Category Archives: Grace

Our Song of Self – by Deborah Woodward

Forty-six hosts sponsored our Saturday Japathon!, celebrating the Ashram’s fourth birthday.   Across the US, Canada and Europe, Svaroopa® yoga teachers and students joined in our great japa event!

maureenshorttBindu (Maureen) Short reports that in Buckingham PA, following the teleconference call, japa flowed into meditation as part of the regularly scheduled monthly satsang.  Two students who each had recently had surgery both credited japa with helping them through the anxiety before their operations, as well as with being immobile afterward.  Japa comes to them now naturally and automatically.

SandyCourtneyKingThroughout September, Vibhuti (Sandra) Courtney King of Hopedale MA led her weekly meditation groups into meditation with japa. Some of her students purchased mala beads and began doing japa as preparation for their home practice.   This is what some of them said about japa:

 

When we went from repeating aloud to repeating the mantra silently, the mantra continued on its own, leading me to a very deep place. It was so effortless.

I have never experienced meditation in this way! My mind was still very busy, but the mantra was front and center and very compelling. For the first time, the mantra was more interesting than my thoughts. I feel like I am just beginning to understand what meditation is!

What IS the mantra?! It feels alive!

Yes, the mantra is alive! In our Japathon! celebration, our mantra became a mighty river of Grace, flowing through each and every one of us.

Swami has given us, in 2013, The Year of Japa. Allow this great gift to unfold fully, allow the Grace of the mantra to bring you all the way to your own Self.  Our beloved lineage — of Nityananda, Baba and Swami — is pointing the way: Meditate on your own Self.

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Year-Long Programmes Galore

by Rukmini Abbruzzi

RudraI Am “Siva is beginning soon, a foundational course in consciousness, with no prerequisites.  Everyone is welcomed to experience Swamiji’s magical mix of classical teaching stories, psychology and yogic practices, along with the tangible Grace that reveals your own Divinity to you.

Join Swamiji’s FREE Intro call October 16 from 7:00-8:30 pm (Eastern Time).  Click here to get the phone codes.

And (DRUMROLL PLEASE), announcing the title for 2014’s new year-long programme:

Guru & Self
Kamal and Swamiji  Ganeshpuri, IndiaYou need a Guru, yoga says, repeatedly emphasizing this in the ancient texts.  Why?  Explore the mystery of the Guru with Swami Nirmalananda as she explains the pivotal importance of the Guru in our Shaktipat tradition and illumines the secrets hidden in the traditional ceremonies and practices.   Learn how your Guru serves you as a teacher, as a guide, as a mentor, as a role model, as an exemplar and as a mirror in which you see your Self.

Your stories and experiences are an integral part of this course, through the group discussions with Swamiji.  She helps you discover how to serve as an agent of Grace, uplifting others through your sharings, while deepening your understanding of your own experiences.  With each personal story, Swamiji offers teachings and insights that enhance your inner blossoming.  Extra phone conference calls are included in the schedule so you find a time that works for you.

Two enrollment options are available:

Option #1 — monthly teaching articles, audio recordings by Swamiji, and phone conference calls (about 2 weeks apart)

Option #2 — monthly teaching articles, audio recordings by Swamiji, and phone conference calls PLUS a weekend retreat Oct 24-26 2014

Prerequisite:  Shaktipat Retreat OR Shishya Membership

Eligible yogis may join Swamiji on a FREE Intro call, March 15 from 4:00-5:30 pm (Eastern Time).  Click here to enroll and get the phone codes.

Concentrated & Continuous Grace

By Rukmini Abbruzzi

RukminiYou’ve chosen to have Grace in your life.  If you haven’t, you wouldn’t be reading this!  You also get to choose how much Grace you have in your life. How often and how deeply you experience your own divine Self depends in part on your own practices.   And it also depends on how much support you allow yourself to have from Swami Nirmalananda, from her presence and from her teachings.

Swamiji offers programs that support you in the way that works best for you.  Would you like to take a weekend away from home, and dive deep into your own bliss in the presence of and with the support of Swamiji and other yogis?  Then the concentrated Grace of a Shaktipat Retreat might be perfect for you.

