AMRIT ANUBHAV MEDITATION CENTER
The name of our new meditation center is Amrit Anubhav, which means “The Nectar of Self Awareness.” The first word, amrit (nectar) carries the sense of the sweetness and joy of our true nature. The second word, anubhav (usually translated as self awareness) refers to the formless or non-dual quality of Reality, which is both the nature of all that is – the Universe – as well as our own true nature.
Amrit Anubhav is the name of a long poem about enlightenment written by a great siddha master and poet named Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj, who lived in the 14th century in India. This name came to me long ago as the name for my meditation center and has stuck, despite my efforts to find a simpler English name.
Jnaneshwar Maharaj lived and is entombed in a town called Alandi, a powerful place of pilgrimage in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is said that he took “live samadhi” which means that he asked to be buried alive in a deep meditative state from which he continues to bless pilgrims today. Whether we take this literally or figuratively, the blessings are indeed alive today.
My root guru, Baba Muktananda, loved Jnaneshwar very much and regularly visited his tomb or samadhi shrine. He told his students that it was one of the tasks of a spiritual master to visit and revivify places of pilgrimage with their presence and practice.
The Amrit Anubhav Meditation Center is a place of pilgrimage, since it holds the blessings of meditation from a powerful lineage. It is meant to serve as a place of sanctuary – a source of peace and blessings, as well as spiritual awakening and transformation.
Excerpts from Amrit Anubhav by Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj, translated by Kaviraj, Swami Abhayananda (Stan Trout)
From the chapter called The Unity of Shiva and Shakti:
So long as Unity is undisturbed,
And a graceful pleasure is thereby derived,
Why should not the water find delight
In the floral fragrance of its rippled surface?
It is in this manner I bow
To the inseparable Shiva and Shakti.
A reflected image merges with its object
When the mirror is taken away.
When the air is still, the ripples vanish.
A man comes to himself
When he wakes from sleep.
Likewise, I have perceived the God and Goddess
By waking from my ego.
When salt dissolves,
It becomes one with the ocean;
When my ego dissolved,
I became one with Shiva and Shakti.
From the chapter called Refutation of the Doctrine of Ignorance:
Just as the Sun is nothing but the Sun,
The moon is nothing but the moon,
And the flame of a lamp
Is nothing but a flame—
Be assured also
That the Light of Consciousness
Is nothing but the Light.
The whole universe
Is nothing but the luminosity of the Self.
The scriptures declare with assurance
That everything that exists
Is radiating with His Light.
Is it said for no reason?
The light of the Self
Is Itself the cause
Of the appearance of His beauty
Which He Himself is enjoying.
From the chapter called The Secret of Natural Devotion:
No matter where he goes,
That sage is making pilgrimage to Shiva.
And if he attains to Shiva,
That attainment is non-attainment.
That in such a state,
Moving about on foot
And remaining seated in one place
Are the same!
No matter what his eyes fall upon
At any time—
He always enjoys the vision of Shiva.
If Shiva Himself appears before him,
It is as if he has seen nothing.
God and his devotee
Are on the same level.
Of its own accord,
A ball falls to the ground,
And bounces up again,
Enraptured in its own bliss.
If ever we could watch
The play of a ball,
We might be able to say something
About the behavior of the sage.
The spontaneous, natural devotion
Cannot be touched by the hand of action,
Nor can knowledge penetrate it.
It goes on without end,
In communion with itself.
What bliss can be compared to this?
From the chapter called Blessings to the World:
“This is the sweet Nectar of Self-Awareness.
Even those who are liberated
Should have a drink of it.”
There is nothing wrong
With the state of Liberation,
But the Nectar of Self-Awareness
Is so pure and sweet
That even the timeless state of Liberation
Yearns for a taste of it.
Some souls have attained Liberation;
Some are seeking Liberation,
And some others are still in bondage.
These differences remain
Only so long as they have not tasted
This Nectar of Self-Awareness.
Just as the streams
Which come to play in the Ganges
Become the Ganges,
Or as darkness going out to meet the Sun
Becomes the light of the Sun;
Or as we may speak of different metals
Only so long as they have not been touched
By the philosopher’s stone—
When they all become gold—
So, those who enter deeply into these words
Are like rivers which, mingling with the ocean,
Just as all possible sounds
Meet in the sound OM,
So there is nothing else—
In all the world,
But the Self.
It is impossible to point to anything
That is not God.
Truly, everything is Shiva.
“May everyone in the universe
Enjoy this feast
Of the Nectar of Self-Awareness.”
Take 101 to the Sunset Ave. off-ramp and head east toward the college. Use the center lane of the off-ramp if you are coming from the south. The off-ramp from the south is tricky for newcomers. As you head off of the Sunset Avenue off-ramp coming from the south you will turn right from the center land briefly onto the Sunset Avenue overcrossing. This is an unusual off-ramp configuration. (If you have GPS, you can see it in advance. )
At L.K. Wood Blvd. (the first crossroad) turn left heading north (away from campus). After approximately a half mile you will see “Blondies” roadhouse and laundromat on your right. This is the California Avenue landmark.
Turn right on California Ave. and come up the hill just under 1 mile. The house is on the right: a “Spanish” ranch-style peachy stucco single-storey . On the mailbox there is a sign that reads “The Bazemores.” The address is 585 East California Avenue. Park anywhere you find a convenient spot. Follow the meditation sign to the right for the center, rather than the front door to the house on the left.