The highest peak of the Bhagirathi Group of Himalayan mountains is Bhagirathi Parbat. It stands at the end of the valley leading up to Gaumukh and is the location of the legendary Siddha Loka from which the mighty Ganges – The River of Heaven – flows.
The West knows Siddha Loka as “Shangri-La” or “Shambala”.
In the East it is also known as Gyan Gani, a mystical verdant green valley 6000 meters high on the Bhagirathi Parbat, and exists at a vibrational frequency at variance with our own.
Here Eternal Masters – rishis, tapasvis, and siddhayogis – meet to discuss the affairs of the earth and guide mankind to higher levels of evolution and consciousness, and benignly “govern” its inhabitants.
The upper part of the river Ganga is also called Bhagirathi, and both the mountain and the river are named after King Bhagirath. This King is said to have forced the Goddess Ganga to descend from the heavens in the form of a raging torrent in response to his fervent prayers.
The river Ganga flows peacefully, and sometimes turbulently, through the breadth of India.
But, it has not always been so.
Ganga, the goddess, once lived on Kailash, the Hindu Olympia, and flowed demurely for the sole pleasure of the gods. And, had it not been for Bhagirath, king and sage, she would still be there – and there would have been no necessity for Siddha Loka to be.
Bhagirath had an extravagant ancestor who fathered 60,000 sons.
With a progeny so large, he soon conquered the world and invaded the nether regions, home of the hermit, Kapila. This horde of young men could not but disturb the meditation of the saint who, in a moment of divine wrath, reduced every one of them to ashes with a single glance.
The souls of the 60,000, denied the purification that only water can give, clamored for peace, haunting Bhagirath's every working hour, banishing sleep. By prayer, meditation and penance, the king gained the favor of the gods, asking but one boon, the descent of Ganga, whose waters alone could reanimate the souls of his ancestors and bridge the passage from the now to the thereafter.
The gods pleaded Bhagirath’s cause but the Divine Lady was adamant. She had no desire to leave the heavens and, if compelled she would destroy the earth.
Finally it came to pass that the ardent tapasya of Bhagirath called forth Ganga's assent and her decision to manifest upon Earth. However, the Goddess's power was so tremendous that Bhagirath feared for the destiny of the Earth. If Ganga were to descend with her full force, the Earth would be crushed and washed away to Patala, the nether regions.
Bhagirath then understood that only Shiva could save the situation; and so he performed tapas to call forth the intercession of Mahadeva. He was pleased with his devotee's tapasya and agreed to intercede. First, he called the “immortal” Mahakaya Bhagirath to create Siddha Loka, as a “place of safety” for mortals – near the summit of Bhagirath Parbat. Then, when Ganga came rushing down from heaven in her ragingly powerful descent, he caught her in the coils of his hair and the Goddess became entangled in his matted locks.
From there Shiva released her in a gentle flow which became divided into seven parts. Three went toward the east, three toward the west, and one followed Bhagirath wherever he went.
The Masters do not often speak in limiting words, but in the way that art, or music, and love, speak to mortals. When what mortals call words are used the language is in an argot common to sadhus - or “twilight speech” – a secret language known only to them.
But, for the most part, their communication tool is the human heart.
Siddha Loka is a lush, perpetually warm, and verdant place with ornamental gardens, fruit trees of every description, and sparkling streams – but, to natural human sight, it is a rocky, bleak, landscape with glacial conditions. There is a palatial ashram, with walls that shine as gold and like precious jewels. At its center is a yantra, a sacrificial fire, and the true source of the Ganges - The River of Heaven – feeding seven streams that flow into one, and then returns underground. Inside the ashram there are many high-ceilinged rooms – with walls made of a variety of scented and precious woods, carved in elaborate designs – many filled with ancient manuscripts and books. The Great Hall has a round table, with high-backed chairs intended for Eternal Masters, Immortals, Rishis, Tapasvis, Siddhayogis – where discussions are conducted and decisions made which affect the world – the spiritual Princes of many nations who watch over and guide countries.
Scattered in the valley, and on its slopes, are dwellings of many types, small farms with crops and animals, parks and woodlands, lakes and streams. The inhabitants of Siddha Loka are of all races, live in harmony with each other and with all living things, and those not born at Siddha Loka found it first in their hearts, and through many or great difficulties, and now live at peace with themselves and with all others.
