Sample from the Fall 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine
Swami Muktanandaji was born in 1960 in Canada. He was only nine when he met his Guru, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj, the President of the Divine Life Society (DLS). In the early 1980s, Muktanandaji came to stay in Yogaville for a number of years. Later, he became one of the youngest Westerners to join the DLS monastic order. He recently was named by Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj to be an official representative of the DLS, traveling the globe. From a very early age, Swami Muktanandaji recalls having strong spiritual yearnings to be a monk. During a recent visit to Yogaville, he spoke very personally about his spiritual journey:
“I want to see God! He hasn’t come yet! What is he waiting for? God is not coming!” That is how I felt. I would cry to God. I went to bed angry at God. And, one night, Swami Chidanandaji came to my dream. And my body prostrated in front of him, as if it had known how to do it for a long time. His two big hands lifted me up, and he kissed me on the check. I woke up in the morning with the strange sensation of a presence that was lifting my soul up.
In 1981, I met Swami Satchidanandaji who was going to play a great role also in my life, because I later spent so much time in Yogaville. Knowing that he was a brother monk of Swami Chidanandaji and that they were very close, I trusted him. I remember when I first met him. I was uplifted by his presence.
I went to Rishikesh in 1986 for six months. I went again in 1991 and 1995. Then, in 1997, something happened. I had the visit, in a vision, from Anandamayi Ma and my Guru, Swami Chidanandaji. They carried a message with them that was adwaitic. It was a message about the Self, which was concerning what I am.
I decided to go to India for intense sadhana. On my way there, I met Swami Chidanandaji in England and he asked me, “Why are you going to India?” I said, “For intense sadhana, Swamiji.” He said, “Good! Then you go to Swami Brahmananda.” Though I had been in India several times, I had never met Swami Brahmananda. He was like Ramana Maharshi, a sage established in the Absolute. When I arrived, Swami Brahmananda was having cardiac problems, so he was not giving classes. I said, “Gee, that’s weird; Swamiji sent me to be with Swami Brahmanandaji and now it is not possible to see him.” Then a few days later, I met one of the residents of the Ashram, Divyabhava, on the road. She approached me, saying, “You must do me a great service. You must massage the feet of a great saint.” “Oh, wonderful! Yes! What is his name?” I asked. She replied, “His name is Swami Brahmananda.”
So, the next morning, as I was learning how to massage his feet, I told Swami Brahmanandaji, “This is interesting because Swami Chidanandaji sent me to you.” He just smiled and took me under his wing and started to instruct me in a personal way. He would take me out and sit on the little steps in the sun and say, “Now, how do you meditate?” I said, “Oh, Swamiji, when I meditate I feel like, in my head the whole sky is filled with light and I can remain in that peaceful state for a long time.” And, he said, “Good. That’s good. But that is not enough.” I thought he was going to say, “Good, good; continue and keep on going like that.” But, he said,” It is good, but it is not enough.” And then he told me, “There is something that you remember when you are in deep sleep. What is it?” I said, “I don’t know.” “Come back tomorrow. Meditate on that and come back tomorrow,” he said. And, then I meditated upon that. I couldn’t find it. I said to myself, “Gee, I don’t seem to be able to find anything.” So, I went back the next day. I said, “Well, Swamiji, would it be darkness?” “No! Come back tomorrow,” he said. “Gee, okay.” I meditated upon deep sleep. “Okay, okay, I think I have found out, Swamiji. Would it be silence?” He answered, “No. Come back tomorrow.” “Oh, come on, Swamiji, tell me.” But, he said, “No, you come back tomorrow.” So, I went back and meditated on deep sleep. “Oh, Swamiji, this time I found it. It’s peace.” He said, “Do you feel at peace when you are in deep sleep? Come back tomorrow.” And, then I said, “No, No, Swamiji. This time you must tell me.” “Alright, alright. Nothing! You remember nothing!” I knew that! The way that he put the question, he really tricked me. But, it forced me for three days to meditate on the state of deep sleep…
Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine .