Amma’s Letter:  June 3rd, 2005

Yogacharini Jennifer Dany Aube                                                                   

Divine Eaglets:  Both Novices and Professionals  Namastey!

I seem compelled when a few minutes of free time open between heavy serious storms of activity - like soft sunlight filtering between rain clouds - to pen general letters these days to those of you I feel a desire to touch in a way somewhat different from the usual communicative factor of YOGA LIFE.  I do feel that Yoga Life is my monthy letter to you, as well as a chronicle of the Ashram’s work and purpose.  Putting things in print stabilizes and clarifies the vision, giving us a perspective on what we are doing - creating a place to stand, as though when climbing a huge mountain, we stop for a time, looking down at the path by which we have come, and also, looking up, to gauge the way we must next move!  Of course, I am a lover of the written word - it forces us to clarify our thoughts - in that it is a device of Dharana.  At the same time, we must be alert to its dangers - the sage Patanjali cautioned us to beware of verbal delusion. Still, I love to receive letters - which are intelligent (usually) distillations of the patterns behind the (apparently) chaotic flow of life’s events.  During the six month course my mind, heart and body are so deeply involved with the in-resident students, and so much communication is going on at all levels, that all the psychic energy is confined within the walls of ICYER.  During the summer, surrounded by children and casual acquaintances for the most part, I have very few in my immediate environment (with the exception of Ananda), with whom to communicate the deeper thoughts.  So I find myself penning numerous missives to the seriously flying eaglets wandering the vat airways of the world.  All this to explain why so many letters are appearing for you from me in your mailbox these days.

Our summers in some ways are even busier than our six-month courses.  We devote our energies, as you know, to our city centre and our children there.  Some of the children and now adults (many have beards and mustaches so I must be more careful in my choice of words)  (Verbal delusion, you know).  In May for example we held daily classes from 9am to 1pm daily, plus our regular Friday, Saturday and Sunday classes.  In addition we held a three-day residential camp for 100 children (those who have been here for that know what immense energy that generates).  This year we held a weekend camp (9am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday) for a dance intensive.  My dance Guru’s brother came from Chennai, stayed in the Ashram and drilled everyone thoroughly.  We are also preparing Lakshmi for her Arangetram (you can see her photos in June YOGA LIFE).  Our 12th Annual Day is set for June 26.  350 children on stage for six hours in front of 1000 people.  So this is how we spend our summers.  There is a lot more, dance programmes, speeches, Yoga demonstrations plus daily work.  Fortunately, all is enjoyable and worth while, so we have a pleasant time with lots of Satchidananda moments (see my June editorial).  Dhivya Priya is a full-time job.  She is precocious.  Fortunately she is a born comic and mimic so it is good to see ourselves through the prism of her childish mimicry.  We do have to spend a lot of time conducting her dance performances and witnessing her Yoga Asana demonstrations.  Now, another one is on its way.  God (Guru) help us.  Raising Dhivya is a full time job for three (Devasena, Ananda and me) and we need relief on occasion.  What a great glory to watch life seek itself.  We are so lucky!

One of the main inspirations behind the letter is a lovely thought I have had for several weeks which I wanted to share with all of you.   In the West, at least in modern times, we don’t pay much attention to our ancestors  I suppose this is part of the democratization process!  For everything gained, there is a loss.  The loss in this is that we lose our roots, our sense of historic identity and continuity.  We have no ancestors.  Most are lucky if they know the names of their great grand parents.  In India, good families remember their ancestors back for 4 generations.  Ancestor worship and pujas, especially for deceased parents, are vital and observed scrupulously  The ancestors are the Pithris and we can help them work out their karma by rituals.  This is similar to the Catholic concept of All Souls Day in November when people pray for the departed souls.  Come to think of it, the Catholic Church does have a lot of ritualistic prayer for those who have gone before.  When we embrace Sannyass, we deliberately, cut ourselves off from the family to become rooted in the larger universal family of all conscious life. we can also say that in Yoga our ancestors are Bhrigu.  The Rishis and The Gods themselves.  Shiva is our Father:  Parvathi our mother, Rishi Bhrigu, Rishi Agastiyar, Veda Vyasa, Valmiki - all the great souls - are our ancestors as our spiritual life was born from them.  Therefore, if anyone asks you who your ancestors are, you can respond - the entire Yoga Paramparai.  Hence, you have roots, you do belong, to that race of people who chose the spiritual path.

I find this a very beautiful thought and I hope that you also can be stimulated by it.  We also can add to our heritage every time we take a positive evolutionary step - we strengthen the power of Sat-Chit-Anandam in the Universe - we evolve ourselves, not only for our own good but also for the good of the whole!

I hope you all are able to hold onto Sanathana Dharana - (Concentration) on Sat (Reality).  Sometimes, we can hold on only by our toenails, but hold on, we must.  One of our lovely, sweet newly batched eaglets on her return home reported lots of turbulent flying weather and was confused.  I am not able to do much Sadhana she wrote.  But then she ended on a note of cheer amidst the encircling gloom.  All I can manage is this.  Every night, I see the photo of Swamiji before I sleep, fold my hands in Namastey, and say “Thank you Swamiji!”  Actually, at least she is holding on by her toe nails!  I am proud of her.

My own personal Sadhana is to maintain Sthithi Prajna in all circumstances.  Of course, the Guru is kind enough to give me plenty of exercises in that, each moment of every day!  Equi-poise, grace under pressure, is such a precious goal!

Much love to all of you.  You are dear.  Anyone who aspires to grow in spirit - honestly without falsehood or self-conceit is truly a precious gem adorning the heart of the Guru.

Don’t forget to log in at least once a month (your monthly Swadhyaya sheet), either by letter or email.  Even a few lines to the Mother Ashram qualifies as an exercise in Swadhyaya.

Affectionately yours in Yoga,


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