Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
  AHYMSIN Newsletter, Issue - Oct/Nov 2012  

Swami Veda Visits Ecuador

by Gustavo Plaza (Arjuna)

Translation by Carlos Perez

Swami Veda Bharati and the teachers of the Himalayan tradition visit Ecuador.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with Swami Veda Bharati and his group of teachers in his beautiful ashram at the Himalayas´hillside in India, Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama.

Having been blessed with this heartwarming experience, I always thought it would be of great benefit to my countrymen in Ecuador, and especially for yoga practitioners, to have the opportunity to meet this great yogi and his staff of teachers.

This thought was so far and distant, since we had already talked with Swami Veda and it didn't seem so possible. Nevertheless, as I write this lines today I cannot give credit to my experience, these have been days of great spiritual blessings, the ones we have lived in Ecuador last August.

Swami Veda Bharati in the Ashram of A.E.A. (Asociación Escuela de Auto-realización).

The first time Swami Veda came to Ecuador was in the late 70s. From this period remain beautiful memories of days shared with Father Dávila, founder of the School of Self-realization (A.E.A. for its name in Spanish) and the group of disciples in Quito.

From there they forged a spiritual bond of brotherhood, as we have verified, lives in an intimate way in the heart of this tradition.

Swami Veda arrived in Ecuador very late on a Monday night. Being greeted with a garland of flowers by Lucas, my 5-year-old son, in a very affectionate and creative way he put the garland around Lucas’ neck.

A simple and humble master who does not seek to be recognized and that in these days in Ecuador he shared all his love, brotherhood, and he returned to this country to inspire us and remind us of the essence of true brotherhood.

Spending the first days in silence to recharge his body and prepare for upcoming events, Swamiji had contact with the public on Wednesday, the 3rd of August, at A.E.A.’s Ashram.

It was a full moon night, day of special meditation, the aura of the place silent and peaceful.

He was welcomed with a warm hug and words of affection on the part of Mr. Ángel Ledesma, director of  A.E.A.

Swamiji asked Dr. Stoma Parker and Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati to speak to the public before him and offer some words and indicate certain details of the practice of yoga meditation.

Both yogis created an aura of inspiration with their words that came of the depths of their hearts.

Then, to the astonishment of the 250 attendees, Swami Veda led an inspired introduction in Spanish and then meditated with us sharing his vibrations of joy and inner peace.

The silence of that night was as strong as the full moon.

Words became unnecessary, as this silent language of love was what led us that night.

After the meditation, Swami Veda offered a beautiful gilded picture of Jesus, who brought as an offering, and a gift, to the ashram of his brother and spiritual friend Father Cásar Dávila.

A gentleman from the crowd came up to me at the end of the meditation and asked me where the teacher came from.

I replied: "From the Himalayas."

"I felt a special peace tonight. It feels there is a lot of power in this Swami. What a nice experience”, he said

As the night progressed the comments were immediate; messages and calls to share the multiple reflections and experiences of the participants.

Everyone talking about the peace, joy and depth lived on that night.

Sadhana Yoga Conference

The Sadhana Yoga Conference is a Yoga and Meditation Congress organized by the Sadhana magazine with the aim of deepening the practice of Yoga, and trying to give back the spiritual aspect of Yoga against misunderstandings created by the “Yoga of exercise”, which is very popular in the West. This happens especially in the U.S. where yoga has been adulterated and misunderstood.

At Sadhana Yoga Conference attended people not only from Ecuador but also from other countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, etc.

Each Sadhana Congress has invited to Ecuador important personalities of authentic yoga to share with Ecuadorian and Latin American public, this knowledge of integral development that yoga science offers. This year, the teachers and lecturers of the event are: Sri Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati, Dr. Stoma Parker and Andrei Ram (respected teacher of hatha-yoga).

Lectures and classes were well received. Those registered for the event (over 200 people) had the opportunity to be educated on the subtler aspects of yoga. Highlighting from the event the conferences of Swami Veda Bharati with an audience full of extraordinary and special energy.

It was a wonderful lecture (satsanga) that inspired and revived the genuine tradition of yoga. Swami Veda started this satsanga by guiding us in a 25 - 30 minute meditation.

Swami Veda’s lectures were given in English with a translator translating into Spanish as the lecture was being given; however, the guided meditations were in Spanish as was the poem “Light.”.

“You are not the body. You are not the breath. You are not the mind. You’re a being of light, a spiritual being. You are a spark of the Divine. You are a drop of the ocean that’s God. Know yourself to be that.

At present, you identify with your surrounding conditions. That is why those conditions so much adversely affect you and disturb you. But you are not those conditions. You are the makers of those conditions, and therefore, as the makers you are the masters of those conditions.

You are not tall or short. You are not fat or slim. You are not beautiful or ugly. You are not young or old. You are not male or female. You are a spirit, a soul, who for this time lives in this body.

Your house may leak. The window of your house may be broken. But you are not broken.

When you take to the path of meditation, these do not remain some statements made by some swami from the Himalayas; they become your reality as they have been the reality of all the past Masters.

On the first day when you sat and meditated at the ashram, I quoted to you from the Gospel of St. John, And Jesus said, ‘If you destroy this temple I will erect it again in three days.’ And his opponent said, ‘It took 14 years to build this temple, and you say you can raise it in three days.’ But St. John says Jesus was not referring to the temple of stone and bricks, he was referring to his own body.

And later St. Paul writes in his many letters, ‘You are the temple of God.’

Have you forgotten that you are the temple of God? You are the temple of God. Know yourself to be that. Learn to enter that temple. Learn to enter that, your spiritual presence, in which there are no sorrows, there are no angers, there are no more depressions. Every yogi will tell you that that state is your reality. 

What you have at the moment is temporary, artificial, and a creation of your imagination.  Learn to raise yourself from within.

As you enter the path of meditation, slowly, gradually your senses calm down. Your mind settles down. Your sense of time changes. You learn that between two breaths there is a gateway to infinity. Please remember that. Between two breaths is gateway to infinity. This moment, this moment, exhalas despacio [exhale slowly] Do it. Exhalas más despacio [exhale more slowly]. You observe a micromoment of the entrance…[speaking in Spanish, Swami Veda leads one minute of breath awareness]

People say it is very difficult to have peace of mind. I give you are very small trick. Peace of mind comes in one minute. Anywhere you are – in the middle of shopping, there is a big noise, you are feeling disturbed – stand in a corner, take one minute for creating that peace of mind. You are feeling rushed in the traffic. You are stopped at the red light. That is your time for obtaining peace of mind. You have time there.

You saw how in one minute your mind changed. Only feel the breath, very slowly. Observe the change from exhalation to inhalation. Continue.

You are getting angry with someone. You do not know how to control your anger. Calm your breath and you will forget the cause of your anger. And the other person will become your smiling friend.

This path of meditation is not something new. It is a path that has been taught for thousands of years. In our tradition, we believe that the very first human beings were masters and sages. And then they passed on this knowledge. This knowledge is found in the very most ancient books called the Vedas and in the Upanishads. In one Upanishad dated 14 centuries before Christ, it gives the lineage of 70 masters and disciples up to that time. The count: 70 generations up to 14 centuries before Christ… then 8 or 9 centuries for the Buddha, then 5 or 6 centuries for Jesus, then 8 centuries to Shankaracharya who revived our monastic order of the swamis and 13 centuries from then – can you keep count of the centuries?  This is as long as this knowledge has been handed down, passed on by masters to disciples.

And those masters did not only recite scriptures. When they recited a text, they said, ‘I recite to you. etad vai tat. This experience I have given you. This is what is referred to in the scripture.’

When Jesus was speaking to his disciples, he would not just be speaking words.

If ordinary people like me can sit with you and change the state of your mind, what do you think Jesus would do? What do you think the Buddha would do with his disciples? What do you think Shankaracharya would do with his disciples? I can tell you this by the experience I have had my Master, Swami Rama of the Himalayas. I cannot take you to where he took me. That is the difference between a Master and a disciple.

Nowadays everywhere yoga, yoga, yoga and no yoga, only exercises.

Yoga takes one minute to learn. Change the state of mind, realizing that you are a spiritual being. And when you know that you are the formless spirit, without shape, without form, without size, without age, you are you, a living flame of light. Tú es. Tú es. Tú es. Tú es….That is what you are and you suffer? The living flame of divine light suffers? What are you doing? The core to that which is ever pure, ever wise, ever free… I am that I am. Soham. I am that. Reaffirm that every day.

There are thousands of methods of meditation that my Master has taught me. These meditations have been passed on for all of these centuries that I mentioned to you, and some among you will pass that on to others. Where the Himalayas, where the Andes mountains, you know the distance? And here in this corner of the world someone like Father Dávila revives the knowledge and connects his students to the lineage of the sages of the Himalayas. This will keep on happening through the whole future history of the world. Nations will come and nations will go. There will be wars and treaties and breaking of treaties and wars again, one nation down, one nation up, this nation down, some other nation up. Has been going on for thousands of years. So many civilizations. And the way that you know your civilization today, 500 years from now it will not be like this. You do not speak Spanish the way it was spoken 500 years ago. What you will be speaking 500 years from now I do not know, but I know one thing: even in that language the knowledge of the ancient rishis and sages will still be passed on. And some master, some swami, will come around and revive that knowledge for you because that knowledge is eternal. It is not discovered in laboratories. It is discovered in this laboratory [indicating inside each person]; you are the living laboratory of divine life force.

