Learning To Die


Understand Death is
to Understand Life
by Swami Rama


Death is not the end of life,
but simply a pause in a continuing story.

[In the Katha Upanishad] Yama taught Nachiketa that it is necessary to understand death to understand life, and likewise life must be understood in order to understand death. Nachiketa learned that death is not the end of life, but simply a pause in a continuing story. Death is merely a station stop like Grand Central Station in New York City—just a place to get off a particular train and prepare for another.

This is not to diminish the meaning of life or death. How life is led, in other words the train we choose on the way to Grand Central, determines what state of mind we will be in when we arrive and how prepared we will be for the next transition in our journey. We could pick a disorderly, poorly run train, or a neat clean one. We could pick one with all sorts of attractions and distractions, dancing girls and video games, and opportunities for wealth and fame. It would be difficult to leave that train once we were hooked on all the distractions and sensual gratifications. We could alternatively pick a train in which we learned to enjoy the natural sights along the way, so that when it comes time to leave the train at Grand Central, we could do so effortlessly and joyfully.

Nachiketa is an example of someone who picked the right train. He would have no other train than the train of knowledge. Nothing else interested him. Long life, wealth, the opposite gender, and children paled against his desire for the knowledge of Reality and the secrets of life and death. To Nachiketa only those secrets were worth having.

The eternal nature of the Atman who dwells within is the central theme of the Upanishads. This is the secret of the mystery of death, and the key to understanding life: God pervades all, and God is the Atman animating our soul, the life of our life. Atman is everlasting, unchangeable, and therefore not subject to death. Only that which is perishable is subject to death, the perishable is there only to serve as a tool in the discovery of what is imperishable.

It is the body that dies, the garment that provides the covering for the soul on its visit to the worldly plane. The inner Self remains unaffected. It does not and cannot die because it is eternal.

As the Bhagavad Gita states: “He is unmanifest, is not the subject of thought, and is said to be incorruptible; therefore, knowing Him, it does not behoove you to grieve after anyone.”

It is sad to lose what we care about in life. When someone we love dies, it is sad. Grief for that loss is appropriate but that grief should not be prolonged. Excessive mourning is unhealthy. Grief should not consume a person, because loss and death are inevitable. That is why in some cultures and religious systems a time limit is put on grief. For instance, observant Jews follow stages of mourning. After the burial of a loved one, close family members remain in mourning seven days. During this time they do not leave the house except for emergencies and do not shave or cut their hair, or put on new clothes. They are not allowed even to sit on chairs or wear shoes. Their grief is allowed to be concentrated and their mourning focused. A less intense twenty-three-day mourning period follows. For some Jews an eleven-month moderate mourning is observed.

We grieve the deaths of those close to us, and fear our own passing. There is a period for mourning, and a time to let go. This is why cultures around the globe and throughout history have devised customs of letting go, of mourning, and of putting death into perspective. These customs help people to go on with their lives and prepare for their own deaths. Human life is a cycle of coming and going, birth and death. The death of the body is not the end of the soul. The Self is unchangeable. Therefore, grief beyond the limits of its own time is unwise.

If what matters to a person is that which is passing, death looms large and horrible. Death means the end to what was central and meaningful to that person. The pain in that philosophy is profound. If, however, a person learns to let go of what is passing, whether that means letting go of objects or relationships, and seeks only that which is eternal, death is not frightening. It is just a turning, a change of clothing. So grieve, but not for too long. The same advice applies to anything that is lost—a marriage, a job, friends, a home, a dream. Grieve for it, and then move on.

The fear of death and the pain associated with death are intrinsically linked with attachment to the passing world of names and forms. As ironic as it is tragic, people seek objects and relationships in the world in a way to deny death, to comfort the reality that their worldly lives are temporary. The treatment is worse than the ailment. It is just these attachments to objects and relationships and the belief in the need for them that strengthens the fear of death. The changes inherent in objects and relationship make their loss certain. Instead of comforting their owners, these changing, decaying, and dying objects remind people of the death they fear—death of their attachments to their bodies, thoughts, habits, objects, and relationships. These attachments create, recreate and reinforce the fears of recurrent loss and death. They make life miserable and death frightening. The key to freedom from misery and fright lies with undoing the attachments.

