Who am I:
'Past karmas lead us to a destiny which has to be fulfilled' .. Don’t even know the exact point where I died as old Abha and emerged as the pure, positive jeevatma totally surrendered to ShreeNathji..
I was born and continue to live in Mumbai, India. Graced with four lovely children, and despite being of the same world as you, I live my life today in total surrender to my Prabhu ShreeNathji.
Thakurjee ShreeNathji’s kripa is all around me. By the age of 50, as they’ve lived major part of their lives most of the people get depressed about old age; future may seem like a no growth period. The reality of loneliness can cause havoc in minds.
With the Divine showering His blessings on me, I think the opposite.
I look forward to this stage in my life as being the most fulfilling, blissful and exciting period of my life. This stage of life till I leave my body should be the most spiritually rewarding.
What normally the whole of mankind is running after is available to me and I believe I can transcend this human reality (as Abha Shahra) and reach for the highest in soul and energy levels.
It is not in ego, but in the truth that I believe; ‘it has to be some very great sattvik karmas of my past lives, because of which I have been selected by “Thakurjee”, Himself, for this experience of Divine Love and Spiritual devotions and bliss’. I believe myself to be a mediator for some higher spiritual truths and mysteries, which have to unfold in this world of ours. God is very alive around us and the distance experienced is only from our side.
“Very, very rare selected Vaishnavas are allowed to enter that realm where you have been invited”. I am gently reminded often.
Living as an outsider on the inside:
Looking backwards I remember the deep turmoil which I experienced within me from a very young age of 8 years, the meaning of which was not understood, when as a child we are so busy with school and college education.
This inner unrest made me feel very disillusioned by the outer world. I always found it difficult to identify with the rest of the world, their beliefs and way of doing things. I never felt a part of any kind of group and because of this at times I was thought to be arrogant, an introvert or just a loner.
Though I was a regular person, living a routine life, with a wonderful family; this void that always gripped my mind and soul was never fulfilled from anything on the outer world. In fact I could never understand what was wrong; that I stood aside from all on many occasion.
I could not explain my thoughts to anyone else, as I myself did not know what was happening; what is it that I searched for all the time; what is the void that covered my mind, body and soul?
By the year 1994, a realisation dawned that it was my own mind which never let me rejoice in the routine life; it always tried to direct me to look for some different meaning in what we call normal life.
Being very, very busy at that time with home and children, and earlier with studies, I never did find the time nor the conviction to try and understand what this could be.
There were those several moments when I felt a severe clash of identities. This search went deeper and as time passed, spiritual books became my first guru. But in spite of a daily reading of 4-5 hours per day, and meeting of various spiritual and religious leaders I failed to get any meaningful answers.
The acute longing and emptiness and ache that I had with me all through the 40-45 years; in spite of all the most wonderful family and worldly pleasures did not go away.
As a seeker:
Few years ago, after my initial diksha in 2004, did I understood this pull as the voice of my soul trying to awaken me to myself and make me aware of my inner reality, I do remember brushing aside this other, inner call of the soul; but then it gave rise to a lot of emptiness and some questioning;
At such moments I recall complaining to God too , “If You want me to move towards my soul awareness, why did You put me in such responsibility ridden situations as it would not be right to give up my present life karma and walk towards my inner identity”.
As Shree Krishn in Bhagvad Gita tells us:
“Wherever one has been placed in the present is all due to the past karmic Len-Den (give and take). Renunciation is only of expectations, actions have to be performed to the best and together with the results offered at feet of the Divine”.
The sacred word of Shree Krishn does not permit any soul to move away from their present karmic situations.
‘Who am I, what does my heart actually long for’; this question kept nagging at my heart.
Spiritual awakening and final Diksha:
Unknowing to me, I was already on a spiritual path as early as 1992/93. It took 10 years of purification in mind, body, habits, health and emotions, for me to consciously understood this and by 2002 I found myself entering the depth of what awaited me in the divine dimensions.
My initial diksha in 2004 became the conscious turning point in my life.
As I went deeper in meditations and encountered the Divine flow within; did I understand that the actual lack, which I felt all through my life was for the Divine; and mistakenly I searched for it in the outer dimensions.
On the 16th August 2005 I received my final diksha. It felt as though I was being born into a new reality of myself.
Gurushree had made his special tilak, and with a siddh mantra applied it on my ‘Ajna chakra’ three times; which is the third eye area.
From this day my true adhyatmik journey began; and what an extraordinary anubhuti it has been!
I think I’ve been very privileged to receive this final diksha from a guru as pure and powerful as him. Gurushree was there with the total energy flowing ‘live’ through him at that moment. His left palm with the Divine flow becomes a medium for Divine Love and Blessings. ShreeNathji Prabhu always accompanies him with blessings when some important adhyatmik work needs to be completed.
WHO BLESSED ME? WHO GAVE ME THE FINAL DIKSHA? WHOM DID I SURRENDER MYSELF TO?
With time I understood how to live in this world totally and yet be a witness to all.
‘Renunciation is only of expectations, actions have to be performed to the best and together with the results offered at the feet of the Divine’.
Those moments as the divine blessings penetrated my clouded mind and touched the core of my being, it felt as if consciousness was performing an abhishek on this Tan, Man and Atma; (mind,body,soul) and since has been clearing and purifying me of all past sanskars deeply embedded in the Antaratma; in my journey of birth and re birth.
It was a karmic and soul cleansing, which helped create the deepest of positive changes.
“Do not forget the real purpose of your life”, is what Gurushree encouraged me to follow; “This will be the best period where the truth and reality unfolds before you. The ‘Mayic’ world is nothing before all the elevated experiences; once you’ve tasted the ‘nectar’ (God’s love), the other flavours lose their attractions. One in millions is able to pass through all tests and cross the mayic hurdles. Don’t give up your search for truth and Ishwar. Stay on the path with determination; soon you will be rewarded with the experience of ‘ShreeNathji’ (God).
With time as negative karmas were cut off and positive ness filled in, I understood it was for this divine connection that my soul yearned for. As I entered deeper within, the Shanti-Peace and the Anand-Joy increased and I felt a divine sense of happiness and satisfaction.
In this journey of purification came a change of awareness and perceptions in which I had to ask God,
“Am I going mad, or is ‘this’ world insane”
The experiences are so out of our normal regular routine life.
The awakened soul:
Few years ago I added a name to my existing Abha Shahra.
This earlier ‘personality name’ Abha Shahra, described only my mind and body; but now with deep connection to my awakened soul, it required that I add an extra dimension to the already existing outer personality name.
So I add ‘Shyama’; this is the name for the awakened soul in total purity and bhakti, the DOT from where I am connected to God, ShreeNathji.
Abha-Shahra is the Mind-Body; ‘Shyama’ represents my awakened ‘Soul’
‘… With the Divine Shreeji, the brilliance of His light drowns me in total devotion and there is no where else I want to go; the ‘here and now’ is all I need to fulfil the soul journey. The energy flow is stronger; there are the various inner fragrances that I experience. The body is never left alone, can always feel some work being done by this mysterious force, which seems to have taken possession of this body and mind: making it purer and more sattvik…’
I have learnt to live my life on the highest truth,
‘No matter what others say or think; if your intentions are right do not be afraid; there are moments when you have to follow the soul’s demands towards your truth, move on. Do not stop walking on your adhyatmik journey only because some people do not have the right understandings’.
Initial divine interactions with Thakurjee which ignited my bhakti and magnetised my soul to the magnet of ShreeNathji love.
In total surrender to Divine ShreeNathji who had accepted to be my ‘Maha Gurushree’ some years back; I believe that I am the luckiest soul in this world.
When in the deepest of meditations, as I experienced the Presence of Divine ShreeNathji-Shree RadhaKrishn, He had declared, “You are my ‘best friend’ and you will be the only ‘friend’ I will ever have”. (details in varta section). Under Their blessings I have been lucky to be a sakshi to many spiritual mysteries; which unveiled for me.
I first visited ShreeNathji at Nathdwara in 2004 October with Gurushree. It was my second visit here from 16th to18th February, which became the turning point of my life.
The 16th to 18th February 2005 was like a trip to another level of being. It now seems like a dream; the experience was so heavenly, so out of this world, so different from what we think as reality.
The 60 hours spent at Nathdwara, in the close vibrational level of Sudhir bhai; who happens to be closely associated with Prabhu ShreejiBaba took me to a very different level of experience.
I spent those 50 hours in close proximity of a soul who is the unmanifest form of the Deity whose darshans we had gone for. I had never ever imagined that darshans could have such a powerful impact on the psyche.
We did a total of 14 darshans and both days there was a visit to the Gaushala, without which the yatra is incomplete. I had hardly slept in these 2 days, so I must’ve been awake for a total of 36 hours with a sleep time of 3-4 hours. There was no tiredness and I did not feel the need to rest in between.
Sudhir bhai always insisted on the highest purity; between each darshan if we had gone out of the mandir, showering with ‘paste’ was a must; so in the two days I must’ve showered at least 10-12 times.
Before this had never been so close to such high levels of purity and one pointedness in bhao.
It was like being on a ‘high’ without any intoxicants. The craziest part was that I didn’t want to come back to reality (routine life). Somewhere deep within I wished and hoped time stops and I continue repeating the 2 days over and over. There was no satiation.
I learnt the importance of maintaining complete purity of mind, body and soul; in thoughts, clothes, foods, and conversations too.
