Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Guru Purnima as Gateway to the Infinite

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

Bindu, The Point

Let us say there is a point. It goes deep, high and wide-- in potentia. It just keeps going into infinity. It has no directionality because it is the point where all directions converge. All forces, forms, locations, gateways, beings of light, of sound, of life forms we know and of those we cannot imagine---all---emanate from and converge in that point.

A mandala is a world. It is born of bindu, one infinitesimally small point at the center of the mandala and draws back to utter and ineluctable stillness in that selfsame point. Maybe bindu is motion and no motion. Maybe it is absolute stillness at the very heart of action and simultaneously spanda, a pulse, dynamic movement at the very core of stillness. There is no contradiction.

The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 4, verse 18) tells us that one who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise.

It occurred to me as a possibility that Guru Purnima is such a point, a convergence in time or beyond time.

It belongs to the mandala that is this and all worlds. Just a possibility.

All roads begin and end there in the Guru and at the point in time called Guru Purnima.

If you have ever been drawn close to a guru, then Guru Purnima is a celebration of that union---even if your teacher has not so much as winked or smiled at you in years. It is an auspicious moment in time---a shakti vortex. I was happy to be at my living teacher’s side at that time.

Guru as Wave, as Vortices of What

Few of us can speak about what or who the Guru is. I would rather you read what Swami Veda and Swami Rama have written about Guru.

I do wonder, based on my experiences of the days leading up to Guru Purnima and on the day itself, if the Guru is the sheer embodiment of divine sound(s). As I explained last month, I normally do not do well with extreme heat. Yet I sat in the Meditation Hall several hours every day during the chanting of the Shri Guru Gita, not wanting to leave. The sweat was pouring down me but I was okay with it. Very unusual.
It is said that to a realized yogi all of time exists as one.

If I understand correctly, the British mathematician Stephen Hawking mathematically postulated that all of time exists all at once. My grasp of higher mathematics, like my grasp of the infinite, is somewhat limited so I cannot verify this but it is said to be true. His book A Brief History of Time has come out in an expanded edition, by the way, with added discussions of time travel, worm holes, diagrams and more than one can hope for.

One thing I can say with certainty is that the days leading up to Guru Purnima and the day of Guru Purnima itself were filled with profound grace.

The Rose

Does a rose open one petal at a time or all at once? If it is true that to a yogi all of time is ever present, how does all this work? I don’t know the full matrix and am grateful for the road map I have been given. But how do I begin to speak of mysteries I do not understand?

The day that was Guru Purnima felt like a day that unfolded like a rose, many petals. Certainly the 12 days of akhanda patha, of nonstop recitation, of the Shri Guru Gita ushered in the day mysteriously, with so many sacred escorts, the mantras of the Shri Guru Gita and their attendant deities. The gurur brahmā gurur viṣṇur and the akhanda-mandala-karam prayers can be found in the Shri Guru Gita. Perhaps they are no less than sacred beings who roam the corridors of that ancient text and of those who listen.

Borobudur:  Architectural Mantra

Though I have never seen it, there is a place in Indonesia called Borobudur where the arrangement of edifices form an intricate pattern (and perhaps patterns?). I wonder if it might be a yantra of sorts that was designed precisely to invite the divine. A yantra is a mystic diagram. It is the visual correlate of a mantra.
Can a day be like this? Can a guru –not a man—rather, the divine force who is Guru— design the life of one day, like Guru Purnima 2014, as many pathways converging at one point, a bindu, a gateway to the infinite---a gateway maybe even to His/Her very self? July 12, 2014, indeed echoed such possibilities.

One Voice Producing Many Chords

The walk up to Guru Purnima was like one voice producing many chords simultaneously. They converged at the point---at Guru Purnima.

Guru Purnima 2015

Next year? Plan ahead is all I can say. If you get there, you will know what I am talking about. It falls on 31st July in 2015 and, once again, is the full moon that marks the beginning of Shravan, the month of the lesser Shivaratri.  There will be a Guru Purnima Retreat 23rd – 31st July 2015 at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama.

I Cannot Tell You What Happened

As far as Guru Purnima 2014, I cannot tell you what happened. It is indeed of this dimension — and I can tell you some of the footpaths, but I believe that it is also of another dimension — just as not all phenomena can be described by the sensate tools of the world in which we live.

Try to cut a piece of sky or make a fixed square of water, for example. The various strata of reality operate by their own principles. The mind is a funny thing. Because of its shining force — and perhaps because of ego — we often think that we can measure all phenomena in words that we know. Such are the hazards of thinking and speaking about things that may be out of our reach.

Dr. Arya said long ago something like the states of consciousness are their own definition. If you try to say “it’s a this or a that” you introduce another element. You digress from the referent itself. You digress from the truth. I often remembered this when I was raising a toddler filled with many questions. Though a parent is a filter for a small child, we can also try to stand aside as much as possible and let the child measure reality on one’s own---within the boundaries of what is safe and does not harm others, of course.

The Walk up to Guru Purnima

Next year, you may wish to participate in the 40 day Spiritual Festival.

Make a small sacrifice for a period of time. Do some small tapas that opens you up, that focuses otherwise dissipated energies with distractions and old habits. Consider setting aside that day as a culmination of special practices you have been doing for 40 days or 12 days or even maybe one day. You can draw a mental line of light around that day and prepare yourself to invite the Guru in.

For those of us who are time-bound, Guru Purnima celebrates that sublime teacher who came timeless time before us and appears all along the way into the future. I cannot speak for what it means to Swami Veda, whom I believe dwells deeply in communion with the Guru. Some say that at some point in the spiritual path, eventually there is no you, no me, no separation between disciple and master.

