17 Dec 2014

The Tests of the Guru, a Master of Maya


This article is the fifth one in the series of five posts, previously introduced in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Tapesh from Zurich during last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda held at Shree Peetha Nilaya on the 29th of November.

Sri Swami Vishwananda explained to us during His commentary on the Guru Gita about the importance of the Guru's tests and about the nature of the Guru as a Master of Maya. He said:

“The Guru tests His disciple, so that one realises the eternity of oneself. Because without tests one will not be ready. If the gold doesn't go through fire, how would it be purified? It would still be gold, but it would not be pure. It attains its purity only when it goes through tests...and the aim of the Guru, the aim of testing the disciple is not for His personal gain but it is always to save the disciple from falling.”


“The Guru has mastered darkness, He has mastered Light, yet He is residing above the darkness and above the Light. So that's how the Guru dispels the darkness of ignorance in the one who surrenders to Him.”


“This first syllable ‘Gu’ stands for Maya Prakriti, Devi, the Shakti that binds and holds one to this reality. And the second syllable ‘Ru’ stands for Purusha, stands for the Supreme Absolute which frees one from illusion. So, in the same word, ‘Guru’, you have Maya and you have the One who frees you from Maya. So having both aspects inside, this shows that the Guru is the Master of Maya, Master of this reality. He knows how to free one from that reality and He knows also how to put one in that reality – both... He knows when to cast a shadow over somebody and He knows when to remove that shadow.”

“To the one who is surrendered to the Guru's Feet, the Guru reveals that one is beyond that; you are not in the game of the outside; you are not in the game of the mind, but you are beyond that reality. You are in the True Self! And in your True Self, in your true aspect, you have control over the cause and effect.”


Testimony
"It happened some years back. Suddenly I had this feeling of coming this way with Swami and staying with Him in the future. But I was not too sure about it – it was even before I did my studies and I was thinking, 'Do I follow the worldly path or the path with Swami? Or is there any combination of the two?' So I was not too sure about it and then on a Sunday I actually asked Him – it was very easy to approach Him and to talk to Him. So, I asked Him, 'How is it? Is it predestined that my way is together with You or shall I just do my studies and go back into worldly life?' Swami said something like, 'It depends if you are strong enough – maybe I can test you a little bit and see how it is.' And I thought, 'Okay, yeah, easy.' But after one day, it started to be very, very difficult – you can imagine that whatever you do in your daily routine is wrong. So I was there, living together with other people and whatever I did was somehow wrong; I stepped on people's feet and whatever I did – it was just horrible and it went even worse and worse. And after two days, it was like, 'I can't stand it anymore! I am probably the most stupid person in here and what am I doing here?' I was thinking, 'I should leave.' And then I tried to approach Swami but He was very reserved saying, 'No, no, no!' And I couldn't approach Him.


So, I decided to stay another day. And you can imagine, it was like hell; it was an inward hell, not outside. Swami had just made things happen as they should have been, and then after three days I really couldn't stand it anymore. I went up to His room and I knocked on His door. He said, ‘Yes!’ I opened the door and just wanted to get in and fall at His feet. But He said, 'No, stay there! I don't like people waiting in my room.' And I was so shocked! It was like being pushed away from Him. It was so horrible. I was standing there trembling and He said, 'Just wait. I will come later.' Then, He finished something in the altar, He just took His time and afterwards we went to the office. Paartha was in there and Swami said, 'Paartha, can I talk to him quickly? Please go out for a minute.' Then Swami asked me, 'What? What's wrong? What do you want?' I said, 'I can't stand it!' He just looked at me smiling and saying, 'You know what? It was me putting you in this dilemma.'


