by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
Ten years ago, I moved to Pennsylvania. San Diego seems like yesterday, in fact I was there recently. They invited me to come and offer free satsangs, to again share these incredible teachings with them, these powerful practices, this deep inner experience. It was such a treasure, to be invited to take yogis that I’ve known for decades, as well as many newcomers, to another and deeper level. This deeper experience is what the Ashram is all about.
A little over seven years ago, I became a swami, a yoga monk, a renunciant. I traveled for the next year, fulfilling promises I’d made before I renounced promises.
What do you do when there is nothing you seek any more? I went in order to serve the yogis who wanted to see me, wanted to see the change that such a ceremony could create – even to see if they still wanted any of what I had gotten. Do you want consciousness? Do you want to know your own Self? How could you not?!
Today is the 7th birthday of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. I had the great privilege of founding an Ashram! Wow! An organization dedicated to God. It’s like a church in some ways, yet different.
The difference is that the Ashram is dedicated to you finding and experiencing the Reality that God is being you. You look inside. That’s what I’m here for – it’s what I’ve always done, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, to help you find you. This is yoga. This is Svaroopa® yoga. The poses are incidental.
The Sanskrit word “Guru” is spelled, “Gee, you are you.” As a theory, it’s incredibly inspiring, yet yoga is more than theory. Yoga is embodied experience. Everything the Ashram does is so you have the experience of being the embodied Divinity that you are.
Becoming a swami gave me the freedom to focus on my primary interest – the deeper practices of yoga, the teachings and meditative practices. Plus, I had spent almost 25 years developing a community of accomplished yogis who were ready for that deepening. Plus, I was authorized to give Shaktipat, to serve others as my Baba had served me and so many.
I’m delighted to be here, to be serving you through the structure of an Ashram, an organization dedicated to your upliftment. I hope you can open your heart and your mind, not to me, but to your own Self. For that’s what Svaroopa® yoga has always been about. That’s what I’ve always been about. That’s what yoga has always been about.
I know that one who knows the Self makes it easier for others to know. I discovered that when I met Baba. He not only explained the emptiness I felt inside – he filled it. But he didn’t fill it with him — he filled it with me. What a difference! He could do that because he was established in the Self within himself. I found that, when I was with him, I got it. It was tangible. It was easy. Plus, he explained it all.
I bring this from him to you, if you allow me to do so. If you accept the gift, from one who has given her life to the knowing and being – from one who wants you to have what I have found. I hope to infect you with the same gift he gave me, that you catch the germs of enlightenment, and that you nurse your Divine illness until you totally succumb.
Yoga doesn’t merely offer you vibrant health. Vitality. Youth. Optimism. Happiness. Clarity. Creativity. An increased capacity to love – and the ability to feel the love that others have for you. Yoga offers you you.
Happy 7th Birthday Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram! And thank you to everyone who makes it possible for the Ashram to exist and to serve so many. Your support makes me able to serve my Baba. Thank you.
OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah