The Direct Path To Spiritual Awakening

The Direct Path
Spiritual Awakening

My Spiritual Awakening- Journey to Pure Awareness, Bliss & Ecstasy

I dedicated 23 years of my life to find enlightenment. I explored deeply the teachings of Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, Zen and served numerous Gurus, obsessed with finding reality.  Whatever I write and teach is from my own direct experience of awakening.

Rajiv Agarwal Meditating Ramana Maharishi


I was born in Siliguri, a small town in India in 1976.  Since early childhood, I had an intense fascination for the unknown. I went for my college in New Delhi and it was during this period that I started exploring the healing therapies of different traditions. These included Reiki, Magnified healing, hypnosis, mantra healing, Pyramid healing, dowsing, crystal healing, chakra balancing, kundalini awakening etc.

I was quite good at healing and the people I healed saw great improvements in their health. Over time, I became a popular healer. Soon I had a group of people around me, who thought I had great spiritual powers. But, I did not want to become a Guru, and I was least interested in collecting people around me. I knew I was just on the surface, and true healing could only arise once I understood consciousness, once I attained enlightenment. I didn’t want to be distracted from my lofty goal, and I slowly distanced myself from my image as a healer.

Persecution and Suffering

I come from a very conservative and close knit society. The society I lived in thrived on money, the only purpose of life was making lots of money and if you weren’t interested in making money and wanted to go on a different path, you were a pariah. The people around me were intensely religious, but all they wanted from God was to fulfill their petty desires for money and security, and they tried to sway the Gods by pleasing them with offerings and prayers.

But I didn’t want to please God for money. I wanted to find the infinite immensity, the ultimate reality.

When I came back to my small hometown after my studies, I realized how emotionally traumatic being a seeker was. People were already gossiping about me.  It was inconceivable for them that I wasn’t interested in becoming rich but instead wanted to meditate and find reality. They thought I either had some mental issues or had lost my mind. Some were sympathetic, advising me to leave this madness and be more practical, ie focus on money and material aspect of my life.

It was during this period that I realized something ironic. In such a religious and spiritual place as India, it is great to worship God, but if you are intent on finding God, dedicating your life to finding reality, then you are ostracized from the society.

During this time, something even more emotionally devastating happened to me. I had gone on spiritual retreat for a week to a place called Ganeshpuri, near Mumbai. It was a wonderful trip which helped me gain insights into my mind. I used to get up at 3:30 AM, spending hours meditating and immersing myself into the teachings of various enlightened masters. I also met local sages and wise men, absorbing their wisdom and insights.

But, when I came back home, everyone in town believed that I was in a rehabilitation in Mumbai for drug addiction, a rumor spread by one of my close friend. (Till today, I utterly fail to understand why he did that.) This wouldn’t have been such a big thing now, but in 1999, in a small town in India, it was a social death sentence. It was a double whammy for me, having a tag of a spiritual seeker who wasn’t interested in money and a drug addict. I became a social outcast.

I was young and the derision I experienced broke my heart into pieces. I knew people whispered behind my back as I walked down the streets. I started going out less, meeting people less. All this while, I kept asking the heavens- “all I wanted was to find the ultimate reality, to follow the path to truth. I have never even hurt an ant, then why are these people against me? “

I spent most of my time locked in my room. I had this immense sadness, a longing to become whole with the universe, to find my true eternal self, a pain which seared my very being. I couldn’t cry in front of my parents or family members, and it was in my room I spent hours in tears, till my head split and my eyes became sore. But nothing brought peace to me.

“Why are they after me? I am not gambling or doing drugs. I am cultivating compassion and kindness, living a simple life of utter nonviolence? Why am I being persecuted?”

It was during this time that I seriously contemplated living the life of a penniless monk. I wanted to take the vows of renunciation and live a life dedicated to finding the truth. The more I withdrew from everything, the more hurt and pained my mom become. She saw me withering away in front of her eyes. She was constantly haunted by the thoughts of me renouncing the material life and becoming a monk. This stress affected her health and made her very depressed.

With tears in her eyes, she would plead with me not to become a monk. I loved her immensely, and I was torn between my love for her and my desire to dedicate my life wholeheartedly to find enlightenment.