It was like as if I had built a house made of playing cards, a big tower, and then in one go it was gone! And I realised that it was just Him joking with me. And all the things which had happened there, during these three days, were just nothing. I felt so stupid to have been in such a mood. Then He said, 'Yeah! But you know what? Just stay for a few days and I will test you again.' I said, 'It was horrible! It was a hell for me.' Then, He said, 'In three days we will see, and we will talk.' I said to myself inwardly, 'Okay. Three days - everyone can survive whatever happens.' So, I decided to be very firm and asked, 'What if it rises again?' And Swami said, 'Yes. It will rise again. I will make it rise again.' And I was like, 'Oh God, no, no!' And that's what He did, He really did it. He made it rise again and it was really horrible. Inwardly it was like hell again and I was going left, right, crazy again. One or two days later, I was sitting next to the fireplace and there was one of these Hindu comics, the story of the crocodile and the elephant. Some of you might know, it is from the Srimad Bhagavatam [Mahavishnu riding on Garuda saves His devotee Gajendra, the king of the elephants, from the crocodile's attack]. Then, I just decided, 'I look at this comic, maybe it will change my mind a little bit.' I took this story, went through it quickly and thought, 'Nice story, blah, blah, blah.' It just helped me to be somewhere else a little bit. After three days, I thought, 'Okay, three days. Finally I did it.' All day long, I was looking at Swami and He was not looking at me at all, nothing! Not even a slight approach. So I though, 'Okay, maybe in the evening.' But the evening arrived and nothing happened. Another night arrived and I then thought, ‘Maybe it is another test. I will just wait until tomorrow morning.’ But the fourth day, nothing happened again; the fifth day nothing again; so it was the same story, I was almost going crazy. Then maybe on the sixth day, Swami came down and said, ‘How are you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, it's okay?’ And then He said, ‘Ah, by the way, do you know this story of the crocodile and the elephant?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I didn't know about all these Hindu stories but somehow, by some funny circumstances I had read exactly this story as it was only this comic lying there. Then He said, ‘Did you read it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, yes!’ Then He said, ‘Did you like it?’ I said, ‘Yes, yes!’ And Swami looked at me, stared at me and said, ‘But you didn't understand it.’


And I felt so stupid again! I had to agree that I just went through the story and didn't get anything at all. Then He said, ‘Do you know what the crocodile represents?’ Some days back I had asked Him, ‘What is Maya?’ And then He said, ‘It can't be explained. It can only be experienced.’ And I thought, ‘Oh man, this is the same story, which all the Masters never answer at all.’ And then He said, ‘This crocodile is Maya. And this is what you went through.’ And then I realised, ‘That's it!’ - Tapesh, Zurich

The Sri Swami Vishwananda's Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)
In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.

15 Dec 2014

Thank you in the name of St. Nicholas


As you already know (we have written about it before), wehave asked for your support to help people in the name of our very much loved St. Nicholas.

You have helped a lot! 

A big thank you to everyone who contributed in St. Nicholas and Christmas collection this year!

Some of the residents, by passing through the lobby, fell in love with some of the pets you have brought: 


Tusti with Bhagyshri who liked the seal very much 
Ruchita fell in love with an owl ...
... and Chatur really felt very much cosy with this penguin

Tusti, who made the contacts and phoned to the organisations, made it possible to bring the really needed things to the right place. 

The day before we sorted and structured all the things and made three collections of the items (the entrance hall was really full!) and as it was so much, Tusti had to pack three full cars and went to different places. (We couldn't take photos from these places as they want to stay anonymous.)

Here Tusti's report: 

We received very touching letters and words from the responsible people of the organisations.

"How wonderful to know that there are friendly people around who also think about the socially disadvantaged and deprived ones!"

On the same evening they could make a bag ready with towels and nightdress for a woman going to the hospital. Some sweets could warm the heart of another young woman being completely desperate about her life situation.

"They wish you all a light-filled Advent and a 'God bless you!'"

While we were unpacking the car at the second place where we brought the donated items the social worker said, "Now we are safe for this winter." I was really touched.

Thank you all for making it possible to bring the spirit and the light of St. Nicholas and Guruji into darkness. Sharing really brings true happiness!

Mataji Tusti

The Caring and Giving Guru

 

This article is the fourth one in the series of five posts introduced previously in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Bhadra from Moehlin, Switzerland, during last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda held at Shree Peetha Nilaya, on the 29th of November.

Testimony
“I met Sri Swami Vishwananda (Guruji) 10 years ago, in 2004. And it was an interesting situation because I was asked by a friend to come and visit Guruji while working and I had to ask my manager to get away. I manage to do that and arrived there, but had to wait one or two hours. "Typically Swiss," I though, "I really should go back to work. I am waiting here..." Then I saw Guruji, and I knew immediately in that very moment that I just had to stay. There was not much of a choice. And it was also very interesting, because later I drove back to my work, but I knew that I was actually  driving in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, I went back to work and came back two days later.

Sri Swami Vishwananda holding Bhadra's hand

Since that moment many, many things have changed in my life and I want to share this with you. First of all, it's true to say that Guruji saved my life. I was in a very difficult situation, in a relationship, which was very negative for me and it was because of Guruji's presence and support that I managed to get out of that relationship. I would have died, I am sure, because it drained me heavily. Next thing which is amazing is that we were a family in a very difficult financial situation; we were about to lose everything; and we don't know how, but it's true to say that we could keep our home. It was actually out on auction, and twenty-four hours before it was auctioned we could buy it back, with an amazing amount of help from people who had never appeared like that before. When I met Guruji in 2004, I had told Him about this situation and He said, "Don't worry. You will keep everything you need." And this happened. I don't know how, but it happened. And the next thing which was so wonderful is that as a typically modern family we were quite split; we didn't see each other very often. But now we are back here as a family, my mother and sister and myself. My father passed away, but Guruji brought us together and we look into the same direction. It is actually wonderful. He said once, "If you eat together, you look at each other and concentrate on food. But if you pray with each other, you look into the same direction." That's actually what we do. We come here together, what is a great, great gift. Next to that, He brought us prayer. I was not aware how to pray before. I just knew that I would love to pray. I just wanted to pray but didn't know how, and going to church was not enough; I felt in my heart that it was not sufficient. So we have learned to pray sincerely.

