Saint Tukdoji Maharaj’s satsangh and Heartfulness
All religions and spiritual systems speak about oneness – about one God and one humanity. Yet how often do we find people of different spiritual systems openly and joyfully embracing each other’s approach and practices, and coming together in harmony, unity and peace? In fact it is so rare that when it happens it is cause for celebration and renewed hope for the future. Such a heartful embrace has happened in the last few months between the followers of Saint Tukdoji Maharaj from Mojhri in Maharashtra and the seekers of the Heartfulness Way.
Tukdoji Maharaj was both a saint and a social reformer, and a disciple of Aadkoji Maharaj. To learn more about his life and work, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tukdoji_Maharaj
To learn more about the Heartfulness approach to the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga, please visit www.heartfulness.org.
This union of hearts started when one of the Heartfulness coordinators from Nagpur heeded Babuji’s words that Sahaj Marg will be known for its unity. Inspired by the magnificent Kanha Shanti Vanam, and Daaji’s initiatives with the Heartfulness Movement, he organized a team of volunteers to run a Heartfulness stall at Mojhri, which was visited by many newcomers, including some significant people from Tukdoji Maharaj’s satsangh.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of 300,000 people, Heartfulness trainers came from the places surrounding Mojhri to work at the stall and usher in a new beginning.
Later it was discovered that there are two Heartfulness trainers in the immediate family of the administrative-in-charge of Tukdoji Maharaj’s group, Shri Janardhan Boche. As a result, the development of the relationship happened very naturally, and Daaji’s book, The Heartfulness Way, was presented to Shri Boche. He wanted to meet Daaji sooner rather than later, so on 12 December 2018 he visited Kanha, along with the two Heartfulness trainers in his family and a couple of his associates. It was worth witnessing and emulating the humility in the meetings and conversations between Daaji and Shri Boche.
Right from their first meeting, Shri Boche felt from the heart that his Guru Maharaj had guided them to Daaji for spiritual benefit. He invited Daaji to come and address their satsangh during their Punya Tithi, which is Tukdoji Maharaj’s jayanthi, a 7-day event that happens in early October every year and is usually attended by 700,000 people. Accepting the invitation, Daaji suggested that it would be good to prepare by introducing people to Heartfulness so they can benefit as much as possible during the upcoming visit in October 2019.
With this wonderful synergy, Heartfulness volunteers started conducting programs in Tukdoji Maharaj’s affiliated schools and medical colleges. They also established a regular group meditation at Tukdoji Maharaj’s ashram campus itself.
As fortune would have it, during Daaji’s visit to Nagpur in January 2019, he extended his tour to visit Mojhri on 23 January. The atmosphere was one of spontaneous celebration, filled with joy and grace. The way Daaji and the travelling abhyasis were received was exemplary. Daaji observed, “Their discipline is worth emulating.” He noticed that automatically all the followers sat neatly and respectfully in rows for their prayer meetings. A few of the followers who had been with Tukdoji Maharaj said that Daaji’s coming to Mojhri felt as if their Guru Maharaj had returned.
Daaji’s visit to Mojhri was a milestone event. He spent the day visiting various parts of the ashram, meeting people, conducting meditation, and helping people to experience Transmission while continuing to follow their own customs and traditions.
There was a wonderful feeling as a result of the etiquette, hospitality and silent service the group naturally offered to Daaji and his associates. Some were reminded of the axiom that “there is no spirituality without hospitality.”
Daaji was invited to address the group during their prayer meeting in the evening. He simply touched upon how similar the teachings of Tukdoji Maharaj are to the Heartfulness Way and how Heartfulness practices complement and support the teachings of Tukdoji Maharaj. Since this visit, Tukdoji Maharaj’s followers from various villages have been well supported by the local Heartfulness trainers.
AT KANHA SHANTI VANAM
About 35 of Tukdoji Maharaj’s followers visited Kanha and met Daaji from the 12 to 14 April. When the group first arrived, everyone was given an individual sitting before they met Daaji. During these sittings, we saw tears rolling down some of the faces.
They were also moved to tears because of the hospitality and atmosphere in Kanha.
Their stay, food and transport were personally attended to by a group of volunteers with a lot of care and love. This touched their hearts and created wonder and a deeper respect in them towards the Heartfulness Institute as an organization. The group was also given a detailed tour of the ashram and its facilities, which left them in wonder regarding the scale of the operations.
HUMILITY AND RESPECT
Their meeting with Daaji was a magical moment. One of the learned men in the group cited many references from Adi Shankaracharya and others, seeking some philosophical clarifications. Daaji responded by saying that “I am not so well read, but I can give you an experience.” Daaji continued saying that when God comes into our lives, we will become restless and we will have sleepless nights with the craving to unite with Him. There are several spiritual states we experience which are possible with meditation alone and he said these states remain with us even after meditation. He emphasized that we need to meditate with craving in the heart, craving for the real thing. We live for the sake of living but will die for God’s sake.
Deeply convinced by Daaji’s answers to various questions, the learned gentleman addressed the entire group, and he concluded by saying, “Usually the thirsty go to the source to drink water, but today the well [source of water] has by itself come towards the thirsty.” He said that Tukdoji Maharaj and Shri Ram Chandra (Babuji Maharaj) are not two entities but one, although they may have had different bodies. He then urged all the group members to make use of the opportunity.
Explaining the supposition we take to begin the meditation, Daaji said, “It’s not just light, it is Divine Light. To go deeper into meditation, we depend on the Transmission.” He explained the various scientific experiments conducted on our meditators and the positive results.
On 13 April, after the satsangh, Daaji spoke about Tukdoji Maharaj, and about how overjoyed he was with this union of hearts. He referred to the messages from The Brighter World where Babuji Maharaj says that there are many paths coming together and merging. Daaji mentioned that this is the first instance of two paths coming together, and proposed that we could become one in the name of God.
On Sunday 14 April, after the satsangh, he invited the visitors to attend the bhandara for Babuji’s birthday on 30 April, which also happens to be the birth anniversary of Tukdoji Maharaj.
While leaving, one of our visiting brothers came with tears in his eyes and said, “I feel like I’m going away from my home.”
The group that came to Kanha, initiated a meeting on 21 April 2019 at the village of Vadona, Dhamangaon Taluka, Amravati District, Maharashtra. Here they shared their personal experiences of being in Kanha. The atmosphere was beyond words: the feeling of reverence and gratitude towards Daaji, and their joy at being able to visit Kanha were expressed by one and all. The simplicity of the Heartfulness Way, and its capacity to support their system, were appreciated and well accepted. Yogic Transmission has given a new life and meaning to the teachings of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj. The meeting ended with a prayer to take the experience of Heartfulness practices along with the teachings of Tukdoji Maharaj to their families, friends and in the local villages.
This story is about a simple meeting that has since blossomed into a natural partnership between two great spiritual movements. And isn’t that what spirituality is all about?