Spiritual Teachers – One or Many

For those of you who are stuck, up against doubts or misconceptions, or are simply impatient, it may be helpful to consider a spiritual teacher (guru, spiritual master). While searching it is a good idea to be mindful of some of the things associated with teachers, such as the practices they teach, and when to stop shopping around and settle on one—this is an inner conflict that many people have, especially in the West where information is God and searching can lead to interminable shopping. Never settling on any one teacher can lead to “guru hopping” or becoming an “eclectic”, neither of which will ever lead to the depths so desperately sought.

And then there is the vast difference between seeking knowledge and seeking a teacher, which are often confused.

The Teacher

Where spiritual practices are concerned, it is best to have only one teacher. Otherwise there can be no way for any teacher to correctly guide you. Because you cannot reflect things specific to any one practice, misunderstandings and mistakes will be made. This is a huge disadvantage to youSo as a matter of getting good guidance, having only one teacher is vitally important.

Also, if a teacher is in possession of oral teachings that cannot be written but conveyed only orally to individuals at crucial points in their practice, that teacher will have to know that a student is committed and loyal to that teacher and that path before these teachings can be passed on. From the teacher’s point of view, this is critically important. This situation exists in all spiritual paths, whether it is known about or not by those outside these teachings.

So shop, but find your spiritual home before you discover that you have spent years digging shallow holes when by digging deeply, there is gold to be found in them there hills! Think of your teacher as your Sadhana Teacher, the teacher that is home for you, where you can come by appropriate guidance and make the quickest progress. Stick to the sadhana (spiritual practices) that teacher gives you, and to his or her teachings concerning that sadhana.

But most people are not engaged in sadhana 24/7, so what do you do between times? There are a number of things you can do that would be consistent with your sadhana, but the favorite in the West is knowledge.


Practice and learning are different things. Many teachers have strict guidelines on what their students and disciples can read and do outside of their formal practices (sadhana). This is very common in yoga. My first teacher, who led me to Swami Kripalu, was one of these. She had a list. We were not to read anything not on this list. As a teacher, I feel differently about this.

I do not object to the study of the spiritual texts of other paths or religions. This can be very enlightening and, by providing different points of view, can actually lead to a better understanding of your own path. We are all unique and I believe our differences must be acknowledged and respected. I do not believe in trying to limit anyone. This would be in direct conflict with the essential nature of an individual possessing unlimited potential.

On the other hand, some students automatically resist reading or studying anything outside of their guru’s teachings or the teachings of the lineage. I think during the ‘honeymoon’ phase of one’s association with the Sadhana Teacher, this is a wise move. Get grounded first, using these teachings as a springboard for gaining the ability to understand the teachings of your own path, and then you can read and understand anything. But before you become grounded in your own path, moving through the teachings of one path after another can make you crazy with doubts, confusions, and a multitude of misunderstandings … and your own sadhana can get stuck in the confusing mud of multiple view-points.

SKY Haven

I don’t think there ever need be any conflict regarding the scriptures and commentaries of realized masters regardless of their path (if you don’t know if a text fits this criteria, ask your Sadhana Teacher). Most seeming contradictions are merely a lack of understanding that could be instrumental to deeper knowledge. This is usually the case where various religions, teaching lineages and spiritual paths diverge.

In any case, the kinds of restrictions on learning required by many teachers do not fit my ideals for SKY Haven. Nothing would please me more that to have the opportunity to sit with all of you in discussions generated by new insights gained from the study of various scriptures.

The beauty of surrender sadhana, which is primarily Surrender Meditation, is that it recognizes these differences we have as natural, and that they will all come together in the end anyway. 

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma

P.S. I am putting my Life Mastery hat back on again. Please pay a visit to the website and see what’s going on: LifeMasterySelfCoaching.com

The Appearance of Lakulisha

Yesterday, I chanced to come upon an old book I had been looking for a while back and had given up on finding, thinking it was surely lost for good. This book has no author’s name or other information, just a cover with the title, Giver of Grace, and the sub-title, Stories From The Lineage. It just starts right out and goes on for a hundred pages or so.

Giver of Grace is the English translation of my sadguru’s name, Kripalu, so it is clear that these stories come from him. His gracious and powerful legacy has been the greatest boon of my life. So that I can share this with you in some small way, I have decided to share some of these stories with you with the occasional comment or observation.

Jaya Gurudeva!

The Appearance of Lakulisha

While attempting to end his life, Kripalu had his first meeting with Lakulisha. Lakulisha intervened, coming to him in the form of an old sanyasi. For one and a quarter years, he taught Kripalu at an ashram in Bombay. During that time, Lakulisha remained in the form of the old sanyasi, and never told Kripalu his name. However, he assured Kripalu that after Kripalu became a swami, he would appear to him in his true form.

