Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…
Shankara Jayanti – A Virtual celebration with IYA on 28th, 29th, 30th April 2020
Adi Shankaracharya’s birth is given two different dates by different schools. However, all schools in unison say that Shankara united India at a time when different religious thoughts were prevalent. He setup FOUR Peethams in the four directions – Badrikashram Jyotirpeeth in the north, Dwarka’s Shardha Peeth in the west, Govardhan Peetha in Puri in the east, and Sringeri Sharada Peetham in Karnataka. It is only a small effort of the IYA to take forward the legacy of uniting different traditions as we have united 37 yoga traditions! Strength is in unity and only when we stay united can we fight the coronas and the various rakshasa forces that engage us from time-to-time!
The Indian Yoga Association celebrated the birth anniversary of the great Adi Shankaracharya on the 28th, 29th, 30th of April as a live cast in three episodes. IYA celebrated this Shankara Jayanti in partnership with Vedanta Bharati with blessings its Chief Patron HH Pujya Swami Shankara Bharathi ji. It was a memorable event with the participation of an unprecedented collective presence of most respected and prominent Yoga Gurus and Yogacharyas of the day. They came together to pray for universal well-being and each one shared her or his wisdom on the great Shankara’s legacy. This event was in my viewed by a large audience via the telecast on India’s national channel of Doordarshan Bharati and diverse social media.
IYA earlier had launched the project of Synchronized Global Prayers, via a protocol that is simple enough for all to follow. This served as a platform for the exchanges between the Yoga Gurus (Masters) and Acharyas (teachers) on the Adishankara Jayanti 2020. The Synchronized Global Prayers are conducted daily, inviting each one to join, with an intention to create collective conscious efforts to counter the unhealthy effects of the current pandemic that has thrown a large part of the world into a state of high anxiety, fear and stress.
The three days of these virtual meetings, witnessed the participation of: Yogrishi Swami Ramdev ji Maharaj – President Patanjali Yogpeeth and Chairman, Governing Council IYA, as also that of various Governing Council Members of IYA namely Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji – President Art of Living Foundation, Daaji (Shri Kamlesh Patel ji) – President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (Heartfulness), Swami Chidanand Saraswati ji – President Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Dr Pranav Pandya ji – President Gayatri Parivar, Shri OP Tiwari ji – President Kaivalyadham institute, Swami Bharath Bhushan – President Bharat Mokshyatan.
As host of the event and President of IYA, Dr HR Nagendra also welcomed, other members of the IYA executive Council, notably, Maa Hansa Jayadeva Yogendra ji – Director of the Yoga Institute and Senior Vice President, IYA, Swami Atmapriyanandaji –Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Sadhvi Bhagavati Saraswati ji of the Parmarth Niketan ashram. The forum also had Swami Amrta Suryananda ji from The Portuguese Yoga Federation, Swami Maheshwarananda ji from the Yoga for Life institute, Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni ji founder of the Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati Institute, Pujya Sister Jayanti – Director Europe for the Bhramakumaris, and Swami Parmatmananda Saraswati – General Secretary of the Acharya Dharma Hindu Sabha.
There were special recordings and interventions from H H Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Vidhushekara Bharathi Sannidhanam, Successor designate Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham of the Adishankara lineage from Sringeri in Karnataka.
The Gurus of yoga through their collective presentation shared so many insights into his work and life. Their contribution was an attempt to make Shankara’s life and legacy relevant to us and what we can glean from it. They called upon us all to walk the higher path of human development to optimum potential and to experience the expansion of consciousness of the Self. Going beyond the Self and experiencing the Oneness of the universe, we will naturally create unification from diversity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us to question our current conditions and see what we have made of our world and how a mere virus has brought the world to its knees. How much materialism have we indulged in, leaving the higher principles of life, so far behind us? What are we thinking of leaving our children as a heritage? We note that the planet, during lockdown found breathing space, freed from human presence, and is actually thriving. At such times, looking into the mirror as a collective human race, we are taking stock of what we need to change. How did we come to be in this predicament, collectively? How to remedy it?
What do we need to do, individually and collectively? This stage of our times is so important for it presents the opportunity to inverse the change in this destructive trend and rise towards better times. We were advised by the Yoga Gurus to explore the inner-net instead of the internet, to go within and establish a new way to live.
The base of this new life we can lead is to walk a path of self-discipline and self-experience through yoga and conscious living. On the occasion of this Adishankara’s Jayanti, each yoga guru, gave pearls of wisdom, to inspire each one to give their best for self and the world. Each aspect of life was covered, notably, how to manifest evolution of the body, mind and spirit, through the inspiration of Adishankara, who was an ideal of his times and ours.
This path to contentment, beauty and enlightenment is not reserved to a few, but is open to each seeker. Collectively the Yoga Gurus present a set of practices and paths that one can choose from. Listening to discourses is not enough, it is vital to put in self-effort and choose to grow by one’s own practical approach. The democratic offer of so many various paths, is a demonstration of this unity of Yoga Gurus, that is representative of India’s spirit of unity.
The invoking of so many different prayers, references to ancient texts and modern scientific research led by Dr. H.R. Nagendra’s teams and brilliant discourses, left much to ponder over. The wealth of wisdom in India is still alive and to these stalwarts, Yogrishi of our times, do we owe our gratitude for keeping India’s spirit alive and sharing it with all without distinction of any sort. Their lives are wells of inspiration. Their efforts of self-evolution have made them into role-models for human development and this unbroken chain of super beings from such as Adishankara to today’s Yoga gurus who are the sacred guardians of these traditions is truly worthy of gratitude and salutes.
Indian Yoga Association is setting a first ever trail of never before established unity in modern ages and yet stands on the shoulders of giants such as Swami Vivekananda, Kabir ji, and so many more in this attempt. Adishankara’s beautiful legacy was paid homage to by all the Yoga Gurus and acharyas in this amazing program and we hope that this marks the beginning of many such events so that together we can create a revival as supported by our Prime Minister Hon’Narendra Modiji to bring Yoga, to not only India but the entire world, so that we can thrive as “Vasudhaiva Kutumban” (World Family).