Question: Can you please explain some more about your tapas?
True meditation starts when you can keep the mind in the thoughtlessness state for one hour - until then you are simply trying to meditate. Tapas is the highest pitch of this meditation. When you sit in meditation for eight to ten hours at a stretch then one is said to be performing tapas. The mind then becomes capable of merging with the Self.
This tapas came about from both my Guru's Grace and also from my efforts since childhood. Efforts since I was a young child when I had heard Adi Shankara's song 'Bhaja Govindam' which spoke about how the worldly efforts are all futile; and I had also been searching for a happiness that was permanent. This lead to my spiritual searching, the desire to find a Guru of the calibre of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna. Then I met my Guru Shivabalayogi and as I went on the spiritual path, then gradually the desire to do tapas grew. I would go on with my meditation along with my duties as selfless service. Then when the time was ripe, I went into tapas for five years and finally this lead to the realization of the Self. Literally, now we imagine we are this. In tapas we sacrifice this imagined self in the Divine Fire and experience the real Self.