Amma’s Letter:  November 27th, 2007
 

Divine People:  Namastey!


We are one-third finished with our Annual “BAKING THE POT” endeavours.  So far, all our Ghatas (mud pots also known variously as eaglets, chicklets and students) seem to be holding up well under the intensity of heat - generated in the Ashram Sadhana.  As you know, Sage Gheranda called the processes of the Hatha and Raja Yoga as Ghatasha Yoga or processes to bake the pot.  Ovens are a space in which heat may be confined and sustained.  Objects placed in these ovens are transformed by that sustained heat into a usable form - liquidy cakes are baked to delicious edibility!  Wet mud can be hardened into a shape capable of holding precious fluids!  Coal can be transformed into diamonds by pressure and heat.  Alloys can be created as metals meld together.  Constant, sustained heat and pressure produce the valuable treasure  This alchemy demands endurance, persistence, grace under pressure on the part of the substance being baked.  The base nature must turn to gold, the beast must become the beauty.  Yes!  The editor of “From Here to Nirvana”, a guidebook to Yoga Centres and Ashrams in India put out by the Yoga Journal from California, USA.  Remarked after her visit ICYER “The Ashram is like an oven baking the inmates into spiritual growth with intense heat!”  Tapas, the third Niyama, comes from the root word tejas or fire.  Fire is heat. Fire is the transforming power.  It is the only one of the Pancha Maha Bhutas which cannot be polluted or made impure.  Agni-Fire is instead itself the purifying force!  It is the only incorruptible and eternally pure substance.  Ashram life is Tapas.  It is Swadhyaya.  It is Iswara Pranidhana.  Thus, Ashram Life is Kriya Yoga and as Patanjali says in Sutra 2 of Sadhana Pada of Yoga Sutra. “Perfection in Kriya Yoga produce Samadhi”.


T.S. Eliot the great American - turned-English-citizen-poet said in his epic work Burnt Norton “Mankind cannot bear too much reality”.  Well!  Ashram living is face-to-face with the everyday reality of one’s own self-ego, sub-consciousness, intellect.  Body, emotions and all the other paraphernalia which collects around Ahamkara.  Baking the Pot!  But, what a lot of fun it is to create a pot!


All thoughts as we move past the 1/3 part of our six month ‘baking process’!  Those of you who have been baked understand full well the significance of all of this.  Once, one of our dear students, Nova from Canada, decided to complete her one year diploma by returning for an additional six months work in the Ashram.  In her application form, under the question, Have you been initiated, she wrote:  “Yes.  I have been through the six month Yoga Teacher Training Course at International Centre for Yoga Education and Research.  I had never thought of the course like that before, but of course, she was right!  The first six months is only an initiation to the teachings, and a baking of the pot, so that the vessel will be able to hold all the realizations which will pour into its consciousness as a result of the Sadhana.  Baking the pot so well, that it cannot, will not, develop any leaks!  Nor will it crack or crumble!  Such a pot will serve as a great instrument and tool of Sadhana!


As the years pass, I am inclined more and more to encourage everyone to return as often as they can to the Ashram for renewal, refreshment and polishing and refining of the essential knowledge.  We are trying to create more and more opportunities and events to give a focal point for such returns!  It is so great to have the initiates back with us!  This past few years, we have enjoyed so many Satsanghas in the Yantra courses, and this year in the Centenary Jayanthi Celebrations.  The Sadhana with seniors is always Satwic, Sahaj and Sukham!  The Ashram atmosphere softens and mellows with such good fellowship!


It is good for me to see familiar, much loved faces and hear the sweet melody of laughter wafting up from classes and meal times.  To feel cooperation, love, respect, regard, reverence and appreciation for the valuable teachings Swamiji has given us, the see people conduct themselves with grace, dignity and self awareness.


Ananda's two tours to Europe this year also have provided a focal point for fellowship - Satsangha-amongst followers in Swamiji’s Footsteps or the Gitananda Paddathi.  So many congregated with such elevated purpose because of Ananda's presence.  I realize more and more why the ancients told us time and again - Satsangha with noble souls is the key of Sadhana!”  Satsangha - moving with seekers of truth - is such a glorious boon!


Well!  Some ramblings to share your coffee-tea-break time!  Also, an invitation o join us in February 2nd to 25th 2008 for the Senior Seminar on Yantra and Yoga therapy.  You are welcome to “come early and stay late”.  Contribution for the February 2nd-25th course is 500 Euro.  We will also have several special events including all night Aum chanting on February 2nd and a small Ashram Homa on February 3rd for Swami Kanakananda’s birthday.  A more elaborate Homa will be held about 27th-28th for the wedding anniversary (39th) of myself and Swamiji and the (7th) anniversary of Dr. Ananda and Devasena.  There will be some special cultural programmes as well, and some selected screening of Dr. Ananda's DVD’s and some films from Ashram archives.  Do your best to join us whenever you can for these fellowship gatherings!


Coming back to your spiritual roots is a true religious venture - when we understand that the word religious comes from relegare which means to return to the source.  Be cheerful! and feel blessed by God and Guru - day by day!


Affectionately yours in Yoga,


AMMA

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