Greetings to All,
I am happy this post marks my first one on this privileged platform which is a gift from Om Swami to all of us. And with introduction of Medha Sri ji, as our Editor-in-Chief I have been only more curious and eagerly awaiting her next post from the Editorial Desk. With an Editor now, the offering and the gift which Swami ji offered seemed all the more promising. 🙂
(The title of this post is Om Swami but it is not about his personality but How I perceive Him and all the things that emanates from Him)
The day I read Swami ji post titled The Hungry Baba and the New Normal. I had this feeling of remorse that in what direction are we looking as Swami ji’s reader! What aspect are we imbibing of His writings which are but a practical way of looking at life and realistic way to walk the path of spirituality.
I have observed closely, at my best, the way the social media platform on which/through which Om Swami connects with us, change & evolve – Black Lotus App. and Om Swami – YouTube Channel. I have read most of the books authored by Him.
The slow and steady growth from a basic and most standard microphone at Srimad Bhagvad Katha to a microphone with collar clip – Here – Learn to Love Yourself in the early discourse videos to the upgraded microphone Here – The Last Thoughts to the present sleek & hi-tech professional head-worn microphone that He uses in the most recent discourses – Here – Sincerity in Spiritual Path. I almost feel much more comfortable and at ease as I listen to Swami ji in these brand new microphone. Feels like I am doing a Meditation Session on Black Lotus – the sound quality got so much better now, well almost flawless for a discourse done in the temple. The sound of Swami ji’s voice rings in the ear differently with different technology! You can check for yourself. I recall how He had tested and looked forward to check and try the new technology in the temple (in one of the event in 2018). He had mentioned it was procured from Australia! I am guessing but He did mention something like that.
I quote Swami ji from his blog released yesterday –
Whether it’s been recording meditations for Black Lotus or audiobooks for Audible, without a proper recording room, it’s been a real challenge. During the day, you have birds and other creatures of the sky and at night you have crickets and cicadas and whatnot. Not to mention the ever constant and burbling river which is at once divine when I’m not recording.
Isn’t it for us (those who consume all that material He offers) that this need was felt by Om Swami to create the kind of Room He desires to. It will ( the new room as He described in the Blog) ease the work-load that He imposes on Himself (or at least makes it more convenient for Him to work all that workload if not bring ease!) – Like He mentioned on the post – The Hardest Thing about my Life. “Sometimes though, I wish to rest.” It was very sad to read that statement in addition to “It almost feels like I must plan my retirement (again) or I’ll forever be the hamster in the wheel.”
I have heard Swami ji say in one of the event in 2018 that (rephrasing as I remember) – “We, Sri Badrika Ashram, has the best of content but it’s audio is compromised as there are background noises that can not be cleared like dog bark, Birds and what not!” And Have we EVER heard or received anything from Om Swami that compromised on quality? (And the initial discourses which were brought to us with bare minimum resources when the foundation of the Ashram was not even laid are but the most precious discourses for any seeker. I have shared snippets of those – visuals and how I received those discourses.)
The need and ‘desire’ of having the room as Swami ji has envisaged, it’s seeds must have sown at that time.
(If I may share this being aware of the above fact, during one of the discourses (in 2019) I had a bit of itch in my throat. I had given myself enough dosage of Honitos and Kanthil (throat lozenge) but unsure if I would have wiped all the possibility of coughing I had my thick muffler with me so that in case of emergency (to cough) I could make a little thick fold and have a submissive cough which would not register in the audio. I did cough and the thick folded muffler did work as a absorbent to those already submissive coughing sound!!! I feel it must be a very big deal, facing background noise that can’t be cleared or checked, for those in charge of audio and video content. Placement of Camera/it’s quality/background and other technicality.) We enjoy and treasure the Saturday video releases so much, many such videos must be compromised and not released due to this technical challenge!
As I think about this little virtual journey that I had with Om Swami through these video/discourses I am sweetly delighted to recall some of the most beautiful ones –
Whole nine minutes – A video shared via a blog post by Swami ji – It gives the glimpse of Swami ji’s day at Ashram as in 2011.
Couple of stills from the Video 🙂
Here are the link and stills from some of the oldest discourses which are an amazing reality check!
Bhaj Govindam – This expounding on Bhaj Govindam are priceless. Many times devotees ask Swami ji to give his commentaries on Bhagvad Gita/Lalita Sahasranama and so on (reading request comments on His Youtube vidoes /Blogs) May be not on those but Here is “Exclusive commentary by Om Swami on Bhaj Govindam” alternatively known as Moha Mudgara – (That which thrashes one’s attachment) And He says these couplets are very dear to him in fact. The stories told are amazing.
So, the growth has been slow and steady. So is true for the Temple and any other utility – Virtual or Physical – Infrastructural; that has come in being now. And most of it, if not all, are as per the people/seeker/devotees that follow him seeking some solution/solace (including myself). I consciously put the chronology from people to devotees because of the great scope that He has given for those who come to Him with skepticism or just for solution and so on.
When I first read this post – Hungry Baba and the New Normal; I laughed so hard at the fun and carefree tone Swami ji had used for some parts; wherein He did make an effort to attend to those who doubted Him from almost all perspectives even without considering giving a thought of why would He introduce a subscription! But an undertone of sadness was felt which I am expressing now, which, partially, is also the basis to this post to my surprise, little did I know I too was hurt at those feedback!
While these observation and evaluation goes on which is imperative to Human mind. May we continue to feel the Joy and Happiness of having known and met Om Swami I feel. Some has his presence like a perennial river flowing. Some has their life rocked with his presence like an expansive ocean and all pervading sky, the space in fact, which houses the sky. Some have him like gentle shower of rain. And other judges him and which pains those who love him. It would probably not have much telling on the Swami ji himself. As He dedicated a whole post for them and yesterday included them all in the third category in his blog!
Now, another aspect of what I wanted to share:
The description of Om Swami under About Section on YouTube has changed with time! It’s so much more simpler and “generic” now to be precise! A Humble description of –
Monk Author Nobody
(Om Swami – YouTube channel cover picture)
(A Part of) The About Section of YouTube Channel says-
After coming back from Himalayas, Swami wanted to help sincere seekers in search of enlightenment. Gradually He realized that people wanted his help for various ‘how to’ in life (joy, relation, anger, work, self-discipline, stress etc). Through his talks, seminars, books videos his purpose remains the same – to help people.
(Many times I miss the wordings of previous introduction that said – Om Swami – A Himalayan Mystic. Himalayan Mystic sounds like – Imagine Snow clad mountain with some Flora at its foothills, on the ground of the foothill is the sheet of snow that cover the ground and over it spreads twinkling yellow and silvery stars of mysticism – just like stars spread in a Galaxy.)
Reading that renewed description especially the part I quoted above it felt like somewhere; we (including myself) had Him sort of alter his approach for the purpose He has envisaged. I feel it, every time I see that ‘About’ section in the YouTube Channel! But the fact He writes His purpose remains the same, relieves me. How can He train the one who limps (in her attention) for a marathon (have steady sound focus) if not a race (a meditator par excellence). To tell you the innermost feeling of my being – whether I limp or run a marathon or try to sign up for a race, my being yearns for that which is meditation! That’s why I don’t feel totally shattered even when I hold myself responsible for the little alteration in the description if not regression (sorry, didn’t want to use this word but…)!
While it is natural, when one lays foundation of something and keeps working on it, it grows!!! – The Temple, the Initiatives and so on, which is as per the needs of those around Him yet there are those who likes to jump conclusion based on their views of How a Monk should behave. Wonder those who expect a Monk to behave as they feel is right, if they have a protocol of how should they behave in front of the Monk. Wonder among all complaining if anyone asked themselves How should I be while I expect How should a Monk be (behave like). (It is too difficult for a compassionate one to do the calculation of the kind which we get into. That is my only plight when I say all this.) An Enlightening Blog Post on this – Givers and Takers But still the thoughtlessness and with the light-attitude with which people who approaches and seek Him must have had an impact on How He deals with us. I guess.
