Decisions Based on Bliss

By Swami Satrupananda

Life is a series of choices.  Every decision you make determines your future trajectory in life.  When you are in a state of clarity, you calmly assess your current situation.  You consider your options.  Then you make a choice as you aim for a certain outcome.  Where are your choices taking you?  Do your decisions lead you towards an outcome you want?  

The effectiveness of your decision is based on:

  • Assessment — Your assessment of your current situation is accurate.
  • Options — You are considering all options.
  • Goal — You clearly understand your goal. 
  • Awareness — You are aware of your personal process, how you make decisions. 

When any one of these is compromised, your decisions may not be effective: 

Assessment — You might incorrectly assess your situation or only assess part of it.  For example, you are busy thinking of your response, so you mishear someone’s question.  Your answer is not effective.

Options — You might not be aware of all your options.  You restrict yourself to familiar patterns.  Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to have someone share a potentiality they see in you.  They help you discover that you can do and be more than you thought. 

Goal — You lose sight of your goal in your decision-making moment.  Or perhaps you do not have a goal or even have conflicting goals.  You want to lose weight and eat chocolate cake too. 

The most important factor is your awareness.  You first need to be aware that you are making a decision.  When you have arrived at your destination, do you remember if you stopped at the red light?  It’s too easy to have your life decisions be knee jerk reactions instead of conscious decisions. 

Psychologists have estimated that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day[1].  Approximately 227 of these decisions are about food[2].  Are you aware of all of these decisions?  Imagine making conscious decisions that would be aligning your actions, words and thoughts consciously towards your goals.  How would this change your life?

One decision-making psychologist recommended yoga to increase your awareness.  I was delighted!  Yes, yoga is all about awareness.  That’s why we start and end each yoga class with a guided awareness.  Practicing awareness is so important that it is done twice in every Svaroopa® yoga class.

Yet simply being aware of every decision is not enough.  That’s because your decisions might be based on an inaccurate assumption.  It’s human nature to operate on an assumption of lack.  You lack something, so you make a choice to fill the lack.  You assume that a decision will make you healthier, happier or somehow better.  

Yoga changes your assumption.  Instead of lacking anything, yoga says you are already full, whole and complete.  You are fullness itself, which yoga calls your Self.

How do you transition from an assumption of lack to an assumption of fullness?  Shaktipat.  Shaktipat is a sacred initiation given by a Satguru.  In the initiation, the Satguru reveals the fullness and wholeness that you are.  This revelation shatters the underlying assumption of lack.  

While you might not know your fullness all the time yet, after receiving Shaktipat, it is always available.  The fullness delightfully creeps into the nooks and crannies of your body, mind and heart.  The assumption of fullness takes over.

I had a tangible experience of this restructuring of assumptions.  In a meditation, I could feel the internal structures being rewired.  It was tangibly happening in my spine.  I could feel the energy connections, channels, supports and structures being moved and re-aligned.  

I knew that I had been changed on a deep level.  It’s like I had new equipment — my body, mind and heart were forever changed.  Even if I tried to do my familiar limiting patterns, my internal system wouldn’t take it.  I was being rewired to know my own svaroopa — the bliss of my own Beingness.

This restructuring takes some time.  You must participate in the process.  You choose to follow the practices given by the Satguru so that you can support your own restructuring.  And the goal is clearly described in the yogic texts for you.  Once you fully realize your fullness, your own Self, you live in bliss:

Lokaananda.h samaadhi-sukham.

This yogi experiences the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation, and shares it with others. — Shiva Sutras 1.18

This is a promise of your future.  You will experience the sweet bliss of your own Self all the time.  This bliss is not affected by location, not by the people nor the activities around you.  This is such a great promise.  It means you can achieve the highest in the midst of your life.  You can know the bliss of the Self right where you are.  It also promises that you will always be experiencing bliss.  Then your decisions run on the assumption of bliss:

  • Assessment — You see everyone and everything as your own blissful Self.  You can take in the whole situation.  You accurately assess the situation.
  • Options — You consider all options.  You see bliss in every outcome, so all options are up for consideration. 
  • Goal — You are experiencing the fullness and wholeness of your being.  You do not need anything.  Thus your goal is to share the bliss that fills you.  The bliss overflows and you share it with others.
  • Awareness — You are aware of the whole process.  You are awareness itself.

Now this is truly the way to live.  Give up your assumption of lack.  Instead, upgrade your assumption to bliss.  Get Shaktipat and do the practices they teach you.  Luckily, I happen to know one — Satguru Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati.  Come study with her and live a life fueled by bliss.


[1] How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day? | Psychology Today

[2] We Make Lots Of Choices Every Day, But Exactly How Many? | PBS North Carolina (pbsnc.org)

Krishna Avatar Part 33

By Nirooshitha Sethuram

Graphics by Sheralee (Shambhavi) Hancherow

Krishna wanted to tease Rukmini, so he started with a questionable statement, “My dear Rukmini, I could never understand why you chose me out of many great personalities in the royal order who wanted to marry you.  Among them, some were famous kings, very powerful and strong.  Some may not have been kings, but they all possessed the affluence and riches of kingly order.  They were not unfitting in anyway.  In particular, your parents and brother gave their word of honor to Shishupala who was a great king.  He was madly in love with you, especially after your beauty and he would have remained with you just like your faithful servant.  In comparison with Shisupala’s personality, I am nothing.  I am surprised you rejected him for me.  May I ask you the reason that convinced you to accept me, as I feel I am inferior to all those princes who wanted to marry you?  Remember I was so much afraid of Jarasandha that I could not dare to live in Madura, and I had to construct Dwaraka in the middle of the sea to evade him.”

Rukmini and Krishna
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-story-behind-Rukminis-wedding-with-Krishna

He didn’t stop there.  He continued, “It’s not too late.  You have the freedom to select a suitable husband who is an actual equal to you in family tradition, wealth, beauty and in all other respects.  As you know, usually a person does not establish a marital relationship with a person who is either higher or lower than his position.” 

Rukmini was well aware that her husband was not an ordinary being.  But upon hearing this, Rukmini was afraid of being separated from her Lord, for she had never heard such insensitive words from Krishna before.  Filled with fear and anxiety, without replying with a single word, she cried as if being drowned in an ocean of grief.  She lost all her reasoning powers and became so weak that immediately her body lost so much weight that the bangles on her wrists became loosened.  The fan with which she was serving Krishna immediately fell from her hand.  Her mind and memory became puzzled, and she lost consciousness.  She fell down straight, like a tree brought down by an axe.

