Perceiving the subtle dimension – An important feature of Sanatan’s seekers

Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale conducting a subtle experiment
Sadguru (Dr) Mukul Gadgil
With the blessings of His Guru, Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj, Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale established ‘Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskriti Sanstha’ on 1.8.1991. Thereafter, to make the name of the organisation simple, He established ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ on 23.3.1999. Sanatan Sanstha completed 25 years in March 2024. On its Silver Jubilee, I will attempt to narrate how Sanatan Sanstha grew and how the ability of its seekers to perceive the subtle dimension came into existence.

1. Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale (Gurudev) has taught seekers that Spirituality is about the subtle dimension and how one can obtain the spiritual experiences of the subtle through various experiments : Spirituality is the science of action and spiritual experiences. Spiritual experiences are beyond the five senses, mind and intellect, which an ordinary individual has no knowledge of. The experiences of the Panchatattva (The five Cosmic Principles) one obtains through the medium of their five senses are at the physical level. Conversely, spiritual experiences are subtle in nature. Spirituality explains the science underlying the subtle aspects such as Deities, the three components of Sattva, Raja and Tama, prarabdha (Destiny that is experienced in this birth), spiritual distress and the change in these aspects brought about by spiritual practice. There are limitations to explaining these aspects at the physical level. Spiritual practice enhances the ability of the five subtle sense organs to obtain spiritual experiences. Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale has explained this science and through various experiments has taught how to get the spiritual experience of subtle vibrations.

2. Subtle, subtler, subtle-most and beyond the subtle-most are the 4 levels of subtle results : There are 4 levels of subtle knowledge – subtle, subtler, subtle-most and beyond the subtle-most. Instating the Idol of Shriramlalla in Ayodhya is one example of this aspect.

1. Subtle effect : Generation of bhav (Spiritual emotion) unto Shriram in the minds of the people.

2. Subtler effect : Planting the seeds of devotion in the minds of the people.

3. Subtle-most effect : Devotion leading to increase in sattvikata of the people.

4. Beyond the subtle-most effect : Establishment of the Divine Rule in India due to sattvik people.

From this we can realise that going increasingly towards the subtle level means the ability to know God’s cause-effect relationship. In this journey from the subtle to beyond the subtle-most, the individual moves increasingly towards higher subtle levels; effectively meaning, his ability to perceive the subtle increases progressively. Let us see this through an example.

1. Noticing a subtle phenomenon (for example, perceiving good vibrations in the room) means understanding the subtle.

2. Knowing the location of that subtle phenomenon (where the good vibrations are coming from in the room) means to know the subtler.

3. Knowing the time of that subtle phenomenon (when the process of good vibrations started entering the room) means knowing the subtlest-most.

4. Finally, knowing the cause-effect relationship of the subtle phenomenon (why did the good vibrations start coming into the room) means knowing beyond the subtle-most. God is beyond the subtle-most and seekers have to reach there through their spiritual practice.

3. Gurudev taught how to distinguish between good and harmful objects : In the initial phase of seekers’ spiritual practice Gurudev conducted experiments with good and harmful objects to help the seekers understand the difference between sattvik and non-sattvik objects.

A. During these experiments, He held those objects in front of the seekers and taught them to distinguish between sattvik and non-sattvik objects. In effect, Gurudev taught the seekers to distinguish between good objects and distress-causing objects.

B. The next step was teaching seekers to distinguish between the good and distressing vibrations emitting from two envelopes, in which two different objects whose identity was not known to seekers were placed, by looking at the envelopes or by holding them. Good vibrations give the spiritual experience of the body feeling light, a cooling sensation, a good feeling in the mind, perceiving light, etc. Conversely, distressing vibrations give the spiritual experience of pressure on the body, nausea, the mind feeling repulsive, perceiving darkness, etc. As seekers learned this, they began to distinguish between the good and distressing vibrations.

4. Identifying the vibrations of Panchatattva : The next stage of knowing the subtle is to identify which of the Panchatattva – Pruthvi, Apa, Tej, Vayu and Akash (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether respectively) are predominant. The subtle vibrations of Shakti, bhav, Chaitanya, Anand and Shanti respectively are associated with these Panchatattva and are slightly easier to recognise. The spiritual experiences associated with these vibrations are mentioned in the following Table.

From this information provided by Gurudev, seekers began to identify the vibrations of Panchatattva. Since seekers perform spiritual practice, they obtain spiritual experiences. Even if this information is shared with an average individual, he will not get these spiritual experiences; because he does not have spiritual practice to his credit.

5. Gurudev teaches seekers even through the medium of attacks of negative energies : Under the guidance of Gurudev, seekers are performing vyashti sadhana (Individual spiritual practice), as well as samashti sadhana (Spiritual practice for the spread of Spirituality). As a result, the sattvikata of society is increasing. Since 2002, being unable to tolerate this increase, the negative energies in the subtle dimension began to attack seekers, their belongings, the Ashrams where they are residing, etc. They also began to attack Gurudev. These attacks were new to the seekers. But even through the medium of these attacks, Gurudev taught seekers. He explained how the negative energies are attacking at the progressively higher levels of the Panchatattva.

