Friday was a magical day, the day of the Heart, the day of the Goddess. It started very early with collective meditation and a 6.30am journey along the coast road from Takoradi to Cape Coast Castle. The mood was a little subdued as there was clearly something of an anti-vibrational mountain up ahead. At one point Manitu mentioned the infamous ‘Door of No Return’ and we instantly felt a horrible churning inside.
Cape Coast Castle was built with the express purpose of directing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade out of Ghana and to call it anything less than evil is to misunderstand what happened there. Between 1665 (the year of the Great Plague in London) and the eventual abolition of the Slave Trade throughout British Dominions in 1807 (the abolition of slavery itself did not happen until 1833), more than 5000 Africans were captured each year and sold into slavery in return for guns, alcohol and tobacco. Such was the devastating effect of the trade that the whole of West Africa became virtual a hunting ground fuelled by an arms race encouraged by the British and other European powers. Approximately 100, 000 guns a year were pumped into an increasing de-stabilised region, as tribes prayed upon tribes in a desperate bid to stay ahead of the arms race. A vast proportion of the able-bodied young men and women were forcibly removed and many of the local skills and traditional industries such as goldsmithing were temporarily wiped out as a result. Each of them were herded into chilling lightless dungeons and tortured into submission before being shipped abroad to places such as England or America. Each would pass through the infamous ‘Door of No Return’ and would never see their homeland again.
The tour group arrived in the castle precincts, but it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to work with the whole group and that the tour guides would be on our heads the whole time and it wouldn’t be possible to do what we came to do: Spread vibrated water, say prayers and mantras to help work things out. In the end in worked out spontaneously that an English yogi (Tim) and a West African yogi from Benin Republic (Patient) were able to go unaccompanied into the dungeons without anyone official to question what they were doing.
Firstly, we went into the main male slave dungeon, a vast black cavern that extends beneath the entire castle into a swathe of thick, chilling blackness. Not even the tiniest chink of light could penetrate it, apart from the daylight that poured through the mouth of the entrance and down a steep ramp that lead into the all-consuming gloom. Spraying vibrated water as we went, we sang mantras and prayed for the release of all the souls still bound there.
Up on the ground floor above, we moved on to all the other smaller rooms and did the same. When we reached the ‘Door of No Return’ painted in black, we sprayed it heavily in vibrated water and sang the mantra to Shri Kartikeya who guards the doors and destroys evil. Finally to the side of it, we found an arched room where all the female slaves had been kept and prayed to the Divine Mother to fully awaken in that place, remove all negativity and fill it with all Her Divine powers of love. From that point on, the vibrations really started to change, but still there was a palpable tension in the air that combined fear and anger in equal measure.
When we had visited all the rooms, we knew that the job had not been fully done. I realised that we had to go back to the main dungeon. This time however, with a soft, gentle, loving feeling that had arisen from within the female rooms, as if compassion and forgiveness had awakened and was now possible. Entering into the dungeon I now understood that as a descendant of these same British we had to pray for forgiveness and that nothing less was going to work it out.
From deep within came the spontaneous words: ‘O Divine Mother, from our hearts, we pray for forgiveness for all the evils of the past, for all the evil things that our forefathers have done; and we pray that this evil may come to an end.’ As soon as these words came a huge rush of vibrations poured upwards from the Heart and up through the Sahasrara and in one powerful instant, all the fear and anger was gone. I simply turned to Patient and said: ‘It’s done. Okay, let’s go.’
A week later, I stood on a tube platform in central London and felt different inside to how I was before visiting Ghana. I searched to see what it was. I realised that I felt relaxed and easy about everyone around me. I felt completely at one with everyone – white, black, yellow, brown… But most of all I realised one single consuming truth: I felt no fear. As if in that dungeon I had faced the worst of all fears and now it ceased to exist.
Back on the minibus, both Patient and I were deeply moved by our experience and it was hard to make sense of it and relate what had happened to all the others. I promised them that I would express it all through a poem; that any other form would not be able to convey the enormity of what he had been through. I kept my promise and the poem that came is entitled: ‘The Door of Return’ (see poem).
For the rest of the journey along the coast road, we sprayed ourselves with vibrated water, Mabel worked on my back Agnya and we sang bhajans as joyfully as the angels.
