Other Practices at Ashram

Puja of Nath Yogis

Puja (Skt. pūjā) is a sacred fire ceremony, an offering to divinity. In yoga tradition it is one of the most important ways of worshipping God.

 

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Guru Gita Chanting 

Guru Gita (Skt. श्री गुरु गीत, śrī guru gīta) is a chant glorifying the Guru, it is a manifestation of spiritual knowledge that enriches our perception. Each sound of Guru Gita is the highest mantra, and when repeated, it eliminates ignorance, weakens one’s flaws, and make sadness and confusion of the mind disappear. It frees from the fear of time and death, gives clarity, calmness and joy. A yoga practitioner should try to repeat it tirelessly, meditate on it, ponder it and always carry it in his/her heart.

 

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Intense M.R.Y. Shivaratri Sadhana 

Shivaratri (Skt. शिवरात्रि, Śivarātri) is the night of Shiva.

For a yoga practitioner, the night of Shiva is a very significant sadhana, during which there is a manifestation of an especially strong spiritual energy that transforms and cleanses the consciousness from impurities.

Shiva is the Master of Yoga, the Lord, the first nath and the first Guru, who have given the teaching of yoga to humanity. For this reason, yogis commit to asceticism and meditate on the Highest Consciousness during this night. By reciting mantras of Shivaratri they glorify Shiva and express their gratitude to Guru Parampara.

It is very favorable for a practitioner to spend this night at the Guru’s ashram. On the day preceding the night of Shivaratri the practitioners should immerse into austerity: fast, tame his/her sensory desires and perform cleansing practices.

 A nighttime meditation and rituals of worship and sacrifice take place at the ashram during the night of Shivaratri. People, who come to the ashram, sacrifice symbols of causal, subtle and physical body, i.e. flowers, fruit, incense, candles and a monetary offering. Throughout the night, until the Sunrise, practitioners try to maintain alertness, control the sleepiness, distractions and inertia. The sadhana of this intense period accelerates elimination of impurities of consciousness, strengthens will power and determination, and influences the future development of a yoga practitioner.  

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Intense M.R.Y. Navaratri Sadhana 

In the yogic tradition, Navaratri (in Sanskrit, नव nava – nine, रात्री rātrī – nights) is an intense period of asceticism, meditation and retreat. Navaratri lasts for nine days and nine nights. The tenth day symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

There are two periods of Navaratri sadhana in a year (in March-April and in September-October). These two periods are related to changes occurring in nature and the transition from winter to summer and from summer to winter.

A strong consciousness-transforming spiritual energy of Shakti, Mother Goddess, manifests during Navaratri sadhana.

 The main goal of this sadhana is devotion and meditation on the aspects of the Goddess which cleanse the consciousness from impurities and lead to spiritual knowledge.

Navaratri sadhana is a period, during which ten most important manifestations of cosmic energy Shakti, or Mother Goddess, appear. Each manifestation of the Shakti’s energy acts through three qualities of nature, known as gunassattva, rajas, tamas. Shakti’s energy exists in every form. Its knowledge is infinite, its glory is boundless, its brilliance is indescribable.

Navaratri is a period of deep focus, during which the practitioner with an open heart and sincere devotion meditates on the Goddess, as a Mother, whose energy and power help to get rid of egoism, desires, anger and other flaws.

The period of Navaratri is a time for intense ascesis. Yogis believe all nine days and nine nights to be a sacred period of ascesis and meditation, a stage of an intense spiritual growth, when, because of ascesis and Goddess’ grace, a yogi moves towards the embodiment of the practice with determination.

During the period of Navaratri sadhana, morning and evening rituals as well as meditations take place at the M.R.Y. ashram. People, who come to the ashram, sacrifice the symbols of causal, subtle and physical body, i.e. flowers, fruit, incense, candles and a monetary offering. Also, throughout the entire period of Navaratri, mantras are being recited to worship the power of the Goddess and glorify Guru Parampara.

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Mantras of the Navaratri and Shivaratri Sadhana 

During the periods of Navaratri and Shivaratri, certain mantras are used for meditation practice. These mantras are powerful tools for transformation of consciousness, and are kept in secret in yoga tradition. Guru is a knower of this secret, the one who has the right to pass on this knowledge to others. Guru, a spiritual leader, can initiate an aspirant sadhaka (sadhaka is someone who practices yoga sadhana) into the secret mantras of yoga tradition. During the initiation, Guru passes on a mantra and its spiritual power, which transforms disciple’s consciousness and leads to perfection.