You can wander in the world, but always come back home. I and my colleagues come here to invite you to come back home. And do not go from here after the conference and say, ‘That was a very good conference. Gustavo put it all together very beautifully.’ Do something permanent with it. Let it be a life changing moment.

Two things I always teach people.

At all times keep your forehead relaxed. Can you do that? I am in my 80th year of life. You see my forehead? It is that secret Himalayan herb I rub everyday [laughing] – I will not sell it to you.  I keep my mind unwrinkled. You can do the same.

Always keep coming back to a relaxed body. Now...relax. Let your mind relax… and all parts relax.

Later we give people a personal mantra, but that takes time. Until you have a personal mantra, choose a sacred word or divine name or use the word so-ham, which is also a mantra. So now you choose your word. ..

Speaking in Spanish, Swami Veda guided a short meditation with relaxation, breath awareness, and sacred word.

“Peace be with you.”

There were moments of unquestionable peace throughout the conference.

The various lectures and classes this weekend included a rich compendium of topics, including "The Power of Love" by Swami Nityamuktananda that enlightened people to recognize an extraordinary experience of interdependence. Dr. Stoma Parker with "Emotional Purification" which opened new horizons to a deeper awakening. The conference and practice with Swami Ritavan Bharati "Exploring Space and Subtle Bodies" created among the public a massive interest on yoga and its techniques. "States of Consciousness", "Karma and Right Actions" and multiple sessions of Yoga, Relaxation and Meditation left positive comments.

The expressions of the audience were more than eloquent, reflecting peace, prosperity and a higher state of consciousness. Several of them, with tears in their eyes, transmitted some amazing testimonies, like: "I felt the energy flowing through my body with intense tingling in my fingertips" or "I could see the aura of people in the room, as I opened my eyes slowly, after a period of meditation and relaxation, "or," I feel blessed by the wisdom of these teachers. "

An event that we know not only illuminated the audience, but brought peace and serenity to the collective consciousness of Ecuador, America and the world.

Galapagos Retreat of the Himalayan tradition.

The Galapagos Islands are a paradise for wildlife in Ecuador. Where humans live in perfect balance with their animal brothers and the maximum expression of Mother Nature.

The Enchanting Islands, known as the Galapagos, took their name from how these islands "appeared and disappeared" mysteriously from the landscape (many pirates and whalers passing through the route sometimes saw the Galapagos islands, and some not), and because of the unusual things happening in these isolated lands.

But for us, "Enchanted" has another meaning: as visitors remain mesmerized by all the natural life and the living manifestation of divine Shakti.

The island we chose for the retreat was San Cristobal. A special place where body, mind and spirit are recharged with energy and peace, while, resting and releasing toxins that we accumulate every day.

San Cristobal is the capital of the Galapagos and the oldest geologically. Its official name comes from the saint of sailors, St. Cristobal, and his old English name was Chatham, from William Pitt, Count of Chatham.

This island has an area of 558 km2, of which 85% is the National Park area of Galapagos. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital city of the island, and where we stay because of the nearness of hotels, restaurants and activities.

San Cristobal has everything: sea, beaches, surfing waves, sun, rain, mountains, heat and cold, and even a lake in a crater ... The Junco.
These islands are visited by thousands of tourists every year as one of the most attractive places in the world. But few people are able to understand the wonder of being in a place like this.

Swami Veda paid homage to the Gurus of all Traditions and said from the beginning that he was very happy to be in Galapagos in this satsanga and told us to set our clarity of purpose:

“…because you have not come as tourists. You have come as pilgrims.

Most people come to this island to enjoy nature, but please understand that you are also a part of nature.  It is not that you are here and nature is over there.  All of us together are nature.  All living beings, all cactuses, all crosses , little and big fish, the ocean and the sky.  They all breathe together. In you all the living beings of the earth are breathing. You, the Universal Soul, are breathing through all of those bodies of living beings. So while you are here you should feel that sense of universal breath. Your breath and the breath of a sea lion are not different.

