Courses for Spiritual Awakening

A Brochure describing the Spiritual Courses conducted through the Internet by Darshana Centre. Here you will get personal attention.

Contents

Introducing the inner life

The Courses:

1: Mind Training & Meditation

2: Mantra Yoga

3: Yoga-Mysticism

4: Advanced Spiritual Practice

Advantages of learning through Correspondence

About Darshana Centre

An Invitation

Guidelines for Admission

HealingCover

Introducing the Inner Life

We are born on earth with a mind that directs our attention outward towards things. Hence, we do not see the inner life and we seek our satisfaction from the outside — by having things of the outer world. Thus, we chase comforts, pleasures and possessions in our life.

We pursue these things thinking that by having them we shall get the deeper satisfaction that we really want. However, these things only give us some superficial satisfaction for a short time. Then we again become dissatisfied and start to chase something else. In this way the chase goes on.

However, our mind and body are only the instruments through which we function on earth. They are our possessions, like our house or car. Hence, by satisfying the desires in our mind and body we cannot get the deeper and lasting satisfaction that we really want. To have the deeper and lasting satisfaction, we have to satisfy something that is truly deeper and lasting!

The true satisfaction arises in our life when we develop spiritual qualities in our inner life. These qualities will transform the values and motives with which we live and act; and ultimately they lead us to experience our spiritual being.

On the Correspondence Courses

The spiritual practice is organised into four courses as follows:

Course-1 is preparatory. It will develop your concentration and overcome the wandering tendency of your mind. Then you become adequate for the spiritual pursuit.
Course-2 is the foundation course. It will set your spiritual practice and get you on the spiritual path. Course-3 teaches you have to develop your direct access to the higher consciousness. Then, instead of being led blindly by your desires and tendencies, you have guidance through intuition.
Course-4 prepares you to clear the faults in your perception that are due to the subjective nature of your mind. It will help you in overcoming the obstacles that arise on the spiritual path.

Course-1: Mind Training & Meditation

You learn to concentrate your mind and gain control over your attention. Then you use it to clear up the negative thoughts and negative emotions that disturb your inner life. This is important since your happiness and well-being depends more on how you handle these thoughts and emotions, and less on your external circumstances.

The practice of concentration will develop an alert, calm, and cooperative mind. It will enable you to think clearly, to understand things better, and to become more capable in whatever you do.

Contents:

  1. Basic Meditation
  2. Concentration in the everyday life
  3. Developing the Will Power
  4. Using Thought Power
  5. Mastering your thoughts
  6. Overcoming Negative Emotions

Course-2: Mantra Yoga

Here you learn to meditate with a mantra. Then you use the mantra to organise your inner life. The mantra technique is a unique heritage that has been passed down through a line of Masters.

Any mantra can be used as a seed for doing concentration practice, but when you want to use it to get onto the spiritual path you should take the mantra from someone who has awakened it within himself. You can light a fire by rubbing stones, but it is much easier to light a fire with fire.

Mantra Yoga is a complete spiritual practice. Once you are settled with the mantra, a spiritual presence will arise in your mind. It will assist you and guide you at every stage on the spiritual path.

Contents:

  1. Reciting a mantra (Jap)
  2. Meditating with a mantra (Dharna)
  3. The mantra practice in everyday life
  4. Opening the spiritual path

Course-3: Yoga-Mysticism

Just as behind the superficial existence of a leaf there is a greater existence of the tree, so also behind our individual and personal consciousness there is the ‘greater consciousness’ of the soul and the over-soul.

In this course you learn to install a presence of the greater consciousness in your mind and involve it in your affairs. Then, instead of being guided by your egoistic tendencies or the desires in the mind and body, you will be guided by the prompting of a higher consciousness.

Contents:

  1. Steady Gazing (Tratak)
  2. Installing a personal God
  3. Tantric Yoga
  4. Contemplation
  5. Devotional Meditation
  6. Living for God’s sake

Course-4: Advanced Spiritual Practice

The spiritual pursuit is not about worshipping Gods, performing rituals or following some moral precepts. The main aim is to clear the impurities from your mind so that you can clearly mirror the calm, intelligent and balanced state of the higher consciousness.

