Tag Archives: celebration

My Spiritual Birthday by Swami Nirmalananda

289My life is full of milestones, yet they all began on the day I received Shaktipat from my Baba. Everything followed so naturally, like water flows down a river. I rafted the river of Grace.

Before Shaktipat, I explored the outer universe, but to no avail. I tried everything that was available in the 60’s and 70’s, a wide variety of offerings! I came to the inescapable conclusion that nothing really worked. I began to question the value of life itself, but continued searching for something that had meaning.

After Shaktipat, I explored the inner universe under my Guru’s guiding hand. I found that the entire outer world is nestled within and all of it has meaning! Every single grain of sand, every single person and even every single problem has meaning. But I had to find it within before I could see the meaning-full-ness that was staring me in the face.

Now my life is full of Grace, every moment saturated with the Divinity that was hidden within. All revealed by my Guru’s Grace. Please join me in celebrating my 38th anniversary of receiving Baba’s gift, Saturday May 31 at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center from 7:30-9:00 pm. Click here to register.

NOTE: Swamiji asks that you refrain from giving her personal gifts, but instead (if you wish) please support her sharing of the gift that she received with others. Click here to donate in honor of Swamiji’s Shaktipat Anniversary.

Shivaratri and the Mysterious “Siva Linga by Priya Kenney

siva lingaWhat form of “Siva should we contemplate on the holiest night of the year?  “In all the various temples for yogis and Hindus in all the various continents around the world, “Siva will be worshipped in his many forms, but it is the “Siva linga, most of all on Shivaratri, that is the purest, most mysterious of all,” explains Swamiji.

The “Siva linga is an upright form, sitting on a base (also called the yoni) that represents “Sakti (the Goddess, or feminine expression of “Siva).  The primordial realities of “Siva and “Sakti are omnipresent in our own human forms and the world around us.  In meditation, I have experienced my upper torso as the linga and my legs and lower torso as the yoni.  It was a powerful awareness of revering “Siva within, Om Namah Shivaya.

There is a connection between the “Siva linga and the yaj~na (fire ceremony).  For many thousands of years, “Siva has been revered through the yaj~na. Those of us yogis who went to Ganeshpuri in 2013 experienced this profound ceremony. Priests presided over offerings into the fire, surrounded by tables of murtis (statues) and colorful sand designs — all underscored by hours of mesmerizing and rhythmic chanting to all the forms of “Siva. This complex and beautiful ceremony propelled us deep into the inner realms, “Siva’s vast expanse.  In ancient times, “Siva was worshipped in this way every single day.

Over thousands of years, the practice of a daily yagj~na became erratic and fell away, leaving an immense gap. “People were looking for something that they could use for their focus, for their mind and their heart to remember God,” says Swamiji. “There are a number of amazing and beautiful stories that explain the origins of the “Siva linga, about how “Siva took the shape of a mounded stone and how the flame froze and became the stone.  The “Siva linga gave people a form of “Siva they could touch and handle and carry with them,” explains Swamiji.

“The linga gives me an immediate experience of presence, in a stillness and deep silence that draws me into the innermost recesses of my own being,” says Swamiji. “The “Siva linga is the mystery, in a physical form.”  Explaining that it isn’t a statue of “Siva, Swamiji says, “It is the whole of “Siva, yet existing within “Siva.”

By including the “Siva linga in our celebration of Shivaratri, we connect with an ancient tradition and maximize experiencing our own divinity.

Watch for an article on how to have your own Shivaratri celebration.

U-Turns by Maitreyi (Margie) Wilsman

Early in my yoga career with Swamiji, I learned that life tells us to look outward, while yoga tells us to look inward.   At first it was the inner experience of a quiet mind, and the many gifts of final Shavasana—the MORE.  Later it became the experience of my tailbone wiggling and sacrum rocking.

Now years later, the looking has shifted to me experiencing my Self as Consciousness on the inside—another major and deeper U-Turn, one that my mind has trouble handling with ease.  Mysteries are difficult for my mind.  Meditation and the movement of Kundalini provide breakthrough experiences of timelessness, spacelessness, the unending flow of Grace and love from Swamiji that makes my heart expand and expand—all experiences beyond the limits of my mind.

Now there is the opportunity to celebrate the ancient tradition that provides the guidelines for how to do these deeper U-Turns.  In the ancient words of Sages and the current words of our modern Sage, Swamiji, I will offer the celebration of Shivaratri.  While each day I bow to my Shivalingam and Nandi that sit on my puja, on the Night of Shivaratri I will do puja to my Shivalingam for three hours, celebrating the mystery of Shiva.  Each day I wear the garland of my rudraksha beads, but on the night of Shivaratri I will wear the three strips of white on my forehead and quietly celebrate the mystery of Shiva—the formless who has taken form in everything that exists, in all my students and clients, in my yoga buddies, in my yoga teachers, in me, in all that exists and beyond, as Swamiji reminds us.  Thank you, Swamiji, for teaching us how to do puja and how to celebrate Shivaratri as well as guiding us through our successive and deeper U-Turns.

Landing In Your Mailbox Soon by Marlene Gast

new_certificatesJust mailed out! Swami Nirmalananda reports the mailing out over 50 new certificates, for yogis who completed their trainings and their paperwork in the last few months. When the Ashram stepped into the process of handling courses, there was a backlog of certificates due. It took a few months to gather the information, plus create the NEW Ashram certificate.

These certificates have been mailed out in a “Certificate Party Pack,” created, packaged and prepared for mailing by sevites, including Nandini Mermet-Grandfilleas well as Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, Board President and Swami Nirmalananda.

Describing the certificate mailing task, Amala says, “I went up to the Ashram for the day to assist Swamiji. She doubled the enticement (as if I needed any enticement!) by saying she had a sweet seva for me to assist with. How lovely to find that it was to assist her with the party packs holding the certifications for newly certified Svaroopa® yoga teachers and Embodyment® therapists. While Swamiji and I sat at the dining room table in the Ashram, she signed each certificate personally, and then I put them in the individual party packs. Before I sealed each one, into it I whispered our mantra – OM Nama.h “Sivaya – to send all of the love, power and blessing that the mantra carries.”

If you are one of the recipients of a certificate proclaiming your new achievement, heed the cover letter: It invites you to celebrate this recognition of your great achievement, and supplies streamers, balloons and confetti. Give yourself a party, small or large! You have earned it, and have patiently awaited the day.

More certificates will be coming soon, so if you know a yogi who is waiting (or you are the yogi), please keep breathing and repeating mantra…