New Havan Kund at The Meditation Center
AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE
- 14, OCTOBER - NOVEMBER ' 2009
Table of Contents
Meditation Center Consecrates Its New Havan Kund (Sacred Fire Pit)
The Cows are Here! SRSG Receives New Residents
Sitting with the Swami
October 2009 TTP Report
Planting the Precious Seed - Children and Yoga
An Insight – Seeing Tour Around Himalayan Temples
Vedic Sacred Art
Full Moon Meditation Dates
Location of SRSG on the Globe
New Havan Kund at The Meditation Center
On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral made a brief but
informative visit to The Meditation Center of Minneapolis. His main mission: to
inform the local community about the traditional, ritual customs and etiquette
of the sacred fire ceremony.
Earlier in the season, September
13, 2009, The Meditation Center
consecrated its new Havan Kund
(Sacred Fire Pit). Emilio Bettaglio
spearheaded the project with the
help of several volunteers who
assisted in the construction over
the summer months. Dozens of
people came together to
participate in the consecration
ceremony led by Emilio Bettaglio
and Swami Ritavan Bharati.
Overall, it was a great success!
There was much talk about doing
several more ceremonies in the future.
However, a very highly respected sage by the name of Swami (self-proclaimed
Nitpicky) Veda immediately pointed out some very important customs that
were lost during the consecration ceremony! – At least from what he could tell
in documentary photos that started to circulate around the global community.
Immediately, he recommended that The Meditation Center summon Pandit
Hari Shankar Dabral to show the community first hand how to conduct these
sorts of ceremonies in the future.
Pandit Dabral led an extensive
satsang around the topic of the
Sacred Fire Ceremony. He began
by explaining the ways in which
these sorts of ritual practices are
ingrained and taught to
individuals in India, starting from
birth - primarily through the
observation of parents and elders,
as examples, while
simultaneously participating in
These sorts of rituals are integral
to the cultural context from
which they originate; therefore it
typically isn’t something that is
taught primarily through words,
but though observation and awareness to details from those who are
experienced in the actions.
By bringing the understanding within, there develops an internal philosophical
understanding and the desire to question becomes less and less. That being
said, Panditji strongly encouraged the community to ask many questions even
if they seem stupid or childish, because we all have to start from somewhere.
By following some important principals, we begin to experience things
Panditji went on to talk about the importance of integrating the Yamas and
Niyamas in our daily practice, particularly the principle of Saucha
(Cleanliness). He went into extensive detail about the importance of bathing
the body daily and wearing clean clothing (ideally before meditation and
participation in ritual activities). Often-times, we spend a great deal of time
making ourselves look clean and nice when we go out to a party or want to
impress someone etc. but what about the Divine? How would you like to look
and feel when you meet Divinity?
He also emphasized the importance of keeping one’s meditation space
immaculately clean and pretty at all times – with the idea that a sage could
come to visit you, unannounced, at any time. By conducting ourselves in a
way that is vigilantly clean and tidy we begin to treat our bodies and our entire
lives as a sacred shrine.
This is why we participate in ritual, not to become overly superstitious, to
condemn ourselves and/or others as impure, nor to simply act out a dramatic
event for our own amusement. We participate in ritual so that we can practice
the action of treating something as sacred and precious - so that we can
expand that to our lives and take nothing for granted.
Before participating in the sacred fire ceremony, Pandit Dabral recommends
that we follow the following procedures with the principal of saucha :
Keep the inside and outside of the kund (fire pit) clean.
1. Always try to evoke the Guru.
2. Try to fast the day of the ceremony within your own capacity.
3. Use pure wood (ideally with an aromatic quality such as wood from a
4. Bathe the body and wear clean (preferably sattvic) clothing that covers
the arms and legs.
5. Immediately before the ceremony, again wash your hands, face and
6. Do not go near the kund with shoes (out of respect for Agni (the fire
deity) and in attempts to maintain the sanctity of the place).
