April 2013 Newsletter Contents
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Emotions, Mind, and Ego
by Swami Rama
All of your emotions are related to the four primitive fountains. From these four urges or motivations rise the six main streams of emotions. Kama is the prime desire. The second stream is krodha or anger; if a desire is not fulfilled, you become angry and frustrated. If that same desire is fulfilled, you become puffed up with pride, mada, the third stream. If the desire is fulfilled, you become attached to the object that fulfilled your desire. That is moha. The next stream is lobha, which means that you become greedy and want more and more. When greed takes over, you do everything to feed ahamkara (ego); that prevents you from knowing your true Self.
Learn to have an even temperament by not losing your temper every now and then.
Sadness and loneliness are two companions on the path of sadhana. Your mantra is your great companion and you should never have to face moments of despair.
Emotions, if properly directed, can lead you to the highest state of ecstasy.
All sadhanas have a central theme: to have an orderly mind that does not create obstacles to the path of unfoldment within and does not hinder success in the external world.
The body is your physical instrument for living in the external world. Your mind or internal instrument is antah-karana. The antahkarana has four faculties that function in the interior world: manas (active mind), chitta (subconscious; storehouse or reservoir of subtle impressions or samskaras), buddhi (intellect), and ahamkara (ego, the sense of “I-am-ness” or individuality). Manas has five subtle senses and five gross senses to experience the external world—the world of objects. Coordinating the four faculties requires real effort and makes the mind creative, useful, and productive.
These four faculties of the mind should carefully be observed and their functioning should be analyzed in day to day life. As you keep accounts and know how much money you have spent and what your reserves are, you should also be able to keep account of the functions of the mind, both within and without.
Thought, action, and speech are the three main objects to be observed. How am I thinking and feeling, how am I speaking, and what motivates me to speak? Is the way that I am speaking helpful for me and others?
Thoughts come and go—do not brood on them. All thoughts have some origin. Find out from where they arise. If you throw a pebble into a lake, it will create ripples twice; first, when you throw it, and then again when it settles at the bottom of the lake.
Don’t allow thoughts to settle in the lake of your mind. If an unpleasant thought comes, let it go. Don’t get disturbed. Otherwise, you will lose the constant battle waged by your thoughts. Be friendly to your mind and don’t create animosity toward it.
Any creative thought enveloped with selfless love and selfless service toward others, if not expressed and executed, is like a treachery and an abortion. If creative thoughts are not brought into action, frustration arises, which can create repression. One day that repression is projected through the body as a disease or ‘dis-ease.’
Wherever you go, you will carry your mind with you. You have to start working with it, wherever you are. It is of no use knowing God, for he always exists everywhere. It is of no use knowing the world, because it is already there, and it has been known and analyzed by many in the past. The mystery lies between the two, and that is the mind. The mind can transport you to a higher realm of wisdom, and can come in touch with the collective consciousness.
Sadhana is for the mind. If the mind is trained, you have attained. If the mind is not purified with a definite discipline, it will suffer from the age-old epidemic of hallucination. Those who do not know sadhana, go on quarreling with the mind until the last breath of their lives.
Unless the mind is trained in a coordinated way by understanding all of its modifications, it remains unruly, disorderly, and enveloped in its primitive dharma. An untrained mind interferes with the spontaneous feelings arising from the heart.
Mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. A one-pointed mind can help one go within and unveil the mystery of inner life, whereas an undisciplined mind remains dissipated.
An outwardly oriented mind runs from one object to another, hoping to find peace and happiness in the external world. Lacking inner awareness, the mind refuses the guidance and inspiration of the subtle Divine Force. A mind not guided by divine illumination stands as a wall between the aspirant and his goal. Having such a mind, one fails to study the inner dimensions of life, and as a result, considers the external world to be the sole reality.
To attain perfection here and now, one must undertake some spiritual discipline. Without practice one cannot attain control over the modifications of the mind. Unless the mind is made one-pointed, one cannot unfold one’s inner potentials.
The method of making the mind one-pointed is called meditation. Through meditation, an aspirant withdraws his mind from the external world, focuses on a given internal object, and develops an interest in delving within.
Once an aspirant has attained freedom from the distractions originating in the conscious part of the mind, he can have a better grasp of the thought constructs that originate from the unconscious mind. Through undisturbed, prolonged practice, a student dives deep and becomes familiar with his inherent potentials. He observes how the experiences of the external world are a mere reflection of the inner world.
There is no conflict in life. Conflict lies in the mind. The mind needs training. Even though a trained mind is not capable of leading one to the summit, it will remove all the obstacles along the way. A free mind is the grace of the Lord.
When an aspirant has understood the conscious part of the mind, and has attained mastery over it, he naturally performs his actions skillfully and efficiently. Compared to the unconscious, the conscious part of mind is very small; however, there is close interaction between the unconscious and the conscious mind.
Enjoy life moment to moment and do not get disturbed. That which is not going to happen will not happen, and that which is going to happen is going to happen. Therefore, tranquility should not be disturbed. A mind that is balanced and tranquil cannot be a workshop of the devil.
Never identify yourself with your mind, its objects, emotions, speech, or actions.
The doer is different from the deeds. Never identify with your actions, thoughts, and emotions, but remain in eternal delight by establishing yourself in your essential nature that is peace, happiness, and bliss.
A person walking on the path of self-transformation should be aware of the dangers of egoism. Even while practicing the great virtues of truthfulness and nonviolence, a person can feed the ego. The ego related to the realm of spirituality is more subtle and injurious than the ego related to one’s worldly success.
During the period of seeking, the student may become too intellectual, ignoring sahaja bhava (spontaneous intuition); conversely, he may become too emotional; ignoring reason. An emotional trip is as dangerous as an intellectual trip; each feeds the ego.
A person becomes a slave to his ego when he thinks of selfish gains. A selfish person dwells in a state of doubt since his conscience constantly reminds him of his wrong attitude. On the one hand, he is pulled by his selfish desires, and on the other, he is alarmed by his inner voice. He is torn apart by these two forces.
Do not ever condemn yourself in any way. Learn to appreciate and admire yourself, but see that you do not feed your ego. It is the arch enemy on the path, though it can be polished with some effort.
Acknowledge your weak points, let the power of discrimination counsel your ego, and make a strong resolution to overcome your weaknesses. While working on the removal of weaknesses, you have to be very vigilant. Ego does not want its weaknesses exposed. The more you hide your weaknesses, the more they grow. Remind yourself that you are on the path of inner purification and self-discovery. It requires great courage. Stand firm during this internal battle, and support your Atman, even at the cost of dismounting the ego and all its retinue.
A human being is miserable if he fails to unfold and use his inner potentials. In order to unfold his inner potentials, he must purify the ego or surrender it to the higher Reality. After renouncing slavery to the ego, he can emerge from the confines of body, senses, and mind.
Only a profound method of meditation can help to purify the ego. A purified ego does not create barriers.
By practicing diligently, one may attain concentration of mind, one may speak the truth, and one may serve others, but one cannot realize the Truth unless one surrenders one’s ego to the higher Self. Only after rising above egocentric awareness, can one find the universe within. Only then can one learn to love all and exclude none. One who does not love one’s fellow beings, cannot love God at all.
Humanity is suffering from ego-born differences and inequality. People discriminate against their own brothers and sisters simply on the basis of race, religion, caste, or complexion. In order to be free from these problems, a political settlement alone is not enough.
When all human beings understand that their suffering has been brought on by ego, only then will they resolve all their differences. They will throw aside the confinements of race, caste, religion, and sectarian feelings. Instead of identifying themselves with a particular group or community, they will identify themselves with all human beings. They will love all as their own family members.
The ego is very useful in helping you to function in the world, but it’s not very useful as far as deeper happiness is concerned. The ego is that which separates you from the Reality, from the Truth, from the ultimate Source.
The most important step toward self-transformation is to shed one’s ego, to surrender it to the higher Reality, and thereby attain the light of discrimination and pure faith.
Once ego surrenders itself to the highest Truth, you have attained victory, and spiritual illumination is yours. Soon after the victory over ego, all other virtues, such as humility, love, selflessness, compassion, and kindness, spontaneously unfold. These virtues are prerequisites for self-transformation. When these virtues blossom, a human being becomes a saint. These saintly qualities send a silent invitation to the Lord of Life.
Michael Smith, a friend to many and a great teacher, Board Member at The Meditation Center in Minneapolis, has transcribed this article for this issue. Michael is a tireless and devoted spiritual person who delights in giving us hours upon hours of his transcription work as well. We thank him for his generosity and dedication. He has just returned from India where he spent significant time with Swami Veda.
The Law of Karma: Reward, Retribution and Realization
Dr. Prakash Keshaviah
The Meditation Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
September 6, 2012
This is a rough summary, with due apologies for any mistakes, of a talk that Dr. Prakash Keshaviah gave at The Meditation Center last September. Prakash began his talk by saying that he wanted to look at karma through the eyes of three great sages, each of whom spoke of karma in terms of one of the three Yogas of Life: Papa Ramdas through Bhakti Yoga, Ramana Maharshi through Jnana Yoga, and Swami Rama of the Himalayas through Karma Yoga.
Prakash then asked the audience whether they believed in destiny or free will: “Are all things determined or do we have free choice in the decisions we make?”
He said that according to the Vedas, we have gone through 8.4 million incarnations from simple cells to human beings, so we don’t want to waste this opportunity.
Shankaracharya said that the choices we have made in previous lives have determined (1) how long we will live in this life (measured in breaths), (2) our birth situation in terms of our species and family and (3) our quality of life in terms of the pain and pleasure we will experience.
Beyond that, there is our free will . . . or is it divine will? When Swami Rama asked his guru, Bengali Baba, the difference between free will and destiny, Bengali Baba said, “Lift one of your legs off the ground; that is your free will. Okay, can you now lift both legs off the ground? That is destiny.”
Working with your karma, Prakash said, is somewhat like playing game of chess. If you start out playing foolishly and lose your Knight or your Queen, you still have the opportunity to play strategically and use your other chess pieces to win the game.
