What Do You Say?

by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

Bhagavan Nityananda gave Shaktipat to my Guru, Swami Muktananda, on August 15 1947.  Shaktipat, the gift of the universe and beyond, the gift of the Self.  I have been contemplating what this gift really is since I received Shaktipat from Muktananda, almost 40 years ago.  What do you say when someone gives you the universe, and beyond?

A triad of freedoms intersected on that auspicious day.  My Baba had been given an auspicious name when he became a swami:  the bliss (aananda) of freedom (mukta or moksha).   He dedicated himself to full time yoga studies and practices for 25 years, becoming an accomplished yogi, but still knew that he was incomplete.  He wanted more.  He wanted the “More” that is yoga’s specialty.  Baba sought the fulfillment of the promise held in his name.

That day was a day of freedom in another way.  At 8:30 am, the British formally granted independence to India.  After two decades of mostly non-violent struggle, Lord Mountbatten handed over the country to their new Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  The day was one of great festivities!

Sadhana 2And Nityananda gave Muktananda Shaktipat.  He gave the gift of freedom to one whose name was freedom, on a day of freedom.  No wonder Baba had so much to share with us!

Today I honor my Guru for his humility.  In order to be ready to receive Nityananda’s great gift, Muktananda described how he had to let go of his pride, pride in his years of practice, pride in his great learning, pride in his renunciation and austerities.  Though he was already a radiant yogi with an impressive bearing and presence, he became, in his own words, “a dog in Nityananda’s court.”  He always sang Nityananda’s praises, out of great love and gratitude to the one who gave him everything.

Muktananda!  Muktananda!

There is only one word on my lips – Muktananda!

You gave me everything

because you had everything to give

having received it from One who gave everything to you.

You made yourself able to receive,

so small that you could be made great,

and then give me the greatness within.

What can I say?  Only one thing:

Muktananda!  Muktananda!  Hail to Muktananda!



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