Dear Initiates and Friends,
As we turn the page to the next year, I have been examining where our spiritual journey is taking us. And what are the rocks, pebbles and thorns that our feet encounter. The goal of our journey is clear, nothing short of liberation and enlightenment. It is the little pebbles and thorns that we have the most difficulty avoiding. The smaller the thorn, the more difficult it is to tweez it out.
What are these thorns? By now you must be tired of hearing my answer over and over, these are our negative emotions, our habit of not choosing the positive pictures available. Our personal relations suffer from our inability to discern and choose the positive and the beautiful. The nations suffer because many of the national and international policies spring out of the personal emotional make-up of the individual leaders. The same is true of organisations, including our Centres and meditation groups.
I experience a deep ache in my heart as I see that so many of the interactions even among spiritual seekers stem from the personal frustrations in their own lives. We stay away from each other, we suspect each other of selfish planning and plotting, and we subject the entire family, friendly circles and groups, to a disruption thinking that we are making a contribution.
The test of spiritual progress is whether we manage to serve as glue to join many people together, or we exclude and separate.
May I urge that we devote our coming year to a very practical application of the principle of positive emotions. Within a family, within a circle of friends, within the Centres and meditation groups, those who have been excluded should again be included; those who have excluded themselves should rush back with an easy smile, so that receiving arms may open.
In every situation two interpretations are possible, a positive one and a negative one. We should learn to err on the side of the positive one. Perhaps the person who seemed to insult us, meant something entirely different from what we have understood. We have misunderstood this person, because of our anger and frustration about our own situation in some other relationship, past or present. Do not examine the motives of others; examine the contents of your mind, which make you respond in a certain way.
This year I would like to give you guidelines on emotional purification. For teachers I am holding a special two week training that includes this theme, from June 19-July 2 in Calgary, Canada. For others I would like to send a series of communications, or maybe a booklet with some brief guidance, on which you will need to develop your own dialogue with your mind. Do talk to your mind. You have a problem with someone? Do not argue with him or her; talk to your mind as to why your mind has chosen to respond in this particular way. This alone is the way to create harmony and to bring your family, Centre or mediation group, or your Country and Nation, to be able to realise the goal of peace with creativity.
One more suggestion if I may. When you are in disagreement with someone, postpone all discussion and argument. Simply join them in a mediation group and meditate with them. When you come to the group, greet each other with palms joined before the heart and when you finish, do the same again--give a smile, still no discussion, and go home. Keep doing that irrespective of whether the problems resolve themselves or not.
I have written this because so many of you reach me with your problems, which are identical and arise from the exact same causes from within the mind. The principles are simple, but their application is complex. They are easy to memorise, difficult to remember.
I wish for you this year the capacity of remembrance and awareness.
Yours with Deepest Love
In Service of Gurudev
Swami Veda Bharati
Rishikesh, at the end of the page number 1998.
Cosmic God's one exhalation and inhalation
is a single cycle of creation and dissolution.
A Galactic God's one breath
is an aeon.
A Solar Deity's in-breath and out-breath,
one winter and one summer.
The Lunar Beauty's respiration,
dark and a bright fortnight.
The Mother Earth's single sigh and then an intake of breath
is Her one pilgrimage around the Sun.
Your own 7,777,000 breaths make, from 1/1 to 31st of 12th,
a mortal's year.
In God's single breath, then, how many aeons,
O how many seasons, months, fortnights, nights and days--
then how many in your breath that mirrors God's respiratory cycle?
As the light-laden, ample gifted person-tree breathes--
breathes the chimes of I-time, Thou-time, It-time,
They-time, Us-time, He- and She-time;
How many Christmases, Hanukkahs, New Years pass?
How many times do we orbit around God's own Time Sun?
In stillness and silence of the Breathing Mind's vast inter-cosmic spaces,
come, let us celebrate each candescent Christmas
and refulgent year with 7-lucis menorahs kindled, 7,777,000 times,
and that again a hundred times over in one luminescent life.