Prakash then gave a little background in the life of Papa Ramdas. Ramdas was born into a family of textile workers and was a poor student in school, but he loved to read. He was sent to Bombay (now Mumbai) to study textile engineering, and while he was there nursed his roommate during his final days, which gave him a feeling of disillusionment about life. He later married, but always in him there was the inner prompting to seek God. At his brother’s kirtan he had a vision of Krishna. Later he was initiated by his father to the mantra Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram. The mantra took hold of him in continuous, spontaneous ajapa japa, leading him to renounce his occupation and family and wander where the spirit moved him. The narrative of his travels can be found in In Quest of God and In Vision of God, Volumes One and Two. (Note: In Quest of God can be downloaded: http://www.anandashram.org/html/ebooks/In_Quest_of_God.pdf ) Ramdas was guided by Lord Krishna and Lord Rama to visit Ramana Maharshi to whom he pleaded, “Show me the way.” Ramana Maharshi nodded his head, and Ramdas was led to a cave where he went into deep meditation. And when he came out of the cave, all was Ram, all was God; and the first man he saw he embraced as Lord Ram, as he then did to all people he met. He then traveled barefooted north to the Himalayas attracting many followers who tried to stay with him, but soon found that they could not endure his austere way of life and the total renunciation of all material possessions. Later he went back to his cave in the south of India where he experienced a lower samadhi and then the higher nirvikalpa samadhi. Papa Ramdas was beloved by tens of thousands of people for the remainder of his life. He was very well versed in English literature and was an excellent writer himself, as well as having a wonderful sense of humor.
Ramana Maharshi when young had a great memory and was an excellent swimmer, but he disliked school and was a deep sleeper. At the age of 16 he experienced a terrible fear of death and decided to explore this experience. Even though he held his breath, he found that his mind was still active, but then, probably from intense sadhana in previous lifetimes, went beyond the mind to experience union. Prompted by his older brother, he went to Tiruvannamalai and then to the sacred hill, Arunachala where he stayed for the rest of his life, attracting countless followers and performing many miracles. Ramana Maharshi said that there is an Ordainer that all people must obey —but still in much of his teachings is advice about how to use one’s free will.
Swami Rama at the age of three already knew his personal mantra. Later when he felt that his sadhana was futile, he said to his guru, “Unless you grant me God-realization, I’m going to drown myself.” His guru said, “You’re a good swimmer, so you had better tie a heavy rock around your ankle.” When Swami Rama began to tie a rock around his ankle, his guru gave him shaktipati, and the seeds of his karma were fried.
Swami Rama said there is the inexorable law of karma because the Divine Mother is compassionate and we have many chances to evolve spiritually, many opportunities to grow. Whether we are damp wood or gun powder to the guru’s match depends upon our effort.
To attain the highest realization requires three things:
- a human birth, however Ramana Maharshi was able, through his extradinary powers, to take a cow, a deer and even a crow to the highest state.
- An intense desire to know God, and
- A realized guru.
- These three things come in order. With human birth comes the longing to be liberated, and with intense longing, comes the guru. We start to inquire: how did I get here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of my life? Our life is not an accident. We were born to fulfill a particular mission.
Paramahansa Ramakrishna said, the breeze of grace is always blowing, but you need to hoist the sails. If you remain sleeping below deck, the boat is not going to go anywhere. You need to unfurl the sails and set them so the boat goes in the right direction.
Papa Ramdas said, “You are the architect of your destiny, and you need to surrender to God. If you don’t, then your suffering is your own ego-based choice. If you aspire to God, your effort is rewarded.”
But is there free will or not? There still seems to be this contradiction, but it depends on how you look at things. Prakash told the audience to imagine two horizontal sticks, one suspended a little way above the other but turned 90 degrees in a different direction. If looked at with our three-dimensional perspective, we could clearly differentiate that there were the two sticks. But if we were looking downward at the sticks with only a two-dimensional perspective, we would not see two sticks, but rather a cross. Likewise from certain other angles we would see a capital “T,” or an “L,” or a dot and a line, and many other different shapes and sizes for these two sticks.
Papa Ramdas said that God controls everything, therefore surrender to God and be freed of the sense of doership.
It is like a crow who is perched on a buffalo. The crow, in his foolishness might think he is directing the buffalo.
Our sense of individuality (ahamkara) makes us think that we have free will.
Another analogy is that of islands in the ocean. We may look at them from the surface and think they are all separate, but if you plunge into the sea and go to the depths, you would see that all islands are one, and that they are actually all mountains of the same land mass. (Interesting enough the highest mountain in the world from its base to its summit is not Mount Everest, but Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and the highest mountain from the earth’s center is Ecuador’s Mt. Chimborazo. So it depends on how you’re looking at things.)
Because of our identification with, what Swami Veda calls “the pseudo individuated self,” we see ourselves as islands, even though John Donne wrote:
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
It is like the Buddhist idea of interdependent origination, all things are interconnected, and a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon Rain Forest might be the causative agent for a hurricane in Rangoon. (This idea, called by Edward Lorenz “The Butterfly Effect.”)
It is possible to access the Sorbonne in Paris through the internet if you have the password. If you know the password, all the computers there can be accessed. For those who practice yoga, your password is your mantra. When through the mantra your ego becomes attenuated, your sense of doership is seen as an illusion.
Presently we think that our success is due to our efforts, and our failures are due to destiny. We like to take credit for our successes, but if we look at the landmark events in our lives, they are not really our own doing, but are due to divine guidance. As the Bible says:
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?
And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29-30)
But Swami Rama said that, no, you’re not just a dry leaf in the wind. There is grace, but also effort. The whole purpose of sadhana is to realize the futility of sadhana. But a lot of cooking has to take place for this realization to arrive. And our samskaras (our scars from the past) keep bringing us back because of our unfulfilled desires, and this will continue until we become desireless.
There are four types of karma:
- sanchita karma: the storehouse of all the karma from all our incarnations,
- prarabdha karma: the karma which will come to fruition in THIS lifetime,
- kriyamana karma: the karma we are now creating in this lifetime, and
- agami karma: the future karma that will be added to the sum-total of sanchitta karma from our present actions in this lifetime.
- When Swami Chandrashekara Bharati was asked what was the difference between free will and destiny, he said it was very simple: Free will is your present action, which forms your future destiny. Both destiny and free will, therefore, are in the realm of action and hence there is no contradiction. Swami Chandrashekara Bharati, a former Shankaracharya of the Sringeri monastery, had a keen intellect and was a realized being who took Jala (water) Samadhi, in a manner similar to Swami Rama Tirtha.
Swami Rama said that a crying baby is first given a rattle, then taffy, but nothing will really placate the baby until his mother picks it up in her arms and holds it. Likewise, nothing is going to placate the suffering of human beings until we are embraced by the Divine Mother. But to receive this embrace requires an intense longing for union and total surrender. Only THAT helplessness will be sufficient to bring us home.
Papa Ramdas said that with surrender to God liberation comes, and then one sees the divine hand in everything.
Ramesh Balsekar (1917-2009), a follower of Sri Nisargadatta, said that even free will is guided by our genes and our environment (both “nature” and “nurture”). It is all determined. Free will is an illusion.
Ramana Maharshi thought that free will exists, but only within individuality; therefore one should learn to direct it. As long as you think of yourself as separate and as the doer, you will create karma.
There are two things to keep in mind: preya (what is pleasant) and sheya (what is virtuous and preferable). Choosing preya creates karma. Choosing shreya leads to liberation.
Ramana Maharshi gave people two ways to liberation: FIRST: to inquire, because inquiry will show you that the ego and the ego-based thinking is a fiction, an illusion. It is like being in a dream in which a tiger chasing you. When you awaken from the dream, where did the tiger go? Always inquire, Koham, “Who am I?” “Whence come I?” When you can distinguish the Self from the self, the ego becomes a ghost. SECOND: to realize one’s helplessness and say, “Not I,” but “Thou” – and totally surrender.
Ramakrishna of Bengal had a student who was an actor and led a very dissolute life. He said, “I cannot help myself.” Ramakrishna said, “If you surrender to me, I will help you.” So the actor surrendered to Ramakrishna and whenever he started to repeat his habitual dissolute behavior, he became paralyzed. The guru forces you to give up your old personality.
Swami Rama said that karma has four strands: thoughts, actions, samskaras (impressions) and desires. This is called the cycle of karma and leads human beings on the wheel of samsara. Swami Rama said people go round and round, from habit to habit, and life to life, like buckets on a Persian water wheel.
Free will, according to Ramana Maharshi, only pertains when one is identified with the ego, but by asking Koham (Who am I?”) or by totally surrendering, you can be liberated. He said that this sadhana is like guarding a fortress, where one must slay every thought until there is only the “I-thought” is left. Then slay the I-thought,” too. And in one’s sadhana always be attentive to the arising of the “I-thought,” especially when you fall asleep and when you wake up.
But the quest for the Self I speak of is a direct method, indeed superior to the other meditation. The moment you start looking for the self and go deeper and deeper, the real Self is waiting there to take you in. Then whatever is done is done by something else and you have no hand in it. In this process, all doubts and discussions are automatically given up just as one who sleeps forgets, for the time being, all his cares. (from David Godman’s Be As You are: The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi)
Ramana Maharshi even pin-pointed where the Self resided. He localized it at the right side of the chest, just under the right nipple. And so when you see a child say something like “I have done my homework,” they may actually point to that place. So look to the source of creation there, where the Big Bang starts, because it is at the locus of the heart. And when you ask, “Where am I?” go there.
Swami Rama always said, “Be practical.” With the four strands to the rope of karma, be diligent. Life is not an accident. As you sow, so shall you reap. (Galatians 6:7) And there are only two escapes: you can renounce action (which is impossible), or renounce the fruits of actions (which IS possible!). Therefore, you must purify yourself so you are not driven by personal desires and the expectation of rewards. Live mentally like a renunciate monk, because a swami has minimized his or her personal desires. “Use the things of the world as a means for liberation, but don’t get attracted to them.” “Perform your actions skillfully and selflessly.” Yogah karmasu kaushalam: “Yoga is skillfulness in actions.” (Bhagavad Gita, II.50) “Grease your actions with love.” Begin by being selfless with your family members and then let that love expand to the community and then the world.
