I sat. Performed mula bandha, pulled the kundalini up from the perineum to the coccyx.  When I moved the kundalini to the base chakra, I visualised everything as red and after sometime, I saw everything as dark red.  I fixed my consciousness at the base chakra for some time and visualised the chakra by holding my breath at the coccyx.  Now I could feel some pulsation in my coccyx.  From the base chakra I tried to move the kundalini to the sacral chakra.  I could not do that easily due to the blockade at Brahma granthi. I know that I am not able to move the kundalini because I did not feel any movement of energy from the bottom of my spine towards the sacral area.   I think I got struck there. Somehow, Maharaj knew this.  He knew that I was unable to untangle Brahma granthi.  He started giving instructions now.  This is where a true master really helps.

“Do not change your position. Push your head slightly backwards by inhaling.  Now constrict your stomach and exhale slowly by pushing your chin towards your chest.  While doing this, visualize that you are untangling Brahma granthi. Concentrate on your breathing and the location of Brahma granthi.  It is located exactly between your base and sacral chakras.  Do this several times till you are able to see the deep red colour fading away into orange colour. Do not get tensed.  Do not tense your muscles and nerves and keep your body totally relaxed. You will be able to break the Brahma granthi in a few repetitions.  Use your biological eyes to look at this chakra in the spinal cord.  Bring both the eye balls to focus on the central point of your eye brows and gradually focus down on this chakra.” Maharaj completed.

I meticulously followed what he said.  In the tenth round of breathing I realised some movement in my spine and the red colour began to fade away and the orange colour pervaded.  Now I knew that I have pierced Brahma granthi and reached the sacral chakra. I also realized some movements in my genitals.  I stayed in this chakra for sometime, as I enjoyed staying in this chakra. Initially, I thought that my sexual desire has been stimulated.  But I overcame this thought.  I was not concentrating on anything.  It was just a feeling of inexplicable happiness of achieving something.  I brought my kundalini back to my perineum.  I felt that my body is aching, which I have not experienced till date.  I also realized a sort of tension in my nerves and muscles, which Maharaj specifically asked me to avoid.   I got up, drank a glass of water and returned. 

“Good.  Well done.  You have done more than my expectation.  Your concentration and focus are amazing.  You have a bright future” said Maharaj smiling at me. 

I was very hungry and I also wanted to take bath in the Ganges to reduce my body heat.  I wanted to seek Maharaj’s permission to go out and take bath in the Ganges.  But I was scared to ask him.

“Shankara, now a woman of your age will come here. She will take you to her place and serve you lunch. She may drop you back tomorrow morning.  Just wait for her. She is on the way” said Maharaj. This is the first time that he had called me by name. I was very happy when he called me by name.

In a way I was happy that I have the possibility of having a good lunch. Second, I will have an opportunity to have another bath in the Ganges.  I waited for her to arrive. She came carrying some fruits for Maharaj and guruji. She prostrated before Maharaj and guruji.   Maharaj told her by pointing at me, “This is Shankara.  He is going to stay with you today.  You give him whatever you feel right.  You can drop him back here by tomorrow evening.”

She is a good looking woman and spiritual radiance was visible in her face.  Her face was very calm and composed.  She was wearing a dark colour saree in contrast to her complexion and had a neatly combed hair.  She smiled very elegantly.  Though I have not met many women of her age in my life, she appeared not only graceful but also impressive.  I have developed a serious inferiority complex on seeing her.  Her majesty and elegance was absent in me.  Her complexion is quite in contrast to my complexion.  This is the first time I am going to stay with a woman of my age.  I was nervous within. 

“Let us go” she said looking at me. After walking a few yards, she introduced herself to me.

“I am Nalini.  Nalini means a lotus flower. River Ganges is also known as Nalini.  I would like to interpret my name only as Ganges.  I love this Ganges. She is my mother and Rishikesh is my father.  You know why this place is called Rishikesh.  Rishi means sage and kesh means hair.  As this place appears like the matted hair of great sages, it is called Rishikesh” after having said this, she laughed aloud, deep from her heart.  I felt bad in not attempting to know the reason behind the name of this place.

“Where do you come from?” she asked

“I hail from deep south.  Near Tiruchi”

“Yes, I heard about that place.  How long you are here?”

“Only a couple of days”

“Do you like this place?”

“Yes, I like this place.  I like the Ganges here. The water of Ganges reinvigorates my body every time I take bath here. What are you doing here? With whom you are staying?

