Swamiji's World Peace Tour 2003 (photos n reports)
Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji is again traveling around the world and visiting different continents and countries to spread the message of world peace and tolerance among all nations, religions and races. Here are some highlights from the tour.
USA, North Carolina
Swamiji's visit to Winston-Salem, a small town in North Carolina was all in the sign of Lord Shiva. The first evening program started with music. A group of young artists played and sang the mantra Om Nama Shivaya, improvising it with love and high spirit.
On the morning of Shivaratri, Swamiji led about 40 people on a memorable walk around the Pilot mountain outside of town. The Winston-Salem area had just been hard-hit by a damaging ice storm, which had knocked out electricity in a wide area and done terrible damage to thousands of trees in that part of the state. As the group drove up to the parking lot near the mountain trail the day after the storm, we were enveloped in fog and mist. As we set out upon the trail, we found ourselves walking on a thick bed of ice chunks, many of which were as large or larger than a person's hand. We ascended slowly to the top of the mountain, where there is a huge and lofty stone outcropping that soars up into the sky, like a giant Shiva lingam. Swamiji stood above the group in the misty fog with the towering stone at his back, and blessed the mountain as Shiva mountain.
After our thrilling hike we had another spirited excursion to an Indian restaurant for lunch. The owner and his family were so attracted to Swamiji that on the last evening, they invited the whole group for dinner. Afterwards we sang bhajans and listened to more of Swamiji's words of wisdom.
On the night of Shivaratri 14 people received mantra. Swamiji told us that Shivaratri and Gurupurnima are very auspicious times to get mantra.
The programs were at different places but everywhere many young artists and friends came. They were invited by Shiva Prem, who is a teacher of art and has been a disciple of Swamiji's for about 4 years. He told us that his wish has always been to connect spirituality and art, and when he met Swamiji his dream came true. The whole weekend was full of love, wisdom and good will.
USA, Washington DC
Disciples began arriving on Friday evening, and gathered in the great hall. Concerned about late arrivals, Swamiji changed Saturday morning’s program to begin an hour later than originally scheduled. Next morning we could see through the windows in the hall the snow left from the storm creating a peaceful white blanket effect. This peaceful feeling remained with us throughout the weekend, a feeling of harmony, caring and unity. We walked on the mountain trails over crunchy snow (Swamiji enjoyed that very much). Guided by his vision, we returned via a different direction than planned, and on the way we found a beautiful piece of quarry which we took with us. On the open field, Swamiji walked and sat on “solid water” as Shanti , with great delight, photographed him. Later, he took great joy in standing by the fire drying the back of his garment.
Late Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the offerings of Winston-Salem musicians. At the Satsang, in addition to the harmony created by the music, we were blessed by the wisdom of Swamiji, always guiding us, helping us to grow spiritually and manifesting a revelation of God.
On Sunday we had a very interesting hour of questions and answers. It revealed many aspects of Swamiji’s knowledge and teachings. After lunch, we departed. That evening, after mantra initiation of new disciples, we gathered with Swamiji to say our good-bye’s. The surprise of the evening was the very talented Bhajan singing by the Lakshmi and Mohan duo. Swamiji was delighted as well as the rest of us.
Swamiji’s 3 and a half day visit to Vancouver couldn’t be complete without long walks in Stanley Park everyday. It’s so special to have time with him and other disciples while seeing beautiful sights in the park. Those working in Vancouver have established a beautiful ashram and have been holding classes for almost a year. Approximately 80 people came to Swamij’s program. A big response seemed to come from an article printed about Swamiji in “The Common Ground,” the most spiritually minded magazine in the area for the past 20 years. Swamiji also gave a personal interview for the magazine that is to be printed in some follow up article.
Part of Swamiji’s satsangs had a focus on meditation. He reminded us to be comfortable and not have expectations when meditating. A comparison was drawn to when trying to sleep. If we pressure ourselves to sleep, we can’t sleep. Similarly, if we have expectations during meditation, we can be frustrated. It is better to be sitting comfortably while repeating mantra. During his explanation, Swamiji didn’t hesitate to make fun of the ways people sometimes force themselves to sit and then the knees and back can start to hurt. If we are not comfortable, meditation cannot happen so well. Swamiji also talked about Hatha Yoga Kriyas. Particular emphasis was given to Agni Sar Kriya and the benefits it creates for digestion, strengthening Manipur and is preparation for Nauli. People particularly had a good time watching demonstrations of Agni Sar Kriya and Nauli from a couple disciples. They saw how difficult these Kriyas can be and how much fun Swamiji has with disciples as they demonstrate. It is so nice to have laughter mixed in with words of wisdom throughout Swamiji’s satsangs.
Australia, World Peace Forum in Sydney