Aapo Deepo Bhava – 2023 AHYMSIN Sangha Gathering
Published: 31 March 2023 | Written by Swami Ma Tripura Shakti Bharati
The last time I was sitting somewhere here, you were all on that [Zoom] screen, but this is different than having an empty space and a camera. Thank you, all my brothers and sisters, for these tremendously beautiful weeks of spending (time) together. I so enjoyed all my brothers speaking. I have, beyond worth, respect for you, Swamiji [Swami Ritavan Bharati], and for them and same with you and everyone else that we have been able to get together for these two weeks.
Each of these days I was just in awe with how, throughout the weeks, these moments were created in which the sacredness of life was invited in all these different ways — in the silent days, in the pujas, in the havans, in the aartis, in the music! Every moment was to give you the opportunity to get in touch with that light — through people speaking and these attempts to make life sacred, to make life special, to make every movement an opportunity to, not reconnect, but to uncover, (to) be, (to) remember.
And when I contemplated of what else can be shared, (it) is this awe for the moment. As Ashu said, “Everything is perfect,” and that perfection is in this very moment, right here. And so, that is something — to always just learn to stay in, and let it grow, and let it….
I’m not talking (about) something for tomorrow or when you go home. No, again, it’s right here! Can you feel it?!
Because that’s all I can mention about the sadhana right now. What (we are) trying to do with the meditations, with the with the readings, with the contemplations, with the singing, with everything, is to continuously try to connect in this very here and very now.
The Mother is here! Can you feel the body resting right now. Can you feel your breath right now? This very moment is sacred. It will not happen tomorrow. It hasn’t happened yesterday. It can and will. One moment it will happen. Now, here, the breath is flowing right now:
“Hi, my dear friend Mind! Thank you for showing up. You are not flying away yet. But let’s stay here. Let’s make this very moment as special as it can be. O Mind, can you please remember mantra for me, right now? Can you allow the thoughts to do what they want to do, but let’s not be disturbed with them right now.”
And the theme of this [is] Inner Light! Sometimes it appears quite weak. Sometimes it appears even lost. But let’s see if right now, here, as you’re feeling the physical temple [while] sitting, as you’re feeling the prana and the breath cleansing and nourishing this temple, cleaning it — as your thoughts are allowed to go, whatever they are, good or bad doesn’t matter, and the mantra somewhere is roaming around there too, reverberating in the inner temple in the sanctuary — that right here, in the depth, in the core of being itself, this Light is.
As Swami Veda said in the title of the book that we all shared, [in] many languages, the poem of his, it is like ten thousand suns. And even if you feel it right now just a little — like a little flame, something is whispering, something is calling you, like a little deepak in your heart — can you be with it right now? Can you be in awe of it? Can you hold it in as best as you can in your awareness right now, as the most precious thing that is? But it is not even a “thing” — please forgive my language. It is not whatever; [it is] the most precious existence!
We don’t have to go anywhere, they say. We don’t have to reach anything. We don’t have to even do the practices — but yet we do them anyway to continuously be here — because it’s all right here! And that little flame of awareness, that little connection that seemed to be made, gradually will merge into the experience of Being.
Right here, can you be aware that there is awareness in this very moment? Can you be aware that right now you are aware? And can you even be aware that you are consciously able to be aware of that something which is here right now at the core of your being? Some call it the Divine Mother. Some call it Love. Some call it whatever it is — [but] eventually it’s you in your truest form.
And what amazes me the most sometimes is that that connection seems to get lost; and then somehow there it is again! In your meditation, try to be aware of that awareness. There is awareness right here! Nothing else matters — not what happened [in the past], not what will come [in the future], not what I’m supposed to be. It is right here! And then something comes, and maybe you lose it for like a moment. But then — it’s like a miracle! — it comes again. And again there is this moment of awareness: “Oh yes! Okay! Thank you, Mind! Thank you, Tradition! Thank you, Grace!”
And the more you do this, the more somehow [by] allowing the awareness to be present in the here and now again, it becomes more and more a habit pattern to just wake up from whatever you got lost in and — “Whew! Okay! Wow!” — be here again.
Many, many years ago when I was starting to dabble with these practices, you read about being aware of your breath. “Okay, [I’ll make a] sankalpa: Today I want to be aware of my breath the whole day!” I don’t know how you were and still are, and not perfect. [But] after six hours — “Oh! I was supposed to be aware of my breath all day, and I just lost six hours! “Okay, from now on I’m going to be aware!” And maybe two or three conscious breaths were taken, the world happens, and I’m out of it again [for] six hours later.
Again, I don’t know how your mind was [during such lapses of attention], but I was not supposed to be like this. And it was harsh, and it was not nice, until — fortunately during one of those internal dialogues where the mind can surprise you [and show you] how wise it is if you just allow yourself to listen to it and when Mind starts to become your friend — Mind suddenly said, “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to wake you up or do you want me to leave you alone? Because every time when I wake you up, you’re not nice to me.”
And that was like “Where’s this coming from?” So, I had to shift this perspective, and instead of waking up after six hours and being aware for just a moment — and then beating up the Mind by saying, “Where were you the other five hours and 59 minutes and 30 seconds?” — to capture those moments and to really learn to celebrate those moments? “Oh! Wow! Thank you, Mind!