7. Make all offerings with the right hand because the energy force is
different therefore utilizing the right hand creates a certain energy flow
and the energy of different elements in the body due to the body
8. Avoid using the index (pointer finger) when making offerings, offering
samaghri (mixture of herbs) etc
9. Sit properly (do not put your feet toward the kund out of respect and
reverence for the divine.)
Make all offerings gently and offer them in the way that you would
like to be offered things (do not trough things sloppily, with anger,
excitement or lack of awareness).
Begin by evoking the spirit of Agni and paying homage to that which
is the path of light and righteousness.
Pay homage to Guru. Start with the recitation of the Guru mantra at
least 3 times (each time ending with an offering of Ghee)
Pay homage to Ganesha (deity of the root charka) to bring us
solidity in our practice so that we will not be moved from concentration.
Do personal prescribed practice (ityukta, gayatri, mahamrityungaya
End again by paying homage to Agni and internalizing the fire and
Clean the kund (all debris that is left on the top step is swept into
the fire, all of the rest that falls on the second or third tiers are
unsuitable for the fire and can be spread in the forest).
“The ritual of worshiping Agni (the Fire Deity) is to evoke and acknowledge
that presence within ourselves,” Panditji stated. Agni is the primordial force
that brings us to move and act, to burn and to purify our samskaras and all
negativity that we carry with us. We participate in these rituals to acknowledge
the path of fire and light so that we may shine in this lifetime and become as
pure as gold. We begin by evoking and acknowledging the external fire and
paying homage to it. But overtime we internalize that experience and worship
our own internal fire within our navel center. Then we no longer need the
elaborate ritual of the physical fire because we can worship the Havan Kund
These are the tools given to us by the sages. Sometimes we are not able to
understand exactly why we should follow these ritual practices, but over time
we will see that certain actions create a particular energy field that is
conducive to certain things we wish for in our lives.
Submitted by Lela Pierce
The cows are here! The cows are here!
The cows are here! The cows are here! The
excitement continued all day Wednesday,
October the 28th after Bhagawan Dev, Swami
Sukhmit and the new ashram cows arrived here
at SRSG after a grueling fifteen hour long
journey from Rajasthan. Sadly, the denizens of
our newly built luxury Gaushala (cow shed)
were not as excited to see us as we were to see
them; reluctant, to say the least. It took long
hours to get them to leave the truck and almost
as long to convince them to walk from the
truck to their new home! Eventually however it
was done, and except for two rogue cows who are still
at large all were properly welcomed, blessed and given
prasad by our beloved Swami Veda. The reverence
with which the Ashramites welcomed the arrival of the
cows was as if a reverence for “Mother.” The cow is a
symbol of the divine mother, representing life and the
sustenance of life. Lord Krishna is associated with
cows, as two of his names reflect: “Govinda” (finder
of cows) and “Gopala” (protector of cows). In
Krishna’s aspect as a child, he is often depicted
crawling on his hands and knees or dancing, often with
butter in his hands. As a mischievous child he was
called Makhan Chor (butter thief). Of course,
the cows will fulfil a very practical purpose of
providing milk for Swamiji and the ashram. In
India, other “products” of the cow are used
extensively. Cow dung is known for its
disinfectant and insect repellent qualities and is
used to line the floors and walls of mud homes.
It is also one of the major fuel sources for
households in the villages and rural areas of
India. The therapeutic use of cow urine and its
use in curing diseases has been highly regarded
in India since historic times. Is it any wonder
then, that many consider the arrival of the cows
as filling a missing element at SRSG; one that
was necessary to make our Ashram complete.
Sitting with the Swami
I wanted to sit there longer. On Swami Veda Bharati's left at the head table two Saturdays ago at University of
West Indies’ new Daaga Hall in St Augustine, I heard each breath he took. They were deep, calm, and
measured. His hands rested lightly, if not on the table, on each of his thighs. He held his back straight.
