Introduction on Blueprints for Awakening

European Masters - Blueprints for Awakening - BOOK

European Masters - Blueprints for Awakening is a search for a deeper understanding of the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian Saint.

European Masters - Blueprints for Awakening is twelve interviews with European Masters, conducted by the British spiritual teacher, Premananda.

This project consists of this Video Website, a book, the film of the book with film portraits of each Master, and Meeting the Master, a series of twelve films, each one focusing on a different Master.

The companion films and the Video Website present the Masters on film, adding the extra vital dimension of their energetic presence.

European Masters - Blueprints for Awakening is available as a book in English and German and can be purchased from bookshops or our webshop. A trailer of the film is included on the interactive DVD which accompanies the book.


European Spiritual Masters - Wisdom of the Masters - DVD

European Spiritual Masters - Wisdom of the Masters is the DVD film of the book. It presents all fourteen Masters and sets out important aspects of the teachings presented in the book through the interviews and additional film material.

European Spiritual Masters - Interview Downloads

European Spiritual Masters - Meeting the Master is a series of twelve films, showing each Master's complete interview as well as material filmed during subsequent visits. These films create a unique archive for those wishing to taste the European spiritual tradition through the grace of these Masters.

Video Website

A hundred and fifty short videos of the Masters' answers to the twelve questions, providing a taste of their wisdom and grace.


European Masters – Blueprints for Awakening has arisen, without any personal intention, from the Blueprints for Awakening – Indian Masters project. Visiting Arunachala and Tiruvannamalai in South India each year, I naturally come in contact with many Western Masters coming to pay homage to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Living close to Cologne in the Open Sky Satsang and Art Community in the centre of Western Europe I also have the opportunity to meet many Western Masters and to interview them.

The idea for the Blueprints for Awakening – Indian Masters project came to me in 1993 while living in Lucknow, North India, in the sangha (spiritual community) of my Master, Papaji. One day I received an inner message or vision telling me to go and catch the great Indian Masters on film before they were lost to the world. Ten years later, after five years living in Australia, I was on my way to Europe where I later settled down. In between I took a personal retreat of one year in Tiruvannamalai, at the holy mountain, Arunachala. During that year, after progressing with the Indian Masters interviews, it occurred to me to interview Western Masters. There is such a wealth of Western Masters that it has become necessary to make two books. This European Masters Book and Film will be followed by an American and Australian Masters project.

The Indian Masters book and film, have touched many people. Interestingly, the film has created the stronger reaction. Several people have told me they have watched it thirty plus times! Whenever I have shown the film in Italy, Spain, Denmark, India, Germany, Russia or the Ukraine a profound stillness has fallen over the room, leading to a deep silence at the end before the inevitable compliments. The original question about ‘dead mind’ was so convincingly dealt with by the Indian Masters it is no longer a focus of this European Masters project.

European Masters – Blueprints for Awakening is for everyone who has an inner passion to know who they are and what they are doing here as a human being. It is for all who ask the question ‘Who am I?’ and for those who are looking for guidance on the teaching of Sri Ramana to ‘be as you are’. It covers the main issues that arise on a spiritual seeker’s journey to awakening to their essential nature, to Truth. It presents the fascinating depths of the Indian spiritual tradition through the eyes of European Masters who have gone to drink at that ancient well of knowledge.

We have included the complete text of Nan Yar – Who Am I? Originally, these answers were written by Sri Ramana in the sand of Arunachala in 1901, when he would have been twenty-one years old. Sri Ramana rewrote the original work in the 1920s and it is one of the few texts edited and approved by him. This is the Source text from which Self-enquiry can be understood and from which some of my questions have been taken.

Twelve questions have been asked to fourteen European Masters who have crossed my path in the last five years. There was no attempt at a special selection. These are Masters who have come into my life and who I appreciate. I did not approach them as a seeker, but rather as a teacher wishing to clarify my own understanding. I wanted to offer a platform for each Master to give his or her blueprint to be put out into the world, a world in great need, and, hopefully, a world where these teachings will find a receptive audience. The questions are referenced to Sri Ramana’s teachings, even though the intention is for each Master to express his or her own teaching blueprint. Naturally, there is no actual blueprint as each person’s spiritual journey is unique.

My own Master was Papaji, who met his Master, Sri Ramana, in the 1940s. Sri Ramana came into my life through an original Welling portrait that I found in a pile of debris in a room I had rented in Pune while I was with Osho in the years before I met Papaji. During my five years with Papaji he greeted a photograph of Sri Ramana every morning and on occasion said that he spoke as a channel for him. In the last fifteen years many Western Advaita (nonduality) teachers have begun teaching in the world. Sri Ramana is the spiritual inspiration for most of them. During the last years of Sri Ramana’s life, in the 1940s, a small number of Westerners made it to his ashram and were touched by his presence. Wolter Keers came from the Netherlands and taught in Europe in the 1970s and 80s:

The mere sight of him made me tremble all over because I had come face to face with the Divine. This recognition affected me so much that my body shook involuntarily. As I gazed at Sri Ramana, I felt I saw God Himself sitting there.

