Light on Light Magazine - International Day of Yoga 2021 Special Edition

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ga Yo

Inte r

A Special Edition of

2021 Edition


al Day ion o at n

IDY Committee at the UN

Yoga, Healing, & Peace Celebrating the International Day of Yoga

Our Common Values

Featuring The INTERNATIONAL DAY of YOGA COMMITTEE at the UNITED NATIONS And renowned contributors including: Ramu Damodaran, BK Charlie Hogg, Acharya Sandra Chamatkara Simon, Dot Maver, Wendy Thompson, Amb. Mussie Hailu, Kia Abilay & Benjamin Obler, Diane Haworth, Michael Stasko, Sadhvi Anandi Puri, Slavica Martinovic Shank

Energy Communicator & Intuitive Kia Abilay shares a lifetime of experience reading energy, healing bodies, and hearing messages from Spirit. Kia Abilay was born a Rainbow Child—a child who comes after the loss of another child. Join Kia on her spiritual journey, through a Catholic upbringing, to a career as a manager of hotels, to 13 years of practice in the Wellness Center at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. It’s a journey that spans from Hawaii to Healdsburg, California, to Kingston, New York. Along the way, countless clients have been touched by her gifts and found healing in messages relayed by Kia. To enjoy the Gift of Listening is to recognize the spiritual intuition that we all possess. This book was written in hope that its readers may feel empowered to listen intensely to their inner selves, to recognize the daily presence of Source, and to trust their miraculous body. Each chapter concludes with a Rainbow Heart Tip: activities you can do, with insights on how to incorporate them to grow your listening practice. These are activities to find your centeredness, to let go of anxiety, and to hear the voice of the Divine, however it reaches you, however it speaks. They include: playing chimes, morning reading, somatic body scanning, and prayer. Abilay’s tales are told with the open-mindedness and generous perspective that has been with her, throughout her career as a One Spirit minister, Akashic Records teacher, and now film actress.

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M A G A Z I N E Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle

Special Edition

Yoga, Healing, and Peace Celebrating the International Day of Yoga Special Edition Editor .................................................. Denise Scotto, Esq. Host Editor .........................................................................Karuna Contributions Editor .................................................... Kurt Johnson, PhD Managing Editor ......................................Rev. Shannon Winters, MS Graphic Editor & Layout ............................................................ David Winters

The Interspiritual Dialogue Network Established with Br. Wayne Teasdale, 2002

a member of the UNITY EARTH network

Welcome We at Light on Light Magazine are dedicated to illuminating the light of wisdom and compassion of spiritual practices and inspiring lifestyle features for the flourishing of health, mind, and spirit every day. Light on Light Magazine welcomes authors, spiritual teachers, and our readers, to contribute ideas and brief concepts for content in future issues. We welcome light-filled submissions of wisdom, inspiration, and transformation for feature articles, personal transformation stories, poetry, fictional short stories, music, artwork, #ShineYourLight inspirations, and more! Please send a brief description of your content or idea to for consideration. Except for fair use extracts with full credit, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. We make every effort to obtain proper permission to reproduce images. Images and artwork that do not include a citation for use where they appear in Light on Light Magazine are from Pixabay or Shutterstock. Please contact us with any information related to the rights holder of an image source that is not credited. The opinions expressed in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or editors of Light on Light Magazine.

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Table of Contents Welcomes

2021 Welcome from the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN by Denise Scotto, Esq., Chair........................................................................................4-5 Light on Light’s Yoga Day Message for 2021 from Karuna........................................................................................................................ 6 Yoga: A Source of Solace and Strength for the World by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.....................................................................................7 World Yoga Day 2021 Special Message by Ramu Damodaran........................................................................................................ 8

The Richness and Fullness of Yoga

Love for God. Love for Good by BK Mohini Panjabi...................................................................................................9-10 The Unknown of Walking Our Path by Karuna...................................................................................................................... 11-14 Yogic Psychology by Daaji.......................................................................................................................... 15-17 Importance of a Connection with GOD during an Era with Uncertain Prospects by Yogmata...................................................................................................................18-19 Equanimity in the Midst of It All by Philip Goldberg......................................................................................................20-21 Establishing True Well-Being by Sadhguru...................................................................................................................... 22 Metta Consciousness, the Power of Transmission, and Human Transformation by Dzambling Cho Tab Khen....................................................................................23-24 Practice to Peace by Sandra Simon.........................................................................................................25-26 Love for the Vastness of God by Dipty Naran.............................................................................................................27-28 Karma Yoga: How to Live by Michael Stasko...................................................................................................... 29-30 Grounded in the Ground of All Being: Spiritual Values in Uncertain Times by Jeffery D. Long........................................................................................................ 31-33 Love for Our Neighbors by Sharona Stillerman...............................................................................................34-35 Listening for Well Being and Peace by Kia Abilay & Benjamin Obler.................................................................................. 36 Love for God and Love for Thy Neighbour by BK Brother Brij Mohan.........................................................................................37-38 3 Ways Spiritual Principles Are a Powerful Anchor in Uncertain Times (and Any Other) by Diane L Haworth...................................................................................................39-40 Loving God & Our Neighbors by Kala Iyengar, MD....................................................................................................41-42 Braco and His Gaze by Slavica Martinovic................................................................................................ 43-45 The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother by Denise Scotto, Esq................................................................................................ 46-47 Spiritual Mentors Anchor Us in Changing Times: Swami Bua, A Supercentenarian Yogi by Dileepkumar Thankappan....................................................................................... 48

Love for God & Love Thy Neighbor by Charlie Hogg..........................................................................................................49-50 Love for God, Love Thy Neighbor by Erik Larsen.....................................................................................................................51 Connecting with Nature – The Yogic Way by Deepali Sharma.....................................................................................................52-53 Love for God and Live for Thy Neighbor by Jacqueline Cambata............................................................................................ 54-55 You Are Enough by Elspeth Kerr.............................................................................................................56-57 Yoga by Padmini Murthy MD, MPH........................................................................................ 58

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

The Golden Rule: The Pathway to Peaceful Co-existence & Interfaith Harmony by Ambassador Mussie Hailu.................................................................................59-60 Universal Principles That Will Guide Humanity in This Millennium Changing Our Narrative as a Human Race by Dzambling Cho Tab Khen..........................................................................................61 International Day for the Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade by HH Amma Sri Karunamayi................................................................................. 62-63 “The Sacred Silence of Speaking Up” by Christopher D. Zefting.........................................................................................64-65

Yoga & Health

Yoga: Stress & COVID by Padmini Murthy MD, MPH.................................................................................. 66-67 Deep Detoxification for Everyone by Deepak Chopra, MD............................................................................................. 69-70 A Change of Consciousness During the Time of Covid by Patrick San Francesco...........................................................................................71-72 Adaptability and Flexibility in a Time of Upheaval and Crisis by Farah Nazarali........................................................................................................ 73-74 Reflections on COVID-19 by Anjali Grover, MD................................................................................................... 75-76 Total Well-being According to Deepak Chopra, MD, Interview with Michelle Fox-CNBC.............................................................................................................................77 Health in a Plate: Yoga in prevention of COVID-19 by Sadhvi Anandi Puri...............................................................................................78-79 Child-like Heart Message by HH Amma Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi........................................................80

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

Youth & Peace: UN SG Special Envoy on Youth by Denise Scotto, Esq.......................................................................................................81 Global Silent Minute Harnesses the Power of Silence for the Spirit of Humanity to Soar by Dot Maver & Wendy Thompson........................................................................ 82-83

Tribute to Yoga Masters

Kia Abilay................................................................................................................. 85-86 Swami Shraddhananda...............................................................................................87 Swami Agnivesh........................................................................................................... 88 BK Dadi Gulzar.............................................................................................................. 89

2021 Welcome Message

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mahatma Gandhi

What a way to start our new decade and for the UN to emerge from its 75th Anniversary! It’s an understatement to write how COVID 19 knows no borders and has no bounds and that the pandemic which initially started as a health crisis has touched everyone everywhere. People have died while others have endured extreme hardship in varying degrees. Studies show world economies are struggling with rising unemployment and the majority of countries are in recession. An increase in hunger with significant numbers of people facing food insecurity remains concerning as how the crisis, disproportionately impacts women and girls in developed and in developing countries alike. While there has been a loss of trade and global tourism, these two sectors seem to be slowly bouncing back. The pandemic has had a profound impact on the psychological health of people of all ages. We know the serious effects experienced by the physical body. Social distancing; the isolation of lockdown; watching family and friends being affected with COVID; having loved ones pass, without being present to say goodbye; the economic and financial strain; coping with loss of employment, or, the change in working, from office to home; dealing with home-schooling of youngsters, who are no longer in a classroom with their peers and need attention and who are depressed; the increased food insecurity and homelessness; the climbing incidents of violence in large US cities—these are just a few circumstances that lead to mental and emotional pain and suffering, fear, stress, anxiety, grief and worry. For others, it exacerbated underlying conditions which have been dormant and precipitated a spiritual crisis with individuals asking themselves about: the meaning of life, their particular purpose, and what is important. On top of this, safe spaces, such as community centers, yoga studios and houses of worship were closed and did not provide many with a trusted community. It may feel like we need a miracle to overcome all this. I turn to the lyrics from Beatles member George Harrison: Give Me Hope, Help Me Cope with this Heavy Load… We look to questions posed from last year—how the UN, now in its 75th year, can evolve as an institution system-wide? Can it be a grounding force to achieve solidarity, to practice international cooperation in a new way? Are legal mechanisms still relevant, and, if so, how can we safeguard human dignity and equality? Will the SDGs survive and achieve results on the ground? Essentially, What Kind of Tomorrow Shall We Find? Although the UN’s house closed its doors in March, staff was working remotely stepping up the use of technology to carry on virtual meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly for the first time. The SG developed an Organization-wide comprehensive, large-scale response to address the crisis. He emphasized how we are a deeply interrelated world and the need for multilateralism in addition to outlining ways to suppress virus transmission, save lives and livelihoods. He also highlighted that we must evolve by facing climate change and the severe and systemic inequalities that have risen to the surface of our consciousness which are vital to moving forward for the institution as well as for humankind. Additionally, WHO and OCHA organized a humanitarian appeal for the most vulnerable countries. Is this enough? Do you believe in the power of miracles? Let us inhale and then exhale. Let us take a moment to gather our essence. Answers start with every one of us. More than ever, we have tools which include those relating to the fullness and richness of yoga, from its deep wisdom and values to its ancient practices to journey within. Each of us has decisions to make about what we reintroduce into our lives, how we want to shape our reality, how to be better prepared for whatever unexpected challenges may come on our life’s path. Can we open the door fully to that creative aspect of our human nature to nurture ourselves? Our whole selves? Do we have the courage to heal by awakening to greater possibilities and potentials to create a new story? As Carl Jung said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are.” Can we listen completely with our heart and tune into the messages within which mysteriously bind us to life and the cosmos? “Your heart knows the way, run in that direction.” ~ Rumi 4

In addition to renewing ourselves, it is critical to speak about our struggles instead of remaining alone and silent and to reduce the stigma that the burdens of this time which may weigh us down and overwhelm us may induce. Which brings us back to our interrelatedness and having caring persons to connect with. Having a sacred space of profound safety may allow for all that is ready to be seen, felt and heard, to arise and help us realize who we truly are as powerful individuals and to strengthen and sustain our collective resilience who can weave together our new world as one humanity. With steady determination, the IDY Committee has provided solace, connection, community, and resources, all the while, faithfully abiding by the UN Organization through subtle activism and in unseen ways. We adapted by holding and participating in virtual meetings starting with World Yoga Day then continued by observing World Peace Day, the UN’s 75th Anniversary, the Day to Eliminate Violence against Women, high level panels during the GA and the Commission on the Status of Women, and the subject of mental health. We moved forward with a unique event offering inspiration and a new understanding of this stage in our planetary and human evolution through the Source of Synergy Foundation’s Book Launch of Our Moment of Choice. Joining us was the legendary Greg Braden, himself a yoga practitioner, and our very own Dr Kurt Johnson. The IDY Committee recognizes that everything coming from an outside source, changes our inner core. As we change our interior world, and tap into our innate goodness, we can then meet challenges with wisdom and compassion. In this way, people are waking up to who they want to be. Our individual energy fields profoundly impacts everyone thereby also powerfully altering our collective human evolution. Do you know that on May 26th the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation which is the largest fossil fuel industry in the World was ordered by the courts to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from all of its activities by 45% by the end of 2030? Shell says they now have a goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050. This will substantially accelerate the process of reducing emissions-producing fuels like oil and gas. This is a time of expanding our viewpoints more than our eyes can see, beyond our finite minds and the limits of our expectations to advance our healing and the evolution of human consciousness. Let us acknowledge the magnitude of this opportunity and be the ones to usher in great promise. We have seen how people have come together in care and concern already using skillful means to build connections in new ways strengthening our interdependence and our global community. The IDY Committee at the UN strives to bring into our service the ageless wisdom of the sages in our own lives, into our families and then to encompass the UN, our greater UN community, our worldwide family, all Earth’s precious creatures and this exquisite planet. I trust you will find something in this special issue that speaks to your heart and enlivens your soul.

In unity, healing and peace, Denise Scotto, Esq. Chair, International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations


Light on Light’s Yoga Day Message for 2021 from Karuna “Yoga: Healing, Health and Harmony” was the theme for 2021’s International Day of Yoga. In fact we could say Healing, Health and Harmony is the ongoing theme for our own lives, and that of our planet, every day. But how do we get there? First of all we know it’s always about Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up—as I write further about, and briefly define each, in the excerpt below from my forthcoming book with Light on Light Press. Of course, we all know we originally adopted the “Six Ups” from the work of integral visionary Ken Wilber. He first announced them in detail in 2015 at a conference “From Self Care to Earth Care” which I co-sponsored (with other co-founders of Light on Light) in Denver, Colorado. The video of Ken’s original descriptions of Waking Up and Growing Up is online at YouTube with over 265,000 views! As our understanding of Waking Up and Growing Up continued we also all added Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up. Their meanings are also quite clear. And, in 2017, Ken Wilber joined us again, in Crestone, Colorado to talk about our two primary ways of knowing-- “Knowledge About” and “Direct Experience Of”. You’ll find them here, in this video from “The Crestone Convergence.” So we know this is our birthright—Waking Up and Growing Up—although it takes serious Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up. This year I was privileged to join Denise Scotto, Gayatri Naraine, Ken Wilber and Deepak Chopra for the International Day of Yoga Committee (UNIDY) at the UN’s 2021 online event and, also, a program with many and more colleagues for UNITY EARTH’s World Unity Week. Of particular relevance was one part of longer discussions with Ken Wilber on “Wholeness,” what it is and how to find it. It was truly a wonderful celebration of all that is recorded so beautifully across the pages of this International Day of Yoga Special Issue. So, we know that Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up are our birthright. But we also know it’s not always a “cakewalk.” It can often be a meandering or even jagged path to finding our full emotional and spiritual maturity—and, with that, our day-to-day happiness. Waking up each day to happiness, health, and holiness may be our birthright but we all know that life’s “nightmares”—big and small—can occur, often suddenly, within our without. This is where worldview—our cosmology—is so important and why our spiritual practice is so key to being our barometer.

The UN IDY Committee with Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber & Karuna hosted by Denise Scotto YogaDay Committee/from June 19, 22

When we study Yoga, for instance, we get a healthy dose of Yoga Cosmology upfront—the big picture (that life is a Unity) to help guide us. This is “knowledge about.” But the practice of it, the “direct experience of” comes in our day to day spiritual practice and lifestyle. As I say at the end of my excerpt— how we learn to both “dream it” and “do it.” So, this year Ken has introduced us to a new “Up”—“Opening Up”. This invitation, in Ken’s Foreword to Light on Light Press’s newest book Global Unitive Healing by Dr. Elena Mustakova is for each of us to open up to completely new vistas and realms of development both within and without. I think we all knew that Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up were all about Opening Up—but it’s good just to say it. It’s like a call to a “new life’s resolution,” an invitation to full potential. When I look back on my life with Yoga, and as a Yoga practitioner and teacher I see it as one constant invitation to continue to step up. Let’s take the perennial message of this year’s International Day of Yoga theme: Healing, Health and Harmony both to Heart and to a whole new level. Remembering the call of Rumi, let’s meet “in that Field.”

Sat Nam and love to all Karuna Yogini and Light on Light’s Media Hosting Director


Yoga: A Source of Solace and Strength for the World By Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar This year, the International Day of Yoga was observed at a time when the world was in the grip of a pandemic. With the human race on the precipice of great change, it has become imperative for humanity to shift its attention from the accessories of life to the essence of life itself. The ancient discipline of yoga can act as a life jacket to help people sail through this existential challenge. Yoga brings a sense of connectedness and gives one the strength to take responsibility not just for oneself but also for the well-being of others. There is ample research documenting the enormous benefits of asanas, pranayamas and meditations - the key limbs of yoga. These yogic practices can significantly improve not just physical health but mental and emotional health too. They also play a key role in boosting the functioning of the immune system. Yogic practices uplift the levels of our vital energy, which, when elevated, strengthen the immune system. Strong immunity and a calm mind will provide an extra edge in the fight against COVID 19. This ancient wisdom needs to be introduced not just to the general population but especially also to our doctors, caretakers and all frontline workers to help them endure the extreme pressure they are facing. If they are not able to take care of themselves how are they expected to take care of others? Yoga is the answer. Just like brushing one’s teeth is dental hygiene, doing yoga is mental hygiene. Yoga greatly enhances one’s energy, efficiency and ability to be intuitive, centered and strong. Even a few minutes of yoga and meditation can provide succour and peace to those who have suffered tremendous loss. It heals emotional trauma and calms an agitated mind. The yogic way of life advocates restoring the natural harmony between the body, the mind and the breath. When harmony is restored, it unleashes one’s innate capacity to heal. Though it originated in India, yoga belongs to the whole world. In these unprecedented times of great suffering and loss, it is an indispensable tool for one’s well-being. We must do all we can to bring the benefits of yoga to everyone. Yoga is the way to a better future. It should be introduced to children at a young age through the school curriculum to raise a new generation who live in harmony with nature and are well-equipped to cope with the stresses and strains of modernday living. In the past few years, yoga’s popularity has grown in leaps and bounds as have yoga and meditation teachers. It is my hope that the wisdom of yoga brings health, happiness, vibrancy and spiritual elevation to every corner of the world.


World Yoga Day 2021 Special Message

by Ramu Damodaran, Director UN Academic Impact and Deputy Director for Partnerships and Public Engagement, UN Department of Global Communication

International Yoga Day came to the United Nations in 2015. In UN acronymspeak, YOGA could well stand for “Year Of Global Action” and that is what 2015 proved to be, a year when nations of the world historically so possessive about the internality of what they perceived as domestic affairs—the lives their citizens lived, enjoyed or were denied— embraced each other in the solidarity of the sustainable development goals. Six years later, our acronym could well be YOGI…the “Year of Global Inspiration”, where thousands of acts of individual kindness, of accelerated innovation, of respect and consideration and care have allowed us to make the devastation wrought upon us a little, a little, more gentle than it could have been. “Inspiration” suggests also, of course, the act of breath, the source of life that yoga allows us to pace, measure and expand, much like the determination of the sustainable development goals themselves, the SDGs, which in yogic terms could well stand for Strength, Definition and Grace, the strength enhanced by exercise, the definition of a human body sculpted by asanas, the grace that is as much spiritual as physical. And, just as the SDGs depend as much on individual actions and choices as they do on the national and international, so too does yoga offer in its individual practice a metaphor for a bruised but healing planet, the agility of each human part reaching out to and touching another, the sense of uncluttered introspection that is the laboratory for scientific advance and thought, the striving for balance which protects us from the precipice of extremes. It is, in Denise Scotto’s lyrical phrase, the “advancement of human consciousness”, like the arm soaring to the sun in Surya Namaskar and, even if not reaching it, being blessed by its energy and its warmth. To the women and men who have brought yoga home to the United Nations, including virtually over the past de-physicalised year, a truly humble expression of deepest gratitude in your mission to help attain the image that is at the centre of the United Nations Charter—the dignity and worth of the human person. A humble Thank You.


Love for God. Love for Good By BK Mohini Panjabi, Brahma Kumaris, Great Neck, New York 9

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga What do you love? What do you love? What are you so attracted to that you make time for it even at the busiest times? What do you love so much that you can’t wait to share it with others? This is a life-giving question because whatever you love eventually fills your mind and your heart. It appears on your calendar and on your face.

the battle between darkness and light, the journeys of seekers caught in dangerous storms and trying to get back home. It is the deep inner yearning of souls to return to our original fullness, to be reunited with our true parents – to return home. It’s the Christian story of the prodigal son who – having squandered everything his father had given him – returns home to the loving embrace of his father.

Our love for things starts innocently: we are attracted to them. For example, if a certain kind of car catches our eye, we will start noticing them when we see them on the street. Suddenly it will feel like everyone is driving this model of car. Then, we find ourselves in the car dealership talking to the salesman and taking it out for a test drive. The next thing we know, it’s parked in our driveway.

This kind of awakening is like refocusing a camera. When the camera is focused on the distant forest, the flowers in the foreground are out of focus, but when the camera person changes the focus, the forest becomes blurry and the flowers in the foreground come into sharp focus. In the midst of our sorrow, we begin to remember times when we were happy, loved and surrounded with family and friends. And we set out on a journey of recovery of the precious thing we have lost. We refocus on our inner yearning for goodness and home.

So first we’re attracted. Then we’re attached. And finally, we can become entangled. Being entangled may mean that we’ve gone into debt in order to have a certain thing or that we find that one isn’t enough and that we need many of them. This happens to some people with technology. First, they want the latest I-phone; then the most recent I-pad, an upgraded microphone, a stand for the camera, the best headphones. And on it goes. Attracted, attached and entangled. Against our will We also become attracted and entangled with people and situations. Every parent has had the heart-to-heart talk with a child about the company he or she is keeping. They know from their own experience that each of us is colored by the company we keep. Human beings naturally align or “come into rapport” with those around us. We do it in little ways like mirroring the posture of someone we’re talking with, and we do it in big ways --- like paying attention to the things our companions pay attention to. The story of a young boy being drawn into a gang has become all too familiar. He wanted to feel like he belonged, or he had a brother or friend who was in the gang. His parents or guidance counselor may have tried to pull him back into a safe zone, but the attraction was too strong. Sometimes people who like to help others are drawn to those who are weak or in trouble. It is the same with situations: some are attracted to financial or physical risk, to adventure or to spectacle – scenes that fascinate. Empty Inside We see evidence of a kind of inner emptiness in trends towards drug use, alcoholism and obesity. Just as concerning are trends in anger, violence and depression. The World Health Organization says that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. From a spiritual perspective, these physical trends are evidence of spiritual emptiness, an unfulfilled inner longing for the vital nourishment that every soul needs --- for peace, love, happiness, friendship, compassion, kindness. How can we be at a loss for something that is natural and innate in each of us? Peace, love and happiness are the original nature of each soul. Whatever is going on inside of us moves out from us into the world around us. Each thought and feeling we have creates a vibration that emanates out from the mind and heart to the body, into the atmosphere in our homes and connections and out into the world. At the moment the sheer number of souls who are experiencing loneliness, sadness, fear and anxiety is creating a pandemic of heavy energy, a cloud of darkness, in a growing number of places. This heaviness is tangible. Even people who are doing okay may find themselves feeling sad or afraid for no obvious reason. We can feel it in malls, on public transportation and in the messages in the media we consume. So, we eat too much, shop too much and obsess about the wrong things. Awakening to Good The term used in almost all spiritual traditions about the move from darkness to light is “awakening”. Though the spread of darkness is prevalent right now, it’s not new. Our oldest scriptures in all religions document this dichotomy of darkness and light. Epic stories describe

We cannot long for something we have never known. We cannot long for chocolate if we have never known chocolate – or long for a mango if we’ve never tasted a mango. Each soul has tasted peace, love and happiness. Each soul has known virtue and goodness. When these memories awaken, we find them irresistible. We are pulled to them as a sunflower to the morning sun. Our love of goodness wells up from inside the heart and spills over into all corners of our awareness. Suddenly this is all we see – kindness, friendship, patience, trust, humility, generosity. We see evidence of it in the natural love among animals and in the compassion of people everywhere. We witness heroic acts in our neighborhoods and tirelessness in those who are serving others. And we want to be a part of it. We want to participate in communities of goodness. We want to make a contribution. Some walk away from jobs they find unfulfilling or from people they find critical and tiring. They feel compelled to be near those they admire and engaged in work they find uplifting – even if it pays less. This attraction to good is a powerful movement. Once you start looking, you see it everywhere – in the explosion of nonprofit organizations, in the rise in volunteerism, in the dramatic increase in people seeking spiritual solutions. It is more subtle than the prevalence of darkness, but much more powerful. Love for God Some are contented to live a life of goodness, but many seekers of truth want to understand the source of goodness. It’s as if a hero in an epic search for his true father arrives in his old neighborhood, and then quickens his pace to reach his childhood home and his parents. The source of goodness is God, the parent of souls, the One with thousands of names – Shiva, Allah, the Light, Jehovah... Once the soul draws close to this One, a current of love and remembrance fills the soul with inner knowing and recognition. Those who have had this experience sometimes describe it as coming home. The search is over. The empty heart is filled. And the soul finds it is able to give continuously from the overflow of the heart. Mohini Panjabi directs the activities of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization from their regional headquarters in Great Neck, New York. Sister Mohini has recently been appointed as the new Additional Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris, the largest international spiritual organisation run by women that has about 4,500 service centers in 140 countries. She has been with the BK’s since childhood in Delhi, serving with the founder, Brahma Baba, opening centres in India. In 1974 she began to serve abroad and established a North American presence, first in Guyana (1976) and then in 1978 moved to New York, creating a national headquarters in the USA. She is president of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization of the USA. She serves as regional coordinator of the BKs for the Americas and the Caribbean and is representative of the BK’s to the United Nations. 10

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The Unknown of Walking Our Path Excerpted and adapted from Karuna’s “Yoga and Awakening” and with Sat Kriya Spiritual Practice

Karuna hosting H. H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatijii at Light on Kundalini in Boulder, Colorado “Going down the rabbit hole”, made famous in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a captivating metaphor for our entry into the unknown. These experiences are startling and extraordinary because they are unforeseen and we have nothing to compare them to. They are entirely new experiences, with no reference points for us. Such situations can be disorienting and disconcerting—and can lead to us to acting in quite a confused manner. What do any of us do in situations that are entirely new and unfamiliar to us? And why do such situations arise, often throwing us off our paths that seemed so certain? “Rabbit Holes” are common enough in life—especially when we are already making a turn, at a crossroads, contemplating or questioning a direction. This is because the practice of life itself is always taking you from frontier to frontier. The word “frontier” actually means a place not seen before. The words “frontier” and “pioneer” are connected in deep ways. Life is an unfolding of frontiers and you the pioneer (“a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area”). Actually you are trailblazing your own life. In these challenges we gain courage and more deeply grounded senses of direction— what interspiritual pioneer and monk Br. Wayne Teasdale called “mature selfknowledge”. Spiritual teacher Robert Adams, author of Silence of the Heart, referred to this emerging deeper inner knowledge as “the current that knows” and how we must find the sense of that current within ourselves. He likened it to that “base line” on an oscilloscope (those electronic meters the measure ups and downs). No matter how scattered, and up and down, the oscillations make appear, the baseline remains steady and secure.

Karuna hosting H. H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatijii at Light on Kundalini in Boulder, Colorado

As you mature in your spiritual or yogic journey, you will inevitably have this experience within of “the current that knows”. As described in the Chrisitan mystic classic The Cloud of Unknowing: It is naught else but a true knowing and feeling of ourselves as we are. Moving from Frontier to Frontier One thing you will notice as you take up your conscious journey, your spiritual pioneering, is your constant discovering of new frontiers. The Yogic journey, and its view of you, the world and the cosmos provides you a landscape—a cosmology—in which you can constantly make new discoveries, understand things you didn’t understand before, and be transported into endlessly new revelations. It provides a deep understanding of how the world is put together and where you fit in it. It will generate deep sense of knowing in you—one that will, truly, “make sense”. You’ve undoubtedly noticed, especially in these recent months, that humans seem to love beliefs, creeds, dogmas, slogans—even conspiracy theories. Psychologists say this is because humans like things that are “easy to understand” and “easy to repeat”. Scientists say it’s also because often such simplifications often have a short term “adaptive value” —they help you feel better, or even sometimes simply survive, in a short run situation. The problem is that such shortcuts, if not really wise and true, always eventually dead-end. I am sure you have had this experience in life. I know I have. I had to figure it out, and Yoga—which is experiential, not something you are simply told is true—was key. The point of this is to tell you that your true spiritual journey will not be one of slogans, creeds, dogmas or dead-ending stories. It will be one drawn from your own experience. Thus, the wise Teacher says “don’t just believe what I say; test if for yourself and find out Yes or No”. Yoga is meant to enter into, and test out, our deepest inner Self, and for us to learn how we experience that. There you can draw your own conclusions and make your own maps. You’ll find that core experience—of truly owning your own experience—because you have created it yourself, step by step. This is why the conscious spiritual pursuit of Yoga is referred to by the ancients as a “science”. Science, by definition has four qualities—and they are also qualities that I’m sure you would want in your own life. They are: testability (try it and see for yourself), repeatability (make sure that what you’re trusting can happen again and again), predictability (if this is true than this must follow) and veracity (the ability to explain things). You will find this is true when you take up the specific sequential practices (the Kriyas) of Yoga. You will be able to gauge your progress by these classic criteria of science step by step.