There is no winter, and only summer rains fall. Manual work is necessary only for the delight it brings, and “magic” – a higher vibrational level of thought and action – is the common experience of all, while “death” is simply a volitional and earned “moving on” to an even higher vibrational level – though some selflessly choose to remain with the same physical form and serve as Masters, as and when other Masters feel it right to “move on”. There is no need for “laws” when love for others and respect for things are endemic, nor for any particular religious ritual or belief when faith is objective. The Masters guide rather than govern, and serve rather than rule.
Siddha Loka is a place of tranquility and joy – a paradise on earth but not of the earth – and those who find it are those who have found themselves.
Let us take a leap.
You have been invited to Siddha Loka, and you are standing at the entrance to the cave, over 6000 metres high on the Bhagirathi in sub-zero temperature with a blizzard of icy snow blowing.
Yet you are not cold, but pleasantly warm, not wearing protective clothing, but whatever you wear on any normal day, and you did not climb the mountain.
Sitting, unruffled, on a rock is a white dove.
Forms no longer matter – all your old thinking has suddenly dropped away. You are not surprised that Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda is in the form of a white dove – somehow it is expected.
Nor are you surprised that the sub-zero temperature and the blizzard of icy snow – and the lack of breathable air – has no effect on you.
What has happened?
You have stepped out of maya (a world largely of your own making) broken through into another dimension - a different reality. You still have a physical body – its vibrational frequency altered, but physical nevertheless – the mountain, and the sub-zero temperature, and the icy blizzard, are real. But a reality that has its own special character.
It is simply that you have moved from the first three (or four, if we include time) dimensional planes to the second three (four, five, and six – seven, if we include the spiritual).
The human three (four) dimensional expanding universe is similar (in comparison) to the two dimensional expanding surface of a balloon in the process of being inflated. Dots (like stars) on the surface of the expanding balloon move apart, in the same way stars and distant galaxies move away from the earth.
But what is on the inside surface of the balloon?
A similar, but different, universe expanding in unison. Another reality – different from earth, but real.
In other words, a real world that exists alongside earth but on a different vibrational frequency – in a similar way that you can “tune in” to a totally different program on the same radio or TV.
It is as real as the one you know.
Of course any analogy is inadequate – like trying to compare an apple to music, or mathematics to a sunset.
But you are here.
(How you got here will be discussed at another time)
The white dove now transforms into Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda, as if simply changing his clothes, and, smiling, leads the way into the cave – shoes are not taken off, you notice, and instinctively feel it would be small-minded to do so. There seems to be more room in your head than before, meaning all you know now takes up much less room in your head than it did before.
Inside the cave (which is quite small) are the few possessions of a wandering sadhu, a sleeping mat, a begging bowl, etc, but a fire burns with no fuel, giving light but no heat or smoke.
There are three tunnels leading from the cave. You follow Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda into the larger central tunnel. After some time (and you feel no need to speak, and not uncomfortable about it) you see the exit, and you stand gazing at an astonishing sight.
A verdant green valley stretches far as the eye can see, with snow-capped peaks all around, and tropical trees, three rivers sparkling in the sunshine, and a bright blue sky (no snow or blizzard) and in the valley stands a magnificent building, like a palace, its walls shining like gold in the sun, and decorated with stones like gems.
In its extensive ornamental gardens all around the building are small water fountains, flower beds in glorious bloom, and shade trees.
A wide path leads down a gentle gradient to the front of the building, with wide blue-marble steps, white-marble pillars on both sides, and a blue-marble roof. You see people, of different races, strolling in the gardens, others tending them.
In a large space in front of the building is a yantra in coloured tiles, and at the center a fire burns without fuel or smoke. Out of the ground, at the East point of the yantra, flows water feeding into seven streams that merge into three, then one that returns underground.
The River of Heaven – the true source of the Ganges.
“Om mani padme hum”
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda’s voice sounds more like the deeper tones of a flute than a voice.
The reply comes, unbidden, to your lips.
“Tat tvam asi”
You both walk side by side down the path to the front entrance of the building, climb the three blue-marble steps, and enter a huge hall with seven intricately carved doors leading off. Around the hall are twelve recesses with blue-marble images, but before you can inquire who they are
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda ushers you through a door, which seems to open by itself as you approach.
This is the Great Hall, with a huge round oak table, and twenty four high-backed carved chairs. The hall is empty of people, and you feel slightly disappointed. On the walls are paintings of mythological figures and scenes you recognise – the largest and most central is the goddess Ganga, with waist-length jet-black hair, naked and water gushing from her navel. On either side are Shiva and Parvati, then, next to Parvati, their son, and next to Shiva, Agni - with a dove coming out of his mouth. Other paintings depict the twelve scenes of the journey of Shiva’s bija - ending with the beautiful Skanda.
