Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Jaina festival of Paryushana and Forgiveness (Kshamavani)

Dear Friendly Souls,

On 18th September is the KSHAMAVANI, day of forgiveness in Jaina religion but the sacred observances have already begun. 

At this time, I bow to you and seek forgiveness for any hurt or harm I may have caused to you or to any other soul, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.

I offer unconditional apology. Please forgive me with the lovingness and generosity of your heart. 

In service of the divinity in you
Swami Veda Bharati

Swamiji asked Tejas to write how the Day of Forgiveness is celebrated by the Jainas and how it may be adapted for universal observance by all. Jaina festival of Paryushana and Forgiveness (Kshamavani) by Tejas can  be read here:

How Is Your Silence Going?

Many of my friends and initiates in all continents write me asking, "Swamiji, how is your silence going?" I am tempted to answer, "How is your talking going?" 

Majority have a not five-year but life-long vow of talking. To many, silence is something not so natural. To others, seekers after truth and serenity, silence is the nature from which we have emerged and into which we will dissolve. Through all our externalised sense operations, an inner substratum of a silent stream continues to flow. Some of us have chosen to take a dip into that stream.

Some treat my five year vow as 'heroic' or something I have done; perhaps an act of tremendous self-denial! The fact is that I have chosen to indulge into this pleasure.

Yes, my indulgence in this pleasure is going very well but it is not accomplishing all that I had meant to accomplish through it. My hope was to be free of all involvements in matters of the organization and the Ashram. Few leaders have taken over certain areas of these and freed me to a certain extent, but not yet fully, and there are still hundred e-mails a day, all needing attention. So also matters relating to the Ashram. I manage to give thoughts and suggestions in writing but I would rather write my Vedic poetry instead that flows in moments of silent contemplations.

One thing I find unpleasant is anyone talking in my presence. I want total silence but people around me go on chattering and do not always even realize when I am inwardly tuned and my solitude needs to be accepted.

I do speak sometimes (a) giving guided meditation or initiation to a very select rare few and (b) in blessing children under 8. I find hugging a child a great experience in silence and it enriches me and enhances my silence. There is no better lesson in mind's silence than hugging a child.

Silence has helped conserve the shakti in many ways. It has helped improve the physical strength of this 80 years old body and when I do give the rare initiations and guided meditations, the energy manifests itself. This is because my Guru has taught me how to absorb the shakti and assimilate it and not waste it all the time in talking, chattering and idle pursuits. Instead of ex-pressing, I have chosen to im-press this energy into myself and it grants a subtle joy and serenity.

Swamiji, how did this idea of a five year silence come to you-- people ask. It came when I was perhaps six years old. My father and I had gone for an evening walk on Rajpur Road in Dehradun where I was born. We were going uphill. From the opposite side was walking down our neighbour Pandit Dharmadeva Shastri, a philosophy teacher at the Gurukula where we lived. Later he established one of the most important relief Ashrams for lepers under Gandhiji's guidance (another inspiration that remained waiting to be realized until KHEL was established).

He, coming downhill, was accompanied by a Swami in saffron robes with a brilliantly shining face. Pandit Dharmadeva knew of my father's interest in yogis. He introduced us to the Swami and told us that he met him sitting by the roadside. He was a silent swami and had not spoken a word for 25 years while living in the mountains doing sadhana. I cannot remember his name. There is more to this story but here this much suffices. That was my first inspiration. I knew then that it was something to aspire for and that some day I would take a 25 year vow of silence. My ambition remains unfulfilled.

Since then I have met a few silent swamis and each one has left a spark of inspiration, strengthening my ambition. My friend Swami Chandra who has an Ashram at the bank of the river Yamuna in Domet village near the mountains has not spoken a word for over 27 years. I often send our ashram members and visitors to visit his Ashram. 

Majority cannot imagine for those who are inwardly attuned, how difficult and unnatural it is to have that attunement interrupted and to fulfil the world's demands that you become outwardly tuned.

I wish these five years are never over but I know they will end. 138 days are already gone, too fast. When five years pass, it will be painful to speak again, a major effort of will.

I wish for the people of the whole world to learn to enter the profundity that is silence. 

How to Bring Spirituality into Family Life

This is a transcription of a talk given by Swami Veda Bharati on 22nd February 2013 at the Nurturing Spirituality in the Family Conference.

Bring your mind to your asana where you are sitting.
Turn inwards.
Relax your forehead.
Feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils, with your personal mantra.
Breathing slowly, gently, smoothly.
No break in your breathing cycle, no break in your mantra cycle.
Observe how the mind, mantra and breath are flowing together as a single stream.
Without breaking the stream of consciousness gently open your eyes.
May God and Guru bless us all.

I plan to keep it short. I will not cover everything that I am bubbling with. You can do your own research, and more than research, your own contemplations.

There are two books by Swami Rama on the subject that are available: Love and Family Life and Let the Bud of Life Bloom: A Guide to Raising Healthy and Happy Children

Whatever you do in life,
Whatever actions you undertake,
Whatever gestures you make,
Whatever words you speak,
Whatever glances you throw,
Whatever thoughts you think,
Whatever emotions you feel,
Establish each one's connection with the cosmic scheme.
That is called - sacrament; living sacredly. That alone is a lifelong sadhana.

Read more: How to Bring Spirituality into Family Life

Brain Damage In Modernity

A recent issue of Scientific American Mind, November/December 2012 (pp.30ff.) gives a random list of geniuses in history. All names are western except one Arab (Ibn Khaldun) and one ancient Egyptian (Imhotep). Obviously, from this 'scientific' writer's point of view, India and China never produced any geniuses!

Here I take a different approach. While the IQ scores are reported to be rising, the modernity also makes us lose some of the abilities of our brain. We no longer want to do mental work; we want to depend on calculators and computers.

Our parents and grandparents, in the east and the west, did mental arithmetic as a matter of course. Their minds were trained to do so. Now, calculators are allowed in the examination rooms (at least in the Western countries) so that the students no longer need to depend on their memory work of the Tables (pahaRas in Hindi).

Read more: Brain Damage In Modernity