Proceeding Step by Step Let’s apply this now to the zigs and zags or our own journey, the “unknowns of walking our path.” Today’s modern synthesis—embracing both modern science and the deepest understandings of our Wisdom Traditions tells us we are destined to through five key steps in our transformative process. As a testament to evolution, it’s interesting that these five steps have been recognized mostly in the last ten years. The first started with Ken Wilber distinguishing between “Waking Up” and “Growing Up”. There is a wonderful video on this that Ken narrated for me and my colleagues at the “Crestone Convergence” event in 2017. In a nutshell, as Wilber has now made a classic insight, “Waking Up” — spiritual Awakening, has been with us for millennia, ever since there was a Buddha or other enlightened Teacher. But it has not changed the world. It must be coupled with “Growing Up”, the rising of humanity through stages of development to where it is truly capable of creating a world that reflects the high values and vision of Awakened consciousness. According to Wilber, true “Growing Up” has only become possible in perhaps the last 150 years, with what we now know from modern science and technology.

connecting the “Waking Up”, the deep inner knowledge, with the “Growing Up” —the determination to behave accordingly and build a world that reflects those profound inner values discovered by the inner spiritual work. The same is true of our own personal journey—reflecting the ancient’s saying “As above, so below”—the journey in which, just like for the world’s, your life is both “dreaming it” and “doing it”. So, let’s all both “dream it” and “do it!”. A Suggested Spiritual Practice for this Message Sat Kriya “Sat Kriya” is one of the oldest and time-tested Yoga Practices for Balancing, Elevating and Rebirth Sat Kriya from Karuna’s Yoga Manuals:

We could build that world that reflects “Waking Up” but it is a massive task—and yet one we must embrace. After the initial recognitions of Waking Up and Growing Up, Wilber and colleagues then added “Cleaning Up”, “Showing Up”, “Linking Up” and “Lifting Up”. In a publication for the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions, in Toronto, Canada, my Light on Light magazine defined them this way: Waking Up (to our divine nature, our full moral capacity), Growing Up (creating a world that reflects these heart values); Cleaning Up (healing, reconciliation, shadow work), Showing Up (activism and speaking truth to power), Linking Up (creating cooperative and synergetic work together) and Lifting Up (co-energizing and co-inspiring). Think about these in your own life. As you have probably realized, the whole world has to go through these steps. And it certainly has to begin with individuals, like you and me. This is the journey that is out ahead of you. And I’m confident you will learn this delicate mastery of what is known, and what is yet unknown, as you navigate your path. Again as the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing says: When you first begin you find only darkness, as it were a cloud of unknowing. You don’t know what this means except that in your Will you feel a simple steadfast intention reaching out toward Source. Reconcile yourself to wait in this darkness as long as is necessary, and still go on longing after It”. But we can do better than even the longing. We can step into the practice, confident that it will take us along step by step. Our tools for getting out of the rabbit hole—experiments, investigations, explorations, practices—are very specific, and they work! You’ll just need to acquire some tools and follow that “current” within you. Everything I have said above—about the journey, about the conscious and spiritual enterprise—applies to all the available tools as well. You will master them step by step. Just as with any other skill you have acquired in your life—be it in athletics, music, or career—these have come to you step by step and in each case the same steps apply: Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up. It seems to be one of the facts of our current Age that the inner knowledge from the ancients—as in the wisdom and techniques of Yoga—is meeting the scientific knowing of technology. Together they can create the world that the Heart wants to see. This is what is meant, at the global scale, by

Karuna sitting for Sat Kriya

In Sat Kriya you will combine a sitting position with a positioning of the joined and parallel outstretched, straight, arms moving up and down in a “pistonging” position. This motion is accompanied by a verbal chant of “Sat” and “Nam” as explained further below. Begin in Celibate Pose [aka Hero Pose, “Virasana”]. This is famous classical sitting post across all the Yogas. It differs from the other sitting poses in that in Celibate (Hero) Pose, one sits “between the feet”, the lower legs being placed on each side of the hips. This contrasts Easy Pose [sitting simple cross-legged], the three various cross-legged sitting poses noted just above and Rock Pose [sitting on the heels]. The outstretched, straight and interlaced arms are then to be moved upwards and downwards, outstretched from you, as you chant, repetitively “Sat Nam”, with “Sat” on the upward movement and “Nam” on the downward movement. You will note that “Sat” will pull in the navel, while “Nam” will relax the navel. Relaxation (Savasana)—Savasana. Begin in Corpse Pose, which is the most common lying down (supine) pose in Yoga. It refers both to the position itself and also to one of its most universal usages—for resting between or after Yoga Kriyas. In Corpse Pose one lies prostrate on the back, legs and arms extended outward slightly, as comfortable and with the head relaxed gently, straight or to the side, as comfortable. SAT NAM!


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

EXCERPT -- From the Light on Light Press We are so pleased to share this Excerpt from True Light: Ordinary People on the Extraordinary Spiritual Path of Sukyo Mahikari, by Leena Banerjee Brown PhD, with contributions by Roger L. Beck PhD. You can enjoy the video of the True Light Book Launch here. “A spiritual journey is essentially devoted to developing our genuine concern for others.” From the Foreword by H. H. The Dalai Lama. The Spiritual Role of the Family Unit1 Spiritual nurturance of the family and its next generations is precious divine work. As members of the human family, each and every one of us holds the store of virtue within our souls that fuels our potential for good. This is something we all share, no matter how deeply hidden it may sometimes be. It is our living, untapped common bond and legacy, and we can begin to tap into it much more actively and effectively as we integrate spirituality and the wisdom at its core in our daily lives. Our relationships with others can thereby grow in true care and respect. Our capacity for empathy is deeply wired, helping us turn toward each other in committed bonds and relationships. This capacity for empathy is first nurtured in the parent-child relationship. Our childhood builds the foundation of our socio-emotional intelligence and social life, while education offers the potential for further development. As we grasp the deeper meaning of our experiences and help those connected with us to understand our insights, we feel safe, seen, and mirrored. We are at home in a world of precious and loving relationships. The significance of early family relationships for human and societal well-being is well documented in the scientific literature. Riane Eisler, author of many books including the highly acclaimed The Chalice and the Blade, raises consciousness of childhood relations as one of the four cornerstones—along with gender equality, enlightened economics, and a collective narrative—in laying the foundation for a new form of democracy that flourishes through people partnering with one another. If we were to consider these four cornerstones deeply in terms of spiritual development, we would emphasize cultivating our capacities for love (in early childhood relationships), harmony (in gender equality), living true purpose (in enlightened economics), and communication (in collective narrative). As Riane Eisler notes, all too often these important facets of life are ignored while measurements like GNP and GDP, military and political dominance, and the quiet submission of poor and marginalized people are considered gauges of a society’s success. But Eisler’s four cornerstones of a caring democracy are much more aligned with the true peace spiritual development brings, not just measured by, but present in the visible manifestations of love, harmony, true purpose, and enhanced communication. Riane Eisler and I agree that a strong and healthy family unit is foundational to these goals. Light giving has allowed me an unexpected deep realization of the significance of family relationships and cultivation of the capacity to love and care by living closely, not only early in life, but throughout the lifespan. One evening I was walking by myself after receiving the first day of three days of teachings of the advanced Sukyo Mahikari course in the hot spring-rich, mountainous ancient town of Takayama in Japan. My spirit was soaring after a whole day of absorbing pure teachings at Suza. The evening air was fresh and clear as the Hida River gurgled by. High vibrations of pure love, harmony, and joy filled my heart, having been poured into me through the teachings of the advanced course all day. I was relishing the moment as I walked alone by the river. As I continued to reflect on the wisdom I had received throughout the day, thoughts of God-centered families in which family members lived closely together and nurtured each other’s spiritual development throughout the lifespan began arising within me. I could perceive that in such closely connected families, wisdom can flow naturally through the generations. Family functions of mutual learning and mutual support (of older to younger generations and younger to older generations) in fulfilling true life purpose can be naturally fulfilled throughout the lifespan. My vision had some similarities to my experience of the family in my childhood in India, but this new revelation that came to me as I walked along the river’s edge was much further developed and had the power and depth of a foundation of active, family spiritual practice. I began to see that the natural support systems of the intergenerational family unit have been largely dismantled with the advancing influence of materialism since the industrial era. It’s become the norm for offspring to move where the work is or where the money is. But more important than wealth or prestige, the strength of families can be reclaimed and strengthened on a foundation of spiritual development and divine principles. This approach builds spiritual connection with place—a sense of home—and deep roots in the family through which true purpose or mission is naturally fulfilled through divine arrangements. In my mind’s eye, I could clearly see the stability, strength, flourishment, and true happiness of healthy, God-centered or spirit-centered family systems reemerging. I reflected on my adult life, much of which has been lived half a world away from where I was born. My life’s path was unknowingly influenced by a partly material-centered family model arising from educational and institutional cultures of my time and level of consciousness. I thought of the teaching I had read in the Sukyo Mahikari prayer book on the cycle of life that says “God has arranged for all things in the universe to make progress by undergoing the processes of gathering and scattering, separating and uniting, and of prospering and declining.” I reflected on my growing children and the opportunity we now have to make a U-turn to a God-centered way of life. I was energized and uplifted by the divine wisdom I received. 1. Chapter 3, Generation of Light, pgs. 74-77 and pgs 107-108. 13

The next morning, during the second day of the advanced course, unbeknownst to me, teachings on the God-centered family were to be transmitted. That’s when I realized that I had experienced a preview of them the previous evening as I walked alone by the Hida River. I took this precious spiritual nourishment deeply to heart…. The Strength of the Intergenerational Family I see that the deep spiritual awareness we all have as human beings in infancy and early life can most naturally be kept alive and developed in our families by following any genuine spiritual practice in our daily lives. Through such practice, our childlike and childhood purity and power can be kept alive and grown in daily life through our closest relationships, which are some of our most significant God-given treasures. As we turn to these relationships as the valuable life foundation they are, they can be oriented to fulfilling their spiritual, sacred purpose of growing spiritually together. For such fulfillment, daily spiritual practice and face-to-face interactions are necessary, as is the continual effort to elevate innermost attitudes to serve God in the world. When worldly, material knowledge and pursuit are built upon a living spiritual foundation, divine wisdom guides our conscious, discerning engagement and contributions in the world and are in tune with God. This is vital for naturally flourishing in our world today and in the future and for the evolution of our personal lives, fields, and systems in society. For such great change and spiritual upliftment of all human beings and society, intergenerational families are a strong, natural unit. This is the precious vision I was allowed to experience as I walked by the Hida river in Takayama, Japan......

Karuna, Host editor of Light on Light

New Mantra Album Dedicated to Karuna Kundalini Yoga Mantras (of Sikh Dharma). This album is dedicated to my beloved Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher Caroline Ashley aka Karuna Ji. It wouldn’t be possible for me to find inspiration and compose those sacred mantras without her transformative class, light and wisdom and extraordinary guidance on Kundalini Yoga and meditation practices. ~ Orçun

FURTHER INVITATION We invite you to also enjoy Light on Light Press’s event for 2021 World Unity Week which shared about all of Light on Light Press’s books, magazines and media. The Light on Light Press’s program for World Unity Week is here.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

YOGIC PSYCHOLOGY By Daaji Have you ever tried to understand psychology through Yoga? Yoga is a vast science of the physical body, the mind and the soul, and here Daaji explains the fundamental basis of yogic psychology, which was first compiled by Patanjali in his text, the Yoga Sutras. This article is the first in a series on yogic psychology by Daaji, exploring the human mind and the various common mental tendencies and imbalances. In these articles, Daaji also provides the solutions for mental well-being. Today many people are plagued by depression, mental disturbance, anxiety and distress, as a result of our complex societies, urban lifestyles, breakdown of relationships, and unnatural way of living that is out of sync with the circadian rhythms that are hardwired in our physiology. Circadian rhythms determine our optimal sleep and feeding patterns. Even the metabolism of our cellular energy follows the rhythm of the circadian clock. If we don’t follow natural rhythms, our cellular energy levels decline, as the mitochondrial network is impaired. As a result, lifestyles with irregular daily rhythms have been linked with various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. When we are swimming upstream against the current, when we choose a lifestyle that is out of sync with natural cycles, our system suffers. Patanjali is famous today for giving us Ashtanga Yoga, the eight limbs that define the path of Yoga, and these are beautifully expounded in chapters 2 and 3 of his Yoga Sutras. But Yoga offers much more that is of great benefit to the world, and this is especially true in the field of psychology. If we start at the very beginning of chapter 1 of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali starts by explaining what Yoga is: 1.1 Atha yoga anushasanam Now, after prior preparation, comes the discipline of Yoga. 1.2 Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah Yoga is the cessation of all the modifications of the mind in the field of consciousness. What does Patanjali mean by prior preparation? Generally, we enter the path of Yoga after we become totally frustrated with our minds as they are. We reach a point where perhaps we have had some major failures in life, when someone says, “Do Yoga to regain your health,” or when we are tired of being addicted to two things – the hopes and expectations we have for the future and the entanglements that bind us to our past. We no longer want to be slaves of the weight of the past. This very human need to divest the burdens of the mind is the base of many forms of self-improvement, including western psychology. This instinct to free the mind and heart of burdens has been at the foundation of religion, philosophy, ethics, psychology, and also creative art forms like dance, music and painting. Patanjali tells us that when we are really ready for Yoga, discipline is required, and what is discipline? Discipline means to be a disciple, and for that the most important pre-requisite is an attitude of willingness and openness to learn, to be a student, to accept that “I don’t know,” and I need help. It requires craving to know the truth, receptivity, humility and a sense of wonder. A disciple remains a restless seeker, seeking to understand the mysteries of the Universe. Without this attitude of discipleship, there is no discipline of Yoga. This is one of the reasons why all the great sages of the past and present have praised humility, insignificance and innocence. These qualities allow our consciousness to remain flexible and open. Like little children, we return to purity, letting go of all the modifications of the mind. And what are these modifications of the mind? Patanjali’s descriptions and scientific codification of our mental processes are broader in nature than modern behavioral sciences and psychology, for one very important reason: because Yoga starts with the baseline of mental well-being, the balanced mental state, the original condition – not with mental illness. There is no need for interpretation or analysis of this mental state. It can be perceived by direct experience, scientifically, as a vibration-less state. It is the pure state of no-vibration that lies at the center of our existence, beyond consciousness. This pure state is Patanjali’s definition of Yoga, the ultimate state of stillness we aspire to experience. It was the starting point of our whole existence, before creation, and it is our end point. 15


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga Patanjali then goes on to explore the reasons why modifications and related vibrations arise in our field of consciousness – anything that takes us away from that state of mental balance and stillness. Mental modifications exist in all of us. While the details vary from one individual to another, the types of variations are part of the human condition. We can call them psychological deviations because they pull us away from that state of stillness at our spiritual center, the soul. The process of refining and transcending these modifications is what Yoga is all about, as we gradually elevate the mind and go beyond the mind. A pure field of consciousness is still – well, almost still – with just the baseline activity of existence, and the soul is happy when we regain that balanced state, as we do in deep sleep. In contrast, the interplay of senses, thoughts, feelings and tendencies draw us out into the world of experience and activity, creating various energetic patterns in our minds. The soul is also happy with movement, provided there is purity and lightness, and constant fluidity between underlying stillness and activity. So, in Yoga we do two things: 1.

Turn the attention inwards to stillness, and


Refine our outward mental activity so that our thoughts and activities are conducive to evolution, happiness and balance.

We cannot stay in total stillness all the time or we would be dead, and Yoga is also all about skill in action. So how to bring stillness into activity? I have written about this in an earlier article on ‘The Stillness Paradox.’ This combination of stillness and activity brings peace and joy, which is the quality of the soul. When the waves of the vrittis settle so we are calm, as happens during meditation, we see our true nature, and then we can externalize this reality in all our activities. The modifications start out as natural, normal functions of the human mind, the vrittis. They are the whirlpools or vibrational patterns that are created in the field of consciousness as a result of living, feeling and thinking. Patanjali describes five of them: right thinking, wrong thinking, imagination, sleep and memory. As a result of these patterns in the subtle field of consciousness, our neural pathways develop cognates or patterns that are hardwired into the nervous system, and repeatedly over time they result in behavioral habits and tendencies. What starts out as vibrational patterns in the subtle body’s field of consciousness, goes on to affect the mind, our behavior, our nervous system, and eventually all our other physical functions. The next step in this process is when the vrittis develop colorings, altering our perception and leading to confused thinking and a ‘colored’ or distorted view of reality. We no longer refer back to the center of our being, our soul, as the guiding light, and instead start using the mental faculties on their own without the heart’s superior guidance. We are now one dimension removed from the source of wisdom, and this is accompanied by a tendency to think things through, rather than feel what is right in any situation. These colorings or mental impurities are known as kleshas, and Patanjali also describes five of them: ignorance as a result of veiling reality, mine-ness or egotism, attachment and addiction, aversion and repulsion, and clinging to life through fear of death. As these mental patterns become hardened over time, they eventually become obstacles to our overall well-being and distract us from succeeding in both worldly and spiritual pursuits. Patanjali describes nine such obstacles, which are known as the vikshepas: illness and disease, mental laziness and dullness, dilemma and indecision, carelessness and haste, laziness and sloth, inability to abstain, false perception, failure to attain the next stage on the journey, and failure to maintain that stage. I would like to add three more to Patanjali’s list of vikshepas, which are relevant in the modern context: guilt and shame, fear of missing out (FOMO), and digital distraction. Accompanying these obstacles are symptoms that are the expressions of the perturbed mental state we have created by moving so far away from our balanced center of stillness. These symptoms are the five vighnas: physical and mental pain, despair and depression, trembling and nervousness, and irregular breathing – both inhalation and exhalation (including panic attacks). We will explore all these mental modifications that Patanjali describes, as well as some of the practices that help us transcend them. Yoga is actually the science of the inner being, and Patanjali was a research scientist of the highest caliber. His description of the mental modifications in the Yoga Sutras is in fact the first written codified treatise on psychology, and as such deserves its due recognition. While Patanjali described and codified the process of developing mental complexity and illness, and the need to return to a simple pure state of consciousness, he did not offer us the most effective practical methods to remove these complexities and return to simplicity. Neither did anyone else until the 1940s, when Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur provided the world with a set of simple, effective practices to reach the pinnacle of human existence. They are available to everyone, everywhere, free of charge, and are known as the Heartfulness practices. This has revolutionized Yoga to an incredible extent: first as a means to find balance and happiness in daily life, and second as a means to fulfill a human potential that goes far beyond our day-to-day worldly life. The development of these simple practices has provided a significant evolution in the field of Yoga during the last century. Adapted from “Introduction to Yogic Psychology,’ Heartfulness Magazine, Reprinted with permission.

Kamlesh Patel is the world teacher of Heartfulness, and the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. He oversees Heartfulness centers and ashrams in over 130 countries and guides the thousands of certified Heartfulness trainers who are permitted to impart Yogic Transmission under his care. Known to many as Daaji, he is also an innovator and researcher, equally at home in the inner world of spirituality and the outer world of science, blending the two into transcendental research on the evolution of consciousness, and expanding our understanding of the purpose of human existence to a new level.


By Yogmata

Importance of a Connection with GOD during an Era with Uncertain Prospects

People strive restlessly to create something better, while fighting against nature, to achieve a convenient life. Within this context, a new virus crisis arose, vaccines were developed, and now they are proceeding to vaccinate whole populations. There are always conflicts in life. And people try to survive by enhancing their resistance. 対象を見つけ、どちらが勝つか、戦い抜き、鎧をつけてきました。すべてが戦いで す。人類の遺産は戦いなのかです。 もっと本当の生き方があるはずです。愛があり叡智があり、生命力があふれる生き方 です。それが本来あるべき本当の姿です。その自分を目覚めさせるのです。 みんな便利さを求めものに依存して、人それぞれが持っている力を消耗し、使い果た してきました。やがて希望を失い、先が見えず、不安です。常に不安が奥深くにある のです。今こそもっと自分の奥深くの本当の力を目覚めさせるのです。ヒマラヤ聖者 はそれを知っています。その力を目覚めさせることを知っています。 People have put on some armour, found a target, and then fought either to win or lose. Everything is about the fight. The history of humans is conflict. People seek convenience, become addicted to material things and in doing so become exhausted, wear out their power, lose hope and worry about an uncertain future. They always hold worries within. On the other hand, there is a true way of living; living with love and wisdom in order for the life force to spring forth. We awaken this version of the self. Now is the time to awaken your true power which resides deep within yourself. The Himalayan Great Saints know how to. Since ancient times, people have felt in awe of an invisible and unknown power and named it GOD. They have lived trusting GOD and praying to GOD to realize their wishes and have hope. Meanwhile, in this rapidly changing modern society, people have created various things to be enjoyed, creatively used their body and mind, fought against and conquered nature, and expressed this through the power of the body and mind. そこにあるのはもちろん神の力なのです。しかし人は錯覚をして、それをあたかも自 分の力であるとおごりになり、神の存在を忘れて、心と体に固執してそれを、外側に 作り出したものに依存して戦い続けているのです。それは自然ではなく人工的なもの であり、そこにいろいろな戦いが生まれているのです。そしてひずんで疲弊してきて いるのです。そして誰も目に見えない力を信じず、人のなかに眠る神秘の力の引き出 し方を知らないのです。 Of course, GOD’s power still exists there, but people have become delusional as if it is their own power. They have become arrogant and forgotten about GOD. They hold on to their body and mind and depend on what they have created on the outside. This is not natural but artificial and it leads to various conflict. People have become distorted and exhausted. They can neither trust the invisible power nor recognize how to release the mysterious power asleep within. Some try to release it through faith, but in many cases, it is not real, but just an idea or an image, which they act upon and come to trust through their own assumptions. They have not encountered the real though. These things are conveyed by one’s own values. So as, they cannot see the truth nor the essence, they just view the world through glasses colored by their values and this leads to misunderstandings. This occurs because there is no person who has achieved Samadhi and become one with GOD. Since ancient times, Himalayan saints have not merely created, but also trained and strived to discover the source and the essence. And on achieving this, they become one with it. It is not an assumption, they have transformed and become one with it. In this way, the Himalayan saints have opened the path to the real thing. This esotericism transcends secretly in order to avoid it being conveyed to a selfish or rogue person. It is truly a teaching coupled with practical training, which has the power to enable transformation of our body and mind, awaken the mysterious power within us and lead us to the essence. You require an enlightened master to guide you on your quest to discover the mysterious power and what you have within. You need the blessing from a master. This method was developed by enlightened masters. あなたは誰なのか、あなたは無限の存在、神から分かれた存在であり、あなたが、今 まで心を使い。いろいろなものを作り出した、その力も創造主の力の一部なのです。 しかしそれを間違えて自分のもの、あるいは、それは戦って得ていき常にそこに疑い が生じ、競争が生じ、怒りや、ジェラシーが生じて、摩擦が生じ葛藤が生じて、作る いっぽうそれはエゴの産物であり、正しく作ったり、正しく使ったりできていないの です。そしてその力は混乱を招き、争いをさらに引き出しているのです。 18

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga Who you are is an unlimited being, derived by GOD. What you have created using your mind is also a part of the power of the Creator. However, people misunderstand it to be their own power and own belonging. Or they fight to obtain things, hold on to doubts, competition, anger and jealousy, and so create conflict. Then, they continue to create things which derive from their egos. But they can neither create them properly nor use them in the right way. Then, this power generates confusion and attracts further conflict. Now is the time to learn how to live, in this deeply chaotic era with COVID-19. Receiving pure and great power from The Being of The Essence, you will be able to use the power properly, further release of unnecessary things, and become aware of the truth. You will realize your essence, who you are, and enhance your consciousness to dedicate to humanity. Now the path is open to you to learn to use this power properly and become a great person. This is the path to enlightenment. Have faith, connect to good energy and trust it, then you can draw power from the essence. こうしたことをその段階を追った修行ガイドによって行っていきます。さらにそれを最速でよいエネルギ ー^をいただけるようにしていくのです。あなたは生活の中で秘法をいただき実践していきます。そして 心身の曇りを取り、信仰心をもって神秘の力を引き出します。そのことであなたの心配の心は薄まるので す。不安の心は薄まります。そして最高の希望をもって生きることができます。、この不安の世の中を叡 智と、愛と、生命力をもって生きていくのです。その生き方は自分のための生き方ではないのです。人々 を救いながら調和して生きていきます。 Receive initiation of this esoteric method, practice it to clear the clouds from your body and mind and bring out mysterious power through faith. Progressing with them, your concerns will be lightened, and you will live your life with great hope. Proceed with your life, in this unstable world, with wisdom, love and life-force. This way of living is not just for yourself. Live your life helping others and harmonizing with them. As you foster compassion, you can heal people around you. So become compassion itself, become God. Do not live a life with restless desires of mind or agonies from not fulfilling your desires. Accept what you have now. And transform this world from one of conflict to one of peace. You will be able to live your life along with healing others and bringing peace to them. It is a different way of living from the one you previously had. In the past, you have attracted and attached to various things in order to protect yourself. But it was just like putting on armour. The way of living which I teach is different as it enables you to find your quality completely, enables you to be reborn and then to proceed along this path. For that, trust in the being which makes you alive. GOD gives the power of life to you. GOD is life. God is true love. And God is wisdom. It truly exists and enables us to live. It is nature’s law and the law of the universe. You can experience it and you will encounter the truth. The power of Himalayan saints can awaken the great power of GOD which normally sleeps within us. And it is a practical program. In old times people believed in GOD. They trusted in their GOD. And also Buddha and Jesus, who had experienced it, preached the importance of having faith. Now, it is not only to trust, but also to awaken the power asleep within you in an active way. Become one with it and draw on this power. For this, to start requires faith. そして、あなたは究極の悟りへの道を進むのです。それは多大な希望をもつことができます。この不安な 世界は常に繰り返されます。あなたが今構築した便利の世の中もいつまで続くかわからないのです。何が どう転ぶかよいほうの時もあるし悪い時もあります。常に一進一退があります。景気が良かったり、悪か ったりというものです。あなたはそうした環境の変化に影響されずあなたの命を全うするのです。神につ ながりまた神になっていく道を歩めることは奇跡です。この社会に唯一最高の希望をもたらしていくこと ができるのです。私との出会いであなたは何物にも負けない不動の人となることができます。 あなたの幸せを祈っています。 Then, proceed along the path to supreme enlightenment. It will enable you to have great hope. As this unstable world always repeats, no one knows how long this convenient living that has been developed will last. When things turn around, they are sometimes good and sometimes bad. There are always ups and downs such as when the economy is good or bad. However, you will not get affected by these changes, but simply live your life until the end. It is a miracle that you receive an opportunity to connect with GOD, while progressing on the path to become GOD. You can also provide great hope to society. Having encountered me, Yogmata, you will be able to become the person not to fail and become a steadfast person. Pray for your happiness. Yogmata ヨグマタのプロフィールを載せてください。

Yogmata, Keiko Aikawa, is the first and only woman, as well as only foreigner, ever to become a Siddha Master; attaining the ultimate stage of Meditation and Yoga (samadhi) through harsh ascetic training in the Himalayas. Between 1991 and 2007, she performed eighteen public viewings of samadhi, throughout India, to attest to the truth and promote world peace. She regularly holds lectures and meditation guidance workshops all over the world. In June 2016, she was invited, as a special guest, to the UN headquarters to celebrate the International Day of Yoga and has since given keynote speeches and guidance of meditation, at other UN events, in October 2016 and May 2017.


EQUANIMITY IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL By Philip Goldberg When I was a young, discombobulated seeker, Chapter 2 verse 38 of the Bhagavad Gita hit me with the power of revelation. Krishna, representing the voice of divine wisdom, tells the warrior Arjuna to perform his duty with “equanimity in gain and loss, victory and defeat, pleasure and pain.” I was still a student, but the cyclone of the 1960s had me feeling like a worn-out old man, and the possibility of maintaining calmness, stability, and equilibrium through life’s ups and downs sounded awfully good to me. Was it really possible? Well, the yogic teachings I was investigating said it definitely was. Okay, count me in. I didn’t know the term at the time, but achieving that equanimity became my sankalpa, my intent, as I stepped with youthful exuberance onto my yogic spiritual path. I was on board for Enlightenment and Self-Realization and all the other noble aspirations the wise ones had described, but on the way, I thought, just give me some of that equanimity in gain and loss, victory and defeat, pleasure and pain and I’ll be a satisfied little yogi. I took up Transcendental Meditation, added a routine of asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) to my daily practice, and went on weekend retreats whenever I could. Before too long, I noticed that I had what I’d hoped for—or so it seemed. I was discernably calmer, more at ease, happier, and more clear-minded. It did not seem unreasonable to assume that the arc of transformation would continue in the same direction and life would get better and better. Imagine my surprise. Inevitably, stuff hit the fan. Now and again, I was shocked to find my inner peace disrupted by aggravation, rage, fear, anxiety, confusion, heartache, or some other intruder. Where’d my equanimity go? Can I have it back, please? It took me a while to learn that I’d made two mistakes. The first was to subconsciously interpret that Gita passage to mean that a time would come— quickly, I’d convinced myself—when I would experience no more loss, defeat, or pain. That the promise wasn’t the complete absence of those circumstances but equanimity when they happen somehow didn’t register. Yoga is a pragmatic set of principles and practices, and the sages knew that for embodied beings there’s no such thing as life without loss, defeat, or pain. But, they assured us, yogis can cultivate the capacity to remain internally calm, stable, and serene even when buffeted by the slings and arrows of outrageous human existence. 20

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga My other misunderstanding was to expect the graph of progress toward that vaunted state to move in a consistent, ever-upward direction, like a chart of population growth or the profits of a hugely successful company. In fact, as any veteran yogi would testify, the line of development does trend upward, but not at a steady rate and not without dips, plateaus, and tough learning experiences along the way. In due time I realized that, despite the exhilarating ups and disappointing downs, I had in fact made steady progress. I was more likely to maintain a decent of equanimity in the midst of turmoil than I had been in the past. Far from consistent, but my odds had definitely improved. I would lose that inner balance at times, but when I did—as I still do, incidentally, just ask my wife—I bounced back fairly quickly. These days we call it resilience, and it turns out that the ability to regain a measure of equilibrium after a stressful upset is an established finding in research on meditation and other yogic practices. I offer this personal history in the hope that readers will be spared the lessons I had to learn the hard way. Here’s the takeaway: Yogic practices work. When done correctly and regularly their benefits are felt immediately, and they grow incrementally and cumulatively—albeit sometimes it we seem to take backward steps and sometimes the progress seems imperceptible. I can think of no better formula for getting anchored internally when we’re tossed around by the raging winds of change, chaos, and unpredictable catastrophes—whether small or large, personal or collective—than to develop a repertoire of yogic practices we can do on our own, in the comfort of our homes. The rationale is simple. The serenity of pure Silence is already within us, at the core of our being. To quote myself in Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times, “The sanctuary of perfect peace is your inherent nature. It is your true Self, abiding above, beneath, beyond, and within the personality you normally think of as ‘me’ and ‘I’—the one that walks, talks, and acts through the singular form called your body. It is what T. S. Eliot called ‘the still point of the turning world.’ It is the Self of all selves, and it is closer than your breath, nearer than your heartbeat.” Access to the sturdy fortress of the Self is obscured by habit, past experience, conditioning, ignorance, and other impediments. The methods of yoga purify the apparatus of awareness and eliminate the obstacles that block the open gate to what already exists. Hence, the answer to “How do we cultivate inner peace in the midst of life’s turmoil” is the same as the punch line to the old joke about the tourist in New York who asks a passerby how to get to Carnegie Hall. The answer? “Practice, practice, practice.” That’s why sadhana, regular spiritual practice, is the key to living a full, Self-actualizing life. These days, with an unprecedented treasure trove of yogic techniques available online and (as we tiptoe carefully out of the pandemic) in person as well, it is easier than ever to investigate the options. I encourage everyone to explore widely and deeply. Build up an inventory of practices you can do safely on your own—perhaps a sequence of asanas that suit your physical capacity and condition, some simple, calming pranayama techniques, and a method of deep meditation that gives you reliable access to the silence at the core of your Being. Lean toward offerings with a proven track record and teachers from reputable lineages. Experiment. Mix and match. Trust but verify. Learn what works for you and what doesn’t. And keep adding to your pantry items you can draw from at a moment’s notice, when you need to restore the stillness. In sorting through the marketplace, employ the yogic virtue of viveka, discernment, and the universal asset of patience. Give yourself enough time to see if the practices you’re checking out affect your life for the better. And be patient with yourself as well. We can crave equanimity so much that we try to force it, or we fake it, or we berate ourselves for not achieving enough of it—and any of that will disturb whatever inner peace we’ve acquired. We all develop at our own pace. We can aspire to the highest and, at the same time, gratefully accept where we are at any point along the way and behave authentically. I was present once when a guru was asked if it takes a long time to achieve full Awakening. His answer: “Only if you’re in a hurry.”

