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Seeing God In a Bee

Direct Knowledge of the Self

As Kedarji tells us, “By devotion to the Guru, one attains the wisdom and direct knowledge of the Self.”

There are so many religions and spiritual paths out there that are based on dogma, the mentality of “do as I say, not as I do.” Many provide their followers with information or intellectual knowledge, but information and intellectual knowledge doesn’t transform people – leadership does.

This is one of the things that drew me to Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga – that things weren’t just accepted as truth because “some guy” wrote it in a book hundreds or thousands of years ago. Kedarji has repeatedly told me and everyone else that has come to this approach, not to take his word for it, and to approach this path like a scientist would. He said we should test the teachings for ourselves, in the laboratory of our own existence, so we know for a fact if they are true or not. The foundational teaching of our approach, that God exists equally in everything, everyone, everywhere, has been quite interesting for me to test and directly experience.

My Fear

To begin, I should tell you that I have had an extreme fear of bugs for pretty much my entire life— and it didn’t matter how big or small the bugs were. My way of dealing with this fear was to kill the bugs, or have someone else kill them for me, especially if they were inside my home. I remember trying to work up the courage to kill a spider in my apartment in my 20s. It took me more than 3 hours to work up the courage and to create a make-shift contraption to squish the spider with so that I could be as far away from it as possible while I did it. It was awful, and I felt terrible about it afterwards, but I was terrified of bugs.

It wasn’t until I crossed paths with my Guru that this began to change for me. About nine years ago, Kedarji watched me freak out over a little bug that kept charging in my direction as I sat on the floor in the Meditation Hall near him. After learning about my fear, Kedarji instructed me to stop killing bugs and to see them as God. I thought to myself, “Oh, Lord, how on earth am I going to do this??”

A Time for Change

Fast forward to last week: I was sitting at my desk at home and heard this really loud buzzing sound. I was hoping it was just a fly and that if I ignored it, it would quickly find its way back out of my apartment. Eventually, the buzzing got louder and louder, and I began to hear the creature buzzing and banging into the glass of my balcony doors. That’s when my heart sank and I thought, “Oh, that sounds far to big to be a fly.” A sense of dread washed over me as my mind somersaulted into thoughts of fear and anxiety over what kind of creature could be making such a ruckus, and anxiety over how I was going to trap this bug to release it outside.

As I got up to investigate, I saw a honeybee that had become trapped between my screen door and the sliding glass door of my balcony. Prior to this approach, I would have been in a panic and shut my sliding glass doors, likely dooming the bee to a slow death if it wasn’t able to free itself on its own (because in my mind, a bee is a bug). Instead, I remembered this teaching to see God in everything, in everyone, everywhere, as I went closer to investigate.

A Shift in Mental State

My mental state completely shifted as I held this understanding that God exists in everything, in everyone, everywhere. In an instant, I was experiencing an Improved Mental State – the second of Kedarji’s 4 Pillars of Joy in Daily Living. Instead of feeling fear or anxiety, I felt love and compassion for this bee, this manifestation of God.

I wanted this little bee to survive and to be free to fly around to flowers collecting pollen for its hive. I tried to gently open the screen door to create more area for the bee to free itself, but it seemed to fly further and further behind the glass door, and further from its freedom. I continued to slide the screen back and forth, trying to coax the bee from between the screen and the glass. As it continued to bang against the glass, I felt such compassion and love for this bee. I just wanted to see it go free.

Talking to God As a Bee

Unable to coax it to freedom, I began to talk to the bee, out loud. I was telling the bee exactly where to go to get unstuck, while also showing it visually. Each time the bee moved forward and made progress, getting closer and closer to freedom, it would fall back again and move farther and farther away. This process repeated itself for quite some time. “Come on Shiva, you can do it. Just a little farther.” I told the bee multiple times that it was so close to freedom, that the distance it needed to travel was so small.

In between banging around between the two doors, the bee would sometimes stop and land on the screen. From my own superimposition, it looked like the bee was throwing a fit and flailing around in frustration. I smiled and inwardly thought, “I’d be frustrated banging around like that too, little bee!” I continued to be patient, looking at this bee lovingly, almost as if I wanted to cradle it in my hands to safety… almost.

I persisted in my efforts to help the bee, and eventually, the bee stopped sliding back and freed itself from between the doors. I felt so happy and full of joy, with a great big smile on my face. As I contemplated this experience, I realized how similar it was to the interaction between the yogi and the Guru—between me and my Guru.


In seeing that bee as God, I was filled with love, compassion, and patience – the same way that Kedarji is filled with love, compassion, and patience for me. Each time the bee advanced closer to the opening between the doors and then slid back and found itself farther away, over and over again, I saw how this was like when I advance in my Sadhana, my daily spiritual practices, and then I slide and get off-track or distracted and fall farther away from realizing my True Nature as the Self, as God, over and over again. And when I saw that bee landing on the screen in what looked like a tantrum of frustration, I recognized my own frustration in Sadhana, in following certain instructions, in surrendering certain things, and in frustration for how I perceive my Sadhana to be going.

I had patience with the bee. I had patience and compassion and stuck by it until I saw that it had safely attained its freedom. My Guru does the same for me. My Guru has been so patient with me, even when I slide in my Sadhana. My Guru is patient and extends compassion to me for the process of Sadhana, for he has successfully made the same journey and understands all of the obstacles and trials.

Just as I repeatedly gave the bee instructions for how to attain its freedom, having compassion and patience for when it wasn’t listening to me and following my instructions, Kedarji leads and instructs me, having compassion and patience when I also don’t follow his instructions. In telling the bee how close it was to freedom, I was reminded how Kedarji has shared on multiple occasions how, for the yogi, the distance to freedom, to Liberation, is so small. We just have to take that leap.


And when that bee finally got free, I was filled with such joy that it had finally attained its freedom. I’m certain that when the time comes, my Guru will be filled with that same Joy that I, too, attained Freedom.

This interaction, and my contemplation of it, also helped me to realize that I need to extend this same love, compassion, and patience to myself. I know that this is something that I struggle with, but if I can see a bee (a “bug”) as that One God, if I can have patience and compassion for that bee – something that I previously had been terrified of, then why can’t I extend those same things to myself? God exists in everything, everyone, everywhere. If I can see and have the direct experience of God in a bee, then surely I can see and experience that same God in myself… and that is the Ultimate Freedom.

Shanti Harkness volunteers as the Secretary of The Bhakta School of Transformation. She sits on our Board of Directors and also volunteers as a certified staff teacher and program leader for Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga. She works in the marketing field.

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