It is one atman in many bodies. Any hurt caused to any form of life is a hurt caused to all forms of life. Just as if you hurt your finger and you feel as though your whole being is hurt, all these living beings, whether they are plants or they walk or they swim or they fly, they are all fingers in the body of the Universal Soul. The reason that the animals here are not afraid of you is because you are not afraid of them, because you have no aggresive designs against them.

So you are here to realize the universality of the universal spirit. As you walk the island, feel that universality in you. Your meditation on nature is not to be confined to sitting and painting a scene nor to modern form of painting, please even taking photos, so when you leave from here, certain transformations should have taken place in you.

There are spiritual advisors here. You know Dr. Stoma Parker. You know Swami Nitya. You know Swami Ritavan. You don’t know Linda; she is also one of our mantra initiators, but she has not the time to serve you because 24 hours she is attending on me. But if you have spiritual questions, please ask them.

So, since you are a pilgrim, your experience of being here needs to be different from the experience of a tourist.

 You’re away from your business. You’re away from your families. But you are not away from them because they are traveling with you in your mind, in your skull, so when you are at home or in your office, you keep on saying, ‘I will go to Galapagos. I will go to Galapagos.’ And now you are saying, ‘I will go home. I’ll go home. When I go to my office, I have to do this and I have to do that.’ So while you are here, make up your mind where you want to be. For these 4 or 5 days, do you want to be here or do you want to be there. Then forget the world, because from here, there is nothing you can do about your family or your office.

That is your first step in the practice of silence. Silence is not just moving your lips. Silence is keeping a concentrated mind. So let this be your time number one for contemplation of your unity as part of nature. That contemplation through the realization that all of the universe breathes together.

The second part is meditation in action. Meditation in action means that when you are using your senses, you are using them with a calm mind. You’re not throwing your energies helter-skelter. Your head moves, your eyes move, but your heart remains in a state of calm and stillness. That is called contemplative action and these advanced teachers will teach you contemplative walking.

The third part is pure meditation. In every retreat I hold or when people come to my ashram I give them two simple forms of advice.

One is: keep your forehead relaxed. For the next five days, when you meet each other, you say, ‘How is your forehead?’ Once somebody came to my ashram all the way from California. People travel long distances thinking they are going to high Himalayas and will receive some very advanced techniques. This person having traveled all the way from California to the foothills of the Himalayas, he came to see me in my chamber. ‘Swamiji, give me an advanced technique. I have come from very far away.’ I took a look at him. I took a look at him, and I said, ‘Just practice keeping your forehead relaxed.’ He says, ‘Is that all? I’ve come all this way from California and you just give me one sentence. Give me some advanced technique.’ I said, ‘This is an advanced technique.’ He said, ‘Well, alright. I will try it since I am here.’ Three days later I saw him walking on the grounds of the ashram, and I said, “Well, how is your forehead?” He said, ‘Oh, Swamiji, it is so difficult. It is so difficult to remember to keep my forehead relaxed.’ You cannot keep one part of your body relaxed. How will you relax the whole body? We have a research laboratory in our ashram, and we test these things. The state of the forehead has direct effect on your tension in the mind, and tension in the mind has direct effect on the tension in the forehead.  If you do not know how to relax the mind, just learn to relax your forehead.

Recently I taught two long courses at the ashram. The title of the courses was ‘How to Cultivate a Meditative Voice.’  Because many times I have seen people who are not well trained in the tradition guiding a relaxation there voice goes ‘Relax your forehead!’ [Swamiji said this with a non-calm, non-relaxed voice]. I have seen, I have heard recordings of that kind of relaxation, and the forehead instead of becoming relaxed becomes more tense, so one the things sometime, try to forgive me, is that when people are going to translate for me, I first teach them how to translate my voice. When I am saying ‘Relax your forehead’ the translator is saying ‘Relax your forehead!’ [in a non-calm and non-relaxed manner], the whole effect is lost.

We do this kind of training in our ashram. And we took a measurement of the level of tension with our EEG machines - how the relaxed state of the forehead changes the tone of the voice.

When you go back home and you speak to your wife or your husband, keep your forehead relaxed. Your voice will be very different and they will listen to you.

So this is your four or five days opportunity: to retrain yourself, to form new habits for life.  If I give you no other instruction during the four days and you go away from here with your forehead relaxed, I would think that our coming together here was successful and fruitful.

So, besides what you do when our teachers are guiding the meditation, in general walking about, when talking, while eating, while bathing, practice keeping the forehead relaxed. Help each other.

The other habit that you can form while you are here because you are not going to be rushed it’s a very relaxed place every two hours, three hours, every two or three hours, give yourself two or three minutes of breath awareness wherever you are – standing by the sea, sitting in a car or a bus – wherever you are remember every two or three hours that you give yourself two or three minutes of breath awareness.

For that breath awareness, two or three simple rules. First, relax your forehead, and then bring your attention to the feel of the touch of your breath in your nostrils. Take one sacred word, for example the name of Jesus, or there are other prayer words.

In our tradition, they give people personal mantra initiations - or perhaps sometimes you want to have a seminar just about mantra and these teachers will come and teach you and give you your personal mantra. The mantra can be in the Vedic tradition from which I come, the mantra can be a balancing of the Vedic tradition with Christian mantra. For the Muslims, we give a Muslim mantra. For Buddhists, we give Buddhist mantras. Because it has nothing to do with religion. God is not a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. God has no name. God’s name is secret.  Only those who have reached the highest level of meditation, they know the name of God. All the rest are His attributes, but sometimes you need to concentrate on one attribute or another, so this mantra science is a very detailed science. I will not go into it at this time. If you want, Gustavo, they can give you a lecture on mantra in this gathering. You can decide; you all can decide.

So, what and what practices I said? 

Number one: experiencing the oneness of nature, that the whole universe breathes in you and you breathe in the whole universe, that all living beings are as fingers in the body of the universal soul. You are also one of those fingers. Contemplating that will teach you what we call the path of ahimsa, non-violence, because how can this finger of your hand be violent towards this finger. You come to places of untouched nature to contemplate this.

Then learning to walk, speak with your heart and mind quiet and undisturbed. Keeping the forehead relaxed.

And breath awareness every two or three hours for two to three minutes.

Today I will lead you through only three minutes of meditation so you know what can be achieved in three minutes. And then you will attend the guided meditations with the teachers.

The habits that you form here should go with you back home. You make what we call in our tradition sankalpa, resolve. Your saying, “Yes, I will use these four days and five days for this purpose only. I will not let all the worries and conflicts of life from outside come in here. ” So you walk in peace. 

And when you go from here back, your husband or your wife should say to you or your children should say to you, “Darling or Mother or Father, what happened to you? You look younger.”  Do they have this disease… as they have in the USA of botox injections? You don’t need botox injections. Save your money. You can look younger without those injections. I promise you this. Just relaxing your forehead, keeping your mind free, and every two or three hours two or three minutes of breath awareness.

This is all I want to advise you for your stay this time. If you want me to speak to you on some special topic, you can make your suggestion to Gustavo and he can let me know. You can also write down your questions and Gustavo or Monica can translate into English for me and I’ll answer those questions.

Now let us see what we can do with three minutes of meditation.

Hands apart. You could be standing on a curbside in a city. You can be in an office chair. Wherever you are.

[Following a three minute meditation guided in Spanish] You can see that in three minutes your mind calms down.”

The days began with the prayers of the Vedic tradition, and then make a practice of hatha yoga, pranayama and relaxation.

Then the tradition instructors who joined us (Swami Ritavan Bharati, Swami Nitya and Dr. Stoma Parker) took turns every day to guide our meditation practices.

The liberating prana in this place, the atmosphere's peaceful aura and special vibrations of this island every morning mingled with joyful silence of contemplation.

Every day we had the opportunity to walk, knowing and living a little more of this island surrounded by unspoiled nature.

One of the first experiences was walking through Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (the town's name) and its modern pier. It is a pleasure to meet with sea lions and their pups lying on benches, swings or slides in the park ... This only happens in San Cristobal!

Sharing with Swami Veda and seeing his special connection to every living being, from the smallest to the largest, filled us with joy and inspiration.

In particular I remember seeing Swamiji so happy watching very close to the baby sea lions. His eyes were filled with tenderness and admiration as an innocent child who finds novelty and brilliance around.

All pilgrims had the opportunity to walk the ecological path to Tijeretas, a cove that has 3 viewpoints that let you glimpse much of the island from above, where you can snorkel with sea lions, turtles and countless goldfish.

In each of these places the teachers of the Himalayan tradition shared satsangas and short inspirational talks that led us to understand every essential aspect of Himalayan yoga.

Beautiful beaches became inspired scenarios to spiritual discourses. Lobería, Carola Point, not only gave us beaches to meditate, chat and inspire, but also to have the opportunity to dive close to our animal siblings.

Swami Ritavan Bharati, emulating the relationship of St. Francis of Assisi with younger siblings, had the opportunity to swim for a long time within inches of a sea turtle, which calmly watched him and shared with him that short time.

Among other visits, we went to the Galapaguera (place of breeding of giant tortoises) as it was a destination that we could not miss. There you can see the eggs in an incubator, turtles of 5cm up to turtles that can weigh 880 pounds.

Swami Veda was delighted watching and communing with these old giant reptiles that as yogis of nature breathe smoothly and calmly as his life lasts longer than any beast of the earth.

The climb to Junco was a very special experience. To see the abrupt change in vegetation, mist covered mountains, the rain that falls unexpectedly, and finally reach the top, left us breathless. This wonderful place is loaded with a special energy, perfect for meditation ... The silence and peace that you experience above invite you to sit on one of the rocks or on the grass to go within.

From El Junco you can get to see most of the island, and the view is just spectacular. You can walk around the crater, transforming a common walk in a moving meditation, and take advantage of seeing the majestic owls that fly by.

Another of the magical days spent in Galapagos was the trip to Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos. Kicker Rock is the remains of a volcanic cone in the middle of the ocean that creates a gigantic rock shaped like a sea lion. You can reach the place by boat, and you can dive or snorkel (diving in Galapagos is an unforgettable experience). Here not only you could dive with sea lions, turtles and fishes, but also with sharks.

"Isla Lobos" is another beautiful place, where you have the chance to swim with baby sea lions since it is the place where the females come to give birth and raise their young.

Swami Veda loves the ocean in a very special way and was often tempted to get off the boat to dive, but his physical limitations did not allow it, but we know that at a mental and spiritual level was fully connected and living the experiences of each of the persons as one's own.

His intuition and connection was felt on each occasion in a very special way, but these experiences are stored with love and intimacy in our hearts.

In the lectures, Swamiji and the teachers dealt with many themes of deep inspiration that would be impossible to list them all.

Several attendees also had the opportunity to receive mantra initiation (Mantra Diksha) and already could feel the change and the effects on their meditation.

A retreat that inspired and illuminated both advanced practitioners and those who had their first experience of yoga. Eyes full of tears at the end of the day conveyed the enriching experience that this group lived.

Swami Veda concluded this retreat saying:

"It is said in the scriptures that God is like a light of ten thousand suns. When I received my master's initiation, for three days and three nights I could barely open my eyes. It was a world of light."

And he recited in Spanish his poem “Light” from the book The Light of Ten Thousand Suns.  This is the English version:

“The soil is light. The sky is light. The beauty of your skin, the softness of your child’s cheek, the light in your eyes is a light. The light has become a leaf, a twig, a tree. Light flows as a river from a mountain of light. Whatever you do not experience is not light. All the rest is waves in a sea of light, the light that is the infinite delight, the bliss of God.  The lake of Truth and the mirage of falsehood is all light.

The song you hear is a light to your ear. The sweet taste is a light to your palate. Love is the light of your heart as meditation is the light of your soul. Light wears many garments, and of these your prayer is the brightest. The sound that is the wave of the universe, the word that is the soul of God, is your inner light wearing the body which is an outer layer of light.

Why would you worship darkness when your eyes are made to see only light? Set aside your dark angers and deep depressions. Hold still for a moment, fellow wave of light; be still. Do you see how the winds of your agitation calm down and the resolute light illumines your mind again? On the altar of the light of True Knowledge, then, burn the light of Love.”

And then continued with his talk.

“Around 1965 the city of Birmingham in England had organized a conference, and the title of the conference was ‘Pleasure from Religious and Spiritual Point of View.’  I started my presentation with these lines ‘You look a little tired today, Sir. Are you not going for a vacation this year? I certainly am going. When? For how long? What will you do? Where? Right now. For an eternity. Deep sea diving. Within.’ When I see the sea that is what I remember. To me the mind is like the sea. Mind is more vast than the sea, and you need to learn to dive there.

Many times people ask, ‘I sit down to meditate and all these thoughts keep coming. How do I stop them?’

And my answer to that is: stand by the sea. You see the stormy waves, but when Jacques Cousteau wrote his first book, he called it The Silent World. You want to know the sea as a silent world. You do not ask the sea waves to stop. You dive. A few feet underneath there are no noises of the waves. It is absolutely silent. The same sea in its depths is silent; on the surface it is full of stormy waves. Learn to dive. And when you are diving in the depths, you look up and you see the boat from which you have dived, and the boat is still going this way, that way, and people in that boat are afraid of falling to where you are enjoying the silence. So it is with meditation. Even when the surface thoughts go on, at a certain depth the quietness can still be experienced.

Those of you who have not received a mantra, continue with the breath awareness with a name of God, with the name of Jesus, or whichever name according to your religion, or the word so-ham, I am That, I am that I am. 