How you should give can be seen in the natural attitudes of one’s parents. If you ask your father for money, he will say, “How much do you need?” If you ask your mother, she will say, “Everything I have is yours.” A mother’s love is unconditional. The milk from a mother’s breast is ever-flowing.
When Swami Rama was a boy, he was a little brat. He would poke and tickle the inside of the noses of meditating swamis and even urinated in their water pots. His guru, Bengali Baba, was so frustrated with Swamiji, that he took him to the Temple of Sixty-four Yoginis and dropped him at the feet of main statue, saying, “I’ve had it; he’s all yours.” And the stone image became alive and accepted Swami Rama.
The world is like a circus, and, like a clown, we need to follow our life script, but not lose ourselves in the performance. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage,” but we must separate ourselves from the doer of the action. We must live life without the sense of doership – skillfully, selflessly, lovingly. It is like changing your baby’s diaper. At first one must learn to be skillful at it, then comes a sense of compassion, love and joy in the task.
Ramana Maharshi and the Bhagavad Gita speak of nishkama karma. What is that? It is desireless action; it is performing one’s actions without desire. A swami was asked to give an example of this. He went into the forest and selected a gnarly branch from a tree, then took a knife and carved an elegant walking stick out of it, and then he gave the walking stick to a person who needed it. This, he said, was a demonstration of skillful action.
In Chapter 4, Verse 18, the Bhagavad Gita says, “He who sees inaction in action and who sees action in inaction, he is the one endowed with wisdom among human beings. He is joined in yoga, a performer of complete action.”
This means that once we see that it is not we ourselves who is acting, then our actions will flow spontaneously. Prakash said that it was very much like his recent trip from the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust in northern India to Minneapolis. He ran across a strike of airline workers, then one delay after another; then problems in Frankfort with a security check where he needed to put his toilet items in a transparent plastic bag (which he did not have) or they would not accept his luggage. After discarding those items, Prakash fortunately just made his plane flight. He said he took all this in stride, and his only concern was that he might be not be able to make it to The Meditation Center to give the scheduled Thursday evening lecture.
He said, “We must learn to separate ourselves from events, and then life truly begins to flow. Life is nothing but a series of happenings, but we are so much caught in the idea of doership that we continually claim that there is some logical sequence to it. We, in our localized ego-based sense of self, create the idea of continuity, but the reality of the situation is that things are like Empedocles said: Life is like a river and we cannot step into the same water twice. And there really is no such thing as a river. “River” is just a word, a concept, an idea in our heads. In reality there is no such thing as a river, just as there is no such thing as the United States of America or India. It is like the example used in the Mandukya Upanishad: when a torch is rotated at night; it appears to be a circle of flame, even though no such circle actually exists.
Life is not happening to you or because of you, it is just unfolding as it unfolds. Gautama Buddha understood this, and after his enlightenment when he was asked what he then was – a man? an angel? He said, “I am awake!”
So we need to give up our ideas of being a separate personality. On this stage of life we are actors, but what is the script? Other actors also have their parts, and we can be surprised by the drama, but when the grease paint comes off, here we are, and all is divine.
It is like in the travels of Papa Ramdas. In one train ride he and his companions had no tickets, and so a rude conductor began ordering them to “stand up,” “sit down,” “stand up,” “sit down” again and again all through the night. Papa Ramdas maintained his composure and said, “Oh, this conductor is our great friend Ram who knows that we will get stiff if we sit all through this ride, and so he is giving us exercise and freeing up our poor joints.”
We have the opportunity to evolve with each challenge and make life a dance, but we need to remember that it is the celestial music that we are dancing to.
Many Namastes and much gratitude to Prakash for his wonderful talk at The Meditation Center, especially after coming off a 48-hour trip from India and complications with the airlines.
Taming the inside storm
All the emotions have both, productive as well negative aspects. Nature has packaged us with all the necessary constituents for survival. While in exile it was Lord Rama’s sworn fury towards demons which came to the succor of the helpless Rishis, who were being brutally mass murdered almost on daily basis in Dandakaranya. Anger is productive when one raises voice for a right cause and acts against unjust to protect the suppressed and helpless but the unjustified rage leads only to meaningless acrimony and disturbance.
When the Pandavas commissioned their new capital in Indraprastha and invited their Kaurava cousins for the inaugural ceremony, crown prince of Hastinapur Duryodhana, tripped and fell in a water pool thinking it to be a floral platform. Draupadi, the queen of Indraprastha, who had hardly any love lost for him, laughed and mocked calling him as the blind son of a blind father. This didn’t go too well with temperamental Duryodhana. He settled his score by conspiring to defeat Pandvas in the tricky game of dice rolling, of which he and his maternal uncle Shakuni were masters, and took his revenge by disrobing Draupadi in an open court after winning her as the final stake in the game. This started big animosity followed by mindless killing of millions of people in a huge strife.
Out of all, anger is the most intense emotion. It draws the whole energy and channelises it in a single stream either through speech or other physical activity. Possessed with anger, one can act beyond one’s normal physical capacity.
After its origin if unwarranted anger is not managed properly, it acts like an unabated contagious disease, affecting one after another. One person’s bad temper, even though silent, can affect everyone in the family or in a group. Negative energy emanating from an irritated person is bound to affect other person or persons coming in contact. One can say and do even the most unthinkable under fury. Not only the life of one ill tempered person gets destroyed but his mindless act can jeopardize the future of the whole family.
It’s not wise to blame others for our anger. If we do so, we are not being honest. Even if we think that others are responsible for our chagrin, the loss is still ours. Our body undergoes seriously damaging process through the release of most harmful toxins. The breath becomes rapid and shallow. The heart beats very rapidly. The blood pressure rises. People have even been observed to suffer heart attack and even death in extreme exasperation.
Statistics show that the percentage of cold blooded murders is far low than the spontaneous killings due to unrestrained anger.
For a sadhaka anger is the worst deterrent on the spiritual path. The sages have warned that ‘Krodha’ or bad temper is the most abominable enemy of the man.
Being human we all are prone to irritation on almost daily basis. Ill temper is the symptom of a weak mind. A meditative mind seldom reacts to even the most irritating tantrums. Before some serious damage is done, learn to tame the storm inside you. There is a very simple and systematic process to cool down. Watch your breath. The breathing becomes very rapid and shallow in the fit of anger.
Sit down with neck and back aligned in a straight line. Close the eyes and watch your breath. Feel the flow of the breath in the nostrils. While inhaling feel the coolness of the breath and while exhaling feel the warmth. After a few minutes bring your awareness to the abdomen. Place right palm on the naval and while inhaling feel as if your belly is ballooning out gently and while exhaling its shrinking back to it normal position. Slowly your breath will start becoming deeper and calmer. After ten minutes lie down on your back and turn right and support your neck with arm or a soft and small. Stay in this position for another ten minutes.
This will activate the Chandra Naadi (Lunar breath) which very effectively calms down the mind. The chemistry is simple. The way the breathing becomes restless and rapid due to an agitated mind, the conscious and systematic practice of restful and deep breathing calms the mind back to its normal repose.
We need to remember that before killing, Lord Krishna forgave Shishupal’s ninety nine most abusive humiliations, repeatedly advising him that the hundredth will be the last one.
Materialism Is The New Religion
by Swami Nitya
Per definition religion (Latin: religare) means “to bind together”; the joining character of the word is expressed in the word ligament, the structure that binds together muscle and bone.
When we look at the world we live in today , what is it, that “binds us together” what binds us together as a global society?
Last month, we talked about the term religion as covering two aspects, that which binds us to our own mental memory store by which we interpret everything; ---- or the laws and dogmas someone else made and which we are bound to “believe.” Either way really, we see and experience our world….through our senses and by what our mind interprets from this input.
For example, if we are brought up with the mental input that there is a God, outside the world, that created the world in seven days and he lives in heaven. We look through this paradigm .. .and consequently see the world our sense perceive as something someone outside us has created, hence it is “his business” and we are not responsible for his creation. Hence God is outside ‘in heaven;’ at best we have a certain relationship with him, but our relationship is with him- not his creation! We are “above it”.
On the other hand, if we learned that the world consist out of atoms and particles in primary school, we look through this paradigm ...and the world our senses perceive is made of particles, objects, matter, that we can use, manipulate exploit.
Such base assumptions, which include such base ideas as time and space, are called Paradigms. We are tied to these base paradigms.
In other words the information our senses take up, are interpreted on the back of what we learned from our environment/school/society , we take it on board and it becomes our base truth!
Consequently it’s the matrix on which we base our life; it’s a belief… a religion that we are bound to. All our perceptions rest on such beliefs…
Now let us look at the bigger picture: Human beings have always been aware of two interlinked paradigms. There exists the gross material world which we perceive through our sense and the subtle, what is beyond us. We can call these two aspects: Spirit and Matter. The relationship between the two has changed frequently in human history. Sometimes the bias is more this way, sometimes more that way. Sometimes there were civilizations where the two were so close, they were almost One; Other times the pendulum stressed Spirit … sometimes Matter .
In the modern times, nearly all of us however are brought up with Paradigm that it is matter that matters. Which means we live in an era where these two aspects, spirit and matter have been split apart.
Especially for the western world, it all started with Plato and Aristoteles, yet the real crux came in the middle ages and onwards through the power of the Churches, i.e. the official religion organisations of the Western world; their power games facilitated the split between Spirit and Matter. As it did so, God moved further and further away into the heavens, leaving the manifest world; the idea’s about matter to gradually became hard physical science.
As science grew into an independent power it became the official “truth holder”; with this Science became the New Religion.
Now (rather than the church/ a religious belief system) Science was claimed to have the absolute immutable knowledge! From then on, anything that does not fit into the scheme of material science could not be allowed. This is no different from the inquisition, when nothing was allowed to be believed that did not fit into the dogma of the church.
One calcified, religious structure, simply replaced another. Both excluding Spirit i.e. the other dimension of existence.
What is the meaning of science? Science evolved by developing a method/ a technique – which allowed only that as truth which can be measured, from which a hypothesis is formed, and then that very hypothesis can be verified by experiments that prove and attest to the hypothesis, i.e. scientifically valid is only that which produces a predicted result. Predictability and shared agreement became the hallmark of scientific truth or what is deemed a “fact”.
Now please understand, what has happened is that a frame was established, of what knowledge could be allowed. This is no different from a religion (of which ever faith) that sets out a dogma, a way of life, rules to live by and then forbids, rejects, even kills anything or anyone that does not share the frame.
Early scientists could only work with what they could see, touch and measure… so there was still a possibility for something existing, that could, may-be not measure, i.e. Spirit. So there remained at least a tolerance of that which was “beyond”.
It also meant that study was limited to that which could be touched seen etc, i.e. matter. What cannot be measured… was better left to the “other religion”, that of pure belief. Gradually the split widened and science made its own philosophy: which became the idea of the universe being a machine, working like a machine
Planets, Stars , plants, humans.. . even societies - all parts of a universe worked like “clockwork”. The split was complete: Science ruled the physical world of matter and religion /churches/ all manner of faith including Spirit became less important , less true. In this way Science replaced, or rather became the new religion.
Eventually, (to stay for a moment in Western cultures) the power of persuasion of the Religion of Science was so great, that the world of spirit, the subtle realms were down right pushed out; now even spiritual inclinations, values and tradition identified with formal religions were side-lined… and the spiritual awareness of people actually , in terms of the masses – was drowned, forbidden and even persecuted!
In the extreme, schools, educational institutes did not allow children anymore to be taught so called religion; impoverishing generations, and eventually the world at large creating societies for whom only matter mattered. The result is a generation that has lost touch with their soul and finds refuge in drugs and alcohol.
This we can observe the world over; it’s the result of adopting the new religion of Materialism. And no part of the globe – in the wake of globalisation, seems exempt form it.
This material perception of the universe included of course the human being. Especially since Charles Darwin became the base for understanding humans and their evolution. What followed was the understanding that we were nothing but a conglomeration of particles, set out in a predetermined DNA, which only through long term exposure and mutation eventually changed; ultimately evolving into what is called human beings. What governed the changes in the Gene-chain was the survival of the fittest.
People believed! They believed because it fell on the background of material science , this new religion. And the odd thing is: we still do!
Yet on both accounts: that the DNA is a fixed map, as well as the survival of the fittest governs our human evolution have both long proved wrong.
Yet for a while, the power of this religion was/is so strong, that it influences all parts of society. Schools and educational institutes taught competition above all- since only the fittest survives. The economy was governed by the same law, the fittest and the biggest is the winner! All exploitation and environmental destruction can be traced back to the adherence to this New Religion.
However slowly change started in the West, with Wilhelm Roentgen ..(X-Rays) the first gap appeared in the view of the material ; but even though that is more than hundred years ago – the acknowledgement that matter is actually not what it seems… takes a long time, so powerful is its persuasion. Gradually through research by Max Plank, Einstein, Heisenberg and many others, the tiny whole in the power was enlarged. Now even science knows of course that the world consist of permanently changing energy- that behaves intelligently!
Yet humankind is slow to learn, we know… yet we adhere still to the religion, of materialistic society! We do not live, see, act from the new insights, even though with this new science - the original considerations… of the play interconnectedness of Spirit and Matter comes back into the forefront, and especially so, since it is supported, with what the wise ones of old, have known all along: the universe is nothing but one whole, interdependent field of moving energy, that acts, that moves according to intelligence, consciousness; call it what you may.
Now why am I drawing this picture.
We contemporary beings by enlarge still consider the world consisting of Matter! We experience and live as though matter is all that matters. We stick like the fundamentalist to a religion that is out-dated, and wrong, but we are so used to its “truth”, so indoctrinated, that we cannot even perceive the world as an ever moving, energy field moved by spirit/consciousness.
After all my body is real! I can feel it see it, touch it, get excited about it! And yet we know that it is not so! We stick to our indoctrinated truth.. like a dogma of an old religion; like to an old paradigm. We must leave the reductionist so called scientific understanding behind, it’s a prison!
Get out…only then has humanity a chance to survive and grow. We have to leave the old religion of Materialism behind!
But what do we do.. we want more matter, more material wealth, and the consequences of that wrong paradigm, that wrong religion that binds us is the destruction of the planet, that gives us our very life!
The material universe, that we can see touch hear, is in fact only a mirage of our limited perspective, limited because the instruments we see , hear and perceive with are still stuck in “the middle ages”. If we dare to accept that every owl can see better, that there are now ways to see the smallest particle acceleration according to cosmic laws… then we know that there is nothing constant, nothing fixed, nothing solid… no dogma, no limitations, but all of existence is “an invisible field of intelligent energy, which the ancestors called Spirit”; and which the Yogis called Brahman.
The consequences of our adhering religiously to the matter aspect, is dire. We have only to look at Western influenced societies and the spread of it as globalization. We have given corporations and multinational giants supremacy over human life; matter over life. The growth of banks is more important than human dignity. Hence to make money is the new religion….devoid of Spirit. Children are indoctrinated to belief, they can’t live without a Gameboy, I- pad, I- phone or nowadays even their own PC (tailored to three year olds!). No different in principal from the past, when children were indoctrinated to go to Sunday-school, or obey the priests!
Colleges and universities do not teach anymore to think or to question but to learn the rules of the materialistic Religion.
People like R.Dawkins with his theory of the selfish gene make us belief, that all is determined by our selfish genes, and millions buy it, because they have accepted the dogma of the materialistic.
But probably one of the worst consequences of this religion, is modern medical science. Thanks to 300 years of indoctrinating us with the materialist religion, we have come to see ourselves as biochemical robotic vehicles.. and we spread this poor perception readily all over the world. When something is amiss – medicine follows the roles of mechanics: repair, replace, remove. Of course allopathic medicine has made great strides in saving lives, yet in tune with materialistic orientation frequently the mechanics are fixed, and the underlying cause of illness in mind and spirit is left un treated. Conventional medicine focuses, in tune with the materialistic religion (that only matter matters) on physical aspects, trying to adjust and manipulate the body’s chemistry … costing millions- and more important make billions for the pharmaceutical industry, even though often energy-work, that treat the body as an energy field where everything is interconnected has often proved much more effective.
Epigenetics, recognize that the environment, the mental psychological and spiritual intelligence of the body play a great role; infact they are now realizing that the biological process are driven by an intelligent process outside of the bio-mechanics; i.e. intelligence that can be called Spirit, or even con-science… , consciousness.
Conventional medicine ignores that the driver of all apparent matter is the mind, hence we as human beings with intelligent functioning minds, right down to the cellular level have responsibility. Or rather we are participators in the – gene-chain just as much as in health and wellbeing.
In fact it seems that the whole idea of survival of the fittest, material orientated understanding of body is heresy in evolutionary terms. In fact intelligent energy , which is our so called material building block, has been shown frequently a more effective healer- than any allopathic medicine.
Clearly it is stupid to ignore the energy fields, purely because they can’t be explained in the same limited way as matter. Conventional Science and Religion seem to do the same thing: Both exclude, both have a limited perspective that does not allow that which is not in its belief-system, to be acknowledged.
Furthermore, if that intelligence is part of us, if we are also spirit – then the old way of science- to observe predicted results … is simply not holding truth; as we know since Heisenberg, the observer becomes the participator. Meaning we are co-creators of the universe we see and live in. With that Sciences becomes anew; no more a religion - but it becomes part of an ever-changing universe; it moves closer to the principals of Spirituality- away from being a religion. .
Experience, participation is the key to understanding the total interconnectedness. That means: no separation; i.e. no religion that binds and puts up fences of me and mine and thus limits grows. No more outer dogma, but inner strength , verified by own experience in response to the environment is what stands in the centre. Living then means acting in an appropriate manner fresh to each situation - this is a holistic world view, which has been known to the wise of all parts of the world… and Yes this is in fact Yoga.
Unfortunately, what had started in the western world, seems to have infected the entire Globe. A religion of materialism imbalances the globe; the limited binding to a partial, exclusive truth, that we call religion has spread like a virus around the globe and is wrecking havoc unbridled. This is just as bad, no worse, than the havoc the crusaders and missionaries of all religion have caused throughout history.
Materialism over the last 300 years has not only become the new religion but has destroyed more lives than any religious wars ever have; spreading like a wildfire
Feeding on the lowest instinct of man: greed - it has destroyed species of life, cultures and human beings – all by ignoring Spirit!
Our very survival as a human species depends on whether we manage to break out of the clutches of this religion, this fixation into a dogma that only matter matters. Any dogma, any binding into a rigid frame – excludes others, excludes ultimately Spirit, but on the ground level excludes other forms of life, other opinions, other perspective… it excludes wisdom –that looks beyond the prevalent doctrine.
We need to get out from under this religion, any religion, even of it costs us our lives! And that was what all the reformers, all the prophets have done…. they got out from the prevalent religious, dogmatic form of their times; be it Jesus the Christ, Gautama the Buddha… Moses , Mahavira - you name it. They experienced truth and found society wanting. They were reformers, not founders of religions! Their call was: WAKE UP.
We need such wisdom teachers, who share their experience and help us to experience – not limit us in organisations that turn experience into dogma that binds, stifles and presses wisdom into a religion. In this case, we need to Wake Up.. to the damage the religion of materialism does in our lives!
I rest my case!
