Contemporary knowledge about God, Evolution, and the meaning of human life.
Methodology of spiritual development.
How God Can Be Cognized/Spiritual Awakening
Only in my institute years, God gradually began to awaken my interest in the “hidden” side of the world, the search for spiritual fulfillment. In childhood and adolescence, I was not yet capable of fully conscious responsible actions: the main task of man on this stage of life — only grow, gaining knowledge and strength. It is only later in life of some people, gradually comes the desire to change oneself intentionally.
One day, I thought: “If I had a guardian angel, who helps his ward, including suggesting how to act, — I would ask this angel: what do I need to do next?”
And suddenly, I immediately got a mental answer: “Take care of introspection!”
... Before, I lived, like almost all people, completely “mechanically”, that is, like a working technical device. I even had no idea that our thoughts and emotions can be seen and heard. And — that they can and must be controlled. I began to think: my thoughts and emotions — they are the most intimate parts of me. However, suddenly it turned out... that usually something outside controls and changes them!
After this insight, I first started trying to look at my inner world as if from outside. And I wanted to change much. In particular, I noticed how the mind is tied to situations in which I experienced offense or was in an awkward situation, or as I love to paint mental pictures, where I appear in front of others in a positive light.
I saw how ridiculous all these mental fantasies are, including the desires to rise in front of others! And how they tie me, because I so often immerse in them, when the mind was not occupied with something else! I began to make fun of these habits of mine: because they really looked very “childish” and funny! And it helped me greatly to get rid of them.
... At this time, I was strongly attracted to what exists beyond the materialistic worldview. In the upbringing and education, I was a materialist — the more so, that I chose for myself the region of “exact sciences”. But I so long wished to find something more in the world than the picture which was offered by the “official” science!
So, in particular, manifested the natural tendency of the sufficiently developed in psychogenesis soul to strive for freedom, and my unwillingness to accept the limitations imposed by the materialistic view on the world.
I dreamed to become, at least once, a witness of some super-materialistic phenomena, to make sure myself that something like that actually exists! It would mean to me that life is not limited to those ideas, which I was taught from childhood, and there is much more to growth and learning!
Seeing on television the films about Nina Kulagina and other extrasensory individuals, who possessed telekinetic abilities, i.e., a remote influence on material objects, I decided to try to reproduce this phenomenon. I built a special pendulum-flowing device and for a long time did attempts to set it in motion by my intent. Fortunately, the result was nothing!
I say so, because the discovery in oneself of paranormal abilities at an immature age — would become merely a pretext to become proud: because others do not have such capabilities, so I — especially I — am better than others! And enthusiasm for occult phenomena could only take me from the Path that I had to go.
This Path, as I know now, is that which is based on Love. It was Love which reveals to man the most incredible (from the standpoint of materialists) prospects!
One of my first steps here, became the acquaintance with the principles taught by followers of Porfiry Ivanov. Most of all, I was attracted to his ideas about “Mother-Nature” — as a living intelligent Being who loves Its children and to which everyone can mentally address.
The system of ideas of Ivanov included regular bathing in natural bodies of water throughout all the year. And before you plunge into the water, it was necessary to turn to “Mother-Nature”, asking her to clean my body, fill it with health, and give health to all other beings.
In particular, in winter — at the time of submersion into ice water — I wanted to fully expose myself to the water’s cleansing power: so that there would not be the slightest corner in me, where I hid, conceal something “for myself”.
And it really had a transformative effect! In my life, as if, appeared more space, more light: thus the spiritual heart was revealed. And I gradually learned more and more joy of love.
* * *
An even more full disclosure of the spiritual heart was when I came to youthful infatuation.
While still a child, I was attracted to some girls, and every time I thought I was in love. But this time, my falling in love was so strong and deep that I completely “with the head”, plunged into it. Status of love was dominant. My thoughts were, most of the time, directed to her (we lived in different cities and communicated mostly through letters). It was enough just to remember that she is there — and my heart filled with gentle joy. So I lived for several years.
When she told me that... she was getting married — love in me, however, did not change to negative emotions toward her or to her chosen one. I realized then that it would be wrong to claim anything from the one you love, and that in this situation I had to just sincerely wish her happiness in later life.
Surprisingly, though our communication had stopped, my love did not disappear or weaken, it continued to live in me.
Studying this phenomenon in myself, I realized that love is self-existent and independent of external conditions. It is not derived from anything external, but exists by itself in the spiritual heart of the loving person. And it does not require anything from others, because it... does not need anything from them! It seeks only to give itself to others.
