Out of the Rabbit Hole
Before the amazing August 2023 retreat and intensive, I contemplated writing my upcoming blog about: What characterizes my rabbit holes (that which leads me away from God)? How do I get there? By ‘chance’,....View Now
One of the remarkable utterances of Sadguru Kedarji, a Shaktipat Lineage Holder, from the weeklong retreat is that there is a difference between teachings and the instruction and leadership of the Sadguru. Guru’s Grace is everything. He also spoke about the necessity to wean the restless mind on to the Self with the “carrot and the stick” approach to imbibing the discipline necessary to break the habit of the mind wandering in worldly distractions.
He said, “It’s the carrot and the stick.” That made me laugh for a good minute.
And then it caught my attention. I was momentarily awe struck. I had an awareness of what really makes the teachings come alive. I realized the ‘why’ of why all teachings are not the same, the ‘why’ of why I need the leadership of a competent spiritual master/mentor who is in a lineage of great Sadgurus.
In that moment, I understood the difference between what I had collected as sacred teachings all my life, and what I was now, in this room, during this retreat, being instructed in. I was not just being educated in sacred texts. I was being lead through. I was being lead to the direct experience of those teachings by the Grace of the Guru.
After hearing Kedarji’s utterance in the retreat, I began to contemplate all the teachings I had collected and what I had truly gained and experienced. What was revealed was that the teachings I had collected most of my life instilled in me the false understanding that all teachings are the same.
It was easy for me to draw that conclusion of sameness when looking at the seemingly similar message that many workshop leaders and YouTube gurus have woven through their talks. Many of my previous teachers professed to speak of the inner Self, going inside to know who you are, by means of:
“Think happy, be happy.”
“Manifest the life of your dreams.”
“Visualize it to get it.”
“Create life the way you want it.”
And my personal favorite…..
“Take what resonates with you and leave the rest.”
These were all teachings. Something to listen to in order to feel good, without any real meat or instruction on how to attain the goal. For example: To think happy and be happy, I would need to know how to find Happiness where it really is, how to really address the mind to stop its restlessness, in order to go beyond the mind and beyond the senses.
After having that realization, I had to concede that nothing I learned about spiritual happiness in my former life qualified me to know the Self. I had not given much thought to how my lack of understanding, lack of inner experience, lack of practice and lack of being tested would impact my inner state and my fate.
From my previous teachings and trainings, I had no true inner experience of the Self. I had a limited increase in my spiritual awareness and held understandings that were not based in the Truth. I was very contracted and deeply rooted in the play of the Gunas and Malas (the karmic impurities).
In my former approach, my involvement with the teachings, conveyed to me at that time, did not require me to put forth any serious effort to attain the goal of the teachings. It was implied that a magic pill existed that would take care of my personal responsibility so that I would not have to be accountable. I had simply become a collector of teachings that made me feel good and reinforced my contraction.
Now, I had my answer from Sadguru Kedarji, an authentic Shaktipat Lineage Holder, in the utterance of ‘the carrot and the stick.’ I’ve collected the evidence in having inner experiences of the Truth. A simple utterance from my Guru caused deep awareness to unfold. No other teacher or teaching had ever given me the gift of direct knowledge.
Previous to entering the Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach, in my former studies, the ‘carrot’ was present in the learning of teachings from sacred texts, but the ‘stick’ was missing as to the direct inner experience that would lead me to permanent transformation.
Now, my understanding of what Kedarji says, is that the lessons and talks on scriptures are the delicious carrot being dangled in front of us to keep the mind engaged, while the real work is taking place on a more subtle and deeply profound level…..getting hit with the ‘stick’ of Grace and Love.
This understanding has grown in me through direct experience. In my experience, the Guru’s Grace is also the mirror of the Guru that reflects back to us that which keeps us entangled in the play of the Gunas and Malas.
This is what was missing in all the other approaches I have experienced, prior to crossing paths with Kedarji. Those who I was taught by before were not able to transmit the Grace-bestowing power of God to me. They were not able to show me my shortcomings and help me across this sea of worldliness!