Sri Swami Vishwananda teaches us all how to pray by His own example since he was 2 years old (see below information about the book Blossoming of the Heart). These photos were taken during different events held at Shree Peetha Nilaya

And this goes on – He brought us Atma Kriya Yoga, and we have the possibility to keep our sanity by an exercise which takes maybe 5-10 minutes every day. In this very intense time of consumption and speed, we have a technique which keeps our sanity, which brings us forward and which connects us back to God, consciously bringing us home. Being part of this family, I learned what it means to serve people by Guruji's example and He helps us, He is an inspiration to help people as well. If you look into the faces of people, you can really do something for them. This is very much enriching, and helps our own progress. Furthermore, He brought us a temple – my family now has a house with a private temple, that of course is opening for people to come and pray with us. We do prayers mostly every second day in average, in the evening after work; we do evening prayers. It's amazing! So if we count all these together, there are so many things to be grateful for. And last, but not least, there are so many like-minded people who were brought into my life through Him. There are so many friends now, real friends! Not just friends because of business, friends because of money and family relations, but real friends.

Bhakti Marga Family - Photos taken in 2013 during Yagna for Friends of Bhakti Marga (up) and
Spiritual opening of Shree Peetha Nilaya (down)

So the message from my perspective is a big, big thank to You, Guruji. And to summarise: for saving my life, for saving a home, for bringing the family together, for bringing prayers and Atma Kriya Yoga, for bringing the option to serve, for bringing a temple to our home, for meeting wonderful people. So for this, a big thank you and to all who have contributed for this place, Shree Peetha Nilaya, to exist.” - Bhadra, Moehlin, Switzerland

Photos taken in 2013 - Shree Peetha Nilaya's official opening (down) and spiritual opening (up)

The Sri Swami Vishwananda's Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)
In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.

13 Dec 2014

The Sweetest and most Compassionate Guru


This article is the third one in a series of five posts, introduced previously in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Hina from London, sister-in-law of Sri Swami Vishwananda, during His last Darshan, held at Shree Peetha Nilaya (SPN), on the 29th of November.

Testimony
“I have known Swami maybe over 10 years now. I am very blessed because He has allowed me to have a very personal relationship with Him. I am His sister-in-law and the way we engage, it's in a very natural way. He is the coolest: we can laugh about anything; we can have quite mischievous jokes; I can cry about anything - so we have a really cool relationship. What I can say as His sister-in-law is that He is the sweetest, the most loving compassionate person. For example, last year my dad was having a heart problem and he was convinced that he was going to die. During all these years, he had never come to SPN. But Indian people, when they feel that their time is near they go for a Yatra (pilgrimage) so he came to SPN last year. Of course I was having a hard time to deal with it. Around that time, we were also planning to go away for Swami's birthday and it was something that we were really looking forward to. A couple of days before we had spoken and I said, ‘Yeah, it would be so nice to have a break, do something different, to take the kids away.’ And then, my dad had his heart attack and he was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). We called Swami and He said, ‘Oh, you know, I feel like not going, I don't think I will go either.’ So what He did? He cancelled His birthday plans and then He turned up to London at the hospital bed of a person, that knows that there is something about Him, but has never made an effort to come towards Him. There was God, standing there with my dad, who was oblivious to what a blessing He had. So, that's the compassion Swami shows and to this day my dad is fine.

Photos taken during Navaratri 2014 at SPN: Hina and her daughter Shreya (up left); Sri Swami Vishwananda and Hina (up right); Sri Swami Vishwananda and Shreya (left). Photo taken during Darshan at SPN: Sri Swami Vishwananda and Shreya (right)

Another example might be – last time when we were here at SPN, we were watching a saint's movie and anyone who has watched saints movies with Swami knows that when the movie is on, you don't say anything. So we were sitting and eating. The movie was on, everybody was watching it and Mahi (Hina's baby daughter) decided to start crying. The lights were switched off and Swami said, ‘Take that noise away!’ So I quickly took her outside. When Swami realised that I had left the dinner table, He got up and went outside the room to meet me. He said, ‘Don't worry I have seen this movie. You go, sit down and eat.’ I said, ‘No, no, it's fine, it's fine.’ He said, ‘No. I put her to sleep.’ And Mahi is very difficult to put to sleep, so it took maybe 45min to an hour, in which time most of the movie was over; everybody had finished eating and His food had turned cold. So He had put Mahi to bed while the rest of us could enjoy the movie. So like this, He is very sweet and loving, in a way I don't think words can do justice to His sweetness and the way He interacts.

