By Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain
Gurudevi Nirmalananda’s other-worldly radiance is what drew me to her. It emanated from her grounded and everyday countenance. She was so relatable. She had experienced the ups and down of raising a family as a single mom. She knew life’s uncertainties like the rest of us. Yet she changed the course of her life’s direction mid-stream, and never looked back.
By her Guru’s Grace, she discovered how to live in the complete freedom of her inner Self. What makes Gurudevi special is that she didn’t hoard the keys to the inner kingdom. Becoming enlightened, she could have chosen not to teach others. Instead, she stays present to her students, and moves us through our process. She models selfless service, by walking the walk, and talking the talk. She is Grace personified, revealing this life, and ourselves, as divine. And she empowers us to embody our Inner Greatness.
Gurudevi is a karma yogi. Selfless service permeates the Svaroopa® yoga teacher training (YTT) and the Ashram she built. She does all this to serve her Guru, Baba Muktananda. He taught her that “Only one who obeys can command.” She exemplifies this humility every day. Gurudevi says, “My heart is ever resting at my Guru’s feet, while my mind does his work by serving you.”
In her Ashram days with him, she did her daily sevas by thinking of herself as Baba’s hands and feet. She took care of people for his sake. She describes, “He moved me light years on my spiritual path.” Similarly, when I do my sevas, I feel Gurudevi working through me. Yet I am not helping her. She gives us sevites each task to help us grow and expand. She says, “Seva is about your inner fullness.”
Gurudevi is a Shaktipat Guru. She transmits her spiritual energy into the individual. This opens you to the deepest dimension of your Beingness. This is the revelatory action of Grace, the whole purpose of her teaching. With this opening, we can live from that place of knowing all the time.
Sometimes her Grace feels like a cooling gel. Sometimes, like a fire I wish I could flee! But the truth is, she is always there for us students of her teachings and practices. This “showing up” makes me feel I know her intimately, even unto lifetimes.
Gurudevi is a tantric teacher; she enjoys life robustly. She gives the ancient teachings in her own words and enlivens them with personal stories. For this world is divine, even when we don’t perceive it as such. Therefore, she gives us a boost: repeat mantra. She calls it “the easy path, from the inside outward.”
Gurudevi wants you to worship your own inner Self, not her. She always sees us as pure Consciousness, even when we can’t see ourselves that way. With infinite patience and compassion, she applies Grace to our limitations. She’ll ask, “Have you been listening to what I’ve been saying?” Then she explains the ancient teachings again, and then again. Her willingness and capacity to support us on our path toward enlightenment are infinite.
Most importantly, Gurudevi empowers all of us to experience our own greatness. I received my mantra and Shaktipat from her. So I’m on “the easy path,” even when I make it hard. And when I’m stuck, Guru’s Grace swoops in with a reminder: “The key is in your pocket when you’re locked out — take it out and use it. Do more mantra!”