Delight of the Self

by Niranjan (Nathan) Matanich

When you do any of yoga’s practices, you experience something change inside. You can meditate, do japa (mantra repetition), pranayama (breathing exercises), or asana (yoga poses).  The change you get is not merely the good feeling after a workout or from sitting quietly; something deeper is happening. That something deeper is your Self, the Self that is beyond all your perceived limitations. That experience feels more-than-good and it motivates you to apply yourself to having even a deeper experience of the Self.

Sometimes you have this inner experience but then you lose it. Or you experience it in your meditation space or a yoga studio, but then you go to work and lose it.  Yoga’s goal is that you remain in that deeper state all the time, even in the midst of life. How do you do that? Through the practices you do, and through the blessings of the Gurus who did those practices and have become established in this state.  This is promised in the yogic texts:

lokananda samadhi-sukham.” — Shiva Sutras 1:18

In every moment the yogi experiences the delight of the Self, and there is transmission of this experience to those who come in contact with him.

This sutra promises that you will remain in that blissful state wherever you go, whatever you are doing. You will always know your own Self.  While this is a really important aspect of this sutra, I think the second aspect is even more important: there is transmission of that delight to those who come in contact with you.

This points out the importance of having a Guru. When you are in the presence of one who has attained the Self, they easily transmit that experience to you.  Their teachings and practices come from that place of knowing and experience. It’s not mere theory. More so, by just you being in their presence, the delight of the Self is being shared.

In 2016, in Meditation Group Leader training, we were chanting the Guru Gita, a text that explains the Guru principle. We were chanting it in English instead of Sanskrit.

While we were chanting, I realized that I was having an inner experience of what the text was speaking about. Though I could see myself and I could see Swamiji sitting in her seat, internally there was no difference between us. I realized that I was having that experience because I was in the presence of a Guru who lives in that state.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “My time with my Guru was irreplaceable.  I could never have imagined such great heights of attainment as he showed me.  I could never have dreamed of such love.  I would never have been able to find the deeper dimensions within myself that he opened up for me.  It’s true what he told us, ‘The way you become a Siddha is by spending enough time with a Siddha.’  I am the recipient of so much Grace that I can never measure it, nor can I ever sufficiently thank him.  My life is my way of expressing my gratitude.  It is why I teach – to serve him.”

The importance of spending time with a Guru cannot be overstated. Having the undeniable experience of the Self when you are in the presence of a Guru will help you to find that experience when you are at home, or at work, or wherever you are.  Now all you have to do is… more yoga.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.