My spiritual journey
By Shambhu Sharan
From my childhood, I had many questions. Who am I? What is the goal of my life? What is the nature of this world? Who created this universe? I used to ask many people, but I did not get any satisfactory answer.
I was born and raised in India. I noticed that some people were suffering from poverty and others from family problems.
My primary goal was to take care of my own family members. I received a scholarship and got admitted into a very good high school. I studied hard and passed my high school exams. I wanted to study biology to become a doctor, but my parents wanted me to study math so that I could earn more money by becoming an engineer. Finally I listened to my parents and studied for two-years in an intermediate college.
I learned meditation from a spiritual teacher and monk when I was 8-years-old from the Ananda Marga ( "Path of Bliss" ) organization, and I started practicing. I was a very emotional person before I learned meditation. I got angry if my mother was not serving me food or water quickly. After practicing meditation regularly, my mind got expanded. I started to feel how my actions caused my mother pain. So I started doing my own chores. I did not allow my mother to wash my clothes or to serve me food.
Instead of expecting and receiving help, I started helping others. I felt many people suffer from so many problems without anyone to help them. I thought if I became an engineer I could earn good money and take care of my own family.
I was very much concerned with many problems in society. I saw that many people were not satisfied even when they had a lot of money. Matter is limited, but the mind is not. It is subtle. I was not running after money or material gain. I wanted to attain peace and happiness in my life.
I read several books about great personalities and felt that people remember them because they did good works for the society. Many people come into this world but very few are remembered. I thought I should live a glorious life.
I started following moral and ethical principles strictly. My meditation got better and better. I felt very happy, and wanted to give happiness to others by teaching meditation. I decided to become a monk and yoga teacher of Ananda Marga.
When I was leaving for the training center, my parents objected and did not allow me to go. I was not yet 18. I left home and went to Kolkata, India, but parents brought me back home twice. So the third time I left home without telling anyone. I completed my training, passed the exams and became a monk and spiritual teacher.
It was very painful for me to leave my parents for the first time ever. My goal was to attain self-realization and to do service to humanity. My goals were high and noble, so I decided to dedicate my whole time to help others by becoming a monk.
My first posting after graduating as a monk was as principal of a primary school in India run by Ananda Marga. After working three months there, I received a higher responsibility and I started to travel. I worked nine months with very little funds. I taught yoga asanas and meditation and gave workshops on those topics for about 10 years to thousands of people in India before I came to the U.S.
I had some health problems which I cured by practicing yoga asanas regularly and eating healthier food prescribed by my guru Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. I learned that particular asanas and alkaline food can cure constipation, acidity and leucoderma. I also had emotional problems like anger, fear, vanity and jealousy. Meditation helped me to control these negative tendencies.
My mind was also very restless, and daily practice of meditation calmed me. I could reach deep inside and access at will a vast reservoir of positive energy, creativity and peace.
By becoming a monk I volunteered my time and served others. I taught yoga free of charge. I felt happy to see that people got benefited by changing their bad behavior. I cured many people's diseases by teaching yoga.
When I came to the U.S. in 1998, I continued my practice. I traveled the entire country and tried to help people. I visited Canada and Mexico and gave seminars, workshops and personal counseling. I helped with the relief efforts by serving food with the Salvation Army during the Hurricane Katrina. I also served food and helped with cleaning efforts with the Red Cross during the Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Gustav at the Dallas Convention Center.
As a monk and yoga teacher I still teach meditation and asanas. I visit different places to give seminars and workshops on meditation and spiritual philosophies. I volunteer my time and money with the social service organizations for doing relief work. I will continue my service in future. I receive donations from people to serve others.
I am happy by being a monk. I left my small family, but now I have a bigger family. I have a bigger responsibility now to take care of my universal family. As a monk I don't have to think about myself. The concept of a monk in my mission is very different from the usual concept of a religious monk. I am dedicated to everyone. I don't call myself Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish or Muslim. I am a human being and my duty is to serve all without any discrimination.