After Initiation

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna initiates Arjuna and tells him not to disturb others with the knowledge that he has been given, but to keep it secret and let others be happy where they are, that most people are not truly interested in union or God whatever they may think or say, but bow down to their own minds and are most content with what is familiar, commonly accepted and believed.

This injunction is not pejorative. On the contrary, Krishna accepts, as we should, the freedom of all of us to take whatever path we choose. But those of us who will only be truly satisfied with direct experience of Truth and union with the Divine Beloved must travel an exceptional path.

The esoteric teachings concerning sahaja yoga are contained in the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other Sanskrit texts and scriptures of various religions throughout the world. To understand these teachings requires learning and experience. Once sufficient progress has been made through sadhana (practice), these teachings will  begin to reveal themselves. When understanding of them agrees with the oral teachings of the shaktipat teacher and one’s own personal experience in meditation, one can then proceed with the assumption that what has been understood as correct is indeed correct. Time, practice and experience will eventually settle the matter with certainty.


The experience that is needed is gained through sadhana, practice. Your sadhana is your own personal lab that will provide you with the necessary experience.

Practice: repetition for the purpose of acquiring
experience and proficiency.

Surrender does not always come easily at first. We are too used to doing everything ourselves and trying to control things. It’s what we have been taught throughout our lives, so at first we cannot be expected to succeed at being fully surrendered. We improve through repeated practice.

Once initiated into this kind of sadhana, to get the most out of it you must practice on a regular basis. You will need to carve out a generous amount of time for it each day. You can do it for twenty minutes a day, but you will become disenchanted with it when nothing happens—it takes many of us ten or twenty minutes just to get relaxed enough for meditation to even begin. So give it at least an hour or two.

If two hours a day seems excessive to you, let me remind you that (1) you will still be spending twenty-two hours a day in a modality that is contrary to full surrender, and (2) this sadhana is so seductive that, when you begin to feel its influence, you will want more than an hour anyway. If you have responsibilities that won’t allow this, then you must apply self-control and limit your practice to two hours a day. Traditionally, one is not initiated into this practice if two consecutive hours daily is not possible, but happily, I am not a traditionalist-for-the-sake-of-tradition, and will initiate those of you who want it.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to Truth),
Durga Ma

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Shaktipat Prep

Shaktipat, along with its subsequent practice, sahaja yoga, was originally given to very few people. Through shaktipat, kundalini, the evolutionary force, could awaken naturally and one could attain yoga, ‘union with God.’

A teacher might have initiated only one or two students in a lifetime. Students desirous of shaktipat initiation would live at the teacher’s residence (ashram) for twelve years practicing selfless service to the teacher (guruseva), repetition of mantra, postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), proper diet, and so forth.

Before you gasp in horror at these requirements, keep in mind that masters of many arts and sciences in many cultures throughout the world also trained their students in this manner, and in many cases, still do.

After twelve years, if rapport with the teacher was sufficient, if devotion and determination was firm, and if the student’s karmic situation was conducive to it, he might be granted initiation. This trend continued for millennia for very good reasons.

The following are some of the qualifications for shaktipat initiation. I recommend that you use them as guidelines for maximizing your opportunity to get the most out of your spiritual practices, whether or not they are the practices of my lineage.

1    Have some sense of who you really are.
By “who,” I do not mean the popular concept of “who” as it is used today, which has to do with personality, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, what you do and how you do it, and so on. I mean who you REALLY are without all that packaging.

2    Have respect or devotion to the teacher who initiates you.
If you do not have respect for this person, and if you do not feel some degree of devotion to this person, he or she will be useless to you when you need them most as you progress to more advanced stages.

3    Set a limit on material possessions.
The purpose of this guideline is to help you to simplify your life in order to make room for your sadhana to bear fruit. Too many things creates too much distraction and steals time.

4    Read and reflect on scripture.
One who reads, studies and reflects on the written teachings of those who have successfully travelled the path, ups the ante a thousand times over one who does not.

5    Find something you feel you can surrender to — God, the Divine, Divine Love, Truth, Higher Power, the Absolute…
Do not try to do this sadhana by surrendering to yourself. This is counterproductive. In this meditation you will get the best results if you surrender to That which is Divine that is Other-Than-You.

6    Be willing to do at least one hour of sadhana a day.
This means an hour of actual sadhana, not including preparations, getting settled down, or any special opening and closing you might want to invent (it is a good idea to do this, by the way).

