“One morning (many years ago), I woke up early, cherishing the quiet of the dawn. As the coffee brewed, I began putting away clean dishes from the night before when my eyes fell upon the block of kitchen knives. I casually wondered what it would be like to die. I wasn’t suicidal or depressed—the thought was one of innocent curiosity. As I contemplated this possibility, I had a vibrant vision of the trajectory of my life on the path of habitual seeking. I saw myself as an externally successful but deeply unfulfilled middle-aged woman who was worn-out and unhappy. She looked like she had missed out on the most important thing in life. The vision faded.
As my attention returned to the kitchen, I noticed that several minutes had passed and my hand was frozen in midair, still clutching a utensil. A stream of joy bubbled up from the depths of the ennui that had enveloped me until then. Finally I knew! What I was really seeking was the end of seeking. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with gathering, achieving, or acquiring.” ~Excerpt from Shakti Rising (Nonduality Press, 2017)
MEET KAVITHA CHINNAIYAN
Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Royal Oak, MI. Her clinical and research work focus on advanced cardiac imaging, heart disease in women, and prevention of heart disease. She has published more than a hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters and serves on several national and international committees and organizations in the field of cardiology.
She has studied Tantra, Advaita Vedanta, Yoga and Āyurveda with teachers across the globe. Her workshops, courses and writings strive to bring these time-honored traditions to modern living in practical ways.
She is a Śrīvidyā initiate and disciple of Śri Chaitanyananda Nātha Saraswatī (Haran Aiya), pīṭhādhipati and founder of the Rājarājeśvarī Pīṭham in Rush, NY.
She has studied Advaita Vedanta at the Chinmaya Mission, the Direct Path with Greg Goode, Śrīvidyā with Śri Śivapremananda, and Non-dual Śaiva Tantra (also known as Kashmir Śaivisim) with Paul Muller-Ortega and Sally Kempton.
She is the author of The Heart of Wellness (Llewellyn Publications, 2018), Shakti Rising (Nonduality Press, 2017), which won the Nautilus Gold Award for Best Books of 2017 and Glorious Alchemy: Living the Lalitā Sahasranāma (New Sarum Press, UK, 2020).
"What I had been seeking all my life was the end of seeking."
THE ŚABDA TEAM
Barbara is the Executive Director of an after school program in a public elementary school. Prior to this role she had a few short careers ranging from a lab technician for a biotech firm to a product development assistant with a cosmetics company. However, working with children and the school community has been the most rewarding career path. Barbara enjoys supporting the needs of the school community by providing programming with enrichments outside of the classroom, as well as homework help, while supporting social and emotional well being. Barbara began her spiritual seeking when her mom passed away from cancer in 2010. The fleetingness of life made apparent by her mom’s illness and rapid decline brought questions such as the meaning of life to the forefront, initiating a journey of spiritual seeking.
The depth of Kavitha’s knowledge and wisdom had a profound influence on Barbara’s spiritual path, leading her to partake in Śabda Sphota in 2019. Barbara feels incredibly blessed to be a student of Kavitha’s and part of the Śabda Institute which is beyond any other sangha or any other spiritual disciplines she has studied in the past. The Śadba Institute and Kavitha have created a paradigm shift to her spiritual path including rapid maturity, which has positively impacted her life.
Geetika is a highly successful brand developer and a lead for several large scale projects in the space of media and live entertainment. She is the founder of a biomimicry inspired startup, Energy Keeper, where she combines her skills of project design, brand building and creative thinking to develop unique customized solutions for everyday living. Based on the idea that living systems can provide clues for how to create human life designs that are better for both people and the planet, Geetika’s passion lies in unearthing and discovering processes that will engender lasting changes in humanistic relationships with each other and with the planet we inhabit. Currently, she has designed and developed a unique K-12 day-school model that integrates this approach into their day-to-day learning.
Geetika was led to Kavitha's world through a series of interesting coincidences, and she’s been working with her intensively for the past year. She says, "Kavitha has a unique gift of being able to slice away all that comes in the way of your own inner light. Working with her has been a life changing experience and I am deeply grateful for her practical and yet deeply profound wisdom.”
Heather is a business operations and project management specialist with nearly 20 years of experience, primarily in the travel and tourism industry. It was an inspirational semester spent studying and exploring Prague that led Heather to her current vocation - travel! With a degree in International Ecotourism, she is passionate about the environment and conservation.
Heather read Shakti Rising in early 2018 and shortly after reading the book she took Kavitha’s Shakti Rising course live. The things she learned in this course created the foundation for what would be a life-changing path. Later that year Heather volunteered to help organize the Shakti Yatra. This led to planning a 10-day trip for 16 people to various Śakti Pīṭhams throughout India. Heather says, "Kavitha’s teachings have changed my life, and it has always been my pleasure to give everything I can back to the teachings and the teacher". Heather manages the annual Shakti Yatra, retreats, and the scholarship program for Śabda Institute.
Professionally, Joanne heads a team of specialists in international trade finance, a field in which she has worked for 20 years. Beyond this, she’s had a lifelong passion for just about any activity that gets her out exploring nature.
Joanne has had a dedicated spiritual practice for years, though it had often felt like it was at odds with her hectic householder life. It was therefore quite amazing for her to discover Kavitha’s teachings through The Heart of Wellness book, and to see Kavitha making her spiritual path her commitment and priority even in the midst of a hectic and successful professional and home life. Through Kavitha, Joanne has learned that the challenges of life are what give us the chance to grow. To face these in a practical manner and with continuous self-inquiry are critical factors in our sadhana. Joanne is also fascinated at how impactful lifestyle is in reducing stress in the body and mind. She is thrilled to be a part of the Śabda Institute and to see it grow, bringing these profound yet practical teachings to a broader audience.
