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What It Means To Be A Student

By Swami Khecaranatha

If you ask me to be your teacher, it’s a declaration of your intention to formalize a relationship that has been developing over time. You may have begun the practice with a casual level of involvement, but have become more actively engaged and consciously committed.

The Dalai Lama has said, “There are thousands of paths to God, choose one and become a master of it.”

GuruyogaThe Value of Commitment

When you become my student you are affirming that our practice is the path you are choosing on the journey to God. I believe this is the commitment that opens you so that you can more deeply receive Divine Grace. You may experience a more palpable connection to our lineage of teachers. And certainly, you’ve openly declared what you hold as sacred and have committed to freedom.

While there is sometimes fear associated with making a commitment, it is, in fact, commitment that frees you. There is a tendency to be involved in all kinds of activities in life, and the effect is that often not much ever takes root in one’s core being. Our lives consist of multiple problems—of pain, pleasure, points of view, having too many options—and they all complicate our existence.

Everything in our life experience, concerning spirituality or anything else, is usually a matter of “shopping around for the best deal.” We all make hundreds of choices in our lives, particularly in regard to our sense of discipline, ethics, and our spiritual path. There are numerous disciplines available, taken from many types of traditions and philosophies. You may try to combine all of them, and find that some might conflict while others work together harmoniously. But in doing so, you are constantly “shopping,” and that is really the basic problem.

By formally becoming a student in this practice, you end your shopping spree in the spiritual supermarket. You decide to stick to a particular brand because it has worked for you and are affirming, “I know there are thousands of paths to God. I choose this one.”

An Ancient Path

This is a path that emerged from the inner practices of the ancient nondual adepts over two thousand years ago. There is a tremendous power inherent in our practice and lineage, embodied by Bhavagan Nityananda (the wellspring of our practice) and Swami Rudrananda (my guru, the powerful conduit of that energy). This power resides in an unfolding, living spiritual force passed from heart to heart, generation after generation.

Scholar Mark Dyczkowski said that our practice, with its focus on the use of energy (particularly through shakti transmission), embodies the highest teachings of the ancient nondual traditions, and specifically those elucidated by the 11th century master, Abhinavagupta. It is by Rudi’s grace that this practice is available to each of you. Although he did not study scripture, Rudi’s practice and teachings, uncovered from within himself through commitment, are a perfect expression of the most sacred of the ancient practices.

Once you have said, “I seek no alternative,” you enter a discipline of choicelessness—because you have made your choice. Perhaps, at first glance, this approach may seem repressive, but it is only possible to find freedom when there are no side tracks or exits. Usually you tend to look for solutions through something new, something outside yourself. Commitment to your spiritual growth through a particular path is working ever more deeply within, without escape routes.

Your Journey to Freedom

Commitment is an expression of freedom because you are no longer bound by uncertainty. It represents a decision to focus. Acknowledging that the only real means to unconditional joy and fulfillment is through transforming yourself, you affirm your spiritual aim and the path you have chosen.

Becoming a student is a deeply personal matter. It’s not required, so it’s a request that rises from your own heart—to acknowledge the sense of coming home and the desire to live a life of greater consciousness. You are taking on the precepts of the practice, professing your own longing, and exposing your vulnerability. Ultimately, asking to be a student in this practice (or any other authentic practice) is a total commitment to the God who dwells within you as your Self.

My role as a teacher is to support you in your sādhana. I am unconditionally devoted to those who are dedicated to their spiritual freedom. But I understand that there are many bumps on the road to freedom, and therefore my commitment is to help you progress along that journey. This includes being available for guidance, which is a form of śakti transmission that can often be more difficult to assimilate than the pure energy that is offered in class, yet can be invaluable if offered in love and accepted in the same spirit.

Please understand that whether or not you formally become a student does not change what I give, only what you receive. I am a gateway to the energy of our lineage, and that connection is always available, because the essence of that energy—Consciousness—is already within you, as your Self. I’m here to serve you, in whatever way I can.