“I am a spiritual rookie. I am alone and Mother Ganges takes care of me.”

She walked very close to me.  I tried to keep distance, but every time I moved away she came closer to me.  There was a pleasant smell emanating from her.  We talked about many things.  She was a postgraduate in business management and did her MS in America.  I was shocked in knowing this.  Though I do not know what they really mean, I have heard about post graduation and higher studies.  We reached the main part of the town.  When a foreigner asked about a location, she guided him in fluent English.  I was feeling very small in her presence. 

“I will sit here and you finish your bath and come here.  I will take you to a Vishnu temple on the way home.”

“Are you a Vishnu devotee?”

“First finish your bath.  We will talk about that leisurely.  I think you are looking forward to a delicious lunch” she laughed again. 

The water of Ganges at Rishikesh has its own healing power.  The moment you dip into the water, your nervous system gets invigorated.  Probably this is the reason for saying that Ganges will wash off your sins.  Thought about Nalini daunted me seriously.  I was wondering how I am going to stay with her the whole day.  I gradually started losing confidence in me and finally decided to leave her place after lunch. I was ashamed of myself for the lack of self confidence and nursing some bad thoughts.  I cursed myself for having thought about a sumptuous lunch in the presence of Maharaj and guruji. After finishing my bath, I walked towards her. We went to the Vishnu temple and then to her house.  Her house is very small, but neatly maintained.  There was a picture of Shiva with His wife Parvati.  She has placed some flowers before the picture and there is an oil lamp burning.  Probably she should have lit an incense stick before going to Maharaj’s place.  The smell of the stick is still lingering.  The house consists of a hall, an adjoining room, a kitchen and a backyard, where there is a hand pump.  She asked me to wash my feet and hands.  When I returned, there was a leaf plate.  The leaf plates are made up of big leaves stewed together with thread.  Plantain leaves are not available in these areas.  She served a delicious lunch.  The time could be around two in the afternoon.  She also finished her lunch, washed the utensils and sat opposite to me.

“Would you like to take some rest now?” I thought of saying yes, but my ego prevented me in saying yes. 

“I know you are tired.  Spiritual practice is always tiresome.  Your body will ache while doing bandhas and pranayama.  But the pain will be there only for the first few days.  When you practice regularly, the pain will go.  Since your body is not used to these stretches, till your muscular and nervous systems get accustomed to your practice, you will have the pain.  If there is no pain, it means your practice is not perfect.  Now please take rest in that room”

She led me to that room.  There is a cot like wooden plank to sleep.  She showed me the plank and asked me sleep on that.  She compelled me to lie with my face down.  She sat by my side and pressed my back and legs.  It was very refreshing. When body is massaged, all the muscular and nervous tensions are released. Every time she placed her hands on me, I realised that powerful shocks went through my body.  This is the first touch of a woman on my body.  Since it was so soothing, without my knowledge I slept.  She should have quietly left.  Probably I could have slept a little more than an hour.  I came to the hall.  She was sitting and reading an English book.  On seeing me, she got up and gave me a glass of water.  I was thirsty and I drank the entire glass of water.

She asked me to sit and she sat by my side.

“You asked me whether I am a Vishnu devotee.  There is no difference between Shiva and Vishnu.  God is one and Upanishads address God as the Brahman.  Brahman means evolution, the evolution of the Supreme Spirit. It indicates creation, an act of divine.  For the sake of convenience, we have attributed different names to the three acts of God, creation, sustenance and dissolution.  It is only due to our spiritual ignorance, we call Brahma as the Creator, Vishnu as the Sustainer and Rudra as the destroyer.  The human mind cannot comprehend the vastness of the Brahman and hence, in order to understand the infinite, we finite as Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra.  Some call Rudra as Shiva.  Ultimately, the God is one and He is beyond all religious faiths.  I am a devotee of my own Self. 

“There are many misconceptions about Hindu mythology. Our ancient sages had written with a different intent and while interpreting in later periods, many have made mistakes leading to confusion and disbelief.  But these are vast subjects and persons like us should not argue on these delicate issues.   We should do whatever we think is right.  We should not allow anybody to influence our decisions.  Any influenced decisions always go wrong.  Do you agree with me?” she asked.

