Last night while I was writing a paper for school and contemplating making some rakhis for a holiday coming up, my beloved was doing He-Man stuff and watching some show on some television channel. He’s always watching some kind of alien or ghost show.
This show was no exception, except that it seemed to be a continuation of another show I’d once been familiar with. Some time ago, images on our television screen were frequently from some kind of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” show. Invariably throughout the show you were either seeing some celebrity, or former celebrity, sitting in an entirely black room telling a story from their past wherein they encountered a ghost of demon or something, or you were seeing recreations of the ghost story being told by that celebrity at that moment. This show still pertained to celebs and their ghost stories, but now a well-known psychic travels with them (to them?) to some place that they’re connected to or once were connected to, and gives them one helluva psychic assessment.
Last night’s episode detailed the ghostly adventure of a middle-aged black male celebrity, who I did not recognize. The two were walking around a home he once had to leave – the site of his ghostly encounter. While this psychic gal was speaking, she referenced his brother and asked if he could call his brother and have him come over. He did, and his brother did.
When his brother arrived, he came to where they were on some stairs and instantly I was like, “Whoa. That dude’s a Hindu monk!” This man was black and also middle-aged, but was wearing the standard orange/saffron colored garb typical of Hindu monkery, including the hunting toboggan. At first his face wasn’t visible, but soon enough he turned. Low-and-behold, a “dot” of kum-kum at least the size of an American quarter rested right between his brows and slightly above.
I’ll be damned.
As it turns out, his name is Kedar and he’s officially known as Acharya Kedar. He practices Kashmiri Shaivism, of the Siddha lineage, and is himself apparently now a Siddha Master.
As would be expected, the paper I’d been working on suddenly was pushed to another screen and I began a Google search for Acharya Kedar, which turned up a number of results. One of them – this one – is about him specifically. Like any other living teacher, he has that tell-tale shanti written across his face and exuding from his eyeballs.
I found this group’s approach to liberation (moksha, mukti) interesting and immensely traditional and specialized. Apparently, the lineage traces itself back to Lord Shiva, Himself, who is the Guru of all Siddhas. I haven’t looked much into their website, to be honest, but they’re clear that in the 20th century, the Siddha Yoga dharma was led by a Siddha saint named Bhagavan Nityananda and from his guidance a number of other successful and powerful Siddha gurus emerged and led others. This denomination of Hindus now has a specialized practice of yoga known as Supreme Meditation. The website most of my recent education on this group centered around can be accessed by clicking here. Overall, they prescribe a daily sadhana as any sect would, however they also focus muchly on the practice of Shaktipat.
Shaktipat has long fascinated me. I can’t consider it very long without also thinking about charismatic Christians becoming “filled” with the Holy Ghost, gettin’ all dance-y and twitchy, and then getting bonked on the head by the pastor – which naturally lays them out flat before the congregation. Truly, I think Shaktipat is less… unbelievable? Shaktipat can take the form of a physical touch, a glance, within a dream, or in a number of other contexts. Generally, as far as I understand, the purpose is to awaken one’s inherent Kundalini, and thereafter induces a journey of spiritual growth. In all my Hindu journeys, I’ve seen far less said of Kundalini from the Vaishnav sects than I have of Smartas and definitely this talk is found mostly within Shaiva and Shakta sects. I think as Kali Yuga progresses, Skatipat will increasingly become a thing of the past – and future.
Something I found endearing about this little education field trip regarding the Siddha Yoga dharma, is that siddhas (supernatural) are not being sought. A number of Hindu texts warn of potential dangers of siddhas achieved. I think that’s mostly because of the influence of Kali Yuga and how people generally are today – so many would misuse them, if they weren’t already too lazy to do the work necessary to achieve one siddha or another. Beyond that, there’s nothing inherently bad about obtaining one siddha or another, and these are even signs of progression.
I view them as a kind of reward though, as well as a tool. You bust your ass working on yourself and you may well achieve one siddha or another. This then might draw people to you, not so that you can put on a show, but so that you can share the wisdom you’ve realized. Also, depending on the siddha, you will hopefully have developed enough to recognize a way in which usage of said siddha can further your own progress. They’re like signposts and instruments. Surely, performing austerities or doing sadhana JUST to get a siddha is bad – just as bad as taking a job JUST because of the money involved. It usually results in undesirable consequences.
At any rate, this group seems to specialize in developing siddha gurus, which in turn, have demonstrated a history of using Shaktipat to help awaken others. In my opinion, it’s rather authenticating that they aren’t broadcasting everywhere and their site indicates people don’t even have to change their religion to partake and benefit.
And there you have it.
Om Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha