By Swami Samvidaananda
I went to India and met other swamis — Australian swamis! It felt like a sweet reunion with family members I’ve never met. There was an ease, a ready friendliness, and an enjoyment of each other’s company. We were all there for a retreat hosted by the Aussies at our lineage home of Ganeshpuri MH, India.
The Aussies were sweet and welcoming in general, but underlying that was something more. The swamis’ deep practice and commitment to yoga really showed. How? It was their bliss. My experience with them is described in a yogic text:
Lokaananda.h samaadhi-sukham. — Shiva Sutras 1.18
This yogi experiences the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation, and shares it with others.
[rendered by Gurudevi Nirmalananda]
This yogi is a knower of the Self. They know their Divinity. Such a yogi experiences the sweet bliss of the Self everywhere — in every location and every situation.
There are other names for “a Knower of the Self”: Self-Realized, Enlightened, Illumined, God-intoxicated. When you are Enlightened, you take your illumined Self-Knowing everywhere you go. No place or circumstance can diminish your bliss, nor can it enhance it.
Meditation doesn’t make you more blissful. Being out in the world doesn’t make you less so. Your experience of the bliss of the Self is steady.
And you share it with others. God-intoxicated beings love to share! They don’t even need to try. They vibrate with bliss everywhere they are, whomever they are with, whatever they are doing. They radiate bliss the way the sun radiates light and heat.
The swamis I met in India have dedicated themselves to becoming a yogi like this. Actually, they have dedicated themselves to a yogi who is already like this. They are on the traditional Guru-disciple path. Just like me! Their Guru, Swami Shankarananda (called Guruji), and my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda (called Gurudevi), are Self-Realized beings. More than that, they are both Shaktipat Gurus. A Shaktipat Guru has the capacity to awaken you to the inner knowing of your Self, an initiation called Shaktipat.
Shaktipat Gurus are extremely rare. And I was in India with two of them. Actually, three. No, four! Another Shaktipat Guru was there at his Ashram, just outside of town. His name is Swami Nityananda (of Magod). And Swami Brahmananda was there as well, another Shaktipat Guru.
One afternoon, I had the unique and delightful opportunity to spend time with them as well as several other swamis. They had all lived at the Ashram in Ganeshpuri together many years ago, studying with their Guru, Swami Muktananda. You could call them Guru-brothers and Guru-sisters.
For me, being in the presence of these Great Beings was like being among superheroes. My heroes. But for them, it seemed more like the after-credits scene I loved from one of the Avengers movies. All the superheroes had banded together and saved the world. End of movie — roll the credits. Then, there’s a brief scene of all of them together around a table in a tiny restaurant, eating in companionable silence.
What happens when Shaktipat Gurus get together? They chat. They catch up. They drink some chai. They enjoy each other’s company. They are present, engaged and happy. And then, they say goodbye, and go on to their next task, equally present, engaged and happy. They certainly appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with each other. But they are Knowers of the Self: Lokaananda.h samaadhi-sukham. And so their bliss was not increased by being together, nor was it diminished when they said goodbye.
This constancy and steadiness doesn’t mean that an Enlightened being’s life is boring, every day the same. It’s not that they’re “beyond it,” meaning they don’t care. The opposite is true. Enlightened beings are some of the most active, engaged, loving, generous, caring people you’ll meet. This is their state, and it can be yours.
I don’t mean you have to become a Shaktipat Guru. Nor do you have to become a swami, wear orange or move to an Ashram. I mean you can live your life, do what you do, with the people you love, and you can be more YOU.
You can be you at your best all the time: happy, content, loving, generous. You can be your glorious Divine Self in every location and every situation.
How? First, get Shaktipat. This sacred and ancient initiation jumpstarts your knowing of your Self like nothing else can. Then, you have your part to do: meditate. Svaroopa® Vidya meditation gives you the experiential knowing of your Divinity.
Meditation by meditation, your inner realization that you are the Self deepens and develops. Until one day, you’ll never not know that you are the Self. And you will recognize that everyone and everything is another form of the same Self. Everything is Divine, and YOU are that Divinity.
Then you will be the yogi who experiences the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation, and shares it with others. This is your future, if you want it to be.
- Avengers shawarma scene – https://ew.com/article/2012/11/29/avengers-shawarma-scene/