My Spiritual Journey with Swami Satyananda is the story of a spiritual quest:a young girl in search of answers to her many questions about the purpose of life and death. She writes to Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, for guidance, but is referred to Swami Satyananda.Thus, in 1955 a lifelong relationship starts between guru and disciple. Swami Satyananda advises the young woman on her spiritual practice, sadhana, but also on what to eat, what to wear and the company to keep.
He encourages her to live fully in the world and to remain a sadhaka always.Vishwaprem tells of her struggles to find a balance between the joy of being a wife and mother and the desire to pursue her spiritual path.
My Spiritual Journey with Swami Satyananda is a straightforward account of a modern-day spiritual aspirant. Vishwaprem shares with her readers doubts, frustrations and the exhilarating experiences of spiritual, practice. Above all she gives them glimpses into the depth and beauty of the eternal guru-disciple relationship. It is testimony that spiritual life is possible against all odds if sincerity, perseverance and faith prevail.
I begin writing this book with salutations to Goddess Saraswati:
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu Saraswati rupena samsthita,
Namastasyai namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namah.
I offer my salutations to Goddess Saraswati who resides in the hearts of everyone as knowledge. May she inspire me to write what is correct and what ought to be and may be shared with others.
This book began writing itself on 2 October 1998. As I sat at my computer in our home in Leamington Spa, England, I felt possessed by a strange force. It was as though someone was dictating to me and my fingers were just typing. I was not aware of the need for food or drink. In two weeks I had typed one hundred fifty pages. I was 'emptying' myself. Then the material lay there for over two years and I did not work on it any further. Everything was too personal: the guru-disciple relationship, the spiritual experiences, the torment of my soul. The few people, whom I am close to, read the manuscript, responded positively and encouraged me to complete the work. Still, I was very reluctant to work on it with a view to publishing it.
This book has gestated for over fourteen years due to my hesitation in publishing my spiritual experiences, particularly since some schools of spiritual thought in India consider spiritual experiences secret and highly personal. They advise, for a variety of good reasons, that spiritual experiences should not be shared or discussed with others. Perhaps, in terms of the self, this may give rise to an inflated ego, which diminishes the intensity of experience, putting an end to any further progress. Such disclosures might also become a subject of ridicule, disbelief and amusement for agnostics and atheists, and could even create jealousies amongst fellow seekers, sadhakas. One may get involved in unnecessary criticism or publicity, distracting further while one needs to continue with one's sadhana without any diversions. I had greatly valued my privacy.
In April 2000, I went to Deoghar to get the consent of my Guru to publish this book. He very generously consented and asked me to show my manuscript to Upen and to Swami Niranjan.
Subsequently, I travelled to Rishikesh to get a letter of blessings from Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj of the Divine Life Society at the Sivananda Ashram. I waited for two hours outside the residence of Swami Sannyasananda so that I could request him to pass on my letter and manuscript to Swamiji. However, I could not reach him. There appeared no way of sending a message to Swami Chidananda before the evening satsang, and then it would be too late, since I had to return to Delhi the very next day. Heavily disheartened, I took refuge at the feet of the picture of Swami Sivananda at Guru Kutir, which was filled with very powerful vibrations. As I sat praying with my eyes closed for guidance as to whether it was correct to make this writing public for the benefit of seekers, suddenly, some magnetic force, almost alive, like the consciousness of a human being, made me open my eyes and I saw a beautiful, fresh, red flower fall from the garland that hung on the picture. A small incident, but it gave me great joy and a conviction that I would surely be able to communicate with Swami Chidananda.
I rose and walked to Swami Chidananda's residence. Lo, whom do I meet at the gate? Swami Sannyasananda himself! He recognized me.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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