The Mystery of Death and The Meaning of Life


                                                                                            by Swami Rama

The Upanishad examined in this book is the Kathopanishad, a scripture that unveils the mystery of death and the meaning of life.

An old story is told about the beginning of time. The universe was in the process of being created and not everything was yet in order or fully functioning. Before the universe could be totally engaged, the Creator had one final task to complete. To help him complete this task the Lord summoned an angel.

The angel came. The Creator told the angel that he, the Lord, had one last job to do in the making of the universe.

    “I saved the best for last,” the Creator told the angel. “I have here the real meaning of human life, the treasure of life, the purpose and goal of all this that I have created.

    “Because this treasure is valuable beyond description,” the Creator continued, “I want you to hide it. Hide this treasure so well that human beings will know its value to be immeasurable.”

    “I will do so, Lord,” said the angel. “I will hide the treasure of life on the highest mountain top.”

    “The treasure will be too easy to find there,” said the Creator.

    “Then,” said the angel, “I will hide the treasure in the great desert wilderness. Surely, the treasure will not be easily found there.”

    “No, too easy.”

    “In the vast reaches of the universe?” asked the angel. “That would make a difficult search.”

    “No,” the Creator said pondering. Then his face showed a flash of inspiration. “I know. I have the place. Hide the treasure of life within the human being. He will look there last and know how precious this treasure is. Yes, hide the treasure there.”

This treasure and the search for it are the subjects of the Upanishads. Given the nature of human beings, that treasure was indeed well hidden. As the Lord said in the story above, the last place human beings will look for the ultimate Reality is within themselves. They will look to all the diverse objects of the world for meaning, and each time, with each well-meant effort, come away with nothing worth having. In this way a perpetual cycle of births and deaths is created. They spend life running after things that are only temporal and when death comes they are empty handed, with just an invitation to do it over again.

The Upanishads say the ignorant person keeps accepting that invitation, but the wise person sees the futility in the endless pattern of death and rebirth, and looks within for that which is eternal.

According to the Upanishads, that which we seek within is called Atman, the pure Self, our real identity, that, as the Bible says, is in the image and likeness of God. The real Self is not recognizable by the senses or the mind. It is the hidden treasure within the soul, and dwells in the innermost chamber of the heart. It is very subtle, unfathomable, and eternal. It existed at the beginning of creation, exists now, and will continue to exist in the future.

The phenomenal universe, as the Upanishads explain repeatedly, is impermanent and constantly changing, evolving, growing, decaying, and dying. It goes on endlessly this way—coming, going, dying. That is its nature. Anyone who becomes attached to the phenomenal world with all of its changing forms is sure to come to grief in the end. Yet the phenomenal world plays a role in bringing a person to the realm of the immortal. The pain and fear of death that are natural to the material world are meant to guide a person toward wisdom. A time comes when the individual realizes that there must be more to existence than this. Then he or she begins to seriously look for an alternative as the ultimate purpose of life.

The Upanishad examined in this book is the Kathopanishad, a scripture that unveils the mystery of death and the meaning of life. Of all the Upan-ishads, Kathopanishad is the most lucid and accessible on the knowledge of Atman here and hereafter. It clearly defines the alternatives confronting humanity concerning the purpose of life and the ultimate choices that have to be made.

This Upanishad is a beautiful, poetic explanation of the mystery of life and death, the law of karma, and how to attain liberation from grief and distress. It is composed in one hundred nineteen mantras and constructed around a dialogue between a spiritually minded young man named Nachiketa on one hand and Yama, the king of death on the other. Yama, unlike portrayals in Greek or Roman mythology of the king of death, is not something dreadful. He was the first man born on the earth to die and was a self realized master. In this scripture, Yama may be compared to the highest discriminating intelligence of the human being, while Nachiketa represents the lower mind, albeit with strength and courage.

The dialogue between the two reveals the character of a dedicated but yet unrealized spiritual seeker. Nachiketa is someone we can understand as well as admire. Though he has many doubts, his faith is indisputable. Above all he harbors a deep desire for the highest knowledge and ultimate happiness.

Nachiketa is tested by Yama to determine how strong his desire for truth is. Is it stronger than the attractions to the things of desire in the world? Yes. Nachiketa renounces everything for the sake of Self-realization. Above all else he wants to know Atman, the real Self.

