FIn this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Aaravindha about the events described in Immortal Self—after a grueling expedition into the interior of the Himalayan Mountains, Aaravindha found himself in the secluded valley home of a deeply secretive spiritual lineage. Aaravindha describes his tutelage under the valley’s long-lived Amartya monks and why he has become the spokesperson for this ancient wisdom tradition. Concluding this fascinating conversation, Tami and Aaravindha discuss the expansion of consciousness and what it means to “listen from the floor of creation.” (73 minutes)
Or read the fully transcribed Interview:
Aaravindha Himadra: Recognizing the Field of Infinite Potential in a Pragmatic World
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Tami Simon: This program is brought to you by SoundsTrue.com. At SoundsTrue.com you can find hundreds of downloadable audio learning programs, plus books, music, videos, and online courses and events. At SoundsTrue.com, we think of ourselves as a trusted partner on the spiritual journey, offering diverse, in depth, and life changing wisdom. SoundsTrue.com: many voices, one journey.
You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today, my guest is Aaravindha Himadra. Aaravindha has been a spiritual teacher since 1999. He’s the founder of the organization Sambodha, a multinational organization dedicated to elevating consciousness around the world. Sambodha serves its vision through teaching the art of compassion, spreading the study of dharma-aligned spiritual knowledge, applying internal transcendental practices, teaching advanced meditation techniques, and supporting externally-oriented service offerings. With Sounds True, Aaravindha has written a new book. It was originally published in German and became an international best-seller and is now published in the English language for the first time, called Immortal Self: A Journey to the Himalayan Valley of the Amartya Masters, where he offers a transformative story that will invite you to challenge your preconceptions, open your heart, and receive the wisdom that your soul has always known.
In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Aaravindha and I spoke about the unique teachings of the Amartya Masters and how and why Aaravindha has become a spokesperson for this tradition in our time. We also talked about his journey to the hidden Himalayan Valley where these masters live, and how you need to be invited in order to go there. We also talked about some of the boundary-breaking experiences Aaravindha had in his travels, including meeting Amartya Masters who were hundreds of years old. Here’s my mind-opening conversation with Aaravindha Himadra.
Aaravindha, your book, Immortal Self, tells a truly remarkable story. I think some people would say an absolutely unbelievable story. For people who are unfamiliar with you, and the arc of the story that you tell in Immortal Self, give us a sense of the journey that the book covers.
Aaravindha Himadra: All right. When you approach this book, because it’s really much more of an Eastern air in the background, it does come across as a really novel or unique experience to the Western perception. And so if I was to begin with, and if I was to really actually talk directly to the reader and to give him an orientation, I’d suggest that he try reading it either of two ways, the first being either as a narrative or chronicle, that unfolds a personal spiritual quest obviously mine. And while I was writing it, by background intention in writing this book was to render it readable in a way that would allow him or her, the reader, to identify with it, imagining it to be his or her own journey. So I tried to make it as personal and available as possible. And so the story follows my travels through some remote and very difficult to traverse passes, mountains in the Himalayas.
Possibly in approaching it with this more of a narrative or chronicle perspective, the reader might also experience it as an adventure that includes the revealing or unearthing of a variety of ancient spiritual teachings on the way and also in the destination, which is discovered there. Some of which offer undoubtedly some of the most unique knowledge that comes from the East, it’s unparalleled, in its view into some of our world’s most mysterious and really long lost knowledge, sacred, and I say lost because some aspects of this knowledge haven’t been available for a very, very long time. And there’s plenty of experience knowledge included that is already common knowledge to the Euro-Western world or at least the Euro-Western world has, to come extent, come in contact with it. And often times this happens through other writers or obviously on the internet, because we live in a digital age.
But for myself I was very careful, I moved very slowly to make sure that all of the knowledge, because it’s not always reliable, the internet, knowledge isn’t … or some sources are just borrowed sources from other sources. But these sources were very direct of knowledge. So I was very careful to keep the knowledge in the story accurate, true to form. And so if I was to imagine myself as the reader, not the writer, I’d choose to read it as a true-to-life novel. I’d see it as an evolving cathartic adventure about a once-in-many-lifetimes journey. Writing the book from the very onset, I hoped that is might some way serve as a kind of allegorical pathway example, a kind of spiritual template that anyone in search of truth or knowledge could use to expand his or her understanding of our spiritual or their spiritual path in life.
TS: Now Aaravindha, when I think through the book as an allegorical story, I can follow everything and there’s so much we can talk about. When I think of it as, “This actually happened to Aaravindha”, then I have a bunch of other questions that come up for me as a reader, really? That really happened? Could you answer this second reader’s set of questions, meaning at a certain point you encounter an ancient master who levitates—I’m just giving this as an example. And I think at that point certain people would be, “Really, did this actually happen? Or is this just Aaravindha trying to break open my mind to new possibilities, to think in a different kind of way?”
AH: Well, I certainly do hope that it opens people’s minds and causes them to think in another way. Because I think oftentimes we become so pragmatic in our thinking and so focused on the mainstream parameters that we’re living in, that we lose when it’s the real magic in life that’s actually there all the time. And for anyone that has traveled a spiritual journey and really plunged the depths and has really gone into the heart of their journey, they realize that reality isn’t what it seems to be. There’s much more to it than what we’re actually seeing. If fact, most everything that we see is just the translation of the little five-centimeter space in the back of the brain, that we all uniquely translate it for ourselves. Somehow we all come into this common agreement and then we set up boundaries around that. But those boundaries are relatively new in our human adventure, in our movement through time. And there is another world, a much larger world, and much more profound world that lives outside of those boundaries, and that’s the world that I was able to walk into.
