Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Returning to my Spiritual Home

by Little student of Himalayan Yoga Meditation

Yoga Nidra Course at SRSG, March 21 – April 5, 2015

Led by Divine Providence

It was another great privilege for me to be granted a chance (by Divine Providence) to lead a group of Thai people from Thailand to Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) during March 21st to April 5th 2015, to participate in Yoga Nidra/Silence Retreat. As with other trips, visiting this wonderful place (which I treasure as one of my homes) this time was full of deep inspirations, peace, positive energy, and love.  There were some of us who visited SRSG for the first time and I believe there was a good/unknown reason why some among them were called to this place at this particular time.

Yoga Nidra – an intriguing science of spiritual practice

To truly have a success in yoga nidra practice, one needs to be able to silence the mental noises, achieve high level of mental concentration, and remain fully aware/awake in the middle of deeply relaxed state.  All the 5 layers (Kosha) of our personality from the grossest (physical body, Annamaya Kosha) to the subtlest (causal body, Anandamaya Kosha) must be in deep relaxation at the same time before one can enter the state of Yoga Nidra.  Highly advanced yogis remain in the Yoga Nidra state all the time even while they are fully engaged in worldly activities.  Swami Veda Bharati is one of the living examples of such yogis. One can easily guess that mastering yoga nidra could require more than one life time to achieve.

During the 2 weeks course, the participants were taught various preparation practices step by step, starting from the most basic ones (moving and stillness, point to point relaxation) to a more complicated ones such as 31 points, 61 points, 61 points with blue star, etc.  These are techniques that help practitioners to achieve a deeper state of relaxation, but techniques alone are not sufficient. One needs to purify his mind and emotion and learns to get in touch with his own inner self through silence practice.  And, of course, breathing correctly is the most important foundation for all these practices.

We learned that some (only some) effects of yoga nidra can be proven scientifically such as brain wave, and the features of the brains.  Both Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati offered themselves as experimental subjects to provide scientific proof of state of yoga nidra to help bridge the eastern philosophy and the western science for the benefits of spiritual seekers as well as householders who want to achieve greater happiness amid busy worldly lives.

I was very happy to be reunited with wonderful teachers again; Stoma Parker, Randall Krause, Swami Ma Radha Bharati and Maryon Maass, and to meet new teachers, Charles B. Crenshaw, Jr., and his wife, Carol. I was also elated to see big transformation in teachers of new generations; Geeta Bhoi, Adhikari Bhoi and Ramprakash Das.   

A big gift from Swami Veda Bharati

Due to a medical reason, Swamiji has started his verbal communication again.  For him, it does not make any different because he has always been in silence and all his speeches and actions are initiated from the deep interior silence. But for us, this was an unexpected big (positive) surprise.  After one hour of silent meditation every day, he would spend a brief time with almost every individual and for some he was very kind to provide specific guidance on spiritual practice, from which everyone of us could benefit (if we wish to).

He was particularly delighted to meet Thai people again and was joking to me “You have brought a lot of people from Thailand this time. How come no one came up here to cook Thai curry for me?”   When he addressed a group of Thai people, he told us of the story about a Guru trying unsuccessfully to convince a student to leave all worldly worries behind and advocate more time for spiritual pursuit.  From young to old age, the student always has a reason to postpone; getting married, becoming a successful business man, having children, waiting to see their successes, having grandchildren, and finally taking care of a house (after the dog died).  He was in light mood when delivering this entertaining (but full of wisdom) story to us so I thought he did not mean to criticize or really convince anyone of us but to quietly plant the seed (of spiritual yearning) in our minds – which is one of his unique skills I have observed having known him for 15 years.  He ended his note to us with the loving advice – “if it is impossible to do that at this time of your life, then learn to live in this world but not of the world like a lotus growing out of the mud but does not belongs to the mud (he repeated this sentence twice) and meditation will help you to achieve that”.

He also addressed to the whole group several times “please sit and do meditation at the same place and at the same time at least once a day”.   I knew that this was not meant to be taken lightly. I believed if everyone was honest, more than half of the people there (me included) would raise their hands if they were asked whether they have not been meditating at a fixed time every day.   Another statement he repeated very often was “the relationship (between Guru and disciple/student) only began with mantra initiation”.  I asked myself why did he keep repeating such a statement (in my previous visits, he never emphasized it as much as this time).  Was it possible that he knew that some people were still reluctant to ask for mantra even though this might be of great help to their own development?  Was it just a reminder for those who had received mantra long time ago, but were not committed enough to do their practices as guided to derive any benefit?  Was it a confirmation for those who had taken initiations, and have faithfully been practicing, but were still troubled by doubt and unable to stabilize their minds and lives? These are just some of the possibilities, but I know that I need to wait and see from my personal experience to truly know the answer.

