Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. We began the month with a very inspiring week filled with different activities, devotional practices and uplifting experiences. Navaratri Pujas for the Divine Mother continued every evening throughout the whole week, led by Swami Vashishtananda and priest Harish. We were immersed into mantras, chants, reading of Devi Mahatmyam and the meaning of connection with Divine Energy. Guests came along and participated in the Pujas, which uplifted their minds as well. Navaratri culminated in a very powerful Vijaya Dashami Puja. Mother was shining with a different light; we all could feel her soothing and powerful energy. One night before the last Puja everyone could bring working utilities and other things which were blessed during Vijaya Dashami Puja. Finally, celebration ended with all of us having an elaborate delicious meal prepared by Subramanya temple kitchen staff.
Besides the beautiful evening events in Subramanya Temple we also held a Retreat focused on Yoga and Nature, which involved regular classes and Satsangs as well as more hikes into nature which guests appreciated a lot. The following weekend we received a big enthusiastic group of students who beside regular yogic classes and activities were very eager to help with different tasks of Karma Yoga and we felt energy of togetherness between all of them.
We are happy and blessed to have sunny days and colourful nature surrounding us, giving us many moments of inspiration by being outside with guests and having day`s outing into the nature with all Staff.
Students registered for upcoming retreats and we are looking forward to accommodate and serve them all.
In mid-October we held a retreat named Power of the Mantras. In Satsangs and lectures we focused on topics such as Japa, Gunas, Meditation, Power of the Sound, with readings from books of Japa Yoga, Meditation and Mantras and Bliss Divine.
We were very happy to receive a good and dynamic group of students who arrived to attend our Thanksgiving retreat. An amazing feast was prepared by Swami Rajeshwarananda, Swami Shankarananda and other staff sharing lots of love and prana with all. During this weekend we offered two asana classes – one for Beginners and another for Intermediate levels. Guests left inspired. Two guests expressed their desire to become temporary staff.
The retreat Yoga and Meditation for Self-Transformation attracted two groups of students over the week-end: the 30 regular retreat guests were joined by a group of 27 college students from the well-known Montreal Vanier College. The Ashram was full with three asana classes running at the same time as well as roaring Satsangs in the Krishna Temple. The beautiful weather allowed for some well-appreciated outdoor classes, lovely nature walks and a bonfire satsang with lively kirtans and a few gentle guitar songs. All regular guests and college students left the ashram fully recharged and inspired, promising to come back soon.
At this time of the year most leaves have fallen and the group of Karma Yogis is kept busy raking the leaves away in order to clear the Ashram grounds. There was also a lot of housekeeping to do after the departure of the large week-end retreat groups.
Towards the end of the month we held a Yoga and Stress Management Retreat. Students who came to attend the retreat varied from very beginners to students who have been at the Ashram many times. We introduced the main principles of Yoga as well as going deeper into practices of meditation, concentration, relaxation and positive thinking. There was good interest in asana classes and lectures as well as Satsangs and Karma Yoga. At the end of the retreat, we bad farewell to the students wishing them to stay inspired and to continue with practices at home.
We also welcomed a nice group of 10-11 years old students of Waldorf school who visited the Ashram for the first time and stayed with us for some hours. They were given a separate asana class, also a tour of the Ashram and a small talk at the Krishna temple. We hope that this will give them a good first touch with Yoga.
All staff went to the Montreal centre to attend Deepavali celebration where Puja was performed by the Ashram priest, Harish. The beautiful celebration was followed by many chants and energy of lightness, joy and togetherness.
We enjoyed very warm weather which gave us the opportunity to have more walks into nature with students as well as more classes and activities outdoors.
At the end of the month we received nice groups of students coming for the yoga retreat Be the Architect of your Destiny. Students explored different yogic techniques and gained a deeper understanding of the power of the mind, and its possibilities. Besides different classes and Satsangs, students joyously involved in Karma Yoga daily. One afternoon we went with the students to Samadhi Estate, showing the house of Swamiji and telling a few interesting facts and stories about how this Ashram and the retreats started. During the Retreat we had a lively bonfire Satsang with everyone joining for kirtans, sharing some other songs and having hot chocolate prepared by staff.
