by Ananda Giri: Some of the workshops at the Oneness Festival will be presented by dasas (monks and nuns) from The Golden Age Foundation…
Among those workshops are topics like Enlightenment, Mysticism, Shristi – the art of parenting, Female Spirituality and Satsangs under the headline of “Living in Joy”.
Sri Ananda Giri is one of the most prominent representatives of the Foundation. In this interview, from his tour in the USA, he is explaining the Golden Age Foundations view on the status of the world and the humanity of today, and how it can be changed. Radically.
What is the message and main teachings that you are bringing today to the spiritual seekers of America?
I have come to bring neither a new teaching nor a new philosophy of life; we already have received a huge number of teachings from different Saints, Sages, Mystics, Philosophers and great thinkers from different schools of thought. The world is full of philosophies, religions, esoteric teachings (revealed to the world), spiritual practices, techniques of self development, etc., that set forth beautiful theories and ideas of how we should live or what do we have to do, to find true “Happiness” in our lives. The question that I ask you is that after so much reading and listening to different teachings, is there any real change in our lives? Or, are we just changing techniques and philosophies, that keep us in rapture for a period of time, and after a while we find them impossible to follow and practice? Giving up finally the possibility to attain a real and deep change in our lives?
If you are not giving us a new teaching or technique, what should we expect from Foundation for World Awakening?
We, as a spiritual movement, ask you two questions:
1. Are you suffering? And,
2. Do you want to be free from this suffering?
If your answer is affirmative to both questions, we embrace you, and then our Foundation can help you.
What do you mean by “suffering”?
In many moments of our lives we found ourselves experiencing feelings of boredom, loneliness, depression, pain and conflict in our human relationships, lack of motivation, and sometimes meaninglessness in many of our daily activities.
These feelings make us suffer, because they come generally with anxiety and uncertainty, and we don’t know if we will ever be free from these emotions and feelings.
Inside of us questions arise like: Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Will I find happiness and love in my life or is it just a dream? Where am I going? Is there any hope for a change or do I have to give up? What is living? Do I do what I really want, or do I feel like a slave of the impositions of society? Will I ever experience the real psychological and spiritual freedom? And so on and so forth…
What would happen if somebody comes and tells you that he has none of these questions, because he feels happy and in peace and that he has found everything he has searched for?
Not everybody is a spiritual seeker in this world. The truth is that only a selected group of people are in a real search in their lives. We as human beings are suffering from a severe illness, which is not necessarily lack of love, hatredness, pride, greed, envy, covetousness or egoism, but we are suffering with an even greater illness, which is “lack of awareness” of what is happening inside us. Most of us walk in the streets without knowing, why we are going to our jobs, from where comes our urge to success, why should I go to the shopping malls every weekend, what makes me buy the latest car model that just appeared in the market, what is it that moves me everyday to action, why should I keep myself constantly busy, etc. If everything is fine and if I were really happy, for sure I would not have the necessity of keeping my mind constantly busy with ideas and projects for the future. If we contemplate for a moment we will see that real happiness and joy is only found in the present, but constantly we keep ourselves busy doing things for acquiring happiness and peace in the future, we are running after a moving train, which we can never catch.
The sincere spiritual seeker, first of all, is aware of this issue and feels the urge to find a way out of this stressing and anguishing situation. He has begun to see the lack of love and peace in his life, the lack of harmony in his family and personal relationships, and the lack of truthfulness because he is always involved in lies and hypocrisies in order to be accepted in this society. In the beginning, a spiritual seeker feels disgusted and sick of everything, and this is what really transforms him into a real and deep seeker of meaning, into a “Spiritual Seeker”.
Then what are the main characteristics we should have to be called Spiritual Seekers?
As I said before: First of all, the real seeker is recognized because he does not accept simple answers but wishes to hear something that really convinces him, and wants to discover by himself what he has been taught.
Secondly, he is aware of the fact that he is suffering, because he has tasted it in several ways, he is tired of it and wants to be liberated from it (feeling of loneliness, feeling of not belonging, nonsense, lack of true meaning in life, depression, decay, or the constant conflict created by following values other than the ones accepted by this society).
And the last aspect that characterizes a spiritual seeker is that he takes the challenge, no matter what happens to him, to find the way out of his suffering.