Philip Goldberg is an acclaimed author and public speaker whose numerous books include the award-winning American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West; Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path: Living at the Heart of Paradox; and his new book, a comprehensive biography of Paramahansa Yogananda titled The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru. A meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister, he is also the cohost of the popular Spirit Matters podcast and leads American Veda Tours to India. His website is


Establishing True Well-Being By Sadhguru, Isha Foundation In pursuit of human wellbeing, much has been done on this planet; especially in the last hundred years with the use of science and technology, we have done so much to create human well-being. With this, definitely much comfort and convenience has come our way. But at the same time, we cannot claim we are the most joyful generation on the planet; we cannot claim we are the most peaceful generation on the planet, nor, can we claim we are most loving generation on the planet. Never before, another generation could even dream of these kinds of conveniences and comforts; but has humanity become really well?

On one level, every human being is trying to expand the scope of his life, on another level he is setting this impossible condition unless the world is running the way I want it to be, I cannot be happy. This is a no-win situation. You must be ready to live with this, that you will constantly keep working towards something, but, it never really happens.

For this I think, looking at India would be little unfair because still there are, there is a large population which is, even the basic needs have not been met. But if you look at the western societies, for example today United States which is standing as an example of ultimate success in terms of economics and whatever, over 40% of the people are on some kind of psychological medication to keep themselves balanced. Anti-depressants are consumed by over 40% of the people. The outside has been sufficiently fixed, but human beings are not well because we took care of the outside, we never bothered to take care of the inside.

The outside will not happen your way, but this must happen 100% your way. Only then there is stability for this human being. For that, you just have to do a few right things about yourself.

If you look at yourself and see when you really feel well, it is when there is pleasantness in your body, pleasantness in your mind, pleasantness in your emotion and there is also an energy, if there is pleasantness in the energy. So being pleasant in the body is generally referred to as health and pleasure. When you feel pleasant in your mind we call it peace and joy. When you feel pleasant in your emotions we call this love and compassion. When you feel pleasant in your energies we call this blissfulness and ecstasy. If these things are happening within you to whatever extent possible you feel well. So right now this wellness is coming only when you achieve something. Twenty-four hours of the day you cannot be achieve something. It can happen only once in a way. That is not good enough. All these striving, everything that man has done on this planet is in search of human wellbeing. A lot has happened, but human well-being is not happening because we have not paid any attention to the inward. Fixing the outside will only bring comfort and convenience, which is necessary; but well-being will happen only when you fix the inside. As you understand unless you do the right things outside it will not work, unless you do the right things within it will not work.

So does it mean you cannot be well? No. But your well-being should not be linked to the outside. Only when you are well by your own nature then you can function very efficiently with the outside world also.

So is there a way to create an inner situation? Yes. As there is a science and technology to create external situations the way we want it, we have a whole science and technology to create inner situations the way we want it. As we have engineered the world the way we want it, we can also engineer our interiority the way we want it. If this doesn’t happen, we will function by accident. Why are people getting stressed out, burnt out - is simply not because of the nature of your work. Stress is your inability to manage your own system; but have we invested any time at all to manage our inner systems? If you do not do this, you will function by accident. I request everybody to take this up in your life. If you really want to bring quality into your life and to perpetuate that quality into life around you, the first and foremost thing that you need to do is that you establish your inner realities in a certain way, with a certain stability that what is within you, your mind, your emotion, your system does not go through upheavals to face challenges of life. Only when there are no inner upheavals, only when there are no inner issues, you can handle the outside issues well. So, if you truly want to enhance the quality of your life, you have to take this step and be willing to invest a little bit of time for your inner wellbeing. If this is done, you will see a remarkable change in the way you function. The necessary technology is there – I call it Inner Engineering, the peak of well-being.

As long as your well-being is subject to and enslaved to external situation, you being well is going to be accidental because nobody has 100% control over the outside situations. Whoever you may be, however powerful you are, you do not have 100% control over the outside situation. Even if you are just two people in the family, do you have total control over the situation? So, if any time outside things do not happen the way you think they should happen, the chances of you being well are very remote. Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan”, India’s highest annual civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service. 22

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (“Alfredo”) The Power of Transmission is an essential trait of this new millennium. In these unexpected and ever changing times, there are powerful and enlightened transformations emanating from this Power of Transmission. No matter who originates change, the impacts are felt instantly everywhere in our planet. We are totally interdependent and inter-connected; thus, everyone and everything affects all human beings, sentient beings and nature.

“Metta Consciousness, the Power of Transmission, and Human Transformation”

The Power of Transmission is growing because the planet has no frontiers any longer. This has become so relevant that ‘positive increments’ in this power are advocated as an index of a higher level of human progress. Media refers to it as the communication’s revolution. But, is it really? Today, it might be considered a ‘revolution’ while not all that is transmitted really ends up in human progress. In a situation like this, what should the essential ingredients be, so that such a revolution becomes a net contribution to a meaningful human transformation and progress? The Power of Transmission has led to an instantaneous way of life. “It is now or never.” As a child, I had to wait for months before receiving a book purchased in another country. Today, many companies offer a ‘one-day delivery’ anywhere on the planet. To this instantaneous way of life, we must add a deep inner feeling that “the pace of change is going much faster than in the past” or that “we hear the clock ticking!” Whether or not time is going faster, it all depends on our understanding of, and how we experience, reality. Today, it is very easy to transmit everything: “the good, the bad and the ugly”. The Power of Transmission has a key spatial dimension. In the past, conflicts were fought with sticks and stones. None of them reached our homes. There was little or no Power of Transmission. Today, conflicts are fought with weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological weapons. Every possible consequence from the use of these weapons reaches everyone’s home. Similarly, diseases used to spread slowly but, today, people witness how we are paralyzed by COVID-19. This major spread of the health pandemic surges, in part, from destroying the planet’s essential ecological buffer zones (natural forests) through urban encroachment. Similarly, we witness the impacts of global warming, water shortages, progressive desertification, economic crises, violations of rights, weak global governance, sub-standard multilateral system, disempowerment of communities, etc. ‘What’ drives these transmissions? ‘How’ do we position ourselves in the face of those transmissions –e.g., as victims or architects? ‘Where’ do we move our individual and collective awareness, and focus our efforts, to avoid the perils of negative transmissions? The Power of Transmission influenced the path of my profession as a “Natural Resources Economist.” Earliest in my career, I spent lots of time on the “WHAT” of an environmental phenomenon (e.g., pollution, soil erosion, biodiversity depletion, desertification, and climate change). I aimed at ‘transmitting widely’ the nature, scope and implications of those phenomena, to raise awareness and modify human behavior. The ‘WHAT” demanded me the best possible understanding of nature, environmental challenges, and their potential impacts (e.g., human physical, emotional and mental imbalances). The aim was to understand fully nature’s driven causes responsible for those negative outcomes (e.g., water shortages, soil erosion, low crop yields). After almost two decades focusing on nature as a cause of environmental change, I realized I was not having the types of impacts on human-collective-behavior


indispensable to attain environmental sustainability. Nor, was I getting closer to address the true reasons of environmental deterioration. I tried to strengthen my efforts by bringing to the fore the relationships between “the state of the environment” and economics (money, expenditures), politics (power seeking), institutions (laws, rules, and rights), and social (individual and collective incentives and behaviors). In sum, just transmitting the potential implications of pollution on human welfare was not a powerful driver in changing human behavior. Pursuing just the ‘WHAT’ did not give a complete picture of different transmissions. There was a need to go beyond that. The Power of Transmission was enhanced by moving from the ‘WHAT’ to the ‘WHO’ (e.g., “who pollutes”). This shift rested on the belief that transmission will be more effective by showing that nature was not the only driver of what we observed. It was essential to bring-in “the human factor”. Today, this may sound as a trivial shift, long overdue. However, my experience showed that a shift to the ‘WHO’ required a transcendental alteration in the inquiry, as it opened a space for the assignment of ultimate responsibilities. The paradigm shift demanded to make explicit ‘who drove change.’ Who polluted. Holistically speaking, was nature or us who drove change and its consequences? The ‘rubber hit the road’ when I began to put “a face” and “a name” behind the ‘WHO’: the person or company responsible for a given environmental outcome (e.g., pollution). Getting into the ‘WHO’ was not trivial because it was considered “politically incorrect.” The complexities associated to a shift to the ‘WHO’ were clearly shown in the debate about the causes of global warming and climate change. In 1978, I stated that global warming was a human-driven phenomenon. I was told by the establishment that “global warming was a nature-driven phenomenon”; “we are just experiencing another nature’s climate cycle”. This part of my career lasted a couple of years. As I gained experience, I realized why the ‘WHO’ caused so much trouble; i.e., it would lead to (i) formal assignment of responsibilities and obligations demanding concrete compensation, (ii) change the existing property rights system, (iii) redesign production processes, (iv) curve down over-consumption, (v) shift comparative advantage, (vi) stop the concentration of wealth and power, (vii) question our style of life... I found no political commitment to address the ‘WHO”. The Power of Transmission was shifted from the ‘WHO pollutes’ to the ‘WHY do people pollute?’ It is here, addressing this question, where I want to remain for the rest of my material and spiritual life. The ‘WHY’ enables us to learn much more about the fundamentals of transmission; opens spaces to a totally new paradigm embracing a humane, spiritual, compassionate and sustainable planet; unfolds what truly drives transmission and change; and focuses on many different planes of human reality (gross and subtle mindset) going far beyond the material plane of life. The Power of Transmission, and its potential effectiveness, must not be treated as a ‘marketing strategy’, without going deeper into the foundations of the mind, the formation of mindsets, and the subtle dynamics of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’. Otherwise, this power will become a major source of inner pollution. It is not just about messages, or bombarding our minds and emotions. It is about attaining the highest levels of unity between our collective consciousness and the consciousness of all expressions of life. This I call the Metta Consciousness, which enables unity (oneness) of all consciousness. Metta Consciousness must become the foundation of The Power of Transmission. The ultimate foundation of transmission is the uprising of both human consciousness and nature consciousness. This means to embrace all meaningful interactions between human consciousness and nature consciousness. Nature as a live entity. Transmission must not be separated from nature. When we self-realize that human and nature consciousness (Metta) are the drivers of transmission, we would be able to address the outer and inner nature of change--the outer and inner ecology of life. The Law of Correspondence—i.e., the outer is like the inner and the inner is like the outer upholds the fundamental framework. The outer mirrors the inner: ‘outer’ pollution is born from ‘inner’ pollution (e.g., fear, stress, toxicity, greed, anger, attachment). Thus, “global warming is the outcome of our inner warming as a human race.” And, we transmit this pollution. A polluted ‘inner ecology’ enhances transmission through negative incentives rather than through positive ones. Social Media knows how negative news travel faster! Metta Consciousness is the essence of a new paradigm of consciousness. It is the road to the new future of all forms of transmission. This is not trivial in an individualistic and materialistic world. This paradigm transcends the immediate material dimensions of all forms of life and addresses the real drivers of human transformation. Also, it enables us to recognize the path towards the ultimate causes of transmission and human change and transformation: human consciousness (the inner) and nature consciousness (the outer). Meaningful interactions between these consciousness nurture “Metta Consciousness.” The consciousness of Oneness. Metta Consciousness establishes new cognitive experiences and constructs the type of mindsets needed to heal the planet and ourselves, and to attain the highest levels of material and spiritual welfare. Metta Consciousness as the union of human consciousness and nature consciousness will become the determinant factor defining the content and quality of all processes of human transformation. The fundamental grounds for sustainable planetary prosperity rest on Metta Consciousness.

Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, PH.D.)is a Chilean economist, with a PhD in natural resources economics (U. of Wisconsin, USA) and spiritual leader who understand that spirituality must be in the public domain: sustainable development, human rights, politics, economics, and citizenship. He devotes his life to the healing of our planet for world peace. Former Director and Special Representative of the World Bank to the UN (1996-2003). Candidate to the Presidency of Chile in 2013 and UN representative for the Lama Ganchen World Peace Foundation 24

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Practice to Peace By Sandra Simon As one who naturally prefers to steadily waltz with Shiva in the sustaining portion of His cosmic dance, it takes me awhile to adjust to a different cadence, the sudden, sometimes jarring, dips and twirls as God’s feet transition into dissolution. I’m one who likes to be in the thick middle of the Bible, away from Genesis and Revelation, highly enjoying the dull routine of “ordinary time” from the church pew. My grandparents always said, “She likes a good rut,” meaning that I enjoy traveling in deep tracks worn into solid earth by repeat traffic, and they were absolutely on point in their assessment. I do relish a good routine that gives the temporal illusion of permanent constancy and fosters the emotions of stability associated therewith; it just makes life easier to organize and to manage systematically. However, lately, I’ve had to adjust. I think that all of us have, after the amount of change and “newness” thrust upon us globally in 2020. There is nothing like a pandemic and political and social upheaval to make you appreciate, if not pine for, a steady and upright apple cart, provided the cart is full of good apples (although, sadly, some do prefer rotten apples as well, i.e., the “devil they know”). So, we have dealt with change and uncertainty. Some of us have faced deeper economic and personal health issues than we have previously. Emotionally, there have been levels of anger and fear driving us into tighter and tighter constriction and contraction, physically and emotionally. All of us have been through the ringer in one way or another, pressed into a flat version of ourselves and wondering how to get back into a form that we recognize, a version that contains joy. I hear the question often: Will there ever be another mask-free time of calm, peace and normalcy? Sure, there will be. It is the nature of the universe and Shiva’s dance...creating, sustaining, destroying. It is just a matter of time until the next shift. But, can we afford to wait until the next song plays that will bring us out of “destruction” and into creation or perhaps a steady 1-2-3 rhythm? I would offer that we don’t need to wait, and perhaps, that trying to “sit this one out” may not be our best course of action. Finding true peace goes beyond the emotional craving and anticipatory waiting for another “good rut.” If all we do is white-knuckle it from one lull to the next, we aren’t really at peace, and that is not what the divine intends for us. If it was, this earthly plane would not have been gifted with all of the master spiritual teachers that have helped us to go within to find the divine in our deepest hearts and to recognize the like divinity in the world around us. If we were not intended to rediscover our connection to the divine and the path back to moksha, heaven, luminous emptiness, etc., we would not have been given spiritual practices, tangible navigation methods to spiritual freedom. We would be just human beings having undecipherable spiritual experiences, not “spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin). Truly, what would the purpose of The Holy Spirit/Maha Kundalini Shakti/ Windhorse be? We would not need a divine facilitator to freedom, if freedom was not the ultimate intention for us, in this life and out of this life. Through spiritual practice and grace, we are able to tap into that deep peace and bliss that will sustain us and help us to release the emotions and constriction that can be brought about by change, keeping us open and expanding. We sit on our meditation cushions, perform our asanas, read our scriptural texts, offer seva (selfless service), say our mantras, etc., all to crack ourselves wide open down to our core, so that the peace, love and joy in that most divine of spaces within our deepest Selves can spread and flow through us, removing the contraction and expanding our beings, helping to mitigate, lessen or remove our suffering. I find it important to recall that, just as we are not alone in our suffering or contraction, we are not alone spiritually. We have the constant, ultimate communion with God in our deepest hearts, and we have palpable community with those on the spiritual path with us, as we “walk each other home” (Ram Dass). As yogis, we acknowledge this unity, respect it, and surrender to it so that we can get beyond the dualistic thinking of “us” and “them,” which perpetuates us to believe we are walled off in individual silos of suffering. I try to remember that the point of the whole yogic journey is to become aware of our divine Self through grace and the sacred energy and to live and act from that deep, inner state of being with constancy so that we remain aware that we, collectively, are God’s light. As Shiva helps us all to maintain balance in the dance and Jesus the Christ carries us across the sand when we are too mired down to walk ourselves, so too must we be the steady hand to lead in the dance and to carry another person when he/she is burdened. We must be the light, and our return to divine source through our spiritual practices is the key to this unity, to embodying the peace and bliss that resides in our hearts so that we can meet one another in an expanded, joyful space and merge spiritually.


I do not know what 2021 has in store for us. From a yogic perspective, maintaining non-dualistic thinking and holding many opposing forces, such as life and death, disparate political parties, or diverging social and spiritual ethics, in the same breath with equanimity and detachment can be a rather challenging goal. However, this past year, in the midst of chaos, I have seen many stand and face death and adversity and, in the darkest of hours, through grace, find an enveloping spiritual space offering joy, strength, comfort, laughter and love alongside grief, pain and the raw emotions that wash over like waves. Very recently, my spiritual teacher made her transition out of this life. Swami Shraddhananda was a wellspring of spiritual balance and renewal for me for the greater part of 25 years. If I let the ego drive, emotions surface that can make it feel like my spiritual dance partner let go of my hand and left me to navigate the floor of life alone amid a throng of bodies and a crazy COVID beat. The ego wants to say, “You left now? Of all times?” Well, this is where the rubber meets the road, Swamiji often said. She has given me the tools. It is my choice to do the spiritual work and to refocus on the joy and aspects of the divine that can be found in her transition, not dwell on the emotions of uncertainty, fear or sadness that arise. I have all that I need inside of me in my deepest Self to navigate this turn, to recognize the contraction that is occurring, and to give myself the opportunity to expand by continuing to anchor in God. It might take more meditation and mantra work than usual, and it might be harder to keep my heart open and to find the joy amid the tears that come, but it can be done with God. God holds us solidly yet tenderly, and in that eternal, loving stability, if we surrender and merge ourselves with the divine, it becomes possible to eventually let go of what we need to release, the things that are ultimately not serving us or emanating from our deepest hearts. So, I’ve been taking myself to the mat. I’ve been letting the personal mantra she bestowed upon me ride my breath in meditation: Hamsa. I am that. I am the divine. I am her. She is me. There is no separation. I’ve taken myself outside to walk in this new snow in Pennsylvania, let the cold air fill my lungs, felt the pause between the in-breath and out-breath and the divinity that resides there echoing in the land around me. Hamsa. As much as I let myself feel and experience the emotions that come with grief, so too do I focus on experiencing the feelings of love and support that are coming from the spiritual community that surrounds us. Hamsa. God has not and will not let go of us, even if the dance has been at the wildest of tempos, or if He/She has to walk a thousand miles to carry us. In one of the most simple yet intimate of explanations, it is because we carry God’s heart in our deepest heart. E. E. Cummings phrases it best for me in the poem, “i carry your heart with me,” when I contemplate it from a spiritual perspective. Although the mind might let us forget at times, and it might not be known to all, we carry God’s love and light inside of us always. I think that knowledge IS the “the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.” Swamiji and I are forever connected in spirit, and she will be dwelling in my deepest heart with God, instead of a physical body that is “disconnected” from me. Our relationship will be even closer as she continues to bring me into communion with God and others from the inside of my soul. I will continue to see her face along with God in every smile and breath of the lovely beings with whom I come into contact. That, indeed, is the “root of the root” of this life and the spiritual journey. As this year unfolds, it is my wish that your spiritual practices ground you in your innate divinity and merge you in spiritual communion with your master teachers (in this world, and out of this world) and God. I hope that you find and hold the deepest of peace for yourselves and others, despite the circumstances. I also look forward to holding that joyful, tranquil space together when I see you on the path, no matter if it is a well-worn rut or a rocky road. It will be my life’s pleasure. Namaste, dear friends.

Acharya Sandra Chamatkara Simon is the first Acharya ordained in the Sacred Feet Yoga tradition as well as the first certified teacher of Sacred Feet Hatha Yoga. Acharya Chamatkara currently serves as Co-Dharma Heir of Sacred Feet Yoga and Managing Editor of The Sacred Feet Publishing Imprint. She taught herself how to make a book for purposes of publishing Sw. Shraddhananda’s Jesus was A Shaktipat Guru and subsequent Interspiritual works. A graduate of Allegheny College, Acharya Chamatkara lives in Pittsburgh where she has worked for almost two decades as the Administrator for Carpenter Legal Search, Inc., a national legal recruiting firm for law firms and corporations. 26

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Love for the Vastness of God By Dipty Naran, Brahma Kumaris Johannesburg Centre Coordinator, South Africa

Dusk has reached its end and the chirping birds, ready to leave their nests, remind me that a new day is dawning. As I sit, watching the early morning sunrise, I’m aware of the townships on the other side of my view who have started their day long before the birds awoke. This is Africa, and the spirit of Ubuntu runs deep within her people. As fires light up their homes, each member of the household prepares for an early morning trek, children often leaving with aged grandparents at 4.30 in the morning so that they get to school and work by 7am. No fuss, no complaining, just pure resilience to survive. Within the contrast of their beauty and a daily fight for freedom is the heartbeat that echoes “I am because we are.” Their existence has taught me that the core of our being should be defined by the relationships we share with one another. As a humanitarian, I had to search deep to find inner peace before I could be proactive in my need to effect change. My purpose is to make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty physically, emotionally and spiritually and this purpose has been driven by the saying “love for God, love for thy neighbour.” I placed a lot of energy on the urgency to fix that which is external, like feeding those who don’t have food, the homeless and pouring out of myself into people I perceived to need filling; however, I quickly realised that I cannot pour from an empty vessel. I had to identify and accept the truth of my own being, I had to recognise that I am authentic, pure, kind-hearted and resilient. I worked on me, so that I can work for others. It became very evident in my journey of discovering self, that I could not love God or others, the way I wanted to, if I did not truly love myself. If I am a reflection of God, then my life should reflect His character. He is patient, He is kind, He is pure, He is thoughtful, He is gracious and most importantly He is love. If I could not be patient, kind, pure, thought-ful and gracious to myself, how could I express that to anyone else? The adage, you cannot give what you don’t have, became my reality. To be effective, I had to tap into the benevolence of God and serve humanity from a place of honesty and purity. A wise lady by the name of Dadi Janki, who served as an example and mentor to me, taught me a very powerful lesson; she said that in order to plant a delightful garden for others to enjoy, it is first necessary to prepare the soil. Soil filled with weeds will almost always kill the seed; and the vision of a pleasing garden will never come to fruition. It is with this truth in mind that I became conscious of my thoughts; I had to unweed all negative thoughts, thoughts that did not serve me, thoughts that caused turmoil, thoughts that kept me stagnant because thoughts are known to become actions. I wanted my actions to exude positivity, light and love and so I had to exchange my own thoughts for the thoughts God had concerning me. My daily routine… Forming certain habits does not happen overnight; you have to be deliberate in wanting to embrace change. I wanted to bring about change in the lives of the children in Africa, in a way that mattered. Before the sun rises, I present myself to God, allowing Him to fill me with love, purity, integrity and everything else that He is so that I can share those virtues with others. In my own capacity I am limited; but I have a Father who is limitless and because of this, I am able to serve from the premise of spiritual strength and not from a place of forced effort. As the day progresses, I draw energy from my morning encounter with God as I leave nuggets of hope and peace on the doorsteps of those on my path. 27

When night falls, I take a moment to connect with God once again. This time to thank Him for the opportunity I’ve had to express His goodness. I rest in the knowing that His love for me, intertwined with my commitment to serve humanity, is purpose fulfilled and with all that beauty my day is brought to an end. Serve with a pure heart. I do not take away from the reality that we are human; I am fully aware that in our human capacity we are faced with many personal challenges which could affect how we serve others. It becomes easy for us to attach our own pains and sorrows to that of the social ills left by an Apartheid regime to the extent where our good intentions are fuelled by anger. It is in our connectedness with God however, that we are able to die to self and nurture the good that we’ve been packaged with. We are able to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water it, watch it blossom and eventually reap the harvest of our love labour to humanity. Socrates asked the question, “what is wisdom?”, and the answer that he attributed to this question is “know thyself.” Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom, this wisdom connects you to God and humanity. When you serve from a place of purity, you do so without expectation. You give without having to tell the world, you listen without having to inject your own experience into someone else’s story, you create a safe space for people to be vulnerable with you, you give your full attention to the people who are in front of you, you see the good in others until they start seeing the good in themselves. I have dedicated my life to serving, and I believe in the human capacity to be great! Whenever you find yourself in a position of service to others, be intentional about leaving them in a better position than you have found them in Loving God and loving thy neighbour comes when you tap into vastness of who God is, meet Him at dawn and at dusk and clear yourself of everything that does not speak of His goodness, hold on to all you were innately destined for and allow your purpose to serve humanity in a meaningful way.

Dipty Naran is a student and teacher of the Brahma Kumaris for the past 35 years. She is the Centre Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is based in Johannesburg South Africa and specializes as an educational consultant. She uses her meditation and spiritual practices to meet the needs of the many challenges in Africa and especially in education, in a user- friendly way.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Karma Yoga: How to Live Isha Parupudi, Renowned Classical Indian Dancer from Texas, US 29

By Michael Stasko With the worldwide growth in the practice of yogāsana (postures), some of the philosophical ideas and yogic ways of living have also begun to reach a larger audience. One of these deeply spiritual approaches to life is known as karma yoga--an essential means of awakening to our true nature. And while many of us might have heard of karma yoga, it is a profound subject worthy of our attention and close study. Of course, a deeper understanding is not enough on its own to precipitate the changes promised by practicing karma yoga, but it is a necessary first step. One common notion today is to (more or less) equate karma yoga to volunteering or engaging in charitable activities. But depending on how one undertakes these honorable works, such actions may or may not actually help a person become free from their limiting beliefs or correct a misplaced identification of oneself with the body, the aims of karma yoga. To gain more insight into karma yoga, let’s begin by elaborating on the very spiritual concept that was just alluded to above. At the heart of numerous spiritual schools of philosophy, is the statement that ‘we are not what we think ourselves to be’. We are not just a body and mind that experiences the world through the senses (as something distinct and separate from us), then undergoes a variety of experiences (ranging from pleasurable to painful) and uses the collection of these events to form a self-image or to construct a narrative about who or what we are. We are not this story, nor are we our ego, body, thoughts, relationships, careers, happenings, etc. Moreover, to identify with these transient things in an attempt to find wholeness and connection is the critical mistake (according to the yogis) that we all make. That is: We look for the union that yoga is referring to outside of ourselves, in a temporary and changing world, when, in truth, it is found when we abandon this notion and connect with the limitless Self. The Self is our true nature--unchanging, undivided, one with all, one with life, beyond all stories and labels, eternal and whole. The purpose then of karma yoga, is to allow us to live our lives, discharging the myriad responsibilities we have as busy human beings, in a way that dismantles our limiting narrative and allows us to connect with our infinite Self. In fact, the word karma in its original Sanskrit refers to action or work, and when used in combination with yoga, we can understand karma yoga to be the way of living (or acting, working, doing etc.) that unites us to the Self. Or more simply put, karma yoga is the way to make our karma (actions) into yoga (a process for realizing our true Self).

engage in life, to work; however, to make our work a sincere offering (to divinity, humanity or both), rather than an attempt to validate or preserve our self-image by achieving some fabricated future-state. The latter is clearly limiting in that it supports the false notion that we are incomplete now, and we will only become whole upon attaining some future-state. This is in fact one of the clever mechanisms that our ego has adopted for self-preservation. Another tenet of karma yoga taught in the Bhagavad Gītā is to remain even or balanced in success and failure, all the while avoiding attachment to inactivity. Why? It is by remaining detached from the results of our actions (like success or failure) that we avoid forming narratives and identifying ourselves with our limited ego. For example, suppose we have sincerely worked on a project, doing our best and setting aside selfish motives or fears, but the result is what we would call a failure (e.g., a design doesn’t function as intended, a schedule runs late, etc.). The tendency here might be for us to create or add something to our story, to our self-image, and in doing so keep us disconnected from the Self. The same is true if the project was deemed a success. The key point here is not to form these conclusive narratives, but rather to understand that the things are unfolding as they should. While we can and must learn from the past, there is no point in carrying it with us in our identity. The above examples illustrate cases of “doing things” that are either successes or failures. We can just as easily, however, form a self-image by adding to our narratives when things “happen” to us. Creating and sustaining some mix of these narratives are two very common ways that our ego perpetuates itself. In the former case we are active; we get things done and identify ourselves as doers. In the latter we are passive; life happens to us, and we uphold an image of ourselves as a recipient or even a victim of life’s circumstances. Through karma yoga we find the balance between these poles and discover that neither are true. The approaches to and the applications of karma yoga are many and multifaceted; we have merely scratched the surface in our discussions here. Karma yoga can be applied to any and all of life’s activities, from raising children to being students in school, from being employees at a company and even to how we perform spiritual practices, like yogāsana. The underlying theme is that karma yoga means doing things in a way that dismantles our false identification with our limited ego-self. This is something that will look quite different from person to person and possibly vary across the different moments of our life. Regardless, to practice karma yoga will require a sincere willingness to look at what narratives we have constructed, to have the wisdom and courage to let them go.

So how do we practice karma yoga? The answer to this question is found in arguably the greatest work on yoga, the Bhagavad Gītā. The teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā, despite being thousands of years old and at times interpreted with religious themes, are universal and extremely relevant, if not essential, to our spiritual growth today. I have, with humility, summarized a few of these teachings.