All of life’s events try to teach that out of death comes life. In the process there is an urge to know and feel something that cannot die. Jesus taught that “whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall save it.” In the next sentence Jesus asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Jesus meant that whoever is attached to the wordly life and this earthly body will lose them in death. But whoever lets go of attachments to this worldly life and this earthly body and identifies with the permanence or God-consciousness that Jesus represented, will never die. What good will it do to have all the riches of the world and all the world’s pleasures? They will all disappear in the flash we call a human lifetime. Focusing on the pleasures of the world keeps the mind too distracted to search for the inner Self.

Buddha’s four noble truths state that life is suffering, the suffering has a cause, there is a cessation of suffering, and there is a means to that cessation: a solution. Buddha’ s solution was to live life correctly and to travel through life productively and enjoyably. This path requires dealing with the desires and attachments that are the cause of suffering.

“For him who is wholly free from attachment there is no grief, much less fear. From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear; for him who is wholly free from craving there is no grief, much less fear,” said the Buddha.

Another Buddhist text states: “Through the abandonment of desire the Deathless is realized.”

“Put to death what is earthly in you,” said St. Paul.

Commonly we get the message early in life that happiness is earned by acquiring things and getting something from relationships. Things are lost, relationships change, and pain is the consequence. We have a parade of emotions and thoughts that we identify with, and this brings pain. We think we are our bodies, and when our bodies are sick or they age, or we watch the bodies of others get sick or die, we experience pain.

Pain is an alarm system that indicates that something is not in balance. What is the pain of lost objects, changed relationships, shifting emotions and thoughts, and deteriorating bodies telling us? One possibility is that is simply how life is. We arrive here, strive to obtain whatever we think we need, and suffer pain in the process. End of story. That doesn’t make much sense though. If someone felt pain in his foot, and the pain alerted him to an infection, would the person simply say, “Well, that’s the way it goes—have a foot, get an infection.” The infection would spread through the leg and kill the person. That’s not ration-al. The person would use the pain to identify an issue in his body that needed attention. He would see it as a problem that needed a solution. Life’s pain is telling us that we are perceiving our relationship to things, people, feelings, thoughts, and bodies incorrectly.

We are dependent on those things, people, feelings, and bodies. We identify with them and are attached to them. When they go or change, we feel pain. These attachments, along with ignorance, are the source of the fear of death. The more we are attached, the greater is the fear we have of death. Those without any attachments—those who do not perceive themselves as owning anything in their lives and who know that their bodies are just instruments—they are free from fear.

What does it mean to be attached to or to identify with something? Attachment means we believe we need something for our existence. This is the ego operating. It says, “I am so important and I need to have this car. This car is mine, this car means I am successful, this car helps identify me.” Or, “I need a relationship with this woman. Without her I cannot be happy. If she leaves me I will be forever broken, and life will be meaningless.” People get attached even to the idea of things. For example, in American culture people have been raised with certain images of what life ought to be. They see themselves from the time of childhood growing up to have wonderful marriages, living in white houses with picket fences and flowers, and having devoted children. They see themselves getting bigger houses, second cars, second homes in resort areas, and retiring early. These are the ideas the culture creates, and when these things don’t come about to match their ideas, they are miserable. They feel as if some bad trick has been played on them.

This is identifying with images. You see yourself, your identity, as this person in the white house with flowers and a perfect life. You think that is you. But that is not you. Don’t be attached to these images. Learn to flow with life and all of its ups and downs.

The same tendency works in the lower mind with emotions. We get angry, and we think, “I am angry.” Who is angry? To say “I am angry” is to identify with the emotion, to believe that the emotion is us. We cannot be an emotion. As humans we are capable of having anger and experiencing anger, but we are not anger or any other emotion.