In his faith Nachiketa knows that all the pleasures, even the highest joys of life, do not continue forever. They pass away, leaving pain in their wake. No matter where one goes, or what one does, as long as worldly desires are present there can be no real peace. It doesn’t matter whether a person lives totally in the world, surrounded by and fully partaking of the world’s pleasures, or in the wilderness apart from all enticements. Whenever there are desires for worldly things there will be discontent.

Death is no more an escape from all these desires than is the barren desert wilderness. People cling to their desires till death and drag them all back with them again to the worldly plane where they can be fulfilled.

It is only in practical daily life that people can deal with desires and attain self-control over the senses and thoughts that drive the desires. People must learn to rise above desires and see their limited value. Only when they rise above desires and gain mastery over their senses and thoughts will they begin to realize real joy. They will see that as they let go of their attachments to worldly things, including their own material bodies, they will begin to experience a sense of peace of immeasurably greater value than any wealth or comfort material existence could ever offer.

Nachiketa understood this innately. You might say his conscience was directing him, and he had the courage to follow his conscience instead of tracing the well-worn steps of so many others who chose the path of material pursuits.

The path described by Yama in the Kathopanishad is the path of yoga, whose aim is the spiritual union between the individual soul and the supreme Self of all

Dr Dinesh Sharma

 We All Keep Experiencing
The Divine Energy


All over the world ancient shrines, temples and holy places are great energy hubs. For thousands of years pilgrims keep visiting them with chants on their lips and prayers in their hearts. These prayers and chants transform into positive energy and join the mass energy depot of that place. This energy field keeps growing and strengthening with the sojourn of more devotees in passing times and develops into sort of a gigantic healing aura.

Over the times attracted by the beam of this healing aura, many Saints Savants Sufis and enlightened masters also reach such places to pray and meditate. Their prayers or sadhna many times continue for entire life which further consolidates the aura and energy of that place.

In India the tradition of Shakti Peethas, Jyotirlingas, Gurudwaras, Churches  and many dargahas of chistis,darvesh and auliyas  are living examples of such powerful energy centers.

Though aggressive commercialization by the caretakers and custodians of such places is least comforting but while visiting there one should avoid being distracted and overwhelmed by it in order to feel the divine energy. If one can overcome such obvious inertia and resentment and surrenders with complete devotion, thefloodgates of divine energy will help one dwell in an ecstasy, never experienced before. 

Such places are different from the places of tourist attraction. If you visit there as a tourist, sure you will watch it, appreciate its buildings and architecture but may not have a spiritual experience. If you are traveling there with a group of tourists, make sure to be of your own and go there when it’s quieter there and not many people around to tug you to hurry. It’s least important to be in the main sanctum sanctorum, where hundreds are praying or queuing. The whole area around such places is charged with throbbing verve and what one needs to do is to find a quiet corner to sit and silently meditate for few moments.

Healing energy, which has been accumulating in shrines and temples for thousands of years, helps repair a person’s depleted aura, provided one surrenders oneself completely. Thousands visit these shrines every day, but everyone doesn’t get benefited. People with a rational and egotistical mind may not benefit much, as ego never allows them to surrender. Others with faith and devotion return completely charged and rejuvenated.

Visiting such places with high expectations and a long list of unfulfilled desires should at best be avoided. Make sure to leave your desires and worries at home. Reaching there, first express gratitude for what you have in this life. Don’t complain for what you don’t have. Then meditate and surrender to the divine energy. Keep forehead relaxed and tension-free, and breathe gently. Feel as if you are standing in the rain and offering your whole existence to the showers. 

Even a small ‘window’ in your mind will slowly let the divine energy in and if you are fortunate there can even be a downpour. There can be different manifestations of such ‘energy experiences’. Some feel a new kind of joy, which they never felt before and can’t express in words so they start crying in happiness. Others may feel like dancing. Some feel a shivering or tingling sensation in the whole body like goose pumps. Some may feel being lifted above the ground and can have sort of an out of body experience.

When such feelings occur, don’t get disturbed, nervous or fearful. You are being blessed. The Grace is showering upon you. Your aura is being healed and some ‘would be bad mishap’ is being averted. Surrender and open your self more in such moments and stay silent and quiet. And most important thing to remember is that don’t brag about such experiences to prove that you are special and a really chosen one.

