Whenever I meet someone inspiring, I want to share their journey with my readers. The next in the series of interviews is Dhananjay Kaushal – Marketing Consultant, Life Coach and Astrologer. In a time where Astrology has become all about prediction and less about understanding energies, when I first started learning Astrology, I had a format of explanation in my mind. Dhananjay’s answers on Quora were exactly that.
I thank the Universe for giving me this opportunity to learn about the spiritual journey of this well read Vedic Scholar written in a beautiful way describing a lot of feelings that you can closely relate to. This is a post to bookmark and read when you feel alone in this spiritual journey and can’t find anyone to relate to. You can read more about his journey in his own words below.
What did spiritual awakening feel like?
There are levels of spiritual awakening I feel.
On the initial levels you just feel that there is more to what you feel, know and have discovered.
After that, you begin to sense ‘energy’ more than just ‘matter’ and you begin to understand things people don’t say even though they just interact with you briefly.
This is disconcerting as anyone will obviously question themselves and their sanity when it begins to happen to them.
You want to run away from it, you try everything from alcohol to intoxicants, partying, making more money, splurging on shopping and vacations to feel ‘normal’. Now this happens in varying levels of indulgence from person to person and not necessarily in that order. It’s not nice.
You feel left out, you feel you don’t belong. You feel there is something wrong with you.
It’s just so exhausting to fight it. So exhausting to fight what you feel everyday once your mind has opened beyond a point.
Suddenly you can see through things, situations and circumstances.
Yet you continue to fight it because there is no manual on ‘spiritual awakening’. Most people talking about it are these ‘enlightened’ ‘gurus’ and ‘healers’ and ‘light workers’ and you see them and you feel you are not that. You feel you are not ‘them’.
Then you try to fit in with the others and hide and just be ‘regular’ but you realize you are not ‘them’ either.
You see how people hurt each other and don’t often stop to think about their actions.
You also see how people get hurt and allow others to dim their light when they need to stand up and fight for who they are, believe in their light, their message, their potential and their purpose.
In this struggle to fit in, you slowly begin to recede within.
‘Within’ is the only comfort you find.
And then it begins to unfold naturally.
Suddenly you feel a proximity to all life that is inexplicable. It’s quite possible that an animal such as a dog, cow, horse or even a mouse, seems to ‘understand’ your mood and comforts you more than people around you. You would probably laugh if I said I have some trees that are my best friends. I know exactly where they are among thousands of trees in a forest or park and every time I go back to them I feel connected.
These connections feel so real and yet you can’t share these experiences or make sense of them as the majority will not be able to relate.
Then as you progress, you begin to meet other people along the way who probably were on the path of ‘spiritual awakening’ but managed to trick themselves out of changing.
You see what it has done to them and it begins to dawn upon you that resisting this expansion of your consciousness won’t be without consequences.
You see, at every point you are given a choice and every choice is tied to the ‘cause and effect’ principle.
Every action you take results in a reaction and a consequence that has a domino effect.
So you may try to resist being who you are but if you are essentially being aligned around your ‘dharma’ and following your inner truth, every road, every action, every decision will bring your right back on your spiritual journey.
You cannot escape it.
Then finally one day you ‘succumb’ and you feel this is the end. This is it. This is how I end and this is how my life ends.
But it doesn’t.
Every end is a beginning and every beginning is a journey towards another cycle of development and awakening.
Finally you just understand that life is a lesson in letting go.
And the only thing in your control is your reaction to events, people, circumstances, situations.
The temptation to go down the dark path is amazingly enticing but if you’re a spiritual being aligned with your ‘dharma’. If you put your ‘dharma’ above everything else, you can’t do that.
As a child my favorite story was “The ugly duckling”. All his childhood, the poor duckling, gray, awkward and huge, felt it didn’t belong in the brood of the other ducklings who were so cute, yellow and petite.
Finally one day, forced to tread his own path and float away to be with himself and seek solace in his own journey, he sees his reflection in the lake and realizes the truth.
The truth is that he was a beautiful swan.
He never did belong.
And yet, all his life he was made to feel less than, made to feel that something was wrong with him.
All his life, he was made to feel that he did not belong.
And it was right.