Similarly, we are not our bodies. We have bodies. They are instruments for our use. We say, “I am 6’1“ and blond with blue eyes.” We are not that. Yet this is what we think. When someone criticizes our appearance we feel hurt. When we see our bodies getting older and slowing down, it scares us. Most of us remain in body consciousness and that is why we identify ourselves with the body. When one learns to separate the mortal self from the immortal Self, the faculty of discrimination dawns.

Death does not touch the real Self. That is difficult to believe only because we so strongly identify ourselves with our bodies and the world around us. Just because we are not conscious of something does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Yama says to Nachiketa, “When all desires and passions are removed, when perfect stillness prevails, the mortal becomes immortal.” That is the key. Death cannot mean an end because death has no effect on the Self. The cycle of life and death is not a random, unfortunate reality. It is an instructor. The Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu stated:

“Birth is not a beginning, death is not an end. There is existence without limitation, there is continuity without a starting point. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in. That through which one passes in and out without seeing it, that is the portal of God.”

Life is an ongoing Upanishad that directs a person to search for the eternal and identify with what is permanent, not with that which is impermanent, and thereby overcome death.

According to Vedanta we exist not because of our bodies but because of our very being. The inner self creates the body. During sleep we are not conscious of our bodies, but still we exist. Materialistic thinkers turn it the other way around. They look to the body, declare it is evidence of our being, and assume if there is an inner being, it comes by way of the body. Vedanta says just the reverse. Consciousness makes our body appear to exist.

Death is not something to fear but its function in life should be understood. Accepting death is a reality that will help you to realize that this life here is temporary, that the world is only a platform, that you have come here on a journey to learn and grow, and then the journey ends.

St. Paul referred to life as a slight, momentary affliction that prepares a person for eternal glory. “Everything in human life,” he said, “is for spiritual work.” In somewhat darker imagery, but with a similar message, Chuang Tzu said to “look upon life as a swelling or tumor and upon death as the draining of a sore or the bursting of a boil.”

At the same time remember that God, or the eternal Reality, is within you. Death reminds you not to attach yourself to this world. Learn from the world and let it go. See your body as just an instrument. It serves a purpose and then its work is done.


A Series of Contemplations

On Life and Death - #1

                                                                                                                                             by Swami Nitya

In the west, we live in a fear-ridden society. Ultimately all fears are fear of death. This fear is used in modern society for commercial and political reasons- and thus magnified, as needed - by those in Power.

The more fear, the more need for devices to feed the illusion of permanence, accumulate ‘stuff’ that makes us feel safe or the need for protection and defence. Our military expenses vastly exceed anything spent on health and education – which speaks volumes.                                                             

Our societies live off fear because its citizens have lost the perception of the relationship between life and death.                                                                              

There is one particular Upanishad who specially deals with this issue. Essentially all Upanishads (a wave of Indian sacred scriptures) teach essentially that ultimately all is ONE (one interconnected existence, call it what you like) – in this context, it means that life and death belong together. In fact all of existence is a manifestation of one Consciousness or “intelligent energy” (to use a modern approximation), one Absolute indescribable, which out of itself manifests all forms. Since all forms of existence are simply manifestation of “the ONE”, they are essentially, - at the root/source - the same. (Think of it as the drop and the ocean… whatever form, they are essentially Water).

In the Indian context, this ‘ONE’ is called Brahman with its acting power, called Shakti/ the Force/ Nature which expresses in infinite number of forms. What appears to us, as different forms, ‘objects’, ‘facts’ – as different animals or humans is different only in form, not in essence; nothing exists as a separate thing..(Water is ocean, wave, dewdrop, river etc…).

Forms appear as separate to us because our inherently limited instruments of perception (with a big enough microscope) if we had “better eyes” we would “see” – that all forms (human, grass, animals, car, tree, house, stone etc.) are merely energy moving/vibrating in different patterns and frequencies… i.e. intelligently.