Staff are well and ready to serve. May love of Masters always guides us. Om and prem.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya. The highlight of the month has been Navaratri. We had the opportunity to chant Devi Mahatmyam, Lalita Sahasranama and Mahisasura Stotra daily in the Rajarajeshwari Temple with Puja and Aarati. Navaratri concluded with Vijayadasmi Puja where devotees collected their blessed materials.
All SIYVAM students gathered in Dhanwantari Ashram to prepare for the final exam and graduation. A group of fifty-five students and teachers from the local Chinmaya School visited the ashram for an introduction to Yoga given by Suresh. On the same day our STIC student, Aadiithya sponsored a Kerala feast for all the guests in memory of his grandfather. Radhamma teacher, our long-standing staff passed away on Sunday after suffering for a few months with cancer. She joined the Ashram over forty years ago as a young lady and sincerely served Swami Sivasaranananda (Swamiji’s mother), Swami Rajeshwariananda and the nursery school children. We pray for her liberation.
In early October twelve Sivananda Integrated Yoga Vedanta Ayurveda and Music/Meditation (SIYVAM) students completed the final written exam and graduated with a certificate. They shared accounts of their positive life-changing experiences and commitment to keep up the yogic lifestyle. Most of them intend to teach Yoga. Two students plan to continue as voluntary staff members. We thank Swami Janardhanananda for nurturing the students throughout the course and adding much value to Neyyar Dam during his stay.
We were blessed with a varied group of guests for Yoga Vacation with an average of 15 nationalities present at any one time. Staff have been engaged in teaching classes including asana, and meditation coaching sessions. We have just introduced a Chanting Coaching session three times a week. Twice-a-day online classes along with Advanced and Children’s online classes are also going on.
Later in the month a new Yoga Vacation group started with about fifty guests and ten Ayurveda patients.
Ongoing projects include replastering the Temple storeroom and Siva Hall roofs, redoing the Health Hut with cow dung and making Vaikuntam bedside tables from ashram teak wood. Best wishes to all.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namah Sivaya. The TTC moved into its final week in early October with the students becoming more confident with their teaching. They had done well with their hands-on teaching of Beginners Classes in the previous week. Finally, four weeks of hard work and dedication was well paid with a successful exam result by the grace of our Master and Swamiji. This was followed by the graduation of the new additions to the Sivananda family.
In mid-October the Ashram geared up for the Sadhana Intensive course. Eleven eager aspirants were initiated into an intense practice of Sadhana designed by our teacher Swami Vishnudevananda ji, a practice that requires a good amount of patience and perseverance.
In addition to the Sadhana Intensive we had a Mundaka Upanishad Camp. While the Sadhakas were moving onto advanced practices with Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Viveka Chudamani during second week, the Mundaka Upanishad students in their first week were treading the path of Jnana Yoga.
Although the climate became tremendously cold, the aspirants coped and adapted well, bringing out the real essence of the teachings being received.
The Sadhana Intensive concluded on at the end of the month with all the participants graduating. After completion of the program, all the students left the Ashram taking back with them the positive and transformative experience and memories.
Three Sadhakas remained for the Mundaka Upanishad Camp and preparations started for the Bhandara for Swamis and Sadhakas.
The weather here is getting colder day by day, but the Sadhana is keeping everyone warm.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namah Sivaya. The high season gradually picked up in early October with students coming in good numbers as well as enquiries about the vacation program. All in the Ashram were also busy preparing for the upcoming TTC.
Navaratri Puja went well, with Pujas for Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The priest drew pictures of Devi using coloured powder and kept the dressed and decorated murti in front where offerings are made, asking for blessings from the Divine Mother. We had a Ganapati Homa to celebrate Vijaya Dasami, the tenth and concluding day of Navaratri. During this day traditionally children are made to write their first letters in front of Goddess Saraswati to receive her blessings and marking their first steps on the path of gaining knowledge. All other children and even adults do this ritual of writing something sacred on a plate of rice symbolically receiving the blessings from the Goddess for all their learning related endeavours.
