Guidelines for Aspirants Guru Aarati (English | Hindi)|
GUIDELINES FOR SPIRITUAL ASPIRANTS
1. Creating Sacred Meditation (Sadhana) Space : In a neat and clean room dedicated to Sadhana only arrange an altar in the center of the wall. Recommended altar dimensions are approximately 2’H X 1.5’W X 4’L. A table, bench or cabinet of this type can also be used. Cover altar with a nice linen or silk cloth. Place photographs and statues of your revered Gurudeva and other deities in whom you have full faith and devotion. Prior to your daily Sadhana, make an offering at your sacred altar using a lamp or flame preferably made of clarified butter (Ghee) and a cotton wick. Include personal offerings: such as incense, flowers, fruits, sweets and other sacred items of your choice.
2. Proper Preparation on your Initiation Day : Your Divine Shaktipat Diksha (Initiation) day is an extremely auspicious and sacred event. Prior to initiation, it is important that you bathe well and open yourself fully to receive the holy gift of initiation. Clear your mind of all worldly concerns and focus it with full faith on the Divine Presence of your Guru. Prior to Initiation, you must prepare and carefully arrange a proper offering tray (made of metal) for Worship of Guru. Prepare a sacred ointment (Tilak) made of Roli (red powder) mixed with a small amount of water. If Roli is not available, you may also use sandalwood paste as Tilak. Place the ointment on your offering tray along with an arrangement of the following offerings on your tray, small cup or bowl of water, flowers, rice, fruits, sweets, raisins, coconut, some cloth, two pieces of red thread or yarn (Moli) and other sacred items you wish to offer to your Guru. Include money offering according to your personal means adding one dollar. You may find these worship items for purchase at a Hindu Temple or Indian store.
3. How to Worship Guru at the time of Initiation : Approach your Guru humbly and place your offering tray at his feet. Offer yourself for initiation with a flat prostration (Sastang Pranam) of complete and total surrender at the feet of your Guru. After flat Pranam, worship your Guru by following these steps:
a. Place a few flowers from your tray onto both of your Guru’s feet.
b. Anoint (put Tilak) your Guru’s forehead in the middle of the eyebrows (Ajna Chakra or Third Eye). Place rice on the top of this Tilak.
c. Tie a piece of red thread (Moli) around the right wrist of your Guru and humbly surrender yourself with flat Pranam at his feet.
d. Anoint your Guru’s feet with ointment by your right ring finger applying it onto both of your Guru’s big toes. Your right ring finger will be used for all anointments.
e. Sit at the feet of your Guru and observe closely the rest of the initiation process.
4. Preparing and Using a Sadhana Mat (Asan) : The Asan is the small mat or blanket to be used as your sacred seat during your meditation practice. The best fabric choice for an Asan is wool because of it’s Shakti conductive properties. Recommended Asan size is .5 to 1 inch in thickness and about 4’X 6’ in size. Place Asan in front of your altar and sit straight in a comfortable (preferably lotus) posture. Keep your entire body quite loose free from strains. Draw your senses inside, just like a tortoise draws its all limbs inside, keeping your mind calm and quiet. Then watch and observe minutely all the indications, movements and experiences in yourself and allow them to occur freely and frankly without any hesitation. This Sadhana practice must be done at least twice daily 2 to 3 hours each time (preferably in the morning and evening, but this may be adjusted according to one’s suitability).
5. Beginning and ending your Meditation Practice : You should begin and end your practice with flat Pranams (prostrations) to signify your surrender to the Divine and to open yourself beyond ego to receive the Divine flow from your Guru.
6. Guru Darshan (Personal contact with Guru) : Always keep in close touch with your Gurudeva physically if possible. If physical distance is a factor, keep in close contact via letter writing, emails and phone calls. The best way to contact your beloved Gurudeva remotely is to invite him into your meditation and heart with unflinching faith, reverence, and devotion, believing that Guru is omnipresent and embodiment of almighty God.
7. Guru Puja (Worship) upon Meeting and Departing : Prior to departing or meeting after a long period, worship your Gurudeva in the same manner as you worshiped him at the time of initiation. This is just like the renewal of the initiation and is extremely beneficial.
8. Written and email Communications : When writing your Guru in letters or emails, always use language that honors his Divine Presence. Please write in short, concise and clearly understandable language to ensure the full meaning and intent of your writing is communicated properly.
a. Recommended Introductory Addresses : “Most Honorable Gurudeva”, “Most Respectable Gurudeva”, or “Revered Sri Gurudeva” followed by a devotional statement such as: “Humble prostrations and salutations unto your lotus feet” or “I bow my head to your lotus feet.” Variations of these may be used based on preference.
b. What to Write to your Guru : It is important to share honestly with your Gurudeva the experiences and sensations you are having during your Sadhana practice such as experience of Kriyas (Divine Power body movements) and other Sadhana sensations (hearing sounds, seeing light/color, etc.) if any. Communicate your meditation experiences along with any questions, concerns or doubts you may have related to your spiritual practice.
c. Recommended Letter Closings : “Yours obediently”,” Your humble disciple”,” Dust of thy lotus feet”, or “Your humble servant” followed by your name signature.
9. Mealtime Recommendations : Before starting lunch or dinner, which should be pure vegetarian, please utter: “OM Tat Sat”. OM is a most effective and pious name of the Divine. Tat Sat means: “God is the only universal truth”. In all it means: “I offer this to you, O my Lord, the only Universal Truth”. This may be done in the manner prescribed in one’s religion.