28 Jan 2015

The Rakshasas within us

Here is a story of Pramod, who brought Sri Swami Vishwananda to the airport for His trip to Japan on the morning of the 13th of January:

This morning I brought Swamiji, Mira, Tandav and Nikhil to the airport. We were there early and drank something together while we watched Youtube videos about angels, etc.

As the time to pass the gate was coming nearer, a thought came up in my mind that our beloved Guruji will again be absent for a while, and I remembered the feeling of missing Him, which we all have sometimes, more or less… I would say, it is more a longing for Him and for that, what He embodies. 

Then Swamiji spoke about Giridhariji again and that He will buy new earrings for Him etc.

We also spoke about the tweets and that devotees were asking, why He always writes about Giridhari. The answer wasn’t really clear, as far as I remember He said that Giridhari is so cute and He loves Him so much.

And then He described with great enthusiasm a one and a half meters big statue of Giridhari, who carries a really big mountain on His little finger etc. He was really in His mood when He was telling us about all this.

As the time was passing by the mood of missing Him grew stronger and stronger. I said out aloud a thought which came to me some days ago, “I wish I could be Giridhari, then I would also get so much attention from You.”

Thereupon He answered that these are the rakshasas, the demons, who always want attention. We laughed, joked a bit and changed the topic soon.

Nevertheless I see the deeper message in His words. God endows us in every moment and fills us with His Love, with His essence – even by the breath itself, through His names and through our Guru and His teachings. We have constantly Him and His full attention within us. The part which cries for more attention, is the ego, the demon, which thinks only of itself, wants to have, it does not see the bigger picture!

Everything comes from God. No leaf is moving without His will. When I go back to the above mentioned truth from God’s and Guru’s omnipresence, I can enjoy Swamiji’s physical and spiritual presence in my heart as well as His constant pouring of Love over us.

…So good to remember it again and again: God is with us.

- Pramod

27 Jan 2015

The Passing of Jagadishen

As you might already know, our dear brother Jagadishen, country Coordinator for Bhakti Marga in Czech Republic and Atma Kriya Yoga teacher trainer, passed away on Sunday.

His sudden leaving of this world leaves a big gap in many ways and in many hearts. Jagadishen carried and assumed many big responsibilities: for the benefit of the world & society as manager of a large company, as well as spiritually in coordinating Guruji's & Bhakti Marga's team in Czech Republic, and of course for his family as a husband and a father of three children.

Here in Shree Peetha Nilaya we remember him as a joyful, devoted and humble man, always with a smile on his face, bringing joy to those around him. May he bring this joy to wherever he is now or will be in future, knowing that Guruji is guiding him.

We thank Jagadishen, for all that he has accomplished for Guruji and Bhakti Marga in Czech Republic, that he made it possible for so many people to experience Divine Love through Guruji, for all the building up and pioneer work and the constant service to God and the people.

Here in this world he will be sorely missed. Our Love & prayers are and will be with his family.

Tonight at Shree Peetha Nilaya, we will hold prayers for Jagadishen, and tomorrow Guruji in the afternoon will do a Gayatri yagna for him.

Here are a few messages that Guruji wrote about Jagadishen's passing, which include some absolutely wondeful news for his spiritual attainment, as well as some great advice for us still in the Earthly plane:

22 Jan 2015

Darshan and Satsang in Nagano

After Swamiji’s first ever events to take place in Japan, the group headed to Nagano to continue the tour with a Darshan and Satsang. The group took a very scenic train ride on Japan’s famous ‘Bullet Train’ that lasted around 2 hours.

Passing Shinkansen by laszlo-photo, on Flickr

We moved from Tokyo’s high-paced city life to the snowy mountainous area of the Nagano District and we were eagerly welcomed by our hosts.

On this closeup of Japan, the red pin is Nagano.

The location of the Darshan and Satsang was an old Japanese Buddhist monastery that had a really nice authentic feel to it. The rooms all had very traditional Japanese arrangements and decorations which Swamiji liked very much! We quickly got changed and after a short introduction Swamiji arrived to commence with Satsang.

Swamiji was garlanded three times before he even reached his chair! After Guru Stotram, he immediately began to sing and asked the group to participate as he led them through a simple rendition of Jai Ram Sri Ram Jai Jai Ram. They quickly overcame their shyness and were participating full-heartedly very quickly.

