via Padma Jayaraj published on March 20, 2007



  Sahaj Marg translates to “The Natural Path.” It is a natural, simple system of Raja Yoga meditation and spiritual practice that helps one realize the ultimate potential within oneself. Regular spiritual practice under capable guidance enables aspirants to progressively experience the sublime presence of the divine in their daily lives. The Sahaj Marg system is freely offered to seekers worldwide through the Shri Ram Chandra Mission, and is effectively practiced by individuals from all walks of life – diverse nationalities, religious backgrounds, and various social conditions. There are centers even in Islamic countries.               



Satkhol , in Nainital distrit in the state of Uttaranjal, does not feature in tourist- circuits; nor is it heard among researchers, adventurers or pilgrims to the Himalayas. Inhabited by hill-tribes, the month of May showed Satkhol enveloped in its rugged beauty. Steep slopes rise as if resurrected from an unseen valley. They have a majestic halo about them.5700 miles above sea level, nestled among pine trees, is a spiritual retreat built by Sree Ramachandra Mission. The postmodern architecture synchronizes with a poetic landscape as the buildings stand on many levels. Hidden among green foliage they remain far-flung against a slope that impresses both altitude and solitude.

 Wind-driven pine-forest has its own song…is it the rousing wind or cascading waters you hear? Oh, no this is a place where water is scarce. Rivers are absent here. Rainwater is conserved; used water is recycled for plants in the gardens. Sure, it rains in the evenings– rains in stormy weather accompanied by thunder and lightening. Standing atop the slope, I watched roaring thunder and lightening zip the foothills; heard the rumbling of the Earth beneath; felt a thrill course through my blood. Then it poured. Heavy rains lash late into midnight. With rains, temperature dips to freezing point.

  The morning breaks up silvery here as if nothing happened in the wilds of the night. A snowy lake of white has filled the slopes. And mountaintops are floating tips of rocks. You gaze and gaze…a thoughtless state of mind gently leading you to contemplative mood. Silence reigns. An inner silence pays obeisance. On an impulse come immemorial longings. The thought-ravaged mind becomes still, at peace with itself. You feel at home in a strange way in this land of the mystique. From here was born ancient wisdom, flowered of transcendental meditation, spread through countless memory banks over millennia. You understand why sages sought these heights…because physical arrogance gets nullified, the mind becalms,  intuition become focused. 

Sunlight filters through an arboreal zone, the lake of snow evaporates, shades of green are still in slumber. Flowers in the step gardens glow in deep tints, hues unseen in the plains. As the morning mellows, as the veil drifts from the mountain terrain, far, far away the snow caped Himalayan ranges shimmer. This is the highest mountain range in the world.  For a Hindu mind it has a sacred aura, a reminder of its primordial home. A longing ache shapes the contours of my mood. The snow capped mountains gleamed for two days for us. Then the curtain fell deepening its mystery.


They say Swamy Vivekananda meditated here. Before him, maybe countless unknown sages got liberated from human bondage. We are here for a spiritual retreat. The ashram is dedicated to the great sages who gifted and simplified the Sahajamarg Sadhana for spiritual aspirants through eons to modern times. The meditation hall proved a haven for my harried soul.


One week’s retreat was an esoteric journey. The moment I closed my eyes, the inner eye opened, spiritual dimension woke up. Each meditation took me to the unknown. Each meditation took me closer to a lost horizon. In absolute stillness my consciousness went beyond stillness. In absolute consciousness there came an awareness of something profound and immanent…  The inward voyage brought me to the edge of a river…merciful love swelled and surged in waves, in splendors unseen.  Was it the meeting point to embark on to Eternity …was it a renewal of a primeval bond?  Have I come here in many lives past, following my Guru?


 From the tip of the subcontinent have I traveled to the foothills of the Himalayas. Twelve days of retreat from troubled waves of mundane existence gave me a treasure–a sense of surrender descended, freeing me from philosophical polarities; filling me with unconditional love was a sublime experience; inner silence brought incredible peace. The haloed experience affirmed a personal equilibrium within my fractured world. Intimations from the immanent power cast a different light. The pieces of the jigsaw rearranged themselves. It has helped me make peace with myself. A moment of Truth showed the possibility of finding renewal often unexpectedly and undeservedly. It has enlightened the purpose of my waning years. 



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