Anusthan: A Disciple’s Experience
It took me a number of years before I appreciated the importance of performing an anusthan. It seemed I could always find excuses why it was not convenient to do that much, just as it always seemed unfair that I shouldn’t go for long walks on the most beautiful autumn days of Navaratri.
But with each passing year, I’ve come to appreciate anusthan more and more, as with all of the practices. In recent years, I’ve made a significant effort to make the most of this time and follow the guidelines more closely. I do this because I have come to recognize great benefits from performing an anusthan.
I’ve had the growing experience that the anusthan, in its quiet way, is an enormous battle in which tremendous negativity is destroyed. It is a purification, and so not always a pleasant process. But now I keep in mind the results I’ve known. Anxiety, self-loathing, and just plain sloth have arisen — and melted away— in large chunks. My faith and good spirits have increased. And each year the anusthans have quite clearly eroded my resistance to daily practice.
While in India, as I was completing an anusthan that was particularly challenging for me, I experienced several amazing boons as well. First I had a vision of a tiger, a vehicle of the Divine Mother. More clearly, the vision was of the tiger’s eyes, glowing fiercely. Then, I had a vision in which up above my head I danced round and round, in great exuberant joy, with an incarnation of the Divine Mother who was laughing. And most important of all, one day toward the end of that anusthan, I passed Shri Anandi Ma after morning chai, and was given the understanding that she is my truth, The Truth. There I was walking by, a bit self-conscious, a bit confused as usual, when in a snap I was shown that she is there for me always, completely, no doubt about it. In fact, it was clear that in a real sense she is the only thing truly there for me — the only thing truly, the only thing there. It was clear to me then that I have waited, and waded, through lifetimes of misery to discover this, my true support, for which my heart has been aching.
May I always remember this. May I always be grateful to the Grace of the Guru for both teaching me about the value of anusthans and removing the barriers to my performing them. May other disciples come to appreciate this Grace more quickly than I did.
(This experience was first published in the Sept. 1998 issue of Shakti)