I mean, I started with that, not just in this journey where I went to the Himalayas, but that was really what I woke up into in this life. And it’s a difficult thing to transfer to someone else, to give people the idea that there is something beyond boundaries. There’s a large group of people now that seem to be waking up in the world and I think now you probably touch the lives of those individuals quite often. I’m really, at this point in time, telling a story that is very much like the kind of story you would have heard, maybe 100 years ago or 200 or 300 years ago, where it wasn’t considered so fantastic in the East because this is the lifestyle that the deeper spiritual traditions moved through … or cultured. So it’s fantastic to the Western world because the slightest little thing that’s outside of the norm doesn’t make sense and we seem to, as a culture, as a society, try to find safety within certain boundaries. And this book will, no doubt, break a lot of boundaries for people.
And I have to answer the second question, because the second question is the right question. Yes, it really did happen. This is really an experience of mine and it’s difficult to convey because I have no tangible way of giving absolute validity to that other than through leading people into the experience and then offering them the means, somehow, through either seminars or contact or introducing them to certain teachers so they can actually make the connection for themselves. And that’s really the way this tradition, the Amartya tradition, is. Amartya tradition is actually very, very old. It seems to be that, when I learned about it or when I discovered it, I haven’t found yet—and I’ve spent my entire life on the spiritual path—yet any tradition that I could say is really older, or goes further back in time. It seems to be, in some words I could say the Amartya tradition is timeless, because there doesn’t seem to be an actual origin of it.
And coming into this life, I already felt that very young. Once I had a person that walked up to me and said, you know, “What are you?” Because he said, “You found your way into this valley,” and he goes, “How is it possible that you can do that and someone else couldn’t do that?” And it took me a little bit off balance because I wasn’t expecting that kind of a question but then I realized, “Well, why are you asking me that question? Why aren’t you asking yourself that question? Why are you not allowing yourself to move beyond the boundaries?” Because in this world that we live in, it’s not difficult to see it, because even science is validating that now. Our reality is made out of a kind of field of potential that doesn’t show up unless we’re searching for it. Once we search for it, we start to bring those possibilities into existence, but this isn’t spiritual alone, this is now physics. We’re moving into an area where we can see in—not just in quantum physics, but we’re also seeing this taking place in neurophysics and neurosciences—that if we focus on specific possibilities, those possibilities come about.
And our world has narrowed itself over time. There are of course, the old soul sort of awarenesses … I’m using that term old soul and it’s a little bit New Age-y but I’m using it to bring across a point, there are these people that have a memory or a sort of aspect of themselves that knows these things still exist. And this is really where I find most people are responding. Most people are writing emails that are—literally we received hundreds of emails—from people that have said, “I went and read your book, Aaravindha, I felt like I was coming home. I knew this was true but somehow my life had taken me away from the possibility.” And I think that’s one of the underlying currents in this book. So I mean, I realize in 19- I think it was in the ’80s where I first discovered Rumi’s poem.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
That’s what I wanted to connect people to. I wanted to connect people to that field, it’s in the background of the journey. And if people allow themselves that, it may be that they very well will have an experience that will connect this for them directly. I’ve had many, many people tell me—when I say many I’m talking probably close to 100 people—come to me and say that when they gave themselves to the possibility, something extraordinary happened, something magical happened in their lives to verify it for them. And I believe that’s possible for us all the time. But we are surrounded in a very narrow set of parameters and I can understand, I think anyone can, how that can happen because society gravitates towards the safety zone and people learn to speak within that and communicate within that, and pretty soon we find within a short period of time that people have set up boundaries. And this boundary and this boundary, that’s taboo, do not cross those boundaries. And so we limit our thinking and we start to think that what is actually more real, that is actually deeper and truer about us is the fantasy. And what is not true about us is the reality.
And that’s the kind of society that we really live in, globally, right now. We live in an illusory society. And not a true society where consciousness is the foundation for everything, instead we seem to be in this perspective that we have projected ourselves into our universe and we are not its creators anymore. And that that loss has caused us to doubt when the beauty, the sacredness shows its face to us. And so, to get through that, I don’t think we can debate or argue that with anyone. Like for instance if I was to be in contact with somebody who says, “Well, Amartyas is very hard for me to believe.” And I can’t say to that, “Well I’m going to convince you”, because that’s a topical conversation. The only way to understand that this sacredness exists is to transcend that topical conversation and go to the source within ourselves and touch the magic there. And if we can allow that person or ourselves to stay there long enough, that magic comes back with things, that are so much more beautiful and sacred and real than what we’ve imagined our lives to be.
And in that sense I think that this book is a kind of groundbreaker for that. I think it will … and as it has, at least this has been the evidence of what’s come through the conversations and many contacts I’ve made since people have been reading the book, particularly in Germany. Which is a little surprising because my experience of Germany—I don’t know if other people feel this too—is a very fixed way of seeing things there, they’re very mechanical about the perceptions. What I have actually experienced on this spiritual Renaissance that seems to be taking place undercover, there is this extraordinary humility that’s forming and kind of listening, that is opening them up to the beauty of what really truly is real.
