Table of Contents
From young age I tried to be a good person and to fulfill all duties as I was growing up. However, in the teenage years the questions like ‘Why we are here?’, ‘What is the purpose of life?’, ‘There must be a reason for all that is happening?’ ‘God must be there?’ etc. started appearing in my mind, and that was the start of my spiritual quest. First I was reading many spiritual books. After that, the search was happening through different types of arts like writing poetry, singing, composing music, playing instruments, etc. During this process some internal introspection started and different spiritual experiences happened, but this was pretty rare and on a very basic level. After finishing university, all my questions still were unanswered and I started doubting that there was something more to life than leading life as others around me. So, I went into depression. Although I got a decent job and a large apartment I was feeling empty and directionless inside. During the day I was going to work and at night I was smoking marijuana to get some peace of mind.
2. Starting spiritual practice in 2001
The life changing event happened in the year 2001. I lost a job, but felt some relief because I had some time for myself after a long time without it. Then a thought came to go to another city to find the publisher for my poems. It happened that there I met an SSRF seeker (now my wife). When I showed her my poems, she gave some comments and through them I realized that she understood my inner quest. When we sat to talk, I had a very strong spiritual experience: I felt like cloud of divine golden energy came down on both of us, and in 2 hours I got answers to all the questions I had for a long time. From that moment, I realized that this was the spiritual path for me and I started chanting the Name of God. My habit of smoking marijuana fully stopped after only 6 months of chanting without any particular effort. The last time I smoked it, I had a subtle-vision of a dark grey cloud around me squeezing my head and trying to go inside it. After that, I was certain that marijuana is very damaging.
3. Challenges – undergoing destiny : 2001 – 2008
Things started happening very fast after that. Every few days I would have some positive spiritual experience followed by a negative one. It was like positive and negative energies were fighting over me. I was very inspired by spiritual practice, and I tried to share all that with my friends. They would listen to me carefully, but not much happened afterwards. After some time, my family realized that I was doing spiritual practice and I tried to explain to them what it is all about. However, instead of understanding the importance of spiritual practice to me, things turned really ugly – they used all their power, energy, money and even legal matters to force me to stop spiritual practice. Although before I would always listen to them, this time I had a firm conviction that spiritual practice was the best thing that happened to me, and I should continue to do it no matter what would be the cost. These were very hard and challenging times. I moved to another city and found a new, much better job. I lost all my friends and my family turned against me. Many times I would have doubts: Was spiritual practice worth so much suffering? Am I right to make such a decision? Only with the help of God and seekers was I able to continue to chant, attend satsangs (company of the Absolute Truth) and do service to the Absolute Truth (satsēvā).
4. Spiritual practice becomes my full time activity – 2008
5. Ego removal – 2012
Finally there was enough time for spiritual practice, so I started to spend more and more time in sāttvik activities and practicing more seriously different aspects of spirituality like personality defect removal and ego removal. Due to putting in additional efforts my expectations surfaced. For example, I often thoughts that I should grow fast spiritually now, that others should praise my efforts, that I should get some more responsible service to God, etc. However, this was not happening. Many other seekers spiritually progressed faster and their efforts were noticed and shared as an example, so I started to compare myself with them. Then I felt bad and depressed and had thoughts like ‘I am not good seeker’, ’I do not understand what God and Guru is doing’, ‘Why are others progressing, but not me?’ So I became my own worst enemy and when such thoughts became predominant I told all my deepest doubts and worst thoughts to the seekers. It came out as volcano, as it was pent up in me for a long time. The inner force was such that I had to get it all out, even at the cost of stopping spiritual practice! Sharing it all, the image that I had about myself was crushed. I had a fear that when I shared all of this that God would remove me from spiritual practice. However, this did not happen. Seekers didn’t judge me, but sincerely supported me to continue. Only now, I realize that this was the moment when God made my ego very obvious and visible to me, so I could not pretend any more that I was ok. This realization was crushing my ego for my own good.
6. Transformation: 2013 – 2014
Before the above mentioned event, I was thinking that I was spiritual. However, I realized that I did not know what Spirituality really was. Afterwards, I felt like I was ‘nobody’. All my expectations that I would reach spiritual heights in this lifetime disappeared, and at that moment my inner transformation began. I started enjoying every day of my spiritual practice and service to God, and felt grateful just for the opportunity to be on this spiritual path. I started going to SSRF Spiritual Research Centre in India every year and spending a minimum of 3-5 months there. This was possible only because of God’s grace. I understood that I cannot expect or force God to uplift me. All I can do is put sincere efforts in spiritual practice, keep the gratitude, and spiritual growth will happen as per God’s timeline. I do not know how much destiny I have to undergo in this lifetime, but this much I know: God has saved me from utmost misery and life without purpose and showed me the way to eternal Bliss!
Everybody is different, so we should not compare. Everyone has their path to God. God waits for us to make the first step by having faith and making efforts to reach Him. Then, He will help us and carry us through all obstacles. This is exactly what happened to me. People think that investing time in Spirituality is a waste because of ignorance, so they spend their energy in pursuing goals related to the world/Maya/Great Illusion. The reality is just the opposite. Every thought and moment dedicated to God and spiritual practice stays memorized in God’s consciousness, and it is never lost. It is added to our ‘spiritual account’. However, all worldly pursuits, goals and achievements are perishable and temporary. When I think back, if somebody told me back then what would happen to me in the future, I would probably have laughed it off. Through this I realized that God has a big plan for all of us, much bigger than we can imagine, only if we put our lives in His hands.
Many inner changes happened:
Anger subsided and I am more at peace and accepting of situations
Fears that I am not good and that I will not reach God also vanished
Living habits improved. I am more disciplined and hardworking than before
My selfishness reduced and I think about others much more
Introspection and introversion increased
I am happy and content most of the time
I am experiencing Bliss
Gratitude to God,
Mr. A.K., Serbia, Europe