AN ENCHANTED MORNING
By Lalita Arya © 2013
My sister, Sharada, is visiting from Canada so most nights we stay up late talking, but the puja was going to be at sunrise so we went to bed early that night. In the pre-dawn light we got ready and Raghubir, my faithful driver and friend, met us by the car, its engine humming. There were other cars already waiting near the main office at SRSG; we were all going to Sadhana Mandir, our dear Babaji’s ashram not far from SRSG. It is always nostalgic for me to go to there – so many memories of this peaceful setting near the Ganges. I showed Sharada the large room where my three children and I lived for six months when we moved our family from the US to India in 1981. Back then, we could hear the tigers roar at night and watch the elephant herds bathing in the river at dawn. We would be mesmerized by Baba’s sonorous tones, chanting at dusk near the river banks. My memories of Sadhana Mandir go back much further, but that’s another story.
Some old friends of our late brother Yogiraj Charles had already gathered – Lela, Joanne, Stoma, Ma Radha, Swami Ritavan, and Swami Tattva, Sylvia. Vonda, Yogiraj’s wife and spiritual partner who is affectionately known to all as Vv, met us with Pandit Sanjay Shastri. They carried the ashes of our dear departed brother, Yogiraj. We all sat to participate in the havana ritual with special mantras for this sacred occasion – the immersion of the last bodily remains brought all the way from the USA. After the havana we walked through the heavily jasmine fragranced garden to the ghaat. Again with special prayers, Pandit Shastri instructed Vv to offer Yogiraj’s ‘phool’ (flowers – ashes) to Gangaji.
As I stood, silently praying and watching the flowing, blowing ashes falling from the little wooden box, I felt Charles’ presence. The scene was breathtaking – dawn; the rising sun sent shimmers of golden tinged rays into the rippling waters while the flowing river captured the shadows of the falling ashes. Flashes of teasing laughter from my dear brother Charles kaleidoscoped in my mind and my eyes filled with slow tears. Vv, holding a single flower, sat calmly listening to the cascading rhythms of Vedic mantras. Others stood and watched as memories must have flowed into their relaxed minds on that enchanted morning.
Vv was still in silence; a bhandara (free meals on special occasions) was organized at Sadhana Mandir that day and later all residents and guests were accorded the same honor at SRSG. We pray that Vv finds strength to continue the good work Yogiraj has established and our sympathies to his children, grandchildren and other family.
May memories of his wonderful life inspire us all.
The Health Benefits of Indian Spices
©By Dr. Surya Peirce
Presented at SRSG conference on RAISING SPIRITUAL FAMILIES
Among the many papers presented at the SRSG Conference on RAISING SPIRITUAL FAMILIES was this very interesting research on The Health Benefits of Indian Spices by Dr. Surya Pierce a medical doctor practicing in Oklahoma and an ardent meditator and Ahymsin Youth Leader. While we speak of the philosophies that govern raising families based on spiritual values, we do still need to feed those families and nurture their diet and nutrition in such ways that will be most beneficial in creating the sattvic bodies and minds. The use of spices for balancing body doshas is an important aspect of healthy living.
Dr Pierce is a qualified doctor in the USA, but is interested in other systems of health care. He did very intensive research on these “sweet” spices when he was requested by Swami Veda to present such a paper at the conference. There is a long bibliography that was added to this paper, but for want of space I am omitting that list. Dr. Pierce was hands on with the discussion as he had a thali (steel plate) with little bowls of several spices like cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, green ginger...pieces of which the audience was allowed to taste to get a personal experience of the spices. The aroma of cardamom lingered fragrantly in the air for a long time.
This paper is one in the series which I hope to present here. We thank Dr.Surya for such a delightful afternoon on spices...the first article is on the pungent little seeds we know as black pepper.
Here is a note from Dr. Surya regarding the use of spices
It was a great joy to share with you some of the wonderful world of Indian spices I have so far unveiled. I truly hope that you found the material and discussion useful as you nurture your spiritual family.
As you consider further experiments with spices, I have few important words about safety. While these spices are indeed food products and “generally considered safe,” they are also potentially potent herbal medicines. If you are interested in taking spices for chronic or serious medical conditions or if you are taking other medications, you should always first consult with your primary care physician.
Below are brief outlines of the spiced covered plus a few additional spices. Please use these notes as a resource. I am also including a full draft monograph for ginger for your consideration. As I think about continuing to develop this project, I’d appreciate any feedback you have.
Surya Pierce, MD
Botanical Name: Piper nigrum; Piperaceae
Part used: fruit
Cardinal tastes: pungent
Traditional uses: digestive, carminative, stimulant, expectorant, diuretic, analgesic, febrifuge, anti-diarrheal, antihelmintic. Said to improve circulation and digestion of fat.
Best biomedical evidence for: Enhanced intestinal absorption (of nutrients and drugs).
Cautions: May increase the bioavailability of medications. May exacerbate gastric and intestinal inflammation and ulcers. Theoretical risk of choking/aspiration.
May also be effective for: Treating swallowing difficulties (dysphagia.) Enhancing absorption of curcumin. Increasing digestive transit time.
Experiments and Advice:
*Try 5-10 whole black peppercorns as simple infusion (tea). Take this for cough, cold or sore throat.
*Black pepper oil has been used experimentally to stimulate the olfactory system. Try holding a whole black peppercorn in your mouth for coughs, colds, etc or simply to add some pep in your life!
*Experiment with substituting black or long pepper in place of chili peppers, which originated in the Americas. It is likely that before contact with the America’s, black pepper and long pepper was the primary source of the hot, pungent taste in India.
*Try black pepper tea instead of caffeinated beverages (eg tea, coffee.) You may be surprised by how much it can wake you up.
Traditional uses: digestive, carminative, stimulant, expectorant, diuretic, analgesic, febrifuge, anti-diarrheal, antihelmintic. Said to improve circulation and digestion of fat.
Best biomedical evidence for: Enhanced intestinal absorption (of nutrients and drugs).1-3
Cautions: May increase the bioavailability of medications.1 May exacerbate gastric and intestinal inflammation and ulcers.4 Theoretical risk of choking/aspiration.
May also be effective for: Treating swallowing difficulties (dysphagia.)5,6 Enhancing absorption of curcumin.7 Increasing digestive transit time.8
The world might be a very different place without black pepper. Indigenous to the Malabar Coast of southwestern India (now in the modern states of Kerala and Karnataka), the fruit of Piper nigrum has a tremendous past for being such a now common spice. By the 4th century BC it was a treasured rarity for the Greeks. By the time of Christ’s birth, Romans had established an unprecedented trade route for black pepper, spanning from the Mediterranean, down the Nile River, overland to the Red Sea and finally across the Arabian Sea to reach the Malabar Coast. In medieval Europe, black pepper was at times even used as a sort of currency. In the final years of the 15th century, Vasco de Gama became the first to circumnavigate Africa by sea, mainly in pursuit of India’s pepper. Today, black pepper remains the most traded spice worldwide. It sits next to salt on the cosmopolitan table. The popularity, pervasiveness and persistence of this peppy little spice begs the question, “Why?”
It turns out that the uniqueness of black pepper is in its pungency, which in turn is carried mainly by its characteristic chemical constituent, piperine. Piperine is also the most active and flavorful compound in black pepper’s close cousin, long pepper (Piper longum or pippali.) The various types of peppercorns (viz. fresh green, green, white and pink peppercorns) are produced by harvesting the black pepper fruit at different stages of ripeness. These different types of peppercorns also contain various amounts of piperine. Of note, piperine and other flavored substances in pepper are better preserved by the whole pepper form, so cracking or grinding pepper just prior to consumption helps to preserve its potency and flavor.
There is a paradox of black pepper’s popularity: it is a very common spice but rarely researched in human health. While extensively used as medicine in the traditional and folk medicines, scientific research has unfortunately been limited to the realm of basic laboratory and animal research on the effects of piperine. This research has suggested that piperine may have a myriad of health effects which include treating various cancers, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism and vitiligo. It is unclear however if these observations can be applied to whole, intact humans (as well as to whole, intact black pepper!)
Just as the spice itself, the health effects of black pepper are so apparent that they are easy to overlook. Black pepper is a great appetite stimulant. Consuming pepper really “gets the digestive juices going,” starting with saliva. Noted by Ayurveda as a means of stimulating digestive fire (agni), it is no surprise that black pepper has been found to enhance physiologic absorption of ingested nutrients and other medications. Commonly noted to stimulate sneezing and coughing, black pepper is a safe and readily obtained expectorant. Associated with a mild burning and numbing sensation in the mouth, black pepper is used traditionally as a remedy for sore throat and oral pain. Taken together, black pepper’s qualities warrant more experimentation, both in the academy and in the kitchen.
KHEL NEWS – APRIL 2013
Mrs. Dayal Kaur Ahluwalia, the mother of our devoted KHEL Board Member, Mr. GS Ahluwalia, passed away. She was a very strong willed, brave and well educated woman who was Vice-Principal of the Guru Nanak Girls’ School in Dehradun. She was quite young when her family migrated under traumatic conditions during Partition. Her ashes (Phool) were immersed in the Yamuna River near the peaceful setting at Paonta Sahib Gurudwara near the border with Himachal Pradesh. Later, the Uthala was held at their home where the Guru Granth Sahib (sacred book of the Sikhs) was read during the 24hr continuous worship. Families and friends were later fed at the Langar, the community held lunch. We send our prayers and sympathies to Mr. & Mrs. GS Ahluwalia and their family.
REKHA – We deeply regret to announce the death of our 16yr old 8th grade female student who had been ailing for the past 6 months. She had been in and out of hospitals under dialysis treatments and finally passed away from multi-organ failure. All teachers, friends and I attended the funeral with prayers for her final journey. Rekha was a very bright, brave girl and even when in pain tried to smile a welcome for us whenever we visited. Our deepest sympathies to her parents and to her siblings who are all students at Lakshmi Devi Academy (LDA), KHEL’s school in Dehradun. Many thanks to the generous donors who helped her through during this difficult period – you made her last days comfortable.
LDA: Our school has re-opened for the 2nd semester and will close for summer on May 23rd. We congratulate all 8th grade students who passed their Board exams! The teachers are currently very busy preparing for new students. We are happy to report that salary increases were possible after much hard work and negotiations by Stomya, KHEL’s Executive Director, and Beni, KHEL’s General Manager. I congratulate this team on the excellent working of maths and long term planning involved in this process; it’s not just salary increases that have to be calculated and budgeted for, but various allowances and mandatory contributions by KHEL to staff retirement funds based on a percentage of salary.
