Collected by the SVA Communications Team
“How can I begin to express my gratitude for His gift. He gave me to me.” — Swami Nirmalananda
MahaShaktipat is the ultimate gift, the initiation into Knowingness and Beingness. Swamiji celebrates May 31st as her birth into her Self, more important than the day on which she was born into this world. Thus, May 31st is a Holy Day for us. It was the day our Guru received what she now gives to those of us who would like to receive the ultimate.
Maitreyi Margie Wilsman
I received my first intentional Shaktipat at a Retreat in Boston. Yogeshwari sponsored it at a retreat center. I went to support her (strange reason) since she had come to teach here in Wisconsin so many times. I arrived a day early and, with others, helped her set up. I helped with making photo copies of Sri Guru Gita for each of us to use. It was quite an effort, but we did it on time in a little town nearby. We were so excited.
Whatever started there opened my heart more fully to Swamiji as my Guru. Since then, I have never doubted her nor what she asks me to do. During the weekend, my heart felt like it was bursting open inside my chest — again and again. I did not fully understand Kundalini. I was not ready for all she was doing inside and outside for me. But now her work continues.
My gratitude is unlimited and just grows and grows. How can that be possible? Swamiji is the best role model in sharing her continual gratitude towards Baba, her Guru and my Grandpa Guru. As her May 31st Shaktipat birthday approaches. my love goes out to her, to Baba, and to Nityananda too — and on to the entire lineage. We do all reside as One in my heart. We are all together in the flow of Guru’s Grace that is unending.
My first Shaktipat was March 5 2016, at Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. The month before, I briefly met Swamiji for the first time before at Foundations. At Foundations, the stirrings of Divine energy, which I had felt in the past, were given the name of Kundalini.
I went into the program not knowing what to expect, but I had a deep knowing that this she was my Guru and this was my path. The first day, I experienced the halahala poison of doubt and anxiety. The second day, my Guruji burned away my doubts and gave me direct experience and access to my Self within. I experienced heart opening kriyas that gave me the capacity to accept my Guruji’s love. By the end of the retreat, I was full to the brim! Swamiji gave me everything, and I lay my head at her feet in gratitude and loving service.
My first intentional Shaktipat occurred at a retreat in Massachusetts in 2012. The following February, I was off to India with Swamiji, spending time in Ganeshpuri and then on to the Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, the largest gathering on earth. I had no intention of going to India when I set off to see what Shaktipat was all about. I could list hundreds of reasons for not being the “go to India” kind of person. Through the gift of Shaktipat, however, I found another layer of my being, one less defined by my fears and limitations. I went to India as Ellan and came home as Shanti. The changes in me caused ripples through my family as well. So far I have not felt the need to go back to India, but I have gone to many Shaktipat retreats. I intend to attend more, because each time another layer of my own Divinity is revealed to me.
Nityaa Robin Blankenship
My first Shaktipat was on June 20 2013 in North Andover MA. Swamiji told us there were different intensities of Shaktipat, which reminded me of the different intensities of espresso. On the first day, it felt to me like a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. When Swami touched me, I felt energy rise up and go through my upper back and neck where it had previously been blocked. I felt Kundalini go all the all the way up into my head, then down into my hands.
My hands stretched straight in front of me and my fingers extended and froze for a moment. My mind said, “Should I be scared that my hands will stay paralyzed?” I decided not to be scared. I felt so safe.
I felt like a lever on a faucet had been opened in my lower spine. Something changed in that place forever after that. I kept that feeling of awareness in my lower spine for a long time.
My first intentional Shaktipat experience was not the explosive “aha” moment my mind was hoping for. Instead, I was given “more” — an ongoing, inextinguishable yearning for Self, Grace, God and Guru. Guru’s Grace and my daily practices continue to unwrap Swamiji’s gift of awakened Consciousness. This initiation was the gift of my life. I am forever filled with amazement and gratitude to Swamiji.
My first Shaktipat experience happened in (probably) April 2000. Swami Nirmalananda (then Rama) gave a heart opening weekend in a studio where I taught another yoga style. There were towers of plaid blankets that she had shipped from San Diego to Concord MA.
In Supported Fish, a bonfire raged in my low back. I was given a folded blanket to support my hips. Less fire, more confusion. “I’m a yoga teacher. Why am I the only one in this room of 20 students who needs extra propping?” Of course, the physical reason was a super-tight spine. But looking back, I see that fire as Kundalini, fueled by Swamiji’s Presence. I am thankful to say that conflagration began clearing the way. It led me onto the Svaroopa® Vidya path. It continues to burn through “stuff” on my way to Self.
I was at my first retreat with Swami (Rama back then). After the second night of our program, she told us that we might get the call to meditate at 3 am. While I was excited about the possibility, I was also doubtful. I had been trying to be a morning person for over a decade and was failing miserably. But, sure enough, at 3 am, I woke up, and the call to meditate was very tangible. I sat to meditate.
After a few minutes of japa repetition, in the distance I could hear what I called “white noise.” As it grew louder, I realized it was Om — or what we approximate when we say “Om.” As I sat, I experienced Om vibrating. It drew closer and closer permeating all objects animate and inanimate. I could tell that it was going to permeate me as well, but I could not let it. I opened up eyes in wonder of the experience I just had. It felt like only a few minutes had passed, but when I looked at the clock it had been over an hour.
I went to my first Shaktipat knowing very little about Kundalini and even less about Shaktipat diksha. I simply trusted that I wanted the “more.” It was quite an awakening! I remember having Guruji touch my forehead for the first time. In that instant it felt as though she was reaching down through my head and spine right to my tailbone. I also remember seeing the image of doors, from which I looked out at the world, being blown open; as from a sudden gust of wind that scared some birds from the nearby trees. My view was forever changed.