Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Celebration in Silence

by Sofia Foteina

Have you ever heard of a celebration IN SILENCE? Yes, it can be done. It has already taken place in Rishikesh, in the Ashram Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, in February, March 2018. And, it was sooo relaxing.

Celebration until now was something done with a lot of noise. But how could we honor someone like Swami Veda, someone who had taken a vow of silence five years ago? Only by silence.

It was not my first silence, but it was my first silence in noise.

What I had in mind as I was coming to the ashram was the whole ashram in silence. But Guru had different plans. It so “happened” that I came with a Greek lady – student, who was visiting an ashram for the first time, and needed explanations quite often. So I had to explain through silence. Or at least, I tried to. During the same days, a group of 60 Chinese people, had come for the Teacher Training Program, and they were speaking so lively, just like we Greeks do. So many times I thought that they were quarreling, and then I heard their laughter. Oof, they were just talking to each other!!!

I had to practice to be silent in the middle of hustle and bustle. “Speak only when you are in silence,” Swamiji used to tell us. And here was the opportunity to be silent while around me was a lot of speaking. Or spell some words while being as silent as possible. Did I succeed? No. Not at the beginning at least. Never before was my mantra so practically useful. I closed my eyes and heightened the tune of the mantra or of “the cosmic sound” as I call it, and in this way I erased, sort of, the external sounds. In a short while, I did not need this help. I was so befriended with the sounds, that through all of them, the om sound arose. Aaaaa, all sounds are composed from the om sound. Everything around me was chanting. Everything was a chant. My being was a chant in coexistence with everything. A celestial symphony we were.

Then it was karma yoga time. So relaxing moments to do without thinking what I was asked to do. No buts, no whys, just do what I was asked to do. I swept the passageways through the sadhana cottages and then took some weeds off the alleys on the side. Before I left, almost all the weeds I had removed, had grown again. I had to start from the beginning. Thoughts filled my mind up. “Have I come so many kilometers to do something worthless?” It seemed that the question pulled the answer up. It was there and the question unveiled it: “Whatever you do in the material world must be maintained otherwise the nature takes over.”  Wow. So strong those little weeds, so soft, but so persistent. Such a beautiful truth was unveiled in front of my eyes. Such a soft message. “No matter what you do in the material world, the time comes when whatever functions by the natural laws will prevail. So, do not worry. You can only delay the divine plan. You cannot stop its manifestation.”  So soothing. … I needed this verification of a powerful and silent spiritual dimension.

And contemplative walking in that beautiful contemplative garden where children have planted the trees around. The breath mantra came up naturally: “Sooo”-one foot forward- “hummm” the other foot forward, letting the weight of the body to slide from one foot to the other, so slowly, so softly, like a boat on calm waters. Travelling inside the body … I discovered once more the wisdom of the Creator. Bones surrounded with flesh have such flexibility, walking and swinging at the same time. …sooo…..hummm…..

In the dinning hall, the food was becoming tastier and tastier. I felt grateful that somebody was cooking every day, and I could find to eat without cooking myself. Thank you, I am grateful. I took the plater to the room and ate in silence. I remembered my doctor saying that the monks on the holy mount Athos eat once a day and they are so healthy. And I remembered Swami Rama describing the same in the cave monastery he grew up. Suddenly, a strong urge to do the same came up, as a way to express my gratitude. I followed this kind of silence during the last week and it felt so good, not only for the body but for the mind as well.

Thirty days passed like a breath. In the airport, travelling back to my other home, I kept hearing akhanda mandala karam ………….swaha……through all sounds around me. The mantra that the ten priests chanted morning and evening in the temple, hundreds of times, had become my reality. Swami Veda or Swami Rama or god or THAT ever so present, ever so true, ever so part of our lives….. Swahaaa…..

Picture by Marilou Hermens.



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