Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
  AHYMSIN Newsletter, Issue - April 2013  

Lecture #1

by Swami Veda Bharati

February 28, 2013
at the 2013 Sangha Gathering at SRSG

Gurave namaḥ. 
Parama-gurave namaḥ. 
Parameṣhṭhi-gurave namaḥ. 
Paramparā-gurubhyo namaḥ.

Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākaraṁ vyāptaṁ yena charācharam.
Tat padaṁ darshitaṁ yena tasmai shrī-gurave namaḥ.

Hiraṇya-garbhād ārabdhām śheṣha-vyāsādi-madhyamām.
Svāmi-śhrī-rāma-pādāntāṁ vande guru-paramparām.

Om tat sat brahmārpaṇam astu.
Om śham.

Welcome to you all. Thank you for being here and warming mine and each other’s hearts by your presence.

I hope, I pray, I suggest that you use this time both for saṅgha and sādhana. While you are here, let the Sangha be truly formed so that among yourselves there is an introduction, a deepening of connections, closeness of the hearts, expressions of affection and love – not only to go back home and say, “Well, that was a good experience, although the Swami’s talks were a bit boring” – not just to go back and say, “It was a good experience,” but to make it a lasting effect for the entire Sangha, the entire community the entire family.

We are so fortunate, so rare, that we have people here from twenty five countries and you do not feel a difference of country, religion or background, from wherever you have come and you become a family. And that is what the world needs to be: a world family! And by your presence here you are setting that example.

I will try my best to join you every day at 4:30 p.m. for silent meditation and at 5:15 p.m. to continue my lifelong ‘blab-athon’ which is about to end. People ask me: “Why are you taking to silence?” Look, those who have read the newspapers in February 1947 in India, they would know that I started in February, 1947, traveling, lecturing, teaching, meeting people, concocting organizations. In different places and in different countries, hardly a day has passed without me saying some idiotic thing. Isn’t it time for me to shut up, to go inwards?

Whatever I have been able to share with you in my life, for those who have known me for five years or ten years or forty years, or some into their fourth or fifth generation of their families for their knowledge, whatever has passed through this person in the form of words is not mine; it belongs to the tradition to the paramparā of the rishis. It is they who for thousands of years have spoken the same words. For thousands of years they have been saying the same thing: “Know thyself.” In the Oracle of Delphi, in the teachings of the Upanishads: ātmanam vidhi: Know thyself.

But we try to know the whole world. We also try to know the faults of everybody, and how the galaxies are formed and how the atoms work. And whether there is a Higgs boson or not, or whether Higgs boson is truly a particle. And something I find it to be the most hilarious scientific joke of the century: to take some tiny ripple of energy and choose to call it the “God particle” because the wisdom of the rishis and yogis in their interior seeking is not taken seriously

Whatever I have spoken has come from that tradition that flows through my master and to a very, very small degree flows through me, which is not at all mine. And why do I do this? Because I wish for you to connect with that interior resource and that interior source – that interior resource and the interior source from which you can draw from the fountain of wisdom and become the guides to the big, wide, ever-fighting, quarrelsome world.

I always beseech you, and I beseech you again: Be ambitious! Be ambitious – ambitious enough to know thyself in this life. There can be no greater ambition than that. To be ambitious; then, to lead this striving, struggling, suffering world to centuries of wisdom and peace. People ask what kind of future can we expect in the coming centuries, as though the yogis were some kind of a super astrologer who can tell you which nations will be threatening, rattling what bombs three hundred years from now. That is not what we are here for. We are here to give the future centuries a direction – for you to be ambitious enough to be the kind of person who can give that direction by your mind, your words, your acts, your thoughts, your choices. Cease to live in these depressions! Cease to live in this darkness of anger! I have composed some messages for just this Sangha gathering: Sadhana in applied Spirituality.

People ask, “What is the meaning of my mantra?” People should ask, “How do I apply the meaning of my mantra to my social life, to my family life, to my emotions in life?” Our mantra initiators, of whom we have nineteen in number, also need to guide you on how to apply the meaning of your mantra to your society, your family, your relationships, based on – nothing new here that I’m saying – your choice of emotions. Your choice. You are here to learn that art.

While you are here, if you do nothing else, become mindful of your thoughts. Become mindful of your thoughts. Learn to detect your thoughts. Learn to observe your thoughts. Practice that.

What was I thinking two seconds ago?
Why was I thinking that?
Was it something creative?
Was it something loving?
Was it something critical of others?

The one person or society or country or people or present situations in which I find myself, of which I was critical seconds ago in my mind, could I have been appreciative instead? I have made these suggestions and I would like you to read these and that is why I have called it Sadhana in Applied Spirituality.

There are two kinds of spirituality. There is ‘armchair spirituality,’ like armchair traveling: You sit down in a nice easy chair and read National Geographic, and you are traveling. The other is the actual travel. And many of us spend a lot of our time addicted to this ‘armchair spirituality.’

We sit there and imagine what God might be like, and send a three-page letter to Swami and ask him to explain what is God. And if Swami cannot answer that three-page letter because he has four hours of emails every night to look at, then they send me a reminder. People actually send me a reminder: “Swami, I am reminding you of your duty as a Swami. I wrote you three days ago and you have not replied.” I get these appreciations as well.