I wish you the subtlest celebrations of that many transcendences,
lucent with enlightenments deserved by disciples
into whom breathe the Incarnations of all nations,
prophets of all Jerusalems and Christs of all creations.
I wish you 7,777,000 Christmases, Hanukkahs, New Years,
filled with joys of snow-white purity of the soul,
as you share out gifts of the spirit
in every breath through this life-time.
Love and Blessings of Light.
We celebrate the transition into the next century, with the eagerness of a fledgling who cannot wait to begin flying with the first flap of his wings;
With the devotion of the novice initiate who longs to reach the day when he may be granted the high status of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Why not celebrate it earlier than the rest of the world? The old century, both by the solar and the lunar astronomical calculations, ends on Wednesday 17th March 1999, and the next century begins, five minutes after midnight. We complete 5100 years of the Kali-yuga, 5136 years since Krishna taught the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
A year starts and ends with one certain astronomical conjunction. Let your celebration be a conjoining of the soul to Soul, and when the next century flies in (on 18th March 1999 according to the Gregorian Calendar) like the dove of gentleness, bringing in its beak the tiny twig of time, bearing the berries of the sun and the moon. May this dove's one wing fan the breezes of love and the other one flap the gushes of soul-rinsing peace.
Do plan to celebrate the next century with special silence and meditation.
Swami Veda Bharati
In the Holy City of Rishikesh on January 1, 1999
Previous Messages for Swami Veda Bharati
Dear Siblings in Spirit,
Wishing you first a new year filled with beautiful thoughts. May all beautiful thoughts attend to you during this coming year. I'll share the thoughts that have been running through my mind for some weeks and months. A human being remains dissatisfied if he does not sense progress, more so in the intangibles and less in the tangibles. All our dissatisfactions arise from our sense of a lack of development in the intangibles of life. The intangibles are only the exterior manifestation. And yet we have somewhere lost touch with the art of enjoying the intangibles and that is what meditation is all about, learning to enjoy the less tangible, the subtle, the fine, the one closer to the home of our spirit. I know that for this year you're expecting me to set some kind of a theme as we have done in past years. I played with a number of ideas, a number of thoughts on which direction we should be taking. I'm doing two or three different things this year in different areas and one of them is because of my close involvement with the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust here. There are constant questions that demand an answer to the question what exactly is the role of spirituality in a modern organization, in management, in administration? But then, subtler than that is what Ananta has been doing with the students, the five pillars of sadhana. And then there is one more that has puzzled me.
In this life of meeting with people, thousands of people in different countries, different cultures, I've had quite a few moments of shock. The first shock came at the age of 28 when I came across someone who was not looking for God. I did not know that there were such people. Lately, the experience of seeing people disturbed has puzzled me, not for lack of empathy but for lack of my own understanding. People are so dependent on their surroundings. If anything is disturbed in the surroundings, they feel disturbed. We talk constantly about the idea that I am other than my surroundings, that I need not take the disturbances from the surroundings into me. We speak of our independence but we never quite manage to achieve it. Some new member of the staff here sees me sitting with the eyes closed, "Swamiji, shall I shut off the light? Shall I shut the door? Shall I draw the curtain?" "Whatever for?" "Oh, so nobody disturbs you." This idea that in order to meditate, the surroundings have to be undisturbed, is a very strange one, that in order for me to be at peace, everything around me has to be peaceful, is a puzzle, because if I am at peace within myself, then everything around me will automatically and naturally become pacified.