Sri Swami Vishwananda with Hina's daughters, Mahi and Shreya.

People often ask me, ‘In a day-to-day basis what does Swami like? What I would say is that we are extremely lucky to have Him staying at home and He is very normal. And often people might think that it is easy to practice what He preaches. He always says, ‘Remember God in everything you do, 24x7 and you will be fine.’ To meditate... and all of these things He is always telling us to do. And it is great when you are hearing it and you kind of think, ‘Yeah, that is going to be possible. I am going to do this.’ And maybe it is sometimes easier for us to get into the routine while we are here at SPN. And also I think for Swamiji it must be easier for Him to be in the routine of doing prayers and things. But when He is out travelling – a typical day of Swamiji might be – when He wakes up He will find a playlist of different bhajans; He puts that on, so already God is being ticked off. Then He goes into the shower while the bhajan is playing – God is being ticked off. Then He comes and gets ready and is talking about some stories, or some experiences or some visions – God is being ticked off. And He just makes us realise that even in day-to-day simple mundane tasks, He is the living example that it's possible to include God and remember Him in everything we do. There is a song, in which the refrain says, ‘Without you, even gold becomes brass.’ And such is His Grace. Everything I see, I hear, I do, I have, it's all His Grace. And what I hold dear to myself, everything including my children, all of this means nothing, absolutely nothing without Him and His Grace. And I pray that He always keep us at His feet. I love Him lots.” - Hina, London

Hina with her daughter Shreya following Sri Swami Vishwananda during Govinden Festival in Cudrefin, Switzerland

The Sri Swami Vishwananda Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)

In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.

11 Dec 2014

The Sneaky Guru


This article is the second one of a series of five, introduced previously in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Nikhilananda, a resident of Shree Peetha Nilaya (SPN), during the last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda, held at SPN, on the 29th of November.

Testimony
“I remember the day He made this announcement of Karthik month. He said, ‘You know, one Tulsi leaf during the Karthik month makes this, this much blessing!’ I couldn't even stop myself. I just went to my room, got a handful of tulsi leaves and put them on my altar, waiting for the blessings to come. Still waiting... they already came for sure! But I have not the awareness to see that they have already come. And the thing is – Swami never ever fails to fulfil any of our requests. But He just doesn't do it the way we expect Him to do it and sometimes He does it, but we are not aware that He does it. I'll tell you a funny story.

Narasimha Chaturthi at the Feltham Temple
Once in London, it was Narasimha Chaturthi at the Feltham Temple. I remember that at night time Swamiji was there, many people were there and I was looking at the Narasimha murti that I love very very dearly. I looked at Him and said, ‘I really, really wish that I could be one with you and that we would be united, just one. And that I would be able to surrender to you and you would stand over me as your disciple.’ In that moment I was very emotional, because at the end of Chaturthi you are feeling very spiritual so you make these big big claims and requests to God.

Lakshmi Narasimha murti, Feltham Temple, London
But of course after that, Swami calls you for dinner and starts to balance things out bringing you back down to earth, talking about whatever is happening in the world. So, I forgot about this request I made. I forgot about this prayer that I made. We were very very tired because, as you know, everything finishes super super late. I went upstairs and fell asleep. Next morning, I felt some weird stuff happening on my face, but I was still sleeping, no problem. Then I woke up because I was feeling this weight on my chest. I woke up and when I looked up, saw Swami standing on my chest with a black pen on His hand and with a mischievous smile. And I was thinking, ‘What? I didn't sleep enough. This is really confusing to me right now.’ Everybody in the room was laughing like something funny must be happening. So I got up, my hair was everywhere and looking a bit wild and I looked in the mirror. Everybody was laughing, He had drawn whiskers on my face looking a little bit like a lion. I was thinking, ‘Ahhh, you are so sneaky.’ He fulfilled my prayer, but just not the way I expected. I thought there would be some beautiful apparition, some bright light, Narasimha would come and we would merge into one; then, Swami would come and bless me, and all this. We all have nice fantasies. Instead, I woke up with sleepy eyes, hair everywhere, whiskers on my face, Swami is standing on top of me with a big big smile saying, ‘Got you!’

