As a child and ailing student I was often scoffed at, ridiculed at home and in school. I managed somehow to graduate from high school, and dropped out the first year in college, when I was 19. The next 19 years were another string of failures, as I changed many jobs. I was a labor leader and agitator on a hunger strike; a salesman and a journalist, and finally got established in my own business. I was honest, fearless, hardworking, but unlucky as I struggled to make ends meet. Supporting a wife and two children, sinking my misery in a glass of liquor in the evening, I faced total bankruptcy at 38.

As an angry young man I wanted to catch God and ask Him it I was chosen for failure. I walked in anger to an ashram nearby, to ask the swami there to guide me. But the swami had gone abroad. In desperation I climbed up a mountain, and postponing suicide, intensively searched alone into myself for two hours. I arrived at the conclusion that there is no power which grants success or failure. I got such inner strength that I no longer felt any need of liquor to forget myself.

I started reading books: Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna, the Upanishads, Gita, Krishnamurti, Rajneesh, Dyaneshwara, and even difficult texts like the Brahmasutra. I was deeply impressed by Ramana Maharishi, whom I now consider as my guru. In 1978 I was woken up at midnight by Ramana Maharishi. He asked me to go near him. When I went to him my body was left where it was. He asked me to search intensively: "Who was I, as I was not the body." He assured me his blessings in my search and then disappeared.

From that day I started my heroic search, first to see what was the mind. This led me gradually to avoid my bad habits and bad food. It improved my health considerably. Business worries were not so unbearable. I could work harder with less strain. I also started observing the observer, although it was certainly difficult to do so. After two years of this sadhana, one day during meditation. I was amazed to see brilliant white light while my eyes were closed. The culmination came after six years of sadhana, in 1981, on a full-moon night. I was sitting on the verandah of my house at about 10 PM. It was very quiet outside. My wife and children had gone to sleep. Life was still thorny, but in that glorious night I was content, at ease, restful, and sort of empty and peaceful.

Then suddenly for a few hours I did not know what happened. When I came to myself I was flabbergasted. There was utter ecstasy, terrific energy, and bountiful peace, joy and love. In strange abandon I ran and embraced the in my compound. I felt that I was the tree. I was the flowers and the garden. I was the gate and everything. I felt like embracing them all in my arms, as a mother kisses her tiny baby in utter joy and love.

I looked at my watch. It was 2:30 AM. I was shocked. I had not slept and there was no dreaming. I tried to recollect what happened in those four hours. I finally recalled when I was sitting relaxed at ten, a dark blue, bright, thick wave of utter peace and quietness engulfed me totally from all sides. It was timelessness and nothingness. When I grasped fully what had happened, there were two strong reactions. First, I was terrified at the ending of the me. Surprisingly, at the same time, I also started wanting this strange miracle to happen again and again. I tried to repeat my sitting at night, but nothing happened. Then I knew it was not at my beck and call.

Later it did come of its own, on a few occasions. More importantly, it engrossed and changed the whole meaning of life and living for me.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.