Lord Krishna immediately realized that Rukmini had not taken his words in a playful spirit.  She had taken them very seriously.  In her extreme anxiety over immediate separation from him, she had fallen into this condition.  

https://study.com/learn/lesson/lord-vishnu-incarnations-symbols.html

Seeing this, Krishna’s heart was softened by Rukmini’s condition.  He appeared in front of her in his real form, as Lord Vishnu with his four hands.  He got down from the bedstead and brought her up by her hands.  He placed his hands on her face and smoothed the scattered hairs on her head gently.  He then hugged her to his chest.

He began to speak again in a soft gentle way, “My dear daughter of Vidarbha, my beloved Rukmini, please don’t misunderstand me.  The words I spoke that affected you so much are not factual.  I just wanted to irritate you and was expecting you to make counter arguments.  I am very sorry that you have taken them seriously.  I expected to see your angry face and that your red lips would tremble in anger.  I thought you would chastise me in many words.  I never expected that your condition would be like this.  My dear Rukmini you know that we are householders and are always busy in household affairs.  We long for times that we can enjoy some teasing words between us, the ultimate game in household life.”  

In this way, Krishna wanted to exhibit himself as just an ordinary householder who delights himself by exchanging joking words with his wife.  Thus, he repeatedly requested Rukmini not to take the words he had spoken seriously.

Hearing this, Rukmini was freed from all her fear of separation from the Lord.  She started speaking softly.  “Oh Lord! Yes, you are right about we not being equal.  I can never be equal with you as you are the One Divine Reality in its full form.  You are the master of all greatness, controller of the three qualities and object of worship.  You reside in the deep recesses of the heart of all beings, who are always battling the powerful material senses, which are their enemies.  Your movements which are mysterious for even the sages are certainly incomprehensible for human beings.  There is nothing beyond you.”

Krishna said, “Oh dear princess, as I said earlier, I fooled you just because I wanted to hear what you would say.  Your answers are absolutely correct.  Even though you were disturbed by my words, your mind couldn’t be dragged away.  I have now perceived pure love towards one’s husband, and adherence to vows of chastity.  In all my palaces I do not find another as loving as you.” Rukmini’s delight by hearing this was unmeasurable.  

Sudama and Krishna
https://heartmeetsoul.com/krishna-sudama-story-moral-english/

Days and weeks passed in Dwaraka.  One fine day the guards came into the palace and informed Krishna that his dearest friend Sudama had come to see him.  Hearing this, Krishna rushed to meet Sudama.  When he saw Sudama, he embraced him and welcomed him with the greatest joy.  Then he took him to his personal room.  Who is this Sudama that Krishna is so fond of?

Krishna and Sudama were childhood friends who studied under Guru Sandipani.  Years passed and Krishna became the King of Dwaraka, Sudama returned to his village and immersed himself into Vedic studies.  Sudama belonged to a poor Brahmin family.  After some time, he got married and had many children.  Even though he was a Vedic scholar, he was suffering from severe poverty.  But he never begged for money from others, as he was satisfied with whatever the little money he earned.  As he didn’t have good clothes to wear, he often wore worn out clothes with holes in them.  

Kuchela and his wife
https://www.holydham.com/

the-story-of-lord-krishnas-friend-sudama/

That made people call him Kuchela, a person who wears rags.  Kuchela’s wife was admired by all for her domestic virtues.  She was always satisfied with whatever her husband brought, having devoted her life to him and the children.  She gave the children the education they needed and filled their hearts with dharmic principles, preparing them to be good citizens.  Even though what Kuchela brought was not enough, she found a way to feed them all sufficiently, going to bed with an empty stomach herself.  After some time, living that way too became difficult.  It was time for her to come up with a plan, as she couldn’t bear the sufferings her family was going through.  

That’s when she remembered Krishna, a great friend of Kuchela.  She went to her husband and told him to approach his good old friend Krishna and ask for help, hoping that he would honor his request.  She was sure of it, as she had heard many stories about people approaching Krishna with love and devotion.  They always got rewarded for their devotion.  Though Kuchela was hesitant at first, he was encouraged by his wife’s persuasion and decided to visit Krishna.  

Kuchela with wife and children
http://kkrgowthamgudavalli.blogspot.com/

2017/05/sri-krishna-kuchela-story-of-true.html

He didn’t want to visit his old friend empty handed, after all these years.  But he didn’t know what he should offer to Krishna.  The usual practice and courtesy required him to take something, so he asked his wife for suggestions.  She told him that the idea of a gift was excellent, but as they were so poor and couldn’t afford any gift to be given to a king.  After contemplating they both agreed that Kuchela should carry some aval, rice flakes.  So, he carried aval in a small sachet and started his journey to Dwaraka.  

Kuchela began dreaming about meeting Krishna at Dwaraka.  He prepared himself with all the things he could say to please him.  He was so delighted that he was getting to go and serve, honor and embrace him.  Then suddenly, fear came into him.  He wondered how he would pass through the guards.  What if they don’t let him in?  

But he was determined to go see Krishna so he entered the palace confidently.  To his surprise, no one stopped him from entering the palace.  He went straight to the guards, who came to Krishna and informed him of his dearest friend Kuchela’s arrival.

After inquiring the welfare of his family, Krishna asked Kuchela what he had brought for him.  After seeing the splendor of Dwaraka, Kuchela was feeling embarrassed with his gift of rice flakes.  Krishna noticed that Kuchela was hiding a small bag and even without asking for it he snatched it from his hands.  He opened it and his eyes lit up in delight, seeing the rice flakes.  Immediately he took a handful of rice flakes and happily put them into his mouth.  It was so tasty that Krishna wanted to eat more, but Rukmini intervened and took it from him.  

Kuchela enjoyed the stay with Krishna and his family.  When the time came to leave, he was very sad.  On his way back home, he was thinking only about the time he spent with Krishna, particularly the happiness he felt when he was with Krishna.  But halfway home, he was a bit unhappy that he had not asked for anything from Krishna, as he and his wife had planned.  But he consoled himself by saying, if it was to be, Krishna would have given him the wealth. Krishna didn’t want me to immerse myself in the pleasures of worldliness, he thought to himself.  With these running through in his mind he returned to his hut.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudama

He was pleasantly surprised that a miracle had taken place.  He couldn’t recognize his hut.  In its place was a beautiful and lavish mansion.  What he gave Krishna was a merely a fist full of rice flakes with love, but in return Krishna had ordered Vishwakarma the divine architect to build this fine mansion for him.  Kuchela noticed his family wearing new clothes and found an abundance of food in the house, or should we say mansion.  He was so happy that Krishna had showered his blessings on him.  

In spite of all this wealth, Kuchela did not indulge in worldly pleasures, but instead immersed in the thought of Krishna for the rest of his life.  Kuchela set an example to all, as the grace of God is the final gift to every human being and we should aspire for it and it alone. 

