I had grown up in Siddha Yoga since I was 8 years old, coming to the Catskills every summer with my family. I loved to chant, I loved to meditate, and I loved Gurumayi.
But I had this burning question—"Do I have shaktipat?" This was really important to me. So at the advanced age of 10, I summoned up all my courage and asked Gurumayi directly, in darshan. She told me that I would know when I had shaktipat.
The question burned even brighter in my mind.
A couple of years later, I was participating in satsang inside the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple, chanting Jay Jay Muktananda, Muktananda Jay Jay. It was dusk and very cozy in the Temple corridor where I was sitting, surrounded by devotees.
As the chant deepened, I found myself singing with this growing warmth in my body. It was the first time that I felt that the chant was alive, full of energy, and I found myself immersed in it.
Before, I had always known that I loved to chant, but now I had the personal insight that the chant loved me, as well. Siddha Yoga had become alive for me, or maybe it was the other way around. The connection was undeniable and has guided me ever since.
a devotee from New York, USA
In November 2002 I was visiting a college in Switzerland, where I was considering enrolling as a student. A girl at the orientation week invited me to stay over at her house one night, so that I could easefully attend an early morning class that was being held the next day.
The house she lived in with her parents had been, in the past, a Siddha Yoga meditation center. When I arrived, the fragrance of incense and the sound of a Siddha Yoga chant on the stereo greeted me. The family had pujas and pictures of the Siddha Yoga Gurus in the living room. On one wall there was a big picture of Gurumayi wearing one of her summer hats. Looking at this picture I instantly knew: “This is it. Whatever it is, this is it.”
At that point in my life I had many questions about the meaning of life, and I was looking for my place in the world. I hadn’t considered that what I was looking for was a spiritual path. But then, when I saw Gurumayi’s picture, my questions simply dissolved.
Having had this experience, I asked the girl, “Who is the woman in the picture?” She didn’t tell me very much. Her mom, however, offered to explain things and gave me an introduction to Siddha Yoga. She showed me the meditation room, a collection of Darshan magazines and Siddha Yoga books, she showed me The PRASAD Project video, and the Siddha Yoga path website. The woman told me about the Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive that was going to be held in Montreux, Switzerland, during Easter the next year, and she showed me on the website how to find the Siddha Yoga meditation center closest to where I lived.
When I arrived home in Germany the next week, I started going to satsang and Shri Guru Gita recitations at the meditation center near my home. And I registered for the two-day Shaktipat Intensive in Montreux.
As I look back, I see that from the moment I saw Gurumayi’s picture, my life became steady, and I knew that Siddha Yoga was my path.
a devotee from Düsseldorf, Germany
It was April of 1975, and I was living in San Francisco, California. I had met many meditation teachers who had come to the Bay Area, but I kept returning to see Baba.
One evening after a satsang with Baba, I returned home with a beautiful mantra card that I had received from Baba. I sat down on my meditation cushion and closed my eyes and began to repeat the mantra that was printed on the card. Suddenly, I felt a soothing and delicious feeling of velvety liquid, like honey, pouring down through my head and into my entire being. I then noticed that my mind, which was always racing, had become, without any effort on my part, utterly still and tranquil for the first time in my life. I sat there in a state of complete peace for about twenty minutes, but then a sense of excitement arose, and I jumped up off the floor and ran to find my roommate to share this amazing and extraordinary experience.
a devotee from North Carolina, USA
I took my first Shaktipat Intensive in Mexico City when I was 14 years old. It was a momentous event I will never forget. I was very new to Siddha Yoga.
The moment the first chant of the Intensive started, Jyota se Jyota Jagao, I felt a squeezing in my heart. It felt like long-forgotten friend being remembered, a bittersweet longing. Halfway through the chant, I felt a strong energy descend on me. It entered from the top of my head and moved down through my body. The energy felt like liquid bliss coursing through, pure unconditional love, a love I had never experienced before; I cried a lot and the tears were full of gratitude. I looked at the photo of Gurumayi on the chair, and I knew from my core that that divine love is what is truly real. And then the following prayer arose, directed at that awesome grace, at that all-encompassing love: Thank you. I love you. May I always be with you. May I serve you for the rest of my life.
The Intensive marked the beginning of a wondrous journey of discovery and transformation.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for kindling the fire in my heart.
a devotee from New York, USA
On March 6, 1985, I was walking home from work and I saw people going inside the University of San Diego’s auditorium. I was curious, so I followed them in to see what was happening. I was told that it was a program given by a female Indian swami, and I decided to stay. By the end of the program, I thought it had been a very unusual way to spend an evening — but I was a scientist, and I really wasn’t interested in this sort of thing.
The next morning, however, I woke up with a question pounding in my head: “Why a Guru? Why a Guru?” It wasn’t that I really cared — I just wanted the question to stop so that I could focus on my work. But since it continued all day, I rather reluctantly went to the program again that night. As soon as I took my seat in the hall, up from inside came an answer: “Because I want one.” This answer was both completely satisfying and absolutely bewildering. Then another question started up: “What does Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay mean?” This was all I could hear throughout the first part of the program.
Then Gurumayi walked in, took her seat and said, “With great respect and love I welcome you all with all my heart.” Then she turned to me and said “Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay means…” and proceeded to explain its meaning.
I was amazed! Two questions: one answered from inside, one answered from outside. Obviously something unusual was going on here.
So on Friday, March 8, 1985, I was the first one in line for the program because I was going to figure out what was going on. When I was shown to my seat, there was a large loudspeaker sitting on the floor at ear level about an arm’s length away from me. When the program started, the speaker was so loud I couldn’t think. When the Om Namah Shivaya chant started, I remember giving up trying to figure out what was going on and, since there wasn’t anything else to do, I closed my eyes and chanted along.
Then Gurumayi’s voice started pouring out of the loudspeaker over me like liquid gold. A space opened up in my heart, and there I recognized what I had been looking for my whole life. It was the experience of my Heart.
a devotee from New York
A very dear friend one day showed me three small pictures he always carried with him in a small pocket, close to his heart.
The way that my friend held these cherished pictures and the tone of his voice filled with love and devotion, and ignited a state within me that was unknown to me as yet.
When I saw these pictures of Bhagavan Nityananda, Swami Muktananda, and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, I didn't know who those beings were. My friend gave me some explanations, and yet I couldn't understand the words he pronounced; they were some kind of sound, and the words lost themselves deep within me.
A feeling arose in my heart, beaming inside of my throat—it was a sense of deep recognition that seemed to me like a land to which I came back after a very long journey.
I felt strongly moved, and tears came into my eyes and gently caressed my cheeks, as if to say: Yes, this is the Truth, those beings are your true spiritual family you have been seeking for so long.
That same night, I had a dream of Baba, who was guiding me on an inner journey into an unknown space inside of myself that was very elevated. I experienced the spiritual union with my own inner Self this very night. I experienced a strong and unfathomable feeling of love, pouring from my heart into my whole being and into everywhere in the space around me. Inside and outside of myself merged into pure bliss. On this night the room was both filled with the darkness of the night's mantle and sparkling with shimmering, brilliant light, which I not had seen in my life before.
My innermost being was beaming, radiating, fully and vibrantly alive. For the very first time in my life I had found the presence for which I had longed.
My Guru. This experience of shimmering light lasted a long time in my life: my days and my nights were filled with joy and bliss, the water of the shower was scintillating energy, the atoms composing the food I cooked for my family sang so beautifully the hymn to the Divine, every moment in the day was infused with light, and the challenges I had to face then took on a very different color—the color and the shape of a loving experience destined to purify myself from the false beliefs I had so long identified myself with.
My Guru has been always present in my heart since then.
My Guru guides me very carefully in such extraordinary, exquisite, and marvelous ways, from inside, to recognize my true nature; to honor, to respect, and to worship my own inner Self, the Self of all.
My Guru washes my thoughts of unworthiness; gives me all the means to clean my heart, to give up unsupportive patterns, to give up my fears, and to love and respect everyone as I am learning to respect myself.
From the depth of my heart, I thank you, Gurumayi, for your presence in my life.
Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!
a devotee from Nice, France
On the full moon of October 1990, I heard the mantra Om Namah Shivaya coming from a small cassette tape player. I thought it was a symphony, so I asked the person who played that music, “What is this beautiful symphony?” He answered, “It’s not a symphony; it’s called the mantra.”