TS: Now I noticed, Aaravindha, in my own experience of reading Immortal Self, I kind of had two tracks going on. In one track I was with you in this transmission of Himalayan spirituality, if you will. Meaning I felt the depth and the dazzling, sparkling boundlessness and so much of what you were trying to … and I think communicated beautifully in your writing. And then, on this other track, some part of my mind would kick in and I’d put a big question mark down on the page next to the paragraph and I was like, “Aw, come on.” And I want to talk about some of those and have you give our listeners a better feeling. So here we’ll go right in, the very beginning of the book, you dedicated the book to one of the Amartya masters that you met in your travels. And you say that you’re dedicating this book to this person who left his body behind in 2011 at the age of 164. And then later in the book you write that he was young compared to the other Amartya masters that you met. And I was like, “OK, what’s going on here? How old are these people and how did they get to live so long?”
AH: Yes, that’s the real mystery isn’t it? Because what we have here is something that’s so completely contrary to what we believe to be true in our world today. We think the oldest man is somewhere around 115 or something like that in the world. And of course in our history, we find record of individuals that have lived to 175, 180 and older than that, if we were to do the research, we’d find out that even in our Western history we’ve had some individuals that are very old, we go into the Chinese history we come in contact with people who have been much older, even in the early Egyptian periods there’s knowledge of these individuals who have lived generations. Biblically we see, listen to individuals that have lived a very, very long periods of time. And of course, once again, here in our world we live within what, if we’re lucky, somewhere between 90 to 100 years if we live a good life, we live a healthy life, that’s somewhat the limit. That’s the top end. And so we say how is it possibly anyone could live longer than that?
And we have to actually also … we have to look at this as not a necessarily genetic condition. That there are possibilities that we can manifest with their own physiology that if we were not standing in a constant resistance to what must come in life and what must go in life, in other words, we as people have a tendency through our understanding of who we think we are because we are identifying with a kind of being, “I am this and this which I am has these requirements and this is what I want and this is what I don’t want and yet universe doesn’t seem to care about that. The universe says this is what you get and this is what I’m going to take.” Kind of like the image of Kali in India is fierce, the most powerful of all the goddesses, she’s the goddess of time, she says, You can have this, and I will take this”, and there’s nothing that you get to keep.
But as people we have a tendency to resist and we build resistance into our physiology, we build it into our mind, into our neural structure, we build it into the cells of our bodies. And that resistance is really fundamentally what ages us. If anything else, more than anything else, we are burning ourselves out by standing in the force of that wind and resisting and saying, “I want the universe to conform to my will, it must be what I want,” rather than listening. So there is actually something deeper. Today you will find that there are certain neurophysicists who are saying that, “It appears that our neural structure is somehow being fed by something that is larger than what we have considered to be our psyche, there’s a universal awareness.” Same thing, we see this happen in quantum physics where you have entanglement. You can say that when you have two different atoms that have interacted or two particles, you separate them and move that at great distances apart from each other, if you touch one you instantly effect that other one without any passage of time between them.
And so there’s this scientific movement towards understanding that there is another dimension, another field that seems to be what we’re resting in, that is not governed by that same principles that we are governed by in our common everyday thinking. And within that field we are all ultimately unified, we’re all sharing a similar field and that field in the East has always been considered the ultimate or the supreme creative intelligence. That is our truest self, our highest self-expression or maybe it isn’t even our highest self-expression, I’d say highest source, the expression ultimately being life. And if that’s the case, then this self, this high-level, this unified field seems to be unfolding a universe that is outside of our normal perceptions if we were to perceive that there is a greater will at work, more powerful will at work and our little will trying to be this little person that has identified itself with these attributes and traits, struggling to keep those attributes and traits as the paramount and most important thing in their lives, fights against this world. It says, “No, this is what will come in your life and this is what must go in your life,” because this act that takes place from this greater field is somehow managing the entire field at once.
Now if that’s our ultimate level of consciousnesses, then if we were to tune ourselves with that and allow that to become the manifesting voice through us, we wouldn’t experience the burn of time on our consciousnesses and we would structure in a different reality. The way I probably would finish the statement is there’s a teacher, Maharishi Patanjali, you’ve probably heard of him, who is considered that father of yoga. He inherited a certain body of knowledge from the Samayika tradition, which came from Mahaviria of the Jain tradition. And he made a statement, he said, “Yogas chitta vritti nirodha.” He said, if the pressures or the resistances are emotions or tendencies in the mind were all brought to rest, in other words brought to the floor of creation, from where everything comes from, this now presence, true now presence, and if it came to rest, what would remain is our highest state of consciousness, yogas, our unified field of consciousness.
So what’s happened is that we have pushed ourselves beyond that harmony into this discord in life. And so we have created a kind of resistance. And so we have blocked ourselves from, through our emotions, through our resistances, from that source. Now in an illumined state, a highly illumined state, the state of a true master, that state is accomplished. Sambodhi which is called the enlightenment, occurs, that means there is no longer any resistance in the conscious mind, in the neural net, in the physiology, because the neural net ultimately governs the physiology. And so that higher will, that brings everything into existence and carries it through. And through our perceptions we participate in the creation of the universe and we also participate in its return to source. So we become these instruments, these vehicles for this to occur but there is no burn in our consciousness.
Now if we know how to function, if we learn how to function from that level of consciousness, because that’s where we live, then what we do is we find that we are inevitably at one with that consciousness. And that consciousness is what outlasts all of our lifetimes. It is that one field that is eternal and it is the ultimate creative intelligence. Now imagine that, if that is the reference for your reality, fully. If that is a reference for your reality, why wouldn’t you be able to realize the attributes of that state of consciousness? Why wouldn’t you be able to bring that forth as a manifestation, through that physical experience of life?
