By Rebecca (Rasa) Rivers, interviewed by
Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain
Most often, Rasa listens to the Guru Mantras track on Gurudevi Swami Nirmalananda’s newest CD, Spiritual Hunger and Fulfillment. For 25 minutes Gurudevi chants the traditional invocation:
tasmai shree-gurave namah
“I find listening to this verse so deep and quieting,” says Rasa. “With it playing in the background, I can go into a quiet place inside of myself.” Owner of Northern Light Yoga in Canton NY, Rasa purchased a copy of Spiritual Hunger and Fulfillment at a recent training. Of the six beautifully complex tracks, she also especially loves “Bhagavan Namah” and “Purno’ham” for their “devotional quality.”
Rasa is grateful as well for the English translation of the “Atma Shatakam” (Adi Sharkaracharya’s poem of bliss and consciousness). She describes, “Gurudevi’s words are so beautiful. I appreciate the power of what is being said. When I listen to chants in Sanskrit, I feel both the physical and mental effects. Yet when I hear the words in English, they go deeper into the structures of my mind. Understanding the words seems to do that for me. Similarly, repeating Om Namah Shivaaya, our mantra, affects my body and mind. But knowing that it translates to ‘I honor my own Self’ brings a part of my mind along in a deeper way. There’s an internal shifting into Consciousness-Itself. I appreciate that the English translation of Shankaracharya’s poem which Gurudevi provides does the same.”
Listening to the “Atma Shatakam,” Rasa feels she is being reminded of the Self-Realization path. She says, “It’s like a map. I know where my mind is going. Even if I am identifying with something in the moment, I know there is more to me: Shiva. It’s comforting to know that.”
She likens this experience to learning the philosophy behind our vichara (guided self-inquiry) process. She recounts, “Studying the kleshas (inner bindings) and understanding them made my mind more transparent. I could see: ‘Oh, there’s a klesha.’ And then I’d be less drawn into it or bound by it. By listening to this chant, I often see where there’s another identification. In seeing it, I am less drawn into it or bound by it. The chant helps me know there is always something more to discover within. It is very freeing.” Rasa can imagine sharing Spiritual Hunger and Fulfillment with her deeper students and meditation satsang gatherings. She feels these students are better prepared for its depth and teachings.
Listening to this CD is a tantric practice for Rasa. “It infuses my worldly life with practice,” she says. “I can play it in the background during the day to spiritualize my work and make it like a prayer. Listening to this CD lowers my resistance to whatever I may be resisting. Cleaning the kitchen becomes a part of my spiritual practice!” With a quiet mind, Rasa is beautifully getting things done in the world while maintaining a focus on the Self. What an amazing gift Gurudevi’s new CD is to all of us!