Opening of the Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram in London
On Friday 14 May 2004, the Divine Light of Mahaprabhuji was brought to London, England at the opening ceremony of the newest "Yoga in Daily Life" Centre, Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram, in Queens Park – with Swamiji reminding us that this was at last fulfilling a prophecy made many years ago...
Our beloved Satgurudev, Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramahans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda, Swamiji, came to England as that promised messenger thirty-four years ago in the winter of 1970. However, duty called in other places and Swamiji has spent much of the following three decades serving the people of eastern and central Europe, Australasia and North America and increasingly his mother country, India. He continued to visit England over the years, on two occasions accompanying His master, Holy Guruji, to spend time with Indian and European disciples who had settled in the UK. Our Gurudevs stayed with the Pabari family in London and Helena Thurston, a long term disciple living in Dorset, southern England, and they happily became UK contact points for visiting disciples and others interested in Swamiji’s teachings of Yoga in Daily Life.
Then in June 2001, Swamiji gave his first public lecture in London and it turned out that many disciples from around the world were studying, working or somehow making their lives in the UK. Some were British nationals who had discovered Yoga in Daily Life in Australia or India; some were European disciples who had moved temporarily or permanently to London; and others from various places were either passing through or undecided on their next steps. Most of them were unaware of the presence of other YIDL disciples in the UK and felt they were alone in this respect.
It was then that Swamiji gave the great blessing to all, that we should begin teaching yoga classes and find a suitable place in London to create a Yoga in Daily Life Centre. The "Yoga in Daily Life Association - UK" was formed and, after three years of gradually building classes, holding regular satsangs, registering the group as a fully charitable company and viewing many, many properties – the premises were found in an ideal location, only metres from the kindergarten room where classes were previously held, and very close to the homes of Swamiji’s and Holy Guruji’s long term Indian disciples. Through the blessings of Swamiji, the prophecy of Sri Devpuriji has come to fruition.
In His humble, infinite wisdom, Swamiji has named the London centre, "Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram" in honour of His own beloved Gurudev. We have always felt the protection and presence of Holy Guruji along the way and feel the significance of this name for the London Ashram. Classes actually began in London on Holy Guruji’s birthday, 11 September 2001, bringing great fortune to the people of London in the form of Mahaprabhuji’s light and teachings, on a day otherwise remembered for less peaceful events.
Swamiji himself made a sankalpa in 2002 on his last visit to London. After having various programmes in several different hired venues, with time restrictions limiting our quality time together, in his mercy, Swamiji prayed to Mahaprabhuji that, "next time I come to London, we will have our own Ashram where we can stay as long as we like and do whatever we wish." As always, the divine power of Guru Vakya made this sankalpa come true and it is realised today in the latest "Yoga in Daily Life" Centre to be opened for all people to find, peace, truth, harmony and understanding within ourselves and the society around us.
Many yoga friends, students, teachers, brothers and sisters from around the world, joined the local bhaktas in welcoming Swamiji and celebrating the new Ashram, staying for a weekend of workshops, lectures and satsangs – basking in the warm sunlight of English Springtime and the Divine Light of Gurudev.
Om Bole Sri Deep Narayan Bhagwana Ki Jay
Paramyogeshwar Sri Sri Devpurisha Mahadeva Ki Jay
Hindu Dharmsamrat Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Bhagwana Ki Jay
Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda Satgurudeva Ki Jay!
Swamiji’s Guru Vakya
Shubham karoti kalyanam, arogyam dansampadah, satrubhuddhi vinashaya dipa jyotir namastute. Dipa jyotir parabhrama dipam sarve mohanam, dipam nasajate sarvam sandyam, dipam sarasvatyam. Om shanti, shanti, shantih. Sri Deep Narayan Bhagwana Ki Jaya, Sri Devpuriji Mahadeva Ki Jay, Hindu Dharmsamrat Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Satgurudeva Ki Jay...
Salutations to the Cosmic Light, Lord of our hearts, omniscient and omnipresent. In his divine presence, dear brothers and sisters, Good Evening. I am very happy and feel blessed by Mahaprabhuji to be here for the opening ceremony of this first UK national "Yoga in Daily Life" Centre.
My first visit to Europe was in 1970 and the first time I touched the ground was at Heathrow, London, at the time of Christmas. It was very cold. I came from 35 degrees to minus 10 degrees that day. I have been in London many times since then, and my very dear devotees, bhaktas, are the family of Bikubhai Pabari and his wife Chandrika. They have always been here for me and have been my home in London, as my address. They are very faithful disciples. Any time any of my disciples came to London they visited the Pabari family and they were always more than welcome there – they gave them everything, all kinds of hospitality, everything they could. So, first of all, I would like to thank the Pabari family.