Partly because of the recent tragedy with Rekha, KHEL has promoted Manohar Chauhan to Community Outreach Coordinator. Manohar has been with KHEL since before we were an actual organisation. In the past few years he’s been teaching part time and handling LDA’s day-to-day finances. We feel a strong need to reach out to the community to offer additional forms of aid, and Manohar’s commitment to KHEL’s mission is self evident. With his able assistance, we have rolled out a formal Medical Aid program. This takes a large amount of record keeping, follow up with families, building trust with the community and general outreach. With Beni’s guidance, Manohar has already started doing a great job; our first set of medical aid recipients reflects our commitment to supporting the families of children at LDA and medical emergencies. This isn’t an easy job; Manohar must deal with a constant flow of requests and present to KHEL the ones that reflect our mission. Many sick children come to school with infectious diseases since parents are illiterate and do not know what illnesses the kids have or cannot afford to take them to the doctor. Manohar will keep a tab on these and see what help KHEL can offer in such situations.
RTE: The Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Gov’t Act (2009) has been implemented. This is an effort by the Indian Gov’t to raise the standard of literacy in the country. “No child shall be denied the right to admission whether public or private school for lack of age proof. No child should be subject to physical punishment or mental harassment. Capitation fees (bribes/admission fees etc) should not be demanded. No child should be held back in class or expelled until completion of elementary education.” These are some of the rules. Our management has been busy trying to fill out all the forms to get our school registered under these laws. We are happy that from the inception of LDA we had already been implementing such procedures and so this is nothing new for us – except for the additional paperwork!
RAM MANDIR LEPROSY COLONY: This colony of cured patients sent us a lovely invitation for their celebration of Ram Navami (the birth of Lord Rama). This will be held on the 19th April with an akhand path of chants thru 20th (ceaseless chanting of 24 hrs). We send our best wishes to all the residents of this colony and thank them for the lovely card.
Dr. Krishna K Upreti, present Manager, SRSG Ashram (Pix/LArya)
© Lalita Arya
“I have selected you to serve society, not to sit on the chair of authority....: Baba’s words to Dr. Krishna Upreti.
Dr. Krishna Kumar Upreti was born in Chamoli, a small town in Uttrarakhand in 1967. From childhood his parents had been associated with Baba Sw. Rama of Rishikesh and encouraged him to use his blessings in the most positive manner. While pursuing his MA degree he was very active in college life as the President to the Students’ Union. He later gained experience in business administration when he ran his own business in Rampur. While serving in this field one day he received a telegram from his Dad instructing him to apply for admission for his doctorate as suggested by Baba. He had no difficulty in being admitted and eventually qualified in the study of biology gaining his Ph.D.
Dr. Upreti has been recently appointed as the Manager of Swami Rama Sadhana Grama since January 2013. This is a grueling job as it calls for overall management of a lot of activities for the smooth running of a medium size ashram – front desk, PR, residents, guests, communication with Swami Veda, updates, etc. I have personally known Dr. Upreti since I started living in India from 1981 when he was always seen near Baba serving him and running around doing all sorts of work. A very pleasant personality, easy to approach and talk to.
Besides the heavy responsibility of managing the ashram, he is also involved in other charitable works. His NGO on environmental education, awareness programs, water management & conservation of lands & forests, organic farming through school education is a very active organization. He has also worked with other countries – India, Brazil, Finland, Tanzania – creating a documentary presented in Copenhagen on information climate change and how this affects the non-land owning farmers’ daily lives and such marginal voices. He has worked on research on time management preparing for the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.
Dr. Upreti also finds time to indulge his journalistic skills in writing on current events for the Hindustan Times. He recently reported on the tragedy of rafting on the Ganga besides other features on social problems.
Dr. Upreti finds the work at the ashram quite challenging, but he enjoys doing it. Would like to see better communication among the various departments, and more involvement in spiritually based activities by the residents. He feels very blessed for Swamiji’s grace in his work. Dr. Upreti is married to Dr, Nidhi and has twin sons.
2013 Sangha Gathering Program at SRSG
by Rajini Prakash
A gathering at SRSG of nearly 450 people from 26 different countries was an awesome spectacle in itself. One stepped into the Ashram gates and was almost immediately enveloped in a deep sense of peace. A hectic period for some, a gentle pace for others, every participant made their own personal journey through the ten days in an environment that vibrated with higher energies, oneness and a strong spiritual connection with the divine.
A large tented structure was erected behind Swami Veda’s office that easily held the entire gathering. Other structures included a resting tent for those members who did not reside at SRSG, but wished to rest during the day. There was a money exchange counter and also a counter for tea/ coffee and snacks.
Sofia Foteina from Greece, who was one of the volunteers that manned the tea / coffee counter, said that it was a beautiful experience. She felt at home making tea or coffee for friends. People were happy to come to the stall.
The following is a recap of the program content as it took place between 28th February 2013 – 10th March 2013.
Swamiji graced the Sangha with his presence every day between 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm with a 45minute meditation and 45minute talk. This is covered separately towards the end of this write-up for the sake of providing continuity to the talks.
Day 1: 28th February 2013:
The programme started with a short orientation by Dr. Sanjay Shastri. The opening ceremony led by Pandit Harshanand and the Swamis in the Tradition started with the Guru Puja. The Sangha joined them in chanting the Guru Prayer, “Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo………..”
This was followed by a moving rendition of Guru Vandana melodiously sung by gurukul student, Geeta Bhoi.
Speaking of his experience of this ceremony, an initiate and participant, Ullas Nambiar from Mangalore, India, said that he found the atmosphere beautiful and felt the Guru’s grace. He also said that there was the feeling of vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the whole world is a single family.)
Dave Hume, the outgoing Senior Vice President of AHYMSIN, Bhola Shankar Dabral, General Secretary of Dhyana Mandiram Trust (DMT), Dr Upreti, the General Manager of SRSG, warmly welcomed the Sangha to the program. Carolyn Hume, Director of Communications, AHYMSIN, gave an overview of the program.
The speaker for the evening was Dr. Sanjay Sastri, a Sanskrit scholar based in Canada, spoke on the “Meaning of Havan, Yajna, Ritual”. As the fire ceremony was simultaneously going on outside the main Meditation Hall, the talk on its significance was particularly illuminating.
With his extensive understanding of the subject, Dr. Shastri explained the meaning of Yajña and the fire offerings (Havan). Yajna itself is an offering of oneself on several different levels. As the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, verses 8-17, states, Yajna means making yourself into a worshipful offering and sublimating it into the fire. The fire pit itself constitutes a Mandala and the ritual is accompanied by chanting of the Mantras like the Gayatri. The Havan at SRSG was accompanied by chanting of the Ganesh Gayatri Mantra and the Guru Stotram, Akhanda Mandalakaram.
Dr Shastri also spoke about every act having consequences and of how every one of us is duty-bound to return an act of kindness and compassion most important of which was the debt to the Guru. The example of Kabir (mystic poet of India, 15 CE), who famously said that the Guru is greater than God as he (the Guru) shows the aspirant the path to God, was cited.
Day 2: 1st March, 2013:
The day started with Swami Ritavan Bharati’s talk on “Silence”. Swami Ritavan led the group through a short meditation with the mahavakya, “OM Kham Brahma”, which was followed by a brief reading of Swami Veda’s meditative experience in the form of a poem.
Swami Ritavan spoke on transition of one’s life in short stages in the process of self-transformation. Sankalpa Shakti, or the power of will and determination, was particularly mentioned as being the necessary attribute for one who was on the spiritual path. Principle of burning, tapas, is also an important part of the journey of self transition. Mind pacification, which is necessary to progress in the spiritual path may be developed by silent chanting of the personal mantra.
There was specific reference to Chapter 4, verse 18 of the Bhagavad Gita, which says that one who sees action in inaction and inaction in action is the wise one. Performing and action skillfully, yet remaining detached from it. Yoga is skillfulness in silence.
Swami Ritavan also mentioned his own silence schedule for the next three years, during which he will remain in silence from Monday to Thursday of every week.
The afternoon schedule involved a short session on “Learning to Serve: A Journey Within” by Rajini Prakash based in the UK. The session started with a reading from Swamiji’s book, “Light of Ten Thousand Suns.” The talk covered the interplay of the gunas causing one to perform action and the motivations behind actions that made the difference. Desire and the fruits of action causes one to be in bondage and the only way of freeing oneself from bondage is through selfless service. Performing an act skillfully, with love and dispassion while surrendering the fruit of action constituted selfless service.
Tinyu Chen from Taiwan spoke on “Personal experience at the Yoga and Meditation centre in Taiwan”. Particularly inspiring was extending the teaching of the Tradition to those disadvantaged by hearing impairment. The challenges and the deep satisfaction one received from the initiative were shared. The experience of mutual growth through the journey on the spiritual path was spoken with warm humour and understanding by Tinyu.
The talks were followed by an introduction of candidates for the Executive Committee by Dave Hume, outgoing Senior Vice President of AHYMSIN.
Sadhana Mishra, the General Secretary of AHYMSIN, shared a short, deeply moving, documentary on the true meaning of Guru.
A highly charged Hindustani Classical recital by Barun Kumar Pal took place in the evening. Barun pal is a world famous player of Indian Classical Music on Hansa Veena, the Indian slide guitar. He is also the direct disciple of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar, Master of Sitar. Pandit ji was so moved by the dedication shown by Barun Pal that he accepted Barun Pal as his disciple.
Day 3: 2nd March, 2013:
On his part, Barun Pal showed great devotion to his Master and attributed all the success to him. This was evident in the “Workshop with Barun Pal” which started the 3rd day of the program. One learned the deep connection of Indian classical music with spirituality. It is quite simply another arm of spirituality. Barun Pal also shared few words of his Master’s view of Hindustani Classical music and its direct links to the inner being within.