Hold that ‘Godly’ energy like a secret and precious treasure



6th Session on
“Love, Service & Remember”

 by Swami Nitya


So far we have talked more general, about what “Service” means. Often when Swami Rama uses the word service, it’s accompanied by the word: self-less . He also puts it in the context of dharma. In ‘Conscious Living’ (p. 63) talking about Arjuna (re: Bhagavad Geeta) he explains his full name as: Arjuna - karne wala; meaning: one who makes sincere effort. So Arjuna is one, who makes a sincere effort to live his dharma; lives a dharmic life!

He also explains that the word dharma, encases those great laws and disciplines that uphold, sustain and ultimately lead humanity to the sublime heights ….dharma shines in the form of truth, non-violence, love, compassion, forbearance, forgiveness and mutual sharing. A real follower of dharma includes all and excludes none.

This same reference comes over and over in his writings; we too have heard it before.          Include all… exclude none!

I studied also for some years with a Buddhist master; she used to say: dharma is the suchness of each existing thing. We come into this world with a certain inherent Job; like a tree --- is treeing… and mountain is mountain-ing…each existence has its own intrinsic, duty as to how to serve in the entire picture, … how to serve the ‘Whole’!

In this way there can be no “new dharma”. Dharma is the intrinsic service, which each one is living within the whole, as his or her purpose of life! In this way “self-less action, or call it self-less service ----- describes one’s relationship to the world; self-less action is your role… every one’s part in the world.

Swami Rama further says: “In nature, each object is unique yet all objects of the world, including all living beings are interconnected by a common bond. Thus each human being has his personal life, but by no means can he/she separate himself/herself from his community, society or humanity as a whole….. one must select the duty which provides for the welfare of the wider range of humanity….”

It is a real challenge to ask ourselves, how are we doing, in living this - in what we are doing ? Are we living fulfilling our purpose, our dharma? How is our awareness of how our thoughts, behaviour and action – fit with, or effect the people around us.                              Am I doing what I meant to be doing? Not just in my individual little separate self… BUT within the context, the society in which we live and moreover in humanity as a whole, on our planet as a whole

Swami Rama challenges us non-stop to review… where we stand, and ask us to live according to the high ideals, “rather than merely admiring and adoring” the sayings of the great sages ! He himself, gave the example:

It’s not incidental that He built the Hospital where the need was great for the people to get help! This act in itself is an example for us, a call for us to do likewise. Serve….where the need is greatest!

If we are aware of the situation of the world today…than it means radical change, in our attitude towards each other and the shared life. He becomes very practical when he points out, that every Mother, has the duty to instruct the child in self-less giving.

But how can we, if we don’t practice ourselves.

Without practicing self-less-ness, “there is no hope for reconstructing the society significantly” and if we don’t… as many scientists warn us, there is no future for the human race!

We have ruined the earth to such an extent; used its resources to such an extent, multiplied to such an extent, sown hatred and dissonance…. That the human race is at the brink of suicide.

Many places on the globe are without clean water to drink.  In fact: 1.1 billion people across the world lack access to clean drinking water. India too has this problem as you well know, but now the Problem is also in US and many other places. But what do we do to recycle water, to save water, to clean used water?

The human body exists mainly out of water, how can people exists without water. Now  multinationals like nestle, in apart of the world patent the clean water. I.e. they have the sole rights to sell… it, means those that have no water, no need to buy water.. yet water is what we are…crazy?

2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation; stuff just gets put in the rivers, and then the oceans. And that not just from waste water… that’s easy, but industrial waste.. and think of Fukushima etc. Nearly all rivers in India have unhealthy, intolerable pollution. We polluted the oceans, to such an extent, that what we dumped in them, in the last 50 years … will take thousands of years to clean, this includes the tiny plastic pellets that are left over when plastic re-enters the cycle of water. Yes this is a global  issue. We think we solve the problem by drinking bottled water? Did you know that one plastic bottle of water, needs 6 times the amount in it, to produce it?

Then there is the problem of cattle and water: 1 kg of potatoes needs 100 Liter to grow. I kg of beef needs 13.000 Litre.

I am saying this merely as illustrations of one simple issue.. of the complex picture, of how we misuse the earth’s resources… and do little or nothing to help mend the situation. Water is the new GOLD!

