30 Dec 2013

New 'Remembering Dharmananda' CD Available!

Since the early hours of the 14th of September 2013, when our dear brother Dharmananda (Volker Grewel) left his body to join his sweet Lord in heaven, we have been working hard to create a CD by which we could honour him and his musical legacy. That CD is finally ready and 'Remembering Dharmananda' is now available to purchase at the Bhakti Shop at Shree Peetha Nilaya (and soon also online on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc.).

Music was his life-long gift to us and we are now finally able to extend that gift to you. You can feel his love for music, for singing the Names of the Divine and most of all, for his beloved Guru, Sri Swami Vishwananda. One such example can be seen here in this video of one of the many times Dharmananda was singing with Guruji, this particular event taking place during Christmas 2011.

We thank him from the depths of our hearts for everything he has given to us and continues to give, and may his timeless music reach all corners of the globe, igniting the purest Love for the Divine in our hearts.

We leave here a lasting tribute to him in this new video so feel free to share it with anybody you know who was touched by his Love and surrender to his beloved Gurudev. It contains pictures of Dharmananda and Sri Swami Vishwananda, and is accompanied by the a touching speech of his Guru that says it all.

In addition we received transcripts of speeches (in German) that were given by close friends of his during the farewell ceremony in Bonn end of September which we are allowed to share. They are also very touching. They are an account of loving friendship and they give us an insight into his "other" life, that he lived, simultaneously to his spiritual side. A must read for all who were close to him (if you don't understand German, we suggest you copy past the text into Google Translate and read the translation).

1. Michael Horn - "Musik ist Nahrung für die Seele"

2. Christan Wetzel - Ansprache Bonn 26 Sep 2013

3. Sigrid Taraz - "Mangel und Reichtum"

Lexus Auction

Jai Gurudev dear friends and family

We would like to remind you that you have 3 DAYS left to bid for Guruji’s car he has used for the last 12 years! Having reached a time to move on (the car has driven over 380,000 km!) Guruji decided to let go of the car, and since several people showed an interest and desire to take the car, it became clear that the fair way forward was to hold an auction.

Swamiji drove, read, slept, ate, drank, phoned, laughed, prayed for you, and meditated in this car. Mother Mary appeared to him in it and we have no idea who else he met there. This is one of the most special opportunities ever offered to the devotees to take home such a blessed and historical relic.

The auction will end on the 31/12/2013 at 24:00. Please send your bids to:


The amount of the highest bidder is displayed on the home page of Bhakti Marga www.bhaktimarga.org.

25 Dec 2013

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 

Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough - because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

The shepherds and the angels
In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough."
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

24 Dec 2013

Bhajan Chanting at Mother Meera

During the Christmas period there is daily Bhajan Chanting at Mother Meera on Schaumburg Castle. Every day different Bhajan Groups are singing, and yesterday it was the turn of our Bhakti Marga Group! They had developed a little program, had trained a bit and went to build up the audio equipment at Schaumburg ahead of time.

Swami Vishwananda had spontaneously decided on seizing this opportunity to visit Mother Meera the evening before. Both of Them quickly phoned each other and Mother expressed Her pleasure about this quick decision and welcomed Swamiji heartfully.

When everything was ready, we  drove 40 minutes to Schaumburg Castle and Mother Meera and Swami Vishwananda welcomed each other warmly in the lobby, went together into the Darshan Hall and both took a seat on the podium.

What a delight to see Them Both there! 

After some Bhajans, Swamiji took a microphone and sang with His wonderful, warm voice one Bhajan for the Divine Mother and Mother Meera applauded afterwards. It was so enchanting to watch Them together, Their fine interactions and the loving respect for one another!

After that all of us were invited for tea and sweets. Swamiji presented Mother with a saree and we asked Her about Her school project in India and about the children's meditations which take place here in Waldecker Hof.

After a very heartful farewell we went back to Springen. 200 devotees awaited Swamiji and He went immediately to the temple and sang with them.

These Divine Incarnations really don't have an easy job here on earth but They are always giving and presenting us Their Divine Love. 

