Category Archives: About Gurudevi

No Separation

By Marie (Shubhaa) McRee

Interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney

I am a devotee of Jesus Christ.  I hadn’t understood how a Guru fit.  When Gurudevi stood in front of me during the May Shaktipat Retreat, I knew.  Her thumb on my third eye was a vast opening to Divine communion.  There was no separation.  I was an individual, but I experienced a state beyond the individual.

Meditation has always drawn me, but it has been somewhat elusive.  During Shaktipat, I entered a deep place of meditation.  Kundalini naturally straightened my posture as Gurudevi put her hand on me.  My body was so still; I was immersed in a profound stillness.  I was aware that I was in a body, but my awareness was beyond the body.  The taste of that was absolutely incredible.

Even so, after we had received Shaktipat twice, I could feel myself contracting and fragmentation threatening.  I did not want to lose this state of Grace.  I went up to Swami Samvidaananda and asked to talk.  The expansiveness of her words allowed my mind to rest in the experience of Shaktipat.  Receiving Shaktipat synthesized Christian mysticism, yoga and all my experiences of the Divine.  It went beyond any doctrine and was the unity of all that is Divine.

This is something I’ve been seeking a very long time.  My relationship with Gurudevi goes back before 2006.  I was simultaneously being drawn to the deep nature connection movement.  In 2011, Gurudevi said I needed to make a choice.  I had to choose between deepening my studies with her and continuing my nature mentoring focus; inside or outside.

A notice about Gurudevi’s December 2021 San Diego retreat called to me.  It was partly due to some knee issues.  But there was also something incomplete in having stepped away from her.  Because of my decision to pursue nature connection in 2011, I asked Samvidaananda if it was alright to attend in La Jolla.  She said, “All are welcome.”

The first night of the December retreat, I had a realization.  My current yogic practice was not compatible with what Gurudevi was offering through Svaroopa® yoga.  During the week, I experienced a tremendous place of fearless expansion.  That retreat drew me to Shaktipat in May and brought me back into this yoga of bliss.  It also gave me big appreciation for Gurudevi’s clear and practical advice.  She guides us in flawlessly integrating yoga, family and spirituality.

After Shaktipat, I returned home to a lot of activity.  I was aware of a lightness.  It felt like I wasn’t carrying the karma I usually carry when I’m pushing my edge.  Inside I found deep wisdom and clarity, accessible as needed.  It felt like protection and guidance in every moment.  Going within, I knew what to do on the outside.  My gratitude is immense for this never-ending gift of Shaktipat.  Offered by Gurudevi through the lineage of Svaroopa® yoga, this gift gave me an experience of my own Self.

From Shavasana in China to Shaktipat Online

By Joan Bragar, EdD

A 21-Year Journey 

I first took Svaroopa® yoga classes in 2000 — the same year I was invited to lead a workshop in China.  I traveled to Tianjin, a northern industrial port.  To face December subzero temperatures, I brought my long underwear and a big down parka.  I also brought a small Sony tape recorder. I wanted to be able to listen to Gurudevi’s 1992 Shavasana audiotape, Relaxing: Cultivating Awareness.  (I still listen to this tape today!)

The participants were scientists who advised national family planning policy. In our workshop, they were practicing leading teams and influencing stakeholders. I gave content and instructions through a translator. After the teams engaged in practice and held discussions, their responses were translated back to me.  We engaged in these dialogues for many days.  During each short break between sessions, I returned to my small hotel room.  Exhausted and cold, I’d lie on my narrow bed.  There I listened to Gurudevi’s voice on the tape as she led me into Shavasana.  


After twenty minutes, Shavasana would restore my energy.  I was then able to bring this energy back to the participants.  They deeply appreciated the thinking that emerged from their work.  I was invited to return to be their ongoing consultant. I was honored, but unable to commit to regular travel to China. 

Returning to Boston, I continued to take weekly Svaroopa® classes.  In 2007 I was privileged to attend Gurudevi’s Business of Yoga course.  It — and the business emerging from it — helped me establish my leadership development business.  

