Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


It is said that the touch of the grace of the Guru (shaktipata) is given through physical presence. For many years, Padmasambhava had guided me though i was aware of it, but not totally in the comprehension of the real Self. Then, a few years ago, in a library, i found, (or he found me) the books of Swami Rama, and later i met once Swami Veda Bharati in Rishikesh who was already in his silence. We exchanged some mails but He is no more in his physical presence now.

So, to which Guru am I linked? Do we need a physical presence to be guided, to receive eventually shaktipata when, of course we are ready?

I had been initiated on July 31, 2015, by Swami Ritavan Bharati and received a mantra initiation.


Three have answered this question: Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma), Lalita Arya (Ammaji), and Michael Smith.

From Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma):

A physical presence is not required. According to Kularnava Tantra, shaktipata can be given by a touch, a glance or a thought. There are quite a few examples of people receiving such initiations in their dreams, although sometimes it can be tricky to distinguish a merely psychological dream from such a superconscious dream. It is clear that both Swami Rama and Swami Veda remain present and very active despite being without physical bodies.

The Guru is a force of consciousness (cit-shakti) that moves through people because we need form in order to comprehend. It is the same Guru that moves through Swami Rama, Swami Veda or a regular yoga teacher to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the degree of emotional purification and the degree to which there person can move their ego out of the way. In our tradition, it is Swami Rama that gives the mantras.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

The inquirer's questions are –

1.  To which Guru am I linked? - We are not linked to any special Guru, we are absorbed into the Lineage of the Initiator from whom the mantra was received. This initiator has been trained in that Lineage that was first introduced in this Family of Meditators in a physical body - known as Swami Rama.

2. Do we need a physical presence to be guided? - It is not necessary to have a physical presence to keep guiding us. The example you give yourself by finding the books by Swami Rama and Swami Veda. However, we are physical beings and we want that physical connection, which helps - to answer questions, for guidance, etc. Later as one progresses it might not be necessary.

3. Shaktipaatha - Since you have been initiated the Guru shakti is already with you. When you are ready, you will be touched. Just meditate for now.

Hope this helps.

From Michael Smith:

Swami Veda and Swami Rama have talked numerous times about the Guru not being a person, but “Universal Intelligence,” which can come in many ways and many forms.

In a nutshell, Swamiji said many times, “Don’t mistake absence for presence.”

Swami Veda in #2 of the Rishikesh Series of Talks (1991):

Whoever heard of anyone ever kindling the lightning?
The Teacher-within teaches without donning a personality,
As God in our sleep without word or voice sings.
Seek no more anyone to en-soul your own soul.
Do not imagine partitions in partless Absolute Whole.

Do not imagine partitions in partless Absolute Whole.        
Do recognize, pay homage when, wearing Absence’s garbs,
Presence wanders into your heart, mind, person
To visit with you and in you to dwell.

Let not Absences, wearing fabrics of illusion,
Play for you Presence’s role,
As nothing short of Infinity
Remains ever your only goal.

Editor’s Note:

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