* * *
I read — in typewritten excerpts from the book of Ram Dass — the description of meditation, in which we need to spread the light-love from the center of the chest wider and wider — so as to cover the whole world and touch by this love every being.
I understood that I could not cover the whole world, but I really wanted to share love with others. I began to do this meditation in a simpler form: sending out love-rays from the chest once to every direction — as if to all beings in the universe, mentally addressing them: “I love you!”
I hoped that these rays of love would spread in space like the rays of light — and affect other creatures in our earth and other worlds. And perhaps one of those beings might feel this sending...
Due to this meditation of giving away, love in me became more and more intense, and the spiritual heart functioned more and more actively.
... From the books, I had also learned that negative emotions have an extremely adverse effect on the human state, and therefore spiritual seekers should try to get rid of them completely. I thought: I will try, at least for a week, to trace myself and not allow any emotions of irritation, even when at work are conflict situations. I’ll watch: what will happen?
I found the effect already quite soon: as if a load fell off my shoulders! It was a load which I dragged my whole life, not knowing about it. It turned out that, if the emotions of irritation, anger, etc. are removed — then the private life becomes a lot easier and more fun!
Another simple and effective tool, which I then learned from books, too, was to begin to smile. Greeting at meetings with friends, colleagues at work, I began to smile at them. And I tried not to smile by my face only, but also reproduce the inner smile in my eyes, as if to pour through the eyes a smile as an internal state.
The result again was stronger than I could ever imagine. Previously, colleagues at work greeted me only in order to “pay the debt of courtesy”, but now on their faces, quite frankly, was the flash of a smile in response. I saw that people, from now, were pleased to see me and to smile in response — just as I was pleased to smile to them!
How amazing, incredible was the change that had happened to me in those few months! Before that, I lived in a state of insecurity, in the hopes of illusory happiness sometime in the future — but it was now the joy, happiness which filled my life!
This new state gradually and steadily grew, just as well as gradually and inevitably spring comes — with a breath of spring wind, snow melting, dripping from the roofs — and at some point you realize that everything around is already flooded by it!
I remember how amazing it was for me then to realize these changes! When I walked down the street, I was surprised to feel how joy had come into my life, like flooded all around — just as the sunlight fills space! And this joy was not caused by some event or good luck in something: it was constant, unchanging. It was coming from somewhere inside — the joy of life!
... What is required to ensure for each also to be happy, to fill one’s own life with joy?
The joy comes with love! Therefore, a person can be happy — only if he or she loves!
But this should not be that pseudo-love which requires something for myself, which turns into offense, when the interests of other people divorce from my own.
True love never let anyone enslave someone, but, on the contrary, makes others more free. It does not lead to jealousy and resentments: because it does not seek to get anything for myself!
The joy of love comes if one gives away oneself to others!
During those years, I also realized two important principles, which must be adhered to by a person to be happy:
1) Never assume that someone in the world is obliged to do something for me. Always look only at what you yourself can do for others!
2) Do not think that the outside world shall give me joy and love. Be in this world yourself — as a source of joy and love!
* * *
But while love filled my life with inexhaustible joy, I still did not know, why I live, what is the meaning of my existence.
Aims of life, taken in the society where I grew up, came down, basically, to success in the professional activity, in financial security, family well-being.
But these goals were transient and could not realize something higher. In addition, they were a part of the materialistic view of the world, where and for humanity as a whole — it was impossible to find the meaning of existence.
... Why is there the human species that arose by chance on the Earth — which is as a tiny grain of sand in the vast expanses of the universe? The lives of individuals are only sparks that flare up for a moment in a flow of eternity and disappear forever. And if one of them maintains behind some kind of legacy for future generations — all the same, all that is doomed to disappear. After a few billion years, the Sun will dim and darken, having exhausted its supply of hydrogen fuel. The same will be for all other currently existing stars in the universe... All matter will relentlessly strive to come to a complete homogeneity — according to the law of increasing entropy; so that in the end there will be no stars, no planets, or even smaller material bodies...
... I was well acquainted with the views on this subject of “official” science, but the area associated with the spiritual side of life remained completely unexplored and unknown for me.
Fortunately, after the “perestroika” in the country, there was a lot of spiritual literature, which was previously banned. And I began to study it.
In particular, it was then that I first met with the idea that man is a consciousness, which is able to exist independent of the body, without the body.
It was such a simple idea — for those who have already got used to it...
But how fundamental it is for the novice seeker!
