Bodhisattva Shree Swami Premodaya:
A Devotee Life
A genuine spiritual master is far more than a teacher, or even a healer. A master doesn’t ‘teach something’ to a person or ‘heal something’ in or about a person; a master transforms the whole person—raises, deepens or expands the person’s actual consciousness (perception, awareness, intelligence, comprehension, understanding, vision, clarity, intention, relatedness, connectedness, love-capacity). This is why masters work solely with individuals—even when groups (even very large groups) of individuals are present or participating.
One important practical advantage is that a spiritual master can often provide seekers with the pinpoint ideal method or applied direction that will work best for each individual’s unique nature and circumstances—whether the goal is permanent happiness, genuine inner peace, true self-realization or the direct apprehension of Godhead.
The base purpose (direction) of life is lasting happiness (obviously, the motive behind every single action every person ever engages in, is to bring about some sort of ‘happiness’). But what’s typically not understood at all, is that once real happiness is permanently established, it inevitably leads to (one form or other of) God-consciousness. Another often unrecognized principle, is that this kind of (deep and abiding, i.e., unconditional) happiness (not just a ‘good mood’ or ‘happy because...’) is never achievable through solely material means. So, the material method is the one most people blindly pursue (as it’s the only one that’s societally taught and recommended). In the end, it turns out that abiding happiness, the true and real happiness, is only possible once the spiritual basis has been actually put into place. And generally, someone has to tell people this, and re-educate them about these actual possibilities, and even help them find their way.
Bodhisattva Shree Swami Premodaya is a spiritual master (traditionally referred to in the East as “guru”, and almost always, in the West, regarded with suspicion—especially because the guru never supports the state-operated cult of materialism, and in fact, actively discourages the religions of money, power, fame and greed—all of which feed and promote the machinery of restriction, intimidation, enslavement, punishment and death). The guru is always in opposition to the conventionality and follower-mentality that inevitably squelches individual freedom, personal growth and recognition of universal Truth. The gurus of every age and place are always advocates for love, peace, non-violence, gentleness, non-conformity (experimenting with life), expansiveness, inclusiveness, and standing for the rights of all living things.
BORN IN A PRISON CAMP
Premodaya knows something about that political death machine, from his earliest experiences. He began life as a Holocaust survivor and post-war prisoner, living in a tiny mud hut and subsisting on bread and water, until shortly before his mother and stepfather emigrated from their refugee prison camp in Germany, to the United States, when he was four.
In the home of his emotionally unbalanced and uneducated parents, as well as in the violent, inner-city ghetto neighborhood in which they lived, he endured constant further deprivations, brutalities, tortures and traumas—yet nevertheless somehow managed to excel scholastically, even displaying innate talents in drawing and painting, languages (he speaks 5) and literature and creative writing. But it wasn’t until age 14, that he experienced an entire day without at least one severe physical beating (when, for the first time, he won, by fighting back).
Devoid of context or identifiable cause, he experienced a sudden awakening of consciousness, at age 12. While standing at a classroom bank of windows, he noticed himself swiftly bathed in beams of glowing golden light. He felt his human awareness and perceptual acuity dramatically heightened and expanded (which has never diminished since), and an intense and unremitting state of ecstatic bliss (which persisted for 5 years, then waned away). Feeling truly “born” in that moment, he remarked to himself that everything up until then had apparently been only a pale shadow: Far less real, not even 1% as alive.
Life went on. By age 14 (because his parents had started refusing to), he was buying his own clothes and teen paraphernalia, with fees he garnered painting and drawing portraits (commissioned by classmates, neighbors and word-of-mouth patrons), and by soliciting local markets and shops, offering to replace their professionally painted window signs—at a fraction of the charges they were paying every week—with signage of equal or better quality, which he would paint (that in short order, yielded a roster of satisfied, steady clients). He was able to attend college, when New York University (stating that, because based on their exhaustive admission interviews, school records reviews, and various aptitude and IQ tests, they believed Premodaya would grow into a future leader and innovator in society) offered him the largest college scholarship ever before awarded in the United States.
LOST AND CONFUSED
At college in New York City, he was uninterested in the pedantic and rote-learning aspects of student life, and spent most of his time as a creative writer for hire. He got work writing the lyrics for an off-Broadway musical, and translating and adapting (from French, Hebrew, Yiddish, and German—into English) songs from the repertoires of well-known French, Israeli, and various European soloists and groups (so they could perform them at their New York City club and concert hall engagements). He worked ghost-writing made-to-order song lyrics for American music stars, and even was offered a lucrative book deal by a major publishing house (MacMillan, who wanted him to collaborate with an aging international actress, on translating and polishing up her autobiography; he declined, as it meant he would have to cancel his summer plans to hitch-hike/back-pack across Europe).
