By Aanandi Ross
How can you discern whether a guru is a True Guru? Sadguru Swami Nirmalananda suggests you ask yourself whether or not you have changed. My answer is yes: Sadguru Swami Nirmalananda is a True Guru. Swamiji has helped me to change myself. She has helped me to experience my own Self, which continues to change my life.
Life is a kaleidoscope of choices. We have infinite opportunities to explore, objects to distract us, books to read, paths to follow, pleasures to pursue, and people to become involved with. What will the choice be? No one can do it all, even while the mind might like to.
These days, an even greater pleasure for me is to simplify. I head toward that one tiny speck of brilliant, radiant light within. It’s waiting to be chosen amongst all the tantalizing external options. I focus on this aspect of myself using various yoga practices learned from Swamiji. They magnify that tiny speck of inner light. It reveals itSelf to me more and more as my own Self, the One Self Being All.
I notice the effects this process has had on my life. Sometimes I’ve had a hard time making order in life. I’ve questioned, “What is the purpose here? What is it that I want to make order around?” For so many years, I had no answer. I was looking for something, while not knowing what. Wanting to know, but completely lost.
For eleven years now, I’ve been receiving the great blessing of yoga’s ancient teachings from Swami Nirmalananda. I now have the answer to my lifelong question. There was no order in my life before being on the Self‑Realization path. I now know that is what I want to create order around.
For those times that I feel uncertain or anxious, I do Quick Fix #7. Swamiji’s July 2019 Teachings Article: Think of a Great Being describes it:
Vita-raaga-vi.saya.m vaa cittam — Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.37
Or [when your mind is distracted from Consciousness], fix your mind on a Great Being, one free from desire.
As she is my Guru, I think of Swamiji. I breathe into the thought of her. My breath gradually becomes slower, steadier. I linger in the pauses. I feel more space in my life. I remember the light of my own being is who I am. And the memory of her words of wisdom arise within me:
Do what needs to be done.
Experience your experience while you’re experiencing it.
Pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
Find the effortlessness in your efforting.
Lean back in your body and soften into your life.
Do more yoga.
My mind becomes peaceful.
Regarding her own Guru, Swami Muktananda, Swamiji says, “It was obvious that Muktananda knew more and offered more than anyone else. I devoted my life to studying with him.” She has made her whole life about his teachings on Self‑Realization. She is a living example, loud and clear, subtle and sublime, of her Baba’s teachings. Having attained the promise, she devotes all her actions towards sharing these truths, with compassion and precision, with humor or with fire. She meets you where you’re at. She has looked all the way into herself. She thus is able to help me do the same.
Where else have I found this? I haven’t found such a teacher, a True Guru, anywhere else. As needed, I follow her guidance. I “think of one who has attained the heights of spiritual development.” Having experienced her teachings, I know, for me, that “one” is Sadguru Swami Nirmalananda herself. I think of that Great Being. This Quick Fix #7 is sweet and deep. My heart is filled.