is a spiritual practice founded and propagated in the west by R. Vaughn Abrams, usually referred to as Maharishi Sadashiva Isham (MSI) (born April 13
), deceased August 12
MSI started his spiritual career as a transcendental meditation teacher, but after a huge turning point in 1988 he started searching for a new meaning in life. Quoting him, MSI said that "Life is meant to be lived in Eternal Joy, Infinite Freedom, Unconditional Love and Unbounded Awareness. Any other life is utterly missing the point of being born as a human."
According to the book, "First Thunder"
, written by MSI as a fictionalized account of his own introduction to the Ishayas' Ascension, hidden within the Himalayas
is a secret monastery and order of monks. These monks practice and safeguard an ancient set of spiritual techniques handed down from immortal guardians of mankind which Jesus Christ
himself had been taught and practiced, and subsequently instructed the apostles. After Christ's departure, and his time on the Greek island of Patmos
, apostle John
, eventually traveled to the Himalayas
to join with the secret order, becoming immortal himself.
The spiritual techniques are today known as the Ishayas' Ascension.
Procedures and theory
The techniques of The Ishayas' Ascension are called Attitudes. Within the basic level, four related Attitudes comprise a Sphere (a Sphere representing a stable, whole structure). Each of the 5 basic Spheres contain an Attitude which uses the expansive, up-lifting energy of Praise, or appreciation, the next uses Gratitude; the third invokes the energy of Love. These three techniques direct one's consciousness through the many layers of the mind back to its own source, which is called the Ascendant in the Ascension community. The fourth technique is a cognition technique. This technique is designed to develop the ability of cognition - direct experience of the Ascendant, pure Cosmic Intelligence, that is being referred to as the Third Implicate by quantum physicists. The First Sphere's cognition technique utilizes the energy of true compassion (Infinite Wisdom and Unconditional Love - the basic energetic components of the Ascendant in physical form.
The practice of the Ishayas' Ascension involves thinking one of the techniques, or Attitudes, and then watching the mind, in a rhythmic fashion. The practice can be done either eyes open during activity, or in a contemplative manner with the eyes closed. Practitioners claim that the use of the Attitudes removes the mechanisms which create stress, resulting in an automatic, natural expansion of one's consciousness. This, they further claim, results in a complete transformation of one's personal experience, the cessation of fear-based thinking, as well as the revelation of one's true nature.
The theory of the techniques is based in Advaita Vedanta. However, belief in theory is not emphasized as important in the teaching of Ascension. The Ishayas claim that simply by using the techniques correctly, the benefits are received, regardless of belief.
Ascension is usually taught to beginners in a course known as a First Sphere Weekend. Free introductory lectures are often held before each of these courses to explain the practice and its benefits. This weekend course typically takes place on a Friday evening, and all day on Saturday and Sunday. During a First Sphere Weekend, the first four Ascension Attitudes as described above are taught, with emphasis given to their practice during class. Cost ranges from U.S. $200 to $300 per person. Once a student has attended one First Sphere course, attendance at any subsequent First Sphere courses is free for life.
Those who practice The Ishayas' Ascension are referred to as Ascenders
within the Ishaya community. The recommended practice for Ascenders is to use the techniques for 20 minutes with the eyes closed, 3 times per day, and as often as possible with the eyes open.
The teachers of Ascension have all graduated from at least a 6-month course in order to have greatly developed their own cognition of the Ascendant fully enough to correctly teach the basic level techniques. Usually, the teachers take vows (based on the yamas and niyamas of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) and dedicate themselves to increasing purity, unconditional love and compassion in themselves and in the world. As part of their vows they are given a Sanskrit name (e.g., Gauri or Nandisvara) that indicates that teacher's energetic essence or character. These vowed teachers consider themselves Ishaya monks (although yogi would be more accurate) and consider themselves part of an Ishaya order of monks and lineage of teachers. The Ishaya monk will usually take on a color where all of their clothing is either red, black, or white. The Ishaya monk will wear this one color for a period of time in their life, which gives the terms "Red Ishaya", "Black Ishaya", or "White Ishaya". After the Ishaya monk takes their life vows many of them use Ishaya (a Sanskrit word meaning 'for Christ', or 'for consciousness') as their last name. Rarely, a trained teacher of Ascension may choose not to take these vows and so would not receive a Sanskrit name.
There are several collectives of teachers as well as independent teachers of this practice around the world. Many have informative websites besides those linked within this page. Some collectives and teachers are affiliated with each other and some are not.
- Free Introductory Talk
- First Sphere Weekend
- Advanced Meeting
- Advanced Weekend
- Intensive Residence Course
- Self Discovery Course
- Ascension Teacher Training
Comparison with Transcendental Meditation
Ascension has the following similarities & differences from Transcendental Meditation
- Use of a puja ceremony
- Mental recitation of a phrase
- Similar theory of consciousness (different levels of knowledge)
- TM uses a non-English mantra; Ascension Attitudes are given in the student's native language
- TM students receive one mantra; Ascension has multiple Attitudes
- TM mantra does not change for the life of the student; Ascension attitudes include a component which can change as the student's understanding expands