Origin & History of Sahaja
Sahaja is a unique method of meditation based on an experience called Self Realization (Kundalini awakening) that can occur within each human being. Through this process an inner transformation takes place by which one becomes moral, united, integrated and balanced. One can actually feel the all pervading divine power as a cool breeze, as described in all religions and spiritual traditions of the world. This is the actualization of such transformation, which is taking place now, worldwide, and has been proved and experienced by hundreds of thousands in over 90 countries.
The word Sahaja was coined by 15th century mystic Kabir. The concept of universal connectedness in the state of bliss, Yoga, was laid out by Patanjali who lived around 150 BCE. The flowing energy of cool vibrations from hands, feet and all over the body as a distinct marker of self-realization and union was clarified by Adi Shankaracharya who lived around 800 CE. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi worked incessently to bring the theories and individual practices into an en masse accessible experience. Perfecting the method in 1970, she immediately started training potential practitioners who would be able to share the experience in a pay-it-forward manner. Every practice needs discipline to become a lifestyle. That component can be traced to the time Shri Mataji spent at Gandhi's ashram as a child. She took the best elements of his rigorous ashram routine and created the gentle, effective and spontaneous practice known widely as Sahaja Yoga.
The word yoga is often confused with physical exercise in the west. To avoid confusion, Sahaja Meditation is the term used for communicating what one would learn by joining the local community of practice.
How is it Practiced?
Practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation is easy. Ten to fifteen minutes in the morning and evening are dedicated to balancing the inner self and restoring balance to our inner subtle self. Experiencing the silence of being without thoughts, being at peace with the self and purifying the attention are integrated into the daily practice. As your expertise grows, you are able to work on your own spiritual centers and energy channels that connect them.
Here is a sample meditation from our practice, which should give you a better sense of what to expect at one of the local Sahaja Yoga Meditation meetings:
Benefits of Sahaja Meditation
Sahaja Meditation is a relaxation exercise at its outset. It helps to stabilise the attention. Volunteers are familiar with tradional means to solve individual stress related issues. Shri Mataji has extensively proven the effectiveness of Sahaja meditation in resolving substance abuse problems.
One can actually feel the all pervading divine power as a cool breeze, as described in all religions and spiritual traditions of the world. This is the actualization of such transformation, which is taking place now, worldwide, and has been proved and experienced by hundreds of thousands in over 90 countries.
Volunteering for our community
Sahaja meditators of Michigan offer meditation programs based on the teachings of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi free of charge. Meditation programs include stress awareness and management techniques based on our subtle system. Participants are taught and supported free of charge as long as they wish to stay involved. Sahaja Meditation benefits have been studied by health researchers and published in respected scientific journals. Areas studied include stress, ADHD in children, Epilepsy and Diabetes.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of the Sahaja Yoga Meditation has been tirelessly carrying on this daunting task of reforming human lives for past 35 years, all around the world. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi discovered the underlying technique in 1970 and has since received international acclaim, congressional recognition, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for her work. While created to evolve subtle awareness, Sahaja meditation has been found remarkably effective in alleviating stress-related problems, self-destructive habits, and illnesses including depression.
New research has also found Sahaja methods effective in treating asthma(1,2) and epilepsy(3,4). But the piece of research most relevant to meditation in schools is the beneficial effect on school children suffering from ADHD(5). The National Institute of Health, the government body responsible for the creation of our national health care policy, has sponsored a session on Sahaja meditation featuring H. H. Shri Mataji(6). The Clinical Center for Staff at NIH conducted regular Sahaja meditation sessions for its patients5. From community centers, to corporations, libraries to the United Nations and the World Bank, Sahaja meditation is practiced in 90 countries and is offered, without charge “everywhere” as a calming, integrating force, custom-made for today’s tension filled world.
1. Manocha, R. “Sahaja yoga in asthma”, Thorax 2003;58:825-826. URL: http://thorax.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/58/9/825-a
2. Manocha R, Marks GB, Kenchington P, Peters D, Salome CM. “Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomized controlled trial.”, Thorax. 2003 Sep;58(9):825-6.
3. Ramaratnam S, Sridharan K. “Yoga for epilepsy”, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(3):CD001524.
4. Panjwani U, Selvamurthy W, Singh SH, Gupta HL, Mukhopadhyay S, Thakur L. Effect of Sahaja yoga meditation on auditory evoked potentials (AEP) and visual contrast sensitivity (VCS) in epileptics., Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2000 Mar;25(1):1-12.
5. Harrison et al. “Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Programme for Children with ADHD” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.2004; 9: 479-497
6. News Brief: “Session on Yoga Meditation Offered”, NIH Record. June 13, 2000 Vol. LII, No. 12.
Influences and Interactions with Other Traditions
Sahaja is a modern practice rooted in the traditional. See this section about influential personalities, philosphers and practices that flow into the modern Sahaja Meditation practice.