A lot of people are searching for some kind of change in their lives, and many, who have found answers in different teachings feel that they are becoming better human beings, and feel secure about the knowledge and the path they have chosen in their lives. May we say that these people are transformed and that they are freed from their suffering?
Some of them may have truly begun the journey of Transformation. This journey of Discovery and Transformation is a unique journey, only a few ones have begun and advanced deeply towards Liberation. When we start to follow a new teaching or spiritual practice, or start receiving very profound knowledge, inside of us there begins a change. We must be able to identify where and in what level this change is occurring; only in this way can we understand if there is any change at all. At the moment when we discover a new teaching or philosophy, there starts inside of us a renovation of thoughts, concepts and creeds. Every change that occurs in the realm of the ideas, concepts, beliefs, our mental schemes, is basically a change in the level of our mind. It does not mean that our inner nature has changed or that our perceptions of life have undergone a definite transformation. Instead of it, a new idea, that can be wonderful, starts taking shape and it forms into a new mental scheme. Maybe we will see a change in our behaviour; it means we have obtained some reformation in our lives, which is very different from having a profound and real change in our inner nature.
When there is a real change in the inner nature of man, only then can we call this a true Transformation.
I am sure that many people who are reading this article would like you to go deeper and give us more clarity into what is the difference between Reformation and Transformation.
What we know today as change and personal development is basically Reformation.
Modern man has been greatly influenced by the paradigm of Science, which has come into fruition as an analytical and rational mind. We are perceiving the world, other people, things and nature from the standpoint of ideas, concepts, a mixture of concepts-ideas, or images that have been created in our minds through the past experiences that were significant in our lives. Therefore, any change that occurs in us is basically a change that manifests itself in the level of our concepts, ideas, beliefs and mental schemes.
The teachings we have received from great masters such as Christ, Buddha, LaoTse, Mohammed, Sri Krishna, Confucius and many other great Saints, Mystics and Sages, have been transformed into mere concepts and ideas, and that is the reason that, despite the clarity manifested by these great beings, it was and it is so hard to put them into practice and follow them wholeheartedly. There is always a conflict between the teaching and our inner nature. The teachings may be wonderful and we see the truth in them, and we know that if we could apply these great truths in our lives all the human problems and sufferings would be solved. But is almost impossible to follow them because our nature is different, and it is not natural for us to love unconditionally as Christ did, and it is not natural for us to feel detachment from desires as it was for the Buddha.
If we go more deeply we see that the inner nature of these great Masters was different, their Consciousness was different. For them, what they preached and taught was natural; it was part of their inner nature and drawn from their own experience.
A real inner change means Transformation, and it is not a change in the realm of concepts and ideas but in your inner world. Your whole perception undergoes a deep change; your consciousness has been altered.
Please, reveal to us in more depth the inner process that occurs in this journey of Transformation.
In this, the journey of Transformation, changes in the inner nature begin to occur. At the beginning of this journey very often there is an internal crisis, because our inner structures of thought start falling, and our ideas, concepts, creeds and mental schemes change.
Much of what we have created in our minds, images, conclusions, prejudices, our perceptions of the world, how we see ourselves, our friends, our family, and life itself, starts breaking down along with the security that we put on those images.
Slowly we begin to see reality, as it is, without masks, without false protections, we begin to perceive things as they really are.
In other words, what we start experiencing is not a growth or an accumulation inside of us, but a loosening of the attachments, images, concepts, ideas, sensations, to which we have been tied up and that has given us a false security until today. Remember, “Transformation is the journey of Liberation”; it means you begin to feel more light and free because you have given away a lot of unnecessary weight.
Therefore, if we are not experiencing this process of structures falling, does it mean we have not begun this journey?
Yes, that’s right. That is why I have said that many who say that they are transformed and think they are spiritual beings are just fooling themselves, because they have been accumulating and building up, hence the unlearning process must be even harder.
Remember, this is the journey of humbleness and humility; it is not a competition to see who is more evolved.
Sri Kalki says in one of his Supreme Truths “Life is a process of learning and learning is unlearning”. It means that if we are not unlearning (the falling of mental structures) everyday, Maybe we are not living at all!
As this process of unlearning begins to occur in our lives, when does this unlearning process end or, we must be completely void? And if it is so, does it mean that we should lose the notion and memory of ourselves?
