Siddha Yoga is a practical and natural means of self-realization, wherein the disciple spontaneously reaches the Ultimate state through the grace of the Siddha Guru ('Perfect Master'). Yoga literally means 'union', and it implies the union of the individual soul (Atman) with the Absolute, or God (Paramatman). Siddha Yoga is a combination of Hatha yoga, Mantra yoga, Laya yoga and Raja yoga. Hence it is also referred to in the scriptures as Maha yoga (the 'Great' Yoga). In this path, the grace of the Guru brings about all the various yogic processes naturally and spontaneously in the disciple, ultimately liberating him fully. Spontaneity and simplicity are its characteristics.
Siddha means 'Perfect'. The ancient lineage of Siddha Gurus in India can be traced back to Guru Dattatreya. Over the ages, the many incarnate Siddha Gurus include seers from various sects: the Nath panthis (Gorakhnath, Matsyendranath), Sant Jnaneshwar of Maharashtra, the Alvars of Tamil Nadu, the Sufi saints, and so on. In this century, there have been Sai Baba of Shirdi and Avadhuta Nityananda of Vajreshwari. In the Siddha tradition, knowledge passes from the Guru to the disciple. The Guru transmits his grace to the disiple through the mystical process of Shaktipat. This secret and ancient process was first brought openly to the masses in Kaliyug by Swami Muktananda Paramahansa. Param Poojya Swami Chetanananda Saraswati belongs to this ancient and unbroken lineage of Siddha Gurus.
The practice of Siddha Yoga involves austerity. The guiding motto is "Work Hard and Be Free". The philosophy rests on the concept of 'Sanchita Karma' (a 'fixed deposit' of all our previous actions, over countless births), 'Prarabdha' (one's destiny in this birth), and the 'Kriyamana' (actions that one commits). The Siddha Guru, through Shaktipat, removes the burden of the entire Sanchita Karma, and liberates the disciple in this very birth through His grace. Desires still remain, so the Guru, with his awareness of one's capability and Prarabdha, guides us accordingly. The only 'practice' in the Siddha path is thus to follow the instructions of the Guru, given as hints or suggestions from time to time, and to surrender oneself totally to Him.
There is no individual effort required in Siddha Yoga. The only effort needed is to please the Guru by rendering service to him('Seva'). Remembrance is a must, and that is all that is required: 24 hours a day. Individual prayers, meditation, etc. are left to your needs, as per your needs and convenience, if you feel the requirement. There are no restrictions or techniques: there is no bondage. There is no ban on the mundane activities of the world. You are free to be a householder or stay single, whichever makes you feel free and does not cause you to lose your happiness.
The daily practice of Siddha Yoga involves living your life with the awareness that "My Guru's power is there to protect me, and is constantly watching over me". This awareness is a must. 'Liberation' does not mean that one leads a life devoid of all laws and rules. One should lead a life that is pure in actions too, and filled with awareness and remembrance of the Guru's Shakti (power). There are many practices otherwise laid down in the scriptures: Yogasanas, Pranayama, etc. All these are impossible for one person to master even in an entire lifetime. Siddha Yoga asks you to remain natural ('Sahaja') and to let the Shakti-the Divine Power-that is within you, to do everything . One should surrender to that inner Shakti. Meditation is spontaneous and natural. Once the shakti is awakened, meditation can happen anywhere, even in the midst of a market, or in a train or bus, and even 24 hours a day.
Faith is all-important. If one loses faith, one cannot attain anything. The Guru Gita, an ancient scripture, proclaims clearly that the Guru is God manifest, God incarnate. Before accepting anyone as Guru, one should judge if he is capable of transmitting his spiritual power to others. His eyes radiate with the inner glow of the bliss of Self-realization. Only one who dwells constantly in the blissful state of the realm of the Self can be capable of bestowing his grace upon others, to give them the same experience. One can feel this by staying close('Sannidhya') to such a Guru, who is also known as the 'Sadguru' or 'True Guru'.
