IntroductionOver 20 years ago when I was young and impressionable, I decided to react against my protestant upbringing and explore eastern thought and meditation pracitces. Living in the northeast, there were ample choices from the Tibetan Buddist temple down the street to the Vipasana Meditation Center out in Western Massachusetts. I sought something more personal, and discovered a rag tag group of people in the US who were learning a reformed version of Raj Yoga that had somehow had combined Sufism with Yoga to create a meditative, spiritual practice. The organziation was called the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. The method of meditation they practiced was called Sahaj Marg, which means natural path.
I traveled to India to meet Ram Chandra, or Babuji as they called him. He was an aging retired bank clerk with an impressive presence. He still traveled to the west occasionally, but within a few years he passed away. One character who dominated in the organization was Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, kindly referred to as Chari. This man was an imposing westernized, cigarette smoking Indian who ran a mill in India. He had the financial freedom and drive to attend most of Ram Chandra international travels.
When Babjuji passed, Chari surfaced as his hand picked successor. This caused great controversy in India and parts of Europe, as many were offended by his strong and apparently arrogant personality and aggressive approach to running a spiritual organization. For Americans, it was normal, so many of us just accepted this behavior as status quo.
This story is about my hasty indoctrination into Chari's inner circle and just as hasty removal. The lessons learned from human behavior around people and positions of power and influence has guided my life for more than a decade of experience. I attempt to explain in this story the evolution of my thinking starting from this experience of over 15 years ago to present day.
The other objective of this blog is for those who currently belong to this organization, which has evolved into a large international organization that hungrily buys real estate like castles in Europe and entire neighborhoods in India. Those who choose to leave the organization are confronted with subtle and not so subtle threats of great spiritual destitude and abandonment. While I have no intention to convince anyone to leave, I do want to let those who choose to leave, that life on the other side is fine and ones spiritual quest, what ever form it takes when one leaves such an organization, does indeed continue.