Shortly afterwards, I was badly injured in a small plane crash.  I broke fourteen bones and suffered three brain hemorrhages.  I looked for every available modality that could heal me — from orthopedic surgery to energy work.  My yoga teacher, Deborah Shapiro, kindly provided yoga therapy at my home.  Svaroopa® yoga was key to my recovery.

During this time, I also worked with Gurudevi in phone courses.  To accelerate my healing she encouraged me to start a daily Ujjayi practice.  By 2008, I had recovered from my injuries and returned to in-person yoga classes.  I also attended workshops with Gurudevi whenever she was in the New England area.  I still saw myself as a weekly yoga student.

Fast forward to 2020, when my husband and I moved to Southwest Florida. There were no Svaroopa® yoga teachers within a hundred miles.  Fortunately, I learned that I could take an online class at Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.  I began online yoga and meditation classes with Swami Prajñananda. 

In January 2021, I underwent a complicated abdominal surgery.  While recovering, I wrote a detailed letter to Gurudevi to let her know what was happening to me.  She asked Brahmacharini Yogyananda to support me in restoring a daily Ujjayi practice.  I was also supported in online yoga therapy with Swami Prajñananda.  For the first time, I began my own daily yoga practice.  In the spring, I was finally strong enough to participate again in a regular yoga class. 

For many years, I had been contented with taking weekly Svaroopa® yoga classes.  But my 2021 experiences have shown me that Svaroopa® yoga provides so much more.  It is a reliable portal to deeper spiritual experiences.  To learn more about yogic philosophy, I took Gurudevi’s Year-Long Programme (YLP).  She took us through a deep inquiry about Being, Light and Bliss.

Gurudevi’s straightforward words conveyed a spiritual reality that I could hear and touch.  She spoke to each student with great care and attention.  At the same time, she was not hesitant in delivering challenging messages from an ancient body of wisdom.

During my YLP study, Gurudevi told me to read Baba Muktananda’s book, Play of Consciousness.  Now I read from this spiritual autobiography daily.  Like Gurudevi, Baba is eloquent in describing what it’s like to see God from within — as your own Self. 

In November 2021, I decided to receive Shaktipat from Gurudevi.  This was a big decision for me, but I felt ready to make it.  After I received Shaktipat, my meditations immediately got deeper.  Now in meditation I actually experience God within me.  I am also beginning to understand the importance of being in the Guru’s presence.  I appreciate her teachings in the weekly online Swami Sunday.  They help me stay in touch with who I really am.

Looking back, I am so grateful to Gurudevi for “being” with me in China twenty-one years ago.  Shavasana breaks led by her filled me with Grace.  She supported me to support scientists who were advising a country of a billion people.  I now see that those scientists and I were all interacting from Self.  

I am grateful for Gurudevi’s contributions to my health, as well as to my endeavors to make my contribution in this world.  But the key thing I am grateful for is her resolute commitment to sharing our lineage based in Kashmir Shaivism.  Her commitment brings me access to Grace in my life on all levels.  For this I do not have sufficient words of gratitude. 

I told my husband I was going to God.  He asked me if I was planning on dying. I said, ”No, through the Guru’s Grace I can go to Him while I am still living!”

Gurudevi Came to Me in a Dream

By Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast

I enrolled in the October Shaktipat Retreat only because Gurudevi came to me in a dream.   It was about a week before it was to begin.  I took the dream as a sign that I couldn’t let this opportunity go by.  

Since 2012, I’d taken six in-person Shaktipat Retreats. Each was powerful in a unique way.  My late decision to attend Shaktipat meant I had to opt for online.  My experience was unexpectedly profound.  In fact, it has proved to be a turning point for me on the Self-Realization path.

When Gurudevi gave Shaktipat by will, my head filled with light.  A sense of infinite wholeness expanded from within my whole being.  Physical boundaries dissolved.  Inside and outside were the same.  I recognized that infinite wholeness as me — my own Self.  The meditation following was filled with light and bliss.

Turning my focus inward now, as I write, I find again an enormous, ineffable lightness.  It is interwoven with grandeur and divine ecstasy.  This experience marked a wonderous turning point.  Paradoxically, however, it is more subtle than grand.  It’s a shift to a quiet perspective — a plain, enduring clarity.  It feels infinitely deeper than ecstasy.  I feel the Divine Is-ness of all, inside and outside, no matter the circumstances.