A special programme in the village of Sankor
What happened next was also full of the power of Mother’s Love. At 11am we were met by Jacob the son of the chief of the village of Sankor, the man who had requested us to hold a programme in his village after seeing us on TV3’s breakfast programme ‘Sunrise’. After a little engine trouble, we proceeded to the ‘Palace’, the village meeting place, where the chief and his council of Elders meet and discuss matters with the village. The room was quite simple, but beautifully arranged and quietly dignified.
A crowd of about 50 people had gathered to attend to special programme. We were seated in a place of honour and were formally invited to shake the hands of each of the council of Elders and then the Chief himself. Then they repeated the protocol procedure by coming to each of us and shaking our hands. Obi gave a wonderful talk which was translated by Jacob and the Chief would also add comments to encourage his people. The chief was an amazing personality. Like a modern day Raja Janaka character, combining the dignity of the King with the depth and gravity of the Guru. Instantly capable of commanding grace and respect, he was also quite a charming and amusing character! It joyed the heart to have found such people who were so willing to so completely embrace Sahaj.
It was somehow fitting that after the spiritual journey through Cape Coast Castle that I (Tim) should lead the realisation exercise and I have rarely ever experienced such an incredible feeling in the heart while giving realisation to people. For without a doubt the life of this village had been adversely affected by the goings-on at the nearby castle all those years ago. But now in present day Sankor, the audience of mostly women and children (as it was midday on a working day), were all getting realisation and feeling it very strongly. The chief and his son had a particularly strong experience and when they called us by phone the next day, they described that when they had tried the exercise again that following morning they had felt it even stronger than before and were looking forward to doing it again and again. He suggested we should come back again soon and hold a meeting for all the local communities and their chiefs in the nearby town of Winneba. We heartily agreed.
When we return to Ghana – and we will return soon – this will be more the focus of our efforts. Introducing Sahaja Yoga to whole communities through their chiefs and elders. In the case of Sankor, there was another factor that brought them to Sahaja Yoga other than just the desire of seeking the Spirit: fear of black magic and the desire to seek Divine protection. This motivation alone has lead to thousands of people getting their Self-realisation in the nearby Republic of Benin, which represents the Left Swadhishthana within the Left Swadhishthana (Africa). In the days since that first swell of realisation, the problems of avidya (false and impure knowledge) associated with that chakra have split the Benin collective in half. Here in Ghana they have both the added advantages of the protection of the Ganas and perhaps the one real blessing of being a former British Dominion: that they speak good English and unlike their French-speaking neighbours can easily understand Shri Mataji’s talks.
British Council support TEV
While the greater part of the group stayed on to help finish off the programme, three of us had to rush off to the next event: Anand and Kiran were flying back to Austria from the airport and I had scheduled a 3pm meeting with the British Council in Accra. After ploughing through the most awful traffic, that seemed to crawl along at a glacial pace, we eventually arrived at the British Council offices 15 minutes late and swiftly said our goodbyes. Thankfully I was able to talk at great length with a very nice local lady called Linda Konadu and we discussed the possibility of bringing the Theatre of Eternal Values’ production ‘Eternity in an Hour’ to Ghana (a small touring theatre show about William Blake, an incarnation of Shri Bhairava: see www.theatreofeternalvalues.com). She was extremely enthusiastic and suggested that we could even use their own performance hall and invite local schools, colleges and universities to attend. We also talked about running theatre workshops and performing simplified street versions of the show at local communities and villages just like Sankor! Negotiations continue.
Public programme in Accra
But even that was not the end of this enormously eventful, yet brimmingly joyful day! After a quick bite to eat at the British Council canteen, we had to set up and be ready for another 5pm public programme at the Teacher’s Hall in Adabraka, in downtown Accra. Another 45 people came to what was another hugely joyful programme.
That night we stayed in Vinayaka’s house and perhaps felt a little sad, as the tour felt broken up for the first time since we had left Accra a week before. Anand and Kiran had already gone back to Austria, Amina had left to be with her fiancé and many of the locals were obliged to stay overnight at their own homes due to lack of space. Tired and pleasantly exhausted, having had such a divinely inspiring and memorable day, we sat back and relaxed together and gratefully tucked into a delicious plate of Indian home cooking. Mmmmmmm.