Or, do you prefer to stay home, and receive Grace in a continuous flow over the course of a year?  Then a year-long course like the I Am “Siva course may be just right for you.  You can choose between them because both are coming up soon – or you might even want to do both!

Shaktipat Retreat
Align yourself with Grace at the Conference, then dive even deeper and immerse yourself in Grace at the Shaktipat Retreat, October 6-8, 2013.  With the openings you receive at the conference, you’ll be profoundly prepared to receive Shaktipat Diksha from Swamij Nirmalananda, the initiation that awakens Kundalini, the Divine power that dissolves your limitations.

Yogis share the results of their recent Shaktipat experience:

“This is my second Shaktipat and I received gifts from the first of inner knowing…and a higher sense of integrity that have remained with me. This retreat reinforced those as well as leaving me with an ability to be present in each moment more fully even when the moments are challenging. Also I received great joy at both Shaktipats which not only stays with me but is cumulative! I can’t wait for my next Shaktipat!”  – Tirtha Richards

“I had no earth-shattering changes.  However, I feel my meditation is clearer, and I am happier, more patient and more at peace.  Not earth-shattering, but certainly worthy results!” -Beth Richardson

This Retreat is not only open to yogis who attend the conference! All the practices of the retreat prepare and support you to receive Shaktipat.  And Shuchi Cilley and I will be there to assist Swami Nirmalananda, and to support you, every step of the way.

I Am “Siva: Year-Long Programme
Our multi-media format allows you to choose a level of participation that works with your budget for both money and time:

option #1 — monthly articles
option #2 — both monthly articles and audio recordings
option #3 — monthly articles, audios & phone calls with Swamiji and the rest of your study group
option #4 — monthly articles, audios, phone calls, PLUS the July weekend retreat

Whew!  That’s a lot of options!  All designed to fit your budget for both money and time…

Whether you are a new yogi, experienced Svaroopi or are coming from another tradition, this year-long course lays the foundation for your studies in Svaroopa® Vidya, your experiential knowing (vidya) of your own Self (svaroopa).  Swamiji created this course to take you beyond mere understanding to the experience of the Divine Reality that is your own Self.

Yogis share their experience of taking a year-long course:

“I think the year-long structure allows ample time to really draw as much as one can out of the articles/recordings, before the next set comes along. The year-long format provides the opportunity to savor and integrate.” – Purna Schmidt

“I like the consistency of the yearlong program.  The spacing of the article, recording and talk fits nicely in my busy life.” – Pooja (Erica) Andersen

FREE CALL:  If you’re interested in the I Am “Siva course, join Swamiji for a free intro call October 16: 7:00-8:30 pm (Eastern Time).

Or perhaps you want Concentrated and Continuous Grace.  You can of course, have it all!  When do you not want Grace in your life?

Questions?
If you have any questions, or if you’d like to enroll in a Shaktipat Retreat or the I Am “Siva course, please contact the sevites on our Enrollment Team at enroll@svaroopavidya.org.

Collaboration?

By Swami Nirmalananda

Why collaborate?  I love it when the deeper answer coincides with the practicalities. I actually don’t do anything without this inner and outer integration.

The deeper answer is that Master Yoga runs on Grace, just as the Ashram does.  With the formal separation between them, it’s been a little like “Siva and you — you are “Siva, but you don’t know you are.  The good news is that Master Yoga never lost the Grace, largely due to our Teacher Trainers, especially Vidyadevi and Karobi, who continued to work closely with me.  Even when I wasn’t physically in the classroom, I always knew what was going on and was able to offer input and blessings.

Our new levels of collaboration are pumping the flow of Grace into Master Yoga in a whole new way.  I can see a type of enlivenment reaching into the corners, like sunlight shining onto a plant in the corner at the dawn.  Both Boards continue to meet and develop answers — sometimes they have to come up with the questions as well!