The same weekend as Shaktipat, I lost my Norwegian Forest cat, Jay.  Eleven years ago, he was found as a nearly wild stray kitten.  Rescued, he learned to live as an indoor/outdoor cat.  Jay had an unvarying routine.  He spent his days sleeping in sun patches on my office floor or on my lap at the computer.  At night, he left through the pet door for feline revelry outdoors.  Without fail, he returned precisely at 5:30 am as morning meditation closed.

I last saw Jay on the day before my Shaktipat Retreat began.  I had to move office furniture around to ensure Jay couldn’t get into my adjacent yoga room.  Spooked by the hubbub, he bolted out and never returned.  On Sunday afternoon following the retreat, his fur was found in tall grass.  There was evidence of struggle with a coyote.  Several years ago, he had encountered a Bobcat, and won that battle.  But this past summer, Jay was no longer able to jump from the floor to my lap.  Clearly, aging had slowed him down.

I feel the heaviness of his loss.  Yet when I turn more deeply inward, the lightness of Is-ness shimmers.  From there, I see that Jay experienced a different return.  He retuned into the Formless.  This transition was inevitable on all levels.  His wild nature was a particular form of Pure Consciousness.  He lived aligned with his natural instincts.  His end was simply a natural outcome.  This simple yet profound clarity arises from my Shaktipat turning point.  I see “appropriateness” inside and outside.

Constantly experiencing this Is-ness sustains a clear perspective.  Assisting Gurudevi in the Shaktipat Retreat, Swami Satrupananda gave a talk on kriyas.  When awakened by a Shaktipat Guru, Kundalini uncoils from her sleep at the base of your spine.  Just as it’s the nature of heat to rise, Kundalini climbs the spine.  When her upward flow runs into blockages, kriyas happen.  These spontaneous physical movements and movements of thought and emotion indicate that Kundalini is awake.  Gurudevi reminds us that, once awakened, Kundalini is doing our work for us.  But we need to cooperate.

When pesky thoughts arise in daily meditation now, I know them as evidence of awakened Kundalini.  She tirelessly, lovingly does her job, clearing the limiting stuff of lifetimes.  I meet these currents of thought with mantra.  I bow to all.  I know they are the divine action of Kundalini within me.  I know I must attend to my mind’s engrained patterns.  Having received the gift of Shaktipat, I follow Gurudevi’s guidance on mantra repetition and meditation to dissolve those patterns.

Doing so is my way of honoring Gurudevi’s incalculably precious gift, the blessing of her Grace.  It returns to me again and again the knowing of my own Self — the One Self Being All.  With that knowing, there is nothing to fear and nothing to mourn.

Why I Need a Guru

By Nirooshitha Sethuram

Though my professional career was in banking, I’ve trained to teach yoga as a Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher.  Born in Sri Lanka, I was brought up in a yogic culture.  I have always been interested in spirituality.  While growing up, I studied the Hindu scriptures in school.  On my own, I read many books on these ancient yogic teachings.  I learned that they advise us repeatedly on the importance of the Guru on the spiritual path:

aachaaryavaan veda.h. — Chhaandogya Upani.sad 6.14.2 [v30]

Only through a Guru can you understand the Vedas.  [translated by Swami Mukundananda in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita 4.34]

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna states the importance of the Guru:

tad viddhi praṇipaatena paripra”snena sevayaa
upadek.syanti te j~naanaṁ j~naaninas tattva-dar”sina.h. — Bhagavadgita 4.34

Learn the Truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him with reverence and render service unto him. Such an enlightened Saint can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.  [translated by Swami Mukundananda, Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God]

Yet even though the scriptures talk about finding a Guru, I wasn’t interested in finding one.  Then everything changed the first time I met Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati.  I knew that I was in the presence of someone who had an extraordinary understanding of the teachings of yoga.  Her skill at explaining these deep and profound teachings was exceptional.  I realized I had been engaged in a “do it to yourself” spiritual process.  Just reading about the great yogic teachings couldn’t give me experiential knowing.

