The Awakening of Satyananda
Paula Marvelly: Did you have a spiritual master, so to speak?
When we speak about masters, one of my biggest masters when I grew up was Bob Marley and he still is because he is speaking about the nature of the mind. He's not just talking about revolution in a political way — his words are very deep and I could always catch what he meant. 'We are coming in from the cold,' he used to say. There are many songs I still like — it's pure wisdom. So my master was always appearing in different forms, in different bodies, when it wasn't clear that it was within. Music, my mother — there was always a way of remembering.
You know, I never read much and didn't get to learn about meditation or spiritual paths. I started going to satsang about two and a half years ago. I was at the end of a very long process of suffering. It was very deep — I have never suffered so much in my life. It was great! I couldn't have been more down — I was married to a lady and we were in the process of getting divorced. I couldn't work it all out for a long time. But I had an instinct to go into myself.
When I was in Amsterdam during the time of my divorce, there were advertisements for courses in meditation. I did a course, which lasted for three days, and then I joined a meditation group and sat in silence with them, twice a week. It used to give me a lot of peace. But I was still living with my wife — we were in the process of separation, so being with the group was the only place where I could be in silence! I was so grateful to them — they taught me some mantras including Om. Then I went to Brazil and stayed on the beach and I would sing it almost all the time, particularly in the morning when I woke up. It was very helpful to calm down my mind. It became a deep obsession.
PM. I have often heard of people who have reached a peaceful state speaking about a period before that of intense suffering. It's not necessarily a prerequisite but it is very common.
Yes, for me I knew it was misery but I also knew it was because of something I had caught, if you like. I began to believe all the bad things I was telling myself and so I suffered for it. Somehow I was blaming myself. But somewhere in the corner was silence. It's difficult to explain — the outside expression of it was suffering but inwardly there was peace.
When I went on a silent retreat at Osho Leela at the beginning of September 1997,1 was at the end of that suffering — I was feeling much better within myself. I sat down in satsang and the first things that were talked about I recognized as being true. There was nothing new. I was on retreat for 10 days, I think, but I didn't speak a word while I was there. It was just a reconfirmation, a deep reconfirmation — like drinking water when you are thirsty. The answers were in the same place in the same moment. After the retreat I lived by myself all through the winter in a wooden wagon in the Dutch countryside. I stayed all that time within. I knew it was all over.
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