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

2013 Sangha Gathering

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

(Note: slideshow at end of article)

Swami Veda takes the Vow of Silence

On the morning of Shivaratri, Swami Veda Bharati took a 5-7 year vow of silence before the sacred fire. Many of us gathered at the yajnashala to witness this sacred event. The purna ahuti, final offerings, of the 2010 - 2013 practice were also given.

Here are my notes on the morning Swami Veda took his vow of silence.

Swami Veda Bharati at the fire, Agni.

Strong winds, almost oceanic, came in great waves through the trees.

The crack of dead wood under the axe as great pieces of wood were made smaller for the fire. Then wood passed from priest to priest into the fire.

Akhanda mandala karam….

The final offerings were made of the last 3-year practice of the worldwide sangha: The expanded Gayatri.

Then the sound of Swami Veda’s voice softened yet becoming more full at the same time. I thought “Can I hold this voice, this perfect container, this full ocean vessel?”

More prayers, offerings of ghee and samagree, a mix of fragrant herbs. Swami Veda, hands over face, then fire, then face. Offering (touching, purifying) eyes, ears …. Then, finally

Om sham.

The bija mantra of peace, his last words.

The lines proceeded toward the fire and past Swami Veda Bharati. Swamiji smiled such a full blessing. I looked into these faces from so many lands, speaking so many languages, all held close in the guru’s palm. “These are my brothers and sisters, every last one of them. More than that,” I thought, “each face is my own face. Is it possible? You are me. I am you.”

The new practices he gave the previous day officially began on that same auspicious day: The Mahavakya Om Kham Brahma and mentally repeating and pondering the meaning of any of the stanzas of Shiva Sankalpam astu or its refrain: Tan me manah Siva sankalpam astu.

That night, the all night vigil of the Night of Shiva began with Swami Veda present from start to finish. Shivaratri contained all of us along with it like stars in a bowlful of sky. A collective 10 day silence retreat began for many.

Continuum

If you missed the 2013 Sangha Gathering at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, don’t feel bad. That which was being taught during the gathering is unfolding each day with our continuing practice. This time can bring a positive shift in our focus, our sankalpa (resolve) and a new depth in meditation whether we were physically present at the gathering or not. Wherever we are we are together in the force field of the Guru.

On Thursday, 7th March, Swami Veda said “only through Sadhana will you verify all that I am saying.”
I’m not talking about what Swami Veda Bharati whimsically called the end of his 66-year Blabathon all through his last travels. Nor do I deny that much happened here in March, 2013. The force of the silence of a great teacher opens, and more and more becomes an irrevocable presence.

Swami Veda reassured us that this was not the end of his teaching. In his writing, Silence After 2013, he wrote “This little teacher’s silence will enhance your own silence and vibration,” he wrote. “The guidance for your personal meditation will intensify.” He also assured us that the regular programs would continue at SRSG, the Rishikesh ashram. He also invited us to participate in silence programs of 3 days, 10 days, 21 days and 40 days at SRSG.

Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama is where Swami Veda will be until at least mid-2015. After that, he may travel again. Be it here or elsewhere, satsangs with Swamiji will be held in silence. In select instances, he will speak with children age 8 or under. He has already given one lecture using his laptop which reflects on a big screen. From June 10th -29th a family retreat will be held at SRSG called Families of Love and Light.And then July 14th – 22nd Guru Purnima Retreats. As his health permits, Swami Veda will sit with us in silent meditations and, on occasion, give a silent lecture on his laptop.

Swamiji continues to meditate with us most evenings in his upstairs initiation room at SRSG.

A momentous event

Indeed, the 2013 gathering of the sangha was a momentous event. Many of us were meeting for the first time after many years. During the event, Swami Veda gave a series of talks on the signs of spiritual progress and traps along the spiritual path.

There were inspiring lectures, cultural events, discussions, mantra and sacred fire offerings by priests and so much that it is impossible to contain in one article. Four women took vanaprastha vows. There were daily hatha classes and group meditations twice daily.

There were so many treasured presentations. I have only described a few and those only in part.