On Guru Purnima

On Guru Purnima, you can come to the guru without any expectation and grace may lead you inward. Guru Purnima is the point in the mandala of and beyond time and space of this and perhaps of all worlds.

On July 12, 2014, Swami Veda met each and every person at SRSG who came to him. He put his hands out and blessed us as we went up one by one with the small gifts we had brought him. He received each of us as a part of the Vast and Living Flow.

I was the last to go up. I hesitated until Medhawati, one of Swamiji’s round-the-clock assistants, signaled that I should go up to him. I saw myself go up, but I felt so insignificant, and though I placed an envelope of meager offering at his side, I truly felt “what can I offer this being who has given me and so many of us so much?”

I went up to him. His hands went on my head. I really did not know how to offer my whole being. I stood there, head bowed. Then he picked up my right hand, kissed it, and put it back down again. Then he did the same with my left hand. The manner in which he kissed my hands was something I had previously witnessed only when Swami Rama kissed small babies. I felt like a small baby. Another woman who had known Swami Rama came up to me afterwards and said the same thing---that she had only seen Swami Rama kiss babies like that and felt that he was present. When guru and disciple are one, there is no distance in love. If I were wise and unflinching in my goals, I would aspire to be like Swami Veda, who, dare I say, sometimes feels like Swami Rama is with us. On Guru Purnima, this felt clear.

The Procession

When I learned that the July newsletter was going to be published before Guru Purnima, I stayed up all night and scrambled to make some order of my diary notes and sent them off to Carolyn Hume, the Ahymsin editor. You can read about those very special days in A Walk Up to Guru Purnima 2014. For some, that procession began 40 days earlier, with Saumya mantra and other practices. For others, it began a year earlier with writing (likna) their mantra many thousands of times to offer their mantra notebooks to Swami Veda on Guru Purnima 2014. For others, the subtle practices are appropriate. It is best to follow the practices that you have been given rather than replicate your own practice with that of others. There is only so much time in the world in which we live—unless you are a master.

Concert at Sadhana Mandir

Every year on the night of Guru Purnima, there is chanting at SRSG and also at HIHT. Two extraordinary musicians, Mr. Tiwari and Mr. Hari Mohan Pande, sing bhajans and play the tabla at HIHT. Mr. Tiwari is the kirtan and bhajan master who was at Swami Rama’s side when he resumed singing after the many years when, at his master’s request, Swami Rama did not sing. In the days when Swami Rama was at the Himalayan International Institute in Honesdale, Swami Rama often brought Mr. Tiwari and Mr. Pande to teach us Indian music and also to sing-pray with us. The experience cannot be described but it was powerful.

When Tiwariji sings on Guru Purnima at HIHT it always feels as if the room is brimming over with the joy and mystery of Swami Rama. It was not possible for me to go there the last 2 years on Guru Purnima night. But this year, on the following night, as with Guru Purnima 2013, they came with a young protégé of Tiwariji, Ashutosh Pande, Mr. Pande’s nephew, to Sadhana Mandir to sing bhajans and kirtan. Again the room was lit up with the guru presence. Some of us were fortunate to go and lose ourselves in that music. It felt like an essential part of Guru Purnima -- a profound gift.

At the Still Point: the Timeline

In Rishikesh this year, Guru Purnima, the day of July 12, 2014, began with the Full Moon world group meditation at Swami Veda’s side. In fact, it began much earlier as I have already explained. At Sadhana Mandir, at the feet of Ma Ganga, the day began with pujas. Soon after, those same pujas were offered at SRSG.

At both ashrams, chanting followed the purna-ahuti, the final fire offerings that attended the daily chanting of akhanda-mandala-karam, one of the mantras in the Shri Guru Gita. The flames leapt many feet skywards and sideways out of the vessel of the fire pit as we chanted the mantra. The fire felt like a live witness.

At both ashrams, there was also the closing ceremony of the Shri Guru Gita and prasad was offered all around. A bhandara (a special lunch) followed at Sadhana Mandir, Swami Rama’s ashram.

I attended the closing at SRSG. The last utterances of the Shri Guru Gita simultaneous to the indescribable sounds of priests ushering in the Guru are indescribable. It was like sitting inside a sacred enclosure, held tight and still. If you can, come to Rishikesh next Guru Purnima.

Yoga Tarangini

On the night of Guru Purnima, Swamiji’s assistant phoned and said that Swamiji wanted me to write about Guru Purnima. An email followed asking that I include something about the completion of the Yoga Tarangini translation. Swami Veda’s profoundly moving words can be found in the article “Yoga-Tarangini Task Completed” immediately following this one. At first reading, I felt that the guru and disciple are as if one wheel.

Now I wonder if that wheel, that dynamic union, is bindu, an infinitesimally small dot through which worlds are born and dissolve into utter and absolute peace.

Om purnam adaha. Purnam idam.
Purnat purnam udachyate.
Purnasya purnam adaya. Purnam eva-vashishyate.
Om shantih! Shantih! Shantih! Om.

Om this is perfect. That is perfect.
When the perfect is taken from the perfect what remains is also perfect.
Om. Peace, peace, peace.

Editor’s Note:

To read Swami Veda’s 2014 Guru Purnima message, please use this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/guru-purnima-12th-july-2014.html

To read Joanne Sullivan’s article “SRSG Diary of the Walk Up to Guru Purnima 2014”: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1407Jul/09.html 

For more about The Offering of Completeness, of Perfection Which Is Made with the Mantra Purna-Ahuti, please see http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/0110/02.html



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