Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.
My first program with Sadguru Kedarji in July, 2010 did not go as planned. I intended to be sneaky and manipulative to gain information to prove that Kedarji was a scam artist. Instead, I was struck with an overwhelming amount of the Guru’s spiritual energy, or Shakti, which was an experience that—to this day—I cannot adequately put into words.
At the end the program, the friend who had invited me gestured for me to go in front of the Guru. Unsure of what to do or say, I crawled in front of Him, then sat there and smiled at him.
Kedarji looked me in the eye, gave a warm, gentle smile in return, and handed me a candle in the shape of a flower—a candle that I have on my puja to this day. My friend told me to hold on to that candle, because it was blessed by a Sadguru, and this was an immense offering of Grace.
I was an atheist, albeit a polite atheist. I accepted the candle.
From that point, a series of additional odd experiences over months piqued my curiosity about this path and led me to my first experience of Shaktipat.
Later that night, a stabbing headache developed out of the blue. The next day, the headache only became worse. After taking painkillers and repeated naps during the day (neither of which made a difference), I went upstairs to take a shower in the middle of the afternoon.
My mother specifically told me to keep the door unlocked, in case I needed help. I rolled my eyes, but agreed.
Minutes later while in the shower, I had a grand mal seizure. Although this was not my first seizure, it was—by far—the worst one I’d ever had. During the seizure, I had fallen and kicked the bathtub drain closed.
Downstairs, my mother heard a loud bang and came to check on me. What she found was me, naked, unconscious, lying face down in a bathtub that was filling up with water—which was starting to cover my face. When she tried lifting me up, my face was covered in blood. Somehow, my mother was able to drag me to her bed.
Turns out, I had broken or knocked out 4 teeth, and had a gash in my face that would require 2 hospital visits and 2 layers of stitches over the next 2 days. Had my mother gone in that bathroom 5 minutes later, she likely would have found me dead.
Despite the injuries and the severity of that incident, what I remember was a profound experience coming out of the seizure. Physically, I was flailing around and screaming trying to let anyone around me know I was not dead, as this was always an incoherent fear that I experienced when regaining consciousness after a seizure. During this hectic post-seizure time, drifting in and out of consciousness, there were images and thoughts in my head scrolling quickly like a flipbook.
My job. My job would be at risk, since the position I held required a vast amount of driving, and I was not supposed to drive for 6 months after a seizure. I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. My house would be gone. My stuff would be gone. My son—I needed money to care for my son. I was going to end up homeless. An avalanche of consequences and fear stemming from this one seizure started whirling through hazy, uncontrollable thoughts.
Then, the oddest thing happened. I began hearing Sadguru Kedarji’s voice over and over again. All He kept repeating to me was, “You can’t take it with you when you go.” The moment I heard His voice inside, I felt completely at peace and completely calm, as though my external body were entirely detached from everything that was going on inwardly. While on the outside, I was still flailing and screaming, I felt swaddled and cradled by nothing other than the Guru’s words. “You can’t take it with you when you go.”
Later, my mother told my friend about the seizure. When I talked to my friend, she told me that she had approached Kedarji, told Him about the seizure, and said, “Ha. That was some Grace.” I don’t recall what she said His response was, but it was something along the lines of how that experience was something I needed to have happen.
My friend said that it was good that I had burned a lot of Karmas with that seizure. Burned a lot of Karmas? Grace? What was she talking about? I didn’t believe the Guru had anything to do with the seizure.
Regardless, one thing I could not deny was that I had this inner experience of Him comforting me while it was all happening. I never told her I heard His voice. In fact, determined to still be skeptical, I didn’t say anything about inwardly hearing the Guru’s voice to anyone for over 4 years. But never for a second did I forget it happened, and in no way can I deny that I knew that Kedarji was somehow with me and protecting me through it.
(Years later, Sadguru Kedarji would explain that had been an experience of my spiritual rebirth.)
When I got back to Texas, I noticed a very subtle shift in my mental and emotional states had occurred after meeting the Guru. I had a boyfriend at that time who was an alcoholic. We had broken up and reunited repeatedly, as this was not a healthy relationship. And every time we had broken up, I was empty, scared to be alone, thinking it was better to have somebody than nobody.
But, when I got back from CT, within a week of returning, we broke up again. And it was very simple. I told him to get his stuff out of my house and never talk to me again. No tears, no regrets, and no looking back. It was different than every other time we had broken up before.
I remembered the Guru’s words from the program the week prior. Attachment to people, places, and things will not bring you happiness. That state of happiness is already inside you, and when you find it, you hold onto it and experience it regardless of external happenings.
I was so attached to this horrible, destructive relationship and for all the “stuff” I got out of it, that I kept going back, because I was scared of what a life alone would look like. But when I focused on the Guru’s words that I learned from that one program, letting go was completely effortless.