The answer to the first question is yes. We must be completely void and until this occurs we should go on unlearning what we have accumulated in our lives. Our purpose of incarnation in this planet is to begin our Spiritual Awakening, and there is no other reason for being here. I see that you do not understand the unlearning process, and I am going to explain it further. If we go deeper into the world of memories, feelings and experiences of the past, we will see that the remembrance of some past experiences carry with it a strong emotional charge and others do not. This emotional charge affects us now in the present. Through our life we have had positive and negative experiences that made a strong impact in our memory, like the first years of our life, childhood, years at school, University period, etc. These past experiences determine our present conduct and behaviour, and how we perceive the circumstances of our daily life. To be able to experience the present as it is, without an emotional charge from our past, and to feel really free in our daily decisions, we must be liberated from our past experiences that carry a strong emotional charge. Therefore, the unlearning must occur at this level, this does not mean you would forget who are your parents and your friends, and that you are going to lose your memories; but you are not going to be attached to them. Attachment to these images that are charged with strong emotional feelings is what keeps you enslaved, and keeps you away from freedom and from being spontaneous in the present. Through this unlearning you are liberated from your past traumas and bad experiences such as fear, anguish, creeds accepted blindly by you and that you have never questioned, and ideas of ourselves that limits us just to certain activities, which makes us feel we are not able to realize our real self, and does not let us apply the whole creative potential that we have inside of us.
If I am aware of the necessity to begin the journey of Transformation, what is the next step I should take?
After being aware of the necessity and the desire to change, you should see that every intent and effort to change your inner nature might just produce reformation and not bring the true Transformation into your life. If we go deeper into the nature of our mind, first we will see that our mind is constantly planning and programming events, keeping under control and order the situations and events that are going to occur in the day, in the week, in the month, in the year or even in the rest of our life. If a change must occur in our inner world we must realize that every change in our feelings, perceptions and emotions have the characteristic of being natural and spontaneous in nature. Every experience is spontaneous; it is not planned or organized. I do not plan to get mad at my wife, husband or friend, neither do I plan to feel glad or happy today. I do not program to feel depressed on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and be happy the rest of the week. Therefore, the nature of the experience and of the inner world (feelings, emotions, sensations and perceptions) is spontaneous and natural.
After seeing the necessity of a change and Transformation, I should also realize that the key to success is not in my hands and in my own efforts, because something spontaneous must occur, an extraordinary experience must occur, a transcendental experience, a divine and mystical experience must be given to me to get the state of Transformation and Liberation.
What is a mystical and transcendental experience?
As we said in the beginning, we are suffering and searching for a meaning in life because we have not had this mystical experience. Our life is boring and we are always having the feeling that something is missing for us to be complete. Constantly we feel emptiness in our hearts and a feeling of alienation and loneliness. We may be with a group of friends or at work and feel that we do not belong to this place or to this group of people. In other moments I may be in a family party and still feel I don’t belong here either, even though we are together there is something that divides us and makes me feel separated from others. I may be in a wonderful and beautiful place; in a mountain with vegetation around me and birds, wild animals and a pure river with crystal water flowing through it; but while I am there observing the landscape and the whole place I feel fine just for a moment, after a while I feel I am just passing by this place, I am a visitor, a pilgrim that always must go on in his way, again getting in touch with this sense of not belonging. There is something that does not let me engage with others and with the rest of the world. I may share certain things with others but there are so many things inside of me that I have never shared and I do not know if I ever will. This feeling of being individuals and of being separated from others is born from the lack of this transcendental and mystical experience. This makes us lose the experience of union and communion with others. So experiencing this union and communion with others is a transcendental and mystical experience. There are so many kinds of mystical and transcendental experiences, in fact they are unlimited and the main characteristic is that they are unique and very different from one person to another.
What can I do to have these mystical and transcendental experiences?
Many people are craving for these mystical experiences. The question that we should ask ourselves is, from where comes the desire to have an experience of this kind?
Everybody has an access to such mystical experiences that free us from suffering and give us much joy and happiness in our life. We will receive these experiences immediately if the desire is born from the real need for a change in our lives, but if it is a simple wish born from curiosity, it could take a little bit longer.
If I have the necessity and I think I am ready for this experience what should I do next?
Then you are ready to attend one of our “ANUGRAHA YAGNAS” (retreats for awakening the Divine Love within your heart). These are retreats of one day, where you can experience the awakening of your spiritual heart, the awakening of your intuition. Other worlds are revealed to you, which makes you understand the meaning of being in this world, you will acquire meaning in your present life, and much more will be revealed to you in this retreat.