Adapted from the Bhagavad Gītā

According to the Bhagavad Gītā, karma yoga places an emphasis on how we live, how we perform our actions, so that we do not further bind ourselves by identifying with our limited ego-self. We are encouraged to

Be steadfast with inner composure and do your duty. Give up any attachments, and remain balanced in success or failure, for evenness of mind is called yoga. (2.48)

You have a right to work and to do your duty, but do not feel entitled or lay claim to the results (of your actions). Do not consider yourself to be the one that has caused a certain result or outcome to happen. Do not be attached to inactivity. (2.47)

Michael Stasko was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He earned a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he conducted research for NASA. Later, while working as an analyst in spacecraft control, he was deeply moved by a series of personal insights and spiritual experiences that prompted him to leave his career and begin an inward journey. Soon after in 2007, Michael met his teacher, Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi and dedicated the next decade of his life to serving Her Holiness, living in India and deepening his practice of yoga, philosophy, pranayama, meditation and Sanskrit chanting. In 2019, he moved back to Miami where he offers coaching on spiritual growth and integration as well as teaches meditation and philosophy online at 30

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Grounded in the Ground of All Being: Spiritual Values in Uncertain Times

By Jeffery D. Long All Times Are Uncertain Swami Tyagananda, the head of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Boston, posted a blog on March 14, 2020, at the start of the global pandemic, titled “A Spiritual Response to the Virus.” In it, he focused on three practices that a spiritual seeker could observe in the crisis: avoiding panic, becoming accustomed to solitude, and thinking of death in a healthy way. Panic is to be avoided because it does not do anything to alleviate our situation, and it could even worsen it. Solitude is an essential practice for any spiritual seeker, for it is when we are alone with ourselves that we are faced squarely with the fundamental reality of who we are, independent of our social relations or other commitments. In the words of Alfred North Whitehead, “Religion is what an individual does with his solitariness.”1 And death is something of which we must always be mindful, for it is our inevitable transition from one form to another. It cannot be avoided, but it need not be feared. As Swami Tyagananda concludes his reflections, he makes the following observation about these three practices of avoiding panic, becoming accustomed to solitude, and viewing death not as the end, but as the transition from one life to another: Oddly enough, these are the very same things a spiritual seeker should do even when there is no crisis of the kind we have now. The problems related to aging, sickness, and death never really go away, like the problems of stress, worry, and fear. The more we practice being free from anxiety, of relishing moments of aloneness, and of seeing death not as an end but a continuation of our existence in another form, the more we shall discover that we are all interconnected, and that death doesn’t mean the end.2 This observation is a tremendously important one for us to retain during any time of crisis, during any period of deep uncertainty about things in life that we tend to take for granted, such as our physical health, our economic conditions, the stability of our society, and so on. The Buddha’s First Noble Truth, indeed, is that none of the things which we tend to take for granted is ever truly stable or certain. We are always, in this sense, living in uncertain times. The current pandemic is not so much an aberration as it is an intensification of what is always, already the case. Death can be lurking around any corner. At any moment, something can happen which can completely upend one’s sense of security, to the extent that this security is rooted in external objects or circumstances. We have all had occasions in life which have reminded us of this troubling truth. The most dramatic one, for me, occurred in my childhood. I was ten years old, and my father was away from home for work. In the middle of the night, our phone rang. I heard my mother speaking in the next room. After hanging up, she rushed into my room to wake me up, but I was already awake, due to the phone ringing. “Your father’s been in an accident,” she 31

said. “He’s in the hospital in St. Louis. I need to go there right away. I’m going to take you to Grandma’s house.” As I got dressed, groggy, but also filled with panic and worry, Mom called my grandparents and told them the situation, and that I would need to stay with them for a while. Dad had been in a truck accident which had injured his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the neck down. In the coming months, he would be moved to various hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and finally returned home to us. Mom had our living room converted into a hospital room and we took care of Dad until his death, which occurred about a year and a half after his accident. At that point, I was twelve years old. Because of this traumatic set of experiences, I learned at a very early age that one’s entire world can be radically transformed in just a moment. Nothing was ever the same again for me after that phone call in the middle of the night. These experiences prompted within me an intensified interest in the spiritual life. This, in turn, shaped my educational and career choices, and also led me to a different religious tradition and identity from the one in which I grew up, much though I remain deeply grateful for everything that I learned from the religion of my upbringing. But most importantly, I learned from these experiences not to take the circumstances of life for granted. It can all change in a moment. I am most deeply grateful for the fact that my last words to my father were, “I love you, Dad.” He replied, “I love you son,” and I went out to play at a friend’s house. Later that evening, when I returned home, he was gone. In the Dhammapāda, the Buddha teaches us, “For one who is mindful of death, there is no enmity.” (Dhammapāda 1:6) This verse is also sometimes translated to mean that one who is aware of death does not quarrel with others, or that such a person ensures that all their differences with others get resolved. This brings to mind the biblical teaching that one should not let the sun go down on one’s anger. (Ephesians 4:26) I think of how horrible it would have been if my last words to my father had been angry ones, such as if I had left in the middle of an argument and never seen him again. I now do all that I can to ensure that I part with others on good terms. A less dramatic, but nevertheless powerful, reminder to me that our lives can change at any moment came more recently, in November of 2019, when I fell and broke my ankle at a conference in San Diego. I was on my way to give a talk, and worrying about being late, when I slipped and fell, slamming my right foot into a concrete sidewalk. Suddenly, I had an entirely new set of things to worry about! I had my phone nearby, and called 911 for assistance, and then I started texting my colleagues so they would know why I was not showing up for our panel discussion, as well as letting my wife know what had happened. I ended up spending the entire conference in the hospital. From the moment I fell and realized I could not walk, because of my earlier life experiences and the meditation practice I have observed for many years now, I understood that I had a choice. I could fall into panic and anxiety, fear and anger, worrying about what would happen next and lamenting my situation. I could also give in to the pain in my foot and begin to pity myself because of what had happened. Because of the perspective I had developed, I realized that giving myself over to negativity would not help my situation at all: and could even make it worse. I could choose to lie there and be miserable, or I could make the best of the situation. In the emergency room, as the nurses and doctors worked with my foot, a couple of them commented on how calm and happy I seemed to be, despite the fact that I was clearly in a great deal of pain, as my foot was dislocated and turned at a right angle from its normal position. I told them, “Pain is in the body, but suffering is in the mind!” They asked what I did for a living, and this led to a brief conversation about world religions, philosophy, spirituality, and so on. I visualized the pain in my foot as something very far away from me, like a planet circling a distant star system, and I was viewing it from a great distance. This lessened the hold that my pain had on my mind. I also silently repeated my mantra. Combined with the love and compassion of my wife, who immediately dropped everything that she was doing to fly across the country from Pennsylvania to California to be with me, the insights I had gained from my spiritual practice really helped me to get through the experience of breaking my ankle, and subsequent weeks and months of healing and physical therapy, with a minimum of fear, sadness, frustration, and anxiety. I did not spend this time as I had planned to do. Rather, I had to adapt myself to the new circumstances. Grounded in the Ground of All Being Far from being unique, experiences of the kind I have just described are extremely common and, indeed, could be argued to define the human condition. There are, to cite one example, those who have lost not only a father, but many family members to COVID-19. And there are those who suffer daily due to social injustices and systematic oppression, or who live in situations of warfare or extreme poverty. The pandemic has created enormous economic insecurity, and many people remain unemployed. 32

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Again, the First Noble Truth of the Buddha teaches us that our conventional experiences are constantly shifting and are not a source of permanent happiness or satisfaction. In the Second Noble Truth, we learn that we suffer because our expectations do not match with reality. Reality is other than we wish it to be. When this happens, we can, of course, change our reality. But there are some realities, such as the reality of death and loss, that cannot be changed, but seem to be an intrinsic part of life. We can let this make us miserable, or we can shift our expectations to match with what our experience reveals to us. So, I can lament that I grew up without my father’s day-to-day physical presence in my life. I can lament that I missed my conference in 2019, or that I had to expend a good deal of energy and time in learning to walk normally again, without the aid of a walker or crutch. Or I can accept reality and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow and make the best of each moment of our experience, and also be grateful for the fact that my sufferings have not been greater than they have, and indeed pale in comparison with the sufferings of many others. According to the Third Noble Truth, there is a state of being that is free from suffering, and the Fourth Noble Truth teaches us the Eightfold Path to that state. This state of freedom is called moksha or mukti in the Indian traditions. It is achieved by attaining a state of complete absorption called nirvāṇa or samādhi. But what is being absorbed into what? In Buddhist teaching, nirvāṇa brings to mind the putting out of a flame, such as the blowing out of a candle. When a flame is put out, one can ask, “Where has it gone?” A conventional answer to this question might be that it has ceased to exist. However, in India, in the Buddha’s time, it was understood–much as it is taught in modern physics–that a flame is an example of kinetic, or manifested, energy. When a flame goes out, this energy returns to a dormant, or potential state. The flame in a burning piece of wood, when it goes out, is, in this sense, absorbed back into the wood. Samādhi, a term associated with the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali, refers to a state of complete absorption in the object of one’s meditative practice, or dhyāna. For many of us, what grounds our spiritual practice and gives us the hope that we need in order to persist, even in light of all of the suffering and uncertainty that life can bring our way, is a faith that there is an ultimate reality, a ground or basis of our being, in which we can take refuge, and that guarantees that, at the end of our journey–not the end of life, but the end of our journey of many lifetimes–there will be a state of boundless peace and joy. For some, this ground of being is God, a personal deity, whose love and grace are essential to drawing us toward our final spiritual home. For others, this ground of being may be understood in more abstract terms, as that nameless mystery into which we are absorbed at the point of nirvāṇa, or as the infinite Brahman or Dao that is the basis of all that exists, or the pure nature of the living soul, or jīva. For others still, it may be the cosmos itself, seen as a sacred reality in its own right. In my own tradition, that of the nineteenth century Bengali sage, Sri Ramakrishna, all of these concepts are understood to have some validity, as the ultimate reality is multifaceted and can be approached and experienced in correspondingly many ways. Sri Ramakrishna once said, “I have practiced all religions–Hinduism, Islam, Christianity–and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths. He who is called Krishna is also called Shiva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well–the same Rama with a thousand names.”3 If the ultimate grounding of our existence is in an infinite reality, beyond name and form and concept, and if we see this infinite reality as our true nature and ultimate destination, then the uncertainties of life in the material world can be viewed not as things capable of destroying us, but as ways of learning, modes of experiencing, that, if we examine them closely, are capable of teaching us and advancing us further along in our journey. One could, of course, say that this is a privileged perspective, that does not take with sufficient seriousness the very real and horrific agony that is experienced by many. What, however, is the alternative? We must, of course, do whatever we can to alleviate suffering, to change the realities of those who suffer needlessly. But in the face of the universal realities of death and loss, we must adapt. We can either give in to despair, making our suffering even greater by piling on top of it the burden of hopelessness. Or we can ground ourselves in the ground of being–in the promise that a boundlessly better reality awaits.


Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making (Lowell Lectures, 1926) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1927), p. 37


Swami Tyagananda, “A Spiritual Response to the Virus” (March 14, 2020)


Swami Nikhilananda, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942), p. 60

Jeffery D. Long, Ph.D, is Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, where he has taught since receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in the year 2000. He is the author of A Vision for Hinduism (2007), Jainism: An Introduction (2009), and the Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (2011), and editor of Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific (2019) and co-editor of the Buddhism and Jainism volumes of the Springer Encyclopedia of Indian Religions (2017).


Love for Our Neighbors By Sharona Stillerman Love for our neighbor seems like such a good idea. Especially in these corona times when, for many of us, our neighborhoods have become our whole world. Or, when untold levels of discrimination and division seem to be tearing our world apart. Yet, if we are honest, its not an easy thing to pull off. There are challenges. People don’t do as I think they should. I don’t do as people think I should, and I’m being told far too frequently what I should be doing. There is a lot of judging and comparing, complaining, commenting, criticizing. Despite our best efforts, it is getting harder to trust. The deep feeling inside, for many, is that we are coming apart at the seams. We, the many living souls which, when put together, make for our one family of humanity, are being pulled apart as if by some inexplicable force. That is the feeling. If, that is, we are honest. With that as a background, are we ever really going to be able to love our neighbor? The kind of love that pulls us back together again? Puts us face to face, with a genuine feeling of connectedness and belonging? A love so clean that it moves, thread like, between our hearts, weaving us back into oneness? As a feeling, not a theory? Surely that would be the ticket. That would be the miracle that could resolve our problems and enable us to take down all the barriers we’ve created and turn them into bridges. ‘All you need is love.’ Somewhere, in the hearts of us all, lies the hope that this could really be true...that love is what is most needed, that love has the power to put right all that has gone wrong. Yet, is it possible? Especially with so many of us being so hurt by love we even hesitate to turn to each other and say, ‘I love you’? Respect they neighbor? Yes. Accept and allow thy neighbor? Yes, yes. But love thy neighbor? Tall order. And yet, there is a card up destiny’s sleeve. A secret card so huge and wondrous no one could even imagine it. That ‘card’ will prove to be our saving grace, of this I am certain. When I, for example, discovered it, it brought hope at a time when I was just about to lose all hope. It brought a renewed enthusiasm, a new intention, a new clarity of the meaning of life. Of the meaning of my life. And my personal contribution to it. So what is that magic ‘card’? What is destiny hiding from us, waiting for an appropriate moment to reveal? I could tell you straight, but you wouldn’t believe me. So instead I will relate my experience. Then, you can judge for yourself. Nearly 40 years ago I began a practice of meditation. I loved the information I was given regarding my spiritual identity as a soul, the spiritual laws at work in the form of karmic accounts, the cyclical nature of time, and how all religions, like branches, belong to the one same Tree. What I didn’t like was God. I was very disturbed to learn that the course included lessons on God. I discovered a deeply seated resistance. I knew that 34

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga this would get me into trouble, and I was right. All the students around me were having wonderful experiences – of eternity, inner peace, joy. Not me. I stayed stuck in the world of matter and over-thinking. I was advised to visit the western headquarters of the school, in London, to get some tips from the top yogis there. I went. And finally, after months of frustrated efforts, I had my first ‘experience’. I met God. Not the God that we usually imagine as God. But God. As God truly is. I was sitting in meditation, experiencing myself as a soul – a tiny point of divine light. Suddenly, there was a force, which seemed to just grab me – me, the soul – and lift me up. Up and up – I would have been frightened if I hadn’t been so completely and utterly astonished. I then found myself as if in a world of light. Golden red. I noticed this but otherwise my full attention was on my feelings. Tears from where I know not were pouring down my face and my facial muscles were twitching in every direction. Waves of golden red light moved slowly towards me, wrapping themselves around me, enfolding me into wave after wave of what could only be described as….. L O V E . Not ‘love’, not the human, empty, dependent, break-your-heart-into-a-thousandirretrievable-pieces, emotional kind of love; rather, L O V E … an elevated, royal, spiritual, non-needy, non-demanding, not-expecting, altruistic, unconditional L O V E that was welcoming me into an eternity of belonging. I felt like a newly born child, cherished and safe, in her mother’s arms. In that instant I knew, with life transforming clarity, three things. One, that love – the kind I was always looking for but could not find – exists. Two, that God exists. Three, that God is made of this caliber of love. The Beatles truly did have it right. All we really do need, is love. But which love? What caliber of love? Weak, needy love filled with selfishness will not do. Emotional, dependency-generating, human love -- up one day, down the next -- will not do. Clearly it is this Godly love, alone, that will do the work. As the heart begins to fill with the real experience of it, the feeling is that at last I have found not only some real power for my own transformation process, but also something of real value to share with others. Godly love is always giving, altruistic and unconditional. As we fill with it, we become givers, too… automatically, without pain, with no need for compensation of any sort. Patience, acceptance, and the desire to be of service replace bossiness, intolerance, and thoughts of revenge. God’s love makes you feel confident, once again, about the value of love, its importance in these times, and yourself as a conduit of this most vital energy. Enough experience of God’s pure love and you feel ready to take up an unshakeable stand for love, even if it is against the whole world. God’s love is the ‘card’, the magical ‘ticket’ that will deliver us from this darkest hour of humanity’s night, into the light of its brand-new day. God’s love is the love that makes everyone my neighbor. It’s the love that restores faith in all as our very own brothers and sisters, the one family of humanity, the world over. All we need do is give God a chance, and God is just waiting for this.

Sharona Stillerman, a practising Raj Yogi for the last 38 years, left Boston, USA in 1998 for Tel-Aviv, Israel, to open a center of the Brahma Kumaris. She now co-ordinates BK activities all over Israel helping all peoples to find peace of mind, and the inner resources to live day by day with hope. Before moving to Israel she coordinated the BK center in Boston, Mass, and also worked as a senior lecturer in English at Boston University for 15 years.


Listening for Well Being and Peace By Kia Abilay & Benjamin Obler Listening!!! One definition is “the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process,” some say by ear. Over the years, as many of us experienced, too, there is an internal hearing of our soul, our heart, intuition, and from our amazing body. Where and when do you hear the knock of inspiration and guidance? We’ve all witnessed the way that the corona virus shook up our foundational beliefs, made us question our institutions and choices in so many ways. For me, the year that the corona virus pandemic arrived was perhaps the perfect time for me to write the book that I’ve been meaning to write, wanting to write, for over 30 years. I began the work in June 2020, with the help of a colleague. We began capturing stories of my life growing up in Hawaii, and my work as an energy practitioner, and the long journey of spiritual growth and exploration. Soon it came time to formulate a title for the book. What would it be called? After much brainstorming we arrived at “The Gift of Listening: Cultivating Your Connection with Spirit.” The book will being going to press soon, and as I reflect on its contents, I see how through the ups and downs of my life, I have been steadied, guided and nurtured by practices that go by many different names. I’ve called them prayer, meditation, yoga, and more. But they are perhaps different forms of the same thing—deep listening. All of us have different ways of getting to that peaceful place where we connect with ourselves and feel calm and centered. Meditation may be the purest, most ancient, and most formalized way of doing this. But I find it that getting in touch with spirit can happen through singing, dancing, praying, chanting, walking, sitting, or even doing the dishes. Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Peace is Every Step, talks about how each moment of our life can be a form of meditation. Sometimes we do what we’re supposed to do and act like we’re supposed to act, only conscious of being correct or on time within social norms. I used to pride myself on all I could handle: being a general manager of a hotel, or the caregiver for my mother, brother, and partner all at the same time. Yet, I see and feel now, I was ignoring and over-riding my body’s signals of health and well-being. We don’t experience life so much as endure life, waiting for the pleasurable bits before we really pay attention. And then in our practice, we enjoy moments of deep engagement, whether it’s doing our favorite hobby or

in meditation. If this description resonates with you, then think instead of the possibility of an entirely different paradigm. We can treat life as a continuous meditation, trying to find the joy, the presence, the stillness inside all moments, even challenging ones. Without the setbacks, the gains aren’t as cherished. If we only want to experience the easy times, and begrudge the rest, then we’re only half alive. A lot of times people come to me wanting to know all the parameters going on in their life. Who are they going to meet? What is he going to look like? Over the years, I have learned to massage that and work with Spirit better and just tell people, “This is what’s in your energy field right now. And how we make changes or how we move, shifts some of that.” There are some keyholes in our energy fields: they are opportunities. They are like old doors that take skeleton keys. Depending how we open the door, it could take a different route to get to some of the things that are our destiny in this lifetime—or some learning lessons that we need in this lifetime. Sometimes you take the high road or you just stay at the intersection, until some big bulldozer comes from behind you and just pushes you in one of those directions. A lot of people get stuck when a disaster or a death or something crucial like that happens. We also have a lot of stagnation in our life, and, so often, I listen to people on their deathbeds, and what’s on their mind isn’t what they’ve done, but what they haven’t done. This is where deep listening comes in. We need to fine-tune our inner heart, through our listening. Meditation comes in here. We listen, waiting for the subtle messages of when to move, when to take a step. Our listening has to be very deep so we can discern the many voices, the chatter from society, from other people, from our own behaviors, from our own upbringing, the voices of our parents, the fears from our past. Deep listening is so important. It’s also important to really recognize the energy and spirit of talk and separate it out from the sound of the ego talking, or that crow on our shoulder going, “Yap, yap, yap.” People have a lot of yapping crows. Often people have to know if something is good or bad. I’ll share information with them in a reading, and they’ll say, “Is that good, or is that bad?” I’ve said it a million times: It’s not either or; it’s just What Is.

Kia Abilay is an Akashic Records Teacher and Healing Touch Practitioner, Energy & Intuitive Communicator and a One Spirit Minister. She worked as a practitioner in the Wellness Center at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY for 13 seasons. Kia is from Hawaii and now has a full-time residence and practice in Uptown Kingston, NY. Benjamin Obler is a writing instructor and coach, and the co-curator of “The Gift of Listening: Cultivating Our Connection with Spirit.” 36

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Love for God and Love for Thy Neighbour By BK Brother Brij Mohan


Love is the energy that animates the world. God, it is said, is the ocean of love, and as His children, we are beings of love. This is a truth that many, including philosophers and ordinary people, have realised over the centuries — it does not require an epiphany to do so. Our everyday experiences teach us that love and kindness are not luxuries; they are essential virtues without which humanity cannot survive. However, when we look at the world around us, we see so much absence of love. There is conflict within humans, among humans, and between humans and nature. Wherever there is sorrow, it is an indication of the denial of love. This state of affairs has been brought about primarily because the majority of people do not love God or each other deeply enough. We can love selflessly only when we are full of love ourselves. To love and have regard for others, we first need to feel complete. Otherwise, there are too many selfish motives within, which block the heart. The way to become fulfilled is to love God—the inexhaustible source of power and virtues. God’s cleansing love washes away the stains of old weaknesses and hurts, rejuvenating the soul to live a fulfilled life. It is human tendency to emulate those we admire the most, so genuine love for God gives us the inspiration to be like Him. Pure and unqualified Divine love kindles the spirit of accommodation within us, leading to the benevolent realisation that everyone in this world is a part of His creation. When souls bruised by pain and sorrow are comforted, healed and redeemed by God’s love, they come to realise that they too need to be compassionate, and that every member of the human family deserves to be recognised and valued. God shows us, by His own example, how to share love unconditionally—a love unadulterated with attachment or any other affliction, and which seeks not just one’s own good, but the good of others as well. It is such generosity that is enjoined on us by one of the loftiest religious commandments: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. All moral edicts are summed up in this one command. Is it possible to love others as we love ourselves? What is it that stops us from doing so? Following such an exalted mandate requires faith in and deep love for the Divine, or the aim to live a nobler way of life. If there are questions such as, “How can this be possible…”, “it is right, but…”, there is surely lack of recognition of where the direction has come from, and its deep significance. Loving others wholeheartedly is not as difficult as it seems. It simply means having the same consideration for their needs and desires as we have for our own. This calls for recognition that others are as worthy of God’s love as we are. But we fail to see this when we forget who we are: spiritual beings, composed of the energies of purity, peace and love. These qualities are innate to us, that is why we find them comforting and enriching. As babies we seem to know this secret, which is why a baby is a bundle of joy. But as we grow up, we lose connection with this innate truth and start seeking fulfilment outside. We look for love, contentment and respect in people, places and objects, and start believing that we will be happy only when we achieve what we desire. Instead of enjoying the peace, love and happiness we can create with our own thoughts and actions, we start chasing rainbows. We also compare—when we look at others and find that they are happier than us, we become discontented or jealous, and begin to covet what they have. This leads to ill feeling and friction. It is an eternal law that we get what we give. Giving love and respect inspires a like response from others. When vibrations of peace and love radiate from us into the universe, they ultimately return to their source. Science, too, acknowledges this principle: Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of physics says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The ancients knew this fact, and that is why the Bible, Quran, Talmud and the teachings of Confucius, all contain what is known as The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Everyone likes to have the best for themselves, and when we make our own self the benchmark for how we treat others, we learn to empathise and respect our fellow humans. However, a critical attitude often comes in the way. We are quick to notice others’ faults and slow to appreciate their good qualities. This pollutes our feelings towards them, and once that happens, we cannot be truly loving. This is what hinders amity between individuals and communities. Negative feelings act as an invisible barrier that blocks cooperation and harmonious relationships, even at the expense of shared interests. We may smile and say all the right things to someone, and even strike deals with them, but if we harbour animus towards them, our vibrations will reveal it. There is little honesty, trust or goodwill in such a relationship. It is not selfish ambition or vain conceit that makes us superior, rather it is humility, which enables us to value everyone. Valuing others automatically brings us esteem. Humility naturally brings patience and tolerance, which encourage a sympathetic understanding of not just other people but all creatures and Mother Nature. This in turn leads to cooperation, which fosters cordial relations. In essence, a loving relationship with the self, the soul, and God is the key to loving all our neighbours on Planet Earth.

Brother Brij Mohan, who is based at the BK Om Shanti Retreat Center in Delhi, has a beautiful balance of deep enlightenment mixed with humor. He is a senior member of the Brahma Kumaris’ Administrative Board at its headquarters in Mt. Abu, India and is its Chief Spokesperson.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

3 Ways Spiritual Principles Are a Powerful Anchor in Uncertain Times (and Any Other) By Diane L Haworth While 2021 feels different than the chaos of 2020, there’s no doubt we’re all still facing much uncertainty. At home. At work. And in the world. We’ve seen the recent global upheaval challenge institutions, tear open social wounds and force businesses to rethink the way they do everything. And it’s done something else. Chaos brings with it an invitation to remember that which never changes. The spiritual truth of universal love, compassion, kindness and recognizing oneness can anchor us to feelings of peace within, even when the winds of change are howling. That truth is felt deep inside when we allow the Divine wisdom of our own heart to comfort and guide us. So how can remembering universal spiritual principles serve us in uncertain times? #1 Love unites, fear separates. The outside world focuses on fear and separation while spiritual principles focus on love and oneness. We all know what fear feels like and how it quickly shifts our thinking from “what’s good for the community” to “how will I get through this?” Fearful thoughts fuel the “us vs. them” mentality that causes more separation within communities and contributes to chaotic thinking. While huge shifts in our world can trigger fear, spiritual wisdom points us to loving responses. When we can remember we are all – people, animals, plants, the earth – part of the “oneness” energy and respond to challenges from the most loving actions we can, miracles occur. Real physical and emotional healing, economic recovery and dramatic innovations can best spring from the well of hope, not of the depths of despair. Living from a foundation of love, moment by moment as best we can, helps us live mindfully in the now which increases our connection to inner peace. Studies have shown a more peaceful mind can access higher levels of creative problem-solving functions in the brain. That certainly serves us as individuals and as communities in times of crisis. #2 Love is an invitation to service. Reflecting on our true Divine loving nature helps bypass the fear experienced through the ego. One dramatic result can be commitment to compassionate service. “Love in action” is service as guided by our own heart. Speaking to a worried friend, tending to an elderly parent, tithing to an organization doing work we admire, picking up neighborhood trash, working at a food kitchen and organizing disaster relief efforts are all ways love flows through each of us in service to the whole. We all make a difference in our own unique way and we collectively benefit from each loving act. That truth never changes.


#3 Practiced daily, connecting to spiritual principles help us begin the day feeling more grounded and mindful. You know what happens. You wake up and immediately check your phone or turn on the news. Big mistake. The news is jarring, your social media feed is frenzied and you get at least a few unsettling emails. What happens? You begin your precious day in reaction mode instead of proactively living your day as you had planned. The solution? Start your day remembering what’s true. You are a spiritual being, living in a physical body. Incorporate mind, body and spirit in a morning practice that grounds you in both presence and peace which prepares you to mindfully move through your day. I recommend what I call the “Three M’s” consistently practiced in the morning: · Meditation – Use a guided meditation app, take a meditative walk in nature or sit comfortably and go within. Whatever you do, take time to connect to the Divine within your own heart. Spend time there. · Motivate – Read from inspirational books, listen to spiritual podcasts, study wisdom texts, create gratitude lists or connect within and journal messages from your Divine heart. This step is about starting the day with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. · Move – Time for yoga, Qigong or gentle stretches to mindfully engage the body and get it ready for the day. Any of these single practices will strengthen our ability to go through our day more mindfully. Used in a conscious combination, we’ll be fueled from within and better prepared to both recognize and move through any challenges with, and from, love. Whether we identify with the name of God, Universe, Source or Love, we’re speaking about the intelligent, creative, expansive energy of All There Is. The same energy that creates galaxies, makes the tides come in and beats each of our hearts. Many beautiful traditions teach principles from this place of Divine Truth. Find the one that resonates with you, learn it’s wisdom and use those teachings as an anchor to guide you on your path. And here’s one more point we often forget. The pandemic will one day be behind us and the world may seem calmer. But change is constant. While we’ve recently experienced uncertainty as a global community, we are always living in uncertain times. Illness strikes, weather creates chaos or financial fear looms…only one truth is certain. Divine Love surrounds us, sustains us, and is us. Spiritual principles remind us to live from that truth.