We are now prioritising the tea area in the renovation work that we are doing, with the thatched roof work progressing well. The grounds are also being worked on so that they can be kept neat and tidy. The hospital work is also steadily progressing.
The Yoga Vacationers happily went about their schedule imbibing the Yogic culture into their lives getting in turn motivated for the upcoming TTC. The talent show was a very joyous affair with almost everyone participating in one way or the other by singing, dancing and even poetry, some claiming it to be their very first stage performance.
By the grace of our Master Swami Sivananda and our Guru Swami Vishnudevananda we had a good group of 28 very enthusiastic TTC students
In the middle of October the TTCs began their schedule with a beautiful Ganapati Homa at the Temple. After receiving the blessings from the remover of obstacles, they began the schedule with their first Hatha Yoga Class. They were then also introduced gradually to other aspects of Yogic practices like Chanting, Philosophy and Bhagavad Gita. The students tuned very well to the teachings and adapted well with the surroundings and food.
That week’s Talent Show was splendid with dance performances from professional dancers and a display of singing skills as well. The students were taken to the nearby hill for the Sunday Silent Walk. They commented watching the sunrise and being one with nature was otherwise missing from their lives.
The final week of October began on a loud and cheerful note with Deepawali celebrations. We had Lalitha Sahasranaama Puja on the occasion, the entire Satsang Hall being decked up with clay lamps and Rangoli designs. The students wearing traditional outfit for the Puja looked radiant and happy. This was followed by a short but sweet celebration with crackers, flower pots, the like which was enjoyed by all. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch. We thank Master and Swamiji for the blessing of opportunities to share the teachings and to help wider circles find good health and peace of mind. May Masters’ Blessings and Gurus Grace be with us all. Pranams from the rolling mountains of New York State. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. In early October we had a Yoga Vacation program with guests who were very appreciative of the opportunity to visit the Ashram and take classes and Satsangs daily with delicious food and good weather.
We started Navaratri, the nine days festival, with Pujas in the evenings. All the staff and guests were very inspired by the devotional ceremonies and readings on the Devi. On Vijaya Dasami everyone at the Yoga Farm dressed up in sarees and dhotis for the occasion. We could all feel the victorious energy from the Divine Mother. We also resumed the daily one hour chanting of Om Namo Narayanaya for World Peace.
Early in the month Swami Sitaramananda, Swami Adiparashakti, and Swami Sivasankari went to San Francisco to do a program there for the 50th anniversary of our mission in California. This is the first time we have had a program in San Francisco after the Center closure. The program was held in the Integral Yoga Institute on Dolores. About 30 devotees came for the Yoga class, Puja, Satsang, and snacks. Everyone was very happy to have the swamis visit and reignite the mission in San Francisco. Swami Sitaramananda then went on to the Los Angeles Center for a weekend program.
At the Ashram we carried on with our lavender harvest and distillation process. The garden fence was built, and we prepared for the SYHET module 3 arrivals. We also welcomed a few students for the Prana and Yuba River course. We installed a nice new shrine for Mother Mary at the Durga temple and celebrated the birthday of Swami Adiparashaktiananda
The highlight of the week in early October was the initiation of the SYHET Module 3, with seven students onsite and 10 students online. The program is combined with the Vietnam group which has 35 students. Special guest teacher Jaya Jeff Simms arrived to share four classes on Pain Management. This module is focusing on the theory and protocols of practice for specific conditions such as: Teaching Yoga for Nervous Conditions; Yoga for the Spine; Neuroplasticity; Yoga for Cancer; Yoga for Depression; Yoga for Anxiety. etc..