(This, by the way, is what new science, in the aftermath of Quantum theory, in many areas, tells us)

So in short:  there is ultimately only “One”, whatever name we give THAT (Brahman, IO, Mahapurusha,  Paramashiva, Mahashakti; God… etc.)

In this context it means: If all is expression of ONE, then life and death are also ONE, death is simply a transition state between old and new form. From this perspective, life and death as one process of ever changing of forms.

Seeing this then raises the question, “what is it that is “beyond life and death”?

What is this essential “ONE” and how can it be discovered in ourselves? Finding this “deathlessness” in ourselves… means no fear needed!

This is the issue the Kathopanishad explores in the literary form of a dialogue between a spiritually motivated student and a Master; here called Lord Death.

As Swami Rama explains in his book (‘Sacred Journey’), Death in this cultural context is seen as a self-realized master. Swami Rama writes: “Yama (Lord Death) may be compared to the highest discriminating intelligence of the human being; while Nachiketa (the eager student, an 11year old boy) represents the lower mind, albeit with strength and courage.”

Nachiketa, in touch with impermanence of forms/matter, knows that being attached to manifest things (what we call wrongly “objects”,) including our bodies, causes our problems. So he pursues his goal of finding out... how to let go...of attachment to the material world, which makes everyone and everything APPEAR separate.

The path described in this Upanishad is the path of Yoga, as Swami Rama writes:” whose aim is the spiritual union between individual soul and the supreme Self of all”; or as I venture to say: between the “spark and the Fire”.

The narrative begins in an ancient custom of the Vedic society, where “people” gave some of their wealth to support the great “seers” and Brahmins. Nachiketa, the young boy, watches his wealthy father, a rich householder. He gave, as his offering - cows which were sick, lame, thin… i.e not valuable; meaning he could not part with his wealth. He fulfilled his “duty” but at the same time cheated in doing so.

Within the Vedic society, not only cows were property but equally wife and children, so Nachiketa realising that he was also the property of his father… asked: “Father to whom will you give me?” Father didn’t answer. I can just imagine how he got annoyed with his son….but his son didn’t give up. After asking three times, the father answered: “You, I will give to Lord Death!”    Well, Nachiketa accepted his father’s words and made the journey to find Lord Death.

When he came to the abode of Lord Death, he was not home, so the child sat on the steps waiting... but no one gave him any customary hospitality. So when after three days, Lord Death came home, and saw the poor child, he felt embarrassed for the neglect of his ‘staff’. To make amends he gave Nachiketa three boons (one for each night he had waited).

For his first boon, Nachiketa, as a good son, asked to forgive his father’s wrong doing, as well as making sure his father does not worry, about where his son has gone. His wish was granted.

Many commentaries at this point go straight to the next boon. For me, this first question and boon already is significant. To me it shows the state of mind of Nachiketa.

If we are essentially all ONE, then everything we do or say effects everyone else. Something, in Buddhism is called “dependent –rising” or in modern Physics “the Butterfly-effect”. If all is moving energy, then of course when any energy moves it effects the whole.

Thus if the father is angry, has done wrong, or worries about Nachiketa’s whereabouts … it will effect Nachiketa and his quest. So to smooth his father’s destiny and feeling is paramount.

In the global world of today, (and not only because of mass-media)  etc… more than ever, - whatever happens in the world, in the environment as well as in conflict-zones (wars) , as well as with violence, hunger… etc…. whatever problems there are… will affect us.

The energy of others suffering will affect us… as in essence, as we know, there is no separation. We cannot say anymore… that happens far away i.e. to the child that starves in Africa, or the Trees cut down in South America, or the fish dying and mutating in the oceans is none of our business. We are... Effected…as we are… all life is.., sentient and non-sentient, connected.