So use this time to master the art of the observation of your thoughts. What was the thought I was thinking two seconds ago, five seconds ago, when I woke up this morning? Why was I thinking that? Instead of an emotion that led me to criticize a person or a situation, could I have chosen in my mind to feel an appreciation and gratitude for other qualities, other positive components of that situation? Thus, learning to replace all that is of the dross.

Humanity has become excuse me, a garbage producing machine. There are almost islands of garbage floating on some parts of the sea. But I am not talking of the plastic garbage; that is the byproduct of the garbage we are producing with our minds. From this moment on, what do you want your mind to produce? Meditation will give you guidance. It will give you a peacefulness. But fifteen minutes of meditation and the rest of the time: twenty three hours, forty five minutes of what? And then again fifteen minutes of meditation. “Swamiji, when I sit down to meditate, I get all these disturbing kinds of thoughts arising. Why do these thoughts arise? Where do they come from?” Because that is what you have gathered for twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes; when you close your eyes, you see them in the mirror of your mind.

So your applied spirituality is in those twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes. So first I have given you the easy practice: Learn to observe your thoughts.

I have given you a more difficult practice that you should do while you are here. Can you guess what it is? Learn to observe the state of your forehead. And when you meet each other say, “How is your forehead doing?” Every gathering we have here, every time I speak I give the same practice; I have been giving that for a decade: keep your forehead relaxed. Very difficult, right? Learn to observe the state of your forehead. Just that external part of your musculature can trigger a different mood, a different mode in your neocortex and in your limbic system. Try it! You make so many experiments with your life. Can’t you make this experiment seriously for the next ten days? And see what happens?

In the last portion of this little collection of compositions, Sadhana in Applied Spirituality, the last chapter is titled “Internal Sadhana,” in which I have given you some recitations to strengthen your saṅkalpa. I was planning to record these recitations and I haven’t gotten around to doing it. I am hoping to do them tonight. Those CDs of the recitations will be available to you to strengthen your saṅkalpa, to strengthen your spiritual resolve – and to keep reinforcing them.

We have a family elder taking the vows of vānaprastha during this event, and this is one of the mantras we recite during those vows:

व्रतानाम् व्रतपते व्रतम् चरिष्यामि तत् ते प्रप्रवीमि।
तत् शकेयं तेनर्द्यासम् इदम् अहम् अमृतात् सप्तम् उपैमिं॥

vratānām vratapate vratam cariṣyāmi tat te prapravīmi|
tat śakeyaṁ tenardyāsam idam aham amṛtāt saptam upaimiṁ.

“Oh the Lord guardian of vows and resolves,” enunciated the ancient Vedic Rishi. “Oh the Lord and Guardian and Protector of Vows and resolves, I undertake this vow and this resolve, this I declare to Thee,” – not to the whole world, but to God – “may I, by Your grace, succeed in following this vow. Following this resolve, may I thereby grow. Here and now I abandon all untruth and surrender myself to Truth.”

This is for strengthening your resolve for practicing applied spirituality.

There is also a hymn that we recite here in the ashram every night. It is known as the “Shiva Sankalpa Hymn.” This is a rather difficult-to-read translation here. It is difficult to read because you need to read a sentence, sit back and contemplate – and then read the next sentence. You can take a year to read these twenty pages if you like. It can take that long. The “Shiva Sankalpa Hymn” is the hymn of beautiful, benevolent, beneficial, beneficent, thoughts, resolves, sentiments and emotions, whereby you may become a veritable Shiva, the benevolent, the ever-beneficent God. [Note: Please see http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html that contains information about the Shiva Sankalpa Hymn.]

I will recite the six mantras and we will record them for you: Om yaj jāgrato dūram udaiti, daivaṁ. We recite it every night because the night, which you waste, is the most beautiful, sweetest, most useful, most helpful time for cultivating your thoughts, for cultivating your sentiments, for cultivating your emotions. You just need to know the little tricks of the art – how to use the night.

I wish you would learn how to use the night. That is part of your applied spirituality. I am not saying that you should give up sleeping, but learn to use that sleep as an instrument of purifying yourself. I grew up as a child reciting with my family the same hymn every night before going to sleep: the “Shiva Sankalpa Hymn”:

Om yaj jāgrato dūram udaiti, daivaṁ
tad u suptasya tathaivaiti
dūraṅgamam jyotiṣhāṁ jyotir ekam
tan me manaḥ śhiva-saṅkalpam astu.

That which travels far while I am awake,
which likewise wanders far while I am asleep,
this far going one light of many lights –
jyotiṣhāṁ jyotir ekam – one light of many lights,     
may this my mind be Shiva Sankalpa,
a place of beautiful, benevolent, beneficent, peaceful,
meditative resolves, thoughts, sentiments, emotions, inclinations.