This guy tried all his tricks to get me to reunite with him one last time, and no matter what he did—beg, stalk, threaten, try to get me fired, lie, spread rumors, etc. over the course of much of the next 6 months—I had 1 response: “You don’t affect me.” The fear of moving on without him was completely gone. It was as though a new-found content protected me like a shield.
But the true test was work. I knew full-well that I was going to lose my job after the seizure, since I had a job in the field where the majority of my time was spent driving to make home visits, and Texas law says that there is no driving for 6 months after a seizure. Several years prior, I had fought a prolonged battle through many levels of higher-ups and the legal department to keep my job after a different seizure.
When I met with my boss and my boss’ boss, I had a black eye, scrapes all over my face, swollen cheeks, stitches coming out of my face, and I was limping. I simply told them I had another seizure, and I would need to go through the steps and get out of my current position.
Although I knew that I would need to take a voluntary demotion, I told them that I trusted that I would eventually end up where I needed to be. I just kept remembering the Guru’s words about attachment, and realized how attached I was to this job, and to the money that came from the job.
Now, I needed to start to let go of those attachments, and I went into this process as peacefully and with as little resistance as I could.
“You can’t take it with you when you go.” Those were the words that I used to combat every bit of fear I faced during that time, as I crept deeper and deeper into debt. All this stuff I had and continued to pay for, how much of it did I need? How much of it was nothing more than attachments I had to make me feel less empty? How scared was I to let it go? Did I need to someday be the richest person in the graveyard? Are worldly attainments really that important after all?
I contemplated my attachments quite a bit during this time, and realized how I was facing a lifetime of fear based on social conditioning by filling up my life with things that didn’t really matter.
My friend encouraged me to watch programs via webcast, so periodically, I did. And several times, Sadguru Kedarji would say things that mirrored exactly something I was dealing with. So, I listened to Him and His practical advice. It helped me to get through this period of professional and financial limbo more than anything else.
Meanwhile, other “weird” things kept spontaneously happening. My boss pulled me into her office, and she said, “You know, Jamie. I’m proud of you. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you, but just know that you’re really handling this with a lot of grace.”
I was handling it with “grace.” That word “grace” struck me like lightning. I had never heard her say that before. All I could think of was Kedarji. He and my friend were the only people who ever said the word “grace” to me. What “grace” was she talking about?
Oddly, I did feel protected by something. I didn’t feel like fighting, regardless of my circumstances. I enjoyed a more serene mental and emotional state. It was like that invisible shield of content continued to surround me. Was this the Grace Kedarji mentions so frequently?
On a different day, my boss’ boss (the Program Director), called me into her office and told me to close the door. Now, I had known this woman for several years, and she is one of the most straight-laced, tough-as-nails person I had ever met.
She told me that within the next 24 hours, I would be getting a call to inform me that I would be voluntarily demoted, and where I would be reporting to. I expressed some worry, knowing I would have trouble paying bills, but tried to hold any emotions back.
The Program Director said, “Jamie look at me. I need you to trust me. I need you to trust that everything will be ok. I will not let anything happen to you. Because I love you.”
This was the most unpredictable and uncharacteristic statement I had ever heard her say. Did she just say “love”?
As she uttered those statements, I had this strange sense that those words weren’t coming from her—they were coming from the Guru. I felt a certain calmness and security in that moment that I had really only felt while listening to Kedarji. For some odd reason, I believed what she told me—especially when I saw her as being a messenger of the Guru’s words.
So, sure enough, I ended up in a position that was a demotion. And a pay cut. And on top of that, during this time, something went wrong with my ex-husband’s military retirement pay, and there was a period of time he wasn’t able to pay child support. All in all, by Christmas of that year, I was about $10,000 in debt. But I kept periodically watching Kedarji’s webcasts, and taking certain messages from them.
Kedarji talked about the importance of one-pointedness and perfecting activity, even if that activity is something undesireable. I remember He told stories of a bomb-maker who didn’t want to make bombs anymore because he didn’t want to be responsible for the destruction that bombs caused, and of a stripper who didn’t want to work in a strip club anymore.
Both of them were told by their Gurus to go right back to work and perfect their activity from moment to moment in their jobs, whether they perceived them to be demoralizing or demeaning. In both of these stories, they followed the Guru’s instruction and, inevitably, something better came along as a result.
I listened to those stories and followed the instruction inherent in them. Although my judgment told me that I was better than this demotion I had taken, I went into work every day with humility, learned as much as I could, and perfected it to the very best of my ability. To my surprise, I found great joy in doing my work tasks when I focused on one-pointedness.
Meanwhile, I was applying like crazy for other positions, and had difficulty getting interviews. As frustrating as it was that I didn’t get a single call after over 30 applications submitted, I continued to focus on perfecting my activity, rather than focus on the fear and attachments that would have exploded in my face if I thought about money, comfort, and security.