Sri Swami Vishwananda with a mischievous smile (left) and Nikhilananda (right)
So this is the thing. You will never ever know when the right time for things to happen will be, and how they are going to happen. Our job is just to enjoy the ride. And I have to say that since then, my expectations of how these prayers will be answered have gone down a lot. And I think that it is healthy. I think it is very good, because the minute that happened, I became so much more aware of other prayers He was answering for me. Because instead of looking for the big bright light, big apparitions and the big visions, I started to see the little things He does and I could say, “Oh that's exactly what I asked for! It just didn't come as I imagined it in my mind.” Many different things in my life. And I am sure is the same for all of you. How many times He has done something for you but you don't give it the value that it deserves because it doesn't happen the way you wanted it to happen. But that doesn't mean that He didn't answer your prayers. That doesn't mean that He didn't come to you when you asked Him to come. He never fails. He always comes. Never ever does He fail.” - Nikhilananda, SPN, Germany

Sri Swami Vishwananda enjoying dancing with devotees during Navaratri, 2013; Nikhilananda (right)

The Sri Swami Vishwananda Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)
In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.



9 Dec 2014

The Coolest Guru


This article is the first one in a series of five posts, introduced previously in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by David from London, during the last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda, held at Shree Peetha Nilaya, on the 29th of November. One very important aspect of the Guru related in this testimony is how the Guru creates the unique circumstances which lead to the first meeting with Him. Sri Swami Vishwananda revealed during His commentary on the Guru Gita:


“The Guru is seated into the Consciousness and into the Consciousness He perceives everything; not only in His devotees, but everywhere. Even if He has a form, He is not limited to that form. He can tap into any form and manifest Himself in many forms. He is not limited only to one aspect or one way. That's why I always say, ‘I always have my ways. If plan A doesn't work, there is always plan B. If plan B doesn't work, C will come. If C doesn't work, we create D. If D doesn't work, we create E, and so on.’ So, the Guru is not bound by the way people think.” (see information below about the book release)

Testimony
“I decided to share a story with you of my own path with Guruji which is a lesson of stupidity of my part and pride and arrogance. But in spite of this, Guru's Grace is just unconditional Love. Sai Baba appeared to me in a dream, in 1996 and told me to come to see Him in India. And I thought, ‘Okay why not?’ So I went there to the ashram and there in the accommodation office, when I joined the queue, there were two  guys from UK I was chatting to, and I end up sharing the apartment in the ashram with them. We got to know each other very well and one started talking about this young spiritual teacher that was in London, called Visham. And he was saying so many amazing positive things about Him and how He was manifesting things and creating miracles. And I was going, ‘Yeah, yeah, okay...’ I was just not interested, crazy you know, because I always wanted a Guru since young, and so my reaction to this opportunity is completely crazy. Then fast forward to 2002, maybe 2003, I end up going for a Darshan with Sri Swami Vishwananda (Guruji) and realised that this was the guy I could have met all these years ago, if it was not for my own stupidity, pride and arrogance saying, ‘Oh, so what? He is just another teacher.’ So it's really a lesson that these sort of things hold us back in the spiritual path and in spite of all our failings and... still Guruji loves us so much and just creates opportunities, no matter of how many obstacles and things we have been – in our path for Him to love us and bring Him to us. Because looking back at it, He went to the trouble to get me invited to see a teacher in another ashram, and meet two people to share apartment with, that I had never met before, to find out who He is, to give me an opportunity to be with Him in this life. And that to me looking back to it, it is the most amazing Grace you can imagine; and even then the patience, that He sow the seed, but still this stupid devotee was thinking, ‘Oh whatever...’ When I met Him it was just like, ‘Wow!’ And I didn't even connect with Him immediately, that it was Him that Visham. And then, “Oh my God! All these years I could have been with Him, if only I had an open mind, if I had not judged and had not been arrogant and full of pride. This was such a humbling experience. Then, being with Guruji – the first interview I had, it was everything that you can possibly ever want from a Guru, in like a very short time. It was the most amazing experience happening in my life. And there have been many others, with Guruji's Grace since then. And still I am full with arrogance and stupidity and pride, but I think I have changed a little bit since then, thankfully! At least, I have had the intelligence to hang out with Him a bit more.

David with Guruji at a devotee's house after going to a rock concert earlier in the evening. David says, "Guruji loved it so much I was wearing this rock gear and had worn my malas during the concert." (London, 20th March 2013)
And I just wanted to say, ‘He has been the coolest Guru you can ever possibly imagine.’ In many things, but one of them He is so accessible to us. He is just... okay surely we know that He tests and pushes us; tests us to see how we react to things, all the time, but comparing with Gurus from the past He is just – He makes it so easy for us, if we only knew... and we don't really know. And even these last couple of weeks He has shown us His Love for us by tweeting to us. It is just... how many Gurus would do this?