One day, right after the meditation, he said “I did not want any power (although his Master, Swami Rama was ready to confer it to him). My path was the path of self-purification”.  To me, it appeared to be quite irrelevant to the subject of the previous day and the subject he moved to right after that sentence. Somehow, I knew that he did not simply say it without a particular reason.  There is still a great misunderstanding of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition; some think that receiving mantra initiation would create conflict in the minds of those who have strong belief in a particular religion.  Some think that our tradition is focusing on mental power which Guru may exert upon the minds of the ones receiving the mantra initiations.

From my experience, mantra does contain spiritual power, but it is the power that we could use to purify our mind and emotion to achieve the restrains of our mental modifications (which is an absolutely important if one wants to tread the path towards enlightenment).  Mantra is not simply an object or a trick to focus the mind upon so that the mind would be led to a state of silence although this is absolutely one of its functions.  Mantra is also a seed of a pure consciousness planted in the mind of a student that creates the link between him and the Guru force. Practicing meditation with one’s personal mantra and remembering it often during the day will enlarge that seed of pure consciousness within the mind, slowly transforming his mental personality in a very beneficial manner over time.

4 Thai people have received mantra initiations

By the end of the course, there were four people deciding to take mantra initiations.  I was particularly delighted that one lady has made the decision because just one day before her decision, I had an urge (I felt was inspired by Swami Rama) to ask this lady to consider receiving a mantra, but I was reluctant to do this because of her strong belief in Buddhism.  So it seemed the Guru has arranged everything even before we arrived at SRSG.  We both had very positive experiences after her initiations.

The other three are members of Aramaroonsri family (mother, son and daughter).  Usually, Swami Veda Bharati would give initiations to young kids and their families by himself, but because of his physical condition, this time he could only give initiation to the son – Suparkorn (Korn) Aramaroonsri.  Korn made a very interesting observation that SRSG is a very quiet place – there is a scientific proof that it is actually one of the quietest spots in India.  This is because Swami Veda Bharati always encourages people to keep silence in the mind while staying there while his own spiritual energy generated from deep interior silence has influenced the peaceful atmosphere at SRSG.  Korn (19) was the first Thai person whom Swami Veda Bharati chose to receive mantra initiation directly from him.

Learning from Himalayas

Swami Rama himself had been brought up by the sage (Bengali Baba) in the valleys of the Himalayas, where he roamed about and received education from many sages. For him, Himalayas are his spiritual parents. Living in natural environments like Himalayas would naturally induce in people the inclination to seek spiritual enlightenment.

This time, about 8 people from our group have made the trip to Tungnath (the highest Shiva temple in the world located at an altitude of 3,680 m) and its neighborhoods.   This year is a very special year because there are both snow and blooming flowers (usually, at this time of the year, visitors can only enjoy the blooming flowers), so they were so lucky.   Linda (or Svetlana, the Russian lady living in Thailand) said that she felt the breath taking beauty of Himalayas opened her inner vision to the infinity of the universe. She felt so humble and realized that her individual self was just nothing compared to the unlimited nature, of which her true identity was part. Sopa, a long-time initiate of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition, said she learned a lot about Dhamma from the nature in the Himalayas.

Only two persons made it to the snowy peak, Korn and Helen.  Residing in Austria, Helen was already an expert in mountain trek. With her encouragement, Korn (first time mountain climber) conquered his own doubt, bodily tiredness and freezing temperature.  Korn said he would bring his friends back to Himalayas one day.

Swami Veda Bharati said that all the beauties and wonders in the external world are just reflections of one’s own inner beauty.  I hope that all of them would one day reach the depth of their inner worlds and see for themselves that everything they seek outside is already there.

Practice, Practice and Practice

Many people asked Swami Veda Bharati many questions.  His answer is always “Practice, Practice and Practice”.  If only we do practice regularly, questions will be answered and better still, resolved (they do not bother us anymore even though we may not get answers for them).   He said in the lecture on the last day “Learn to be busy without getting stress and only meditation can help you achieve that”.   A short sentence and a seemingly simple task but this could take more than one life time for some to achieve.   I pray to all of you, the readers, that you achieve that state sooner rather than later.  Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti.


Suggested readings: Mantra, The Sacred Chants by Swami Veda Bharati, Path of Fire and Light Volume II by Swami Rama, Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama, and Walking with a Himalayan Master by Justin O’ Brien.

If you are interested in trips to the Himalayas, please contact Silvia Baratta at sacredsiteseeing.com

For a listing of Upcoming Events at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama: http://ahymsin.org/main/events-maps-schedules/upcoming-events.html

To contact Himalayan Yoga Meditation (Thailand Center), email: [email protected] Facebook: Ahymsinthailand



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