Category Archives: jainarain

Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday kirtan 2014

Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday kirtan, Feb 22, 2014

This kirtan took place at the house of Mahayogini and Rohan, who provided delicious food and drink, and immaculate service. The beautiful shrine featured a life-size photograph of Sri Ramakrishna in samadhi, and many people felt his tangible presence. Songs and bhajans were offered by Tryambaka, Mahayogini, Sanjana, Gayatri, Shiva Shakti, Marian, Sri Lakshmi and others, and the atmosphere was both convivial and devoted. Satchitananda provided a tape of an address that Swamiji gave many years ago, probably in the early seventies, stressing the need for change! There were many of the younger generation present, the youngest being Leonard, the very recently arrived son of Bala Krishna and Jade. A notable guest was Parvati Young from Taos, New Mexico, who had been told of our group by Sambhu.
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Swami Ambikananda’s birthday kirtan

On Saturday 2 November the birthday of our guru, Swami Ambikananda, was celebrated at Glen Lodge with music, dancing, singing, chanting, eating, drinking and just plain enjoying. In a word it was great. Organized by Shiva Shakti and Satchitananda, the theme of the kirtan was the Guru, so it began with verses from Guru Gita and Mahayogini’s song to the Guru (see previous blog). The atmosphere was easy-going and affectionate, and the continuously flowing music was conducive to meditation as well as to singing and dancing. A lovely kirtan. Thanks especially to Shiva Shakti, Satchitananda, Gayatri, Sarasvati as well as everyone else who made such a great contribution.
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Glen Lodge monthly retreat, 9 March 2013

The shrine room here, where Swami Ambikananda left his body 16 years ago, still carries such a powerful vibration. You could feel it strongly at the monthly retreat hosted by Satchitananda last Saturday. And Glen Lodge is a treasure trove of  ashram material – there are DVDs of 20 years’ worth of kirtans plus hundreds of books annotated by Swamiji, notes, pamphlets, relics, images etc. Continue reading

Visions of Light

To celebrate Swamiji’s anniversary, devotees gathered at the house of Mahayogini and Rohan on November 3rd for kirtan singing, reading, chanting, socializing, drinking tea and eating prasad. On this occasion, reversing the usual order, Yogini had prepared a sumptuous prasad before the kirtan itself rather than afterwards.  Then the devotees listened to and participated in numerous songs and chants, some led by Tryambaka (who introduced a new bhajan from Ammachi, having just received her darshan at Alexandra Palace), others by Gayatri, Yogini and Sanjana. Beautiful music was also provided by Hari Om, Sri Lakshmi and many others. Altogether a memorable kirtan. Continue reading

Glen Lodge summer gathering July 7 2012

For the summer gathering devotees made a bold decision to convert the shed at Glen Lodge into a kirtan hall. The creative energy of Shiva Shakti, combined with the talents of Sarasvati, Madonna, Satchitananda and Gayatri, transformed this severely functional structure, an unadorned space where Swamiji had worked and stored his tools, into a ‘Bollywood palace’, softly candle-lit and opulently decorated with hangings and drapes of many colours. A long table flanked with comfortable chairs and covered with cloths ran almost the whole length of the carpeted floor, and at the end was a shrine where images of Swami Ambikananda, Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi watched benignly over the proceedings.

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Ramakrishna’s Birthday Kirtan

Mahayogini’s house was the scene of  a lovely kirtan last Saturday celebrating the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna, the Guru Dev of the Universal Independent Asram. While he was still in the body Swami Ambikananda always ensured that these birthday kirtans were particularly joyful occasions, and they continue to be a key event for all the devotees. Saturday  was no exception – the music was lovely, the food fantastic, the hospitality unstinting, and the general vibe entirely delightful. Continue reading

New Year Renewal

Swami Ambikananda liked his devotees to renew their spiritual lives at the start of each year. On 1 January 1996 he visited our house in Lincolnshire, accompanied by Satchitananda. Nearly twelve months had passed since his near fatal heart attack, and he now sounded stronger as he spoke about the recent kirtan at Atmananda’s house in Newbury:  ‘Kirtan is not a joke,’ he told us.  ‘God comes down and watches…’. Continue reading

Ramakrishna’s Flying Carpet

Notes read at Glen lodge retreat, 3 December, from Swamiji’s discourse at Ramkrishna Loka (13 October 1984).

 

This discourse took place at a meeting a week after a wonderful kirtan at Quintessence ashram (Sita Devi’s and Raja Ram’s place) that was mostly about Sri Ramakrishna. Our Guru Dev. The next kirtan, at Gayatri’s home in Wales, initiated a strongly Christian phase, beginning with a tableau of Virgin Mary with St Genevieve at Lourdes (played respectively by Durga Mai and Sri Lakshmi).   So this discourse suggests the end of one era and the beginning of another. Devotees present included Mahayogini, Steve, Julie, Satchidananda, Jai Narain and Mahalakshmi.