You Are Your Own Guru

By Swami Samvidaananda 

“You are your own Guru,” wrote a renowned Guru, Swami Muktananda.  As a brand-new yogi, I didn’t know what a Guru was.  Let alone that I was supposed to be my own Guru.  That’s how I took this teaching when I first heard it.   

Fellow yogis seemed to confirm my understanding.  At classes and conferences, I met wonderful, independent, confident yogis.  They had focus, dedication and a daily home practice.  They were doing it for themselves.  I admired them.  I wanted to dedicate myself to yoga, too.   

So I found a teacher, one that I admired and respected.  And she taught me that “guru” is Sanskrit for teacher.  A Guru with a big “G” is a spiritual teacher.  A guru with a small “g” is any kind of teacher.   

How many gurus have you had in your life?  So many.  Your first guru is your mother or whoever raised you.  They taught you to eat, to walk, talk, play peek-a-boo and blow out birthday candles.  You had gurus who taught you to read and write, to play soccer or trombone.  

My dad learned how to be an electrician from his dad.  So my grandpa was my dad’s electrician guru.  Anything you’ve learned to do, a guru has shown you how — even if you go to YouTube or you read a blog or a book.  These are all created by people who are sharing what they know, so you can know.

The yoga teacher I found all those years ago is a Guru.  Her name is Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati.  She has dedicated her life to sharing with you what she knows: the mystical truth of your spiritual essence.  She teaches that there is One Divine Reality that is the source and substance of all that exists.  That One is called your Self.  

Gurudevi not only teaches you about your Self; she awakens you to the knowing of your Self.  And then you foster and further your own knowing every time you meditate.  That’s why this meditation is called Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  Vidya means experiential knowing, and svaroopa means your own Divine Self.  

Awakened to your hidden Divinity, you see the glorious Divinity of everyone and everything that exists.  This is a Divine world created of Divinity, expressing Divinity, rejoicing in Divinity.  That Divinity is you.  You are Divine.  You always have been.  You just didn’t know it, at least not all the time.  

When your Guru reveals it to you, then you know.  And then, you know that  “you are your own Guru.”  Because you are the One, and She is the One. There’s only One. 

Yoga is not DIY.  You do not have to figure it out on your own.  You need one who knows, one who can give that knowing to you.  Swami Nirmalananda will tell you she only has something to give because she got it from her Guru, Swami Muktananda.  And he would credit everything he had to give to his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda. 

And he had a Guru, who had a Guru, in a lineage of Gurus that stretches through time.  Do you want a Guru?  Swami Nirmalananda will be yours, if you want her to be.  You’re the one who decides. 

Freedom!  Independence Day!  Liberation!

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

I confess that I get it all mixed up.  The Fourth of July means so much to me because I associate it with yoga’s promise of freedom.  The original date was all about political freedom, I understand.  But the word “freedom” makes me think of yogic freedom, which is so much more.

Yogic freedom ends the inner burdens that weigh you down:  your thoughts, memories, desires and fears.  Dissolving these delusions makes you able to breath freely, laugh and love all.  You give from the depth of your being and revel in the bliss that is ever arising within. 

When the fireworks go off in the sky, I associate them with the inner fireworks that deep meditation can provide.  The light inside is so much brighter than anything that shines outside!  You’re living in the dark when you’re always looking outward for happiness.  Look inward and discover who you really are.  Your essence is Divine and always has been.  Now, finally, it is the time to know.  You have waited lifetimes for this opportunity.

I realize that I am extraordinarily fortunate. The events of 1776 laid the foundation for a society that gives me access to education and travel, as well as opportunities and lifestyle choices few people in the world enjoy. Having taken full advantage of these freedoms, I am grateful for them all.  Yet I found them unfulfilling.

No matter how many classes I took or books I read, I was still intellectually unsatisfied. No matter how many destinations to which I traveled, I never felt that I belonged, not there and not even at home.  The many opportunities turned into many successful endeavors, but I was still unsatisfied.  I wanted more.

My yearning, along with the angst of my post-war generation, called my Baba to America.  He was one of many spiritual greats who brought the yogic tradition to us.  I didn’t know enough to go looking for him, so he came and found me.  Beyond merely fortunate, I am saturated with Divine Grace.  Grace fills my life and my being.  I’m so full that it overflows, which makes me want to share it with you.

That’s why I teach.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I get up in the morning, the purpose of my life, a Divine Purpose to which I am able to dedicate myself.  I am so fortunate.  Freedom is the gift I received from my Guru, which is why I love July 4. It’s all about being free on the inside.

Freedom is your destiny.  All you have to do is want it.  Then act on that holy desire.  Do more yoga.

Krishna Avatar Part 32

By Nirooshitha Sethuram

Graphics by Sheralee (Shambhavi) Hancherow

The next encounter in Krishna’s life was Narakasura.  Who is Narakasura?  

Bhumata
https://www.pinterest.co.uk

Narakasura, also known as Bhumasura, was the son of Bhumata, Mother Earth.  She is the incarnation of Lakshmi and the consort of Varaha.  When Lord Vishnu incarnated as Varaha, at her request he married her, having saved her and the good people on earth by slaying Hiranyaksha.  [see blog on Narasimha Avatar]

Narakasura was born out of their union.  When the child was born, Bhumata prayed to Lord Vishnu, asking him to bless their son with a long life.  Lord Vishnu told her that she need not worry about her son since he would have to come back in another incarnation to end his son’s life, when the time comes.  

Narakasura
https://freekaamaal.com

Narakasura was brought up pious and humble until his association with the asuras.  The demons changed him into one of them.  He became so powerful and mighty that he brought all the kingdoms on earth under his control.  Then he started harassing the devas, the heavenly beings.  Even the mighty Lord of the Devas couldn’t withstand his assault.  Indra fled the heavens.  

This made Narakasura the king of heaven and earth.  He didn’t stop there.  He stole the earrings of Aditi, Indra’s mother, as they had extraordinary powers.  He snatched Varuna’s umbrella and occupied Indra’s seat on top of mount Meru.  He had already kidnapped sixteen thousand young princesses too, keeping them captive in his palace.

Led by Indra, all the devas went to Lord Vishnu seeking help.  Lord Vishnu promised to protect them from Narakasura when the time came.  And now was that time.  Lord Indra visited Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and complained about Narakasura.  Indra reminded Lord Vishnu to protect him and the devas from Narakasura’s tyranny.  

Krishna and Satyabhama riding on Garuda
https://kathakids.com

Krishna, to fulfill his promise to Indra and the devas, as also to Bhumata, went to war with Narakasura.  Krishna rode on Garuda, his eagle mount, along with his wife Satyabhama.  

