A disciple of the Himalayan adept, Sri Bengali Baba, Swami Rama (1925-1996) was born and raised in the legendary Himalayan mountain caves where countless generations of yogis have been trained and initiated into the deepest mysteries of yoga. Throughout his childhood and adolescence he lived and travelled with many saints and yogis. At the young age of 24 years he succeeded the great spiritual leader Dr. Kurtkoti as Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham.
He renounced the dignity and prestige of this high office to return to the Himalayas to intensify his meditative practices. After completing an intense, eleven-month meditation practice in isolation, he emerged with the determination to serve humanity, particularly to bring the teachings of the East to the West, and directed his life toward the unification of science and spirituality. He began his synthesis of eastern and western traditions with his research work at the Menninger Foundation in the United States and helped to revolutionize scientific thinking about the relationship between body and mind.
He founded the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy with branches throughout the world, and the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, a 350 million dollar health and rural development project located near Dehradun in Garhwal, designed to serve this region’s population of millions of people in great medical, economic and social need. From a small outpatient clinic started in 1989, the Trust has grown into a huge medical city that incorporates an ultra modern SOD-bed hospital, medical college, school of nursing, Rural Development Institute and holistic centre.
Through his life and teachings, Swami Rama sought to combine the ancient teachings of the East with modern approaches of the West. He was a great yogi, scientist, philosopher, humanitarian, and mystic poet, all rolled into one. Having reached the heights of spiritual enlightenment, he always strove with seemingly endless energy to attain perfection in his actions in the external world. His life and teachings are the inspiration behind AHYMSIN and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG).
Examine your Fears
You should learn to examine your fears. Why are you committing the mistake of not examining your fears? Learn to examine your fears. Why think negatively all the time? Do you know what happens, what you are doing to yourself? Fear invites danger, remember this. Don’t put yourself in danger.
”I forgive you.” These three words are so powerful that they can suddenly change the darkness that we experience about us into the pure light of a new day. As soon as you experience forgiveness your whole demeanor, your attitude and your personality change dramatically. Instead of being tormented by the hate and vengeful feelings that are carried inside in seeking justice, you experience a warm expansiveness. As you let go of those negative feelings, and of the rationalizations that gave you the excuse to get even you find yourself beginning to experience a common bond you share with others. The sense of rigidity and of being shut off within yourself is replaced by a feeling of comfort. All this is achieved by simply saying, “It’s no big thing, I don’t have to get even. I’ll just let go.”
When you practice forgiveness and love you find that others begin to treat you differently. Instead of reacting to your revengeful attitude with their own closed-off distrust, other people begin to open up and share their warmth with you. As they become aware of your forgiving attitude, they realize that they no longer have to fear judgment and wrath. They can be themselves and be comfortable with you. Others will appreciate this to such a degree that they will open themselves to you and give whatever they can.
So, in forgiving others, we become the recipients of comfort, peace and happiness. It turns out that the way we treat others creates a situation that leads us to be treated in the same way. When we forgive others we soon find that they begin to hold less against us. We need not to be so fearful of their harsh judgments. This law of human existence was clearly expressed long ago in the Lord’s Prayer: ”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Many people look at this statement as merely a request, asking the Lord, who is seen as separate from them, that they be forgiven the way they forgive others. But no request need to be made, for there is an exact and inevitable correspondence: to the extent that we forgive others we are forgiven, and the very act of forgiving is in itself a forgiveness of ourselves.
This is the law of forgiveness.
There is an exact correspondence between our experience of forgiving and the experience of being forgiven. We can only open ourselves up to the experience of the other’s forgiveness to the extent that we ourselves have developed a forgiving attitude. For we are being forgiven always but we do not know it when we are preoccupied with judging ourselves and others.
It is not necessary to take our word that such a law exists. You can test it for yourself. Merely become aware of where and when you feel judgmental and critical of others, or feel that you have been abused and wish to get back. Then just sit quietly and think for some minutes of forgiveness until you genuinely feel yourself forgiving the other, letting go of judgment or criticism. See for yourself how your attitude changes and what psychological effect is produced. Have you lost something or have you gained? Become aware when a critical, condemning attitude arises within you and each time work with yourself in this way. Try it for only one week and notice the reaction of others. See how relationships change. You might say, ”How can I forgive people who have abused and mistreated me?” But if we could see more deeply into our relationships we would realize that we bring these experiences on through our own actions, we would see that there is nobody to be forgiven. The people who mistreat us are often acting out the part that we assign to them.
There is a line in a prayer by St. Francis: it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” In the act of pardoning we think we are doing something wonderful for the person we are forgiving, but actually we are doing something much more wonderful for ourselves. For that very act creates for us an entirely different frame of reference. Because love and forgiveness allow us to experience the world in such a harmonious way it turns out that we are really pardoning ourselves. We are throwing off all the hate and the vengeance that we ordinarily harbor and acquiring a new sense of freedom. What could be more perfect justice than that? Some people might feel that in forgiving others they are opening themselves to being taken advantage of. They might say, “If I keep forgiving everyone they’ll get away with all kinds of things.” This is a misconception. In fact condemnation often does not prevent behavior but fans the flames so that the unwanted behavior increases. If the other person sees that it gets you upset he may do the same thing again for that very reason.