After months of agonizing over my decision, I realized that I couldn’t find peace if I broke her heart. I couldn’t see her suffer any more.

Ultimately, I made a promise to her.

“Mom, I will never break your heart. I will only become a monk when you agree, that too with a smile.”

That was the end of my dream of becoming a penniless wandering monk. My mom’s health steadily improved, but she never gave me permission to become a monk.

A new dawn

It was difficult for me to stay in the suffocating environment of my home town. I was very good in composing and creating music, and I decided to shift to Mumbai and find creative expression as a sound designer and musician. I found solace in music and thus began my career in music which I pursued for many years.

Since I was working as a freelance sound designer and audio engineer, I took few gigs and dedicated most of my time in my spiritual pursuit. I traveled extensively across the entire length and breadth of India, specially the Himalayas. I met countless saints and enlightenment masters and lived a life of utter simplicity. There was a time when I even lived and meditated in a cave.

I met some fascinating sages in my journeys. I met the bliss intoxicated sage, who was mostly immersed in inner ecstasy and radiated immense joy, the silent sage, Mauni Baba, who hadn’t spoken a word in the last 40 years, the wise Dineshananadji, who was immersed in non-dual awareness.

My first introduction to Non duality (Advaita) was through the works of Nisargadatta Maharaj. Maharaj intrigued and fascinated me. This got me interested in other Advaita teachers like Ramana Maharishi, Atamananda etc. I also started reading the works of J Krishnamurti, whom I immensely admired.

Experiencing ecstasy and profound stillness

It was during this time I started having fantastic spiritual experiences. Sometimes I felt so ecstatic that every cell in my body would explode with bliss. I felt that I was floating in an infinite ocean of ecstasy. I was absorbed in these expanded rapturous states of being for hours. A sense of immense sacredness and divinity infused my entire consciousness.

During these states, my body sometimes used to go in spontaneous states of yoga. Sometimes my body would become so flexible that I could bend spontaneously into difficult yoga postures. Many of these postures were completely unknown to me but the body automatically aligned itself to certain ancient forms.

Another curious thing happened with my breathing; I experienced spontaneous Pranayama and kumbhka (Ancient yogic breathing patterns and techniques). It is a cessation of breath, which leads to higher states of consciousness. I experienced both the outer and the inner cessation of breath. After I took a deep breath in, my breath used to stop for around a minute to minute and a half. During this time the mind felt utterly still and pure. After the inner cession, I would exhale, wherein my breath used to again stop for approximately a minute.

Sometimes I didn’t experience Kumbhka instead my breathing used to slow down to one breath a minute, with the inhalation extending approximately 30 – 40 seconds and the exhalation for the same period of time. This would continue sometimes for 45 minutes at a stretch.

Inner Spiritual Awakening

In 2005, I had gone to Mirik, a small town in the Himalayas for silent contemplation. One day, as I was strolling besides the beautiful mountain lake, engrossed in witnessing my consciousness, something unexpected happened.  As I looked within, I could feel my consciousness slowly expanding beyond my body. To my utter amazement, my consciousness expanded and slowly embraced the lake and the mountain ranges. As I looked at the clouds, I could see them become one with me. I was suddenly everywhere. The entire space was myself and everything under the sky was me. Every point of space contained me, reflected my consciousness, which was mine, but was also universal.  The entire creation melted into a luminous wave of consciousness. I was free from the bondage of individuality, from being a mere speck. I was the totality, but it was not me as a person. There was identity, but it was universal, all embracing.

It was at this moment that the teachings of Nisargadatta, J krishnamurthi, Advaita, Zen and Buddhism all unfolded and I realized what they were trying to point at. For years I had read them, contemplated their teachings, but now, at this moment, I was living them.

Chasing Enlightenment

The spiritual awakening experience caused a permanent shift in my understanding. However, the deeper effects of the awakening started fading away in the next 6 months. But I had got a taste of the potential of my own consciousness and I wanted to make this my permanent state of being.

More than ever before, I wanted enlightenment. Enlightenment. This one word brought untold grief and suffering to me for the next few years.