You know, I left my job in 2014, to walk the path to find full potential of body and mind. And to meditate. (There is a reason why I do not call it – walk the path of spirituality). For now, a little & unfairly small background. Sorry.
With this background, having seen Him and heard Him and it is the only reason I am able to say what I am saying because I am neither His disciple nor have I spent time at Sri Badrika Ashram at length. It’s purely based on that cry within of seeking a guidance!
Stills from the Discourse – Dhyan Yoga – 2012… 😀
Have you drank the grace that emanates from His Face and the nurturing stream of his voice, His glances and words that caress and at the same time hits hard to mold the listeners just like a potter hits to shape and mold and caress to nurture its creation! Like an outpouring of the source of the creation or should I say an outpouring from the one who yearned Only for the Divine/ Self – Realization, when such being speaks, least we can do is give total attention. He speaks in those discourse (Dhyan Yoga – First ten minutes) saying If you seek any less then Samadhi or Vision of the Divine then don’t come to me. He said (rephrasing); ‘If you want to just hear How to meditate then you do not need me, for that there is unending literature on that subject but if you want to know How to really meditate I can tell you How!” Those were the discourses that was recorded when Swami ji had just come out of His Sadhana, after having the Vision of the Goddess on 13 Feb 2011 and Darshan of Lord Narayan on 11th May 2011. (I am saying all this as if you (most reader) do not know, You know it all!)
Most importantly among all the above that I stated, it is the unbridled outpouring that one hear about on meditation in Dhyan Yoga 2012 and the factual aspect and clarity on Srimad Bhagvad Katha – I have never heard anyone say – Kis muh se Janmaashtami manate ho (with what face do you celebrate Janmashtami) Birth of Lord Krishna; as the condition He was born in, one’s heart would be in her mouth, at least for those midnight hours when He (infant Krishna) after being born in a karagraha (His maternal uncle’s cell) was to be taken to Nanad Lal ji’s Home, from Mathura to Gokul! Well the next day to that was full of festivity! 🙂
Who will say that, (rephrasing) – “Who told you Sri Hari Bhagwaan is there? Who told you about His existence? If one was to leave some thousand small kids on another planet who don’t know much (of the world) and leave them with food and other necessities to live then what will they refer to God as? Will they call God – Krishna? Rama? Allah? Waheguru? Hari? and so on what will they call God as? He said – Samadhi is when nothing of oneself /collected knowledge remains!”
Such were the words He spoke in his first discourses that are available to all of us. One can have Darshan and glimpse of the Divine in those discourse so closely. Thanks to Suvi G and Navjot ji along with others who recorded and brought those priceless almost rare and not easily accessible discourse.
As someone who visits these initial discourses more than the new released ones on every Saturday I feel and observe the difference day in and day out. That is when this unsettling feeling came about that the newest discourses are based on our needs.While it does look like a comparison of old and new content but intent is not that. Swami ji conducts courses and programs that takes care the needs of a child and a teenager and an aspiring seeker. And for those who seek assistance for an upgrade in their professional world. I can not possibly talk for all. So yes my outlook is not all encompassing.
It has been three years that I met Swami ji. In these three years there is whole gambit of emotions and struggle that I went through within and it also was inflicted on Swami ji. (Does He not absorb our fears and pain – He expends His energy on us – at least I felt He was so generous).
At any point when I was struggling or improving and irrespective of whether I felt connected or not, with Him. But Swami ji’s stream of help has been constant. To be very very frank, I have been soaked in the nectar of the grace and the spiritual help that I seek and I am not initiated by Him. Also, of Sri Hari!!!!! 😊😊😌
It is not so much about Swami ji, it so much more about what we bring out of him.
I, for one, shall do my part, to imbibe and live the practices of what I feel I can do justice to out of many that He has shown us. Practicing those practices shall invariably bring the evolution or the betterment, it ought to bring. In short, meditate.