The reason Krishna went with Satyabhama was that she is the incarnation of Bhumata.  Aditi, Indra’s mother, and the devas had also complained to Satyabhama about Narakasura’s wrongdoings.  

Once Krishna reached the city of Pragjyotisha, he blew his horn Panchajanya.  Then he attacked Narakasura’s great fortress.  The fortress was fortified by several barriers consisting of mountain ranges, water, fire and cyclonic winds.  He destroyed all the protective formations one by one with little or no effort.  

Then came Mura, Narakasura’s general.  He used many magical weapons to attack Krishna.  Krishna was able to defuse them very easily and killed Mura with his mace.  Ever since that, Krishna has been called Murari the slayer of Mura.  

Narakasura himself came to fight Krishna and used several divine weapons against him.  Krishna again easily neutralized them all.   Narakasura also started attacking Garuda, Krishna’s mount.  He tried his best to beat Garuda, using all his strength, but nothing worked.  Garuda didn’t even get a scratch.  

Narakasura is beheaded
casadevalaya.blogspot.com

Filled with anger, as a last resort he threw his trident at Krishna.  For this Krishna acted as he was fainting.  Due to a boon that Narakasura had gotten, he could only be killed by the one who gave birth to him.  Seeing that Krishna had fainted enraged Satyabhama, who is Bhumata.  She beheaded Narakasura with Krishna’s Sudarshana Chakra.  

While taking his last few breaths, Narakasura realized his sins.  He surrendered to Krishna and asked him for his mercy.  He also asked for a boon to celebrate the day of his death as the day of liberation, the festival of lights.  It is celebrated as Diwali.  

Rescued Princesses and Krishna
https://www.isvara.org

The devas were delighted to see Narakasura fall.  They showered flowers from the sky while praising Krishna’s name.  Narakasura’s son was crowned by Krishna at the request of Bhumata.  Krishna released the sixteen thousand captive princesses who had been jailed by Narakasura.  They fell at Krishna’s feet asking him to accept them as his wives, as no one else would now support them.  Krishna accepted them all as his consorts and sent them to Dwaraka with guards carrying tons of wealth.

Krishna visited Deva Loka with Satyabhama by his side.  He lovingly returned Indra’s mother’s earrings to her and Varuna’s umbrella to him.  Indra and his wife Indrani worshipped Krishna. 

Krishna and Satyabhama with Parijata tree
https://devamrutam.blogspot.com

There in Indra’s garden Satyabhama saw the celestial Parijata tree with its golden bark and intoxicating fragrance.  She reminded Krishna of a promise.  Thus, on his way back, Krishna took the Parijata tree from Deva Loka without Indra’s knowledge.  Why would Krishna do this knowing it would make Indra angry?

Some time earlier, Sage Narada got a few flowers from the celestial Parijata tree and offered them to Krishna.  Narada had an ulterior motive, wanting to see which one of Krishna’s beloved wives he would give the flowers to.  With delight, Krishna gave the flowers to Rukmini.  

Finding this out, Satyabhama was provoked with jealousy.  She confronted Krishna, expressing her anger and disappointment about the whole incident.  Krishna said, “Are you crying over just a few flowers.  I’ll get you the tree itself from Deva Loka.”  Thus, Krishna uprooted the tree and loaded it on Garuda to take home to Dwaraka.  

When Indra found out, he was furious and took his army to battle with Krishna, forgetting all the favors he had just gotten from him.  Krishna easily defeated them all and returned to Dwaraka with the celestial tree.  

Defeated, Indra cursed that the plant would never bear fruits, though it might bear flowers.  Since then the Parijata tree does not bear any fruit. 

Rukmini, Krishna and Satyabhama
www.hindudevotionalblog.com

Satyabhama happily brought the tree to her palace, showing it off as her trophy.  Rukmini also took a fancy to it because of its flowers.  She loves adorning Krishna’s feet with flowers.  So she insisted that she too wanted the flowers.  

As Krishna loved them both, he planted the tree in Satyabhama’s courtyard in such a way that its flowers fell down in Rukmini’s courtyard.  In this way he made both of his wives happy.  

Krishna also married the sixteen thousand princesses, in as many palaces.  He took on as many forms for them at the same time.  All of his wives were accommodated in their special palaces so that there would be peace among them all.  

Sage Narada was a celibate, so he had a doubt as how Krishna treated all his wives and how they regarded him.  The thought of keeping a single wife seemed a great burden to him.  So he wanted to know how Krishna managed to please all his wives, while still finding time for all his other accomplishments.  

Narada went to Rukmini’s palace and saw Krishna relaxing on a swing bed with Rukmini lovingly fanning him.  Krishna jumped up as soon as he saw the sage and welcomed him.  After accepting all the hospitalities, Narada then went to the next door to Satyabhama.  To his astonishment, there he saw Krishna playing a game of dice with her.  Krishna again jumped up and greeted the Sage.  Narada was puzzled.  After enjoying their company, he moved on to the next palace.  There he found Krishna with his wife Jambavati.  

Narada and Krishna
https://mythologyandvaishbhat.wordpress.com

Poor Narada stuck to his self-imposed task, climbing in and out of as many palaces as he could.  In each of them he was greeted by smiling Krishna and a loyal, pleased and contented wife.  Then he realized his mistake was in doubting Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.  He is the one in all.  Everything exists in him.  Then he prayed to the Lord, asking for forgiveness for doubting him.

Out of all his wives, Krishna could never find any fault with Rukmini.  She was very great and always engaged in his service wholeheartedly.  One day, Krishna wanted to see Rukmini’s beautiful face in an aggravated condition.  So he schemed out a conversation which would press her buttons and make her irritated.  Why would Krishna want to do this to Rukmini? It is said that it’s important for husband and wife, though in love, to have small conflicts and find ways to unite again.  

Your Divine Task

By Swami Prajñananda

Gods and Goddesses, heroes and heroines — the great Greek epics with tales of heroic deeds enchanted me as a child.  The seeming impossible made possible kept me rapt. 

I especially loved Hercules.  He performed deeds that no one else could, due to both his strength and strategizing.  As I grew up, I would apply myself in the same way, taking on challenges that were bigger than me.  Whether it was athletic or academic success, I would not stop until I achieved what I set out to do.  Yet, once completed, I was ready to move on to the next thing.  

I just wasn’t satisfied.  No matter what I achieved, I was still left with a feeling that there was something missing.  And it was true!  I was missing me.  When I met my Guru, Gurudevi Nirmalananda, she gave me a new direction to turn:  inward.  

