Monthly Archives: February 2009

Maha Sivaratri – February 23rd 2009

“The night of Shiva”, falling on the 13th or 14th day of the dark half of Phalgun (February – March), this festival honours Lord Shiva on the day he was married to Parvati.

It is said by Swami Sivananda, that “He who utters the Names of Shiva during Shivaratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths.”

Chanting the mantra OM Namah Shivya is a Kavacha, said by Swami Krishnananda in an address (full transcript available to read here http://www.dlshq.org/saints/krishnananda.htm) to be like armour to protect you, your family, your country, the whole world! “It can cease wars and tensions of every kind, provided you offer the prayers wholeheartedly from the bottom of your heart.”

Worshipping the Shiva Lingam by washing it every 3 hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc; worshippers fast during the day and night to focus the mind and control the senses. Swami Krishnananda explains why:

“The idea is that we control the senses, which represent the out-going tendency of our mind, symbolised in fast, and we control also the Tamasic inert condition of sleep to which we are subject everyday. When these two tendencies in us are overcome, we transcend the conscious and the unconscious levels of our personality and reach the superconscious level. While, the waking condition is the conscious level, sleep is the unconscious level. Both are obstacles to God-realisation. We are shifted from one condition to another. We are shunted, as it were, from waking to sleep and from sleep to waking everyday. But the super-conscious is not known to us. The symbology of fast and vigil on Sivaratri is significant of self-control; Rajas and Tamas are subdued, and God is glorified. The glorification of God and the control of the senses mean one and the same thing. Because, it is only in God-Consciousness that all senses can be controlled. When you see God, the senses melt, like butter melting before fire. They cannot exist any more. All the ornaments become the solid mass of gold when they are heated to the boiling point. Likewise, in the furnace of God-consciousness, the sense-energies melt into a continuum of universality.

On Sivaratri, we can “contemplate God as the creator of the world, as the Supreme Being unknown to the Creative Will, in that primordial condition of non-objectivity which is the darkness of Siva.” As an opportunity to practice self-restraint, self-control, contemplation, Japa and meditation, it is a period of Sadhana, recalling to our memory “our original destiny, our Divine Abode”.

Swami Sivananda recites the Story of King Chitrabhanu on the night of Sivaratri and gives a commentary from the scriptures to explain it allegorically, click here to read in full http://www.dlshq.org/religions/shivaratri.htm

MahaKali Temple Donation Appeal

MahaKali Temple Donation Appeal
http://www.sivananda.org/madurai/temple.html

The ashram has been built following strict Vastu principles which concentrates the spiritual and physical energy of this space, in the most auspicious flow for the wellbeing and development of Ashram inmates.
The original Ashram plan is based on ancient Vastu principles and assumes the MahaKali temple to be in the very centre of the campus. The focus of the Asham’s energy is the temple and that position was blessed and the foundation stones for the temple were laid at a ceremony in 2005. Now, our Temple is only at foundation stone level, but in the interim, prayer and chanting has continued daily in a temporary location in the oldest building of the Ashram, while plans for construction of the Temple were underway.

The Temple will be a focal point for daily worship and meditation and chanting practise in the Ashram.

We are thankful for Guru’s grace to begin 2009 with the graduation of our 7th International Teacher’s Training Programme. Guests of the ashram have seen it grow and change since we started hosting students and teaching yogic knowledge, in 2005. We can now accommodate 80 students on our international courses, for which considerable resource has gone into dormitories and service buildings. The ongoing construction projects include completion of a men’s and ladies’ dormitory building, library and meditation space, permanent constructions for reception and boutique, and kitchen/dining area. With these projects and ongoing running costs for the Ashram, even taking into account an increasing number of students coming to Madurai, we are not able to even start the construction of the Temple.

Basic preparation is complete. A lower-lying area around where the Temple will stand has been filled in with loads of sand brought over the years, to bring the temple surrounds to a high enough point, so the correct foundation area is prepared for the next stage of construction.

Contribute to this great project: to build a new stone temple with some simple stone carvings, and a traditional sloped roof, will cost a lot. The Ashram appeals to guests, former course and yoga vacation students, staff, and Ashram wellwishers who would like to see this great project come to fruition.

To donate funds to this project, please use Paypal by visiting our temple page

May Gurudev’s blessings find you happy and content.
OM

The Universal Prayer

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!

Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.

Thou art Satchidananda

Existence-Knowledge-Bliss absolute.

Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscent.

Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,

Equal vision, balanced mind,

Faith, devotion and wisdom.

Grant us inner spiritual strength

To resist temptations and to control the mind.

Free us from egoism, lust, greed, anger and hatred.

Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.

Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.

Let us ever remember Thee.

Let us ever sing Thy glories.

Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.

Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

Om bolo sat Guru Sri Swami Sivananda – JAYA!

Om bolo sri Swami Vishnu-Devananda – JAYA!

HARI OM TAT SAT

Holding onto the thought ‘Who am I’ – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Question: What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’
Bhagavan: When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, ‘To whom has this thought arisen?’ The answer that would emerge would be ‘To me’. Thereupon if one inquires ‘Who am I’, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source.

Victory in the inner battle – Swami Sivananda

Even a little victory in the inner battle with your mind and senses will develop your will-power and give more assurance and courage.

But do not get swayed by success. Be humble and grateful

Swami Sivananda

Sadhana Intensive Jan 2009

We’re very happy to display the recent graduates of our January 2009 Sadhana Intensive programme.

Following guidelines developed by Sri Swami Vishnudevananda from his many years of intense sadhana in the Himalayas, the course was an intense course of self practice and advanced pranayama, leaving all of our yogis looking very bright eyed and reluctant to leave the ashram!