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Babuji Memorial Ashram - Mannapakkam

In Mannapakkam, Chennai, there is a quiet retreat – Babuji Memorial Ashram – belonging to the Ram Chandra Mission. People from all walks of life and from around the globe gather here to meditate. They follow the Sahaj Marg system of meditation.

Sahaj Marg was founded by Samarth Guru Ram Chandra Maharaj of Fatehgarh (1783-1834). He was followed by his disciple Sri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur who established the Ram Chandra Mission in 1945. Since then the mission has grown to include a worldwide following with centres all over the world. The present Guru is Rev. Parthasarathy Rajagopalachari of Chennai.

The system of Sahaj Marg (the natural path) runs along simple lines easily adjustable to the ordinary routine of a worldly life. There is no austerity or penance. Sahaj Marg follows the natural path. “Life must have a balance like a bird which flies on two wings – the spiritual and physical”. The system says life can only be lived the normal way – has to be lived and transcended. One cannot transcend by running away.

Sahaj Marg is a remodelled system of Raja Yoga. It is believed that a man’s personality is the sum total of his samskaras i.e. the deep impressions of his past actions which are the very basis of his tendencies make him act and react in a particular pattern. Pranahuti (divine energy) is the speciality of this system. There is transmission of love and divine energy by the Master through his yogic power. One is automatically drawn inwards through the power of pranahuti and meditation is facilitated. The divine is awakened in the individual and provides him spirtitual nourishment. Thus we are given an opportunity to cleanse ourselves of our samskaras. Then inner changes take place helping us to evolve into a higher human being.

The routine practice followed is meditation on the heart. While meditating the mind turns inwards and it is attracted to what it finds inside. We establish a link with the divine inside us. The outside world loses its charm and quite naturally there is renunciation. Renunciation in Sahaj Marg is not non possession. It is an inner state of mind: non attachment from worldly things. While in meditation other thoughts come into our mind as they surely will. “They are our own thoughts seeking to come out now that we have pegged onto something else.” We allow them to go by not attending to them.

In meditation the mind is trained to relax by ignoring the usual thoughts crowding the mind. This helps in overcoming dissipating of the mind and conserving mental energy. Better concentration is an automatic by-product. Also, when we meditate the mind is better regulated. This gives us the strength to face difficulties and misfortunes. While misfortune is an external objective fact, misery is our own individual reaction to it. A well regulated mind will not give in easily to miseries.

Why meditate on the heart? Real understanding comes not from the brain or intellect but the heart – “know with the brain but understand with the heart”. By concentrating on the heart we develop the qualities associated with the heart: kindness, compassion, love. Through other systems one may get power or divinity but Sahaj Marg says the purpose of meditation is to become something not get something.

Sahaj Marg believes that God realization is learning to become love. The human being on longer loves as a verb but is love. That is done through guiding mental tendencies into one stream through meditation on the heart. “God cannot be a subject of knowledge per se. God cannot be perceived. God can be experienced through love”. The heart is the only pure thing in the universe – the vessel in which life exists. If God is anywhere he is in the heart. So in Sahaj Marg we bring the heart into main focus of lifestream.