Category Archives: Mystical Living

What’s Calling You?

By Swami Sahajananda

When I grew up in Manhattan, cranes and wrecking balls demolishing old buildings were a constant presence.  My neighborhood transformed from rundown six-story tenements to twenty-story high-class apartment buildings.  I watched through eyelevel holes cut into the tall wooden fences around the construction sites.  The physical force and energy of the demolition was most fascinating.  In a moment, this power turned walls that had stood for a century into rubble.

I witnessed the power of destruction on the outside.  This power is also a spiritual force within each human being.  In yoga, it is one of the functions of the Ultimate Reality, called Shiva.  Along with destruction, Shiva has four other cosmic powers: creation, maintenance, concealment and revelation.  When acting as a force of destruction, Shiva is called Bhairava.  Bhairava opens you up and destroys your limiting delusion of who you think you are.  The Shiva Sutras, an ancient yogic text, explains:

Udyamo Bhairava  — Shiva Sutras 1.5

The upwelling of consciousness within you reveals your own Divinity.  — Rendered by Gurudevi Nirmalananda

Bhairava shakes up your complacency and comfort.  Bhairava propels you past the familiar illusion of who you think you are.  You are propelled into the awareness of yourself as Consciousness Itself.  This is your own Self.

I always had a subtle, persistent inner yearning.  I now can name it as the desire to know my Self.  Back then, though, I was always looking for something to fill this yearning.  I really did not know what I was looking for.  Yet this longing sent me searching.  I lived in many different places with a variety of people.  I took many different healing and personal growth trainings and workshops.  Each gave me a bit of what I was looking for, at least for a moment.  Still, nothing fully touched the longing I had felt since I was a teenager.

Then I took a weekend yoga workshop with Gurudevi Nirmalananda.  As the weekend progressed, a profound feeling of “rightness” arose within me.  For so long, this experience was what I had been searching for.  As I was driving home, everything was different.  Something big had opened within me through Gurudevi’s Svaroopa® yoga practices.  I felt alive.  I felt that everything was just right.  Within, I could feel the something more I’d been seeking.  Gratitude, joy and bliss welled up and filled that amorphous hole of yearning inside!

The exhilarating force of Bhairava brought me to the knowing my Own Self within.  Bhairava was also the yearning that had set me searching for something I couldn’t define.  This inherent longing had started me on the path of a seeker.  It ultimately took me to that transformative yoga workshop with Gurudevi.  

The awakening to your own Self is not just theoretical nor is it obscure.  Your yearning leads you to doing yoga practices like yoga poses and meditation.  The practices thin out the layers that hide the knowing of who you are.  You become aware of the deeper dimension of your own being, which you earnestly desire.

Gurudevi Nirmalananda giving Shaktipat

In the Svaroopa® yoga lineage, you have the support of Gurudevi Nirmalananda.  She has traveled the path to being established in knowing herself as Consciousness Itself.  She elucidates the path for you and speeds your progress.  From Gurudevi you receive Grace that fuels your internal transformation, the awakening of your spiritual energy.  This gift is called Shaktipat.  It jumpstarts the process of your inner upliftment.  You are blasted past your resistances and the walls of delusion crumble.

Through Shaktipat, Bhairava’s cosmic power destroys your limitations.  You open inward to a deep freedom, which is your inherent nature.  The “not knowing” of your Self is ended.  You come to know your Self as Consciousness-Itself.  Moving out of the cramped “tenement” of mistaken ideas of who you are, yoga realize your own Self.  You live in that expansive inner state, illuminated by the upwelling of your own Divine Light.

Life is Uncertain, You Are Certain

By Swami Satrupananda

How will the pandemic play out?  Who will win the U.S. Presidential election? How will it impact me?  You ask these questions because you want certainty in the future.  You seek this certainty because you have forgotten the certainty of your own existence.  Your own existence is unchanging, eternal.  You will feel unsettled until you know and live from that inner certainty.  It’s time to stop looking for certainty in the world and find your eternal, unchanging Essence within.

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Technology can make us feel like we are in control of our lives, providing the illusion of certainty.  “Siri, set a timer for 5 minutes.”  “Alexa, play music I like.”  Our phones are smart.  Our homes are getting smarter.  Stores are opening with no cashiers and no checkout lines.  Technology has helped declutter your mind of telephone numbers as well as appointment times and dates.  Yet your mind still churns.

You try to calm your mind by finding certainty in external circumstances.  But you are looking in the wrong place.  To find certainty, look for it in your own existence.  The sages from India describe your innermost Essence as unchanging and eternal.  In the Vivekachudamani, the 8th century yogic sage Shankaracharya described this Essence:

Aatmaan [your Divine Existence] is birthless and deathless. It neither grows nor decays. It is unchangeable, eternal. It does not dissolve when your body dissolves. — Translated by Swami Nirmalananda

You exist beyond birth and death.  You have never not existed.  You will never stop existing.  Nothing you can take away from yourself will make you less you.  Nothing you can add will make you more you.  You are unchanging and eternal.  You exist.  Your existence is the one Eternal Existence that is being everyone and everything.

foreverconscious.com

I remember my first experience of the eternity of my beingness.  It was early on in my meditation path.  An awareness arose that I always existed and will always exist.  It was a knowing beyond my intellect.  Having been steeped in the time-space continuum from my scientific education, my intellect was blown away.  I could not understand my experience with my mind.  Yet I knew my Eternal Beingness was more real than anything my mind could ever understand.

It is incredible that I had such a profound experience of my own eternality so early on in meditation.  This is the specialty of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation: a Meditation Master shows you the way.  Swami Nirmalananda is a modern day-Meditation Master, a representative of an unbroken lineage of Masters.  She opens the door inside to your own certain Existence.  She is the catalyst that fuels the discovery, making it quick and easy.

Well, at least she makes it quicker and easier.  This is a process of discovering and learning to abide in your own Existence.  It is a bit peculiar:  if you are eternal, beyond time, why don’t you know it all the time?  The answer is a four-letter word: mind.  Your mind draws you outward.  

Your mind runs around the world seeking certainty that can only be found inside.  It’s not just your mind.  Everyone’s mind does this.  It’s called the human dilemma.  Each of us is the one eternal Existence, yet we don’t know.  It is the ultimate quest in life — to know your own eternal Existence.  So your mind needs to do some work.

By using your mind to turn inward, you can discover and live in the certainty of your own Existence.  Abiding in your eternal Essence, you continue to live in the world.  But you approach it from a different place within yourself.  While living in this uncertain world, you are based in the certainty of your eternal Existence.  To get there, follow the path shown by Swami Nirmalananda and dive within.

Cultivate Self-Knowingness

By Swami Prajñananda

Deep and easy.  This is the specialty of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  Even first-time meditators often experience deep meditative absorption in their very first meditation.  We call this “dropping in.”  You sit and repeat the mantra (your tool for meditation).  After only a few repetitions, you settle into a deeper dimension within yourself. 

The first few times you “drop in,” you may think you fell asleep.  But this is not the same as sleep.  Instead of going into unconsciousness, you are delving into Consciousness-Itself.  When you open your eyes after your meditation, you feel more energized, expanded and settled within.  This is something different than sleep.  This is the beginning of your awakening. 

Awakening is a good description because you progressively become more aware as you continue meditating.  Awake means “to become conscious or aware of something.”  That is what happens when you meditate — you become aware of something.  You become aware of your own Divine essence, which is pure, whole and complete.  Yoga calls this your Self.  Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation gives you easy access to your own essence, your own Self. 

This experience changes how you feel within yourself, even when you’re not meditating.  You feel better, more alive and more you.  Yet you may not know how you got to that deeper level or how to stay there.  You plunge in and then, like a cork in water, you bob out.   Inside and outside seem disconnected.  How do you bridge that gap?

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When I first started meditating, I was a school teacher.  I squeezed all my yoga practices into the morning before my 8 am start time.  It was a tight schedule.  Everything was planned down to the minute, so when I finished meditating, I would jump up!  And then I was off to the next thing on my list.  There was no time for me to linger after my meditations.  So, I felt a disconnect between my meditation seat and my day-to-day life. 