As we go along, I will explain this more. I am sorry that I cannot meet you personally. It is very difficult for me. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is retired. His Holiness the Pope has resigned. Why doesn’t a small fry like me have the freedom to withdraw into silence? It takes me all of these twenty-four hours to be resting, to be silent to do my internal things before I sit before you. I am sharing with you my cardiac energy to speak for forty-five minutes, and some days I may not be able to do that. So please don’t press my body. Listen. Resolve. Apply.

Keep your forehead relaxed and do that – especially at stressful times. Do that especially at challenging times. Let us say that your airplane is late, or your bus is late. By wrinkling your forehead, it is not going to come any faster. I don’t know who gave you the idea that the solution to every problem in the world is to wrinkle the forehead.

Can you form one new habit? Speak gently. No. Feel gentle thoughts. Thereby you will speak gently.

Those who wish to sit at the yajña can sit there. The whole idea of the yajña is to take your very essences and offer them into the divine fire saying Na mama: “Not mine, not mine” – “I burn it into the divine fire. I make myself an offering into the divine fire.” So those who wish to sit there, please benefit from that experience. Feel free.

Those who are not staying here on campus, unfortunately, you’ll come in the mornings and stay here during the day. I hope you will find it comfortable. I saw last night that they have put sixty beds for your daytime rest. You can go and rest there if you are staying elsewhere. But please, if you use a bed to rest, before you leave it, make it up for others because we don’t have a hotel staff to fix it up for you. You be the volunteers.

There is one thing I want to do today. It is getting to be 6 o’clock soon and I don’t want you to miss your dinner. This event has been in preparation for the last three years. There is one person who has helped to organize, who has publicized, who has remained in communication with, and who in the last six years has maintained connections among, all the different arms of the AHYMSIN family. Constantly in communication behind the scenes, holding a position only as a mantra initiator, holding no high administrative position, helping me immensely in this way. Normally we give an honor at the end of a series. but at the end of the series, on the Purnahuti day I will do the final fire offerings, and at twelve noon I will start my silence on 10th of March, so I will not have the time for that at that time.

I hope that many people will come along as a result of this Sangha gathering who will help this very special humble person with the work she has been doing and, as I said, through communication, keeping all the arms of the AHYMSIN family in touch with each other. The only person, only leader without claiming leadership has managed to do that. Can you guess which one of you? May I ask her to come forward please. You know who I am calling. Please stand and accept my appreciation. Thank you, Carolyn. God bless you. You have been invaluable. Don’t you agree with my choice?

And the third thing. Before you all go. Now don’t get jealous. I also have for everyone a special shawl with the Gayatri mantra imprinted on it for your meditation practice and everyone will receive this as a gift from me to take home. It has the Gayatri mantra written all over it. It will look very nice on you when you sit to meditate. There is also a new book which has been published just for this occasion: “Kundalini Stilled or Stirred. How do you want your kundalinī served, stirred or stilled”? That is the title of the book.

“Swamiji when I sit to meditate, my body starts moving around. My head starts shaking. I feel this tremble. I must be arriving at a very high place.” So I asked, you want your kundalinī stirred or stilled? We are on the path of ‘stilled’ not on the path of ‘stirred.’ You can take this and study the meaning of kundalinī in the context of what we are aspiring to achieve. And also watching your thoughts and replacing them with Shiva Sankalpa. Make that resolve now to keep your forehead relaxed. And every hour or two, when waking up, before breakfast, before going to a lecture, before going somewhere, in between activities, take two or three minutes of self-awareness repeatedly throughout the day. Apply that. Don’t forget. Starting when? Tomorrow evening, right? (Laughter)

Just bring your mind’s attention to yourself.
Relax your forehead. Feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils.
Maintain the feel of the flow, breathing gently, slowly, smoothly with your mantra flowing.
Maintain the flow.
Observe how the mind, mantra and the breath are flowing together as a single stream.
Your entire consciousness becomes an even flowing stream.
Without breaking the flow, gently open your eyes.

Resolve to do this practice for two or three minutes many times during the day.

Resolve to keep the forehead relaxed.

Resolve to observe your disturbing thoughts and replace them with beautiful benevolent and the beneficent thoughts.

May God and Guru bless us all.

Editor’s Note:

We hope to publish transcripts of subsequent lectures in future editions of the newsletter.

Sadhana in Applied Spirituality can be found that this link: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html

Hard copies of Sadhana in Applied Spirituality were given to participants at the 2013 Sangha Gathering when they received their welcome kits. For information about Sadhana in Applied Spirituality in hard copy, please inquire at AHYMSIN Publishers: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/Book-and-DVD-Orders.html . It is currently an in-family publication and is not for sale to the public.

For Kundalini Stilled or Stirred, please contact AHYMSIN Publishers: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/Book-and-DVD-Orders.html

To read The Last Statement of Swami Veda Bharati before Taking the Five-Year Vow of Silence at the Gathering of the Sangha: http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Swami-Veda-Bharati/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html

To read Swamiji’s writing about Chitta Prasaadanam: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1212Dec/01.html

There are also other articles and pictures in this edition of the newsletter about the 2013 Sangha Gathering.
In addition, for more about the gathering in words and pictures, please read Rajini Prakash’s article at http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1303Mar/13.html .

Pictures courtesy of Michelle Kinsey and Bhola Dabral.