Diane L Haworth is passionate about teaching spiritual seekers how to consciously connect to their own inner Divine wisdom. She’s a heart-centered success coach, a speaker, writer, founder of the Be Love Principles and host of “Practical Spiritual Tools” on the Awake TV Network. Her first book, “How to Choose Love When You Just Want to Slap Somebody” is available through Amazon. Find out more about Diane and her work at and


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Loving God & Our Neighbors By Kala Iyengar, MD ‘God’ the one most used word, mostly for good reasons, and, not so far sounding from ‘good’, very often equated to Love; even if for some, it is an imagination of the human mind, there must still be a reason to imagine…. Consider for a moment that deep in the soul of everyone who remembers God is memory of a time when the soul had been filled with treasures from that One, spiritual and physical, treasures that made life full and worth living. Our remembrance and love for God may well me a reflection of the dream we have of that life, reaching out and seeking Him in the hope of receiving those treasures and living that dream again. Who on this planet does not desire a body blessed with total health, a mind that can be constantly happy, wealth that is ever-abundant and every relationship filled with selfless love? This memory is the fuel for our love for that One and for all that we have created with deep devotion to that One. The love we profess to have for each other as souls in fact stems from this love that we have inherited from God, a love founded in knowing our true nature of benevolence and experiencing our rightful relationship to the All Benevolent One. This is the love that does not see differences, builds no walls, and has no hesitation helping the ‘neighbor’. However, over time, this love has been jaded by our limiting identity as physical beings, naturally resulting in a limited and sometimes distorted expression of love. What we widely perceive and expect from each other as love today may well be a mixture of self-centered needs and the original form of love we started with. Whether as family, community, or nations, the indifference, hatred, animosity we have built is simply a remnant of a love that has lost the roots of self-knowledge and Divine love. Thinking of humanity as a sacred human family, what comes to mind is a fully grown tree with variety branches and leaves – no different from an actual tree that has been growing slowly and steadily over ages. Having now reached the full lifespan, the tree with its dried-up leaves and decayed branches is now asking for a new life – a new paradigm. Looking to our near and dear ones on the tree, our neighbors, or even the authorities seem no longer to be a solution. Seeking the support, the solace, the strength from those who need it themselves leaves us in a state of disappointment and disarray. And yet, all these seemingly hopeless scenarios are beautifully pointing to the hidden, forgotten source of love–the Seed of all goodness, Incorporeal God. 41

As with all of life, rejuvenation is inevitable. Our love for each other as brothers, sisters, neighbors needs to be reborn in its pure and selfless form from the love of God, the One who loves and nourishes all as a Parent would. It is said love begets love. Love for God could mean holding to higher grounds through sincere worship, prayer, charitable life, honest dealings or simply lending the mind to silent reflection. This love activates and draws the love of God, filling the emptiness of the crevices of the soul, enlivening the dead roots with Light and Love. Experience says that this can be the crucial turning point for a soul – to enable one to look into the eyes of a stranger, a neighbor and see light and love there. It is then that one can go beyond the looks and the deeds of a person that do not match the traditional definition of good and bad or right and wrong. One who has felt the acceptance and forgiveness of God’s love would have a heart big enough to go past mistakes and misgivings of others while generating good wishes that could help in their realization and transformation. This is the help the world direly needs today. To know that we have the ability through an elevated attitude and positive vision to impact our neighbors’ intent and feelings is the highest power we hold as human beings. It is the highest form of love we can demonstrate, and, it is what will turn the world around. Rising above the wrongs and providing someone the incentive to make wrong into right – this needs immense spiritual sense and power and only possible through the grace of God’s love. If we could only go back to the ABCs of life – that every human soul, starting with my ‘self’ begins life on the planet from a place of purity and divinity as a loving heritage from God. Yes, it is a lifelong endeavor of acknowledging, embracing and acting by this truth. But couldn’t we start to try? Maybe we can, then, challenge the belief that spirituality is not for those actively engaged with life and people? For many people of faith, it is common belief that love for God and love for humanity must co-exist and go hand in hand. But how actually do we do it has been the dilemma. ‘Love thy neighbor as God would love them’. As good as this may sound, do we know how God loves? If I want to follow this commandment, wouldn’t I have to know and feel that love? Yes, there are times I may have felt it when I was in His good books or when things went my way. But what about when I have gone astray? Do I know His love enough to come back? Further, can His love stop me from taking a wrong turn even if it is as slight as replying harshly or impatiently to someone? As the world gets smaller and interconnected technologically, one wonders: who is my neighbor? Is it the one living next door that I don’t ever see or the one living miles of oceans away that I connect and communicate with everyday directly or indirectly? Even the question seems irrelevant. The Pandemic has taught us a most valuable lesson of how much we impact each other as humanity. Every leaf has an influence on every other leaf. ‘My’ health could largely be determined by the health of my neighbor. If I can help my neighbor to be safe, I can be safer! I believe this lesson is about love and connection, for us to move from fear to love. So, as the good Samaritans of this age and passing through these tough times, the next time you are tempted to remark abruptly ‘pull up your mask’ you might consider first saying in your mind ‘you are a beautiful soul, God loves you and so do I’ and then saying out aloud reminding the person ‘would you mind pulling up your mask’. It might take a few tries but certainly worth learning the art of loving thy neighbor as God would love them.

Sr. Kala Iyengar is a Board Certified Pediatrician by training, and a Spiritual Teacher by passion. She is a Founding Director of the Point of Life Foundation, an organization that works to bring an increased awareness of spirituality on physical health. During her professional career, she has worked extensively on evolving a holistic approach to identity and to the nonphysical causes of illness and suffering. She has taught at Hofstra University, represented the Brahma Kumaris at UNICEF, and lectured and conducted workshops on subjects relating to stress reduction, meditation, self-awareness, values, and self-empowerment. She currently coordinates the activities at Peace Village Learning & Retreat Center.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Braco and His Gaze By Slavica Martinovic

A glimpse into the future of mankind’s consciousness? Or just a unique ability of one man alone? In these times on our planet when we are facing challenges on a global scale, there is one man who is, despite all the obstacles, still trying to help people via the internet. Braco comes from Croatia and he has not spoken to the public since 2004. Instead, he stands on a podium and silently looks at the people who stand in front of him in a group. His gaze seems to lift people to a level of consciousness where anything is possible. They report about life changing experiences… Susan, USA “I have experienced monumental healings in the areas of insomnia, post-traumatic stress, relationship issues and more. The personal growth I have experienced continues to astound me, and I am becoming the person that I have always wanted to be.” Nenad, Croatia “Usually, my brain works at a speed of 100km/h, I have so many thoughts, sometimes it is difficult for me to fall asleep because of it. However, when I stand in front of Braco, I am able to completely switch off, all my thoughts disappear, and I feel the peace that I need so much.” Karen, Great Britain “His energy is so pure. You connect with that innocence and it brings inner peace.” Matthias, Germany “I had been suffering for five years from tinnitus, it was a loud continuous noise. In an encounter with Braco in 2013 my tinnitus suddenly disappeared.” Carmen, Brazil “In 2014, through Braco Live Streaming, my knee was healed, and my parents were both healed from bone problems. I wish the whole planet can benefit from this wonderful energy.” Anton, Russia “While I am watching Braco’s gaze via Live Streaming, I feel endless freedom and happiness. It is something beyond words. For me, it is something that is inside of all of us.” 43

Peter, Australia “My encounter with Braco changed not only my life but brought my mother from a position of near death to a wonderful resurrection. This was not a normal turnaround, this was dramatic. The head surgeon could make no reason out of it. I want to tell everyone out there: Give it a try and believe. The skeptic Peter now believes in miracles.” Since 1995, Braco has dedicated his life’s work to improving people’s lives and giving them new hope. Tens of thousands of visitors come to a large number of congresses, expos and various events around the world to experience his silent gaze. They report touching feelings and positive changes in their social environment, as well as in their mental and physical wellbeing. In the encounter with Braco, some people feel a deep peace, a special feeling of happiness, relief from stress and daily pressure, a pleasant warmth, streaming through their body, tears… Results show up in the daily life of the visitors they speak about improvements in health, in family, in relationships and careers. Some report about a new-found inner strength, clarity, concentration and much more. National, religious or cultural differences do not play a role at the events with Braco. It seems that through the stillness of his gaze he has found a language that everyone can understand. He spontaneously discovered the ability to help people through his gaze. In an ‘encounter’ he stands in front of a group (mostly a few hundred people) and looks at them in silence. He does not offer to the visitors any theory, philosophy or a religious message. He has not spoken in public since 2004 and has never given an interview for the media. He leaves it to others to judge what has happened. Over 100 documentary films with testimonies from visitors have been made about Braco’s work. Meanwhile, most importantly, Braco does not consider himself a healer. He does not decide about who gets help and he does not focus on improving a specific problem. Still, his gaze seems to “raise people to a level of consciousness where everything is possible” (Prof. Alex Schneider). At the World Healing Congress in Switzerland-Basel PSI Days in 2006, many more visitors than expected came to gaze with Braco. Further invitations to international congresses followed. Experts from a wide variety of disciplines have tried to understand what they call the ‘Braco phenomenon’ and they offer theoretical explanations. Prof. dr. Vladimir Gruden, Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist / Croatia: “We always wonder if there is something that science has not yet discovered, a kind of energy which reaches people. […] Braco is able to stimulate change in people. […] Gazing with Braco is not a ritual, lecture, or ceremony. It is an encounter, not only with Braco but also with oneself. In as much as words are symbolic and can trigger emotions, it is easy to manipulate with words. The encounter with Braco takes place in silence. By gazing with Braco, we are mirroring the silence within. Braco activates in us the truth. Simply stated, in silence truth arises.” Prof. dr. D. C. Dulcan, Neurologist, Psychiatrist / Romania: “Based on the study that I’ve made on the testimonies of over 1500 participants, I believe that Braco really has an effect on the mind, on the soul and on the physical body. Drago Plecko, Scientist, Author / Croatia: “I think that people like Braco have the spontaneous ability to connect to a kind of collective consciousness, and they can change information in the person’s information field, to bring to changes, improvements and healings on the physical level.” Prof. Alex Schneider, Physicist, Former President of the Basel PSI Days /Switzerland: “Braco’s influence is not to be understood as energies coming from his person. His charisma is such that his ‘higher’ human qualities enable him to change the people standing before him in their deeper human layers. What happens at the sessions with Braco is above all a change in consciousness that the visitors experience.” Andreas B. Müller, Psychologist, Co-organizer of ‘Lebenskraft’ / Switzerland: “I think that Braco connects himself to the Source – the Source, that everyone is actually connected to – but he consciously uses this Source to serve mankind.” Prof. dr. William Tiller, Prof. emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University / USA called Braco the “leading person of a new paradigm”. Braco the man It is said that Braco exudes stamina, sustained calm and warmth. He sees himself as an ordinary person with normal joys and demands in life. He is married and has a son, and being with family and friends brings to him joy and happiness. He has a deep love for nature and especially for the sea. His friends find that Braco has retained a childlike enthusiasm for life and new things. Peace Pole award in 2012 Braco’s decades-long commitment to the people was recognized by the public and, in particular, increasingly appreciated as a contribution to peace. During a special event within the UN community, sponsored by the UN Staff Recreation Council Enlightenment Society and the World Peace Prayer Society held at the Tillman Chapel for the Church Center in New York City in 2012, Braco was awarded a Peace Pole. Rev. Deborah Moldow, the then Representative of the World Peace Prayer Society for the United Nations at the time presented Braco with the international peace prize: “Braco, we truly accept you here as an ‘Ambassador of Peace’. It is time to build a new culture of peace, and this is where Braco comes in. I believe that this is exactly what Braco brings through his gaze; he gives each person a personal experience of peace.” 44

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The message of Peace in focus Biannca Pace, chairperson of Ministry for Peace, Australia after gazing with Braco stated: “Instead of the old tools to force peace, we support a range of new tools that create rather than destroy. Braco is such a tool. He enables you to see the truth of yourself.” At the ‘World conference on Peace and Light’ in the Dominican Republic, Braco was a special guest and received the title ‘World ambassador of Peace and Light’ in August 2017. In 2018, Braco was invited to St. James Church in London to share his gaze in this church which celebrates what it regards as the ‘radical welcome’. At this place people of any faith, or none, can discover the sacred in life through openness. At the ‘World in Transition’ congress in Germany in 2019, Braco gazed at a group of 1,200 people at once. Among other presenters at the congress who were scientists and consciousness researchers, Braco was the only one who did not speak, yet he has established a special connection with the audience. Film about Braco in the USA In 2016, the documentary ‘Power of Silence’ premiered in New York City and Los Angeles. Personalities like Naomi Campbell, Andie MacDowell and Christine Baransky, among others, were present at the film screening. The film’s narrator was the Hollywood actor Armand Assante and guests of honor in the film were the author Paulo Coelho and the Jewish rabbi Jack Bemporad. Rabbi Jack Bemporad, leader of the Center for Interreligious Understanding (CIU) in New York had the following to say about Braco: “People have a kind of a hunger for silence, they have a hunger to somehow be in touch with their true self. Amos has a beautiful passage, it says that there will be a hunger and a thirst. But not a hunger for bread or thirst for water, but a hunger for the word of god. And that word of god, if you look at the verse Kings 19, is a voice that is silent. God speaks to you through silence, but you have to be willing to listen in silence, without silence you are not going to hear it. Maybe Braco represents that.” How to meet Braco’s gaze today? In addition to working at the center in Zagreb, Braco normally travels most of the time. He travels by invitation, and they come from many countries. Braco visited most of the countries in Europe, was invited to Japan, Russia, Israel, Indonesia and Australia and gave his gaze to more than 100,000 people in 21 states in the USA in addition to people in Mexico, Dominican Republic etc. Free Live Stream events After his visits to the USA and Russia, the opportunity arose that Braco could give his gaze via Live Streaming. Today, people from up to 80 nations come together for free Live Stream events that are broadcast worldwide from the center in Zagreb. Free Live Streaming is made possible by contributions of viewers via the streaming page The year 2020 brought many challenges to the people of our world and Braco’s wish was to be there for them and with them. Live Stream was broadcast from Zagreb almost every day throughout the year, with 13 free live sessions per day. At one point, there were even 100 days of continuous Live Stream sessions held in a row (March 17 till June 24). Numerous testimonies kept pouring in from viewers globally who were speaking about finding their balance again in the midst of a global crisis, and not feeling alone and scared anymore, but rather awake, conscious and strong, with the help of connecting to Braco’s gaze daily. Braco’s Gaze - An Igniter of the Inner Potential All of us, around the world, we have never been closer to each other than today. Also, the deepest levels of physics are converging together with spirituality, bringing forth the same message - We are all Consciousness. Braco’s gaze is here for all of those who wish to connect, receive help and feel elevated. For many, Braco’s gaze is an igniter of the inner potential. It can awaken something that already exists in all of us. Information:; Experience Braco’s Gaze LIVE Online!; Videos about Braco on YouTube:

Slavica Martinovic Schank is a Psychologist, Autogenic Training Educator and Yoga Teacher. Her ever-growing interest in human psyche and spirituality led her to film work and interviewing people of various cultures and backgrounds. Working on the film about Braco “One World The Ocean of Presence” allowed her to speak to people from more than 35 countries about their innermost experiences.


The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

By Denise Scotto, Esq

By Yoga we can rise out of falsehood into truth, out of weakness into force, out of pain and grief into bliss, out of bondage into freedom, out of death into immortality, out of darkness into light, out of confusion into purity, out of imperfection into perfection, out of self-division into unity, out of Maya into God. -Sri Aurobindo Sri Aurobindo was a visionary. He is considered a philosopher, a yogi/yoga master, maharishi, poet, and in his early life, very politically active and was called an Indian nationalist. While he was educated at Cambridge University, he also seriously studied yoga and Sanskrit. After University, he returned to India becoming an influential leader in promoting Indian’s independence, so much so, that he was imprisoned for one year. Eventually, he was acquitted and found his way to Pondicherry where he lived for the duration of his life. Significantly, during his custody in jail, Sri Aurobindo had profound mystical and spiritual experiences which changed his life and had profound, farreaching effects. To write that he impacted the lives of thousands of people is an understatement. While imprisoned, however, he described how he was ‘visited’ by none other than Swami Vivekananda. Sri Aurobindo related that he heard Vivekananda’s voice and felt his presence for at least two weeks. After his release, he moved to Pondicherry, which at that time was a French colony, where he introduced his vision regarding the evolution of spiritual and human consciousness. Settling into life at Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo fully devoted himself to developing a spiritual practice he called ‘Integral Yoga’. What he turned his focus on was the liberation of the human soul. His fundamental vision is the evolution of human life into a divine life in divine body. He believed in a spiritual realization that not only liberated but also transformed human nature, enabling a divine life on earth. He also emphasized reverence for the feminine and that the feminine side of religion must not be neglected. Echoing Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo sought to forge greater unification and synthesis between the East and the West, furthering the energy and efforts of Swami Vivekananda. In 1926, together with his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa, known and referred to as “The Mother”, they established the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Ashram still exists today and Sri Aurobindo is buried in the courtyard of the main building underneath an enormous spreading tree. At the same time, his legacy lives on in a multitude of ways including through ashrams or centers which are found worldwide teaching the deeper message of universal truth. His books outline the stages of human evolution including those that are yet to emerge and the conscious process through which we can practice. His foremost literary works are: The Life Divine (which explains theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga); Synthesis of Yoga (which provides practical guidance about Integral Yoga); and Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol (an epic poem).


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga Even when we fail to look into our souls Or lie embedded in earthly consciousness, Still have we parts that grow towards the light -Savitri, page 46 Sri Aurobindo considered Savitri his most important work. Savitri is the longest epic poem in English, with nearly 24,000 lines held in Eleven Books plus an Epilogue. He worked on it for decades to infuse within it the highest mantric vibrations so Savitri could serve as a bridge between humanity’s present state and the supramental consciousness. The Mother confirmed this, and, she described how, ‘Savitri is the mantra of transformation’. In addition to being a supremely mystical poem, which has been compared to the Vedas and the Upanishads, many people express how it is a mantric poem carrying the power to uplift human consciousness. Reading Savitri is, in itself, to engage in the yoga of transformation, and is not an unceasing churning of words in the head. Its impact upon the inner being as well as on the physical itself (the integral being) continue even after the reading has been completed.

“Sri Aurobindo came to tell the world of the beauty of the future that must be realised. He came to give not a hope but a certitude of the splendor towards which the world moves. The world is not an unfortunate accident, it is a marvel which moves towards its expression. The world needs the certitude of the beauty of the future. And Sri Aurobindo has given that assurance.” -The Mother, Collected Works of the Mother, Vol. 13, p. 15 The Mother oversaw the activities of the ashram, as Sri Aurobindo withdrew into seclusion to focus on his spiritual endeavors. This was possible because Sri Aurobindo considered her his equal and because of her astuteness as an organizer, left her to plan, run and build the growing ashram as well as supervised the organization of the ashram, the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. In her own right, she developed an alternative blueprint for a new way to live and to be. She described a new society: balanced, just, harmonious and dynamic, stating it would be, “a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments.” She then established Auroville, close to Pondicherry, a center of accelerated evolution with the Matrimandir representing Divine Consciousness. The Matrimandir is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. Matrimandir does not belong to any one religion. Its shape is a huge sphere surrounded by twelve petals and the Geodesic dome is covered by golden discs and reflects sunlight, which gives the structure its characteristic radiance. Inside the central dome is a meditation hall known as the inner chamber. The four main pillars that support its structure and carry the Inner Chamber, have been set at the four main directions of the compass. These pillars are symbolic of the four aspects of the mother as described by Sri Aurobindo and are named after these four aspects.

“What we propose in our yoga is nothing less than to break up the whole formation of our past and present which makes up the ordinary material and mental man and to create a new center of attention and a new universe of activities in ourselves which shall constitute a divine humanity or a superhuman nature …” —Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 66


During his lifetime, Swami Bua was one of the oldest living Hatha Yoga teachers in the world. Experts estimated him to be over 123 years of age in his final years. He accomplished the yogic technique of ‘Kechari Mudra’ (the blocking of one’s nasal passage with one’s own tongue, stopping the breath for a considerable length of time) through rigorous practice. As a spiritual leader at the United Nations, he was able to blow his “Shankh” (Conch Shell) continuously for hours, demonstrating his immense breath control. He was capable of breathing through his eyes. His extraordinary ability to rotate his body while anchoring both arms on the ground was a rare feat.

Spiritual Mentors Anchor Us in Changing Times: Swami Bua, A Supercentenarian Yogi By Dileepkumar Thankappan Venkataraman Subramanian Bua (September 14, 1886 - July 22, 2010), internationally known as Jagatguru H.H. Swami Bua Ji Maharaj, was born in Pollachi, South India. He was born into a poor, Brahmin family and was the youngest of eighteen children. Born with severe physical disabilities, his legs and feet were crippled and contorted by the time he was two years old. He later fell into a coma and by the age of thirteen, his family was convinced that he was dead. When they prepared him for cremation, the heat from the funeral pyre woke him up and as his eyes began to open, his family ran away fearing that he has risen from the dead. A wanderer, Avadhuta His Holiness Prabhakara Sidha Yogi, rescued him from the fire and taught him traditional yoga over many years. Swami Bua began his voyage, traveling from village to village, and seeking food as well as shelter from others. He survived many providential escapes. For instance, he was abducted by cannibals when he was a child but managed to free himself with the help of a young girl. He also escaped from political activists and criminals as well as wild animals including pythons, crocodiles, tigers, etc. Meeting great saints such as Swami Vivekananda, Chattampi Swamikal, Sree Narayana Guru, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and other Siddha yogis was a great source of inspiration for joining the freedom movement and would ultimately lead him on a journey throughout British India. Upon learning numerous Indian languages through the gurukula system, he became an exceptional orator and writer in English, despite lacking a modern education. He lived on fruit, vegetables, and a little rice. He never consumed non-vegetarian food, alcohol, or drugs in his life.

Swami Bua was a cousin of Swami Sivananda Saraswati. When Swami Sivananda saw Swami Bua’s talent in hatha yoga, he was invited to join the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh. Swami Bua joined the ashram as its first yoga teacher trainer and taught most of Swami Sivananda’s disciples. He was the first yoga master conferred with the title “Master of Hatha Yoga” (M.H.Y.) by Swami Sivananda Saraswati. Swami Bua arranged a meeting between Sathya Sai Baba and Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh and created a movement called “Bharath Sadhu Samaj,” which made a change in the orthodox Hindu hierarchy. In the early 1960s, Swami Bua went to Iran where he stayed at the Shah of Iran’s palace and taught yoga to the Shah’s family. After 7 years, Swami Bua came to the USA with the Shah of Iran. In 1973, Swami Bua established the Indo-American Yoga-Vedanta Society in New York and became an integral part of the activities at the United Nations. Swami Bua traveled around the world over 90 times. He met numerous royal dignitaries, heads of states, ambassadors, religious leaders, and famous Hollywood film stars. He taught the King of Ethiopia, King of Nepal, Boxing champion Mohammed Ali and many other world figures. Additionally, he met with Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, as well as many world leaders from Russia, Germany, and Italy. He worked closely with many spiritual saints like Paramahansa Yogananda, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Sathya Sai Baba, Sri Chinmoy, Swami Satchidananda Saraswati, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, and various others. Among his friends are great figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Annie Besant, Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, United Nations Secretaries-General and other diplomats.

Swami Bua Ji was an embodiment of love and affection. He would always end his yoga classes with the relaxation lullaby, “Begin the day with love; spend the day with love; fill the day with love; end the day with love. That is the way to God.” He would say that food, laughter, and yoga are the best medicine for a long and healthy life. In this light, Supercentenarian Yogiraj Swami Bua Ji’s life is a perfect example for all spiritual practitioners and a spiritual anchor in times like these where we have so much change.

Rev. Dr. Dileepkumar Thankappan, internationally known as Avadhuta H.H. Jagat Guru Dileepji Maharaj is from Kerala, India. He is the Global Chair of the World Yoga Community, an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. Additionally, he is the Secretary of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, Trustee of the All Faiths Seminary International, and New Light Temple. Over 35 years he is organizing events and festivals globally. Please visit: 48

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Love for God & Love Thy Neighbor


By Charlie Hogg, Director, Brahma Kumaris, Australia Probably the greatest expression of Love for God is to Love thy Neighbor. Of the many challenges in this world, it seems the greatest challenge today is to love thy neighbor. The neighbor being one who is different. The neighbor may look different; believe in something different; have a different opinion or behave differently. It seems the one who is different threatens something in us which can create severe discomfort. As a child one of the things that affected me most, was the bullying of another child because they were different. I often found myself wanting to defend someone who was being bullied or excluded in the school playground and I would make special effort to befriend that person or try to show some kindness to that person. Growing into my teens I began to see the many injustices in our world. One of them was apartheid and I would regularly go on anti apartheid protest marches. I am generally quite a placid person but to reject on the basis of color or culture made me quite passionate or even angry. Yet on the other hand, I noticed with friends or family I would sometimes dislike or exclude. This made me reflect deeply about myself and why I feel challenged to love my neighbor. Why I fight to for some but seem to reject others. Probably the main way I assess or judge myself as to what sort of person I am, is how I treat others. If I observe my self not treating others well, I do not feel comfortable about who I am. Even if someone is rude or unpleasant, if I respond with the same feelings, I do not feel comfortable about myself. This inner quandary was one of the triggers that kick-started my spiritual journey. To really learn more about who I am and why I went out of my way to accept some but would reject others. When I was twenty years old I wandered the work for a few years. I often see this time as my real education about life. I spent time in South East Asia, India, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. I lived with Sikhs, Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, Yogis, Christians and more. As I traveled, I observed how divided our world was based on gender, color, religion, nationality and culture. In one temple where I lived, there was a split-level dining room as the nuns had to eat so that they were lower than the feet of the monks. In other religious places I was not allowed in because I did not belong to that faith or looked different. As I traveled, I began to keep a diary. I had a dream that one day there would be a group of young people of the world who would renounce their nationality and religion and move around the world to help wherever there was a need. They would be like an international group that consciously renounce all their labels of difference for the good of the whole. After traveling across half the world, mostly overland, I settled in London. Not long after arriving in London, I remember one day sitting in Regents Park feeling quite lost. It felt like a world where most were carrying so much sorrow in their hearts and so fearful of anyone who appeared different. It really felt like a world where there was no love for thy neighbor. It was at this point I came across the Brahma Kumaris and began to seriously meditate. In my travels I had begun to meditate but mostly dabbling here and there. One of the first things I learnt with the Brama Kumaris and experienced was that I am not a body but an eternal soul. This was an absolute revelation for me. Not only am I a soul, a tiny point of life energy that sits in the front of the brain in the center of the forehead, but so was everyone else. It was such a profound realization that the sense of belonging to each other was at the soul level. When I see the soul in the other, we are like a family, but, when I see the body, we are all different. The labels of the body will always be different, and, so, it became too clear to me that when I am “body conscious” it is harder to love thy neighbor. When I am soul conscious” it is natural to love thy neighbor. Body consciousness gives birth to two children. My ego or the “I” of superiority and my lack of self respect or the “I” of inferiority. When my ego is ruling my inner system, I seem to zero in on others’ faults and weaknesses which kills love. There is a deep relationship between ego and love. The more ego, the less love I experience in my life. When my lack of self-respect is working, I feel hopeless and worthless and feel that no one will want to love me. When I am soul conscious and I see the other as a soul there is an instant bond and people feel a fragrance of love and belonging. But body consciousness is deep, and, it is so easy to fall under the influence of old ways. So, it is also easy to fall into old habits of rejecting or disliking the other or thy neighbor. Observing myself over many years, the main way I can maintain benevolent feelings for others is to feel love from God. When ever I meditate or just simply remember God and feel love and belonging, I instantly change. I feel softer, easier, less judgmental and definitely more compassionate. When ever I feel my attitude towards another is not right, I like to try to remember God and feel that love. This love can act like a positive tweaking of my attitude if it has become a bit negative or critical. I sometime even feel I experience God’s vision on the other which is always so benevolent and respectful and acts like road maps to how to see thy neighbor. When I meditate, I see God as a soul like me; a minute jewel of light, that is an ocean of unlimited love. I love to become a small child and allow myself to be loved. This love is so powerful that I naturally begin to let go the comments, the behavior of others, the memories of past hurts, and I can love. The more I love like this, the better I feel about myself. The more I naturally feel love from God, the more I can naturally love my neighbor.

Charlie Hogg is National Coordinator, Brahma Kumaris, Australia. Having practiced meditation over the past 40 years, Charlie is internationally a much sought-after meditation teacher, speaker and retreat leader and his journey has taken him to 80 countries. From experience, he knows that meditation is an extraordinary tool to maintain mental, emotional and spiritual health in an increasingly challenging world. Charlie has also been the National Director for a number of international projects such as the Million Minutes of Peace Appeal (1986), Global Cooperation for a Better World (1988) and since 1996 has been the Coordinator of Peace of Mind – an increasingly popular annual international meditation retreat in India. 50

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Love for God, Love Thy Neighbor By Erik Larsen I remember learning how important it is to love thy neighbor. That awareness is good for the family and the community, and, we feel happy helping and caring for others. Respect and concern are involved in this. I learned the principle of ‘love thy neighbor’ was actually, ‘love thy neighbor as yourself’-indicating that a sense of care for another is how you would care for yourself. But it also implies, I have discovered through more experience in life, that to love thy neighbor as thyself, one must love the self first. The first understanding is a brake on bad behavior towards others; love them, don’t treat them poorly. The second understanding is permission to be elevated and to connect with the self that has the power to love. How do I treat myself? With care, with respect, with love? Do I allow myself the chance to benefit from experience rather than obsess over things that could have been different? Do I treat myself really well with exercise, nutrition, company, and even the thoughts in my own mind? Are these thoughts elevated, inspiring, helpful or joyful? How do I show love for the self while not acting indulgingly or arrogantly, but truly knowing everything about myself and seeing only good. Love is a feeling of a relationship. Love is directed to someone, something and love is received from someone, something. Both are involved and both are known. So, to love myself means I must know myself. Who am I? I learned this about myself almost by accident. I discovered the answer to ‘Who am I?’ is: a beautiful, loving and peaceful being. I am spirit. I am consciousness. I am a soul. The energy which keeps the body alive and functioning is me. I exist and it is possible for me to experience feelings, emotions, thoughts and life. When I have a true experience of the eternal spiritual self, the truth of who I am, a loving being, I can only choose to see others with that love. I will love my neighbor. I will also most likely want a good fence with most, too, but I will see the true nature in myself, and in neighbors, and in every living being because they, too, are spiritual beings, souls, atmas, living an existence which, like myself, is deserving of love. I cannot do anything else. Fundamental principles and elevated disciples have directed us to this understanding for millennia. And God created me in his own image. Therefore, as I exist, I know God exists. That being is a force, a personality, a spirit, a soul--The Supreme Soul, and, He is loving. As I am loving, and lovable, so is God. Love is a feeling of exchange in a relationship, so when I hold my mind on The One who is loving, the love in me grows and deepens; like the roots of a very powerful tree which reaches deep in the ground but shares the blossoms and fruits in the visible world. My love for God is deep inside, it is personal, and it is private, and no storm or wind or external force can threaten it. I am only able to show the world what is in me. When I have love for God, I have love for my neighbor. When my mind is clear, when I allow myself to feel the spiritual being that I am, an automatic resonance is created. Love links the souls who can be true to themselves with a source of unlimited love. Love is the feeling and energy which connects us. My love for God is a response to the love God has for me. How can I not be moved when I am able to feel the true spiritual love from a soul and how that energy moves through me and guides me in the manner in which we can all be moved and see and act? If I find my neighbors untrustworthy, disagreeable, unpleasant and unneighborly, that may be a fact. But, that fact does not relive me of loving them. The love I have is the love I can share. Check: can I have love for my neighbor? If not, I have received a clear signal that I must increase my love and connection to God and be more available to His love. I must clean out my mind from the waste, upset and disappointment of life. I must change my thinking to allow a calm, clear mind. I work on myself, my thinking, my mind and I will receive God’s love. With receiving God’s love, I will have love for God. And, I will see my neighbors as God does. And I will love my neighbor.