You can extend your meditations beyond your mediation seat.  Simply linger after your timer goes off.  When you open your eyes, contemplate your meditation experience for a few minutes.  Notice how you feel.  Linger in the afterglow.  This is one of the reasons why we recommend journaling after every meditation.  It helps you to linger longer in your meditation.

Lingering is described by K.semaraaja in the Pratyabhij~nah.rdayam:

Samaadhi-sa.mskaaravati vyutthaane bhuuyo bhuuya”s-cid-aikyaamar”saan-nityodita-samaadhi-laabha.h.

— Pratyabhij~nah.rdayam 19

The permanent state of absorption is cultivated by dwelling on one’s own identity with consciousness (Chiti) over & over again. 

— Translated by Swami Nirmalananda

The sage K.semaraaja explains that not only is it possible to linger in your meditation, you can cultivate a “permanent state of absorption.”  He is describing a pathway to Self-Realization.  You can realize and live in this knowingness of who you are at the deepest level of your being. 

You can practice Self-Knowingness.  It starts with meditation.  You repeat mantra and dive deep within to experience your own Divine essence.  When you finish your meditation period, instead of jumping up and out, linger and deepen down and in.  Instead of leaving meditation for the world, extend your awareness to include the world without losing who you are.  This is the state the great Masters have described through the ages.  But it is not exclusive to those who lived in the past.  This is possible for you too.  To make this a reality, in the here and now, meditate.  Meditate and linger in your own essence.  Take that knowing and being of who you are with you into the world and into your life.  Cultivate Self-Knowingness.

Meditation is Easy

By Swami Samvidaananda Saraswati

You have a built-in ability to meditate.  Most people that I know who don’t currently meditate believe it’s a good idea.  But they aren’t sure where to begin.  Some think it might be hard or weird.  However, you actually already know how.  When you drive a car, play a musical instrument or engage in a sport, you concentrate.  Even to wash dishes or have a conversation with a friend, you focus.  It’s something you do many times every day.  It’s how you achieve anything in the world.  My Guru’s Guru taught that whatever you accomplish in the world, comes through your power of concentration. This is nothing but meditation, though on external things.

You are used to meditating on external, everyday things.  But your mind is like the camera on your phone.  Your camera focuses on what’s in front of you.  Or you tap a button to flip the camera to focus on yourself.  You can do that with your mind: flip the lens of your mind to shift your focus from looking outside to looking inside.  And what will you find when you look within?  

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Well, first you’ll encounter the contents of your mind: hopes, fears, memories, lions, tigers and bears, oh my!  But all that mental activity, while real and important, is only the surface layer of what you’ll find.  There’s much more to you.  Yoga calls the more that you are, your capital-S Self.

A classic yogic comparison is that your Self is like the ocean.  Like the waves that keep on coming, your thoughts rise and fall, rise and fall.  But the waves are only the surface of the ocean.  In the same way, your thoughts are simply the surface level of who you are.  You have far greater depths.

When you dive beneath the waves, the water is calmer.  It’s quieter, and deeply peaceful.  When you meditate, you dive deeper than your thoughts, even deeper than your mind, into quiet, boundless, holy depths.  You discover you are not just a swimmer in the ocean.  You are the whole ocean.  From the shallows to the depths, you are all of it.  It’s called the “Ocean of Consciousness.”  There’s only One Reality.  It’s Divine.  It’s your own Self.

Meditation immerses you in the depths of your Divinity.  When you emerge, you’re refreshed, renewed and uplifted.  You don’t become someone different or something you are not.  You feel like you; you’re at your best.  At first, that wonderful feeling of well-being fades as you get farther from your meditation.  But over time your ability to live from your Divine Depths increases. Even though you have the inherent ability to meditate, you have to practice.  You spend too much of your time paddling around in the waves.  You won’t become an accomplished deep-sea diver overnight.  And the technique you choose matters; you need one that works for you.  Something tried and true.  Something that makes it easy.  I found that in Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  This meditation works by the means of a chaitanya mantra.  That means it’s enlivened.  It is imbued with the energy of revelation and upliftment by the yoga masters of this lineage.  These Gurus have preceded you on the path.  When you apply your innate ability to concentrate to this enlivened mantra, you are powerfully propelled into the delicious depths of your Self.  Then your meditation is more than easy — it’s enlightening.


