Memory is not experience. It doesn’t have the flavour of what it seeks to recollect. Yet, some pointers are so significant that even a vague remnant of their flame in a hidden crevice of the dark shadows of our past can still enlighten the alive present. In the winter of 06, I spent a few extremely significant weeks in solitary meditation. I did it in my own bedroom. Telling mother to keep some food for me in the fridge but to never ask me to come for any of the meals and having extracted the promise that nobody would ever come into my room or disturb me in any manner, I went deeper and still deeper into the layers of my being. My room had an attached bath and I had the least need to venture out. I came out only once, around 2 every night, to have a meagre cold meal. I drank quite a lot of water with honey and some milk. Besides that, I just stayed in the room, concentrating neither on mantra, nor on breath and following no meditation. I just let myself go deeper and still deeper in the space of free awareness, without any hope or fear, and with no formulation, either secular or spiritual. There was no communication of any sort with anybody in those weeks.
Since I never met any other, the need of the self to emerge was diminished. As external language became redundant, thoughts, which is just internal language, too subsided and gradually became almost indiscernible. The expanding field of pure awareness, which I often experience as a vibration, sometimes as a current like sensation and at others as an audible ‘air’ became increasingly intense. There were times when a great engulfing vibrating density was experienced in the entire room and when one’s fingertip touched it, a sensation very close to an electric shock was experienced, though it wasn’t unduly unpleasant. At other times, a great expansion was experienced…an expansion so great that awareness encompassed an immense vastness…a sky within which great planetary bodies were experienced and a sun like star. These massive heavenly bodies were experienced in the space of vastly expanded awareness, without any experience of the human dimension…without a mind with its thoughts and without a body with its terrible limitations. The sense of ‘I’ in these spaces of vastness emerged only from time to time and its leitmotif was always a great and always fresh wonder.
It was in this phase that I had my only full-blown and clearly experienced NDE (near death experience). I had become quite used to the immense expansions in awareness and there was no need of the articulation of consciousness in the human dimension as a person. Indeed ‘I’ was experienced only as an emergent sense of wonder which came only from time to time in those vast spaces. That evening, the same wondrous vastness was experienced. As was my habit in those days, I was lying down on the bed with my head perpendicular to the rest of my body at the medulla point. The immense expansion was experienced in that state. Gradually I went into a deep state of extremely profound sleep or extraordinarily subtle awareness…a kind of ‘shunyata’ or ‘creative void’…sleep is quite the wrong word to use for it. It was dark before I lost consciousness of the external world so I am not sure for how long was I in that state. However, when awareness returned, it was into a most strange state. The first thing I noticed, to my intense discomfort, was an absolute inability to breathe, even after trying really hard. It was a really unpleasant choking sensation…like being under water…I was absolutely unable to breathe. My body was…well…absolutely absent. There was no sensation of any kind of the body. Absolutely none! However, an intense oceanic sword or river like sharpely pointed mass of pure vibrational consciousness was penetrating a minute point at the nape of my neck, possibly the medulla point. It was entering with serpentine motion, and it was intense and massive…pure vibration of awareness…and it added to the discomfort. Not only was I completely suffocated, but a great sword was entering the nape of my neck! However I did realize that strangely I wasn’t dying or losing consciousness despite the absence of breath. I also became more aware of the great river of awareness entering my neck. I felt death was very close. Strangely there was no memory of any kind of ever having been a human…no image of my body or that of parents or any friend…not even a single flashback of any kind. There was a fear but no memory. Soon an ever-widening spiral movement of awareness was experienced and the expansion was me! Even the consciousness of the nape of the neck vanished in the great rising spiral. In that rising spiral, light and darkness had strangely blended together…At what seemed the apex, the presence of the Beas mystics was experienced. I somehow knew I would lose consciousness and just before the blast, I prayed that my Guru must come to my rescue.
The experience this far was anything but pleasant and soothing. Indeed I had never been more afraid in my entire life, though I consider myself pretty brave but I was really scared and felt I would most certainly die. However the climax was so extraordinarily exhilarating that I would gladly go through a million repetitions of the ordeal. While it was still dark, awareness came with a tremendous explosion…my brain was flooded with a veritable ocean of pure ecstasy. Every neuron was dancing with a joy that was infinite love and the profoundest bliss. Waves of supernal ecstasy were continuously exploding in my head. It was most sacred, infinitely intimate and more joyous than a trillion times trillion orgasms happening together!!! That joy stayed with me for hours and its memory still nourishes me even in the most taxing times.