Other Practices in Ashram

Puja of Nath Yogis

Puja (Skt. pūjā) is a sacred fire ceremony, offering to divinity. 

 

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Guru Gita Chanting and Meditation

The sacred Guru Gita (Skt. श्री गुरु गीत, śrī guru gīta) is a manifestation of Eternal Truth and spiritual knowledge that enriches our perception of the need for having a Guru for the knowledge of Eternal Truth. The Guru Gita is a scripture of wisdom of the Vedanta teaching that discloses the root of Eternal Truth. The sacred Guru Gita is an Agamic text contained in the Puranas that constitute the Vedas. The Agamas are texts generated by Shiva, the basic sources of the teaching that reveal the core existence and convey its fundamental Truths.

 

भगवन्सर्वधर्मज्ञ व्रतानां व्रतनायकम् ।
ब्रूहि मे कृपया शम्भो गुरुमाहात्म्यमुत्तमम् ॥

 bhagavansarvadharmajña vratānāṃ vratanāyakam |
brūhi me kṛpayā śambho gurumāhātmyamuttamam ||

I surrender to Thee, O adorable Lord, supreme teacher of the Universe,

eternally pure, O highest God, please tell me of the Sadguru.

(śrī guru gītā 14)

 

In the form of the sacred hymn of the Guru Gita, Shiva, the Creator, expounds on the root of spiritual knowledge to His beloved Parvati. The Guru comes from a sampradaya and appears in human form as Supreme Consciousness, destroying ignorance and leading to the understanding of the true nature. The Guru Gita is the vital source of all scriptures, which enriches humanity.

This scripture is a manifestation of wisdom, acknowledged as the undoubted Truth and explaining our True nature, which is identical to the Eternal Consciousness. The Guru Gita is knowledge that eliminates misunderstanding and forms correct thinking that helps the seeker to recognise the true Teacher because self-knowledge and liberation are impossible without such a person. For a yoga practitioner, this noble scripture should become a part of everyday practice of self-analysis, reflection and meditation.

In the Guru Gita, Shiva proclaims the goal of humanity’s existence or moksha (liberation) and explains a way for attaining this goal, pointing out the need for Guru. The Guru’s teaching is a path, saving the human and liberating him or her from ignorance, delusion and darkness.

Each letter of the Guru Gita represents a supreme mantra that, when repeated, wipes out ignorance, weakens vices and dispels grief and confusion of the mind. It liberates one from the fear of time and death, giving clarity, certainty, harmony and joy. Therefore everyone who practices yoga must make an effort to repeat the hymn relentlessly, meditate, reflect on it and always carry it in one’s thoughts and 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 Lord of Yoga, the first Nath and Guru, who gave the teaching of yoga to humanity. For this reason, yogis commit to asceticism and meditate by concentrating on the Highest Consciousness during this night. By reciting mantras of Shivaratri they glorify the Nath 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 practitioner should immerse into austerity: fast, retain tame his/her sensory desires and perform cleansing practices.

An all-night-long meditation and yogic rituals of worship take place in 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. Also, Shivaratri mantras are being recited to worship the power of Shiva and to glorify Guru Parampara. Throughout the night, until the sunrise, practitioners try to stay awake, suppress sleepiness, distractions and inertia. The sadhana of this intense period accelerates elimination of impurities of consciousness, strengthens will power and determination, helps to form right attitudes, which have influence over the future progressive development of a yoga practitioner.  

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Intense M.R.Y. Navaratri Sadhana 

In the yogi tradition, Navaratri (in Sanskrit, नव nava – nine, रात्री rātrī – nights) is an intense period of asceticism, meditation and retreat. Navaratri lasts 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.

Shakti’s strong consciousness-transforming spiritual energy manifests during Navaratri sadhana.

The main goal of this sadhana is meditating on the aspects of Shakti that cleanse yogi’s consciousness from impurities and give him/her the treasures of spiritual knowledge.

Navaratri sadhana is a period, during which there is an appearance of ten most important manifestations of Shakti – the cosmic energy, or the Mother Goddess. 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 concentration when the practitioner with an open heart and devotion meditates on the Goddess like on the Mother whose energy and power help to get rid of egoism, desires, flaws, etc.

The period of Navaratri is a time for intense asceticism. Yogis believe all nine days and nine nights to be a sacred period of asceticism and meditation, a stage of an intense spiritual growth, when through asceticism a yogi unhesitatingly moves towards the embodiment of the practice.

During the period of Navaratri sadhana, morning meditations take place in 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 Shakti and to 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 to worship the Guru. On this day disciples try to stay near the Guru, thank the Guru, worship the Guru and rejoice at the Guru. It is celebration of the glorious Sadguru, the true realised Guide, who is leading one from darkness to light, from ignorance to wisdom and 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 ॥

From untruth lead us to Truth.