The afternoon involved various presentations of the main activities by DMT and AHYMSIN, which informed the Sangha of the various arms of AHYMSIN such as Publications, Goshala, MRI Lab and others. DMT also spoke of development activities undertaken with the local community, its funding sources and its links with AHYMSIN and SRSG.
Sadhana Mishra, Dave Hume, Carolyn Hume and Bhola Shankar Dabral were the speakers.
In the evening, Ma Radha Bharati spoke on the intriguingly titled topic, “The Big Bang”. The content traced the origins of the Himalayan Tradition to the Hiranyagarbha (the Golden Womb). In an amazing unfolding of our connections to the manasa-putras (mind-child/ children) of the Hiranyagarbha, beings of light emerge, who may or may not let their energies congeal to take on forms. It is these rishis, these mantreswaras who guide us in our meditations, our silent surrendering of the mantras. From there the mantra flows and into them again it flows. The talk, interspersed with reading held the listeners spellbound in a deep understanding of how far back we are connected and will remain guided by the realized ones. Ma Radha mentioned that those who are interested to learn more may refer to Swami Veda’s articles on “Origins of Himalayan Tradition” and “Roots of the Himalayan Tradition”.
Speaking of Ma Radha’s talk, Rajini Prakash, UK, said that it was a fascinating journey through the history of the Tradition and the fact that it was not chronological, but had a deep connection that went a long way back. It also gave one a strong sense of belonging and a reassurance that the sadhaka is never alone, but is truly guided by the Masters.
Day 4: 3rd March, 2013:
The morning session began by Stoma ji saying that he would not speak on the mentioned topic, “Meditation, the Art and Science of Self Governance.” Instead Stoma ji brought together the various aspects covered by the talks that had taken place in the earlier three days. There was mention of living in the heart-field that love made a family. There is no room, said Stoma ji in OD (organizational development) theories for a mother’s love or Guru’s grace. In reality, in order to create a family, we simply agree to live with each other’s disagreeable parts. Within the individual, there needs to be an abiding link between the spiritual and the psychological aspects. We were encouraged to read Swami Veda’s writing on “Ethics of Emotions in Yoga Therapy,” which is part of Swami ji’s writing Sadhana in Applied Spirituality.
Stoma ji specifically mentioned how the hormone oxytocin was produced simply by breath awareness, and how the hormone was instrumental in forming loving relationships. Cultivating chitta-prasadanam where the four Brahma-viharas resided was mentioned as significant practice towards emotional purification.
Speaking of the talks by Swami Ritavan and Stoma ji, Dr Sanjay Shastri, Canada, said that the advanced teachers were very inspiring. However, the listener will not be able to grasp the true meaning unless it is experienced by the self.
Election to the Executive office of AHYMSIN took place in the afternoon.
In the evening, a panel consisting of spiritual committee members and initiators (those of whom were present), offered to respond to any queries by the Sangha members. Questions like the possibility of separate grooves created by different mantras, how the bija mantras impacted meditation, preparation for becoming initiators were raised, which were answered by the Panel.
Day 5: 4th March, 2013:
On the fifth day, Ashutosh Sharma ji spoke on the “Philosophy of Hatha Yoga”.
According to Tinyu Cheng, Taiwan, it was an inspiring talk, which connected the physical aspect of Hatha Yoga with the subtle layers of Pranamaya kosha and meditation. It is a journey from stillness to stillness, meditation in action. Every move is led by an awareness of breath. Movement followed breath. Eventually, when performed with complete integration of body, breath and mind, the Ha and the Tha aspects, the sun and the moon, the pingala and ida merged into the sushumna flow. Ashutosh ji also had a message for teachers, urging them to accept students as they were and to start from where the student was at that point in time. Rather than simply teaching what they wanted to teach, it would be best for teachers to teach what the student wished to learn and were prepared to learn, thereby genuinely preparing the students for the next step forward.
The post lunch session involved a detailed presentation by DMT and SRSG team, which involved the activities of the Publications team, facilities, Mandala office, Gurukulam and the MRI Lab. Speakers were from these teams and included Bhola Shankar Dabral and Dr. G Prabhu, the Director of MRI Lab.
Dr Prabhu spoke in depth of the various projects currently being researched at the Lab.
In the evening, there was a rousing performance of Sufi-based Kathak dance by Astha Dixit where the dancer blended the mysticism of Sufism with the classicism of Kathak to evolve a new kind of dance, Sufi Kathak. Sufi mysticism was incorporated in the movements in her performances that are reminiscent of the meditative practices of the whirling dervishes.
According to Geeta Bhoi from the Gurukulam, the Sufi Kathak dance was very powerful. It electrified even the one that watched, grew meditational and the observer became still within. It was an expression of devotion, Bhakti, in its purest essence.
Day 6: 5th March, 2013:
Pandit Vamadeva Shastri, aka David Frawley, is the founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies. He is an expert on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, Hinduism and Astrology. He briefly addressed the Sangha and spoke for a few minutes on Swami Veda’s going into silence. Silence is the essence of Pratyahara, he said, through silence one may hear the vibrations of the chakras, the sounds of the spiritual heart. Silence will sustain a deeper level of practice.
Each individual is a combination of doshas, gunas and karmas. The teachers understand this and guide students accordingly. One prepares oneself through the path that suits best whether it is through ritual, which is the foundation of Bhakti yoga or otherwise. It becomes important to cultivate chitta-prasadanam. Thus, we prepare ourselves to receive silent guidance from Swami Veda.
Pandit Vamadeva Shastri promised to return to address the Sangha later on, if possible.
The rest of the day was dedicated to AHYMSIN. The election results were shared with the Sangha. Dr. Mohan Swami, the President of AHYMSIN addressed the Sangha, followed by Shi Hong, the senior Vice-President.
Sadhana Mishra, General Secretary AHYMSIN made an extensive presentation of Swami Veda’s plans for the five years of silence, what Swamji would focus on, how communication would occur regarding emails, how initiations will take place and Swamiji’s travel plans after one year.
The Sangha members divided themselves into interest groups to address the following three aspects that Swami Veda wished for the Sangha to concentrate on in the next five years:
- Various arms of AHYMSIN to be integrated
- Continuous flow of guests/ members to SRSG
- Future leaders to be given an opportunity to take responsibility
- The outcome of this group initiative and the actions thereof will be shared with the Sangha shortly. The group initiative was facilitated by Chuck Linke, from USA.
The evening performance showcased the beautiful Balinese dance by the dance troupe from Sacred Heart Ashram. The commentary for this dance was by Siddhartha Krishna, a regular visiting teacher of Sankhya, Vedanta and Sanskrit at the Gurukulam. Swamiji said a few words in praise of Siddhartha Krishna who is from the Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh, a renowned place to learn Vedanta.
Swamiji also introduced Prince Indra Udayana from one of the eight princely states of the island of Bali and spoke briefly on the culture of Bali.
Siddhartha Krishna spoke of the deep connection between Bali and India, the concept of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, unity in diversity that is practiced in Bali today. The dancers then took the stage performing different dances, to the warriors, homage to the strength of life as being joyful and happy and the sattvic personality of a wise ruler.
Day 7: 6th March, 2013:
The day started with a talk on “Yoga and Science” by Dr. Tacson Fernandez from the UK. Dr. Fernandez spoke of how Yoga involved a holistic approach to the state of wellbeing of an individual. The talk mainly covered aspects of emotions, cognitive function, conditioned responses and its relationship to the functioning of the brain. The link between Anatomy and Physiology to Joints and Glands exercises, the practice of neti and breath awareness formed a significant part of the talk. The talk was interspersed with a reading from Swamiji’s book, “Light of Ten Thousand Suns” and “Sadhana in Applied Spirituality”.
Geeta Morar from Canada said that she enjoyed the talk. It would be valuable if Tacson created a model for applying Yoga and Meditation to Pain Management, which may be used internationally.
In the afternoon, the children from KHEL put forth a heart-warming performance of music and dance. Ammaji, Mrs. Lalita Arya, who is the founder of KHEL, introduced the people whose hard work and dedication gave the children an opportunity to shine. Ammaji interspersed the performance with a brief talk on Sewa, which may be seen as a material manifestation of compassion, Karuna. Desire and motivation is balanced by dispassion. What one sets out to do is much affected by what one ends up doing. To convey Ammaji’s message on the performance, it captured the “fullness of heart and joy of the children.”
Day 8: 7th March, 2013:
On the morning of the eighth day, Pierre Lefebvre from Canada spoke on “What Have We Learned?” Pierre captured the important aspects that Swami Veda always reminds us about, to keep the forehead relaxed, two-minutes Meditation every once in a few hours, watching the thoughts, chitta-prasadanam (making the mind pleasant) and bhava samshuddhi (purification of emotions).
Pierre engaged the audience and urged them to share at least one thing that Swami Veda said that had stayed with them. The words of Swamiji that stayed with them are mentioned below:
- “I did all my sadhana, at least half of it in the airport lounges,” - Siddhartha, in charge of Guest Services at SRSG.
- “When you speak, speak from silence; when you act, act from stillness,” - Anil Saigal, USA.
- “Smera, smera sthimita,” - Shunya, Thailand.
- “Enjoy what there is to be enjoyed; not suffer what there is to be suffered.” – Nalini, Netherlands.
- Speaking of Pierre’s talk, Ulrike Timmerman from Germany said that she appreciated that Pierre spoke from his own experience. Also, Pierre’s sharing of a little bit of Ashram life gave some insight into it.”
In the afternoon, Pandit Vamadeva Shastri could fortunately make the time to address the Sangha once again. Since it was close to Shivaratri, he spoke at length on the Shiva principle. Shiva is a deity presiding over dissolution, just as Brahma presided over creation and Vishnu over preservation. Shiva is not a name, but that which is nameless, auspicious and is beyond even the cosmic mind. The cosmic energies, Shiva and Shakti are omnipresent and omnipotent even in the changing seasons. The dualistic forces pervade the entire universe and the human manifestation is only part of the biological phenomenon.