Till now I had never been introduced to this level of doing darshans at any mandir.
The direct experience is the most important, but for which shraddha is required to help penetrate the mayic veils which blind our eyes to some very obvious truths. Spiritual reality requires no outer confirmations once the individual’s faith begins to work: the truth is there right in front of our eyes to be experienced and digested. It cannot be expressed in words as the impact cannot be felt until one opens the self to it.
My next yatra to Nathdwara was in September 2005 for five days.
There is no TV, newspapers, or phone calls. It’s mostly a total cut off from the outside, except when actually required, for essentials. Food is very simple, and maximum time spent at the mandir with SHREEJIBABA.
We did a total of 40 darshans this time, with the Gaushala every day.
The ‘Who am I’, gets connected to my conscious mind and gave me the need to go deeper in this quest for the truth.
From my personal journal..
..Since back from Nathdwara, every time when sitting in the ‘mudras’, there are tears; not of sorrow, but of longing; An incredible longing of wanting to experience myself; of Vrindavan, of the different ‘vans’, Bhandir Van, Seva kunj, Nikunj van, Shyam Van, Banshi Vat; that sacred Vraj bhumi, the Kadamb trees, above all Giriraj Govardhan where even today ShreeNathji sakshatkars are there for the truly pure; the vibrational fragrance of the divine land; basically all the original atmosphere, all the darshans etc…Want to return there; when I realise,
What am I asking for?
Yes, there are memories of sometime, of some ‘time period’, and desire to be able to travel back in time, this separation from ShreeKrishn; from these profoundly intense energies in whose Presence everything feels so vibrant; is felt at every moment..
This electricity, this energy, this purity and this devotion and love, which fill me, are astounding. Despite all the hindrances, the Mysterious entered my life and the search for the knower began.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m there but not there. Though awareness is not very high I am just carried into a state in which I forget myself as myself – as the personality. But those moments I feel I have truly lived and want to extend them forever and ever.
My connection to Vraj Mandal:
I am fortunate enough to travel often to Vraj Mandal (The land of Divinity) and love being at Shri Govardhan and Vrindavan. I feel deep anand and bliss here at Vraj Mandal; the vibrancy and magnetism of Vrindavan is unimaginable.
Vraj is the place where I belong and is my real home… My soul finds peace and unlimited joy in this divine land of ShreeNathji, Shree RadhaKrishn.
My connection to Vraj Mandal is most authentically described from one of my first recollections in my personal journal:
My first visit to Vraj after my diksha was in June 2005. Again similar to the Nathdwara yatras, disclipine and purity in all aspects of living are to followed completely.
For ‘The Presence’ to be experienced the atmosphere of purity and our bhao is very essential. When in the pure sanigdh (company) of a Sadhya guru who is a part of the Divine Himself , also known as the divya guru, the strong pure aura which surrounds him also has the capacity and strength to cover the humans around him in the particular area. This at times can open their soul to some divine experiences. It is his soul quality which connects the particular soul to the divya (divine) soul and graces it some divya anubhuties (divine experiences).
This was the yatra when ShreeNathji Appeared from His Mukharwind at Shri Govardhan and gave us sakshat (direct) darshans in His ‘Lalan’ (child) swarup.
This was as per Gurushree’s request, and also that ShreeNathji let us take His photos as He Appeared from His Mukharwind for proof of His Presence. The vibrations and emotions of that extarordinary hour are fresh in my heart and mind.
The other anubhuti that stands out from several others is how ShreeNathji commanded us to do the ‘Jirnodhar’ of His ;Charan’ mandir at Banshi Vat, which is the place of the famous divya Maha raas of Shree RadhaKrishn.
From my personal journal..
..Purity of the whole pujan and the connected vision clears many things; such moments of pujan become memorable, I call them soul presence, as there is nothing of the mind and body present at the time of darshans; it is ourselves, as the true beings in the original identities. It can only be experienced, not explained.
During the divine pujan, as I put sindoor and tilak in Shree RadhaKrishn mandir, the eternal question, WHO AM I is in my mind; and such intensity and Bhao I have never experienced before, such total acceptance of me as myself; as the truth about my identity.
The special anubhuti which confirmed about ShreeNathji Shakti being awake after a gap of hundreds of years and out of His mandir, in our world:
19-20 September 2005
At Nathdwara, as I rested in the afternoon after Rajbhog darshans, this Divine happening, I experienced in full awareness. I experienced this incredible blissful darshans as a vision of me holding on to Shreeji’s little toes.
It is the Mangala darshan, at Shreeji’s Haveli. I can see myself there, pressing Shreeji’s feet, while He is having a conversation with me!
Shreeji is complaining to me how tired He gets standing every day.
