[The Spiritual Festival is an annual festival. This article is from the Word.doc sent and printed for aspirants in the year 2006. Email addresses and telephone numbers have been removed.]
The Meditation Center
631 University Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Namaste and Greetings to you at this festive occasion of sadhana.
During this forty day period we all have an opportunity for celebrating the prosperity that sadhana brings. The prospering of sadhana means that there is greater peace in everyone’s mind. Only peace in individual minds can bring peace in the world. Therefore, let our striving and endeavor for internal peace be an unceasing one; spread it wide; enlarge the circle of those who feel and contemplate such peaceful ways of living. That is the only way for world peace. We are reminded to join the peaceful mind of Swami Veda through the World Group meditations.
Mark the dates for 2006: Jun 11, Jul 11, Aug 9, Sep 7, Oct 7, Nov 5, Dec 4
Do let us know at the Meditation Center that you are participating in the Spiritual festival. Please read the attached information for information and guidance. Again a reminder of our community five days of Silence Retreat this summer, (July 5th – 9th) at Dunrovin Retreat Center near Minneapolis; and of our Guru Purnima celebration on the 11th of July 7 pm. at the Meditation Center.
Or you may choose a longer retreat in the beauty of northern California with the 0-day Silence Retreat at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) near San Francisco.
The full schedule at IONS is as follows:
(July 17–30) Teachers Retreat (IHYTA-TTP): 14-day Certification program module and Advancing Education Credit (applicable for YA credit)
(July 18–20) Intensive Three-day Training in Hatha Yoga
(July 21–25) 5-Day Silence Retreat
(July 21–30) 10-Day Silence Retreat
(July 21–23) Traditions of Vedic Knowledge with Swami Veda and Dr. David Frawley
(July 24–26) Intensive Three-day Training in Meditation
(July 28–30) Traditions of Health and Well-being: The Science of Ayurveda
If you cannot attend these events hopefully you can now make your plans for the events in 2007.
With love and blessings,
USA: The Meditation Center, 631 University Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Dear Pilgrim in Yoga,
We are all here for a purpose; it is an on-going spiritual process. We are all here for spiritual liberation and serving that mission. For that purpose we are purifying ourselves of our pride and ego.
For these reasons we train ourselves in constant self-observation: to see oneself, to hear oneself to develop this internal dialogue. I have used one criterion for all my thoughts, my words, and my actions: “Is this conducive to spiritual liberation.” You are still learning to walk on this path and have not yet fully learned to observe the effects of your attitudes and actions on others. For this reason, please allow me to offer you some of the ways I have used in my own life to guide my attitudes and responses. They have been my experiments in life and pass them on for you to experiment with.
For over twenty years we have celebrated a festival of spiritual purification. Its core is in the forty days of intense sadhana specific to a given year. But actually it is the theme for the whole year.
The festival for this year starts WHEN you receive this note, irrespective of the date to be announced for formalities. Guru-purnima this year is July 11th.
• Keep some time for silence and for introspection
• Carry a state of mindfulness & talk to yourself with internal dialogue. (See booklet on internal dialogue).
• I encourage you to again listen to the “Marks of Spiritual Progress,” the lectures given in Rishikesh 2002 and make your own chart or list of where you are in relation to this particular mark of spiritual progress, and if you do not fit there then ask, “What should I do to improve myself?”
• Use my points in applying prayash-chitta (self-examination, confession and atonement.)
• Use the Gayatri japa during the 40 days
• Study Swami Rama’s (1) Art of Joyful Living and (2) Conscious Living: A Guidebook for Spiritual Transformation, available from your own Center.
The japa this year is Gayatri, with the intent of purification, following the same system as in previous years. Read Swami Veda’s booklet SPECIAL MANTRAS and address any questions to Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral and Pandit Ananta .
Please let your own Centre, and the Meditation Center, know that you are participating.
May you not encounter boulders, only little pebbles, on your pilgrim path.
