From Amma to Swami Nithyananda?
"ĀCĀRYAM MĀM VIJĀNĪYĀN NĀVAMANYETA KARHICIT NA MARTYA-BUDDHYĀSŪYETA SARVA-DEVA-MAYO GURUH”
One should know the ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.
In the preceding verse it uses the word “Guru” to denote the spiritual master. Here the word is “acharyam”, which indicates teacher, and in the following verse the words “śikṣā-guruke” is used indicating there are indeed different types of Gurus and that they are all to be considered divine.
INNER GUIDANCE IS THE GURU WITHIN-ANTARYAMI
I met Amma in 2001, if I recall correctly, otherwise it was 2000.
I have been a faithful devotee of Amma since then—die-hard, obsessive, seriously fanatic devotee.
Somewhere in 2009 I happened upon the Iskcon/Hare Krishna temple in my European city while out walkin’ around. I had never been inside one before. The very first person I spoke to was a beautiful woman who was warm and inviting and offered me prasadam (blessed food) to eat.
The first few sentences out of my mouth were me informing her that I was a follower—a die-hard, obsessive, seriously fanatic devotee of Amma—and that I had been for years.
She told me that she was also with Amma, but she left Amma and came to Iskcon and took another Guru.
I thought she was nuts.
For the last eight years, I never forgot and constantly wondered, “Why on earth would she leave Amma and go to any other spiritual masters?” I would literally sit with Amma and ponder why anybody would go anywhere else, when she could so clearly take people all the way to enlightenment.
Her reasons at the time were twofold: she felt that Amma was guiding her there and there were too many people around Amma.
I understood her reasoning but still thought she was nuts.
At that time, I made a personal vow never to leave Amma and never to get swayed towards anything or anybody else, especially any other spiritual masters.
I have spent most of the last ten years living in Amma’s ashram in Kerala. I would come and go. In total I have been there about eight years.
There is no doubt She is a divine being with extraordinary powers and has the capacity to grant the highest state to whoever is qualified.
One year ago, I asked Amma for an air conditioner in the flat because the weather was causing me ridiculous suffering due to complex health issues. Yeah. yeah, don’t laugh. Other people have them.
Her answer was “I don’t know.” As you may know, such an answer is filled with divine shakti which can create a great change in your consciousness.
Within this “I don’t know” was the perfect understanding that I was not in my power at all. That I was a small insignificant nothing. And it felt bad. Really bad.
Because if I was in my divine power, there was no way that she could tell me “I don’t know”. If she was my perfect mirror and I wanted an air conditioning, then there was no way I shouldn’t have it.
My understanding contained within this “I don’t know” is that I am a divine being and I should be able to be, do, and have anything I want. How can she not give this small thing when other people have it? Why was I not good enough for an air conditioning?
I was reeling.
It sent me into a state of complete questioning of myself, my life, and the path I have taken.
If you know Amma, this can be a common occurrence.
But I know that any divine being can manifest what they want at will. Just like Amma said that she would donate 20 million dollars for the tsunami relief in 2004 and the Swamis all said, “What Amma? We don’t have that much money!” And she ended up giving 45 million in total.
My understanding of spiritual life is that, if Soham-Asmi, and I am Brahman, and I am Amma, then that is what I should be doing too. I should be able to manifest what I want at will. And the fact that she said “I don’t know” to me having an air conditioner meant that something was wrong. Terribly wrong.
This made me completely determined to find out how to become that empowered person where there would be no question as to whether or not I could have an air conditioner. To become the person that no matter what I wanted to manifest, which would ultimately benefit the world, it would manifest quickly. To walk up and say, “I want an air conditioner in my flat” and have it just happen. Like Amma.
For me, that was the next step of my spiritual development. A huge step.
I prayed hard that if this path would not empower me to attain the highest state I could achieve, to empower me in manifesting money to sustain my spiritual life and give like Amma to the poor, that I be guided to the Guru, or spiritual masters, who will give it.
I have basically given up all personal material desires and want only to be one with Siva-Shakti and do service. Why then could I not have a small thing like an air conditioner within this huge universe of abundance?
It sent me deep inside.
Now I understand that my path is not the one of most in the ashram. It took me about one year to accept this about myself, but I have finally accepted it.
Even one year before now (2017), I unknowingly and unexpectedly found myself praying to the Lord of time, Kala Bhairav. Without even knowing anything about him, I somehow found one incredible mantra on the bus. I was so lost in chanting it, I ended up missing my exit in the zero degree winter weather.
I was forced to ride around the city for over one hour hearing this mantra until I got back home. This is pretty ironic considering you are supposed to pray to him for help not to waste time and there I was riding around the city aimlessly.
That was the beginning of my relationship with Kala Bhiarava—in this life.
My depression of my life state continued to worsen when I realized that I was not having what I wanted spiritually. I had basically left the material to gain the spiritual and now I didn’t have either.
I felt so disempowered and depressed that I didn’t know what to do.