Forgiving does not mean allowing people to walk all over you and abuse you. Nor does it mean that you should not try to prevent others from overstepping their bounds, from being callous and inconsiderate. Setting limits for another person is often helpful to him, whereas letting that person take advantage of you merely teaches him that he can hurt and injure others without concern. This does not give him a chance to develop respect and care for the other. The person who allows others to take advantage of him is not practicing forgiveness but is actually attempting to repress his hostile and aggressive feelings, hiding them beneath external acquiescence and acceptance. Often we see this quality amongst those who have been following a set of religious precepts. In trying to practice forgiveness they mistakenly decide that they should allow themselves to be used by others. While they outwardly appear to be pleasant and forgiving, there may be smoldering resentment beneath the surface. There is a vast difference between outward acquiescence which masks resentment and a genuine inner forgiveness.
Meditation expands awareness, but this does not mean that awareness should be external. It is a natural tendency of the mind to roam toward the objects of the world. This also can be considered awareness, but such awareness is completely dissipated and gross. The schools of meditation use awareness in a different way. Meditation teaches the student to make the mind one pointed and inward. To some degree all human beings are aware of their environment and the things related to them. This is the dimmest and most superficial state of human consciousness, and we are not discussing that sort of awareness here. Human consciousness flows through various degrees and grades from the center of consciousness, and systematically going back to the source of consciousness within is the purpose of meditation.
Ahimsa means non-injuring, non-hurting, and non-killing. Normally, students think of violence in only physical terms, and civilized people refrain from gross acts of violence because of legal and social pressures. But ahimsa refers to non-violence in thought, action, and speech.
Even great leaders and heroes sometimes become bewildered in deciding between right action, action that is opposed to right action, and non-action. When faced with a decision, how is one to determine which is the best response? Perhaps the action one chooses will have an effect opposite to what is anticipated and will create conflict, disharmony, or grief. In that case is it better not to act at all?
Mahamandaleshwar Sri Swami Veda Bharati (1933- July 14, 2015), former President of Sadhana Mandir Trust, was a rare Sanskrit scholar of our time, unsurpassed in his profound depth of knowledge, philosophy and practice of Meditation. He was born in a Sanskrit-speaking family and raised in the centuries old Vedic tradition. He taught the Patañjali’s Yoga-sūtras for the first time at the early age of 9 and the Vedas from age 11. Having never attended any school, he received his M.A. from the University of London and a D.Litt. from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
From 1952-1967, he spread the Yogic and Vedic teachings in many parts of the world, including Africa and the West Indies. In 1969, he received the highest initiations into the mysteries of Meditation from his Guru Swami Rama of the Himalayas who linked him to the sacred lineage of the Himalayan Yogis. Thereafter he established and guided Meditation groups and centers in all parts of the world. He had access to 17 languages and taught Meditation in all of the major languages of the world and to followers of all religions.
In continuation with the oral tradition of the living lineage of the Himalayan Sages, Swami Veda taught: “योगः समाधिः | yogaḥ samādhiḥ | Yoga = samadhi | Yoga [is] samadhi. He proposed that the entire yoga science must be studied and practiced on the basis of this definition of yoga. All other definitions are subservient to it. He revealed the authentic teachings of Classical Yoga through his 1500 page commentaries on the (first two chapters) Yoga-Sutras. This commentary has been hailed among scholars and practitioners both as the most authentic and authoritative. He has recorded more than 3,500 hours of courses on all aspects of meditation, its texts, and philosophical systems apart from teaching the ancient texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita in an experiential context for meditation. Following on the footsteps of his Guru, he maintained a keen interest in the scientific studies of yoga mediation and subjected himself to a number of researches in the field of Neurophysiology of the Meditative states.
Swami Veda Bharati emphasized the universality of yoga as a science, which transcends chronological time, geographical boundaries, religious discrimination, and manmade sectarianism. Although he always liked to keep a low profile, he was well known for his teaching in different communities and cultures all over the world and for his expertise in instructing students in accordance with their own religion-philosophical background. During his lifetime, he participated in numerous interfaith dialogues, activities, and conferences with an aim of improving understanding among various religions. He found the experience of meditation to be the common ground among all religions. Prepared on the occasion of the United Nations 2000 World Peace Summit of Leaders in Religion and Spirituality, his short work, “Unifying Streams in Religions,” provides a fresh perspective for bringing the different faiths closer together.
In 2002, he founded Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, which houses the headquarters of the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) and serves as the centre for his global network among nearly 100 groups in 26 different countries; spreading the teachings of the Himalayan Tradition. We can best repay his extra-ordinary efforts by availing ourselves of the fruits of his experiential teachings to further our own yogic practice for our own enlightenment and the welfare of all.