Yoong led a panel on the four stages of life; Ashutosh spoke on the philosophy of hatha yoga. Vamadeva (Dr. David Frawley) gave two lectures. Dr. Sanjay Shastri spoke on the meaning of ritual and yajña. Dr. Tacson Fernandez gave a presentation on science and yoga. Rajini Prakash talked about her personal experiences with sewa. Shi Hong spoke on the deep ties and long history between India and China and gave us insights into those who carried and translated many Sanskrit sacred texts to China.

Our much loved Pierre Lefebvre, returned for this event from Quebec with his wife Meena, and shared his personal experiences as a gurukulam student, teacher and resident here; then he asked audience members to share one thing that Swami Veda said that had a profound effect on our lives. Several of us felt that this hour was a deeply meaningful experience for them.

Swami Ma Radha created a perfect flow of excerpts from Swami Veda lectures in a talk about the origins of the Himalayan Tradition, from Hiranyagarbha to the present and how our meditation practice leads us back to the universal consciousness and its origins.

Dr. Stoma Parker spoke with enthusiasm, affection and humor about Yoga Psychology in terms of working in collaboration in our large family and living in a universal heart field. He said that he felt that families are not just biological entities but more about the ways in which we reach out and love one another. It was more a matter of how we work within our families and how we deal with the assignment of emotional purification. He said that it was important to let go of our expectations and cultivate a sense of humor. He said that agreeing to live with one another even in the disagreeable parts of relationships, to be mirrors for one another and to communicate lovingly when those things arise---even in the midst of conflict. Learning how to live with one another’s egos can help attenuate the ego. He emphasized the importance of ahimsa even to our own selves. He said that it was important to take care not to be too self critical by telling us of the American expression “If all you have in your hand is a hammer, then everything you see looks like a nail.”  He said that while self effort was important living in the field of grace was necessary to raise us higher. He also talked about neuroplasticity, how the brain reshapes itself and the “we-maps” that we create in our brains of our interconnections with others. Finally, he said that the spiritual path is about love.

Shri Bharat Bhushan is the recipient of the first prestigious Padmashri Award for Yoga which honors Indians who have served humanity. Swami Bhushan is plainspoken and elegant. He shared some of his personal experiences with Swami Veda including the exchanges of haiku poetry. Swami Veda had written a book of haiku and given it to Shri Bhushanji, who explained that he could only respond by writing some of his own haiku and sending them to Swami Veda. This was the start of Bhushanji’s writing many Haiku poems.

There was a beautiful panel on the meanings of prayers and mantras offered by members of the Spiritual Committee. They answered questions from the audience and discussed the power, purpose and transformative power of the mantra and the sound body of a mantra (including some specific mantras), the divine speech, the spanda that brings the universe into creation as you hold the mantra in your awareness. They also described humbly and clearly how the subtleties of the mantra guide you deeper and sharpen the buddhi, the discriminating aspect of your mind. There were other worthy topics covered such as the mantras for various traditions given for different religious traditions for use in the full moon meditations. One initiator pointed out that mantra is not always the start of meditation. Meditation is where the mind flows on a steady stream and for some it is done without mantra. Swami Rama gave at least one initiation without a mantra. For most however, mantra meditation is fundamental to meditation in our tradition. Special mantras were described as vehicles to strengthen the grooves of the personal mantra for those who practice with mantras. One person asked an interesting question about how can one become an initiator; that brought a chuckle from the mantra initiators as it was explained that they were surprised when the tradition had chosen them to be designated as mantra initiators.  Another asked how can mantra help to bring you to a level of wisdom that helps you to experience a depth of detachment and impermanence. The answers were given by two initiators, one, that mantra takes you beyond mental constructs, while another replied that it strengthens the buddhi. So much more was given in this panel discussion. Of all the gifts of presenters, with perhaps the exception of Swami Veda’s talks, this panel discussion went so deep as to make it one of the most important hours of the 2013 Sangha gathering to hear.