And in the beginning I exaggerated because I didn’t take it very seriously. So I would go over the top: “O, thank you, Mind! This is phenomenal! Thank you!” But then slowly, slowly, Mind started to be okay again because I was not beating it up all the time. So, it just started to show more and more of these conscious moments in which suddenly the sacredness of life was there again! And then to catch these moments: “Ah! Are you still in it? Are you still here?”
And throughout these two weeks I’ve just been in awe of how much effort everyone has put in to give you these moments, to give you these long moments continuously. I was watching people as they made offerings to the fire. I enjoy watching people when they do the arti because there is divine worshiping and giving oblations to the Divine – the sacrificial yagna that Rabindra was just talking about. And to have that — so that you have these two weeks when the outside world didn’t exist. I hope they didn’t disturb you. So you could just get that light bright and brighter — not that it needs to become brighter; it is already perfect — but just being in it.
And to conclude, what I would like to offer you last is that, just as important as it is to go into your practice, I think, it is just as important how to transition out of your meditation. And so that is what I would like to do for a few minutes, if I may.
So, just sit as comfortable as you can. Sit with your head neck and trunk straight as possible. As Swamiji so beautifully said, I hope your music is flowing in sushumna. Just, as best as you can, be. Be with whatever it is, and especially be aware that right here now is the only thing that matters. How deep or un-deep that realization is doesn’t matter. Be aware that you are consciously breathing.
Do you feel it? Do you feel the air flowing in and out of the nostrils? It’s not mere technique; it’s a happening! Something is moving the breath, and the awareness allows you to become aware of That which is never moving, That which observes the movement of the breath. Be aware of That.
Mantra may be flowing. Maybe it needs a little nudge to remember it. Allow it to reverberate through the mind-field, guiding you into deeper and deeper fields: the inner world.
Surrender into all that what is, the innermost Stillness and Silence. Be here, and be conscious of the fact that you are here right now. Nothing else matters. There is Existence. Be aware of Existence itself, which is like a Light, which is your Inner Light, which is you!
And maybe your eyes have closed and the body has become still. And gradually the breath will start to slow down the more you surrender into that Stillness that is here now.
You are the Light! The Inner Light is here!
And then, that most still aspect — however still it is — allow that to become your new platform, your new seat from which you learn to live.
Like Rabindra gave this incredibly beautiful way to spread the Light from the heart through the senses into all these jnanendriyas in the body and karmendriyas  so that every moment becomes sacred.
And now let’s practice staying in that most still aspect, the deepest, closest you can get at the moment to your true Self which is the center, the point resting in its center. And from there, without leaving that [center point], experience the breath. Without leaving that Stillness, feel the whole body. Without leaving that Stillness, very slowly moving from that Stillness, place the hands in front of your heart. The eyes are still closed. Just realize that from this Stillness something moved, but yet you’re resting in that Stillness.
This gesture (anjali mudra) symbolizes that that Stillness, the Light — appo deepo bhava — he is in you and in everyone that and everything that lives.
And so, very consciously, without leaving the Stillness and Light, gradually open your eyes. Allow the world to see, and spread your attention throughout the whole room. Be aware of the whole Space around you. And however you do this — this cannot be done wrong — notice that we’re sitting with so many other Lights. And please turn around you and see and recognize in each and everyone around us, this Inner Light.
This is what Swami Rama does when he says, “I pray to the Divinity in you.” He sees that Light, always, more than we do. We forget.
And so, you and I know we’re at the end, and maybe the mind is going towards [the thought of] leaving. So, as you may one day have to step out of the gate, practice this: Center [yourself], stay with the Light, and see this transition — coming out of the meditation. How long can you stay with it? How long can you take it with you when you go on a taxi, when you go on a plane? When you go, take it with you. Practice this so that it not only is in this space [at SRSG], but so when you walk out this door, when you walk into the new door, learn to take just as much as we learn to move into meditation. Take it with you and so it is never lost. In an instant, everything is already here!
 The Light of Ten Thousand Suns by Swami Veda Bharati. Compare with Chapter 11, Verse 12 of the Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna sees Krishna’s divine form: “If there were to rise the brilliance of a thousand suns in heaven, that would be similar to the brilliance of that great-souled One.”
“The sun, the moon, the stars, and all the lights that you can imagine in the entire external world are but fragments of that one great Light that is within you. It is the light of knowledge, the light of discrimination, the light of understanding, the light of life, the light of sharing and love, the light of Being that you are. ‘Thou art that.’ The light within is like a ripple in the vast ocean of bliss – that which we call Brahman, the Absolute, Infinity, the Highest. You yourself are that ripple; you are a wave. You should always have confidence that the light of life really is within you.” (Swami Rama in Path of Fire and Light, Volume II (1988), p. 1)
 The “janendriyas” are the five organs of perception — the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin — and the “karmendriyas” are the five organs of action (hands, feet, speech organs, and the organs of elimination & generation).
 Appo deepo bhava — “Be a light unto thyself.” These were Gautama Buddha’s last words to his disciples.
This is a transcript of a talk held at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, on 24 Feb, 2023, during the AHYMSIN Sangha Gathering 2023.