In their house we had many, many satsangs. They have a big flat, but the flat has small rooms, and so gathering with many people is not so easy. After that, Mahaprabhuji sent Gangadevi to London with this special duty, and the kripa of Mahaprabhuji went to her directly and instructed her to establish "Yoga in Daily Life" here. Before that, also Yogasiddhi from Croatia, Hemlata and Premlata, Liladevi, Karuna Devi, they all were working. Many bhaktas have already been teaching "Yoga in Daily Life" in the UK. It is high time to open a Centre. This Centre is a beginning, but I see it is already too small. One day it will be bigger, and it should be your own, not rented, I wish you that.
Our aim in teaching and spreading "Yoga in Daily Life" means in the first place helping humans to achieve good health – physical health, mental health, social health and spiritual health. These four kinds of health lead to God-realisation or self-realisation. "Yoga in Daily Life" is 35 years old, it was developed by me mostly in Czechoslovakia. I worked there teaching yoga for 20 years and we started to make a system, which we called "Yoga in Daily Life".
It includes not only physical exercises, pranayamas and relaxation, but beside this, a further two branches: protection of the environment and world peace. We all know what's happening in the world, we need not speak in detail. Why is it happening? No politician wants war, no religious leader wants war, no man or woman wants war, but still it’s happening. There must be some black power forcing them, and that’s a big dark power, which has a very strong negative influence on the human mind and is governing the human mind. We need to pray for that which creates the mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for all cultures. Tolerance in religion, respect for cultures and understanding of all nations. That’s very important. There are very many world conferences on peace and our "Yoga in Daily Life" societies are also organising and taking part in these around the world.
The environment is first. We know that the biggest problem in the world is pollution. Experts and scientists are already saying, the biggest threat to the world is not terrorists, but changing of the climate. Climate change is due to pollution, and this pollution is again in the human mind. Humans have become the slave of certain comforts and humans are using things without thinking. For example, I am saying, "don’t use plastic bags". Say no to plastic bags. Use cotton bags, if you can’t find a cotton bag, then use paper bags, but they are also not good to use, it is destroying the forest. You know how many plastic bags are lying on the streets in London; how many plastic bags go through the river, into the ocean; how many lives in the ocean and the rivers, are killed by plastic bags; how much earth is destroyed.
Similarly, there are many kinds of pollution, such as pesticides on the fields. Nowhere in the world can you get water for drinking without pesticides in it. The best mineral water that you can buy still has some quantity of pesticides. Nowhere in the world will you find mineral water, which has no pesticides in it. The manipulation of food, genetic modification, is very harmful – creating cancer diseases, loss of memory, anxiety. Manipulating fruits and vegetables, torturing animals, so many things, and this is all in the human mind, and only because humans want to have money.
Therefore in the Bible, it is said, when Jesus saw people gambling with money in front of the temple, for them money was God. Jesus said, "you should not believe in this God." One who thinks money is God, or money is everything, is mistaken. And that is a black power in this world. It kills the human mind. And then it is not easy to put them into a different perspective and change their consciousness.
There are several kinds of drugs in the world. The worst drug is politics. When one falls into politics, then it is very difficult to come out. The second worst kind of drug is alcohol, heroin and so on. The third kind of drug is money. These are all drugs. Ultimately, it is said, nothing will go with you. Everything will remain here.
No one is doing things consciously and purposely against our planet or against others – I mean the people in power, like politicians. But they are forced to do these things. They have a black power behind them, and that is the greed of the position, to keep the chair, that is the black power – forcing them. And that is the cause of wars. They even use religion for their power. Now there are political parties in the name of religion. What can you say? It is Kali Yuga. If you will say the Krishna Party, then Krishna is fighting. Then there is a Christian Party, Jesus is fighting – it means all who believe in Jesus, must give the vote for Jesus, even if they don’t want to. And that is blackmailing, misguiding people, and abusing the religions. This is the black forces. It has to be understood and put in the peoples minds, that we should fight against this – we don’t want that someone creates a party or something like this, in the name of our religion. That’s it. But people are emotionally natured that, whichever direction the wind is blowing, in that direction their flag is also flying.
World peace, protection of the environment and protection of animals is very important. We all know how much animals are suffering. They are tortured in such a horrible way. Recently someone told me about one film made in Canada, about seals – they are beating small seal babies with sticks and killing them. Millions of newborn babies, just a few months old, and the humans are just beating and killing them. It means that those who wear such a skin, in their next life they themselves will get a real one and their turn will be next. This is why animals have to suffer, because either we want to eat their meat or we want to use their skin.