TS: Let me ask you a personal question, Aaravindha. You’re 65 at this point?
AH: I am, yes.
TS: Do you have any expectation of how long you’ll live? I mean, you’re not going to buy into the 90 to 100, but yet, even these masters whom you met on your journey in the Himalayan Valley, they died at some point.
AH: They do. In fact, I was told that 300 years ago there were 16 of these masters that were still living in a community and now there’s only five. And when Master Phow left I could feel it, it was because I feel my days are filled with moments, that I can feel that connection, and it’s very strong. It’s as though there’s no real separation for me anymore. And so when Master Phow passed on, I realized that, when it took place, that it was his time, his choice to leave. And this is where I have to say, in terms of immortality, I don’t believe there are any absolutely immortal beings on this planet at this time. The Amartya tradition doesn’t claim to be … even though Amartya means-
TS: That’s the first totally reasonable thing I think you’ve said, Aaravindha. No, I’m just joking with you.
AH: The truth is that everything has a time period. The nature or what you would call the Samyama Siddhi level of consciousness that the Amartyas have attained is that they choose when that will be. So the tradition is in itself, you could describe it as … they have overcome even death but not entirely. So what I’m saying is that all the Amartyas at some point leave, but they do live extraordinarily long lives. For myself, I don’t perceive that as really that likely and the reason is that I don’t live there in the Valley. In the Valley when I was there, what I experienced was a kind of clarity, a crystal clarity that was something I hadn’t ever experienced before in this life. It’s a little bit like coming out of dirty water and suddenly you’re in crystal clear mountain stream water, everything changes, your thoughts become very focused and clear and crisp.
And I believe it was Amir who actually said to me it was because there was never any kind of violence or intensity or violation within that land. The sacredness of the land or that area. So the Valley is a kind of temple in itself on this planet. And I do believe it has something to do with their reclusiveness. It’s not a religion, Amartya tradition isn’t a religion so we’re not organized as something that actually comes out of the world in the same way a religion might, which is try and find followers and so on. It’s really more of a from master to student kind of transition that takes place and that knowledge is passed forward and that’s how it has been for a very, very long time. And I think what happens is because they are able to sustain that level of purity in the area that they live in, they choose to be there, most of the time. That’s not to say that they aren’t there … I mean they don’t leave there because I know that …
I was one day in the Valley and I was talking to Master Rambala and I had seen Amir, just hours before I was speaking with him and I asked if I could go speak with Amir, if he knew where he was and he said, “Oh, he’s in that direction about 50 miles.” And I said that, “How is that possible, how could be have gone from here to there in a few hours?” And then of course there was a teaching that followed and I learned a great deal about how those things are accomplished. And when you realize how it actually happens, that these things occur, you start to recognize that there’s a science to it. And there’s a way of being that is not familiar to our western way of being. But we are capable of things that we don’t yet fully understand in the western world. And one of those is you question this, you’re asking, how is it possible that these people could be this old? My feeling is that’s very … I think that what we’re going to find that within the next few hundred years, people will start to be able to, just through mechanical means, medical means, be able to live 200, 300, 400 years. That’s coming very soon. Now, and I think that that is actually much more topical than what they’ve accomplished.
They’ve accomplished something that is completely different than that, in so much as they’ve actually gone to the roots of consciousness and have been able to establish a way of being that the coherence of it, the intensity of it has, to some extent, created a kind of buffer between them and the gravity, the world gravity. I’m in the world gravity now, even on Orcas Island where it is very peaceful and lovely here, I’m still in the world gravity. I could feel it when I was leaving the Valley, it was like there was a point where it goes a certain number of miles, I don’t know exactly, maybe it was 10 miles out of the Valley and it felt like I was standing next to a down draft, like the kind of pull you’d feel in an elevator shaft. And the more I walked into it, the more difficult it became to integrate for a while.
So for a few days I was really struggling with I wanted to go back to the Valley, because of the intensity of the world and the more I got into the world the more I was into the Western world when I finally got back to Delhi, it was extraordinarily intense. So I got on the plane, flew back and of course I was picked up at the airport and it was like being in a completely different world. And I realized that, how is that difference… what’s causing that? It’s our consciousness, it’s our collective consciousnesses producing this world Vritti, this world gravity that is causing us to remain stuck in this narrow set of parameters that say this is how long you live, this is how you live, this is what you can experience, this is what you can’t experience. When really we have the talents within us to enter a magic that we haven’t even begun to explore.
TS: Now I’m imagining, Aaravindha, people who are listening and they’re like, “OK, I’m ready to pack my backpack and I’m going to the Valley where the Amartya Masters still are. I’m on my way right now, even as I’m listening to this.” But of course, they probably won’t find it. So can you explain that?
AH: Yes, it’s if you go to some of the different temples in India, for instance, in Orissa at the sun temple, or if you go to … or when I was in Rajasthan or … and even in some parts of the Himalayan foothills in the more remote areas the legend there of this Valley still exists and people still tell stories about it that almost no one is able to find it, unless of course you’re invited. And even when I was invited, I have to be honest, I didn’t think I could find it, that was my honest belief. I just applied my faith and said, “I was invited so I must be able to find this,” and it became in itself a kind of test of my own faith. And so as I was traveling through the mountains it was one period where I had finally come to a point of exhaustion and I realized that I was at a point of no return. And I had to look at my own life and I had to make a decision.
