Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Unexpected Guest

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

Early Morning Complaint Interrupted

I awoke early feeling a rough edge with someone, an old friend, and someone also loved by my teacher and master. Then somehow I stumbled onto this online, that, today, September 17, 2015, was the Jaina Day of Forgiveness. I reflected how important forgiveness was to Swami Veda, not just during this one period of time, but always.

Then I learned that according to other sources, Kshamavani, the Jaina Day of Forgiveness, falls on September 27, 2015.  Some even say that it is on September 28th. To many Jainas today is the day.

A Confession to 2 Friends

Atithi is a Sanskrit word for guest. I remember how Dr. Arya opened one more entryway into another world when he said that in India, guests are revered, that the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word for guest is he who comes without notice.

Thus it was that the warm smiles of two wonderful friends appeared at my door this afternoon. I was telling them about how my early morning grumbling session opened up into the Day of Forgiveness when one of them said “Yes, it is the Jaina Day of Forgiveness. I just received a message from a Jaina friend, who asked my forgiveness for ever hurting me with thoughts, words or deeds.”

Choosing the High Road

Swami Veda had more than once spoken about Kshamavani, the Jaina Day of Forgiveness. A few years ago I took his words to heart and, almost miraculously, was able to make a silent resolve of unconditional forgiveness here, now and forever toward two particular individuals. It was long overdue. To my pleasant surprise, this lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, gave me a modicum of confidence and peace. I admit that there have been slips on my part regarding one of these people but I go back to the resolve again and again.

A Request and a Confession

If you who are reading this have ever in any way, direct or indirect, been hurt by me, please forgive me. If ever in small mindedness I have been hurt by you, I endeavor to forgive you. It is not my mere wish. It is the wishes of the entire Lineage and beyond. There is a line in a song from my youth which says it all.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me….

May it be so.
With the blessings and grace of our own selves, of the Guru of all great traditions and of God, may we embrace and forgive one another and all those whom we may have hurt or been hurt by.

If you are so moved, please do the same with others. I think somewhere Swami Veda called the universe the Uni-Verse---as in one poem--the One we all are.

I wrote asking forgiveness and granting unconditional forgiveness to the person I had been grousing about. It was within the period of time called Brahma-muhurta, literally “Hour of God,” in the very early morning long before dawn, a time considered ripe for prayer and meditation-- not for complaining. This is my confession.

I am sharing it with you:

Dear (I would prefer to not name the person),

I just saw that today is the 9th day of Paryusan---Kshamaapana or Kshamaavani . The Jaina Day of Forgiveness.

With all my paltry heart, I beg that in trust you can forgive me.

and now....
I forgive you unconditionally with all my heart in all my capacity and in the infinite loving heart of the guru I do beg your forgiveness for all the times I have in thought, word or deed, been ungenerous with you or hurt you or distrusted you, my own guru's own child.

Past present and future.
Though in the mind of God and Guru it is all happening all at once. There is no time in the truth of that One Mind. I do not perceive it as such but I believe it.

Besides, how could I ever aspire to less than love, even for a moment, one who has looked at the eyes of the loving teacher we have loved for so many lifetimes.

I reread what Tejas and then (in blue) Swami Veda wrote: Jaina festival of Paryushana and Forgiveness (Kshamavani)(click on title)

Aspiring, arising, ascending in the Guru's own efforts for us all....

With love,

September 17, 2015

A Little Road that Takes Me Home

When I write I often get into trouble going off on tangents that take the rider (reader) to a different destination. This is one such tangent that becomes a main thoroughfare.

I wanted to tell you about “Atithi: guest” in a different context. Indulge me.

Dr. Arya, later Swami Veda, engaged deeply with language, and sometimes in the middle of a lecture a word itself would feel like the chief guest and there it was hovering and quivering like a breathing being. He would often tell us a word’s origins and its cognates, connecting not just words and languages but whole histories of disparate peoples and distant times with the present.

Atithi is a Sanskrit word for guest.  I remember when he said that a guest is one who comes without notice, that this was the literal meaning of atithi. With one such stroke, he opened an entryway into another world.

This was just one way that he opened worlds for us. The room where we sat with him became an accordion and we were the notes. One moment the cosmos was where we were. The next, you were alone with him in a deeply intimate space, almost like an infant folded into a mother’s lap, as the rest of the room, the rest of the world fell away. I am sure many of us felt this even in a crowded lecture hall. He once told us that when his master looked at a student he was capable of seeing only that student and nothing else. Many of us had experienced this with him ourselves.

We were each one of us alone with him in the vastness and alone with him in a rocking chair, safe and loved, and, often, everything that had made no sense now made complete sense. He was a living treasure. One minute there was pindrop silence and the next the room roared with laughter. He was a delight. This brilliant, private man would let you in. He seemed to do this with abandon.

But no, he was a master architect. Once, before a lecture series I had coordinated for him, someone came up to me with a letter for Dr. Arya. I gave it to him and after he left, that person came to me to thank me for bringing Dr. Arya to our little town. The man said that he had asked the same burning question to many people and that this was the first time he felt that it was finally resolved. He explained that he did not realize that Dr. Arya was, step by step, building an answer to his question until the last lecture when he saw the total picture. On day one it was as if Dr. Arya had laid the foundation to a house. On day two, the walls and beams went up. And on day 3, this edifice of an answer was as complete as a house you could live in. (not his exact words but his meaning)

Sometimes I had the distinct feeling that Swami Veda was the ultimate chess master, peering out into your possibilities many lifetimes hence. Of course, I am not privy to his innermost thoughts. But sometimes it did feel like he was very patiently guiding a person with a view to lifetimes hence. Maybe he already knew who that person would become. Maybe he was a part of that world bubbling into existence, the bubbling evolution of one of his thousands of spiritual progeny many, many years into the future. It was as if he was dotting the dots between constellations in the sky, calling stars into existence to complete a larger picture. And no, I am not imagining things. I always say that though, even when I am asleep in a deep dream.



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