As Satsang began, one question in particular stood out. Swamiji was asked to comment on the effects of chanting mantras. Swami then proceeded to teach them all in a very sweet and loving way how to properly pronounce and chant Om Namo Narayanaya. He said that when we chant mantras we create a shield of protection around us that prevents any negative influences from affecting us. He said it’s like the Sudarshan Chakra of Maha Vishnu protecting us from everything and there isn't anything that can ever get past the Sudarshan Chakra! Of course for the Japanese devotees who had never heard of any of these characters it was all a lot to take in! Swamiji hilariously tried to explain everything to them but after struggling for a while with mixed results he finally settled with, “Well God’s protection is with you and we just leave it at that!”

Directly after Satsang Swamiji went straight into Darshan. It was short and sweet and then Swamiji was very gracious to give Shaktipat to seven of Swamini Dayamatis Atma Kriya Yoga students. Straight after the initiation the hosts presented us with an incredible multi-course traditional Japanese meal prepared for over 60 devotees. Their love and service was beautiful to witness.

Before heading back to Tokyo we all went to visit the famous Zenkoji temple of Nagano, a beautiful sight to behold. The snow covered temple was magical and Swamiji later said that it was a very strong place with very concentrated positive energy. It was truly beautiful to see the heritage of Japan and to witness so many people praying there.

It was a truly magical day and the devotees were so filled with joy and gratitude for all that Swamiji had given them!

The Locked Car

Muktananda witnessed an incident that occurred here at Shree Peetha Nilaya between Sri Swami Vishwananda and some guests during the last darshan here, and wrote about it to share with you:

Early Sunday afternoon I came to the entrance hall of the centre, when I saw Guruji conferring with "Father and Daughter", who were about to leave after lunch. They had participated at the last Darshan in Shree Peetha Nilaya, and after the overnight stay they also attended the morning prayers. But the trip home became a bit difficult as the car key stuck in the ignition and the electronics of the car had automatically locked the doors. They could not get into their car anymore.

The daughter (about 17 years old) was at the centre for the first time and she was quite impressed by Guruji’s energy, presence and personality, yet her mind was laden with so many sincere questions concerning some of the 'rituals'. …. Who doesn't know that?

When Guruji left the hall – followed by the two and by Chidaananda (holding a brick in his hand) and Pankaj – I opened the entrance door and we found ourselves in front of Guruji’s golf cart in which he and Pankaji already were seated and ready to leave. After short "small talk“ either the father or the daughter asked first "Swami, you could open the car". They all agreed and repeated "Yes Swami, you could open the car." On that Guruji replied "Maybe I can, maybe not" - and then added "What are you now going to do?"

The father said that he could call a car repair shop so that someone could come and open the car. "This is very expensive" replied Guruji and the father agreed with that.

"If I would open the car, this would cost you a lot", Guruji then said. And after the father asked, "How much it would cost?", he replied, "Well, you would have to quit smoking." "OK, I’ll do that", said the father and we then were kidding around with that for a moment.

"Muktananda can help you to open the car", said Guruji finally and turning towards me he said "You should try to press the window from the outside downwards, and then open the lock with a tool through the gap and thus open the door." Then he drove away and shouted to the father that he should not promise what he could not keep. It seemed that Swami knew that he would not be able to keep the promise to stop smoking.

Anyway, Guruji went and I was looking for a suitable "tool". Right next to us were some snow shovels at the wall and one of them seemed to fit for that purpose. We cleaned it without giving too much thought to it and headed onwards to the car. We thought, "When Guruji says that it will work, then it will be like that." - no matter what the mind says should be in accordance with modern and conservative physics, for example.

After about 100 meters we reached the car. I saw the key in the ignition and was looking for the point where to apply the snow shovel at the window, while the father went to the door, put his hand on the door handle – and the door opened just like that!

........??!! ...................."It is open??!!“ .................??!! ...............??!!!!

You can imagine our faces….. Just like in the movie….You know that.

Now the two confirmed to each other, repeating that they had made certain, that the doors were locked. They already wanted to be on their way, but they could not get into their car, because the doors were locked - that’s why they came back into the building.

Many thoughts wandered through our minds…… and the soul was happy!! It jumped around and danced – and still does – out of amusement about three rather flabbergasted minds, which came once again a little bit closer to the "bigger" life. Certainly not only asking, "How in the world could Guruji open the car?!"….. but probably also "How can I now stop with smoking?!"…. and perhaps also "What am I going to do with this big experience, wrapped up in this tiny occurrence?!"

Guruji once said: "The master can give you EVERYTHING in a tiny drop." Now it is up to us how much we draw out of this little drop.