Confused and rudderless, due to a young life crammed with traumas (while equally devoid of early love and affection), he was unable to incorporate or appreciate such real opportunities and successes. Profoundly depressed and confused, he felt utterly lost and futureless, unloved and unlovable, eventually dropping out of college a few credits short of graduation (but not before, on hearing that he was leaving, a futile attempt by his NYU classics professor to convince him to accept a position as her Assistant Dean of Comparative Literatures [at a new, about to open, New Jersey state college, to which she’d been recruited to found and develop a department of comparative world literatures, languages and cross-cultural studies]). Instead, he lived a drifter’s life, taking easy jobs that would pay the rent, while still leaving him the time and freedom to travel at will, do as he pleased, and partake liberally of 1960’s/70’s youth counter-culture.
Finally, at 28, a sudden epiphany pulled him out of his aimless torpor, personal excesses and desperate self-indulgence, and into an about-face decision to pursue a professional career in psychology. The conscious reason was his sincere interest in people, and in understanding the complexities of their personalities, the true secrets of the human mind and heart. But addicted to hopeless love affairs and tortured moods, his not-so-conscious motive was to find some way to understand and assuage his own misery and unrelenting suffering, especially in relation to the tortures and cruelties of his upbringing, and the (sadly predictable) problems, despair, distress and (unresolved and continuing) pain, that characterized his young adult life thus far.
PSYCHOLOGY; MYSTIC EXPERIENCES; SPIRITUALITY; THE BELOVED MASTER APPEARS
Beginning that career in 1978, and while progressing toward it, there began a powerful sequence of unsought, intense (and often terrifying) mystical experiences: Visions, out-of-body travels, revelations and transfigurations—all the more incomprehensible, given that he was a confirmed atheist, utter skeptic, and even a reviler of anything with the word “spiritual” attached. Eventually these strange, unwelcome and strongly-resisted experiences, culminated in his being (involuntarily) led to a bookstore shelf, where he was taken straight to a book by India’s renowned rebel mystic and global guru, Osho. Seeing the partial photo of Osho’s face on the cover, Premodaya instantaneously recognized him to be his spiritual master.
The ensuing decades were as equally devoted to spiritual life, as they were to pursuing his career in psychology. His graduate school training was at John F. Kennedy University in California, one of the only schools at that time which honored the spiritual traditions as being supportive of, rather than in opposition to, the practice of professional psychology. After faithfully fulfilling the 1 year of pre-requisites (wearing red exclusively, head-to-toe; Osho Dynamic Meditation, every morning at 5am at the Berkeley Osho Center; back again for Osho Kundalini Meditation every evening at 6; sign up for all Center classes, seminars and other offerings recommended for him by Center organizers, engage in volunteer activities, as requested), he was formally initiated as a disciple of Osho on August 5, 1983. By that time Osho had re-located from India to Oregon. Premodaya visited the Osho ashram there numerous times, sitting at Osho’s feet and imbibing his beloved Master’s transmission of divine love and transcendent wisdom.
Around the time Osho left Oregon, professional opportunities brought Premodaya back to California, where he advanced in his practice of professional psychotherapy and moved into administrative responsibilities, working for hospitals and psychiatric corporations. He received commendation from the California State Department of Mental Health for the original and innovative mental health programs he designed and implemented, which brought freedom to hundreds of inpatients who had been unjustly locked up for years in dingy institutions. In another job, he oversaw psychiatric treatment programs at 13 hospitals, in 6 states. By 1996, he was recruited to head a team of a hundred psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists and art therapists, as Director of Outpatient Psychiatry at world-renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. There he oversaw the mental health treatment services of thousands of adults, children and families. At the suggestion of another department head there, they teamed up, and started their own mental health corporation, with Premodaya as CEO. Their company became successful, consulting and contracting for psychiatric hospitals, rehab clinics and treatment facilities around the country.
