The Path Appears

My oldest turned 18 today. 18 years ago today a mother was born too. Today, I share, that I am reborn. Here’s what happened..

A few months ago, I observed that my swadhyaya was drawing me to different experiences. Initially, for lack of a better description, I believed it was my yoga. Turns out, yoga was just being the means to slowly clear the blur away from what was to be my path – my way forward.

Let me not make it sound more mystical than it already is.. because it is!

Over the past months, my study shifted to Vedic texts and scriptures – I was spurred by a deeper sense of inquiry. I was both curious and nudged with something inexplicable towards a newer and slowly evolving sense of faith & devotion – Bhakti?

But at the same time, there was a sense of ‘restless calm’ – does that make sense? Because this sense of calm happened all through the lockdown. So this entire period that we were in a lockdown, I welcomed wholeheartedly. I, who was always was out & about, with people, at events, at classes, lectures and sessions, welcomed the time alone with open arms.

Time withdrawal from activity gave me an opportunity to still myself and immerse fully into self reflection. Until, slowly, I started feeling myself settle more assuredly into the teachings of my lineage. This time, however, the teachings ran deeper, urging me to a better understanding.

I reached out to two people who knew me well enough to give a sense a direction and understanding.

My teacher gave me a clearer explanation of his path and journey. It helped me understand who were before me, how the path was laid, etc.

And then, I spoke to my dear friend, teacher, and whom I call my Spiritual Wikipedia, Swami Yogaratna Saraswati and just blurted out what I was experiencing. I knew, I felt, I sensed, but some things I just couldn’t put into words. Yet, she understood.

I told her how I felt like the lineage, the sampradaya and the parampara felt like a homecoming of sorts. She just smiled and nodded away – both in knowing and in excitement. All she said was, “Write to Swami Satyasangananda at Rikhia.”

It took me a month to write to Rikhia.

Not because I was lazy, no! I thought about what I would write every single day. But I couldn’t bring myself to. I felt like it was intrusive, I felt like I wasn’t worthy. I just didn’t write that email.

On the last day of the Sri Lakshmi Narayana Mahayajna, while in meditation, I ‘saw’ & ‘heard’ Swami Sivananda, “Write to Rikhia now.” I had goosebumps all over then, and I have goosebumps all over now as I think of it…. So I did just that. I wrote to Swami Satyasangananda – pouring out my story – my past, my present and what I thought I saw for myself as a future…

I recognized that for all my exuberance, I was eventually, slowly but surely stepping on to the path of renunciation. My path had appeared from within my lineage – from right where I was.

My sadhana was taking me on my path towards sannyasa.

What followed over the next few weeks is quite hard to explain in words. One day flowed into the next. My swadhyaya took on a meaning of its own – every moment was alive – even when I was angry or frustrated with the demands of motherhood, the sensation was amplified – the awareness even more profound! Yet, I was immersed in spiritual activity almost every moment! I had my sadhana time, I had my swadhyaya, I had my teaching time and I had loads of learning opportunities.

And right in the middle of all that nurturing and energy, I was initiated by Swami Satyasangananda. Was it overwhelming? Not exactly… Was it exciting? Not quite so either… The whole experience is something I am actually at a loss to ‘explain’, but it gives me joy, it uplifts me and at the same time it gives me the awareness of a sense of responsibilty and accountability, because..

Swami Satyasangananda also gave me my spiritual name – a name that is on the lips of every disciple on the path of the self, a ‘word’ that has generated controversy over its inappropriate usage and a word that represents everything and nothing at the same time.

My spiritual name is Om.

I have spent the last 48 hours absorbing this – embracing this. Again, the feeling cannot be explained. It is an amalgamation of joy and overwhelm, deep respect, humility, a unshakeable sense of responsibility and accountability of action and everything… But I didn’t know how to really start embodying my name.

Here’s where Swami Yogaratna’s words came to the rescue.

“Just start using it!”, she said after sending me a screenshot of her phone contacts where she has already renamed my entry!

It helps, you see, having someone who’s on the path share their life with you. Swami Yogaratna is a wonderful resource & friend. I can be me and still get perspective especially when it comes to so many common experiences that it almost feels like she’s replying to questions I’m still processing in my head!

I’ll leave you this time, with this nugget from Swamiji to spur me on!

“I was given it when I got mantra diksha, around 2 weeks after entering the ashram. I took karma sannyas a few months later and poorna sannyas less then a year later, keeping the same name. I didn’t like the name coz it didn’t have ‘Ananda’ at the end like everyone else’s and coz it sounded hard to me, harsh sound . They used to call me yogarat and swamiji warned them that if they called me that, I’d become that so they stopped. Then I felt it’s a difficult name to live up to and only recently I’m beginning to realise it’s power and benefit.”

Swami Yogaratna Saraswati

So, this is my first step in owning my path. Here is where I share with you all that I am slowly embracing the significance of my name as if I’m wearing a new coat and buttoning it up with a sense of purpose. Measuring myself for walking the path and showing up in the truest sense of who I can possibly become with the grace.

To close, as Swamiji says, “It is such a fun & short name!” My mum said, “It is a spiritual name. I like it!” As my friend Shobhit said, “It will be remembered every time someone or even when I chant it. And as my other friend, Savira, said, “It has benefits for anyone who says Om!”

Yoga family, to you, I say, “Here I am. I am Om.”

Follow this blog for My experiences on the path.

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