‘The flying carpet of Sri Ramakrishna is meditation when the mind flies and the body burns to pieces. When there is no desire of power, then you join quick to the Master, and it’s the Master that flies to you. The devotee makes one flight and the Master makes hundreds of flights, coming down from heaven to earthplane. Otherwise God is hidden inside, under the carpet, inside you. Are you aware of who you are? That’s the greatest realization: Ramana Maharshi’s “Who am I?”[1]

‘The mind flies, the body flies. Then you have to get rid of these flying bodies – causal, astral, mental, dreaming – the five koshas [sheaths]. These bodies are a hindrance, but in some ways they can be a help to progress, like the five pitches of a string. They give the key but are not the instrument. Start playing from these, and you can compose your own song on a high level.

‘Our Master Sri Ramakrishna was a master of harmony, not only in music but also in religion. The harmony of religion was his work. This is God’s work; ordinary beings can talk and talk, but who will listen if they don’t get their power from God? “It is Thou that singest the song, Thou that clappest Thy hands, man only thinks he is the doer.” You must be in that harmony and in that tune.

‘Some of you devotees are far from God. Such devotees are on the beach, or even haven’t reached it yet. They are far from the liquid form of God, the sea of immortality. Now God comes down from on high, and when He drops on the water He becomes like a boat. Didn’t Jesus walk on the water? So the liquid form of God becomes the boat of safety in the ocean of existence.

‘Now the devotees are coming. “Let’s enjoy our life,” they say, and they bring a picnic down to the beach. Some devotees are raw, some are baked,[2] some are so hot they fry their bodies in the hearth of God and give them as prasad to the Lord to partake of their devotion. Such devotees are changed by the touch of God’s presence.

‘Jesus and Sri Ramakrishna sat among their devotees, who ate and drank with them – and now the room becomes electrified, filled with divinity. Everything becomes different; God is manifesting here. So keep the company of the holy for the presence of God, if you want to see God. Keep the company of the real starvers on the beach of immortality.

‘Now, keeping close to this every day we, who were raw, get slowly ripened by the heat of that Sun. We get peace and breadth of vision, of mind. So when you come here we make you up a little bit more, make up your eyes like lotus eyes. The lotus lives in mud but is not contaminated, so lotus eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands.

‘Devotees are like strings of a bass guitar; one of the strings is E – know ye the Lord. A is Atma. D is divine. E is also Mi, Aham Brahmasmi. Four strings: OM TAT SAT OM. All sounds come from OM, so we have to demist ourselves completely in this hidden God, in this light, this self-effulgence.

‘God comes down to earthplane, and as soon as God comes down man starts to cry, seeing God in spiritual experience. Why does he cry? God comes down with the Goddess; the Power of God is the Mother, and Mother sheds tears when Her children come, but not because of pain. Why cry? I can’t explain why – “Some weep, some laugh, some dance for joy … drown me deep in the sea of Thy love.” There is initiation on the throne of immortality. Dance in samadhi.’

‘You have to have strength – strength of mind is the pivot of the active will. When the will becomes active it acts like a dam to protect the water. This is the water of God’s grace. This water doesn’t give you a cold, it’s not ordinary water. Among holy things it is most holy, among loves it is love supreme.

‘If you don’t change in this birth you will have to go through five births to get all this. So become better than good, become the best. The state after that is the turiya state, beyond good and bad, beyond holy and unholy.

‘God comes down and does us a favour to help us out of this mere maya mesh. He helps us to help ourselves. So man must revere Him. Everything about Him is God, every single action. Even the rubbish of God is still God. The dust of His feet gives salvation and forgiveness. Blessing comes down from the dust of His feet. Wherever He looks is blessed.

‘The mind is like a bird. It can either fly to a certain height or it can just spread its wings and glide. There’s something very special about that state, very beautiful, and if the mind happens upon that state it can play itself a tune. The music of the mind is like a gliding bird then, and any instrument will do, anything that touches on that mind will have a divine tune coming, even if you only have one string, or just a clapping hand. Didn’t Sri Ramakrishna say we should clap our hands and sing, and the birds of sin will fly far away?

 

‘I see with my mental love – there’s a mental body of love, a love that has crystallized in this body and become form – gross, coarse, but really the soul of that is candy, it’s not just ‘treacle tart’[3]. That’s perfect, nothing lower will do. That’s the Neti neti[4] plectrOM of a picky-choosy bliss of Vivekananda.

 

‘Holy company can be very blissful if you get the right man. Sri Ramakrishna wanted to share with his own. People came to him from all walks of life – doctors, barristers, learned men – but he said, “I want my own people to share with, people who can understand what it means.”

