A former acquaintance claimed to have had an epiphany when listening to an Indian guru addressing a large audience. He felt the guru look deep into his heart; he then collapsed. He has not been employed in the 20 years since; he is not yet 60. (Australia’s Disability Pension is exceedingly generous; it apparently pays about 25% more than the dole.)
On the other hand, a close friend of mine had an epiphany while sitting on a rock mid-stream, fishing. Until that moment, he had rampaged through life, fuelled by illegal drugs. Suddenly, he saw his whole environment vibrate. Everything in his vision shimmered – the leaves, the water, the land. The impact of that experience changed his whole lifestyle. He became a responsible, productive member of society, with a spiritual approach to life.
Compare this report with the experience of Guru Yogananda, as set out in his ‘Autobiography of a yogi.’ The following paragraphs were taken from the Internet.
“All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures. My body, Master’s, the pillared courtyard, the furniture and floor, the trees and sunshine, occasionally became violently agitated, until all melted into a luminescent sea; even as sugar crystals, thrown into a glass of water, dissolve after being shaken. The unifying light alternated with materializations of form, the metamorphoses revealing the law of cause and effect in creation.
“An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. The dazzling light beyond the sharply etched global outlines faded slightly at the farthest edges; there I saw a mellow radiance, ever undiminished. It was indescribably subtle; the planetary pictures were formed of a grosser light.”
The following paragraph is from ‘Forbidden History’ edited by Douglas Kenyon. “Like sages before him for thousands of years, Yogananda describes the universe beyond matter as being composed of indescribably subtle Light. He describes the material universe of being composed of the same essence but in a grosser form, a principle echoed throughout the world’s mystical traditions and now in modern physics. … …
Perhaps more significant, the sage tells us that his experience of the centre of all light and creation poured from a point of intuitive perception in his heart, not from his intellect … those mystics who have devoted themselves to absolute perception throughout history report similar experiences … The yogic science … is, in fact, the science of consciousness.”
So, there it is – consciousness seems to be the substrate of all existence.