High above the ceiling is a crystal dome, blue and gold, allowing the sun to enter through the same yantra as outside the building, and around the yantra is etched twelve scenes of the journey of Jayanta, with the Amrita Kumbha – the jar containing the nectar of immortality.
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda points to another, smaller painting – of King Bhagirath, surrounded by his many grandsons, interceding for them with the gods, and in the background are seven streams – three to the East, three to the West, and one behind him.
Then, you notice the floor.
It is a multi-coloured mosaic of small semi-precious stones depicting the three goddesses, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Ganga, as three rivers flowing from the center of the floor to the walls, each with their consort at three corners of the room – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda leads you to a corner of the room. You turn, but Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda has gone, and what you had thought was a room empty of people and silent is now a living kaleidoscope of myth - a cacophony of sound as the scenes depicted are played out all around you, above and below.
You know that this is real, not a dream and that time and space, as you had known them, are different - for you are not experiencing time and space but a procession of events – you are experiencing immortality, a timeless flow of events.
And you find there is more than enough room in your head to understand – though far too few words, and totally inadequate at that, to express it, and with no desire to do so, you simply go with the flow – like being on a raft on a river – experiencing.
Now you fully understand the difference between explanation and experience – the symbolism you had previously struggled to understand, in the myths and legends you had been told and read, you see now as a language, without words, and understand. You understand that the goddess, Ganga, happy in heaven, was so moved by the penance of Bhagirath, for his sons – representing mankind – she laid aside her own incredible happiness and unsurpassed beauty, and all she enjoyed as a goddess, to come to earth, and, in so doing, purifies mankind and gives them salvation – teaching them, not in words but in the flow of time and events, and by the cleansing of the River of Heaven, that sacrifice for the good of others is the path to liberation.
You understand also that what you freely give, that you keep forever, and what you keep, that you lose – and to willingly lay aside all that the world bids you keep and nurture frees you from the world and from your cultural and social conditioning - and the bonds that bind you to the Lie, maya.
The people around you are naked, and you feel a little embarrassed that you are not – what are the clothes you wear for? Some are eating meat, and drinking wine, yet without sin – others are being intimate, loving each other, and it does not feel bad. What, then, is the purpose of the physical body?
What is the purpose of human life? It is all here, in graphic expression, and you realize it is so simple – only mankind makes it complex.
Everything exists because of the way it is, and it functions in the way it does because of the way it is. It isn’t perfect, and that’s an essential part of the way it is. Everything is changing and developing. We change and develop, with everything else. That is our purpose – to change, to grow and develop. We, and everything else, exist to strive toward perfection.
There is no sin except lack of love.
How can you say you truly love god if you do not love others – loving others is loving god – and you cannot truly love others until you first love yourself.
You are back in the Great Hall.
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda is there.
“Forgive my lack of hospitality” he says, then waves his hand.
On the table appears a feast of fruits, vegetables, meats, and wine, on gold plates and cups, and crystal bowls piled high with huge gems of every kind.
But you graciously decline. The body no longer desires food, or the mind luxury. Gold and silver are just metal, gems are just stones, and any home which is truly a home – even a hovel - is a palace.
You also understand that not running away from the world, but remaining in it, with a family, as Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda’s example, and the mind focused on god – not on earth’s so-called pleasures and riches – is also tapasya.
“Ahhhh … then let us lift camp and staff from here and go”
Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda waves his hand once more.
And You are back.
As the effects of the rarified atmosphere of your first visit to Siddha Loka wears off, you notice a strange – and disturbing – occurrence. The coils of maya now seem tighter – you are unhappy, soon bored with the world’s mad rush and desire for things, lacking energy or even interest for the pursuits you once used to pass the time, and enjoyed, you have to take more thought to avoid being “off” with relatives and friends. After all, you have had a beautiful, wondrous, experience – shouldn’t this (say your critics) make you happier, more patient and loving? Yes But, in fact, it seems to have had the opposite effect.
What to do?
The problem is, once you have tasted nectar nothing else will do. Once the eyes and ears of your heart have been opened, you cannot – will not – close them again. Better not to see at all, than to have seen and lose your sight.