More and more people in the world now are increasing their awareness of the benefits of living as vegetarians. There is an increase in the number of vegetarians in Europe. The first Vegetarian Society in the world was created by Mahatma Gandhi, that was in Europe, in London – and it is still existing and it’s working, with branches now throughout the whole world. This is also in the teachings of Mahaprabhuji, the golden teachings of Mahaprabhuji in the holy book Lila Amrit. Everything is written there. We should read it every day and follow the teachings.
We bring the light of Mahaprabhuji’s teachings through "Yoga in Daily Life" to everyone’s life, to make them aware that they are human, they are better creatures than animals and they should realise their human qualities. When they know what the human qualities are, then they will know what human values are, and when they will know what human values are, then they will understand what human rights are. Humans are created as protectors and not as destroyers. Therefore one has to practise and think, and it is not a one-day job, it goes slowly, slowly, step by step, but it will come. Repeat: if not today, then tomorrow, if not tomorrow, then next month, if not next month then next year, if not next year then next life... but surely if not in the next life, then in the third life. Don’t give up! That’s it. And that’s called Sankalpa.
In Yoga Nidra we make a sankalpa, a resolve, and we don’t give up this sankalpa. This shankalpa will come true. For many years I came to London and I made a shankalpa, that it would be good to have an independent Yoga Centre, for "Yoga in Daily Life", where one can practise – and it happened. So after so many years the shankalpa came true. The Society is registered. People are here, they are many Karma yogis: Yoga karam shukoshalam. Bhagwan Krishna said, "Yoga practice can only be successful by doing seva, Karma Yoga." If you cannot do the seva, you have done nothing. As much as you give, God gives you double. As much as you serve, God will serve you double. If you show someone one kilometre of the way, God will show you ten kilometres of the way.
If you help, help! There are many ways to help – you can help through money, you can help through food. You can help mentally, emotionally, socially, politically, physically, there are many ways – but help. And you have the right to help, but you have no right to expect the Karma, some fruits of your actions. Leave it to God – He will give back to you. If you help with expectation, then it becomes selfish karma – and that will not be good.
So day by day, your sankalpa becomes stronger and stronger. Day by day, it will become better and better. I wish for you much success. May all who come under this roof, in this room, find peace of mind, good health, spiritual development and enlightenment. May God protect them, and guide them. May God protect all Karma Yogis who work here, and we should all work together. Ashram is not one person’s work. It is everyone’s. It is not one man’s.
Seva is the most powerful instrument that the human has. You cannot do seva unless you have love, or daya bhava. Bhava is the inner feelings. Daya is the feeling of mercy, compassion. Great saint Tulsidas said: "the root of righteousness is mercy. The roots of sins are the ego and pride. And therefore" Tulsidas said, "never give up daya, at least as long you have life in your heart."
After death what happens through your body? You can’t do anything. But as long you have life in your body, be merciful to all. That daya is a form of ahimsa, the highest principle. Ahimsa paramo dharma. Ahimsa means not only physically, but also mentally you can injure someone, emotionally you can injure someone, psychologically you can injure someone, by black-mailing you can injure someone. So ahimsa is non-violence. Non-violence also refers to bad behaviour. If you are very noisy, disturbing the neighbours that’s also not ahimsa. In your ahimsa you should not even disturb the birds, at night when they are sleeping. But nowadays people make parties, and loud music and all the animals are restless and can’t sleep.
Seva bhava means you protect them. Pollution – sound pollution, physical pollution, mental pollution, emotional pollution. That’s what we call "Yoga in Daily Life". Its not only that you practise asanas, pranayamas, meditation, prayers – not only this – but 24 hours-a-day, how you lead your life, how you think. That will lead you, that will make you perfect. Tonnes of theory are nothing, compared with a gram of practice. Seva is a practical form. Seva, serve – help, help, help, help. This ashram should be for doing seva. No one should be angry on anybody.
There were four people: Somebody, Everybody, Anybody and Nobody. There was very important work that had to be done. The work was not done. Nobody did it. Somebody got angry: "Why is this work not done? Anybody should have done it." Anybody said: "Why should I do it? It is Everybody’s duty." Everybody said: "Why do you blame me?" This is the Somebody, Anybody and Everybody. We should not be like this. We should not say, "Well she should do this, it’s her duty, why should I do it. She will do this, she will do that. It is her duty." No. We should put this duty on everyone. Ashram has many meanings, but a very simple meaning is this: A means "welcome"; shram means "to work". Welcome to work. What kind of work? Work on your body, work on your mind, work on your consciousness, your soul, to get Atma Gyana – and that, through serving the ashram.
Congratulations and once more I wish you all the best, happy and divine hours and time in the Ashram.
Sri Deep Narayan Bhagwana Ki Jay.