From darkness lead us to Light.

From death lead us to immortality.

Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.


(bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣad 1.3.28)

 

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ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम् ।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मुक्तिमूलं गुरोः कृपा ॥

dhyānamūlaṃ gurormūrtiḥ pūjāmūlaṃ guroḥ padam ।
mantramūlaṃ gurorvākyaṃ muktimūlaṃ guroḥ kṛpā ॥

The root of meditation is the form of the Guru.

The root of worship is the feet of the Guru.

The root of the mantra is the words of the Guru.

The root of liberation is the grace of the Guru.


(śrī guru gītā 86)


 

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Makara Sankranti

Makara Sankranti is a festival that takes place on 14–15 January. Makara (Skt. मकर, makara) is a mythical aquatic animal or sea dragon, a vehicle of the Mother Goddess Ganga. Sankranti (Skt. संक्रान्ति, sakrānti) means transmigration of the Sun from one constellation to the next. Makara Sankranti is the return of the Sun from the dark period to the light one when He starts moving northwards.

 This day symbolises the end of ignorance and the beginning of light. Therefore in India this festival is celebrated by millions of people who strive to submerge in the waters of the Holy Ganga in pursuit for light and harmony in their lives. Makara Sankranti is an astrologically important festival as it indicates transmigration of the Sun from one zodiacal sign to the next on His celestial path. The practices of Nath yogis are inseparable from the position of the Moon. However, Makara Sankranti is an exception and the only Sun-related event that has a fixed date.

For practitioners of Mai Ram Yoga, Makara Sankranti represents a significant annual event not only because of focusing on the light, but also on the Gurus of the yoga tradition, who give the light of yoga teaching to people, leading them from ignorance and illuminating people with spiritual knowledge. It is Makara Sankranti that was the date of the Mahasamadhi of Guru Hari Ram, the great siddha of the tradition, with whose blessing and power Guru Mai Ram came to Earth on the same night as a successor of the tradition.

  

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Diwali

Diwali (Skt. दीपावली, dīpāvalī) is a festival of light that takes place at the turn of the last months of autumn. The meaning of the festival is worshiping one’s own inner light when good wins over evil and light over darkness, and knowledge triumphs over ignorance. 

As the ‘victory of good over evil’, the Diwali festival symbolises spiritual knowledge which dispels ignorance that masks one’s true self. With this knowledge, the unified essence of all beings, understanding, compassion and bliss are revealed. We are used to celebrate 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 an unselfish act.

At the ashram, karma yoga is an unselfish activity, the activity for the ashram’s development, through which we learn to do work without any personal motives of benefit and fruit of deeds. Karma yoga broadens our understanding by letting us realize, that the whole life of a human is an act of offering to the Creator.

 

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Tirtha Yatra – Sadhana with Guru

Tirtha (Skt. तीर्थ, tīrtha) in Sanskrit means a sacred site, while yatra (Skt. यात्रा, yātrā) denotes a journey. One can have many journeys and pilgrimages to sacred sites in life. A visit to a sacred place is not yet a sadhana (Skt. साधना, sādhanā ‘spiritual practice’).

Tirtha yatra only becomes a sadhana with the Guru’s initiation, then one comes into touch with spiritual knowledge. A journey to a sacred site with the Guru is a journey to the knowledge of the self. Tirthas refer to certain cities, temples, confluences of holy rivers, mountains, rocks, lakes and some other sites where divine power and miracles happen. Tirthas are sacred sites that open up the power of meditation and spiritual knowledge. A Tirtha yatra with the Guru is a practice of worship and offering for attaining liberation from ignorance and impurities of consciousness.

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Yoga Nidra

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

The practice helps one to get into the depths of consciousness and reach and eliminate complexes, habits, vices, fears and tensions that block one’s true nature. Yoga Nidra restores inner balance, relaxes, strengthens memory, opens up creative abilities and influences positive changes in a personality. 

 

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Surya Namaskara

Surya Namaskara (Skt. सूर्य नमस्कार, sūrya namaskārais a salutation to the Sun and everything what He represents on the macro and micro cosmic levels.

 

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Chandra Namaskara

 Chandra Namaskara (Skt. चन्द्र नमस्कार, candra namaskārais a salutation to the Moon. While practicing yoga and seeking insight into phenomena, it is necessary to take into account the stability of the sun and lunar phases. From new moon to full moon and back, these changing phases influence Earth, animals, plants and human body, mind and emotions. 


 

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OM TAT SAT