Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Swami Ritavan Interview, Part 2

from Swami Ritavan Bharati

Swami Ritavan Bharati is the Ashram Pramukh and successor of Swami Veda Bharati according to Swami Veda’s will. Questions for this interview came from Carolyn Hodges.  Answers are from Swami Ritavan Bharati. “Interview with Swami Ritavan Bharati,” Part 1, can be read at this link: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1509Sep/03.html

Question: As per Swami Veda's wishes, you are now his successor as the Spiritual Head, or Ashrama Pramukha, of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) and AHYMSIN. What are your duties and responsibilities in this role?

First, our hearts and minds are committed to Swami Rama of the Himalayas, who is honored and remembered as the Guru of our tradition.  As a disciple of Swami Rama, early on Gurudeva entrusted me into the care and guidance of Swami Veda for meditation and sadhana. And at this time, Swami Veda's simple instructions were: "Do not change the teachings of Swami Rama and put all your energy to continue, sustain and enhance the works initiated by Gurudev’s mission and through my service to Gurudev."  "Fulfill the same duties I carried with attention to administrative and financial matters, and limit yourself to matters of spiritual realm, knowledge and teaching." "Work in consultation with the community of sanyasin(i)s upholding the dignity of the moral and spiritual traditions and be exemplary as a spiritual guide. 

Question: For the past many years you have been traveling most of the time, teaching and inspiring students in our Ahymsin centers around the world. Now that you are Ashram Pramukh, do you anticipate spending more time at SRSG? What is your schedule for the upcoming year?

It had been 20 years since my first visit to India in 1974 with Swami Rama for the Kumbha-mela; so with this anticipation, I returned to Rishikesh in 1994 which has become another “home.” This "pravijaya" or the wandering has become 22 years of pilgrimages (and 2 million+ air-miles) journeying to various countries in addition to India, offering guidance in the Himalayan Tradition to various groups and centers. Initially, this travel began as traveling companion for Dr. Arya (Swami Veda), and now with a host of other traveling teachers carrying the message, meaning, and inspiration of the Himalayan sages. Two years ago, Swami Veda said he needed me more in India at SRSG, so I significantly reduced my travel and teachings elsewhere. And, now, with the responsibilities entrusted to me as spiritual guide for AHYMSIN, my hope remains to give personal attention and service to each of the AHYMSIN centers and groups which number more than 135. Soon there will be announcements for regional retreats through which our team of highly trained initiators and teachers will provide inspiration and spiritual guidance.

Question: What are the important mission tasks that need to be addressed in the next year?

Together, we as the AHYMSIN leadership share a long list of tasks, a multitude of hopes for the sangha – for our well-being, and for our spiritual progress.  These have been given in the past, many of which we have put into practice as integral routines in daily life. We will continue to emphasize the theme presented in our last Sangha, Sadhana as Applied Spirituality. So again, we will systematize the teachings; and organize ourselves as kalyana-mitras to encourage, support, expand our capacity to provide timely and current resources addressing everyday needs.

The purpose of our Sangha, our Global AHYMSIN family is to create a stable mind-field. Through stability within each mind, a spiritual community is created as a collective and stable mind-field, like the gentle ripples on a calm lake. Swami Veda himself mentioned that he had prolonged his life to further guide his students to take them to this next step: Personal lives become stabilized; mind-fields become stabilized and this becomes Sangha. We must carry it forward with greater zeal. To permeate with love all that we do will assure the continuity of AHYMSIN for many years-to-come, and this mission must be shared through our Youth Leaders. We also invite all our students to Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. SRSG is a center of learning and sadhana. The purpose of the ashram is to create a stable mind-field.

Question: What is your long term vision for SRSG?

Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) is an oasis of peace and beauty. Those who make the pilgrimage to Sadhaka Grama find a peaceful-mind-haven to temporarily withdraw from worldly responsibilities. Here in their sadhaka-cottages they spend time in silence and contemplation, prayer and meditation along with other sadhana practices of the Tradition.  Most have reported to us when they leave, that such an experience has brought a refocusing of their life’s ambitions. They feel rejuvenated in each and every layer of their personality.  They recognize that the practices  awakened an inner calling to rebuild mind from the foundation of being, and thereby their actions flowed now from a more pure, internal place of contentment. Many have shared that they left SRSG with a resolve to live a life of service, and return to their responsibilities with new mind-grooves, new mental habits and renewed determination. Life is short, an eye-blink; one must practice, tread the path, and move forward. Then the last breath will be sweet, a fragrance of contentment for a life well-lived. This is the blessing of Swami Veda in establishing Sadhaka Grama; this is the message of the sages of our ancient heritage. Our Gurudev, Swami Rama, reminds us: "You are the architect of your destiny. Death and birth are merely two events of life. You have forgotten your essential nature, and that is the cause of your suffering. When you become aware of this, you are liberated." 

Question: Is there anything else you would like to share with our international Ahymsin family?

In 2013, at our Sangha event, Swami Veda initiated all of us into the mahavakya, the contemplation: OM KHAM BRAMA; contemplations cannot be defined, but this could be described as: Within that empty space known as creation, this illusion remains - empty. Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasungate, Bodhi, Swaha.
And with that offering made into the fire of knowledge, into the havan kundha of the heart, these two illustrious beings have blessed me with silence. With the completion of three years of ardha-mouna vow, my life has been blessed to continue with the fulfillment of the vow undertaken by our Beloved Swamiji. So in 2018, we will again gather as a sangha, and with a purnahuti, bring the 5-year mauna vow to a fruitful conclusion. Your support, your encouragement comes in the form of your own meaningful silence. May you embrace this ultimate svadhyaya as taught, guided, and practiced by Swami Veda throughout his life. Take the vow-the commitment of a half-day a week, a full day a month, a silence retreat each year, or a 40-day silence at your spiritual home in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). May our Gurudeva Bless you, May our Beloved Swamiji bless you, May all the Saints, Sages, Boddhi-sattvas of all Traditions and Lineages

Bless you. OM Sham –

Yours in loving service,

Swami Ritavan Bharati


Editor’s Note:

In Swami Veda’s Intention for AHYMSIN, Swami Ritavan Bharati mentioned that it is teamwork that is needed now - more collaboration, coordination and communication. Key to our AHYMSIN-management through Shi Hong and others, is the necessity of performing our duties as service (seva) for the betterment of society. It is important to work towards upliftment of humanity, relieving suffering, and fulfilling the mission of Gurudeva Swami Rama and Swami Veda; and in this way, engage in our duties our sadhana.

To read Sadhana as Applied Spirituality by Swami Veda Bharati: http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/sadhana-in-applied-spirituality.html

To read the practice given by Swami Veda Bharati in 2013: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html




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