And set yourself a fixed time. People say, ‘Why a fixed time?’ I’ll tell you a secret. So many millions of people are looking for a Guru, and a genuine Guru is difficult to find. The Gurus are looking for disciples and genuine disciples are difficult to find. So you must first learn how to be a disciple, how to purify yourself. And the Gurus, disembodied beings of light, I repeat disembodied beings of light, will watch over you. They will give you a dream. They will give you a vision. Or sometimes you are sitting, and the sense of quiet will touch you. Because a Guru spirit, Guru force has come like a breeze and just touched you.

Many times my Master would say, ‘I came to your house yesterday and you were not there.’ I was a married man before I became a monk, and I asked my wife, ‘Did Swamiji come?’ ‘No, he did not come.’

Or he would say, ‘I kept phoning you yesterday and you did not pick up the phone’ because they speak in a funny language. It is very difficult to understand. And I would again ask my wife, ‘Did Swamiji call on the phone?’ ‘No, he did not.’ Because they are not talking of the physical phone.  They are talking of the phone that rings in your mind.

And if they know that you are keeping your appointment with them, they will keep their appointment with you.

If for six months you can sit at a fixed time, after six months, you will begin to sense a presence of grace. Some moment or two and you forget all about your surface thoughts…and for a short moment, it will be like a cool breeze, a fragrant breeze that touched your mind and heart and everything went still.

Next time you will sit, you will say, ‘I want the kind of meditation I had yesterday. Let me try again.’ And you will sit there and you will try and you will try and you will try and nothing happens. Because the Guru gave you a taste.

The Gurus don’t always come in the physical form, because the Guru force, the Guru force guides you. And they know for even their millions of disciples – they have millions – when you are meditating.

That is why they keep the Full Moon Meditation. Now imagine, you see, on the full moon day I sit at different times of the day for different continents and all the hundreds of people of that continent sit at that time. So you form that habit. Some sit in groups. Some sit in their homes. And at that time, even if I am at an airport, even if I am in an airplane, those who are with me, they can tell you I keep my time, I keep my time with you.

So form these new habits.

For the mantra initiates, you should have a once a week or once a month meditation group. You can meditate together. We can send you CD’s of guided meditations in English and in Spanish. You can listen. You can read translations of Swami Rama’s books, Father Dávila’s books. Read them together. Discuss them. My books. And these books do not have to be published books. I have 5,000 hours of recordings of lectures. They are being transcribed; 10,000 pages have been transcribed. All the effort of Swami Ritavan. He has volunteers, and we are looking for more volunteers, because he estimates that the total transcriptions will be 45,000 pages. I will not see them published in my life, but they will be available. You can use them. So you do not always have to depend on published books. But create such a meditation group and study group. Do it systematically. Not one kind of meditation one day, another kind of meditation another day. It is like having one wife one day, another wife another day. One husband one day, another husband another day. It doesn’t work. The mind does not settle down. Many people are doing this; they are meditating, but they are using different methods on different days. You want to create grooves in your mind, the mind going exactly on the same pattern, on the same path every time you sit for meditation. Then the mind will begin to settle in that pattern, and when you have fully mastered one method, the next method will come to you. There are dozens of ways of using your mantra, but your initiators have taught you only two methods: mantra with the breath, mantra in the mind alone. For a long time practice just that.

And those who have not yet learned to breathe correctly should take our courses on correct breathing; you should send somebody for three months, six months, one year to our ashram, so we can teach them how to teach, because many people I see have very shallow breaths, because you are breathing from the chest. Keeping the breath through diaphragmatic breathing is very important. These are simple things. 

High philosophy, history of all the meditation paths is good to study, because if you are not studying those, you will be watching violent films on the TV and filling your mind with that garbage, so instead of doing that, it is better to read the high philosophy and discuss that, but just reading that and reading the sutras will not lead you to spiritual depth. Only when you have personal experience of spiritual depths, only then you will understand the meaning of the sutras, what the sutras are talking about.  So let there be that ambition.

Anybody would like to ask me any questions?

‘Could you explain tat tvam asi?’

Tat tvam asi. This is one of the maha-vakyas. When we give the vows of renunciation and make somebody a swami, just like a mantra, we assign a maha-vakya to them. While mantra is for repeated practice, maha-vakya is for contemplation. I will be teaching a course on maha-vakyas in October of 2014. I will not be teaching with the mouth. We have arranged that we will have a computer screen. I will write the lectures on my computer and they will show. I will keep my silence, and I will still do some teaching. There are four main maha-vakyas, but actually there are many dozens. The word ‘tat’ means ‘that.’ For example, those of you who know the Gayatri mantra, it starts with ‘Tat savitur vareṇyaṁ,’  ‘that beautiful brilliance of the divine sun.’ That, that, that. 