So it is the disturbances within ourselves that generate the waves of disturbances around us. People cannot stand crowds. If there are too many people in a room, it is very disturbing. Why is that? Because where you are sitting, as I've said many times before, no one else is sitting. The space that your body is occupying, no one else is occupying. People say here, as well as there, "We are not getting enough time to meditate. We are so busy." Sometimes someone has to wait in a car for a few minutes and I tell them, "Now, sit down. Use this time." I come out and ask, "How many japa did you do?" "Oh, we're not you, Swamiji. We can't sit in a car and do meditation. Too many thoughts, too many sounds, too many noises, peoples who want to enter conversations with us." On my part, what I'm saying might seem to be a lack of understanding of people's situations. Some people who do not know me here in India come into the ashram and I do what I do and give this kind of advice and then they say, "Well, Swamiji, it's all right for you to be sitting in a quiet ashram and give us this advice. We have to live out there in the world. What do you know about that?" And when I tell them I've done half my sadhana sitting at American and Canadian airports, they do not believe it!
What I'm saying here is that I'd like to suggest that it be a year of a very difficult sadhana, a sadhana that you might consider difficult, and that is a sadhana of meditation in action. Let us get adventurous and do something we've tried occasionally before but not with full awareness. Meditation while waking alone is easy. One can keep on doing one's mantra. But in a crowd, in an office, waiting outside in a hall, sitting in the car, even with the eyes open, try to practice meditation in action. Let this year be a year when by the time Christmas comes and you go Christmas shopping, in the middle of a crowded mall, you find yourself in absolute solitude. I want you to meditate with your TV on, with your Walkman on. I want you to meditate while in the arms of your spouse. I want you to meditate with your baby crying in your arms. I want you to meditate waking up, taking a shower, cooking a meal. There is not enough time to set aside. "When will our sadhana be completed? When will we reach our goal?" Let there be this longing, the way you feel when you begin to fall in love and morning and night, no matter where you are, a certain image of the beloved keeps floating before you, the wine of love gets you drunk as Omar Khayyam has said.
If you do it as a chore, as an assignment, as a practice, you will not manage it very well. Rather, at this time, as you are listening to me, listen as there arises in your heart a longing, an intense longing for that unseen, subtle force by whose very will you are able to hear, whose will is driving my will to speak to you, that is uniting us across this apparently vast distance in a common longing that makes us sit together at this time to listen to these words and to hear these words. At this very time let that longing rise in your heart and when we are finished with this little session, let that longing not cease. Let it continue at the same intensity, the longing for interior silence. While having a conversation, go into that part of your mind which is ever in silence and your voice will change and those around you will begin to experience that silence. At this very moment I speak, the words continue, the mind goes into silence. Sometimes for a time people will think you're being artificial. Gradually they will accept, gradually they will come to you for guidance. It is along with this practice of meditation in action that you will look into the possibilities according to your capacity of practicing the five pillars of which I have now prepared a little printed booklet which will be coming your way in a while.
When you, in this way, seek the life of meditation of action, many things that you do in life as part of your profession, your work, your family life, will become part of your spiritual sadhana. For example, at work, many times you have to keep confidences. You have to keep confidential information. Now, keeping confidential information as part of the practice of silence. So you say "Well, I practiced keeping this information confidential so I'm a great sadhaka." It becomes sadhana only with the intent, not without the intent. When in your mind you establish the intent that from now on when I have to keep information confidential, I shall do it understanding it as part of my spiritual sadhana of silence. Then it will become a sadhana. But if you do it only as part of your job contract, then it ceases to be a sadhana. It is the intent that makes it into a sadhana. We have begun some training sessions here at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences for the leaders in which I'm taking these different principles of sadhana and showing them how they apply to their regular, daily management practices. So you can, in the same way as I have re-interpreted the confidentiality of a corporation as part of the practice of silence, take all the different things that you have to do in your business life, and find where the intangible principle is. Of what sadhana principle, might they be a development? If politeness is merely a business policy, then it is not sadhana. A receptionist speaks politely. Let the receptionist then at the same time earn the merit of sadhana by making it into an exercise in egolessness. You say, "Well, we cannot be polite without egolessness, without reducing our ego" but the intent is what makes it a sadhana. If it is only a part of your training in communication, then it is not a sadhana. But if your training in gentle communication becomes part of your intent to practice ahimsa, then it becomes a sadhana.
