Baba Transformed the Spiritual Landscape
A Talk by Swami Ishwarananda

Baba Muktananda's Lunar Birthday - A Talk by Swami Ishwarananda

Today we are celebrating Baba Muktananda’s birthday. One-hundred and eight! We are celebrating the life of a being who transformed the spiritual landscape of this world.

Baba taught that God is not far away or separate from us. He taught that God dwells within everyone’s heart as their very own Self. As their innermost Consciousness.

This was revolutionary news! And Baba not only taught this Truth, he made it true for you. He awakened seekers to the direct experience of God within through the sacred initiation of shaktipat diksha, the awakening of Kundalini Shakti.

As Baba traveled on his three World Tours, word spread around the world that there was an extraordinary saint who could give you the experience of the highest Truth. As a result, seekers from every continent came to be with Baba and receive his grace. And Baba welcomed them all. He bestowed shaktipat on thousands and created the Shaktipat Intensive, which continues to this day so that anyone who has a longing to know the Truth can receive spiritual awakening: shaktipat diksha.

How extraordinary is this?

Today, Gurumayi gives shaktipat through the Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive. It is truly a blessing that people can receive this most sacred initiation in their own countries, in their own communities. There is a time, a date, and a location where you can receive shaktipat!

It was Baba Muktananda who first made this sacred initiation available in the modern age. He broke new ground. Before Baba, shaktipat initiation was guarded as secret knowledge reserved for a small number of yogis who had prepared themselves for years. Baba made shaktipat available to the whole world. He transformed the spiritual landscape.

I served as a hall monitor during dozens and dozens of Intensives in which Baba gave shaktipat diksha. I could feel Baba’s divine grace and love pouring into each person in the hall. And then I would hear, from participants, the myriad ways that the awakened Kundalini Shakti had manifested: as deep, thought-free meditation; as an upsurge of love; as inner visions and realizations; as the eruption of AUM, the primordial sound, within… and sometimes without; as tears of devotion.

The amazing thing about Baba is that you didn’t have to be in his presence to receive shaktipat from him. Just the thought of Baba, or having darshan of his picture, reading one of his books, or offering a prayer halfway around the world, could draw his grace. It happened again, and again, and again.

Baba would often quote the Shiva Sutras to explain the nature of a true Guru: Gururva parameshwari anugrahika shaktihi. The Guru is the grace bestowing power of God.1

When I reflect on Baba and on the transformative impact he had on my life—and on the lives of so many others—I often recall this sutra.

The Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God.

As such, all things associated with Baba Muktananda—his name, his image, his teachings, even the remembrance of him—were and are imbued with divine grace.

Over the last twelve years of his life, as Baba traveled on his World Tours, he bestowed shaktipat on thousands and gave lectures each night. He taught from his vast knowledge of yogic scriptures to help each of us understand the significance of spiritual awakening and the steps we need to take to attain the ultimate goal: constant awareness of our union with God and the experience of highest bliss.

In the midst of constant travel and welcoming people, did you know that Baba made time to write fifty books covering every aspect of the spiritual path? He laid out the timeless Siddha Yoga teachings and practices for generations to come.

In his spiritual autobiography Play of Consciousness, Baba generously shared experiences from his own sadhana—experiences of how the Kundalini Shakti unfolded within him. Never had such a book been written before! Baba shared his experience of receiving shaktipat from his beloved Sadguru, Bhagavan Nityananda. He shared and made known the most esoteric knowledge of the mystical path of the Siddhas. People may have heard the word enlightenment, but Baba described his actual experience of enlightenment. What it is. And how he achieved it.

Baba was a great visionary. He gave the wisdom that he knew the world needed. He saw that the world was getting smaller through modern travel and technology. East would meet west, and north would meet south. People from different cultures would need to meet, and work, and live with each other in harmony. Therefore Baba knew it was essential that all people come to love and respect one another. They needed to come to an understanding that transcended all cultures, an understanding based on a higher Truth—that God dwells in the hearts of all. This is what Baba taught. This is what Baba lived.

Day and night Baba gave himself to conveying the knowledge of the Truth. He bestowed shaktipat diksha and taught meditation to thousands. He created a meditation revolution, a revolution to bring about inner peace. Baba transformed the spiritual landscape of this world.

Today, the divine work of the Siddha Yoga path is reaching seekers on an unprecedented scale and transforming their lives. For thirty-four years now, Gurumayi has bestowed grace and imparted the Siddha Yoga teachings to those searching for a deeper knowledge of their own selves. Gurumayi imparts her teachings in a way that is perfectly suited for the modern world, and that perfectly addresses where people find themselves at any given moment in their lives.

We are all beneficiaries of Baba’s and Gurumayi’s compassionate vision for this world.

We are truly blessed!

  1 Jaideva Singh, Shiva Sutras: The Yoga of Supreme Identity (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited) p. 103.
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About Swami Ishwarananda

bio photo Copyright SYDA Foundation

Swami Ishwarananda has been following the Siddha Yoga path for more than forty years. In 1980, he took monastic vows to become a Siddha Yoga Swami. Swami ji serves Gurumayi as a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, and he has traveled throughout the world to teach in satsangs, courses, Sadhana Retreats, and Shaktipat Intensives.

Swami ji teaches with great clarity and wit, encouraging students to discover for themselves the essence of the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices. He especially loves to teach students how to meditate.