7    Be willing to do guruseva, selfless service for the teacher.
Do not believe for a moment that this is self-serving on the part of the teacher who initiates you. Guruseva is really for you. It burns up negative karma quickly, gets you out of the red and makes it possible for you to make faster progress. Guruseva also allows time for the teacher to continue his or her own sadhana, which is to your advantage.

8    Be willing to communicate with the person who initiates you about your sadhana.
A teacher who initiates a student will have a sense of responsibility for that student. If you do not communicate with this person, the teacher has no opportunity to contribute to your advancement, and you loosen the bond between yourself and the teacher. If you continue successfully on your own, you may reach a point when you will need this person’s guidance, but by losing your rapport with the teacher, this guidance will not likely be forthcoming.

9    Continue to reflect on and improve your application of yama and niyama.*

If everyone, regardless of spiritual orientation or the lack thereof, attended to these spiritual principles, we would certainly have a better, more peaceful world. But alas, not everyone will. This leaves it up to those of us who would, to do our best to do a good job.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God),
Durga Ma

* Yama and niyama: The yamas and niyamas consist of ten fundamental spiritual principles for attaining and maintaining success in spiritual development and in everyday life. See the New Moon elective course, Ten Keys to Success.

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Shaktipat Initiation and Kundalini

With the release of the life energy in the body through shaktipat initiation, the evolutionary force, kundalini, awakens naturally.

Once shaktipat has released the life energy from the thralldom of the mind and the will, it is necessary to keep it that way if one wants to augment spiritual development, become enlightened and attain liberation. To achieve these aims, a regular practice is needed. By practice, I mean a commitment to give Kundalini-Shakti Her way for a specific amount of time each day: For an hour or two every day, surrender everything you think you are—body, mind, feelings, personality, actions—to Her, to Truth, to God, and allow whatever happens to happen in the confines of your meditation. Following certain conditions will make this practice so easy and appealing that you won’t even have to try to get yourself to do it.


Nowadays, kundalini is all the rage. I have gotten e-mails from people asking for shaktipat because they want their kundalini to awaken. Most of these letters come from people who are at an age that their kundalini is entering a phase of final shut-down—it is already awake and getting tired of waiting around. Some are unaware that this is the case. Others just want it to be free. Not recognizing that kundalini is ready and waiting, these sincere people look for someone out there to awaken it. Then there are those who just want their kundalini to be awake because it is fashionable in the circles in which they move. These people do not want to learn anything or make any effort themselves, believing that shaktipat from some master is all that is needed for them to become enlightened and thereby safely ensconced in their spiritual-social circle. What they do not realize is that they must be ready for it, or the initiation will not have any effect.

We should all understand that kundalini is not to be messed with. She can be troublesome if what you want in life is not consistent with Her agenda. The Shiva Samhita states that “kundalini is for the liberation of yogis and the fettering of fools.” This should make it clear that there is something that comes first, and that one’s aims should at least include liberation, which is approached through yoga (union).

When I say that kundalini is not to be messed with, I mean She should not be forcefully awakened or controlled. Really, how would you feel if you were made to sleep and then abruptly awakened? Well, She’s going to have the same reaction and you’re either going to get into some deep water, or suppress Her again.

If your kundalini is awakening, you may have experiences that you don’t understand. Due to preconceived ideas concerning kundalini and Her awakening, you may believe that it is not awake when it is, or that it is awake when it is not. You may believe you are enlightened, a highly conscious being who is ready to teach the world, or you may feel that there is something wrong with you, or with the person who initiated you.

The Natural Awakening and Ascension of Kundalini

We have all gotten into this complication and confusion we call life, from the top down: we have descended into bodily forms. To reverse suffering and strife and unnatural complexity, we must ascend, rise above it. For this to happen naturally, the evolutionary force, kundalini, said to be lying dormant at the basal plexus of the body, must be allowed to awaken and to turn upward and ascend. The operative word here is “allowed.”

It is best to allow Kundalini to awaken naturally. After all, She wants to be awake, but since society does not want this, we must be shrewd, clever and a little subversive in our approach. In other words, we must approach kundalini just as She would approach an aim of Her own: shrewdly, cleverly and subversively, She will undermine the power and authority of the established system of your own mind and sense of yourself as the controller of things.

Trying to force kundalini to awaken is a ridiculous idea, for She is dormant only because we cannot give up trying to control everything ourselves. Nevertheless, She waits patiently for our acceptance of Her natural propensity for rising upward to change our lives, as well as the outcome of our lives, and take us to our natural, divine state. To allow Her this freedom is to surrender to Her, a subversive act that undermines the established authority of the ego that says, “I’ll do it myself!”

Jaya Shakti,
Durga Ma

List of installments on Sahaja Yoga

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