I started chasing the abstract mystical concepts of enlightenment and fell down the rabbit hole of grace, guru and Nirvana.  I wasted years pleasing Gurus, hoping they would somehow help me in integrating and making this state permanent, that their grace would bestow enlightenment, the ultimate cessation of being. Most of my waking state was absorbed in contemplating awareness and consciousness. I knew if I witnessed my consciousness a little longer, meditated a little more, I would finally go beyond the veil of illusion and find my own true self. The more I chased enlightenment, the more miserable I became.

After being a miserable seeker for 7 years, I was utterly exhausted. I still experienced the states of profound bliss and peace, but since they were an impediment to enlightenment, I had stopped paying attention to them. (In hindsight, it was the foolish thing I  did in my life).

Bliss wasn’t good enough.
Peace wasn’t good enough.
I needed enlightenment, the ultimate resting place.

This had been hammered inside my head through the teachings of most of the spiritual systems. You couldn’t rest till you found enlightenment. Till you reached perfection, everything else was an illusion. Either you were Enlightened and perfect, or you were still in duality, in illusion. It was a black and white situation, either you attained it, or you were imperfect.

Shift in consciousness and perception

It was in 2013, I was in India when I started having doubts about enlightenment. For years I had unquestioning faith in its existence. The more I started questioning it, the more it started to fall apart.

Then it struck me. I was looking for a perfect enlightened state in the future, a state which someone else had experienced. I had been caught in endless becoming , the desire to find a perfect state of being which I had read in books. And I had totally forgotten about what I had – the infinite bliss and peace which I had always experienced, the state of beyond mind and consciousness, the state of pure awareness.

At that moment, an intense joy overwhelmed me, shaking the very core of my being. The vast treasure of awakening had always been with me but my spiritual greed of becoming more, of wanting it to be permanent had made me blind to it. It was like having billions of dollars, and still being miserable because you are not as rich as Bill Gates.

That day, I stopped becoming. I stopped seeking. I stopped being a miserable seeker. I had finally arrived.

That was the endless dawn of awakening.


It took some years for this final shift to be totally integrated. Life has become immensely beautiful living in present conscious awareness. Stillness has become the background for all activities. Spontaneous states of bliss and ecstasy arise, carrying me to the infinite shore of immense joy.

There is a sacred wonderment when beholding nature and life in all its diversity.There is a  shining darkness, an unfathomable silence, space which is empty, yet full. I call it what is, the sense of presence. And I would like everyone to experience these amazing higher states of consciousness at least once in their life time. Even the sun pales in front of the immensity of consciousness.

Meditation Process for Spiritual Awakening

27 Responses

  1. I love your website and your deep understanding of different aspects of awareness and consciousness. I had an experience of higher states of consciousness last month, and I experienced ecstasy continuously for 2 days. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Now I can see that many others on the spiritual path have had similar experiences.

    1. Those who experienced such state of bliss might be with good karma in past births and also disciplined efforts in the present life. This efforts once discontinued you will never get that state of mind/ bliss. Therefore such life may not be ideal for all type of people.
      When surrendered to God and lead simple life with helping attitude to all including other creatures and not showing angry and hatredness and free from sexual pleasure/ celibacy in family life, doing japa, regular fasting , always conciseness of Brahma and viewing worldly life as maya or non existence is ideal while living in this Kaliyuga. As suggested my Mother I eat only matured/ripened items of food (rice, sapati, dhal/green gram, potato, selected fruits, milk etc) . Eating vegetables (except potato and yellow pumpkin) are not allowed for satvic life and God will keep distance from our body once vegetables are eaten.
      If such life is followed then God fulfill our minimal needs for our worldly life and also ensure good death too.

  2. Hi Rajiv,

    Such a heart touching context of your life. Enlightenment and Self-Realization happened to me too after very painful and miserable seeking. I was seeking TRUTH, I did not know back then what is Enlightenment or Self-Realization. I recently moved to Melbourne, Australia from the USA. If you are in Melbourne, maybe we can meet and laugh about everything 🙂

    1. Hi Prakriti, Seeking enlightenment can be very miserable and lonely experience. it also creates a concept of idealized state of existence, a yearning for perfection, a state of never ending bliss. That itself is a huge trap. Thank you for reaching out and I would love to connect with you.

