Vishwaguruji inspires all during visit to London
His Holiness Vishwaguru Maheshwaranandaji visited London, England from 23-25 March 2018, where local and international Yoga in Daily Life students gathered to receive drops of nectar from the Master at a weekend seminar titled, The Eternal Journey of the Soul.
A warm welcome
As well as the official seminar program in the larger hall of a nearby school, Vishwaguruji spent much quality time between seminar sessions at Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram in Queens Park, where seekers had the opportunity to greet him personally and receive private consultations. This included long-term devotees of both Holy Guruji and Vishwaguruji from the local Indian community, who since 1975 have been welcoming their beloved Gurujis to London – now four generations.
Who am I?
In the Friday evening lecture, Vishwaguruji began by stating that the soul is our true self, our divine light, divine existence, and that we should come to know our self. He then referred to the fundamental questions posed by the great teacher and saint, Adi Shankaracharya: Who am I? From where did I come? Why did I come here? To where am I going?
Vishwaguruji explained that the individual identity that we usually call 'I' or 'me', has its source at the level of the 5 tattvas or elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth; which then influence our 5 koshas or layers of existence: annamaya (flesh), pranamaya (energy), manomaya (mind-stuff), vigyanmaya (wisdom) and anandamaya (bliss); and are perceived through our 5 gyan indriyas or sensory organs: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin; and are acted upon by our 5 karma indriyas, organs of action: mouth, hands/arms, feet/legs, excretory and reproductive organs. Yet this is how the individual identity is connected to the physical body – but existence as the soul or jivatma itself is a much wider phenomenon, which is beyond the body, mind and feelings.
He explained that the soul is there where life is, and life is where the soul is. Not just humans – all 8.4 million creatures, as well as vegetation, bacteria, corals – all forms of life have a soul. But when the soul arrives on this Earth, it rarely knows where it will go, what the destination is.
When we find ourselves living life as a human, as well as asking, “Who am I?”, Vishwaguruji says it is important to ask “How am I?”; to observe our feelings, thoughts, words and actions, and be aware of their effects. And he says we should remember that the mind is only a reflection of the true reality and that “we have to keep on our path” leading to that full realization. To clarify this point he quoted in Sanskrit from the ancient teachings, “Eating, drinking, and creating children every animal can do. Oh human, did you only come here for this?”
Education and guidance
Vishwaguruji said the journey of the soul requires guidance and education. Again unfolding the ancient Indian wisdom, he said the first guru is the parents – mother and father – they give us life and raise us with practical worldly knowledge and a sense of values. The next guru is our friends – who also bring good and bad habits. Teachers are the next guru – educating us in worldly knowledge in order to earn a living. The last and most important guru is the spiritual guide or master. He or she teaches us the core meaning of life and beyond.
“The final liberation comes only at the last second of life,” said Vishwaguruji, while advising that humbleness that is needed on the spiritual path. And he spoke of how when the soul departs, all the different religions and cultures have their ceremonies to support this process. One is to bury the body in the earth. Another, called jal samadhi, is when the body is released into a river or ocean. In some cultures, the body is placed in the forest or on top of a mountain so that animals can eat it. It is said however that cremation, burning of the body, is the most effective method assisting the departing soul in releasing their connection to the material world.
Obstacles on the path
The lectures from His Holiness throughout the weekend were rich with wisdom and humor, and so much knowledge to help participants, and also seekers viewing online, to understand the wider perspective of life as a human on this Earth. He especially highlighted those ways in which we may be obstructing our progress along the spiritual path through our own ignorance and bad habits. In this regard, he particularly emphasized the need to avoid overeating, which can lead to so many diseases, by recommending to eat meals close to the same time every day and not to snack between meals. And also vitally important is to overcome harmful emotions such as anger, jealousy, envy, hatred etc, which can result in us saying hurtful words and making harmful actions, creating negative karma and suffering for ourself and others.
Practice to purify
Vishwaguruji explained that the way to overcome such destructive tendencies is through purifying our body and mind with the practices of yoga. He led the practice of special kriya techniques, which included chanting the mantra A-U-M in such a way to purify from the manipura chakra (navel center) through the anahat chakra (heart center) and vishuddhi chakra (throat center) to the sahasrara chakra (crown center). Vishwaguruji said that proper practice of such a technique would release stress from the body and negative thoughts from the mind, as well as improve and support memory, thereby helping us to stay on the positive path.
Blessings and gratitude
There were many experiences offered over the weekend: the inspiring talks and practical techniques given by Vishwaguruji; further practice of asanas, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation led by local YIDL teachers from London; more informal satsangs and prayer with Vishwaguruji in Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram between official programs; healthy and hearty vegetarian meals for all; and opportunities for practitioners to meet and share positive time with other yoga aspirants from around the world, including Mataji Yog Maya from Bari Khatu Ashram in India and Swami Umapuri from Vienna.
Participants felt truly grateful, blessed and thoroughly nourished in body, mind and soul by this Yoga in Daily Life weekend seminar retreat with Vishwaguruji in London, and look forward to welcoming him to the UK again soon.
Check the Swamiji TV Channel for the possibility to view and purchase copies of satsangs and lectures from London soon.