AHYMSIN newsletter, issue - June 2011  

Between Samadhi and Solar Science

Stoma Parker and Pandit Dabral in Milan, Italy

by Daniele Belloni

Our last two YMT meetings, in January 2011 with Stoma Parker and at the end of March with Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral, have brought to our attention two personalities with different features: Stoma Parker, the intellectual, the Sanskrit scholar, the Western psychologist applying yoga and meditation techniques within a clinical context; and Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral, the Indian Yogi, the man going by mantra, songs, and intense physical approach. However, this differentiation, only apparent at times, has shown a unifying feature: both are disciples of Swami Rama. Therefore they are a unique expression of the wealth and depth of a yoga tradition deeply rooted in Indian philosophy and thought.

In addressing the theme of samadhi, Stoma Parker has emphasized the fundamental importance of the direct relationship with a qualified teacher, rooted in a tradition, essentially when practicing yoga takes a serious, deep pathway toward the final goal. On the road to a higher understanding, to transforming and realizing one’s self, one encounters difficulties and tricks. In the Tibetan tradition this takes shape in the image of the angered deity guarding the gateway to the Mandala-temple, whose task is casting fear onto the disciple. He has shown us how the path leading to Samadhi requires leaving behind certain aspects of personality and individual history; and how going out of a predefined scenario (how we view ourselves) is often seen as fear and pain. Connecting with a living tradition, a direct relationship with a teacher, is seen as an antidote to emerging strong emotions capable of causing delays along the path or even outright derailments.

Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral, whom YMT has been honored to host for the second time (Milan once again the only European stopover by the Indian teacher who lives in Canada), has focused his teachings on solar science, Surya Vijnana. This is a less known aspect of yoga, combining asana, pranayama, yantra, mantra and meditation. The adoration of the sun at the base of these practices is an inner ritual where managing and channeling the subtle energies allows firing up the inner sun in the heart chakra. The science of mantra has played a central role in this group of practices; within this context the Gayatri-mantra has been replayed very effectively. This mantra, as explained by Panditji, is seen as the ultimate mahamantra and the Mother of the Veda. Therefore it was the turn of mudra, energy seals lifting the level of the practice and channeling the prana according to specific paths. All the discipline’s tools available to those who practice it have been put in unity within the practice of Sun Salutation. This is a sequence representing the foundation of a daily routine proposed by Panditji as a practice to execute for the duration of one semester.

In our first two meeting in 2011 once again we hosted with pleasure professor Antonio Rigopoulos, who presented a knowledgeable and at times emotional conference on the “Notion of Samadhi in the Sutra Yoga of Patanjali”. We also hosted Dr. Marilla Albanese – with us again after the October 2010 gathering in Umbria - whose conference “Introduction to Tantra” had the merit of opening up an often misunderstood aspect of Indian philosophy because of its complexity. Professor Luciano Bernardi has brought us up to date on his research in Finland on therapeutic applications of pranayama. Finally, Father Luigi Mazzocchi has helped understand one thing we may have been suspecting: Samadhi is not an objective to look for selfishly. Rather, it is a mooring where we find out about being part of the whole; that final understanding can be preceded by smaller realizations that populate the path to the heart – toward the inner sun. The example of the Last Supper can be the North star guiding us in our roadmap to yoga. We can think of that event in a revolutionary way, as Father Luciano suggested, with Jesus transforming himself, his body and blood, into bread and wine: “so that friends may walk”. Father Luciano has called “sublime Samadhi” a similar gift of himself. May this image and these words be the greetings we wish to each other while we proceed along our path, as we wait for our next gathering in June.

English Translation by M. & M. Barbesta

Editor’s Note: Daniele Belloni and Susi Stefanini are center leaders for the AHYMSIN affiliate center Spazio Shanti in Cremona, Italy.  Through Yoga and Meditation Training seminars are offered at various times throughout the year.