I’d never heard of such a name for a symphony, so I turned the volume up and listened carefully to see if I might know it. As I focused on the sound, everything around me disappeared, and I was instantly transported into a vast open space in the universe. My heart felt immeasurable love and longing; it was so strong that I thought my heart was going to burst—I couldn’t stop the tears flowing down my face. Later that night I took a long walk with that person in the moonlight on the banks of the Danube in Austria, and he explained to me the mantra and what had happened and said, “I think you got shaktipat.”
From that evening, my life wasn’t the same anymore; it took a miraculous turn. Everything was so much more beautiful and joyful; people seemed much more friendly and vibrant.
The next year in August of 1991 that person, who had now become my husband, invited me to Shree Muktananda Ashram to meet Gurumayi and to take my first Intensive. The Intensive was held in a beautiful giant white tent on the hillside of the Ashram; it looked like a palace to me. On the first day of the three-day Maha Intensive, during a meditation session, I had a vision of Baba Muktananda. Baba appeared to me with a benevolent smile on his face, and he said, Come with me. Together we walked in the most beautiful place: nature was pulsating with a thick throb. Lord Ganesh walked behind me with his trunk touching the space between my shoulder blades. A beautiful scintillating white light, looking like a spiraling tunnel, appeared in front of us. And as we walked through it, I saw Gurumayi waiting in the light at the end of the tunnel. Immediately, I experienced that same immeasurable love and longing in my heart, and bliss beyond measure.
In my vision Baba said to me, This is your Guru and she will take you on the most secret and precious journey, revealing the highest Truth within you. She is everything you’ll ever need!
I wish that all Siddha Yoga students and every soul in this world would experience divine initiation in a Shaktipat Intensive through the grace-bestowing power of our beloved Guru.
With my utmost gratitude, thank you, Gurumayi.
In love, light, and oneness,
a devotee from California, USA
Since my childhood, I have been looking for . . . I did not know whom or what, but in search of something that could give me some meaning to this life.
At 32 I gave up, saying, it's impossible, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack; that same year, I took my first Intensive in Paris, France, in May 1982, having participated in only one introductory program but being strongly pulled towards this event.
First day, first meditation: my breath stops completely, and the next moment there is a burst, a blast, in my chest, in the region of my heart. It feels exactly like a concrete dam being cracked all at once; and I burst into tears. It is not sadness or grief; it is tears of relief. Because I can feel, with absolute certainty, Baba's love pouring into and opening my heart. I can feel, tangibly, the purest love I have ever felt. Strong, powerful, love without reason, without demand; just pure love flowing into my heart. And at the same time, I know that this pure love is my love, which has been contained for years and years in that dam.
After the Intensive, for more than two weeks everything, absolutely everything, is shimmering, glowing, scintillating: the trees, plants, my daughter, the kitchen, my mom, the walls. I have the physical sensation that my chest, my physical chest, is wide open, and when I breathe, with each inhalation I breathe in a cool air exactly like at the top of a mountain.
During these two weeks my mind is still, and I marvel at everything; nothing is a small or insignificant task. Making a chocolate cake, I am in bliss, and it is the most important thing to do at that very moment. Every moment is a miracle.
How have I changed since that auspicious moment of May 1982?
I am much younger:
coming from extreme shyness to openness,
from boredom to enthusiasm,
from sadness to contentment,
from a closed heart to an open heart,
from being a certain person in a certain role to being simply myself,
from unhappiness to joy.
I am so grateful to my Guru.
I have no words to express my gratitude,
with all my love,
with all my heart.
a devotee from Paris, France
As I am practising the beautiful Full Moon Dharana, each day as the golden arc rises on the horizon, I feel the soothing moon beams tenderly lift and melt away a small portion of darkness within me. I feel lighter. The rippling water in the ocean reflecting the moonbeams is the waves of emotions buried in my heart, melting into tenderness, forgiveness. Today as I meditated with the dharana, breathing in the moonlight, I had a vision of an exquisite brilliant silver-white heart radiating soothing beams of white light and bursting into millions of tiny hearts.
I sat down in awe, contemplating the experience, and my heart brimmed with tears of gratitude. As I sat quietly with my eyes closed, my heart connected and resonated with beloved Gurumayi’s words in her talk "Intention and Blessings," which I had listened to last week in order to prepare an intention for the Shaktipat Intensive: “Blessings are like the full moon shining with brilliance . . . redirecting the person to the fullness of heart.”
How fortunate and blessed each one of us is on this auspicious path. I offer my heartfelt gratitude and love to Gurumayi for lovingly aligning me with the brilliance of my heart. I also wish to offer my loving intention for all my beloved fellow Siddha Yogis around the globe. May each one of us connect to this infinite brilliance of light within our own hearts as we prepare to bathe ourselves in the Shaktipat Intensive. May our hearts be forever connected to that constant brilliant glowing spark of light, the love of our beloved Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba. May each one of us truly experience and live the golden vision of the profound prayer Jyota se Jyota Jagao and my vision of the dharana: the brilliant shining heart bursting into millions of tiny hearts.
With love and gratitude,
a devotee from Pune, India
I received shaktipat from Baba while I was living in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in 1971. Many subtle changes in my outlook began to occur as I followed the discipline and practices of the daily schedule of the Ashram and especially after receiving the mantra card of Om Namah Shivaya from him. In fact when Baba gave both my wife and me our mantra cards, he said we really only needed one. We still have those cards and one is in a frame on our puja to this day.
A few days later Baba called my wife from her seva in the Ladies Meditation Room and gave her an idli. As she was walking away with this precious rice cake in her hand, Baba called her back and said here is one for your husband. Soon after we sat together and slowly savoured the prasad Baba had given us. That evening both of us experienced profound and undeniable awakenings of the divine energy. This set us on this most wonderful path, and as Baba said in a talk when he came to England in 1976, he gives each of us his perfect life, as much as we can hold.
The Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive is the most important practice for me, and I have made it a priority to attend them whenever possible since 1975. There are many reasons. I value the excitement and anticipation beforehand as I look forward to the joy and upliftment of being in the Intensive. I love the atmosphere of being in the Intensive hall where I can fully imbibe and appreciate each of the practices of chanting, meditation, contemplation, and listening to the teachings of our Gurus. Most of all I am grateful for the opportunity to reaffirm and deepen my shaktipat experience, which each Intensive gives me and allows me to dive deep within my own heart and experience God’s love for me and this world.
a devotee from London, England
I was 15 years old at that time (now I am 38), and I lived with my parents in São Paulo, Brasil. I didn’t know anything about yoga, but I was reading a book about it. My parents went traveling, and I had a friend who came back from Mexico. He told me there would be a new meditation center.
I went to the satsang, and at the first notes of Jyota se Jyota Jagao I felt I was somehow home.
At the end of the satsang, which was held inside an apartment, I saw a woman staring for some time at Baba´s shaktipat photo. I thought it was some kind of practice, so I did the same and stayed looking at the photograph for some time.
When I was going back home, the image of Baba kept on coming to my mind. I didn´t know anything about shaktipat. When I got home I went straight to my bedroom, and told my grandfather I was feeling a little strange.
The image of Baba kept on coming to my mind as I tried to sleep. It appeared more and more, faster and faster, till I got into a deep sleep.
I woke up the next morning very early. When I opened my window, I saw the backyard garden as I had never seen it before. Every color was magnificent, the sounds were great, and my heart was full of bliss. I didn´t know what was happening, but I knew it was peaceful and profound.
My grandfather asked me what was going on, and I told him I preferred to walk to my school.
That state stayed with me for some weeks, and after some time people from the sangham told me I had received shaktipat.
I offer my sincere gratitude to Gurumayi.
a devotee from Brazil
In 1997 I was living in a remote part of Australia. A friend and fellow seeker had met Gurumayi in Sydney for the first time, and he would call me full of enthusiasm about Siddha Yoga and the Guru. It was all a little too strange for me at the time, but I am forever grateful that he persisted. He urged me to order the Siddha Yoga Correspondence Course and read it, as there was nowhere within thousands of kilometres to attend satsang. One day he called yet again, and this time I was ready to hear. I ordered the course. I was amazed at how I started to feel joyful for no reason, just reading the words of the course. I started to meditate again regularly, and my life started to change for the better.