The ancient scripture Guru Gita explains the meaning of 'Guru' as the 'remover of ignorance' ('Gu' signifying the darkness of ignorance and 'Ru', the light of knowledge).It says that the Vedas, Puranas, etc. are confusing and people get misled if they do not seek refuge in the Guru. Those who do not know of this truth (about the Guru) spend their life wandering fruitlessly. Today, this is the reason why spirituality is being commercialised, since people are easily misled.
The Siddha path is one of discipline. Indeed, the word 'disciple' is derived from 'discipline'. Only one who is disciplined, and follows the Guru, is a true disciple. This is self-discipline, which comes from within. There are no laid-down rules or practices. The path of Siddha Yoga is open equally to all, from the richest to the poorest, for all sects and religions, irrespective of gender, age or marital status.
Kundalini is the basis of Siddha Yoga, and indeed, of all practices of Yoga. Kundalini is the creative force of this universe. She is also known as 'Serpent Power'. It is this energy that manifests itself, of its own free will, as this entire universe with all its diversity. The world is a play of this Power of Consciousness or Chiti Shakti. The Kundalini energy can be considered to be dormant at the base of the spinal column in every human being. It is the divine function of the Siddha Guru to awaken this dormant Kundalini within the seeker. The awakening is achieved by the mystical process known as Shaktipat. Enlightenment or Realisation dawns from within as a result of the awakening of the Kundalini. The process of awakening of the Kundalini is rendered safe and smooth by the divine grace and control of the Siddha Guru.
The process of bestowal of grace, from the Guru to the disciple, is known as Shaktipat Deeksha. It has been compared to the process of a lit candle lighting up an unlit one. The Siddha Guru alone is capable of awakening the Kundalini Shakti (Divine Power) lying dormant within oneself, which is the basis of this universe. Once awakened by the Guru's grace (through touch, through a word, through sight, or even through will), this Shakti works by itself for the progress of the individual and leads him forward on the path of self-realization.
The word Deeksha is made up of two syllables: 'Dee' stands for 'Granting closeness to Shiva' and 'Ksha' implies 'Destruction of all past sins'. Thus, the initiation or Deeksha by the Siddha Guru is the gateway to experiencing the Ultimate. Thereafter one need not look for God outside, one shall experience Him within one's own Self. This is Self Realization. Lectures or books cannot give anyone the complete awareness, or even evidence: only one's own experience can be the testimony to that realization of the Ultimate. If one asks the Guru, He will say, "The truth lies within you: Search for it". The disciple can only pray for the power to know that Self and be liberated. This power ('Shakti') is bestowed through Shaktipat. The Shaktipat Deeksha is offered to worthy individuals in the Siddha Meditation Intensives conducted annually at Siddhaloka. Param Poojya Swami Chetanananda Saraswati, the Siddha Guru, conducts this unique event and bestows the Shaktipat Deeksha through HIS Divine Touch
Man has no time in his short lifespan to study and learn and practice innumerable intricate philosophies or techniques, and stumble from pillar to post seeking the unknown. Of our limited years, the first 25 or so are spent in studies, learning a little bit of a small, specialised field. The next 25 years are wasted in chasing money, in the name of one's spouse and children. When one is retired and unable to work, where is the time to do all the Sadhana (effort,penance), towards the elusive 'Self-realization' ? If then one starts wandering, where can peace be found?
Techniques, practices and philosophies are not of much use to man. First one should realize the greatness of humanity. One must realize that the true goal of human life is 'Happiness'. And happiness dwells within one's very own Self. Once this is known and one remains firm in striving towards it, the goal shall surely be achieved.
In the turbulent waves tossing man about in the ocean of worldly existence, the Guru's feet are the only refuge, guaranteeing solace, peace and liberation.
© Siddha Yoga Dham, Bangalore, INDIA, 2001-2010