Back in August, on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami, Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri gave a workshop in Chicago, IL. I was not able to make it there, and I thought that was that, because I was under the impression that Swami-ji strongly discourages video recordings of his talks. Well, recently I was invited by a friend from my temple to come to his home and take part in a satsang viewing of a DVD of the event. Swami’s organization sends out the DVD under the agreement that it will only be viewed by groups, as his message is meant to be viewed as a communal experience.
So tonight, I, and about a dozen others from my community got to see part 1 of 4 from the Krishna Janmashtami address. I will not try to expand in depth on Swami’s overall message because it is always quite vast in scope and esoteric in nature. But I do want to comment on a couple of things.
Swami V blends Vedanta, Yoga and Samkaya philosophies to offer his devotees something unique, and I think all-encompassing, and not limited to any school of thought. I think that is what is so attractive about Swami-ji.
But Swami began by saying that any effort toward spiritual progress must begin with yoga. Not the yoga poses that one can take part in at any gym, I might add, but the spiritual path of yoking the mind to the Divine. In his address, Swami offered two mantras from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
1) Hridaye chitta samveeta – “Within the heart is the knowledge of the mind.”
I think we often think that heart and intellect cannot overlap. Swami demonstrated how halfway between the heart chakra and the crown chakra is the throat and mouth, where prana, life force, comes to fruition in the breath. It is where the two “meet in the middle” so to speak.
2) Aum bhadram no apivaataya manah, Aum shantih shantih shantih – “Let our minds be steeped in nobility from all directions.”
This is a notable mantra in that it does not mention “me”. It is “our”. This is key to the importance of satsang in the reception of Swami Vidyadhishananda’s message, and key toward cultivating a more global-centric mindset.
I plan to learn these mantras well, take them to heart, and use them in meditation.