Because everything I had done up to that point had brought me to that point. Everything that I had worked with, everything that I had searched for, all the experiences that had any meaning to me had brought me to that moment where I had come to point of no return. Because if I’d go any further I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it back and there are parts of the Himalayas that you can get, if you go too far, even the Sherpas won’t go into those areas, it’s too far, it’s too remote and there’s too much chance of exposure and dying in those elements. And just as I got that far I realized I was actually in a kind of fog. I couldn’t know for sure which way to go anymore. And it was then that I had met, in the book, which has been the story of the flute, where I actually was able to meet Master Amir, Amir Re’maat Kalarohan. When I met him he was able to bring me the rest of the way and he explained to me that there is a kind of, and it’s very old but it was created by grandfather Pitamah, the elder of the Amartyas. It’s a kind of Sthagmudra.
Of course I hope I’m not confusing the listener because these are terms that are probably very foreign and very Eastern and they’re Sanskrit terms. Sthagmudra is a kind of protective veil that protects the area and if I was to say, “Well, how do you experience that?” It’s a feeling when, for instance, we’re wondering, if anyone has ever gone hiking in the forest or maybe got lost in walking through meadows or something and you start to wonder which way do I go next, we can kind of have this intuitive urge that says, “Go this way.” And we usually find our way if we are listening we can usually find our way back. There’s an inherent intuitive quality within all of us if we’ll listening well enough we can usually find our way out of the worst situations. But here, what I found was the urging always seem to be, at some point, directing my attention in another direction. And it was explained to me that that’s what this Sthagmudra produces is a kind of energetic that had been cultured over a period of time so that when you go there in that area, it’s not as though you can’t find it, it’s just your tendency is to go into a different direction.
And I’m not sure that if Master Amir wouldn’t have met me there, if I would have actually have found it. I was within a day’s walk of it, a long day’s walk but I’d come to the point where I was actually, really, not just tired and worn out but I was also questioning, could I find it any further, because up until then it seemed that I had a kind of inner compass that was leading me. After that I was really grateful that he was there. And he was able to guide me the rest of the way. And when he did, it was really quite a number of turns in our walk that I wouldn’t have made, I realized I wouldn’t have made those turns. So yes, there’s a protection there and I asked … I mean it was really Master Rambala who told me, I asked him once about the possibility of other people coming and he said, well it would destroy the Valley and what they’re created there because he said that everyone would try to come, would love to come to this if they realize what’s possible, what they could learn in this kind of a setting.
But it would be foolish for me to think in any way that this wouldn’t ultimately be the end of that. And so that transitioned me into realizing, well there’s another way, it’s the way they’re already functioning, the way they’re already connected with the world. They’re very much aware of everything that’s going on in the world, but they’re not responding very much to people in need. In other words, when people say, “Please help me, I want this, can you do this for me?” I don’t see them in their purity and innocence responding to that. What I observed was I respond to when people say, “I’m ready to do this, I’m ready to move this way, I’m willing to take responsibility”, then there seems to be a surge of energy and support that comes from them. Which is somewhat different than if someone were to say, “Well, prayer will get me there, wouldn’t it?” Actually no you wouldn’t. It’s actually the affirmation of faith that gets people where they need to go. There may be individuals out there, may be individuals out there that might be connecting somehow with the tradition, I don’t feel it at this time. But it’s possible someone else can go there.
As far as I know, I was the first Euro-Westerner to have come anywhere near the Valley for well over 90 years. That’s over 100 years now. And the last person that had gone there didn’t actually enter the Valley. But there were people there that seem to have connection to the Western world, I saw flip-flops on their feet, I saw T-shirts on a few people, those are Western. Obviously there’s a connection to the world there. But exactly how much and who was connecting, I’m not really convinced that I know.
TS: Now, in the book you write, Aaravindha, that the Amartya Masters agreed that you should be the first for hundreds of years to speak or write openly about the Amarpura Valley. And I’d love to know why you, Aaravindha Himadra, and why now?
AH: Yes, there are moments where I’ve actually asked that question myself. When I was born into this lifetime, I was born with a certain degree of seeing open. And I was able to receive things that were outside of my normal parameters of life and even at the age of six I had my first contact with one of the Amartyas in my bedroom when I was sleeping. Because I had night terrors, quite a few night terrors when I was very young and they were terrifying to the point where my body and the stress of my body couldn’t take it. I was actually … it would produce so much stress on my nervous system that it would produce these very intense torrentuous nose bleeds, even to the point where I would have to have a transfusion once because of the loss of blood, but it was all brought on by this terror.
And when I felt the most hopeless I just opened myself up to the possibility, for days I would maybe I’d say more like months, actually, I would climb up to the top, out my bedroom window, and sit on the top roof of my house. And I would look up at the moon because I imagined the moon somehow to be this mystical connection to God because I always imagined God was a woman, I always thought it was a she and I saw—because it had to be a mother—and so I saw the moon as sort of a mother image for me. And so I would go into conversation and I remember one night laying up there and not wanting to go to bed because of the night terrors and asking. I looked up and I said, “I don’t know what to do here.” It wasn’t so much to ask for help but I said, “I’m at my end. I’m little, I’m just a little kid, I don’t know how to manage this.” I’m barely capable of climbing out my window and getting up on the roof. And so at that point in time my feeling was this extraordinary vulnerability. And within a few nights that was my first contact with Amir, who managed somehow to be there in the middle of the night.
