Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

AHYMSIN Open House — Europe

by Rajini Prakash

An AHYMSIN “Open House” initiative took place on 26th April, 2014. This was an opportunity for sadhakas to interact with a panel of senior teachers, Adhyatma Samiti (Spiritual Committee) members and Executive Committee members via Skype. During this call the topics were Silence, Emotional Purification, Relaxation. Simultaneous Skype calls were held in different regions.  This call was hosted by Rajini Prakash. The Panel and Topics: Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati, Emotional Purification; Wolfgang Bischoff, Silence; Bhola Shankar Dabral, Relaxation. Participants were from: Portugal, Spain, Italy, China Mainland, India, Scotland, Mauritius, Greece, Croatia, Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, and England.

Brief summary/ excerpts of the questions and responses given by Panel Guides: Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati (SN), Wolfgang Bischoff (WB), and Bhola Shankar Dabral (BSD).

Question:  How do I prepare myself to lead a silence programme?

Response (SN): Practice silence 0.5 hr a day, then a weekend and slowly build it to a 3 day silence programme, 7 day silence programme, 10 day silence programme. Teach from experience.
If he (the practitioner) has practiced already and then experienced the difference between movement, meditation, japa etc., never to have a dead mind but to have a conscious mind that does  not engage in the senses. First practice and then lead from your own experience.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Question: Why does one feel sleepy during sadhana?

Response (SN): The person may be not be breathing correctly. Swami Rama guided us to maintain an even diaphragmatic breath. The time of practice is also important. Something in your mind may be resisting the practice. The body invents excuses to prevent the practice, for example, pain when you sit or memories. Brain the trickster, is creating a resistance. You can overcome these aspects by practice.

Question: Member who visited SRSG and carried out silence is finding it difficult to maintain the routine.  What can I do to maintain the highest level of awareness not to let my ego grab the old patterns and re-shape everything the way it was before?

Response (SN): One way from all the Masters is to practice, practice, practice. Turn inwards, maintain awareness, - will be years and years of awareness

Question: However, one may refine one’s ego through sadhana, there is no way it will annihilate itself. How then can self-effort lead to self-realisation?

Response (SN): If we look at the great sages they have lost their ego. The body has no more purpose and dissolves itself. As long as we live in this world we need an ego. Eventually self-realisation is not having the identification of the body and mind; making the self more sattvic through the practices.
Self-realisation is realising the universal self and not the individual self.

By acting in the world with compassion and love and continuing in the worldly aspects from that point. It helps to understand that you are not one individual, but are an ocean of consciousness.

Let go of the small self and surrender to the divine – we are all one.

Wolfgang on Emotional Purification: Two yrs before Swami Rama left his body he said he would teach in silence as the tradition has been doing over the years. Since 1993 he has been teaching in silence.

I have learnt something about emotional purification as a preliminary to go into silence.

I studied in depth the routes of going into silence without pretending to be holy, e.g. higher self lower self, etc. Whenever there is a hindrance make that the object of your concentration.

I have found 7 important steps from my experience & practice.

The 5th step is the most important.

We cannot inhale, we cannot exhale without realising the flow of the breath as the power of the being. Most teachers teach inhale when you do this and exhale when you do this – like a military science. The breath comes from the celestial world as a present (gift) – we only observe.

By doing so we are creating an atmosphere for deep relaxation – we begin to listen – the ability to listen is one of the greatest arts of spiritual progress. Out of my 35 yrs of teaching the most important ability is not to talk, not to give lectures, but to listen – listening to myself and to others.

One of my observations is that I was preaching, preaching but not seeing the individual in front of me – my insight was that I was pretending to be a superior person, not seeing myself in others. One preliminary is to listen.

To learn to observe in such a deep way that the identification with the observer happens.

If you want to find the source of the river you have to swim against the current.

We have to change this culture of pretending to be a yoga teacher –

Silence requires emotional purification.

E.g.: there is a ritual of forgiveness.

A psychiatrist was asked to work with prisoners. There were 30 prisoners in chains in this prison. Nobody wanted to talk with them or work there; it was hell on earth.

The psychiatrist replied, “I will do so – I will stay in a room, go through their files and go through a forgiveness ritual saying please forgive me, I love you. After four months there were changes. After 4 yrs all the prisoners were released and healed. All this time I only cleaned my own self inside and then identified why destiny brought him there and carried out emotional purification for all of the others.”

Question: When one is in a state of anxiety is it right to do meditation?

Response (WB): No it is not good, the anxiety will increase. The inner state will increase and intensify. Where your anxiety is there is your way - learn to listen to the anxiety and it will lose its power. Don’t play phony – do exactly that which you want to run away from.

According to Sankhya philosophy – to remove ignorance you can do it through deep realisation and understanding going through the darkness of life and coming to reality.

The mystery of the Easter celebration is that through the crucifixion we come to light.

We can learn to understand all the aspects of suffering – by understanding, pure deep self-study and with the help of a teacher who can guide.

We make a big mistake in yoga that by identifying aspects as psychological disturbances. Learn not to play holy by pretending that spirituality is something different from your personality. Learn to study, understand and control them so that your mind will be able to learn over a period of time.

The highest skill is to learn to listen.