The SYHET course continued with enthusiasm and inspiration. We had classes on: Yoga of the Back, Yoga for a Healthy Spine, Yoga for the Nervous System, Neuroplasticity, and Pain Management, with special guest Jeff Simms, Yoga for Depression and Stress/Anxiety, and How Yamas and Niyamas Help in Preventing Diseases.
We also had a Beginners Course where we had workshops on the Five Points of Yoga and a Kirtan Workshop with Anandamayi. Staff carried on with their sadhana, meanwhile preparing the Ashram for TTC. We finished building the garden fence and the greenhouses and doing beautification projects at the Durga Temple.
We welcomed Swami Sivasankariananda for a few days to help teach the final week of SYHET. Topics included Yamas and Niyamas, Yoga for the Cardio-pulmonary System, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Varicose Veins; Yoga for Common Ailments such as Asthma, Sleep Disorders, Headaches, Metabolic Disorder as well as Adapted Yoga for special groups and understanding and protocols for many mental health issues. They reviewed many case studies and practiced teaching. They graduated with a final exam and a special Asian feast, inspired and looking forward to starting their practicum teaching courses and doing health intakes.
In late October we did a Karma Yoga intensive program where staff and guests helped to prepare the Ashram for TTC. We did deep cleaning of the Yoga hall, reception, garden, and kitchen and helped organize all the changing rooms for the TTC students. Then we welcomed our new group of TTC students as well as some new Karma Yogis: 19 TTC students coming from many different countries: Brazil, Uruguay, Algeria, China, Lithuania, and especially many Indian students . The Yoga Farm accommodation was full.
Our first evening satsang with the TTC was a concert by Stephen Longfellow Fiske where the students heard stories of Swamiji and sang songs inspired by peace. We also celebrated the Diwali festival with a beautiful Puja ceremony with many lights and candles and each student lighting their own candle to help remember the light.
The Ashram also invested in a new used shuttle van to help bring staff and guests to the Yuba river.
In late October cooler weather came to the Ashram with the arrival of Fall. The first week of TTC went smoothly, with the students getting used to the intensive schedule and being inspired with the practice and discipline. The TTC Karma Yoga hour went well as students helped with kitchen cleaning, gardening, housekeeping, fence building, and organizing the maintenance area.
We also had a Stress Relief weekend taught by Omkara with six students. They all received a great deal of benefit in just two days in the Ashram.
On the day off, we had a four-and-a-half-hour long special Puja and Homa ceremony performed by Pundit Samavedula for Swami Sitaramananda entering a new phase of life at 70 years of age. The Puja was held at the Durga temple and was quite elaborate as we invited all the gods in the form of kalashams and coconuts. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namah Sivaya. May all be well and may this be an opportunity to turn inward to that which is eternal and ever-free. Om Shanti. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. ATTCs and TTCs had an intense last week of their courses and successfully completed the exams. We celebrated with two graduation ceremonies and everybody was happy and relaxed during the get-together in the evening.
The main focus of the guest programme was the Meditation Experience with a lecture and workshops on the Four Paths of Yoga, Mantra chanting and Japa. We enjoyed a nice walk at noon, just ahead of our Navaratri celebrations.
Our Navaratri celebration started on Monday evening. Pujas, readings from the Devi Mahatmyam, and the chanting were conducted in the Ganesha hall and shared online.
We celebrated the last two evenings of Navaratri online together with the Ashram in Orleans. Separate satsangs were offered for the guests.
The classes and a special asana coaching class focused on developing strength and flexibility in the asanas. After some rainy days the guests were happy to go on longer walks in the second half of the week.
Besides the guest program, we were busy with the preparations for the TTC in Rudraprayag, India.
In the following week we had a group of quite advanced and inspired vacation guests. They could develop their asana practice and listen to lectures on the topic of Yoga and a Healthy Mind.
Shankara came for the Yoga and Mountain Magic program and took the guests on several hikes to the most beautiful spots in the surrounding area.
There was a special energy during the Mantra and Kirtan weekend. The guests were enthusiastic about the Kirtan workshops, akandha kirtan, and Satsangs with explanations and practice of the Shanti Mantras and Japa Meditation.