All Teachings Are Not the Same
Even if the teachings were all the same (which they are not), teachings alone do not cause transformation to occur. This fact was made very clear to me in my contemplation.
What stands out the most for me that sets Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga and Sadguru Kedarji, an authentic Shaktipat Lineage Holder, apart from all the other courses/approaches/teachings that I have been exposed to is this: Guru’s Grace, Lineage, and Lasting Inner Experience that is not just a glimpse.
Kedarji teaches us that Grace is the power, the love that rescues us from entanglement in worldliness and, like a boat, carries us across the illusion of this world to the distant shore of Joy, Peace and the Bliss of the Absolute. This Grace-bestowing power frees us from the bondage of ignorance that keeps God concealed from us. That bondage is the play of the Gunas and Malas in one’s Consciousness.
For one to be able to recognize and understand such Grace, one needs to live under the direction of and obedience to the instruction of a Living Master.
We can’t imbibe Grace if we won’t obey the source of this Grace-bestowing power, the living Shakta Adept, the Guru. Obeying the instruction of the Living Master, rather than attempting to interpret teachings through the false lens of our impurities (the limiting, binding karmic tendencies) is the only way we can recognize this Grace long enough to imbibe it. For this, we also need instruction for an effective, sustainable, daily spiritual practice, or we will fail.
The Point of Seeking Is To Find
Seeking the Truth should culminate in finding the Truth. There’s no point in remaining a seeker. I fully understand this now, by keeping the company of Sadguru Kedarji. My lifetime of seeking the Truth has come to an end in experiencing the difference between teachings, which can be interpreted by any whim one wants, and the instruction of the Guru. For one cannot interpret the Guru. And, as the Sages of our lineage state, the Living Master is both the means and the path.
Ours is a path of Grace. Grace is all there is! The living Sadguru can only give Grace. As I learn teachings from Kedarji and our lineage of Saints, I’m not only being taught, but most importantly, I am being extended the Grace necessary to imbibe the hidden and most profound meanings of our sacred texts. I’m getting hit with the ‘stick’ of Grace, so that inner experience and permanent spiritual change can occur, by way of a new vision that is not tainted by the impurities of all my limiting and binding karmic tendencies.
This permanent transformation culminates in the experience of Oneness – Oneness with the Guru, God and everything and everyone else. I also experienced this Grace in a Meditation where I merged with Kedarji and experienced immersion in this Oneness. It was by his Grace that I was extended that experience to know what the Master’s state is like, so that I can nurture the longing for that state that the Guru embodies.
With the experience that began with Shaktipat, I see Guru’s Grace at work in my everyday life. Someone flips me the bird because I’m driving too slow. That’s Grace, reminding me to have compassion, as that person may be having a really bad day. So I practice seeing that person as God in that moment of confrontation, and repeat my Mantra. My son mouths off at me. That’s Grace reminding me to see him as God, and to repeat my Mantra, as I consider how he should be best raised.
There are so many other profound shifts in my spiritual awareness and the ways in which I am now able to lead a better life that the space here does not permit me to share. What I do know from having tested this in the laboratory of my own existence is this:
Teachings alone are worthless where ending one’s seeking in permanent transformation and liberation is concerned. For that, one’s needs the kind of instruction that comes from imbibing the Grace transmitted by the Guru – by way of obeying the instruction of the Living Master.
Otherwise, we’re just left holding the bag, just information, a dangling, disappearing ‘carrot,’ a fading promise of transformation that ends in cynicism, loss of Faith, loss of Humility and Reverence and the fading of our Longing.
It is my experience that so much more awaits you in Sadguru Kedarji’s company.
Rev. Deana Tareshawty is a Christian minister who performs her selfless service as Vice President of our public charity, The Bhakta School, in addition to serving as a program leader and harmonium player. She also serves on our Board of Directors. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a double minor in Biology and Chemistry. She is a certified Ecology of Well-Being practitioner and the owner of Inspired Wholeness. She is also a trained Reiki Master in Usui Reiki.