A few months later an Intensive was being held in Perth. I decided to fly down and attend it. I arrived the night before and visited my friend. Now, I had yet to even see a photo of Gurumayi, so my friend put on a video—Seva Creates a Pond of Nectar. The moment I saw Gurumayi, I was blown away. Watching that video, I felt a gentle wrenching in my heart that seemed to open up something somewhere deep inside me that I had no words for. Tears flowed down my face for the length of the video and for a long time afterwards.
I now believe that this was the great moment when shaktipat occurred, the most important moment of my soul’s long journey. It has completely transformed my life into something which is wonderful and remarkable beyond anything I had even hoped for. Thank you again and again, Gurumayi.
a devotee from Tasmania, Australia
In 1978, I was having lunch with a housemate to wish her well in her travels to India to spend time with Baba Muktananda. At the time, I didn't know anything about Siddha Yoga. In the course of our conversation, I shared with her that, in May of 1970, I had a mystical experience during which I perceived everyone and everything as God. She took out a picture of Baba; my eyes riveted to it as she invited me to a new Siddha Yoga meditation center that was being opened locally.
In May of that year, I attended two celebrations for Baba's Birthday (one at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Boston and the other at the Meditation Center in Northampton, Massachusetts). I was enthralled with the chanting, and my hands were dancing in mudras. (I had no idea what mudras were at the time). During this time, I became consumed with chanting the Guru Gita and reading Baba's spiritual autobiography, Play of Consciousness. One night, as I read Baba's words "...that the mantra, the Guru, the Shakti and you are one and the same," I saw blinding light, experienced the presence of grace, and tears flowed down my cheeks. I was initially disappointed that the experience subsided quickly, but when I spoke with the center leader, he told me I'd received shaktipat initiation. Afterward I came to understand that this great gift would eventually guide me to the state of unity consciousness I'd glimpsed in 1970.
I was delighted to learn years later that within days of my 1970 experience, Baba received the inner command from Bade Baba to bring the Siddha Yoga teachings to the West. I feel so blessed that I had a divine appointment with such a powerful path that transcends time and space and guides us to realize our own true Self.
I'm filled with infinite gratitude for the blessings of the Siddha Yoga path and the amazing international cyber-satsang we are now experiencing through Guru's grace. It is refreshing my practices (especially of the Guru Gita!) and each share fills my heart with the love that unites us.
a devotee from Connecticut, USA
In 1991 my friend took me to Shree Muktananda Ashram to attend the Shaktipat Intensive. I knew little about what was going to happen that weekend. By the end of the Intensive I thought, well, that was very nice but I don’t feel any different. As if she’d heard my thoughts, Gurumayi, speaking to everyone, said, “You may think nothing has happened but, believe me, you have been immersed in an ocean of shakti for two days.”
I felt a washing over of very strong emotion and began to cry. The atmosphere in the hall became so soft and so loving, and I looked over at the wall of pictures of the Gurus and realized the truth of who these beings were. My experience was that God loves us so much and has so much compassion for us that he gives these beings form for the sole purpose of revealing to us who he is and teaching us about him and his great love for us. God’s compassion is so great that he creates all things to teach us if we just put forth the effort to meet him.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for taking form in this life and giving me, and so many others, shaktipat. My life truly began on a new and wonderful course after that weekend.
a devotee from Minnesota, USA
It was the summer of 1976, and at a friend’s encouragement I went to meet Baba Muktananda in South Fallsburg, New York. The Arati was sung that Saturday afternoon, followed by a talk by Baba and then darshan. I don’t remember much about the chant or Baba’s talk except that the chanting and incense felt foreign to me and I was feeling alone and self-conscious. Darshan began, and I was watching Baba greeting and interacting with people when suddenly—I saw that he was completely free. The way he greeted people, the way he moved, all his gestures, I saw that he was completely free. This stunned me. I had never seen anything like this. I couldn’t take my eyes off Baba. Then the word PERFECT came up inside my chest: big bold white capital letters. I knew Baba was perfect. And I experienced that this same perfection was within me—it felt like a white light that had been buried under layers and layers of darkness for eons.
At one point we were given meditation instructions and asked to close our eyes, but there was no way I could take my eyes away from Baba. I stared intently at his silhouette in the dark, watching him eventually get up and walk out of the hall.
On that summer day, totally unexpectedly and beyond anything I could have ever imagined, my life changed completely. This was a new beginning for me—Baba awakened me to the Self, to the deepest part of myself. As I began to practice sadhana, a years-long depression began to lift and, amazingly, I began to feel love for myself, and for others. This transformation has continued through the years, and my life has become one of joy, filled with great blessings.
How can I ever thank Baba? My heart knows the magnitude of what he gave me, but I do not have words to express it. Thank you, Baba; thank you, Gurumayi; thank you Bade Baba from the deepest part of my being.
a devotee from Washington, USA
My experience starts with doing the dishes. At the time I had developed a routine of chanting along with a cassette tape while doing the dishes. This particular night I had finished the dishes, but the chant was still playing, so I decided to sit on my kitchen floor and chant until the tape ended. When the tape ended, I thought, I’ll just sit here for a few moments and see what happens; maybe I will meditate.
I became aware of my breathing and started to watch my inhalation and exhalation when suddenly a voice arose inside that said, It’s all One. In the moment of the word One, something amazing happened.
My eyes fluttered fast, but soft, like butterfly wings. I felt a strong energy move up my spine like a firecracker shooting up in the air. When it got to the base of my neck, my consciousness expanded further: it seemed that I had merged with the breath of the universe. It was loud—like thunder—but not startling in any way. Was I breathing the universe? This inner vastness was incomprehensible. I wondered how this was possible and how long I would experience this profound expansion.
It wasn’t very long—maybe a few minutes went by—but I was changed forever. I had had an experience like I had read about in the yoga texts. My commitment to Gurumayi and to following the Siddha Yoga path took on new meaning, for now I knew that the goal of liberation was possible. I had had a very tangible experience of Kundalini Shakti.
I immediately signed up for the Week Long Course (this was in 1998). We studied the Guru Gita in that course. I had a profound insight that Gurumayi is evidence that grace exists: she is embodied grace, walking this earth.
My focus and commitment to my sadhana continues to grow and deepen. I know this experience was possible only because I had received the gift of shakipat from Gurumayi.
Thank you, Gurumayi. I could never forget my Guru’s grace.
a devotee from Minnesota, USA
I attended the Shaktipat Intensive in Ontario, California, in December 1999, primarily because my husband had been so transformed in the previous nine months since receiving shaktipat. He had changed so dramatically, I jokingly gave him a new name because it was clear to me that the man I had known for fifteen years was nowhere to be found.
There were thousands of people at the Intensive, and the practices were completely new to me. I found everything very interesting but didn’t really feel particularly “connected.” A Swami then introduced Gurumayi, and I saw her for the first time on a large screen overhead. She gave a talk, which I thought was nice, and then the lights were turned off for the chant. As we began to chant Om, I sat in my chair and tried to be present.
I felt overwhelmed by the huge number of devotees around me and appreciated the dark room. I was unsure if and how I fit on this path, and my head was in overdrive so I took a moment to stop thinking and chanting. In my heart, I said, God, if there is something here for me, I need to know it. If not, that’s okay—but if this is for me, I need you to show me. I need to know clearly.
And then, slowly, strongly, in the center of my being, deep in my Heart, I began to experience love. It continued to expand until it reached beyond my heart, my chest, and my whole body. I sat there in that boundaryless space of love and cried. I could not have fathomed that such love existed, and then I knew the love I was experiencing was God; that I actually AM That— and That is what all “this” is made up of.
My prayer was a request that was rooted in years of searching for something I couldn’t articulate. In that moment I opened the door, but I expected nothing, and Gurumayi gave me her compassionate, generous, endless gift of shaktipat. I have felt held in the palm of the Guru ever since.
Every time I see Gurumayi, the only thing I wish to convey is “thank you,” and the great love that I send to her is always returned to me a thousandfold. I don’t know how I can possibly reciprocate.
a devotee from Oregon, USA
Allow me to thank you for the opportunity to share this, as it reminds me of the beautiful gift I received from our Guru.
It was the spring of 2003. I had attended the Siddha Yoga meditation center for a couple of months, and this was my first young adults retreat. The day I received shaktipat initiation was the last day of the retreat. We had spent four or five days chanting, meditating, eating lovely and healthy food, and practising silence.
We listened to Gurumayi's talk on “Trust.” I was meditating on her image and the words she had said. I suddenly had this impression, this feeling inside of me, that I knew Gurumayi (I have never met her in person) and, most important, that she reminded me of myself. This was a very important moment in my life. I understood that day the Guru lives inside of me as my true Self.
