I’m enrolled in an intensive course designed for business executives who come from 131 countries seeking enlightenment. It’s at Sri Bhagavan’s Oneness University located in Varadaiahpalem, a village in the Chittoor district, in the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India.
It’s summer and 103 degrees Fahrenheit with thick humidity. The courses are taught in English by dasas or high-level monks who are strict vegetarians, celibate and emanate a glowing youthfulness despite the gray hairs I often see sprouting from their shaved heads. It’s impossible to tell the age of the dasas as they bounce, sing and dance like teenagers, but have decades of experience training in the spiritual arts with Sri Bhagavan.
The temple itself is considered a living breathing being, both cosmic and physical. Constructed of white marble and costing US $17million to build over a period of several years, in 2008 it attracted 500,000 visitors on the day of its opening.
Executive courses are held at Campus 3, in air-conditioned meditation halls. The food is delicious and freshly prepared by cooks. Accommodations are similar to a three to four star hotel room in the United States. Despite the outward comforts, the course itself is grueling.
The three-week course tuition is a total of $15,000 US dollars and class size is limited to 121 persons. Each participant receives what is called darshan or an energetic transfer of energy directly from the Divine. The results can be devastating and stunning, sometimes both simultaneously.
People experience vomiting, diarrhea, aches and pains. But they also experience bliss, what is known as satchitananda. Others have powerful visions or what is referred to as mystical experiences. Drugs and alcohol are forbidden on campus. All such awakening states are induced spiritually, not chemically. It is truly fascinating to witness and experience. You’ve got to do it to believe it. There’s no words to describe God or what they call here, the Phenomenon.
Many have reported spontaneous healing of their bodies. Health issues which have plagued them for years, disappear when they arrive on campus, often without relapse. What is remarkable is the number of miracles people receive after the course, such as sudden financial abundance, healed relationships or long-standing problem spontaneously being resolved. But mostly, people feel happiness and what is called here, “causeless joy” and “causeless love.”
Awakening is defined by the dasas as the decreasing activity in the parietal lobes of the brain and an increase of activity in the frontal lobes of the brain. In layman’s terms, this means that your brain can hold the “What Is” for longer and longer periods until it does so permanently. When that happens, it is said you are permanently awakened. Your brain has essentially returned to its natural state, which is quite simply, God.
Until that happens, you will go in and out of “awakening states” or moments of pure bliss lasting from minutes to hours to days, even months. When are you in these states, your Kundalini energy is rising. The seven chakras in your body are activated, coursing energy throughout your body. Also the seven “sheaths” surrounding your energetic body are being cleaned. This has many side effects, such as headaches, nausea or diarrhea, at first. But as your body detoxes physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, the experience becomes pure joy.
Hence, the spiritual addict or devotee. Once you get a taste of God, it’s difficult to go back to a lifestyle that dampens such bliss such as eating meat, sexual flagrancy, immorality, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships, greed, jealousy or negative energy. Every area of your life is transformed or as Oneness calls it, “un-learned.” It returns back to its natural state of God.
The Oneness Movement started in 1989 by Sri Bhagavan and his wife, Amma Bhagavan who are widely considered avatars. It has over 100 million devotees and is the fastest growing spiritual movement in the world today. The number varies, but the goal for now is to permanently awaken 21,700 people in order to shift humanity into the Golden Age.
Currently, most of the world is living in what is known as Kali Yuga or an age of the demon, lasting anywhere from 6,840 to 432,000 years depending on which interpreter of the Vedic Scripture you read. This age is marked by the principle of karma, which justifies the price tag on the executive course as in Kali Yuga, money can be paid in order to obtain grace. This balances the negative and positive karmas. However, there are thousands of Indians and those from poorer countries who attend courses at Oneness University for free or much cheaper.