3,900 children die every day from Water born disease… they too are our family!

The ice-sheets on the Arctic… are warming at an alarming rate, so there is the danger that at any time they could slide from the rocks in which they are anchored, into the oceans…means what?

Means… it will  make the ocean level rise, anything up to 10 feet…. Some forecast say, it might happen within 10-100 years. Right now more evidence is coming to light, that the globe is warming quicker than most thought… yes, just looking at one aspect : WATER,  the list could be endless.

Again: These are just a few examples.

What has this to do with selfless service?

Swami Rama talks of service, self-less service as intrinsic part of spiritual and social reform in our life, because we live in a changed world. We do not life anymore in a world of simple agricultural communities… as in Vedic times, and the wheel cannot be turned back!  

Swami Rama is quite clear about this. Selfless service has a different context now, than simply helping in an ashram, church, or spiritual community. There will be none… if we do not expand… into all of humanity.                                                                             INCLUDE ALL, EXCLUDE NONE!                                                                                           Life has changed, the goal post has moved; the welfare of humanity is at stake!                    One frequently used phrase in Swami Rama’s books is: Universal brotherhood. We have a duty, to wake up to the fact, that we live in a world that cries out for the awareness of universal brotherhood.

What does this mean? What is a brother? A brother shares your roots. We all have the same parents if you want to put it that way, Purusha and Prakriti, Shiva and Shakti; the Great Grandfather Spirit and the Corn-mother; Izagami and Izanami… and so on, whatever is appropriate in your culture! Brother is the one you share the same roots, existence, whether mentally or physically or both.

I realized that when I was 15. I grew up in a small village, as a refugee child after the WWII; the school was an hour’s walk and one hour bus-ride… away. At a certain date I was told my father had died that day, as soon as I arrived back from school. Moreover I was told to go to the next bus… in the village to pick up my little brother (12 at the time, and tell him the news.

On that walk home, with my brother… from the school-bus.. I realized what a Brother was. A brother was someone, you took care of, you and him… belong together… no matter what. And we have kept this awareness… right to now.

The first time I had a more extensive talk with Swami Veda, he told me, he will be my elder brother.  For me that word… was very meaningful.

In this way, we have to realize we are all brothers and sisters, and I am not meaning in a limited family, such as in an ashram community, or a religious or political community- that’s all very cozy and nice… but Swami Rama talks about universal brotherhood.

This concept is not unique to India, Yoga or …xyz. It is a universal concept, that appears in Christianity, as you will know: as love they neighbour as they self; in comes in Buddhism under the loving kind-ness, or even the Kalyana Mitta; or in the Celtic Tradition as Anam Kara.

So ask yourself, how do we take care of our brothers and sister across the globe? One way of serving humanity, is simply to open your mouth and tell about the situation; i.e. raising awareness, that is service… to the world! But it’s not enough…

In the South Sudan in the moment there is the worst food and water crisis the world has ever seen….what are we doing? What are we doing about the victims in Syria and the Israel/Palestine conflict; it’s the children and women who suffer most. What are we doing about the Child-slaves in the mines of Africa… who reach max. 17 years of age; what are we doing about the situation of the women around the world, and especially  in India where gender-side and rape is rampant?

Serving our brothers and sisters means what? Service means educating people, in every niche and cranny of this globe! Educate them to become truly human! How do we implement what Swami Ramas asks of us?  And not just for humanity but beyond that ---in the massive extinction of species… that share our life, existence… and ultimately oneness! They die because of how we live! Yet we cannot live without them, as the ecological balance of life connects everything, with everything. Shiva is in everything.. we say the words but, how do we answer the call to “universal brotherhood”?

How do we love serve and remember.. humanity?                                                           Where even to start?

In his book ‘Sadhana’, Swami Rama gives some pointers, under the heading of selfless-ness” (p. 48)

“Sit down  and quietly think about what you have done in your life, because in the end, during the period of transition, you will have to face yourself…”

“Do not work for yourself: that is not the way of life. You will become selfish. Learn to work for others. If the wife learns how to work for her husband, and the husband learns to work for his wife, they will be both happy. Problems come when both become selfish, demanding and expecting. Learn the path of selflessness. That is the only way to liberation!

