Holi is one of the most exuberant and joyous festivals in India. A rite of spring, Holi is celebrated with much enthusiasm during February/March (in the month of Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar). Celebrations vary depending on region and local traditions but the common part is the exchange of color. People use tools and tricks to spray, paint and drown friends and relatives in color. Here at SRSG, the peaceful, serious ashramites transformed into mischievous pranksters, gleefully smearing gifts of color on one and all. Enjoy the play!
For approximately one week the Gurukulum students took a small break from their own classroom studies to partake in some hands on teaching opportunities with young people. They traveled to fifty schools within about a one hour radius of the ashram. Their mission was to share a bit of the tradition with the youth and children in the community as part of India's National Yoga Awareness Week.
Stabilizing the Spiritual Mindfield
Since February 2007 our Community has undertaken a special practice of the Ity-uktaa mantra. The goal set by Swami Veda is: 500 people doing one mala (108 repetitions) per day for 3 years, to complete 50 million recitations in 3 years.
Three years of this mantra practice will be completed in February 2010. The sacred fire-offerings will take place 1– 12 February.
Swamiji encourages you to join us. "Those who have not practiced are also welcome; they will benefit immensely."
At that time, the initiation for the next set of practices will be given. Be here in person to receive them!
The following notes are from a lecture given by Swami Veda 26th February 2007 at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama
Gurudeva Swami Rama started pretending to be absent ten years ago. For the past nine years we have undertaken special mantra practices for the entire initiate community.
First, for three years from 1997, we did the Saumya Mantra to give the mind a moonlike peace that was much needed at that time, and it is still needed.
Today we are completing what you all have been doing for the last three years, the Mrtunjaya mantra – Tryambhakam yajaamahe. That yajna, the sacred offering, has been your most beautiful gift to me. Now that you have granted me a longer life by Guru’s grace, the next step is stabilizing.
If the individual minds are not stabilized, the individual lives do not become stabilized. If there are instabilities in life, they are so, not because your circumstances are unstable, but because your minds are unstable. With a stable mind, you can stabilize all external circumstances.
So the chain is as follows:
A community is a single mindfield in which the stabilized personal minds, the stabilized lives of individuals, are as soft, gentle ripples in the calm lake.
Our next task, our next undertaking, is stabilizing the mindfield of the Community, our sangha. The Community and its mission and its work will be stabilized.
So, for the next three years, today, we are embarking on a new mantra, the Ity-uktaa mantra, for that purpose.
When you begin the practice, surrender the fruits of this particular practice that,
So surrender the fruits of the mantra to stabilize our spiritual community’s mindfield.
A mantra does not go by its literal meaning. It has a hidden power. It is the whole composition. It is the sound, and a deeper realization that comes from that mantra. Do read booklet titled “Special Mantras” and again the writings of Swami Rama and myself on the meaning of the mantra.
Although mantras do not go by literal translation, I will give you a literal translation anyway, word by word and then, we have to put it together.
To download and hear the correct pronounciation of this Mantra, click this audio link of Swami Veda.
Remembering Raj Verma
To remember Raj Verma, such a beloved friend and fellow sadhaka, means at this time to acknowledge her passing on 19th February 2009. She left her body in an auspicious manner and location - upon finishing two of her three planned months of silence at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. Geeta Anand, Raj’s youngest sister and a resident of SRSG, was at her side during this last period.
Raj Verma, born in India, married a Punjabi man and lived in Singapore for over 50 years. Together they raised three children and had the pleasure of five grandchildren. She came to Sadhana Mandir in 2000 and helped organize our 2002 dedication of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. Raj personally oversaw the outfitting of all the cottages at SRSG and remained very active in this community. Swamiji requested her help with many tasks. She traveled not only to the ashram to serve and do her sadhana, but met him many times throughout his world travels.
Raj was noted for many things. She was a "master of silence" and undertook several periods of extended silence at SRSG. She was also highly successful in business and in her family and personal relationships. The way she conducted her life was an inspirational example of spiritual commitment. When not in silence at SRSG, she counseled, taught English and served wonderful gourmet meals in cottage 9. Her way was plain spoken but with warmth and humor.