Unfortunately, most of the books that filled the shelves of esoteric bookstores were devoted to astrology and magic... not the meaning of life. And they did not answer the most important question of why there is life in the whole universe.
How I have read in some books, it is necessary, they say, to try to stop the flow of thoughts — and then the meditation happens by itself…, or how to “go to the astral plane”…, or how to defend against “energy attacks” or how “to hit them back”, etc. Darkness!…
Then I began to find more serious literature: about the unusual abilities developed with the help of Yoga, and that they greatly expand the limits of perception of the environment...
I dreamed that one day it will become available to me: I myself will be able to meet with the other side of material reality. However, I dreamed about it as about something unrealizable...
But, nevertheless, it came to pass.
* * *
Why was I given the opportunity to gain this knowledge? Apparently, due to the sincere desire to change myself for the better, and due to research interest in cognizing the world.
... I have heard that in our city exist classes of Raja Yoga, based on the methodology developed by the Russian scientist Vladimir Antonov — and enrolled there. The beginning of the program in those classes was learning the methods of refinement of the consciousness, cleansing and development of chakras and meridians.
This brought me excitement and joy. At last, I was able to learn the real developmental techniques with the spiritual side of myself!
Everyone who came to learn was informed about the need to abandon meat and fish nourishment. There I again heard that it is wrong to live in negative emotions and that — for the sake of spiritual transformation — one is required to get rid of them.
In the first classes, there were many people — about 30. But over time, most of them dropped out.
Those, who came there in search of some kind of “astral travels”, had to be disappointed, because there was nothing similar.
Others simply wanted to improve their health, and if they adopted the killing-free diet, have mastered the simplest pranayamas and initial methods of emotional self-regulation — and were already certainly satisfied.
And only for the units of those, who were students, the lessons have become the “open door” to a new life, as it happened to me.
Through classes, I, in particular, got acquainted with the books of Vladimir Antonov.
When I had read only two of his articles: “Laws of Yoga” and “About Love” — I could see the completely new way of spiritual development! It was there that I found the statements which sounded to me as Revelation: “Yoga — is, above all, love!”, “Yoga is a movement towards God!”, and “It is love that unites man with man and man with God!” It was from those articles, I learned that the spiritual Path — it is not striving for the achievement of supernormal abilities for one to rise above others, but the development of love — so that through it one approaches and then merges with God. And — that God loves us and expects from us just the same!
... The concept of God that I received in childhood was associated mainly with the Orthodox Church. God wants, it turns out to be, for some reason…, for people to go to church and... pray there... “at icons”... And if God intervenes in people’s lives, it is basically in order to punish us... In general, I from childhood imagined God somehow unreachable, otherworldly being — a menacing ruler, with whom a person will face only after death, in his “Last Judgment”...
It is clear that such a god can only be felt as an obstacle in my life, as a kind of unpleasant threatening factor, which would be better... stay away...
... However, in those years, sometimes began to appear lighter spiritual information. So, one day I heard a radio program about people who have experienced clinical death, and they kept the memories of what happened to them, “on the other side of death”. Some of these people had conversations with some Higher Beings Who — like Friends and Mentors — were discussing with them about their deeds on the Earth and even made fun of some situations. This did not agree with the image of that gloomy Monster...
Is it possible that God is capable of humor, can make jokes? Then, perhaps... it would be very interesting to even meet with Him and talk about the “other world”...
Then soon there was another case. I heard how an eccentric man lectured before a group of listeners that God loves everyone, without exception, so no one will be doomed to eternal torment, and that even the devil will have mercy...
So I first heard about God, Who loves but does not punish, Who is capable of love even stronger than people — since He loves all, even enemies.
Though that information was sounding too unusual... to seriously accept it.
But now, thanks to the books of Vladimir Antonov, I was able to see the full picture of the world — quite logical and devoid of contradictions — where the essence of man’s relationships with other creatures and God must be love.
I remember the joyful bliss that engulfed me at this opening. I had a feeling as if I’m back at home after a long journey, met finally with something native and familiar.
And my perception of the world had also changed.
... How many books I read before! How many different topics were covered by authors: egregores, energy fields, descriptions of the various non-material planes, “thin” human bodies, instructions on the proper way of life... But none of them wrote about God’s Love for us and our love for God, about God — as the Friend! And, in general, — whether they knew at least something of God?
The majority of those authors, in fact, believed only that man lives in a hostile world, and one needs only to save oneself from something and someone...
