ShantiMayi was born and raised in the state of Ohio in the United States, her early childhood summers spent in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. As an adult, she lived in Oregon. ShantiMayi is a rare being in that she embodies that living principle that resides within us all, though for most remains yet to be discovered. ShantiMayi eclectically draws upon the quintessence of many traditions: Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and the Aboriginal Tribes of the Americas and Australia. ShantiMayi is the first westerner as well as the only woman that stands in this eminent line of Sacha Masters. She too has given her life completely to the Sacha Mission of the past Masters. ShantiMayi spent many years with Maharajji being formed by him and by her willingness and surrender to carry the Sacha wisdom into the world. She too was highly tested by her Master to validate her ability to transmit transformational energy in resonance with the thousands of people she would meet in her ceaseless travels around the world. She has been traveling for this purpose for twenty years (since 1988). She has countless students around the world. Her dedication and devotion to her Master and to the shift in consciousness is unshakable. The stories of Maharajji and ShantiMayi are innumerable and beautifully detailed. The merging of east and west, contrasting life traditions, male and female ideologies coalesced as an inseparable vision for our world.
How do you define the state of enlightenment?
The state of enlightenment is the cessation of delusion. This means that you are no longer deluded about identity, about self-nature, about the world. So it means cessation. You are no longer deluded about the illusion of existence. The illusion is not a problem because we populate the illusion and experience the illusion, but the delusion creates confusion dualities and dramas. So in enlightenment that ceases to be.
Is everyone presently able to enter the wisdom path, if no, why not?
Because people are mentally and emotionally fragile, they have no curiosity for and don’t know about such wisdom. Some can even point a finger at it and say it’s evil, and don’t even consider that you could realize your true nature. There are a lot of reasons that people are not able to enter the wisdom path. Lots of reasons. Countless reasons.
If yes, why are there so few?
We don’t know that there are so few. We have never figured out the numbers. 30 years ago I could not find a contemporary spiritual book. I was lucky enough to move to the old scriptures and sutras like that and prefer them today to anything I’ve ever read up to now. I prefer the old Chan or Zen or Hindu or the gnostics or the mystics of former times, because they were very pointed and didn’t fool around in personalities and they were pointing always to what is true in a person, what is true and accurate to overcome delusion about themselves or their nature. Now publishing companies are overflowing with spiritual books and you can go to huge bookstores full of spiritual books and information. Also, there’s a lot of spiritual circles and meetings and festivals and satsangs and, oh my gosh. So we really don’t know if there are few or not. it’s growing by leaps and bounds, that’s for sure.
Why does a moment of being natural and free disappear?
Again, it never really disappears. People just put their attention elsewhere, like into a drama or in duality or into thoughts of measures or judgments or doubts. That’s why it seems to disappear, but natural being and freedom are always innately present in your breath, in your heart beat. They don’t disappear. People put their attention on the superficial and the troublesome, the anxiety and the wearisome, rather than just being present.
What guarantee do we have that ignorance will not reassert itself after enlightenment?
First, come to enlightenment and then you’ll see! And second off I would say, there is no guarantee for anything. There is no guarantee for a next breath, so guarantees are not written. I remember that one mahatma asked Swami Muktananda for a certificate of enlightenment. Swami Muktananda just laughed. When you live in integrity and your heart and soul are stable in that integrity, that’s what you cherish more than anything in the world. These are poetic terms and it’s not necessarily like that, but we have to use words. When you reach an awareness within yourself that is undeluded, there is no reason that you want to put a rock in your heart or dualistically split anything through an idea, because it’s not possible. Perhaps people can reassert ignorance, I don’t know. Enlightenment depends on ignorance, when ignorance is gone, ignorance is gone.
Does it ever annoy you that students don’t listen and dont practice even when they understand?
It’s my privilege to care, but I have to say if someone doesn’t care, I cannot care either, although I’m still there for them if they don’t care. I remain in a state of love, but that’s just a natural state, as you mentioned above being natural and free is a state of love. There is no question about that. Does it annoy me? Yes, sometimes it annoys me, because you see how marvelous and creative this person is and how they will permit a drama or duality or hatefulness or bias to govern them rather than what they know, and the keys that they have to apply. If they don’t care, I cannot apply a tremendous amount of care. It’s when they care, that my care and caring work together very beautifully. This is the experience I had with my guru. If they don’t practice, they don’t practice. Nevertheless, they’re always welcome, unless they are disturbing to the sangha, by starting silly kind of dramas.
If I’m not good for a person, they don’t have that resonance with me. If they have that resonance with me, we can just about do anything. If they don’t have that resonance with me, I figure they can go their way. Anyhow, they can go their way whether they have that resonance or not. But if they don’t and it’s obvious that they don’t, they will meet someone else, so they ought to move along and meet that someone.
Once a man came to Ramakrishna and said, “Baba, I really want to be enlightened.”
“Oh, you do?” Ramakrishna responded.
“I really do, it’s so important to me,” the man said, “I really want to be enlightened.”
“Well then, come with me,” Ramakrishna said.
So the master took him down to the river and said, “Come on let’s go into the water.”
They went into the water and Ramakrishna held this man’s head down until he almost drowned. Then he pulled his head up, and said, “This is how bad you need to want it, as badly as you wanted air, as much as you want to live. This desire to discover who you are, here and now, and not cover it up with doubt and bias, duality, prejudice and judgment, is very important.”
That’s how much Ramakrishna cared. I guess he wasn’t annoyed, but he annoyed his disciple.
There’s another beautiful story about Ramakrishna in which a man came to him and said, “Baba Ji, I want you to help me. I want to wake up.”
“Yes,” Ramakrishna said. Ramakrishna was a devotee of Kali and continued, “Here I give you this mala, and you can chant Kali ma, once a day. Kali ma, Kali ma, Kali ma. One mala a day.”
The man said, “You know Baba, I can’t do it, I’m not going to do that.”
Ramakrishna said, “I tell you what, one mala a week of Kali ma will bring you around.”
The man said, ” No no no, I’m not going to do that. It’s not possible for me, Baba.”
Ramakrishna said, “Okay, then once a month, you can chant one mala of Kali ma.”
Then the man said, “Baba, it’s not going to happen.”
Ramakrishna said, “Say Kali ma once a day.”
Again the man said, “No, Baba. You know I just can’t stay with that sadhana, it’s just too much for me.” So the man left.
Ramakrishna saw a spark in him, a true spark in him, so he told Vivekananda, “Take this photograph of me, and put it over the door where he works.”
Vivekananda became irritated and said, “You know, this guy didn’t care to do his sadhana, and you want me to go across town?”
“Yes, please do it, “Ramakrishna replied.
Vivekananda did as asked and the story goes that after some years you couldn’t tell the difference between the man who refused the sadhana and Ramakrishna. They were definitely in the same state. You see, one student can be careless or not really involved, not participating, but there is something about him or her that makes you willing to be really patient.
Interview by Erling Jensen. Transcription by Rodrigo Reijers.
Share this Post