Swami Rama writes in his book:  A Call to Humanity: “Today we cannot live in seclusion and cannot separate ourselves from the problems and concerns of the rest of the society. How is it possible to disregard the problems of our neighbours? There is no way to be happy if our fellow beings are suffering from disease and poverty” And furthermore “Today personal salvation cannot be dissociated from salvation of humanity”…and so on.

Nachiketa, already realized on some level, that ONE-NESS means taking care of others. Only then can we progress on the spiritual quest. In his own way, his own situation… he takes care of “others” as good as he knows how to, for there is no separation, all is connected!

For his second boon: He asks about rituals, spiritual ceremonies and in his culture that means “fire-ceremony”; as every Vedic household had several fires amongst them , the sacred fire, where ritual offerings were made attended to by the oldest male householder/priest. What is the meaning of these rituals, if in “heaven” there is neither fear of death nor decay, neither hunger or thirst, neither pain or suffering.

I venture to say, what Nachiketa expresses, in those traditional terms is also our question: if there is in one-ness no parts - no parts, means no separation, means no duality, so there is no-one to inflict suffering and no one to suffer; there is no one being born... nor is there anyone dying….so what then is the meaning of these ritualistic acts?

Behind this I see also the quest of Vedanta, the highest teachings of India. If we know and understand that there is only One, then why perform rituals?

Lord Yama answers by teaching Nachiketa the meaning of the fire sacrifice. I find Shankar Acharya’s comment helpful.

He aligns fire with wisdom (prajnanam); wisdom, knowing - burns ignorance and helps us to understand. Furthermore he aligns fire with Virat, the cosmic mind, that highest intelligence that is inherent in existence.

If I go back to what to what I know about the Element Fire: then fire is that energy-field that transforms; who’s vibration have the effect of transforming matter into light, the light of understanding. It seems to me that Lord Death is alluding to this kind of fire, when he says: Etam…”this fire which I am speaking off is hidden in the intellect of men of knowledge”.

Furthermore fire is the origin of the manifest world, and so the manifest fire in the ceremony is a re-enactment of this original fire. (See science, earth spinning of the sun; fire as planetary dust, coagulating, cooling into the fire, which still is the core of earth…). Fire was “light’ and returns to light…. With this understanding, the ritual a ceremony alludes to cyclic existence, of existence as ONE in ONE.

So no surprise Lord Death was pleased with the already high understanding of his pupil. He even names the Fire-ritual after the ardent student: Nachiketa.

Then Nachiketa is to speak of his third Boon. And this is what really concerns us. However this prelude, to me, appears comparable to the prelude in the Prashnopanishad. There great care is taken to establish that the students who ask the questions have been well prepared. They are ready for the highest wisdom. They have been tested by the Teacher….(oh so unlike today where many are taught and the teachings watered down so that all can “misunderstand them”).

So Nachiketa voices his question:

“There is a belief that after a man departs from the world he is gone forever.

There is another  viewpoint  that he is born again, that even after death man does not die in the real sense, but remains on a subtle plane with his subtle body, and only the outer physical garment is discarded; and that is called death.

There is another belief that one who dies, lives, which is true?

What exists after death? Explain to me!”

How this question is answered, in the remaining Verses of the Upanishad, we will continue in the next instalment.