Learn to give to each-other and then slowly that learning will expand to the whole universe. One day you will feel that the whole universe is your family and you are one member of that family. On the path of selflessness there is great joy.”

Equally we could say: On the path of service, there is great Joy; selflessness “is a singular expression of love”

These two belong together: selfless love and selfless service.

 In today’s world these two have not only been separated but forgotten, which has created chaos in our societies. We must put effort in… to bring them back, which means bringing back dharma, bringing back right respect and living, right actions. Right actions that are not fallen victim to materialism, where only matter matters.  But right living, from a point of spiritual insight.

This practice begins in one’s own life.. but extends into the collective life of all mankind, it grows with the insight, that life is not limited to my particular being, my particular  tradition, society, etc. This comes from realizing, that “the stream of life originates in the Divine..( beyond…) which is higher than and superior to human life.

Swami Rama writes (p. 57) “By realizing this truth, a sincere seeker of dharma casts off his ego and starts experiencing the oneness of the life force within all living beings.

Today, we need a path of discipline to helps us remain unperturbed by such afflictions as disease, old age and death, (that) is the dharama of mankind.. for a person with high character and a broad mind, the whole world is a family. Such humanitarian or egalitarian attitude is the ethical aspect of dharma, whereas the direct experience of the non-dual Truth is the spiritual foundation of the perennial dharma….(we ) have to return to the gems from the Vedas and the Upanishads that long ago declared ‘the whole world is one family’.

How to get there….how to see, how to experience, this wider vision of existence, and from that ---- love and serve.. all of humanity?

The key lies in studying the mind, our own mind. Awareness of our patterns, habits, ‘enculturations’ and for that we have to do Sadhana, spiritual practices. We need to practice spiritual discipline, without it one cannot attain control over modifications of the mind. The mind has to be made one-pointed in order to turn within and be able to stay still enough, to observe the life-force within.

Without such awareness, our mind runs here and there and dissipates its energy. For that we need a healthy body.

Swami Rama and many Sages. Many Sages of all sorts of spiritual traditions advocate one simple way to make the mind steady and one-pointed; that is focus on the breath; on the inhalation and exhalation.

One great advocate of this was Ramana Maharishi of Arunchala. Both Masters say, this is the simplest and the best. We make the mind one-pointed, by using the intellect… but ultimately that leads beyond to intuition into a deeper awareness, we call consciousness. Aware of this universal force…one becomes aware of not belonging to any family, group, culture, society, but to humanity. When we touch that, there is love and from that love there is only one activity – service.

From this insight, wisdom and compassion flows and selfless service in thoughts ,words and action flow completely normal, like a river flows to the ocean, with ease; or as the scriptures say: with “effortless effort!”

So the whole thing seems to be boiling down to one simple practice: Observing the breath, leading to one-pointed awareness – leads to still the conditioned mind and to transcending it into the awareness of not being separate, of sharing a universal force with all existence. This technique we call meditation.

My mind goes back to Ramana Maharshi, who as a Young man, simply lived under a staircase in a temple and did just that.  He meditated, meditated, meditated; and he became  - without any doubt the greatest Master of Advaita, of seeing the Oneness of all,  in our time.

This is such a beautiful example, because it makes us realize, how everything else.. is enculturation.. is a cultural expression… techniques which people found helpful… in a certain culture to reach that same state.

We have many Shamanic tradition, many religious and spiritual tradition all across the world, where people have found their way, through their methods… to the same ultimate TRUTH. Through this simple process of focus inward .. . all great Mystics and spiritual Masters have touched that dimension… no matter from which angle they approached it. And once they experienced that level of insight, where they got in touch with that One Supreme Divine Force… that is beyond, beneath, inherent.. in any form of life and existence, then they expressed that Joy, they expressed that love… and put it into a form that their culture could understand. Their service to the people, to humanity was… to share that wisdom, that experience, that insight.

But the underlying experience is universal, Truth is universal, and its first flow outwards is Love and Service. From there Swami Rama calls to bring the focus back to Humanity! To become and act truly human and fulfil the divine potential that is inherent in us: to love and to serve the Entirety.

Hari Om.


