On the Path

(The first of a series of articles on my travels in India, in search of enlightenment.)

Sri Ganeshaya Namaha!

Introduction

The spiritual path which I have travelled thus far has taken many unusual twists and turns, but the goal has always been clear--a return to the sense of oneness with God, a sense of wonder with the glory of Life, and the abidance in the natural, original state of spiritual Beingness.

Attraction to esoteric and occult practices was an underlying theme throughout my studies of the world’s great religions. I was not content to study theory and abstract philosophies, but instead, wanted to know and experience, first-hand, the secrets and mysteries of the universe. And of all the occult and esoteric studies and practices which I came into contact with, Vedic astrology captivated and sustained my interest above and beyond all other studies.

More than any other divinatory science, Vedic astrology has provided me with incredible insights into my specific karmas, my spiritual lessons in life, my Life Purpose, my duties, my obligations, and my limitations. I wanted to share this priceless knowledge with others, and in 1991, left all other work behind, and began a full-time practice in the Bay Area.

My previous work had been quite interesting and varied. In the earlier years I had managed a publishing department for a New Age, spiritual organization; held administrative positions at the Chemistry Department of the University of California, Berkeley; worked as a public policy and budget analyst for the Board of Supervisors in Santa Cruz County; and finally, was employed as a financial consultant for a major brokerage house in high-rolling Marin County. My experience in all of these former occupations now help me to give practical advice to my clients in various areas of their lives.

When I look back at my earlier years of extensive travel in Asia, my studies in astrology were actually secondary to my interest in meeting saints, spiritual teachers, and advanced yogis. Indeed, meeting spiritually advanced souls and receiving their teaching and blessings was the highest priority for most of my adult life. When on pilgrimage in South Asia, I studied and practiced astrology and palmistry only when I had a break from my intensive spiritual practices, which included traditional forms of meditation, yoga, mantra japa, and devotional singing.

I had the good fortune, or karma, to meet many great astrologers and palmists as I travelled throughout India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Most of my teachers are totally unknown here in America, since they did not write books in English, or have much contact with the Western world. In the early 1990's I became closely associated with Dr. B.V. Raman, editor of The Astrological Magazine, and considered by his peers to be the foremost astrologer of modern times. He kindly encouraged me to continue my study and practice of Vedic astrology, as a way to serve humanity. He also found a page from the Dhruva Nadi, an ancient palm-leaf manuscript, which indicated that astrology would become my primary profession. And so it has come to pass.

Besides meeting many great astrologers in India, I also had the opportunity to meet and receive the blessings of many spiritually advanced souls, whose teachings and personal example had a profound effect upon my perception of Reality, my personal values, and my goals in life. Among the better known ones were Shree Maa Anandamayee, Devaraha Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, Mother Krishnabai, Taungpulu Sayadaw, Kalu Rinpoche, the Paramacharya of Kanchipuram, Pilot Baba, Swami Chidananda, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Siddhi Devi, Master Hsuan Hua, Mata Amritanandamayi, Master Yu Tian Jian, and others. These spiritual teachers had as much, if not more, influence in my practice of astrology as a spiritual service, as my astrology teachers had in teaching me the principles and precepts of this science.

There were other contacts with enlightened beings along the banks of the Ganges River, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains of India, and in the forests of South India. We did not discuss astrology, but rather, reflected upon the goal of human existence, and the pathway for the unfoldment of the Divine Potential within each person. Most of the great souls that I met in my travels remain unknown to the Western world. It was only my karmic connection with them from past lifetimes, which permitted me to have personal contact with them again in this lifetime.

What I have learned from all of these great beings is that, while Vedic astrology is the supreme occult science, revealing the mysteries of our karma and our relationship to the Divine, the grace of a Sadguru (or enlightened being) is still essential for spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, and spiritual enlightenment. We cannot do it all by ourselves; we need help along the way.

We are not separate from others, nor is our spiritual path a solitary walk. There can be many spiritual friends and helpers along the way. I have received many teachings, many blessings, and much in the way of spiritual grace and protection from my own spiritual teachers. I hope that you will also be fortunate enough to meet many enlightened beings, who will guide you on your own journey to spiritual awakening.

With everlasting gratitude, I dedicate these articles to my spiritual teachers, to your spiritual teachers, and to all the spiritual teachers of the world. Jaya Gurudev!

May peace be with you.

Umananda

The second installment of On the Path, Miracle of Grace, Part 2 is now available for your reading enjoyment.  Jaya Maa! 


Last update: 15 May 2016
Web Author: Stephen Quong
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