Laura is a Yoga Therapist and Mental Health Therapist based in Seattle. She supports people while they heal from the effects of trauma and cultivate resilience. When she returned from her first trip to India in 2018 she put a prayer on her altar to find a radical, feminist, woman Tantra teacher. Within 3 months Kavithaji found her and Laura has been experiencing her grace and guidance ever since. Laura says, "My entire life transformed through Kavithaji's grace. My relationship with myself, my body, my family and the world changed, and I am forever grateful." Laura manages membership for the Śabda Institute. You can learn more about Laura at www.seedyogatherapy.com.
After a successful career in IT, Prashanthi made an entrepreneurial transition when she founded her Performing Arts Institute that focuses on holistic growth through dance. As an engineer and a creative director, she brings a unique perspective and diligence to everything she undertakes, be it teaching dance, writing, storytelling, photography or video creation.
Prashanthi feels blessed to be one of Kavitha’s first Śabda students, and is grateful to serve and be part of the vision of Śabda Institute. Prashanthi says, “When I heard Kavitha Akka’s journey and what she shared - “The greatest leaps in my growth occurred when I approached the Guru with the attitude of not knowing, and the willingness to do anything for the knowledge they embodied”, it kindled my own desire to completely tune into my guru, with willingness to be open and transparent, and to serve and grow in absolute surrender! And that has brought me to her and this beautiful and powerful saṅgha of women.”
Prashanthi manages Media Production for the Śabda Institute. You can know more about Prashanthi at www.pcipaseattle.com
Rashmi is a Sacred Artist. Her paintings act as an instrument to bring the power of Sacred Form and the majesty of Design present in the cosmos to our Awareness. They represent Śakti in all her magnificent manifestations as the Creative Power of the Universe. She has studied Sacred art, Visionary Art through the Color of Woman method, Intentional Creativity, Art and science of Yantra and ancient Temple Art of India with various teachers across the globe.
Kavitha appeared in Rashmi’s life through her longing to know more about the Mahāvidyās that were constantly emerging on her canvas. Rashmi’s seeking stopped when she was presented with Kavitha’s powerful transmissions of Vidyā. She found her teachings to be a harmonious combination of profoundness and practicality, which led to a radical transformation within and without. Being in Kavitha’s Presence of love and grace has transformed the course of Rashmi’s life. This love constantly inspires Rashmi to serve, learn and grow through seva and surrender to the Guru and the Path. Rashmi manages the Art and Creative Design portal and Sphota Stambha for Śabda Institute. You can view Rashmi’s artwork at www.rashmithirtha.com
Shaku is the founder and CEO of Activateen™, a non-profit venture for teens. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Shell, and led marketing for startups like CognitiveScale and Webify Solutions. She holds a B.A., a Post Graduate degree in Mass Communications and an MBA. Currently she serves on the board of Communities IN Schools Central Texas and on committees for the Greater Austin Chamber and the Eanes School District. She is a certified yoga teacher, a writer and poet. Her articles have appeared in various publications globally. Shaku says, “Kavitha’s teachings are based on practical knowledge and application which leads to inner empowerment, strength, clarity and stability. I have experienced the shifts in my life through the grace and generosity of the Guru Tattva.” Shaku manages the overall operations for Śabda Institute. You can learn more about Shaku at www.activateen.com
Simi started her career as a marketing and branding professional but found her calling in culinary photography. Painting with ingredients, pairing exotic spices for mutual enhancement and richness of flavor, she narrates stories through the play of light and bold strokes of color.
Her love for creating unique flavors deeply informs her passion for culinary optics. Her work has been featured on MSN, Fox News magazine, Better Homes, theKitchn, Smart Photography Magazine, Artful Blogging magazine, Adobe, The Hindu Newspaper to name a few. Simi says working with her Guru and being part of this team is grace. She is constantly learning and creating. Through this she experiences the practicality of her Guru’s teachings about ‘life being your sādhana’ and ‘the mundane IS the mystical’ you can view her portfolio at www.simijois.com
Simi manages the Photography and Creative Design portal for Śabda Institute.
With more than 25 years of professional experience as a Clinical Psychologist working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders Tanuka was seeking a spiritual foundation that would help her growth as a woman juggling work and home, which she found through Kavitha. Her teacher soon taught her that her whole life was her sādhanā and there is no split between work and personal life. This experience was further enhanced when Tanuka had the blessed opportunity to join Team Kavitha. Her heart opened wide to the power of women working in perfect alignment and support of each other. She learnt that approaching life’s issues with clear and honest intentions, pragmatism, rational and precise communication but with detachment to the outcome were key to harnessing creative flow and ensuring success.
Tanuka feels that being part of this space of power, devotion and commitment is the sādhanā of a lifetime. Tanuka manages the Śabda Sphota and Sphota Stambha programs for Śabda Institute.
Vanitha started her career working in the healthcare industry as an information systems analyst. Over the course of time her focus shifted to health and wellness with an intention to improve quality of life for herself and her near and dear ones. This inspired her to take up yoga teacher certification and change her diet patterns. She looked for healthier ways to cook meals incorporating natural foods and spices. She began experimenting with food combinations and traditional cooking techniques. She is also an artist and spends time doodling and painting using watercolors, acrylics and digital media.
Vanitha says, “I am grateful to be part of the Śabda team and its noble vision. The simplicity, directness and practicality of Kavitha’s teachings, rooted in the authority of Tantra, Vedas and other paths, had a profound impact on me and my outlook towards life as I immersed myself in her deep knowledge and wisdom.”
Vanitha manages the Heart of Wellness community and is also involved in creating the Bliss Recipe Book for Śabda Institute.