Although the negative energies are attacking seekers at the level of Panchatattva, God, on His part, also relieves the seekers by giving them good spiritual experiences from the Panchatattva. As an example of this aspect, God protects a seeker by giving him a spiritual experience of fragrance when bad odour is generated by negative energies. God helps the seekers since they perform spiritual practice.

6. By Guru’s grace, some seekers are able to make subtle observations.

A. Some seekers have developed the subtle perception ability to analyse an incident. Seekers began to tell the exact location of an incident, when it happened and the underlying cause-effect relationship. Their subtle observations were published in Daily ‘Sanatan Prabhat’. Society began to understand the underlying spiritual science through writeups on these incidents.

B. If the incident was sattvik (associated with positive energy or was auspicious), average people began to understand through the subtle observation of the incident, such as how God helps through that incident, the positive impact of that incident, etc.

C. If the incident is non-sattvik, associated with negative energy, meaning, distress-causing, it was possible through the medium of the subtle observation, to bring to the attention of society how negative energies cause distress through that incident, the harmful effects of that incident and the spiritual remedies to be performed to eliminate the harmful effects. This helped develop desire among the curious people to know the subtle. It was also possible to tell how it is necessary to perform spiritual practice to avoid such distress-causing incidents.

D. Seekers also conducted observations of all that happened in the subtle when a Saint or a seeker performed the satseva of delivering a spiritual discourse in society.

E. Even while an incident was taking place, seekers would conduct subtle observations. Therefore, it was possible to understand the process of the incident in the subtle dimension. Even if that incident occurred far away and not near the seekers, by Guru’s grace they still developed the ability to conduct subtle observations.

F. It was possible to explain through the subtle observations the harmful effect of an individual’s action when he has severe personality defects or ego. Thus, it was possible to help the seeker overcome his personality defects and ego.

G. Then, through subtle observations, the seekers were able to understand the effect on an individual or an object in front of them or far away when a Saint performs a spiritual remedy through chanting.

H. In Hindu culture there is a specific way of performing an action, which has been handed down as a tradition. Today, Indians are getting influenced by western culture. Therefore, the practices of Hindu culture are being discarded. To re-establish Hindu culture, it was possible to prove through subtle observations how the actions mentioned in Hindu culture have a sattvik effect.

I. Some seekers who have subtle perception ability can draw the picture of a subtle incident. Through this process, the incident would become clearer.

These were the benefits of subtle observations. Seekers’ ability to conduct subtle inspections is the Guru’s grace on them.

7. For the benefit of society, Sanatan Sanstha has published more than 300 Texts on the unique subtle knowledge of Spirituality obtained by the seekers : The next stage of the subtle observation conducted by some seekers was that they began to obtain subtle knowledge. Such knowledge is obtained by oneness with the Universal mind and Universal intellect. When such seekers are asked a spiritual question or given information on a subject, they get indepth and unique knowledge about it. The flow of knowledge is vast, which is enough to fill 15 to 20 pages of an A4 (large notebook) size in a day.

Since 2003, 15 to 20 seekers have been obtaining knowledge in this way. Therefore, scientific answers to the why’s and how’s of spiritual activities began to be found.

Due to His curiosity about various topics in Spirituality, Gurudev puts many questions seekers (who can obtain subtle knowledge), who promptly write their answers. Gurudev verifies if the knowledge obtained by them is correct. He says, ‘Some seekers who obtain Divine knowledge suffer from negative energy distress; besides, due to their spiritual level, their connection with the Universal mind and Universal intellect fluctuates; so also, the negative energies impart incorrect knowledge. Therefore, the knowledge obtained by them has to be verified’.

This knowledge has been compiled and published by Sanatan Sanstha in Texts. Most of Sanatan’s Texts (365 Texts have been printed so far) contain about 20% Divine knowledge that is not available anywhere else on Earth. There are still many Texts on such knowledge yet to be printed.

8. Huge benefits of subtle knowledge to those who perform spiritual practice through the medium of Art

A. Seekers who are performing spiritual practice through the medium of Art : Gurudev has asked the seekers performing spiritual practice through the medium of Art to draw pictures of the seven superior Deities – Shri Ganapati, Shiva, Shrikrushna, Datta, Maruti, Shriram and Shri Mahalakshmi. To do this, the seekers had to know how each Deity looks like, their clothes, ornaments, weapons, etc. and draw pictures.

When the seekers drew pictures of the Deities, Gurudev asked – ‘To what extent has the Deity’s Principle been imbibed in each of these ?’ Initially the proportion of Deity Principle was only 2-4 %; but even this is more than the 1-2% Deity Principle that is imbibed by the commercially available pictures in the market.