The Miracle Factory

By Swami Shrutananda Saraswati

I teach in a miracle factory.  A miracle is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency” (lexico.com).  Do you believe in miracles?  Nearly eighty percent of Americans do.  Believing in miracles is not limited to a certain age group or restricted to certain religious denominations or affiliations, reported by Psychology Today.  Yet it turns out only 38% Americans said they have had a miracle from God (faithgateway.com).  I find that percentage to be too low, for I hear miracle stories from Svaroopa® Yoga teachers and students every day!

Before yoga, I was involved in outrigger canoe racing on the Pacific Ocean.  During one race a big wave poured into our 400-pound boat.  It became even heavier.  We stroked harder and harder to keep moving forward.  In my efforts, I injured my neck and shoulder.  For years I went to various doctors and therapists to heal, but nothing freed me from the pain.  My life became very limited.  If I wasn’t at work, I was at home recovering on the couch.  I could not do much more than that.

For nine long years, I took the maximum dose of Advil every day.  At one point I said in desperation, “God!  If you will just relieve my neck pain, I will not ask for anything more.”  Well, after that I found Svaroopa® Yoga.  I was relieved of my neck pain within a year and a half.  So fast!  It was a miracle.  More miracles were to come.

Now I do not agree that miracles are “not explicable.”  While science is unable to explain such miracles, yoga has a clear explanation.  In yoga, miracles are reliable and predictable.  Yoga taps into the source of healing, the inner source of miracles.  Every time you do any of the Svaroopa® Yoga practices, you access the source of healing within you.  The source is svaroopa — your own capital-S Self, your own inherent Divine Essence.  Every time you have an experience of Self, you feel healed.  This healing arises on all levels of your being simultaneously: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

In the beginning, you don’t realize all that is unfolding within you, from the inside out.  You come into a yoga class with some physical, mental or emotional pain.  Then a miracle happens.  It heals!  Yet, even though now you are healed, you keep coming back to do more yoga.  Do you keep going to the doctor, if you are healed?  No, but you come back to yoga.  Now you are coming back for a whole different reason.

As wonderful as yoga’s healing benefits are, they are only the tip of the iceberg.  The real miracle is greater.  It is explained in the Shiva Sutras:

Vismayo yoga-bhumika.h —Shiva Sutras 1.12

Yogic realizations are truly amazing.

(translated by Swami Nirmalananda)

Your Svaroopa® yoga practices lead you on the inward journey that is the goal of yoga.  This is the exploration of your own Self, your own Divine Essence.  Wonders begin to unfold inside that are beyond what you could ever imagine.  Look back to when you first started yoga.  Now look where you are now.  Could you have imagined what you have gotten so far?  This is a miracle.  You didn’t even know what to ask for.  Yet you have received it: yourself being the Self that you are now.

The yogis agree with the dictionary in stating that a miracle is “the work of divine agency.”  In yoga, by Grace, amazement after amazement unfolds within.  The Shaktipat Guru is a dedicated agent of Grace, which is the Divine Energy of Revelation.  It is the function of the Guru to reveal your own Self to you.  The unfoldment, the amazement, begins in earnest when you receive Shaktipat.  Shaktipat ignites your inner process of discovery.  The miracles become more and more amazing as you deepen into your own Self, expanding into the infinity of your own being.

I teach in a miracle factory.  It’s the biggest one I know, for I hear miracle stories from teachers and students every day!  This miracle factory is powered not by electricity, but by Grace.  Every day, these miracles are delivered all over the world.  They are fast, predictable and reliable.  Through the Svaroopa® Yoga practices, particularly meditation and mantra repetition, you will live in the amazing and ever-deepening discovery of your own Self, from the inside out.

