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.
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.