In accomplishing this task, the objective techniques like concentration, prayer, meditation and yoga-asana can only help you to an extent. To have a breakthrough you have to overcome the forces within your nature that resist the higher consciousness! This work is more of unlearning your mental tendencies and less of learning new things.

In this course first you understand the psychological processes that are behind spiritual growth. Next, you observe the mental tendencies that obstruct your spiritual awareness. Then, you try to overcome these tendencies and clear the faults in your perceptions. It will enable you to see yourself, others and situations of life not as they show themselves, but as they really are.

Contents:

  1. The nature of the inner work
  2. Deflating the emotions
  3. The outer mind and its deceptions
  4. Self-observation and disillusioning
  5. Overcoming subconscious tendencies
  6. Awareness beyond the outer mind

Advantages of learning through Correspondence

Some people wonder how you can learn spiritual practice through a correspondence course. Hence, it calls for some explanation.

You do not grow spiritually by learning some philosophy or by following a belief system. To grow, you have to do spiritual practice under the supervision of a spiritual person. In our courses you learn the necessary philosophy and then you do the practices for implementing it into your life. In this way you build your inner life.

Our basic instruction is given to you through lessons. You study a lesson and do the given practices for a period of time. Then, you answer the questions of the lesson and mail it to us. The issues will become clear to you when you try to make out your answers AFTER doing the practises. On our part, we read your answers and give you appropriate feedback. Then, we give you the next lesson. We maintain your file and monitor your progress.

These courses are practical. Hence, you are only given the concepts and information that you need to do the practices properly. The practices will actually develop the skills and capacities that are necessary to build your inner life. On our part we ensure that you do not skip the necessary steps; for the spiritual practice is a sure process only when it is taken as a whole and not in parts.

We administer information to you in a stepwise manner so that you can accomplish the difficult things by taking small and convenient steps. You can also have your personal difficulties resolved as you go along. Further, you learn all this at your pace and have the convenience of doing it at your home. Further, you do the practice in your environment, where you will be really tested. In addition, we have a provision for a meeting with you in person or through the internet.

About Darshana Centre

Darshana Centre has been conducting these spiritual courses through correspondence since 1988. The courses are practical, practise based, and without pursuing any religious agenda. You are given personal attention and the help that you need to implement the spiritual message.

The courses have been devised and conducted by PRASHANT SHAH. He was educated in Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS), and University of California, (MS & PhC), and initiated into Mantra Yoga by Shri Nyaya Sharma — a Master of Shiva-Tantra-Yoga.

About Prashant Shah: He is an author, counsellor and a spiritual guide. He also conducts ‘Spiritual Awareness WORKSHOPS’ in India, USA and UK. He writes and speaks clearly, in simple language, and from personal experience. He is the AUTHOR of the books: The Crisis of Modern Humanity (1976); The Essence of Hindu Astrology (1987); The Art of awakening the Soul (2011); Healing without Drugs (2014) Solving the Problems of Life (2015). The books are available from the Amazon bookstore.

An Invitation

Dear Reader,

After carefully reading this BROCHURE, think it over. Do you feel there is some deep mystery underlying your existence and that unless you uncover this mystery you cannot feel satisfied? Are you willing to give up some superficial things in the outer life so that some deeper satisfaction can arise from within you? Will you be able to invest a half-hour every morning and evening for doing your spiritual practice?

Please don’t entertain unnecessary doubt, suspicion or fear regarding the spiritual life. In this pursuit you do not lose anything; you only get rid of what is unwanted. Your object in taking these Courses should not be to ‘have more’ externally, but to ‘be more’ internally.

In these Courses you will learn to control your attention; to stabilise your emotions; to develop your insight; and to clear your perceptions. Further, you do the practices in your existing situation and not in some artificial set-up. And during this time we shall provide you with the instruction and guidance that you need to accomplish these things.

If you have been doing some kind of spiritual practice for some time, but you still feel the need for personal attention, then these Courses are for you.