‘God has eyes everywhere. When He is in trance He follows the line of his vision and goes to the path of light. That’s why He follows light. Whenever someone is meditating with great love, wherever God is, whatever part of His realm God may be in, Jana or Maha plane, He will come down and disturb the devotee. And not alone but with the Goddess, the family, and the devotees. God is never alone. God seeks His devotees, lives with His devotees. That’s His company.

‘Holy company must be genuine. One should not keep the company of the worldly. If a holy man keeps the company of the unholy, a doubt arises. There are one or two exempts, those who have a mission. But even among the holy in kirtan you can sometimes see how they chit-chat. He who has organized everything can also unorganize it. He who has made people come can make people go.

‘So perhaps it’s better not to have meditation in kirtan. Meditation is positive awareness in God, a state of mind, a stillness and a quietness that fills and overfills until tears come, until hair stands on end in horripilation. This is called IT SELF. IT SELF.  There’s no greater word than this: neither man nor woman but ITSELF. From this thing everything comes. It was always, and ever shall be, Changeless Reality. This is one of the greatest secrets. God likes secrecy, He likes hide-and-seek. You didn’t know there were gems in the sea, you didn’t know that Sri Ramakrishna dwells within you. This hide-and-seek is Mahamaya; so pray to Mahamaya.

‘Coal is kept close to the hearth, close to the glowing embers. Likewise, man must lose his identity as coal and gain the hearth, the blazing glow that which words cannot express. Word becomes vision, vision becomes blurred and loses its “sightedness”. So the devotee has to have a silent eye, he has to swallow his tongue.

‘ “The flight is from alone to alone.” With just a trace of nirvikalpa samadhi, a slight trace before the final mergence. If this divinity is not there  you must bring it in, otherwise it’s the agony of the frog and the snake[5]. There’s no ‘cobra’ in it – the cobra will quickly swallow any frog – there’s no cooperation of Brahman in it. Your kind of cooperation is just a watersnake, not a Kundalini cobra[6].

‘Choose your company, because we will be together again and again. When you are holy you have to keep the company of the holy. Good earth is to be cultivated, and good people cultivate devotion in mind and heart. Indifferent to heat and cold or thirst they carry their own water. And man is like a kind of water – by thinking of God this water can become a little wine-y (as  Jesus turned water into wine). But man drinks too much wine of a worldly kind, he must get back to his everlasting wine.

‘God is in His name. So let there be quick chanting of the Name, essence of divinity. So God “becomes into” the consciousness of the devotees. Then if you’re not ready He hides Himself again. There’s withdrawal, but you get a quick flash. Then it’s back to normal again because you’re not ready in this life. The world of divinity has nothing to do with this world.

‘Opening the curtain of darkness a glimpse of divinity is given – a fragrance of oleander, jasmine, sandal paste – and this in itself stills the mind of the devotee. His mind is stilled in the essence of divinity. He has lost consciousness of the world. The vision of God takes that person and makes him cross the three world-seas – Bhu, Bhuva, Swaha – as if God has come with an aeroplane. “Anytime we’ll have a little charter flight[7], a cheap flight together. Not too too high!” But you feel the essence, you smell the marigold garland. The smell makes you conceive God. You can see. It might be a hallucination, but it’s beyond the world. You have to see for yourself.

  

‘God sends His messengers. Durga Mai has come in the form of one of our devotees. But we are just a tender spring flower in the vast field of God. Nothing has blossomed yet, no one has seen the blossoming here. In the time of ice there will be more: the Ice Lingam [of Amarnath]. But it will also be hard. If you receive a rose you must be careful of the thorn.

‘So those who are initiated are very fortunate. Some are ready; some are very close. There are many ways of diksha – waving the lamp, keeping the virgin wallet in your heart. Don’t let anyone use or abuse it. These are the leaves that will enable you to cross the ocean[8]. God dwells in His name; He works through His devotees. God appears as a shadow in the picture. Think of that picture shadow and meditate on light.

[To Steve:] Put flowers before Sri Ramakrishna’s picture.

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[1] Ramana, the sage of Arunachala, used this repeated question to achieve realization.

[2] like seeds that will not be reborn – GSR

[3] ref GSR

[4] ‘Not this, not this’ – the reductive path of knowledge, jnana.

[5] The watersnake can neither swallow nor disgorge the frog from its mouth. The cobra swallows it at once. GSR

[6] Kundalini is visualized as a snake coiled three times round the Lingam in the Muladhara, basic chakra, in dormant state. Aroused, it rises to the Saharara.

[7] cf (Shirdi ) Sai Charters?

[8] cf. the leaves inscribed with Rama’s name enabled Hanuman to cross the ocean