By Yogi Ashwini

Maya is the primary shakti of the Preserver, Lord Vishnu. It is the force that keeps the creation going, by keeping us glued to it…we are bound to the body by attraction of the five senses, the body is bound by the attraction of earth, the earth by attraction of sun, the sun by attraction of another star system and so on.

There is a famous story from Dehradun…of a lady who was visited by Maya. The lady belonged to a modest family, and was desirous of more wealth. Every day she would pray to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth. It was the time of Diwali…there are certain nights in the year when the energy patterns are such that doorways to subtler dimensions open and communication with beings from those dimensions becomes easier. The night of Diwali is one such powerful night. It so happened that night, that the lady had an interaction with the Goddess in her dream. The Goddess told her, ‘I would bless you with riches you desire…’ the lady’s eyes twinkled with joy.  The Goddess continued, ‘…in exchange, I will take your son.’ The twinkle transformed into horror. ‘No, no’, said the lady. ‘Don’t take my son, I do not want any wealth.’ ‘Ok’ said the Goddess and left.

Few days later, there was a sudden windfall in the family, their business bloomed and the lady and her family was joyous. They got engrossed in enjoying the excess wealth - shifted to a big house, bought a new car…One day the son was going out of the town and met with a car accident and died on the spot. The lady was struck by immense grief. Maya stuck to her words…the lady forgot hers. She said she did not want it, yet she did not consider giving away even a part of the acquired wealth…Such is the attraction of Maya.

The night of Diwali is the night when the shakti of Maya is at its peak. It is the darkest night of the year…but it is also the most powerful night to break away from darkness into light, signifying that only when it is the darkest night that it makes you yearn for light. The journey from darkness to light being the journey from mooladhar to the agya in the human body. Mooladhar is the seat of Lord Ganesh, the deity of physical creation and agya of Lord Shiv, who takes you beyond. People light a diya in front of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi on the night of Diwali. If you notice, Goddess Lakshmi rides an owl and Lord Ganesh rides a mushak. Both owl and mouse are beings who stay in darkness. The owl cannot see in light because Lakshmi ji has to ride it, the mouse runs away from light because it has to be ridden by Ganesh ji.

A being who is at the level of moolsthan, is like an owl who is tied to maya or a mouse who runs after physical pleasures, away from light into darkness as all physical pleasures are temporary, all relationships, all physical desires, the human body, they are all temporary. We all know this will go, but we are not prepared to accept it, that is darkness. This is where the journey, as detailed in Sanatan Kriya, begins, the mooladhar being represented by the tip of the nose. Physical satisfaction is the first experience of a practitioner. There is nothing wrong with the physical, the body is for the experience of physical only. It is the attachment to the physical which ties one to the cycle of pleasure and pain leading to disease and ageing. The physical is temporary, it brings with it immense pleasure and leaves with pain…and leave it will, for sure. You can either be attached to it, the path to darkness or stay detached, which leads to light.

In the initial stages of Sanatan Kriya, a practitioner does dhyan at tip of the nose (kaki mudra), for he desires the experiences of the physical or material. The Kundalini shakti which lies coiled up at the moolsthan in a semi dormant state gets consumed in the day-to-day indulgence for such a person. As the person progresses in sadhna, the Guru gradually transforms his desires, granting him the experiences of higher chakras. When kundalini rises then excessive heat, movements and pulsations are felt in the body, at times uncontrollable, at times creating a doubt on the guru, at times awakening strong physical desires inside…at all times, away from light into darkness, the urge becomes very strong. But a sadhak has to depend on and refer to experiences he/she has had and hold on, the light will dawn. A sadhak who gets way led is lost into darkness forever. In the final stages of Sanatan Kriya, dhyan is done at the agya (shambhavi mudra) for the experience of that which controls and manifests everything that lies below.

Stilling your eyes at the agya is the most difficult because it requires stilling of thoughts, and stillness of eyes is vital because the thought process wastes your energy. The energy, which is capable of creating the light within you, gets depleted when you think very intently about something. These thoughts are your desires that come to you when you sit in dhyan. You think about your problems, your wants, about the darkness that you are in and that you are trying to get out of. Each time you think, there occurs a vibration in the neurons of the brain which leads to sensation through the nerves and your focus gets disturbed and experience evades you. For an experience to happen, seeing the light is very important. For seeing the light, it is important to have a Guru who will show you the light...On Diwali, when we light a diya, it is for seeing the light in darkness...tamaso maa jyotir gamayo.