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Are You Open to the Possibilities? by Bob Nogue, SVA Board Member

BobNogueI was initially drawn to Svaroopa® yoga by noticing the profound impact that it had on my wife, Rudrani.  My feeling was, “There’s something good going on here”.  I have participated through the years in numerous Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram events, and have had profound breakthroughs in understanding myself and in learning about seeking the Self.  Mostly the yoga has had the impact of causing me to pause and notice what was happening in my life.  Throughout that period I have been in awe of the ability of Swami to articulate very complex concepts of ancient wisdom in a way that they spoke to me and had relevance in my life and to use all the modalities of yoga to do this.

When the call came from Swami to join the founding Board of Svaroopa Vidya Ashram came, I felt a need to take this journey.  I came to understand the depth of experience and commitment that Swami brings to putting programs and organizations together, and was in awe as I came to understand better the workings of both Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram.  As the Board journey commenced, I found Swami to be a person not satisfied with the status quo but seeing greater possibilities for both of these organizations.  At our Board meetings, we would be presented ideas for consideration and I have to say that my first reaction was often one of, “Why are we doing this?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Through a process of moving my own feelings to the side to allow the new ideas an opportunity to germinate and the flow of grace, I have been able to see so many of these ideas flourish into something better than what I had seen as a possibility.

The most recent changes to consolidate Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram evoked some of the same reactions from me.  I have had the opportunity to see and hear the intention of this change and believe that it is important that this be communicated to the broader Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram communities.  I know how jarring changes of this magnitude can feel to people.  I also acknowledge that this change hits some people in a place that raises concern about their livelihood.

My invitation to you is to become involved in this change, speaking up about what is going right for you and what you are concerned about.  My request of you is to become involved, with an open mind, where you are prepared to put your existing beliefs and ideas to the side and truly hear the intention of what is meant to happen here; to be open to new possibilities it may present, while having faith that it is not meant to detract from anything that you have today.

My experience has been that when I have gotten myself out of the way, I have seen wonderful new possibilities arise that I did not even see initially.  My only explanation is that this is the power of Grace brought to me through Swami.  Are you open to these possibilities?

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

Consolidation Compliments & Thank Yous

Rama_pose-Mukti 07Originally we intended to publish more FAQs about the consolidation of MYF and SVA, but we were surprised to find that there weren’t many questions! Instead, we received many lovely compliments and thank yous that we’d like to share with you:

“Thanks to all that made this consolidation possible. I think it is a positive move.”

“Thank God!  I feel the love.  I cried when I read the article.  I have been wondering, waiting…still unclear why that happened, what sort of logic…but that is the past…We can become closer now…”

47So simple – makes so much sense!”

“Infinite Love & Gratitude”

“My gratitude to the Board members, past and present and all who have served through this period of transition…which now that I think about it has been going on since Rama Berch came back from India and decided to call the style of yoga she was teaching Svaroopa.”

“Easiness and less duplication…more grace!”

“Ah, the wonders of yoga! Thank You again and again!”

“Unification will benefit each of us in ways yet to be explored individually and collectively.  Yay!”

Living a Divine Life – By Gayatri (Barbara) Hess

Grace flowed so sweetly through our Ashram community as we celebrated the birthday weekend together.  The increased vibration and focus on japa was palpable throughout the community!

In Richmond, Virginia, Deborah Woodward and I invited fellow yogis to join together for the Japathon! conference call.  We had both served on the Japathon! team so it was a true honor to gather for this event.  We had both dedicated more time to our own japa practice and Deborah spent August and September inviting and preparing her students for the Japathon!  It was evident as we gathered together the many layers of “knots” that were unraveling in our community.

“I am more myself, more relaxed, more connected with everything in my life,” said one student, with others nodding in agreement. Om Namah Shivaya is truly the liberating song of God.

One new student who had been inquiring about mantra repetition said,

I never knew how powerful repeating a word could be in keeping my mind focused in meditation.

What grace came into her life.  Not only had she been introduced to mantra, but also to the gifts of being introduced to the rich lineage of Svaroopaâ Vidya Ashram and the understanding of our song of God, our song of Self.  Another student said,

Chanting connects me to my inner calm.  My meditations after chanting are deep and sweet.

Thank you Swami Nirmalananda for dedicating 2013 as the Year of Japa.  It is a gift to me, my community, the Ashram and the world.

Silent Auction by France de La Fontaine

IFrance de La Fontainen February 2013, at the beginning of our trip in India, each of us yogis received a piece of beautiful silk to wear as a sari. We wore our saris during the ritual ceremonies.

France de La Fontaine donationIf you don’t have a sari yet, here is a wonderful opportunity to get your own. Then why not wear it for a special event at the Ashram? Or even wear it during future travels in India!


Grace Dissolves Fear

by Judy Goodkin



As I drove up the long winding, tree-shrouded driveway to the Temenos Retreat Center on Saturday evening, I realized my fear was absent.  I’ve been looking at my fear a lot lately, seeing it as my knee-jerk reaction to so many of my life’s events, major and trivial.  So when the announcement came about the celebration of Swami Nirmalananda’s Shaktipat anniversary which would include an extension of her sannyasa ceremony, as well as an honoring and celebration of administrative transitions, my fear began to set up roadblocks to doing what I knew I wanted and needed to do.  I remembered Swamiji’s essay on what it meant to be here now, and knew I had to be in my guru’s presence.

So I acknowledged my fear & drove to West Chester anyway.  Warmth enveloped me as soon as I stepped from my car.  I joined a group of Svaroopis on the patio, some had driven down from 2 hours away and some were “locals”, like me.  More would arrive to join those already in attendance for the Shaktipat weekend.  Hugs, sparkling eyes, warm greetings all around.  Everyone so filled with gratitude and relief to be here now.

The evening began.  Chanting.  Then the satsang:  Swamiji telling us what we needed to hear, all of us hearing what we needed to hear. Swamiji talked about the guru disciple relationship, “a relationship beyond words”.   I thought, yes, the need to be here now!

She spoke of Baba and illustrated with a story, his teaching, “Only he who obeys can command.”  We were also there to celebrate Swamiji’s resignation from being President of both SVA and MYF , so she can return her focus to serving as Master Teacher.  We also honored Amala and Shuchi, the new Presidents of the SVA and MYF Boards, who do what they are asked to do with full hearts.  I couldn’t help but notice I was accepting this transition without a ripple of fear, only joy.

Shuchi and Amala, looking to me like two sisters, began abhishek, the bathing of the Nityananda murti as we, the onlookers, were bathed in the chanting.  Chanting along with a recording of Baba’s voice! What a blessing to hear his slow, deep rumble, Om namah shivaya.  Om namah shivaya.  What a blessing to be here now.

The chanting continued as Swamiji had her head shaved.   I was in the presence of an Enlightened being.  What sheer joy.

Then came the opportunity to place flowers on Nityananda’s murti.  The chanting of Om Guru Om vibrated quietly as we bowed before Nityananda and then before Swamiji.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I bowed before Swamiji.  How can I ever express my gratitude for her Grace, which she gives so freely? How to explain the sweet space that is present when my fear is absent?  When I experience moments without fear, there is clarity, and I feel only love and joy.  That night, for me, was a night without fear.  There was only love and peace and the guru’s Grace.