Sri Swami Vishwananda wet and covered with colour during Holi in Vrindavan, India, 2014
There is also another story I just have remembered. In Steffenshof there was an Hindu festival of Holi. It's an experience where they throw all colours on people. There was kind of a plan to get Guruji really heavily with the colour, and they planned it carefully. I was clever enough to find a way to see this, but without getting covered in colour (as I was using some expensive white trousers). Guruji was in the centre and everybody got around Him and then suddenly they bombed Him with colour. And He was just – it's unbelievable that a Guru can allow His disciples and His devotees to do this, and He was cold and He was wet, covered in all these colours, looking like a rainbow; and He was standing there shivering. Then, all of sudden He just got into the spirit of the experience and just started dancing and singing. And to me this was such a lesson in – He offers, He allowed us to do this to Him, even if He was experiencing the discomfort from the experience. And then He showed us even more, by showing that even when you go through unpleasant experiences you can transcend them and celebrate and take it somewhere else completely.” - David, London

The Sri Swami Vishwananda Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)

In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.

8 Dec 2014

The amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru


Each person who meets Sri Swami Vishwananda has a wonderful, amazing, unique story of how he/she perceives the unfolding of the implicit process leading to that meeting. And Sri Swami Vishwananda as a Satguru (True Guru who guides each soul to God-Realisation) has also a unique relationship with each one who comes to Him.


“The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru” is the introductory article of a series of posts based on testimonies shared by five different people during last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda, held at Shree Peetha Nilaya, on the 29th of November. Each article reveals a different aspect of Sri Swami Vishwananda as a living Guru.


Sri Swami Vishwananda has continuously emphasised the importance of meeting one's Guru. A few paragraphs of His precious words about this theme, were selected from His commentary on the Guru Gita and are presented below (see information below about the book release):

- “It is not a coincidence that God just decided to bring you on the spiritual path or to place you under the care of a certain Guru. It's a long-term relationship, which comes since the beginning of creation.”

- “Krishna Himself said in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘I am the embodiment of the Guru. It is through My Grace that the Guru appears on Earth. And it is through My Grace that the disciples are guided to where they belong.’ Christ Himself also said, ‘I have come for my sheep. I have come for my flock.’ So, wherever one is, the Guru will search and will attract the disciple.”

- “When one recognises one's Guru, there is a different kind of joy which awakens within oneself and this joy is something eternal. Even if the bhakta doesn't feel the same joy all the time, due to their mind state, or due to where they are in the world, yet this joy that the soul felt when one meets one's Guru, this joy is eternal. It always stays within one's heart and whenever the mind of that bhakta is turned inwards into his heart, diving into there to meet the Guru, that same joy awakens itself again.”

- “Once you find the Guru, the Guru becomes your mother, your father, your relationship, your God.”


- “The Guru is not only here, visible in the outside. He gives you the sadhana for you to do; in your meditation He is seated in front of you; and in your deep sadhana, He is the eternal guide guiding you.”

- “It is through the Grace of the Guru, that one perceives the Light of Love, True Love. Not just plain love, but the deepness of Love.”

- “The Guru becomes the magnet who attracts all and holds all tightly, making one big family. This happens only through the Love of the Guru.”


- “The Guru is full of knowledge and He knows what to give, whom to give it to, how to act.”

- The Guru lowers Himself from whatever level He is to the level of the common people, for them to understand Him.”

- “It is by the Grace of the Guru, that whoever is surrendered receives what is needed, not for their own pleasure but for their salvation.”


- “Wherever you are, the Master is connected with you. He's not bound by time or space, because Masters are above time and space. He is seated deep inside the core of your heart. And if you perceive the Guru seated in the core of your heart, you’ll see that wherever you are, the Guru is with you.

- “The Guru, out of mercy, will always come. The Guru always chooses to be here until the last disciple, the last bhakta has entered Vaikunta. This is the Grace, the mercy of the Guru. Even if it doesn't happen in one life, it will happen in another life. The Guru will always make the way. Even if the Guru doesn't incarnate – because very often people think, ‘Okay, I can't do it in this life, I will do it next life. He will come again.’ If you incarnate 100 times, will the Guru incarnate 100 times for you? No. But from the Supreme, from the other higher dimension the Guru will guide that person in that life.




The titles of the series of articles to be posted regularly in this blog are:

- The Coolest Guru
- The Sneaky Guru
- The Sweetest and Compassionate Guru
- The Caring and Giving Guru
- The Tests of the Guru, a Master of Maya

The Sri Swami Vishwananda Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be  launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop).
In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.

