Travel within: 7 Steps to Wisdom and Inner Peace - Jamshid Hosseini
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Travel within: 7 Steps to Wisdom and Inner Peace Paperback – 15 Jan 2009 by Jamshid Hosseini
One bite from a king cobra can inject enough pure venom to kill 30 strong men. In India, this snake is both feared and revered. Despite its power to destroy, the cobra is believed to be a legendary protector. Stories tell of how it saved the life of the Buddha and gave protection to the Jain Muni Parshwanath. Cobras were worshipped for their immortality – a belief that probably originated from those who watched the snakes shed their skin and emerge with newborn freshness.
Whether or not you accept its beauty, mystery and supernatural powers, there’s no arguing with the fact that a cobra must be respected. Its fangs can inflict cortical blindness, paralysis, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, all within 30 minutes of a bite.
Each year an estimated 20,000 people in India die from snake-bite.
When my spiritual guru asked me to drink a tea and milk concoction made with cobra venom, I trusted him with my life. I drank it, then I died.
My master told me that our ultimate fear is death, and if I could experience death, I would conquer fear forever.
‘How is that possible?’ I struggled to understand. ‘If you die, you don’t come back to tell about it’.
‘There’s a way’, he said ‘Meditation can kill the senses and if you go into a deep enough trance, you can know what it is to die. If you do this, never again will you feel sadness for those who die. Never again will you fear death’.
Our master chose 5 of us who were devoted to him. We were brought some Indian tea with milk and other ingredients. We didn’t know what it was, except that one ingredient was poison from the fangs of a cobra.
I drink from the cup, gulping down every drop. About 30 seconds later, I feel my lungs close up and my heart shut down. Intense pain racks my body. I can’t breathe and I’m gripped by terrible fear.
‘This is it. I’m really dying. Why did I do this?’
As the pain intensifies, I think about the people I love. I squirm and rock uncontrollably, as if in seizure. I fight it. Finally, I know I can fight no more.
‘I’m done. I’m dead’.
As soon as I let go, I see a white dot which grows to become a giant light that completely surrunds me and lifts me into the air. Am I imagining other people’s descriptions of near death experiences, or is this real? All I know is that I can’t feel the ground beneath me or the air around me. I’m just floating in this beautiful realm of perfection. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Then another cliché comes true. I actually see scenes from my life playing in front of me. I see my brothers and sisters and I see my schools, family meals.
‘Wow this is beautiful. This is heaven. Why would I fight this? I never want to go back’.
The doctor who was monitoring me said I was clinically dead for many minutes. But during those minutes I lived a million lifetimes. It was my first taste of what life is like for those who reach the seventh step.
Beyond the gateway to death, logic becomes irrelevant. You don’t need to drink cobra venom to achieve this experience. Transcending each of the previous six steps will take you to the threshold, and you can cross over with a mind that is capable of focusing and then completely letting go.
You float. There’s no sensation of anything touching you anywhere, not even against your skin. You don’t even remember if you are wearing clothes, but it doesn’t matter. You might picture it as drifting in a warm spa, every muscle in your body completely relaxed; no, not relaxed, but gone. Your muscles, your body – they no longer seem to exist.
This is no ordinary meditation. The ‘warm spa’ sensation isn’t really warm and no bubbles caress your skin. It’s as if you were floating in water exactly matched to your body temperature. Your senses detect nothing different between outside and inside, so they send no message at all to your brain. No motion, no waves, no bubbles, no chill, no warmth. Complete neutrality. Nothing to report. All is calm.
Your body gradually melts away. You begin to experience what words cannot adequately convey – other than to call it death of the physical body. This isn’t death in the earthly sense of pain or loss. It’s more like your soul or consciousness has taken a complete and blissful departure. The corporeal concerns of the body cease to have relevance. You have entered Oneness, the highest realm of existence.
Your brain receives no stimuli from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth or skin. Bodily sensations hold no meaning for the place where your consciousness has gone. You are ina location without location. You see nothing and yet you see everything. You are a being without being. You exist in a time without time.
You realise that you are not something, but everything. Your essence is the same infinitesimal energy that makes up all matter everywhere. Nothing separates you from anything else in the entire universe.
You are truly one with the Absolute. You have transcended all the turning points in your life: Wanting, Giving, Receiving, Balance, Satisfaction and Detachment are all phases of your distant past.
The feeling is pure peace.
This is the end of your journey. No more searching, no more yearning, no more struggle. Your life will never be the same. You have acquired all the wisdom and inner peace you will ever need.
It’s as if you have been spending your whole life trying to put together a gigantic puzzle, yet you never could seem to get all the pieces to fit. Suddenly the pieces fall neatly and effortlessly into place and the picture becomes complete serenity.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of this experience is the realisation that you haven’t really achieved anything. You merely returned to source. Once you get there, you understand how easy it is….
After regaining full consciousness following my death by cobra venom, I slept for a day and a half and awoke with a smile ear to ear. For several days I walked around in a trance, totally connected to nature. Birds would actually fly down and sit in my hand. The others who also drank the cobra venom tea had similar experiences.
Eventually, I glided back down into the material world, but I came away with a precious gift; a road map to wisdom and inner peace. I realised that death is a good and necessary part of nature, and ever since that day, I have felt no fear of dying, nor do I feel sadness for the deceased.
Deng Ming-Dao, author of Gateway to a Vast World, wrote about our misconceptions of death in ‘365 Tao Daily Meditations’. He says ‘Nothing is ever destroyed. Nothing is ever created. All is infinity’