What is Darshan and How to Receive it

In the West, darshan isn’t the most common word. It lives, hidden in spiritual books, thrown casually out by a yoga teacher, or left in your path for you to stumble over. But in India, and for Hindus around the world, it is a sought-after part of spiritual life. Darshan, nevertheless, has more benefits than we can even comprehend. Dive deeper into the topic and discover the beauty and importance of it and how to get this extremely rare blessing from a God-realised master.

In its most literal translation, darshan means ‘divine sight.’ Darshan is a reciprocal experience—a moment of seeing and being seen by the Divine. It is the practice of looking upon or being in the presence of a temple deity, a saint, or a God-realised master such as Paramahamsa Vishwananda. 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?

Darshan is an outpouring of unconditional love. The blessing is an opportunity to gain spiritual advancement and fulfilment. We don’t necessarily need to understand the blessings we receive. In fact, it isn’t even possible. It is enough to gaze upon the sacred Being with reverence. To receive this blessing and grace from the Divine is beyond comprehension and as a result, each person experiences it differently.

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 toward them. By making visual contact with them, the saint sees the devotee, and the devotee receives a glimpse of Divinity Itself. 

Paramahamsa Vishwananda, a fully God-realised master, 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. 

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.’


- Paramahamsa Vishwananda


What Does Darshan 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, people 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—the sharing of unconditional Divine Love. Gurudev looks into your soul and knows what it is seeking, then He does what He can to support you on your spiritual journey. 

How Can I Receive Darshan?

Darshan is open to anyone and everyone. All are invited to attend regardless of faith or tradition. Paramahamsa Vishwananda offers two different ways to receive His darshan, in-person and online.



In-person darshans are free festive events with hours of music and dancing, Vedic chanting, and experience sharing. Depending on the venue, guests may be asked to come for a specific time slot, or they may be welcome to stay as long as they like. For your first three darshans, you are invited to sit up front; please ask an attendant to help you find a seat. 

What to Expect

Before Paramahamsa Vishwananda arrives, there will be a short talk telling you how to come and receive His darshan.  This is followed by a short ritual honouring the master, it is followed by singing. Once Gurudev arrives, He usually sings one or two bhajans before the darshan begins. 

As the line to receive darshan can take quite some time, families with young children are asked to line up first. Then everyone else is welcome to join the queue as they like. 

You are welcome to bring books, photos, murtis or malas for Gurudev to bless. Please hand your items to the attendant when you are approaching the front of the line. If you have a question, you may write Gurudev a note. Please write in English or French and hand it to the attendant. Gurudev may or may not speak to you directly, but rest assured He will know what to do to best support you on your spiritual journey.   

Once you get to the front of the line, you will be directed where to stand. When it is your turn, you will simply look into His eyes as He looks into your soul. When Gurudev turns to the next person in line, it is your cue to move aside and let the next person step forward. There will be a swami or swamini nearby who will hand you a small bundle containing a rose petal, a sweet, and a small packet of blessed turmeric, all are edible.  

After darshan, we recommend you return to your seat and sit quietly for 10-15 minutes to simply take in your experience. Although you are welcome to leave after your darshan, we invite you to stay until the end to enjoy the whole darshan experience. 

Click the link below to sign up for one of Paramahamsa Vishwananda's next in-person darshans




Now, no matter where you are in the world, you can have a personal encounter with a God-realised master and receive His darshan blessing of unconditional Love.

What to Expect

Online darshans take place via Zoom. Up to 1000 people can be online at the same time, but it feels like a very intimate experience because you will only see Gurudev on the screen. 

The online darshan event begins with a 30-minute Bhakti Lounge program, during which one of our resident swamis answers questions from the guests online. While you wait for Gurudev to come online, there may also be some pre-recorded kirtan, experience sharing and a short meditation.

Once Paramahamsa Vishwananda arrives, He will ask you to chant ‘sri vittala giridhari parabrahmane namaha’ while He looks at each person in attendance. 

When He’s done looking at everyone, He’ll ask you to meditate for a few minutes, visualising Him in your third eye. After that, you’ll open your eyes and gaze into His eyes. This is when the darshan happens - the moment of seeing and being seen, the moment of being showered with unconditional Divine Love.

After the darshan, Gurudev will ask you to sit in silence for two minutes while He goes offline. When He returns, He will open the mic to chat with a few people. You may click on the hand icon to have the possibility to speak with Him. It is best to stay online until the host closes the meeting room. 

This article goes into more detail about what to expect and how to ask questions during an online darshan.

Click the link below to sign up for your first three online darshans. After your third online darshan, please visit our online Events Calendar



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