Devotion: Letters to Initiates 8 – Pada Seva

by | 2 Jan, 2024

Pada or Padukas are the sandals typically worn in ancient India. They had a flat base and a knob that rises up between the big toe and second toe. They can be very simple or very ornate.

Pada Seva literally means worshipping the feet or sandals of the deity or guru.

Remember that the Guru or enlightened Master is able to connect with their higher souls and has done so for years. They are like charged spiritual batteries. Pada Seva enables the devotee to plug into that grace. This blissful devotional practice comes from the awareness that the ‘soles’ (souls?) of the feet are a very rich source of ‘pre-digested’ readily available Divine energy unlike anything else. Pada Seva calls forth the rich spirit of the Divine.

There are some things that are difficult to conceptualise until we experience them. The first time I went to India I had a dream that Sai Baba was walking towards me on a beach. He was wearing ornate silver sandals. He smiled at me, tossed his shoes up in the air, and when they landed, they were on my feet. He laughed and disappeared. It was such a vivid dream, as if I was awake, and it was really happening. I had no idea what it meant. I had no idea that the shoes of the Guru are the most priceless object a devotee can possess. I had no idea of the stories of Lord Ram in the Ramayana, whose younger brother placed Ram’s shoes on the throne and worshiped them as Ram in Ram’s enforced absence, performing Pada Seva, and thus bringing into his consciousness unity with Ram. In this way he knew how Ram would address situations and circumstances even though he was not physically there.

Back to my dream. The next day in the line-up for darshan, I was sitting beside a lovely American woman who was wearing a truly beautiful sari. I commented on it, and she said, “Sai Baba gave it to me. He gives people saris and Padukas.” “What are Padukas?” I asked. “Oh, silver sandals,” she said. I was shocked, and told her my dream. She directed me to a person who looked after the Paduka trust, and before I knew it, I had received a set of silver Padukas that were rich with the energy of the Bhagavan. I was told that they were blessed for me and my family. 

Enormous blessings were radiating from the silver sandals. It was really shocking to me at the time, how metal sandals could cause such a shift in how I was feeling, stilling my mind and awakening something in my heart. The feeling was like blissful electrical energy surging through my essence.

As soon as I returned home, I gave them to my daughter Gayatri to hold. She felt the blessings straight away. Then I took them to Mum and Dad’s place. Back then, they were very sceptical of all my ‘hocus pocus’ and had not yet started to have healings. When my sensible engineer father held the Padukas, he was overcome with bliss. With a dumbfounded look on his face he asked: ‘What just happened?’ Then he was trying to see how the alloys of metals could have given off an electrical charge…it was just Divine grace. Experiencing is believing. Blessing received.

Worship of the Guru’s feet, or of the Padukas is a thing. Why? Because the most digested and coalesced energy of golden Divine light comes out of the feet of the Guru. Where does it land? In their shoes. Both the feet and the shoes if viewed clairvoyantly tend to glow with golden light.

I have known people who bow to the feet of a guru and feel nothing. That is probably because they are not connected to that guru; there is no devotion. Or, there was no inner calling to bow just then, and pada seva may have been done from a misplaced feeling of obligation, or for a reason that is not devotion. When a heart full of devotion bows to the feet of a guru, the most glorious tingling and amazing energy can fill the head, or the whole body. Some days it is stronger than others. Sometimes you cannot get up off the floor as you are in a trance-like blissful state and cannot move.  Some people have miraculous openings in their spiritual heart after simply performing Pada Seva.

Such things are part of the high mysteries of love. It is really the province of mystery schools to be discussing or practicing such things. The uninitiated would worry that the disciple is being trodden on by the Guru, or had given their power away. Nothing could be further than the truth! The power of the Divine is being accessed in as unlikely a place as nature could have designed: through the feet of another living being.

In India it is commonplace to touch the feet of someone we have deep respect or love for. This might be our mum or dad, or a teacher or senior person in any field. It flows from the esoteric reality that by doing so, some of the developed energy of that person flows into them, helping them to progress in their own lives. We sometimes scan what happens to the energy field of a person who puts themselves in a devoted relationship to the feet of the Guru. It is truly amazing to sense the explosion of energy that appears within the aura and chakras of the recipient of this boon.

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