The power of chanting mantras

By Navjot Randhawa

The other day I attended a meditation session that was about chanting the same mantra for 3 hours. We left home at 4.15 am. The session began at 5 am & continued till well past 8 am. The meditation teacher told us what posture to get into. Then we were told at what rhythm and tone to chant in and boom, not one more word spoken. We started and it felt like from somewhere the energy came..the power came, to just keep chanting. 


It was like we were deeply listening to ourselves and each other. The master to whose tradition this meditation centre is dedicated tells of a story related to the chanting of this mantra. One time he was driving somewhere in United States many years ago with a friend. They took a wrong turn and landed in thick snow. The engine of the car stopped working and they were stranded in the middle of nowhere. The master decided to get out of the car and to start jumping up and down to increase the circulation of blood in the body to keep warm for as long as possible. He said to his friend, “it wouldn't keep us alive but at least it will delay our death”…The friend decided to stay in the car & chant the mantra taught by the master instead ! Within 15 minutes, a large truck with gasoline arrived…What’s more, the driver did not want any money in return ! He refused to accept any money saying “You have no idea what you have done for me today..!”


Perhaps we do often tend to forget what positive effect positive vibrations can have. And that is what perhaps it is not a very bad idea to join group chantings from time to time to experience that transformative power in our whole beings and surroundings. As this particular master says..”The purpose of it all is to prepare you for tomorrow..that tomorrow which is coming on us always…”

The concept of 'drishti' & yoga

By Navjot Randhawa

I went to the Brahmakumaris Centre in London a couple of days ago. 103 year old Dadi Janki, the spiritual head of the organization was giving “drishti” to those who wished to receive her blessings. I took a photograph of a young English girl receiving drishti from Dadi. You can find it below this text..In simple words we climbed up the stage, sat in front of her, she looked straight into our eyes for a few seconds or a minute or so, transmitted positive energy and we climbed down the stage.

The experience certainly was transformative and it made me look deeper into the concept of “drishti”. We use it in every day life, especially those moments of life when we are elevated to a higher level, like while falling in love. We like to look into each others’ eyes. That is what drishti is. Looking into the other person’s eyes with focus, while being totally present & with the intention to heal, while being fully aware of how one is feeling could roughly be the description of drishti. But of course there are more proper ones on the internet. And if one is interested, they offer an insight into its origin, its current use in various traditions etc.

To me what was of interest was its connection with yoga and meditation. So here are my findings in brief. Anyone who has experienced “drishti” will, I am sure, relate to these. Drishti in yoga means “a point of focus to set your gaze on to help you stay balanced & steady”. Sometimes even without our yoga teacher guiding us to do so, we look for a point to rest our eyes on while doing yoga, especially while doing difficult “asanas”. Drishti in meditation means a “way of seeing” (Gayatri Naraine). In Hindi language, it simply means “vision”. Following this practice encourages us to perceive everyone we meet or come in contact with with dignity. It helps us see the thread of purity which binds all of humanity. If we see each other with divine love, we automatically connect spiritually & lay the foundation of a long lasting relationship. Practitioners give “drishti” from the third eye, the gateway to one’s spiritual being. Considering that the ultimate goal of yoga is “union”, drishti helps achieve union with others, if practiced regularly.

TIPS IN GIVING AND RECEIVING Drishti by Gayatri Naraine

When I “give drishti” to another and “receive drishti” from another, I re-establish a spiritual connection. The cleaner my inner state, the more powerful loving and trusting my drishti!

To give drishti, first see the self as a soul, a tiny point of light resting in the forehead looking through the eyes.

Then connect to the Supreme Soul, the Source of spiritual light and might. In this state of awareness and through this elevated connection the flow of spiritual current from God is transmitted through the eyes. This current acts as a filter of protection from influences that may affect souls exchanging drishti.

When looking at the other person see him/her as a soul on the seat of the soul in the center of the forehead. Radiate love, good wishes, and pure feelings into that soul.

BENEFITS of Drishti by Gayatri Naraine

Drishti recognizes the other as a brother soul.

Drishti respects the original purity of the relationship between souls and upholds the dignity of life.

Drishti is non-violent and is in tuned with the natural rhythms light seeing that which is systemic, cyclic, and relational.