Who is the source that lets us experience all this in the retreats?
The Source that lets you experience this and begin your journey of Transformation is Sri Kalki. He helps you to start this journey of discovery by giving you these mystical and transcendental experiences, guiding and bringing you to the necessary state, so that you will be more perceptive to receive them. After this discovery and realization has happened to you, you are in a new state in which you become the creator of your life along with your Antaryamin (Inner Dweller), and the source of your future mystical experiences is now in your heart.
Do you conduct the retreats alone or does somebody else help you in this wonderful work?
I conduct more advanced retreats. After participating in ANUGRAHA YAGNA (one day retreats, where you experience the awakening of your heart and the root cause of your suffering is revealed to you), you may participate in more advanced and deeper retreats for entering in a permanent state of Transformation, which is a state where we are liberated from all human suffering.
There are three monks of the order of Kalki, and also Bhaktas (devotees) helping me with the work in America and Latin America. They conduct retreats, seminars, conferences, talks, prayer and meditation meetings, and have personal interviews with those who have begun their personal journey of Transformation. Their mission is to guide the Spiritual Seekers in their path to self-realization.
What are the retreats that follow the ANUGRAHA YAGNA and what can we expect of them? *)
After participating in the ANUGRAHA YAGNA you may go to retreats in which we go deeper in the truths revealed by Sri Kalki to the world. These retreats have duration of one day, in them you will receive GNYANA, it means Supreme Knowledge that has the power to liberate you and guide you to even deeper experiences. Then there are retreats for meditation “DHYANA”, that let you get in touch with inner worlds and internal visions of your heart and the Universe. After you have participated in these retreats you may participate in the “RETREAT FOR LIBERATION”, which is a 21-day retreat that is given only in India, in Satyaloka, the place where Sri Kalki resides. To participate in this retreat in which you will receive another state of consciousness, a superior state of being compared with the one you live today, you must be authorized by the monk or the Bhakta who has been observing your personal work and spiritual development.
*) In the end of the article there is a presentation of the courses and retreats that are currently offered in West.
Where and when was this movement born?
Foundation for World Awakening was born in 1991, in Madras, India.
How many followers do you have around the world?
Over 15 million.
Where are the followers of this Foundation?
Ceylon, United Kingdom, Sweden, Ukraine, Argentine, Chile, Uruguay, Russia, India, Brazil, United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Ecuador, Singapore, China, Australia and other countries from the former Soviet Union.
Who are the other disciples of Sri Kalki?
1. Paramacharya Sri Sankara Bhagavad Pada
2. Acharya Sri Sama Darsini.
3. Acharya Sri Vimala Kirti.
4. Acharya Sri Akshaya Mati.
5. Acharya Sri Kaushika.
6. Acharya Sri Maitreyi.
I know that three of the direct disciples of Sri Kalki are women, am I right?
Yes, that is correct.
It is rare to see women with spiritual authority guiding large groups of people, especially in the religious tradition. Does Sri Kalki say something about it?
It is completely a new phenomenon in India, as in other parts of the world, that a great number of our followers are women. Women have a spiritual potential that is easier to awaken, because they are more connected with their hearts. Man has mainly developed his intellect, which has made him more cold and rational. Now, in this world there is greater number of women than men. What would happen if they rebel against the rules and laws made by men in this society, and instead of trying to imitate men, they felt proud of being women and teach men about Love?
Besides the seven disciples, are there more persons who spread the teachings of Sri Kalki?
Yes, as I mentioned before there is an order of monks and bhaktas (devotees) who conduct retreats, talks, conferences and seminars.
All of them come from India?
No, they come from all parts of the world.
How many monks, nuns and bhaktas are spreading Kaki’s message?
There are two hundred monks and nuns, and the number of bhaktas is presently two hundred and growing rapidly.
What are the statistics concerning the growth of the movement?
It is growing in such an astonishing manner that we can no longer have an accurate statistics. From what we know, it is the fastest growing movement in the world.
What do you think is the reason for such an incredible growth?
Today we are experiencing a unique phenomenon on earth. And each man and woman that walks on this planet must discover it. The coming of Sri Kalki is very important and is a milestone in the evolution of man and of our planet. Our beloved Sri Kalki is the source of the innumerable insights, realizations and the source of the highest mystical experiences that are awakening the mystic within the hearts of the seekers.