Sincerely,

Prashant

Guidelines for Admission

  1. Some REQUIREMENTS that make you eligible to take these courses:
  2. You should believe in the existence of an intelligence and power that is higher and greater than the human mind.
  3. You should not be deeply committed to any particular religious group or institution.
  4. You should have sufficient comprehension of English language to be able to comprehend our lessons and correspond with us.
  5. You should be able to provide sufficient free time and energy for doing your daily spiritual practice. The main aim of these courses is to help you in implementing the spiritual message.
  6. You should make your application in the APPLICATION FORM that is given on our site. Fill in all the details and email it to us. We shall read it and inform you if we think the Course will be suitable for you. Then you can pay the fees and take the admission.
  7. Upon admission you will receive our instructions through LESSONS. Our next lesson will be sent to you only after you have completed the answers of the previous lesson. You can also send your personal query along with your answers. We shall help you in sorting out your personal difficulties.
  8. Each course entitles you to one PERSONAL CONFERENCE. You can ask for the personal conference anytime upon completing the third lesson. There are two options. You can arrange to visit us at Baroda with prior appointment or we can discuss on the Internet through Skype. You aim should be to seek clarifications or sort out your personal difficulties.
  9. Each Course is to be completed within 12 months. If you are unable to complete the set of Lessons of the Course within that time, you have to make an application to continue and send a CONTINUATION FEE of Rs. 600 or US $ 10.
  10. In these Courses the instruction you receive will be one on one. You will get individual attention. We shall keep your correspondence confidential and on your part you must also not to disclose, publish or distribute our lessons, instructions or replies. In addition, we require you, our student, not to become a personal guide (guru) in spiritual matters. The purpose is not commercial, but to avoid spoiling it for others. This factor is incorporated as a “SECRECY CLAUSE” in our Application Form. It requires you to keep your spiritual practice private and to treat our correspondence as confidential.

The application form is given on our site http://www.spiritual-living.in under the tab of ‘Correspondence Courses’

Advertisements

Moments of Overflowing

PrayerHandsAdapted from The Art of Awakening the Soul, by Prashant S. Shah — available from Amazon and Kindle book store.

These poems depict some emotional experiences that arise at the different stages on the mystical path. They express clearly, in just a few words, what cannot be conveyed through extensive descriptions. You can meditate on these verses to feel the divine presence.

The Verses:

  1. The Call

  2. Patient Waiting

  3. The Ego

  4. Your Cupbearer

  5. You Lead And I Follow

  6. You Are My Strength

  7. I Live For You

  8. The Awakening

1. The Call

The pride in me would say,

“I do not beg, nor do I pray.”

But one day a call quietly came in to say,

“Hold my hand and I’ll show you the way.”

I held the hand, just to know.

But now, I never want to let go.

Insightful Notes:

When an egg is hatched, it cracks open. In the same way, when we arrive at a critical stage in our journey on earth, we find some reason to embark on a spiritual path. Sometimes we are motivated by dissatisfaction. Sometimes we are seeking to find a love that lasts. Sometimes we are intrigued by the mysterious and the unknown. And sometimes we want to make our life more valuable by living for a cause greater than ourselves.

Whatever it is, first a call arises from within. Then we find the commitment to go wherever it may lead us.

2. Patient Waiting

Would you pluck a flower before it has blossomed?

Would you crush a sprouting seed?

Through patient waiting they ripen.

So also our unexpressed thoughts and unfinished works

Must await their time for harvesting.

Insightful Notes:

All of us want to progress quickly. So, when the progress is slow (or not at all) we become very impatient.

But everything in nature has to pass through the different stages as it matures. A baby doesn’t start running. First, it learns to turn over. Then, it begins to crawl. Next, it learns to stand up and balance. And later on it begins to take a few steps forward.

In the same way, all of us have to pass through the stages. The stages prepare us for higher things and test our readiness. What happens when we try to arrive before we are ready? Nothing works. Hence, we frustrate ourselves.

3. The Ego

You were the first occupant of my house.

So, as a friend, I trusted you.

But you and your companions are no friends of mine.

You bring in only trouble and strife.

Henceforth, stay away from this house;

For now, this is my masters’ dwelling.

