Each summer, for the AHYMSIN community there is an invitation, with the 40-Day Spiritual Festival, to expand and refine one’s sadhana. This year the 40-Day Festival will begin on 22ndJune and will end on 31stJuly, which is Guru Purnima. These 40 days are celebrated wherever you are.
International Day Yoga takes place on 21stJune and you may want to celebrate this as the beginning of the Spiritual Festival; Swami Veda’s message for International Day of Yoga can be read at http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/message-for-international-yoga-day-june-21.html.
It is a time to contemplate (and possibly talk with others about) the many ways you can participate.
You might review what Swami Veda’s suggestions and teachings have been in previous years including Sadhana in Applied Spirituality at http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/sadhana-in-applied-spirituality.html and the practice given by Swami Veda on 9thMarch 2013 at http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html. Continue with the 5 year homework that was given in 2013. If you have not yet started this practice, you may want to start now.
Perhaps you would like to attend the Guru Purnima Retreat, 23rd– 31st July, at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama or Sadhana Mandir. There will be akhanda-patha (24 hour non-stop recitation) of Guru-Gita, the Song to the Guru.
During these 40 days, yoga students can choose to intensify their yoga practice and/or make beneficial changes in their lifestyles, in a variety of ways. Here are just a few:
1. Increasing one’s practice of meditation and japa.
2. Expanding some other aspect of one’s daily yoga practice with subtle relaxations or pranayamas.
3. Studying an inspiring book and applying a principle or practice in it.
4. Implementing an element of yoga, such as a particular Yama or Niyama. "These Yamas and Niyamas are the sure means of advancing spiritually. When your mind is clarified, purified, by the constant application and implementation of these principles, you’ll find that your problems will become less and less overwhelming.” – Pandit Usharbudh Arya (now Swami Veda Bharati)
5. Cultivating positive aspects of mind through such practices as the Four Right Attitudes (brahma-viharas - friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked) or pleasant-mindedness (chitta-prasadana - clarity and purification of mind, making the mind pleasant and clear).
6. Making lifestyle changes so to honor the natural environment – reducing clutter, consuming less, planting trees, simplifying one’s way of living.
7. Making healthier choices in one’s daily schedule in terms of diet and nutrition, sleep and exercise habits and punctuality of meditations.
8. Refining one’s personal relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
If there are instabilities in our lives, they exist, Swami Veda said, not because our circumstances are unstable, but because our minds are unstable. Stable minds, he said, are like soft, gentle ripples in the calm lake which can stabilize all external circumstances.
A group of spiritually-oriented people, thus stabilized, can become part of a larger, stabilized mind-field called a sangha. We are all part of a global network of spirituality in the Tradition, and we can continue to harmonize the mind-field of our community, through our own self-transformation, so that its mission work will be successful.
“We all dream,” Swami Veda has said, “of the possibility of living in a peaceful world. This aspiration can be realized only if we first provide to our very soul, the self, atman, a peaceful home in the mind inside which it lives. That is the essence of our spiritual journey; that is yoga; that is meditation; that is peace in the family, which, then, extends to becoming world peace. We need to keep a diligent vigil, to keep this mind pure and peaceful and clean, to make it progress towards becoming the environment suitable for an enlightened soul. There needs to be sense of continuous progress in us so the world may progress towards peace.”
Lokas samastas sukhino bhavantu
"May the whole world attain peace and harmony."