How is it said in the proverb? What you inherit from your fathers, acquire it to own it, or to apply it to this situation: What you get from your Master, go deep into it to get the maximum profit, not only for yourself, but for the whole world! Our souls are longing for true, unrestrained lived, open hearted joy.

Thank you Guruji, thank you!

Guruji has come here to earth to open our hearts and sometimes even cars – if needed :)

Yet, what did Guruji say to the father: "It will cost you a lot, if I open the car. You have to quit smoking." Now, if it costs that to open a car door, what might it cost to open our heart’s door?! It will cost much more. It will cost the ego and all that it represents. Are you ready for that? The master is not only a master in encoding messages, he is also the “unlocker” of all locks on all levels and realities.

Listen to the call of our hearts and send us your grace, beloved master. Do not listen to our ego that is afraid of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and souls, beloved Guredeva, Sri Swami Vishwananda.


Sri Swami Vishwananda in Nagano Japan - a Photo/Twitter Essay

19 Jan 2015

Satsang in Tokyo

Satsang in Tokyo

On Saturday the 17th of January Swamiji gave Satsang in Tokyo at the Yogastudio ZEN. Approximately 70 people squeezed into a rather small room to make for a very cozy atmosphere. Many of the people had also been presented the day before at the concert and Darshan and were excited to continue their newly-started connection with Swamiji!

Anuprabha was helping some of the Japanese matajis to put on their tilaks, explaining to them the meaning of it and they were all very excited!

Swamiji began the Satsang by asking the devotees to participate in the bhajans and sing. In fact he asked them to sing him a Japanese spiritual song! They happily obliged and sang him a couple of beautiful songs with everyone joining in.

What had originally been planned as a 2 hour Satsang ended up lasting over 4 hours! Swamiji addressed many questions regarding Japan as a country and the role its people will serve in this new age of awakening. Swami said that the people of Japan should not forget their roots and should honour and uphold their rich culture. It has taught them many strong values that are very beneficial on the spiritual path. He said that Japan will serve as an example of discipline and dedication to the rest of the world.

Later on a question came up about controlling one’s anger. Swamiji said that if we knew the amount of energy we waste in getting angry we would all think twice before giving in to our anger! It takes so much effort from our side to replenish all that lost energy! The key to overcoming our anger is choice. Swami reminded us that we all have a stage before the anger takes over in which we are given the choice whether to dive head-first into the drama of the situation or stay out of it. That choice is the key to our peace and transformation.

After the devotees gathered had received all the invaluable wisdom they could handle, Swamiji gathered with some devotees for dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant and spent plenty of time speaking to all the eager devotees and sharing his love with all of them.

It was a long day but a hugely enjoyable one for all of us. The next day would take Swami and his entourage to the province of Nagano so stay tuned for the report of that hugely successful trip!

18 Jan 2015

Satsang on the meaning of the "New Era"

To bring in the new year of 2015, Sri Swami Vishwananda unveiled a new logo for Bhakti Marga, along with an accompanying slogan: "Awakening of a New Era". During a late night satsang a few days later, we got a chance to find out what is meant by "a New Era", when Swamiji explained the logo and the meaning behind it.

Check out more videos of Swamiji on the Bhakti Marga YouTube channel, and subscribe!


Darshan and Concert in Tokyo

Sri Swami Vishwananda gave Darshan in Tokyo on Friday.

Alongside the Bhakti Marga Bhajan band playing a concert, Guruji gave his first darshan ever in Japan.

Swamini VishwaDayamati giving an opening introduction
Musicians waiting for the concert to start backstage

Here is an excerpt of the speech he gave:

"This Love is who we are. It's only Him. We have to realise this Love.

Everybody has love. You feel it when you freshly fall in love, no? Then what happens? The beginning is very nice and after that? The love transforms, no? Sometimes, it should go bigger, stronger, but sadly, very often, it goes down. That's why you say you 'fall in love'! Whereas, in spirituality we say we 'rise in love', because it's not a love which is based on the outside. It's not a love which is based on security or, “I love you, or like you because of something.” No, find this love inside of you! This is the essence of who you are. This is your nature. The nature of human beings is to love.

Same, the nature of fire is heat. The nature of water is cool. The nature of human being is to love. To become love! One will say it's very difficult, but in reality, no, it's not difficult. If you sincerely want something, how can there be difficulty into it? If you sincerely want something, what do you do? You do anything to get it, isn't it? Am I right? You will do anything. Same thing, for this eternal Love which you carry always, you know, you should try your best to awaken it. You should try your best to become it! Then you can say truly "you love". Otherwise, you are just in a human beings who pass through life after life, from one body to the other. What do you achieve? Nothing! You go in the same cycle, birth and death, birth and death, birth and death.

