OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAMThe Cross and The Lotus Publishing, Seattle, Washington.

The Reverend Yogacharya David R. Hickenbottom

A Biographical Sketch

David met his Guru, The Reverend Mother Yogacharya M. Hamilton in March of 1974 at the age of twenty. From their first meeting David recognized the spiritual power emanating from Mother and her ability to change his consciousness, lifting him into higher spiritual realms. Typical of many in his generation, he had been on a search for an indefinable "something" that would satisfy an inner void. He felt he was, as it were, an unwilling participant in this search, as his preference would have been to find happiness in the "normal" course of events, as others seemed to be doing. Until he met his Guru, he had an inadequate understanding to realize that his was a search for Self-Realization, for God.

Recent Audio Talks by David are now available. Please go to the Audio Page

Additional Links to written work by Yogacharya David Hickenbottom  (please click on highlighted titles/links below):


Seattle, Washington, 11th April, 2004

Seattle, Washington, 20th April 2003

2nd April, 2003

"An intimate diary of my outer and inner journey to India from September 21, 1998 to March 3, 1999" -- Please Note: The Illustrations that accompany David's "My Spiritual India" are available separately.  Please click here to see the Index of photographs.  (This index may take about 90 seconds to load on slower modem connections) ...

David's account of his journey to India is available for download in pdf format, by clicking here, or on the link (title) above ...

A Story of Creation, by David Hickenbottom, based on Swami Sri Yukteswar's book The Holy Science, chapter 1, available for download  in pdf format ...

An account of the celebration of Mother Hamilton's Mahasamadhi at Anandashram, India. January 31, 2002, by Yogacharya David Hickenbottom ...

If you require assistance with using pdf files, please click here ... 

Some of David's written work is also available within issues of The Cross and The Lotus Journal at this web site.  Please follow the preceding link, or see "The Cross and The Lotus Journal" link below ...

With a focus on obtaining results, as the pain of the void would allow nothing less, he started his life as a sadhaka, practicing Kriya Yoga meditation and chanting of God’s name, Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram, which Mother taught to mean: Victory to God, Victory to God. These methods proved a healing balm on his soul, giving him comfort and an upliftment of mind. The most remarkable experiences came in the presence of his Guru. He felt her to be a spiritual powerhouse that generated in him profound changes of the deepest nature.

With an ever-mounting desire for realization, as the pain of the inner void would give him no rest, he mounted a campaign to break the wall of separation between himself and the Infinite. Learning of Bhakti Yoga, Union with God through love and devotion, and feeling himself devoid of any feeling of love at the time, he came to have a great desire to experience the radiance he observed in others. Really, his whole sadhana at this time was guided by the desire to remove the pain he felt within and gain the bliss he occasionally experienced through his practice. He read about the lives of two great bhaktas, one from the West and one from the East: St. Francis of Assisi and Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Accounts of their lives inspired his yearning to open his heart. By 1976 the powerful forces of Guru Shakti and his sadhana: chanting God’s name, Kriya Yoga, along with emerging feelings of bhakti, resulted in the sudden release of the transformative kundalini current in his spine.

This inner transformation continued on over the years, taking David on a journey through successive experiences that were designed to transform his nature from the totally human, to the Divine. That is, he would become the willing instrument of Divine Consciousness with himself as the witness, ultimately resulting in a total fusion between the "I and Thou" of duality. However, he judged his own case as probably a difficult challenge for the Divine since he seemed to be of a weak nature and made so many mistakes. His Guru’s teachings helped him in that she assured him he was God’s very own, and that with sincere effort by the aspirant, God would provide the means to overcome every obstacle. His character had one bright spot, that seemed more inborn than of his own doing: he was sincere in his desire for God.

In 1984 Mother ordained David as a minister. Having expressed his desire to his Guru to be of any help he could in her work, she began to speak to him of taking up the yoke of service in this manner. David had a keen desire to be of service to his Guru and willingly applied himself to serving all as a minister. Mother asked him to give talks about living a spiritual life and about the attainment of God-Realization. In particular, Mother did not want talks of merely an intellectual vein, but for David to speak from his own experience. To this point in his life David had not spoken openly to any but his Guru about his experiences, taking as his watchword that spiritual experiences should be "held closely to the vest." It was an act of surrender for him to reveal to all his most sacred inner experiences, as it was his nature to be reclusive about such things, but he did so at the request of his beloved Guru, who knew best about such things. Through her direction David did not prepare an outline or notes for giving a talk, but rather opened himself for God to speak through him. He found that at these times he was filled with the power and presence of God and Gurus.

David continued to function in his capacity as a minister through the years. His life in the world led him from that of being a truck driver in the moving and storage business to a career as a counselor. Earning a Bachelors degree in Psychology, and then a Master of Arts degree in Counseling, he worked for a mental health agency, primarily with the mentally ill, carrying on a private practice as well. He also entered into the mediation field, playing a role in creating the first community-based dispute resolution center in Washington state, and at that time one of only a few in the country. He later was a principle in a mediation business, both mediating and teaching. David was also busy loving and parenting two children, a stepson and an adopted daughter, both of whom are now well into their adulthood.

