Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Nectar from Swamiji’s Words

by Pat Layton

Who has not been enchanted by the words of Swami Veda?  The thousands of people worldwide who were privileged to be in his presence at one time or another and feel the soft, rhythmic flow of his voice can attest to the utter delight of listening to his talks and lectures.  Even God’s creatures were not immune to that voice.

In the early 80’s, I was fortunate to attend a workshop with Swami Veda (then Pandit Arya) in Napa Valley, California.  If you know anything about Napa Valley, you might remember that it has a Mediterranean type climate suitable for growing olives and grapes.  The hosts of this weekend workshop did not grow grapes or olives, however, but roses, row on row of beautiful fragrant roses.

Since the weather was absolutely perfect the hosts had placed a platform under a shady tree for Swamiji to sit on to deliver his lectures.  The many students were spread out on the grass on blankets and chairs, sitting in rapt attention listening to Swamiji wax elegantly about the subject.  The workshop was on the Kathopanishad, and at one particular time Swamiji was doing a comparison between Nachiketa, the protagonist of the Kathopanishad, and Arjuna, the protagonist of the Bhagavad Gita.

In the middle of his talk, a hummingbird appeared alongside of his face, about at the level of his mouth.  As Swamiji spoke, the hummingbird flew towards then away from Swamiji’s mouth a number of times as if it was extracting the nectar from Swamiji’s words, just as this bird extracts the nectar from flowers.

I sat transfixed, as I’m sure other people did, watching this hummingbird fly in and out several times, and then in a flash, the total experience of the warm sun on my skin, the heady fragrance of the roses, the sound of Swami Veda’s beautiful voice, and the sight of the hummingbird enjoying the nectar of Swamiji’s words transported me to a blissful level of consciousness and the realization that we had all sat like this many times before, many places, many ages listening to the teachings and drinking in their nectar just as the hummingbird drinks in the nectar of flowers. 

Swamiji, may we meet again in that delightful garden.  My deepest pranams to you.



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