Having been with the Brahma Kumaris for over 35 years, Erik Larson is a Director of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization (USA), a representative to the United Nations and a founding member on the Board of Directors of the Long Island Multifaith Forum. He has been involved in the interfaith community since participating in various organizing committees for the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. Building bridges between faiths and finding common ground for constructive whole community action has been a guiding principle.


Connecting with Nature – The Yogic Way By Deepali Sharma It is said that what we do in the morning defines the day for us. In India, it is customary to say a few Shlokas every morning right after waking up. Most Indian mothers give this sanskar to the kids since their infancy. In our house, my mother would wake us and ask us to say our shlokas as well. The first shloka was: “Samudra vasanay devi parvatstana mandalay Vishnupatni namas tub-bhyam paadsparsham kshmasva may” “I bow to Mother Earth, who has mountains and jungles as her body and whose clothing is made by the ocean. O mother Earth, please forgive me for touching you with my feet.” We had to touch the floor with our hands in reverence before putting our feet down. A few other shlokas followed but the first one was the one where we bow to mother earth. And this was one of the house rules, which was applicable not just to me and my brother but all cousins who visited us during vacations as well.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga I remember a funny & touching incident. My brother taught this shloka to my younger cousin who was visiting us and told her not to step off the bed before saying it. She followed it with meticulous discipline for a couple of days. On the third day morning, the cousin frenetically started calling out for my brother. Everybody got startled. My brother ran to her & asked what happened? “I forgot the shloka. Please help me quickly so that I can step down. I have to use the rest room”. Being taught these values through the shlokas at an early age, helped us be naturally empathetic towards nature. The essence of how our mother got us connected with nature is beautifully surmised in the first verse from Isa Upanishad, one of the Hindu scriptures: “Isha vasyam idam sarvam, yat kinch jagatyam jagat Tain tyaktain bhunjhitha, ma gridh kasyasvid dhanam” “Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is pervaded by Isha (God). One should therefore consume only what is necessary for himself, with an attitude of caring and detachment; God has provided us with the natural abundance but one must not hoard things (that are not needed), thus depriving others who may need them.” Mahatma Gandhi was once visiting India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at his house on the banks of the river Ganga. And as is a tradition, post meals, Nehru was pouring water for Gandhi ji to wash his hands. Engrossed in a deep conversation, Gandhi ji ended up using 2 mugs of water. He suddenly realized it and exclaimed “Oh no! I have wasted water!!!”. “Gandhi ji - We are on the bank of the Ganga; why do you worry about water?”, said Nehru, trying to brush it off. Gandhiji with a gentle smile said, “If we keep wasting natural resources this way, we will soon exhaust them. The earth has enough resources to meet everybody’s needs, but not anybody’s greed”. Hindu scriptures prescribe “dohan” – which roughly translates to “careful milking” of nature. We take only what is necessary and leave the rest for others. The opposite is “shoshan” or exploitation of nature, which is to be avoided. This is what Gandhiji was also alluding to. In his classic “Autobiography of a Yogi”, Paramhansa Yogananda cited Luther Burbank, the famous Horticulturist. Burbank told him that the secret of improved plant breeding, apart from scientific knowledge is love. “While I was conducting experiments to make spineless cactus-I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. ‘You have nothing to fear’, I would tell them. ‘you don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.’ Gradually the useful plant of the desert emerged in a thorn-less variety.” Swami Vivekananda said: ‘Love everyone as your own self, because the whole universe is one. In injuring another, I am injuring myself; in loving another, I am loving myself.’ He says, ‘In the lowest worm, as well as in the highest human being, the same divine nature is present’. This is the kind of care and love for nature that was present in all ancient cultures. We lost this in the last couple of centuries. It is the need of the world today that we start understanding & making these yogic values part of our daily life. Start really becoming one with nature and help others also to realize this connection. As they say, ‘charity begins at home’. Let’s declutter our own lives and try and adopt simplicity. Let’s go back from “shoshan” to “dohan” of nature before it’s too late. This would be our first step towards adoption of the Vedic principles of peace & well-being for all beings. As is mentioned in the Shanti Mantra from Yajurveda (36.17): May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and woods. May peace flow over the whole universe. May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman. And may there always exist in all, peace and peace alone. Aum peace, peace and peace to us and all creation!

Born in India, Deepali Sharma was introduced to yoga when she was little, by her parents. She had a unique privilege of being associated with some great Yogis, Saints & social reformers in her childhood. Hence after completing her MBA she took to her calling and became a Yoga practitioner & a teacher. She believes Yoga is a journey and one always remains a student. She is also an active member of HSS, which believes in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ i.e. Whole World is a family. Her mantra: changing your own self is the first step towards changing the whole world. She can be reached at 53

Love for God and Live for Thy Neighbor By Jacqueline Cambata In the movie Contact the benevolent alien speaks to Jodi Foster’s character and says: You (Earthlings) are an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other. In our aloneness we are the walking wounded. Rather than feeling our emotional wounds we often react with fear and attempt to fill our pain with distractions and addictions to consumerism or drugs, food, anger or work. We chase this illusionary external paradise. In Sanskrit, this is known as Maya. Maya are worldly distractions from our spiritual home with God. The poet Rumi speaks of an antidote to filling this insatiable void within ourselves. He says, “The wound is where the light enters you.” It is God’s light. Rumi’s poetry creates a portal to reframe our consciousness. What if our wounded natures are a gateway to the goodness of God, where we can drink of God’s beloved holy nature, His purity, His love. Our remembrance of God has transformational potential for our journey of life. Life’s drama is a learning opportunity to bring us to our own kindness and freedom of heart. It is an inner pilgrimage to love. Our wounds can connect us to the suffering of others and offer us a deeper window of compassion. Residing in our heart offers us the freedom to dwell in the lap of God’s light. The Divine wishes for us to introduce ourselves to him. He says to us, where have you been my child, I have been longing to embrace you in my arms of love. I have been yearning to share with you the fragrance of a heavenly world. Come to me, it is in my light where your happiness blossoms. What if we collectively initiate an emergent and generative spiritual learning style by envisioning God’s light and love and living into it. The outcome of light and love for us individually and for the human species is a return to a Golden Age. A Golden Age is recounted by many cultures. Around 700 B.C., Works and Days was written by the Greek poet Hesiod. He talks about a Golden Age where complete peace and tranquility existed on the planet. It was a place of benevolent harmony for all human souls. The Hopi speak of the Rainbow Prophecy. The rainbow is connected to the Spirit, Creator or God in all things: The great spiritual Teachers who walked the Earth and taught the basics of the truths of the Whirling Rainbow Prophecy will return and walk amongst us once more, sharing their (inner) power and understanding with all. We will learn how to see and hear in a sacred manner. The Hindu Vedas recount cycles of time or Yugas. The Golden Age, or Satya Yuga, is a time of Divinity on Earth. This is a very sacred era, when all souls return to their Divine essence and live with an elevated consciousness.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga A Golden Age will bring peace and prosperity for all souls, no one is left behind and all sentient beings thrive. If we can imagine this Golden Aged time, what do we need to cultivate in order to bring it into fruition on our precious planet Earth. In the TV show Star Trek, the synthetic life form Data, longing to emulate human feelings asked for an emotion chip for his computerized brain. What if we could cultivate a “spiritual chip” for virtuous characteristics such as truth, purity, love, kindness, goodness, compassion, joy, and bliss. The journey toward our happiness is an inner quest. As we become more aware of our attitudes, we have an opportunity to pilot our thoughts. There is an old Cherokee story of a grandfather teaching the plight of piloting his thoughts to his grandson. “A fight is going on inside me, he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. He continued, The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, Which wolf will win? The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.” We can create a spiritual map pointed toward these virtues of the soul. Our individual and collective drama and trauma in life become an opportunity to develop a loving and virtuous relationship with God. We can cultivate an understanding of God as a Father, a Mother, a friend. When we are fully present to ourselves and to God we are drawn toward goodness and love and to each other. We open to the other more deeply when we think of our connectedness rather than what divides us. Conversely division is driven by fear, control and power over, whereas our connectedness is a sacred link to knowing that we are all souls. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” When we embrace this worldview, we create a soul centered journey toward Divinity. This is our GPS to God, our path to liberation. The Mayans have said that there will come a time when no human being will be able to sleep if we witness a homeless person. Bodhisattvas takes a vow to liberate all sentient beings, only then may they attain liberation or Nirvana. What sort of collective wisdom needs to be harvested in order to find spiritual liberation? Rumi says. “You are the root of heaven, the morning star, the bright moon, the house of endless love.” God is awakening the heart of humanity and pointing it directly toward Nirvana, the golden age, heaven. Listen to the power of your precious heart and climb upon your inner starship straight to God.

Jacqueline Cambata is a social entrepreneur. She established Cambata Designs as a way to model her passion of for-profit companies fundamentally engaging in social issues – in this case to address the 1st and 5th UN Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty and Gender Equality. Jacqueline serves on several Advisory Boards including the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and Magnolia Moonshot 2030.


You are Enough By Elspeth Kerr Everything is churned up just now as we are in a space of tense energetic times. Make time to meditate and hear the miraculous solutions to lead you into these new energies and into wholeness. I wish you all to observe a rainbow canopy of golden stars as they rain down on you as you read these words and enjoy this short open eye meditation of healing and of love. I invite you to breath with me in this now moment. We will jointly take 5 deep breaths together, so breathing in and repeat I, and breathing out and say Am. (Breath in I, Breath out Am). These words will help you to come out of your mind and into your heart and soul and receive the medicine of creation, as you are the creator of creation. Now feel into the stillness of the space between the I and the Am. Feel all of the blessings that are being restored on you in this beautiful beautiful space as you read these words. Feel the innocence of your heart as you remain in the oasis of your own paradise. Take this time for yourself to heal, transform and release all the discomfort and suffering from this past year. It is time for you to remember your own light, your soul’s essence and your strength and why you are here on earth at this time. Follow your heartbeat as you take one breath at a time. You have got this. Even although this past year has been difficult for so many we are being invited to go within and to also connect with the beauty of nature. The delicacy of it and how sacred geometry weaves its way through us as we imagine walking through nature and to remember all. To remember the peace and purity of our soul. So, drop into this moment as it is for you and for you to receive all of its gifts and breath it all into your being so you can fill up with sources light and be whole again. You are loved and came from love; it is who you are. Now sense spirit all around you, be gentle and open and healing will occur for you. You will be witness to the change within. As you go within, deep deep within, you begin to notice a light. So give yourself full permission to see this light in your heart and receive it fully. Just allow yourself to surrender into this place and then into the light of your own heart. 56

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Now begin to see even more light pouring through your crown cascading down and into you and into all of your being. This is sources light and heals you and activates your soul where there has been any stuck emotion. See this beautiful beautiful light dissolving any unwanted or residual emotions that have been trapped within you over this last year. As you breath in and out say, I Am Enough. Feel these words land deep within you and know you are enough just as you are, as you read these words right now and right here. These very words, I Am Enough move into the now open spaces within your being, you are inviting in healing as you let go, it’s over, it’s an old story and you don’t need it anymore. Give yourself permission to now move forward in the most beautiful and empowered way. Make way for a miracle as you say the words, I Am Enough each day with your breath. Please know in this space you are held and supported by this light. It is comforting and soothing you as you release any stuck feelings that you have held on to. Release, release, release. Now as you step more into this light you will feel your power returning. You feel love and you know you are enough and you are loved. Go within and see your divine essence and begin to smile again as you remove your mask. Your smile lights up your soul once again and you feel such gratitude for this amazing experience that you signed up for and you see and remember your own divine sacredness in this now moment. You are once again being fully connected to and with source and you allow the golden light to blast through you like the sunshine that feeds Mother Earth each day. Life is the ultimate giver of all good things and we are in the web of life as we breath in and we breath out. Breath in and breath out, I Am Enough. Repeating it softly and gently in this now moment as you are on the path of higher consciousness and all-encompassing love. Knowing this you feel so much stronger and lighter. It’s now time to remember you are enough and always have been. You are a sovereign being of light and you are blessed with this light. Now gently repeat 3 times, I Am Enough, I Am Enough, I Am Enough. Make this meditation your staple diet through the rest of 2021. And remember your inter connectedness with each other and Mother Earth. Language and culture may differ but your love is the same so create and radiate love daily as it creates a ripple effect and don’t underestimate your power when you repeat the words daily I Am Enough. Each day walk barefoot on the earth and feel Mother Earths heartbeat. Feel Her strength and power blessing you and feel the power of the 5 elements. We are rebirthing ourselves as stronger, wiser and more heart felt empowered human beings as we anchor in wholeness and oneness of the I Am. As you heal, She heals, as you unite with all with love and with joy She follows, this energy and aligns in unity consciousness. We are weaving a new human tapestry and it takes patience, resilience, perseverance, courage and compassion to create the new you of remembering you are enough. It all starts individually so start today. Thank you for joining me in this meditation. Remember Earth and Humans are one divine conscious being and merge with the cycles of creation to alchemize and begin anew. May you be the change you have been waiting for. You Are Enough. Namaste.

Elspeth Kerr was born in Scotland and now lives in Cyprus. She is a ‘soul reader of the heart,’ does sound release timeline clearings, and teaches Reiki, meditation, and self-empowerment. She uses her wisdom enabling souls to shine with joy from the inside out--helping the soul smile and beam its divine radiant light. She reminds clients to own their smile, which means: ‘Start My Internal Love Engine’. Elspeth offer services via Skype and in-person-sessions. Facebook: Soundcloud: Healing Steps of Colour Transformation Meditation


Yoga Exhale the negativity, Inhale the positivity, Yoga is a way of life, Helping to end strife, Supporting universal wellbeing, And making us willing, In spreading compassion, By joining Yoga’s great mission! Written by Padmini Murthy on World Poetry day March 21 2021 © PM


Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

“Treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated.”

The Golden Rule: The Pathway to Peaceful Co-existence & Interfaith Harmony

indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation upon which the base of a Global Ethic is found.

By Ambassador Mussie Hailu, URI, Director, Global Partnership & Representative to the UN & African Union

The Golden Rule, with roots in a wide range of world cultures, is well suited to be a standard to which different cultures could appeal in resolving conflicts. As the world becomes more and more a single interacting global community, the need for such a common standard is becoming more urgent and is endorsed by all the great world religions.

We are living at critical moment in our history, a time when humanity must choose its future as our world is experiencing a fundamental global crisis: a crisis in the pandemic of the Corona virus, global economy, global climate change, degradation of values, and lack of respect to all human dignity. This entire global crisis is a crisis which we all share in common as citizens of the world. Each and every one of us needs to be part of the solution by taking our own personal action as the world can only change when we change ourselves. If everyone does his or her part, together we can accomplish our common dream which is a better and peaceful world in which all humankind can live in peace and harmony along with Mother Earth and all other life form. In this changing world we can’t remain as we are, nor can we go back to conditions that are now behind us. We can only move forward, but not on the same path which has been leading us into war, conflict, violence, hunger, discrimination, poverty, disrespect, hate and all the other negative elements. Our world need not remain economically, socially and ecologically unsustainable. We can progress towards harmony, cooperation, livable communities, and a value system that nourishes and sustains us and all life forms that live on this Earth. For this to happen, we need to follow a pathway which leads us from war to peace, from killing each other to co-existence, from disrespect to honoring each other, from hate to love, from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from being selfish to living for the sake of others and from revenge to forgiveness. This path is the Golden Rue which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. The Golden Rule is a universal principle and its message is simple, universal and powerful. It is affirmed in many religions, traditions, 59

The Golden Rule is not just a moral ideal for relationships between people but also for relationships among nations, cultures, races, sexes, economies and religions. Clearly, it has the capacity to be the ethical cornerstone in developing a Global Ethic as the human family works together to build a peaceful, just and sustainable global society. Our shrinking “global village” is evolving into a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society. Indeed, we are witnessing the emergence of a global consciousness - an increasing number of people are coming to see themselves as members of one family in an interdependent universe.

Therefore, it is high time for all of us, as citizens of this planet, to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with all living beings and Mother Earth. Every one of us shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of all life on Earth. As much as we claim our right, we also need to bear in mind our personal responsibility. We must recognize that in the midst of magnificent diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicities and race we are all part of one human family with a common destiny. Hence, we need to join hands together, now more than ever, to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on the teaching of the Golden Rule. To reflect on the Golden Rule is to reflect from the perspective of universal wisdom. It is found in numerous cultures, religions, ethical systems, secular philosophies, and indigenous traditions. It is a common denominator for all life on Earth. It emphasizes values of mutuality, interdependence and reciprocity. If we truly want to open a new chapter in human history and see a better world based on a culture of peace and social justice, I believe it is high time to promote the Golden Rule throughout the world. It is a fundamental principle that addresses critical issues such as democracy, human rights, respect for each other, gender equity, social development, interfaith harmony, constructive dialogue among nations, conflict prevention and developing right human relationship. By acting wisely, effectively and collectively under the Golden Rule, we can create a more peaceful, ethical and better world for all.

Among the many reasons why we need to pay attention for teaching how the Golden Rule is the pathway for peaceful co-existence, harmony and promoting human dignity and human security are: · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

It calls us to extend our concern beyond ourselves and to embrace a greater understanding and respect for others; It is affirmed in many religions, traditions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation on which a global ethic is founded; It is a universal message which is accepted and embraced world-wide; Its message is simple, universal and powerful; It is the most prevalent and universal moral principle in human history; It summarizes the basic teaching of compassion, non-violence, respect, honoring the dignity of all living beings, social justice, equal right, and peaceful co-existence; It is the best guide we have to help peoples of the world to live together in mutual respect and harmony; It is a preventive mechanism for discrimination, disrespect, greedy, violence, crime, hate speech, incitement which leads to war and the violation of human right; It is the roadmap for inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony; Reflecting on the Golden Rule is to reflect from the perspective of universal wisdom of the world; It can help to reverse the insane trends prevailing today in our world; It is the best way to counter violent extremism and radicalization; It is a fundamental principle that addresses critical issues such as democracy, human rights, mutual respect for each other, gender equality, and constructive dialogue among nations; It transcends our differences and encourages us to consider the well-being of all humanity and life forms on Earth; It helps to recognize pluralism and respect diversity.

It is with this in mind that the United Religions Initiative (URI)-Africa & Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (URI member organizations) along with religious leaders in Ethiopia proclaimed April 5 in 2007 as the “Golden Rule Day” and called upon all citizens of the world, religious leaders of the world, mayors of the world, heads of state of the world, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, interfaith organizations, schools, higher learning institutions, the business community and civil society to join URI-Africa & IPI in proclaiming this day as Golden Rule Day and to live accordingly to make this world a better and a peaceful world for all. I am so happy to inform you that currently about 750 different organizations in 120 countries joined us in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day. In addition to this, URI-Africa also started in 2007 a Golden Rule Goodwill Ambassador program to highlight the need for the Golden Rule in the world and to promote a culture of peace, interfaith harmony and a Global Ethic. Since 2007 every year, we honor an individual or organization with a Golden Rule Medal and appoint a Goodwill Ambassador. Dr. Hans Küng, (Prof. Emeritus of the Tübingen University, Germany, who recently passed) a noted scholar of world religions said, “No human life without a world ethic for the nations. No peace among the nations without peace among the religions. No peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions. No dialogue between the religions without global ethical standards. No survival of our globe without a global ethic, supported by both religious and nonreligious people” To me the Golden Rule is a world ethic which helps to move forward the refection of Dr. Hans Kung. For new ways to unfold before us, for enemies to bow before each other, for tears to bathe wounds of war, for hatred to soften into harmony, for greed to turn to generosity and for the Golden Rule to be the order of the day, we need to ask ourselves “what is my role in making this happen? what should I do to create such peaceful homes, communities, countries and the world?” World peace is only possible when we start to make peace within ourselves, our families and in our respective communities. As Citizens of the World, we need to open our hearts and minds to understand the uniqueness of each one of us. We need to pour out the spirit of love, compassion, forgiveness and living for the sake of other, so that our hearts will open more and our minds will understand the depth of our call as human beings living in the 21st century. We need to avoid violence in all its form by making the Golden Rule the first article of our faith and the last article of our creed. May the Creator of the Universe grant us light, guidance and vision and direct our hearts and minds to the path that leads us to peace, harmony, coexistence, and respect for each other and all living things. May we be with the presence of each other at deep levels of our thinking, feeling and acting. I pray for the Creator to open our hearts and minds to understand the uniqueness of each one of us and to pour out the spirit of love, forgiveness and living for the sake of others so that our hearts will open more and our minds will understand the depth of being a human being and to serve humanity and Mother Earth. May Peace, Global Ethic, Golden Rule, Human Right and Social Justice Prevail on Earth! URI is an international interfaith organization with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council which promotes enduring daily inter-faith cooperation to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. It is a bridge-building organization cultivating peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and their environment. 60

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

Universal Principles That Will Guide Humanity in This Millennium Changing Our Narrative as a Human Race Dzambling Cho Tab Khen, Plenipotentiary Ambassador The Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation 1.

The Life Within Collective Unity Consciousness: Oneness. The realization that we are one with all sentient beings and nature. That we experience the Planet Earth as a truly live entity: energy, behavior, memory and consciousness. In search of unity among communities, countries, and with all forms of life on this planet. The calculus of consent and welfare is to change now.


The Power of Citizenry. The most important component of human existence today is that we are a ‘human collective’ and not the arithmetic summation of individual persons. We all witness the power of citizenry. We are to self-realize the material and spiritual content of living as communities for a new and true planetary democracy.


The Richness of Love and Compassion. The energy foundation of the future of humanity is anchored in the great ability to become the other, without losing your own identity. Humanity will commence to intensively experience the most important attributes of key collective values that will guide human transformation and the transformation of all forms of life (e.g., respect, solidarity, caring, sharing, cooperation, interdependence, peace, security).


The Essence and Effectiveness of Our Inner Evolution. The moment has come to balance and harmonize the development of the outer ecology with the development of our inner ecology (the ecology of the self). In order to reach the highest levels of material and spiritual welfare. This is the path of transformation that goes beyond knowing, doing and having. This is the ecology of wisdom, being and becoming.


The Transforming Nature of a New Eco-Morality and Planetary Integrity. The road to the future of humanity must be paved by the morality of togetherness and mutual interdependence. To be driven by the exchange of me for the other. The morality that surges from meaningful interactions among all forms of life, and from the progressive elimination of material individualism.


The Healing of The Planet for World Everlasting Peace. We must restore the ecology of nature and reverse the existing destruction and loss in the quantity and quality of environmental goods and services (e.g., climate, biodiversity, oceans, mountains, rivers…). Healing the planet also means to heal ourselves; it is an act of inseparable mutuality. This calls for the immediate engagement and commitment to heal, heal, and heal.


The Power of Changing Economics, Social, Politics and Business. We are the architects of our own destiny and, thus, we are economy, politics… We are the producers, consumers, politicians, corporate managers… Two fundamental values must guide the future of humanity and all beings: transformation and care. We must move from purely market-based societies to societies that respect all forms of rights, including the rights of nature.


The Foundation of Conscious Planetary Leadership. The future rests on the creation and formation of “planetary beings”, who go far beyond their immediate personal space, culture and habits. Education and daily experience play a fundamental role. Now is the moment to create self-realized leaders whose only mission is the empowerment, welfare and self-realization of others.


The Establishment of New Planetary Institutions and Organizations. The planetary existence we experience today demands the creation of organizations and institutional arrangements which are truly planetary in nature. For the moment, the institutions we have are too countrybased-oriented in objectives, means and procedures. It is urgent to give rise to a “Planetary Citizens Organization”, whose life would reflect the empowerment and participation of citizens from all over the planet.

10. The Need for a New Form of Multilateralism. Today, we must acknowledge that the notion of Nation State is now being clearly eroded. And, this erosion has been accelerated by the communications revolution and the democratization in the access to information, platforms to dialogue and to daily decision making. The new multilateralism must go beyond nation states and include citizens, communities and civil society organizations.

Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, PH.D.)is a Chilean economist, with a PhD in natural resources economics (U. of Wisconsin, USA) and spiritual leader who understand that spirituality must be in the public domain: sustainable development, human rights, politics, economics, and citizenship. He devotes his life to the healing of our planet for world peace. Former Director and Special Representative of the World Bank to the UN (1996-2003). Candidate to the Presidency of Chile in 2013 and UN representative for the Lama Ganchen World Peace Foundation 61

International Day for the Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade My dear sweet children, Today is 25 March, the day the UN honours and solemnly remembers all who came enslaved across the Atlantic from Africa over 400 years ago to the Western hemisphere and whose descendants have perished tragically over generations to this day as victims of inhumane ownership and control. We also pay homage to the millions trapped in other unpleasant and abhorrent forms of modern-day slavery, which we must all condemn as an affront to human dignity and freedom everywhere. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibited slavery in no uncertain terms. Despite the progress made since then, today after 75 years we collectively share the tragedy and accountability for these deprivations of human justice. To be silent is to be complicit. As we stand today at the moral and ethical crossroads, we must ask why we have failed and allowed poverty, deep social stratification, oppression and systemic injustices, or even fortune or greed to flourish over human bondage. If we are on the spiritual path, we must engage in real soul-searching with a wake-up call for humanity. We must commit to ensure that no person or child is subjected to the barbaric practices of i) human trafficking for cheap labour, sexual purposes and organ transplants for lucrative profits; ii) of ancestral debt bondage; iii) bonded or forced labour; iv) domestic servitude and v) the unlawful recruitment of child soldiers. Today is the time, we should address also the silent and even more brutal threats to human security emerging from new and illegitimate business models of a dangerous nature; large-scale migration, or state or governmental fragility, crisis, and conflict, where violence against women is used as a weapon of war, or societal destabilization resorts to hate crimes and speech. These are monumental challenges. We must thus be committed with the United Nations to abolish modern slavery, which is Sustainable Development Goal 8, by 2030. We can do so only by a collaborative or integrated effort to implement the other SDGs of fighting poverty, reducing hunger, promoting education, women’s empowerment and food, water, and energy security. This is exactly what the SMVA Trust is striving to achieve through its special schools, income generation programme, water purification plants, housing and green economy and stable institutions, secure family and peaceful conflict-free societies as the means to guarantee our common safety as a public good. 62

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations For this reason, we must insist that all our governments not only sign and ratify all conventions and treaties related to women and children, human trafficking, transnational crime, migrants and refugees, and ending forced labour but also implement them rigorously. buses cannot be eliminated through criminal law enforcement alone and ending impunity. Rather, a broad-based approach is needed, with a strong emphasis on addressing root causes and prevention, and on the protection of victims. We thus must insist on good national development plans to strengthen the vast array of forces – economic, social, cultural, and legal – that contribute to vulnerability and enable abuses. Stronger social protection measures and social welfare services, with extending labour rights, especially in the informal economy – where modern slavery is most likely to occur, are essential. However, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented upheavals worldwide, and primarily in our region which has the largest number of victims (71%). Consequently, new historical levels of underemployment or unemployment, loss of livelihoods and uncertain economic perspectives have hit the most vulnerable, the hardest of all in the population. We must ensure that the underprivileged are not pushed further into bonded or forced labour or other slavery traps for survival. In our society we not only need laws and but also strict enforcement of labour and security regulations, followed by inspections of factories and work sites to ensure safety of workers in the informal sector, and in small and medium businesses. Hence, spreading awareness at source areas of human trafficking is necessary, with registration of unorganized workers to safeguard them from being lured by profit make predators. We need funding for rehabilitation of bonded labour, a debt forgiveness programme, or cancelling debts by Government and thus free people of decades of years of bondage. Given that a large share of modern slavery can be traced to migration, it is vitally important to have improved national, regional and global migration governance, stricter border controls, training of border police to detect victims of trafficking, and so prevent forced labour. Gender and age must be taken into account in developing policy responses, since 71% of all victims are women, and one in every four victims is a child. Similarly, improved victim identification is critical to extending protection to the vast majority of modern slavery victims, who are currently unidentified or unattended. UN data indicates that that some 40 million people are caught in modern slavery, of whom 25 million are in forced labour and 15 million in forced marriage. However, these are only estimates. Their exact numbers are often higher, because it is hard to identify many new subtle and covert types of modern enslavement. Thus, we must have improved measurement, research and data collection of modern slavery, as it is affecting women, children, as well as men and boys. Only with exact numbers and the nature of circumstance in which they are held captive, will we be able to more effectively project and capture specific sub- populations to guide national policies and design services. Equally important are measures for both witness and victim protection of women and girls, as well as, men and boys. They must be protected by the harm of perpetrators. Currently, we know that there is a huge gap existing between the total number of victims and those receiving protection or assistance. What is needed is solidarity with the victim’s hidden pain and suffering. For example, we hardly see the children as shadows working constantly on much that we enjoy eating, wearing or are using - the famous branded- multinational produce or goods. These all apparently appear legal processes but children suffer work-related injuries, cuts from using sharp tools, permanent eye damage, lung conditions, or stunted growth, deformed spines and aches and pains. Malnutrition is made worse by the force-feeding of stimulants. Some children may actually be sold by their parents to pay surmounting bills and thus be permanently separated from their families, denied of education, and given minimum or no pay at all. They also suffering much physical or verbal abuse. Children inherit the debts of their parents and work for their creditors for life. Due to the long hours, children may get sick, often with no treatment available, and even die. It is time we act! So, we need to work with the business sector to stop abuses, and other anti-slavery organizations to set up several hot lines and remedial services for women and girls. Equally vital is to work with the mass and social media, human rights defenders and citizens groups for advocacy and recovery measures. We as volunteers can be source of support by setting several hotlines to report suspicious actions or perpetrators that may indicate trafficking. We all need to focus on educating people to detect exploitation and teach the channels available to report crimes or seek advice. Equally important are steps to work with local communities, their elders and religious leaders to fight old crusted traditions, and change stereotypes and biases against victims. Therefore, sweet children our task is to ensure dignity, liberty and prosperity for all.

Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi is revered as an embodiment of unconditional Divine Motherly Love due to the care and compassion that she so liberally showers upon all. In 1988, she established SMVA Trust, a global non-profit affiliated with the United Nations, creating social justice initiatives to serve those in need demonstrating how the timeless wisdom of Sanathana Dharma (Vedic Culture) interweaves tradition and public service. SMVA Trust provides: free education/housing/medical care, clean drinking water and women’s empowerment programs. Amma is also the founder and spiritual head of Manidweepa Maha Samsthanam, a serene forest ashram which includes the Sri Lalita Parameshwari Devi Tri-Shakti Peetham. The ashram regularly hosts events such as: meditation retreats, students retreats, festivals, the annual Navaratri Grand Celebrations, Homas and Pujas.


