27 Jan The Golden Cord by Yogini Saraswati
The Golden Cord
by Yogini Saraswati, January 2022
The past two years has been an extraordinary time.
As COVID-19 has made its presence felt across the world, it has brought with it significant challenges and stretched many of us to our limits. At the same time, I feel that it has also presented great opportunities, especially in the area of sadhana.
As an essential worker, I have had to leave The Ashram for extended periods during some of the lockdowns. Although this was difficult, having to spend quite a bit of time on my own gave me the opportunity to go within and explore my inner state more deeply. Swamiji (Swami Shankarananda) frequently emphasises the importance of making effort to experience and understand our own awareness. He says that we cannot do anything better for humanity than to grow in our own awareness. I spent a great deal of time contemplating and exploring my own awareness during these periods. I found that it helped me go deeper in my meditations and brought me in touch with the bliss of the inner Self.
I also found great comfort in the mantra during these periods of isolation. I have always had a busy and active mind and when Swamiji gave me the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ many years ago at our first meeting, I was instantly drawn to this practice. The mantra gave my mind a focus, away from worry and negativity. It gave it a place to rest and with this came a peace I had not experienced before. The mantra was an important tool that helped me remain connected to the Guru during these periods of physical separation.
One of my favourite writings about mantra is Swami Satchidananda’s translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 128: Tajjapas tadartha bhavanam
To repeat it with reflection upon its meaning is an aid
In his translation of this sutra, Satchidananda writes about mantra. He says:
‘By repeating it constantly, a part of the mind gets linked to that. It is like going down a tunnel with a life rope tied around the waist and one end of the rope fixed to a peg outside the tunnel. Whenever there is any danger, you can just shake the rope and get pulled out. In the same way a part of your mind is tied to God through the mantra while the other part is engaged in worldly pursuits…It is a golden cord between you and God or the cosmic force’.
The mantra, along with the online programs was a golden cord, which kept me connected to Swamiji and The Ashram while I performed my work in the world. It gave me great insight at times and helped me hold a good state despite the challenges I faced.
While the past two years have no doubt been difficult for many of us, I believe they have also carried a message. For me they presented a great opportunity to re-evaluate what is most important. As much of the outside world became unavailable, I felt as though I was being directed to focus my attention inward to find the inner bliss and divinity that we all have inside of us. The inner bliss that is our true and natural state.
Yogini Saraswati, after being initiated by MM Swami Shankarananda into the lineage of Bhagavan Nityananda in Ganeshpuri, India.