Towards the end of the month we had a small group of guests for the vacation programme, In Peace Lies Strength, with lectures on the mental aspects of Yoga and the holistic benefits of asanas. On the Tuesday we did a longer outing with the guests.
The online morning kirtan and the reading, which comes from different Centers, are very appreciated. This month we started to read the book God Exists by Swami Sivananda.
Sita and Ram from Hamburg stayed with us for a week. They have been a great support in teaching online classes and in the Satsangs. Gayatri from Munich spent the weekend with us.
The final week in October started with a nice on-site and online Diwali celebration in the evening satsang on Monday.
Also, we were happy to receive many longtime students and new guests for our All Saints Retreat. A group of yoga teachers came for the further training Asanas and Fascia which started on Friday.
The guests enjoyed inspiring Satsangs, lectures on Yoga as a lifestyle and energetic asana classes. The wonderful weather allowed us to lead them on daily walks. Om shanti.
Ashram de Yoga Sivananda, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya.
In the month of October, we had a nice group of students doing their TTC. Alongside, we had a few yoga immersion programmes. During Navaratri, there was daily pujas for Mookambika at the temple and evening online pujas. We read the Devi Mahatmya. Online events were shared with other European Centres and Ashrams.
By the end of the month, we held a successful foundations of a yogic diet programme for a short midweek programme.
During the All Saints weekend, we welcomed two groups of guests and teachers. Teachers joined for a Further Training, How to Teach Seniors, with Jaya Bharati. That made the Ashram practically full for a few days. Gopala joined us during the All Saints retreat from the Paris centre and was of great help teaching classes and satsangs. Both the guests programme and the teachers programme were successful and joyful with insightful morning and evening Satsangs. In the evening, we also had asana demonstration and a Puja. This retreat in particular was well attended by guests visiting for the first time.
We also celebrated Deepavali with a beautiful puja.
By the Grace of God, the new kitchen provided a warm space for all to enjoy the delicious and colourful dishes generously prepared by the kitchen employees and karma yogis.
We are grateful to have these opportunities through the month to share the message of our teachers and help the guests.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya. We celebrated Navaratri, the nine days festival, with Pujas in the evenings. All the staff and guests were very inspired by the devotional ceremonies and readings on the Devi.
The Ayurveda and Yoga Detoxification Retreat continued in early October with a new group of 11 participants. The week went well for all, the guests benefiting greatly from the Ayurveda treatments and from the opportunity for rest and rejuvenation provided in the Ashram atmosphere. We also welcomed a group of beginner students for a weekend Retreat. Stormy weather meant that most activities had to be held indoors, apart from a walk on Sunday morning when we were lucky to witness a beautiful sunrise.
The first week of October saw the auspicious official opening of the Yoga Health House, one of the existing buildings of the Ashram property situated near our main gate, which has now been renovated with the purpose of making Yoga practices for health more accessible for the population here, specially those who may not have the possibility to spend time in the Ashram. The house has a beautiful open and light energy, and we pray that many people will benefit from activities there. A Ganesha Homa was performed for the house opening, followed by a Puja initiating a new altar.
We were happy to welcome Swami Dharmananda back to the Ashram. He stayed with us for around two months, with the initial task of leading the group of SYHET students for the start of their third residential module of study. The Sivananda Yoga Health Education Training- module 3, serves a total of 50 students onsite and online across the world and is translated into three languages. This is the last module of the year.
Topics for this module are practical: How the Practice of Yamas and Niyamas Impact Health and Healing, the theory and protocols of teaching Yoga to specific groups: Yoga for the Cardio-pulmonary system; Yoga for Respiratory Disorders, Yoga for Digestive System Disorders, Metabolic Disorders, Nervous Disorders. How to Understand Common Ailments such as Asthma, Headaches, and Insomnia; How to Manage Pain; How to Work with Groups: Chair Yoga, Adapted Yoga and Accessible Yoga; How to Understand and Work with Health Issues: Depression, Anxiety, Trauma etc. Students also acquired skills in Non-violent Communication; Pratyahara; Conscious Relaxation; and in Therapeutic Relationships.