Swaddled in subtle orange, he blinked infrequently, his eyes lowered and focused. It was, I suppose, a
meditative state that, after decades of study, training and contemplation under Swami Rama of the Himalayas,
was now his normal condition.
The Swami was here to lecture and launch his book, Wanam-India and Africa: A Spiritual
Dialogue. Interested people had formed a Committee and the Behavioural Sciences
Department at UWI saw the value of his presence and work so they arranged a symposium
and a book launch. Those sensible to the philosophy of intercultural commonalities gathered
at the Hall to listen and be inspired.
I was fortunate to be seated next to him, and to hear his words, practised as he is in the
philosophies of spiritual traditions across the world and sensitive as he is to the similarities
among those traditions.
This, in fact, was the thesis of his lecture: that differences among ethnic groups are artificial; they all share
common spiritual philosophies and rituals. Specifically, he spoke to us about Indian and African spirituality,
identifying the similarities and suggesting that we confront each other because we do not know our traditions
and have allowed our perception of ourselves and each other to become distorted by imperial impositions.
He had made several visits to Africa, his most recent was to Benin and Burkina Faso, a trip arranged through his
spiritual son and disciple, Ouedraogo Idriss Raoua from Burkina Faso, who turned up at the Swami's ashram, a
man whom the Swami described as having a saumya (an endnote explains that this is a common word in the
languages of India expressing the character and nature of a person by looking at whom the same feeling arises
in the heart as when looking at a full moon) face and mien.
From this trip, and others that took him to East and South Africa, the Swami offered himself as a visitor to these
parts. He had spent some years in Guyana as a spiritual guide so he understood the ethnic divisions there, in
Suriname and in Trinidad. He asked to be invited here; he wanted to share what he had seen of African
spirituality and what he knew of Indian spirituality. He wanted to make an intervention here in a moment of
political and social tension; he wanted to educate and meditate.
He did not go to study Africa, he said; he went to revere Africa. How can one study without sentiment, he asked
in his critique of anthropology. Herein is his distinguishing philosophy and from this base, he spoke of many
things, including the word "Harambee" in the Swahili vocabulary. Harambee is a concept of people and
communities pulling together to build a new nation. The word and concept were as applied and popularised by
Jomo Kenyatta. It is Kenya's Independence national motto.
Harambee, the Swami had researched, is an expression of praise to Ambee Mata, a manifestation of the tigerriding Hindu Goddess Durga. Indian labourers building Kenya's railway had to lift heavy loads. They would coordinate their breathing by shouting "Har Har Ambee" and lift on the final syllable. The word Harambee entered
the Swahili vocabulary and this concept of people pulling together to lift the loads that would build an
independent nation was adapted by Kenyatta in 1963.
He traced the etymology of the word "witch" in
a number of languages as part of his treatise on
vodou and shamanism. In Europe,he argued,
these people would be respected as wise men
and women; in Africa and India, they are
labeled witches and shamans.
All this and more he delivered in a low, even
tone so that sitting next to him, I too felt calmed.
Others in Hall must have been similarly
affected; when the Swami took us through a
breathing meditation exercise at the end of his
lecture, a man at the back of the Hall snored.
But then mid-week, I read about the Chandresh
Sharma and Neil Parsanlal exchange during the
budget debate, Sharma head-counting to make a
point about anti-Indian discrimination, and
Parsanlal crying shame that "...on every
occasion this has to descend to race..." Except
that Parsanlal was the one who paraded his
dougla ethnicity in the same Parliament, using
his biology as evidence that his political party
was multi-ethnic compared to the people he
observed on the Opposition benches.
Now, the Swami having left, I am bereft of the
calm he inspired but strengthened, for now,
against the disingenuous nonsense we
masquerade as national debate.
Submitted by Sheila Rampersad
Sunday, September 20th 2009
"Also published at http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Other-Authors/sitting-with-the-swami.html"
October 2009 TTP Report
Namaskar Dear Readers
We have had a most auspicious month here at
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, especially for
the two weeks of our recent TTP. On Diwali,
the ashram basked in the light of the little
deepaks placed all around, while the final day
of the retreat was lit by the silvery full moon.