 

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Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima (Skt. गुरु पूर्णिमा, guru pūrṇimā) is the day of the Guru, celebrated each year during the July full moon, worshipping the Guru. On this day disciples try to be with the Guru, worship the Guru and rejoice the Guru’s presence, which leads one from darkness to light, from ignorance to wisdom, from death to eternal existence.

 

असतो मा सद्गमय ।

तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।

मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

 

asato mā sadgamaya

tamaso mā jyotirgamaya

mṛtyormā amṛtaṃ gamaya

om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

 

Lead me from non-existence to existence.

Lead me from darkness to light.

Lead me from death to immortality.

Peace, peace, peace.

 

(bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣad 1.3.28)

 

 ♦

 

ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम् ।

मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मुक्तिमूलं गुरोः कृपा ॥

 

dhyānamūlaṃ gurormūrtiḥ pūjāmūlaṃ guroḥ padam

mantramūlaṃ gurorvākyaṃ muktimūlaṃ guroḥ kṛpā

 

The Essence of Meditation is the Guru’s Image.

The Essence of worship is the Guru’s Feet.

The Essence of Mantra is the Guru’s Words.

The Essence of liberation is the Guru’s Grace.

 

(śrī guru gītā 86)

 

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Makara Sankranti

Makara Sankranti is a celebration on the 14-15 of January.

Makara (Skt. मकर, makara) is a mythical aquatic animal, a dragon, an attendant of the Mother Goddess Ganga.

Sankranti (Skt. संक्रान्ति, saṁkrānti) means the transition of the Sun from one state to another. Makara Sankranti is the return of the Sun from the dark period to the light one when the Sun starts moving northwards.

 This day symbolises the end of ignorance and the beginning of light, so millions of people celebrate it. During this celebration they try to submerge themselves in the waters of holy Ganga in pursuit for light and harmony in their lives. Makara Sankranti is astrologically important as it marks the transition of the Sun from one zodiacal sign to the next one on its celestial path. The practices of Nath yogis are related to the position of the Moon. However, Makara Sankranti is an exception as it is the only Sun-related event and has a fixed date.

For Mai Ram Yoga practitioners, Makara Sankranti is a significant annual event not only because of focusing on the light, but also on Guru Parampara, which shines the light of yoga teaching to people. Makara Sankranti was when Guru Hari Ram, the great siddha of the tradition, went into Mahasamadhi ‒ on the same night with His blessing and power of spiritual energy Guru Mai Ram came to Earth as a successor of the tradition.

  

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Diwali

Diwali (Skt. दीपावली, dīpāvalī) is a festival of light that is celebrated at the junction of the last months of autumn. The meaning of the festival is glorifying the light, when good wins over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge triumphs over ignorance.

As a victory of good over evil, Diwali festival symbolises spiritual knowledge which dispels ignorance that masks the integral essence of all beings. We are used to celebrating the birth of a physical body, but Diwali is a festival of the rebirth of inner light.

 

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Karma Yoga

Karma yoga (Skt. कर्म योग, karma yoga) is selfless activity.

Mai Ram Yoga ashram is home of the Guru, a sacred place of yogic tradition, through which we can get in touch with our own inner sacred place. Realising the importance of the ashram in our lives, we must do our best to foster our ashram. The selfless practice of karma yoga helps to develop our ability to perform actions without any motives of personal benefit, for the sake of the ashram, without expecting to get any fruit from the activity. This way the practitioner’s selfless activity at the ashram takes on a sacred meaning, his/her actions become like a ritual, which gives a sense of sacrificial act to his/her activity.  

 

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Tirtha Yatra – Sadhana with the Guru

Tirtha (Skt. तीर्थ, tīrtha) in Sanskrit means a sacred site, while yatra (Skt. यात्रा, yātrā) means journey. One may go on many travels and pilgrimages to sacred places in life. However, being at a sacred place with the Guru, a person gets in touch with liberating spiritual knowledge. Tirtha is also a word for certain cities, temples, intersections of holy rivers, mountains, rocks, lakes and some other places, where divine power and miracles manifest.

 

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Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a practice of conscious relaxation based on a method of full physical, mental and emotional relaxation.

The practice helps one to get into the depths of consciousness, reach as well as eliminate complexes, habits, flaws, fears and tensions that block our true nature. Yoga Nidra restores inner balance, relaxes, strengthens memory, opens up creative abilities and forms positive personality changes.

 

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Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara (Skt. सूर्य नमस्कार, sūrya namaskāra) is salutation of the Sun and worshipping everything that it represents on the macro and micro cosmic levels.

 

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Chandra Namaskara

Chandra Namaskara (Skt. चन्द्र नमस्कार, candra namaskāra) is salutation of the Moon.


 

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OM TAT SAT