I love the mind! I got to see again exactly how it works this morning when, around verse 100, I had to stop the Shishya Guru Gita chant. I was playing the harmonium and leading the yogis (those here in Downingtown and those on the phone with me) in the chants – and an alarm started going off. Because I had earlier heard a fire alarm beeping (presumably needing a battery), I realized it could be a malfunction, which could mean we’d be blasted with overwhelming sounds within a minute or two, and perhaps even having firemen or police show up a few minutes later (we are next door to the police station!).
It turned out to simply be an alarm clock – easy to find & fix, and we were back to the chant within 60-90 seconds. The most interesting thing was watching how my mind dealt with the whole process. While immersed in the chant, the inner intoxication had an avenue to pervade my mind; this is the power of svadhyaya and this is one of the many reasons why my Guru urged us to chant this text daily.
Then I had to use my mind to track the beeping sound, assess it’s meaning and possible danger, and find a way to deal with it. My mind turned outward to accomplish the task, but the bliss never stopped filling it from within. The source of bliss never shuts down – but do you allow it to fill your mind? Chanting the Guru Gita will teach you how to do this, and how to use your mind without losing the bliss.
with love and blessings, Swami Nirmalananda
My Shaktipat experience was profound. After years of daily meditation, the Shaktipat Retreat dramatically shifted the depth and focus of my experience. I’ve been told that each religion points to the same place; we only have to find the one that speaks a language we can understand in order to gain access to that which we seek. The Siddha path has been generously laid before me, and though I’m new to this lineage, it feels familiar, like home. Swamiji and Rukmini were excellent teachers, who guided and supported me through unprecedented openings. The questions I had were answered with clarity and deep understanding. I feel newly rooted in a path whose direction I could not have anticipated, but for which I am very grateful.
This CD has been 36 years in the making, so I’m really glad to have sent it out for duplication! It includes all the chants that we do every morning in the Ashram – Om Guru Mere Guru, Shri Krishna, Universal Prayer and Jaya Jaya Arati, along with the full text of Shri Guru Gita, preceded by the
I made this recording for two reasons – one is to honor the rhythms of the Sanskrit language. I’ve done my best, though I’m sure it’s not perfect, to capture the intoxicating rhythms of the correct pronunciation. In addition, the pacing is what I was taught as a musician under my Guru, Swami Muktananda – which makes each verse chantable in one breath (or if you want a breath in the middle, you have time for that).
Lastly, I varied the melody that Baba gave us slightly, to make it easier for new chanters to pronounce. I recognize there is quite a learning c
urve when you want to begin chanting this amazing text, so the slight variations on the classical melody should help you with it. Of course, you also have the 400 audio recordings I’ve done for you – two per verse (or half-verse, on the long ones), so that you can work your way through this mind-altering, life-changing avenue to grace.
I hope you’ll all be as excited as I am about having this new resource to support your practices. Perhaps you’ll simply enjoy playing it in the background!
with love, Swami Nirmalananda
The MTT Upgrade course has many layers interwoven within it. The virtual classroom during the phone calls prepared us beautifully for the weekend retreat that brought together the three months of preparation. Tantra was alive with the interweaving of learning and teaching, understanding and experiencing, transmitting and expressing. Any course that Swamiji teaches is filled with wisdom, majesty, mystery and Grace, so how is this course different?
This course had the effect of breaking up the densities in my being, breaking down stones into pebbles, and pebbles into sand. The “after shocks” are still reverberating within me: I feel the breaking apart of identities, ingrained patterns and beliefs, a shattering of sorts of the old sense of self. The treatment originates from within – the mantra – given and facilitated by the Grace of the Guru. I am never without it. It is light and portable, yet explosive and powerful, able to transform iron into gold, density into lightness, spaciousness into presence, the known into knowable, ether into sound, sound into form.
The MTT Upgrade gave us the vehicle of the mantra as the way to the Self. The power of the teachings became so vivid, so personal, so real once I spoke the words and expressed my personal experience when we presented the talks to one another. The teachings become alive when I am able to express them and to integrate them in a personal way. The mystery becomes reality, the shimmering effervescence of the boundary between form and formlessness.
I have waited lifetimes to be able to express the Truth that lies within all of us, that IS all of us. The doorway opened by the Grace of the Guru.
The MTT Upgrade program I just completed offered much more than anticipated from an academic perspective, and it provided me with several personal experiences that have forever changed my understanding of the limitless potential of meditation as a practice of experiencing the Self. It is not just about learning how to teach your students more about the tool of mantra. It also provides a much deeper understanding experientially of the power behind the use of mantra, along with numerous ways of working with it to bring your meditations – and those of your students – to a more profound level of knowing the Self than ever before.
As a studio owner in Boise, Idaho, and a Svaroopa® yoga teacher of 10 classes weekly, I find traveling to Pennsylvania a bit challenging. So in the spring of 2011, when I first read the email about an upgrade for my Meditation Teacher certification, I didn’t give it much thought. Even though more than half of the course was offered through phone conferences, there was still a retreat in Pennsylvania in February 2012. I had been teaching meditation classes four times per year since Autumn 2009, and the series seemed to be effective for students.
But then Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, CSYT, whose studio is also in Boise, took the first MTT course offered by Svaroopa®Vidya Ashram in June 2011. Returning home, she offered to teach the “enhanced meditation” series at my studio, and I, along with many of my meditation students, took the course. Truly, my mind was blown by the deeper experience into which the empowered mantra propelled me. And my meditations continued to be deeper than ever before. So I enrolled in the MTT Upgrade.
The phone conferences with Swamiji and fellow MTT students were profoundly informative as well as deep experiences, as we received the deeper teachings. We were given plenty of time for our homework, such as practicing a new mantra technique and writing a report, which we submitted online. Before the next phone conference, each of us received the collected reports, so that we all shared in the experiences of each other. As part of the next call, Swamiji offered teachings that illuminated the experience of each person. The retreat itself was a restorative immersion in the river of grace. Everything felt so easy: the meditation periods, giving our talks in pairs or small groups, and receiving the best, most helpful feedback imaginable. And miraculously, even though it was late February, my cross-country flights were easy and on time, in perfect weather.
Om svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah,
Marlene Gast, CSYT
Spring has sprung, according to the bulbs that we planted – it was done just last November. Such a short time ago! It’s been such a mild winter that the bulbs began sprouting in February, leading me to be concerned for their health in case it snowed again. I’m seriously considering taking the driveway marker poles out of the ground as snow seems so unlikely at this point.
One of the reasons I relocated from La Jolla Calif (a heaven-on-earth) to Downingtown PA is for the four seasons. I love the unpredictability of the relationship with Mother Nature – so I still do hope for another snow, even though it wouldn’t be good for the bulbs. But it looks like flowers are in our near future – and that’s another part of Her Divine Bounty.
The seasons are one of my favorite ways to marvel at Shiva’s incredible creativity. And now I’m marveling at the way that our November gardeners could see what it would look like when it got warm again. So here are a few photos of bulbs coming up. This is going to be fun!