Blessings of the Divine Mother and a New Beginning
Published: 7 October 2022 | Written by Rabindra Sahu
With the auspicious celebrations and austere practices during the 9 days of the Navaratri, we invoked the Grace of the Mother Divine at the ashram [Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama] and sought Her loving guidance and blessings for the beginning of a new chapter in our lives – the Gurukulam.
Keeping up with the traditional way of celebrating the Navaratri, this year too, we continued with the 24-hours non-stop recitation of the Lalita Sahasranaama with both the priests and the residents during the nine days. The priests did the chantings for 12 hours each day, while the residents did the chantings for the remaining 12 hours. The Navaratri days bring forth a new force of energy within all of us in the ashram. One could hear the surroundings vibrate through the chantings of the Lalita Sahasranaama, where one is naturally drawn to immerse oneself within that force-field.
On the 9th day of the Navaratri, we worshipped 9 little girls (kanya pujan), representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga (Navadurga). They are considered as manifestations of Shakti, to whom the offerings of mantras, food, clothes, and other gifts were made.
With the Grace of Gurudeva Swami Rama and our beloved Swami Veda Bharati, and with the blessings of Swami Ritavan Bharati, we feel blessed to share with you that the Swami Rama Dhyana Gurukulam accepted the new batch with five students on the auspicious day of the Vijayadashami (or the Dusshera).
This one-year program for the Gurukulam has been carefully designed and planned to include the teachings of the Himalayan Tradition through Swami Rama, Swami Veda, and attempt has been made to include as many aspects of the ancient traditional Gurukula systems of spiritual education and training as possible.
We began the new session of the Gurukulam with purification through the fire ritual – Virija Homam, and seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, the Guru Lineage, and the Divine Mother Saraswati (the Goddess of Wisdom). The blessings of the Mother Saraswati were invoked through the chanting of the Medha Suktam and the Saraswati Suktam.
The students and the faculty walked to the Sadhana Mandir, the seat of Gurudeva and sought the blessings of the Lineage. Together, we meditated in the Meditation Hall and Swami Veda’s Silence Hall.
At SRSG, students were briefly introduced to Swami Veda’s teachings on the ‘Unifying Streams of Religion’ as they paid their obeisance and prayed at all the places of worship in the ashram. The students offered flower garlands, fruits, sweets, and Dakshina (Love-offering) at the Initiation Room, the Buddha temple, the Mother Mary temple, the Adi Sankaracharya temple, the Ma Tara temple, and the Shiva Temple, and at the altars of Mahavira and Ma Saraswati.
The five young Gurukulam students, who have arrived at the ashram and joined the one-year program, brought a new force of energy with them. Our students arrived two days before the program began, and cleaned the entire Gurukulam building. They then proceeded to clean the Knowledge Center (KC) and removed the two layers of carpets from the KC. The carpets were hand-washed twice. It took them about 4-5 hours each time. They began the cleaning at 3pm and they worked non-stop until 8pm, even though they had to wake up at 4am the next morning. It was so heartwarming to see them preparing their classroom space with such enthusiasm and joy.
The program then had already begun with their loving Seva (service) towards the ashram. They are now studying Sanskrit and Vedic Chanting, along with classes on Hatha yoga, meditation, proper sitting and breathing. Their self-study plans for the first month is to study and contemplate on Gurudeva’s writings – the Living with the Himalayan Masters and Inner Dialogue.
The students and teachers adopted the system of eating meals only twice a day and will be having their brunch at 10 am and dinner at 7 pm. They will be cooking their own brunch. Once the food has been prepared and served, the students chant the 15th chapter of the Bhagavad-gita and the ashram meal prayers.
We all know that the Gurukulam was very dear to our beloved Swami Veda and he laid much emphasis on the continuity of the teachings through long-term Gurukulam studies at the ashram. We feel humbled to be able to continue his vision of the Gurukulam.
We seek the unseen blessings of the Lineage and pray at the feet of the Masters for our self-purification so that this endeavour may be successful. I am sure that the Gurukulam will provide an opportunity for all of us to learn, practice, and live the teachings of the Tradition.
We are grateful to everyone who continues to contribute towards this vision, inlcuding our DMT trustees, AHYMSIN family members, teachers, Ashram sahayakas and all well-wishers. We seek Swami Ritavan’s continued guidance on the path forward.