If I could teach the world one thing based on my life experience, it would be to experience one’s own true being. Only human beings — no other living species — have the capacity or potential to discover the true Self. My own discovery came through an experience known as a Kundalini awakening.
Given below is the description adapted from my book, Building a Noble World, along with the following link to my previous answer on Quora:
My Awakening Experience
In 1974, I was at a transition point in my life. I had just graduated with a master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and moved to Chicago in search of a job. I heard Swami Muktananda (known as ‘Baba’) was speaking at Northwestern University in downtown Chicago on September 13, 1974, so I decided to attend his talk. At this time in my life, I had never even heard the word ‘Kundalini,’ and I could never have imagined the drastic and wonderful turn my life would take after meeting Baba.
The talk was already in progress when I arrived, but I was, nevertheless, inspired by Baba’s words. After his talk, I joined the line formed to meet him. When I reached him, I whispered, “Baba, I don’t have a job.” At this, he raised his right hand in a gesture of blessing and said, “Mil jayega” (“You will get it”). I bowed down my head with utmost reverence and felt blessed. As I left the auditorium, I received a pamphlet describing a phenomenon known as Kundalini. Intrigued and desiring to know more, I resolved to visit Baba again the following day.
On the morning of my September 14, 1974 visit, when my turn came, I bowed my head before Baba, but as I was getting up, he gently took my arm and ushered me to sit beside him on the raised platform. Honored, I sat silently on Baba’s left side as people in the line moved forward to meet him. During this time, I found an opportunity to ask, “Baba, when will I get the job?” He replied, “You will get the job immediately after your Kundalini is awakened. Take the meditation program. It will be free for you.”
I did as I was instructed. The meditation program took place on Monday evening, September 16, 1974 — the day I would regard as the greatest day of my life. The hall in Lake Point Tower was filled to capacity as Baba delivered his meditation talk to a rapt audience. The program began with an opening statement from Baba: “Today’s subject is meditation. The crux of the question is: What do we meditate upon?”
I clearly remember sitting cross-legged on the floor while listening to Baba’s words. I was near the front row and at the edge of the center aisle with my eyes closed, quietly focused on my breathing. I recall Baba saying, “Kundalini starts dancing when one repeats Om Namah Shivaya.” I mentally repeated the mantra, which was charged with Baba’s grace. My breathing became heavier. Suddenly, I felt a powerful force rising within me. The intensity of this rising Kundalini force was so tremendous that my body lifted from the floor and fell into the aisle, causing my glasses to fly off.
As I lay there with my eyes closed — my breathing was suspended — I could see a continuous fountain of dazzling white lights erupting within me. These brilliant lights were brighter than the sun, though no heat came from them. I was experiencing the thought-free state of “I am.” I was overwhelmed with the realization that “I” have always been, and will continue to be, eternal. While experiencing this eternal “I am” state of supreme consciousness, I was fully conscious and completely aware.
At that moment, Baba delightfully shouted from his platform, “Mene kuch nahi kiya; kisiko shakti ne pakda” (“I didn’t do anything; the Energy has caught someone”). Then he continued, “I [Baba] am like a radar. When something happens, I come to know of it immediately.”
The dramatic awakening of Kundalini in me frightened some people in the audience, but Baba reassured them saying, “Do not be frightened. Sometimes Kundalini gets awakened in this way, depending upon a person’s type.”
Within me, the brilliant white lights disappeared, giving way to a cooling experience. It was a blissful cooling state as if it were emanating from hundreds of moons. As I was still experiencing this ethereal state of indescribable celestial bliss, Baba commented on the inner state that I was experiencing: “Ab mere me aur isme koi antar nahi raha” (“Right now, there is no difference between his state and my state”).
As Baba returned to his talk on meditation, the intense coolness gradually receded inside me, and slowly I became aware of my physical body once again. I felt a slight pain at the base of my spine, but the sensation was dulled by another realization: Baba had become my guru the very moment I experienced my eternal nature. My heart was overcome with tremendous gratitude for Baba’s divine grace.
A short break followed Baba’s talk. During this break, I walked up to Baba and fully prostrated before him, to offer my deepest gratitude. Baba’s face lit up with joy as he patted me on the back. He told me to share my experience with others and to read his book (titled Guru at the time. It has since been republished under the title Play of Consciousness). “That’s why I wrote this book, Guru,” Baba explained, because this experience was meant to be shared.
I visited Baba every day at Lake Point Tower until he left Chicago. I shared many moments with Baba in those following days, and he continued to bless me with advice and wisdom until he departed on September 20, 1974. Just three days after he left, on September 23, 1974, I found an accounting position at CBS, a well-known television company in Chicago. Baba’s blessing had been fulfilled.
In the Wake of Experience
My life changed forever—I was completely transformed—with my Kundalini awakening. That experience of divinity vastly improved my quality of life and altered the way I view myself and the world. I look upon every person as a relative of my innermost consciousness. I see everything in the universe—from the smallest blade of grass to the largest star—is linked through a common, fundamental, pervasive energy called consciousness.
The same consciousness that exists within me exists within everyone. With absolute certainty, I understand now that both my physical body and my mind are coverings over the innermost “I am” awareness. This awareness is eternal, beyond birth and death, and it will exist even after my earthly body is gone. Just as rising and setting are illusions of the sun, birth and death are illusions in this “I am” awareness.
I frequently see a tiny blue light. Sometimes I see it with my eyes shut and at other times with my eyes open. This has been happening ever since that rebirth and it continues to be my most sublime experience.
I am forever grateful to Baba for my new awareness and divinity, for now I do not merely believe in my Self; I know it to be true.
The takeaway from this experience
Remember this truth: all the three states of consciousness in which we live — waking, dreaming, and deep sleep — come and go. When we experience any one of these states, the others cannot exist at the same time. All three states are temporary, so we might ask, what is permanent? Our true, permanent, eternal fourth state is beyond the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states. All three states arise and subside in the fourth state — the fundamental divine state — called turiya in Sanskrit.
One can reach this fourth state only through meditation. Therefore, meditate. If everyone could experience this innermost true nature, there would no longer be violence in our world. Universal brotherhood — the noble world — would become a reality.