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.
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.