The practicalities dictate efficiencies, both for better responsiveness to yogi’s needs as well as to handle your money respectfully, for the organizational funds all come from you, thus we think of it as your money.  This also draws the two organizations closer and streamlines activities, including programs as well as our shared Business Manager.  We’ve already seen a reduction in the number of emails and other communications needed, both internally as well as coming to you.  Our goal is transparency — to keep you up-to-date without burying you in TMI (too much information).

Comments — click here to offer your input into the collaboration question.

Shaktipat

by Theresa Morrison

Swami DarshanWhether concrete or subtle, yogis receiving Shaktipat from Swami Nirmalananda experience a range of openings, expansions, and revelations that are real and profound.  Please enjoy these yogis’ descriptions of Shaktipat from recent Retreats with Swamiji.

Robin Blankenship describes her experience of Shaktipat as the movement of energy through her body:

“My Shaktipat retreat was a very deep and intense experience. I now feel Kundalini go all the way up into my head during yoga practice and meditation. It used to be blocked at my neck and shoulders. [I] experienced Shakti in my body as a source that is ever changing and moving. I experienced it as a moving part that is now unstuck.  I continue to have access to this experience of Shiva as constant change.  It is helping me to accept change… in my life and not be afraid of it.”

She summarizes that the experience of Shakti moving freely throughout her own body had a direct effect on her spiritual practice and allowed her to have new insights into the nature of movement and change in her daily life.  This has allowed her to become unblocked and unstuck.

France de la Fontaine shares some particular experiences of blissful from her recent Shaktipat Retreat:

“On Sunday morning, I woke up and I felt pure joy and peace, no fears. I imagine bliss this way — since, in meditation, I can have a glimpse of this state… the other thing that I felt on that Sunday morning was the impression that the world was in my belly. It was very special.”

France goes on to describe that Shaktipat opens her heart and helps her to “progress on the path of illumination.”

Beth Richardson recounts her own experience of progress.  She writes, “I feel my meditation is clearer, and I am happier, more patient and more at peace.”

Whether momentary or enduring, these experiences of clarity or Self offer glimpses of what is possible. They encourage further seeking and practice.

Susan Daniel shares, “The Shaktipat Retreat continues to provide motivation to prioritize a daily meditation practice.”

Dhananjaya King says that he has found a new “willingness to stay in the present rather than constantly looking toward future events.”

Shanti Ellan Catacchio describes a beautiful transformation that she attributes to the effect of Shaktipat in her life:

“We have taken down a fence that was in front of our cottage, and I have moved from hiding-out in the back yard, out of sight, to the front yard, enjoying the view and people walking by.  My Mother put that fence up 50+ years ago.  I am more comfortable in my own skin than ever before.  I am more aware than ever before. [I am] closer to Self.”

The particular effects of Shaktipat manifest differently for each individual, but there is an undeniable power in this transfer of energy from Guru to disciple.  Swamiji gives Maha-Shaktipat, the awakening of your own energy of transcendence, Kundalini.  Whether direct (in person) or indirect (through an intermediary, such as a photograph), this transmission of Shakti is a life-changing experience.  It deepens each time you receive it, all through the loving act of Grace, given by the Guru.

The Shaktipat Retreat, offered several times each year by Swamiji, is an intensive, nurturing experience designed to prepare each individual to receive this initiation most fully.  Through chanting, meditation, and a series of teachings each student is given the tools they need to understand and open to the Grace.

Swamiji confers Shaktipat three distinct times over the course of each retreat weekend, likening the energetic transfer to that of a burning candle sharing its fire with one still waiting to be lit.  Amongst other things, this powerful gift leads individuals to a fuller realization of themselves, empowering them to live in the experience of their own Self as Shiva.

The Grace-full Moon

By Kanchan (Connie) Mohn

Guru Purnima 130722Guru Purnima, the full moon of the Guru, is celebrated as the day the world got its first Guru (Shiva). This was the day that people first came to know that through the Guru, through Grace, they can be Self-Realized.

On this night every year, the moon is at its fullest and Grace is at its fullest. What a perfect night to make a pilgrimage to Satsang!

This past Sunday, our meditation hall at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center was filled to the brim with yogis bearing flowers, gifts and hearts full of Divine Love; wanting nothing more than to honor their Guru, Swamiji, while she honored her Guru, Baba Muktananda. Self honoring Self.