By realising this love inside of you, it will awake devotion in your heart. Devotion to the Lord, you know. And when you have that love and devotion, He will run to you. Same, earlier I was talking about Mirabai, no? She had great devotion to the Lord. Whenever she would sing the Lord would be present. And, of course, if the saints can do that, they are examples. You just need to sincerely want it. Due to that sincerity, it will manifest. It will start burning you, inside of your heart. And this love, when it starts burning inside, even if you want to think, it's very difficult. Even if it sounds difficult, sounds very far away of attaining, one should try it. That's why I said, the essence of who you are is this love and that through this love He has made you a human being.

First you have to realise the humanness of yourself. Otherwise, jealousy, pride, ego, hate, this takes over. So, when this takes over, can you call somebody a human being? These are animal qualities, lower qualities. So, one can't call oneself a human being if you have these - anger, jealousy, hatred. To be called a human being you have to have this love. That's why the Divine continuously reminds oneself, you know, that it is important to love.

You see, it is important to forget about the worry, not to meditate on that. So, meditate on what is the most important. Because, when you sit down for your sadhana, your spiritual practice, you have to perceive the Lord inside of your heart. Then only you can attain Him, you can attain His grace, because with grace, everything is possible. Even things which are impossible in this world, through the Divine grace It makes it simple. So, the basic thing is to realise this love inside of you. Then you will see, you will feel that He is ever with you. You are never alone!

So, Jai Gurudev!"

17 Jan 2015

New Year Resolution 2015: To realise the Grace of the Master – A Testimonial

During the last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda at Shree Peetha Nilaya, on the 10th January, Mayuran, a devotee from London expressed his gratitude to Swamiji for all Divine Blessings He has showered upon us throughout the years which culminated in a year of 2014 full of His Grace. Furthermore, Mayuran shared some insights about the Grace of Master and strongly recommended as a New Year resolution for 2015: to pray and yearn for, "that this Grace that is already there, will be realised!"

"Jai Gurudev! We just celebrated New Year's Eve and New Year's day, but it was also the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadasi. And this is the time when the gates of heaven are open and the devotees of the Lord can go and have Darshan of Narayana resting on Adhishesh amongst the cosmic waters. It's a time when millions of devotees in India journey to the temples in Tiruchy to have the Darshan of Srirangam; and they're queuing for hours and hours in Tirupati just to have 20 seconds of a glimpse of Lord Venkateshvara. This is because, Vaikunta, out of all the places in the cosmos is the most inaccessible, the most difficult to attain. So, it is a matter of Grace, that once a year, Narayana decides to open His gates for His devotees. But we should also note that there are different levels of Grace. When the Lord decides to leave Vaikunta and descend and come down in the form of the Master to be among His devotees, His disciples, this is a completely different level of Grace.

Recently, I was in a Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda in Poland. As it always happens at the beginning of the Darshan, everyone was swarming up to Swami's chair. But Swami said to everyone, ‘You stay where you are, I will come to you!’ And then He went out and gave the Dynamic Darshan. This is another level of Grace! When the Lord decides to come of His own Will, just to be amongst His devotees, to show them what God is, first hand; to show them what Love in action is, this is another level of Grace.

At the end of Navaratri last year, Swami asked me, ‘What did you think of the Guru Gita?’ And I said, ‘Swami, I have never heard you talk so explicitly and so directly about who You are as the Master.’ And it's true! Because many years ago, it was very very rare for Swami to talk publicly and so openly about the high state of the Master, the ultimate state of the Master. And Swami later told me that He knows when to give, what teaching, to which people, and at what time. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita tells Arjuna, ‘I am reviving this ancient knowledge to you, because you are My devotee and you are My friend.’ So Arjuna was worthy enough to receive this wisdom from Krishna and I think, it's a sign of the times, that the sangha, the Bhakti Marga community is coming to a point of maturity where Swami feels like He can give the Guru Gita; that we are worthy enough and mature enough to imbibe this wisdom. Shiva says in the Guru Gita, ‘Parvati you are My very form and My very Self.’ If Shiva is giving the Guru Gita just to a stranger then He has to be very careful about what words He uses, but if He is talking to His very form and His very Self, in Parvati, then He can give the truth without any compromise at all. And that's what the Guru Gita is: it's the truth without any compromise.

