By Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast, SVA Board Member
Mythological source of unending nourishment, a cornucopia spills forth plentiful fruits and vegetables. It’s a popular harvest image for Thanksgiving, in October in Canada and upcoming in the US this week. Gratitude is in the air! What I’m most grateful for is the gift of Shaktipat from Sadguru Swami Nirmalananda.
Engaging in the practices of Svaroopa® yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya meditation, I’ve received Shaktipat informally as well as formally from Swamiji in multiple retreats. I recognize, I had no inkling of what I was receiving at first. Yet, gradually and inexorably, Shaktipat from Swamiji gave me tangible experiences of knowing my own Self. It’s the gift that keeps giving, even before you know what it is.
It seems like a lifetime ago, a work colleague would talk about Self-Realization. She’d studied Eastern Religions in college and was pondering the concept of the Self. Even though I was a yoga student, I’d never heard of Self-Realization. Another decade passed and I was still taking yoga classes. One day, I was struggling into a picture-perfect twist. My teacher came to assist me, saying, “Efforting like that won’t get you closer to God.” “Huh? What does she mean?” I was mystified.
Only when I accidentally happened into a Svaroopa® yoga class did I start to experience yoga’s true, divine purpose. After two yogimmersions with Swami Nirmalananda (then Rama), I turned the corner. I entered Svaroopa® teacher training. I began to experience the Light of God arising from within. It felt wonderful and expansive and filled me with joy.
And it also illuminated non-joyous patterns of limitation. Sticking with the practices of the Svaroopa® Sciences began to burn away that stuff, layer by layer. More and more, in ordinary life, I experience being in Self, the One Divine Reality. I can feel it being me, being you, being all. That is, of course, until my mind relapses into another layer of ineffective thought and reactivity. Then I am so grateful for our practices: enlivened mantra, meditation, asana-dissolving spinal tension. They reliably clear away the muck. And Swamiji’s teachings make sense of the process, the path and its divine purpose.
I am eternally grateful. In this season of gratitude and giving, I’m compelled to give back to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. The Ashram’s fall fundraiser theme is The Gift that Keeps Giving. I want to pay this eternally-giving-gift forward.
We are half-way through our fall campaign, and close to our half-way fundraising goal. I hope you will join me in reaching our goal by making a donation to the organization that supports your spiritual growth.
And, if you donate on the Ashram Facebook page on Tuesday, Dec. 3, Facebook will even match your donation! It’s Giving Tuesday, an international day of giving. You can also donate on the SVA webpage, or give us a call at 610-644-7555. Your donation supports the Ashram and the work of Swami Nirmalananda. It helps ensure access to Shaktipat as a cornucopia of spiritual gifts for yourself and for others. This year we are asking our community to share not only their financial resources, but their experience of Svaroopa® yoga and/or Svaroopa® Vidya meditation — and Shaktipat. You can contribute to the conversation by emailing your Svaroopa story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or post it on the Ashram Facebook page or Swamiji’s Facebook page.