After meeting Swami Nirmalananda, whom we affectionately call Gurudevi, I didn’t just want to teach yoga.  I wanted to live yoga.  I am forever grateful.  It was truly transforming.  That’s when I realized that having a Guru is more than important.  This relationship is essential.

If you wanted to climb Mt. Everest and make it to the top, would you do it on your own?  No, you would need a guide.  You would need to be with someone who knows the way and would guide you.  Gurudevi is my guide for the spiritual journey inside.  Every step of the way, she is supporting me in scaling the heights.  Yes, that is why I became a disciple of my Guru.  God’s greatest gift has been bringing me to the feet of my Gurudeviji.

Having a Guru is essential because the human soul is clouded by ignorance from countless lifetimes.  We don’t know the truth of who we are.  We don’t know our Divine Essence.  We need to receive this experiential knowing from a Self-Realized being who embodies the Absolute Truth.  One cannot overcome their ignorance simply by their own effort.  A person’s self-effort is essential.  But without Guru’s Grace, individual effort is like a bird with one wing.

I was captivated by Gurudeviji’s unique capacity for teaching.  She enables us laymen to understand the high philosophies of the ancient teachings.  Her delivery of these great teachings suits the century that we live in. As I grew up, I felt one attained Self-Realization — liberation — only after living righteously for many more lifetimes.  It seemed unattainable in my current life.

When I heard Gurudevi say that you can realize the Self in this lifetime, she certainly got my attention.  Not only does she say it, she also leads us by being a living example.  I am grateful to Gurudeviji for being the light dispelling the darkness,  For that, I bow again and again!

The Qualities of My Satguru

By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi

All ancient yogic texts speak of the importance of a good Guru.  In our modern times, experts in many different fields are called gurus.  Yet the ancient yogic texts speak of a spiritual Guru.  While there are many spiritual Gurus out there, a truly qualified, living spiritual master is a rare and precious find.  Allow me to share with you the qualities of my Guru.

She is a Satguru, the most masterful and rare kind of spiritual Guru.  She is a blessing beyond compare.  Ancient teachings from the Advaya Taraka Upanishad explain:

aacaarya-lak.saṇam aacaaryo veda-sa.mpanno vimatsarah

yogaj~no yog-ani.s.tha”sca sadaa yog-aatmaka.h “suci.h. (14)

guru-bhakti-samaayukta.h vi”se.sata.h

eva.m guru-rityabhidhiiyate. (15)

A qualified Guru is knowledgeable in the Vedas, a devotee of God, free from jealousy, an expert in yoga, does yoga practices, is always in a pure yogic state.  He is devoted to his own Guru and is a knower of the Self.  Only one with these qualifications may properly serve as Guru.

These ancient verses from the Advaya Taraka Upanishad are around 2,000 years old.  Yet they describe our own Gurudevi perfectly.  In the same way, they describe her own Guru and his own Guru.  These Upanishadic descriptions hold true for the spiritual masters in an unbroken lineage of thousands of years.

These verses describe a “qualified Guru” as one who is knowledgeable in the Vedas, the ancient texts.  Gurudevi always amazes me with her depth of ancient knowledge.  She has a deep experiential understanding of yoga’s ancient mystical teachings.  She lives them.  She brilliantly brings yoga’s teachings to life for us in a modern way.  Thus, we can live them as well. 

The verses also describe a qualified Guru as one who is “a devotee of God.”  When I met Gurudevi, I had an experience of my own Divinity and the Divinity of all.  It took me years to understand that my experience was propelled by Gurudevi’s own inner state.  She is truly a devotee of God.  Yet just being a devotee of God does not make one a Guru.  It was Gurudevi’s pure yogic state, being established in the knowing of her own Self.  Her own Divine Essence propelled me into the experience of my own Divine Essence. 

A qualified Guru must also be devoted to their own Guru.  Gurudevi models her devotion to her Guru, so beautifully.  She shows me every day how to live in the world in gratitude and in service.  She lives to serve her Guru, honoring and serving him with every breath.  Why?  Because he gave her the ultimate gift, the knowing of her own Self.  Every day, she gives us the same gift.