Ammaji, Lalita Arya, introduced the children of KHEL who, in colorful Garhwali costumes, gave exuberant dance and music presentations. Ammaji also gave an inspiring talk on the mission of KHEL and on sewa, which is a physical manifestation of compassion done without attachment.

Swamiji introduced the idea of his possibly travelling after mid-2014 [which has since become mid-2015] while maintaining silence. He has asked us to talk with our center leaders and teachers to discuss among ourselves the possibilities, within certain parameters. His four assistants, Medha, Tejas, Tinyu, and Linda, spoke to us about this in one session. If you have not learned of this, talk with your Center leaders or nearby teachers.

We also met and learned some of the work of SRSG’s new general manager, Dr. K.K. Upreti, who is also an environmentalist and a journalist. Even with a busy schedule, he found time to write articles on three of the cultural events of the 2013 sangha gathering here that were published in The Hindustan Times: Prakriti’s dance casts a spell (March 9, 2013) on Prakriti Bhaskar’s role as both an excellent performer and educator of Bharatanatyam dance; Kathak dancer enthralls audience (March 6, 2013) on famous dancer Astha Dixit which combined Kathak with Sufi dance; and Balinese dance casts a spell at SRSG (March 6, 2013) on the spellbinding Balinese sacred temple dance presented by dancers from the Sacred Art Ashram Gandhi Puri of Bali.

Other cultural events included a Zen Raga with Charley Miyamoto, Barun Kumar Pal playing Hansa Veena, and Shri Dutt Sharma and his family, dhrupad (classical singing). A delightful afternoon entertainment was an Open Mic program facilitated by Pierre Lefebvre and filled with song, dance, and recital (often of original compositions) by members of the sangha; it is hard to describe how pleasurable this was.

There were also discussions and presentations about the past, present and future work that goes on at SRSG and around the world.

Those who agreed to be tested for a silence study were tested in our lab on the effects of silence and meditation.

Rajini Prakash gave an overview of the event in an earlier article: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1303Mar/13.html

Two New Practices and Two New Books

Swami Veda wanted everyone to receive a copy of the new book he wrote Sadhana in Applied Spirituality which went into greater depth about two new practices and other things Swamiji wished to tell us and which was written for our spiritual sangha.

Swami Veda asked us one day to read the last 2 chapters of this book by the following day. Bleary-eyed after a full day of events and practices, gourmet meals and roaming among friends, I thought that if this man can do all that he does, I should be able to keep my eyes open long enough to fulfill this meager request. So I read those last two chapters and I understood why he wanted us to do this. There, he gave us these two new practices which are a formula for the conquest of the Perceived Impossible. They are a Durga-wielding light-sword astride a tiger. Ride them. He explained how they change your mind, whatever preconceived mind you may have about something, anything, anyone—even yourself.

Om kham brahma.

This is one of two new practices Swami Veda gave at the 2013 sangha gathering. [Note: To read more about the practices: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html ]

In the mahavakya om kham brahma the Brahma refers to Brahman, the One God, the universal, all-pervading absolute---not Brahmaa, the god of creation as in Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. I asked why then there was no “n” as in Brahman. In Sanskrit, here, in om kham brahma, the “n” sound is dropped for grammatical reasons, but still refers to Brahman.

The other practice is the Shiva Sankalpam Astu.

At his first lecture of the event, Swami Veda said:

I grew up as a child reciting with the family the same hymn every night before going to sleep, the Shiva Sankalpa Hymn.

Om yaj jāgrato dūram udaiti, daivaṁ
tadu 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) … may this my mind be Shiva Sankalpa, a place of beautiful, benevolent, beneficent, peaceful, meditative resolves, thoughts, sentiments, emotions, inclinations.

These are not intended to replace one’s usual practices but to fill them, to be added to them.
Swami Veda’s other new book Kuṇḍalīnī — Stilled or Stirred discusses the following points and much more in greater detail.

In the chakra system, as I have explained in my lectures on kuṇḍalīnī and the chakras, there are two forces: the push-forces and the pull-forces: the lower energy concentrations pushing up, and the higher energy concentrations of the chakras pulling the lower ones up. That is the secret of words prāṇa and apāna, the kuṇḍalīnī meaning of those words.

