In this special St Valentine’s Day satsang Swami Nishchalananda suggests that we might rename this day ‘Appreciation Day’. He then leads a beautiful mediation on the topic of unconditional love in the form of appreciation, guiding us to offer a flower of appreciation to everyone in our lives and our world who would benefit from a virtual hug at this time – including those who we dislike.
After the meditation comes a Q&A session dealing with questions on the challenges we might be facing in 2021, how to cope with increased work demands arising from the current situation, and how to be liberated from dukkha (frustration).
The latest in the series of the bi-weekly Friday evening Satsangs, given on 4th December 2020, and hosted by Mandala Yoga Ashram.
Swamiji delivered a thought-provoking Satsang highlighting that, whether we like it or not, the experience of change is a fundamental aspect of our embodied experience. He was also clear that as fundamental, if not more, is the ‘conscious presence’, the Reality that underlies all that appears to change. He challenged us to accept or to realise that fundamentally nothing changes, that fundamentally all that appears to change is a reflection or expression of That which Is.
He then moved on to discuss the ways in which human behaviour has negatively impacted Mother Earth/’Gaia’ and how this pandemic may help us in changing our behaviours towards the environment, how we travel, what we eat etc?
Ultimately Swamiji presented us with the paradox that whilst this planet is of vital importance, in terms of our place in the universe, it is also insignificant and that ultimately all that appears as form will change and pass.
Questions were asked and a guided meditation was given to finish.
Swami Nishchalananada made this movie down on the seashore. Please enjoy, and hopefully allow it to inspire you wherever you are, in nature, or in the middle of a busy town or city. It’s the same joy because it comes from within.
A guided meditation with the potential to radically transform understanding. Swami Nishchalananda gave this meditation as part of the Advaita online course given over two days in October 2020, hosted by Mandala Yoga Ashram.
Appreciation….. Appreciate how the merest thought allows this body to act, to do things, make movements. Appreciate others around us. Appreciate Life, especially the fact that we have been given tools to allow us to explore it more deeply.
Swami Nishchalananda gave this online satsang and guided meditation on Friday evening, October 16th, just before the start of Navaratri. The following is his explanation of this celebration, and recommendations for mantras and chants during the period.
NavaRatri starts next Saturday 17 th October and ends on Monday 25 th October (depending on the tradition and parts of India there are different dates, mantras and rituals; some celebrations are very elaborate over the nine days; below we have given a streamlined version). Navaratri literally means ‘Nine Nights’. It is celebrated every year all over India and elsewhere in the world among Hindus as well as many yoga practitioners. It is a celebration of the Goddess, the cosmic energy (known as Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati and countless other names). This energy creates, sustains and destroys the universe, including everyone and everything in it.
Navaratri is based on the lunar calendar and comes just after amarvasya (new moon) in the month of Ashwin. (It is also known as Durga Puja, especially in Bengal and Bihar etc., celebrating Durga’s victory over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon, who symbolises blind ignorance, especially spiritual ignorance).
I would like us to join together in participating in this celebration. I propose the following mantras (which I have greatly simplified, but which, nevertheless, will be enormously effective), together with the corresponding dates:
The mantras are as follows:
Durga Sat/Sun/Mon 17, 18 & 19 Oct Lakshmi Tues/Wed/Thurs 20, 21 & 22 Oct Saraswati Fri/Sat/Sun 23, 24 & 25 Oct
Om Dum Durgayai Namaha Om Shrim Lakshmyai Namaha Om Aim Saraswatyai Namaha
The last day, the tenth day, is known as Dashmi, Dussehra (Hindi) or Vijayadashmi. (It also celebrates Rama’s victory over Ravana). On this tenth day, you are invited to chant Om Namah Shivaya. OR, if you wish, you can chant the 32 names of Durga throughout the nine days (see at the end of this message).
Note: Divali or Deepavali comes this year on the 14 Nov (based on lunar calendar it comes on the 15 th day of the lunar month of Kartik on the amarvasya, or new moon). This is the Festival of Lights which symbolises Enlightenment.
The 32 Names of Durga: OM Durga Durgartishamani Durgapadvinivarini Durgamacchedini Durgasadhini Durganashini Durgatoddharini Durganihantri Durgamapaha DurgamaGyanada Durgadaityalokadavanala Durgama Durgamaloka Durgamatmaswarupini Durgamargaprada Durgamavidya Durgamashreeta Durgamagyanasamsthana Durgamadhyanabhasini Durgamoha Durgamaga Durgamarthaswarupini Durgama surasamhantri Durgamayudhadharini Durgamangi Duramata Durgamya Durameshwari Durgabhima Durgabhama Durgabha Durgadarini (In my opinion, the sound vibration is more important than the meaning, but you will find the meaning on page 82 of the Ashram publication ‘Mantra Yoga and Ashram Chants’)
An online satsang given on the evening of Friday 9th October, 2020
After a poignant rendition of Maha Mrityun Jaya Mantra, chanted for those who need healing, Swamiji responded to a question from someone who had been reading the Markardeya Purana. The Puranas are ancient text that use a story form, often to convey some wisdom from that time. This text contains a discussion on the theory of the ‘Yugas’ or epochs of time lasting many thousands of years. In the satsang Swamiji explains how this model depicts a progression though ages where the Knowledge of the Self is foremost, through to the age of ‘Kali Yuga’ where people live as if such knowledge is completely absent and utter selfishness rules.