Meditation is Renunciation
Swami Veda Bharati gave two lectures on "Peaceful Planet, Heart, and Mind" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, on August 5 & 7, 2010. This is an excerpt of the original lectures.
So, I leave you the question; “do you want to suffer recession or do you want to enjoy the renunciation?” Your renunciation will be helped by your mind discovering its inner fullness through the practice of meditation. That’s all.
Meditation is renunciation. Renunciation means reduction of, reduction of possessions, property. Reduction of wishes and desires is renunciation; and with that naturally comes what in Sanskrit language we call ‘Abhaya’.
Speaking of tragic and violent events going on in the world, Swami Veda said, “A mind that has become meditative, becomes incapable of a violent thought, incapable of anger, becomes incapable of revengeful inclination. In the presence of such a mind, such a field is generated that whoever comes within that field, becomes calm, the revengeful person ceases to be revengeful, the angry person begins to smile. That is the test of your meditation, not how many hours you sit turning your rosary, but whether in your presence the minds of others calm down. If you are reaching that point, you are making progress.”
A pure mind is a happy mind. Are you unhappy? You are afraid to say, because by this definition - a pure mind is a happy mind - if you admit you are unhappy, then there are impurities in your mind. Unhappiness or pain is a stain on the mind; a stain on the mind is a pain. Do you want to check the level of your purity? Just check the total content of your thoughts. How many happy thoughts do you have, and how many unhappy ones do you have? How many pleasant thoughts do you have, and how many painful ones do you have?
We keep that goal in mind when breathing — we remember that goal; when sitting — we remember that goal; when walking — we remember that goal; when eating — we remember that goal — through all āhāras, the 4 kinds of āhāras described by the Buddha, 4 kinds of intakes. We remain aware. That awareness is called anusati.
Shiva is the Lord of the meditator, the very identity of the meditator. The earliest iconography in human history is a meditative one as divinity sitting in the meditative posture. It is the iconography of Shiva. It is that one by whose grace we are drawn to a life of renunciation, to go up the mountain, for he is the dweller of Mount Kailash, the dweller of the highest mountain within us, the head. From his matted hair the gushing river of inspiration, knowledge, and wisdom flows.
Swami Ritavan Bharati has lived a life dedicated to serving Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati since 1970. After having been initiated at the age of 20, he transited through all the three Ashrams of Vedic life (Brahmacharya, Grihastha, and Vanaprastha) under the direct guidance of Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati. He was then initiated into Sanyasa in 2007.
He holds master’s degrees in Management, Education, Holistic Philosophy, and Eastern Studies. A highly experienced yoga meditation practitioner, he has conducted and guided numerous silence and meditation retreats throughout the world and has been instrumental in guiding the international Himalayan Yoga Tradition – Teacher Training Program (HYT-TTP). He is also a Mantra Initiator within the Tradition of the Himalayan Masters. Swami Veda Bharati chose Swami Ritavan Bharati as his successor; as the Ashram Pramukha and Spiritual Guide of SRSG and the AHYMSIN community, before he took Mahasamadhi in 2015.
A man of few words, his primary focus is on the inner life.
The AHYMSIN Full Moon Illuminations Newsletter this month recognizes the pains and sufferings of recent events as we reflect upon current and on-going global issues with a spiritual salve of healing through the teachings of the Tradition.
Gather all your senses. Let your mind, body, breath be in harmony and peace. The seat of your mind at peace. Bring that peace to all your limbs., organs, and faculties. Feel the peacefulness in your forehead. Peacefulness in your vocal organs and your jaw. Peace descending into your neck and shoulders. Peace in your arms. Peace in your hands and fingers. Let them rest in peace as you breathe. Breathing gently, slowly, smoothly.
Full Moon Illuminations – Next steps in Meditation
Become Space Born
When your meditation becomes that empty space in the sky of the heart, it becomes like the moonlight in the space of consciousness. What a subtle and refined pleasure, beyond the mystic ecstasies of tears or laughter.
These individuals are remarkable sadhakas, one with the predominance of jnana, and the other, the rare traits of a bhakta. Together they are truly Karma-yogis and models sadhakas for generations to come. Each wave of divinity ebbs and flows, expresses and stills, speaks and goes silent.
Through prayer, meditation, and contemplation we come to understand Christ-Consciousness, and realize Truth. Through atonement, abandonment (death), resurrection (transformation), and redemption, we discover the path and purpose of life and sadhana. May we continue in our evolution with victory over death, and liberation over ignorance to awaken (muksheeya), the Oneness of our true nature, and the Eternal Presence of Being.
Wherever there are Shiva temples, that Shiva there has a name. The ashram temple for Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama is named: Sadhakesvara, the Lord of the sadhakas – those who are aspiring to become as Shiva, those who are aspiring to know the truth of "Shivoham"