I never thought about all these issues seriously, primarily because I did not have the necessary exposure and understanding.  Only after guruji’s arrival in my life, my life has taken a turn for the better.  Otherwise I would have continued with my hebetudinous life.  She looked at me and my face would have revealed to her my ignorance on the subject. She took my hand and told me that no body can be a genius over night and while saying this, she pulled my head towards her shoulders. 

“Do not worry.  What you learn by experience is important.  You will learn with time and that is the solid knowledge one should attain.  Bookish knowledge is not conclusive.”

I do not know what to do. My body was shuddering visibly.  The more my body shuddered, more pressure she applied on me to pull me towards her.  I was literally on her lap.  She placed her hand on my head and ran her fingers through my hair.  I thought of getting up but I could not.  Had my guruji come to known about his, what he would think about me?  I thought my credibility would be lost and they will drive me back to my place and I have to continue my living with my rocky bench.  But I enjoyed her care and I needed this kind of care which I am not used to. As time progressed, I made myself more comfortable in her lap.  I think I started loving her.  I am not sure yet. 

“Yoga means union, union of individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. It also means the union of male and female energies.  Union of male and female is an act of God for the purpose of creation. If God had thought that the union of male and female for the purpose of creation is a sin, he would not have created two opposite sexes, male and female.  An individual soul requires a male and a female to transmigrate.  The soul is deposited at the time of conjugal act.  Father deposits the soul and mother nourishes the soul by giving the soul a gross body.  Since the mother is the cause for the gross body, she is revered a step higher than the father.”

I do not understand why she is saying all this. I never listened to what she said and I simply enjoyed lying on her lap and her caressing.  Whenever her hands were caressing, she was transferring a lot of warmth and love.  This was the first time I understood the true meaning of love.

“Spirituality can be learnt in many ways and tantra is one of them.  Tantra dwells exhaustively on the act of sex to get enlightenment.  There is distinct connection between kundalini arousal and sexual arousal.  But in tantra, people are misled by saying that creative fluids of men and women are the best oblation to Goddess. One must understand that in the creation of God, both male and female cosmic principles are latent in our body and will be activated at the appropriate time.  The male creative fluid cannot be unilaterally controlled for ever.  If controlled through different types of practices, it is dangerous for health.  As long as the relationship of a man and woman falls under the gambit of marital bliss, there is nothing wrong in it.  If you fail to create, you are purposefully and deliberately avoiding an act prescribed by God.  Of course there are exemptions and exceptions. Love and lust are accepted by Hindu dharma shastras.  When you indulge in family life, you are only doing your duty. 

“Adi Shankara once entered into a debate with a highly learned man by name Mandan Mishra.  Shankara won after six months of debate.  But Mishra’s wife said that Shankara is not a total winner.  As per Hindu principles, both husband and wife together form a single entity.  Shankara had won only over Mr. Mishra.  He had to win over Mrs. Mishra.   She posed questions to Shankara only about sex and Shankara was not aware of it as he was a celibate. Still Mrs. Mishara wanted to give time to Shankara to learn about sex and the story goes like this.  What I am emphasising is that one should know everything in order to have complete knowledge.  There is no good knowledge and bad knowledge. Only then one can command respect.”

She took my head off her lap.  The time should be around five in the evening.  She said that we will go to Ganga aarti.  I was also keen on watching it for the second time.  We left together to witness it in front of huge Shiva statue. The musical notes and the songs, their sync and everything associated with it were enthralling.  My mind told me to go back to Maharaj.  But at the same time, if I were to return earlier, I will be disobeying his instructions.  In the corner of my mind, I have the desire of resting my head on her lap again.  We reached her home.  She brought some fruits and milk which we shared.  She returned after cleaning the utensils.  She asked me to sleep in the room and she also lied down by my side.  For the first time I had an experience with a woman. For the first time I understood how a human body can generate heat energy.  For the first time I felt the tremors in my body and for the first time I realized how a human body can relax on its own after coition.  I felt as if my kundalini has broken all the knots and racing up and up. 

By the time I got up, she had her bath and she appeared as fresh as ever.  She asked me to have bath at home and not to go to the Ganges.  I understood her reasoning.  I had my bath and we chatted for sometime.  I left after lunch.  I did not have any feeling at that time.  My mind was blank as usual.  After a casual walk, I reached Maharaj’s ashram as the same Shankara with the same stable mind.  Maharaj smiled at me naughtily and guruji also joined him.  But it did not affect me. In fact rendezvous with Nalini gave me immense self confidence and transferred me from being a boy to a man. 

(to be continued)