By Christopher D. Zefting Note from the author: As a Programme Officer of the International Secretariat of Religions for Peace, a practitioner of Buddhist meditation, and lifelong learner of spiritual philosophies ranging from Abrahamic to Yogic, I was asked to share my own personal opinions and considerations on the yogic/ spiritual values underlie the work of UN accredited NGOs. If you have ever been a few moments late to enter a Religions for Peace event, you may have found yourself somewhat awkwardly stumbling into a still and silent space. You may have tiptoed to your seat (or quickly muted your microphone) as you noticed the closed eyes and the bowed heads of every other participant. Given a broad diversity of regional, religious, gender, and generational representation, you may be curious what practice is being shared by these distinct individuals. And you may have wondered to yourself, what exactly are we doing here? Veterans of the movement will recognize this space as the signature moment of contemplative silence that distinguishes every staff call, every convening, every high-level consultation, and every global assembly of Religions for Peace. This practice aims to ground us, not in the same tradition or system of belief, but in the richness of tradition and the depth of each and every system of belief. Not without a hint of irony, we choose to begin every dialogue with silence. This moment of silence is a practice of making space to connect to the spiritual undercurrent that gives urgency to our work. It is a sacred moment in which we are invited to root ourselves in the most fundamental inspirations for our engagement with the world. It is a reflection and appreciation of that which cannot be put into words. Personally, in these brief moments, I am often transported to another space and time entirely; with my eyes closed and my hands folded, I am reminded of the distance across which my own journey has taken me. Between steady breaths, I am returned to my first sangha, a community of college students and local practitioners from small-town Georgia, USA, who meet in a tucked-away corner of my undergraduate campus for weekly meditations and discussions. I recall the guided yoga practice that grounded us in our physical bodies and invited us to deepen our own experiences of both movement and stillness. And I am reunited with my mentor, a yogic practitioner and scholar who opened windows of opportunity and encouraged my engagement with the most pressing challenges of our world: the challenges of racism, poverty, environmental degradation, gender discrimination, and religious extremism. Suddenly, I am transported again further down the path, to my first ever entry into the United Nations headquarters in New York. I am standing in an empty corridor, occupied only by the golden rungs of International Buddhist World Peace Stupa. This sacred gift to the United Nations by Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar, immortalizes the commitment of Buddhist practitioners and United Nations officials in their pursuit of peace. It represents the shared values of tolerance, compassion and coexistence that underpin both Buddhist teachings and the work of the United Nations and is erected in the hopes that “it will inspire each of us to think beyond our narrow, short-term self-interest, and raise ourselves to a universal perspective from which the welfare of the broader human community appears as important as our own well-being.”1 64

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

As I reflect upon the shared desire of all peoples to live up to the highest values of our own moral systems, and to create a harmonious world that celebrates diversity while honouring connectivity, I am transported again to the very sites of our work. For a moment, I am in Myanmar, convening religious leaders, international and local officials, ethnic representatives, and military personnel to forge an open space for dialogue and reconciliation. A moment later, I am in Germany, supporting the first ever assembly of its kind to highlight women’s leadership in faith and governance, while determining a new path forward with equality for all. And a moment later still, I am in the Philippines, surrounded by bright young people of faith and good will leading their peers in the creation of a better world, considering their own responsibility in protecting the earth, supporting indigenous communities, and establishing lasting peace at home and around the world. In the final seconds of silence, I am once again grounded in my body, seated at the conference room table or behind my laptop screen. I allow these experiences from my past to inspire and inform me. I feel the connection between my faith and my work in each nerve of my body, setting an intention of good will for whatever activities may follow. When I open my eyes, the vision fades. All that lies before us now is the work. But what remains from the moment of contemplative silence is one persistent truth: we are all one people and we share the path we walk. Whether drafted in dogma or practice or policy, what we call our spiritual motivations tap into something far too deep to define. Religions for Peace is among the institutions that weaves this spiritual motivation and sense of moral urgency into the concrete action implemented on the ground. From the highest-level United Nations intervention to the most grounded, grassroots interactions, there is a connectivity that permeates our action. Religions for Peace recognizes this reality in all its engagements and honours it in every convening through this moment of contemplative silence. This contemplative silence becomes our meditation, prayer, or yogic practice. `It allows us to connect to that unspoken something that compels us all to respond to the challenges of our world. Not without a hint irony, it is in instances of urgency, when action is demanded by the circumstances, when atrocity necessitates that one SPEAK UP, that silence becomes our unconventional ally. From the remarks of UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown:

Mr. Christopher D. Zefting, MTS, serves as Programme Officer for Partnerships and Education at Religions for Peace International and holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University with a concentration in Religion and the Social Sciences, as well as a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Berry College with a major in Religion and Philosophy and a minor in Anthropology. Christopher is a practitioner of Buddhist meditation, is steeped diverse spiritual philosophies, and is driven by a passion for religious literacy, peacebuilding, and contemplative practice.


Yoga & Health


Stress & COVID Padmini Murthy MD, MPH Since early 2020, because of the ongoing COVID 19 crisis, the fabric of human society has been torn and global citizens have been experiencing high levels of stress. Some of the causes of increased tension and anxiety are unemployment resulting in loss of income, sickness, social isolation, death of a family member due to COVID and the uncertainty of what the future holds, helplessness, and lack of individual control on the situation. In addition, women have been subjected to increased stress due to the double and sometimes triple burdens they have been carrying due to increased household responsibilities including childcare, genderbased violence and lack of autonomy. The prevalence of stress-related disorders including anxiety and depression have increased exponentially in the last 14 months. A recent report released in February 2021 states that 1 “during the ongoing pandemic 4 out of 10 adults in the US have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, in comparison to 1in 10 adults who reported similar symptoms in the 6 month period of January” - July 2019. It also highlighted that since mid-2020, 36% of adults surveyed had increasing difficulty sleeping and an additional 32% reported an increase in their intake of alcohol and overall substance abuse. A report by the World Economic Forum estimates that about 2.6 billion people around the world have been in some kind of lockdown that may lead to a second form of a stress-related disorder epidemic in the second half of 2020.2 As mentioned above, a significant number of women including those with children have experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression which has impacted their day-to-day activities. Many of them did not have access to necessary support and counselling services. Unfortunately, mental health discussions continue to be a taboo in many societies with women and girls often suffering in silence due to the stigma associated with mental health disorders. According to the World Health Organization “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to her or his community. 3. 66

Yoga & Health

“Yoga is the Practice of Quieting the mind – Patanjali Yoga sutras.

In addition to physiological benefits, the regular practice of Yoga (both the physical aspect of yoga which includes asanas and pranayama and the mental aspect of meditation) yields benefits calming the mind, to attune people to the environment, to enhance concentration and mental clarity, to reduce stress and anxiety, to encourage positive thoughts. All this, increasing the production of GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid which is a naturally occurring amino acid) which these increased levels decreases the occurrence of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Therefore, increased GABA levels are a contributor to protecting an individual’s mental health.4 Another study conducted by Sahni, Singh et al in 2020, of 668 adults in India found the practice of yoga demonstrated that yoga practitioners in the sample size were perceived by the researchers to have an increased positive mood. This study also found that yoga practitioners had lower depression, lower stress, lower anxiety, higher wellbeing, and higher peace of mind than the other spiritual practitioners and non-practitioner group.5 This study highlights the importance of a yoga practice and how it helped the beginner practitioners to keep calm and maintain a positive disposition during difficult times of COVID lockdown. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the global community has been using various technological tools including virtual platforms to work and stay in touch. The practice of yoga has gone virtual in many countries along with other forms of exercise. Online yoga has become increasingly popular. Forbes reports, “a huge jump in consumers accessing virtual (fitness and wellness) content since March of 2020. 73% of consumers are using pre-recorded video versus 17% in 2019; 85% are using livestream classes weekly versus 7% in 2019.”6 Unfortunately, the psychosocial impact of the COVID crisis has resulted in youth from around the world being affected and facing many challenges. The most difficult pandemic measure for youth has been isolation from others, resulting in some of them committing suicide as they were unable to cope with the various stressors of which they have often been ill prepared to face. Burnout has been a major challenge which many health care providers i.e., physicians and nurses who as first responders have been at the fore front of dealing with the crisis. Unfortunately, some of them have also committed suicide as a result of the mental fatigue, trauma, and helplessness in not being able to save lives which they have faced when dealing with the enormous COVID morbidity and mortality on a daily basis. The positive impact of the practice of yoga regularly in addressing stress during the present COVID crisis has been recognized by physicians, exercise gurus, researchers, and other health professionals. As a physician and yoga practitioner, myself, I would like to share that the practice of yoga for 30 minutes daily has helped me to deal with the additional emotional burden and stress I have face since the onset of this global pandemic a year ago.

References 1. Nirmita Panchal RK, 2021 F. The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. KFF. Published February 10, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021. 2. World Economic Forum 2020. This-is-the-psychological-side-of-the-COVID19-pandemic-that-we are ignoring. 2020. Accessed March 11 , 2021. 3. World Health Organization .WHO urges more investments, services for mental health 2021. Accessed March 11 , 2021. 4. Tiwari GK. Yoga and Mental Health: An Underexplored Relationship “The International Journal of Indian Psychȯlogy. International Journal of Indian Psychology. Published June 25, 2016. Accessed March 11, 2021. 5. Sahni PS, Singh K, Sharma N, Garg R. Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study. PLOS ONE. 2021;16(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0245214 6. Inc. KSY. Health Experts Extol Yoga’s Benefits During Covid. GlobeNewswire News Room. Published February 9, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021.

Dr. Padmini (Mini) Murthy, MD, MPH, FAMWA is currently Professor and Global Health Director at New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice. An internationally recognized leader in women’s health, Recipient of the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal, Global Health lead, American Medical Women’s Association, First Vice President of The Global NGO Committee, and NGO Representative of Medical Women’s International Association to the UN and MWIA focal point to World Health Organization. A widely published author, she has made over 150 presentations to international audiences and has hosted a talk show on Millennium Development Goals on AV Blog Talk radio.



Yoga & Health By Deepak Chopra, MD

DeEP detoxification for


More people are aware than ever before of how many meanings the word “toxic” has. The subject of detoxification was completely ignored when I was in medical school, but the most recent research connects blood toxins and chronic inflammation, suddenly opening up new avenues for preventing lifestyle disorders like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and perhaps even many cancers years before symptoms appear. The need to lead a life free of toxins should begin as early as possible. That’s the main lesson urged on everyone as the wellness movement evolves. The good news is that your body is incredibly thorough at detoxification already— The brain clears out toxic debris as you sleep; The immune system seeks out and destroys toxic micro-organisms; Every cell is protected by defenses against foreign invaders; The kidneys flush out the residue of blood chemicals that might prove toxic. These natural processes of keeping the body as pure and free of toxins as possible explain why Ayurveda focuses so much on aiding the detoxification your body is designed for. When you are sick or cut yourself, the complex healing response that kicks in uses a large proportion of its energy to eliminate the toxins that being sick or wounded builds up. Boost Your Body’s Detox Functions The chief ways that you can boost your body’s detox functions are well known but have become more important as medical research progresses. Get good sound sleep every night; Eat organic whole foods; Include multiple sources of fiber in your diet; Engage in moderate physical activity. At the very least move around and stretch every hour for a few minutes; Avoid alcohol and tobacco; Avoid processed and artificially enhanced foods; Make your water and air as pure as you can manage. You’ll notice how many of these recommendations are physical, and yet in Ayurveda, the physical level is the final stage where imbalances of long-standing finally overcome the body’s defenses, leading to Ama, the general term for physical toxicity. The Subtle Levels of Detox Assuming that you are already avoiding obvious physical toxins of the kind listed above, detox needs to address the subtler levels where Ayurveda traces the invisible toxins that most people are unaware of or avoid dealing with. In modern terms these subtle levels include: Toxic feelings like anger, anxiety, and depression; Toxic memories held over from the past, sometimes known as emotional debt; Toxic relationships; Toxic daily activity, especially under stressful conditions. In a materialistic setting of the kind people face in modern life, it is much easier to drink bottled water, pop some antioxidants and vitamins, and then go about your way as if you have dealt seriously with the issue of toxicity. You are better off resorting to effective Ayurvedic herbal remedies, but even then, deeper detox begins at the subtle level. In the Vedic tradition, we each possess a subtle body that parallels the physical body, and wellness begins there because the state of the subtle body reflects true well-being or the lack of it.


Quiz: Check In With Your Subtle Body To get an idea of how your subtle body is doing, answer the following questions by checking Yes or No. Be as honest with yourself as you can without going too easy or being too self-critical. Yes ____ No ____ I am generally even-tempered. Yes ____ No ____ I am not prone to sudden outbursts. Yes ____ No ____ I don’t react impulsively. Yes ____ No ____ I can take criticism pretty well. Yes ____ No ____ I find it easy to be happy for someone else’s good fortune. Yes ____ No ____ I don’t hold grudges. Yes ____ No ____ I don’t indulge in revenge fantasies. Yes ____ No ____ I can remember recent moments of joy. Yes ____ No ____ The happiness of others is important to me. Yes ____ No ____ I consider rivals to be competitors, not enemies. Yes ____ No ____ I can listen patiently to someone else’s woes. Yes ____ No ____ My emotions don’t get me into trouble, such as heated arguments. Yes ____ No ____ I am comfortable being warm and affectionate. Yes ____ No ____ I value being loved and lovable. Yes ____ No ____ My parents were good examples of emotional maturity. Yes ____ No ____ I don’t immediately strike back if someone gets angry with me. Yes ____ No ____ I don’t care too much if I am liked or disliked. Yes ____ No ____ I find most people likable. Yes ____ No ____ I tend to see the best in others rather than the worst. Yes ____ No ____ I am accepting. I am not quick to criticize others. Yes ____ No ____ I can usually tell what someone else is feeling even when they try to hide it. Yes ____ No ____ I feel compassion for those in trouble. Yes ____ No ____ I laugh easily. Yes ____ No ____ I enjoy the company of children. Yes ____ No ____ I know what it feels like to be spiritually uplifted. TOTAL YES ____ TOTAL NO ____ The more Yes answers you give the better, but the point of this quiz isn’t to make you feel bad about yourself. It serves to make you more aware of your actual well-being. Only the things you are aware of can be changed. Now that you have a realistic profile of yourself at the subtle level, you can start to address each area where you feel you need improvement. Optimize Your Well-Being The basics of change begin with the following: • • • • • • •

Keep up a regular meditation habit. Take time every day to relax and restore a sense of quiet and calm inside. When you feel distracted or stressed, get to a quiet place as soon as you can. Take a few deep breaths, and with eyes closed place your attention in the center of your chest. Breathe easily until you feel calm and centered once more. Take active steps to reduce stressful conditions at work. In your relationship, talk through areas of anger, anxiety, and resentment, choosing a good time for this talk when you and your partner are both calm and receptive. • Find a confidant with whom you can really share your concerns with the assurance that you will get a sympathetic hearing. • It is up to you how deeply you want to go into these areas, but if you make the effort, your sense of wellness will improve day by day, which is the goal of Ayurveda, as it has been for centuries.

Dr Chopra is founder of The Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a health company at the intersection of science and spirituality. A pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, Chopra is a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego, and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of more than 89 books translated into across 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest, and 90th book, is Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books). Michelle Williams, SM, ScD is the Dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health and a renowned epidemiologist and public health scientist.


Yoga & Health

A Change of Consciousness During the Time of Covid By Patrick San Francesco

Generally, when we speak of health, it is our physical or mental health that we are referring to, rarely if ever do we mean our spiritual health. Yet deep down at some subliminal level we know that our spiritual health is the one that really matters. Our spiritual health is determined by our ability to resonate in tune with the Universe. Even the biggest, mightiest ship will drift into the rocks if the anchor does not hold firm, that anchor is our spirituality. The pandemic has introduced a new facet of insecurity into our already uncertain lives. The key to overcoming this insecurity is not just ‘battling’ the virus, but rather making ourselves immune to the virus. To understand this, we should look at the animal kingdom. Animals are as good a host to the virus as human beings, yet their fatality count is virtually non-existent. This is because animals have greater immunity as they are more in synchrony with the Universal vibrations than us. It is our thoughts and emotions that change the frequency of the Universal vibrations that pass through us and put us out of sync. Our imagination prevents us from living in the moment, we ruminate and mull over the past and with the help of a fertile imagination we conjure up a future. Due to the current situation, there has been a shift towards improving one’s spiritual health. Meditation is a tested and proven method to quell the thoughts and emotions that disturb the Universal vibrations. The ancient art of yoga is an important tool to rid ourselves of factors that disturb our spiritual health. Consider trying to listen to soft soothing music in a crowded marketplace. To appreciate the music the noise of the marketplace must be muted. Meditation silences the noise in our mind so that we can listen to the music from our spirit. There is a common misconception that we have to follow certain prescribed practices or rituals to meditate. You may argue that these rituals have been passed down from ancient times and therefore have some value or meaning no matter how obscure the origin and that it would be wise to follow. There are some traditions that once had a direct meaning on the efficacy of meditation in ancient times and are meaningless today. 71

The following narrative will demonstrate: There was once a monk who would sit down with his students each morning before daybreak to meditate. Often during the meditation they would be visited by a cat that would climb over the students and disturb them. The monk instructed the students to find the cat and tie it up before the meditation each morning. Years went by, the cat died, the monk died, the students moved away, but still before sitting for meditation the students would seek out a cat (some even bought a cat) and tie it up. The point here is, meditation is not about ‘doing’, rather, it is about ‘undoing’. It is about undoing the constant call to be conscious of our physical body, undoing the distracting thoughts in our mind, undoing the conflicting emotions in our heart and the all-consuming focus on the self. As a consequence, this empties the self and allows the Universal vibrations to resonate through the body and enhance the immune system. THIS is spiritual health. To facilitate this growth in spiritual health during this time, I have been Live Streaming weekly Immunity Meditations on my YouTube channel. People are welcome to join and receive Universal Vibrations, as well as avail of healing for health, situations and relationships. I also leave them with a Divine Inspiration to contemplate on and provide an interpretation of this Divine Inspiration in my weekly blog post. The pandemic has also opened another perspective as to our protection and survival. Prior to the pandemic we relied upon our military to protect us from those who we deemed our enemies. The threat of violence through use of lethal weapons is now woefully inadequate. This microscopic virus has rendered the mightiest armies impotent. We now have to turn to a new type of ‘soldier’…the healthcare worker. These new soldiers are not only medical staff but all those on the frontline who keep the ‘wheels turning’, they are just ordinary citizens like you and I. The neighbor who does grocery shopping for the elderly to minimize their chances of exposure to the virus, the volunteers at the NGO’s, all those who have responded to the call, the call of life. This is not just about being brave, this is more than bravery, this is about caring. It is about caring for others, an empathy beyond national boundaries, beyond color, race and religion. In a world so beleaguered by the pandemic, those that are responding and taking care of whoever is in need are the new heroes!

Patrick San Francesco is a world-renowned energy healer and internationally recognized humanitarian, philosopher, teacher and inventor from Goa, India. He is the chairperson of the Samarpan Foundation in India, USA, South Africa and Malawi. He is the creator of Apphealing, the world’s first multi-dimensional energy healing app, and the pioneer of a unique earthquake resistant and affordable green building technique. The plastic (PET) bottle house is internationally certified and capable of withstanding 9.8 on the Richter Scale, presented to the United Nations Academic Impact Symposium in 2015. Patrick’s contribution to humanity through healing, humanitarian projects and life sustainable inventions is globally acclaimed and his philosophy can be applied in everyday life. Patricks mantra of Love, Peace, Happiness, Kindness, Simplicity and Clarity is personified in his volunteers and demonstrated throughout his foundation’s projects. Websites: Blog:

Apphealing: Youtube: Facebook: Instagram: Twitter: 72

Yoga & Health

Adaptability and Flexibility in a Time of Upheaval and Crisis By Farah Nazarali

All in one. One in all. Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji From time immemorial, Saints and holy men and women from all Lineages have spread the message of one-ness; the truth that all life is inter-connected and that God’s Light lives in every creature and every human soul. The rapid spread of the corona virus across boundaries and borders has been a testament to this truth. Rich or poor, young or old, not a single person is immune to the devastating effects on our physical health, mental well-being, and social interaction; not to mention the impact on our finances, economies, and freedoms.

Finding sanctuary through Satsang At a time of immense stress and uncertainty, many YDL bhaktas found solace and refuge in daily live-streamed Satsangs given by Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. These daily satsangs were a lifeline for YDL disciples and students around the world who looked to Vishwaguruji for hope, inspiration, and guidance for how to face the new realities of living in a pandemic and how to stay anchored in yogic practices that bolster immunity, health, mental, social, and spiritual well-being.

This invisible and insidious international threat moved without warning across countries, establishing itself amidst vulnerable populations and causing much suffering and death. The pandemic demonstrates so clearly the value of international cooperation, global standards of travel and vaccination, and scientific collaboration. In addition to placing enormous stress on the medical system and health care workers, creating concurrent waves of a mental health pandemic, the corona virus has impacted the yoga community; many of whom practice in studios and centers that have been impacted by closures. In spite of the obstacles and roadblocks posed by social-distancing and strict health care protocols, a Light has been aglow in the Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL) Ashrams across the world. Do not give up what you have started. There will always be obstacles in the way, just like roses always have thorns. Remove those obstacles with selfconfidence and by God’s grace your path will lead you to the goal. Sri Deep Mahaprabhuji Golden Teachings With inspiration and guidance from Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, YIDL Centres and Ashrams have adapted programs to continue to spread the Light of yoga and provide students with yogic practices to bolster physical health and immunity and inspire those who have time to go deeper into the practices that lead one to realization of the Self. Through daily Satsangs on, yoga classes on Zoom, and virtual events, never before has the international community felt so deeply connected to one another. 73 has been streaming Satsangs since 2008, thus allowing students from around the world to be in the shelter of a living Sat Sanatam Dharma Lineage and by providing on-going wisdom on how to integrate yogic techniques, values, ethics, and practices into daily life. In the best of times, live-streamed Satsangs is a blessing; in times of distress when the lockdown was in full effect; live- streamed Satsangs was an anchor keeping many safe from the pervasive fear, anxiety, worry, and stress that engulfed most of the world. In addition to live-streamed Satsangs, many YIDL Centres felt inspired to adapt yoga classes and programs and offer classes through Zoom. Adaptability and Flexibility “The yogic way of life helped us to adapt quickly,” recounts Hemalata Ciric, one of the leaders of the YIDL Alexandria Ashram.

The first YIDL Centre to re-establish classes and create an on-line schedule was the Alexandria YIDL Center run by a couple who work in the tech industry and had the know-how to quickly adapt and move things on-line. Although students were hesitant to sign up and attendance significantly diminished, Bharat Barrett and Hemlata Ciric continued to offer classes, connect with former students, and look for partnership opportunities to give students access to more experienced teachers.

and interested in the deeper and subtler practices of yoga; pranayam and meditation. When the impossible becomes possible “For one who is blessed by the Satguru, the impossible becomes possible.” -Paramhans Swami Madhavananda

Collaborating with the YIDL Center in Sydney, Australia has allowed the Alexandria Centre to add to the class schedule, have an increased variety of teachers and broaden their student base. Currently, classes are close to prepandemic levels. With more variety of classes and teachers on the schedule, students are more committed and attendance has improved compared to prepandemic levels. Kailash Purohit, who runs the YIDL Center in Atlanta Georiga shares a similar story of students hesitant to try Zoom yet desperately needing connection and social interaction. With inspiration from Vishwaguruji’s daily live-streamed Satsangs, Kailash began to offer discounts to lure students back and demonstrate that while teaching on Zoom is not ideal, it provides tremendous opportunity for students to continue their sadhana and get the many health-giving benefits of a regular and consistent yoga practice. This YIDL Center began offering outdoor classes in the summer and have since expanded their programs to live-stream classes to groups who live outside Atlanta. “Teaching on Zoom allows our teachers to teach in places where it is too far to travel,” says Kalaish who has found inspiration not only in adapting yoga classes and program but in the national and international collaboration that has been strengthened since the pandemic. Unlike Hemlata and Kailash, Amrita Sagar Klosova who runs the YIDL Ashram in California, was reluctant to offer yoga classes on-line and enjoyed listening to Vishwaguruji’s daily Satsangs and focusing on her own personal sadhana. In June, when all YIDL Centres across the United States collaborated together for the International Day of Yoga, Amrit Sagar was asked to teach on Zoom; a platform she had never heard of and had no interest in. She reluctantly said yes and was astonished when she encountered 180 children from all around the world who joined for an on-line Summer Camp which included yoga classes. Gazing into the big, eager eyes of the young children and sensing their thirst for yoga sealed her commitment to continue teaching and using Zoom as a way to reach students and keep the practice and Light of yoga alive. Amrit Sagar continues to teach on-line from her home in Mount Shasta and has found a dedicated group of students who are much more committed than the students who previously attended the San Fransisco Center. Teaching on Zoom has connected her with students who are committed, eager to learn,

The brightest light and example of adaptation is the YIDL Strilky Ashram in the Czech Republic that adapted its summer programs and taught approximately 1,800 students from June to September. The Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of infection worldwide and the task of running yoga programs amidst strict health protocols seemed impossible. With the blessing and grace of Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranda, the small group of karma yogis who live at the Ashram began preparations to open the Ashram for three programs which included the yoga for the elderly, yoga for children, and Kriya Anusthan programs for those initiated with Kriya. Sevadaris who came from neighboring villages underwent strict quarantine measures. Meanwhile, those in direct service to Vishwaguru underwent Covid testing. Cleaning and disinfecting occurred regularly and all health measures were strictly followed to enable the summer programs to run safety. Holding yoga classes outside in the fields, orchards, and meadows, the Strilky Ashram enabled up to 150 people each day to escape the fear and anxiety of the global pandemic, practice yoga with others, and be in the vibrational and auric field of a living Master. The process of adapting, planning and organizing classes amidst strict Covid protocols was a tremendous logistical undertaking, and, yet, with the grace of Vishwaguruji, the insurmountable task occurred with much ease and grace and without a single Covid infection or outbreak. According to internal research, Covid infections within the international YIDL community have been remarkably low. Vishwaguruji attributes this to the protective physical and karmic effects of a vegetarian diet and lifestyle and the immune boosting benefits of a regular yoga practice. Rates of depression or mental health issues are also remarkably low among YIDL students demonstrating the power of Satsang, prayer, and yoga practices that bolster mental and spiritual health. The continuity of yoga amidst a global pandemic and at a time of tremendous obstacles is a testament to the power of community, selfless service, and ultimately the grace of Guru. YIDL Centres and Ashrams provide a clear example of the continuity of Light in a time of upheaval, crisis, and uncertainty.

Farah Nazarali lives in the rainforest on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island and is deeply inspired by and dedicated to the practice of yoga and the Yoga in Daily Life system created by Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. She is the Canadian ambassador of the Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council and strives to incorporate the teaching of Ahimsa into her workshops in conflict resolution and non-violent communication.


Yoga & Health

Reflections on COVID-19


By Anjali Grover, MD As I sit here, one year after the start of the pandemic, I am humbled and grateful to be able to take some moments of reflection—to step back from the expansion & action and share the beautiful essence. As a physician, when we start our journey of medicine on the first day of medical school, we recite the Hippocratic Oath with such zeal and heartfelt conviction. The essence of this centuries dated oath is “Do no harm,” but also filled with the sacred golden rule of treating others as if they were “your own.” These words become the music in our mind, our heartbeat and our oxygen of life. It is the foundation of not our career, but our chosen life of service. It is what inspires us to heal and give hope to those in need, and we deeply honor the trust that patients place in us. Beginning March 2020, I was surrounded by unimaginable scenes and sounds. The extent of illness, volume of patients, how much we had to learn to stretch ourselves & resources, was such that not even the best medical training could prepare me for. The look of patients—filled with fear, vulnerability, surrender to our medical expertise, with a small glimmer of hope—has been etched in my memory forever. Amidst the intensity of initially experiencing these emotions, I must take this moment to express my profound gratitude to each and every member in the fortress of health care providers. Despite the palpable fear that gripped our country, together, each one put aside their own fears of our own lives and loved ones. We put aside the physical discomfort of wearing layers of protective gear—making it hard to breath, walk, talk, interact with patients. They couldn’t always see the comfort in our eyes, hear the support in our voice, or feel the touch of a reassuring hand--simple tools that we were used to using when interacting with patients. We each let go of all our labels on our ID badges that created an invisible hierarchy within the health care system. There was a complete sense of equality, knowing that each played a unique, valuable role for the benefit of the whole. We were united in purpose and united in strength. Serving each one was our humble honor & call of duty. What was that invisible thread of support that kept us going? I am grateful for the support from my own family, loved ones and colleagues. However, to be able to sustain physically, mentally and emotionally for this many months, I had to reach for a deeper source of strength—my spiritual foundation—love for God & love for thy neighbor. COVID-19 inspired an inner shift from Corona (virus) to Karuna (Sanskrit word for “compassion”)—that compassion for knowing, realizing and honoring the dignity of each individual. In medicine and in the world, we are so used to focusing on and “fixing things” that we can see & touch—healing & supporting the HUMAN BODY through science. This tiny “invisible” virus made its presence and potential clearly known by the havoc it created on the body. However, it was also a deep reminder of the “tiny, invisible seed” of life, dignity and worth, within each of us. While healing the body, equally recognizing and honoring the BEING, the spirit. There is a deep memory within each of us that we are all spiritual beings—complete, whole and perfect—and we come into this human experience, as travelers on this world stage, each with a unique journey. Connecting with my spiritual values, removing all labels of race, gender, culture, profession etc, -- there was a deep recognition of a feeling of equality, of interconnectedness, and of being a global family. Our relationship with each person is a gift. We come to accept not expect, to give – not to take. Each interaction is perfectly planned and perfectly chosen as a stepping-stone for each to reach their highest potential. Embracing this and sprinkling this fragrance in each interaction is truly healing and embodies the real essence of “loving thy neighbor.” In those last moments with patients, we were their family. We were their passengers during their last train ride of their journey of life. We were their unplanned bridge between themselves and the family they couldn’t say “good-bye” to. What gift and feeling did we want to leave them with? Without knowing their whole life story, joining them on their “last leg”, how did we honor the life they lived, the culmination, and the next part of their journey? All that patients could often see of us, were our eyes. We had to completely rely on nonverbal communication—the language of the eyes, filled with pure intentions and feelings—knowing that through all our layers of medical gear, they were receiving this. Sometimes, there were many of us by the patient’s bedside, sometimes only one of us. However, this element of our medical care became such a strong part of the culture of our hospital—all rooted in the spiritual foundation of caring for the BEING, as there was always success and healing in this. Honoring and recognizing that “invisible seed” within each of us— that is equal, that is divine, that is open to the language of peace and silence. What waters that true “seed of life” in ourselves & others, is the love for God. Love for God means loving everything and everyone that belongs to God. The biggest secret of life is in knowing that we are all part of the same tree of Humanity. This tree is a living masterpiece because of the different leaves, different branches, different colors, but all connected to & supported by that One Living Loving Seed—God. Let us together, shift our lens from just the branch we sit on, and expand our awareness. Seated at the base of the tree, I look up, smiling at each one, respecting & trusting each one’s journey, here as a support. Each one is playing a unique, beautiful role—having their perfect place on this tree of life, and perfect role in this drama of life. When I live with this perspective, we create the beautiful vibrant colors of love, health and healing. As an eternal student of life, there is a deep sense that COVID-19 is redirecting us to the true meaning of human dignity and belonging. Despite the current national and global scenes, we are each “front line heroes”, when we have understood this true meaning of life and togetherness. Thank you, to each of you, for being a part of my journey.