You have discovered you are a caterpillar – it spends it life eating, goes through several stages of change (metamorphosis) then becomes a butterfly, or a moth, and a caterpillar has nothing in common with a slug.
A slug has no interest in a caterpillar, or a butterfly, and it will be many lifetimes before the slug itself becomes a caterpillar. And then what about other caterpillars? Is one caterpillar aware of the imago (death and re-birth) of another - and would it understand? If so, would the caterpillar believe it?
Like physical death – no matter how many relatives and friends – you walk the spiritual path alone. It is a terrible price to pay.
Yet the reward is great. The Jewel in the Lotus is greater than all earth’s jewels. Jesus said that a man should sell all he has to purchase such a jewel.
You are back on earth.
You feel heavy and sluggish for a while, as if wearing a deep-sea diving suit, but you soon acclimatize, get used to the heaviness again, and soon cease to notice it.
Yet what you have experienced doesn’t fade – it stays sharp in the mind, warm in the heart. You know. What to do now? Nothing.
Your guru will come. The pupil is ready. Read spiritual books and whatever scriptures you believe in, practice pranayama (breathing exercises), asanas (sitting positions), and meditate – learn to be still, to find the center of your being – your Higher Self – atman, or whatever name your own culture gives to the real “I” as opposed to the “me”.
The teaching of the Upanisads can be encapsulated in the sentence “The universe is the Brahman but the Brahman is the Atman”, which is the same as the Christian teaching “The kingdom of God is within you”. God is also transcendent. The Bible says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The Bhagavadgita stresses the concept of a personal god (Isvara) referred to as the Supreme Soul (paramatman) which is distinguishable from the individual soul (atman or jiva).
At this stage, do not be confused by the apparent contradictions in whatever scriptures you read. It is a little like eating fish – you eat the fish, and leave the bones at the side of your plate. There is spiritual truth in all scriptures, but salvation is not found in reading. It is found where it has always been. In the heart.
You are already what you will become, you need only someone to help you “turn on the light” – a guru.
Now listen very carefully – read this slowly, and over again. All the above things will help, but to escape from the coils of maya – your social and cultural conditioning – and wake up, you will need a slap, or several, a shock, or many. It can be done slowly, if you want to do it over many lifetimes but, often, pain administered slowly is the worst pain of all.
You are in a deep sleep and your house is on fire. Should you be concerned with how you are awakened – however unpleasant it is? How is it possible to explain anything to a sleeper? Books, scriptures, lectures, sermons, will not do it.
You need experience - and the experience you need is the experience you fear. You are afraid of your fears – so you avoid them, if you can, and when you are sinking in quicksand you forget not to struggle. Fear wastes vital energy, it creates toxin (poisons) in the body, and closes the mind.
You will need courage.
Courage is not fearlessness – you do not require courage to do something you are not afraid to do – courage is being afraid, and doing it nevertheless.
There is one method designed specifically to accommodate all these considerations – a method generally feared because misunderstood .
The eighth path of Tantric Yoga.
Only in recent times has the seventh path of Ha-tha Yoga become acceptable to Vedic pundits – and is a faster path to realization and liberation than any of the preceding paths, hence the reason for fear.
The eighth path of Tantric Yoga is even faster, with the possibility of realization and liberation in years, one lifetime, rather than the many lifetimes of other paths.
Any system can be misused, or used for selfish purposes.
Tantra elevates women. It worships the goddess in all woman. Once, most countries worshipped the Goddess and women were honoured. India still does, but its women are not honoured. Men still go to the Temple, do puja, ask the Goddess for blessings, then go home and abuse their wives. Do we blame the Goddess for that?
In Pakistan, on the Indus River in the ancient city of Mohenjo Daro, stands a monument bearing a golden seal reliably dated at 6000 years old. It depicts a person sitting in a Yoga posture performing a Tantric ritual. This is the oldest evidence known of Tantric Yoga, the Royal Path of sexual Yoga. Tantra antedates Hinduism (sanatana dharma), Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.
Tantrics use ancient texts such as the Bhagavadgita – many tantric practices stem directly from verses in the Gita – the writings of Patanjali, and the Bible – particularly the Song of Songs – and the Koran, and have a strict (if unusual) moral code.
Stories of using tantra for “black magic” or “unnatural” acts are true, but those who do such things are as blasphemous as those who use the Bible, and the Koran, for the same purposes.
The method is not to blame.
It is not that Tantra has been tried and found wanting – it has been feared, and not tried by those who speak against it.