Swami Veda lectures

During the 2013 Event’s Swami Veda lecture series Signs of Progress in Spirituality and in Meditation, Swami Veda also discussed some of the traps on the path. Swamiji delved into important aspects of Sadhana.

On 7th March, Swami Veda also said:

I’ve been asked a question… from a serious sadhaka.  I like to answer questions from serious sadhakas.  She says “I do this breathing, 21,600 breaths… but I cannot quite locate the svadhisthana chakra. Where is the location of the svadhisthana chakra , the second chakra?”  Let me first give a general answer.  In a magnet, is the magnetism in front or is it in the back?  People ask “are the chakras in the front in these organs – navel and heart and so on – or are they in the spine?” 

Chakra is a force field – which has no front or back.  Remember that.  It’s a force field. 

Ordinarily, in our tradition, we do not give concentrations on muladhara, on svadhisthana, except as part of an upward flow of energies.  And there are several techniques that are taught in that regard. 

Another question he answered was about the symptoms of the chakras opening.

Do they happen in sequence or do they happen spontaneously anywhere?  They begin to happen spontaneously – anywhere.  Depending how much of the psycho, neuro-physiological mechanisms you have purified in what area.  These centers … are the force fields; they are the force fields that run your psycho, neuro and physiological faculties and functions.  And how much you have purified these faculties, on that depends on where you feel the spontaneous pulsation, the spontaneous vibration or pressure or whatever. 

He gave an important admonition:

Just because you have begun to feel the little pulsation or you have begun to feel a little pressure, a little flow, that doesn’t mean you have become a great rishi now. 

[Note: Swami Veda's lectures have been recorded and are now available from AHYMSIN Publishers ([email protected]). The title of this collection is The Signs of Progress in Spirituality and in Meditation.]
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Swami Veda’s Life of Service

I have been listening to Swami Rama and Swami Veda, and before him, Dr. Arya, for most of my adult life. While it is true one can never assume one fully knows another person, let alone oneself, the longer I know Swami Veda, the more keenly aware I am that I know little of him. Yet of one thing I am sure, as I am sure of his master H.H. Swami Rama, he is a being of incomprehensible depth and compassion.

Swami Veda is a builder. No one but his guru knows all that he is building. Swami Veda has dedicated his life to his guru. More and more, that is all he is and it shines in him and in his spiritual children and grandchildren.

On 28th February, 2013, Swami Veda said:

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 in their family’s fourth or fifth generation… whatever has passed through this person in the form of words is not mine, it belongs to the tradition to the Parampara 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, “atmanam vidhi” - Know thyself.

At the first satsang of this 2013 gathering, Swami Veda reiterated:

Whatever I have spoken has come from that Tradition that flows through my Master and 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 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, to lead this strife-filled, struggling, suffering world to centuries of wisdom and peace.

This being his last lecture series for at least five years and possibly forever, permit me a word about his spoken teachings. He built word houses born of mystery that reached beyond and rearranged the nuts and bolts of our lives. Values, goals, careers, relationships changed.

Swami Veda has changed the lives of strangers - though perhaps no one is a stranger to him.
Dr. Arya/Swami Veda knew his students deeply and, wherever we were, wrapped us close in the Guru’s light. In the early days with Dr. Arya we were a close-knit group. He wanted us all to be family to one another. In 1970, we were his first group after his initiation into Samadhi by Shri Swami Rama. He created neighborhood groups that met regularly in addition to the big group satsangs with him 6 or 7 days a week at his house and later at the Minneapolis Meditation Center and his continuing worldwide travels which had begun decades earlier.

He could see that our numbers would grow. In Minnesota, he trained group leaders to support our guru family with sensitivity and practicality. We were to first find out if someone was hungry or in need of physical help. If that was okay, then we were to make sure that no one felt lonely or shy and to bring people into the family. Only once the physical and emotional bases were sound could we then start teaching and reviewing the practices. In the 1970’s, most groups shared meditations, pot luck meals and discussions on spiritual practices or concerns. Of course, this family has evolved into centers in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, with AHYMSIN teachers, initiators and teacher training programs worldwide. The sangha gatherings held in Rishikesh at SRSG have brought together our guru family members of many countries, religions, languages, and walks of life. Some go back 5 generations, knowing Dr. Arya and Swami Veda.