So take any of the principles that you have to use in your business, in your family life, in the contractual theory of social connections and try and examine where they fit as part of the spiritual life and that way, you will enhance your practice of meditation in action. If you have a doubt as to how to make your regular daily business practices into a sadhana, if you have a doubt about any one of those and you're not sure where it connects with your spiritual life, I don't mind receiving a brief e-mail from you and I'll try and answer it to the best of my ability.
For now just begin. Begin to look at all the things you have to do that are right business practices and see to which principles of yamas and niyamas, karma and so on they're related and shift your intent. Henceforth, consciously, with awareness shift your intent that this is connected to such and such intangible principle, and you will not find a conflict between your daily life and your spiritual life. And one of the things that will happen is that it will give you a sense of satisfaction that you've not experienced before and along with that sense of satisfaction and a certain peace of mind, you will find that your meditation, itself, develops at the same time as your exterior, worldly life is becoming successful. Along with that, with this aspect of meditation in action, try and see by reading the perennial philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita how not to be affected by your surroundings. Try practicing meditation in crowded, noisy places. many of you have been practicing it for 20 years by now. You should be able to manage five minutes with the TV blaring full volume. Gradually you will develop the ability to calm the minds of those who become agitated in the presence of such causes of agitation.
I have here at the moment in the ashram a young man. I had not thought of the continent of Africa in connection with the teaching of yoga. Through this young man I found out that in practically every country of Africa right now, yoga is being taught and it has reached there from different sources, from different roots. In the Franco-phile country, it has come through the French practitioners of yoga, for example. This young man has hundreds of students in Burkina Faso. He told me how he worked with the mentally handicapped, told me of a boy who can neither hear nor speak nor see and has taught him meditation. I said "How did you do that?" "Oh, I see that his breath is coming just from the throat. I touch his throat to make him realize that I am referring to his breathing. Then I gently bring my hand down to his stomach and diaphragm, give it a very gentle push and release and he begins to feel it and he says 'I quiet my mind.' And then I speak into his mind and he understands. Now if he does not see me every week, he insists that mother bring him to me because he enjoys the experience so much." A boy who cannot hear, who cannot speak, who cannot see, has been taught meditation. We who do not know how fortunate we are, lose this opportunity.
Life is passing day by day, month by month, year by year and when will that complete peace dawn into our mind, engulf our spirit and our whole being for which we have such longing? Let the longing become intense in your heart and then in everything you will do you'll find a connection with the principles of sadhana. If you only try to cut down on your food intake, to lose weight, you are going to keep coming back to that food, because you have not found the interior satisfaction. but when you make it into a part of the sadhana of fasting for spiritual reasons, they you will succeed. And so with all of your pursuits, establish these connections. Don't do things only for their exterior utilitarian value. The whole civilization will change. The whole texture of business relations will change and nonviolence will become a part of our contractual theory, that is to say, where it was merely a contract not to hurt each other, it will become a sadhana, that is we shall proceed into making ourselves the kind of saintly beings on whose one side of the lap the tiger rests his head and on the other side a fawn rests his head and both are being caressed equally. Well, before we graduate to the tiger and the fawn, let us start with the neighbor, with the spouse, with the quarreling siblings. I think I've told you many times what I do. Okay, two persons are quarreling, fighting on the street. The policeman comes and does it as part of his duty because he has to keep law and order. I pass by. I'm not a law officer. I just look one of those quarreling persons in the eyes and I smile and he smiles back. The whole mood changes. Then I do the same thing with the other party and then walk off because to me, the sadhana part is more effective than trying to keep law and order. It becomes a practice of nonviolence, of ahimsa.
