What is the purpose of my life? That’s a typical confusion of every seeker, and I was no exception to it. Hoping to solve the puzzle, I started reflecting on one verse from The Bhagavad Gita each morning, even as a teenager.

Step 1: Cognizance

Gradually, Indian philosophy engulfed me. It became my favorite pastime to accumulate knowledge about the scriptures. When situations spiraled downwards, at the right moment in my life, Nature brought in a catalyst of change in the form of Om Swami.

Swami’s Divine presence and wisdom profoundly influenced me. Subsequently, he became my benchmark in many ways.

Hungry to learn more, I sincerely watched his videos. I also read all his books, almost by-hearted his blogs, and never missed an opportunity to observe him like a hawk! Further, I stalked him around to every retreat he conducted, ranging from Mahamudra Meditation to Zen.

Thanks to my beloved Swami, I became well-informed on diverse subjects. Besides that, I continued learning about self-help and Sanatana Dharma’s scriptures from other sources. Yet, all that intellectual knowledge made me restless and left me wanting more.

Step 2: Selfless Service

Even so, there’s always a ray of hope in every situation. For me, that was my natural inclination towards acts of kindness. Capitalizing on that, Nature routinely put me in circumstances that required selfless sacrifices.

This service attitude made me push myself, sometimes way too much, to carry out all my responsibilities to the best of my ability. It resulted in a life of agony, but it strengthened me as a person.

Consequently, I spent hours in Seva (social service) on top of all the mundane work. My philanthropic tendency even motivated me to convert every plausible errand into random acts of kindness. Also, to create productive time, I put an end to socializing.

As I settled in with my service activities and experienced a fleeting sense of purpose, Nature made other plans! My deteriorating health, creative differences with the volunteers, and Swami’s change in priorities with Black Lotus put an end to my Seva. Sadly, my life went back to feeling purposeless.

Step 3: Persistence

Since I didn’t have any service-oriented work, I managed to take slightly better care of myself. At this point, the name Aveksha (means care, observation & attention to) appeared out of thin air and landed in my dream. Along with that, a divine vision of Devi’s form that was glowing brighter than the sun appeared as an inner vision, rekindling my spiritual journey.

Still, the growing frustration of a fruitless life made it impossible for me to focus on anything. Disheartened, I decided to indulge in worldly pleasures. 

Thanks to my sweetheart husband, Sridhar’s encouragement, and my amazing son Rishi’s cooperation, I embarked on a journey to spend forty days at Sri Badrika Ashram.

En route, I had an unshakable faith that Swami would help me figure out a path. Disappointingly, Swami wasn’t in the Ashram for practically my entire trip. This unforeseen occurrence, or maybe I should say Divine ordinance, forced me to spend time with Sri Hari, the Ashram Temple’s charming deity.

Step 4: Bhakti

A subtle change transpired in me. Unlike never before, I started craving for time with the idol that appeared like Lord Krishna to my eyes. Most of my time was spent singing hymns in the temple or conversing quietly with the Divine. I chanted my favorite mantra whenever I felt agitated or frightened, which was often.

Like I had naturally done during my childhood, I resumed crying out and even fighting with the Divine about my never-ending troubles. I also started getting similar spiritual sensations that I had felt during my teenage. Wondrously, I began receiving responses from Sri Hari in unexpected ways.

For instance, a few temporary construction workers at the Ashram repeatedly eve-teased me. Being a relative newbie at the Ashram, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about this to anyone and endured it silently. Finally, I reprimanded Sri Hari, “Such unruly behavior by these people, in your Ashram? You are watching and doing nothing?”

To my astonishment, those men instantly stopped troubling me! When I looked at them out of curiosity, their faces appeared to display fear. I could sense that Sri Hari had sent them a message of warning for sure!

A Divine Vision

In my room at the Ashram during this partial solitude, Sri Hari’s devotion had propelled me into a transcendental state. At that time, something strange happened. I saw my roof open up to the sky! I was startled because it occurred in front of my wide-awake eyes.

Before I could grasp the happening, a snow-covered mountain emerged at the place of my roof. I sat there speechless, as my whole room sported a Mount Kailash-like appearance! I was stunned and even tried to move. But, the chilly winds from the snow froze me in place.

There, slightly above my head, a couple of forms appeared. My eyes began tearing up, but I felt no sensations. Perhaps, I was in a state of Samadhi because there were no thoughts or emotions. Only a fabulous feeling of union with the Divine. That is, nothing but the Divine remained for me.

Then, I could see those Divine forms clearly. The progenitors of this universe! They were performing the Ananda Thandav, the happy dance of creation. I was spellbound. I had received a heavenly vision of Lord Shiva dancing with the Divine Mother.

Parama Shiva and Para Shakti danced a few moves. The Divine Lord wore his dark brown deer-skin attire, and his hair flew all around. He had a milky white complexion. After a while, he lifted his leg and stood in the Nataraja pose. Except for once when he faced right in a dance step, his eyes were firmly and lovingly fixed only on his wife throughout.

