[This article previously was published in the August 2108 edition of the AHYMSIN Newsletter.]
Those of us who have experienced the infinite love and grace of the Himalayan Masters, of the Guru Lineage through the sacred mantra diksha (Initiation) were blessed with the mantra seed having been sown deep within. When nurtured lovingly, this mantra seed develops into a tree of spirituality within. The Initiates Retreat has been especially designed to show us exactly how to thus nurture the mantra seed.
As Swami Veda has said with regards to the initiate retreat, “You have been a guest at the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, perhaps once, perhaps many times, and have had basic lessons in sitting and breathing etc… You have also received mantra-diksha. Now the question remains: WHAT after mantra? How to refine it; where to go further? There is always need for (a) refreshing, (b) refining to subtler levels and (c) learning the next steps.”
This year’s Initiate Retreat will be during the 9 sacred days dedicated to the Mother Divine, during Navaratri, during October 10-18, 2018, at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). We will have non-stop recitation of the 1000 names of the Mother Divine (akhanda japa of the Lalita-sahasra-nama). Navratri is indeed a special time to renew one’s commitment to their sadhana and spiritual life.
Swami Ritavan Bharati has given the theme of “Bhakti and Loving Meditations” for this special initiates retreat.
Gurudeva Swami Rama has written in his book – Choosing a Path:
“Bhakti yoga is known as the path of love and devotion. It is the path of self-surrender and dedication of all one’s resources to attain the ultimate Reality. In this path love becomes the Lord of life and motivates the whole being toward Divinity alone. The path of bhakti yoga is the path of love.” (p. 55)
“In the path of bhakti one of the easiest practices is to remember God’s name—a mantra or a word—constantly. Ajapa Japa, remembering God’s name constantly, becomes a part of life and makes one aware of the Lord all the time. Constant remembrance makes a deep groove in the unconscious mind, for the unconscious mind is actually the seat of habit formation. Once the habit is formed, then it becomes part of individual life. Ajapa japa is that state of remembering God’s name in which a devotee does all his duties, yet remembers God all the time, even during sleep. It is an effortless way of remembering God, but a constant and long practice of japa is necessary.” (p. 67)
“In bhakti yoga, many students use an idol, an image, or a statue of a spiritual guide because their minds cannot fathom the attributeless aspect of the Lord. This way of ritual, or puja, that they perform helps to make the mind one-pointed and inward. The scriptures explain that there are two level of devotion—devotion for the attributeless, and devotion with attributes (nirguna and saguna). It is not easy for a student to attain nirguna bhava¸or mood, and it takes a long time for the student to attain nirguna bhakti. The human mind is accustomed to leaning on certain forms or names. It cannot conceive of and is not able to fathom the unfathomable—the attributeless. Therefore, very few attain nirguna bhakti, but saguna bhakti seems to be very easy and pleasing to the students of this path.” (p. 68)
Swami Veda talking about Loving Meditations said, “Now there is obviously two translations of this phrase. Loving your meditation, to love your meditation. That’s one thing and the other is loving meditations. Meditations in which love is important. Both are two sides of the same coin.”
Swami Veda here adds, “Meditate silently and meditate lovingly and here love and silence are one and the same because when you pacify the tumultuous noises of the mind that is silence. When you quite the tumultuous noises of the mind that is silence. When you pacify tumultuously destructive emotions that is love. The two are one in the same and if you go from here with a renewed commitment. Commitment to your own spirituality, commitment to loving the community of disciples, commitment to helping others through what you receive here.”
Our beloved Swami Veda has also blessed us with the reminder that “…I wish to assure you that those who are initiated in our Tradition do remain thus enwombed. May these foetuses grow to full maturity of liberation.”
Raghavendra Adiga will be guiding this retreat. Raghavendra is a mantra initiator and a member of the AHYMSIN Adhyatma Samiti, or Spiritual Committee. He is also the centre leader of Himalayan Centre for Yoga Meditation, Tumkur, Karnataka, India.