What are the experiences that people are having in the retreats?
In the retreats, a door is opened to the mystical dimensions, and many receive the experiences after the retreats and seminars. You may come and read some of these experiences in another page of this site.
You talk about the beginning of a new Age, and that we are at the dawn of this Age, is this the so-called Age of Aquarius by the astrologers?
It is the dawn of a new Age, The Golden Age; the Age of Aquarius is a small age inside the Golden Age. All the changes that are beginning to occur in our planet are representative of the dawn of this new Age, changes in the level of perceptions in man; perceptions of himself, of the Universe and the Creator; changes that make us enter into different stages of growth and comprehension of reality. From the standpoint of astrology we can see a new planetary and zodiacal cycle for this planet Earth. Behind these observations there are profound meanings that will become clearer as we experience the trends that will affect our lives completely. So this is a phenomenon that affects not only the planet but affects YOU. You will feel it in every cell of your body.
What are the changes that we will experience?
Many changes are occurring right now in our planet, starting with the physical changes manifesting in the ecological environment that surrounds us. Climatic changes, changes in ocean currents, and strong changes in the atmosphere that affect the Earth and all the living species in it.
As these changes are manifesting and many more are to come, something begins to happen to us at a psychological level, the creeds we have, the social, economical, political and cultural systems begins to shake and collapse. You just have to open your eyes to see that we are coming near a cliff, we are in crisis and in a society that sooner than later is going to break down. Society is a blend of ideas and beliefs, perceptions kept alive for some time, and today it is in crisis. Our social, economical and political system is based upon ideas and beliefs; there is absolutely nothing real in which we have put our hopes and securities. Looking back in history we see that each ideology in some moment has fallen down because a new one takes form, the new is more real and closer to what man perceives as truth at that given moment.
Then, what is this new idea or ideology that man is going to develop as a new perception?
This time it is a completely new and distinct change. If we see and analyze the current situation of young men throughout the world we can appreciate with more clarity the phenomenon that is occurring today. The teenage period is characterized by an idealistic feeling, there is a profound search for truth and there is born a deep longing to keep their ideal alive. Seeing the actual state of teenagers we find that they are living in confusion, where all the ideas have lost power, and there is a general sense of boredom, meaninglessness and a total loss of identity with society.
This phenomenon that we see very clearly in this example is what brings us to an even deeper change, because a new idea does not attract us anymore. We had very bad experiences with ideologies that lead us to move to a non-believing state. If you go inside your heart you will discover that you do not want another idea that will control your life for a brief time, after which you will have to change it again. We are frustrated with it and we want something more permanent and real.
Therefore this is the moment where each one of us must move from ideas and beliefs to a personal discovery of the real truth.
What is it that we have to discover?
Basically there are three discoveries that must happen to you. In the first place, you must begin to discover yourself and know who you are. Secondly, start discovering the secrets and the great mysteries behind creation that are revealed to you as you begin to discover yourself. And the last and most important one is to begin the greatest and more wonderful journey that man has ever undertaken, which is to meet God personally.
What do you think about the future of the planet and man?
There is a truth of Sri Kalki that says: “Spiritual Regeneration is the cause of physical and psychological degeneration”. It means that every change and difficulty we are experiencing today has its roots in the spiritual plane, therefore man is entering into a new state of consciousness, where it will no more be difficult for him to love and have peace in his life, because this will be his natural state. Remember, the change begins with each individual, it is your consciousness and your perceptions that will change and produce global Transformation.
What do I have to do if I want to begin my Transformation today?
You have to communicate with us so that you can be guided in your journey of discovery.
What will happen to our society after many people have begun their journey of Transformation?
Imagine for a moment a society where each one of us will take care of everyone else. We will be a society where the sick, the poor, the handicapped will receive help and love from the rest. The most important thing in our lives will be to take care of each other. At last we will be a universal family where there will be no divisions between countries, religious groups, social and economical classes, because we would not be wearing our masks that are born from fear, we will know each other, not from lies, but we will relate with others from true love. Where the welfare of the rest will be more important than personal welfare there man will meet with what has been his quest and dream, which is to feel himself as a part of a whole, and to be able to experience a real communion with his existence, the Universe and the Whole.