Sun, March 31, 2019 10:58 Pm
As I sit reading Secret of The Siddhas by Swami Muktananda for only the second time in 39 years, I witness with interest the shift in my consciousness on the points Muktananda cites. Looking back, it is clear that when I first read, for example, Baba’s (our affectionate name for Muktananda) commentaries on the Shiva Sutras, it was then with pure intrigue and youthful, academic and spiritual aspirant interest. Now, I marvel as it has become a testament to all that I received and how much I’ve grown from having received Shaktipat Diksha from Baba 40 years ago.
I was driving home earlier this evening and I suddenly recalled the day when one of Baba’s secretaries had approached me in the ashram to relay, that, “Baba said you can take the intensive.” The intensive was the main weekend retreat program in which Baba administered the ancient Shaktipat Diksha initiation into the yoga of the Siddhas. It was the foundation of his entire mission, and was what he was instructed to bring to the west by his own guru, Bhagavan Nityananda.
I don’t know why I spontaneously remembered that day and moment, but my heart bloomed with fond emotion. You see, at that particular time, I saved every penny I had in order to just spend one month with Muktananda in his ashram in New York. At the close of my semester at art school that Spring, I set up a table and sold many of my most prized possessions to help finance the rent, and maybe have a few extra dollars. I recall that after paying the rent, I had earned an extra fifty dollars to last me the entire month.
The cost to attend an intensive then was something like $300.00. But it may have well as been $3000 for me, an 18 year old art student just getting my feet wet. I remember that day so well because I was so shocked and grateful that this great, world-renown guru of gurus had somehow known my name and my circumstance enough to invite me to a program I couldn’t otherwise afford. The intensive was scheduled on the weekend of my 19th birthday, so this was a double amazing surprise. Because even then I understood Diksha as the transmission of the Holy Spirit – the same technique administered by Jesus to his apostles on Holy Thursday – and in the Catholic canon in which I was raised, this was considered the baptism into spirit. Because I saw this as a rebirthday (and I was right – it was) I approached Baba to ask for a Sanskrit name – a common, optional custom done by his students. It was then that Baba gave me the name Atri.
But today, while driving, while all those pleasant thoughts ran through my mind, from the deeper perspective wherein I find my perception manifesting, I saw simply that the timing was right. I was born when I was born at the right time, I was with Muktananda at the right time as part of my soul’s agreement prior to being incarnated as Tom, and the time had arrived for me to receive Shaktipat Diksha from Baba. It transcended money and financing it – it was planned in the script of my soul’s journey.
It’s interesting. I’m not sure what prompted me to have that awareness or that thought in that particular instance. But this evening, as I recall that moment to write, what is more overwhelmingly emotional for me is to recognize that the promise inherent in the transference of Shaktipat Diksha I can see is gradually unfolding within me. Everything Baba promised is happening. I don’t know how else to share this. Aspirants who celebrate the silent, private joyous revelations while traversing the spiritual path will understand what I mean. It’s like learning that you’ve passed the bar exam, or finding out that the lottery ticket you lost in a drawer six months before was the big winner. When you spend years of your life slowly chipping away at a regular or even semi-regular yoga practice, there is so much exhilaration when you recognize the fruits of your effort. It’s just simply so sweet.
There is a fine mesh that separates identification with the Self and that of the limited jiva awareness. Yoga practice is the repetitive untying of the small knots and snags in that mesh that temporarily keep us from full establishment in the Self. Shaktipat is like a darning needle or a kerner that aids with the removal and undoing of those knots. Though an enlightened master provides the tool, its we who need to do the unraveling. But after a length of time, we recognize that our net is almost completely untangled, and establishment in the Self – union with pure being – is very close. Closer than ever. So close, it’s visible. It can be sensed.
But to get to this point, it took a gift that was given to me 40 years ago on my 19th Birthday to provide the key to the ignition of this vehicle that has reliably escorted me on this path for so long. I’m just so, so grateful. To my Baba, I say: Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jaya!!