There is much more to be said but our hearts in those depths of silence speak only of the love that connects us all. She individually touched so many lives. Such was the sentiment expressed by so many of her friends and family.
With a smile of my mind and a loving feeling in my heart, I acknowledge the passing of a great and dear friend.
Submitted by Peter
HYT-TTP March 2009
Namaste Dear Readers,
We cannot say enough about the amazing group of people that participated in the Teacher Training Program this March. They came from countries spanning the globe’s circumference. It has been a joy to get to know them all. Some of them also attended the Meditation for Pain Management Conference which immediately preceded the TTP.
Our international group included the following participants. From “down under” (Australia) came Nina Pulaska (L2), a Polish student living in Australia. From the tropical island of Mauritius (in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar), came long-time initiate Geeta Curimjee. From the snowy northern hemisphere came Paavo Kavinen of Finland, our own French Canadian (now resident of SRSG) Pierre Lefebvre, and from Minnesota (USA) Drew Madson, an initiate of the Himalayan Tradition since birth (we are witnessing a growing “next “generation of youth at the ashram). Pamela Khudan (L3), back for a second time in just three months, is from another beautiful sun-filled Island, Trinidad. We welcomed a group from Japan led by Iida Fukumi from Japan. Their names are: Takahashi Nanami, Kakizaki Akiko, Kakizaki Tomomi, Iwasaki Akiko, and Suzuki Tomoko. To complete our circumnavigation of the globe, Kalpana Garyali joined us from India’s capital city of Delhi.
I will close with comments from two of our teachers in training.
“As a practitioner I can only be grateful to having come in contact with teachers that share from their own experience. The group was small enough to allow personal guidance, and varied nationalities and background gave a spice to learning. The multitude of people in the ashram enriched the stay as well. Finally, the energies in the ashram supported self understanding by bringing into awareness the need for continuous self observance in working with my emotions. This was also a valuable experience for me.”
“For me this course proved to be very educational and enlightening. I enjoyed my stay here thoroughly. It has opened the doors to new dimensions of life for me.”
Submitted by Maryon Maass
SRSG, “Little Hungary”
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama was recently transformed into a "Little Hungary." Forty Hungarians called the ashram home for four weeks during February/March. Led by Anna Mezosi, the well-prepared group completed a very ambitious program, beginning with a ten day silence program. Twenty-eight people then attended the Meditation for Pain Management Conference while the others took excursions into the Himalayan mountains.
The last two weeks of their visit, the group participated in a special program of advanced training taught by senior teachers Maya, Swami Ritavan, Ma Radha, Peter, Ashutosh, Swami Nityamuktananda, Jagadananda and Vishnu. Each day began with an hour and a half breathing intensive. Deepening their meditation, asana practice and study of philosophy were also daily focuses. Vishnu led the group in fire offerings.Thirteen members of the group received personal mantra initiations and eight received Gayatri initiations.
The strength of the Hungarian group reflects the amazing growth of participation in the Himalayan Yoga Tradition programs in Hungary. At present, twenty-two students are in Level 3 of the Teacher Training Program (TTP) and another twenty-four are now in Level 2. Another group of students will begin Training once the Level 3 students complete their program. The number of students taking Teacher Training is a testament to the encouraging influence of Maya (Margo) Balog.
There are now sixteen books of Swami Rama and Swami Veda translated into Hungarian, with two more ready for printing. In addition, all the Level 1 and 2 TTP materials have been translated and are available on their web site. Emola Hollo is primarily responsible for the translation of Swami Veda’s lectures while Maya translates his meditations.
Swami Veda has been making yearly trips to Hungary since 2003. In that first year, 200 people attended his lectures. Last year, 2008, 350 people attended Swamiji’s lectures and forty were initiated. Swami Veda will again visit Hungary at the end of June 2009. He will lecture June 26-28 and follow with two days of initiations. The TTP will then be held.
We are looking forward to next year when the Hungarians will once again grace the ashram with their presence, once again making it their own home away from home.
