sahaj Marg.


Edit comment

Removing your posts

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:43:58 GMT

I request you to remove my derogatory posts against Sahaj Marg.

You should be able to click the "edit comment" link below each of your comments to change or delete it. I prefer not to touch other people's comments, unless they are commercial and off-topic or clearly criminal. Personally, I think our conversation here might benefit others, help them to realize that there are shysters out there, and that we must be careful in judging an entire organization from the actions of a handful of claimed members. Many in the US have this misconception of Islam. A few violent people who claim to follow Islam have poisoned the entire religion in their eyes. The Muslims I know are peaceful people. My two-year practice of Islam showed me that it is a very powerful practice, requiring good guidance, as does any spiritual practice.

Edit comment

Victoria's health

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:45:05 GMT

Hope you're doing well. How is your daughter's health.

I'm doing well. Victoria is still sick, but her spirits are still high.

Edit comment

Hi Bill,Anyone can

Submitted by Lawenforcer on Mon, 06 Jul 2015 02:55:25 GMT

Hi Bill,
Anyone can publish a comment with the name lawenforcer. The most recent message was from someone trying to whitewash the previous negative comments. Sahaj Marg still remains a cult, plain and simple. Maybe a good cult, free food and stuff, but you hand away your personal power.

Fuck that.

Edit comment

It is true that anyone

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:44:17 GMT

It is true that anyone can post anonymously as "Lawenforcer". But the previous messages from "lawenforcer" were all from a registered account. The most recent one, from "Lawenforcer" was posted anonymously, and I had to approve it. So which one is the imposter?

But you're right that when surrendering to a guru you rely on him/her to take care of you. That's why the selection of a proper guru is of paramount importance. Or you travel alone. You'll still get there, there's nowhere else to go, but it will usually take a lot longer.

You are free to choose your path. Blessings to you, whatever you choose.

Edit comment


Submitted by Deepika on Fri, 18 Dec 2015 02:56:46 GMT

Hi, Bill I appreciate your feelings, I too started practising Sahaj marg 15 years ago, ignored for 3-4 years but now I feel the only right decision I made was I started again practicing seriously Sahaj Marg. Chariji was a great guide. Master bless you always.

Edit comment

Glory to Sahaj Marg

Submitted by puneet on Mon, 08 Feb 2016 04:57:50 GMT

To a sick man sweet water tastes bitter. The practice of Sahaj Marg emphasizes the following:-
1. Only qualification is your willingness to participate.
2. You were not forced to come nor you will be questioned when you quit.
3. When you join willingly, your practice deals with you being in control of experiment on yourself, you should diligently record the observations in a diary, you are the result of the experiment.
4. The testing period is for 3 to 6 months. The success of practice is to be determined by you and if you are satisfied you can continue.
5. The system is scientific and I have proven it for myself. I am a satisfied practitioner for last 6 years. I am an Scientist and this is my research subject.
6. If any one wants to feel the benefit he needs to follow the practice as prescribed.
7. When I began, what I did was an half-heated attempt. I used to sit for meditation by closing my eyes and keeping an alarm for 1 hour, I did the cleaning in evening just for 15 min, I said the night prayer for 3 min. On 45 day, I got the proof of its efficacy and just kept practicing with bit more intensity.
8. To me Rev.Chariji was one who accepted me and welcomed me even before I could accept him and welcome him in my life.
9. I am an ordinary human, with no great background or lineage and small man for a poor country like India, I am just a element in this community of more than 6 billion humans. I am just a nobody, Rev.Chariji may not have spoken to me more than 15 sentences in this 6 years. Yet there is bond which cannot be explained. I cannot help admiring or adoring him.

Edit comment

Add comment   Edit post   Add post

Previous Posts:

Burt's Bees Hand Sanitizer
Frequently Asked Questions