Because among a brood of ducklings, he was a majestic swan.
That’s what spiritual awakening feels like.
When you finally see yourself one day, separated from all those and all that you loved and expected validation and compassion from, you see yourself for who you are.
It feels like finally stepping into your power and realizing you don’t need money, status, fame, intoxicants, friends even.
You realize, how Rumi puts it: “That every wave is the ocean”.
You realize that people will never understand and it’s not your job to seek their approval and make them understand.
That you are the treasure and nothing that anyone did could dim your flame or take away your beauty.
Your job is to carry the flame, the light of consciousness within you and keep it lit.
And then you attract others struggling to keep their flame burning.
And then another cycle begins.
One of understanding that now that you know and others can see who you are, you need to learn to protect and heal but also go on moving further in your path.
Because not everyone is strong enough to resist temptation.
People will want to dim your flame because they are afraid of shining bright.
Why is that?
Because at every level of awakening you understand there are people, things, ideas and concepts that you need to ‘let go’.
People do whatever they can to resist that and this blocks their spiritual progress.
When you resist letting go, you come into the vibration of fear. Fear is the lowest vibration and it drains you.
Surrender is the vibration of love. It’s loving the divine and trusting.
True love is fearlessness because you know, you are the soul and no matter how things turn out, you will always be fine.
Love is the highest vibration.
So in many ways I’ll say that spiritual awakening feels more and more like being hollowed out and emptied from within.
You feel yourself being emptied out, hollowed and slowly steadily filled with love, compassion, divinity, strength, courage and then more love, more compassion, more understanding until you are not you anymore.
At every stage you realize you are not just a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean inside a single drop.
And you finally realize that you were being hollowed out in the same way that you hollow out a piece of bamboo and poke holes in it and peel it, polish it and smoothen it so that you can make a flute.
You have to allow the universe to hollow you out and poke those holes into you because that’s the way that the sound of love and the true song of compassion and healing can flow through you.
Spiritual awakening feels like your ego being crushed at every step but at every step in some strange away, it brings you closer to the source and in a way that you feel more and more connected; more and more powerful.
How do you balance between earning a living vs continuing your spiritual progress?
As I said, once you begin to walk on the path of your ‘dharma’, there is no turning back because you can’t.
To progress to the next level, at each stage, as you listen to your inner calling, you are required to release, sacrifice and ‘let go’.
And at every stage when you let go, you become lighter and more aware and you realize that the only healing balm for this pain is in continuing to follow your ‘dharma’ and moving forward along the journey to the source.
Earning a living just happens.
You attract what you need, how you need and when you need it.
You must be prepared to let go of anything that you have mistakenly begun to associate with your identity. This is because your true identity is not this flesh body, these laurels, this funding for your startup, awards or recognition.
You are not a physical being undergoing a spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being undergoing a physical experience.
And so, I just do what I do as I am called to do it.
Spiritual progress is not running from your duties and hiding in the mountains or near a river.
Spiritual progress is a tough path that constantly pushes the face of a harsh reality into your vision in a way that cannot be forgotten.
It’s not like a garden of the most beautiful flowers and orchards and unicorns and fairies.
It’s like how the Buddha saw bare and naked the reality of this illusion. An old man, a sick man and a dying man.
That’s what spiritual progress teaches you to understand that no matter what you do you too will dissolve into nothingness ultimately.
Therefore, my primary motivation at all times is to be true to myself.
I work because I like to work.
I do what I do because I feel I am called to do it. That’s it. Following my heart is the road to my spiritual progress because it hasn’t ever been easy. Life tests you and makes sure you value what you receive when you do receive it. There are many parallel lessons going on and I try my best to not forget them.
Think of it like this: A doctor does what he has to do and that’s his journey and contribution to the ‘srishti chakra’. So does a policeman, a chef, a dancer and a writer or businessman. Good and bad is everywhere but essentially, every contribution from a diverse set of people is required to make this planet what it is. That’s your ‘dharma’. Execute your ‘dharma’ and that’s the path to ‘moksha’.
The path to ‘moksha’ leads you automatically towards the path to spiritual progress.
What is your advice for those going through a spiritual awakening?
