Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International

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  AHYMSIN newsletter, Issue - March 2012  

Religion as Re-Linking

Diving beneath Difference in Peace-Making

by Dr. Stephen (Stoma) Parker

Abstract of a Paper presented at the International Seminar, Religious Perspective on Unity in Diversity, 14-16 December 2011. Organised by the Institute of Meditation and Interfaith Studies, Rishikesh [part of AHYMSIN] and Professor Harbans Singh, Department of Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, Punjabi University, Patiala.

From his early days wandering in the Himalayas, sent from master to master, to learn all paths of meditation practice by his own guru, Bengali Baba, Swami Rama came to a Sikh sadhu named Gudhri Baba in the late 1940’s.  He taught Swamiji from the Adi Granth and predicted at that time that he would translate the Sikh scriptures into English in a practical way, which he did forty years later in a series of books culminating in his beautiful verse translation of the first portion of the Guru Granth.1  His visits to Sant Varayam Singh at Ratwara Sahib drew audiences in the hundreds of thousands and Swamiji always felt that the Guru Granth was an amazingly complete rendition of “word” and a manual for spiritual practice.  He was heard to say, “Guru Granth is not an ordinary book.  It is guru-sikh….an uncompromising summary of all major faiths..It is sabda-guru.”2

This writer is a disciple of Swami Rama, an American Protestant Christian, in a few days a Hindu Vanaprasthi, and when my godsons entered Hebrew school, I celebrated the initiation of their Torah studies as an enthusiastic Jew, dancing around the synagogue with the Torah scrolls at the celebration of simchat Torah. I greet my Muslim psychotherapy clients from within their tradition and help them with their spiritual and religious issues in therapy with a Q’ranic basis. There are no conflicts in all of this because:

  • “There is no God but God.” Q’ran
  • “ekam sad vipr; bahudh; vadanti ó” “Truth is one; the wise ones [call it by] many [names]” Rg Veda
  • “hari eku simari eku simari eku simari piare.” “God but one, remember one, remember one. Remember, beloved.” Guru Granth Sahib

As a boy this writer was always attracted to the most different person in the room and that interest continues to this day, approaching each different spiritual way with an attitude of wonder and excitement at what path to Divine presence will be discovered and enjoyed in each of them.

So our task as students of religion and spirituality is to respect and enjoy all the different paths up the mountain but to remember that we are all climbing the same mountain. Our theologies are snapshots from various places on these paths so if one is making spiritual progress, one’s theology ought to be changing on a regular basis. At the same time that we enjoy the differences, we must pursue the commonalities, and especially the contemplative commonalities, that lead us to the depths of stillness, peace and silence from which Word issues, from which the Light shines.

1 Rama, Swami (1987), Japji: Meditation in Sikhism. Honesdale, PA: Himalayan International Institute, p. xi and Sri Guru Granth Sahib in English Verse, Vol. 1 (1998). Dehradun: Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust. His other books include Nitnem: Spiritual Practices of Sikhism, The Sikh Gurus, Gobind Geet, The Philosophy and Faith of Sikhism, and Sukhamani Sahib.

2 Chander, Khanna, originally of Dehradun and now of Toronto, Canada, personal communication.

Bharati, Swami Veda (2000). Unifying Streams in Religion: An Offering on the Occasion of the World peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders. Rishikesh, India. SRSG Publications.

Bharati, Swami Veda (2003). Meditation: The Unifying Stream in Religion. Rishikesh, India: Association of Himalayan Meditation Societies International.

Keeney, Bradford (1994). Shaking Out the Spirits: A Psychotherapist’s Entry into the Healing Mysteries of Global Shamanism. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press.

Morgan, Marlo (1994). The Mutant Message Down Under. Scranton, PA: Harper Collins.

Rama, Swami (1987). Japji: Meditation in Sikhism. Honesdale, PA: Himalayan International Institute.

Rama, Swami (1998). Sri Guru Granth Sahib in English Verse, Vol. 1 (1998). Dehradun, India: Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust.

Editor's Note:

Unifying Streams in Religion: An Offering on the Occasion of the World peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders can be found at this link: http://www.himalayanyogameditation.org/UnifyingStreams.doc

To listen to Swami Veda talking about “Unifying Streams in Religion” and other topics, please use this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UUDzYPOBgchMLS8eG3zjxUpw&feature=plcp