January 31th, 2011
After two months of preparation, it is hard to realize that Swami Veda’s visit to Thailand has just been over. With the possibility that this could have been his last visit, the oganising team had put extra efforts to make his event bigger than the previous two occasions. As a result, we all felt some moments of anxiety and tension. In the end, however, results turned out much better than we had imagined, reinforcing one spiritual principle that Swamiji has always emphasized as the key to spiritual progress “Surrender”.
Swamiji arrived on evening of Thursday 27th of January from Hong Kong where he met with 120-130 people. Prior to Hong Kong, he also led a 3 day retreat in Japan and gave lecture in Taiwan where almost 800 people attended. As usual, Eric Levine the owner of Thailand’s biggest Fitness Center chain, California Wow Experience, has generously and warmly received him at his home. He and his girlfriend, Joy, are impeccable in making Swamiji stay in Bangkok as comfortable as possible.
Swamiji started his mission in Thailand, guiding a meditation session to a small group consisting of Ma Radha, Swami Prayaggiri, nine initiates (4 from Thailand, 4 from Malaysia and 1 from Singapore) and the other 21 people feeling drawn towards him. Again, Kawee, the Head of Thai Yoga Institute, has offered his selfless service and served as a wonderful translator. “Breathe the wisdom”, Swamiji told of all of us to remember this message and implement it in any of our daily life situation. With his radiating compassion, he helped open the hearts of people who met him for the first time here. Eric and Joy gave us a big treat by having two young yoga instructors from California Wow Experience to demonstrate the delicate yogic movement and posture skillfully regulated by the breath awareness and exercise.
The most important highlight of his trip, however, followed the next day on January 29th, when he was scheduled to speak in front of the big audience. In fact, it had been the key moment for the organizing team ways before the event took place. We originally booked the other venue (where his previous lecture in 2007 was held, which could accommodate only 150 people). Upon “Great Spiritual Inspiration” from Himalayan to Bangkok learning that Swamiji has a plan to take five years of silence from mid 2013, we felt an urge to find much bigger place so that as many people as possible may have opportunities to listen to the great spiritual inspiration from him. We followed through with that inner urge and moved the venue to Thammasart Association, a place that can fit in about 500-550 people.
Yoga may be widespread in Thailand as in any country it came to be known, but most people are only exposed to physical part of yoga. In isolation, however, this type of yoga is not yoga in its true sense. Thus, to get many people required a lot more efforts perhaps beyond our abilities. In the end, however, helps came from everywhere. Eric was one of the biggest forces drawing people to the event. We also had cooperation from several yoga studios; Bangkok Yoga, True Balance, Green Yoga, Good Life Center, Natra Yoga, Hatha Raja Yoga, Yoga Element, Reun Yoga, Yoga Sutra and Yoga OM. We end up having around 500 people attending his lecture. The audience are also diverse, consisting also of people from finance and business worlds, catholic nun and followers as well as laymen.
Upon arriving at the stage, Swamiji immediately had strong impact on several people. One person felt tear falling down her cheek just seeing him. Swamiji guided the crowd through deep relaxation and meditation that last for more than 30 minutes but many thought they only did 10-15 minutes as time seemed to be moving faster in his presence. This was such a contradictory because when thought process slows and one just sits still, one would normally feel time pass more slowly. He also formed the tender bond with people when he opened his lecture with the sentence “Whenever I left Thailand, I started counting the days when would I come back again”. He encouraged Thais to preserve our own value of being so kind, generous and friendly and share these values to the world. According to him, spiritual life should not be separated from worldly life. No rule should also be imposed on meditation practice. As you don’t think how much time you should enjoy holding your beloved baby or spouse in your arms, there is also no need to impose time limit on your practice. His message was to enjoy your meditation and fully integrate that into your daily life.
The spiritual energy radiating from him was so strong that it kept most people in a happy state, with smiles on their faces. Many told us that they did not think they could meditate until they had this opportunity to do so under his guidance. One lady told us that we have given her the best ever Chinese New Year gift. Two people, Pakpong and Jeraporn , have felt some connection with Himalayan Tradition (even before Swamiji arrived) and meeting him has deepened their interest to pursue their relationship with the tradition further. All these were the biggest rewards for the organizing team.
Another key highlight for his trip was the meeting with Most Venerable Shi Kuang Seng, a highly respected Thai Bhiksuni in Mahayana Buddhism. Master Kuang Seng is a rare and unique Master. A very fervant buddhist (even before she took Bhiksuni ordination in 1991), she has built big temple in Bangkok dedicated to the Lord Shiva.
Her unconventional decision came after the Lord Shiva appeared in her dream asking her to build the temple for the poor on the land her son intended to develop into a housing estate. The Lord Shiva also inspired her in the dream that there is oneness in all different religions. Swamiji and Master Kuang Seng quickly formed intimacy and great respect for each other to the delights of their followers.
Master Kuang Seng then took the group to another temple she established; the Kuan Yin Temple where one would enjoy hundreds of beautifully crafted stones of Kuan Yin images. Is it a coincidence that Kuan Yin happens to be Swamiji’s favorite Deity? Swamiji was in awe that one lady’s dreams and visions are manifested in such an amazing place. Master Kuang Seng’s close disciple said that she had never seen Her Master had tremendous love for any one like Swamiji before. Swamiji presented Master Kuang Seng with an Indian Shawl. Out of affection, Master Kuang Seng gave a Jade mala to Swamiji and all of Swamiji’s followers also received wonderful gifts and blessing from the Master.
Swamiji ended his trip with a short but honorable visit to Himalayan Thailand center and led the group through 5-7 minute silence meditation. He blessed the center with spiritual prosperity and growth that may lead to the need for a bigger place in the future. He departed Bangkok on Monday, January 31st 2011. With the 5-year silence retreat his top priority, we wonder when we would have another great honour of having him in this country again. Nonetheless, his love and wisdom have left strong imprint in our minds, which would continue growing and being a source of our inspiration in our own inner searches.
Special thanks to Sopa, Thanawalai and Udomporn for demonstrating strong team work.
Interested in learning more about meditationpractice as taught by Swami Veda Bharati