We have a special mantra we recite for paying homage to the Guru. In our ashram we recite it every day: ‘akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāraṁ vyāptaṁ yena carācaram |tat-padaṁ darśitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ ||,’ ‘like an unbroken orb like that of the sun by which all moving and unmoving things are pervaded and permeated, he who has shown me that state, Tat-padaṁ, that level, tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ, I surrender to that glorious Guru.” So Tat, That.

When the ancient rishis were teaching in their forest hermitages, they would teach the texts, the texts that had been revealed to them inside, and then they would give the disciple a spiritual experience and they would say etad vai tat, etad vai tat, esto es eso. Tat means eso, that. This experience is that about which the revealed scripture is talking. You can keep saying from the stage, ‘You are the temple of God.’ But the true teacher makes you experience that, and then he says ‘etad vai tat,’  ‘this experience is that sentence.’

You want to sit a little bit longer today? Because I do not know when we meet again.

‘I am sorry we can’t. They have to close this room at 10, so we have 10 more minutes.’

Okay then. So tat, the one about which all the texts are talking. Tvam asi. Thou art. That you are. Tat savitur vareṇyaṁ. That brilliant light of the divine sun you are. Tat padam. That state of consciousness you are. You are not the body. You are not the breath. You are not your sensations. You are not your emotions. You are not your senses. You are not the mind. You are pure spirit. You’re atman. Tat tvam asi. That you are.

One learns to live in that consciousness, and it has applications in your daily life. For example, when you are sick, your body is sick, you the atman are not sick, so the internal feeling of health would remain and should help to heal you. So I always tell people do not make body conditions into mind conditions.

To live in that contemplation is the meaning of that maha-vakya Tat tvam asi. That you are. When the person, when the disciple realizes the meaning of it, then he says ‘soham,’ ‘oh, yes, I am that.’ Soham is the answer to tat tvam asi. I am that. The word soham has many other meanings, but this is the beginning of the meaning I have given, I think six, seven, eight meanings of soham in my book Mantra and Meditation. And there are more.

Monica has asked me a question. She has asked me the meaning of laya yoga. Very briefly I will explain. The word laya means absorption, so any practice of yoga in which the grosser faculties or powers are being absorbed into subtler ones, and the mind becomes absorbed in that experience. In my book, Meditation and the Art of Dying, at the end I have given one exercise of laya yoga, but that is only one, and that exercise is a transcription of one of my guided meditations. That recording is something like 40 years old now, but Swami Ritavan can tell you if it is available or not. [Swami Ritavan says it is available.] That is only one level. Then there is laya yoga is often used for the kundalini processes where the forces of the lowest chakra are absorbed into the second chakra and the second chakras powers are absorbed into the third chakra and the forces of the third chakra are absorbed into the fourth chakra, so the grosser ones and lesser ones and lower ones are absorbed into the subtler ones and the higher ones, but the point is that your mind should then become totally absorbed in that. Another sense in which the word laya yoga is used is as part of nada yoga, the yoga of sound. Many people think that concentration on certain music is nada yoga, but there are special practices in meditation for listening to the inner sounds. Your whole body is making music. All the neurons in your brain are making music. Your very soul is making music. The whole universe is said to be a form of the forces of sound. I have a book titled Blessings; two of the blessings in that book are ‘May you see the light that sound produces as it travels through space’ and ‘May you hear the sound that light makes as it travels through space.’ When we teach someone the internal path of nada yoga, we teach them to become completely absorbed in that nada, and that is laya yoga. You can write a whole book on the subject, but this is briefly the explanation.

Start with simple things. Your breath and your prayer word. When you go to be tonight, before you go to bed, practice for awhile. Remember: fix yourself a certain time.

One thing more I want to say. Some people have sent me their malas for blessings which I have done some blessing and returned, but these malas, the beads are much too big. When you do to India, get the small bead malas, so that your mantra can become subtler. They are available in India; you can import from there.

And how is your forehead? Has it improved since you came? ‘Somewhat.’ ‘No more botox, Swami.’ No, no more botox.”

Speaking in Spanish, Swami Veda led us through a short meditation.

“Vaya con Dios… God bless you all.”

Editor’s Note:

To read “Back to the Himalayas” by Gustavo Plaza:

For more about Swami Veda’s meeting with Father Dávila in 1976: http://www.swamivedablog.org/?p=581

To read “Contemplative Walking by the Ocean” by Stephen Parker (Stoma) and Dhimati (Elizabeth Procter):  http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1209Sep/10.html