Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda
Last week, I was gifted the opportunity to receive darshan from Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda, a new experience for me, unexpected, as I have recently expressed my reservations about the spiritual integrity of called modern ‘masters’ and I have no particular interest in eastern philosophy groups, although I do try to live by the buddhist principles in my day-to-day life.
The event I attended in Manchester was extremely well attended and slickly but very subtly choreographed. The atmosphere in the room was charged by singing, chanting of mantras and clapping, which got louder and faster as the time for the ‘master’ to join us got nearer. I loved it, but as a professional who has organised events in the past, I know good marketing when I see it.
However, I maintained an open mind, as I can honestly say I have never met such a healthy looking, joyful and affectionate group of people for a long time. The event was free, with donation envelopes discretely contained within a glossy brochure you were given on entry. You were asked for a donation if you could afford it. There were about 500 people there that night so I reckon they netted between £2-5k based on what I and people around me put in the envelope. Not a lot really to cover the costs of the evening.
Things got very interesting for me. I felt the master arrive in the building, goosebumps and the hairs on the back of my neck standing up told me there was a big uplift in spiritual energy taking place. I had not expected this, but my friend, who was sat facing the door of an ante-room, confirmed that I was correct in my feeling. About half an hour later, his devotees, who were mostly sat at my feet rose almost as one an turned towards the door. I don’t know if it was choreographed or not, but the love and joy on their faces and through their body language was clear to see. The song changed and the energy in the room suddenly sky rocketed.
When the man himself entered the room, he was laughing, singing and clapping with the crowd, his eyes sparkling. He took the time to acknowledge people he knew with a word, or a touch or a hug. The only words I can find to describe what happened as he passed through the room to an elegantly dressed raised dais was that his energy felt like a caress. I can honestly say that in almost 20 years of spiritual journeying, I have never experienced anything like it before.
From the dais there was a bit of a stage show with kneeling women and flower petals on his feet, he spoke about love for a short while and then it was time for darshan. Because I use a walking stick, I was gently directed to the front of two queues of people all waiting on their knees to see him. I was not asked to kneel, one of the things that I noticed throughout the whole event was the extra loving attention paid to the families with children and elderly people in the room.
When it was my turn I stood before him, as instructed, not touching him, but close enough that he could put his hand on my head and look into my eyes (I was relieved of my glasses by a helper). The healing energy flowing from his hand was cool, like a refreshing shower. His eyes, which earlier were sparkling and full of laughter were deep and grave. I can only liken them to some of the paintings of Christ, so full of love and wisdom. Unexpectedly, he leaned forward and smiled. Then he spoke to me about my spiritual work, leaving me with a lingering question: How did he know? Only one person in that room of 500 people knew me and he had never met the master. I was just a random person in a big queue. I had tears of joy as I returned to my seat. Why? Another question that still lingers.
Did I meet the divine incarnate as is claimed? I am leaving that one open. His message is one of love – love yourself, give and share love with others freely, change the world by love. After observing him for an hour, I have no doubt that he is a master of healing and perhaps a gifted psychic, who is on a loving spiritual path. He did not speak to most people, but when he did, they beamed with joy or with had tears like me.
He had a bad cold that night. The room was freezing. I was well wrapped up with thermals beneath winter clothing, but his devotees in their colourful eastern clothing were shivering. By the time I left, his condition had deteriorated and to be honest, he needed to be tucked up in a warm bed, but I had no doubt he would have continued with the darshan until everyone had received it. My message to him as a fellow healer would be that you need to take care of physical self as well as your spiritual self.
Am I going to become a convert, a devotee? I doubt it. My path so far has been the path of the fool, but I remain open to the universe and what it requires of me. I have been reading eastern philosophy and most certainly will re-read the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ which has graced my book shelf for several years now – a gift from the friend who told me about the darshan. As they say. God moves in mysterious ways.
This is a man, apparently not accepted in India, as they say he is too young to be divine incarnate, something usually only achieved after a lifetime of profound study and devotion. I am not sure about that either, but he is touching the lives of thousands of people all over the world with love and helping them to develop an awareness of the divine within and that can not be a bad thing.