By Swami Samvidaananda
The birth of Jesus is celebrated today. It’s a holy day that honors a great being. Merry Christmas!
I grew up in an Italian Catholic family. I adored the baby Jesus nestled in the little wooden manger under our brightly lit Christmas tree. I was taught that Jesus was both human and divine, and I believed it. But I didn’t understand how it could be true. I wanted to know.
And then I found yoga. Yoga opened up my ability to experience Divinity ― my own and the Divinity of everything that exists. Yoga says you can experience your Divinity. This is because there is One Divine Reality, and that Reality is your own Self:
Caitanyam-aatman — Shiva Sutras 1.1
Consciousness-Itself is your own Self.
(Translated by Swami Nirmalananda)
Consciousness is the source and substance of everything that exists. The physicists and yogis agree that everything is made of energy. The yogis go a step further. They explain that everything is made of conscious energy: Divine, Sublime and Self-knowing. More than conscious, it is Consciousness-Itself.
The sun, the moon, the stars, your houseplants and your pets are all made of cosmic Consciousness. They are all inherently Divine. And so are you. Cosmic Consciousness is your own Self. Except, you don’t know your Divinity, not enough of the time. Instead, you experience yourself as limited. You feel small, separate, and painfully alone. But you have the capacity to experience your Self. This is yoga’s purpose: to reveal your Divinity to you.
How does yoga do that? Well, not with yoga poses, as beneficial as they are. Yoga says, spend time with a living yoga Master, a Siddha. That’s what I do. I meditate with Gurudevi Nirmalananda Saraswati. She knows her own Divinity. She sees everything that exists as that same radiant Divinity, all the time. In this tradition, she is described as Self-Realized.
Other traditions have their own names for those who live in a pure, steady, spiritual state. In the West, Christianity recognizes great beings as saints and mystics. The meditative traditions of the East — in India, Burma and Thailand ― call them enlightened, illumined, God-intoxicated.
What happens when you spend time with such a being? Their ecstatic, God-saturated state is catching. They love to share! They don’t even need to try. They radiate Divinity. They are like a tuning fork, emitting a pure tone of bliss. When you’re with them, you begin to vibrate with bliss too.
That’s because their bliss is your bliss. Their Divinity is your Divinity. There’s only One Divine Reality, and it is your own Self. There’s only one difference between a Self-Realized being and you. They know they are the Self and you don’t. Not yet. But you can.
With a Siddha like Gurudevi, it’s not like going to a concert. There, you catch a blissful high, then go home and lose it. The yoga masters in her lineage give you more than a temporary experience of your Self. They are empowered to give Shaktipat, the mystical initiation that awakens you to your Inherent Divinity.
She received this initiation from her beloved Guru, Baba Muktananda. And he received this initiation from his Guru. And his Guru had a Guru, who had a Guru, who had a Guru, in a lineage of Shaktipat Gurus that stretches through time.
When you receive this inner awakening, your Divinity is revealed to you. You know your Self in a way that you will not lose. Oh, you may get distracted and forget for a while, then remember again. But you can’t ever not-know your Divinity the way you did before, unto lifetimes. Meditation will clear your mind, body and heart from the inner distractions that get in your way. So one day, you will be Self-Realized. You will know your own Divinity. And you will see everything that exists as that same radiant Divinity, all the time.
I wanted to know how it’s possible to be both human and divine. Now I know. Because when I meditate with Gurudevi, she gives me my Self. I experience my Divinity reliably, unfailingly, gloriously. And I am still human. Do you want to experience your Self? Then meditate with Gurudevi Nirmalananda. She will be delighted to teach you how.