|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - February 2019|
Mauni Amavasya 2019
by Riemke de Groot
All around the ashram the noises and sounds went on as usual, but here at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) it was a silent day: Monday, February 4th, Mauni Amavasya. The ashram is quite full at this moment, with many visiting sadhakas; 2 large groups had just arrived on Saturday and Sunday. So we celebrated the silence with many together.
The day started with the usual program: morning prayers, joint and glands, and silent meditation. The class was taught quite dynamically, preparing us for the long sitting periods we would do during the day. After breakfast there was some time for inspirational reading and I opened the new book Silence: The Illuminated Mind from Swami Veda and found the chapter “On Personal Silence”.
Then came the sequence of brisk walk, meditation, contemplative walk and meditation again. We walked in long rows, enjoying the sunny springlike weather. It takes some time for so many people to get settled again after every walk, so the Aum from Swami Rama was played softly in the Meditation Hall, every time when people walked in.By this, our minds were brought to deeper silence.
I also noticed (again) how walking really helps to sit more stable and comfortable for longer period. Still, after all this, our bodies needed stretching, which was beautifully taught in silence, with the soft sound of a singing-bowl when we needed to look at the teacher for the next posture. The morning finished with a long breathing session: makarasana, shavasana, nadi shodana, also taught in silence.
The silence during mealtimes made us more aware of tasting the food and observing eating habits. Even with so many people in the dining hall, the intensity of the silence could be felt. It definitely works supportive to practice together.
The afternoon program was a sequence of contemplative walking, meditation, stretching (again taught in silence), guided relaxation with an audio of Swami Veda and a closing “meditation for all” after tea. The silent power of sangha could be felt in the full Meditation Hall.
The evening brought one final hour of silent meditation. I then experienced the effect of this whole day, even though my body was sore from all the sitting and my mind was a bit reluctant to go to the Meditation Hall again. As soon as I sat down, the breath flowed slowly and smoothly, 2:1 breathing came effortlessly with the mantra, and I experienced the deep calming silence of the mind.
For some sadhakas, this Mauni Amavasya was part of a longer period of silence, and their silent presence reminded me in the days afterwards to be more aware of my own speaking and silence. Then came the next practice day on Thursday already, the usual silence day in the ashram. And I renewed my sankalpa to practice also at home, every Thursday at least a few hours of silence.
As Swamiji says: “All you have to do is to sit down and carve the space around you. There it is (the meditation cave); you're all alone.” And: “Begin with an hour of silence and the seed will grow into a tree bearing abundance of spiritual fruit.” (Silence: The Illuminated Mind, pages 204 and 209)Photos by Jay Prakash Bahuguna
Riemke de Groot teaches in The Netherlands; you can visit her website by clicking here.
The book Silence: The Illuminated Mind by Swami Veda Bharati is available for purchase as a paperback book at Himalayan Yoga Publications Trust, the online bookstore of The Meditation Center, Amazon.in, and other bookstores. It is available in Kindle at both Amazon.com and Amazon.in.
The audio AUM: a Meditation in Sound by Swami Rama is available for purchase as a CD from the online bookstore of The Meditation Center, Amazon.com and Amazon.in. It is available for purchase as a download at iTunes and CDBaby.