I felt an unraveling feeling in my heart. And I started crying tears of relief. I understood that day that I had been looking for a teacher in many places, in many people—as the Sadguru Ki Arati's verse says, " Listen, for so long we were going around from door to door just picking up dust." That day, I found my beloved teacher. She found me. And I understood that no matter where I would be from that day on, the seed she planted inside of me would flourish. Nine years later, I still experience the blossoms of her wisdom growing inside of me, blessing my every day.
a devotee from Lebanon
I am homeschooled, so I get to do meditation every day, before my lesson. Even though I had been sitting for meditation every day this was my first real meditation experience.
My first try on this day wasn’t very successful, so I thought I’d ask Mom about ways that I could meditate. She said that you can follow the white light. I paused for a moment and tried that. I couldn’t see the white light, but I could see a doorway in the distance. It was all black around me. I walked towards the doorway and after a little while, I got there. I paused for a moment and then went through.
When I went through I saw a cave with light blue walls and no way in other than the way I came through. Below me I saw the Siddhas. I couldn’t make out their faces, but I knew they were Siddhas. They were all sitting in a half moon shape around my heart. My heart had a small opening in it, and inside my heart I could see OM. I went down to the Siddhas and paused for a moment. Then suddenly, my heart burst into flames. Then all the Siddhas held hands and jumped into my heart. I jumped in too. I suddenly felt the Kundalini Shakti coursing through my whole body.
a 12-year-old devotee from New Mexico, USA
Each morning I visit the Siddha Yoga path website. For the past few days, I have been contemplating Bhagavantappa’s poem, “How Could I Ever Forget My Guru’s Grace?” This morning the temperature was warm enough for me to open the window next to the computer desk. After I opened the window, I began to experience the beauty of nature. There was a gentle rain, and a sweet breeze. The fragrant fall air was lovely. The colorful fall leaves made a sweet, content, and awesome sound as they gently swayed.
After reading Bhagavantappa’s poem that morning, I sat in my wheelchair and felt that being alive was so wonderful, exquisite, and sweet. My heart and entire being filled with gratitude for Gurumayi, the lineage of Siddha Yoga Gurus, and for the sevites who enable me to experience love, beauty, contentment, and gratitude. My speech, sight, touch, balance, and movement are compromised. However, the Guru’s grace empowers me to experience the world spiritually in a manner that goes deeper than my external senses ever could—even before they became compromised. This spiritual awareness transcends far beyond the limitations and challenges of my body and circumstances.
The challenges in my life are still there. However, far greater than, and beyond, my physical challenges and limitations is my ability to experience joy, beauty, peace, contentment, and love. The Guru’s gift grants me the ability to experience this awareness. Through the Guru’s grace, I can see and experience the beauty and wonder of everyday life.
Thank you. I am truly fortunate beyond measure.
a devotee from Missouri, USA
After a few years of curiosity about the Guru and the Siddha Yoga path, and of resistance to give myself truly, I decided to take my first Intensive at Easter in 1991.
The moment I signed up, things started to change and shift: I felt more open to what this path had to offer me and I looked forward to the Intensive.
Still, a deep resistance was there—especially wondering how I could cope with the Christian belief that I’d learned in my youth and having a Guru in my life. How could I combine that? But the resistance was taken care of by the Guru’s grace in a very profound way.
I am a musician, and so it was natural that the shakti used music to make the first opening: a beautiful bhajan was played before a meditation session. It touched my heart, and I felt open and calm.
In the following meditation session I suddenly had a strong vision, like a movie on a screen. Even when I opened my eyes, I still saw the same image: I was walking in a desert landscape, and it reminded me of Israel. In the distance I saw two people walking towards me, and when they came close, I recognized Baba and Gurumayi. They were talking with each other and laughing. When they were close to me, they greeted me, nodded, and smiled and then, suddenly, they vanished at both sides. I saw that behind them was a beautiful man, with strong and soft eyes filled with love and compassion. It was Jesus, and he looked at me and laid one hand on his heart and, with the other hand, he blessed me. He said: It is all the same!
When I came out of this meditation, I felt great relief; my fear of losing my faith in God by following a Guru was gone, absorbed by the love and wisdom of the image of Jesus. And also gone was my resistance to surrender to a guru, to my Guru: Gurumayi!
In the very last meditation session of the Intensive I felt a strong urge and power to bow, to surrender, to really bring my head and mind lower than my heart. The moment I did this, first I heard beautiful music and singing, and then there were also beautiful colors and delicious odors. I saw stars and galaxies and felt I could embrace the whole universe. I felt so much love, I was love, and I started to cry, out of awe and out of recognition of who I really was. This recognition I still feel today and I practice it over and over again: remembering who I really am.
I am still so grateful for the Guru and the Siddha Yoga path, which by its grace gave me the most beautiful experience I ever had from God within.
With love and respect,
a devotee from Holland
Shri Shubh Mahasamadhi.
On this moon day, I awake awash with gratitude for Guru’s grace! And it just goes on and on and on! Not long ago, I found a note Gurumayi sent me during the Baba Intensive, Baba Muktananda: Ocean of Brilliance, Enchanter of our Souls, in which Gurumayi said, “We may soon run out of existing adjectives for future Intensives. So you’d better begin writing your own.”
After all this time, I’m beginning to feel what Gurumayi meant and see how that is such an important task. After all this time, I’m beginning to appreciate Baba’s magnificence, the mysterious way in which he does enchant my, our souls. The more I open to his brilliance, the more it seems my whole being eases into the nectarean pool of his love. With each cell that receives and becomes saturated with his grace, Gurumayi’s grace, the more magical and mysteriously delicious it becomes to walk through this world.
a devotee from California, USA
Having Siddha Yoga in my life since I was born, I was fortunate to have the teachings and practices shape how I perceive the world. I have always loved chanting, but meditating was difficult for my restless mind. Even though I practiced meditating many times, I never felt an experience from it like the ones devotees would share, and I greatly desired to have one.
August 8, 2012, Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Punyatithi: I was cloaked in my Guru’s grace. It was in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Bade Baba looked truly magnificent. As we all chanted, my heart was filled with ecstasy. I looked from Bade Baba’s murti to Gurumayi and then to all of devotees in the room, chanting with all of their hearts. The energy of all the people in the room was so pure and loving. The devotion I felt as I looked around the room was indescribable. I smiled so hard my cheeks became sore. It really was a wonderful chant.
Then it came time for meditation. I gently closed my eyes. My eyes seemed to spiral counter-clockwise faster and faster into my head, as if I were being transported somewhere within, and I had no control over it. When it stopped, I had been taken to a dark forest, with a faint light in the distance. I walked closer and found the source—the golden light was emanating from a lustrous murti of Bade Baba. I began to do pradakshina around his murti, when I realized that my body wasn’t breathing. How was I not gasping for breath? As I neared the end of my pradakshina, I heard the first gong. I pranammed. Then the second gong. I looked up at his murti. The third gong. My eyes began to open ever so slightly.
It felt as if the weight of the world rested on my eyelids. Why did meditation have to end? I wanted it to last forever, yet I felt as if it were the most perfect time in the world for it to end. Everything seemed to be a contradiction, yet simultaneously made the most perfect sense in the world. Everyone in the room began to slowly stand up and do pradakshina, so I bowed to Bade Baba.
But as got up, I froze. I was completely transfixed by his form. I physically could not move, and my eyes remained gazing at him as people exited the Temple. I didn’t want to be disrespectful, but I really could not move; Bade Baba was just too beautiful. The connection I felt with him was palpable. I felt that I was his devotee in my past life, and that I am finishing my sadhana in this one. After a period of time, I finally stood up and did pradakshina in this realm.
I exited the Temple, and the stillness pervaded. I was not in my body. I had no thoughts—only love. When people would address me, I was fully conscious and would respond with not a syllable more than necessary. I had no care whatsoever of what anyone thought of me and felt only an immense love for everyone around me. My breathlessness continued throughout the rest of the evening. As I walked, I felt as though I was floating. My eyes were not mine but served as a lens, a portal into this worldly plane; it felt like a glimpse of consciousness, and I wanted it to last forever. I was cloaked in Gurumayi’s, Baba’s, and Bade Baba’s grace.