Gurudev asked the seekers to make efforts to draw pictures of the seven Deities so as to increase the Deity’s Principle imbibed in the picture. As the seekers advanced in their spiritual practice, so did their subtle perception ability. Hence, the Principle of the Deity imbibed in the pictures increased from 2-4% and then to 30-32% in a span of 24 years. In Kaliyug, humans can perceive the Principle of God only up to 30%. The Sanatan’s seekers have crossed this limitation too. Society has benefited from the pictures of these Deities and helped seekers in increasing their devotion. (Please see Shriram’s picture above.)

B. Seekers who have chosen sculpture as their medium for performing spiritual practice : During the Ganesh festival, Shri Ganapati Idols are sold in the market. Mostly, they are neither made according to the Scriptures nor are they sattvik. Gurudev asked seekers who were familiar with Idol-making to make sattvik Idols of Shri Ganapati. They had to perceive the form of Ganapati in the subtle and make the Idol. It took these seekers three years to come close to what was expected. This Idol had imbibed 28.3% Principle of Shri Ganapati. (Please see Idol above.) Now, an Idol of Shri Durga Devi is being sculpted.

C. Lady-seekers who draw sattvik rangolis : Many people draw rangolis; but mostly these are not sattvik and do not attract the Deity’s Principle. Sanatan’s lady-seekers, who have subtle perception ability, have created rangoli patterns that are easy to draw, are sattvik and attract various Deity Principles. Sanatan Sanstha has published a Booklet ‘Sattvik Rangolis’ and made these rangoli patterns available to society.

D. Seekers who perform spiritual practice through the medium of other Arts : There are seekers in Sanatan Sanstha who perform spiritual practice through the medium of different Art-forms such as singing, music, dance, etc. They also need to develop their subtle perception ability to understand how their Art-form affects them, the audience and the environment. These seekers benefit from this ability. They study how the Art-form should be sattvik, and leads to God-realisation. They present this aspect to the society as well. This leads to the development of their vyashti and samashti sadhana.

9. Since the seekers have subtle perception ability, they understand the attacks of negative energies and plan spiritual remedies : By the Guru’s grace, seekers of Sanatan Sanstha have taken up the mission of spreading Spirituality all over the world. Due to this, the society is becoming cultured and sattvik. Since negative energies are rampant in this phase of Kaliyug, they oppose the spread of sattvikata in the society. In doing so, they attack the seekers, and also create obstacles in the path of seekers who are performing the satseva of spreading Spirituality. To understand the attacks of negative energies, it is necessary to have subtle perception ability. If they have this ability, the seekers can find spiritual remedies by knowing exactly where and how the negative energies are going to attack. This involves knowing the direction and place of the attack, on which Kundalini-chakra and on which level of Panchatattva they are going to attack. When these aspects are understood in the subtle, it becomes easy to perform spiritual remedies.

10. Summary : In short, since seekers performed spiritual practice, they began to obtain subtle knowledge. Spiritual practice helps develop the ability to perceive and differentiate between the sattvik and non-sattvik, the good and distressing, Panchatattva, Sattva-Raja-Tama, etc. and enables the seekers to obtain associated spiritual experiences.

Therefore, it is natural that the seekers will also behave appropriately. They follow Hindu culture, morals, code of conduct mentioned in the Hindu culture. Therefore, they are less affected by the Raja-Tama predominant environment and natural calamities of the present phase of Kaliyug. God protects them.

Conversely, today, we see many people behave according to the western culture instead of abiding by Hindu culture. Some examples of this are – nowadays girls and women often move around in public with their hair loose, wear black clothes, and dress up like men. Due to lack of spiritual practice, they do not realise the subtle consequences of these improper actions. Since seekers are aware of the consequences of incorrect actions, they always try to do what is right, whether in society or at home. Also, be it the design of the house, the colour of the walls at home, or their daily activities, seekers try to bring sattvikata in all these aspects. Their children follow them. As a result, their life is also becoming sattvik.

This shows the importance of spiritual practice, subtle knowledge and obtaining spiritual experiences. Since Sanatan Sanstha teaches this practical aspect, Sanatan’s seekers are progressing fast spiritually. The entire credit goes to Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale.

Sanatan Sanstha’s 25 years of fruitful and remarkable progress in the field of Spirituality has been possible only because of Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale. For this grace, all seekers express their gratitude a million times at His Holy feet !

– Sadguru (Dr) Mukul Gadgil, Ph.D., Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay, Goa. (3.3.2024)

Gurudev has taught seekers how to obtain the spiritual experiences of the subtle dimension through various experiments !

Meaning of the word ‘subtle’

1. Subtle world : That which cannot be comprehended by the five sense organs, but whose existence is comprehended by the one who performs spiritual practice is known as the ‘subtle world’. Various Scriptures contain reference to subtle knowledge.

2. Seeing, hearing in the subtle, etc. (Receiving knowledge through the five subtle sense organs) : The subtle vision of some seekers is awakened – they can perceive what the physical eyes cannot see, some seekers can hear sounds or words in the subtle.

3. Subtle analysis : ‘Subtle analysis’ is that in which the chitta (Subconscious mind) understands about an event or a process.