My striving to be something has transformed into discovering that which I already am — perfect, whole and complete.  I learned that nothing I achieved on the outside would make me more whole on the inside.  Wow!  After years of striving to improve myself and my life, this revelation was groundbreaking.  Yet to live in that knowing all the time is the true Herculean task. Gurudevi describes: 

Your task is to first find the Divine in your own Self, then to see God shining through, as all that exists.

 Yoga & Worldly Life by Gurudevi Nirmalananda

You know how to get tasks done.  You have so many in your life, some more challenging than others.  Yet all the tasks have taught you something.  I often think that the challenges and goals I have taken on so far were all in preparation for this ultimate task, finding my own Self.  It is the same for you.  The skills needed to get a job or a degree are transferable to your spiritual upliftment.  Finding the Divine in your own Self requires persistence, dedication, problem solving and more. 

Yet you need a guide, someone to show you how and where to pour your efforts.  This is the job of the Guru.  Gurudevi not only shows you the way; she explains the path and gives you the experience she names.  She gives you the yoga practices that were given to her by her own Guru.  They have been passed down through the generations of yogis, dating back through time.  We receive these same tools because they work.  When you do the practices, you get the results.

First, you discover your own divine Self.  This is the deeper dimension of your own being — that which is perfect, whole and complete.  You taste it in your very first Svaroopa® yoga class or meditation.  Yet it is easy to forget who you are when you leave your yoga space.  Your task is to find your Self again and again and again, until again becomes always.  You root so deeply into your own Divinity that you can never be uprooted again. 

Once you are settled in your own Self, you see the world differently.  Most people look at the world as separate and even scary.  Yet, when you know your own Self, you are given divine vision.  Instead of a scary world, you see a divine world.  You see God shining through, as all that exists.  With your divine eye, nothing is bad, nothing is to be rejected or feared.  It is all to be respected and cherished.

This is the path laid out for you by the Great Masters in this yogic tradition.  First you find your Self; then you see the Divine in everyone and everything.  What a divine task!  Are you ready to take it on? 

Krishna Avatar Part 31

By Nirooshitha Sethuram

In Dwaraka’s palace, Arjuna contemplated the situation all night.  He realized he had to act immediately to stop the marriage of Duryodhana to Subhadra, the youngest sister of Krishna, born to Vasudeva and his wife Rohini.  As she was already promised to be married to Duryodhana, a promise made by Balarama, her other brother, there was no way for Arjuna to win her through the traditional way.  For him to marry Subhadra, the only other way would be to kidnap her by force. 

In this case, force would probably not be necessary since Subhadra was already in love with him.  She was not at all happy about her arranged marriage.  Maybe an elopement!  That’s it.  Arjuna realized that was the meaning of Krishna’s hint given the night before!  Now Arjuna need only to wait for an opportunity to carry out his plan.

Subhadra’s older brother Balarama gave her the duty to take care of the needs of their guest, Arjuna, who was thought to be a sage.  It was considered a great blessing for a young maiden to serve a sage, so that she would get the blessings of a good husband and many children.  Arjuna thoroughly enjoyed every visit of Subhadra, thanking God for this unexpected gift.  He fell in love with her even more so, seeing her every time she came to serve him.

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Not knowing the true identity of the sage, Subhadra was delighted in serving him and being there, readily available for all his needs.  After a few visits, she became a bit suspicious about his behavior.  She found his interactions with her to be far from a saintly manner.  When she watched him closely, she noticed his callused forefinger, common for an archer.  

With this young sage, both of his forefingers were callused, which was a sign of a great archer.  Not only was it a sign, it was a proof that the sage must be none other than Arjuna.  Arjuna was the only archer who could have this as he was famous for shooting equally well with his right and left hands.  When she asked, Arjuna didn’t have any choice other than to reveal his true identity to her.  Ever since this discovery, their courtship progressed smoothly.  As his stay continued, the rainy season started to end, meaning Subhadra’s wedding day was approaching.  Now was the time to act.

They both had Krishna as their biggest ally.  First and foremost, he gave Arjuna his chariot and advised Subhadra to drive the chariot away from Dwaraka towards Indraprastha.  This was a crucial piece of advice, to make it look like Subhadra kidnapped Arjuna, not the other way around.  

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The next morning, Arjuna borrowed Krishna’s chariot and waited near the temple where Subhadra had gone for a puja.  As she came out of the temple, Arjuna drove the chariot in front of her so that she could easily get in.  When the soldiers on duty saw this, they thought that Subhadra was being abducted by the sage.  

Arjuna caught Subhadra by the arm to seat her in the chariot, preparing for her to drive away.  At that moment, the soldiers started to attack Arjuna.  Remembering Krishna’s advice, Subhadra took the reins of the horses.  Arjuna immediately started to fire arrows at the soldiers, revealing his true identity.  The soldiers ran towards the palace to inform Balarama of the incident.  

Balarama got into a rage, uncommon for him.  He pledged to punish Arjuna for what he had done, especially by breaking the trust by faking to be a sage.  Balarama felt that the entire Yadava clan had been dishonored by this act of Arjuna.  Since Arjuna was Krishna’s bosom friend, Balarama suspected Krishna’s involvement as well.  He wanted to confront Krishna about the event and sent word for him to come.  

When Krishna arrived, Balarama shouted at him, asking why Krishna was silent about his dear friend insulting them and the Yadava clan by kidnapping their sister.  He said to Krishna, “It’s an unbearable disgrace upon us.  Especially after we treated Arjuna so well, offering him shelter.  I cannot wait to hear why you let this happen, and you not yet getting ready to chase him down to fight!”

Krishna smilingly said, “Didn’t I warn you dear brother, about letting strangers stay at our palace, especially with our young sister around.  You are the one refused to believe me, and now you are trying to blame the event on me.  I heard from the soldiers that it was our loving sister, Subhadra who was driving the chariot and not Arjuna.  Therefore, this is not a kidnapping.  It is an elopement initiated by our sister.”  Balarama was a bit annoyed by Krishna’s sarcasm.  

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Then Balarama looked at Krishna and asked why he hadn’t said anything about the true identity of the sage, as well as the love affair between them. Krishna smilingly said, “As you had already promised Subhadra to Duryodhana, I didn’t want you to get involved in any elopement.  In this way, you are clear of all blame and guilt.  Since you knew nothing about this elopement, Duryodhana cannot blame you for breaking your promise.”  Balarama had no choice but to accept the marriage of Subhadra with Arjuna.

The couple was invited back with great honor and the wedding was celebrated grandly in Dwaraka.  After some time passed, it became time for the newlyweds to return to Arjuna’s home, Indraprastha.  Subhadra was getting ready to leave with Arjuna, bringing her huge dowry of precious metals, horses and maidens.  