And the story in Immortal Self, the book, I talk about that to some extent, it’s quite a bit because the full knowledge of what happened there didn’t really occur to me until I was in India in Rajasthan in a cave, and I was confronted by a very intense darkness and that’s when the whole knowledge of that came through for me, and why that was there and how that ended up making me stronger. That connection, I realized, even then was something much older than my lifetime. And so over my life, numerous times in meditations I would have visions, and these visions would open me up to connections to the Amartyas themselves and so I would draw teachings from them. Only I didn’t at that time, in my life I had chosen not to really. When I was teaching, I began to teach quite a bit because that became a way of finding fulfillment in life. But I didn’t want the attention to land on me so I’d always pass it forward. I would say, I received this knowledge from something I did or something I connected with. I would never really tell the whole story because I lived in a very conservative reality, a conservative world, but all the time, during that entire journey of my life, I knew that I was connected to something that was very old.
And when I connected with Master Rambala, I didn’t realize it right away but I began to realize that at some point in time he had been my father. And the more I gave myself to that, the more I began to realize what the meant for me and that I had actually left that Valley quite a … at least three lifetimes ago and again that’s sort of stretching beyond the mainstream thought. But for me that’s the reality I lives in.
TS: Beyond mainstream and alternative, we’re out in the great expanse at this point, Aaravindha. But keep going, because it’s so fascinating.
AH: OK, what ended up happening was I had it verified when I was in … when I did come to the Valley it was like I’d met my father for the first time for a very, very long time. Because in my memories, in these little hints of memories, sometimes faint sometimes just partial memories of former lifetimes I never really got to know my father. My father always died when I was a child, just as my birth father in this life died when I was a child. And so I never had a father connection until I came to the Valley and I began to realize. When I saw him, my heart broke open and this extraordinary memory of him having been my father and all of that flooded back, all of the knowledge of having left the Valley when I was only about 16. And began to teach as a very young teacher in the Himalayas for that entire lifetime. And then again, in my last lifetime I taught again and I died in December ’50 and came back in ’53 and it all opened up, I could start to remember these things. It wasn’t …
I don’t want to confuse people when I say these things. To say, “Oh Aaravindha is a psychic.” I’m not a psychic, I’ve never been a psychic, I’ve never claimed to be a psychic. But I have certain abilities to see when I feel lack in the world, to draw on knowledge. But I can’t tell you where you’ve lost your keys or that sort of things. But it works for me and it has worked for me, my entire life and that’s how I found the Valley. And so I realized when I came back to the Valley, they were already aware of what I wanted to do because I had already given myself to teaching. I was teaching courses, classes, meditation, I was doing teacher trainings and a number of things, I’d been doing it since I was 17, 18 I think is when I started. I had a little store that I opened and I taught on ranjic yoga, I had a little bookstore and I just started early because I was really determined to be on my own very early and I was selling herbs and doing herbal formulas for people being healed and then I went to Seattle and I opened a really big half a block bookstore, and my life had already moved into constantly trying to find ways of opening people up spiritually.
But I realized that it wasn’t just that lifetime I was feeding off of—the energy of that to keep me going—it was this other connection to the Amartya tradition. So they knew I was already a part of the Amartya tradition. And then really, going back to the Valley it was as though I’d come full circle through a number of lifetimes. And this lifetime gave me my final fulfillment, which I haven’t completed yet. I feel at this point in time I’m really engaging, the reason I left the Valley, although that reason has changed to some extent from my original reason. But it’s now I’m in a stage where I actually feel like I’m trying to fulfill a promise that I made, not that I feel bound by that promise but I feel enriched by it.
TS: What is that promise?
AH: That I would somehow try to bring this lost body of sacred knowledge back into the world through the support of others. And at a time that we all are starting to recognize, everyone is looking around today going, “What is going on?” We’re in an incredibly corrupted structure, the economies are failing, we’ve got leadership that is deeply corrupted and failing the world. And there’s a separation between leadership and people, the environment is crumbling and we’re seeing the potential of an actual extinction occurring on this planet, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Really, if we would be able to find our spiritual essence again, the pure creative intelligence within ourselves, and learn to manifest those harmonics back into life, we could take this world from ad-dharma back to dharma and we could actually heal this world rather than destroy it and we could experience a birth rather than an extinction. And bringing this knowledge forward from the Valley seems to be a piece of that from what I’m doing, from what my tradition is trying to do.
And I do believe there are other traditions in the world that are doing the same thing in their own way, that are trying to come and say look, we’ve forgotten ourselves, we’ve forgotten something much more important than this surface reality that we’re now living in, that there was once a time when we could just listen to the wind and know the changing seasons. We could touch the tree people and know their spirits in there and what they were communicating between the elements and the earth and how we once had a sense of responsibility to nature, in that we saw its richness and our need to take care of it and that we’ve lost ourselves in our identities and our drive for riches and fame and we need to return to something, not … We can’t go back to simply being grassroots individuals, we couldn’t survive that way but we can evolve ourselves past this destructive thing that is going on. We have to first bring ourselves back to the core of our beings to be able to do that. We can’t do this on a topical mental level where the world is built out of debates and competition.