3 Dec 2014

The Blessing of Mahavatar Kriya Babaji


On the 30th of November at Shree Peetha Nilaya, we celebrated Babaji's Day with Sri Swami Vishwananda (see below a short video of the celebrations). In the morning he sent the following Tweets setting up the mood for the day, “Happy Babaji's Day. This is the day Babaji chose to stay eternally in this world giving Himself for the Realisation, for all to realise themselves”; “Jai Babaji! Jai Babaji! Jai Gurudev! Only your Grace can make all realise who they truly are. Pour it on all who long for it. That's my prayer.”


In the evening, at the beginning of his speech, Sri Swami Vishwananda revealed to us that he had been with Mahavatar Babaji during the day. He said, “He sent His blessing to all of you, to everybody actually, not only to you who are here, but to everybody worldwide. This is a a day which very often is confused, because many people think that it's the birthday of Babaji, no? It's not the birthday of Babaji. Actually, it is on this day that Babaji chose to be present in this world permanently. It's a promise which He gave to His sister, that He will be eternally present.” (JL3, p.279)

“So, what we are doing today it's just a remembrance of that day, a remembrance of gratitude. Gratitude, because He has looked for you, from wherever you are. Gratitude for His Grace of knowing Him. Gratitude for He has giving the Kriya to you all. So, this is the day to express this gratitude to Mahavatar Babaji.”


The prayers dedicated to Mahavatar Babaji included the chanting of the Guru Paduka Stotra; Kalash puja & homa; the chanting of The Guru Gita; the Abishekam on a murti of Mahavatar Babaji; Arati followed by practice of Atma Kriya Yoga.


Chanting of the Guru Paduka Stotra
 
The Guru Paduka Stotra, also known as Guru Paadukabhyam, is a devotional prayer written by Adi Shankaracharya. It glorifies the Sandals (Padukas) of the Guru, which are symbolically represented as “the boat to help cross the endless ocean of life.” By chanting this prayer one makes oneself ready to receive the Guru’s Grace.


Kalash puja & homa

After the Guru Paduka Stotra, Sri Swami Vishwananda chanted two Guru bhajans Sharanam Sadguru Sharanam and Gurudev Mere Dātā Mujko Aisa Varde while the Kalash puja and homa were being performed by other Bhakti Marga Swamis. Throughout the night, Sri Swami Vishwananda was in a very meditative mood, so from time to time he just stopped singing. Everytime this happened one of the Bhakti Marga singers took the lead of the bhajan.

Throughout the night, Sri Swami Vishwananda was in a very meditative mood

The Chanting of The Guru Gita

When Sri Swami Vishwananda started chanting The Guru Gita, he made a commentary on the following verse:

Haṁ bījam saḥ śaktiḥ kroṁ kīlakam
Śri guruprasādasiddhayarthe jape viniyogaḥ

Haṁ bījam, this is the bij mantra for Guru. If you understand the word Haṁ, you will understand the word Guru. And this is the secret it hides. It hides the secret of the Sohaṁ itself. But to understand the Haṁ you have to understand the Grace of the Master. Without the Grace of the Master nothing is possible, because this is the Shakti, saḥ śaktiḥ, This is what it is said, the Haṁ – the Guru is the Shakti of all the mantras. If you understand that, you will long only for that; to receive the Grace of the Master.

Sri Swami Vishwananda wrote in one of his Tweets, "Guru's Grace is all what one needs, nothing's else. Jai Mahavatar Babaji ki Jai!"

Haṁ bījam saḥ śaktiḥ kroṁ kīlakam - this is the magic He holds; Śri guruprasādasiddhayarthe jape viniyogaḥ - use this mantra to attain the Grace of the Master.


Abishekam to a murti of Mahavatar Babaji
Sri Swami Vishwananda performed an Abishekam to a murti of Mahavatar Babaji
Sri Swami Vishwananda sent a Tweet later during the night saying, "During the prayers the energy rose and Mahavatar Babaji presence during abhishekam was very strong, giving his blessing to all Kriya Sadhaks"
After pouring some of the Kalash water on the murti, Sri Swami Vishwananda used the remaining water of the Kalash to bless the murtis on the altar; all the Swamis and Swaminis; Full Brahmacharis and Full Brahmacharinis followed by Kriya Sadhaks.


The practice of Atma Kriya Yoga

After Arati, Sri Swami Vishwananda asked all Kriya Sadhaks to stay and do their evening practice. Then, he said, “Know one thing: during the prayers, Mahavatar Babaji was here, so the Kriya that you do, receives His blessing and Grace. Know that He is present inside of your heart, so the blessing He gives you is for His blessing and His Grace to awake inside of you and guide you.”