Insightful Notes:

In the early stages of our practice our actions are motivated by the ego. If the ego is not tempted or satisfied, we sulk or become impatient and threaten to give up our pursuit.

However, as we progress we see that the ego is setting up or causing all the troubles of our life. This insight totally changes our attitude towards the ego. Then we do not act with the motive of ego satisfaction. Instead, we look for the ways to get out of clutches of the ego! And that makes a big difference.

4. Your Cupbearer

You keep filling my cup.

But I spill it again and again.

I’ve scattered your gift so often,

But you still fill it again.

Truly, I do not know how to fill this cup.

I only know that you have placed this cup in my hand.

You give and you keep;

I am only your humble cupbearer.

Insightful Notes:

As our insight matures, we understand that the talent we have and the opportunities that we get are not so deserved. More often these are granted to us. Hence, we begin to feel grateful to have them.

Then, our achievements do not make us proud. We do not wish to make a claim of greatness. We know that without God’s support we are really not worth very much.

5. You Lead And I Follow

I look back upon the mess I have made and ask:

“Could it have been better?”

But you say: “Whatever happened had to happen.”

So now I have stopped striving for myself

And only seek to serve you.

Now you lead and I follow.

And everything turns out just right.

Insightful Notes:

When we are guided by our blind and inferring mind, we are led by our desires and tendencies. They decide for us. It makes our personal nature assertive. Then we spoil everything.

However, once we understand this fact we begin to lower our ego and subordinate it to a higher principle that has started to awaken within us. Then we discipline the mind to be quiet and make it receptive to the intuition that arises. Further, we make our mind follow the directions that we receive intuitively. Something strange happens when the mind gives up its resistance. We become peaceful, more capable and also more effective in what we do.

6. You Are My Strength

As light dispels darkness,

You have overcome my formidable foe.

What I tried so hard to do, but could not,

You have done in just one stroke.

Now that I have your presence, I feel safe.

Please stay with me.

I have no strength without you.

Insightful Notes:

Some of our tendencies are so deeply entrenched in the subconscious that we helplessly give in to them. Thus, they make us dance to their tune.

To overcome such tendencies we must have access to a power that is higher than the mind. To hold on to this higher power, we contemplate on it. We attune our mind with it and allow it to work through us.

Gradually we can perceive the action of this higher power. It quietly guides our actions and accomplishes in us what we cannot do by ourselves.

7. I Live For You

I first came to you with a load of things.

So I could not take your gift.

I tried to pick something from here and there,

But you would not let me make my mix.

So disappointed, I returned to shed the load.

Now I come empty and unaccompanied,

To take whatever you may give, and do your wish.

Mine is gone, and yet I remain.

I have emptied, and yet I’m filled.

Now I live, but just for you.

Insightful Notes:

God does not wish that the higher powers should be used for our egoistic purposes. Hence, when we seek divine help and receive it, we should be very careful not to misuse it.

We say that God is with us and so success will be ours. But God seems to ask: “Are you really with me?” “Do you want success for yourself or do you want to accomplish something for me?”

Truly, to live spiritually is to live for God and to allow God to look after us.

8. The Awakening

The sound of your mantra has aroused me – Who was lost in idle dreams.

I woke up just for a moment,

But something has turned over inside me.

Now, even in sleep

Something is still awake and watching.

That which you have awakened sleeps no more.

Insightful Notes:

Your awareness at the surface of the mind is restless and like a dream (lost in inner chatter). However, when the awareness shifts to a position behind the surface mind the mind becomes calm and open. Then we can hold the intuition and insight.

When the awareness goes deeper within, you can mirror the watcher. It reveals the sublime and luminous consciousness of the soul. You feel that it has always been there, watching over you from behind a veil, and waiting for you to reverse the direction of your gaze to find it. It will thrill you with its love and beauty, and give you the feeling of deep happiness that earlier you had sought through people and things of the world.

Living by Intuition

Blumenbaum

© June 2016, Prashant S. Shah, http://spiritual-living.in

Intuition is the guiding voice of the soul. When we listen to our intuition, our life becomes more interesting; we see a purpose to everything; and we feel a sense of wonder. Although everyone is intuitive to an extent, this ability can be greatly enhanced by doing some spiritual practices.

