By Matrikaa (Marlene) Gast
Japa Club comes to a close on June 21, International Day of Yoga. When I heard the news, I felt scared and sad. What will I do without Zooming into Gurudevi’s voice repeating mantra, and matching mine to it?
This great gift has been given to us for more than a year. Plagued by pandemic panic, many of us have relied on Japa Club as a desperately needed link to Gurudevi. Japa with Gurudevi has been a steady place of sacred shelter. And Japa Club has been a tangible conduit of Gurudevi’s blessings to the world.
I realize that I’d hoped Japa Club would go on forever. Yet, besides feeling loss, I’m settling into inner “is-ness.” How appropriate that we emerge from our yoga caves now that it’s safe.
Gurudevi Nirmalananda says, “It’s been a great honor and privilege to serve so many for so long.” She initiated Japa Club within a couple of weeks of pandemic lockdown. Since then, Gurudevi has led the traditional 108 repetitions of mantra in Zoom sessions twice daily. Her Japa Club sessions have served the world at large and each of us individually.
In creating the Japa Club, Gurudevi’s goal was supporting us in getting over our pandemic panic. She says, “Through Japa Club, I accomplished that goal —and more. More people are abiding in the Self.” Regular participants in Japa Club describe powerful experiences:
“The Japa Club made a huge difference for me. Gurudevi has said that the function of the Guru is to pierce through the veil of fear to the Self. It is working of course!!” — Robin B.
“During the Japa Club call, mantra reached down into the depths of my being and my form. The mantra revealed itself, and I knew it to be the worship done by every human in every fire ceremony, yoga practice, synagogue, mosque, church and so on that has ever been. I saw the priests and holy humans bowing to God. A profound moment of Self. Eternally grateful to the One who is giving so much.” — Lori K.
It has been a difficult year in so many ways. Of course, we’ve been needy. Recognizing our plight, Guru gave us Japa Club as a lifeline. In truth, she is always here for us seekers, closer than the breath. All we need do is turn our attention to her. Plus, no longer locked down in our homes, we are free to travel. We can sit at our Guru’s feet in person. We can bask in her light, bathe in Guru’s Grace, and imbibe her teachings.
Now we can let go of the Japa Club lifeline. Being infused with Guru’s Grace, we go forward with the self-effort of Disciple’s Grace. We can diligently apply Gurudevi’s guidance to Do More Japa on our own in our own homes. With mantra repetition 24/7, you are no longer using Gurudevi as a crutch. Prevent understandable neediness from morphing into greediness!
Effective tools are available for practical support. Set your smart phone timer for multiple japa pauses daily. You get a structured rest and reset by sitting to repeat mantra out loud. Be sure to follow it with silent repetition inside for a minute or so.
And rely on Gurudevi’s Meditation: Deep & Easy CD. In the 2nd track she leads you in 108 repetitions of mantra. Set that track to repeat for as long as you want. Notice how your state deepens with the longer, frequent japa sessions structured for yourself.
As verse 9 of the Guru Gita says, Guru and Self are not distinct. Being Self-Realized, Gurudevi is always there for us. She is, by definition, within. By repeating mantra 24/7 we come to know this truth, without a doubt. The past is done. The future is your choice. You can walk on your own, run — and even fly.
Gurudevi says, “Five minutes of japa twice a day will make you feel better, but it won’t get you enlightened.” So heed her guidance: Do More Japa.