These busy outer functions were but an overlay on the inner life that he always felt to be the core of his existence. The kundalini experiences continued throughout the years, making for interesting and challenging times. He lived in two worlds: an inner world of mystic forces constantly at work and needing attention, and an outer life that demanded its own attention and focus. David cannot say he sailed through these challenges, and did everything to perfection, but he has said, "I did the best I could, often in very difficult situations." At times the inner experiences overwhelmed him. For example, the kundalini would suddenly shoot up his spine lifting him out of body consciousness and into realms of bliss, all the while he was trying to carry on the normal functions of the day. Inwardly, secretly, he led this dual life, all the while working to be balanced.

Through these experiences an inner Presence of the Divine became a regular feature. It was thrilling for David to be a part of the unfolding drama as layer after layer of spiritual realms stood revealed before his inner, and sometimes outer vision. Along with these heights also came the deep scourging of darkened corridors of the mind: every weakness, every fear, and every desire nature revealed itself. With each new release from deep layers, David was faced with one of two responses: To let the darkness go, surrender it to the Light, and proceed; or to identify with the past tendency and give it new life and new energy through his attention. The path to God is exacting, demanding absolute purity of mind. This purity is gained at a price. One of the hallmarks of saints is their humility. Anyone sincerely on the path will immediately recognize the reason. A countless number of encounters with ones own shadow levels the ego again and again. Only a person who has started to fool themselves with their own "spiritual greatness," in place of doing the real work of sadhana could maintain an inflated ego while on the path.

During this period of time and his growing sense of his oneness with God, David’s Guru became ill. After several years of extreme suffering, she left the body on January 31, 1991. David felt that through her suffering, Mother was paying the price for many who would benefit from her teachings and the example of her unique life. He revered her in every way, and he was sorry to lose her physical presence, but also glad for the release of her suffering as well. Within a few years many changes followed on the heels of Mother’s passing. Powerful inner directions occasionally brought life-changing decisions for David. The most difficult was to separate from his wife. This coincided with a dark night of the soul for David that was to last for two years. Whereas before the Presence of God had been a constant feature, now he was separated it seemed, and where the inner Presence of his Guru had been there as well, now that too was gone.

Toward the end of those two years in the desert wilderness of the soul, rays of light began to emanate once again in his consciousness. With the gradual rising of the spiritual sun within came requests for David to serve some aspirants, some returning to the Kriya path after an absence, some new to the path. David had taken a sabbatical from his ministerial service while in that dark night, feeling he would only be "the blind leading the blind." A new stage of life was emerging from the ashes of a long, difficult time. Never one to make a straight line to anywhere, David took some zigzags along the way. It may be that the same principle is true for him as when most people have a canker sore: they know the sore is there, they know it hurts, yet they have to put their tongue on it, just to make sure! Anyway, with some detours, David made his way back to teaching and helping new aspirants on the path. The Presence of God, and then of the Guru, returned with even greater power than before.

In 1997 another powerful inner direction came for David. He was to leave his profession and work full time on his own sadhana and his role as teacher and Guru. It was interesting for him to get the direction, but how would he survive? By this time in David’s life such considerations were not paramount for him. He felt that God was in charge and He would take care of all. He had taken a vow to Mother that like her, he would not charge for anything he did in his service to God: he would form no organization; he would not advertise. He threw himself upon the winds of fate, knowing that the Infinite Provider of all would care for him. And indeed, his faith has been more than justified, as God has taken care of every need, and more.

Mother had given David the title of Yogacharya1 in the late 1980s and had given him permission to initiate others into Kriya Yoga. It was not until the mid-1990s that David felt an inner direction to initiate others, as new aspirants were coming with genuine sincerity and desire for realization. In 1998 more inner direction led David’s feet on a pilgrimage to India. Through generous donations of friends, he was able to travel to the sacred places he had heard about from his Guru and read from his Param-Guru’s book, Autobiography of A Yogi. Mother once said she was the product of two perfect Masters: her own Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, and Swami Ramdas, a totally realized God-man. It was David’s great privilege to travel to many of the sites spoken of in the Autobiography as well as spend many months in Anandashram2, practicing sadhana under the loving guidance of Swami Satchidananda3.

In the year 2000, another injunction from the Divine prompted David to enter a one-year silent retreat4 and seclusion at Cloud Mountain Retreat Center in September, where he is residing presently.

Meditation groups continue to meet. Reverend Larry Koler and wonderful Center Leaders continue to hold aloft the Light for all sincere seekers. Also, Reverend Pat Downey conducts services for his group in Victoria, British Columbia.

Realization of God alone, Who is the Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent Force that has created all in all in a spirit of love and joy, is the focus for the sadhakas on this path. Through learning wise discernment, selfless service, devotional Love for the Creator and His creation, and through deepened yoga absorption in Omniscience, sincere sadhakas follow this fourfold path to their union with God. As you seek out this transcendent vision in your own sadhana, may the blessings of God and Gurus ever be yours, and may your keen desire for realization of your true Self find fulfillment.

Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram

In God, Christ and Gurus

1. Yogacharya: teacher or master of yoga, yoga being union with God.
2. Swami Ramdas started Anandashram; Swami Satchidananda is the current ashram swami.
3. This pilgrimage is detailed in My Spiritual India (available at this web site).
4. The inner prompting also revealed that this year of silence and seclusion is in connection with the establishment of dharma, right activity, in the world, and especially in the West.

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