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Guru Purnima, Minneapolis 2018

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

It was the day of Guru Purnima in India, a half day ahead of Minnesota. I had just gotten off the phone with Michael Smith. Actually we were abruptly disconnected. My phone battery had died.

I turned on the computer and there it was! Guru Purnima live in Rishikesh! I walked the familiar paths and familiar voices at SRSG with my eyes and ears just pulsing. I was so excited. Just at that moment Swami Ritavan was sitting down in the Meditation Hall. Oh! There’s Adhikari! Geeta! JP! Surendra! Prakriti and Bhaskar! There were so many old friends. It was almost like being there. I was there watching from Minnesota for the long procession of the Shri Guru Gita coming to His/Her/Its final moment--the last recitation after 9 days of akhanda japa.

The next day, I awoke, having accepted that there was no way I could get to Minneapolis for the celebrations there. I sat and instantly knew that I had to go. I was so homesick. I looked in the phone book for the number of a yoga studio in my little town and also called an Indian homeopath here. Both the yoga studio director and the Indian homeopath, who had treated quite a number of Meditation Center people over the years, wanted to go. The director of the yoga studio is an initiate in our tradition too!

It was so beautiful. We arrived just before Emilio and others were preparing for the yajna in the back yard, among the trees and the flowers on a balmy day.

Swami Radha and Michael Smith led a satsang following a splendid meal with old friends and new, offered once again by Gretchen Bonham. Maya and Shivnath Tanden shared some profound experiences they had had with Swami Rama.

Inspiring quotes from Swami Rama, Swami Veda, and Swami Ritavan lit up the night.

Michael Smith spoke about some of commitments many had kept in the lead up to Guru Purnima. He also spoke about the implications of the “tra” part of the word “mantra.” “-tra” is cognate to Tara, he said, and it carries with it the idea of protection. He also spoke about the interlocking triangles and how, among other things, the downward triangle represents grace and blessings, while the upward triangle signifies human effort or sadhana.

Guru Purnima, Michael said, is a day of sankalpa or determined resolve. Both Radha and Michael encourage us to deepen our sankalpa and commitment in prayer. I do feel, since that night, a deepening of resolve and greater pleasure in sitting. I wasn’t sure if I could sit the full hour as I had recently undergone knee replacement surgery. There was some wiggling and physical discomfort on my part, but since then I notice that my sitting is more still and asaan, natural, easier again. There is so much more to tell about that very full day, and it was wonderful to be among friends. The day was completed with the full moon meditation.

Editor's Note:

This Guru Purnima celebration took place at The Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.



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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