But the notable and sublime qualities of Gurudevi transcend the words of these ancient verses.  Yes, she is everything these verses describe.  True, she propelled me into the experience of my own Self.  However, I was not ready to live in that pure yogic state all the time.  I needed, and still need, her guidance.  To attain and maintain the pure yogic state of Self-realization, her continuing example is essential.  Being in relationship with her — a living Guru — is crucial.  She provides a constant, living example of yoga’s highest attainment.

She leaves no stone unturned in rooting out the things that block me from my Self.  With just a word, Gurudevi can dispel my feelings of jealousy, anger, sadness, anxiety, and smallness.  She burns up my feelings of “not good enough” with a simple loving glance.  In her presence, my mind gets peaceful and quiet.  I remember who I am.  In her presence, I remember my own Self.  Thank you Gurudevi, again and again.

Why I Need a Guru

By Frances (Jñani) Amery, interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Taking Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga, then YTT 1, became a launching point to learn yoga philosophy.  Like a sponge, I soaked up teachings such as the 36 tattvas (Kashmiri Shaivism levels of reality).  Rather than studying the poses, I soon realized I wanted to focus more on the sutras (philosophy aphorisms).  Then, not long after completing YTT 1, I fell and broke both legs.  While recuperating, I took Gurudevi’s “Yogify Your Life” phone course.  It gave me access to the teachings I was longing for. 

A few years later, I tripped and broke my foot.  This “fortunate fall” was pivotal.  Once again, as I convalesced in bed, I was able to study yoga philosophy with Gurudevi.  I listened to the Shiva Sutras online.  I felt totally supported by the sound of Gurudevi’s voice delivering these profound truths.  Even though I do not recall many details, the sutras got layered into me somewhere.  It was amazingly fantastic! 

Conversing with other yogis about the Guru, I had a sudden and clear inner knowing that Gurudevi is indeed my Guru.  I realized I had had this inner knowing from the moment I first met her.  Being in her presence, I feel drawn inward with a strong force like the tractor beam in the old “Star Trek” shows.  This force is called Guru’s Grace.  Guru’s Grace shines through her words and teachings.

They help me in my daily life, in every way.  By having a Guru, I feel my thinking process and behaviors are being restructured.  For instance, I was always an ethical person.  In grade school, I was the first to fess up about any mischief!  Yet practicing the yamasand niyamas with Gurudevi’s guidance has brought me deeper.  My understanding of myself and my world is clearer.  As time goes by, ever deepening insights unfold.  The inner lnowing was always there; I just couldn’t yet perceive it.

Gurudevi is my teacher.  She understands me in a way no one else does, which startles me at times.  During her Year-Long Programme discussions, I feel her speaking to me directly, no matter whom she is addressing.  It’s like the spiritual DNA of the lineage is in my very constitution.  This makes Gurudevi my spiritual mother.  She holds the promise of all that is yet to come — enlightenment in the midst of life.  And I love this promise: it excites me and keeps me focused on this inner path.  I am grateful for the great gift of a Guru!  I’m so blessed to have crossed paths with Gurudevi.

Realigning My Mirror

By Annie (Aanandi) Ross

In an early Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training, someone told me, “You might have to realign your rearview mirror when you depart.”  That image has stuck with me through many years of practicing and teaching yoga.  At the time, It was amazing to consider that yoga could make me taller. 

Little did I know that it could also fill me up.  Yet it fills me from the inside, not like a dear friend recently described: “Happiness is when I can fill up my calendar.”

In her June 2021 Teachings Article: Why Is My Mind So Crazy? Gurudevi says:

“When you feel empty, your mind goes crazy.
It tries to find something to fill you up.
It’s like trying to fill an empty reservoir with a teaspoon.
You need an underground stream to be filling it from the bottom up.”

She is referring to the stream of Guru’s Grace.  When I look to the external world to fill me up with activity, I’m sunk.  Yoga’s teachings explain the cause.  There will never be enough in the external world to satisfy me fully.  Yes, I may be momentarily satisfied, but then what?  The external world will not fully satisfy — ever.  The “More” that I yearn for is only found inside.  And when I simply allow that to happen, when I look inward, I’m settled.  I’m at home in my own Self. 

