What is Sahaj Marg?
Sahaj Marg is a Sanskrit term meaning 'Natural Path'. While this system of meditation originated in India, its purpose is spiritual and universal, without religious or cultural bias. As its name implies, it is a simple and natural practice. Moreover, it offers a means by which we can, with capable guidance and self-effort, evolve from our present condition towards a future that realizes our full spiritual potential. The method is taught worldwide at no cost, the only qualification being an individual’s willingness to follow a daily meditation practice.
Sahaj Marg is a form of raja yoga, or yoga of the mind. The goal of the practice is God realization, with the supposition that the true Self is one with God, and it is only our individual complexities that block our conscious experience of the divine. Because the divine is infinite and without attributes, the object of the meditation cannot have any name or form, so we are given the most subtle and pure thought to meditate upon—divine light in the heart. We do not visualize the light but only suppose that it is present. As other thoughts arise, we gently divert the mind back to the heart and wait patiently for this divine presence to manifest.
We know that the heart, at the center of our physical system, works like a pumping station which governs the blood flow throughout our bodies. In keeping with the Indian Vedic tradition, Sahaj Marg teaches that the heart is also the center of the spiritual system, where our inner condition is purified. Therefore, the focus of our meditation is on the heart, specifically the place where the heart beats.
An important aspect of the meditation is transmission of spiritual energy. Transmission is common in everyday life. We transmit sound when we speak. We also transmit the energy of thought. Sahaj Marg meditation utilizes the transmission of a yogic energy called pranahuti (prana meaning life force; ahuti meaning offering), directing it into the heart of the aspirant. This energy functions as food for our spiritual development.
The Sahaj Marg practice is composed of three basic elements: morning meditation, evening cleaning and night time prayer meditation. An individual's daily practice is further supported by attendance at group meditations (satsanghs) and individual meditations with a prefect.
The promise of Sahaj Marg is that ordinary people, of all walks of life, can attain self-realization in this lifetime. Toward this end, the practice is accessible, simple, direct and free of charge. One who practices Sahaj Marg is called an abhyasi, because in Sanskrit the act of following a practice is called abhyas. Abhyasis are guided by a capable teacher, who is recognized as a spiritual Master because he has mastered himself. Therefore, he is able to teach others how to master themselves. To assist in the work, he prepares prefects who impart spiritual training around the world. They are permitted (under the Master's guidance) to transmit to abhyasis, both in individual and group meditations.
Revered Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari (affectionately known as Chariji) was the third Master of the Sahaj Marg system of spirituality explained, "We start with the subtlest level of human functioning, then the effect of that purification or regulation automatically percolates into the rest of the system, into the grosser levels of the system. It is not only automatic but also natural. But on the contrary if we start at the grosser level it need not affect the finer levels of functioning. In our system of Sahaj Marg we therefore start with the mind."
Chariji's guide, Babuji, expressed it in this way:
"God is infinite yet simple, and therefore the way to reach Him must be as simple. By proper regulation of the mind through meditation, under the practical guidance and support of a spiritual master, one can evolve to the Highest."