  3. Efforts like seeking, becoming, working towards are all but semantics that don’t need to be taken literally.

    Methodologies, whether in Advaita Vedanta tradition, Buddhism tradition, Sufisim tradition etc. are simply the tools, that our limited human capability can comprehend and execute. When the methodologies are applied with sincere understanding as to the it’s mystical intent, experience is as real as gravity, sunrise, sunset, electrons etc. are real – apparently real.

    Experiencing awareness is simply an experience of one’s being as the true nature – a reality that is metaphysical that is beyond the 5 human senses and thoughts. It doesn’t require strenuous effort, doesn’t require strenuous thought, doesn’t require elaborate rites & rituals, doesn’t require blind belief etc.

    Good luck in the pure awareness experience…..

  4. Hi Rajiv,

    Self-Realization happened to me too after a long period of meditation and other spiritual practices like reading scriptures, hearing spiritual preachings of all the Anandas of India. I was seeking TRUTH, and now I know what you have finally told about Enlightenment or Self-Realization. Your deep understanding and experiences of different aspects of awareness and consciousness reminded me of mine own seeking. I too had an experience of higher states of consciousness in each sitting which lasts for 2 hours, and I experience ecstasy and blissful states at the end of each session. They have been the most satisfying experiences in my life.

    I too had an experience in my waking-dream state (not sure about which state I was then) exactly the same scenario which you experienced in the year 2005 during a walk alongside Himalayas. In my experience I dreamt that I was conscious of my presence in a vast open area where there was only golden light. None, no plants, trees or any being in that scene but only ME, me aware of my own being alone present there. Thus it was/is clear to me that CONSCIENCE alone exists and IT alone is real. I then came to a conclusion that must be my enlightenment experience because my seeking has reduced dramatically afterwards and I continue to read spiritual books, hear spiritual preachings without much enthusiasm because there is nothing new to know. I think I have reached the end of my searching due to the satisfaction I had through my aforesaid personal experience of SELF/GOD REALISATION that I had during that wakeful dream experience of mine. I now quote exactly in your own own words what it is all about ENLIGHTMENT because it is my opinion too.

    “Then it struck me. I was looking for a perfect enlightened state in the future, a state which someone else had experienced. I had been caught in endless becoming , the desire to find a perfect state of being which I had read in books. And I had totally forgotten about what I had – the infinite bliss and peace which I had always experienced, the state of beyond mind and consciousness, the state of pure awareness.

    At that moment, an intense joy overwhelmed me, shaking the very core of my being. The vast treasure of awakening had always been with me but my spiritual greed of becoming more, of wanting it to be permanent had made me blind to it. It was like having billions of dollars, and still being miserable because you are not as rich as Bill Gates.

    That day, I stopped becoming. I stopped seeking. I stopped being miserable seeker. I had finally arrived.

    That was the endless dawn of awakening.

    I no more believe in enlightenment, Nirvana and its promises. It has made seekers miserable for ages. ”

    TRUE WHAT YOU HAVE SAID IS TRUE. ENLIGHTENMENT, NIRVANA,SELF/GOD REALISATION is making seekers miserable for ages. But meditation is not a myth because every body can reach this state only through MEDITATION/CONTEMPLATION/SATSANG/DEVOTION TO OUR ISHA DEVATA AND GURU. My wishes to other seekers.

    1. Thank You Anbukkarasi for sharing your wonderful spiritual experience! I am glad you have the first hand experience of spiritual awakening, very few seekers I have come across have such profound experiences.
      I have met far too many seekers who have spent 30-40 years being restless, trying to find the ultimate truth/enlightenment. We start seeking with an innocent heart, but ultimately this seeking itself becomes a trap, our very bondage. I also agree with you that once you have had an awakening experience, you loose interest in books/teachers as “there is nothing new to know”. I hope you keep spreading the light of awareness to others. Peace and bliss to you.