Drishti looks at the harmony and balance and sees the beauty of creation.

It is for Drishti that it is said ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.’

Dadi Janki of the Brahmakumaris giving drishti to a young English girl during “Raksha Bandhan” celebrations at their London centre on 16th August, 2019

Dadi Janki of the Brahmakumaris giving drishti to a young English girl during “Raksha Bandhan” celebrations at their London centre on 16th August, 2019

Yoga, East-West, love & promiscuity

By Navjot Randhawa

I have been reading a book on Bioenergetics (published in 1975). It is written by Alexander Lowen, an American physician and psychotherapist heavily influenced by Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst. It provides a western perspective on “the language of the body to heal the problems of the mind.” It talks about why yoga suddenly became so appealing to the Westerner. I found it quite enlightening so sharing a few excerpts and attempting to offer an analysis.

“The disenchantment with the antilife attitude of Western culture has led many people to an interest in Eastern religion, philosophy & disciplines. Most of these recognize the importance of some program of bodily exercise as essential to spiritual development. The widespread interest in yoga is a dramatic demonstration. I had looked into yoga before I met Reich, but it did not appeal to my Western mind. Yet throughout my work with Reich I was aware of some similarity between the practice of yoga and Reichian therapy. In both systems the main emphasis is on the importance of breathing. The difference between the two schools of thought was in their direction. In yoga the direction is inward, toward spiritual development; in Reichian therapy it is outward, toward creativity and joy. A reconciliation of these two views is surely needed, and it is my hope that bioenergetics can help. Several of the foremost yoga teachers in this country have expressed their personal appreciation for the understanding of the body that bioenergetics provides- an understanding that has enabled them to adapt yoga techniques to Western needs.

More recently other Oriental body disciplines have become popular in this country. Foremost is the t’ai chi ch’uan exercises the Chinese use. Both yoga and t’ai chi emphasize the importance of sensing the body, the achievement of coordination and grace and the attainment of spiritual feeling through an identification with the body. In this they contrast strongly with Western exercise programs which aim at power and control.”

Having lived between the East and the West, my understanding is that the different way of looking at the body and the mind in the two cultures stems from, broadly speaking, a different perception of the ego. While the east emphasizes the renunciation of the ego, everything in the Western culture ultimately is about boosting the ego. Therefore yoga here today has also become more of a show-off thing than a private practice meant to lead one towards liberation. No generalizations are good and therefore I say this with caution. It is more of a market study than a comment on a group of people.

The ego also plays a huge part in people’s attitude towards love and sex. Once taking care of one’s energy centres becomes a priority, lifestyles & attitudes automatically change. However of course any desire for change comes from inner experience of a sense of discomfort with oneself. That is where the search begins. Eventually, it is all about the balance between the heart and the mind as Dr.Lowen explains in these lines,

“The chronic muscular tensions blocking the free flow of excitation and feeling are frequently found in the diaphragm, in the muscles surrounding the pelvis and in the upper legs. Releasing them by using both a physical and a psychological approach makes people begin to feel “connected”. That is their word. Head, heart and genitals, or thinking, feeling and sex are no longer separate parts or separate functions. Sex becomes more and more an expression of love with a correspondingly greater pleasure. Invariably, any promiscuous behaviour which was previously engaged in ceases.”

Human life is truly fulfilling only when one is in harmony with oneself and others, when one feels truly connected to one’s being and that of others around him. Retreats are designed to help you achieve that harmony and to give you the motivation to make it your daily practice. An opening happens and most of the times, it is a magical opening. One becomes colour-blind, in the sense that every color is appealing. One is receptive to all kinds of experiences on the path of bringing all energies into balance, finding ultimately the balance between the East and West also within.


The Mirage on Meraj's WION Traveller show (Season 3, Episode 5) !