... I really wanted to share this discovery with my friends, with colleagues. But I had found a situation where for most of the people around me this information seemed to be completely uninteresting or hopelessly incomprehensible...
This was especially true when my friends read the books, which, I thought, had to open the new perspectives in life. But somehow, in these books, they noticed only the most superficial layer, without perceiving what was of actual value.
Also, when I once asked one of my friends who had read the first volume of Castaneda’s books: what this book is about — he answered that it is about sorcerers, who are at war each against the other. Later, I met an opinion that Castaneda’s books are devoted to describing the use of hallucinogenic plants. Others believed that Castaneda presented... the basics of witchcraft.
For some reason, a lot of readers did not notice that in those books very clearly was shown the spiritual heights that can be reached by people!
When I read the admonitions of Don Juan to Castaneda, my heart was singing! I felt a state of freedom, strength of spirit, which He described! I applied those principles to my life — and saw what I needed to change. His admonitions had given me the strength to break away from the usual stereotypes of life and to look at myself, at my way of living.
... At that time, I felt strongly that I am devoid of privacy for working on myself. All the day on the job, I was constantly in the company of other employees, after work — back to the hostel, where I did not live alone in the room. I dreamed at that time: “How nice it would be to live alone!... I could be in a relaxing atmosphere to meditate, read books!...”
And God realized this wish: soon I was offered to go on a scientific trip abroad, where I really began to live alone and got the conditions which I dreamed.
… There, where I had come, was a beautiful landscape, favoring the expanding consciousness: the high terrain, from which I could see the space around, the ridges of mountains, behind which the evening sun was setting, the sky dome covering the valley. When the blue sky from horizon to horizon was scattered all over by cirri clouds, — it was a great help in swinging the consciousness to its full width.
But such meditations became available to me not at once, only later, when I came to master Buddhi Yoga.
But then, in the beginning, I had to learn moving the concentration of consciousness within yet only my own body, cleansing and developing the chakras and main meridians.
... Being in a new environment, I gladly took the job. In the morning — meditations, in the evening after work — reading books. I have compiled a list of what I want to change, in particular, in my relation to other people — and worked on it.
God helped me to identify flaws that I had not noticed. For example, suddenly an answer came to a newly appeared thought — so that not to notice the Voice of God was simply impossible! And I was embraced with joy: “God really pays attention to me, communicates thus with me!”
So, gradually, I realized that God exists not somewhere far away as an indifferent observer-judge for everything that is happening on the Earth. No! He really is present and is involved in my life — as the best Friend!
* * *
... But He did not immediately become the Meaning and Purpose of my life.
A turning point in this regard was for me one Christmas night.
Since my childhood, I used to think that the New Year should be met with family or friends, with a banquet and watching TV. But this time, I decided not to look for company, but try to spend the night in a different way: one-on-one with Him. In part, I was pushed to this decision by a belief that had been reformulated by me like this: “With what intentions you enter into the coming year, so you will live the year”. I really strongly wished — my life would be filled with higher meaning. And I decided to stay that night alone with God, to celebrate the New Year with thoughts of how I wanted to live the coming year.
Alone in the room, I looked again at the books, re-read in them the thought that caused the greatest resonance in my heart, applied formulated in them principles to my life, thinking about how I wanted to live further.
And that night proved to me filled with a sense of the nearness of God!
I realized then that the interaction with Him — is the most important thing in life, it is — much more important than making a career or a desire for financial prosperity! I then affirmed very clear that I wanted to go on this way!
* * *
After this, a course of events in my life accelerated.
With the help of encountered ailments, God drew my attention to the need to improve the health of my body: because I led a too sedentary life, constantly working at the computer.
In one of the books of Vladimir Antonov  I got to know the methodology of meditative running — and began making regular jogs, combined with meditation. Also, several times a day, I did short gymnastics. After reading on the principles of “separate nutrition” , I began to seek an avoiding of undesired combinations of foods during meals.
All this gave a wonderful effect: the state of the body’s flaccidity was replaced with cheerfulness, as if a flow of new force entered it! And this new power helped to successfully move in spiritually.
Then I was convinced many times, how it is important for the successful development in meditations — to have a healthy, full of strength body. But not to “trudge through life” with a limp, weak body, which now and then tends to fall ill.
... In nature, there was spring, bringing an awakening, blooming all around. The city street trees blossomed, then roses blossomed in the gardens. Admiring the beauty of this — I, too, was filled with a state of spring.
