Monthly Archives: February 2017

Mystical You

By Mangala Allen

Yoga says you are Shiva. Shiva is the Being of all things, the One Ever-Blissful Essence pervading all of existence and beyond, including you! Yoga’s true goal is for you to know this essential truth, within yourself, as your Self.

Everything is made of contracted energy. This energy becomes various particles, which move in patterns to create everything that exists. This energy is Shiva, so all the contracted particles are Shiva, and everything that they become is also Shiva.  As Shiva contracts to become you, you forget you are Shiva. The forgetfulness is an intentional contraction, created by Shiva:  a veil of illusion called maayaa.  It is part of the Divine Plan.

As you progress through your human life you unfortunately contract even more, further limiting your experience of who you really are. You move through life as though you are defined by the things outside of you. You identify with your name, where you live, your occupation and your relationships. You get wrapped up in these many identities and are easily captivated by the things that support them.

How do you get from here to the goal of perceiving yourself as the One Ever-Blissful Essence, pervading all of existence and beyond? Yoga is the mystical pathway to your Self. Yoga gives you tools so you can revel in your Shiva-ness, in complete freedom and joy abounding, affecting every moment of your life!

“The truth is that to realize the Self is to get what we already have. There is nothing apart from Shiva. There is nothing other than Shiva. Whatever there is, is Shiva.”
Nothing Exists That Is Not Siva by Swami Muktananda

To live in the truth of this awareness is attainable. For this you need a teacher who has traveled the path and can illumine your way. Not just any teacher, but one with the power to create an inner awakening that opens you inward to your Self. This teacher is called a Guru, one who can lead you from the darkness (gu) of your delusion to the light (ru) of your own Divinity. I got this from my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda. She fulfills yoga’s promise of revealing my Self to me.

She explains, “The reality is that you are so much more. You are Shiva, the whole of Divine Consciousness. Everything that exists, everything you see and hear and feel and touch is Shiva too.”

As I learn from her, the layers of who I think I am are slipping away. This changes everything. I feel complete from within. I radiate love. I feel it shining within me, affecting my ability to see Reality inside and outside. My ability to bring my Self into the world is enhanced, which deepens my ability to see the blissful essence in all that surrounds me. All I can do is rejoice in the gift I have been given. This mystical path of revelation moves me toward the enlightenment I seek and I am ever grateful to my Guru.

The Words of A Self-Realized Being

By Niranjan (Nathan) Matanich

Katha japa.h
Every word of a great Master is mantra.
Even their ordinary conversation is the repetition of mantra.
— Siva Sutras 3.27

This yogic text describes an enlightened being, plus it tells you how to get there.  Mantra is one of the most important tools.  When you repeat a mantra, especially one that has been enlivened by a Self-realized teacher, something happens on the inside. Repeating an enlivened mantra turns your awareness inward and gives you the experience of your own Self. But, for the Self-realized being, every word they speak is a mantra.  They’re not limited to Sanskrit.

I first became aware of this at Swami Nirmalananda’s ashram. A number of us were in the dining room having lunch with Swamiji.  I was fortunate that she sat right next to me. In our lunch conversation, I noticed that when Swamiji spoke, my awareness began to turn inward, just like when I repeat mantra or meditate. I realized in that moment that there was no mundane conversation with Swamiji. I realized that even in a seemingly mundane conversation, her words were revealing my Self to me.

Another thing I realized from that experience is the importance of having a Self-realized teacher. Yogic teachings have traditionally been handed down from teacher to disciple verbally. The reason is that the teachings are living teachings, something gets lost when they are just written down.

It’s magic really. When you sit in a room with a Self-realized teacher and hear them give teachings, you are having the experience of the teachings at the same time you are learning about them.  This can’t be found in a book alone.

To realize the Self you must have both knowledge and experience. If you only have knowledge of the Self, you understand it only intellectually. But if you have the experience without the teachings, you won’t know what you are experiencing. The Self-realized teacher will give you both the knowledge and experience of your own Self.

The closest I’ve come to having this experience outside of being with Swamiji is when I’m repeating mantra. It’s not a mantra that I got out of a book or on the internet. It is a living mantra, one that was verbally bestowed on me. The only reason I’ve really been able to have this experience on my own is because the mantra was given directly to me. Swamiji calls it “an investiture.”  This is the power of the words of a Self-Realized teacher.

Time spent with such a teacher is invaluable. If you have the great fortune of spending time with a great being cherish it. You are receiving something that cannot be found anywhere else, you are receiving your own Self.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

Mantras:  Mundane & Divine

By Mati (Sandy) Gilbert

Recently, I watched the Golden Globes Award Show on TV.  I realized that I have no idea who most of the nominees are or what they do.  My family and friends continually talk about stars, their shows and their lives.

Watching the show did allow me to put some names to faces.  What I did enjoy about the show was the variety of the ladies’ evening gowns — so colorful and sparkly.  They reminded of the time, many, many years ago, when it was so important for me to be pretty, to be liked and to be desired.

