Friday, January 19, 2007

The A of E technique I learned in 1975 Part Two

This is a convoluted explanation of what followed upon my learning the A of E "stuff" --

There were rumours on that ATR in 75 that Mahesh was going to teach Kriya Yoga. I had heard about Kriya Yoga and Yogananda because like so many, I had read Autobiography of a Yogi. But Mahesh had repeatedly made fun of Yogananda on my Teacher Training Course (TTC), “Yogananda brought the bicycle age, TM is the jet age.” Always, this was followed by gales of laughter coming from the little garden gnome sitting on the silk draped and flower cloaked couch at the front.

More laughter from the gnome: “Yogananda taught so many things, it takes all day to do them.” At the time, I never questioned how he knew this. Like everything that issued from the little gnome, we simple internalized it. It was the next best thing to Gospel. It was truth. We were so fortunate. Those were heady times.

Rumours abounded on ATR. Of course we were never, never, never, never, never (so King Lear) to discuss techniques under any circumstances. Mostly we never did. But so many knew I had been his personal secretary that often things were confided in me.

In reference to Part One, after some 6-months of abject misery, both physical exhaustion and mental fatigue and something akin to an all-pervasive anxiety but more like background paranoia (about both I had learned much in the company of Mahesh and the viperous sycophants who made much of themselves and their importance to him), I abandoned first the A of E and a week or two later, the ‘sidhi’ and then began cutting meditation down by about 5 minutes every few days.

I had seen the damage done in the Mallorca TTC in '71 when the would-be initiators crashed from something like 8 to 10 hours of nothing but TM (Mahesh had said that for the week of silence we should do as much meditation as possible … he may have actually said more but these are the words that stuck in my mind and, apparently in many other minds). Some of the course participants were very tearful. Some complained of stomachache, others were snapping their heads from side to side during the group meditation and some even during dinner! Some people were jerking limbs (in meditation and at other times not usually associated with meditation). One fellow took to spitting at anyone who made eye contact. Another simply could not carry on a conversation, but talked loudly and, well, raved, at/to/with anyone who either got too close, made eye contact or tried to help.

Since I was not interested in this as a possible personal experience, I cut back on TM slowly. Eventually I was only doing 10 minutes twice a day,

During this time of decreasing TM (and, of course, avoiding all possible contact with anyone I knew who did TM), I began to study Yogananda’s SRF lessons. One came every week. Compared to TM and the gnome’s endless self-flattering talk, Yogananda was shallow. Very religious, Jesus was one of the Kriya yogis; the Gospel of John was made to sound like a Kriya teaching.

But, I persisted and finally received the Kriya instructions. The basic Kriya is to move the energy from the point between the eyebrows up to the crown of the head then down the spine stopping at each of the charkas. When one reached the last charka at the base of the spine, one moved up one by one to the charka between the eyes. Rather than using mantras, one breathed from one chakra to the next, all minutely explained in lesson after lesson. This was one Kriya. Beginners started out doing a Maximum of 28 Kriyas with the eventual hope of being able to do 108 Kriyas.

Lessons were sent, fine points explained, and questions were asked. Time and time again, I wrote the exams and received personal attention from one of the Monks at “mother centre”. When I responded successfully, then the next level of kriya instruction was received. If you have had any involvement with the TM Organization, can you say organized and caring?

But discovering that my A of E from Mahesh and his Holy Tradition and Purity of the Teaching was, in fact, a reworking of Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga was not only funny but set me on a path of investigation of all things TM and Mahesh.

About which, of course, there will be more later.


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