Repetition Is Valuable

Swami Sahajananda Saraswati

Repetition is how you learn and develop skills.  For example, when you’re teaching or giving a speech, repetition is necessary to get your point across.  Only thirty-three percent of the group are hearing what you say at any given point in time.  When you are listening to someone, there’s a sixty-six percent chance that you don’t hear what they say.  Even if you hear it, you may not get its complete meaning.  Thus, educators and effective communicators know to offer the same information in three different ways.  Repetition is valuable.

As a Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Trainer, I always give information about a pose five times.  I demonstrate the pose, the students feel it in their bodies, do a partner-pairing process, then see it again and add personal notes to the information on their handout.  When they return for more training, we review the same pose before adding more to it.  Often they say, “The information is so much clearer this time.”  Or, “You are presenting it more clearly.”  They even think we’ve changed the handout because it is much easier to understand now.  But the handout hasn’t changed.  Neither have the Trainers’ presentation skills.  Repetition is what made the difference.

The sage Patanjali explains how this works:

Tat-prati.sedhaartham eka tattvaabhyaasah

—Yoga Sutras 1.32

Focus on a single subject or technique to prevent the inner obstacles.

Repetition cultivates this one-pointed focus.  It prevents the obstacles that keep your mind active and cause distractions.  Simply pick an object of concentration and stay with it.  You stay steady with what you have chosen.  Of course, this focus makes your work in the world effective.  Yoga says, however, that ultimately your goal as a human being is more than doing good work, avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.  The goal is to attain the knowing of your own Divine Essence.  When you make this choice, mantra repetition keeps you staying steady with it.  You use your mind for a spiritual purpose.

In Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation, you repeat an enlivened mantra which honors your own Self. By applying your mind to these sacred words, a pathway is cleared allowing you to experience the knowing of God, your own Self. By repeating mantra, you come to live in that deeper knowing of who you truly are all the time.  Yoga has thousands of practices to attain this goal.  Mantra repetition is the most powerful.  So constantly repeat mantra to know God within you.

It is through your mind that you have the capacity and ability to repeat mantra.  Sages, both ancient and contemporary, expound on the power of mantra repetition.  Each time you repeat the mantra, you are imprinting your mind with Divine Consciousness.  You are using your mind to its fullest capacity, opening inward to your own Divine Essence.  Repeating mantra takes you to God.  “When you repeat mantra,” says a great yogic sage, “the mind assumes the form of God.”

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati, my teacher, has passed this sacred mantra on to me and countless seekers through the teachings of the Svaroopa® Sciences.  She received the mantra from her teacher, who received it from his teacher.  The passing of the mantra from Guru to disciple extends back through thousands of years.  The vibrations of the voices of these God-intoxicated beings infuse the mantra with Grace.  Thus, these Gurus, sages and meditation masters have bestowed countless blessings on us.

Once you receive this mantra, let it fill your mind.  You can even have multiple tracks of your 12-track mind repeating this mantra.  Let it reverberate through your mind and into your whole being.  Why?  Because mantra holds Consciousness It-Self.  Mantra fills your mind with Consciousness.  Then more and more, that Light illumines your mind.  Yes, repetition is valuable.  Repeating mantra can bring you this Light, which is your own Self.  Repeat more mantra!

Your Greatness

By Swami Satrupananda

You are great.  Yes, you.  Repeat out loud to yourself, “I am Great!” I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you.  Put  some breath into it, and don’t forget the exclamation point.  Enthusiastically repeat out loud, “I am GREAT!”

It’s not the things you do, the people you know or the places you go that make you great.  You’re great because you’re a human being.  The yoga sages tell us that you are not merely great but greatness itself.  You have greatness hidden within you right now.  You already are greatness.  You merely need to discover it.  When you find your greatness, you find your you-ness.

You know this to be true.  I can prove it to you.  When you are not feeling great, you notice and do something about it.  When your body hurts you slow down, get a massage or do some yoga poses.  When you’re sad, you look for something to make you happy.  You call a friend, read an uplifting book or repeat mantra.  In contrast, when you’re feeling great you don’t say, “Hmmm… something isn’t right here.  I should feel bad.” It’s natural for you to feel great in your body, mind and heart.

