Stay in the present, and stay balanced, says Nirmala Devi
The Times of India, March 13, 2000

MUMBAI: Many a head nodded in agreement as Nirmala Devi, spiritual leader and founder of Sahaja Yoga, said, "Don't be too harsh on yourself. Stop feeling guilty about what has happened. Forgive yourself and forgive others.''


She was speaking to the officers of Indian Administrative Service on "Stress and Tension Management'' at the Y.B. Chavan auditorium on Saturday afternoon.


She described the IAS and IPS officers as the "spine of the country'' and said that they should not be under any kind of stress or strain.


For Mataji as she is popularly known, peace lies within an individual and it needs to be discovered. According to her, it is essential to go into the meditative state to reach that state. "And it is just the beginning of a transformation that takes us to a higher level of awareness,'' she said.


Nirmala Devi noted that people were not aware of the subtle system that works within every being. Explaining the concept of "kundalini awakening'', she said that the kundalini was the energy that lay dormant in the sacrum (bone at the base of the spine). In a broader sense, kundalini awakening was the process of self-realisation, which helps a person overcome stress and heals the harried nervous system. She believes that self-realisation was a person's first encounter with reality.


According to the shastras also, she said, power resides within every human being. Sahaja Yoga uses this subtle inner instrument -- kundalini, to bring about a balance in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.


"When the kundalini is awakened, it helps the person humble down. It also brings about self-realisation. The awakening itself is known as self-realisation,'' she said. She added that people needed to relax today, and that too was possible with this awakening.


In her book, "Stress Management through Sahaja Yoga", she has explained that the left sympathetic nervous system, represents the power of desire of an individual, while the right represents power of action. "And it is the left side that you can control," she said, adding that there should be a balance between the two.


Sahaja Yoga aims at achieving holistic health care for people with meditation. Elaborating on the benefits of meditation, she said that a person could attain a peaceful state of mind and still stay alert. "One feels compassion for humanity and is able to let go of anger, hatred, fear, resentment and other negative traits that inhibit a person's growth,'' she said.


Nirmala Devi started the propagation of Sahaja Yoga in 1970 and today over 85 countries the world-over, have Sahaja Yoga centres. Having been associated with the freedom struggle, she said, that this technique of self-realisation also makes a person patriotic. "As those who practice it are above materialism and can sacrifice anything,'' she noted.


Commenting on the human tendency to brood over the past, she reiterated that to feel bad about the past was inconsequential. "If you feel bad, you torture yourself. Learn to stay in the present and stay balanced,'' she said.