Jai Sri Parivar. I hope you are doing well and using the Sadhana app to its full potential. The application is wonderful because we no longer have to worry about any physical medium for Sadhana. The relationship with the divine is only internal. Hearing Swami’s voice and doing havan, chanting, or Nitya Karma with him is divine.
I have always been honest with you about my spiritual journey, and today I want to share something deeply personal. I want to share Sri Devi Ma’s impact on my spiritual journey. If you want to know why I am sharing this, read it till the end.
I will close comments for this post because this is my truth. I am not looking for any appreciation or feedback. I have always looked at every one of you as my family, so I felt you should know about this.
My Initial Journey with Sri Devi Om
I met Swami first in 2019 after reading his book in 2018. It was a very humbling experience. I walked into the Ashram feeling like I was a kind, humble, and spiritually rich person. I sat in front of Swami, and he shone such a bright mirror that I was ashamed of my existence. Every single flaw I had, especially lust, was magnified. After returning, I was so embarrassed that I did almost nothing for a few months except bow my head to his picture at my altar.
I then attended Nava Durga Sadhana virtually and prayed that I could walk the spiritual path while balancing my grihastha life. That goal seemed impossible to achieve. Nothing much changed till I read Sri Devi Ma’s post on Nav Durga Sadhana. As I read that post, two things happened.
I felt an intense desire to do Sadhana, and I felt a great desire to reach out to her. It felt like I knew her, and she could help me. I did my Gayatri Sadhana, and you can read about it on OS.me. I commented on her posts but did not reach out myself. I just had a deep desire that she would reach out if my intent was pure. I kept writing and was honest, but it lacked depth. It was the writing of someone desperately searching for something. After I wrote a post about lessons I have learned over a few years, she reached out and asked if I wanted to catch up. It had been a few months, and I had been commenting on all her posts with a desire that one day we would talk. We connected for an hour, and she simply listened to my story. While her posts are clear and confident, she is very gentle, shy, and apologetic. It was hard to believe that this was the same person who inspired me to do Sadhana.
While meeting Swami filled me with fear and intimidation, meeting her filled me with love and hope. Seekers like you know about that moment in time when there is absolutely no confusion in your heart. Everything feels just right like it’s meant to be. That’s what I felt when I talked to her.
She smiled as she listened to me ramble. She was insistent that she speak to my wife and son so that she could get to know my family. I have written a bit of what she discussed with me in this post. She talked about the importance of family for a grihastha as they walked the spiritual path. She spoke of discipline and how she used chanting to progress on the spiritual path. Talking to her gave me clarity and courage to begin and complete a 30-day guru sadhana.
Most importantly, she helped me understand that I could not walk this path alone. My wife and son have to be actively involved. I talked to both of them about my Sadhana, and they supported me fully. That made the whole process so much easier.
My Pre Initiation Experience
Before my initiation, she wrote an emotional post about what initiation takes out of a guru. Many people called her presumptuous and arrogant. Yet a week later, Swami released a couple of videos that said precisely the same thing. A guru goes through immense pain when they take on the karma of devotees. People who get initiated have to be responsible for their actions. Swami went on to say that if you get initiated and are rude to people, it’s like slapping him on his face. Her writings and teachings inspired me tremendously. I considered her my teacher and guru even before I got initiated by Swami because he was too perfect for me. It was very intimidating, but she gently helped me improve every day. I wanted to ensure I did justice to the magnificent gift Swami was giving me. Hence, I wrote a Sankalpa and chanted it within my mind in front of Swami before he initiated me.
My Post Initiation Experience
I was restless when I returned from the Ashram in Nov 2021. I wanted to do more for Swami. I told her if I was a bachelor, I would have sold everything I had and lived the life of a simple bachelor doing Sadhana. She taught me the basic principle of Advaitha Vedanta – Aham Bramhasmi. It does not matter if I am a householder or a brahmachari; what matters is how I lead my life within me. I have written about that too. It helped me be at complete peace with my current situation.
I still struggled with lust, and I did not mention that to her. In fact, it seemed to be more intense after my initiation. I had not said any of this to her. One day, she simply wrote to me about how tendencies manifest across lifetimes and how you can identify the source of a tendency and gain significant control of it with mindfulness. Some words touch your heart; others penetrate your soul. I can say without exaggeration that I rarely feel lust after that day. We live in a world that is built to exaggerate lust. Cinema and TV exaggerate it to hook users, advertisers use it to sell products, and news websites exploit it to increase clicks. Somehow after reading her email, mindfulness automatically became a part of my system. I started seeing the divine mother in every woman. Every time my biology went one way, the Navarana mantra automatically came to me. This also happens when I sleep. If I have a dream that is starting to get racy, something consciously comes to my mind saying, “this is not fit for the child of the divine mother.”