Swami Veda will be in The Netherlands from 16 to 29 March. During these two weeks there will be a variety of events including a Congress/International Dialogue, interviews, Family Day, Retreat, and an AHYMSIN-Europe meeting.
18 – 19 March
24 – 27 March
At the same time, a meeting of AHYMSIN-Europe will take place. The countries that will be represented in this meeting are Hungary, Greece, Italy, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and England. Fifteen participants will be part of the talks and discussions. The objective is to "Meet & Greet" and explore the regional possibilities in Europe for cooperation and supporting each other in the activities of the Himalayan Tradition in Europe. Swami Veda will be present as our spiritual guide.
Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan – Adviser
(Excerpts from a letter written by Swami Veda to the leaders of AHYMSIN-Asia)
It is with great pleasure that I congratulate all of you for graciously accepting the office to which you have been elected, as members of the Board of Directors of AHYMSIN – Asia.
Ahymsin Asia is a very unique organization. It comprises people of various races, religions, cultures, languages and politically or geographically different nations.
Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan your advisor is a former Federal Minister, founder of IDS Sabah, and former Director of Sabah Foundation.
Datuk Hiew is a former Director of the Sabah Public Works Department and Director General of Kota Kinabalu City. He is supported by all of you who are very experienced people.
We look forward to you to set the foundation for the future growth of AHYMSIN-ASIA as a strong and meaningful organization that will benefit generations to come.
The success of AHYMSIN - Asia is now in your hands. I wish you all the best.
Swami Veda Bharati
200 & 600-Hour Teacher Training: July 18 - August 1, 2009
In July, The Meditation Center (TMC) will be hosting the 2009 Himalayan Yoga Tradition Congress at the University of St. Thomas. Swami Veda Bharati will bring his Himalayan Yoga Tradition Academy and his highly acclaimed international faculty to Saint Paul, Minnesota to lead this spiritually inspiring event. This year’s congress theme is “Listen to the Song of Silence” focusing on Silence , the most essential element of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition.
In keeping with the Congress theme, The Meditation Center has invited Russill Paul to perform this year’s Kirtan and to lead a day-long “Sounds of Yoga” workshop during the Spirituality Weekend.
All retreats follow a daily Ashram schedule (Swami Veda’s Indian Ashram schedule) including daily silent meditations, hatha yoga, contemplative walks, morning and evening prayers, and more. Click Here for retreat details.
Whether you are aiming to deepen your Yoga practice, further your education, or planning a spiritual journey, you will be delighted with the opportunities awaiting you at the 2009 Himalayan Yoga Tradition Congress.
Teacher Training & Continuing Studies Retreat: July 18 - August 1, 2009
Yoga Nidra Weekend: July 17 to July 19, 2009
Prana Vidya for Hatha Yoga Teachers: July 19 to July 24, 2009
Spirituality Weekend: July 24 to July 26, 2009
Silence Sessions: select 4, 5, 6, or 10 days July 18 to Aug 1, 2009
Take advantage of any or all of these events and design a retreat from 2 nights to 15 nights or consider one of the six inspiring "Song of Silence Suggested Packages" (A-F).
Click Here for a detailed description of each 2009 Congress event. Most events are also available for non-retreat registration.
Please book your reservation as early as possible as there is limited space. Weekend and Early Bird Specials apply to those that register by 5/1 or 6/1/09.
At the SRSG ashram:
Himalayan Yoga Tradition – Teacher Training Program (HYT-TTP)
Where in the world is Swami Veda?
Full Moon Meditation Dates
The dates of the Full Moon Meditations are announced after our Ashram Pandits have worked out the exact hours and minutes of the full moon each month. The hours of the full moon span two calendar days in western time. By Swami Veda’s request, the date with the most full moon hours is chosen for the Full Moon Meditation.
Below image shows the location of Swami Rama Sadhka Grama (SRSG) on the globe. Also visit this link to know the exact location of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in the world http://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=Swami+Rama+Sadhaka+Grama&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&mid=1237030782