The sacred practice of antar mouna was revealed by Swami Satyananda in a methodical and simple manner, which has brought the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of this valuable practice within the reach of all sincere aspirants.
The Antar Mouna Meditation Course offered at Rikhiapeeth from 2nd to 9th February initiated sadhakas into this exceptional practice and systematically led practitioners from preliminary to advanced stages, which lead to the highest spiritual experience. This comprehensive course included asana, pranayama, meditation and yoga nidra, focusing on the technique of antar mouna.
A feature of the course were the enlightening satsang with Swami Satyasangananda, who expounded how the ancient teachings of tantra and yoga have the power to transform people's lives by bringing them health, peace, prosperity and ultimately propelling them towards the ultimate goal of self-realization.
On the sacred occasion of Sivaratri hundreds of devotees and spiritual aspirants from all parts of the world, from different religions, castes and creeds, gathered in Rikhiapeeth to offer worship and to receive the blessings of Shiva and guru. Sivaratri or the night of Shiva is a celebration of the union or marriage of Shiva and Parvati, which represents the union of the individual and the universal soul. Worship of Shiva is most powerful when conducted here in Rikhiapeeth, as it is near an awakened shrine of Lord Shiva where his sacred jyotir lingam is venerated as Baba Baidyanath.
In preparation for the auspicious occasion of Maha Sivaratri, a special Sivaratri Sadhana Shivir was conducted on 10th and 11th February, during which participants immersed themselves in swadhyaya, satsang, seva and worship of Lord Shiva with prarthana, havan and kirtans. Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda blessed the anushthana with their constant presence making it an event to remember and cherish. As a tribute to Lord Shiva, the Lord of the dance, the kanyas performed one of their favourite modern dances and created - DHOOM!
On the morning of Sivaratri, 11th February, initiation into mantra, jignasu and karma sannyasa was given to hundreds of aspirants by Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda. As a special offering to Lord Shiva on Sivaratri, the kanyas of Rikhia performed a wonderful Bharata Natyam dance to invoke and worship the Supreme Consciousness that pervades all, by the grace of Guru and Shiva.
On Sivaratri, as day turned to night, the Shiva Sahasrara Namavali havan was conducted in the Tapovan vedi with several thousands in attendance including residents, guests, kanyas and batuks and many local villagers who had been invited to come and offer their worship to Shiva, the Adi Guru. The kanyas led many prayers dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the batuks worshipped the Shiva linga with Rudrabhishek as the kanyas chanted the ancient Vedic Rudri hymns. During the Sivaratri worship prasad was offered to the villagers of Pathal Garha and Sotari Letwa, and to the kanyas and batuks of Rikhia.
The very first Rudrabhishek of the Shiva linga was conducted by Swami Satyananda himself. His sparsha or touch and drishti or gaze filled the Shiva linga with divine prana, which turned the stone into a divya linga which has the power to bless us all. We have all heard of the jyotir linga, but here in Rikhia hundreds of participants had darshan of the divya linga.
Shiva and our beloved Sri Swamiji are everywhere. Wherever we look, we can see them, in water, on land, in the skies, on the mountains, in the cool breeze and in the warm sun. The entire creation sings their praise. All present at Rikhiapeeth for the sacred Sivaratri anushthana were blessed to become aware of and experience this reality. We are very thankful to Swami Satyananda as it is he who showed us the way to express our love and devotion to Lord Shiva, and for that we are eternally grateful.
Participants from all over India and the world attended a very successful Yoga Teachers Training Course at Rikhiapeeth from 18th February to 10th March. This advanced course was aimed at those wanting to teach yoga in their communities and provided individuals a deeper understanding of their own yogic practices and personal sadhana. Potential teachers gained a comprehensive overview of integral yoga based on the personal experience and lifetime teachings of Swami Satyananda.
This comprehensive three week residential course combined asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra and shatkarmas, and featured satsang and seva to bring a holistic experience of yogic lifestyle and ashram life. It was not merely for the purpose of gaining a certificate, rather it gave sincere aspirants the unique opportunity to experience and live yoga, not only learn it. This unique course is not considered therapy, although the physical, mental and emotional benefits of all participants were profound.
Prospective teachers gained insight into the practices and philosophy of yoga and related topics in the spiritually charged atmosphere of the ashram. This course gave participants the opportunity to apply their teaching skills and they were guided individually by their teacher Swami Yogakanti, who gave feedback and shared her wealth of personal experience as a yoga teacher and practitioner.
The course featured satsang with Swami Satyasangananda, who revealed many deeper aspects and practical applications of the ancient techniques of yoga and tantra and shed light on the importance of karma yoga. During the satsang she addressed many of the students' questions and gave clear directions on how they can use their experiences and learning at Rikhiapeeth to enrich their own lives and the lives of others.
From 27th February to 8th March an advanced Nada Yoga Course was conducted in Spanish by Swami Muktidharma. Throughout this course participants were systematically introduced to the deeper aspects of this yogic science, which can be utilized by almost any person. It is a particularly useful sadhana for modern times as one does not have to discard or renounce anything. Rather, through sincere practice the gross aspects of the mind fall away naturally as higher states of awareness are reached. By the practice of nada yoga the confusions of the brain are removed, the mind attains peace and meditation becomes successful.
The main feature of the course was the satsang with the Peethadhishwari, Swami Satyasangananda, whose profound insight into the practices of nada yoga and yogic science practices enabled her to impart the practical applications of these ancient practices, as well as their application and benefits in today's modern world.