Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Mauni Amavasya: A Secret Enclosure

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

How can a day be like a person? Or a personal letter, a deeply personal letter? Mauni Amavasya, the annual silence day, was like this. It was also an enclosure, a single vast room, that held us all like one candle flame.

I remember Dr. Arya telling us to draw 3 circles of light around ourselves as we begin a sitting practice. I wonder if this is done for a roomful of people meditating together as if each of us were a small, fragile bird sitting in the palm of the Almighty. (I never speak of God. How presumptuous! But there. I did it.)

My mind wanders over to the monthly Full Moon Meditations where strangers—there are no strangers—have written that they had never meditated before in their lives but found themselves sitting in stillness for an hour at the full moon meditation. Does someone create a radiant enclosure of an entire continent –or does some angelic Presence take us all into His/Her heart? Maybe I cannot know the answers to such questions.

On Mauni Amavasya, from the first suggestion of dawn, the haze of blue-grey mountains cast a shawl around us, drew us close. The winter dawn turned brilliant as the day opened.

I wish I knew how to do that, to make the gift of such a pristine offering. Last year, the first time we observed Mauni Amavasya, I was overwhelmed with wonder. I wept when I saw how our teachers led asanas in gentle stillness, and later, corrected one person’s posture, put a pillow under the head of another—no intrusion—as though almost not there yet a watchful presence, the way a father or mother watches his, her child sleep ever so softly so as not to awaken the child.

This year was just as beautiful. Only once did I hear talk in an office or observe someone on the phone, and then he quickly turned it off and put it away, guarding the four directions of the sacred diagram that the day was.

Who drew that shining mandala, inhabited by ordinary people like us? Can a person invoke the divine and wrap up tight a whole extended family? That is what we are, what I witnessed so clearly that day. On that brisk winter day, we were wrapped in a blanket of absolute, irrevocable peace.

Most of the ashram staff came to some of the meditations—gardeners, bookstore and office staff, the cleaning guys, students, faculty and residents. How do I tell you how moving it was to be a part of all of us sitting together in afternoon meditation? Most, but not everyone, came.

Many months ago, Swami Veda told us this day was coming, invited us in. He said to prepare for a special day of practice in which we are free of all other activities, free of speech, work, travel, free of every small concern. For one day, we cease to plan our lives.

When is the next Mauni Amavasya? February 8th, 2016. Swami Veda has already invited you. Plan ahead whether you are with us here in India or in Florence, Seoul or San Francisco. Come see if it is true what I am telling you—or don’t. But don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Editor’s Note:

To read more about Mauni Amavasya as explained by Swami Veda, please click on title:

Photos courtesy of Jay Prakash Bahuguna.



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