What is Darshan?

Darshan is an external effort to lay eyes on a statue of a deity or the physical guru to remove blocks and finally attain inner vision. Darshan refers to seeing a teacher or divine presence. Having darshan of a deity means having a vision of God. We also use this term for the time, usually at the end of an event, when participants have the opportunity to go up to Shri Anandi Ma individually.

Traditionally, when approaching the teacher for darshan, we “pranam” (bow) to the teacher. This bow is not an expression of being lesser-than or to deify the teacher. It is a way to express humility— a helpful virtue on the spiritual path and a method for taking in the energy of the teacher. In yogic wisdom, spiritual energy flows in through the head and out the feet, so by lowering our head, we make ourselves open to receive.

After we pranam, Anandi Ma usually gives prasad— a piece of fruit or other sweet— that she has blessed. Sometimes students may offer Anandi Ma a piece of fruit or flowers. Normally she blesses the fruit and returns it to the giver, while she keeps the flowers to use in her own devotional practice. Darshan is also a time when you can ask Anandi Ma a brief personal question, or request that she bless an object that you use, such as mala beads, a murti (statue), or even a photograph of a loved one.