Hari OM

        Himalayan Master’s Secret for Longevity

Dr Dinesh Sharma

Dr. Dinesh Sharma

Prana the life force is the energy which signifies the vitality in our whole being. The life begins when the child is born and starts breathing. When the body stops breathing it gradually dies.
Some traditions believe that we are given a certain number of breaths and when we exhaust them we need to leave this body. Even if it’s not true, the Yogis and the Himalayan masters always emphasized on the importance of breath and suggested ways to regulate, systemize and discipline it through numerous practices.
One who can regulate and master his/her breathe, becomes master of this body in true sense. The stories of yogis leaving their bodies at will in Samadhi are very true. Even today there are spiritual teachers and masters in The Himalayan tradition who have promised their followers that they will inform them well in advance before finally ‘signing off’.
A child’s body needs to breathe fast since it has to develop and grow. Once it gains its optimum height and weight, the breathing slows down gradually. A sick body also breaths fast since it needs more energy to fight the disease and heal quickly. Once the body becomes healthy it again goes back to normal breathing.
Emotions affect breathing significantly. In anxiety, anger, fear and other similar emotions body retorts to quick and shallow breathing but again becomes normal when the situation changes.
A fully grown and mature person will not live very long if the breath is short and shallow. Breath is the vital energy and requires to be wisely spent like one’s hard earned and preciously saved wealth. It’s well known that animals who breathe quickly live shorter in comparison to the animals that are cold blooded and breathe sparingly.
If you want to stay healthy and live long you need to learn to regulate and master your breath. This is the thousands year old secret of the Himalayan masters. It takes time to learn the technique but with patience and regular practice one can do it for sure. There are many different techniques which require a highly competent teacher to learn from but to initially start the journey one can practice the following technique. It’s simple yet highly effective and is the basis of all different techniques of Pranayama. Before you start the most important thing to remember is to be PATIENT, punctual and regular.
Find a quiet corner in your home or office. Switch off the telephones or mobile phones. Sit conveniently and comfortably either on a chair or on the floor with neck and spine in a straight line and hands relaxing on the knees. Gently close the eyes. Bring the awareness to the body and the place where you are sitting. Now relax forehead. Its very important that the forehead is slowly relaxed as much one can. Relax the eye brows, eye lids, eyes and facial muscles. Relax the corners of the mouth, tongue, palate and voice box. Now relax the shoulders, arms, forearms, hands, fingers and tips. Again relax the tips, fingers, finger joints, hands, forearms, arms and shoulders. Relax the voice box, palate, tongue, corners of the mouth, facial muscles and eyes.
Now bring the awareness to the breath. Feel the flow of breath in the nostrils. Feel how the breath is touching nostrils while inhaling and exhaling. Do not stop or force the breathing. Just watch it. Slowly feel the breath becoming deeper in the abdomen rather in lungs. The breath should be even, regular and deep and should flow in a single stream. As soon as one breath cycle finishes, the next breath cycle starts without a gap.
Initially if the breath is irregular, abnormal, shallow and jerky – its ok. Do ten breath cycles slowly deeply exhaling and inhaling and get ready for twenty seven systematic breath cycles of alternate nostril breathing. First identify the active and passive nostrils. The active nostril is which is more open and from which one can breathe in and out more easily. The passive nostril is just the opposite. Now closing the passive nostril using finger or thumb of either hand gently breathe out from the active nostril. Gently close the active nostril and simultaneously open the passive nostril and breathe in. Again close the passive nostril and open active nostril and breathe out. Completing three such repetitions of breathing out from active nostril, fourth, fifth and sixth time breath out from passive nostril while breathing in from the active nostril. Similarly seventh, eighth and ninth time breathe out from active nostril and take a break of five normal breaths. Again repeat nine such breathing cycles but this time alternating to breathe out from passive nostril first. Take another break of five normal breaths and do last set of nine more alternate nasal breathing, this time again like the first set beginning to breathe out from the active nostril.
The above practice is also known as Nadi Shodhna Pranayama and is the foundation of all the breathing practices. This practice theoretically may sound very simple but becomes very intense, deep and useful for sound health and longevity as a Sadhaka gradually advances.