14 Dec 2013

Serving Sri Swami Vishwananda’s Mission

As devotees of Sri Swami Vishwananda, we all have a certain responsibility to serve and help his mission grow, no matter if we are in the Centre or living outside. Each one of us has specific gifts that God has gifted us with, and we can use them to serve Him in the best way we can. It’s not possible for all of us to put on the robe of renunciation and walk around inspiring the people as for example the Apostles of Jesus did, but it is possible to take advantage of the gifts we are given, and use them to the best of our ability.  

A nice example of this is a devotee of Swami Vishwananda based in the United States, affectionately nicknamed “Mother Goose”. After being initiated into Atma Kriya, she started to develop a Love for Swami and felt the need to serve his mission, without ever meeting him in person. Out of her own initiative she started making greeting cards with Swami’s picture on them, by hand, and she would give them to devotees of Swami that visited the Centre in the United States. Last week, Swami Kuru was in the U.S.A and noticed the cards at the Bhakti Dakshineshwari Temple in Laguna (near Los Angeles), and was inquiring as to who made them. Later he came to find out that it was “Mother Goose”, who had been in touch with Varahi (LeAnne) from Bellingham from the state of Washington, and she was asked if it’s possible to create additional cards and send them to the Centre in Germany. Immediately she replied with a resounding YES!, and couldn’t wait to contribute to Swami’s mission the best way she knew how. 

Currently, we have the cards in our Centre in Germany and we will be selling them throughout the Christmas season into the New Year. Each card is handmade, with different cards containing different pictures of Swami Vishwananda. The cards might not be made in a big professional factory, but they are even more precious, made with much Love from a Devotee of Swami. 

This small example, helps all of us at the Ashram appreciate how lucky we are to be given an opportunity to serve Swami’s mission every day, and it’s also a reminder to all of the devotees outside of the Centre, that you can give in more ways than you may be aware. Donating money, and attending Darshans is great … but we should also consider using the gifts that God has given us to help serve Him the best way we know how, whether the service is big or small, whether it be Christmas cards, or just informing a friend about who Swami is, as long as the action comes from the heart, it serves Swami and his mission – which then becomes our mission. 

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

Five Day Silent Retreat in Lanzarote - by Tulsidasananda

Today is the final day of the Guruji's first ever silent retreat. I feel so lucky to have witnessed such peace and sublime sweetness from Gurudev and the participants.

The first night was planned to be in silence, but Guruji was very merciful and allowed everyone to talk and greet one another; He moved the silence period to Tuesday morning 6 am.

Just before dinner on the first evening, Guruji gave an extremely profound discourse on the nature of silence, the importance of it, and the steps leading up to attaining the Supreme Silence. After being filled with His Divine Wisdom, we were filled with delicious food prepared by a local devotee.

Happily we all went to sleep.

The second day started at 7:30am on the roof of Guruji's house, where all the participants silently did Babaji's Surya Namaskar overlooking the ocean and the rising sun. Directly afterwords we all did our Level One Main Kriya and the Level Two Main Kriya together.

The group peacefully watched the golden sun come up over the distant horizon, with no sounds but the waves gently meeting the nearby beach. Slowly everyone waked back to their rooms and got ready for breakfast.

At 10:30 Guruji had the wish to go one a group japa walk as a group and as if drawn by some invisible force, all the participants collected outside of Guruji's house. It was so beautiful to see each person patiently waiting for the Lord of their heart. Guruji happily reciprocated their Love and joyfully led everyone on a two hour japa walk. Watching from a distance, I could not help but think of the Good Shepard, leading His flock to the Kingdom of Heaven.

This japa walk occurred twice more, on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Tuesday Guruji led us into a giant canyon maybe 20 or 30 meters deep. There we meditated with Him for 30 or more minutes. It was wonderful to see everyone's delight to meditate with their Lord and not only meditate upon their Lord.

On Thursday, Guruji lead everyone into a huge cave. Many of us walked for more than a kilometer into the cave. Their Guruji had us turn out our lights and we mediated in complete darkness for nearly two hours. The peacefulness was incredibly tangible. No light and not noise, except the rhythmic sound of moving air from one's own breath.

Guruji later said Mahavatar Babaji was their with us in the cave.

The second half of each day was externally uneventful, yet internally lively, as Guruji asked everyone to be in their own rooms doing certain prescribed meditations.