With practice, when I meditate now a part of this feeling returns to me. I am eternally grateful for the Siddha Yoga path. Thank you, Gurumayi, with all of my heart.
a devotee from New York, USA
In the fall of 1990 I was invited to a satsang by some friends who hosted a Siddha Yoga meditation center in their home at that time. During the satsang, there was a video of Baba Muktananda, and I remember feeling a beautiful sense of recognition somehow when I saw Baba. I knew immediately that I wanted to attend the upcoming Shaktipat Intensive, which was being broadcast via satellite from Ganeshpuri, India, to Shree Muktananda Ashram.
The Intensive was such an amazing and life-changing experience for me, and seeing Gurumayi for the first time, I fell in love! But even before the Intensive, after attending the satsang with Baba's video, I remember reading one of Baba's books and experiencing literal waves of bliss and love inside me for days. I didn't understand at the time, but I see now that I had received shaktipat from Baba that first night I "met" him.
Thank you, Baba, and thank you, Gurumayi, for the priceless gift of love and awakening you have given me. Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!
a devotee from New York, USA
I first heard about Siddha Yoga in the spring of 1982 when I was a graduate student in Washington, D.C. I had been trying to meditate on my own off and on, with little success. One day, while I was trying again to meditate, I heard a radio program coming through the air duct between my room and the room of the person next door. A woman on the radio was speaking about meditation. She was a Siddha Yogi and she was talking about Siddha Yoga meditation. I was so drawn to what she was saying, that after a while I turned on my own radio and found the station so I could hear better.
Just near the end of the program the woman said, “The mantra of Siddha Yoga is Om Namah Shivaya.“ Instantly, my heart leaped up in deep recognition. I felt, “Oh…this is it!”
That very evening I went to the Siddha Yoga Meditation Ashram in Washington. Then I began to attend satsangs regularly. A few months later, during the summer of 1982, I had a chance to visit Shree Muktananda Ashram where Gurumayi was in residence for a summer retreat.
That weekend I took the Intensive and received Shaktipat from Gurumayi.
a devotee from Florida, USA
The memory of the day I received shaktipat is forever imprinted in my heart. It was in February 1984 that I took my first Intensive. The following night I had a dream. I had to walk a long way to come to Baba's house. Looking for him, I was walking in one of the corridors when I met Gurumayi. She kindly offered to introduce me to Baba. I felt relieved, and I gladly followed her to his room. He was exactly like I saw him on the video of the Intensive: so alive, so loving, and so free. Empowered by Gurumayi's presence, I told Baba that I came to serve him. I said I would be happy to do anything he would ask me. As Gurumayi translated my words to him, he looked at me intently. He nodded his head and told me to go to the cave. With a smile he added that I would have fun there.
When Gurumayi took me inside the room, I was stunned to see all sorts of games covering the floor. Wanting to please Baba, I started to try them one by one. But soon I realized that these electronics games were far too sophisticated and complex for me. I felt quite embarrassed when I came back to Baba. I took up my courage and told him I had failed with the games.
Unexpectedly, Baba started to laugh and laugh and laugh very hard. I was completely captivated by his way of laughing. I had never seen that before; his whole body was engaged in this simple act. His head was swaying back and forth, and his orange hat fell to the side. As I watched his belly moving along with the sound, I suddenly noticed that his laughter had started to move up to his chest, then to his throat, and then to his mouth. Finally it came out of his lips in a beautiful golden thread. This fine golden string was shimmering in the air and traveling at a high speed. It was coming straight at me, and before I could know it, it had entered into my navel, and started to make its way upwards.
I woke up abruptly and saw that I was sitting straight up in the middle of my bed. I was laughing heartily with Baba. I spent the rest of the night witnessing the rush of joy that was bubbling up throughout my entire being. Baba had touched the deepest part of my heart and instilled his own divine light in it.
Later on, I became aware that something new was softly arising in my heart. Slowly I came to recognize this newly cherished gift. It was pure love, absolute love, the one I had prayed for. I knew that was so as this love was so strong that it could travel through time and space. I just wanted to abide in that love, Baba's love.
With all my love and gratitude,
a devotee from Quebec, Canada
I received shaktipat at my first Intensive in 1988, I think... The reason I write it this way is shaktipat was very subtle, that is, it wasn't mind-blowing, being propelled into the universe, seeing stars, etc., like it was for my wife. No, for me, it was some tears, a warm feeling inside, and a guess that something important had happened. Not surprising for me—that's what usually happens for me with deep experiences. BUT . . . Since then, my world has expanded exponentially, and continues to do so. My sadhana helps this to be sure, with meditation and chanting almost every day, reading scriptures, seva, and hatha yoga.
I am forever grateful to Gurumayi and Baba Muktananda for showering their love on me. I thank them daily and thank my lucky stars that I found this beautiful path.
a devotee from California, USA
It was September of 1998. I had not yet met the Guru. I had begun exploring the practices of Siddha Yoga just a few weeks earlier, when I received the opportunity to visit Shree Muktananda Ashram. One day, all the long-term sevites assembled for a meeting with Gurumayi. I was on my own and discovered that the Temple was open for meditation. I entered and noticed the Temple monitor and another person in deep meditation. I sat down and did my best to meditate. My mind was running its usual noise and chatter, and I continued to sit. After a while, I felt something. I raised an eyelid slightly to catch a flicker of orange. At first, I thought I’d caught sight of the orange robes of one of the swamis. Then I felt a powerful force. I opened my eyes wide to see Gurumayi walking around Bhagavan Nityananda’s murti. As I watched her reverent movements, I was seized by the most powerful and unmistakable certainty that she was and is everything I’d been told. I had found my true teacher. My heart was filled with love and gratitude. As she continued to circle the murti, I silently beamed out from my heart to her: thank you, thank you, thank you.
From that moment, my life has never been the same.
a devotee from Seattle, USA
This year I registered for the Shaktipat Intensive after a long gap. I had forgotten that the Mahasamadhi Intensive is not just a one-day event; the Intensive begins with the intention. Once I register, I am in the Intensive already.
I am enjoying the preparation part of it. I am getting up early. I am reciting the Guru Gita on most of the mornings. I am paying close attention to strengthening my body, doing some exercise daily so that I am able to sit comfortably on the day of the Intensive. It is like the cleaning process has begun and every day my body and mind are closer to receiving shakti in the Intensive.
Thank you Gurumayi-ji, for offering the Shaktipat Intensive annually. Thanks to all the sevites for arranging the logistics of this event.
a devotee from Ohio, USA
It was 1989 in Ganeshpuri. I had come to find out if Gurumayi was my Guru and if this was my path after having met her at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles during the summer of the same year. I was resistant to signing up for the Shaktipat Intensive because I didn't understand why I would have to pay to receive the awakening. But early that morning, most likely as the last person to register, minutes before the Intensive started, I did finally sign up.
We were chanting the initiation mantra of the Siddha lineage, Om Namah Shivaya. I had my eyes closed. All of a sudden I hear this angel's voice, and as I crack my eyes open, I see that Gurumayi has come in and sat on her chair, joining the chant. As I look at her, our eyes meet, and it seemed to me as if she was nodding to me as if to say: Yes, I am yours.
The moment that happened, tears were running down my cheeks incessantly, and an explosion happened in my head. I felt like I was traveling out into the universe and became a speck of a star or an element. My heart fell in love with every particle of the universe, realizing that I am part of everything and that everything is me and that this love is unconditional and without limit. I felt small and vast at the same time, and had no sense of having a body. It was complete freedom.
When I came out of this expansion (it probably took no longer than a few seconds, but it felt timeless and could have been hours as well) and back into my body and into the awareness of me as a person, I knew with the deepest conviction I had ever felt in my entire life that Gurumayi was indeed my Guru and that I had the great good fortune to walk this majestic path again this lifetime and be touched by the Guru's shaktipat diksha. After this exquisite experience, I never ever doubted this experience or my commitment to the Guru and this path.
This was the gift that I received as a beginner. My sadhana and the practices are the tools to bring me in touch again and again with this divine experience and let it affect my life.
With eternal gratitude and my deepest love and blessings,
a devotee from New York, USA
I had been coming to the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Melbourne for a while with my new husband. To my mind I was supporting him in something he loved. I loved the food, but I simply couldn’t meditate—I couldn’t even keep my eyes closed for more than one minute, and I didn’t understand what it was about chanting that made everyone so happy.
Then one night I was in the car heading somewhere else when I passed the Ashram. I had this sudden overwhelming urge to call in and have some chocolate cake and chai. Well, there didn’t seem to be any cake, but there was a very impressive line snaking out of the meditation hall into the foyer. For some reason I just stood on the end of the line. I didn’t even ask anyone where it was going.