So learn to re-interpret, reconnect things that have become disconnected from spiritual principles but are very much there, reconnect and you will not have a conflict between daily life and spirituality. Let his be a year of integration. I wish you success in this year. I'll be around, most probably not in Canada this time except briefly in Montreal. I'll be in California from the 20th of May. I'll be 40 days in Minneapolis from the 1st of June to Guru Purnima, I'll be in a few other cities, and then move on to other places. I look forward to hearing that you have resolved the conflict between life and spirituality. God bless you.
Let your intent become a strong sentiment that now fills your heart. Look into your heart at this time and you find a surge of lovingness arising for the whole creation. Through that surge of lovingness all barriers vanish and soon this surge will give way to an interior silence. I'll sit with you in silence for a few moments. Sit as long as you wish and when you open your eyes, let your sadhana for this year immediately begin. God bless you. I send you my love.
Serving at the Master's Seat,
Dear Sibling in Spirit,
For some reason or purpose not known to us, at a plane of time concealed from us, there arises a surge in the bosom of Brahman to elucidate, to make lucid a wave of truth, knowledge, silence, and to send it forth. The wave en-minded and enfleshed walks among us and we recognize not the true nature of this being, for such a being is a Master while we, arisen from the same source, are smaller ripples in the wake of such a one's spiritual surge.
Such a one walked among us, and some of us recognize him only now that the en-mindedness seems to have been veiled, and the enfleshment has ceased. It is redundant to call him Swami Rama of the Himalayas because I always thought of him as the walking Himalaya, for he embodied the spirit of the Himalayas and was, among humans, as tall as the Himalayas are among the mounds of the earth.
A year has passed and it is not enough to say that we miss him. Some of us cry out for the guidance and love that have been, not withdrawn, but which have become too subtle for us to tangibly experience. What can we do to feel that elevating presence again? Well, go into the depths of the subtler worlds within and the Presence is all there. How do we accomplish that? Well...
Many knew Swami Rama of the Himalayas as one of these: scientist, lecturer, poet, master architect, musician, painter, dog-trainer, bee-keeper, physician and healer, organizer, management expert, counsellor, writer, story-teller, founder of institutions such that where there were only farmers' fields, within four years he had created a medical city. But I knew him, only in my capacity of a disciple, as a Meditation Master par excellence. That is all I learnt and I commemorate him by sharing around the particles of gems that were dropped in my otherwise poor sack.
When we brother disciples talk and compare notes, we find that no one person was given all of his knowledge; we were each given only little bits and pieces, some in writing, some in classes, some in the course of personal instructions. Such depth, such height, such totally unselfish philanthropy (love of human beings) is seen once in many centuries. Many with power came to him, and were made to sit by the side of the most humble. He could do that to teach us to burn our ego to ashes. What I miss most is the process of having my ego burnt, on the cinders, for the sheen is yet dull.
He left his body on 13th November 1997. But that is a date by the Julian calendar which is not the most scientific contribution of the West. By the astronomical almanac, the date this year is 3rd November. At his favorite Himalayan shrine of Tarakeshwar, my brother disciple Swami Hariharanand Bharati will begin the memorial services on 24th October and complete them on 3rd November. Vedic texts will be recited with fire offerings and thousands will be worshipping with food offerings, culminating in the final service at the shrine. I have suggested to our Rishikesh Ashram, Swamiji's personal spiritual Seat, and to the Swami Rama Centre at the Himalayan Hospital, to begin the memorial meditations on 2nd or 3rd November and complete them on the 13th. There will be long sessions morning and evening, and then three days of akhanda japa, non-stop meditation and prayer--day and night--by relays of celebrants. Honesdale is observing the occasion with three days of akhanda japa from 13th to 16th November.
I have advised the Meditation Center in Minneapolis to start on 2nd November. There are no fixed rules; you decide as you are moved. It is not a commemoration of the past but an entry into a future of embellishment of the mind and lucidity of the spirit.
May the Divine Lucia of all the saints of the Traditions make you radiant as you enter the knowledge of subtle truths.
Serving at the Master's Seat,
Copyright 1999 Museum of European Art
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