In its most literal translation, darshan means ‘divine sight.’ Darshan is a reciprocal experience, it is 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 towards 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 - that is the sharing of unconditional Divine Love. Gurudev looks into your soul and knows what it is seeking, and then He does do 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, just ask an attendant to help you find a seat.
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, simply hand it to the attendant when you arrive next to Guruji's seat. If you have a question, you may write it in English or French and also hand it to the attendant. Gurudev may or may not speak to you, 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 to stand up close to Gurudev's seat. When it is your turn, you will simply look into His eyes as He looks into your soul. When He is done, He will hand you a small bundle containing a rose petal, a sweet, and a small packet of blessed turmeric. All are edible. When Gurudev turns to the next person in line, it is your cue to move aside and let the next person step forward.
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.
Online darshans take place via Zoom. There are up to 1000 people online at the same time, although it feels like a very intimate experience because you can only see Gurudev on the screen.
The online darshan event begins with a 30-minute Gita Lounge program where one of our resident swamis answers questions for the guests online. There may also be some pre-recorded kirtan or experience sharing while you wait for Gurudev to come online.
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 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.
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. It is best to stay online until the host closes the meeting room.
For more information about what to expect and how to ask questions during an online darshan, check out this article.
Click the link below to sign up for your first three online darshans. After your third online darshan, please visit our online Events Calendar.