Bhagavan’s Repose by Swami Durgananda

Bhagavan's Repose

by Swami Durgananda, 2020

Bhagavan Nityananda is the first great being I connected with.

He is also the great grandfather of our spiritual lineage and apart from Swamiji, he is my favorite great being.

Swami Durgananda's cat Shiva, resting in front of a picture of Bhagavan Nityananda

Swami Durgananda’s cat Shiva, resting in front of a picture of Bhagavan Nityananda

My mother brought me up with a multitude of saints, archangels, seraphim, inter-galactic light-works, and so on—from all sorts of traditions. As a child, I remember looking at these images wanting to feel something. I desperately desired to feel a connection, a link to energy or a feeling of love. One spark of aliveness would have been enough to make me happy and give me hope, but I could never feel it. This was terribly depressing.

When I was 19, I moved into the ashram. I was miserable. I had tried university and had considered numerous life options which had all left me feeling hopeless. I was searching for a sense of meaning and purpose. I wanted to feel alive with love. I wanted the world around me to be filled with joy. But there was a problem—I did not think these feelings could exist for me and wherever I looked I saw suffering. I also thought I was wired differently from everybody. Others could have feelings of joy, but not me. So, I set my expectations quite low. I decided if I could at least lessen my feeling of suffering—perhaps find a pleasantly neutral feeling and some small reason to live that would be enough. Basically, I was pretty glum, filled with tearing thoughts and did not expect much.

In my first year of living in the ashram I stumbled across a picture of Bhagavan. A very mysterious and profound thing happened in that moment. When I looked at his image draped in a tiny loincloth, reclining like a Buddha, I became mesmerized. The image was moving. Bhagavan seemed to be alive and breathing! There was a twinkling quality of bliss emanating from him.

I fell in love with this picture and still am to this day. Bhagavan looked so relaxed and so natural. He emanated all the qualities I was looking for. He was serene, content and in bliss. A gurgle of peaceful love and joy. I was not serene, relaxed, content or in bliss. I was despondent, scared and terribly cynical. And here I was looking at an alive photo, glowing with the feelings I longed to feel. I became more and more entranced by the picture. I kept staring at it. As I stared at it, I felt Bhagavan directly communicating with me. His heart radiated into mine.

This moment with Bhagavan changed everything for me. I became completely devoted to this great being, that I had never met. I felt nurtured by him. The terrible gloom, flooding my inner world started to dissipate. This image was a light shining through the muck. Amazingly, the light seemed to radiate, not only from Bhagavan but somehow also mysteriously from inside of me, as a tiny spark inside my own heart. A spark that linked me directly into Bhagavan’s heart. My doom and gloom were dispelled from the outside and the inside. I was being re-wired; a broken connection within me had healed. I had finally found a great being to connect with, someone to give my devotion to, someone that awakened my own love.

After this experience, I spent a long time meditating on this picture. In fact, I was so delighted by it that Devi Ma allowed me to put a print of it up in the kitchen, above, what at the time, was the meditation hall door.

In those days I was very new to everything at the ashram and there was often conversation of being a part of living lineage. I didn’t fully understand what this meant. I got that Swamiji is obviously alive but upon having this direct darshan (alive vision) of the image of Bhagavan, I really ’got’ how the shakti of this lineage is alive and travels beyond time and space. I felt how vibrant it is in our Swamiji and this community. In a way, I felt like, even though Swamiji is clearly Swamiji he is also Bhagavan.

The other marvelous quality in this picture is Bhagavan’s naturalness. He isn’t full of spiritual persona, or false piety. He is completely himself. Who else can lie around so comfortably and full of shakti wearing only in a loin cloth? This naturalness is what I love so much about this lineage and about Swamiji. It is authentic. It doesn’t ask me to be something that I’m not. It doesn’t demand I namaste when I’m cranky or put on spiritual persona. It just asks me to be me. Fully me, but in touch with the Self and aligned with the Shakti.

Hamsa and Shiva, Durgananda's cats resting in front of her puja

Hamsa and Shiva, Durgananda’s cats resting in front of her puja

To this day, every time I look at his photo, I am reminded of, and connect with, the Shakti of our living tradition—the feeling of spiritual bliss and deep contentment. Bhagavan Nityananda truly embodies the meaning of his name, everlasting and eternal bliss.

During this time of COVID I’ve been trying to focus on uplifting things, and Bhagavan is definitely one of them. When I log on and watch satsang or any of the other live Ashram programs I get to be like Bhagavan. I can lounge around my living room, in my tracky dacks – the Western equivalent of a loin cloth—and watch Satsang or participate in study group with a front row seat.

I feel truly blessed to be part of a living spiritually community and have Guruji who is so authentic and so alive with the spirit of Bhagavan.

Swami Durgananda at The Ashram Mount Eliza

Swami Durgananda is a master hatha yoga teacher, and has taught numerous teacher trainings. You can learn more about her and offerings on her website.

1 Comment
  • Sumitra Bateman
    Posted at 10:52h, 19 November Reply

    It truly is amazing how this being, that none of us have physically met, has touched so many of us. He seems to welcome us as his children. Although I am always in great awe of him, I will never forget the feeling that his arms enveloped me & his warm breath whispered “Welcome my child”, in my ear, the first time I entered his Samadhi Shrine. I even felt his energy emanating, from the Ashrams 2007 pilgrimage, before I even made my first visit to Ganeshpuri. Jai Nityananda

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