On March 22, we had a livestreamed satsang, wanting to bring people together in these uncertain times. The following is a transcript of the talk Swami Lalitananda gave.
In the Temple tonight we have the Yoga Development Course students/participants, all the swamis and the Elastic Band. We thank you all for being here.
We feel you, we feel you who are there for us – our supportive community. We feel you entering the Temple. And I know how much it means to see it, to see the people that you know and that you don’t know.
Swami Radhananda is at Mountain Lake in Nelson, a care home and the care home locked down last week, which meant that we couldn’t see her. We were told that no one could enter the care home except the staff, and we were very heart-broken. Then the next day, they said one family member can go and see her and be with her. So her daughter Clea is there every day, and every day she writes to us and tells us what’s happening. She sends us pictures and sometimes we FaceTime with her. The very first time we FaceTimed with her, it was like being there.
So I know that feeling of being present and I hope that you all feel that tonight. Just an update on Swami Radhananda (who is now using her birth name, Mary-Ann). She is really connecting with some of her caregivers and spreading the love. And they feel quite proud that they’ve gained her trust. It’s mutual, it’s interdependence.
I think if there is one thing we can agree on right now is that we are interconnected. Each one of us makes a huge difference in how we act, how we respond, how we follow the health guidelines. How we have to practice awareness – not touching our face and not getting too close. So at the Ashram we’ve adapted. We come to the altar and we bow standing rather than kneeling with our head on the carpet; we keep our 6’ physical distance. Tonight half of the Ashram is actually in the Radha Room. So we have about 25 here and about 20 over there.
We’re a group that lives together; we’re not a group of people that is coming in and out. We’re here and we know each other very well. The YDC is actually at that point in studying the Yoga Sutras, where “Yoga is Now.” And this is our practice – awareness – and all the tools that we’ve been given need to be present for us right now. We had Samayananda inviting the Light and we had Satyananda practicing the Mantra. These are ways that we can emanate out from the center of Light; and every night at satsang we do that. So there is the vibration that you are sending to us and we are sending it out from this power point. It’s subtle. And the movement at the Ashram now is more toward the subtle – we can’t be physically close but we can imagine and visualize.
So that is the power we have. And we can continue to visualize, as we learned – filling ourselves with Light first, seeing the Light pour into us, then opening our hearts and visualizing the Light streaming through us to the world around us. And especially to people you may know who might be suffering in one way or another, either through the virus or due to personal concerns. They may be in isolation or they may be struggling through being alone. We don’t know. People everywhere are being challenged. And we would like to send out our very best and rise to the occasion, and let our selfless service be giving from our hearts, from the Light, and feeling that abundance.
Our plans are changing. Swami Sivananda, Gurudev Sivananda: “Adapt, adjust, accommodate.” We have to. This is the time for that. This is the challenge from our “Yoga is Now.” So at the Ashram we had our 2020 Vision. We imagined opening new pathways and inviting many people in. Expanding! Creating space for more and more! And… whoosh… what Swami Radha called “factor x.” Not how you imagined! The vision changes. The Light is still there but we have to go in. Focus. Come together toward essence. Shed the extras, what we don’t need right now. We have to renounce. What do we really need? To contact that Light.
I was reading Serpent Power the other day by Sir John Woodroffe/Arthur Avalon and he was describing how the universe comes into being with that power point and expands to the Light that starts creating manifestation. That very same Light of the universe is the Light that is in us, in the Kundalini system. We hold that Light. We don’t have to make it up. We might have to remind ourselves. We try to awaken to the reality of the Light that is within us. Satsang is about reminding each other of that Light. In these days of change, the expansion part changes to contraction. Swami Radha says life is a wave. That’s it. We have to ride the wave, but also to go deep and find the Light within ourselves. The interdependence – you, us – supporting each other, tapping into those practices.
One practice right now is breath. Close your eyes. Feel your spine, aligned. Allow yourself to relax. (pause) Feel the subtle movement of your breath just in its natural rhythm. (pause) The waves of the breath, flowing in and flowing out. (pause) As you inhale think of the sound “sa” and as you exhale “ham.” (pause) “Sa – Ham. I am She.” I am that Light. (pause) Let your mind become even as your breath deepens and becomes balanced. (pause) Let your mind be calm, like a still lake. (pause) I am She. (pause) Keep that feeling of calm, the feeling of your breath, the awareness of your breath and gradually open your eyes.
Thank you for your support – everybody here, and everybody there. Remember the Light and give generously. This is the best thing to do.