S.S. Cohen from Iraq lived in the ashram and is buried there:

I was alone in the hall with him. Joy and peace suffused my being, never before had I such a delightful feeling of purity and well being at the mere proximity of a man. To the serious minded, Bhagwan was a beacon light in an otherwise impenetrable darkness.

The basic structure of each interview uses the same twelve questions [see Interview Questions in the front of the book]. The questions are the same as the ones asked of the Indian Masters, with a few variations to more clearly reflect the Western experience. Further questions were asked spontaneously to illuminate an answer, leading to many exceptions to the basic twelve-question structure. In each interview there was the vital element and strong energy of the Master’s presence, and I searched for a way to include this presence in the book. Hence you will find a DVD Sampler in the back of this book. It contains a Trailer for European Masters – Blueprints for Awakening, which is the companion film to this book, a set of the Masters’ Portraits and an excerpt from the Video Website: with one hundred and fifty small videos of the Masters.

The film includes selections from all twelve interviews and sets out important aspects of the teachings presented in this book. A series of separate films, Blueprints for Awakening – Meeting the Master, showing each Master’s complete interview as well as material filmed during subsequent visits, will also be available later. This set of films and the Video Website create a unique archive for those wishing to taste the simple wisdom of Truth through the Grace of these Masters.

It was profound to experience the many different facets to sharing Truth in my meetings with these men and women. Tony Parsons, who had spent time with Osho but does not acknowledge a Master figure, and Karl Renz, for whom Arunachala mountain played the role of Master, would not see themselves in the lineage of Sri Ramana. They speak Truth from the absolute, without any compromise towards an illusionary somebody. In contrast to this absolute position, Dolano, Mooji, OM C. Parkin, Padma and Torsten and myself are firmly in the lineage of Papaji and Sri Ramana, exalting the benefits of conducting Self-enquiry according to the ancient tradition for all those still identifying as a separate somebody. The practice is for the false somebody. Francis Lucille, whose Master was Jean Klein, and Rupert Spira, who has Francis as his Master, also encourage Self-enquiry, though with a slightly different approach.

I am so happy for the inspiration to include Deva Premal and Miten who bring the way of the Heart into the book and particularly into the film. They have touched so many by their mantra singing and their devotion to their master Osho, to each other and to their audiences. This devotion can be felt in every moment of their concerts. These are not performances but accepting what is, daring to stop. The concerts are another form of Satsang.

I would have liked to include more female teachers in particular, as this moment in history seems to demand the female touch for us to recover from centuries of male domination. So I am happy to include Dolano, a disciple of Osho. Dolano also has a great love for Papaji and Gangaji, both of whom she spent time with. Padma is a young woman who has been in relationship with Torsten for some ten years. They make no compromise, always keeping Truth as their priority. Padma’s teachers are from Sri Ramana’s lineage, in particular Papaji, Isaac, Gangaji and Eli Jaxon-Bear. Then, of course, Deva Premal, whose master is Osho. All these women are German, which seems right. Perhaps German women in particular have emancipated themselves more than any others in a balanced manner from male domination. Neeru, another German woman, based in Goa, India, and Kalika, an Italian woman, both have cameo appearances in the film.

Michael Barnett, now eighty, originally a close disciple of Osho, has developed a transmission of Truth through subtle energy work. Francis Lucille had a close association with his Master Jean Klein and was friends with other Masters notably Wolter Keers, Douglas Harding and Robert Adams. Rupert Spira, a successful and talented potter, has been inspired by his Master, Francis Lucille, to include Beauty in addition to Peace and Love as an attribute of Truth. Christopher Titmuss has come from the Buddhist tradition having two Thai Buddhist Masters but is something of a maverick, not following any particular linage and expressing Truth in his very own characteristic English fashion. As I formulated the questions they are of particular interest to me, and so I was happy to respond to the challenge of answering them myself.

Some of the Masters use Sanskrit terms. Sanskrit, the ancient language of Vedic philosophy, with its unparalleled richness of expression, has been considered the language of the Gods. You will find an English explanation with each Sanskrit word the first time it appears in each chapter. The comprehensive glossary gives a more detailed explanation of the italicised Sanskrit words.

While writing this introduction I recognise the depth of the spiritual wisdom contained in this Book, the Film and the Video Website. It is a valuable archive, now encompassing thirty Indian and European Masters. I am pleased that I have been able to manifest the original vision that came to me seventeen years ago. I had initially some concern whether the European Masters could match their Indian colleagues but in fact they offer something different and valuable. This is the ancient wisdom of humanity passed down through generations of Masters and their disciples to all who wish to know who they are. It has been a total delight to experience the profundity of the European Masters, many of whom have taken their knowledge of the Indian traditional teachings and combined it with their knowledge of Western psychology to offer a unique transmission most suitable for the Western seeker. Until perhaps thirty years ago it was necessary to go to the East to access these teachings. Now they are available down the road or through the Internet. In short, this book is a treasure for all on the path of Truth.

Finally I express my love and gratitude to Sri Ramana and Papaji, who I consider to be my Masters and constant guides and who inspired me to create this project.

Premananda 2010