The Divine Mother stood in the same Nataraja pose and was wearing reddish clothes (with a tint of brown in it). She appeared to have a golden complexion, but her face’s glow made it almost impossible to see her. She turned her face and looked at me. Her love-filled gaze made it feel like nothing else mattered to me in this world. She had come for me and brought her Divine husband along. I was overwhelmed and grateful.

Merged into Sri Devi!

The Divine Vision lasted for a few seconds, and then the room was back to usual. Initially, I was in a state of bliss. Once my mind regained awareness, I was in confusion. Some information about my previous birth emerged in the form of intuitions. That made it even more confusing. It took a while before the truth dawned upon me, but I was still in a bit of denial.

For a few days after this, the entire world intermittently appeared as energy forms. Everywhere I went, the word Sri echoed so loudly that I couldn’t miss it. Now, even in the idol of Sri Hari, I couldn’t see anything but the Divine Mother!

At that time, I felt Uma (my birth name) merge into Sri Devi, the Formless Divine Energy of this creation. In solitude, my mind was in a meditative state and firmly established in the Divine. Yet, in the company of others, I was intensely affected by their emotions.

The Confirmation

While I was dealing with these experiences, it was time for a Shivaratri event, and Swami arrived at the Ashram. As if addressing my question: why did Sri Hari appear as Shiva-Shakti to me, Swami did something remarkable. For the first time on February 13, 2018, he decorated the deity as Ardha-Nareeshvara, the combined form of Shiva and Shakti.

The Divine had reassured me about my vision, and I was rendered speechless by Sri Hari’s Leela (divine play). Still, my monkey mind would not accept that I actually had such an astounding Vision of the Divine.

“Was it just a hallucination?” I wondered. With that notion, I went into the next day’s speech by Swami. He looked towards me at the end of his discourse and said, “Some people won’t believe even if the Divine shows up. That’s how their mindsets are.”

It felt like I received a massive slap on my face! Since then, I have stopped questioning my vision. It was a beautiful moment that will remain with me forever. My eyes well up even today if I think of that.

Step 5: Sadhana 

On returning home, my inner turbulence magnified to new heights. My entire trip of forty days, including those incredible experiences, appeared pointless. The subsequent year brought along unendurable turmoil that caused grief to my loved ones as well.

Looking for relief, I decided to perform the Sadhana of Sri Devi. As I gathered some details and prepared to get started, Swami conducted a virtual Devi Bhagavatam event. Yet again, Nature had responded positively to my needs. Excitedly, I adopted Swami’s teachings with some cosmetic tweaks, added a few things from my research, and commenced the Sadhana

As my Sadhana intensified, I had a fabulous dream of Sri Devi. She walked into my home, sat on my couch, and accepted my Seva. Post that dream, the peaceful feeling I had experienced at the Ashram temple reemerged. With time, as my attachment to the Divine Mother increased, a natural sense of non-attachment towards this world seeped in.

Later on, when I performed the Nava Durga Sadhana, my spiritual journey almost ended! My Divine experiences during that made my entire life feel complete. Finally, when the internal storm subsided, it was all crystal clear. I realized that I had already achieved my life’s purpose, and I wasn’t aware of it!

The Path of Sanatana Dharma

In the current world, hypocrisy has overtaken Dharma. The corporate and retail world has converted humans into selfish robots eternally in a hurry and addicted to socializing. Festivals, pilgrimages, and even prayer meets have become gossiping opportunities. Bhakti has become transactional, rituals have come to be blind, and empathy a hard-to-find commodity. Due to this, there is insecurity and suffering everywhere.

Amidst this chaos, the gracious Sri Hari, my Lord Krishna, had walked me on a journey that could inspire many seekers in the future. When situations compelled me to be a householder, I succumbed to the norms.

While I was howling, whining, and complaining, Nature had marched me on the shortest possible route to internal peace. She had done that through some challenging circumstances and a couple of beautiful people. If that wasn’t enough, my Lord Krishna had morphed my life into a purpose by itself.

One of my primary purposes is to give you hope! My life is Sri Hari’s testimonial for the time-tested path proposed by Sanatana Dharma: Gyaan, Nishkama Karma, Bhakti, and Sadhana.

The Gita of Krishna

Gyaan or cognizance engages the intellect and triggers transformation. Nishkama Karma, functioning in this world with the attitude of selfless service, disciplines the mind. 

Bhakti replenishes our bitter and wounded hearts with tenderness. Thereby, it speeds up the process of self-purification. Sadhana, performing austerities or meditative activities, bestows emotional tranquility. It channelizes our energy and aids in building objectivity.

A genuine practitioner of those Yogic teachings develops pristine mindfulness. Also, they get cleansed out of their negative tendencies. Such purified hearts experience eternal peace and exude unconditional love. That pure love, which reflects as Karuna or divine compassion, is the shortest route to Moksha, liberation from all forms of suffering.

That is the universal path of Karuna, implied in the epic discourse of Bhagavad Gita. My gratitude to that Divine Yogi, the epitome of compassion, Lord Krishna.

Om Sri Hari!

Love.
Devi

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