Mystics and Mysticism

Mysticism is defined as the acceptance that union with or absorption into the Deity or the Absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through self-surrender.

Mysteries and Mystics

A mystery is something that is not understood. A mystic is someone who understands it. A mystic understands the mysteries through direct experience, direct perception, union with the Absolute. By “direct” I mean without any means. In other words, without using the senses and the mind.

This experience is of an entirely different nature than what we commonly experience in ordinary life. It is not something that is learned, it is not psychic or intuitive, nor is it dream, imagination or fantasy. It is Truth. To put it more poetically, one has heard the Word of God, or one has seen God face to face. Those who have unknowingly surrendered to their own minds may mistakenly think that they have had this experience, but those self-honest practitioners who have experienced Truth directly, will know.

How to Become a Mystic

One might ask, But how do I do this? How can I have this direct experience and become a mystic? The answer is simple: meditate.

Through authentic yoga meditation (meditation aimed at Divine Union), one sets the stage for this event to take place. You may not be able to make it happen, but you can put yourself in the way of it by establishing a regular meditation practice. If you do this one thing and commit yourself to it, you will have this experience. You may have it tomorrow or you may have it years from now, but you will have it.

The simplest, easiest and most efficient meditation practice for reaching this goal is Surrender Meditation. Surrender Meditation is a descriptive term for Sahaja Yoga (natural union), shaktipat kundalini yoga, which begins with shaktipat diksha. Once this meditation practice begins, all you need to do to keep it going is to walk into your meditation room as instructed in the initiation. Everything else will be taken care of.

Final Form Teachings

People usually begin meditating with many preconceived ideas and misunderstandings about meditation, and have many expectations based on the assumptions produced by these misunderstandings. One source of this is the “final form” teachings found in ancient mystical writings, or scriptures.

Final form teachings are often taken as instructions for what to do in order to do things right, to meditate correctly, or to make spiritual progress. You might assume, for instance, that you are doing something wrong if you are not having the experiences as written in these texts. This is not true. Final form teachings are exactly that: they are final. Given in this manner, a final form is an esoteric teaching.

There are myriad shades of gray between the beginning of sadhana (practice) and the final form of any aspect of sadhana. It is the manner in which such teachings are communicated to us that hold the key to understanding that aspect at any stage.

What many people do not realize is that scriptures consist of multi-layered teachings meant for addressing progress at many stages. Teachings directed toward more experienced practitioners are going to be hidden in the text. Also, some mystical texts are written specifically for those who have already advanced sufficiently to be getting the teachings they contain. These will be esoteric, coded.

Experience is needed in order to decode the mysteries. A scholarly approach is not enough. Where do you get this experience? Same answer: meditation.

Love,Durga Ma

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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

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Dhyana — The Meditative State

Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.

Last week:
III:1  Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.

This week:
III:2  When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).

The word dhyana refers to a true state of meditation, not just sitting like a pretzel and trying to make your mind shut up, or listening to ringing bowls, or sitting in the silence, as if there were nothing to know or learn about meditation.

Dhyana is a Sanskrit term that means “meditation.” The true state of meditation is a result of yoga sadhana, the regular practice of yoga. Yoga not only means union with God, but is the means of attaining union with God.

Look at this chart of the eight limbs of yoga as presented by the great sage, Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras. You will notice that meditation (dhyana) is nearly last in the sequence, yet we westerners presume to begin here, unaware (or ignoring) that there is actually something to be learned and which must take place before true meditation can begin. Of the eight limbs, meditation is number seven:

Dhyana is a true meditative state that, as you will see as we go along, is not all that different from the highly sought-after samadhi. Everything that comes before meditation is what makes meditation not only possible, but effective. What do I mean by “effective”? I mean that true meditation will take you to samadhi and ultimately, to the end of all your troubles, freedom, fulfillment and endless joy. (Was there something else you wanted?)

Yoga, Meditation and Samadhi are Synonymous Terms

In the practice of meditation, initially the control of the physical senses is achieved through meditation with movement. As meditation evolves, the control of the mind is attained by means of meditation in which there is no movement. In this meditation, the mind is concentrated—the chitta is concentrated, bound to one thing, one place, as described in the sutras above. This is the natural order of the development of meditation to its maturity.

The mature state of meditation is samadhi, a state of super-conscious bliss in which the mind gets dissolved into nature, prakrti, the first cause, the original source of nature as we know it. The chief role of meditation is to bring about samadhi, which can be only be achieved through meditation.

A mind dissolved into nature becomes non-mind, devoid of any change. This changeless state ensures eternal happiness, peace and joy, and one becomes free from the duality of pleasure and pain, the final relief from all miseries. This is salvation, liberation, the end product of yoga.

The purification of the body and mind come to one through regular practice, but this alone is not enough. Once this task begins, one must be constantly on the alert to see that no new impurities creep in. Yama and niyama (restraints and observances) are aids to this, and help to make the journey simpler. If they are neglected, obstacles crop up and have to be removed. To save time and energy, one resorts to yama and niyama.

There are several yamas and several niyamas, but Patanjali has conveniently narrowed them down to five yamas and five niyamas most suited to yoga sadhana (whew!).

Next week, we’ll have a look at…SAMADHI.

Durga Ma

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