Highlights of Sri Swami Vishwananda speech about Mahavatar Babaji

"So, today we are celebrating this festival because it's very auspicious. It's very loving and caring that Mahavatar chose to be the Jagadguru, the Guru of all, of the whole Universe. And He doesn't look for gratification, He doesn't look for fame, name, anything. He does His work quietly. He prepares His disciples, His students and He sends them to the world. Great teachers, great saints have been His students and they have put their mark into this world. As it's said in the Guru Gita: the Jagadguru is the Guru of Gurus. He is clearly inaccessible for normal people, which means that without His Grace nobody gets to know Him, but with His Grace He makes the way so that you can approach one of His bhaktas, but you can't approach Him directly. Very rare He has let Himself be approached by normal people. And very rare He has given this opportunity also. As much as I know Him personally, He has given this opportunity to 75 people who live with Him. They used to be 52, but it has increased a little bit.”


“Time is the master of this world, which governs everybody and to which everybody is bound. It varies constantly. That's why sometimes you start to do something but you don't know what will be the outcome of it. You can have a big dream about that, but what will be, the reality, only the Lord Himself knows and He does everything according to its time. He separates and He reunites. This is what you all went through lives, and lives, and lives to be reunited again here and to celebrate Mahavatar Babaji's day. To get to know Mahavatar Babaji is not a coincidence. Maybe you can say, “Ah, yes, coincidently I came across the book Autobiography of a Yogi, I read about it.” No, it's not a coincidence. It's all the Master's will. Babaji has been around here for five thousand plus years and through that, many have received His blessing knowingly and unknowingly. The blessing of Him and the Grace to know about Him is there.”


“Time have called you here and it's right. You didn't have any choice, because this is the place where the Master has called you. What you have to do it's to accept the will of the Master from your heart and surrender to that. He doesn't ask you to leave your material world outside. He asks you only to transform yourself. That's why He has given Kriya to you. What Kriya does? People think that they are just a normal human being, no? But Kriya transforms you from a normal being to Divine, to remind you of your inner divinity. That's which all the great Masters have come. Through His guidance He has guide them to help humanity. Like that, for all these thousands of years, quietly He has been doing His work. It's funny – when you see such a great being like Him, for five thousand years; He could have proclaim Himself very great and I'm sure everybody would run to Him if He would be very accessible. He could have done lots of publicity for Himself, but this is not His aim, it's not His dharma. He quietly sits in the heart. From the heart He directs each one where they have to be, like He has directed all of you to be here. So, like that He governs, he controls His bhakta. He looks after His sheep as a good shepherd. But as the Jagadguru He doesn't reveal Himself. Very rare He will come to you in a dream, probably in a vision, but normally He doesn't.”


“Babaji is not accessible like that, you can't just go to the Himalayas, walk through and say, ‘Hi Mr Babaji, how are you?’ No, it's not like that. If He doesn't want to choose to show Himself, He will not. Many great saints have tried to meet Him, but He didn't show Himself. To Ramanuja Acharya, He gave him only a glimpse, which means, He met Ramanujacharya only for five, ten minutes. That's it! And that's what also transformed him. So, that's why I said, consider yourself lucky even to serve Him, to know about Him, to practice what He has given. Why He has given this practice? Because He wants you to be back to your original self. Something which has been dormant inside of you for lives and centuries, can be awaken again. That's Realisation.”


“Dive into the ocean of your heart you will see that everything in life makes sense. Every experience of life which you have gone through makes sense, fully. That's why you are here seated. Not only here, in the world, all the bhaktas, all who practice Kriya from any lineage – because He has given Kriya to many Masters, according to its time, He gave different form of Kriyas. This is the Grace which He has given to this world, to be close to the people when the people make the effort. Because if you don't make the effort then you will take things for granted, then you will not value it. That's why Mirabai said that when the Guru gives something it's the most precious treasure. If you don't know how to treasure it, you will lose it. But if you know how to treasure it, it will be your salvation. It will be your Realisation. It will lead you directly to the Divine Itself. And this is the Grace which He has pour upon people, through the Kriya itself. And in this time He has choose to infuse Kriya with the sweetness of bhakti, because people have forgotten bhakti. People have move away from devotion. People have become so much into the mind that they have forgotten their heart. So, through Atma Kriya Yoga He is reminding one to awake this bhakti again, to awake this love, not the superficial love, but to awake this deep longing for the Divine. And once one has this deep longing, one moves from the mind to the heart, where His guidance and His blessing reside, because when you got initiated it's a ignition which happen inside of you. When you got the Shaktipat the teacher – when he is doing the transfer of Shaktipat it's also transferring the whole energy to you and this is like a key which ignites, you know, lights up. But if you keep pressing the break of the car and then you press the accelerator the car will not move. The break is the mind, you know, which you have to pull down. Then you will move towards your true dharma, the dharma of your Atma. And all this is only possible through the Guru's Grace.”