Swami Veda’s Lectures at the 2013 Gathering of the Sangha

Swami Veda gave an important lecture series on stations of spiritual progress and traps along the spiritual path. Swamiji said that we could request the audio files of these lectures or wait for the book. The transcription of his last lecture was sent out to those on the AHYMSIN mailing list. I am told that others are forthcoming. Here is a memorable excerpt.

On Thursday, March 7th, he said:

…One question that is sent to me with some frequency is that at a certain point in my meditation, he says, she says, when I arrive at a certain level of stillness I become afraid. The fear in meditation is quite common and is a great block. 

…As some of you know, I used to be a scuba diver. I’ve dived for many, many, many years.  A scuba diver has this fear; I mean if you are at 50 feet there is no difference between being at 50 feet and being at 150 feet.  But you check you altimeter and if you are at 50 feet, you are scared to go down just as you were scared, first, to jump in. Go down to 150 feet there is no problem---just as comfortable as you were at 50 feet or you were at 25 feet. Okay?


My formula … in life and in meditation, what you are afraid of – go to it. Go see “what is it I am afraid of”?  I’m scared of a dark room. Let me go in to see what is there to really scare me? Is there some lion, or is there a snake, or is there a demon, or is there somebody hiding there? What is in the dark room? Let me go look. And when you go toward that, the fear runs away– vanishes. 

One is always afraid of the unfamiliar. The next step of experience in meditation is unfamiliar. So you have this sense of “Ummm, shall I go?” Hesitating. “No, I better come out.  Suppose I go in and never manage to come out?” Don’t worry. You will come out. You will come back. Your karma, your …vyutthana samskaras….

Vyutthana.  I have written about it in my work on the Yoga Sutras.  There are two kinds of samskaras:  vyutthana samskaras and samadhi samskaras.  Samadhi samskaras that your meditation samskaras builds up and builds up and builds up and impels you towards that path. 

Vyutthana samskaras, your karmic forces, your worldly samskaras… they force you out. Make you get up.  The word vyutthana means just “getting up”. Okay. That prevents you from settling down. So you have enough vyutthana samskaras and they pull you out. Don’t worry. You’re not going to get into some beautiful heaven of infinity from which you will never return. I wish you could get into that beautiful heaven of eternity. When my master initiated me (I cannot give you full description of that) three days and three nights of whatever world. Every now and then, especially on the first day, he kept calling me “Usharbudh, open your eyes”.

I forced my eyes open. And then he let me go in again. And I asked him, “why did you keep pulling me out of that heaven?” And he said, “If I don’t, you will permanently stay there and my work will not get done.”  Well, big deal! You got me working day and night. Is that fair? (laughing) Sometimes I quarrel with my gurus – they don’t mind.

So, there is nothing to this fear except your own samskaras, your hesitation toward the unfamiliar, just go to it. Go to the next step. Go to the next depth. Just dive in. See what is there to fear. Be curious about it. What is there something to fear? As you will cross that boundary, the next level of stillness will come to you. If you cross the boundary of that hesitation, of that fear, the next step of stillness and energy will come to you. And over a period of time, over a period of time, another awakening will happen. 

During his talks, he repeatedly asked us to relax our foreheads and witness our thoughts and emotions. He gave so much and I would strongly recommend listening to the audio files of these lectures or wait for the book.

In one talk, Swami Veda said:

How many people remember to do two or three minutes of meditation many times in the day?

A few. You come, you listen to the lecture, and you walk out. And the lecture you gather in your apron, and before you leave, you just shake it off.