Several of our Himalayan Yoga Tradition
Teacher students came early to participate in a
wondrous trip to the Himalayans. The six day
tour brought the travelers into the heights and
the homes of the ancient sages. They returned
awe struck by the beauty of the Himalayas they
had seen. The travelers told of everything from
awesome mountain peaks with stunning
sunsets to the five-star tenting with white
sheets and porcelain sinks and toilets.
Everyone would do it again!! Be sure to find more information from our offices about the next trip being
planned prior to the March Training.
A total of twenty-seven students participated in the training; fourteen in Level One and thirteen in Level
Two. It was an truly international group with a large representation from Taiwan. The participants and their
home countries are listed below.
Alannah Dore - Australia
Lori Smith - Canada
Yet Héman - Holland
Sopa Tamachotipong - Thailand
Kim Severijnen - Holland
Patricia Desrousseaux - France/Indonesia
Elena Ravasi - Italy
Vinod Grover - India
Manuel Fernandez - Chile
Bramhachari Bharat Shree(Karki) - Nepal
Swami RishiKumar Panchasheel - Nepal
Sunil Trikha - India
Wong Lai Siew ( SUE WONG) - Malaysia
Vikas Sharma - India
Level Two International
Seval Aksoy - Turkey
Daniel Jalba - Romaina/ Australia
Pierre Lefebvre - Canada/ India
Diane Speer - New Jersey , USA
Taiwan Group Level Two
Ms. Jen, Wei-Hui – Taiwan
Mr. Huang, Cheng-Hsun
Ms. Huang, Yun-Ju
Ms. Liang, Hsiu-Ling
Ms. Lin, Shu-Chin
Ms. Ou, Pei-Chun
Ms. Su, Hsiu-Ning
Ms. Tai, Hsiao-Mei
The class schedule was packed full, as usual.
Our amazing teaching staff led the students to
experience the phenomenal depth of the
teachings of the tradition. Many reported
learning what it takes to be still to meditate.
Thank you, dearest staff, for your love and detailed attention to the functions of the body and the mind .
Our group had a special outing to The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, (HIHT), and learned about the
impressive work of the many programs there including a recently established University. What a testament to
the vision of Swami Rama who established the hospital in the mid-1990’s. We visited the Ayurvedic Center and
then had a wonderful lunch on the grass in the sun while being entertained by our HIHT guide, Sunil Kumar.
Thank you, Sunil, for your gracious hospitality, an informative tour of the facilities at the hospital and all your
The moon waxed had waxed full by the last day of our 14 days together; a very bright globe which lit up the
ashram. It then led us into the global meditation with Swami Veda in the morning.
The closing ceremony for the students was a
lovely event. Alana Dore, accompanied by
several other students, sang a divine Christian
chant which touched the hearts of everyone.
The Taiwan group performed a lovely dance
choreographed by Radhika, and Swami
Panchasheel shared words of wisdom. We were
honored with Swamiji’s presence and one of
his many gifts to us was to lead us into a still
and powerful meditation. Thank you Swamiji
for your deeply felt love.
Do remember to check the web for details
about our next retreat, March 6th -14th, 2010.
This is a great time to come and coordinate your stay with some of the other very special events in February and
March at the Ashram: the final fire offerings of Ityukta, AHYMSIN elections, Sarva Yoga Retreat, the Kumbha
Mela, Insight Touring, etc.
Please visit our website, www.hyt-ttp.com , for details about the March 2010 retreat at SRSG in India and the
July 25 – August 8, 2010,Teacher Training Program in Minneapolis.
