P: What was your first experience of Baba?

K: Well it is not an easy question. I think that my first experience of Baba is beyond my memory – beyond this life. However, when I was a child I had an ‘imaginary friend’ named Natural. I think that was my first relationship. Later I found Ananda Marga when I was 17 years old. My first experience of Baba was of His Grace, not His personage. I attended an Akhanda Kiirtan, there were only 3 of us going around, and the vibe was a little flat. All of a sudden a beautiful aroma filled the room. I looked around for the incense, but none burned. I saw another margii looking around, sniffing at the puja table. Suddnely a wave of bliss enveloped the room. Suddenly I felt swept up in the tide. Those of us in the room spontaneously began to laugh. Little kundalini symptoms. It grew and I stumbled out of the DC hall into another room, where I collapsed on the ground in hysterical laughter. I lay there until the wave subsided and then I rejoined the kiirtan. It was a powerful spiritual experience, and was clearly initiated by something, someone, other than my own tiny mind.

Y: When you first came in contact with Ananda Marga, did you find the idea of having a Guru to feel natural, or was their anything unusual for you in the concept of Guru?

K: I first accepted the concept of a Supreme consciousness. A conscious mind pervading the world. I then accepted that it was possible for a human mind to realise and become one with that. I then accepted that Anandamurtijii was just such a mind, such a personality. It was an easy and progressive process of awakening. There was a certain amount of naivety,and youthfulness that probably helped. I quickly developed a strong orientation toward guru and it became and remains the primary aspect of my spirituality. The bridge is all. Otherwise we remain stranded on the banks of materialism, of ignorance, of fear and selfishness. Guru is the short circuit, the secret passage that allows us to escape from the flowers and thorns of this world pulled across our eyes.

I have not ever felt a cultural resistance to guru. I do not believe there is one. Not one of any depth. It only conflicts with the shallow individualism of capitalist culture that we are all veneered with. I believe our deep human culture – even in the so-called  western world, is steeped in spiritual tradition penetrating eons, that a few centuries cannot erase.

P: How did you explain Baba and Ananda Marga to your lokik family?

K: I explained the progressive understanding I  was experiencing. I drew on my own reckoning and in some ways i think I was more creative in my explanations and descriptions than I am today – it was fresher and coming from the inside out.

P: Was this easy or difficult? Did you feel that your family understood your spirituality?

K: It was not a huge hurdle. I don’t think my family understood, but they didn’t try to stop me. Eventually my mother also took initiation. It was fairly smooth after that.

P: Has your view of Baba and sadhana change as you grew older?    

K: Not changed as much as matured. What was once astounding is now integrated into my consciousness. What was once a surging if erratic inspiration is now a steady pulse. Everything is systaltic. Phases. Ebbs and flows. everything spirals. sometimes up sometimes down, sometimes forward sometimes back. But the ride is more familiar and I have more tolerance and stamina and acceptance if perhaps a little less zeal. Baba is still a great Mystery.

P: How do you explain Baba to your children?

K: I talk about God. and I talk about Love. God is made of Love. Love is everywhere. We are inside that love, made out of it. Baba is God/love everywhere, but He can also talk to us through the Baba in the picture, the man, so that we can know Him better.

I asked my son (4) yesterday,

“Who is Baba?”

he answered, “Baba is….Grace!”

“Very good” i said,

“Yessss! I know him!” he replied.

And maybe he does.

I don’t recall ever using that term with him. I think that parents should remember that even though a child is small, they may also be great and old. They may be more developed than us. They may know Baba better than us! It is just that we have more experience in this life and can guide them while they are young.

P: I know some Margii parents feel strongly that their children take initiation and meditate, while others leave this more up to the children. What is your opinion on this?

K: Baba has given parents the unique chance to initiate their children into nama mantra when they turn 5. I think that parents should definitely do this. It is a unique opportunity for parent and child. I am very much looking forward to doing this with my son in September.

Last night we were talking about sadhana. He said that he already knows how to do sadhana because he has watched me. I said that is good, but that there are some sadhana ‘secrets’ that I will teach him when he turns 5. That grabbed his attention. Kids love a secret!

After that, I believe, it must be up to the child after they turn 12 whether they want to take further initiation. Sadhana is a personal journey not a family religion. Somebody must want it for themselves. I will of course encourage it, expose them to it, but they must make their own decision about it.

P: Do you explain sadhana and Baba to your children? Or is Baba and Ananda Marga just part of their life, in a way that might not need explicit explanation?

K: We talk about it, as and when opportunities arise. I think it is important to discuss, get familiar with the language and the ideas. become comfortable with the subject (Parents and children). Establish the conceptual and value basis for sadhana as part of the family culture.

P: Earlier in the organisations history, Baba put a lot of pressure on creating Whole Time workers. Did you ever think of becoming a Dada? 

K: Yes I did. Twice. Once when I was a young LFT, and then again after my first marriage ended. I even got as far as quitting my job and buying my air ticket. But your samskaras have to be very particularly aligned to take that step. In the end I didn’t.

P: Would you have any advice for Margiis considering family life?

K: I heard one senior margii advising a young margii once that it didn’t matter which path they choose (WT or family), there will be days that you just hate it, and wish you had gone the other way. The path is full of challenge either way – your samskaras are your samskaras. Whatever is coming to you will come. I would say treat your family as part of your dharmic path – as that is what it is. it is a cauldron for development, ego powdering and samskara expression. Use it. work it. Take the commitment seriously. remember the oaths you take. Try to follow Baba’s advise as best you can, but don’t get too upset when we inevitably fall short. Use your second lesson on your kids everyday. Don’t forget the wonder of it all,- the Mystery. Accept the suffering that comes your way, but work on making sure it doesn’t come back. Practice maximum tolerance with your partner. Don’t worry about being right or protecting your ego. Find a career that is meaningful and harmonious with the ideology. Try to find ways to help the mission according to your capacity. Above all never lose touch with why you are here on this planet, keep an eye on the heavens even if your daily life is a grind.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the official views, policy or position of Ananda Marga.


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