And Shiva goes on, telling to Parvati that this knowledge is not available in the Vedas, it is not available in the shastras, in the shruti, it's not available in any of the major scriptures because the knowledge of the Glory of the Master is not public knowledge, it's exclusive knowledge. It's the knowledge for those who are ready to receive it. So we should be thankful that Swami has given the Guru Gita to us over the last year. And we should remember that the essence of the Guru Gita, is simply this: that the Master is Narayana. That the whole spiritual game is under the Feet of the Master, that all the deities are under the Feet of the Master, and that nothing moves without the Master's Grace.

And if we look at the spiritual marketplace today, if you go to any yoga show or anything of that kind, we'll see that there are many spiritual techniques, many philosophies, many teaching that are being marketed and pushed forward. But we should ask ourselves, ‘How many of them carry the Master's Grace?’ Because spirituality without Grace is meaningless. The Guru Gita says that if we perform rituals, pilgrimages, sacrifices, without the knowledge of the Master, then it's done in ignorance.” Because if we try to push philosophies that don't carry this Grace, then it is like trying to sell cars without engines. And if we have such a thing, we can be very happy that we have a car, we can tell all our friends that we have a car, but if doesn't have an engine then it's going nowhere. If all we're interested in is spiritual hobbies, spiritual past times, then we don't need any Grace. But if we want real transformation, if we want to see God, first hand, then Grace is essential. Because to get to Vaikunta is actually impossible, it cannot be done through our own efforts, it's impossible. It's like trying to walk to the moon, it can't be done. But if we have Swami in our lives, if we have the Grace of the Master in our lives, then He brings the moon to our door, He makes the impossible, possible. And when you have this Grace, then you have everything. Everything that you've ever wanted is given to you, before you've even asked of it; you don't need to perform any rituals, you don't need to perform any specific ceremonies; there is no auspicious time, there is no inauspicious time, everything is given to you unasked, and you will never be forsaken. This is the nature of Grace, everything is carried in this Grace.

Last year Swami said perhaps one of the most profound things I've heard, He said that, ‘The Guru-disciple relationship existed before creation.’ This means that for us to attain the Master is the greatest homecoming of the universe, the greatest homecoming of existence. The whole universe, the whole world celebrates when we come home to the Master, because it is the most fundamental thing of life – this connection with the Master. And when you go deep into this, if you contemplate on it, you will see that, the ultimate truth is simply this: nothing else exists apart from you and the Master. And I don't mean that as a kind of esoteric theory or perhaps a philosophical idea, I mean it as a practical, physical reality. Nothing else exists apart from you and the Master and everything you perceive with your senses is simply an outpouring of that relationship with the Master. When the gopis were performing the Rasa Leela, every single one of them had a monopoly, exclusivity on Krishna's heart. It sounds like a contradiction, how could so many people have monopoly on Krishna's heart?’ But it's the truth! Between you and the Master, nothing else exists. And when you come to the realisation that your connection with the Master is more real than what your senses are actually perceiving, then this is Grace, this is real Grace.

I would say that the fact that we are here, the fact that we have some insight, however small that Swami is Divine in nature is a sign that, that Grace is waiting to realised. It is a sign that the homecoming is imminent. It's a sign that the Lord in His mercy has decided to take your file out of the cosmic archives and say, ‘I want this one to come home.’ That's what it means to have Swami in your life. You may not think you're a great devotee or you're great disciple; you may not think you're very close or very highly evolved. But nevertheless, the fact that you have Swami in your life is a sign that this Grace is waiting to be realised.

And so if we look over the last year, Swami has given the Bhagavad Gita, the Guru Gita, He has given the Dynamic Darshan, walking amongst us. He's developing a new shastra on Twitter, and He has given us a new logo. So He has given Bhakti Marga so much over the last year. But we should never say this is enough, we never close the book on the relationship with the Master. It goes on and on and on, it never ends. Can you imagine Radharani saying to Krishna, ‘This love is enough, I've had enough, we can call it a day now. This is it!’ It doesn’t happen. So like that, we should never close the book on the Master, because often we think that God-Realisation is like a big marathon, that we have to keep running, and running, and running, and eventually we collapse over the finish line and say, ‘At last I'm God-Realised, ahh!’ And then we celebrate the fact that we can finally relax being God-Realised. But devotion is not like that, in fact it's the opposite. We should hit the peak of our experience now with the Master. And then it just gets better and better and better. It should leave from fulfilment to even more fulfilment to even more fulfilment. That's how devotion should work. Swami always says that in bhakti, there's no end to it, there's always another corner to turn. And so, going forward to 2015, this is what we should be praying for, this is what we should be yearning for, that this Grace that is already there, will be realised. Jai Gurudev!"

- Mayuran, London, UK