Spiritual Director’s Message

Spiritual DirectorTransmuting Poison to Nectar

Aloha to all friends, members, students, initiates, and devotees of SRV:

As we settle into the bardo called 2014, our first opportunity to congregate this year as a truth-seeking sangha is also upon us. I will attend on the West Coast ashrams from mid-February to mid-March, and I come bearing gifts.

We have three new ripe fruits falling on the hallowed ground of the SRV orchard.

First, is the new book, Dissolving the Mindstream. Long-standing disciples will recognize in this literary offering a culmination of our deep and extended studies in Sankhya, Yoga (Patanjala), and Vedanta. A definitive method, and nondual in its scope, aim, and end, DMS is at the very root of everything that the human aspirant is trying to accomplish in spiritual life. In such a grand dissolution process, it is not only the eternal specters of cosmic principles that will get merged into Divine Essence, but all the negativities in the human mind as well. So ready your asana, put on your glasses (if you need them), take up this small but potent book (which is the same size as the recent book, Reclaiming Kundalini Yoga, and the forthcoming Jnana Matra, The Wisdom Particle, completed and coming soon), and deepen your knowledge on how to take the mind away from everything that restricts it from beholding God directly. Then practice. But be sure to invoke Lord Siva at the outset of this endeavor. He is the one who disintegrates all superimpositions and overlays. Jaya Vivekananda!

The second gift to confer is the new CD album, Kali Bol Ramakrishna, replete with classic bhajans and stotrams like Sri Ramakrishna Ekadin, Stimita Chit, and the Ramakrishna Chalisa. Freshly completed and mastered, and adorned with beautiful images from the Ram Nand collection of artwork, this album is simply one of ecstasy. Place it in whatever device you use to play it; then enter into Ramakrishna Loka in a thrice!

Our third gift is the newest issue of Nectar of Nondual Truth, containing the words and teachings from not only our mainstream writers, but several new teachers and authors from different religious traditions – which illustrates Nectar’s unique style. This is issue #29, indicating the many years that this rare, even singular, journal of Nonduality and Universality has been in existence. Congratulations to all of you for being at the foundation of SRV offerings such as these three mentioned herein.

And speaking of great spiritual magazines, for those of you who follow the Prabhuddha Bharata journal, started by Swamiji in 1896, the Ramakrishna Order/Advaita Ashrama has published my article titled The Wide Open Arms of Religious Congeniality therein, in the January 2014 issue. What a fine job they have done on the entire issue, the setup of which is beautiful, complementing the already wondrous content of dharmic teachings gracing those pages.

I am sorry to use this space for seeming advertising, but the truth is that these offerings are teachings – everyone of them permeated with beneficial wisdom and devotion. And for the more voracious and forward moving devotee and seeker, there is the Siva Retreat in Seattle beginning on the last day of February, over the weekend. The subtitle, Transmuting Poison to Nectar, is a fitting one, as we will dive into the dynamic of acquiring the capacity and abilities necessary for really assisting both striving and suffering souls to reach higher ground, spiritually speaking. This retreat will be given against the sacred backdrop of the study and chanting of the Sri Siva Sankirtanam Stotram, so bring your interest in Sanskrit and your best voice with you on retreat.

Just today I was proofing the material for our Munda Mala e-newsletter, and was very moved to read the many reminiscences of our sangha about John Dobson, who just passed away. I first introduced my dear friend, John, to all of you at the opening of our then new ashram in Portland at the Shogren Estate. John was a very vociferous supporter of Jai Ma Music, attending our sacred arts events while we were on tour and joyfully singing along in the audience. After these concerts – which would quite often take place at Vedanta Societies and retreats – we would all usually go outside with flashlights, climb the short ladder leading to his telescope lens, and take turns gazing at the stars until well after midnight….all accompanied by John’s running commentary of what we were looking at and how it all fit into Vedanta. These evenings combining sacred music and vast star-scapes with John Dobson created both intense states of mind and very fond memories. I salute John for his vast erudition in both Science and Vedanta, as well as his infectious spirit, and his unflagging devotion to his ideals – Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother, and Swami Vivekananda.

My forthcoming visit to the West Coast will also include puja celebrations for the Great Master’s birthday in both San Francisco and Portland. I trust you will all attend, and reap the benefits that such an offering confers. Several aspirants will take initiation (mantra-diksha) on this auspicious occasion, gradually swelling the ranks of our devoted followers of Vedanta and its primary Vehicles.

Overall, I send all of my blessings and best wishes to everyone. Those who are not near to the West Coast this winter, please tune your minds into us at this time and receive divine vibrations anyway, even vicariously. Space and time are to be used for just such inward purposes. Otherwise, and as you all should know by now, they turn mayic, taking us away from the Goal of human existence.

And so, as my guru, Swami Aseshananda used to say, in closing: “May peace come unto all; may good betide all; may all see the face of Truth and be fortified by the armor of Love.”