I was in an excruciatingly depressed state, which lasted for months. I reached out to help and didn’t get it. I was considering going to see a counselor, I was that bad, and I have a loathing for the whole western medical system. (Yes, I know it helps save lives in an emergency, but I have had awful experiences which I won't go into now.)
The only solution I could see to come out of the pain was to become a sanyasi. For about three months I burned with the desire to want to become a sanyasi, but wasn’t sure if I should or could. It was when I heard that one long-time doctor brahmachary left the ashram and came back wearing orange, that was it. “I must become a sanyasi. If he can, I can too.”
On one of Amma’s days off where she was not giving darshan, I had to get out. Sometimes, in order to feel normal and get a break, some of us will go to eat lunch in the nearby town, Karunagappaly.
That day I went alone. After being seated in the comfy A.C. restaurant, I did a search on “should I become a sanyasi”. No, this is not a joke. Haha. This really happened. Stop laughing. It’s funny to me too. Yes a sanyasi running to an air conditioned restaurant for some peace of mind. I know! It's funny.
So I did this search and one video came up and it was a Swami Nithyananda video entitled “Should you become a sanyasi?” Yes, okay. Keep laughing.
I started to watch it and my mind was blown: during the thirty minute video he answered three of my questions. First was the one about whether I should become a sanyasi, and the other two were questions which I had in my mind percolating for the last months! What? Who is this guy?
I then started researching more in depth. He has a website and an organization and lots of information about initiations for brahmacharya and sanyasi. I was astonished to see that just as Kali is worshipped in Amma’s ashram, Kala Bhairava is worshipped in Nithyananada’s Adheenam.
Wow. I had just started praying to him automatically—my inner guidance had led me to start worshipping Kala Bhairava. What a coincidence!
I also found that he had live English satsangs on YouTube daily. I had already made the decision I had to go there to his ashram asap. I would go, see who this person was, take darshan if possible, and return to Amma’s ashram.
The following morning we had a new International Office open in our ashram. It was a big to-do with puja and all. If you have not been to Amma’s ashram, the International Office is the place where you go to check in, pay for the room, get a key, deposit your passport, everything having to do with visiting the ashram.
As you may or may not know, Amma’s ashram will accept anybody who wants to come, even if it is for one or two days. That means many tourists can also visit, and they do.
That same morning of the opening of the brand new long-awaited International office, I logged onto my first Swami Nithyananda live Satsang. I logged in around nine am, and I saw there were only one hundred something people online watching at that time. The satsang was nearly over, and he had already been talking for a good forty minutes.
The moment I logged on, he was talking about taking revenge on someone and how we should not do that. For about one minute he spoke like this. I was thinking, “He still has to teach that?”
He then abruptly stopped talking about revenge, and looked into the camera and said, “Someday, we will have a Welcome Center where anybody can come for one or two days, they can walk up to the Welcome Center, take a key, go to their room, and leave two days later. And even tourists will be able to come. But right now, it’s not like that.”
What? He was directly talking to me telling me that I cannot just come there how I was expecting! It was as if he could see how our International Office was run! I was of course assuming that I could go there just like anybody could come to Amma’s place and he knew that without seeing me or even meeting me.
Flabbergasted! Too much of a coincidence—to just stop immediately talking about revenge and start talking about a Welcome Center?
Over the course of the next few weeks, I began watching live and recorded satsangs.
I would curse the internet when he was live and it didn’t play. I longed for deeper knowledge and he was giving it—in plain English.
After seeing the people and seeing his devotees online, I then noticed that the people to whom he had given spiritual names also had the name Nitya in them. Another coincidence? Unreal.
The only Guru who in sixteen years could captivate me even slightly besides Amma, was someone who gave all his disciples the name Nitya in their names? Come on. Is this a joke?
No, no coincidence. Too many coincidences to be a coincidence. Now I really had to meet him. I added him as a friend on Facebook. I wrote him a private message and told him of some of my issues. He said, “You will be complete.”
Long story short (yeah right) I went to meet Swami Nithyananda in October 2016 while Amma was away on tour. I was there for two days. I was mentally in a very bad state. I was feeling guilty to go and see another Guru, wondering how anybody from Amma’s ashram will ever speak to me again because I will be considered a traitor or something. I was also super depressed and physically suffering badly from several ailments.
I knew that Amma knew everything and was the Ultimate I was seeking, but for some reason, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled even in Amma’s presence anymore. I wanted more, more, more. I wanted a closer Guru relationship. I wanted it for so many years. I found myself crying for fear of death for months, of not getting enlightened, of having to come again to a body, that my life is wasted. Even in the last satsang I had with Amma she said before I left this last time, “If you have a fear of death, then tell yourself Amma is always with you and that you are safe.” It was just for me.
When I saw that Nithyanada only had a few people around him, it was like, “Wow. He actually has time to say more than one sentence to me.” Years of longing of always staring at Amma speaking to the same people day in and day out while I was sitting away at a distance. Reeling over the same stuff in my head over and over. I wanted to vomit from the thoughts in my mind. I wanted to rip it out and make the noise stop.