“See, my Feet hurt soo much, but nobody presses Them. I think, I might just leave Nathdwara and run away”.
I again ask Shreeji, “Shreeji, Your Arm must be hurting also. Since Hundreds of years You have been holding Your Udhav Bhuja up”.
Shreeji replies, “Yes, you are very right, My Left Arm also hurts”.
Incredibly, at that moment;
SHREEJI BRINGS HIS LEFT BUHJA DOWN AND CARESSED MY HEAD AND FACE IN ALOKIK LOVE AND BLESSING.
What name can I give to such an alokik anubhav!
This close encounter lasted for a whole 45 minutes.
I woke up and was so lost in this experience; I had to ask Gurushree about it.
It seemed he already knew about it and silenced me, telling me not to mention it to anyone for the time being.
Gurushree explained to me, “These are real darshans and you were not dreaming”.
It was for sure a real happening, or else how am I able to actually feel that touch from Shreeji’s Udhva Bhuja even after all these years. Till today I am able to feel Shreeji’s tender, gentle hand on my head and the extraordinary Divya Urja that came from Shreeji.
This has to be some Grace and Kripa from my Gurushree and MahaGurushree, ShreeNathji, that I have been the receiver of this Divine Love and Blessings.
19-20 September 2005
नाथद्वारा में, राजभोग दर्शन के बाद जब मैं आराम कर रही थी, पूर्ण जागृत स्थिति में यह दिव्य अनुभूति मुझे हुई. श्रीजी के छोटे, कोमल पग को पकडे हुऐ यह भाव मुझे कुछ अनोखे आनंदमय मन की स्थिति में हुआ.
श्रीनाथजी की हवेली में मंगला दर्शन हो रहे हैं और मैं श्रीजी के पग दबा रही हूँ. श्रीजी मुझसे वार्तालाप भी कर रहे हैं! श्रीजी मुझसे कह रहे हैं की वोह खड़े रहकर कितने थक गए हैं.
"देखो मेरे पग कितने दुखते हैं, कोई दबा के नहीं देता. मैं सोचता हूँ की नाथद्वारा छोड़ कर भाग जाऊं.
मैं फिर श्रीजी से पूछती हूँ , "श्रीजी, आप की उद्धव भुजा भी तो दुखती होगी? इतने सालों से आप ने ऊपर उठा कर रखी है".
श्रीजी जवाब देते हैं, “तुम ठीक कहती हो. मेरी उद्धव भुजा भी दुखती है” .
आश्चर्यजनक रूप से उसी पल में;
श्रीजी उनकी उद्धव भुजा नीचे लाते है और मेरे सर पर बहुत अलोकिक प्रेम और दुलार से आशीर्वाद देते हैं.
ऐसे अलोकिक अनुभव को क्या नाम दे सकते हैं!
गुरुश्री मुझे समझाते हैं, “यह वास्तविक दर्शन हैं और तुम सपना नहीं देख रही थी”.
यह एक वास्तविक दर्शन ही हैं क्योंकि आज भी, जब मैं यह अनुभव लिख रही हूँ, या फिर इसके बारे में कभी सोचती हूँ, मुझे श्रीजी के कोमल हाथ अपने माथे पर महसूस होते हैं और मैं उसी दिव्य ऊर्जा के कम्पन का अहसास करती हूँ.
As a writer and photographer
As a serious seeker of the spiritual path, (just like many of you who are reading this), I enjoy sharing some of my spiritual experiences and personal thoughts with other seekers through my writings.
I also believe that:
Written words will only touch a reader and show direction to someone, when truth of experience flows from them. Only then the words will be powerful enough to pass any real understanding to any seeker. Experiential writing carries the power to transform and provide that gentle push, when a seeker may be facing the darkness of confusions and doubts.
I believe I have been one of those lucky few who has received special Grace. I am totally in the ether where changes reach the deepest core of me, and are made permanent.
“Each one has a destiny written for their life journey, don’t destroy your peace and joyful moments in trying to analyse the thoughts of the whole world; do the best for all in whatever capacity is possible, that’s your Dharm towards family and society; apart from this you have a higher Dharm; which is to reach the highest in yourself; and for that it is very important to stay in your own bliss”.
For me taking pictures is also a meditative moment.
Life is a journey of moments, each moment leading to another; the quality of life depending on how much awareness you live each moment with.
Photography is all about moments; Moments…in Life; A moment.. Or few moments.. Eek pal..ya kuch pal. Each moment is special somewhere for someone in the entire Parmatma's creation.
With warm regards and a blessing for all,
Lots of Love,
Abha Shahra Shyama
Jai Shreeji! Shreeji Ki Jai Ho! Jai Shree RadhaKrishn
सर्व मंगल हो, सर्व शुभ हो, सर्व शांति हो!