But there was a problem in taking Subhadra to Indraprastha.  When all five Pandavas married Draupadi, they gave her their word that they would never bring any of their other wives whom they marry in the future to the palace where Draupadi lived.  Therefore, while they were allowed to marry many women, according to the tradition of kshatriyas, but Draupadi would be the only wife whom they would have in Indraprastha.  Arjuna decided to take his chances by returning from his exile to Indraprastha along with his new wife Subhadra.

He was welcomed by Kunti and his brothers.  But Draupadi was missing.  When he inquired about her, the brothers revealed that she was in a rage and didn’t want to see anyone.  They added that she was heartbroken, as Arjuna was breaking the promise by bringing his new wife, Subhadra, to Indraprastha.  

Hearing this Subhadra decided to mend things.  To save her husband from this difficult situation, she decided to visit Draupadi’s chamber in the attire of a cowherd woman.  When Draupadi asked who she was, she said that she came to serve her as her maid.  She then fell at Draupadi’s feet.  Draupadi got suspicious and asked her to come out with the truth.  Then Subhadra revealed who she was and promised Draupadi that she would never want to replace her or take her place in Indraprastha.  Seeing such humility, Draupadi accepted Subhadra as her younger sister.  

After some time, Subhadra bore a son to Arjuna.  He was the great Abhimanyu, who later became equal to his father in virtue, valor, and proficiency in archery.  A true son of Arjuna, he became the favorite of all the Pandava brothers and of Krishna.

Now let’s look at the marriages of Krishna, which also happened in this same time period.  

Mitravinda was a cousin of Krishna as her mother Rajadevi was an aunt to Krishna.  The princes of Avanti, Vinda and Anuvinda were friends of Duryodhana.  The princes arranged a swayamvara for their sister, Mitravinda, but without her consent. Mitravinda begged Krishna to rescue her.  She was devoted to Krishna and longed to marry him.  Knowing her devotion, Krishna obliged to her request.  He once again fought with all the other kings while abducting her, then formally married her in Dwaraka.

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Satya was the daughter of the King of Kosala, Nagnajita, who was married to Vasudeva’s sister.  This king owned seven vicious bulls with sharp horns.  He declared that whomever was capable of subduing these seven bulls would  win his daughter’s hand in marriage.  Many kings from all parts of the world wanted to marry Satya, so they attempted to calm the bulls but failed miserably.  

When Krishna visited Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala, King Nagnajita greeted him with highest honor and gave him a grand welcome.  His daughter Satya, seeing Krishna in person, immediately fell in love with his divine form and wanted to marry him.  As Nagnajita had already announced the competition, he had to request that Krishna accept the challenge, in order to fulfill Satya’s wish.

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Krishna entered into the arena which the bulls had been let loose.  He then multiplied himself into seven forms and calmed the bulls instantaneously with great ease.  The king along with his daughter were delighted to see this.  The happy father bestowed his blessing on the bride and groom in a grand wedding.  Krishna then took Satya with him back to Dwaraka.

Krishna’s marriage to his cousin Bhadraa was the only marriage that took place without any unpleasant occurrences.  Bhadraa was the daughter of Shrutakirtii, another aunt of Krishna.  Bhadra’s brothers married their sister to Krishna in a splendid wedding.  

Krishna also married Lakshmanaa (or Lakshanaa), the daughter of King of Madra.  In her swayamvara, he won her in an archery challenge similar to the one Arjuna won to marry Draupadi.  Thus, Krishna married about eight women during the course of this time.  He lived happily in Dwaraka until he received multiple complaints about the mighty King Narakasura.

Krishna Avatar Part 30

By Nirooshitha Sethuram

Graphics by Sheralee (Shambhavi) Hancherow

Arjuna continued on his long journey and reached Manipura.  He went to the court of Chitravahana, King of Manipura, and introduced himself.  The king was delighted to have mighty Arjuna in his court and gave him a warm welcome.  The king requested Arjuna to be his royal guest, so he was given accommodation in the royal palace.  

One day Arjuna got a glimpse of the king’s daughter, Chitrangada.  He was totally bewitched by her masculine beauty and wanted to marry her.  He went straight to the king and requested his permission to marry her.  As Chitravahana did not have any other heir, he had trained Chitrangada in warfare and ruling the kingdom.  The king agreed for his daughter to marry Arjuna under one condition.  

Chitrangada, King Chitravahana & Arjuna
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As Chitrangada was his only child, thus the only one who could continue his dynasty, the king had decided to adopt her son and appoint him as the Crown Prince of Manipura.  This meant that a child, born to her, would be his successor, no one else.  Therefore, the condition was that Chitrangada’s son would remain in Manipura.  As Arjuna was so madly in love with her, he didn’t have a choice but to agree.  

The marriage took place in a grand scale and Arjuna stayed there for a few years.  In due course Chitrangada got pregnant and bore a son.  As was promised, Chitravahana adopted Arjuna’s son as his own.  It was time for Arjuna to move on with his journey.  Arjuna left his wife Chitrangada and his son, to stay in Manipura, as he continued his journey to the south.  

On the way to the south, he came across some sages.  Spending time with them he gained knowledge and wisdom.  He saw that the sages had problems getting water for their daily use.  When he asked about it, they revealed that there were five ponds nearby, but they were unable to get water from them, as each of the ponds was the home of a huge crocodile who ate anyone who came near the pond.  Hearing this Arjuna assured them that he would put an end to this terror.  

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Arjuna fearlessly got into one of the ponds.  The crocodile in that pond immediately came towards him to attack him.  Ullupi’s boon given to Arjuna, that he will remain unconquerable in water, came true.  Arjuna easily defeated the crocodile.  Catching it by its tail, he flung it out of the water and threw it to the ground, injuring it very badly.  As soon as the crocodile hit the ground it transformed into a heavenly damsel.  

The damsel paid her respect to Arjuna and said, “Oh Son of Pandu! All the crocodiles in these ponds are heavenly beings.  We have been cursed by a sage to remain in these waters as crocodiles for years now.  We have been waiting for a true warrior to liberate us from this curse.  As you liberated me, please do liberate the others as well.  Arjuna freed all of them from their curse.  The heavenly beauties thanked Arjuna and returned to heaven.  The sages were relieved of their problems and blessed Arjuna.  

Arjuna moved on with his journey.  As Arjuna’s years of pilgrimage were coming close to an end, he wished to end it in Dwaraka, where he could meet Krishna again.  The last time he saw and spent time with Krishna was when they took up their residence in Indraprastha.  

He remembered going out on a hunting trip with Krishna.  At the end of the day, they were tired and thirsty.  They went to the banks of Yamuna to quench their thirst and refresh themselves.  When they reached the riverbank, they were struck by the beauty of a damsel wandering along the banks.  When questioned by him, she revealed herself as Kalindi, the daughter of Sun God.  She had been living in a house beneath the river due to a vow she had taken to marry the incarnation of Vishnu.  She had been observing severe austerities until she met one.  

