Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Guru Purnima, 2012

by Divya (Joanne Sullivan)

Everywhere on the planet, 3rd July was Guru Purnima, the full moon of the Guru, that ever-present, benevolent divine which has deeply affected, often untrumpeted, so many lives. In Minneapolis on this day, many friends gathered at St. Marion’s Church, across the street from the Meditation Center, to share a meal together and catch up on one another’s lives. Dan and Tom Prideaux videotaped much of it as they always do. Many people had known one another from their teens and 20’s, and now many of our children and grand-children were among us. There were new faces too.

After awhile, Swami Veda arrived and the room grew hushed. We all sat down together to receive his blessings which as usual said so much more than the mere words he spoke. A few other swamis in our tradition shared deeply of their experiences with Swami Rama and Swami Veda as well as the Guru beyond all forms and names. This Guru Purnima was important for many of us because Swami Veda begins a 5-year silence in March 2013. No one knows if he will emerge from that depth of silence, so this was an important time together with him in the Guru Presence.

Many of us have been led by the hand for decades, hearing his deep heart tones uttered day after day, year after year, be it in special seminars, nightly satsangs or in a small room upstairs, sitting close by him after doing karma yoga late into the night. In the early days, he would sometimes call together the lucky handful remaining in the building to listen with joy and wonder to sprinklings from the Puranas, the Upanishads, the lives of child saints, or from Dr. Arya’s experiments with truth.

Swami Veda says that he will teach from silence. He asks us to cultivate that predisposition which opens to the silent teachings, which have all along  been at the root of the teachings, both in his life and in generations before and to come. He has prepared teachers to continue in that light and to pass along what they have learned to the children who will sustain and protect the lineage.

At 9PM Minneapolis time, we walked across the street to sit for the Full Moon Meditation, together with Swami Vedaji at the Meditation Center, a sanctuary of great peace where Swami Rama gave his darshan and  which has nurtured so many of us for so many years. This was also the place where many of us sat in rapt attention countless times with Swami Veda Bharati.  Yogananda had said that Minneapolis would be a spiritual hub for the planet. There are other great lineages as well as ours in this city, and the Meditation Center has welcomed many fine teachers from diverse traditions near and far.  Shree Maa, Swami Shivananda Radha and so many others have graced the Meditation Center. No one can count the number of times in that building that the sacred name has been placed in the heart —be it in mantra initiations, akhanda japa, in a glance or just quietly transmitted –unannounced.

There were dear friends who were not physically present at this Guru Purnima confluence, many of whom sat with us from their homes in Washington state, Colorado, California, New York, Michigan, Calgary, Quito, and from so many other places across the Americas. Swami Veda also sat with sadhakas from Europe, Asia and Africa at other dedicated times, as he always does on the Full Moon Meditations. Some of us longed to see friends who could not come because of illness or for other reasons - those who had given tirelessly for decades to our spiritual community and to the divine presence.  There in the heart of stillness, we were joined.

Swami Ma Gita spoke of her gratitude to the Guru and to the community, including our many gifted teachers. She also remembered those who could not physically be there.

Swami Ma Richa of Curacao, Holland and Rishikesh, talked about Guru Purnima 1995 at the hospital city near Dehradun, India, with Swami Rama. Three times, Swami Rama asked her if she knew Swami Veda and then “you will know him.” Later, Swami Veda came. She expressed deep gratitude of meeting two masters on one day.

Swami Ma Radha also spoke of how the Guru is someone who can know you in ways that you do not know yourself and of an incident where Swami Rama very casually said something that changed the course of her life. She also remembered Yogiraj, Charles Bates, who had recently left the body, and of his profound teachings.

Finally Swami Veda spoke, leading us in meditation which many not physically there could enjoy, thanks to the efforts of father and son, Dan and Tom Prideaux, who transmitted the events of the evening over the internet. In Rishikesh, ashramites gathered in the early morning to listen, but the spotty internet connection did not permit them to hear. Soon they will be able to enjoy a recording of that evening.

Swamiji spoke of a word that shines in the Mahamrtunjaya Mantra: Mukshiya! May I be liberated! He spoke of the steadfast practice of a sadhaka and enjoined us all to hold true to that. He explained that while mukshiya was the central term in the Mahamrtunjaya mantra, the most important word of the Gayatri mantra is dhimahi---may I meditate! In other words, may I be liberated!

Swamiji called for genuine self-examination. He went on to talk about Adi-Shankaracharya and how he revivified the swami order in our tradition. Swami Veda asked our teachers to consider - and for all of us to starkly examine ourselves - to look at the moment by moment choices we made to see if we were perhaps too much involved in worldly matters. 
To strengthen ourselves, he suggested that we identify our weaknesses and cultivate the opposite virtues, nonviolence, non-ego, for example, in the face of obstacles.

He examined the reasons why some had not grown spiritually. He asked us to consider for ourselves if we were too constantly being involved in worldly matters? What is the pride? What is the ego?

He suggested that we cultivate the opposite virtues, nonviolence, non-ego - in the face of obstacles. He called for self-examination.

Is the student lazy? Negligent? He asked the teachers to encourage people in the ways of steadfast sadhana.

He said that the core teaching of our tradition was taught in silence and that there was a science of silence.

On this night, in the steady star of the Guru’s gaze, we were held inside the pulse of pure light. It was hot. Minnesota had been having a record heat wave. The air conditioning was turned down low for the meditation in the Meditation Center. But I don’t think anyone noticed the heat during that hour. As Swami Nityamuktananda said, “There are no words—I have no words—that can say or describe [the Guru Presence]. All I can say is I am filled with immense gratitude and awe at that vastness; I am filled with awe at that enormous grace that comes forth from that power. I pranam [bow deeply] to that in silence.”

It is hard to describe what happened on July 3, 2012. Dr. Arya used to say that the test of a true secret is that no matter how many times you tell it, it remains a secret. It’s like that.

Editor’s Note:

The Guru Purnima video, courtesy of Dan and Tom Prideaux, can be viewed at this link: http://dansvideos.s3.amazonaws.com/SVB%20Lectures/GuruPurnima2012.mp4  In the video, the speakers, five swamis, are in order Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati, Swami Ma Gita Bharati, Swami Ma Richa Bharati, Swami Ma Radha Bharati, and Swami Veda Bharati. Swami Veda is the Spiritual Guide of AHYMSIN.

In addition to being editors, publishers, and videographers, Dan Prideaux is the webmaster of www.swamiveda.org, and Tom Prideaux is the webmaster of www.swamiveda.com .

To read Swami Veda’s written 2012 Guru Purnima Message: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/guru-purnima-3-july-2012.html

For more information on The Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: http://www.themeditationcenter.org/jnana/index.php?

Regarding Swami Veda’s Vow of Silence, please see:

For many years, Swami Veda has been teaching and speaking to/with us, and now we honor him with the column Something Swamiji Said. What is the Something Swamiji Said that has impacted your life? The continuation of this column depends on your willingness to share with others some of what you have heard with others. There is no set length.  It can be short or it can be long.   It can be a sentence, a paragraph, an article.  It can have pictures and photos.  It can be prose and/or poetry. Please write to us at http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/AHYMSIN-Office.html .