When would these same ridiculous thoughts end? The same things over and over? When would I come out from this suffering?
It just became too much. I wanted a Guru I could have a conversation with, who had time to speak to me. Sure I could have learned Malayalam a long time ago in order to speak to Amma. Of course, she can speak any language at all. I am not blaming anybody but myself. But, it never felt right. It never felt right to become a renunciate at Amma’s ashram. It never felt right to pay some huge amount of money to have some title, be under the reign of someone from the office who orders me around, get some low-quality steamed vegetables but still have to pay for other food and care items which will keep me alive along with room rent. It just never felt right.
Of course, anything is possible in the future. But when Amma returned from the Europe tour, the ultimate desires of mine was finally fulfilled.
Within 6 weeks of contacting Swami Nithyanand for blessings and advice on Facebook of all places, I got two of my longest standing desires fulfilled: a cool flat and closer seva (service) to Amma. Of course, Amma answers you too. These kinds of things always happen around Amma. But this was different. I could feel it. Things were changing. I even told Amma when I went for the beautiful seva of giving prasad (where we get to put the prasad into her hands which she gives to people she is hugging) in my mind I was telling her that I was sorry I was thinking of another Guru and if this was my ego to please forgive me that I was ignorant, and I did not know what I was doing. When I got to the side of her chair after the thirty minute wait to give prasad, she turned and smiled at me so lovingly. Like the best smile ever.
I knew that minute she knew everything that was going on with me. That minute I knew she knew of Swami Nithyananda. I wrote her a letter telling her that I wanted to follow Swami Nithyananda and my desire to see him and follow him did not go away. I somewhat expected it to. If he was a fake, or if he would harm me, she would have made it end. Fast. Like she has done with many other people in my life who were not good for me. I told her even during my darshan “Amma, mind not good. Mind very bad.” (Yes, I do not know where that came from but it came out.) And she looked at me and smiled the nicest she ever did. Better even then when I gave prasad. The following morning after that evening darshan, my desire for Nithyananda increased even more. I sat behind Amma questioning all I was going through for almost six weeks, feeling unworthy of being there at all and too depressed and too miserable. I felt I had lost Amma.
Was this really happening? Did she want me to follow Swami Nithyananda? And there during the satsang translation to answer my thoughts he said, “You should follow your inner guidance.” Amma has been an emotional crutch for me for a long time. I clung to her from a disempowered state, and she has put an end to it. The loneliness I felt when she suddenly severed my dependence on her was devastating. It took me nearly one year to recover from the pain of it. She has forced me to go inside.
And now I am convinced that Amma has sent me to Nithyananda to empower me in the ways which I should be empowered, which she cannot. All Gurus and spiritual masters have different powers and abilities and missions. Swami Nithyananda is teaching me that my inner Self is the only one who should be my crutch. Of course, when I saw that he charged money for some programs and when I saw his gold chains (which are fake by the way) with his kingly looking dress, I was turned off for a long time. I actually first heard about him from a devotee who had come to Amma’s ashram. I first heard about him 1.5 years prior to finding him on YouTube.
But when I saw how drop-dead gorgeous he was, I immediately said “No way. He is too beautiful. I will not overcome my issues when I am that attracted.” And I closed him off as a possibility of ever seeing or meeting. What another strange bizarre turn of events that only three months before me finding him on YouTube he had begun growing a beard. Something I would never be physically attracted to.
I found it difficult to accept him speaking with the word “I” when Amma refers to herself in third person. However, I realized that it is only the ignorant who will see the outside. He charges money because he wants only serious seekers who can see deeper into who he is. It is a filter. A way to overcome poverty consciousness. He is giving me clarity about how to come out of the pit I’ve been in with practical, exact techniques and advice from a Vedantic, Agamic background. And I feel hopeful. More hopeful than I have been in a long time. Of course, I will never really leave Amma because Amma is always there. She is me. I feel I matured actually. Who feels? Yeah, I know. But this is what my inner guidance is telling me. So, don’t worry if feel you are being unfaithful to your Guru if you visit and learn from other spiritual masters. In fact, all of creation is the Guru. According to the Encyclopedia of Saivism written by Swami Parameshwarananda you can have three Gurus. A Mantra Deeksha Guru, who initiates you, a Siksha Guru who further instructs you, and a Moksha Guru. They can be the same person but does not have to be.
I have clearly heard Nithyananda tell people that whoever are his disciples will receive moksha. Based on the little I have seen, I am completely convinced.
I never, ever thought this would happen to me, that I would be thinking of another Guru more than Amma. My entire life was consumed with Amma and thoughts of her. But this is how it is. You can take it or leave it.
You can think I am a hypocrite if I come back and visit the ashram. You can think I am nuts, like I thought that other woman was, or lost in my ego, or ungrateful or whatever. But for now, I have to listen to my inner guidance. Like Amma said. Like Swami Nithyananda said. Like all great spiritual masters have said.
“When you act in tune with the Cosmos, the whole cosmos blesses you. You attract all kinds of positive coincidences around you.” – Swami Nithyananda