The Elderly Human

©Lalita Arya



The Generation Gap & Respect

©Lalita Arya


The emotional connection between older and younger generations can be strengthened in many ways, one of which is the ritual of storytelling. This can be personal life stories, fiction or moral tales, and was one of the ways of passing knowledge from one generation to the next before the advent of writing. In some cultures memorizing stories or songs is still a useful tool for passing on knowledge. Before the internet, Skype and all the other modern tools available to us, storytelling required close proximity and plenty of time. We, the elders, can choose to continue telling stories face to face with a young grandchild curled up in our laps, but lacking that option we can use the technology available to us to keep in touch, giving the younger generation the benefit of our many years of life experience, and keeping us connected to a changing world. In her book, Brilliant: The New Science of Smart (2014), Annie Murphy Paul says, ‘We're still hardwired to learn better if someone's words have meaning and emotion to them because the use of narrative helps our brain focus. That's because the neurons that fire when we're listening to a story are the same ones that'd fire if we were actually doing what's happening in the story’. By forming emotional bonds with the younger generation early in their lives, our story telling can have a positive influence on them especially as they get older and their lives become more complicated; that emotional bond can act as an anchor for them.

Many cultures teach respect for the elders of the community. Ideally, children are treated with respect by the people who love them; naturally, they return that love and respect because if that’s the only way they’re treated they won’t know any other way. An example of this in north India is the use of the word ‘aap’, which is the formal, respectful Hindi word for ‘you’. As children learn to speak, they’re addressed with ‘aap’ instead of the less formal ‘tum’ or informal ‘tu’. Since what they’re hearing is ‘aap’, they also say ‘aap’, even before they realize it’s a respectful form of address. From a very young age, children are taught to show respect and humility in an ancient and loving way by touching the feet of their elders, which they learn by watching their immediate elders (such as their parents) touch the feet of those who are older and wiser. After touching the feet, there is the gesture in the Vedic/Hindu culture of clasping the hands in front of the chest with the head slightly bowed and saying ‘pranaam’, ‘namaskar’ or ‘namaste’, meaning ‘I greet you with respect and love from my heart’. Our own Guruji, Swami Rama, would fold his hands in this traditional greeting at the end of his lectures and say to us all, ‘I bow to the divinity in you’, as if we were the children and he, as the ultimate elder, by example was teaching us the respectful, spiritual way to greet him and each other.

In north Indian culture it’s equivalent to an insult or even a curse for a person being greeted with great respect not to give their blessings. Although I was raised in a Hindu household, it wasn’t in India. When I moved to India in the early 1980’s I wasn’t familiar with many of the cultural connotations inherent in the different forms of greeting. One incident helped me to better understand the importance to north Indians of greeting each other respectfully. I was visiting the school for under-cared children my husband and I established with the blessings Swami Rama and someone tried to touch my feet while I was in conversation with someone else. My sari was in the way, so the young man in question was poking around under my sari hem, trying to find my feet. I realised that someone was fiddling with the edge of my sari and looking down at him I asked, ‘what are you doing?’ and he replied, ‘I’m looking for your feet’! Having spent decades living in the west, I was surprised and mildly annoyed by this invasion of my ‘personal space’. I chided him and, offended, he said, ‘Why won’t you let me touch your feet?’ This brief interaction taught me a lot about social norms – the concept of personal space versus someone’s ‘right’ to do whatever necessary to gain a blessing; I have to admit although touching the feet seems normal to me, searching for them under a woman’s sari hem still seems a bit peculiar!

When these gestures of respect are practiced from the time a child is very young they become a habit and the true meaning can be lost. It would be wonderful if everyone who was an elder was also wiser than the younger generation but sadly that’s not the case. Cultural habits insure the continuation of rituals and traditions but the modern young are somewhat skeptical of being automatically influenced by traditions that have lost their meaning. As the elders, perhaps it’s also our duty to make sure the true meaning of each of us respecting the divinity within each other isn’t lost.

I once was informed by a friend that respect in western cultures is not automatic, but must be earned. This sounded strange to me as I was raised with the discipline of humility before my elders – but I wonder if my parents and grandparents thought that I was respectful all the time. Probably not all the time, since part of growing up is finding ways to break those bonds of childhood and rebuild them as adults; there are healthy and unhealthy ways to do this. Although I fully believe that a show of respect is an essential aspect of the development of humility in the human personality, it shouldn’t be so automatic that one has to bow down to someone who is rude or cruel just because s/he is older. Part of growing up is learning to differentiate between those who truly deserve your respect and those who don’t.