When I stepped through the doors into the hall, I saw Gurumayi sitting on her chair. As I moved closer and closer to her, I noticed my mind becoming more peaceful. Finally, it was my turn to pranam before Gurumayi. I bowed down, and as I came up to sitting, Gurumayi was gazing at me with a deep steady look. Looking into her eyes, I recognised that stillness as something I knew already but had forgotten. I thought, I can live here—in this stillness! I walked away feeling so happy and light.
The next day I sat to meditate, and for twenty minutes my mind was absolutely still. What a blessing! This great blessing has continued to unfold, work its transforming power, and surprise me for thirty years since that day.
a devotee from Melbourne, Australia
I attended an introduction to Siddha Yoga meditation in 1983. After chanting the mantra, we went into meditation. I lost body consciousness—I was a pinpoint of awareness: weightless and without form, smaller than the smallest, and yet containing everything within me, larger than the largest. It was blissful.
Soon after, I attended my first Intensive. It was the first anniversary of Baba’s Mahasamadhi and just several months after Gurumayi had inaugurated the beautiful Siddha Yoga Ashram in Sydney. In the weeks that followed, my heart opened to Baba. I had a small photo of him gently smiling at me posted on my bedhead. When I closed my eyes to meditate, I would see Baba’s face before me, then his face would merge with mine, and I would become Baba sitting in meditation. Profound love welled up from within. When I came out of meditation, the world was shimmering and sparkling with a wondrous beauty.
I’ll always remember the transformation I heard in the sound of the trucks on the local main road. Whereas before they sounded heavily industrial and imposing, I now heard them as comical and playful expressions of the one Self.
a devotee from Sydney, Australia
Dear Baba Muktananda,
Thank you for giving us Gurumayi.
My Beloved Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
You are inside me
You are in my heart
Your name is my mantra.
A devotee from Switzerland
Lifetimes ago (it seems)
Even with my eyes open
I was a sleepwalker
Chasing shadows in a maze
Of my own making
Pursuing every faint chance
Some answers maybe
To wordless unasked questions
Then I saw the Master’s face
And fell in love
And when he touched me
Between my eyebrows
I saw a stream of lava glowing, fiery
It sprung from his finger and flowed
Down my nose, dripping into my heart
As it turned golden, like honey
I saw my heart—a caldera, fiercely burning,
Holding roiling molten lumps of orange, black, red
And just as lava forms new land
That heart’s fire forged new life for me
With that one touch,
He gave me this life of supreme good fortune
This life with a clear destination
Filled with all I need to live the journey
Always immersed in his vast love
I have the good fortune to bow at his feet
a devotee from Hawaii
It was the summer of 1998, the summer that the children were performing the Golden Tales, and the first summer that I had come to Shree Muktananda Ashram since I was a small child. I was 15 years old.
I was sitting towards the front of Muktananda Mandir, the expansive meditation hall near the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple. The hall was a sea of people seated quietly in meditation. Gurumayi was sitting at the front of the hall and had given instructions that guided us into meditation.
The room was pervaded by a sweet but powerful energy that seemed simultaneously to root me securely into the floor and to lighten and expand the rest of my body. With this, I began to feel love and warmth pouring through my entire body, an ocean of contentment.
I looked at Gurumayi. She looked back, and in that moment I felt that she knew me more than I knew myself—that she knew the depth of my soul, a depth of love and completeness that I had forgotten but was now remembering perfectly. I felt like I was meeting my Self again after a very long time.
As I continued to look at Gurumayi, I knew that she and I were the same. This love that I was reunited with, that was my very Self, was also Gurumayi. We were not different. Questions or doubts were irrelevant in this experience. Warm waves of contentment moved throughout my body. I don’t know how long this experience lasted. Time didn’t matter.
a devotee from Massachusetts, USA
In 1990, my husband and I were looking for somewhere to meditate. Coincidentally, that week one of my husband’s patients mentioned about there being a Siddha Yoga meditation centre in Nairobi and simultaneously a friend of mine shared about having a Siddha Guru. We learnt that this centre had an hour of chanting and a regular satsang every week. We decided to attend the hour-long chanting evening just in case—if it was boring, we would survive the hour. Outside the centre there was a shoe rack with a notice “Leave your ego behind with your shoes.” I was impressed with the words and paused for a moment and, literally, made an effort to enter the hall with an open mind.
The chant Govinda Jaya Jaya had just begun. Gurumayi’s large photo was on a chair, and above it was written Om Namah Shivaya. I sat on the floor and curiously looked around. I don‘t remember when I closed my eyes and joined in with the chanting.
Very soon after that every syllable and sound penetrated deep into my being, and for the first time in my life I could feel my heart expanding with love—a power-filled unique type of love—and I began crying. I was crying because I was happy and filled with love. I opened my eyes and looked around as love poured out of me to each one there. Then my gaze rested on Gurumayi’s photo and, with tears streaming down, I asked her, Who are you—you, who have given me this experience? The chant ended, and I remained seated in a stillness that I had never experienced before.
This was the beginning of my journey into the Siddha Yoga path. Since then I have not turned back. I am deeply grateful to Gurumayi for welcoming me into her Heart!
a devotee in Nairobi, Kenya
I received shaktipat diksha in 1984 on Shivaratri, the day I arrived in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the Siddha Yoga Ashram in India. On this day there was an evening program with Gurumayi, and we were chanting Om Namah Shivaya. It was the first time I had been in a program with Gurumayi. I never had heard her voice before, since at that time no audio or videotape was available. But I had seen photographs of Gurumayi before and felt an incredible amount of admiration for her beauty and sublime dignity. And now here she was, in person. I was really excited.
Then the chant began, and Gurumayi’s voice was full of power and love. I had the feeling that the sound of her voice was a palpable force that entered my heart with the softest touch. My heart exploded and overflowed with love. It was more than I could hold, and I was crying and crying. The chant continued, and for me it was a continuous flow of tears mixed with the sound of love, the love from my Guru and the people around me, and my own love. Compared with this kind of love, all the love I had experienced before in my life seemed to be utterly shallow. I had a feeling of coming home. And I knew that I had found what I was looking for all my life, although I did not even know that such a thing existed.
Since this time, my life has never been the same. Now I know that ecstasy is something that even a regular person like me can experience. This experience became a driving force in my sadhana, to one day reach the goal of liberation. I am grateful to Gurumayi, not only for that experience of shaktipat but also for blessing every one of us with her continuous support and guidance.
With love and gratitude,
a devotee from Germany
I had been trying to meditate on my own for a number of years. I would sit for meditation for twenty minutes every morning and evening. My mind would be restless.
I would keep opening my eyes every few minutes to check if the time was up. However, I somehow kept doing this every day for several years.
Then I heard about Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga from a friend, and I attended two programs at Shree Muktananda Ashram, but did not sense any change in my meditation. On my friend’s recommendation, a couple of months later, I took the Intensive titled
I Am That in honor of Baba Muktananda's Mahasamadhi. I had some experiences during the Intensive but was not sure what the effect would be after I went back home.
The day after the Intensive, I sat for meditation at home in the morning. This time, when I opened my eyes to check if the time was up, I saw that it was almost twenty minutes later. My mind was not restless. There were thoughts, but I felt at peace. In the evening meditation, when I opened my eyes, it was almost thirty minutes. Over the course of that week, the time I sat for meditation kept increasing to more than an hour. The restlessness was gone. After years of searching, I had finally come to my Guru.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for shaktipat. And thanks to my friend for introducing me to Siddha Yoga.
a devotee from Chennai, India
I attended my first Shaktipat Intensive in September of 1990. At that time, I knew almost nothing about Siddha Yoga. I went because a friend recommended that I do the Intensive and because I thought the people at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Boston were nice.
It was a one-day, video Intensive. I remember sitting on the floor in some discomfort. Sometime during the day, I felt a strange sensation rush up my spine and then spin around at the top of my head, a bit in the way that a firecracker sparkler spins when lit.
I had no name for this set of sensations and had no idea at the time that this was shaktipat or that what I’d experienced was an awareness of the movement of the Kundalini Shakti.