Submitted by Maryon Maass, TTP International Office, Rishikesh
Planting the Precious Seed - Children and
Within the last several months a number of
members in our global community have made
glorious efforts to gather children into their
local communities and serve them with the
teachings of Gurudev. Swami Veda has
communicated that he is very pleased to see
these sorts of projects happening all around the
globe and would like to encourage all of us to
take the initiative to welcome the younger
generation into our tradition by offering more
children, youth and family based activities in
As you may already know, Swami Veda is
planning to gather all of the children and
youth together on Dec. 22-31, 2011 for the
International Yoga Youth and Children's
Retreat (YYCR) in Rishikesh, India. If you
haven't done so already please help spread the
word to all "young people" in your local
community and offer them continual
reminders to plan ahead for this event. With
honest effort and intention, starting from now,
all children will be able to attend this retreat
with Swami Veda Bharati and meet children
from The Himalayan Tradition found all
around the world!
It is very important that we plant this seed from now and prepare the younger generation, not only to make this
pilgrimage to India, but to know how to make the most of their time there, so that they can continue to live and
share the teachings with others in the future.
At this time, we are predicting that there will be hundreds of children attending this event, from various
countries, speaking many different languages. As you can imagine, there will be quite a diversity of Cultures.
Children from various countries will interact very differently with the environment, the adults, and each other
etc. Please keep these things in mind while preparing yourselves and your children to attend.
If you haven’t done so already please contact here to tentatively reserve your space. (Formal Registration
Coming soon!) In the meantime we invite you to please view our new website children.ahymsin.org (soon to be
a multilingual site!). To submit news articles and share your photos contact lila here.
An Insight – Seeing Tour Around Himalayan Temples
The newly born Travel Department of the Ashram (SRSG Travels) organized a unique tour around interesting
temples in the Kedarnath range of the Garhwal Himalayas.
“Base camp” was a new tourist facility 300
meters above Guptakashi, which is a 170
kilometers, 9 hour drive from Rishikesh
through an inspiring landscape.
The quality of the base camp was a pleasant
surprise: spacious tents secured on a concrete
base with electricity and fully equipped
attached bathroom. And what a view from the
tents: snow covered peaks of the Himalaya
over the full horizon, and eagles circling above
our heads. And in the daytime, when it was
really quiet, monkeys played hide and seek
around the tents.
Participants were in India to follow the Teacher Training Programme coming from Thailand, the Netherlands
and France. From the Travel Department, Silvia Baratta was coordinating the activities with Mr. Manish
Khanduri. Together they had planned the trip. Mr. Khanduri directed much of the staff and took care of the
participants in an incredibly empathetic way. The pleasant surprises included a hot water bottle delivered to
your tent at bed time (the nights cooled down to 8 degrees C) and hot snacks and tea served upon returning from
The trips made included the Omkarewshwar Shiva temple, which is the winter seat of the famous Kedarnath
shrine, the Kalimath temple devoted to the Goddess Kali, the Vishwanath temple at Guptakashi, the Tunganath
Shiva temple at a 3 km trek and 800 meter upward climb from Chopta Village, the Lord Vishnu temple at the
village of Triyuganarayan, and as an
incredible dessert the
Kartik Swami temple, a 3 kilometer trek
Indeed a dazzling number of temples,
which might have
been too much for non-Hindu’s when
isolation. What made it so exciting for all
of us was the breath
taking scenery all the way up and down,
and above all the
villages that we passed on the trek and the
friendly peasant working on the fields,
threshing the grain. After all, about 80%
of Indians still live in
the countryside, and when do we
foreigners get the
occasion of getting in touch with them
and see a glimpse of
their lives? Thanks to the local guides
that were hired, the
villagers got explanations about who we
were and why we
were there. They were taken seriously
and we were less seen
as intruders. This created some very
encounters that were certainly among the
highlights of the tour.
To sum up, this tour, however relatively
certainly worth every rupee of it, a short
confrontation with Indian culture, past
place in an exciting landscape while being
incredibly attentive way. Insight-seeing,
and present, taking
taken care of in an
those words were well
By Allman Metten – Guest at the Ashram, participant of the Insight tour, from the Netherlands.
