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Third Mahasamadhi Anniversary

by Tarinee Awasthi

Swami Veda Bharati’s Third Mahasamadhi Anniversary

On July 10th, 2018, Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama resonated with the sentiments and sacred resolve of each person in the ashram, expressed in the auspicious chanting of priests as they began the preliminaries of the five-day yajna which marked the third anniversary of the day our beloved Swami Veda cast off His physical shroud and His purely luminous being was unencumbered, no longer even nominally bound by the limitations of matter (for He never truly was).

Swami Ritavan Bharati entered the yajnashala to the sound of priests chanting svasti, or benedictory chants, with the holy gravity of bearing the Lineage in his person. The tone was then set for the next five days of ritual propitiation of the various major and minor deities invoked for blessings and protection during the fire offering, and the presiding deities of the sacrifice, Gurudeva and the deity Gayatri, whose embodiment Gayatri mantra is. Offerings were made with the akhaṇḍamaṇḍalākāram and Gayatri mantras. Aptly, after the evening offerings and arti each day, Swamiji moved to the Meditation Hall as everybody sat for silent meditation.

These five days can appear full of paradoxes. Even more than usual, there is no escaping the fact that Swami Veda is no longer present in His physical form anymore; the first time one is at the ashram for the Mahasamadhi anniversary is, in some ways, the moment of acceptance. Yet, one feels His living presence ever more intensely through these five days. Seeing the loving offerings made to Swami Veda over these five days compels one to think of Him as the timeless, deathless being He is, and yet, is a constant reminder of the embodied form which we loved and grew attached to. Even so, as the ashram was filled with the resounding articulation of each person’s personal dhimahi, namah, and svaha, they purified one’s love, and transformed and elevated one’s intentions, bringing them closer to a complete offering which each iteration.

On the fourth day, those who could not make it for the entire five days came, filling the ashram with remembrance and joyous coming together, as the Guru family leaned on one other, through conversations, but also simply by being together, bound together by Swami Veda’s love for each of us, brought together by an unquenchable desire to feel it, both within, in knowing Him to be a manifestation of the Divine; as well as without, in seeing the manifestations of His love in our Guru brothers and sisters. That night, the ashram was abuzz with people scurrying about to help with, or simply look at, different kinds of preparations, and enjoying the sense of belonging. It was a beautiful combination of a family gathering and a solemn, but griefless moment of remembrance.

The 14th dawned mostly clear, following rather detailed speculation about whether it would rain (it didn’t; Swamiji, it seems, liked our plans as to where we wanted to seat people for lunch!). At one point, a swarm of butterflies flew from the gaushala towards the Meditation Hall, and it felt as though Nature Herself were headed to pay homage. Following the morning rituals that day, people from within the ashram as well as everybody who had come in that morning gathered in the Meditation Hall, where everyone offered homage to Swami Veda Bharati with flowers. Dr. Prakash Dixiti spoke briefly about our beloved Swami Veda, and Swami Prayag Giri, Swami Ma Turiya Bharati, Swami Ma Sewa Bharati, and Swami Tattvananda Bharati emphasized the ways in which His legacy could be realized in our own lives. Sh Vijay Dhasmana ji spoke about how the lineage tied us together, and spoke about the persistence of the lineage, first in Swami Veda, who, as he put it, took charge of the family as the oldest brother when Swami Rama left his body, and now in Swami Ritavan. Swami Ritavan expressed his appreciation of those who lived at the ashram round-the-year, while welcoming the rest of us back home. Four DVD sets of Swami Veda’s video series were also released, including Signs of Spiritual Progress (Lectures from Sangha Gathering, 2013), Bhagavad Gita Upanishad: Sapta Shloki Gita, Shiva Sutra, and Bhagavad Gita Upanishad: Sthita Prajna.

The rituals approached completion as preparations were made for the final offering, or purnahuti, and the arati. After the distribution of prasada, the bhandara began with fifty sadhus, who were served by students in the Vedic tradition. Swami Veda was the Mahamandaleshvara of the Niranjani Akhara, and to honour that connection, 400 sadhus there were also offered food, while four of them visited the ashram. Over 300 people were present at the ashram at lunchtime.

After what seemed like the crescendo of activity, there was the quietly joyous routine of the evening meditation, and after dinner, a musical offering by Sh Ashish Kukreti. He sang two compositions in Raga Yaman, a gentle but powerful evening Raga. One of them emphasized greater remembrance of the Divine, while the other honoured the deity Ganesha. He completed the offering with a small composition in honour of the Guru, which he strung together with Kabir’s couplet, guru gobind dou khade.. (both the Guru and the Lord stand before me; whose feet shall I fall at? Prostrations unto the guru who directed me toward the divine). As Swami Ritavan pointed out, this was a couplet Swami Rama used to sing for His Guru. Swamiji then spoke of how this led seamlessly into Guru Purnima, as we begin to prepare for it, and stressed the internalization of the rituals which had taken place over the last five days, as well as the sentiments which fuelled them.

After Swamiji spoke and honoured the artistes, there was a relative breakdown of formality, as everyone approached him to receive his blessings. The anniversary of Swami Veda’s Mahasamadhi is a reminder both of the love each member of the family received from Him, as well as the sacred, joyous, and grateful duty of carrying forward the Mission He to which dedicated Himself.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana    Mindfulness
Japa     Dharana     Shavasana
Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor
Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage
Yoga Nidra     Silence Retreats     Full Moon Meditation

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