Instead, I told my friend in CT that I was curious about Shaktipat. Kedarji’s instructions were really the only thing getting me through this rough time, and I wondered what else He had to offer. As it turned out, there was a Weekend Intensive with Sadguru Kedarji’s Shaktipat Blessing in December when I was going back to CT to visit, so I revolved my trip around this Intensive.
Even though I was already heavily into debt without knowing how I would climb out of it, there was a nagging pull to receive Shaktipat. My skepticism started wearing thin as I realized how much practical sense was intertwined into the utterances and methods of Kedarji’s lineage, and how much more peaceful daily life was when following the lessons. This was something I had to do.
Attending my first Intensive was incredible. The depth of the material and wisdom from Saints and Sages in the lineage captivated me, and I scribbled notes in a journal I had purchased that morning. Soaking up more and more knowledge was absolutely fascinating. Then, it was time for Shaktipat.
I wasn’t sure what to expect during Shaktipat. I remember closing my eyes and hearing Kedarji going around the room. When He got to me, he bopped me on the top of the head with peacock feathers. There was an incense-like aroma that swirled around, and that I breathed in deeply after the blessing with the feathers. Immediately, my mind fell silent, although I maintained awareness that I was still sitting in the meditation hall. I don’t remember hearing much of anything after that point.
Kedarji came around again and firmly pressed points on my lower spine and head. One point He pressed on my head caused me to immediately slide into meditation. When He stepped away from me, I drifted into a meditation so deep, I could no longer feel my body, and I had no awareness of what was going on in the room.
I had visions of going through dark twisting wormholes, or tunnels, at great speed, with flashes of different-colored lights. Sometimes, everything remained still and silent, and then I would have another vision of going through a tunnel.
During one point of stillness, I arrived at a place that gradually came into view. I saw my body as a clear, transparent shell, hovering in a body of endless blue water—a sea more tranquil than I could imagine, with light waves on the surface, and playful and gently swirling currents underneath. As the water flowed through my clear shell of a body, the only thought drifting through my head was, “I am the sea; the sea is me.” I experienced a state of pure content, bliss, and happiness that–to this day–I cannot fully describe in words. There were no worries, no expectations, and no fears in this place. I wanted to remain there forever; everything was perfect. And then I heard a single word whispered: “Desirelessness.”
I remained hovering in this pristine ocean, mesmerized by the sense of oneness I had with this infinite body of water, until I heard Sadguru Kedarji play the song bowl to bring our awareness back to the room. About an hour had passed. It felt like 10 minutes.
Coming out of meditation, once again, I felt my body. I didn’t want to be in the room. I yearned to be back in the place I had just experienced in the Shaktipat meditation.
No matter how many times I try to type out or explain the experience of Shaktipat, all my attempts are futile. Words cannot touch the magnificence of what Shaktipat ignites.
That one, single experience turned me from a die-hard atheist to knowing—through experience—that there is an energy, a permeating Love and simplicity, an all-pervasive power that goes beyond anything fathomable by the mind, and nothing that science or worldly research could touch. Sadguru Kedarji calls this the Shiva-Shakti power, otherwise known as God.
When the Intensive was over, Kedarji called me for a private Darshan, which I learned was a great privilege. When He learned of my Shaktipat experience, He said that I had visited The Blue Lake of Consciousness in meditation.
What happened next took me off-guard, and was as mysterious as the other experiences I had since meeting the Guru. Kedarji began telling me things about my life—specifically pertaining to poor choices I was making in my personal and social life—and talked to me about watching the company I kept. He made reference to choices and events I hadn’t even told my old friend about.
He also told me about a past Karma with a particular person—a person with whom I have had a strained relationship with for as long as I can remember. Kedarji said that my relationship with this individual had held me back in previous lifetimes, and He gave me instructions for how to respect and relate to this person moving forward.
How He knew anything about these details of my life was beyond me. There is a mystery to the Grace experienced in the presence of a true Sadguru; and an indescribable connection that develops with the Guru at the receipt of Shaktipat.
The Guru’s Grace is a life-changing, transformative force-field of protection. I began to learn that taking refuge in the Guru means that I am protected in the way I need, although not always in the way I want. Had I not been faced with the struggles of the seizure and after-effects over the previous 5 months prior, I would never had experienced the teachings in the way that would drive me to receive Shaktipat.
Two days after the Intensive ended, I received a phone call. I was offered a double-promotion at work that would multiply my salary, and would start within 2 weeks. I attributed this to nothing other than the Guru’s Grace, with any of my own efforts being nothing more than a result of following His instruction.
The day of my first Shaktipat, Sadguru Kedarji showed me a boundless state of pure peace, Love, and Bliss that Sages, Saints, poets, religious dieties, musicians and scribes can only attempt to express in words. From that day forth, I was determined to take the steps to return there. Thus began my Sadhana.
Jamie Walker is a Disciple of Sadguru Kedar and has been a student of Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga since 2010. She lives in Georgetown, TX and works as a supervisor in a local agency that addresses abused and neglected children.