An Experience with Shivananda
I met Shivananda in London on Friday, 1st June 2018. All I knew about him, was that he was Italian like myself. I had no expectations. I hadn't even seen a picture of him. And what unfolded on that day and has happened since that day, is a long story and to be told on another occasion.
What I would like to share is an experience I had very recently, when I went to a one day workshop in Italy. In the evening he was holding a Fire Puja, a ceremony around a sacred fire, where he calls on the Divine, in form of Shiva, to come into the fire. It was around 10pm in southern Italy on a warm summer night and he started chanting certain prayers, certain mantras, while pouring offerings into the fire like flowers, rice and ghee (clarified butter). I have been blessed, over the course of this year, to have attended many such Fire Pujas, but this night was special for me. A good hour into the ceremony, I felt a huge joy well up inside of me. And I heard myself say: "This is my joy, sitting around a sacred fire with him, wishing it would never end."
It was way past midnight when we finished the Fire Puja and now I was feeling a warmth in the middle of my chest. It wasn't a feeling, more like a place and with this place came a thirst for Silence. A Silence where I didn't want to use any words. While helping clearing up after the Puja, people were speaking to me, trying to engage with me, but I was resisting and only replying with as few words as possible. All I wanted to say, was: "Can't we just stay in silence please? I don't want to use any words." I knew that using too many words would carry me away from this space of Silence and back into my mental space, my mind.
As soon as I hit the pillow that night, I was fast asleep. It felt more like a trance state rather than normal sleep. And when I woke up the next morning, that place was still there and my desire for Silence remained. You can guess that I eventually left that space to my dismay, but I am hoping to be able to go back there soon, very soon and to be living out of that space of Silence.
This was one experience of many, and I encourage you to attend one of his event or such a Fire Puja. All I can say is, be open and let whatever happens come to you. May you have a wonderful experience!
Om Namah Shivaya
By Shivanyama 29.07.2019