Over the last five days with each passing day I witnessed more and more peace flowing from each participant. By Guruji's Grace and by following the program He gave, each participant has changed in a way that is permanent. This silence Guruji has Graced them with will ever be with them allowing them to drop deep into their heart and feel the presence of the Divine whenever they desire.

I feel so grateful to have been able to watch and support, in my little way, Guruji's first ever Silent Retreat. Guruji plans to do two more Silent Retreats in Shree Peetha Nilaya in 2014. I highly recommend joining one these retreats. In beautiful and unexpected ways, they will change your life...                     .

With Love from Lanzarote,

12 Dec 2013

Pictures from the Silent Retreat in Lanzarote, with Sri Swami Vishwananda

Sunrise on the first morning in Lanzarote

Yamunashree writes: 

"On the first morning of the Silent Retreat on the Canary Island of Lanzarote, we had wonderful weather and so it was possible for us to do our morning exercises (Surya Namaskar) outside on the veranda! 

Some Yoga outside on the veranda

The daily schedule runs from 7.30 am till 9 pm. After the first sunny day we had a storm and clouds everywhere - some of us have to walk 25 min to the seminar room where we meet twice a day for a light meal and for our exercises together. 

Most of the time we stay alone, within ourselves and go for walks while doing our Japa. It's all been wonderful so far!

Greetings from the Island of Transformation, 


11 Dec 2013

St. Nicholas Feast Day Celebrations! - Part 2

On the night of St. Nicholas's Vespers Celebrations, Swamiji gave a beautiful talk and so here are some excerpts from that talk with some pictorial impressions to go with it.

"Saint Nicholas is one of the most famous Saint in the Christian world. Why is he famous? Because he symbolizes charity. The importance of charity. You see, in life different people are called for different things and they are put accordingly where they have to be. God guides each step of each person. Each thought you have, it is He who put it there. Each step that one takes, He is the One guiding the person. What is important is that one has to learn to be patient and see. One has to be in tune and wait for that.

Often, people see mostly the negative in other people. They don´t see the positivity. So behind all that, the soul is God. That´s what Christ said “The least you do to my brothers, you do it onto me! “ Even Krishna said it in the Gita “The one, the true yogi, sees Me everywhere and knows that I am the only present God which is in every action which is working through everything“....so it´s God manifesting through His creation. Why then is it difficult for spiritual people to perceive this? He is the One doing everything. You can just surrender. You can just say “Hold my hand and bring me.” All the Saints which are around here, they didn´t become Saints just like this, by sitting not doing anything or by criticising everybody else. They had faith. They had trust.  In whom?  More than in themselves, they had trust in God. And through that trust they learned to accept every moment.

The life of Saint Nicholas was a hardship but a hardship with love for God. Hardship doesn´t mean that you sit in a corner and pity yourself. It´s not about that. It´s about loving every moment, even if it is difficult. So, this charity that he gave, is not just giving charity like that. He gave charity with love. Love, not thinking behind the mind “I am doing it for Christ!” No! Love that...wherever, whatever he is doing it is for God. Whether God knows it or not, it doesn´t matter. 

Take what is good from people around you. Why do you have to hang on the negativity of people? Each person carries their own negative and positive qualities. This is the dual nature of man. This is how God has created man. But He has given you the choice, whether to hang on to the negative or to take the positive. Understand that negativity is more spicy, misery is more spicy, self-pity is more spicy. But where will that lead you? Think about, where would that lead you? Nowhere. You will fall in your own hole which you are digging for yourself.

You can create a fantasy of loving, you can create a fantasy of surrendering but if you're fake towards yourself you will not advance anywhere. Even if you pretend to advance, you know, you will fall. 

The message in the lives of all these great Saints, all these great ones, is to surrender. I've been saying this word “surrender” for so many years, but only a few people know what it really is. I've been talking about love and I realized that even with one hand I can count down the people who really know about that. A few people’s way of thinking of love is different. “Why is Swami not looking at me, he doesn´t love me, huhuhuhu!” Things like that. If you know how much I love you all. There is no use talking. If you knew how much God loves you, how much He cares for you. There is no question of being miserable because one doesn´t know about it that´s why one finds it difficult.

