Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hari om!

Today I would like to expand on a certain part of our schedule, the lecture. Monday through Saturday, at 3:15, we have the opportunity of grabbing a cushion and sitting around a wise old man and listening to him speak.

This man, this swami, has a thick beard and wavy white hair (both around 3 inches in length) and a very gnarly nose. He is 87 years old and lives at just about the highest point in the ashram, which is very impressive, since he walks (very slowly) all the way there and back several times a day without the help of a cane.

There are usually very few people (1-5) at the lecture. It seems that many people will come on their first day and never return-- most because they cannot understand what he is saying due to his accent and their unfamiliarity with english. I, luckily, can understand very clearly and have been attending regularly for the past week and a half.

His speech is very repetitive, which helps things sink in, as well as build up patience in the listener ;>. He says the same things to all the new people:

First you comes purification. Then comes concentration. Then comes meditation. Then comes realization.

The question comes, how to purify the mind? I will tell you. The aspirant must only choose one that he likes best. Only one is necessary for purification. When you wish to teach others, you must practice them all.

First Truth, universal love, selfless-service. You cannot have purification without this.

Second Recitation of mantra. Loud recitation of mantra brings physical purification. Mental recitation of mantra brings mental purification.

Third Bhojan Kirtan. The singing of devotional songs and playing with musical instruments. Singing of devotional songs brings internal purification and playing of musical instruments brings external purification.

Fourth Listening to Kirtan. Listening to devotional songs with concentration will bring purification.

Fifth Tratak.
Sixth Pranayama. There is simple, medium, and high pranayama. Simple pranayama is breathe in, breathe out. Close left nostril, breathe in, breathe out. Open left nostril, close right nostril, breathe in, breathe out. This is single clearance. Close left nostril, breathe in, open left and close right, breathe out. Breathe in left nostril, breathe out right nostril. This is cross clearance. Then breathe in both nostrils, breathe out both nostrils. This is full clearance.

Medium pranayama is breathe in, breathe out. Stop. It uses same techniques.

High pranayama is breathe in, stop. Breathe out. It uses same techniques.

Seventh Silence. The sky is the embodiment of supreme silence. When the mind is silent, it is absorbed in the sky. It is like a rain drop falling in the ocean. When it has fallen, one cannot say where is the rain drop.

The main goal of the lecture is first to answer any questions the students have. Once all questions have been exhausted, he speaks to us on whichever topic he feels like.

Anyway, that's all for now. Hope you enjoyed this little peek into our daily lives! Thanks for all the comments :)



Kathy said...

This sounds fascinating! More details on the topics that are discussed, please. Peter, you are very aware of your surroundings -- your descriptions are amazing. You and Steph should consider writing a book of your experiences when you return. You are both gifted with words. Love to you both.

donna said...

I like to think it's the same lecture that the Beatles heard when they went to an ashram. The steps are hard to get out of your head once they get in there.

Steph said...

We're planning to go check out the Beatles' ashram our next day off! It's just a little ways across and down the river I think.

donna said...

I'm glad that you clarified that only 1 purification method is required.