Krishna and Kalindi
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Arjuna with a smile told her the time has come to receive the fruits of her penance, for the one she was looking for is only a few yards away from her.  He pointed to Krishna and Kalindi prostrated at Krishna’s feet, pleading him to accept her as his consort.  Krishna, with delight, accepted her and all three of them returned to Indraprastha.  After getting blessings from Yudhishthira, Kalindi returned to Dwaraka with Krishna. Krishna married her there, with the support of all in Dwaraka.

Arjuna also was thinking about Krishna’s sister Subhadra.  Arjuna had met her on one of his trips to Dwaraka.  They had been attracted to each other.  No one knew about this other than Krishna.  Arjuna was looking forward to meeting Krishna and Subhadra.  With all that in his mind, Arjuna continued his journey towards Dwaraka.  

Subhadra was Krishna’s younger sister.  She had grown up to be a lovely young lady.  She was highly pampered by her two older brothers, Balarama and Krishna.  Her happiness was everything to them.  As the eldest brother, Balarama was anxious to get her married to a suitable groom.  Duryodhana had heard about her exceptional beauty and showed his interest to marry her.  Not knowing Subhadra’s desire to be with Arjuna, Balarama agreed to Duryodhana’s proposal of marriage.  He was quite pleased about this alliance, as he always had a soft corner towards Duryodhana; Duryodhana was Balarama’s favorite student.  Not to mention, he was thrilled about the alliance with the great family of the Kuru dynasty, too.  

Krishna was not at all happy about this news, but it was too late as Balarama had already given his word to Duryodhana.  Nonetheless, Krishna didn’t want his dear sister to suffer at the hands of the cruel-natured Kaurava Prince, Duryodhana.  So he had to come up with a strategy to save his sister from marrying this ill-natured man, and to marry the one whom she carried in her heart.  

Arjuna arrived at the gates of Dwaraka.  After travelling so long his clothes were soiled and crumbled, and he had grown a long beard.  He looked like a sage.  No one recognized him in Dwaraka, though he was well-known there.  Arjuna chuckled about people not recognizing him.  He found a tree, sat under it and closed his eyes.  People started coming towards him, as they mistook him for a real sage.  The crowd gathered around him and some started gossiping about the news of Subhadra’s wedding to Duryodhana.  

Arjuna, Krishna and Subhadra https://vedicfeed.com/love-story-of-arjuna-and-subhadra/

Arjuna was devasted to hear this news.  He didn’t know until that moment how much Subhadra meant for him.  He couldn’t afford to lose her.  He closed his eyes, deeply lost in his thoughts.  He wondered about Krishna’s involvement in this, as he knew that Krishna was aware of his attraction towards Subhadra and her’s towards him.  He decided to sit in stillness, meditating.  He expressed no desire for anything, including food.  People were quite convinced that he was a great sage.

The news about a sage visiting Dwaraka reached the ears of Balarama.  He immediately came to visit the sage, not knowing he was Arjuna.  He paid his respect to the sage but Arjuna was quite embarrassed about this, as he was very much younger than Balarama.  He tried to hide his face as he was nervous that Balarama would recognize him.  But, to his surprise, Balarama didn’t have a clue about the one who was hiding behind the clothes of a sage.  

Arjuna’s years of spending time with great beings during this time period really helped him to suit the act.  Balarama was pleased with meeting the sage.  He went back to get Krishna to come along with him.  When Krishna arrived, and recognized Arjuna, he gave a quizzical look.  Arjuna couldn’t take it and closed his eyes.  Balarama humbly invited the sage to stay at the palace, as the rainy season had started.  It is customary for sages to stay with householders during monsoon times.  Arjuna glanced at Krishna and agreed to the request, as he knew that Krishna recognized him.  

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Krishna showed dissatisfaction with his brother’s decision.  He muttered into Balarama’s ear, though in such a way Arjuna could hear.  He said, “Oh dear brother, beware of bringing strange young men into our residence, even if they are holy men.  Don’t forget that our beloved sister is a maiden waiting to be married.  The sage doesn’t look old enough to renounce the pleasures of life.  You better think twice before you bring him into our home.”  

Balarama looked at Krishna in such a way to tell him to mind his own business.  Balarama went on with his plan, inviting Arjuna the sage into their home.  They all went back to the palace.  Balarama made sure the Sage was comfortable in his room.  What Krishna had said to Balarama was playing in Arjuna’s mind over and over again.  He knew there was a hidden message for him in what Krishna said.  He kept thinking about it all night.

Free from Limitations

By Swami Satrupananda

“I am imperfect,” your mind tells you this again and again.  Does it, unfortunately, sound familiar?  Yoga calls this ignorance.  The good news is that yoga also provides a cure: Shaktipat, the sacred initiation from a Satguru.

Yoga is the science of maximizing the human experience.  Part of this science is defining what keeps us limited.  The belief that “I am imperfect” has a Sanskrit name: aanava mala.  And it is just that, a belief, not a truth.  That’s why aanava mala is often translated as ignorance.  We don’t know who we really are.  

You are perfect, whole, full and complete.  Whenever you feel otherwise, you don’t know the Truth of your Divine Nature.  But this is not an ignorance that can be solved with more education.  Therefore, my teacher, Gurudevi Nirmalananda, translates aanava mala as Divine Amnesia.  You have forgotten your own Divinity.

Instead, your mind says that you are small and insignificant.  It’s right there in the Sanskrit words.  Aanava means fine, minute and exceeding smallness.  Mala means dirt, dust, filth and impurity.  Your Divine Nature is veiled by a layer of thinking that you are finite, minute and small.  That means when you feel this way, you are so close to your own Divinity.  There is just a thin layer covering your true nature.  While it is just a thin layer, it’s a scary one.  It’s painful and overwhelming to feel this exceeding smallness.  

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And there are two more veils (malas) that cover your inherent Divinity.  The next mala is maayiiya mala. Maayiiya means “proceeding from maaya.”  Maaya is the delusion of seeing the world as being different from you.  It keeps you from perceiving that everyone and everything is the same one Divine Reality covered by the malas.  Because of maayiiya mala, you see it all as separate.  

The third veil is karma mala.  Karma means action.  This veil propels you into action.  There is nothing wrong with action.  However, karma mala propels you into thinking that you are your accomplishments.  You believe you are what you do.

The truth of your existence is that you are the one Divine Reality, full, complete, perfect and whole.  Your Divinity is covered by these three veils: feeling finite; feeling different/separate from everyone and everything; and feeling your worth is based on what you do.  While you are the one Divine Reality, yet entangled in veils, you feel yourself to be so much less.  This is the human condition.