  5. Hi Rajiv, I’m just entering that realization that I have reached and been reached and am still seeking because I’m not believing that I have reached. My daughter Veena brought me to this realization that in total surrender even of seeking, we reach. Not experiences, not concepts — “Brahman” is beyond these. We block when we focus on concepts, journey, effort… I’m glad my daughter is my teacher and am humble and grateful. Just be, in complete emptiness of surrender. Great to hear your experience. Good luck son!

    1. Hi Aziza, Thank you for sharing your journey. You are right, in total acceptance of what is, there is no movement in consciousness, no notion of becoming anything else. It is here we touch the pure unconditioned awareness. Very few seekers come to the final realization of transcending seeking itself, the very thing that was their driving force. I am so happy that you haven’t clung to the false delusion of having “reached” and “attained”.
      In deep stillness the immensity unfolds, without notions, without thoughts, without any attributes whatsoever. I wish you all the best.

  6. Brother Raj: After many such years of education myself, I have learned that emotional anguish is the “BASIC”, common to humanity going as far back into he historical record as is possible. At some stage in my exposure to the “Facts of Life’, I concluded it is altogether
    intelligent and proper to seek to make efforts ( such as we all must) to have our spirit
    consciousness to dwell in those finer, bodiless, blissful regions where soul contentment dwells
    supreme….and nothing, no clinging to “me” remains.
    We all have a common difficulty to resolve—we all have been sent down here to slaughter-
    house Earth to endure this false “me” for God’s sake…and our salvation in Truth. R. chants

  7. Brother Raj: 40 years of striving to engage my “just enough” awakened consciousness for the release from error
    of other, local units of pure bliss consciousness, has proven my incompetence in helping anyone caught in the
    NET OF ILLUSION/CONFUSION. It comforts me to realize that I cannot be the only one so incompetent.
    But does it not prove that my “just enough” awakened consciousness, like most others like me, have nothing
    to regret nor any failures for which we should assume ultimate responsibility. Call is grace that we know who
    we truly are—pure, bodiless bliss consciousness…call it ‘random chants’. Be grateful that we have the choice
    to either assume more than we have the right to assume, or to assume only that we have been made ” just
    enough” to awaken in the infinitely sweet comfort of ever-new waves of pure bodiless bliss consciousness. r. chants

  8. Thank you for all your support and love, you have helped me a lot in my spiritual journey. I really appreciate all the advice you have given me in your satsangs. I am blessed to know you and to be in your presence.

  9. Beautiful spiritual journey. It is rare for someone to transcend this consciousnesses itself. You are very fortunate, that you followed the path till the end. I bow down before you. Namaste !

  10. The phrase “Seek and thou will find” is a misnomer for as Maruti says. We are all there already. All you have to do is be. By trying you create barriers for yourself. Just be silent and let the infinite wash over you.

  11. What an amazing spiritual journey ! You dedication to the truth and fining enlightenment was unparalleled. Thank you for sharing

  12. Here is the paradox and its perfect. It is grace waking up to itself through this unique perspective , with its truth ,arises a ‘me’ who enjoys the concept of it being ‘ its awakening’ but the Self knows thats not true.
    The ‘me’ comes and goes within this massive grace called Truth.And Truth IS sometimes with a ‘me’ and sometimes without a ‘me’.

  13. Your story made me cry. I have been a seeker for 12 years now and I totally understand what you went through.

    If we go through this process of realizing a greater truth, if we go deeper into what consciousness is, then truth can finally arise from the confusion; this will surely lead to liberation.

    Once a man becomes aware and his mind becomes aware, then he can then understand the duality of the self. You have finally transcended both the self and the other and you abide in that supreme state.

  14. I am having weird experiences since last years . I am confused if it is spiritual awakening or a mental disorder. Kindly provide assistance..

  15. Thank you for sharing it with absolute love. I never asked any demands but pure bliss is quite common when no demanding. Hope illusions will move out by it’s own. ?

  16. I wrote this poem inspired by your story-

    “We are the most profound and spiritual beings, the universe, our most exalted creation.
    We are capable of transcendence, but we cannot see the depth yet.
    The deepest mystery of life is its mystery
    And to me the depths are sacred.”

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