Anjali Grover is currently a practicing physician. Given her meditation practice, her main mission is how to integrate this practice into personal healing and mainstream medicine.


Yoga & Health

Total Well-being According to Deepak Chopra, MD Monday April 5, 2021, Interview with Michelle Fox-CNBC

“If you are whole in your body, in your emotions, in your mind, and in your spirit, you can accomplish anything.” Deepak Chopra, MD People need to pay attention to their total well-being, and if they don’t the consequences could be dire, according to wellness expert and best-selling author Deepak Chopra. Total well-being encompasses purpose — or career— social, physical, community and financial factors, he said. For example, community well-being can mean feeling safe and involved in your community, while social well-being can be the quality of the relationships you have with family and friend. “Unless we address these five buckets of well-being … we are heading for global disaster,” he said. He is founder of both The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global as well as being a member of the CNBC Invest in You Financial Wellness Council. Financial health is more than just where you stand with your money. If you are financially stressed, it will send your cortisol levels up and weaken your immune system. “You have inflammation going up, which makes you more susceptible to chronic and acute illness, even Covid-19,” he said. More than 4 in 5 Americans, or 84%, are feeling stress on their personal finances due to the crisis, an October survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education found. Another survey by Fidelity found that 79% of women, who typically suffer from more financial anxiety than men, feel weighed down by money and stress. Deepak explained, “While there may be real reasons are anxious over money, financial well-being is ultimately a state of mind. It does not have to do with the amount of money you have, it has to do with how secure you feel with the money you have.” Here are his five tips for financial wellness: · Don’t spend money you have not earned to buy things that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like. · Put away 10% of your income every month. “I did that since 1970, when I was earning $202 a month.” · Find an employer who takes care of their employees and offers benefits like retirement, disability and insurance. Work with friends and people you like; otherwise, you won’t be successful in your career. · Don’t ignore your body, mind and emotions. “If you have a healthy body, if you have good relationships emotionally and if you are a rested mind, you will make wise financial decisions.” · Make other people successful, which is the best way to be successful yourself. “I found in my career that if I could make other people make money, I would make money, as well.” Deepak says he strives every day to have a joyful, energetic body and compassionate heart, as well as a clear, reflective, alert and creative mind, and joy and lightness of being. If you are whole in your body, in your emotions, in your mind and in your spirit, you can accomplish anything, including have a very successful career and make lots of money.” His latest book is Total Meditation.

Dr Chopra is founder of The Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a health company at the intersection of science and spirituality. A pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, Chopra is a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego, and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of more than 89 books translated into across 43 languages, including numerous New York Times best-sellers. His latest, and 90th book, is Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books). 77

HEALTH IN A PLATE: YOGA in prevention of COVID-19 By Sadhvi Anandi Puri Nutrition and food preparation are an important part of our lives, so they largely determine other segments of life. In the yogic way of life, there is a very clear understanding and attitude about diet and food preparation that we are going to explore. If we compare different cultures, we immediately notice that the attitude towards food, cooking and eating is similar and connected by the same principles. Therefore, when we talk about the principles of the yogic diet, we need to understand that we find the same roots and great similarities in the traditions of grandmothers around the globe. Surely, you can remember Grandma’s unquestionable rule that everything on a plate should be eaten, that food should not be taken from someone else’s plate, and that bread should not be thrown away. These are all part of the yogic attitude towards food--respect for what creates our energy, health, mood and future. How can we return to making food a source of health and immunity, and not a cause of illness? Simple. Prepare a variety of healthy, organically grown food, use spices and herbs, and cook in a good mood. Why is it said that no single dish can replace a mother’s meal? The reason is precisely that a mother always cooks with love for her children, and the main ingredient of that dish is the good energy of the cook. You know, when you eat something in a bad atmosphere, cooked in nervousness, you say “it felt like a stone on my stomach.” Cook with love for those you cook for, don’t listen to the news while cooking, and don’t type on your cell phone--then the meal will be a source of health. According to yoga, a vegetarian or vegan diet is basic advice, for ethical reasons but also as a basis for good health. If you eat meat now, don’t give it up right away. Instead, you can introduce, for example, one meatless day a week, a day of healthy food. This initiative has been known in the world for a long time and is called “Green Monday. In this way, you will give your body at least one day off from meat and hormones, antibiotics, indigestion and all the toxins we sometimes consume. In yoga, we divide food into three qualities. Sattvic food is the one that gives us energy, lightness and freshness of thoughts. Rajas food (highly spicy food) represents activity and restlessness. Tamas, the worst quality, gives us lethargy, laziness and weight. All processed foods, long-standing foods and meat have tamastic qualities, so they should be avoided, and fresh food from organic farming should be eaten as much as possible. Spices and herbs are medicinal plants that we often take to improve immunity in the form of drops, tablets or various 78

Yoga & Health preparations. In addition to prevention, they also serve to treat and alleviate various symptoms of the disease. We could dedicate pages and pages of text to spices, but here we will start practically, with a few spices that we all know and use. During the COVID-19 epidemic, these will definitely benefit us. Recipe 1: Thyme Thyme has always been known for its beneficial effects on the lungs. It helps with asthma, difficulty breathing, and coughing, and it also calms the nerves. It will enrich all dishes with taste and is also beneficial for digestion. Make it a habit to drink thyme tea in the evening, which you lightly sweeten with honey and added lemon. If it suits you, put ginger juice in the tea. Make ginger juice by grating fresh ginger; put it in a hand and squeeze the juice. You can also add thyme and ginger juice to lemonade. If you don’t like tea, use fresh or dried thyme when cooking salsa and tomato soup or as an addition to bean salads, potato salads or any other salad or stew. 2. Homemade pesto recipe Basil is good for lung problems, helps with angina and migraines, calms nerves, and removes restlessness, gloomy thoughts and insomnia. The vegetable markets are still rich in basil, and you can grow it yourself in a jar by the window. Garlic does not need to be specifically mentioned for its antibacterial and antiviral effects. Homemade pesto is very simple. Chop in a mixer a bunch of basil leaves with sea salt, olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic and a handful of roasted almonds or pine nuts. You can add grated hard cheese to the pesto. It makes a quick and healthy meal with integral spaghetti, and you can combine it with other dishes. An interesting variant is walnut and parsley pesto, made in the same way. Parsley releases accumulated water in the body and is an excellent source of vitamin C, and walnuts are rich in healthy fats.

THYME Thyme neutralizes fat and is good for digestion and lungs. It acts to dissolve mucus and relieves cramps, cough and has an antiseptic effect. Thyme treats accumulated mucus in the stomach and lungs, intetinal and liver diseases, bronchitis and bronchial asthma. It is especially known for calming nerves, irritability and depression and regulates sleep. There are records that thyme has been used even in the treatment of leprosy, numbness and nervous diseases - multiple sclerosis, stroke, muscle atrophy, epilepsy.

GINGER It stimulates digestion, agni (digestive fire), and food prepared with ginger becomes easily digestible. It causes sweating, removes mucus and is good against coughs, sinusitis. People with poor appetite or indigestion can take a small piece of fresh ginger with a little sugar half an hour before a meal. It has anticancer effect, stops the growth of existing cancer cells. Relieves migraine (blocks the action of prostaglandins, which is responsible for muscle contractions) and sinus headaches. Similar to capsaicin, gingerol acts on pain receptors at nerve endings, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It strengthens the immune system and contains the enzyme zingibain, which destroys parasites in the body and their eggs. It helps with osteoarthritis and rheumatism be reducing inflammatory processes in the body, protects against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Simple and easy, without much effort and knowledge, food is a source of energy and health. Cook for yourself and your loved ones; forget about processed foods. Sometimes just 20 minutes is enough for a good meal. Good digestion is an important prerequisite for good immunity and health, and yoga helps us to achieve it. There are exercises such as agnisar kriya to improve your digestion. And here is a simpler technique: after a meal, kneel on the floor and sit on your feet. Place your hands lightly on your thighs. Stay in position for a few minutes or as long as you feel comfortable. This position (asana) in yoga is called Vajrasana. This article is published by YIDL Croatia in a series five articles: YOGA in prevention of COVID-19.

Sadhvi Anandi Puri has been practicing yoga since her early 20s and soon become a disciple of Vishwaguru Swami Maheshwarananda, the founder of Yoga in Daily Life. She is a national delegate of YIDL Croatia to the Yoga in Daily Life International Fellowship and has received a Sanyas Diksha at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India in 2007. Sadhvi Anandi holds lectures and workshops on yoga, spirituality, Sanatan Dharma, and vegetarianism, one of the basic principles of yoga, and has published several vegetarian cookbooks in the Croatian and English languages.


Child-like Heart Message By HH Amma Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

“A child-like heart does not mean childishness, but the attitude of a beginner, the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn about everything without becoming bored.”

Children, The rampant selfishness and egoism found in society today are smothering the tiny world of children’s innocent play and laughter. At present, we are familiar only with cunning and artificial smiles, which are not really smiles, only a stretching of the lips. There is no sincerity behind them. We must reclaim the child’s world, filled with innocent play and laughter. A child’s heart is lying dormant within each one of us. Without awakening it, we can never experience peace or joy. A child-like heart does not mean childishness, which refers to indiscriminate and immature behaviour. A child-like heart is different; it refers to the attitude of a beginner, the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn about everything without becoming bored. There is wisdom in a child-like heart. Some might say that a child has no discernment. But he is wise enough to know that he can depend on no one but his mother. A child plays with abandon, enjoying himself and forgetting the world around him. Even if he gets angry or sad, he forgets it instantly. His heart is light and free. He finds joy in small things. As a result, his enthusiasm is inexhaustible. He has an insatiable curiosity about everything. These are the hallmarks of a childlike heart. Some children tell Amma, “My friend’s mother is suffering from cancer. His father has no job, and they have no food to eat at home. O Amma, please help his father get a good job!” All of us have within us such a child-like heart, which longs to share the sorrows of others and to console them. This is manifest in childhood. A little girl’s friend died. The girl went to her friend’s home. When she returned, her father asked her, “What did you do there?” “I consoled my friend’s mother,” she said. “How did you do that?” her father asked. “I sat in her lap and cried with her.” The hearts of children become emotionally attached to other people, birds, animals, flowers and butterflies. They become sad when they see the pain of even a tiny insect. We, too, had this quality when we were children but lost it as we grew older. We have since become embodiments of selfishness and egoism. There is still a child-like heart within us all. If we can awaken it, we can progress towards a joyful and successful future.

Spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known throughout the world simply as “Amma”, and the hugging saint has served the world-community for decades, imparting wisdom, strength and inspiration. Through her extraordinary acts of love, inner strength and self-sacrifice, Amma has endeared herself to millions and inspired thousands to follow in her path of selfless service. She is Founder, Embracing the World, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, and Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, and Chancellor, Amrita University.


Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

YOUTH & PEACE: UN SG Special Envoy on Youth

By Denise Scotto, Esq

The UN Secretary-General appointed Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake as the Envoy on Youth in June 2017, succeeding Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan. Ms Wickramanayake, then, 26 at the time, is a native of Sri Lanka. Prior to her UN appointment, she served as an Officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service in various posts: Secretary to the Secretary General of the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2016-2017); Project Officer-Youth, One-Text Initiative in Sri Lanka (2015-2016); Member and Youth Lead Negotiator, International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 (2013-2014); and Official Youth Delegate to the United Nations, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development (2012-2013). She was also a Senator in the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament (2013-2015). Around the world, young people are actively engaged in peace processes in various ways. However, like women, they continue to advocate for a voice in on-going peace negotiations because they remain unrepresented and excluded from decisions that directly impact their present and future circumstances. This is noteworthy because in post conflict reconstruction and peace-building, youth are the foundation of democratic, just, prosperous and peaceful societies. Significantly, one in three internet users is a young person thereby creating opportunities for people-led movements to directly influence on-going peacemaking efforts. This offers a broad range of strategic entry points for third-party mediation support to provide creative solutions in the negotiation processes. After several years of advocacy by more than 11,000 youth from 110+ countries, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted its first-ever resolution on Youth, Peace and Security (UNSCR 2250) on December 9th, 2015. This milestone establishes youth firmly within the peace and security agenda, recognizing their role in post conflict reconstruction and peace-building, and promotes youth engagement and participation in dispute resolution and peace process mechanisms. Thereafter, UNSCR 2419, adopted in 2018, reaffirmed the need to fully implement UNSCR 2250. Both Resolutions urge member states to increase the representation of youth in decisionmaking at all levels, including in integrated mechanisms for them to engage meaningfully in conflict resolution mechanisms and in implementing peace accords. Security Council members, themselves, recognized the critical need to engage young people in a positive manner, as partners in key decision-making efforts including in political negotiations that have a direct impact on their lives now and in the future. At the same time, they also mandate international bodies to partner with youth at a strategic level regarding their needs in situations of war and armed conflict. The first of its kind International Symposium focused on youth and peace processes was held to explore the roles that young people can play and to understand what they are currently doing to influence peace processes. It expanded upon the previous work relating to the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. Several entities provided support including three Member State who were the co-hosts-Finland, Qatar, Colombia-and was co-organized by the office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Search For Common Ground in partnership with the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY). One important outcome was the groundbreaking policy paper entitled, “We Are Here: An Integrated Approach to Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes” during a briefing of the United Nations’ Security-Council concerning Youth, Peace and Security. The report which was launched in July 2019 by the Envoy on Youth, was developed by two, young, independent researchers discussing the roles that young people have played as well as how they can play be effective in peace-building processes during the past 20 years. Denise Scotto, Esq., is an attorney at law, policy advisor, international speaker, interfaith minister & Founding Chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN. Starting her legal career in the public sector, she was a litigator appearing in courts in all boroughs of the City of New York. Denise held leadership roles in professional bar organizations including: the NY State Bar, the NY State Women’s Bar, the International Law section of the American Bar Association, the UIA. With these associations, she organized numerous events at UN fora as well as at national and local levels on global issues of pressing concern including conducting the first legal education program in NY City and NY State on the topic of human trafficking. 81

Global Silent Minute Harnesses the Power of Silence for the Spirit of Humanity to Soar By Dot Maver & Wendy Thompson The Global Silent Minute is galvanising Humanity to recognise the necessity to embed a new paradigm to create the culture of peace so that challenges and conflicts are resolved before they escalate to violence. Our spiritual weapon is harnessing the power of Silence in selfless service to be used for the benefit of all – to ultimately bring an end to all warring – to bring peace to humankind and all life. The inspiration for the original Silent Minute was born on a battlefield near Jerusalem in World War I when a British officer who knew he would not survive the war asked his comrade to find a way for him, and the millions like him, to assist daily from the “other side” through the power of Silence to end a greater war he saw coming. That way became the Big Ben Silent Minute launched in World War II when Britain was under attack from the air. Each night BBC Radio would broadcast Big Ben’s bells at 9PM GMT followed by a minute of on air silence. Millions around the world – and on the “other side” – paused to participate together in this silent vigil which served to strengthen the resolve and united will of those with the shared intention to use the power of Silence as a spiritual weapon. The significance of the impact of this daily rhythm was acknowledged by a high-ranking German Officer who, when asked why he thought Germany had lost the war said, “We couldn’t find a way to counter your secret weapon. It was preceded by ringing of bells and, I believe you called it the Silent Minute.” The instigator of the Silent Minute, Wellesley Tudor Pole, had known of its real potential and recognized its achievement. He knew that there were even greater possibilities that would unfold through harnessing the power of Silence. He urged leaders to realise that the full use of spiritual weapons is essential to bring peace on earth. Our intention in adding “Global” to the Silent Minute has been to take up this challenge. We recognise that today there are a myriad of “battle-fields” across the planet – and yet, the global rhetoric advocates for peace. Participating daily in the Global Silent Minute – the exact same minute everywhere – calibrated to 9PM GMT – allows us to re-member and actively restore our knowing of our interconnectedness and thus close the gap between the words and action. United in Silence, we realise our identity as global citizens responsible for the shared leadership and stewardship of our beautiful blue planet as we continue to apprehend and recognise the unfolding power of this Silence. We refer to this power of Silence in our daily vigil as Silence as Action in the recognition that our communion together gathers a special energy that revitalises our identity in the One Heart. Indeed, we have the opportunity to synchronize our individual heart-beats within the One Heart which, like an electrical generator, beats out the rhythm of the Universe. 82

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence The ancients had the wisdom to acknowledge the intimate relationship between Humanity and the Cosmos - and recognise the latter’s guiding compass in daily life. Over the centuries in the Manifest or Outer World, Humanity has drifted from this intimacy, creating an imbalance. If the spirit of humanity was a bird, we would say that it’s flying with only one wing. To continue the analogy: of the two wings one is the visible, matter, the masculine; the other is the invisible, spirit, the feminine. In the reality of the Subtle Worlds, these wings belong to the one bird and hence are indivisible. Yet, in the Manifest World or Outer World, modern Humanity has strayed from the truth of this indivisibility in our over-emphasis on one wing. In our unity in Silence, the equilibrium between the two wings is present. It is felt. It is our lived experience within the Silence. And, it anchors that knowing in our bodies and thus we radiate that awareness as Silence as Action. The Global Silent Minute invites us to pause daily at 9 pm GMT in Silence as Action through Sacred Unity to restore our intimate connection within Cosmos – to recalibrate us to a deeper, holistic perspective where our united focus and communion in the One Heart impacts evolution. In this daily practice, we unite hearts around the globe and across the veil to participate in a universal rhythm that reverberates from Cosmos through Humanity for the benefit of all. With the launch of the annual Global Silent Minute at the December Solstice in 2019 we called for a global pause for a minute. Subsequently, the pandemic facilitated a global pause for a year. For the annual Global Silent Minute in 2020, we recognized the significance of the chalice as a symbol of our daily communion and invoked the Chalice of Silence in which humanity unearths and acknowledges its accumulations and treasures down the centuries that have brought us to this point – and that are readily available for use and sharing. For the annual Global Silent Minute in 2021, we continue to work with the mighty power of the Chalice of Silence with its magnetic seeds of the future. When we enter the Global Silent Minute, we ring a bell to restore our greater connection with the Cosmos. We imagine an alignment from · the Cosmic Bell at the heart of Cosmos · to the Planetary Bell that is Mount Kailash (at the top of the world in Tibet in the Himalayas) known as the Mountain of the Bell · to the bell centre within each and every one of us. We invite you to join us in the daily practice of the Global Silent Minute. There’s a clip on the Global Silent Minute facebook page that begins with the sounding of an Indian Elephant Temple bell, is followed by a minute of Silence and then twelve strikes of the Tibetan singing bowl as the accumulations in the group chalice are distributed. Let us ring in resonance with this universal rhythm so that the spirit of the bird of Humanity soars in equilibrium on both wings. Knowing that two concordant thoughts increase their power seven-fold, imagine millions of concordant thoughts igniting the Fire of Love at the Heart of Humanity as we hold the shared intention of Global Cooperation, Peace and Freedom. Acknowledgements: Graphic Design & Text: Wendy J Thompson. Gratitude to Pixabay for the Image.

Dot Maver, USA and Wendy J Thompson, Australia, are co-founders of the Global Silent Minute. Dot is an educator and peacebuilder whose keynote is inspiring cooperation on behalf of the common good. Wendy is a screen director, producer, writer and educator who creates innovative work imbued with purpose to touch the heart with radiant beauty.


Let’s Manifest Heaven on Earth “The purpose of our journey on this precious Earth is now to align our personalities with our souls. It is to create harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. It is to grow spiritually. This is our new evolutionary pathway...”. Gary Zukof, Seat of the Soul




KIA ABILAY Tribute to KIA ABILAY By Denise Scotto, Esq

An angel living on Earth was called back to the illuminated realms by God because her assignment here was complete. This has been embedded in my thoughts since learning of dearest Kia’s passing just before we celebrated Thanksgiving in the US. Kia was working in the Wellness Center at Omega Institute in upstate NY when we met back in the late 1990s. It was a different Omega than it is today but that is another story. I had scheduled a healing touch session where Kia was the practitioner. We connected immediately and I recognized her as a Kahuna, who was profoundly wise, deeply sensitive and sweet. She just glowed and was fun, and, her giggles were like rainbow bubbles that immediately put a smile on people’s faces and transported them to a lighter vibration. Kia was a special guest at the UN SRC Enlightening Society on two occasions (2008 and 2012) conducting mini intuitive readings. She made each person feel special. It was so apparent how she loved all kinds of people and was a social being. I also saw this at her Ordination ceremony in 2010 and how she was beloved by many of her fellow seminarians. We shared our personal lives, exchanged stories about our beloved cats, our ‘loves’, our care-taking of family members. All the while, she transmitted to me her Hawaiian philosophy as her ancestral background goes back 5 generations in Hawaii, and, then, I began to formally study-Mana, Huna, Ho’oponopono… She collected photos of rainbows, hearts and rainbow-colored hearts. There is so much more….. My heart tells me that Kia is flown over the rainbow bridge knowing what a wonderful world she created here while she was with us and along with IZ Kamakawiwoʻole she is making glorious music. My dearest, dearest Kia, keep flying upward into the vortex of the light of all lights, your purity and love is rooted in my heart for which I am ever grateful.


Kia Abilay Tribute by Rita Vanacore

One minute our lives were the “ho-hum” everyday kind that we all experience and the next minute “poof”, like an angel sent down from the heavens in a scenario that could only be written into a Hallmark movie......Kia Abilay appeared. This person who lights up a room, whose laughter tinkles in a bell like quality embraced my family as if she had always been there, her warmth, her charm, her giving nature embodied everything that you would wish for in a friend and more. This friend became the treasured family member that we all wanted around no matter what we were doing or where we were going................ Kia embodied the essence of love, that elusive warmth that makes her touching your world ignite the internal joy we all strive for. from within. My family and I feel blessed in a way that touches our souls. Kia, we will always love you and hold you dear.




SWAMI SHRADDHANANDA Sw. Shraddhananda gave me the yogic tools not only to affirm my personal Interspiritual truth, but also to live it, with confidence, in community with others. She introduced me to the Sacred Feet Yoga path, on which I have been able to traverse alongside many others who journey on parallel or intersecting byways to spiritual freedom. Her greatest gift to me was the “unity” in community, not only with others, but also with the innate divinity residing in my deepest heart. Knowing, deeply and intimately, that I am never alone in struggle or celebration has been transcendent for my personal sadhana. None of us need permission to be who we are at the sacred core of our being, but it helps to have someone tell you that you do, indeed, have the sacred in your heart of hearts and that, in fact, no matter your “flaws,” you are a sacred being—Hamsa! It also helps when you have a teacher who facilitates you making inroads to the sacred, no matter the externally or internally imposed roadblocks. Sw. Shraddhananda’s largest purpose in this life was to help bring people into experiential knowledge of their sacred Selves and to encourage spiritual exploration and union. I am grateful for the 25 years that I had to walk alongside her doing just that and, while she always resides in the abode of the heart, look forward to the “re-union” upon my own transition from this life. Sandra “Chamatkara” Simon Co-Dharma Heir, Sacred Feet Yoga, President, The Jones Educational Foundation, Inc.

When Swami Shraddhananda first entered my life as a student in my Hatha Yoga classes, I was still aflame with the novelty of all things Yoga. Both she and I were born and raised in the tiny Kentucky town in which we met, and both of us had traveled far and wide to learn that which we were seeking in our travels was the Self, never separate from us at all and equally accessible in our little hometown as anywhere. Her travels were farther and wider than my own, of course. The teachings I had gathered over weekends away in other cities while juggling the demands of mothering young daughters had served to whet my appetite for the kind of experiences she’d had—month-long courses at the ashram, trips to India and Australia, hours of stillness, all-night chanting. This all sounded beyond luxurious at the time, and a part of me undoubtedly looked at her life with a touch of envy alongside admiration early on in our acquaintance. It was only later, when she’d taught me more about the practice of meditation and inspired me to do it faithfully, that I realized her travels were not only farther and wider, but deeper than my own. Through sharing her own rich experience, Swami Shraddhananda challenged me to dive into consciousness and to allow Maha Kundalini Shakti to have her way with me. As a beloved college professor as well as a spiritual teacher, she traveled with students all over the world. But she and I never took a single trip. To my memory, we never shared a visit outside the county in which we both were born and where I was honored to be with her as she made her final transition. I am ever so grateful she and I stayed home together and journeyed within. I daresay it was the ultimate adventure, and without her guidance and encouragement, I may never have gone so deep. Jenny “Amrita” Williams Co-Dharma Heir, Sacred Feet Yoga, Vice President, The Jones Educational Foundation, Inc. Swami Shraddhananda aka Rev. Dr. Sonya Jones was a fine example of down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness service to humanity. She was exceptionally accomplished in many fields, a University Professor for many years as well as a fine poet and writer. In her later years, she established a spiritual lineage, Sacred Feet Yoga, and the Anugraha Ashram. At the same time, Swamiji was never remote and kept her focus on discipleship and service. Through the offering of the sacred gift of Shaktipat, the awakening of the Holy Spirit, she opened the doorway for countless people to experience their divinity. It was my greatest privilege to spend some time with Swami Shraddhananda as her student and friend. I came relatively late to the table, meeting her across the internet through deep discussions during her writing of the groundbreaking book, Jesus Was a Shaktipat Guru. I was not looking for another Teacher, but grace had led her to me anyway, and she graciously accepted me as her student. I was already well on the spiritual road by then, negotiating the more subtle inner swamps and struggling. She already knew the ways through them and pulled me out of the deepest ones, not afraid to challenge self-deception but helping me to stand again in freedom. At the same time, Swamiji was a great friend. It was a joy to come stay with her from the U.K. We roamed together across Kentucky as she showed me her favourite haunts. One time, she acted as guide all around Atlanta, ending up at Mary Mac’s Tearoom, sampling delicious Southern cuisine! How she enjoyed even the simplest things of life, like the delight of throwing a ball made of socks to her little dog, Nina Saraswati! By living her life to the full, others absorbed her joy and learnt to reconnect with their own. I will miss her lively form, but Swamiji is most certainly in my heart and in many others too! Swami Prakashananda (aka The Right Rev. Bishop Christine Deefholts) Co-Dharma Heir, Sacred Feet Yoga, Secretary, The Jones Educational Foundation, Inc. 87


SWAMI AGNIVESH By Denise Scotto, Esq Swami Agnivesh is the recipient of the 2004 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award). In his early days, he studied Law and Commerce and became a lecturer in management at the St Xavier’s College in Kolkata. He also practiced law as a junior to Sabyasachi Mukherji, who later became the Chief Justice of India. Yet, he became a beloved Indian spiritual leader who worked on a number of social issues, including children and bonded labour, the inclusion of “untouchables” in Indian religious society, women’s rights, and religious tolerance and reconciliation. Swamiji is best known across the globe and India for his campaigns against bonded labor and was founderChairperson of the Bandhua Mukti Morcha (Bonded Labor Liberation Front). He was elected as the President of the World Council of Arya Samaj (Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha) in 2004. In 1994, he was appointed the Chairperson of the UN Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery building upon his work and his testimony before the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Later, he created a new task for the emancipation of womanhood, which was a helpful factor in the Commission of Sati (prevention) Act of 1987. In 2005, he was part of a twoweek campaign against female foeticide that travelled across India. He was actively engaged in partnering with UN accredited NGOs on a number of issues and was a gracious guest speaker at many events during various Commission meetings including the Commission on the Status of Women. At the same time, at a conference on economic development and religion sponsored by the World Bank, he stated that people should be allowed full freedom of movement across borders through the elimination of all passports and immigration laws. Swami Agnivesh spearheaded the interfaith and interreligious movement nationally in India and globally. He was a proponent of interfaith dialogue serving as a Global Trustee of the United Religions Initiative (URI), continuing to play an active role in URI events after his Trustee term. He again, was a close friend to UN NGO faith based and human rights leaders joining in events at the Parliament of the World’s Religions always encouraging inclusion.





In Loving Memory of BK DADI GULZAR

Rajyogini Brahma Kumari Dadi Hirdaya Mohini, affectionately known as Dadi Gulzar, has been associated with the Brahma Kumaris (yagya) right from the beginning in 1937, since her tender age of 8 years. Dadi was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the North Odisha University, Baripada, Mayurbhanj, Odisha (India) for her contribution towards spreading the message of values, spirituality, and social service in her unique role as a godly messenger. She has devotedly served the Godly mission by visiting as many as 112 countries where she opened many centres, delivered lectures, and motivated/guided the new members of BK spiritual university. She has delivered innumerable lectures on various subjects like spirituality, philosophy, Raja yoga, and stress-free living connected with our dayto-day life. She has also been a prime organizer of many international and national conferences, spiritual fairs, exhibitions, and campaigns. Tribute by BK Gayatri Naraine Our senior elder sister (Dadi) Gulzar left us. The soul was radiant and left behind the worn costume of an old body. Her power was her silence. On her ascension, she tied our hearts and minds and pulled us to a subtle experience of silent stillness. Like an incense stick she never drew attention to herself but filled the air with the fragrance of her subtle purity and sweetness. In honour of this beautiful soul, students of the Brahma Kumaris around the globe spent the day in silence. Please join us in sending good wishes to the soul for her onward journey. And remember the wise ones in your life who have left.


The light is within. It is already there. Take your time to see it. Swami Satchidananda

© 2021 Light on Light Magazine

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