The cure is Shaktipat.  Shaktipat is an initiation given by a Satguru.  She ignites your own inner power of upliftment and pierces aanava mala.  The veil is torn.  You can thus see and feel your own Divine Nature.  The torn veil of aanava mala will never fully conceal your Divinity again.  The tear is permanent.

That was my experience.  In the moment I received Shaktipat, I had a profound experience of knowing and being my own Divine Nature.  Then I went back to my life and to my mind, which clearly needed some reprogramming.  I couldn’t live in the Beingness and Knowingness of my own Divinity all the time.  Yet I always knew that I was more.  It wasn’t a mere remembering of my experience; it was an inner knowing that I was more.  

It was so painful.  I knew that I was more, but I wasn’t experiencing the more.  I remember sitting in my apartment a few months after receiving Shaktipat and wishing that I could go back to not-knowing.  And in that moment, I realized that I could never not know.  I might not experience my Divine Nature all the time, but I would never not know that I was more than what my mind told me.

That’s the incredible gift of Shaktipat.  It tears aanava mala and gives you access to your own Divine Nature forever.  Once aanava mala is pierced and you know your own Divinity, then maayiiya mala can longer bind you.  You know that everyone and everything else is also made from the same Divine Reality.  It’s a huge masquerade party, everyone and everything seemingly separate from you – how fun!  

When you know your own Divinity, you continue to act in the world, but it does not define your worth.  Karma mala no longer limits you.  While you know that you are Divine, you take actions in the world simply because you care.  All of this, and so much more, comes from Shaktipat.

Once Shaktipat tears aanava mala, it is just a matter of time until the veil dissolves completely.  Then you live in the Knowingness of your own Divinity all the time.  It’s the promise that is described in Gurudevi Nirmalananda’s name.  Nirmala means without malas.  Gurudevi is free from the limitations of the three malas.  She always knows her own Divinity and sees it in everyone and everything.

You too can live in that freedom once you’ve received Shaktipat.  It’s just a matter of time.  And you control the timing.  If you do the practices that Gurudevi Nirmalananda did, and tells us to do, then you’ll get there.  If you do more of the practices, you’ll get there sooner.  It’s that simple.  And it’s guaranteed.  

You have the ultimate cure to the feeling of “I am imperfect” right here in America.  Come get Shaktipat and do the practices so you will know that you are perfect, whole, full and complete.

God Makers

By Swami Shrutananda

There are pastry makers, ones who are skilled in making bread.  There are peace makers, ones who bring about peace.  Also, there are God makers, ones who reveal your own God-ness, your own Divinity, to you. 

You, an ordinary human being, can be transmuted into God.  This is described as changing ordinary metal into gold.  In the Middle Ages, the so-called “philosopher’s stone” was the most sought-after substance in the world of alchemy.  Through it, alchemists could reach the legendary goal of turning ordinary metals, particularly lead, into gold.

drawing from alchemy text en.wikipedia.org

However, alchemy was a spiritual path, a Kundalini path, which predated medieval times.  It originated in India during the pre-Vedic times more than 20,000 years ago.  The teachings were written in a code language.  The veiled meaning was transforming the human being into the Divine, God.  The metal that was to be transformed was the human being — your body, mind and heart.

During a Weekend Workshop, I gave a talk on “You are Divine.”  As I was giving the teachings, a student kept interrupting and asking questions.  She was being a little aggressive, and other students were becoming uncomfortable.  Plus, they could not hear the teachings I was trying to give them. 

More and more frustrated, the vocal student finally blurted out, “Are you trying to tell me that I am Divine?!”  I said, “Yes!”  Then she sat quietly and listened through the rest of the talk.  Something shifted inside her.  What you believe will determine who you will become. 

You have all experienced your God-ness.  This is certainly true if you’ve received Shaktipat.  Yet it is also true if you have not.  Watching a sunset, upon first seeing a loved one, or listening to your favorite piece of music — any of these open your experience of God:

Unfortunately, most people have only a momentary experience.  Mysticism is about the difference between experiencing God momentarily compared to always knowing that you are God.  And yoga is pure mysticism. 

— Gurudevi Nirmalananda [1]

In yoga, through the Grace of the Guru, you come to live in this knowing you are God.  Who is the Guru? 

The texts are clear: the Guru is God.  So are you, but you don’t know it all the time, not yet anyway. How do you understand someone who lives in the knowing, who settles deep within — into being the Self and never loses it?  What would you want to call that person?  Even from ancient times, they have been called the “God-men of India,” tracing back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians as well as those from India.

— Swami Nirmalananda [2]

The Guru lives in the knowing of their own God-ness.  The  Guru’s job is to make you into Himself — into that which the Guru has already become.  That is God.  This process unfolds from the inside out.

In Kashmiri Shaivism, the pivotal point is whether or not the Guru can give Shaktipat.  A Shaktipat Guru is a God maker.  God makers are very rare.  Swami Nirmalananda is such a Guru.  When you receive Shaktipat, your Kundalini is awakened.  Kundalini is the energy of revelation, ready to flow up your spine from tail to top. 

This profound movement clears away all that gets in the way of knowing you are God.  Your thoughts, the way you use your mind, your memories and feelings, along with your physical body are transmuted.  Through Kundalini, you are uplifted and purified.  Through this transformation you come to know you are God, you are the Self.

Our meditation system comes from a lineage of God makers.  They support you in your meditations, so you experience the depths of your own being, your own Self.  I had a very tangible experience of this in meditation.  As usual, I began meditation by repeating the mantra given to me by my Guru.  I was carried deep within by the mantra. 

Nityananda of Ganeshpuri

Then I saw a God maker.  It was Nityananda, another Guru from this lineage.  He was walking on a dirt path away from me, walking through the mist. 

I kept repeating mantra and got on the dirt path to follow him.  I wanted to go where he was going.  I knew where he was leading me, to my own God-ness, my own Divinity, my own Self. 

As I followed him, I was propelled even deeper within.  I was immersed so deep within that I couldn’t remain conscious at that level of my being.  When I surfaced from that deep plunge within, and I opened my eyes I felt more like my Self.  I was sitting in timeless space, settled and expanded at the same time. 

Once you have received Shaktipat, your most important practice is meditation.  Meditate every day.  Every meditation is alchemy — transmuting, transforming you. 

When do you become God?  You are in charge.  Do more yoga.


[1] Enlightenment in the Midst of Life, Lesson #1: Stepping Into Life (Downingtown PA, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, Year-Long Programme 2018)

[2] Guru & Self, Lesson #5:  Guru is God (Downingtown PA, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, Year-Long Programme 2014)