Raising Spiritual Families

2014 Retreat


                                                                                                           © Lalita Arya

During the Christmas week of 2014 SRSG ashram in Rishikesh (Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama) will be again holding a Family Retreat.  This retreat will focus on the theme of nurturing spiritual families. “Family life is the training ground for children to learn to relate to others from the very beginning. If that training ground is disturbed the children will also be disturbed and may remain so throughout their whole life. “ This quote is taken from Swami Rama’s book – Let the Bud of Life Bloom ( A Guide to Raising Happy and Healthy Children). While the theme is on nurturing a spiritual life for the Child, this cannot be done without understanding the importance of family life, the functions of parents/guardians and the role of the child as part of a unit.
This little book is very useful and is highly recommended as a text that should be on the shelf of any yoga/meditation practitioners who want to raise spiritual children. Let me hasten to add that the word ‘spiritual” is often misunderstood. Spiritual is not exclusive, instead it’s the opposite  - to really understand it is to know that it is all-inclusive.  It does not mean just going to church or temple, or reading the scriptures or performing ritual duties. While these might be included spiritual has an all-encompassing meaning which relates to family life, basic training, healthy living, engendering a happy personality, education (not the one just confined to school and colleges), discipline, love and devotion.
Since the “seeds of belief that are sown in childhood become the guiding principles of the adult” as Swami Rama says it is important to ensure that these seeds of belief when sown are the suitable ones. While it is important to observe a child’s natural tendencies, parents or guardians need to lead the child to develop these inclinations towards the good path where the child can come to fully realize his or her potentials.  A child comes into a family not by chance. There are three souls involved in bringing a child into the world – the mother, the father and the child.  The child-soul before coming into the world looks to find the “right” couple through whom he or she may find the appropriate family to fructify his or her karma field. Studying the behavior of the child helps to develop the awareness of the predominant qualities, the motivations and natural inclinations.  This is where the opportunity occurs to observe any negative tendencies that need to be guided in such a way that without any force or pressure, positive thoughts are used to lead the child unto a spiritual path.
Family life as varied as it might be, still forms the basic foundation of society. Human relationships should be treated with respect. Marriage/LiveIn partnerships may be viewed as a pleasant responsibility of sharing, understanding and adjusting.
Co-operating, delving into the culture of the “other”, sharing, laughing, playing together, while doing their simple yoga asanas, praying as one unit in the morning, at mealtimes, before bedtime – all these are give full attention when families and their children attend these seminars. These have been highly successful with registrants from all over the world bringing a variety of languages, songs, dances, plays and just themselves into ONE community where all learn to co-operate with each other, work out differences in a genial manner.
These offer many challenges to the organizers, managers, receptionists, cooks, and teachers who plan way ahead to make the seminar not only successful but interesting and entertaining while education in the tradition that has been given to us by our ancestors, our leaders and our Guru.
There are already many registrants for this year, so if you have not yet applied, think about it.


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KHEL Update 20140930 Medical Camp 3 Seeing the doctor (400x300)

Medical Clinic for LDA and the Community

KHEL sponsors several medical clinics every year because kids need to be healthy to study and succeed. For this clinic, we partnered with Sarayu Devi Charitable Trust (SDCT) and Sankalp Foundation Welfare Society (SFWS). Close to 600 people attended, which was more than we expected. We added an extra afternoon so that everyone who wanted to would get to see a doctor. We were assisted by two interns, Shalini and Jared, both college graduates from the US. Shalini is a lifelong KHEL volunteer with a thorough understanding of the challenges these kids face. This was Jared’s first visit to India. They both did a wonderful job and most importantly, the LDA kids really liked them.

Dr. Choudhary and Dr. Joshi prescribed medicines and supplements while Sanjeev, Sanjay and Rakhi (from SWFS) distributed them free of charge. Jared, Shalini, Beni (KHEL’s General Manager) and Bhagwat (KHEL’s Assistant Manager) administered basic tests for blood pressure, hemoglobin, blood sugar and checked height and weight. Manohar, KHEL’s Community Outreach Coordinator and Dinesh, one of our teachers, arranged snacks. Sunil, our school guard, made tea for the hard working staff and volunteers. All KHEL’s staff helped to keep everyone organised.

The cost for this camp was INR53,000 (US$885) which was split between SDCT and SFWS. SFWS, which is primarily a medical non-profit, recruited the medical staff. KHEL provided the space, organizational capacity, support staff and two very dedicated interns.



