In this satsang Swamiji recommends the medicine of daily awe and wonder to counteract the negative effects of so much fear in the collective psyche at this time. 5 minutes of awe and wonder in the face of nature’s beauty – a flower, a moving vista, the starlit sky – can do wonders for the soul, he reminds us, lifting our spirits generally as well as creating an openness that we can take into our more formal practice. As always, satsang closes with a Q&A.
In this satsang Swamiji stresses the importance of practice, urging us to set aside at least one hour per day for connecting with or opening to our fundamental identity. He also speaks to the challenges brought to all of us by the pandemic, and gently suggests we might use these challenges to inspire our practice and to shake ourselves out of any sense of complacency that may be present. There follows a guided meditation centered on the relationship between the mind with its myriad objects of perception and the underlying Consciousness which perceives through the mind and senses. As always, satsang closes with a Q&A.
In this satsang Swamiji introduces and highly recommends the Yoga Vasistha as an advaitic text full of startling wisdom. From this text he reads and illuminates two verses which, if pondered deeply upon, can revolutionise our understanding of the nature of cause and effect. There follows a meditation on the meaning of the Shanti Path – chanted at the end of each satsang and on many other occasions here at the Ashram and Q&A.
In this lovely satsang full of depth and humour, Swamiji discourses on the Yoga Sutras from a very humane perspective. He emphasises that the path of the yogi is not one of dis-identification with the body and personality in favour of the more fundamental identification with the underlying conscious presence. Identification with the person is not ‘wrong’, he assures us. It is only exclusive identification with the person that leads to a limiting and ultimately frustrating experience. But by expanding our sense of self to encompass both the human being that we are and the more fundamental reality of conscious presence, we can experience greater freedom and resilience in our lives. There follows a meditation and Q&A.
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).
This satsang includes two lovely guided meditations and some Q&A with Swamiji.
Swami Nishchalananda shares insights on finding meaning and deep sustenance in these troubled times; leads a beautiful guided meditation; and discourses on the Kena Upanishad.
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.
The latest in the series of two-weekly Friday evening Satsangs, given on 20th November 2020, and hosted by Mandala Yoga Ashram.
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
Durgama Durgamaloka Durgamatmaswarupini
Durgamargaprada Durgamavidya Durgamashreeta
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’)