By Carolyn (Karuna) Beaver
Guru is a word in popular use. We hear about marketing gurus, stock market gurus and political gurus. The basic definition of guru is teacher. But it doesn’t begin to describe the magnitude of Satguru Swami Nirmalananda, whom we call Gurudevi.
My honored teacher, she is a spiritual role model for me. I study with her in person and through her massive online library of written materials and audio recordings. Whether she is teaching in person or online, her wit and wisdom shine through. She makes the ancient teachings of yoga and meditation accessible and easy to understand. Her teachings on how to meditate and how to access the deeper dimensions of my Self are so clear.
Her state is clearly elevated. But does she refrain from “lowly” activities? Does doing them tarnish her spiritual state? No. Gurus are human beings. They eat, talk, walk, laugh, drive. And, no, none of the activities of a “normal” life diminish the Guru’s spiritual greatness.
It’s clear that Gurudevi is a human being as well as an enlightened being. She’s funny — really funny! She loves to laugh and to eat popcorn in the afternoon. She sings in the kitchen when making breakfast for other Ashram residents. She is as grounded as she is elevated. She is totally present in her body and her mind — her individualized form. She also is totally present as embodied Consciousness — the formless One Reality. She’s the whole enlightened package!
When she walks into a room, it goes quiet. I bow my head and bring my hands to my heart in reverence. I know who and what she is. She is the Self, the One Self being all. Her state is tangible. It’s palpable. You can feel the energy she emits.
As the Bhagavad Gita describes, my Guru has merged with Consciousness. A true Guru knows that he or she IS Consciousness-Itself. Gurudevi is well aware that she IS the capital-S Self — all the time, without forgetting, without interruption. She knows for a fact, from within, that she is the Self. She radiates this knowing, seeing it as well in everyone and everything all the time.
Gurudevi says, “The Guru is a mystery, a Divine mystery right in front of your face. Whether you thought you were looking for a Guru or not, you are already receiving blessings from one.” The Svaroopa® yoga and meditation practices are divinely Guru driven. It’s Gurudevi who sparks the flame that causes the light of Consciousness to arise within you. Even if you’ve never met her, Gurudevi conveys her blessings to you. The means is the teachings she gives in her written and audio materials. The power of the Guru is such that space and time are not obstacles. This is the mystery of the Guru, the Divine mystery right in front of your face! Gurudevi is a spiritual teacher of the highest order. Whether giving a meditation talk or cooking an Ashram breakfast, she is embodied Consciousness. She knows without question, all the time, that she is the One Divine Reality. This same Divine Reality is being you and me. We just don’t know this fact all the time. She does. The Guru is both the path AND the destination! For this reason, and for countless others, she is more than my spiritual role model. She is my honored Guru.