Osho died in 1990, and the ensuing decade was a spiritually fallow one for Premodaya. This was so, even though, while continuing his work in the world, he never faltered in his life as a devotee, deeply immersed in his consummate devotion to his Master, Osho. This was the case, despite the one-pointedness of his devoteeship, the enormity of the incalculable gifts received from his beloved Master, and the profound impact of his earlier personal mystic experiences and revealed knowledge. This was the case, even with the 10 years of competent psychoanalysis which had effectively exorcised his primary demons. This was the case, oddly enough, even though he had experienced the Absolute Perfection of all things for himself, seen it with his own eyes and felt it with his own heart; as well as the tangible landscape of the Unknown (and unknowable), the unfathomable ‘Profound’ itself. Nevertheless, he was not yet (deeply enough, truly and abidingly) familiar with the subtler and ultimate actualities of God, Infinity, Eternity, the Beyond (even though he was a frequent flyer there).
SECOND AWAKENING; 2 MASTERS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
All this changed in 2000, when he attended a satsang with Gangaji, a well-known Western-born spiritual teacher, popular around the world. He was unfamiliar with her or her work, and was attending at the recommendation of a friend, who suggested that he would enjoy her events. The moment she walked into the room, an inner explosion occurred. He could feel that every cell in his body had been awakened and energized, and he had no difficulty recognizing the profound nature of the transformation that had occurred due to her presence. Becoming aware for the first time that he had been in a decade-long state of spiritual stagnation, he knew instantly that this had ended when she entered the room. He felt a spiritual excitement and personal upliftment, that has never left since that moment.
Years later, he shared with Gangaji that he considered himself her disciple (Gangaji does not offer formal discipleship), and that he knew her to be his second master—which she acknowledged. Although, as a true devotee of Osho, he had no desire to find another master (he didn’t even know that two were possible!), he accepted this great gift into his life, as yet another aspect of Osho’s grace and never-ending support. He enjoyed regularly attending Gangaji’s events, continued his clinical career, and lived his life—all the while having no reason to think that his future would be any different than his present. He had achieved a nice life, pleasant enough by any standard, and spiritually fulfilled.
CONE OF GRACE; GOD’S COMMAND; PREMODAYA.COM
Then, on August 1, 2003, while driving home from the Malibu rehab center he was running, a palpable, visible, whirling cone of energy slowly descended from high above, gradually enveloping him head to toe. He understood it to be grace itself. After a short while, it re-ascended, and he watched it disappear beyond the clouds. Later he noticed that a transformation, a deepening in his consciousness, had occurred from this mystical event; it included a profound ability to see deeply into others—past, present and future.
He had all but forgotten this wondrous experience, when many months later, he received a Divine directive to ‘leave his psychology career’ and ‘make himself available to people, spiritually’. He knew it to be genuine, even though he had never before experienced anything like this kind of “direct message from God”.
Mature enough at that point to know that “orders from God should be followed”, he subsequently founded The Bodhi Center (now, Premodaya.com) a spiritual center in Los Angeles. This provided a vehicle for accepting and actualizing that Divine mission, of offering effective guidance to seekers of all ages and stages. No religion or philosophy or life approach is offered, simply Premodaya’s availability to work with anyone who wants to go forward spiritually, in any manner they feel appropriate. Typically, he encourages individuals to identify what they “know for sure”, and then frequently suggests effective and practical ways to actualize that knowing in their lives. Many people come away surprised that no big changes are necessarily required—simply the willingness to go deeper and discover what can be found.
Since then (2004), his work has continuously evolved and become increasingly potent, reaching more and more people, in ways that defy conventional explanation, but that are consistent with the time-honored Eastern phenomenon of the guru/disciple relationship. Today, Premodaya.com continues to offer satsangs, classes, workshops, residential retreats, discourses, and private sessions with Premodaya, as well as the invitation of discipleship and the opportunity for service. A particularly fun offering is the ‘international travel tour’ personally led by Premodaya annually. The purpose is to enjoy the transformative travel experience of immersion in a spiritually-imbued or life-affirming culture—be it living with the jungle rainforest tribes of Fiji, touring the holy cities of India, experiencing the ancient Biblical sites of Israel, or tasting the vibrant joy-of-life attitude of Brazil.
INVITING THE WHOLE WORLD
Now, all these are also accessible, in live and inter-active mode, on the internet (except, of course, for the travel tours)—as he continues to reach out to all those yearning for that which is represented in the words he refers to as synonymous: Truth, Love, Peace, God, Self, Spirit, Eternity, Infinity, Devotion, Service, Life Abundant... and you’re heartily encouraged to add whatever word fits best for you.
“You are a unique and precious child of God. Start loving yourself and others accordingly — and Truth will find you, soon enough”.
~ Swami Premodaya