Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Glory to All Saints

An Interview with Swami Veda Bharati

The following is an interview with Sadhana Journal, a yoga magazine published in Spanish in Ecuador, South America. The interview was given in preparation for Swami Veda Bharati’s visit to Ecuador (and Galapagos Islands) for a meditation retreat, 31st July to 11th August, 2012.

1. In your words what is yoga?

From Vyasa’s commentary on the very first yoga sutra: Yoga is Samadhi -- the consciousness in which the union with divinity is experienced.

2. With today’s actual generalization of "yoga" as a physical exercise or stress release method, do you think people are misusing this discipline?

They are not necessarily misusing it even though over commercialization is certainly a misuse. They are only presenting a pebble as the entire mountain. The pebble however is from the mountain.

3. How did you get started with this study?

The newspapers in India in 1947 said that I had brought this knowledge from past life. It was my father’s wish that his son should be a rishi. My entire childhood education was in Sanskrit metaphysical texts and the practices of yoga and meditation.

4. You were a professor of oriental philosophy and Sanskrit, you have an MA [and D. Litt.] etc. How did you learn? Where did you study?

Although I hold the degrees from London and Holland, they do not reflect my true education as I have explained in the answer to question 3.

5. At what age did you decide to take vows and become a monk?

At the age of 6. But took the vows only in 1992 at the age of 59.

6. What is the Mahamandaleshara title you have in Hindu religion?

This title is conferred by the community of swamis upon those swamis they consider to be of exceptional knowledge, etc.

7. At what age is it possible to start learning meditation and yoga?

Three years before conception.  When parents, planning to invite a yogi soul into the womb, undertake intensive Gayatri mantra and other such practices.

8. Is it necessary to have a guide to learn meditation?

Is it necessary to have a guide to do experiments in physics in a research lab?

9. What is your opinion about the so called gurus that teach this discipline and try to become rich?

I better not express my opinion.  I neither call myself a guru nor allow my picture anywhere in my Ashram.

10. Is it negative to ask money for teaching yoga?

Money is essential so that one has the freedom to teach yoga instead of taking a bank job. It should not be a fixed price like a commodity being sold, it should be a love offering from grateful students.  That is the tradition by which I live.

11. We understand that you also direct a meditation research lab and that your master and yourself have done experiments and measures in the lab.  What are the psychological and physical benefits of this practice?

In our research lab we have a bibliography of 3,000 articles from medical and scientific journals detailing the beneficial psycho-neuro-physiological effects of meditation.  I cannot give a brief summary here.

12. Chemical reactions in the body?

Please see answer to question 11.

13. Can a Catholic or a Christian practice meditation?

There is a long tradition of meditation in Christianity. There are many books on the subject written by the Catholics and other Christians.  I may even give a brief summary of this history during our forthcoming seminars in Ecuador.

14. We understand you were in Ecuador many years ago. Can you share your experience of that time?

My memory is of the warmest hospitality, and very positive responses to the teachings. One of the major highlights of that visit was to meet the venerable Padre Davila.  After all these decades, that early meeting is bearing its fruits in my forthcoming visit.

15. Do you think there are qualified schools to learn meditation in this country?  Any suggestions?

I do not know enough about this country.

16. How do you see yourself?

As a small disciple of my Guru carrying on with his work.

17. What are your sources of inspiration? Books? Masters? Teachers?

Books? Vedas, all the ancient yoga texts, all the revealed scriptures of all religions in the world.
Masters? Ancient rishis, saints of all religions, my Master Swami Rama of the Himalayas.

18. Who do you admire?

I admire my Master the most.

19. What do you see as the principal virtue for a human being?

Selflessness and consequent non-violence.

20. Can yoga help us to change the destructive conduct of patrons?

If you practice the first yama, Ahimsa, the destructive behavior will automatically change.

21. How, as human beings, can we transform this planet and turn the negative situations like violence, fears, environmental problems?

If enough of us change, the planet will change.

22. Can a person seeking enlightenment by meditation forget society? What should be the offering of meditators for society?

I am totally dedicated to meditation and totally dedicated to serving the society. Meditation makes you a selfless servant.

23. What would be your reflections on world peace?

Begin with the peace in your own mind. Learn to integrate the various factions that are constantly at war in the continent of your skull. If enough people and the leaders can do that, there will be world peace.

24. What do you think of the Pope? Or any other famous name in religion or spirituality?

Mine is the standard Hindu answer: sab santan ki jaya. Glory to all saints. I bow to them all.

Editor's Note

To read “Ecuador Yoga Retreats with Swami Veda Bharati by Gustavo Plaza,” please use this link  http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1204Apr/04.html  The website of the Sadhana Yoga Conference http://www.sadhanayogaconference.com/ is now updated.

To read “1976: Swami Veda, at that time, Dr. Usharbudh Arya” that shows a picture of Dr. Arya with Padre Davila: http://www.swamivedablog.org/?p=581