Question: I have just recently come back from a 5 week visit at SRSG / HIHT / Rishikesh. During this time I have completed a great deal of silence and now I find it quite challenging to get back to my routine at home. I'm very much out of focus at work basically.  Talking to other members who have gone through such processes it seems like I am not alone with this experience.  After silence it feels like the old structures, old frameworks of references and values are broken down and are falling apart. It seems like a big chaos before the new structures build up. The old is not working any more the new is not visible yet. What can I do to maintain the highest level of awareness not to let my ego grab the old patterns and re-shape everything the way it was before. What particular practices shall be used to make this transition and transformation smoother and easier?

Response (WB): This is a complex question. I will need to discuss and understand more before responding. The person may write to me about this.

Question:  Over the past 8 years there has been a transformation in the way of my life and my purpose, suffering from doubt and sometimes hard to make clear my path. Even doing yoga asanas and meditation regularly to keep this feeling, sometimes doubt and uncertainty rises. What could help me in this field to overcome this situation?

Response (WB): By strengthening our will power. By setting goals in very little steps.

We set huge goals and become impatient when we do not achieve it.

The real essence of spiritual training is to learn with patience from day to day simple activities.

Strengthen your goals – small ones. Swami Rama said, “Fix and aim and work for it.”

Our realisations – first we realise what we are not able to do – be merciful with your doubt.

One of our weaknesses is how we judge, so stop judging. Let us become simple – listen, observe and practice regularly.

Bhola Shankar Dabral on Relaxation:

Relaxation is the process of involving your body and mind together. There are many things one does to relax –such as mental, physical activities or special methods of relaxation. Some use guided imagination or music to relax them, but all these seem to be the outer stimulating things which divert your total attention from the activities of the body.

What is really needed is to train oneself in relaxation process, the process of relaxing our own body, our own being and at the same time relaxing the mind and the body completely, but the question is how to go about it.

In yoga practice of the Himalayan Tradition we follow the meditative sequencing of relaxing oneself completely. It takes your attention to one-pointedness and does not divert your attention.  After postures and relaxation you are able to explore much more then of the practice.

There are two key principles of relaxation practice –

  • Moving the attention to your whole being (which gradually starts with one set of body muscles)
  • Breath awareness during the whole practice.

How do we start relaxation?  – The simplest way is to start the practice with making your group of muscles tense and then release/relax them – In Swami Rama’s book Exercise without Movement, this basic practice is described. That’s how we start learning to relax. Once we understand what tension is all about and what is tension in the body parts, then we go a little further and start practising the deeper relaxation techniques – 31 points, and 61 points. In relaxation practice and process the mind and body both are focused and attentive.

Audio recordings and CDs by Swami Veda Bharati systematically teach you and guide you through these very practices including the preparation for yoga nidra, which starts with the practice of relaxation first. 

Question: The mind keeps on chattering during meditation. Is there a way out?

Response (BSD): Breath is the vehicle of the mind. Mind follows the breath. That’s why in the basic meditation practice, we start with breath awareness. In that process, mind doesn’t go outwards and the chatter ends.

Question: What is the purpose of 61-point and Shithali Karan? Do they address different aspects?

Response (BSD): Sheetalikaran [Sanskrit: Shithali Karana] is a Hindi word for relaxation and the process of coordination of the breath with the inner motion of attention. The attention moves with breath downward and upward, with exhalation and inhalation and start from the crown of our head. 61points is a process of complete relaxation.

So the purpose of 61 points and Shithali Karana is to prepare your body and mind for higher practice such as yoga nidra, yogic sleep.

A couple of practices before we start Shithali Karana  –  we need to know if our  breath is calm and serene. Is it flowing through your nostrils? Are we breathing using our diaphragm? And then we need to learn to relax – start with the group of muscles of the face, tense them and release them – same with other parts of the body – in that process you become aware of tension progressing to relaxation. The complete relaxation is subtler then tense-and-release practice. We understand and learn systematically. Swami Rama has mentioned the technique of Sheetali Karana, relaxation.

WB: From studying the scriptures one learns to watch their language. Our language regarding the breathing techniques has to be clear. Sankhya philosophy wants us to become philosophers, not little students with small minds. Learn self esteem by observing yourself and how the presence of God is  showing itself to you.

Work hard on the breath. We start teaching to observe the flow of the breath.

When a student asks am I right or wrong – you have failed in your duty because the student has felt controlled to ask this question – we need to teach to practice through freedom through curiosity and exploration, and freedom occurs – the main thing is to stop doing. Let it happen.

Question: How do we determine when a group of students are ready for a silence programme?

Response (WB): Look within if he (the teacher) is ready for silence of one hour, he can guide for one hour, if he is ready for one day, he can guide for one day. The ability is dependent on him – he has to hold the tension of the whole group when he is guiding the group.

Question: I would like to understand the significance of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra repetition we are doing for the health of Swami Veda.

Response (WB): The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra practice is a deep practice. I have experienced this personally during the passing of Swami Rama from his body. If the purpose of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is solely to keep Swami Veda in his body, it is not meeting the entire purpose. Swami Veda’s mind is advanced beyond the body. There are benefits from the chanting of it, and I encourage you to continue with it. It would also help with self-purification.

Editor’s Note:

The Open House Initiative has been well received and will continue; future date to be announced.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana     Mindfulness     Japa     Dharana     Shavasana     Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor     Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage     Silence     Full Moon Meditation

Copyright © 2009-2014 by AHYMSIN ®