You can watch the Golden Globes or other award shows to enjoy the splendor of the celebration, OR you can be comparing their looks, bodies, hair and clothing to yours.  When your mind is caught in the comparisons, it is saying mundane mantras.

Mundane mantras are the statements you repeat to yourself and others about your worldly life.  Your mind is full of “clutter.”  You are constantly thinking of external stuff:  people you know, places to go, things you need to do, and what you have done or not.  You also probably think about what others should or should not be doing.

Comparisons make you think that if you were prettier/handsomer, had more money, accomplished a specific task or found the perfect soul mate, then you would be happy.  It doesn’t work that way.  What happens is that, when you get the external objects that you were fixated on, your mind stops, which creates an opening for your inherent bliss to arise from within.  It all comes from quieting your mind.

The paradox is, that to become happier, you must not depend on others and external objects for your happiness.  It is essential for you to find and know your Divine Essence, your capital-S Self.  How do you find your Self?  The easiest and most powerful gateway inward is by repeating a Divine mantra, one invested with Consciousness. 

Repeating such a mantra gives you deep meditation. In that stillness, you discover your Self.  Mantra and meditation are the tools to finding your own Divinity.

Both mundane and divine mantras are form of consciousness. Once you are settled in the knowing of your own Divinity, you will enjoy your daily life more fully.  Life’s goal is Self-Realization, ALWAYS living in that state.  How glorious!

You do not need to give up living in the world today.  Definitely not.  You continue your relationships and all of life’s experiences.  You won’t lose your life when you become enlightened.  You can have both.  You will be able to function on a very different level, being here now, but you will have clarity, capacity and compassion.  Life gets so much easier and calmer when you know your Self.  To get there, you need to use the Divine mantra more; it will lessen the impact of mundane mantras inside.  My teacher, Swami Nirmalananda, renders Shiva Sutra 2.1 as “Your own mind is made divine by mantra.”

The mundane thoughts that used to plague me, about  being pretty, liked, and desired, all came from my mind. Thankfully, I am different now.   I am so grateful to have received an enlivened mantra from Swamiji.

You get to choose.  You already know what your mundane mantras do for you.  A Divine mantra puts you on the path of enlightenment.  I know the path I want to take.  What about you?

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah



Transforming Pain

By Yogeshwari Fountain

Yoga changes your experience of pain. Whether it is physical, or emotional, you come to know that pain is merely your mind’s reaction.  It arises when you’ve lost your Self, your divine essence.  It’s easy to do.  You lose your Self in other people, places or things.

Pain is also the fear that comes when you object to whatever is happening in the moment. Pain is what happens when you’re anywhere other than right here, right now.  The mystical dimension within you is available only when you are in the here and now.

I struggled with this for much of my life, always wanting things to be other than the way they were. I was either lost in the past or worrying about the future. Even in the most sublime moments, I could find something to complain about. I remember one beautiful fall day, the sun streaming through golden leaves, being irritated by having to drive my son to his preschool. In the back of my mind, I knew something was very wrong about this. Why wasn’t I present? That awareness opened something inside of me that day. Not long after, I discovered the Svaroopa® Yoga Sciences, and my spiritual teacher, who would change everything.

heyam duhkham-anaagatam — Yoga Sutras 2.16
The pain yet to come can and should be avoided.

This sutra isn’t saying you should hide from your life, avoiding what might happen next. Yoga says that the pain you experienced in the past, is over. There’s no need to hang onto it or to run instant replays through your mind.

photo credit:

And the pain you feel now, your mind’s reactions, can be transformed.  How?  By the light of your own awareness.  When you are aware of the reality of what’s going on, but not lost in your reaction to it, it’s not painful.  This is because awareness is your Divine Essence. It shines through even your bleakest moments.

By being aware that you are aware, you get a handle on your mind. You can experience whatever is going on, but without your usual knee jerk reactions.  Instead of retreating from the experiences you’re having, you step into them fully.  Only then can you understand what’s happening, make decisions and initiation action to make changes.

Only when you are fully present, are you able to embrace your experiences and learn from them. Every experience is a form of the Divine, coming towards you. When you practice seeing this mystical truth every day, when future pain does come, you won’t get lost in it the same way. You will remain whole, undisturbed, because you’re coming from the depth of your own Divine Self.

I can tell that my mind is being cleansed of old mental patterns and fears. How?  Through repeating mantra and my daily meditation.  I am rooted, more and more, in the conscious awareness that is my own Self. I can now perceive that there’s a deeper dimensionality to the present moment, something I couldn’t have imagined before yoga.

Life is about having experiences. Some of these will be wonderful, some will be ho-hum, while others, painful. The gift of a human life is to experience it all, even the hard stuff, while you are in the middle of it.  As Swami Nirmalananda teaches:

“Experience the experience you’re experiencing, while you’re experiencing it.”