Kripalu did indeed take swami vows, and in the Himalayas ten years later, Lakulisha came to Kripalu again. This time Lakulisha came in his true form, his immortal Divine Body.

Kripalu continued to live a life of service, and in 1950, Lakulisha came to him again and told him it was time to begin meditating ten hours a day.

In 1955, through another divine ‘accident’, the true name of Lakulisha was revealed to him. How this happened is the subject of this story.

Kripalu has written many bhajans (songs to God). His way of sharing his experiences was to sing the bhajan, then tell the story and spiritual principles contained in the song. This story of Lakulisha comes from the bhajan, “To Appear”. Kripalu called it an historical bhajan because it tells the history of the appearance of the statue (murti) of Lord Lakulisha, Kripalu’s beloved gurudeva. Historically, according to the Puranas, Lakulisha first appeared on earth two thousand years ago. He was a great yogi and was later recognized as the twenty-eighth reincarnation of Lord Shiva.


Shiva is one of the Hindu trinity, Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva (transformer), which are often seen as mythological characters. However, according to my lineage, both Shiva and Vishnu were living persons of long, long ago who reached the highest yoga (though I don’t know if the word yoga was in use at that time or not, but you get the drift).

This highest of accomplishments ends the necessity for further incarnations in this world, through ascension if one is going to carry on in some another plane of existence, or Divine Body if one is going to stick around to give us struggling mortals a boost. For Lakulisha, it was Divine Body, the “true form” mentioned in the story.

For most of us, the concept of Divine Body gives immortality new meaning, yet it is spoken of by Paul in his own terms in his letters to the Corinthians, with Christ as its ultimate demonstration. It is mentioned in other places in the Bible as well, but I am not one who has the kind of memory needed to spout book and verse, so you’re on you own here.

If you would like to do a little sleuthing on an excerpt from I Corinthians, read the post, Sleuthing Scripture 2 – Decoding Scriptural Teachings. To add to your sleuthing adventure, consider the meaning of the name, Lakulisha. Lakulisha means “master-bearer of the club”. You’ll have to think esoterically about this club business, so I’ll leave you to it.

Durga Ma

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Pashupat Sutras V

This is the last chapter. Read my own conclusions on these sutras over the next two weeks.

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

V:1    Having no attachments, free from ties, independent and without obstacles

V:2    One who has become united with God (the yogi or yogini)

V:3    One’s own eternal Self (or soul)

V:4    Ever-existent and unborn

V:5    Is friendly and kind

V:6    Well-born, learned and wise

V:7    With mastery over the senses

V:8    Rudra (another name of Shiva) distinctly taught this

V:9    Reside in a secret place in a vacant house

V:10    A constant player

V:11    Mastery over the power of the senses is acquired

V:12    When thus engaged continually for six months

V:13    Most everything is accomplished

V:14    Beg alms

V:15    Accept meals that come to the vessel (begging bowl)

V:16    Take meat that is unspoiled with salt

V:17    Drink water afterwards (or otherwise)

V:18    Live like a cow or like a deer would live

V:19    Remain clean with the use of water (as opposed to ash-bath)

V:20    (Thus) the successful yogi or yogini is not associated with action or downfall (or loss or error)

V:21    Sing a song of praise from the soul, assiduously remembering the Beloved

V:22    To That Person, to God the Benevolent, or to both (as the result is the same)

V:23    Thus, yoga, union with God, begins

V:24    Omkara, the sound of OM, heard spontaneously in deepest meditation, is God

V:25    Concentration (of prana) is in the heart (or core)

V:26    Eternal, ever-present, all-pervading Supreme God, is directly perceptible and knowable as Omkara

V:27    (Omkara is) pure sound, formless God, beyond the range of the mind

V:28    (Omkara is) Supreme God, unlimited, unequaled, guru of the guru

V:29    [missing]

V:30    Abiding in a cremation ground

V:31    One’s dharma (merit) acquired

V:32    Living dependent upon what is available or what can be found or obtained

V:33    Finding direct contact with God

V:34    Constantly remembering God

V:35    One cuts through the root of the network of causes that produce defects (disease, anger, fear, attachment, desire, delusion, injury, etc.)

V:36    By means of buddhi (discrimination, discernment)

V:37    With full consciousness (noticing, observing, reflecting)

V:38    Remaining fixed on God

V:39    The mind securely fixed only on God becomes peaceful and free of sorrow

V:40    Careful to maintain this state, one gets to the end of sorrows by the grace of God


V:41    Now think these thoughts like a chant or a prayer done softly:

V:42    God, Master of all branches of learning

V:43    God of all beings

V:44    Creator of all creation

V:45    Let me be one with Shiva the Beneficent

V:46    Permanently

V:47    Shiva

God the Beneficent ends all sorrows permanently.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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