In its most literal translation, darshan means ‘divine sight.’ It is the practice of looking upon or being in the presence of a temple deity, a saint, or a fully-realised Master. A reciprocal experience, it is a moment of seeing and being seen by the Divine. Spiritual seekers will often take long pilgrimages to sacred sights, visit saints or gurus, or pursue the blessing of a specific deity in a temple.
What is Darshan?
Often considered a form of worship, it is an opportunity to gain spiritual advancement and fulfilment. While many forms of traditional Hindu worship include chanting long mantras, performing various rituals, specific meditations and more - darshan requires very little of the worshipper. In fact, it is enough to gaze upon the sacred being with reverence.
We don’t necessarily need to understand the blessings we receive. In fact, it isn’t possible. To receive this blessing and grace from the Divine is beyond comprehension and as a result, each person experiences it differently.
What Does It Feel Like?
No two darshans are the same. Each one is a unique and sacred moment between you and the Divine. Some experience an internal transformation, others find a sense of healing, and still, others feel an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. Sometimes, they don’t feel anything at all. Every single person experiences something different and receives something different, entirely unique to them.
Regardless of the individual experience, one thing remains constant in each darshan - that is the sharing of Love. The deity, saint, or guru giving it showers you with unconditional Divine Love.
What Happens During Darshan?
You can think of it in two ways - what happens outside and what happens inside. Externally, it might not seem like much. In Hindu tradition, bowing as you approach a deity, saint or spiritual Master is customary as an expression of reverence towards them. By making visual contact with them, they see the devotee and the devotee receives a glimpse of divinity Itself.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda, a fully realised Master who regularly gives darshan to those seeking it says of the inward experience, ‘when you come for darshan, when I look at your soul, at that moment, what I see is your Self, your true Self. And what I see is the beauty of what you hold inside of you. That’s what I want you to see and that’s what I want you to realise for yourself.’ He often says that He is cleaning off dust and dirt from the mirror of your soul so that you can reflect the light of God more and more.
How Can You Receive Darshan?
Darshan is open to anyone and everyone. All are invited to attend regardless of faith or tradition. Anyone seeking this blessing can find it in a Hindu temple or even within the privacy of their own home through an image or murti (physical embodiment of the Divine). Saints and gurus often hold darshans differently. Paramahamsa Vishwananda, for example, brings it to you through an online blessing.
Externally, it might not seem like much. Once everyone is online, Paramahamsa Vishwananda may ask you to chant the mantra ‘sri vittala giridhari parabrahmane namaha’ while He takes a moment to look at each person in attendance. In doing so, He visualizes every person in the Divine consciousness.
When He’s done looking at everyone, He’ll ask you to meditate for a few minutes, visualizing Him on your third eye. After that, you’ll open your eyes and stare into His. This is when the darshan happens - the moment of seeing and being seen, the moment of being showered with unconditional Divine Love.
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