Yours in service of Gurudeva
Swami Veda Bharati
For serious students a 3-5 year training program began in October, 2004 at the new Sadhaka Gram Gurukulam. Contact for more information and application.
(from talks given by Swami Veda at the Gurukulam in Rishikesh)
We are here for a purpose; it is an ongoing spiritual process.
We are all here for spiritual liberation, and serving that mission is part of that. This becomes the higher mission that we are serving, all of us, are serving; and for this purpose alone we are purifying ourselves of our pride and ego.
For these reasons we train ourselves in constant self-observation: to see oneself, to hear oneself to develop this internal dialogue. I have used one criterion for all my thoughts, my words and my actions: “Is this conducive to spiritual liberation.”
You are still learning to walk on this path and have not yet fully learned to observe the effects of your attitudes and actions on others. For this reason please allow me to offer you some of the ways I have used in my own life to guide my attitudes and responses. They have been my experiments in life and I pass them on for you to experiment with.
1. Say the unpleasant in a pleasant way
2. Make excuses for the other party
3. Reduce negatives by one half before forming negative reactions
4. Reconcile the opposites
5. Learn to get along with those one was previously unable to trust
6. Make no decisions without wide consultation
7. Reflect and recognize one’s own needs, conflicts, insecurities, failings, without projecting them on others; and learning to resolve them through:
a. internal dialogue
b. internal confession
c. outward confession
8. If there is suspicion that I might have been wrong or right presume to be wrong and acknowledge that to others, letting them make the choice, and then accepting their decision with out denying or justifying from your personal interests. Trust in their sense of forgiveness.
9. Willingness to surrender one-half of one’s ground, thereby finding that middle ground between one’s view and someone else’s view.
10. If you have a problem of conflict with someone, solve the problem s/he has with you.
11. Promote a spirit of prayash-chitta, the spirit of apology. It is a self-purification as confession, atonement and apology. It is related to the Pali word pratimoka, release, related to moksha.
12. Remember, you are not becoming angry because of “THIS incident or situation.” You were angry because of your past mental habit, and the habit has deepened to the point of wanting to release it and get it out. So now, knowing this, find other ways to ease the mind by such ways as:
a. learning to apologize for the other person
b. what might be the limitation in the capacity of the other person that I was not sensitive to and overlooked and chose not to make an adjustment in my expectations.
c. what pains has the other person suffered, not as judgment, but by way of compassion
d. figure out what excuses you can provide for that person’s behavior
13. Carry authority without carrying “authority.” Lead without seeming to be leading. Bring others along, including them, informing them, sharing with them. Ask for their ideas and opinions and thereby reaching a consensus – a collective decision.
In letting people listen and accept you and your ideas, you will develop the art of bringing people along with you, and that is leadership.
14. We all have ability, and we all have the urge to serve, but when we feel the need to take on areas of responsibility that are not “ours,” ask yourself whether you first spoke with that person or persons, and how did you communicate that failing? Remember, you must first learn to hold back the urge to blame. Then it will be said pleasantly.
15. REMEMBER: Chitta-prasadana – Pleasant-Mindedness (YS I:33) – at all times.
16. Over the next 40 days see if you can make a 10% reduction in:
c. anger toward others
d. your consumption of goods and energies
Practice this anger sublimation and humility, for it affects the entire mission. Take courage to face your angers reflected in that harsh tone, insulting comment or confronting body language that evoke a negative response in the other person.
17. Ask yourself what caused the person to react in that way. What are the pains of that person over the last 5 or 10 years that has caused such an accumulation of suffering that one reacts in such a manner when “triggered.”
18. Then as a kalyana mitra (noble friend), speak openly and listen back to oneself.
19. Remember: no instant reaction without full contemplation on the points given above.
If you love “me” then love my “family.” When you are wanting to get angry, think of giving that anger to me first.
Be an “insider” for that is our work, that is what we are here for. Our internal work on the points above are the teaching, and that is the path we are on as pilgrims in yoga. This is the true festival of spiritual peace.
Swami Veda Bharati
Dear Pilgrim in Yoga,
I have composed a prayer that I would like for you to memorize and use as part of your daily meditations.
"MOTHER GAYATRI, OH GURUDEV, GRANT ME THE PURITY OF BUDDHI”
"Oh Gurudeva, grant me the purity of buddhi.
May my mind become immaculate, quiet, peaceful, clear and pleasant.
May all my emotions be purified.
Grant me the spiritual strength to ask for forgiveness with a sentiment of amity.
AUM, That alone is Real.
May all this endeavor be accepted as my surrender,
And offering to Brahman."
Gāyatri Mātah he Guro shrī Guro sad buddhir me prayaccha
Chittam me nirmalam, shāntam, prasannam bhuyāt
Sarve me bhāvāh śhudhyantām māitrī bhāvanayā
Kşhamam yāchintum ātmabalam medehi
AUM Tat Sat Brahmarpanamastu
Continue to remember this prayer throughout the day. Better would be to get a book and write this prayer a few times in the day so that you will know the purpose of the Gayatri japa. And reflect on the purpose while reciting the mantra, "grant me the spiritual strength to ask for forgiveness." Not spiritual strength to forgive – the spiritual strength to ask for forgiveness. Everyone thinks of themselves as innocent. You do not intentionally do harm to others, but you find yourself helpless by the samskaras, by the imprints, by the angers, by the self deficiencies, and insecurities that cloud your buddhi, your faculty of discrimination.
So my prayer for you is for the strength to unscrupulously dig out and face your own transgressions and along with your Gayatri practice ask for strength, spiritual strength to ask for forgiveness. As I have said, "This is the true festival of spiritual peace."
Yours in service of Gurudeva,
Swami Veda Bharati
Self-Examination, Meditation Practice: Mantra Japa
• Maintain mindfulness and an attitude of self-examination throughout the day. Observe thoughts and emotions asking oneself, “What transgressions did I commit?” “
• Where there was fearful or aggressive thoughts/words/actions ask,
“What was it in me that evoked that response and reaction
• What right thing that should have done have I omitted, replacing such negativity with kindness and compassion. (Refer to Swami Veda’s Yoga Sutra summary of I:33 on Chitta prasadhana.)
• Nadi Shodhana (channel purification) 3 times a day
• Three to five malas of personal mantra japa daily
• Three malas of Gayatri japa daily, and for any thought critical of anyone, do 11 recitations of Gayatri.
• At juncture points in your day (or about every 2 hours), sit for 2 minutes, observing the flow of breath in the nostrils and repeating your personal mantra.
• Recite the Gurur Brahma Prayer and the morning or evening prayers
• Surrender samskaras & random thoughts to the inner Guru
• Resolve to enter into non-self-centered meditation
• Om Tat Sat Brahmarpanam Astu - dedicate prayers to the enlightenment and happiness of others.
• Your last formal thought at night should be the Gurur Brahma prayer and entry into meditative mode as you fall asleep. Your sleep will become a meditation. Awaken with Yoga Nidra before rising.
• Participate in World-group Meditations. See dates for 2006 : June 11, July 11, Aug. 9, Sept. 7, Oct. 7, Nov. 5, Dec. 4.
• A practice of hatha yoga to purify the body, breath and mind. Consider undertaking a practice of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) during this 40 days. Please refer to the section in Swami Veda’s Philosophy of Hatha Yoga where he talks about asana as worship. Use whatever asana practice you undertake as a way to strengthen your link with the lineage through whom all blessings flow.
• If possible do not eat alone. Take a small portion and give it to a companion or co-worker. If it is embarrassing and not socially acceptable, then surrender the first portion to the Great Prana of the Universe.
• Recite Grace.
• Eat 5 mouthfuls less than enough to fill the stomach at each meal.
• No solid food after 9:00 p.m. A glass of liquid may be taken at night. Special health and medical situations are exempt. Total fasting is not suggested.
• Try to avoid eating meat or fish during the month although you may serve it to your family.
• Ask the Center's guidance regarding balanced diet.