“Nurturing Spirituality in the Family” Conference

to preserve the knowledge and teachings of the ancient lineage of the Himalayan Masters in order to develop and promote spirituality within ourselves, our children, and the world

20th – 25th February 2013

At Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG)

How have sadhakas managed to create spiritual families in these modern times? And what guidelines can emerge from mutual exchange and discussion with others?

Join us for five days of  learning simple philosophy of living and practical guidelines to develop and cultivate a healthy and happy family life. Topics will include:

        Sattvic Diet: Shifting from a Rajasic diet into a nutritional food regimen that supports a balanced mind and peaceful nature.

        Indian Cuisine and the health benefits of Indian Spices

        The art of joyful living techniques for children: Practical spirituality in raising happy and healthy children

        An Intercultural panel discussion: How to successfully cultivate a spiritual family during modern times

For further information, please contact: spiritualfamilyretreatfeb2013@gmail.com


Editor's Note:

Courtesy of Lela Pierce, "Parents who wish to stay in touch with each other and lead their own virtual discussions on any topic can join the new ‘Ahymsin: Yogic Parenting group’ on Facebook."  Please see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/346742485366079/  

Suggested reading:

Love and Family Life by Swami Rama and Let the Bud of Life Bloom by Swami Rama.  The books are available from The Meditation Center's online bookstore that ships nationally and internationally  http://www.themeditationcenter.org/jnana/index.php?    In Europe, you can inquire at http://www.yogaineurope.eu/contact/ .  In India, inquire at AHYMSIN Publishers http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/Book-and-DVD-Orders.html. They are also available through Amazon.com.

Educating and Parenting for Peace booklet by Swami Veda Bharati is available through The Meditation Center and at AHYMSIN Publishers. It is also available at Dan’s Digital Bookstore http://dansdigitalbooks.com/products-page/swami-vedas-complete-books

Diet and Nutrition, A Holistic Approach and Transition to Vegetarianism: An Evolutionary Step by Dr. Rudolph Ballentine.

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

07:30  Meditation

08:30  Breakfast

10:00  Class 1

11:30  Class 2

12:30  Breathing Practices / Nadi-Shodhanam

01:00  Lunch

02:00  Digestive Breathing

04:00  Tea

04:15  Hatha Yoga

05:30  Guided Relaxation

06:00 Meditation with Swami Veda

06:30  Japa & Breathing Practices

07:00  Dinner

08:00  Night program (Lecture/Satsang)

09:00  Evening Prayer


Service Opportunities

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 sadhakagrama@gmail.com



ahymsin@ahymsin.org (Email)


AHYMSIN Introduction Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrxLZw3z24s


Dr. Manju Talekar, Managing Director of SRSG

sadhakagrama@gmail.com (Guest information, reservations & bookings: Silvia Baratta)

dhyanamandiram@gmail.com (Accounts & book keeping, D.M.T. Office: Bhupendra)

SWAMI RAMA DHYANA GURUKULAM: vidyamandiram@gmail.com


Bhola Shankar Dabral, Director

ahymsinpublishers@gmail.com (Publications and bookstore: Deepti)


Chuck Linke, Director

Carolyn Hodges and Maryon Maass, HYT-TTP Office

www.himalayanyogatradition.com (Website)

info@himalayanyogatradition.com (Email)


Himalayan Yoga Tradition - Teacher Training Program:

Chuck Linke – Director

Stephanie Sulpy: US Office Manager and Treasurer

www.himalayanyogatradition.com (Website)

info@himalayanyogatradition.com   (Email)

Welcome to Swami Veda’s World-Wide Newsletter. Your photos and input are important to us, and we welcome news from any one of SVBs centers around the world. Send photos, and news items to the editor: dan@prideaux.com for inclusion in future editions. We hope you enjoy this edition, and we ask for your comments. Your friends may subscribe to this newsletter by filling in the data at www.swamiveda.org - as well as email address changes.