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Darshan - To See and To Be Seen

We all want to be recognized and noticed. This desire to be seen starts early. As little children we want mom and dad and grandpa and grandma and anyone important to us to pay attention to us. All children want their parents to come to their soccer or basketball games, or watch them dance, even if they are only sitting on the bench or on stage for one minute.

Only later in life do we realize the importance of seeing others, recognizing their presence.

In the spiritual tradition of yoga, “being seen” and “seeing” is called “darshan.” Darshan refers to the time when one encounters the presence of the Divine Mother, or a saint or sage of the Himalayan Tradition. It is experienced as a blessing; therefore “darshan” is usually translated as “blessing.” The person ‘seeing’ the Divine Being wants the Divine “to see” them and shower them with all good things.

Christianity and Yoga each have spiritual practices that could be considered “darshan.” In the Catholic Christian Tradition, many people go to a church or shrine and sit in the presence of Jesus, the Christ, as presented in the Eucharistic bread. They sit “with Christ.” They “see” and “are seen” by God.

In the Yoga Tradition at the Himalayan Institute’s Sri Vidya Shrine, yogis stand in the presence of the Divine Mother. They “see” and “are seen” by the Divine Source of Life, which is presented in a rock from the Himalayas.

In both traditions, this is a blessing because the Divine, recognizing its needy child, begins to shower the one seen with joy, peace, happiness, and spiritual and material prosperity. This same experience can happen when we contact any other sacred space or reality—like every human being who is “made in the image and likeness of God.”

What if we apply this experience of “darshan,” in the spiritual sense of “recognizing the presence of the Divine,” to all the people we meet? What if we “saw” the divine within every person we encountered? Christianity refers to this as “seeing the Christ within.” Yoga believes that our core being is divine, infinite and perfect.

Initially, we would have to go out of our way to recognize that each person we meet and deal with during the day (even the grouch, the angry child, the nasty politician, the person who hurts us) holds within their body the Divine Source of Life. As Christians say, “humans are temples of the Holy Spirit.” When we see that divinity within them, then those people that we see might begin to see the divinity within ourselves.

That would really be an exciting switch of consciousness for our culture. Besides, meditating daily to change the collective consciousness of the planet, let’s begin to practice “darshan.” Let’s begin to see the divine in others, as they see the divine in us.


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