Form this new habit, every two or three hours for two or three minutes wherever you are, standing, sitting, lying down. Just relax your forehead, feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils. Breathe in slowly, gently, smoothly. Exhale and inhale with your mantra.  Maintain the flow. Let your entire consciousness become an even-flowing stream. Remaining in this wave of consciousness, gently open your eyes, and may you walk in life aware that you are a wave in the ocean of the Waves of Beauty and Bliss. God bless you all….

Please accept my apologies for not being able to see my friends personally. The spirit is willing, but the body has its limits. It cannot do it anymore. I’m sorry we meet this way. God bless you.

On March 1st, he said:

It is not by denouncing relationships that you will find renunciation. Renunciation is not denunciation. Some people think that renunciation is denunciation. It is not by denouncing the relationships, but by bringing them to their fullest conclusion, to their richest level. And then you will transcend to the next level – because that is where God is, because that is where love is. You keep hearing “God is love. God is love. God is love.” Have you brought your little love to the level where you say, “Yes, this is God.”

Also on March 1st, he said:

How is everybody’s forehead doing?  Are you a little bit more free of worrying and anxieties? …if you can drop one or two old habits and cultivate one or two new habits, then your visit …will be a success….

Not 10 minutes passed when Swamiji interjected:

Some foreheads are still wrinkled! What happened? Did I say something worrisome? What are you worrying about? Whatever you are worrying about there is nothing you can do about it sitting here. You might as well forget it and enjoy a worry-free life for a short time….

Form this new habit, every two or three hours for two or three minutes wherever you are, standing, sitting, lying down. Just relax your forehead, feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils. Breathe in slowly, gently, smoothly. Exhale and inhale with your mantra.  Maintain the flow. Let your entire consciousness become an even-flowing stream. Remaining in this wave of consciousness, gently open your eyes, and may you walk in life aware that you are a wave in the ocean of the Waves of Beauty and Bliss.

This is just the barest sampling of what he said in his last talks.

Current work and future plans

The 2013 gathering was abundant in peace, friendship, inspiration and beauty but also in practicality. There were earnest discussions about how to proceed. Future plans and directions. There is a Future Force group who met in tandem with the Spirituality in Families Retreat just before the 2013 gathering of the sangha. Some of them have been meeting since the 2011 Youth and Yoga Retreat on Skype.

We learned much from Dr. K.K. Upreti, SRSG general manager; Sadhana Mishra, AHYMSIN’s General Secretary; Dave Hume, outgoing AHYMSIN Senior Vice President; Carolyn Hume, AHYMSIN’s Adhyatma Samiti, our worldwide spiritual advisory committee, spokesperson; Bhola Shankar Dabral of Dhyana Mandiram Trust and AHYMSIN Publishers; Dr. G Prabhu, Director of the Meditation and Research Lab; Chuck Linke of HYT-TTP, Silvia Baratta in SRSG Guest Relations, and Swami Ma Radha, Academic Director Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, to name a few. From them, we learned just some of the work of AHYMSIN at SRSG, which houses the world headquarters for AHYMSIN.

Bhola Shankar Dabral, J.P. Bahuguna and Michelle Kinsey described the work of the Publications Department which  includes the Book Store, the editing and digitization of old sound files, the publication and distribution of Swami Veda’s audios, videos and books, as well as joint ventures with other Indian publishers. [Note: Please see article earlier in this newsletter: Audios for You!] The archiving project is another important initiative of the Publications Department and includes Swami Veda’s articles and books in many languages, his unpublished writings, transcriptions of many lectures, his sound recordings, and personal notes. Michelle Kinsey welcomed visitors to come to SRSG and help transcribe lectures or do other possible volunteer work. Publications has also been developing a newsletter, a Facebook page, and is in the process of developing a website that hopefully one day will offer downloadable audio and video files of Swami Veda’s lectures in many languages. The Publications Department also includes the state-of-the-art Swarangan Sound Recording Studio. “Swaras has to do with rhythms, while angan means corridor so the name could mean corridor of rhythms or corridor of melodies,” said Bhola Shankar Dabral.

Dhyana Mandiram Trust also shared some of its development work in the local community, its funding sources and its ties with AHYMSIN and SRSG.