One of the paragraph in the beautiful book – Om Swami : As We know Him; Chapter : A New Vidya says…
Though He would unceasingly talk of God, Swamiji seemed to be under no illusions regarding the limited spiritual interests of most people. One day He asked me to get the notes of His Himalayan sadhana. This was the intense, rigorous sadhana that had led Him straight to Mother Divine, or should I say, had drawn Mother Divine to Gurudev. After He went through His notes, He declared that the world was not yet ready for what He had written.
‘Since I’ve come back from the Himalayas, Swamiji, I have not met one person – not even a single person – who has the same desperation to see God as I had. People are happy with reading the blog, listening to my discourses and getting answers to their life’s problems. No one in this busy world has time for God.’
Saying this, He tore the notes into pieces. He had shown me these notes. Every detail of His meditative practices, of every hour spent in calling the Divine, had been documented in them meticulously. This was no mean feat: His meditations lasted between twelve hours and twenty-two hours daily over a period of thirteen months. Gurudev had most scrupulously chronicled His every hour spent in meditation, expanding on certain parameters such as mindfulness, stillness of the body and awareness. His intent, as much as anything else, is to teach – at least, in the broadest sense of the word. It seemed He felt that the most profound of His lessons were not so much beyond the capacity of people: they were beyond their interest.
I would not even think of saying all that I have said and what I have quoted above if I was not in the position to do so – I am not even desperate for meditation because I leave and allow no other option than this! 🙂 I have cried reading this excerpt few times wondered – How the notes would smell, being written in the flora of Himalaya, in its snow, those notes must have imbibed the scent of Himalaya of those days of intense Meditation Sessions. Just like each book imbibe the scent of its surrounding and the way it is kept and also emanates a scent integral to it’s making (of its pages) as well. What the style of handwriting on those notes would convey apart from the content written in them. I see myself being in awe and engrossed at the most minute details if I ever read them! Oh Only the mad ones know that total absorption and involvement probably that’s why the Meditation playlist first says Mad-itation! Maditation or Meditation. I wondered where those pieces were dumped, what destiny those pieces met! Or if I could ask Swami Vidyananda if He remembered any points out those notes (if ever). In the end, the only solace is that Swami ji must remember. And part of it must be in the Book A Million Thoughts. That was my immediate relief that all was not lost. Thinking, may be if I find myself worthy to seek from Him those notes after having given enough hours in the practice, I would have asked but Swami ji probably those notes were torn a bit too early! (Though this thought almost came with the sense how could I crib so much! But I can not speak for the finesse of a posture one is to have but as one sees the way mind operates – Oh Lord!!! The kind of focus and relentless attitude it demands is as if your life depends on it – to say it very loosely. But there is a joy in this very serious undertaking that comes from the total consume-mation/consumption of the self, the ego.)
At the concluding end to this post all I want to say is each one is already inspired as per their own self-awareness and doing their best possible to carve themselves better as they know it – so is true for me. This post is nothing but a mere expression of How I felt on the things I wrote about.
They say, samsAra sAgaram ghOram ananta (Jitante Stotram 4) Meaning –
The ocean of samsara (made of desires/tendencies and affliction) is boundless.
I wrote this on a note when I met Swami ji in one of the personal meets, only to realize that the samsara thrives and lives in me not outside. Prior to this meeting with Swami ji, I remember that sweet evening, When I had pointed my forefinger at myself. I do not point at the various manifestation of the world outside of me. As what all that is created in the world outside, I either has attracted it or manifested it and sometimes some things are forced on us, situation-ally, to what extent one accept it as one’s own reality is their discretion and choice. The foundation of meditation is laid when one points finger to the self not the samsara outside! That is precisely the second time when I had this sense of turning inward. Something within me was trying to run away from me when all I wanted was to embrace all that that lay within me without discrimination. – Totally & Lovingly.
Glories to Lord Sri Hari Bhagwaan 🙌 ( and Hugs too)