I remember one incident when my mind was clearly confused.  It was 1973.  I was returning from a stay overseas, passing through JFK International Airport.  I was jetlagged, tired and inexperienced at exploring the world.  I saw something my mind did not know how to interpret.  There were twenty or so people, dressed all in orange.  They were singing something, swirling and dancing around in a big circle.  This was right in the middle of the busy airport.  I was astonished.  I stopped to watch, as did many others.  I now recognize the people in orange were chanting Hare Krishna.

The interesting thing is that my mind was spellbound.  I felt transported to somewhere else.  I wanted to know who they were and what they were doing.  I stayed for a while.  I tried to grasp what I was seeing.  I felt something but had no idea what. 

Then, in a moment, my mind told me, “These people are crazy, really crazy.”  I scoffed to myself and left the crazy scene, shaking my head.  I headed back into the business of the external world.  I felt busy, important and arrogant. 

I couldn’t have figured out how life works on my own.  I needed a teacher — a Master who had already tread this yogic path.  I needed one who had grasped the teachings from her teacher, who got it from his teacher.

Finally, stumbling into Svaroopa® yoga and meditation, I began to understand the mind.  My mind can be tricky and crazy making.  Then I came to know what really fills me up from the inside.  It is the Self, described in the ancient texts.  And I came to understand how my mind can serve me better.  It takes practice.  I am forever grateful for this blessing.

My Guru’s Divine Qualities

By Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Gurudevi Nirmalananda’s other-worldly radiance is what drew me to her.  It emanated from her grounded and everyday countenance.  She was so relatable.  She had experienced the ups and down of raising a family as a single mom.  She knew life’s uncertainties like the rest of us.  Yet she changed the course of her life’s direction mid-stream, and never looked back.

By her Guru’s Grace, she discovered how to live in the complete freedom of her inner Self.  What makes Gurudevi special is that she didn’t hoard the keys to the inner kingdom.  Becoming enlightened, she could have chosen not to teach others.  Instead, she stays present to her students, and moves us through our process.  She models selfless service, by walking the walk, and talking the talk.  She is Grace personified, revealing this life, and ourselves, as divine.  And she empowers us to embody our Inner Greatness.

Gurudevi is a karma yogi.  Selfless service permeates the Svaroopa® yoga teacher training (YTT) and the Ashram she built.  She does all this to serve her Guru, Baba Muktananda.  He taught her that “Only one who obeys can command.”  She exemplifies this humility every day.  Gurudevi says, “My heart is ever resting at my Guru’s feet, while my mind does his work by serving you.”

In her Ashram days with him, she did her daily sevas by thinking of herself as Baba’s hands and feet.  She took care of people for his sake.  She describes, “He moved me light years on my spiritual path.”  Similarly, when I do my sevas, I feel Gurudevi working through me.  Yet I am not helping her.  She gives us sevites each task to help us grow and expand.  She says, “Seva is about your inner fullness.”

Gurudevi is a Shaktipat Guru.  She transmits her spiritual energy into the individual.  This opens you to the deepest dimension of your Beingness.  This is the revelatory action of Grace, the whole purpose of her teaching.  With this opening, we can live from that place of knowing all the time. 

Sometimes her Grace feels like a cooling gel.  Sometimes, like a fire I wish I could flee!  But the truth is, she is always there for us students of her teachings and practices.  This “showing up” makes me feel I know her intimately, even unto lifetimes.

Gurudevi is a tantric teacher; she enjoys life robustly.  She gives the ancient teachings in her own words and enlivens them with personal stories.  For this world is divine, even when we don’t perceive it as such.  Therefore, she gives us a boost: repeat mantra.  She calls it “the easy path, from the inside outward.”

Gurudevi wants you to worship your own inner Self, not her.  She always sees us as pure Consciousness, even when we can’t see ourselves that way.  With infinite patience and compassion, she applies Grace to our limitations.  She’ll ask, “Have you been listening to what I’ve been saying?”  Then she explains the ancient teachings again, and then again.  Her willingness and capacity to support us on our path toward enlightenment are infinite.