Swami Sitaramananda led the initiation proceedings via video link from the Yoga Farm and the group jumped straight into their busy schedule of study and practice.
The course continued well, with live classes in Dalat taught by Swami Dharmananda, Swami Narayanananda, Saraswati and Lila Saraswati Lolling. Online classes were taught by Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Jnaneshwariananda at the Yoga Farm and Jaya Jeff Sims in Hawaii. Students were appreciative and enthusiastic, happy to have more practice.
By the end of the month the SYHET students had passed their final examination and were very inspired and looking forward to more distance learning and mentorship in the practice of group teaching and health counselling. We would like to thank a host of swamis and invited guest teachers and translators who were involved in this intensive teaching.
Activity at the newly opened Yoga Health Education house continued with an Open House day and visits of first guests for Yoga classes, workshops and individual counselling sessions. Staff have been working on landscaping and planting around the house to create a welcoming and sattvic atmosphere. We are happy to welcome regular Yoga Vacation guests to the Ashram at the same time as all the other activities are taking place.
We started the final week of October with a beautiful Diwali celebration. A Puja for goddess Lakshmi in the Yoga Hall was followed by a procession carrying lights up to the pond and island, where the lights were placed to float on the water, and celebration continued with kirtan on the island under beautiful starry skies, the planet Jupiter prominent right above us. On Tuesday morning Swami Dharmananda, Swami Narayanananda and Anandi left to travel to Phan Thiet, a city on the coast, to teach at a Yoga center and at a retreat weekend organized by affiliated teacher and SYHET student Bhakti. Activities continued as normal at the Ashram, with a steady flow of Yoga Vacation guests arriving. Activity at the established Yoga Health Education house continued strongly with daily classes for students arriving from outside.
All staff at the ashram are well and inspired in their service. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. The first week of October was filled with the Divine Mother’s grace in the Navratras. We are conducted the evening Satsang in the Temple along with chanting the Devi Stotra. By the Divine Mother’s grace the guest Hari is taking care of the kitchen as a service to the ashram family along with help from staff Vishnu.
Staff Krishna and Vinod from Neyyardam arrived. The asana classes and lectures are being conducted regularly. Also with the help of Venugopal Sir gardening work progressed rapidly. The agriculture farm is on track, and trees were planted all along the Ashram perimeter.
The weather in early October was very wet but all the activities have been regular in spite of the rain. We were joined by Kannan who took over the kitchen duties from Vishnu who went home for two weeks. Because of Hari’s enthusiasm the Ashram served North Indian food, a Kerala feast and paratha on various days. As a part of Navaratri pooja, vehicle pooja was performed for the ashram and staff vehicles by the priest. Also everybody took part in the Lalita Sahasranama chanting at the Temple on Vijaya Dasami. Venugopalji is here to continue the agriculture and garden work.
Because there were no guests in the middle week of the month, our time was devoted to cleaning and maintenance work in the Ashram. Jagdamma returned to take charge of the Ashram kitchen. Staff focused on the lawn mowing and cleaning dormitories and Yoga Halls.
The following week there were six guests and the ashram routine continued as usual.
During the last week of October, we made ongoing improvements in the garden and field work with planting of saplings, pruning of trees, and cutting grass. Because it is Kartika month, the temple has been decorated with coloured lights and a Karthika dheepam. Promotion for the next TTC is in progress. Sending love and light to the Sivananda Family.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
Om Namah Sivaya. In early October Atmashakti Chaitanya left for Vietnam to support many upcoming programs including the SYHET course, TTC, Vedanta, Mauna, etc. for which she will be providing the Japanese translation. In addition, she offered the second study session on Sivananda Yoga online from the Da Lat Ashram in Vietnam, which is a regular program given on a monthly basis. Online asana classes have been well-attended with the number of students gradually growing. The three-month Sanskrit course was completed.