The Ability to Love Everyone
I returned to Ashram after another trip in December 2021. I told her I had not been entirely respectful to a fellow devotee because I felt that person did not respect her. That’s the one time I got a very strict reprimand. She told me every person who comes to the Ashram is Swami’s child, and only he and the divine mother can reprimand someone. No one else has the authority to disrespect someone. I was not even rude to that person. I had simply not acknowledged them. This scolding changed my attitude towards everyone in life. I get a lot of credit for being gentle, kind, and innocent. I have always had these traits, but these were selectively applied. Under her tutelage, I learned to apply these traits universally. The best part is that when it comes to instructions from Swami or her, they need to say it once for it to be set in my heart. Disobeying either of them is not an option.
The Ability to Feel the Divine Every Moment
During one of her calls, Sri Devi Ma talked to me about her experience of chanting every moment of the day. I could not replicate that, but I did whatever I could. Over the next few days, I realized I am constantly aware of Swami’s and Devi’s presence in my heart. I keep telling Sri Devi Ma that I sense her, and she keeps correcting me, saying it’s not her but the divine mother. I keep telling her that I know the difference between The Divine Mother and My Divine mother. The divine mother created this universe and all other universes. She is the one who flows through every strand as Maya and as shakti and as creativity. My divine mother is the person who has realized the divine and helped me become aware of this reality, and guided me to feel a small portion of it in my life.
What do I mean when I say I am aware of the divine every moment. It simply means that the first thought in my head when I wake up is Swami and the divine mother. That presence remains constant throughout the day, and I go to sleep with the same presence. I did not do anything special to merit any of this. I am the same old person, but some grace seems to have come into my life. This does mean that it’s tough to casually lie, say hurtful things, or not be compassionate throughout the day. That’s also why it’s relatively easy to manage lust. I can see something on the television and feel my attention shifting from the divine to the raunchy image on the screen. Then, it’s a matter of chanting the Navarana Mantra and smiling and mentally seeing the divine in the object of lust and watching it slide away. I have waited a few months for this to stabilize because I was afraid speaking about it would take away the magic.
The Ability to See Devi In Woman
One of the most significant challenges throughout history is identifying the role of women in history. Most of history is written by men, so they get significantly more credit for events. When I read Sri Devi Ma’s writings, I kept revisiting my points of view around the Mahabharata or Ramayana. I became aware of the casual misogyny that was practiced when people commented that Sita caused the war or Draupadi was at the root of the Mahabharata. The same goes for Helen of Troy, the daughter of Aphrodite. These stories are about men using women as an excuse to further their ambitions and launch a war. This perspective helped me completely alter my attitude towards women. The more my attitude shifted, the more deeply I felt connected to the divine mother. A lot of my recent stories are centered around the role of the Devi in our lives.
Reflecting deeply on the state of women in our society has been a transformational experience. Women are now demanding equal pay and equal rights. However, no one has even thought about equal rights to women’s liberation. Our classical texts discriminate against them, our society mocks them, and their own families sometimes create many boundaries.
It’s so easy to see the Devi in the temple and on the altar. What happens when the Devi starts manifesting within women who dedicate their lives to finding her? What happens when they become aware of their inner divinity?
The more I think about all this, the more I see the divine in all women around me, and the more strongly I feel the presence of the Devi.
My Understanding of Sri Devi Ma
Swami has repeatedly said that when you truly consider someone your ishta or your guru, you have to do everything to reach the same state. Chapter 19 of his Srimad Bhagwat Gita discourse on Audible is the most recent occurrence. Almost all of us take this casually because internally, we feel it’s impossible for us. What if one of us was crazy enough to actually attempt it. What if someone loved the guru with such intensity and did Sadhana with such devotion that she gradually started resembling them?
How would such a person become? Are we ready to accept such a person?
Many people don’t like Sri Devi Ma because she is very open about her relationship with the divine. She does not place the divine only at the altar. She talks about that openly and freely shares her experiences. To all such people, let me ask you a question? Why did Swami choose to reveal in great detail about his Devi darshan? Why do many of us like the Rainmaker? It’s simply because that’s the starting point for many of us. That’s the hook to catch fish like me. The sharing of divine experiences merely shows the possibility of everything that exists out there. It was so motivational that someone other than Swami could achieve this state. If one more person could do it, then so could I is the feeling that motivates me every day.
The real question is not why she shares her experiences. It’s “why should we believe her when she says it”? We know that Swami’s blogs and books released by him are officially blessed. How do we judge anyone else?
My answer is we don’t. We are no one to judge any devotee. We examine what they say and accept it if it works for us. Else, we reject it and move on. Sri Devi Ma helped me completely transform myself to walk this path. She did it without demanding I follow her. She always dedicates everything to Swami. Every time I thank her, she smiles and credits everything to Swami or the divine mother.
Do you know that today, I can die with a smile on my face because I feel completely fulfilled? That’s my truth, and she helped me get there. What else can I call her but Sri Devi Ma?
I have not written this to defend Sri Devi Ma or make you believe anything different. I shared my truth because empathy and compassion are the most significant virtues when we walk this path. We create roadblocks for our progress when we judge someone’s journey and decide about it without knowing them. My mother and my Swami have trained me to be compassionate to every single member of our Parivar, and it would be a disservice not to tell you my truth.
Thank you, dear Parivar, for all the love you send my way. We are the proud family that walks the path of Sanatana Dharma. This path has space for all viewpoints and all kinds of expression of divine love.