The basic step for becoming intuitive is to shift the focus of our life from our ordinary nature, which is governed by mental preferences, to our higher nature, which sees the ways of the soul. Once we get into a condition where we can spontaneously call for intuition, we can allow intuition to guide our actions. It will continuously amaze us and satisfy our deeper aspirations.

In this article first we characterize the two natures within our being that we call – the higher nature and the ordinary nature. Then we learn to implant a seed of the higher nature in our mind and begin to nurture it. It will show us the ‘inner work’ that we have to do to grow spiritually and live a more fulfilling life.

Contents:

  • Our higher nature and our ordinary nature
  • Installing the spiritual seed
  • Creating mental space
  • Preparatory exercises
  • The Practice
  • The steps
  • Some suggestions
  • Some results

Our Higher Nature and our Ordinary Nature

Sensual pleasures, self-preservation, and the survival instinct are the driving forces of our ordinary nature. When we follow them we become egoistic and selfish. On the other hand unity, dharma and kindness are the qualities of our higher nature. When we follow these qualities, we become ethical, kind, and act with a ‘sense of conscience’. Both these natures are active throughout our life and they are mirrored in the mind.

However, before we begin our spiritual pursuit we are largely guided by our ordinary nature. As a result our ordinary nature totally dominates our thinking today. At the same time we give very little attention to the aspirations of our higher nature. Hence, it is starved. And as a result it has become quiet and hesitant.HigherOrdinaryNatureThe aim of every spiritual practice is to reverse this situation in our mind. We have to quieten our ordinary nature and bring forward the higher nature in the mind. How can we do it? We can do it by simply withdrawing the attention we spontaneously give to our ordinary nature and its activities, and begin to give it to our higher nature. That’s it. Admitted there will be a lot of going back and forth, but if we persist with this task we can make the higher nature the default program in our mind.

Installing the Spiritual Seed

To begin our spiritual journey we have to plant a spiritual seed in our mind. We can do it by saying to ourselves (daily) as follows:

I am essentially a spiritual being;
I believe that there is a spiritual intelligence that is looking over my life; and
I am going to receive guidance and love from it.”

As you nurture this seed with your attention, it will sprout. Then your soul or the inner being will become active in your life. Then intuition and spiritual qualities will begin to arise in your mind naturally.

Creating Mental Space

The next step in our spiritual pursuit is to make space in the mind so that our higher nature can arise in it easily. Here are some things you can do:

  • Daily take a long walk alone or walk with someone who has friendly vibes.
  • In the evenings, avoid externalizing yourself by taking or making telephone calls or socializing.
  • Read story books regularly and reduce reading magazines and newspapers.
  • Always prefer reading and thinking to passively watching the TV (Don’t allow your attention to become passive).
  • Play with someone. You can do it with animals, with children and also with adults.
  • Daily do some work just for fun and not for earning money or getting favors.
  • Daily sit for some time near a window and just watch what is going on without being judgmental (without labeling anything as good or bad).

As you do such practices your mental habit will change. Your mind will begin to slow down; it will become calmer and at ease. It will not be like that when you are overbooked, juggling too many things at one time, or constantly playing the ‘catch-up’ game. When you rush, you simply miss the subtle insight and the healing touch that comes from your higher nature, the soul. The soul is the basis of your intuition, your joy your purpose of living. And so, if you want to live a meaningful, joyful and intuitive life you have to involve the soul in your everyday life. Let’s begin to do it.

Preparatory Exercises

a) Take Mini Breaks

Take a mini break of about 20 minutes every day to spend time with yourself. During that time you can do anything that is not ‘work related’. You should also avoid reading the news or your emails during this time since such things keep the mind occupied with personal thoughts.

b) Create some ‘sacred space’ at home

Begin by making your room clean, organised and well arranged. If you leave this space disorganized and cluttered for days, it will become a source of disturbance or negative energy in your life. So mark out some time for clearing up the mess and arranging everything properly on a regular basis. Let’s say, you will do it on Saturday morning.

c) Keep a sacred spot

Put your favorite object, photo and or talisman in your sacred place. It may be a religious icon, the photo of a saint or master, or simply a rosary – anything that lifts your spirits. Then daily make some offering to it. It may be a fresh flower, the light of a candle, or the smoke of an incense stick. Further, chant a mantra or say a prayer to charge your sacred place with vibrations of peace and tranquility. Then when you sit in this place, it will immediately put you into a receptive mood.