It is, in fact, an ideal vehicle for Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda – his chosen method of experience rather than explanation - with its ability to shock and attract the attention of a modern fast-track world back to a spiritual path, expose personal fears, and the injustices within society today.
In his present physical form Mahakaya Bhagirath Ananda (Sri Padma Ananda) is married to a woman who had spent almost twenty years in the Salvation Army, and had a bulimia problem for more than ten years, and stomach cancer from overuse of laxatives.
“Transforming ordinary stones into precious and semi-precious gems is simply a visible illustration of Sri Padma Ananda's 'magic' in turning avidya - ignorance - to realisation. It would be easy, and far more intellectually comfortable, to say that my personal experiences with him for more than 12 years are a result of hypnosis or merely a hysterical state of mind, or the fact I am married to him - except Padma Ananda is not a hypnotist, he is far more than that, and he has never created anything for me. But he has for many sceptical hard-nosed journalists.
Prabha Chandran, of India’s most popular internet ‘chat show’ indya.com, wrote:
‘Like many who have a personal belief in spirituality but a robust scepticism of miracles and godmen, I didn’t quite know what to make of Sri Padma Ananda. He holds his hands out, palm upwards. They begin to turn a deep red and when he invites me to place my hands in his, I find them very hot “Put your hands over mine, do you feel a vibration?" he says, then he opens his hands to reveal a large quartz crystal rock, studded with diamond-like encrustations. An alert devotee has captured the whole sequence on film. Can one believe the evidence of one's own eyes, I wonder. Yes, you can, says an inner voice, and I feel incredibly moved and delighted at the same time. Tears come to the eyes of some witnesses and others rise to touch his feet. I simply ask if I can hug him. I know I have been blessed’
Sri Padma Ananda was recently invited to the London home of a GP, a self-confessed sceptic, and his wife, Mr and Mrs Malli & Sukis Sohi of Chigwell. Sukis' sister, Babli, wife of a USA psychiatrist, was present, as was Mrs Rama Sud, wife of one of North India's most prominent businessmen. While Sukis was expressing certain personal business concerns Padma held out his open empty hand, palm upwards. What appeared to be a whisp of smoke, or more accurately a mist, rose from his hand. As they all watched, the mist solidified into a large and beautiful uncut semi-precious stone, which was immediately presented by Padma Ananda to Suki. It was hot to the touch and had left visible red burn marks on Padma Ananda's hand.
In answer to the inevitable question 'How can this happen?' Padma Ananda taps the arm of the comfortable sofa, then the hard wood of a small coffee table 'What is real? You believe that what you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste is real. Yet all these things are merely the result of electrical activity in your brain, as is thought, hallucination, and dreams. In fact science tells us that nothing is as we perceive it. Everything is essentially pure energy, composed of atoms and space. Anyone in this room can, with the right equipment, turn any of the objects in this room into pure energy or into something else - set this sofa on fire and it will turn into ashes. Is it really so difficult to believe that the energy in this room, which you can't see, hear, touch, taste and smell, can be changed so that the electrical activity in your brain will register it as a visible object? I am here to tell you that you are living in a world of your own creation. You are living in a dream, an illusion, which is real simply because you do not know how to wake up, how to change it, or even use it. That semi-precious stone is no more real than the furniture in this room, yet it exists’
Tantra stores energy - and anyone can use it.
‘Life Positive’ reported: ‘He believes women are shakti and that divinity manifests in the female form. There are no hands-on healing techniques as in reiki. He simply looks on while the woman places her hand on the diseased part of the patient. The universal energy enters the body, stimulating the immune system and the body’s natural healing process starts.
“He’s actually channelling his healing powers through us” says Rama Sud, a devotee who helped heal an AIDS patient along with three others, Pushp Mann, a documentary film maker, Richa Sing, a student of architecture, and Pauli Ashok, reiki healer “It was an experience in itself. The whole room vibrated with a strong force and even after the healing we felt so energised” the trio described the process.
“He healed me of ten year Bulimia” says his wife, Claire Marie “And although my GP told me that my insides were messed up so badly through misuse of stronger and stronger laxatives and I would have no more children – I already had two from my first marriage – we now have seven. Our youngest daughter, 3 years old, was diagnosed in the womb as 85% Downs Syndrome, and the gynaecologist was almost insistent – mainly owing to Sri Padma Ananda being 56 years at that time – we should abort. We refused, and Catherine was born perfectly normal”.
Welcome to a world of Magical Tantra.