Today you are being introduced to changes in the AHYMSIN newsletter and website. Dowlat Budhram, a vice president of the AHYMSIN Executive Committee, has taken on the responsibility of editorship for both the new newsletter and website. He was initiated by Pandit Usharbudh Arya (who later became Swami Veda Bharati) in 1971 in Guyana, and, in addition to other things, in the last 10 years was a member of a group of Swamiji’s initiates that did editing of his speeches, lectures and writing that were subsequently published over the years.
When the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) was founded in 2007 by the impetus provided by Swami Veda Bharati, there was no newsletter or website. And I did not even have a personal computer, let alone a Smartphone. It has been quite an enriching adventure enhanced by the participation of many sangha members and a learning experience on many levels.
The founding of AHYMSIN was also a bringing together of sadhakas from around the globe – many people brought together who previously had not known one another. What a pleasure to meet, a meeting that continues to enrich my life.
I am reminded of what Swami Veda said, “AHYMSIN is a group of initiates for support. How can groups or individuals help the greater family in a spiritual sense? This evolves from time to time if we can succeed in developing a sentiment of Sangha.” Swami Veda invited us to become kalyana mitras. He taught: “In our vast universe, there is only one mindfield. This is the underlying truth of kalyana mitra. We are all inextricably interlinked, from a stone to the stars. What I do affects my neighbor and perhaps affects someone I may never know or see.” (Yoga Sutra course, Pada 4, 2012).
Stephan Hodges, the retiring AHYMSIN webmaster, worked selflessly and without remuneration to bring about internet communication. First, he created a forum, which was a platform to facilitate communications between members; one could log in, make a comment, ask a question, etc., and others could join the conversation with their own comments, questions, etc. The forum is no longer in operation. Later Stephan created www.ahymsin.org. And I helped with website content. Stephan has contributed much to AHYMSIN and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), more than most are aware.
The history of the newsletter started with a PDF version mailed by email. Balraj Pannu provided the impetus for this creation, and Sujit, a graphic designer who worked in the AHYMSIN Office at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), contributed design and graphics. I can still remember Balraj, Carolyn Hodges and I looking over the first edition, sharing thoughts, and basically feeling happy. Carolyn Hodges then took over the responsibility of editor. When Sujit moved on to pursue his spiritual life elsewhere, Stephan Hodges stepped in to format the newsletter and continued in the position through our last mailing of April 2021. Somewhere along the line, I assumed responsibility of newsletter editor.
Over time, it was thought that a new website should be developed. Divya Gupta, Rabindra Sahu, and others have worked in acts of sewa with SolutionChamps Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to bring about these changes. The development of a new website has been accomplished, and work continues.
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the newsletter and website content over these years. I am filled with gratitude – and enriched by the beauty, sadhana, insights, questions, struggles, and brotherhood you have shared, not only with me, but also with others in the spiritual family over the years.
“The process in which the aspirant unfolds, develops, and enlightens himself is called sādhanā. Sadhana is that practice which has the power to carry the seeker (sādhaka) to his objective. Our object is to realize the truth of life. We have to bring about our maximum development and arouse and express the power lying dormant within us. It is possible through sadhana alone. Life itself should be sadhana. We can achieve the object of life if our mind, body, and everything else we call our own, becomes sadhana or a means of attaining our goal Our object is to attain absolute peace, an unalloyed happiness or perennial bliss; and this is possible only when we use all circumstances in life, whether good or bad, happy or painful, to promote our sadhana.” – Swami Rama, Book of Wisdom – Ishopanishad, Chapter “Mind and Sadhana”.
As you know, Stephan and I included in newsletter after newsletter: “Share Your News! We invite you to share what is happening in their centers and your experiences, insights, and questions. With such sharing, we can learn more about one another and strengthen one another in our sadhana, becoming a true ‘sangha’. We welcome your articles.” I would like to invite you to continue to share. Articles can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Dowlat Budhram.
During recent times, we have had the challenge of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus, and Swami Ritavan Bharati spoke of this, “In these times of adversity, the teachings of the Tradition continue by way of the power of your ascetic endeavor (tapas). Let us loosen the knots of the heart to remain full of hope (smriti). Come to the awareness of this moment and remain the observer. Come in-touch with the power that emanates when you have gathered all forces and rest in stillness. Where fears and worries appear, let-go and let the spiritual forces rise-up in your mind. The quest remains, the teachings continue, the blessings flow, all from that spiritual core of our being. Let this opportunity be a willful event for purification. That is the ideal of titiksha -forbearance. This is our lesson, and this is our test. As you experience hardships and challenges, remain aware of your spiritual strength, through your disciplines of ahimsa, satya, santosha. Let your mind smile. Cultivate this awareness drop by drop, moment to moment. Recognize this source within, and thereby, recognize these natural forces of patience, forbearance, tolerance. Such sentiments arise from your purified and pacified mindfield showing their fruits in goodness, satiety, kindness and compassion. Let it be a process of a different kind of awareness and a renewing quality of our selves”.
During this time, there were also births, deaths, sickness, happiness, sadness, violence, compassion, economic hardships, storms and earthquakes, etc., not related to COVID-19. The phenomenal world constantly changes, and one “… discovers that all the objects of the external world are ever changing.” (Swami Rama, Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita, in the commentary in Chapter 9, Verses 1 – 3.) It is well to remember that all circumstances can serve the purpose of sadhana.
For most, the mind is conditioned by past, present, and future. Many spend time remembering on the past or thinking/dreaming/worrying about the future. Utilize the present. “What happens to us is the fulfillment of what we have done in the past; what is to be in the future will likewise be the result of present actions. The karma created by past action cannot be altered. We can, however, determine future karma,” Swami Rama has written in Freedom from the Bondage of Karma. With that in mind as well as “You are the architect of your life.” (Swami Rama), what are the thoughts, words, and actions you choose today?
Perhaps some of you will want to accept the invitation presented by Swami Veda in 2015, “Since our motto is “YOGAḤ SAMADHIḤ” let us get serious.”