What I remember is that the next week, my family, my friends, and work colleagues asked me what had happened—I seemed so different, so much lighter and more open. I did not really know what to say. However, I somehow knew intuitively that the very slight pulsation which remained at the top of my head was something special and that I needed to nurture it. Frankly, I was a bit worried that it might go away if I did not pay attention to it during meditation. So I did pay attention. Over these twenty-plus years that faint pulsation has grown to a firm and stable connection to the Divine—something I’d had no experience or awareness of before the Intensive.
This gift of shaktipat to someone who was unaware set me on the path of previously unimagined connection, love, and grace. It was truly a gift, the pearl without price. It is proof to me that this descent of the grace of the Guru, if nurtured, is infinite and unending.
a devotee from Vermont, USA
When I was very young I had a big heart and a very strong relationship with God. I came from a family of skeptics and despite how much I would pray or talk to adults who I thought might understand my yearning, the voice inside me got weaker and weaker until one day I could not hear that voice at all. But worse than that, I felt that my heart was dry and I couldn’t feel love anymore. At thirteen I decided to give up. I told God either he had to speak with me or I would become an atheist.
Eighteen years later, my karate instructor brought me to a satsang at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland, California. The minute I saw Gurumayi walk into the hall I knew God had heard me. Despite my cultivated skepticism I could not deny that Gurumayi seemed to know all the things I had been trying to understand all those years. Over the next few days I attended every satsang with Gurumayi and meditated for hours every day.
By the end of the week, when I took my seat in the Shaktipat Intensive, I was prepared. I had been sitting cross-legged on the floor every day so my back and knees were really sore, but I didn’t care. I sat upright on the floor in the second row of the hall, pillows under my knees, riveted to every word of Gurumayi’s talks. I was already 31 years old and did not want to waste any more time.
We were chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. I could feel Gurumayi’s strong voice reverberating deep inside me with every round. We were singing in a call-and-response fashion; Gurumayi would chant and we would respond. I was contentedly chanting along, eyes closed, when suddenly I saw a stream of red light, coming from Gurumayi’s chair, enter my right nostril and land on my heart. It was very peculiar.
Then, I had an image of a thumb-sized Gurumayi, inside me, perched on my heart in her red robes, chanting. From that point forward, the chant was no longer on the outside, but the call was coming from inside my own being. I saw Gurumayi literally singing from on top of my heart. The entire chant was taking place inside me. This happened for a few rounds, then the vision exploded. Waves and waves of streaming colors—reds, oranges and yellows, like buckets of paint—were pouring everywhere, inside me, outside me. My legs locked into a full lotus position and all the discomfort in my body vanished. As I chanted, tears started streaming down my cheeks. The visions astonished me, but what was more amazing was that, in that same moment my heart exploded with love. Shaktipat had pierced the knot of my heart. The love I had been missing was now stronger than I had ever felt or could ever imagine. I knew I had just experienced the most important moment of my life.
When I drove home that night the world looked different; I noticed things I never looked at before, like wet black pavement. It was dark and raining and the rain in my headlights hit the ground and made that pavement sparkle like crystals. It seemed like the most beautiful sight I had ever known!
a devotee from New York, USA
My longing for God started when I was still a child. I was beginning to understand the world, and a storm of questions appeared in my mind. One of these questions was related with God and the many times I had asked the following question to my parents: “If God exists, why doesn’t he appear to me?” This question marked my childhood, but as time passed and I had not found any satisfactory answer, the question faded from my mind.
Years later, in 1992, when I was 25 years old and an adult—after I had gone through many mundane experiences—my longing for God came back and brought me to Siddha Yoga. I had already been on this wonderful path for some months when I attended Baba’s Mahasamadhi celebration. On this day, a video with Baba answering questions was played. One of the questions was the following: “Baba, if God exists, why doesn’t he appear to us?” In that moment the forgotten question from my childhood came back to my mind. I was impressed and anxious to hear Baba’s answer.
Baba immediately replied that if you can’t see God in anything that exists in this universe, how do you expect him to appear to you?
What a wise and intelligent answer. I had finally gotten the answer I needed. In that moment I was sure that Siddha Yoga is my path and that Baba and Gurumayi are the Masters I should follow!
In that moment, I also had a mystic experience, seeing a small capsule, going out from Baba’s body, entering inside myself through the top of my head, and settling down inside my heart! It was my wonderful shaktipat experience, and it has changed my life!
a devotee from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Thank you to the devotee in Sydney, who shared the essence of his or her shaktipat experience in the simplest and most powerful way. When I read the words "I took away your sense of separation," I felt a profound sense of union and being at ease with myself. And the recognition that for me, too, shaktipat took away my sense of separation. Thank you to Gurumayi for that!
a devotee from Eastbourne, England
When I read this exquisite poem by Allama Prabhu, "Earth Turns Into Gold," I recalled the first time I heard Gurumayi speak about and quote it—in the Siddha Yoga Message for 2000, "Believe in Love." (On the Audio CD of "Believe in Love" it is in Chapter 6). In this portion of her talk on divine love, Gurumayi describes the glory of Shaktipat Initiation and its power to awaken "the very essence of the soul." I have found this talk to be another wonderful way to prepare for the upcoming Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive 2012.
a devotee from Virginia, USA
For 28 years I’ve reflected on my shaktipat experience many times, and I know what it was not. It was not physical or emotional: no waves of love or joy. No sounds or visions that I can recall, no thoughts, and not nothing either.
I looked at Gurumayi’s photo on the website. I looked at her again and again. And finally I heard from inside me: I took away your sense of separation.
a devotee from Sydney, Australia
When I was a small boy, I had a very special dream, which I remember very vividly. In this dream there was a big celebration going on in a beautiful place filled with people. In the courtyard of this place there was a man wearing orange clothes sitting in a chair talking to the guests. I was standing at a distance with my mother watching the scene. Suddenly, as I was watching the man, he started waving at me and calling me over. At first I hesitated, I didn’t know that he was calling me. After he kept insisting, I understood that he really was calling me! So, I approached him timidly.
He stood up from his chair and took my hand. We walked away from the celebration. It was dark, and there were tiny little lamps all along the way. While we walked on the candle-illumined path, the man started talking and singing to me in a language I had never heard before. I remember looking up at him and feeling the warmth of his hand and the sweetness of his voice. I could even smell the fragrance of the oil he was wearing!
After some time we stopped at one of the curves of the path. He took me by my shoulders and then, saying some words I could not understand, he started tapping on my head with one of his hands. The moment he started tapping, I experienced an amazing bliss I had never experienced before. I could feel it in my whole body, and as this happened I started crying. Then we hugged. I kept crying, out of love, and I woke up with tears in my eyes.
At the time I was only about six years old, so when I woke up crying and saying the words “the man in orange, the man in orange” again and again, my mom, who came to see what was going on, thought I’d had a nightmare. But all I kept saying was “No Mami, the man in orange.”
Three years later, when I was nine, my mom was invited by one of her friends to go to a Siddha Yoga introductory program to get to know about her friend’s meditation path and her spiritual Master. My mom was curious about meditation, so she went and took me along.
We loved the introductory program, and I had a warm feeling of coming home. Later in the program, when I saw Baba Muktananda’s photograph, I immediately recognized “the man in orange” from the dream I’d had a few years back. I told my mom: “Look, it’s the man in orange! It’s him!” My mom also remembered my mysterious dream, and we knew that this was a very special path.
We started going to the weekly satsang, and very soon I longed to take my first Intensive to receive shaktipat. Only later did I realize that in my dream I had already received this most precious of gifts.
a devotee from Mexico
In 1976 I was very fortunate to attend my very first Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive with Baba.
As Baba strode down the aisle, he was patting people with his peacock feathers. The energy in the hall was strong and palpable. When Baba came over to where I was sitting, he gently pushed my head back and pressed down with his thumb onto the space between my eyebrows. He held my head for a few seconds like this and then moved on. As soon as he let go, my mind became totally still. I had entered a place of utter stillness and peace. A few minutes later some thoughts started entering my mind. Each thought would enter, stay for a while, and then leave. I experienced that there was a distance between me and my thoughts, just like there is a distance between myself and a television screen. When I watch television, images appear on the screen, but I know that I am different from those images. In the same way I saw my mind as being different from me.
Often, when I get caught up in a train of useless or negative thoughts, I remember my Shaktipat experience and realise that the thoughts are not me but that I am the watcher. In this way I am able to focus on the stillness behind the thoughts.
a devotee from London, UK
My first visit to a Siddha Yoga program was to participate in a Shaktipat Intensive. As we chanted Om Namah Shivaya, I felt my heart melting and tears of relief followed. Hearing that we are pure at our core and that the impressions that obscure our experience of our true nature can fall away with grace and our engagement in the practices resonated to my depth. I felt I had come home to a truth I had known but had forgotten. It was much later that I realized this was my shaktipat diksha.