The Practice

  1.  In the morning, sit quietly in your sacred spot and think you are in the presence of your guiding spirit (like a master or your soul). Then some questions on what is to come during the day will come into your mind. Verbalize them and put them one at a time before to your guiding spirit. Then ask for guidance. Something will come – now or later on.
  2. During the day, pay keen attention to the world around you. At every point of choice or interpretation, don’t get to it by yourself. Instead, refer it to your guiding spirit. It will send an image into your mind which will show the matter in a different light. Persist in this practice and you will come out of the ordinary world and experience into an extraordinary one – wherein the old rules of the ego don’t apply. It will relieve you.
  3.  In the evening, mentally speak to your guiding spirit. Speak just as you would speak to a dear friend. Tell what happened and what you are thinking of doing next. Then once again ask for approval or guidance.

The Steps

  • Open yourself to intuitive guidance daily
  • Expect intuitive guidance in all matters concerning your life
  • Once you get the intuitive idea or feeling, trust it and put your reliance on it
  • Then begin to act on the intuition instead of postponing the action.

In the beginning your intuition will not be clear. It happens to everyone. It is due to mental restlessness or your egoistic considerations. However, when you act on the little intuition you have received, it will be easier to receive more of it. As you persist with these exercises the balance will change in your mind and suddenly you will find that your intuition has become more reliable.

Some Suggestions

  • You have to ask for intuition. It usually doesn’t happen by itself. You have to value it. You have to want it above all things. Then it comes.
  • When you live by intuition, being right is not the goal; being sensitive to the truth or the higher nature is the goal. Some misunderstandings and misinterpretations will arise. Consider them to be a part of your development process.
  • Try to share your intuitive insights with people who are supportive. Don’t show off. Do it to reinforce this new habit.
  • When you use intuition, you don’t try to do everything by yourself. You only focus on doing your part and the invisible helpers will bring others to collaborate with you. You have to observe this.
  • Regard your intuitive message as a directive from the boss. Try to follow it even when it inconveniences you or upsets your personal plans. Consider your success as following your intuition.
  • Use intuition to inject a sense of wonder in your life. So, when the phone rings, mentally ask who is calling? When you need to park, mentally ask where is the space kept for you? When you receive mail, mentally ask what is the content? When you meet someone, mentally ask what is the person up to? When you go for a feast, mentally ask what is on the menu?
  • Always show gratitude for receiving the intuition. Verbalize it when you sit in your sacred place. Before going to sleep you can think of something good that happened during the day. Take the opportunity (and every opportunity) to thank your guiding spirit for its support. It will enliven your intimacy with your guiding spirit.
  • Daily use your connection with the guiding spirit to send a smile to the people you are connected with. It will overcome your indifference to people and events.

Some results

Living by intuition is simply listening to our heart or the higher nature before we decide or act. What happens when we do that? We get a direction or clue for searching the truth in any real-life situation.

The insight got through intuition comes from a higher level intelligence. Hence, will be more reliable and balanced than what we can get through mere rational inference. However, initially we can get intuition only in ‘flashes’ or pieces. So, we have to put the pieces together through mental inference! This becomes the source of our mistakes. However, as our intuition develops the pieces become larger; and they fit better into the greater picture.

There is a lot of inner work that has to be done before intuition can become a fact in our life. However, as we do this work, it will totally change how we make our decisions or interpret the happenings of life. Gradually a ‘truth sense’ will arise, which will point out the difference between what is true and what is false; between what is real and what is imaginary; and between what is valuable and what is worthless in all real-life situations.

Ultimately we shall perceive the action of a higher consciousness behind all the happenings of life. Then we know that the world is in safe hands; and we will be able to serve our purpose in life with grace and ease.

To know more, click on to our page on Yoga-Mysticism