Skip to content

Fraud and Nonsense

Puja Offerings
Episode No. 90

“What is devotion? What is Upadesha?” Shambhavi unpacks some teachings from Swami Lakshmanjoo. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words From Podcast

There was a 20th century teacher named Swami Lakshmanjoo. He was a practitioner of Kashmir Shaivism, a teacher, a guru, and also very accomplished. Scholars came from all over the world for his advice on the meaning of texts, and many of them studied with him for a long time. This teaching of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s is from his commentary on a section of the Bhagavad Gita. It’s really an interesting moment because he’s kind of being tongue in cheek. He’s enjoying being a bit of a rascal. He’s giving his students these very absolute teachings that cut through all fixation and all attachment, but at the same time he’s admitting that even he is attached to these things that he’s cutting through.

So the name of his talk is “What is real devotion? What is real bhakti? What is real Upadesha?” Upadesha is a word he’s using to mean initiation. We say diksha to refer to the formal process of being initiated. Upadesha means a direct transmission. Upadesha teachings are when the teacher teaches from her or his own experience. It’s when teachers are able to convey the actual fruit of their experience in a more subtle way so that students get some hit about that. Upadesha could also mean any situation of direct transmission. An Upadesha text would be a text where a teacher was transmitting things that they had realized, teachings not given to them by somebody else.

Upadesha in the sense that Swami Lakshmanjoo is using it means initiation because the moment of initiation is a moment of direct transmission. It’s a moment when there’s a possibility to have some deeper experience of your own essence nature, if you’re open to that. Not everybody is, but there’s that possibility there.