Swamiji offered illuminating commentary on Shiva Sutra 2.6, “Gururupaaya.h” — the Guru is both the path and the goal.  “The Guru has done what you are doing,” walked the path you are walking.  The Guru is “the embodied reality who shows your future to you… the goal.”  She went on to promise, “My Guru freed me, so that I could free you.

With these words lingering in the air, Swamiji led the crowd in chant and deep meditation, followed by an invitation to greet her personally.

Then slowly, ever so gently, sweetly, one by one, the yogis in the room approached their Sadguru, bowed and offered their gift, their gratitude. In turn, Swamiji honored and celebrated everyone who came forward by offering a flower and a soft “Om namah Shivaya.”  Self honoring Self.  Profound silence filled the room, palpable and timeless.  Grace-filled hearts were opened wide.

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

A Missed Opportunity

by Swami Nirmalananda

chanting in turbanI once skipped bowing to my Guru on Guru Purnima.  It is the biggest holiday (holy-day) in the yoga tradition, not only because it is the full moon dedicated to honoring the Guru but also because Grace flows most fully on Guru Purnima.  I was living and serving in the Ashram, and several thousand people came to see Baba, understandably!  I worked in food service, helping to feed them, so I and my fellow sevites were very busy.  I bowed to Baba in my heart, skipped taking a break, and went on serving.

I went forward in the darshan (reception) line to greet Him the next night.  He tapped me with the peacock feathers.  I lowered my head below my heart in the classical pranam (bow).  I looked up at Him as I came up and He looked at me in His usual way.  It was all perfect and it was all incomplete.  I knew that I had blown it.  I had missed my chance.  His Grace was there, certainly — but the night before would have been something else.  If only I had prioritized my relationship with Him instead of the work I did for Him.  Tricky!

I thought of the New Testament story of Mary and Margaret.  I began to understand what it was like to be the one bathing His feet instead of the one bustling around getting things done.  I’d always been the “bustler.”  I have bustle karma, that’s for sure.  It’s true that things must be done.  There’s a lot to do in order to support those who come to the Guru, in person or through the teachings, in books, online, etc.   But what does the Guru need?  Nothing. That’s the point.  The Guru is the only not-needy person you’ll probably ever meet.  That’s the reason to be in this relationship.

This relationship, like any relationship, needs some TLC.  When you do your part, you get more out of what was always available.  It’s like being in relationship with the sun:  when you go out to soak up some rays, you get the vitamin D.  When you don’t, you don’t.  But the sun is always there.  It’s always shining.  It’s always giving.

In India, Guru Purnima is the day when people pilgrimage to see their Guru.  This is no small feat!  The full moon in July is the middle of the monsoon, which makes travel precarious at best.  They bring gifts and donations, usually providing enough financial support to cover the Guru’s and His or Her Ashram’s needs until the next Guru Purnima.  Thus the Guru doesn’t have to go out with a begging bowl every day, nor charge for the teachings.  The tradition of providing the teachings for free comes from a land where they know that they must support the one who gives the teachings.

Buddha gave His first teachings on Guru Purnima.  Veda Vyasa was born on Guru Purnima.  Thus Buddhists, Hindus and yogis all celebrate this holy day every year.  Personally, I used to take this time to go to India to be with my Guru, visiting His samadhi shrine, a meditation room in which His body is interred under a marble slab.  Since I’ve been appointed to serve in this way, I stay in America for the celebration, so that I can be available to everyone who wants to come.

In India, it’s hard to see the full moon on that July night due to the monsoon clouds.  My experience has been that, somewhere in the night, just when I’m looking up, the clouds will part just a little so I can see the moon.  It is the biggest full moon of the whole year, which is why the sages dedicated it to the Guru.  It is the biggest because it is the point at which the moon is closest to the earth.

So if you cannot join me for Guru Purnima, go out and soak up some moon rays.  And chant “Guru Om.”  At least for the evening.  And meditate.  What’s the Guru for anyway?  To help you turn inward.  To help you know your own Self.  That’s the point.