Most importantly, Gurudevi empowers all of us to experience our own greatness.  I received my mantra and Shaktipat from her.  So I’m on “the easy path,” even when I make it hard.  And when I’m stuck, Guru’s Grace swoops in with a reminder: “The key is in your pocket when you’re locked out — take it out and use it.  Do more mantra!”

When the Guru Received Shaktipat by Priya Kenney

289When the Guru received shaktipat, my future changed dramatically. So did yours.

When the Guru received shaktipat, a spark was lit from a long line of sparks, and it’s sparking still.

When the Guru received shaktipat, her Baba gave her everything, just like she is giving us.

When the Guru received shaktipat, I was 20 years old. Maybe my heart jumped for joy. Maybe a shiver of recognition ran up my spine, Kundalini taking a brief practice run for what was to come many years later.

When the Guru received shaktipat, she wasn’t a Guru and she wasn’t even Rama yet. She was a lot like us. A lost soul getting found. It’s hard to imagine what she must have been like 38 years ago because she is so established in herSelf now. I think she just might have been a lot like us.  Look where she is now.

If you are lucky enough to be near Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center, you might have joined Swamiji to celebrate her Shaktipat Anniversary on Saturday, May 31. I spent my day in contemplation and gratitude for my Guru’s shaktipat and mine and yours. It’s because of her shaktipat that we are all in this together. We were always our big Self, but she is the one who is bringing us the light of that knowing, just like her Baba did for her. She went through it all, just as we are doing now. She can take us there because she walked the path, every step of the way. Jaya Guru OM.

The Mystical Teachings Have Changed the Way I Live by Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

A yoga student gave me a greeting card a few years back. It said, “The way you live your life has changed how I live my life.” The way Swamiji gives so generously of the mystical teachings, which she learned at the feet of her Guru Muktananda, has changed how I live my life. And, the way I live my life keeps evolving, the more yoga practices I do and the more I avail myself of Swamiji’s Grace. I couldn’t go back to how I used to be even if I wanted to — which I don’t.

The more I dive into practices and programs, the more I get bite-sized pieces of understanding that guide or push me along to my inner Self. These include practicing and teaching asana and leading group meditations, my own meditation and japa, chanting the Guru Gita and listening to Swamiji’s talks online, the year long course “Guru & Self,” offering seva and taking more training (I recently retook Meditation Teacher Training). Everything I do is designed by Swami Nirmalananda who, along with my own efforts, is birthing me into who I really am.

Back in 1999, when I started training with Swamiji (then Rama), I came to learn yoga poses to teach. But this path I have been given is so much more than what I originally came for, more than I even knew was possible. I have been given mystical teachings that, for centuries, were secret teachings. Having Swamiji as my Guru has put me in the flow of this living lineage, through which the teachings have been passed from teacher to disciple for thousands of years. Swamiji has been charged with bringing the yogic mystical teachings into the world. Mystical teachings are not mainstream; they are not popular and they are not for everybody. But they are for me, and my guess is that they are for you, because you are reading this.

How do I live my life now? I am more ME. I am more present, more aware, more at ease, more kind and more clear. I am more able to be aware when I am not Self and I know how to get back. I am more willing to risk. Recently, after Swamiji’s Shaktipat weekend that I hosted in Calgary, I had my first clear experience of speaking up louder when I was inner connected and teaching a yoga class. Clearly, more of my Self had been uncovered through the mystical mystery of our Shaktipat weekend. This allowed me to be Self-connected and speak out at the same time. It was time to speak up and be heard, and something had been cleared that allowed me to do that.

So now it is time for me to use my stronger and clearer voice to ask you to donate during our April Fundraiser, “Yoga in the World,” to support the continuing flow of the mystical yogic teachings into the world. Please join me and my husband with your donation to support the rare gift of a living, accessible Guru who imparts mystical teachings in an understandable way.  Because this path isn’t mainstream, we depend on donations for one third of the income needed to run SVA. From your deep gratitude and your deeper Self, please make an offering so the Ashram can flourish and continue to offer the secrets of yoga to you and to our community. Click here and make as meaningful a contribution as you are able, to support the generous way that Swamiji imparts the mystical teachings to us.