To further deepen your practice
• Read and contemplate themes from past Festivals such as: vasu-deva principle, ahimsa, inner cycles & transitions, silencing past habits, contemplation & stillness, refinement of pleasures, surrender to the Guru within. Transcripts of these are available from the Meditation Center.
• Consider taking a vow of one month's celibacy, but only with the happy consent of your spouse.
• Keep a personal journal on subtle violence in personal life, e.g. an unjustified sharp tone of speech, or in using objects obtained by violence and disregard for the rights of other living beings.
• Dedicate 10 percent of your month's income plus one dollar to a charity of your choice (not necessarily the Center), in addition to your usual commitments. Through this ancient Western and Eastern tradition of tithing, one learns the way of giving sacrifice joyfully.
• Look for ways to reduce your possessions, acquisitions and energy consumption at least 10%.
• Conquer anger, laziness and selfish thoughts.
• Vow to give special love to your family and reach out to others, beyond your blocks and fears.
• Experiment with a practice of silence (see Swami Veda's booklet on silence for more details). This could be through observing your speech in daily life to see if you are using more words than necessary, speaking louder than necessary and if your tone and voice evokes a positive response in the listener. You could undertake to practice a half day of silence or a longer period.
• Take a one or two-day, or longer, personal retreat. Contact your Center for arrangements or suggestions.
• On Guru Purnima day you may decide to undertake further observances of self-purification for next year. Ask for the Year of Sanctity Guidelines.
In reviewing the guidelines and making your own commitments, please keep in mind your own capacity. Success with a series of smaller goals will lead to greater purification and capacity for next year. Assess your own capacity and do not try to push to complete "on time." Accommodate for your family responsibilities.
For inquires or questions please contact: The Meditation Center, 631 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 USA;
Or email to:
Swami Veda Bharati
Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral
Om Tat Sat Brahmarparnam Astu. May this be accepted as my surrender to Brahman, the Supreme Transcendental One. (See also how "Om Tat Sat" are explained in the Bhagavad Gita, Chpt 17, v 23-28).
Guru Brahmaa gurur Vishnur
Gurur devo Maheshvarah .
Guru saakshaat param Brahma
Tasmai shree guruve namah
Guru is Brahman (creator), is Vishnu (Protector)
Is the Lord Shiva (Destroyer of Evil), is indeed
the Supreme One. Salvations to that Guru.
Asato maa sada gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamaya
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
Lead us from falsehood to Truth
From darkness to Light
From death to Immortality and Bliss
Om, peace, peace, peace
Homage to the Guru
AKHANDA - unbroken, complete MANDALA - orb
AKARAM - having that shape VYAPTAM - pervaded
YENA - by whom
CHARACHARAM - all that is moving and unmoving
TAT PADAM - that pedestal, that state DARSHITAM - was shown
TASMAI SHRI GURAVE NAMAH to that glorious Guru my homage
VYAPTAM YENA CHARACHARAM
TAT PADAM DARSHITAM YENA
TASMAI SHRI GURAVE NAMAH
To that glorious Guru my homage, who has shown me that state which is identical with the unbroken full orb of the sun, which pervades all things moving and unmoving.
On Guru Purnima Day it is looked at a little differently: TAT TVAM ASI that thou art; he who has shown me the meaning of that that who is like the full orb of the sun pervading all things moving and unmoving filling them with brilliance, unto that Guru my obeisance and surrender.
The Prayer at Dawn
Pratah smarami hrdi samsphurad atma-tattvam
Sac-cit-sukham parama-hansa gatim turiyam
Yat-svapna-jagara-susuptam avaiti nityam
Tad-brahma niskalam aham na ca bhuta-sanghah.
At dawn do I meditate upon that which shines in the heart as the Self, that Truth, that which is existence-intelligence-happiness, that which is the goal of the great sages, that which is the transcendent reality (lit., the fourth). I am that eternal Brahman which is blemishless and which knows the (three) states of dream, waking and sleep, and not this aggregate of elements.