Vedic Sacred Art
The Vedic Sacred Art program is a tool to help
meditators in their concentration and inner energy
experiences. It combines the essence of fine-art, of
wisdom and of yoga-meditation, to learn to artfully
express the inner self. Our emotions are the bridge
between the body, the soul and the infinite realms of
spirits, so the spiritual creativity reveals spheres of
joy and happiness.
The Vedic Art program was first presented in 2005 at
SRSG, and since then many students and guests have
participated in the training. The workshop program
includes the design of chakras and yantras, the 51
Sanskrit sounds in and on the body, and the bijas and
their effects on the psyche. Participants create their
own personal “Holistic Mandala Chakra Painting” for
use in supporting their meditational practice.
The teacher-artist, Radhika Rosalia Hummel, will
conduct workshops in Bali in January-February 2010
and hopes to visit other areas in South-East Asia.
21st - 26th Febuary2010
Mystic-Asia Ayurvedic retreat in Mauritius with
Dr. Sharma click here for more information
At the SRSG/India Ashram:
Nov 29 - Dec 5
February 1-14, 2010
February 18 - 25, 2010
March 6 - 20, 2010
February / March 2011
December 22-31, 2011
Yoga Camp for Indian Citizens
Ity-uktaa final fire offerings, AHYMSIN meetings
For more information click here
Sarva Yoga Conference
18-19 Pre Conference Activities; 20-25 Conference
For more information click here
TTP Levels 1, 2 & 3 for more information click here
Yoga Nidra: Conscious Sleep Conference
Yoga-Youth and Children’s Retreat for more information click
Yoga and Meditational Cultures Conference
Where is Swami Veda?
7-13 December 2009
1st – 14th February
24 July – 17 August
1st – 8th Oct
15 Oct onwards
May attend conferences as follows:
8-10 January 2010
28th January – 1st February 2010
Copenhagen, Conference of Religious Leaders in conjunction with
United Nations Conference on Environment.
3 year completion, fire offerings of Ityukta Mantra at Sadhaka Grama
leave Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh.
AHYMSIN European Retreat, Florence, Italy. Contact : Christina
AHYMSIN programmes, Budapest, Hungary.Contact : Papp József
Toronto, Canada. Contact : Chander Khanna
17 August, Meditation Center, Minneapolis
26 July, Guru Purnima
For full programmes in Minneapolis please visit
Rancho la Puerta, Mexico. Contact: Dr. Mehrad
Washington to be finalized re gathering on Washington Mall
organized by Powerofone 101010.
in Residence at Sadhaka Grama Ashram
Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkatta. Conference on Scientific Studies of
Auroville, Pondicherry. International – Sufi Dialogue.
Full Moon Meditation Dates
JAN 10 FEB 09
JULY 07 AUG 05
JAN 30 FEB 28
JULY 26 AUG 24
For more details please visit : www.globalmeditations.org , www.swamiveda.org , www.ahymsin.org ,
www.bindu.org , www.yogaineurope.eu , www.themeditationcenter.org etc.
in India (IST), surrounding countries adjust the time accordingly, for example Iran is 5
8 PM in East Asia, 8 PM Singapore time. Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan,
Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand etc. adjust their times to coincide with Singapore
time 8 PM.
8 PM in U.K. (Greenwich Mean Time).Those in all European, and all African time zones,
please adjust your sitting time to coincide with 8 PM United Kingdom (GMT).
10 PM in New York. Surrounding countries and regions of South, Central and North America
and the Caribbean to match their time to 10 PM New York time.
WHEN IS THE FULL MOON ?
The dates of the Full Moon Meditations are announced after our Ashram Pandits have worked out the exact
hours and minutes of the full moon each month. The hours of the full moon span two calendar days in western
time. By Swami Veda’s request, the date with the most full moon hours is chosen for the Full Moon Meditation.
Location of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama on the Globe
Below image shows the location of Swami Rama Sadhka Grama (SRSG) on the globe. Also visit this link to
know the exact location of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in the world