Prakriti Bhaskar from Mumbai, India, held the audience in thrall at the evening presentation of dance. The classical dance from South India, Bharatnatyam, was presented not only in dance form, but was also supported by a documentary that showed the journey of an evolving dancer.
Prakriti demonstrated through her dance how rhythm, movement and expression came together in a seamless integration of emotion and a deep sense of devotion of the dancer wooing her beloved, the divine entity. It was meditation through dance, the dancer becoming one with the divine.
Day 9: 8th March, 2013:
Swami Ritavan led the Sangha through a Yoga Nidra practicum on the morning of 8th March. It was a deep experience during which one could come in contact with the subtle layers of the self.
Yoong, an initiator in the Tradition spoke on the “Four Stages of Life” in the afternoon. The four stages were conceived in the Vedas as a way of life that led one to the attaining liberation or Moksha in the end. The four stages are depicted as Brahmacharya, Grihasthya, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. The first stage of brahmacharya covered the period of a young man’s life while he studied under the guidance of the Guru. The second stage was when the young man became a householder and along with his wife, performed various rituals and also his duties in the world. In the third stage, the man handed over responsibilities to his children and began the journey inwards. He, along with his wife became a forest-dweller. In the fourth stage, the man led a monastic life by renouncing the world completely. The first two stages lasted until the ages of 25 years and 50 years after which, the man became a vanaprastha and later a sanyas.
In the evening, Sridatt Sharma (also spelled 'Shri Datt Sharma') and family held the audience spellbound by a splendid rendition of Dhrupad, a vocal genre of Hindustani classical music. Swami Veda said that the rendition was like the variations of OM vibrating at various levels. It was the dance of universal cosmic energies.
Day 10: 9th March, 2013:
Shi Hong, Senior Vice President of AHYMSIN spoke on “Dharma Trafficking”. The talk centered around Bodhidharma and the Chinese Buddhist Master, Xuan Zang.
Bodhidharma is traditionally seen as introducing dhyana-practice in China. The instruction is not to read scriptures, but to truly understand the nature of the self. Shi Hung did a reading in Mandarin the message of which was that mind should be firmly established as an even-flowing stream.
Xuan Zang spent 17 years in India and became an expert in Sanskrit and also a Buddhist Master. He then returned to China with many scriptures and translated them into the Chinese language with the emperor’s support. The Li dynasty was then in power.
The Open Mic program in the post-lunch session showcased special talents that kept the listeners actively engaged. The session was facilitated by Pierre Lefebvre.
The eminent speaker of the evening was Shri Bharat Bhushan ji, the first recipient of the Padma Shri Award in the field of Yoga. His Mokshayatan International Yogashram is located at the foot of the Himalayas in Saharanpur city as well as many branches throughout the world. Shri Bhushan ji spoke with great humility of the deep impact Swami Veda had on him. Swami Veda was also a source of inspiration for the poetry that Shri Bhushan ji has written. He spoke of silence saying that it is not a matter of the senses. In the process of creating something, we go into mouna, silence, into that part that activates the indriyas. Silence is the key to creativity. The deeper the silence, the deeper is the vision. He urged the Sangha to support Swamiji through the silence period. “Do what the Guru says”, he said, “not as the Guru does.”
Also, during Swami Veda’s talk on 9th March 2013 at the 2013 Sangha Gathering, Swamiji introduced the practice for “the next five years and the rest of your life.” Please see: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html
Swami Veda session: every day from 4.30pm to 6.00pm with 45mins meditation and 45mins talk.
Swamiji addressed the Sangha on every day of the 10-day Program. Sangha members and friends have been urged to follow Sadhana in Applied Spirituality, which is based on ancient principles and their practical applications. The practice would ensure that the family nurtured its members, stayed together to take forward the Mission of Gurudeva. The sadhana of applying yamas, niyamas and chitta-prasadanam in daily life were necessary practices.
Swamiji constantly reminded the Sangha to keep the forehead smooth, do the two-minute meditation at regular intervals of every 2-3 hours, follow Sadhana in Applied Spirituality and offer the six mantras of Shiva Sankalpa Sukta. [Please see: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html ]
Swamiji spoke of stations that indicated progress in meditation and spirituality. Stability in posture, the urge to speak less, the tongue forming the kechari by itself was signs of progress. The sensations in the chakras are felt; there may be a feeling of tingling or vibration in certain chakras. The personal mantra could become faster, almost like a vibration. The sadhaka may hear celestial sounds, see a light or discern a wonderful smell. Nadis may be seen becoming luminous. The chakras may become activated. Muladhara indicates stability. A natural root lock may form. Svadisthana signifies brahmacharya, Manipura controls the prana flow throughout the body, the activation of the Anahata chakra indicates emotional stability, the Vishuddhi brings eloquence in silence and Ajna intellectual strengths. Both Vishuddhi and Ajna bring intuition.
However, there are traps in which the sadhaka may become ensnared. The traps may be in the form of pride over spiritual progress, a need for recognition, becoming attractive to the opposite sex, intensification of concentration of negative emotions especially if sadhakas have not achieved bhava samshuddhi through nadi shodhanam, the trap of intensification of physical passion, fear in meditation, which can be a great block to progress.
As the sadhaka progresses, Ahimsa becomes natural, generosity will arise, there will be less craving for food, will learn the art of sleeping, memory will improve, quality of dreams changes, body conditions will not become mind conditions.
Swamiji has suggested that all the Sangha members use the Shiva Sankalpa for mind pacification and to make ourselves peaceful beings. The Sangha has also been advised to read Swami Rama’s book, “The Art of Joyful Living” and Swami Veda’s “Sadhana in Applied Spirituality” as a guide.
Caroline Thomazeau, France, a participant and initiate said that Swami Veda, in his loving and gentle voice, makes his teaching accessible to everyone whatever may be the level of experience or knowledge. The clarity and simplicity of his speech, nourishes us at a deeper level and may be integrated consciously or unconsciously into daily life, which naturally gives it spiritual dimension. It is not an intellectual process of verbalizing ideas, but a true experience and gift of love that can then take many creative forms.
Beyond the mental process of internalizing Swamiji’s teachings, a process of transformation is instilled allowing everyone to thrive in his or her own way feeling respected and encouraged, thus deepening a sense of love and reverence for the lineage and the Tradition.
Day 11: 10th March, 2013:
The final fire-offering ceremony took place on the morning of day eleven, in which the Sangha participated. It culminated in Swamiji going into silence for the next five years. A sense of deep calm and silence was perceived throughout the Ashram.
Guest Programmes at SRSG
Individual Spiritual Retreats, Silence Retreats and Group Retreats
Foundational Instructions of the guest programmes:
· To experience some level of calm mind, relaxation, or stillness while at the ashram
· To know how to sit properly and how to meditate
· To know about the “Himalayan Tradition”: foundation, history, and basic theory etc.
· To understand the meaning of “YOGA” and “MEDITATION” fully
· To apply yoga and meditation into daily life.
· To deepen their practice
· To keep the connection via full moon meditations and/or home centers
Individual Spiritual Retreats :
Guests are offered a daily schedule of instruction in meditation, pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation, Hatha Yoga, and Yoga philosophy in accordance with their individual goals. With the welcome interview, the programme is tailored for an individual. Every guest can experience of one day silence retreat through ashram official silence day (every Thursday).
Silence Retreats :
SRSG is the perfect setting for a guided period of silence, whether for three days or for three months.
Silence is not merely an absence of speech. It is a fullness of the mind; the mind filled with the flow of energy from within. For such a silence one needs guidance, because there is a science to practicing silence that many are not aware of. A systematic series of practices is given under the guidance of Swami Veda.
Group Retreats :
The SRSG staff will also help design programs for groups to meet their specific needs. The campus can accommodate up to 100 participants.
Participants in all the programmes follow the daily ashram schedule which begins at 5:00 AM and runs until 9:30 PM. Time for reading, journaling, and reflection is always available.
Classes on the basic yoga practices are regularly scheduled as well as lecture courses for Gurukulam which guests may attend as appropriate. Guests also attend Swami Veda’s classes when he is in residence.
Video recordings of Swami Rama lecture series on topics such Yoga Sutras and Upanishads are featured on a regular basis.
Programmes are available all year; however, since Gurukulam is on holiday from June to August, no regular classes are scheduled.
Daily Ashram Schedulethat includes individual programs—classes to meet needs
04:15 Bell Ring
05:00 Morning Prayer
05:15 Joints & Glands Exercise / Asanas
07:00 Breathing Practices / Nadi-Shodhanam
10:00 Class 1
11:30 Class 2
12:30 Breathing Practices / Nadi-Shodhanam
02:00 Digestive Breathing
04:15 Hatha Yoga
05:30 Guided Relaxation
06:00 Meditation with Swami Veda
06:30 Japa & Breathing Practices
08:00 Night program (Lecture/Satsang)
09:00 Evening Prayer
All campus residents participate in service for the Ashram. Service includes a variety of tasks from meal service and cleaning to transcribing lectures, helping with mailings and so forth. Inquire at the Mandala Office(Reception Office).
Participants live in one of 35 spacious double or triple occupancy guest cottages, each with kitchenette and bathroom with hot shower.
For Fees and other information
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
DEPARTMENTAL EMAIL DIRECTORY:
ASSOCIATION OF HIMALAYAN YOGA MEDITATION SOCIETIES INTERNATIONAL (AHYMSIN):
AHYMSIN Introduction Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrxLZw3z24s
SRSG MANDALA RECEPTION AND FRONT OFFICE:
Dr. Manju Talekar, Managing Director of SRSG
email@example.com (Guest information, reservations & bookings: Silvia Baratta)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Accounts & book keeping, D.M.T. Office: Bhupendra)
SWAMI RAMA DHYANA GURUKULAM: email@example.com
Bhola Shankar Dabral, Director
firstname.lastname@example.org (Publications and bookstore: Deepti)
HIMALAYAN YOGA TRADITION - TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM (HYT-TTP):
Chuck Linke, Director
Carolyn Hodges and Maryon Maass, HYT-TTP Office
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