Tag Archives: Guru Gita

There or Here – Do More Yoga! by Rob Gold

313There’s not one thing in my life I’d rather be doing this weekend more than attending the conference – but I won’t be there. A decision about something else in my life makes it (seem) undoable. A few months ago, about the time I was asked to write this series of pre-conference articles, I learned that my dog had lymphoma. For those of you who have experienced cancer, you know the only certainty is that you don’t know what, when, where, why or how things will change. It’s the great unknown and in that is an equally great lesson in surrender.

I couldn’t imagine leaving her in the care of others if she was sick or dying, nor can I leave her with others when she’s healthy – she’s just not that kind of dog. So, I decided not to decide, or rather to let her condition determine if I was coming or not. The good news is that, three months after her diagnosis, she is as vibrant as ever, thanks in part to some steroids and dietary changes.

I know I’m missing an incredible opportunity to connect this weekend, but I am also blessed with opportunities to connect in my life just as it is; right here, right now. There are always opportunities to do more japa, more seva, reach more students and know more of the Self. After all, what did Swamiji do when she was the only Svaroopi? Or what Muktananda do when He was not in the presence of His Guru? This is the beauty of the teachings: it’s ALL there, ALL the time. Sure, there are people, places and things that make it easier to connect, to accelerate ones spiritual journey, but we can access it any time we chose to direct our free will in that direction.

Will I miss the bhav of sitting in a hall filled with hundreds of Svaroopis? Yes.

Will I miss being in the presence of Swamiji and all the delicious programming? Definitely.

Do feel regular deep openings and connections to the Self from my life and environment here on Maui? Absolutely. After all, chanting the Guru Gita on an empty beach at sunrise  is an experience beyond what I could have imagined when I lived on the mainland.  So who’s to say it’s not actually the right thing for right now?

Temple Fund & Seva — Outside & Inside

A Gazebo — A Temple, by Swami Nirmalananda

Chanting the sun up every morning, sitting under the canopy of mango trees — this is one of my most powerful memories from my early years of study:  Shrii Guru Gita in my Baba’s Ashram.  In the rainy season and when it got too cold, we moved indoors to the temple with a life-size statue of Bhagavan Nityananda.  I used to tune the tambouras before the morning chant, a daunting task to get all 7 of them in tune together!  And before 5:15 am!

The morning chant is delicious no matter where it’s done:  in the Ashram, in your home, on an airplane (quietly, of course!) and even sitting on elephant back as described in the text.  But at sunrise, outdoors, it’s something really special.  That’s what the Temple Fund is for.

It is my pleasure to announce that our Temple Fund is fully funded, due to the generosity of many donors, large and small.   We announced this plan last January as part of the Ashram’s fundraising goals.  We made headway but since then we’ve been graced with full funding and are moving ahead full-steam.

We’re putting in a gazebo, something that is appropriate to our neighborhood, with landscaping to make it a gem in our backyard — yet it is more.  The whole plan is a capital project, meaning we’re taking care of the Ashram building and property.  Thus we’re also upgrading our furnaces and reconfiguring the system to eliminate the hot and cold spots throughout the building.  Both the furnaces and gazebo will be completed this summer.

I’m looking forward to beginning my morning practices outside once the gazebo is completed, anticipating being able to use it for three of the four seasons.  We are planning some soundproofing panels so that we can chant without disturbing our neighbors, though I doubt they would be disturbed by someone worshipping the Divine in her own backyard.

The gazebo design will be based on mystical geometry as described in the texts.  We’ll include a pedestal in the middle, where we can place a photo and flowers (for now) or a sacred statue (perhaps in the future).

Someone said to me recently, “This is the center of the Svaroopa® Universe.”  Yes, it’s true.  Yet you must remember that the center of the universe is in you.  You are the center of your own universe, and whole universe is contained within you.  Both are true.  Outside and inside.  Inside and outside.  Thank you for giving me an opportunity to create a holy site in the midst of our modern lives.


Seva & Grace, by Devapriyaa Hills



My seva is as Seva Coordinator.  This means that I meet with Swami Nirmalananda regularly to review all open seva positions and for her to decide on each person’s seva personally.  She says, “I want to make sure that the seva is a ‘yoga’ for the sevite.  This means that they’ll be making spiritual progress while they’re doing the mundane tasks that it takes to run an Ashram.”

Swamiji has asked me to write about seva and what has changed now that I work with her so closely.  What can I say that will make sense?

