My experience with Vipassana.
Let me mention a few points about Vipassana before I begin. Firstly a Vipassana course cannot be bought. It is free of charge, including the food and lodging. Secondly Vipassana is not a religious cult or ritual. Thirdly it is not an exercise schedule or detoxification procedure for the body.
It is a actually a technique for meditation to purify oneself from within and attain a higher plane of life. Often spelt as #Vipassana , the real word should be spelt as #Vipashyana which is literallly derived from Sanskrit / Pali words ''Vishesh'' meaning ''special '' and ''Pashya'' which means '' To See''. This seeing actually denotes seeking or perceiving. Remember the famous dialogue from the movie Avataar- I see you. So it is actually the art of seeking. And this seeking is done within to cleanse the soul of impurities by locating the cause of strife in the unconscious layers of mind through the examination of sensations of the body. It is complex in its concept , simple in its explanation and understanding and rigorously difficult in practice for initial followers.
This is the method of meditation which is said to have been followed by Gautam Buddha to attain Nirvana (or Nivvana) and has been nurtured and kept alive by a sect of Buddhist monks in Myanmar. Mr S D Goenka learnt it from the Master Shayagi U Ba Khin in 1955 and has been authorised to teach it since 1969. He has since being spreading the technique and the message through the various centres and disciples who are authorised to conduct such courses. This technique of meditation came into limelight in 1994 when under Kiran Bedi a big push was given to use it as a therapy on the inmates as well as the personnel of Tihar Central Jail.
There are a lot of literature and articles available on the subject and I will therefore not elaborate further. Better to be discreet and let others wonder about my ignorance rather than write and clear all doubts about it. I will write about my experiences only as I realised.
First thing to ponder upon is that this is a meditation technique and there should not be any short sighted prejudices to link it with conversion to the Buddhist faith. Though it has undeniable roots in Buddhist philosophy, it can be practised by people of any faith, even atheists, animists and communists too as the concept is universal and without bringing God or religion into it. I have a very rudimentary idea of Gita and Bible and found that a lot of echo from them can be found in Vipassana. It is not a religion by itself and thankfully, till now, is not a much hyped cult because of its rigorous initiation process.
I myself has been mildly interested in Vipassana, since 2009 and twice made unsuccessful attempts to join the 10 day preliminary course, at Igatpuri in 2011 and Gorai.inq
2013. This time, very interestingly , with the small bit of irony thrown in, I completed the programme at Dhamma Vipula located on Parsik hills at an aerial distance of not more than 4 kms from my residence. I was determined that I would not keep this decision pending anymore and so keeping G-secs, Nifty, Oil, Rupee in whatever state of volatility they were, office works in whatever state of pendency they were, ignoring a shift of office premises, disregarding family matters and any such other excuses which could justify a change of heart, I took the plunge. Enough of attaching too much importance to my existence for the family, office and society at large. When responsibilty starts overwhelming you, its time to step aside and do something for yourself and let the world sort itself out without your help or participation. And what the hell, this was not a session of Thai massage or any such frolic that I was planning to do. I deserved to break away. It sounds selfish, I know but definitely not self indulgent.