When I was a child, I used to dress up and play “Maharaja”. I don’t know where that came from since I was born and raised in the US and we didn’t have a TV etc. We were poor and my parents were devout but tolerant Christians. During my teen years in Catholic high school, I dreamed of living a cloistered monastic life.
During the 1960’s and 1970s I had become disillusioned with organized religion and was somewhat of an atheist. By way of sublimation my spirituality took the form of one of those old fervent, devoted revolutionaries / progressive activists-hippie-ish types.
During the 1980s my passion to change the world of duality turned into disillusionment. My informal spiritual apprenticeship and initiation began under an enlightened dear friend/ “guru” /martial arts master steeped in Eastern spirituality. Like myself he had also been a progressive political activist, so he was able to help me make the transition to spirituality. I had kind of idolized him and became disillusioned with him too when I realized he wasn’t God. So I kept searching.
I became a follower and received Shaktipat (kundalini-Siddha Yoga initiation) from Guru Mai. The mantra was soothing and uplifting but eventually felt insufficient. At the same time, my inner work on mind and emotions began in earnest against self-defeating mental and emotional patterns or attachments with self-help methods including A Course in Miracles, and the Living Love system based on the book, Handbook to Higher Consciousness.
For about 10 years in the 1990s I practiced Vipassana intensely (a type of Buddhist meditation also called “Mindfulness” or viewing the mind like a movie), and began to meditate like a monk in near solitude, detaching from the world.
When I felt there was more than nirvana, I started searching again and came across a Sadh Guru master of Light and Sound in 2001 and was initiated by him. I also became disillusioned with him early on but stuck with him because I just knew the teachings contained Truth. In Oct 2014 when I was feeling most uneasy about him, I found out that he had been influenced by someone named Sawan Singh Ji. I wondered who that was and started buying his books and those of other Sant Mat Masters, where I found some discrepancies with the teachings of this Sadh Guru.
I also decided to research whether there were any Sant Mat paths in the US. Wikipedia had all the names of Sawan Singh Ji’s disciples who had formed separate spiritual missions. So one by one I checked out each of them online until I came to Ishwar Puri’s name (I have heard that he asked that it be removed) and saw that he was here in the US. I soon found a YouTube video of one of his talks. I was awestruck. I immediately found an email where I could contact him. He responded and told me to meet him at the next Bhandara. Since he was 89 years old at the time and I didn’t know how much longer he would be in this world, I was a nervous wreck until I met him in person at the 2015 Bhandara where he said as I walked in the door “Welcome back!”; and when I asked tearfully, “You gonna take me Home?” he answered, “Of course!” and told me Great Master had accepted me. Tears continued to flow and I fell in love.
During those 6 mos prior to meeting him, I had essentially taken a 5-year crash course by immersing myself, listening to all the hundreds of His recordings since 2010. Disillusionment is gone and all my passions have turned into one passion: to leave this world and return Home.