Swami Ma Radha, academic director of the Education Department described many of the programs. This department includes the 3-5-year residential Gurukulam program with set curriculum, text studies, Sanskrit, and a rigorous daily schedule of study and practices. It also includes the guest program, Sadhana and Sewa program, special courses, children’s programs, summer camps and silence programs. She introduced David Rodrigo, who works as an administrator and organizer within the Education Department, and Ram Prakash, who acts as guest program coordinator, giving orientations, helping guests with individualized programs and coordinating the teachers of the basics classes.

Seven of our former Gurukulam students teach here in the ongoing guest programs. Several other students in Italy, Korea, Holland and the US, to name a few, teach in their respective countries.

Other interesting programs have evolved from Swami Veda’s guided meditations, some of which are being translated into 27 languages. Linda Billau and Swami Ma Radha are engaged in a huge, ongoing project of putting all of Swami Veda’s meditations into progressive sequences. Swami Ma Radha described this as a great tree with many branches that reach into various traditions such as Christian meditations and Buddhist meditations. These meditations will all be put in order, starting from 1-minute meditations for beginners to advanced practices.  There are many branches, many categories such as Shri Vidya practices, sushumna meditations, chakra meditations and within that, for example, heart center meditations, kuṇḍalīnī meditations and many other practices. This is a work in progress with many facets. It is a massive archiving project but is also a translation, voice training and research project.

Shri Swami Rama wanted Swami Veda to index the many different meditation practices. Two courses on cultivating a meditative voice given by Swami Veda here at SRSG have evolved from this with aspirants and teachers from many countries. Lab research is under way to measure the tension in the forehead and voice quality as participants are guiding meditations. The swamis and initiators will continue to offer this training while Swami Veda is in silence.

SRSG has also heard from several Indian universities who want to send groups of their students to SRSG to train them as meditation practitioners and teachers. The first group will come from an ashram in Bali and will include 10 English-speaking students who will stay for 4+ months.

The Education Department will also begin to offer modules, each with a particular focus, of one week duration, preceded or followed by a spiritual tour and possibly a silence program. The TTP (Teacher Training Program) and Gurukulam program will participate in these one-week modules.

Swami Veda recently asked the initiators to develop 5 years of modules that will sometimes coincide with big events like the Mahavakya course in the fall of 2014 and the 3-year sangha gatherings of 2007.

As Rajini Prakash pointed out, “Sadhana Mishra… made an extensive presentation of Swami Veda’s plans for the five years of silence, what Swamiji would focus on, how communication would occur regarding emails, how initiations will take place and Swamiji’s possible travel plans after one year.” Rajini also discussed in her article that Chuck Linke facilitated an afternoon of sharing and discussions among various target groups. [See: http://www.bindu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=426:message-to-ahymsin-family&catid=10&Itemid=127]

People are working hard to save and organize so much that has been given over the years by Swami Veda and his master Swami Rama.

AHYMSIN Elections

There were 3-year AHYMSIN elections and election results were shared. Dr. Mohan Swami, the returning President of AHYMSIN, addressed the Sangha, followed by Shi Hong, the new Senior Vice President, as Dave Hume retired from that his service in that post. Stephen Parker (Stoma) and Idriss Raoua Ouedraogo will serve as vice presidents. Sadhana Mishra returns as the AHYMSIN General Secretary. Rajini Prakash and Tinyu Chen will serve as secretaries. Narindra Pushkarna returns as Treasurer. Brian Stenquist, Jennifer Ang Wee Har, Pandit Tejomaya (Tim Bruns), Mariella Silva, Pierre Lefebvre, Tacson Fernandez, Veena Maitra, Dr. Shirin Venkat, Lela Pierce, Chuck Linke, Carolyn Hume, Bhola Shankar Dabral, Vikash Ramnajan, and Har Prasad Manchanda will serve as members of the Executive Committee as well as one person to represent the SRSG residents and to be elected by them.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kinsey, Shi Hong, Heung Min Baik, Mariella Silva, and AHYMSIN Taiwan.

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  • 2013_Sangha_Gathering

 

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