Stop searching for a ‘guru’ to simplify this process for you.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Stop running away from what you are going through.
If you keep running away from this process, these changes, they will keep coming to haunt you until you reach a point that the noise gets so loud that you can’t shut it out.
This can be manifested in pretty drastic events that will force you to accept your spiritual ‘karma’ in this life and your soul’s desire to attain this level of awareness.
So just start searching for the answers and try different things.
For some the path to uncovering this knowledge and awareness could be ‘yoga’. For others it could Tarot or astrology. For others it could meditation and so on.
Do you get mocked at for believing in astrology? How do you deal with it so that you don’t affect your other businesses?
First of all, astrology wasn’t really ever at all intended to be a purely predictive science; which is what it has become today.
I mean, I don’t want to discourage anyone from pursuing this path and appreciate all contributions but this field today is so utterly adulterated that I feel if with my intellect, knowledge, awareness and also a family association with it, if I don’t show people the true light of what it is, who will?
By the way, I come from a lineage of scholars, astrologers going back many generations. My grandfather I think is my biggest inspiration in this regard. He taught me, rather showed me how you can maintain this balance in life.
On the one hand he was a state awardee mathematics lecturer and a linguist. On the other hand, he was a lot into occult science and ‘vedic’ astrology. However, I saw that he pursued and completed a Masters’ in Sanskrit late in life and always kept the ‘upanishads’ and ‘vedas’, ‘puranas’ among many other Sanskrit texts as the foundation he built upon.
He was also fond of Urdu and Persian poetry and he introduced me to Sufism.
So for me, ‘vedic’ astrology is not for predictions and fun. Like it is for many others these days. I too follow a multidisciplinary approach. Much of my knowledge of ‘Tantra’ is based in Mahayana Buddhism.
I hate the commercialization of both astrology learning as well as astrology practice that is taking place in the world today. This is further eroding people’s faith in this science and adulterating this knowledge. Astrology is being ‘marketed’ as this business for ‘predictions’ and ‘remedies’.
‘Jyotisha’ means lighting the ‘Jyoti’ of consciousness within. How many are even doing that?
My purpose I feel is to illuminate the true knowledge of ‘Jyotisha’ from our ‘Vedic’ wisdom to help people contemplate life and existence at a deeper level.
Other things I do, they are well, based on the acquired skills in this lifetime. This is something I feel I have carried forward from my previous lifetimes and I try to keep it private and not be too public about this knowledge because most people can’t handle it.
For my other businesses, I am very good at what I do because I have worked very very hard to be as good as I am in those things. The journey towards that direction started long before my spiritual mind was awakened and I have some dreams and plans that cannot be realized without that aspect of my journey.
For someone who is working to progress spiritually, when your other businesses involve working closely with a lot of different people, some of whom are not necessarily who you want to work with, how do you protect your energy and not let others drain you?
As a rule, I never work with someone I don’t like to work with.
In fact, in astrology I quite often have to work with difficult people who have come to me seeking help and I need to be compassionate and patient with them. Even in life coaching, I never choose to work with a client that I feel I can’t gel well with.
This is why actually having multiple businesses gives me the freedom to work with who I want, how I want and remain true to myself.
Also, in my other business, I am very good at what I do and extremely qualified at that with a Btech, two PG Diplomas and an IIT certification. Haha, I actually get to pick who I want to work with over there.
In my ‘Vedic’ astrological life coaching practice, I am unbiased and open with whoever comes seeking my help and in fact no matter what I do, I just look at my clients as god in disguise testing me on my ‘dharma’.
How I protect my energy is that I switch off my ‘work’ phone at the end of the day or let’s say turn off the internet or mute the notifications.
My team handles any queries or tickets after that.
After that I just spend my time on my personal phone, reading, researching, listening to music and doing whatever I want. I love talking with my friends and they keep me grounded and rejuvenated.
This wasn’t always so and I have slowly reached here after a long process of being drained many times and over giving and over delivering.
Ultimately I realized that it’s going to be like this and the more you learn to keep yourself centered, energized and empowered, the better your output and the more you enjoy life.
If you would like to schedule a session with him, you can reach out here.
Happy embracing your own spiritual awakening!