Jaya Kula is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offering opportunities to learn and practice in the traditions of direct realization Tantra and Anandamayi Ma. Shambhavi Sarasvati is the spiritual director.

Join Us

All posts tagged Gurus

Can a Woman be a Crazy Wisdom Teacher (and get away with it)?

Crazy wisdom is at play when a spiritual teacher embodies uncompromising compassion paired with over-the-top creativity. These powerfully and magically transfigure the scene of teaching in order to help students to wake up.

Crazy wisdom is a “by any means available” situation. Some of the moves associated with crazy wisdom are rapid pivots from tenderness to fierceness to hilarity, or just fierceness in general; acting in ways counter to the expectations that students have of spiritual teachers, or generally provoking, or scaring or shocking students; refusing to treat anything as nonspiritual, a.k.a. using every and any circumstance as a vehicle for practice; and energetically engaging students in the wild creativity that is fundamental to existence.

Trungpa July 4th

Trungpa celebrates July 4th.

Although Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche coined the phrase, stories about crazy wisdom teachers are a part of the spiritual inheritance of every direct realization tradition. Even in the absence of a specific crazy wisdom teacher, traditions offering a more direct approach to self-realization, such as Dzogchen, Trika Shaivism and Chan Buddhism, naturally embody crazy wisdom in their teaching methods to some degree.

For instance, both of my traditions, Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen, deploy specific sharp mantras to induce mild shock and clear conceptual mind. They also feature a more playful, unpredictable and fierce style of teaching. I heard this memorable aphorism during a teaching with the wonderful Kagyu meditation master, Lama Wangdor. “When the lion of Mahamudra roars, many are scared off. But the cubs come running for the milk.” Read On…

Anatomy of a Soft Cult

I think it’s time to start a conversation about soft cults.

Most, if not all of us, have been willing participants in a soft cult.

The primary marker for any cult is that it is populated by people who are attached to defining themselves as higher than, better than, more evolved than, or simply at the forefront of something, someone or everyone else. Cult leaders must defacto define themselves as having something that followers need, lack and couldn’t obtain anywhere else.

A soft cult serves the same needs as a regular cult, but in ways that are less recognizable as a cult because they are more socially acceptable. 

Read On…

3 Kinds of Spiritual Teachers

In the Tantrik tradition, and Asian spiritual traditions generally, there are a number of ways to categorize different kinds of student-teacher relationships.

I find it useful to contemplate these categories. Why? Because if you are in a fantasy relationship with your “teacher,” you are wasting energy. It is empowering to have clarity about the kind of relationship you are actually in, or want to be in. Read On…

How I met Anandamayi Ma

Try to make yourself a disciple. Only then will you find a Guru, the way to grace will open up and you will discover the stream of compassion. — Anandamayi Ma

I have not told this story in full publicly. But I find myself living in a time and place in which many people are skeptical of or are rejecting the possibility of Guru. Other people long for a spiritual guide, but are afraid of being hurt.

Me and Ma at Kalyanvan

Me and Ma at Kalyanvan

For myself, I learned about the principle of Guru in my late 20s. I never doubted its value and necessity. I felt wonder that some people are equipped by Nature to help us wake up from conventional, constrained ways of being. I understood that the embodied Guru is an envoy of the fullness of Reality that I longed to see and express. I’ve always been a natural devotee of the Guru principle, and of my teachers who have embodied it. This natural devotion is what I am hoping to share with you. Read On…

Sexual Abuse and Lies on the Spiritual Path

I have received a heartfelt request to write, from a woman’s perspective, about the child abuse and rape testimony against senior Swamis in the Satyananda Yoga lineage dating from the 1970s at the Mangrove Mountain Ashram in Australia. My deep sympathy and love goes out to all those affected. I hope that this piece, as inadequate as it may prove to be, will be in some way be useful to those who long for and seek a helpmeet on the path to waking up.

Kalighat Brahmani

Kalighat Brahmani – an aspect of Sarasvati.

As I write this, Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is conducting public hearings involving a number of survivors and witnesses.

Many of the abuse charges are not new. In 1989, the senior Swami at the Mangrove Mountain Australian Satyananda ashram, Swami Akhandananda, was convicted on 35 counts of abusing four ashram girls. The High Court overturned the conviction on a technicality in 1991, and the Swami died six years later. Read On…