It is such a lovely and Grace filled ride. Being with Swamiji amps up the feeling of Shakti, burns away some of my limited identification and gives me enormous freedom & fulfillment.  I release desires to be doing other things and choose the presence of my Guru. This choice holds and guides me like no other. Grace frees me to see and choose my path, my dharma. Seva is like choosing freedom, that freedom that allows Grace to flow more freely.

There are so many external practices to pick from but I choose the Self by choosing seva, meditation, practicing japa, and reading & listening to Swamiji’s teachings. They all guide me on the path that I have chosen.  Seva always shows me my Self if I look through accepting eyes, letting go of what my mind thinks serving should look like.

There is something about this seva of writing for Swamiji that has cleared out the cobwebs in my mind similar to what japa can do for me. I am now ready to clean my house, remove cobwebs and clutter, and simplify, all to make time for more interior explorations and time with Swamiji. Doing seva is like a mini immersion that allows me to remove another layer and another limitation to being the Self.

We invite you to consider one of our open sevas: Proofreading, Bookkeeping, Updating courses or links on our website, Research Project, and Musician.  These sevas can be an opportunity to develop new skills as we offer training for your seva.   We will soon have a seva list for local positions, in our upcoming Downingtown Yoga email. This will be an opportunity to help Swamiji or our hard-working staff.  Click here to make sure you receive the Downingtown Yoga emails.

Please email me if you are interested or have questions.  I am looking forward to hearing from you and serving you!


Comings & Goings

by Swami Nirmalananda


Last Saturday night’s ceremony was deeply meaningful to all who attended, featuring Swami Nirmalananda’s head-shaving to celebrate her departure from being President of both Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram’s and Master Yoga Foundation.

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We’ve been fortunate to benefit from her continued teaching for the Ashram, even while leading Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  She’s led the February India trip as well as our Year-Long Programme and Shaktipat Retreats, and continues her many free programs and calls.  Yet we’re looking forward to having her return to Shrii Guru Gita project and other projects that have been on the back burner.  The Ashram Board has asked Swamiji to continue as a Board Member.

Monthly Donors & Shishyas may request a lock of Swamiji’s hair from the ceremony.  Simply mail a SASE to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, 1400 Hampton Drive, Downingtown PA 19335. We will send the care packages out on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for information on how to become a Shishya member.




We are happy to announce that Sharada (JenMarie) Macdonald is now serving both sister organizations as Business Administration Manager.  She is assuming many of Swamiji’s Master Yoga administrative responsibilities to provide needed support for their hard-working staff while continuing to lead the Ashram staff and sevites.

Sharada has worked closely with Swami Nirmalananda for more than two years, as well as providing assistance with some key projects in Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  With Sharada serving the Ashram as well as Master Yoga, it means we are deepening our collaboration between our two sister organizations, providing cohesive leadership as well as economies of scale, recognized as necessary by both Boards.

We are very excited about Sharada’s proven skills and dedication as well as her ability to build a team, with both staff and sevites, and how this will support our community.  If you have any questions, concerns or congratulations, please contact our new Board President, Amala Cattafi at amala@svaroopavidya.org or Sharada at sharada@svaroopavidya.org.


Street Presence. Posted on February 15, 2013 by Ashram

by Sharada (JenMarie) Macdonald

It’s offical! The new signs for Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center are up! While we have held several satsangs, Shri Guru Gitas, yoga classes and a Shaktipat retreat since moving to the space in January, we now have “street presence.”

Kashi-SignsThe studio is well-positioned; the main stoplight in the middle of town is very close, so cars stop right in front of our main window while the light’s red. In fact, yesterday, I caught one stopped driver hanging out her window reading our new sign and mouthing the name of the studio. She paused on “meditation” and eagerly nodded her head to herself. She then glanced in the main window and saw me smiling at her. She instantly broke into a huge grin and peals of laughter. We both did! Still beaming, she raised her arms wide as if to offer her enthusiasm, brought them together into anjali mudra and bowed. I returned the gesture. The light turned green, and she drove away waving her arm, joyful and ecstatic.

I’m looking forward to meeting her at satsang!

And if you haven’t had a chance to make it to Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center, or Kashi, as we affectionately call it, you can virtually tour it below:

Kashi-Signs-150x150 Kashi5-150x150 Kashi3-e1360958219601-150x150 Kashi_puja-150x150 Kashi-e1360958254483-150x150 Kashi2-e1360958306316-150x150 Nityananda-150x150 Kashi4-e1360958187155-150x150 Muktananda_Kashi-150x150