The SYHET course module 3 held at the Da Lat Ashram in Vietnam went very well.
The Vedanta study session navigated by Yashashvin was given. This started as a monthly program at the former Tokyo Centre and continues till this time, in which the class dedicated five years to reading one textbook named Ishwaraya Namah all the way through. We appreciate all the efforts made by the students who have been continuously learning Vedanta ever since the program started.
The Shojiko Lake is now beautifully and vividly colored with Fall colors and we took the time between sessions to set heaters in position and cover the windows with insulating materials in preparation for winter.
At the end of October we gave a briefing session on upcoming courses including TTC to be held at the Da Lat Ashram, Vietnam for Japanese students interested in taking a course. We support them through the sharing of information, including precautions for travel and entry conditions, as well as the course outlines.
On the last Saturday, we offered a Kirtan workshop. Some of the students residing in Tokyo gathered at a place to join the program altogether online and some staying at the Shojiko Retreat joined in-person, which made the session so powerful.
As well, Swami Narayanandaji gave a talk at the international Satsang, which gave us a lot of inspiration. Om shanti.
03 Ekadasi; Gita Jayanti
A true unity of heart is the real remedy for the diseases of separatism, hatred, hostility and a great deal of misunderstanding among individuals. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Gita Jayanti, or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita , is celebrated by all the admirers and lovers of this most sacred scripture on the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margaseersha (December-January), according to the Hindu almanac. It was on this day that Sanjaya narrated to King Dhritarashtra the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, and thus made the glorious teachings of the Lord available to us, and to people of the world, for all time.
The Gita is the most beautiful and the only truly philosophical song. It contains sublime lessons on wisdom and philosophy. It is the “Song Celestial”. It is the universal gospel. It contains the message of life that appeals to all, irrespective of race, creed, age or religion.
The Gita is a source of power and wisdom. It strengthens you when you are weak, and inspires you when you feel dejected and feeble. It teaches you to embrace righteousness and to resist unrighteousness.
The Gita is not merely a book or just a scripture. It is a living voice carrying an eternally indispensable and vital message to mankind. Its verses embody words of wisdom coming from the infinite ocean of knowledge, the Absolute Itself.
The voice of the Gita is the call of the Supreme. It is the divine sound explained. The primal source of all existence, all power, is the manifested sound–Om. This is the Divine Word. It is Nada Brahman, whose unceasing call is: “Be ye all ever merged in the eternal, unbroken, continuous consciousness of the Supreme Truth.” This is the sublime message that the Gita elaborates and presents in all comprehensiveness and in a universally acceptable form.
The Gita may be summarised in the following seven verses:
1. “Uttering the one-syllabled Om, the Brahman, and remembering Me, he who departs, leaving the body thus, attains the Supreme Goal”.
2. “It is meet, O Lord, that the world delights and rejoices in Thy praise; the demons fly in fear to all quarters, and all the hosts of Siddhas bow to Thee!”
3. “With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, He exists in the world, enveloping all”.
4. “Whosoever meditates on the omniscient, ancient ruler of the whole world, minuter than an atom, the supporter of all, of form inconceivable, effulgent like the sun, such a one goeth beyond the darkness of ignorance”.
5. “They, the wise, speak of the indestructible Asvattha, having its roots above and branches below, whose leaves are the metres or hymns; he who knows it is a knower of the Vedas”.
6. “And I am seated in the hearts of all; from Me are memory and knowledge, as well as their absence. I am verily that which has to be known by all the Vedas; I am indeed the author of Vedanta, and the knower of the Vedas am I”.
7. “Fix thy mind on Me; be devoted to Me; sacrifice to Me; bow down to Me; having thus united thy whole Self with Me, taking Me as the Supreme Lord, thou shalt verily come to Me”.
Glory to Lord Krishna, the Divine Teacher! Glory to Sri Vyasa, the poet of poets, who composed the Gita! May his blessings be upon you all!
From Hindu Fasts and Festivals by Sri Swami Sivananda