Lineage of Nachiketa Tapovan
Mata Shivananda Puri, May 15, 2011
There are a few events in life that occur only once like birth, marriage and death. Maha Shivaratri, 2nd March 2011, turned out to be a lifetime experience which I’ll cherish forever. I was waiting for this moment for long, to witness the truth as it is. I was overwhelmed when I received a call from Swamiji about Purna Sannyasa Diksha. Sannyasa ashram is the fourth ashram to be adopted by a human being. Since Sannyasa ashram is the final destination, it is the nearest path to be with Ishwara and merge with Him with every single breath. Sannyasa ashram fulfills the purpose of human birth. I have always dreamt of and experienced Sannyasa. For me Sannyasa is something like having finished all the examinations of life successfully and standing before God, with an open heart awaiting His grace. I had a desire that all samskaras of Sannyasa should take place on the day of Shivaratri. Shiva who is a loving father did fulfill my wish. It was decided that on 3rd of March I was going to get initiated into Sannyasa Diksha, and when it was destined by Shiva Himself everything happened accurately. Swamiji fulfilled my wish and made preparations to give me Sannyasa diksha on the destined day. A student inspite of having sound knowledge about a given subject has to take his examination to prove his calibre. Similarly, though I have been a sannyasi without wearing Geruva clothes since childhood, it was necessary to get associated with Adi Shankaracharya tradition, keeping in view the demands of the society.
A sannyasi should be purified within and without with the instrument called ‘Vairagya’. When the true and everlasting vairagya dawns, that very moment you become a sannyasi. However a sannyasi should be able to differentiate between momentary renunciation and eternal renunciation.
It was a wonderful experience in my life to go through all the samskaras. After my mundan samskara, tarpana and pindadanam, Swamiji made me perform the Panchanga puja and homam. At 11: 30 pm in the night, we started Virija homam. Virija means without impurities, experiencing and evoking purity within. There are many powerful mantras recited in Virija homam that make you experience the subtlety of purification. In Dashanami Sannyas Ashram (a branch of Kailash Ashram) where we were staying, on one side, the Rudrabhishek with the recitation of Vedamantras was going on and on the other side, exactly in front of Shiva in the existing Yajna shala, I was performing Virija Homam. I had a lot of time to perform, so with an open heart I invited all Gods to bestow their grace on me. Really, I felt all Gods were present to bless me. While performing Virija homam I was experiencing the traditional Guru parampara energies and was seeing Shiva Himself perform the homa. The Shivatatva engulfed me. With blessings of Swamiji and Shiva, I was filled with bliss during the homam. Once Homam is completed, I had to perform the ritual of offering my clothes to Ma Ganga and receive the ochre robes from my Guru. In the morning around 5: 00 am, I went along with Swamiji to take the blessings of Ma Ganga. On reaching there, as prescribed by Swamiji, I performed all the samskaras. After offering my clothes to Ma Ganga, I sought Her blessings and I was initiated into Naga Sannyasa, where you completely lose body consciousness and purity emerges in you. In this samskara being completely naked, I had to walk nine steps towards north with both the hands raised. Walking towards north indicates marching towards Himalayas. It is hard to imagine oneself to appear naked and the mere thought could bring some negativity. Nevertheless, the beauty of Sannyasa is that instead of having lustful thoughts you experience complete surrender at the feet of Paramatma. For a sannyasi, body is considered only as a mass of flesh and bones. In Sannyasa Diksha, a sannyasi renounces everything to Ishwara. A sannyasi experiences that which surpasses body consciousness. Nine steps indicate Navavidha bhakti and the process of realization. After the ritualistic bath in the lap of Ma Ganga, Swamiji initiated me into Sannyasa Diksha and gave me the name SWAMI SHIVANANDA PURI, as my tradition traces back to Paramahamsa Ishwara Tota Puri and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Paramahamsa Ishwara Tota Puri known as “Nangta Baba” was born in Punjab around 1780 A.D. He practiced forty years of severe austerities on the banks of Ma Narmada and became a Realized Soul. He was a Parivrajaka sannyasi who followed the path of Advaita Vedanta. Sri Tota Puriji was the head of the monastery and was the leader of seven hundred sannyasis. Led by the Divine will, when Sri Tota Puriji felt Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was ready to become a student of Advaita Vedanta, Sri Tota Puriji goes to Dakshineshwar and asks Him to renounce the world. In Advaita Vedanta only a monk gets initiation. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa took the permission from Divine Mother. Sri Tota Puriji initiated Him into Sannyasa tradition and also Advaita Vedanta. Thus Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who was always engrossed in Divine mother, goes beyond and experiences the ultimate truth.
After I stepped into Paramahamsa loka, my happiness knew no bounds. Once I finished all samskaras, before leaving Ma Ganga’s lap, I wanted to take Her blessings. As I turned back and started walking towards the existing temple it started drizzling and after a few more steps it started raining. I was completely drenched in bliss. Ma Ganga showered Her love and Divine blessings in the form of rain. Ma Ganga is ever pure and the purest of the pure showered Her blessings on me. This is a big asset in my life. Swamiji took me to the Shiva’s temple on the bank of Ma Ganga and made me take Lord Shiva’s blessings too. In my subtle level, I was experiencing my merging with Ma Ganga. I once again wanted to go back to Ma Ganga and pay my reverence. So I went to Ma Ganga and paid my homage to Her.
This journey of Sannyasa cannot be completely expressed in words. It is the gist of life. I also cannot express my gratitude to Swamiji just by uttering a few words such as ‘thank you’. I am indebted to Swamiji for showering on me, His motherly love. He made me experience the inner purity. So finally, my second birth is fruitful, meaningful and purposeful. To get associated with Dashanami Sannyasa tradition is a great honor for me. I thank everyone who helped me go through this process. This is a magnificent experience in my life, which I shall treasure forever.
– Swami Shivananda Puri