We have to bring it to this place where we’re not in a state of separation, where we can actually raise our consciousness by going deeper within ourselves. And that’s what I believe that they were connecting with with me because I had already given myself to them. And because I asked them that at one point. I said, “Well, how is it that I can do this?” This is really kind of breaking some of the boundaries of the tradition itself, which is a very highly reclusive tradition. And they said we already know that this is your destiny. That this is … the beauty of these masters isn’t … there isn’t a kind of hierarchy, there’s a forever young kind of playful innocence and purity in their being. There’s so little judgment, in fact, I don’t think there’s any. It’s more of an acknowledgement and a recognition of what should be, that whatever it is that ultimately brings the world into its higher potential expression then they support that. Often times in a very humorous and very kind way and that’s how they really approached me.
The only thing that I was given, one warning, and that was by Master Rambala and he said it will be very, very difficult for the world to understand what it’s like to stand between us and what we know and what the world is doing, how difficult that position is. And I really didn’t know what he meant until I came back to the world, then realized that trying to bring magic to a world that is dug into a pragmatic system of parameters, isn’t an easy world to navigate.
TS: No you’ve got to talk to people like me, who are grilling you.
AH: Yes, well I think probably. When looking at what you’ve done with your life that you knew that already a very long time ago, that that’s the direction.
TS: Yes. OK, Aaravindha, I just have two more questions for you. For people who—and I think many of our listeners are hearing about the Amartya tradition for the very first time—they’ve never hear about this before. And you said these teachings are unique and unparalleled and so far we’ve heard about their ancient roots but we don’t really know, what’s so unique and unparalleled about what the Amartya Masters taught you?
AH: Well, there’s quite a bit, one is the … wasn’t so much that they taught specific pieces, I looked at some of the older knowledge but some of it was … I couldn’t really read it. It was in a script that I, some Sino-Tibetan script that I couldn’t decipher all, but often times I’d be accompanied in conversation and I would … well, what they would do is they would affirm thoughts, they would affirm ideas and some of what I’m trying to bring now is that there’s different levels. Because we need to find a way in, not just a way to manage life the way it is but to find a way to get to a place where the source of life is created and from there learn to listen in such a way that we can actually bring harmony and order back to this world. And so meditation is paramount for something like that. So one of the things is that I’ve been given support for teaching not only the traditional knowledge, because now I teach you mantra in a way that is really old school mantra, the way that mantra once was before it became secularized with religions but in just the pure vibrational tones.
And then doing, teaching transcendence, which what you might call Nirodhaḥ— control of transcendence through the combination of these different things that some of the world already knows about. Such as Vairagya, which is dispassion; Viveka, which is discrimination between the real and unreal; Asusta, the learning to come to silence. These things, but now in new formulas, more advanced formulas. For instance when Yogananda, Paramahansa Yogananda brought forth Kriya Yoga, he brought forth a very, very simple technique that the Western world was ready for at the time. But it’s actually a very minor technique and it’s also very … it takes a great deal of time for somebody to actually evolve through that because, even as beautiful as it is, which is it and it was appropriate for its time, our consciousness now seems to be plowing way ahead. And so we need to have new and more potent techniques.
And so we’ve brought forth one technique called Prikanti, which means the three graces, which is a way of opening up the various meridians within the energy structure of the Prana-maya Kosha within the energy physiology that will help people purify the meridians all the way down through the neural net to source and so then we have also what’s known as Pavana, which is a much, much, much more advanced form of Kriya than what the world has so far learned. In fact Pavana isn’t even a word that is used in India anymore, because it’s so old. But it’s a kind of tonal breathing that is a technique that can bring forth very profound changes, but the technique is based on learning to tune your physiology to the elemental tones of creation itself. Kind of like the way you would tune a violin or a musical instrument, you would listen and tune through your awareness to the essential tones in which are connected to the elements of creation themselves like the bhutas, the earth, fire, air, water, ether, so on.
And that as well as we’re trying to introduce what is most central to the Amartya tradition, which is known as the fourth path. The fourth path is the way of compassion, but not compassion in the sense that we understand it in our normal sympathetic way or empathetic way, but the art of compassion, which is a kind of listening in the presence of the shadow and then transcending past the emotional boundaries to be able to hear the answer emerging through the floor of creation, that then brings remedy to life. That’s pretty big, what I just said there. Most people may not be able to follow me with that.
But it’s the fourth path. Because we have three paths, which are physical, action, Karma; we have devotion, which is heart, and we have Jnana which is mind. This is the three paths that the world knows, but the fourth path is Karuna, and the world hasn’t yet discovered that that without having that intuitive ability to listen that the three paths are fundamentally unusable, you don’t know what is the right action, you don’t know what is the right devotion and you don’t know what is the right knowledge unless you can verify it within that inner caldron of knowing that rests at the floor of creation.
And so the Karuna takes you to that. So we want to return that, so people can find their deeper inner guide within themselves so that they have a compass—that’s missing. Society is missing its compass, its moral compass, its heart compass, instead its working in this reflective sort of chaos trying to find its way between rights and wrongs, but what’s right for one person isn’t right for the next. So how do we come to the point of knowing what is good for all beings?
Because if we knew how to navigate those waters, we would ultimately all find fulfillment because there are, as the Buddha said, “Why do we meditate? We meditate to let go. Why do we let go? So that we can feel the currents of bliss.” Well, the currents of bliss arise when we receive that harmonic guidance from the floor of creation.
TS: Now, you’re using this interesting phrase, Aaravindha, listening at the level of the floor or creation. What do you mean by that, floor of creation?
AH: If we were to compare quantum physics to consciousness, we would say we have relative classic physics, that’s I’m here because you’re here, there’s distances, we live in a three-dimensional universe of length, width ,and height, well four-dimensional with time. But there’s a quantum world, where when we go into that relative existence, we can actually leave the laws of physics and enter a world where you can be in two places at once or you could be disappearing and reappearing at different places of the universe all the time, where the particles that make up consciousness are ultimately living within a completely different set of rules than our classic reality is. And yet, that’s actually happening in our classic reality. But if we go a little bit further we realize, well, where is everything appearing from and disappearing from? And the physicists will call it that Planck field. That place where you can’t get any smaller into the quantum realms. In our human experience when we meditate, we do something very similar, we go from our relative mind into this micro world of subtler and subtler states of awareness until we leave thought, the field or the classic reality, for another world that is unbounded.
And eventually what we come to is a place of silence. When we touch that silence, in the East that’s called the Amritam Bharat when we touch the silence, beyond that, we come in contact with this field of infinite potential. Well this infinite potential is ultimately what is sustaining us as the dreamt, as these things that we think we are. If you were to really, really see, if we didn’t interpret within our brain what we are, we’re just electromagnetic fields and wave potential and particles, it’s just a sea of dancing energy. But somehow from the source of our being—collectively, because we’re unified in the source, floor of creation—we’re able to maintain this semblance of the universe, of a world within ourselves. But imagine that if we could go to that floor where this universe is unfolding from, then that we could live there. That we could live where we have available to us that complete field of potential unfiltered by our wants or our emotions, or our stresses, or our chaos, or our illusions where we have passed beyond that. So when I speak of that floor of creation, I speak of that place.
The ancients referred to that as Amritam Bharat which mean the true vastness, today we would call that the membrane between the fourth and the fifth dimension in physics. But it’s really that same language that beyond the fourth dimension, there’s a field, as Rumi refers to, the field beyond, where it’s too grand to talk about, ideas, language, even the phrase each other no longer makes any sense, and yet that’s where everything comes from, it’s our consciousness, the free agent in our minds, not the minds itself, the minds are a product of the free agents dreaming. But the free agent in the mind, to be able to touch upon the floor of creation can invoke any possibility at all. That’s the old school magic that we’ve lost and that’s what we want to bring back through the tradition.
TS: Aaravindha, I could talk to you for a long time. There’s a lot of really interesting things to talk to you about. But I’m just going to ask you one final question here, which is, you mentioned in this conversation that every day you’re in touch with the Amartya Masters. That your consciousness is linked to theirs, is what I interpreted from what you said. And I’m curious, in this very moment in that linkage, if you have a sense that the Amartya Masters have a message for the people who are listening right now?
AH: Well, it’s not quite like… for me it’s not so much that I could really successfully channel what they’re saying, I could only give you a sense of what I believe. It would come down to a very simple statement and that is what Nil’Amma Tara once said. She said, “Worship love above all else.” And “You’re not who you think you are.” There’s a kind of magic that happens in our consciousness. And I think there’s a magic that happens a kind of thrill that kind of runs the entire membrane of creation when we finally come to the point where we don’t effort or try to be what we’re not anymore. And when we come to this place of letting go and we let the fragrance that is speaking to be expressed through our hearts about love, when we allow that love to emerge through us unencumbered by our judgments or preferences, predilections, and that becomes our voice and we no longer set conditions on that because we are no longer looking at ourselves, our identity to somehow have to prove ourselves. When we no longer have to do that I think that all the deities and all the masters seems to just come through us with this raucous laugher, and joyous, blissful sort of surge. It’s as though finally you’re getting it. And I think that that’s really what the central push or the central move in the Amartya Tradition is.
When it comes down to something that we’ve all experienced once, I’m sure of it, when you were a child perhaps, when you were walking in a meadow and you were with your mother or your father of somebody dear and you come across that beautiful flower and you have no resistance to it… you don’t judge it for what it is, you don’t think of what it is, you don’t try to capture it in anyway. You are just intoxicated by its beauty and you realize that just by letting yourself have that intoxication, that ability to give no resistance to the beauty that is present in that flower or in that moment, you can’t hold on to it. If something happens, it swells in your heart and you say, “I have to give this away.” And so you want to share it with the world and so you run to your mother or to your friend and say, “Look, look at this beauty!” and it’s in that moment, in that kind of innocent moment that we touch upon the same principle as is going on in the nature of that master.
Master in the realization of the beauty of who we truly are in the Spanda Karikas, the Kashmiri Shaivnism in the east. And they say, it’s in self the splendor of self-recognition, the Madisha that you awaken. And I think that splendor of self recognition is something that when we realize it fully, I know this, when we realize it fully we have to pass it forward. And I think that’s the spiritual journey itself. That’s where we are headed as a humanity once we get ourselves out of this mire of confusion and ambition that we’ve locked ourselves into.
TS: I’ve been speaking with Aaravindha Himadra. He’s the author of the book Immortal Self: A Journey to the Himalayan Valley of the Amartya Masters. It’s an absolutely beautifully written book and filled with tons of inspiration and magic. You’ll enjoy reading it. Aaravindha, great to talk to you. Thank you so much.
AH: Yes. It’s so good to talk to you too, and thank you for inviting me on this.
TS: SoundsTrue.com: waking up the world. Thanks for listening.
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