My husband had dramatic experiences of blue lights and deep meditations, and so I thought that he had received shaktipat and I had not. I know now how true it is that each one of us receives exactly what is right for us. My life has been transformed.
Thirty-five years later I live in the same town, and in outer ways little has changed. Yet, the percentage of time I spend in a contented state has dramatically increased. I see how perfectly this process has unfolded for both me and my husband. My gratitude is boundless for the priceless gift of shaktipat.
a devotee from Michigan, USA
In 1987 I was a hardworking, business-only executive for a stock brokerage firm in San Francisco. Somehow over my last ten years in the corporate world, I had allowed my spiritual life to take a back seat. So, in April of 1987, I decided it was time to look for my spiritual path.
Just a few weeks later, a friend invited me to go with her to hear a meditation teacher in Oakland. Neither of us knew anything about Siddha Yoga, but since I was interested in learning about meditation as a relaxation technique, I agreed to go.
We went to the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland for an evening program with Gurumayi. From the first moment, I felt at home there. I joined right in the chant and picked up the Sanskrit of the Arati right away. After the chant, Gurumayi entered the hall and took her seat. The moment I saw Gurumayi, there was an instant recognition of her power and truth—I felt a deep-rooted connection and awe. She began her talk, “With great respect and love, I welcome you all with all my heart.” Just hearing Gurumayi speak those words was all it took to know, without a doubt, I had found my spiritual Master.
I went up for darshan after the satsang. I bowed and offered dakshina
She touched me with her peacock feathers, looked at me and said, “Where do you come from?”
Looking up at her, I felt a surge of energy, like an electric current, come up from the floor into my feet and out the top of my head. Somehow, I managed to speak. I said I was from Walnut Creek and “It’s nice to meet you.” Then I almost ran outside to get some air. I remember standing outside the entrance to the Ashram, feeling the energy turn into a rush of great joy, bubbling up from my heart—it was like my heart had cracked open, and love and joy were flowing out everywhere. I was very, very happy. I didn’t know what had happened to me, but I did know it was something great.
I returned every night for satsang and learned that what I had received that night from Gurumayi was the greatest gift of all—shaktipat initiation. My life was immediately and completely transformed. I was a different person.
About a week after this auspicious day in May 1987, the managers whom I supervised at work came to me with a beautiful bouquet of roses and said, “Please give these flowers to Gurumayi and thank her for our new boss.”
a devotee from Florida, USA
The sound of Gurumayi’s voice singing Om Namah Shivaya penetrated my ears and swirled through my entire being. My heart leapt up and shouted ecstatically, “This is my Guru! This is my Guru!”
My mind said, “What?!!”
And then my mind melted in bliss and bowed to my heart.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t know it was humanly possible to experience such a transcendent and loving state of being. Twenty-six years later, the experience of shaktipat continues to ripple into every particle of my life.
a devotee from California, USA
I'd like to thank Swamiji from the bottom of my heart for everything he said in his interview about the Shaktipat Intensive. When he was talking about integrating the experience of shaktipat into our daily lives, I recognised the way it has worked out for me. And I can honour that instead of wondering why the Shakti didn't manifest in some other way—like it does for everyone else. When I contemplate my own experience of shaktipat, and the blessings and gifts that the Kundalini Shakti has bestowed upon me, I feel in tune again with the deepest part of my own being.
a devotee from Sydney, Australia
When I was a little girl, I would always pray to God asking for joy and happiness in my heart. I laughed when something outside of me seemed funny, but it wasn't a sense of pure joy. My longing for this joy was strong, and I looked for it in many places.
In my late twenties I got a call from a friend letting me know about a video program called a Shaktipat Intensive with Gurumayi that was being organized near my hometown, Warsaw. I didn't know what to expect, but I had seen a short video of Gurumayi earlier that year, and I felt inspired to join this Intensive.
During the first day of the Intensive, I came out of meditation with a sense of pure joy in my heart. I felt it for the first time in my life, and I could not contain it. It was pouring out of me throughout the rest of the Intensive weekend. I was laughing for no apparent reason; feeling free, very light, and grateful to God. I realized that Gurumayi knew and responded to my deepest prayer since childhood.
Thank you, dear Gurumayi, for all your grace and compassion, with all my heart.
a devotee from Poland
I met Baba in 1979. I had spent five months previously in the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Ganeshpuri in India, and I had enjoyed doing the practices—especially chanting. I experienced a lot of joy and peace in the Siddha Yoga chants. When I greeted Baba for the first time, I felt the same powerful energy I had felt in the chants, but now coming from him. Baba was the very embodiment of this great energy. When I met his eyes, for a split second I felt transported to an expanded awareness in which I knew who I really was. I have never forgotten this life-changing experience.
With love and gratitude,
a devotee from Nottingham, UK
In 1987 I was thirteen years old and living in Southern California. One day in the spring, while visiting a friend’s house, I came across a photo of Gurumayi. Without the skip of one beat, I asked my thirteen-year-old friend, “Who’s that? I want to meet her!”
At my request, a few weeks later my family and I made the eight-hour drive to the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland to attend our first Siddha Yoga satsang. We had no idea of what to expect. I remember knowing that somehow I would meet the special lady that I saw in the photo.
The evening satsang concluded, and during the transition to darshan, I became separated from my family in the hall. Alone, I joined the darshan line without understanding where it was leading. I was thrilled to discover that I arrived in front of Gurumayi. After I had received many sweet brushes of her wand of peacock feathers, Gurumayi invited me to sit beside her while we waited for my family to come up for darshan.
Sitting there, I began to feel an indescribable state of love grow and explode within me. This love was of the most immense caliber. I knew that I was being made God’s and that God was being made mine as I sat there with Gurumayi.
When we left hall that evening, my family was very curious about what I was experiencing. I explained to them that through Gurumayi’s love, God had entered my heart. God no longer lived up in the sky but instead lives inside love.
I received shaktipat that night. Both my family and I knew then that Gurumayi would always be my most and dearest beloved. Twenty-five years later it is still true—and it always will be.
Thank you, Gurumayi.
A devotee from California, USA
When I was about four or five years old, one summer evening in Iran, under the clear sky, my mother and I were watching the stars. At one point I asked her, “Do you think God lives in one of those stars right above?”
She said, “I don’t know.”
From that point on, for the next twenty-four or twenty-five years, I carried that question with me: “Where is God? Where can I find him?”
Then, there it came, the glorious, the auspicious year of 1977. At the time I was living in Florida, and my older brother was visiting me for a month. Most of the time my brother and I ended up having conversations about the Sufi masters of the past, the stories of their lives, their works of poetry. And so, during the time of my brother’s visit, I started passing into a sweet, serene, and deep state on a daily basis. Surges of love would reach my eyes and turn into tears. I was getting filled with the colors of life while breaking away from the branches of emotions and anxieties.
A month and a half passed, and then one day at work a co-worker was holding a book in his hand which turned out to be a book about Baba Muktananda and his tour to Australia in 1975. I asked where I could buy it. He gave me the name of a bookstore, and I purchased the book and brought it home. I read three paragraphs of one of Baba’s talks, and I had to pause and stay with what I had read.
Baba’s words were powerful, penetrating. It was as if Baba had taken the essence of Reality, the meaning of God’s whereabouts, and put it into the capsule of words and phrases, and placed it in the mouth of my mind. I was fortunate enough to be able to swallow it down. Baba’s words, his Shakti, his grace were like liquid, saturating every level, every layer of my existence.
The next day I read the rest of Baba’s talk. At the end of his talk Baba said: “We will chant and meditate now for a few minutes.” So I sat for meditation. As I closed my eyes, an electrifying energy exploded at the base of my spine. My torso began to spin, and I started having deep and rapid breathing. And I lost track of time. Later on I learned that what I received that day was the gift of shaktipat.
Remembrance of Baba’s grace and of having Baba’s darshan brings a sweet and tender longing to my heart. Some time ago, as I was thinking of Baba, these words filled my mind:
I look for you, Baba, in the face of every flower that blossoms
in different colors of light. And when I see that beauty, I know
that I have touched your feet with my heart.
a devotee from Iran living in New York, USA