After featuring on FOX Life’s TV show Great Escape with Kunal Kapoor and Cyrus Sahukar (story here https://www.mid-day.com/articles/travel-news-kunal-kapoor-cyrus-sahukar-himalayas-great-escape-with-kunal-and-cyrus-sunday-mid-day-smd/18367187 & full episode on Hotstar), The Mirage was recently featured on WION Traveller. It was an absolute pleasure hosting Meraj and Johan…It was wonderful to see The Mirage from their eyes..Here is the link to the full episode..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LOPeg81sfk (WION Traveller S3 Episode 5 - Garli, Andretta and HP's never ending reservoir)

Enjoy :)

"What kind of a goofball gets offended by the Dalai Lama?"--Brent Forrest

By Navjot Randhawa

It was disappointing to read so many remarks directed against the Dalai Lama in the past few days. The comment in the title is from one of Dalai Lama’s friends/students on facebook. His Holiness in an interview joked when asked about a female successor, that if female Dalai Lama comes, then should be more attractive !… clearly suggesting that he doesn’t consider himself attractive and clearly just making a joke that it would be more attractive to have a female Dalai Lama than he himself. His remark however led to a big debate & I read many unpleasant things about him over the internet in the past week …His Holiness has been an integral part of our journey here at The Mirage and in some way perhaps of every one who has made the Himalayas their home. His mere presence is healing, the purity of his being shining through his words, gestures, actions.

His team put up on facebook a clarification of his comments. If you are interested, here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/dalai-lama/clarification-and-context-of-remarks-made-by-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-in-a-re/10156372190172322/

His Holiness has always been a big supporter of giving women their rightful place with due respect in all kinds of fields/spaces. He always says women have more important role in promoting compassion as an important tool to deal with the world & its problems. Even in the spiritual world, he has spoken about equal rights for men & women. I read about this in Tenzin Palmo’s writings where she talks about H.H Dalai Lama’s support in her journey. Here is an excerpt from one of the panel discussions he attended as a speaker, where he talks about the importance of women. I transcripted this from a youtube video. He has a beautiful sense of humor & I wish people who are protesting could see that he is not promoting superficial beauty but perhaps just saying that a pleasant female leader could be great for the spiritual world. Many inspiring spiritual women like Pema Chodron come to my mind..I am sure you met quite a few in your life too?

”I have one belief..some people may call me feminist..I don’t know. In human history, I think millions of years ago, in human society, no idea of leadership. I feel, I think..I think I should ask you..learned people, I don’t know. I feel there was no idea of leadership..everybody was equal, working together, whatever they got, shared together. Then eventually population increased. Some mischievous people then started the concept of leadership. Then there was no education, therefore, the main sort of quality of leadership was physical strength. So I believe male dominance started from that. Then eventually education took an important role. So then that made more equal. Male female. But now we are 21st century. It’s quite clear, see even if you see some billionaire, plenty of money. and also because of the money, they also quite influential, but as an individual person, very unhappy person. I also met some of them. So money also failed to bring inner peace and those very powerful leaders, in deep insight, I think much anxiety, much fear, much distress. So their inner peace destroyed. So therefore now since modern education alone failed to bring inner peace, and money or wealth also failed to bring inner peace and systems, technology also I think failed to bring inner peace, so now here we need some effort, more effort, to promote basic human values. There is human compassion, human affection. In that respect, biological factor, females have more sensitivity about others’ pain or suffering. Scientists are also saying that. So firstly therefore I think I want to tell governor and then all those people here. Now 21st century, time we really need more effort for promotion of human compassion. In that respect, females have more important role to play. So therefore please take more active work..”

To me the whole debate points to the ignorance of those who are making offensive statements against Dalai Lama. I am writing this post based on following the teachings of His Holiness since a couple of decades now. He has positively influenced not only my life but of many friends. He is perhaps the most centred being walking our planet today. However, it will be unwise to not listen to others’ point of views. So I read all the negative comments with an open mind. Tried to see where those people were coming from. And my heart feels their heart is closed, that is why they are being so angry with Dalai Lama for a comment he made in a language which is not even his native language. HIs Holiness has a remarkably authentic personality. He is simple yet so wise. I am a woman and an actress. I am totally against objectifying women. And I feel sad when Bollywood does it time and again. But it almost feels a not thought out thought, a not thought out action, a not thought out karma to blame the Dalai Lama of objectifying women. I thought the whole issue was being blown out of proportion because the media was only highlighting a couple of minutes of the interview. I feel one should listen to the whole interview before using such harsh words for a man who has done more for promoting peace in this world than any of those using those words.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz536

Here is the link if you have time. If you would like to join the debate, please do leave a comment here. You can also e-mail us at mirageandretta@gmail.com to join the debate.