Death of a Guru

Publisher Hodder.
Author R .Maharaj 
Binding Paperback
ISBN 0340387769

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For eight long incredible years his father sat in a lotus position, legs crossed, feet overlapping the thighs, chanting "OM."

Though popularised in the West under many names, the aim of all Eastern mediation is to “realize” one’s essential union with the Universe. It is the doorway to the “nothingness” nirvana. Generally sold as a “relaxation” technique, meditation really aims at and ultimately leads to the surrender of oneself to mystical cosmic forces.

When Rabindranath’s father passed away unexpectedly and suddenly, the Hindu spiritual leaders and the ordinary people said he had reached the fullest attainment of the yogi and was therefore taken to the ‘other side’ - to join those blissful spirits that, through Yoga, had escaped the cycle of karmic bondage. Rabindranath’s father was only 54 year old.

After his dad’s death Rabindranath was expected to take up the ‘mantle’ and carry on his father’s devout mystic practices. It was not long after, that he entered the Durga Hindu Temple in Port of Spain, Trinidad [where presently Hindu comprise 90 percent of the Indian population]. Rabindranath (nick-named Rabi) had been entrusted to the tutelage of a well-respected young Brahmin priest, 'thoroughly learned in Hinduism'.

Rabindranath explains how each day, very early in the morning, he and the other Brahmacharya students would have to chant the mantra Hari OM Tat Sat and say prayers to the Hindu god, Hanuman. This he says was seen as a necessity for those undergoing the daily “transcendental meditation”, which he describes as, 'the heart of Yoga. But Rabindranath states, on page 56 of his book, that Yoga and transcendental meditation could also be very dangerous:

"Frightening psychic experiences awaited the unwary meditator similar to a bad trip on drugs. Demons described in the Vedas [or Hindu Holy Books] had been known to take possession of some Yogis.Kundalini power, said to be coiled like a serpent at the base of the spine, could produce ecstatic experiences when released in deep meditation – or, if not properly controlled, it could do great mental and even bodily harm.

"The line between ecstasy and horror was very fine. For that reason we initiates were closely supervised by the Brahmacharya and his assistant. During the daily meditation I began to have visions of psychedelic colours, to hear unearthly music, and to visit exotic planets where the gods conversed with me, encouraging me to attain even higher states of consciousness. Sometimes in my trance I encountered the same horrible demonic creatures that are depicted by the images in Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, and other religious temples. It was a frightful experience."