When the elderly human has an expectation of respect from the younger generations and this expectation isn’t fulfilled it can be disappointing, especially if the elder person sees respect and the authority that goes with it as synonymous with love; this makes it psychologically and emotionally challenging to step down from a position of authority. The younger generation, too, might feel that the rejection of their ideas is synonymous with a lack of love, leading to friction in the family. With the passage of time, changing social structures and other factors it becomes a challenge for the elders to know what’s right for a younger generation. This questioning of authority isn’t necessarily a bad thing; generation after generation is exposed to an increasingly wider world and has expanded their vision. The different perspectives between generations can also lead to friction in a family. The solution to this quandary is having respect for each other – the elders deserve respect because of their greater experience of life and the younger generation deserves to have their new and possibly healthier perspectives viewed as valid by those whom they have respected their whole, albeit shorter, lives. Without the radical thinking of the young we wouldn’t have some of the amazing entrepreneurs who have changed the world, and without the wisdom and life experience of the elders we wouldn’t have great statesmen like Mandela.

(to be continued)

Thanks to Stomya Persaud for her insights and help in writing this article

(To be continued)


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KHEL NEWS August 2014



Get to Know a KHEL Intern/Volunteer - SHIVANI A.


‘Hi, I’m Shivani. I’m from New York, USA, where I’ll be a high school senior this fall. Before volunteering at KHEL, I’ve helped fix houses for the Oglala Lakota Nation on their Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, USA. Being exposed to their unique culture was an educational experience for me and I’m happy I was able to help them. I’ve also volunteered at a school for developmentally disabled adults in Los Angeles, California, where I spent two weeks helping teachers with everyday activities like working on computers and exercising.

At home in New York, I’m a volunteer ‘Youth Aider’ with our local Ambulance Corps; when someone calls 911 [the emergency number in the US] I'm part of the crew that responds to the call along with an EMT and a paramedic. In order to qualify for this position I had to be fully trained in CPR and first aid, and on some of the emergency calls I’ve responded to I’ve actively practiced both. While I was training for this position I didn’t know how useful the skills would be until I realized that I’m saving people’s lives on a regular basis, especially due to my CPR skills. It’s tremendously rewarding to be able to do this, and I wanted to pass on some of my skills to the kids at Lakshmi Devi Academy (LDA), KHEL’s school for under served children in Dehradun, India.

It was great meeting the kids; they’re all friendly and eager to learn. They’re kind of shy so it took a while for them to open up to me. After the introductory session that I conducted with my cousin, Shruti, the kids started sharing their personal experiences. They especially like demonstrating their new skills on their classmates! I’m excited to spend the next two weeks with them.

This is the report we received from Shivani just before she arrived at LDA, KHEL school to help build health awareness to the students.  All the students who participated were very happy with the interaction and what they learnt from her. On the last day certificates were distributed to those who attended the First Aid classes and assembled their first aid kits.

Silence, Shavasana Practices and Yoga-Nidra Retreat

22nd March - 5th April 2015

at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama

Rishikesh, India


Yoga Nidra
“For decades we have guided the shavasana practices and yoga-nidra in sessions where the teacher does the ‘recital’ and others listen and follow. But we have not TAUGHT the procedures.”
  • Swami Veda Bharati

The purpose of this retreat is for participants to learn the procedures.

Printouts will be given for each segment taught. Each segment will be guided separately and then students will practice that segment. There will be homework practice between lessons.

Segments will include:

  • Makarasana
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Shavasana, correct position
  • Exercise without Movement
  • Relaxation by first tensing each limb then relaxing
  • Simple relaxation
  • Subtler relaxations: right side, left side, finer tissues, internal organs
  • 31 points
  • 61 points
  • 61 points with blue star
  • 61 points with blue star with one’s mantra
  • Whole body breaths: the feeling of movement, vayu, during these exercises is of pranamaya kosha.
  • 4 different patterns of whole body breaths
  • Short version of quick conscious rest
  • OM kriya
  • Whole body breaths as taught in Path of Fire and Light under Yoga-Nidra
  • Yoga-nidra proper
  • Explanations of the delta brain wave
  • How to come out of yoga-nidra

Contact: ahymsin@ahymsin.org



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.