My teacher, Swami Nirmalananda, describes our inherent greatness this way:

You feel most like yourself when you are shining with light.  When your eyes twinkle, when your heart overflows, when your words have a melody hidden in them, and when your actions show your generous and loving nature – you feel so natural.  You feel like yourself.

You’ve had many of these experiences before.  You were glowing on your graduation and/or wedding day.  Your eyes twinkle when you look at someone you love.  Your heart has overflowed with love for others many times.  When you speak about something dear to you, your words flow like a smooth waltz.  You have done so many good things for others out of the kindness of your heart.  In these moments, you are living from your greatness.  It’s a sneak peek of your future.

Before yoga, one of my favorite ways to get a sneak peek into my greatness was volunteering.  I remember volunteering for my high school to serve a meal for the homeless.  I showed up and poured myself into the tasks at hand.  I put together cheese sandwiches with so much care and attention.  My heart overflowed as I ensured that everyone was offered a hot beverage.  I glowed as I helped with cleaning up.  As I left that day, there was a joyful skip in my walk.  While I was giving that day, I was the one who received the most.  I got to experience my greatness.

Yoga’s guarantee of your greatness is not limited to certain events in your life.  Yoga says you’ll glow everyday of your life.  Your eyes will twinkle when you look at everyone.  Your words will have a melody hidden in them even while reading a legal document.  All your actions will show your generous and loving nature.  You will be your greatness all the time and pour it into everything you do.

To discover your greatness, you must turn your attention inward to explore the depths of your being.  With your first look inward, you’ll probably find your mind.  You need to go deeper than your mind to find your you-ness.  You discover the beingness that is being you.  Yoga has many names for the you-ness, the greatness, that you are.  One of them is Shiva, the Ultimate Reality being you, everyone and everything.

Now the question is: how do you get beyond your mind? Yoga uses your mind to get beyond your mind.  It’s a nifty trick.  You apply your mind to the repetition of a mantra.  Specifically, an enlivened mantra passed down from a lineage of yoga masters.  They repeated the mantra and discovered their own greatness.  They’ve given us the mantra so that we can do the same.  Now your job is first to receive the mantra from an authorized teacher, then to use it.

As you repeat more mantra, you will realize your inherent greatness.  When you discover your greatness, you discover you.  Being your greatness is so natural.

Repeat out loud “I am GREAT!”

Repeat out loud “I am Greatness-Itself!”

Discover and be your own greatness.

Magical or Mystical?

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

I was confused about the difference between mysticism and magic for a long time.  One reason is because Western yoga and meditation often bring alternative theories into their yogic quest.  What is magical?  What is mystical?

Magic is when you use subtle perceptions to make material changes in your life and in the world.  You’re looking for outer fulfillment.

Mysticism is when you use subtle perceptions to explore the subtle dimensions within your own being.  You’ve figured out that, even if your life were perfect, it wouldn’t be enough.  The answer has to be found within.

By the time I took my first Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), I’d already learned about Tarot cards and the I Ching.  I studied some palmistry, astrology and other nonconformist things.  At the time, I couldn’t have explained why I was curious about these things, but now I can see that I was trying to understand myself better.  The tools I’d been given by family and in 20+ years of schooling weren’t working for me.  Even the things they told me to avoid — well, I tried them out — and they didn’t work either.

Still it surprised me when my YTT teacher brought in some of those things as well as some I hadn’t heard about previously.  She shared everything she knew about yoga but it didn’t fill up all the training hours, so it seemed like she brought in the kitchen sink.  She probably thought it was all related.  I suppose it is, but it’s a distant relationship, like gold is related to mud.

If you want genuine and profound inner expansion, you will have to give up channeling, Ouija boards, pendulums, mind-reading, foretelling the future and other psychic phenomena.  Why?  Because all those things are about finding ways to manage the world, not ways to discover your Divine Essence.  If you’re flowing your energy outward, into the world, you cannot be flowing it inward, to see and know who you really are.  It’s really quite simple.

However, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras lists many such siddhis (psychic powers) and tells you how to develop them.  While few modern translators even bother with these sutras, there are 48 of them, over 25% of the text.   In other words, yogis have always been known for having amazing powers, like levitation, being invisible, bilocation, materialization and more.  Yet Patanjali also tells you, “Don’t use these abilities.  Using them will hold you back for lifetimes.”

Spirituality is not about magic.  It’s not about impressing other people, even with your yogic body or your ability to hold your breath for a long time.  You don’t get to flaunt your inner peace or your more refined understanding of life.  Instead, show them your open heart and open mind by listening more than you speak.  Ask how you can help.  And follow through.  That’s yoga.

Right now, listening, caring and helping is a yoga practice.  It’s a practice that mimics the way you will live once you’re enlightened.  When you know your own Divine Essence, you’ll see the same in others.  Thus there’s nothing to be proud about, for you are no better than anyone else.

In addition, your inner experience of your own Self is so fulfilling that you won’t crave outer things nor pursue them.  You have nothing to fear should you somehow lose everything.  What freedom!

It gives you the freedom to listen, to care and to help.  Why?  Even when you’re enlightened, you still have a body and live in the world.  And the world needs you.  More than ever before, especially because you have more subtle and powerful perceptions, so you have more to offer.  Yet you know that it all comes from one source, the One Source that is in everyone, the One Reality that is being you – Shiva, your own Self.  This is mysticism.  And it’s pretty magical too!

Your Inner Radiance

By Swami Shrutananda

Your inherent nature is light. You are the light of consciousness, in a unique and individualized form.  That light shines through your eyes, fills your heart and is the flash of creativity.  The light of your own being arises from its inner source.

A great sage, Shankaracharya, described it this way:

Here, within your own body, through your own mind, in the secret chamber of intelligence, in the infinite universe within your heart, Self shines in its captivating splendor, like a noonday sun. By its light, the universe is revealed.

– Vivekachudamani 98-99,  rendered by Gurudevi Nirmalananda.

The physicists and yogis agree that the Big Bang emanated energy which became light; the light coalesced into matter.  Everything is made of solidified light.  Even your body is made of light.  You are embodied light. You simply start “within your own body.”  In Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation, you begin by settling into your body, deepening into your seat and allowing your spine to be easily upright.  The tool used to turn your mind inward is to apply your mind to mantra.  With mantra you are using your mind to go through your mind and beyond your mind.

Mantra carries you deeper within where you find “the secret chamber of intelligence, in the infinite universe within your heart.”  The “secret chamber of intelligence” is a knowing that is beyond the mind’s knowing.  It is the fully enlivened, fully embodied, fully expanded knowing of your own Self.

Here, “Self shines in its captivating splendor, like a noonday sun.  By its light, the universe is revealed.”  This means that the Self, your own Self, does not get its light from anything else.  It is the source of light.  Also, it does not get its capacity of knowing from anything else.  It is Knowingness-Itself.  It doesn’t get its existence from anything else.  It is Existence-Itself.  Everything else in the universe that exists gets its existence, its knowing and its light from the Self.

This light is not merely physical light.  It is your mind’s capacity to know, whether you are looking inside or outside.  I experienced this in meditation.  I was looking at my mind being separate from me.  I wondered who was the one who was looking at my mind?  Who was asking the question?  I felt the vastness of my beingness that was deeper than my mind.  It was beyond my mind.  From this experience, I knew I had a mind but was more than my mind —a lot more than my mind!  Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation specializes in giving you the experience of your own Self, so you can discover that you are more than your mind.  From this inner depth, you know your own radiance.  This is the goal of yoga.

Having the experience of your own Self makes you glow.  As a teacher, I can tell when someone is having a deep inner experience of their own Self because they are so radiant.  Yet at other times that light is blocked.  Svaroopa® yoga practices dissolve the tensions through the multiple levels of your body, mind and heart.  They clear away inner blockages that hide the radiance of your own Self.  Every pose, yogic breath, mantra repetition and meditation opens up your inherent flow of happiness, joy and light.  It’s like cleaning a picture window so clean that you cannot tell it is there.  Then the radiance of sunlight shines through the clear glass without being diminished by layers of dust and grime.  You experience your own radiance more and more fully, as well as share it with the world.