Spring is the best time for attunement with the beauty and subtlety of delicate blossoming nature! Especially good is in the mornings to go out into a garden or a park and meet there the sunrise, doing workout, meditations, become filled with morning sunshine! Just half an hour, spent so at sunrise, can miraculously change one’s state for the whole day!
And in the forests, with the arrival of spring, there were ‘carpets’ of flowers, on bare branches of trees and shrubs were appearing green leaves from buds. At this time, they are especially beautiful and gentle!...
Let’s try, for once, to listen, how birds greet the rising sun! To do this, we should come to the forest just after dark, it is desirable — when the morning only is going to be clear. We hear how gradually increases the birds’ chorus, and it reaches a jubilation when the sun appears about the horizon! Each of the singers, in their own way, sings the song of joy to the coming day! And when the sun had risen — the birds will soon fall silent, turning to their daily concerns.
But not only bird voices can be heard in the spring forest. During snowmelt, there appear songs of murmuring brooks. Listen to their voices — and discover that among them there is no equal. At each new shoal, creek is rushing in a different way, and sometimes you can find surprisingly soft and delicate sounds. You can fill yourself with this tenderness and subtlety, if you listen to it by the spiritual heart.
* * *
I lived among all this spring harmony, enjoying it. Yet it did not occupy me the most. My life changed gradually. Just as my body was filled with renewed vigor after recovery — so in the life of the soul, there was the feeling that in front of me is opened a new, yet unexplored space.
This was due to the fact that I paid more attention to God — and He became closer to me. Books helped me especially.
In the morning, I read at least one paragraph from the book “Spiritual Conversations”*, capturing the advices of God — as the motto for the current day. For example:
“Learn to love Me as I love you, like I love everyone!”
“Be perfect, as God is Perfect!”
“Joy shall live in your heart! And let nothing ever overshadow this joy! And let it always shine — the light from your eyes, the joy of the soul!”
“I want you to think of Me all the time — with love, joy, and light in the soul!”
These and other principles, commandments, I tried to feel, to live for the day. And in the evening, before going to bed, I read the Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, also applying them to my life.
... How much inspiration, help on the Path a spiritual seeker can get from reading good spiritual books! But sometimes such reading may give a particularly strong effect.
It happened to me when reading the “Autobiography” by Yogananda . His book was filled with emotions of love for God. These same emotions overwhelmed me when I read it.
Then, I did not know that Yogananda had attained the Divinity, becoming a Part of God-the-Father, and now, after the death of the body, He continues to work with people — helping them from His non-incarnate state. Such Divine Teachers often touch by the Consciousnesses those people who currently read the books written by Them in the past or books about Them.
And Yogananda filled my anahata these days. Because of this, I was able to even better feel the presence of God in my life.
Just as someone, having fallen in love, discovers with each new day a totally new wonderful life together, filled with the joy of meeting and communicating with the beloved one, cognizing the new, unseen before feeling of two completely open hearts toward each other — I opened for myself a life with feeling the constant presence of God, feeling that He loves all around and is in the immediate vicinity of my heart, as well as inside it.
It was enough to turn to Him in my anahata — and He immediately filled in response by the wave of His Love!
In every unexpected incident, I wanted to see His participation. And I began to look at all future events not as something with which I have to deal alone, but as to the fact that we live together: me and He.
I no longer believed that I live one-on-one with the matter world, and that there something is happening to me, such as disasters, which can “for no reason at all fall on my head”. I began to perceive all events as life together with God — a life where in every moment He is with me.
The reading of Sathya Sai Baba books and books about Him gave me a wonderful experience. From them, I learned that He is the Avatar and now lives in the south of India.
Krishna, Jesus, Babaji, other Great Divine Teachers had embodied in the past, and I learned about Them as about historical Figures, envying those people who could communicate with Them. But it turned out that such a Divine Messiah lives in our days!
At first, I took this information with caution: it is not so rare that mentally ill people or explicit criminals claim to be “reincarnations” of Jesus Christ and other Greatest Ones. But the more I read about Him, the more convinced that He — really Divine. And not just because He did the most incredible miracles, which were testified about by all the authors of the books about Him. But He demonstrated His Divine Perfection by His whole life and by the knowledge that He imparted to people.
How much closer, dearer He became with reading by me His every book! Sitting in a room and reading these books, I often felt that my body and the space around are filled with Love. Only then I realized that in these moments He Himself was completely, really present in my room, but, of course, not with the body, but by the Consciousness.
And, in particular, thanks to Him, I met personally with Vladimir Antonov.