Of course you don't need to become like him. You can just try your best, you know. This happens through the prayer of all the Saints. Through the prayers of Holy Nicholas, who is my favourite Saint, you know. He's one Saint that whenever I needed him, he was there, he is there, he's here. That's why we're celebrating him today. 

6 Dec 2013

St. Nicholas Feast Day Celebrations! - Part 1

Yesterday at Shree Peetha Nilaya the spirit of St. Nicholas was in the air! Swamiji had just recently returned from a one month pilgrimage to India, so everyone was extremely happy to see him. He was however feeling extremely cold!

Swamiji decided to serve lunch to everyone himself, mirroring the spirit of St. Nicholas and the giving nature of the great saint. The food tasted extra-delicious!

Afterwards, Swamiji took the time to speak to some of the residents and spend some time roaming around the ashram, checking on everything and get back up to speed with what's been going on during his absence.

(Swami Anashuya organising educational materials for future Bhakti Study Classes)

 (Jaitrayananda speaking with Guruji)

(Guruji checking all the Christmas decorations and all the gifts donated so far for the distribution to the poor, children and those in need that Bhakti Marga performs as a token to St. Nicholas yearly)

Later in the evening we began with the Vespers prayers to St. Nicholas, in preparation for the actual feast day which is today, the 6th of December! 

After prayers Swamiji was in a great mood and had his fun with Anantaananda, marking him all over his face with stamps of St. Nicholas much to everyone's amusement!

Keep an eye out for part 2 of this report to follow shortly with all the news and pictures from today's celebrations and more stories with Swamiji!

2 Dec 2013

Guest is God - Update from India with Sri Swami Vishwananda

The next stop on the pilgrimage was Ahmedabad.  We stayed at the Sivananda ashram hosted by Swami  Aadhyatmananada. He welcomed us very kindly and gave us a tour of the ashram, as well as the temples from the ashram.  

(Swami  Aadhyatmananada with Sri Swami Vishwananda) 

After the tour and breakfast, we set out to go to visit the Ambaji temple, a few hours away by bus.  Ambaji is where it is said that the heart of Sati Devi fell to the earth. The entire structure is made out of marble with many, many intricate carvings everywhere.  The top of the main shrine is covered by a golden dome that gleams so bright it is almost impossible to look at. The murthi of Ambaji is beautiful; the feeling is truly that of the heart of the mother. We all took a long darshan and then sat to the side, meditating and just feeling the love of Devi.  This temple is very ancient.  In fact it is the same temple where the parents of Krishna, Nanda and Yashoda, came to perform the ritual haircutting of Krishna.  Also the Pandava brothers were once there.

(Pictures were not allowed inside the temple but here one can see it in the background)

On the way back to the ashram we had dinner with devotees of Swami Aadhyatmananada and we experienced what real hospitality is.  They received Swami with arati and tilaka for everyone before the house and then invited us in upstairs for refreshment and introductions. Even they didn't know who was coming to their home and yet they welcomed us with the utmost care and warmth.

Then they served us dinner in which everyone of the family helped to serve, bringing dish after dish, and always checking if we needed anything else.  We arrived three hours late and per Indian custom, none of the family had partaken of the meal yet, first waiting that the guest should eat.  And yet they were so happy to serve, that it inspired us all.  Completely stuffed with delicious food, we went back to their living room where Swami gave satsang and we sang bhajans.

Swami spoke about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as an incarnation of Radha and Krishna, three quarters Radha and one quarter Krishna.  Afterwards Swami sang bhajans, captivating everyone in the room.  In this small room there were 4 generations of the family and everyone, young and old were enjoying, clapping, singing and dancing.  Nobody wanted the evening to end, especially because they had made it such a nice visit but because of the long bus drive, we knew we had to go.

Before leaving, each one of the many brothers wanted his house blessed by Swami's feet and graciously Swami granted their wish.

He went from house to house, sitting in each one in order that they could receive his blessing.  Even he went to visit the water buffalos!  Finally it was time for us to leave there home.

On the bus we still felt very touched by this hospitality and for sure it is something we will carry with us; as memory, but also as example of how the guest is always God.