Kashmiri Shaivism says the whole of the light of Consciousness is intact within you.  This ancient yogic tradition promises that you can have this experience while you live your life.  The purpose of the Guru, and the service the Guru provides, is to be the embodied light of Consciousness that reveals your own Self, your own radiance, to you.  Thus, you experience and come to embody the light of Consciousness that you already are.  We call this Grace.

Amazing

By Swami Samvidaananda

Amazing.  That is how I describe the yoga and meditation that I practice.  I don’t have a better word because it’s hard to describe the wonderful and powerful experiences that unfold.

  • Physically, you get amazing benefits.  You become free from pain, and your strength and stamina increase.  You gain vitality and resilience.  A yogi friend recently shared that she did not get her usual spring allergies.  They’re gone.
  • Mentally, you get amazing improvements.  Your stress levels go down, your depression lifts, you experience equanimity.  Calmness and happiness, even joy, become your baseline.  You don’t sweat the small stuff so much.  You handle life’s big challenges more easily.  I’ve talked to many yogis who recognize that they are handling this pandemic with much less fear than BY (before yoga).  They are taking steps to keep themselves, loved ones and everyone safe.  They recognize that they are making their decisions based on intelligence, rather than anxiety.
  • You love more, and, no surprise, you are easier to love.  You light up the lives of those around you.  Like the Debbie Boone song from the Seventies, “You light up my life, you give me hope….”  I know I’m dating myself, but I loved that song.  You light up people’s lives.

Amazing, right? So I was delighted to learn that a primary text of the Kashmiri Shaivite meditation system says this:

Vismayo yoga-bhuumikaa.h. — Shiva Sutras 1.12

The wonders of yoga are truly amazing.

(rendered by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati)

Vismayo means amazement or wonder, and yoga-bhuumika.h is the stages of yogic development.  If the benefits I’ve described were the only things yoga and meditation did for you, that would be wonderful.  Yet, there’s more.  The physical and mental benefits and changes are not actually the wonders that this sutra is referring to.

This sutra is about the deeper inner experiences.  They are harder to put into words, specifically because they are beyond words.  Deeper than words, deeper than your mind, as you immerse yourself into the depths of your inner knowingness and beingness, you have amazing wonder-filled inner experiences.  They unfold within, in a progression mapped by the ancient sages.  You are following the same inner path they followed, with their teachings to guide and protect you along the way

Not long into studying with Swami Nirmalananda, I began to understand that there is an inner map.  She has already traversed it; she knows what’s around the next corner.  She knows the rocky ground that you currently may be picking your way across.  And she can assure you that an incredible vista is about to open up.  Her teachings guide you and protect you along the way.

Wherever you are on the map, there are amazing inner stages yet to come.  Whatever experiences are currently blossoming forth within you, there’s more — more than you can currently imagine.  That is because your mind cannot fully imagine the “more” of who you really are.  It is when you go beyond your mind that you discover your own Divinity.  That is the goal and purpose of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation: for you to have the experiential knowing (vidya) of your own Divinity (svaroopa).  Awakening you to that inner knowing is the specialty of this lineage of Gurus.

Swami Nirmalananda has the calling, the capacity and the mastery to awaken you to your Divinity.  She lights the flame of your enlightenment within you, so that you realize who you are.  You will know that you are concentrated Consciousness — distilled Divinity.  You are the One Eternal Reality that is the Source of unending joy, peace, and bliss, manifesting the universe and everything in it, including you.  You have always been Divine, you have never not been Divine.  You just don’t know it all the time.

Once you have received the inner awakening, called Shaktipat, every time you meditate, you experience your Divinity.  Your mind and senses are increasingly saturated in your own Divine Essence.  The light and bliss of your own being shine into and through you, more and more.  Your Divinity is not only in you, it is you, and everything else.  And when you go inside, you know this, in progressively deepening stages.  The sutra is saying that it keeps getting better.  I can vouch for it from my own experience, it keeps getting better.  How amazing, how wonderful!  But don’t take my word for it.  Have the experience yourself.