The onset of spring – with its vibrant blossoms – inundated the Noida Ashram of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) in welcome for the hundreds of devotees thronging the Ashram campus for the annual Sangams in March 2018.
The first of the two Sangams which also happens to be the Centenary Closing Sangam of YSS was inaugurated on March 18, 2018. Swami Lalitanandaji who is the head of Noida Ashram offered the opening prayers. Welcoming devotees to the Ashram, Swami Hiteshanandaji recalled the events that took place during the Centenary Celebrations including the visit of Indian President Shri Ramnath Kovind to the Ranchi Ashram which also hosted monastics from the international headquarters of Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) including Swami Chidanandaji, President of SRF/YSS.
In the satsanga that followed, Swami Smarananandaji, General Secretary of YSS, guided devotees on simple ways to practice the presence of God in their lives. Sharing with them the importance of utilisation of time, he explained how daily meditation, regular reading of spiritual literature, group meditation, reciting of bhajans, silence, solitude, japa and mental whispering to God helps in keeping His company. Swamiji encouraged devotees to make their own list of such reminders to help them practice the presence of Divinity. He concluded by asking the devotees to make a resolve to remember Him always, instead of waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment as “each moment wasted thus is lost for ever!”
During his talk on ‘removing the veils of delusion to know we are the soul,’ Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji said that we must welcome all the tests by God in the form of sufferings because they are for our reformation. “Guruji says that we have a mind, an intellect and the determination to overcome these tests bravely – in doing this, we will be helped to attain Brahman.”
“Have the discipline of meditating morning and evening; and never get discouraged by any dry periods,” advised Brahmachari Sheelanandaji in his talk on the ‘do’s and don’ts of meditation,’ adding, “The growth of a seedling cannot be measured by pulling it out every day to watch the progress, so is the case with meditation.”
“Are we eager to hear, find out or know our weaknesses and faults?” Swami Hiteshanandaji asked devotees, adding, “Doing this wilfully is introspection.” Talking about ‘the role of introspection in spiritual progress,’ he impressed upon the devotees the importance of knowing what is coming between meditation and spiritual progress asking them to avoid the 3 C’s – to criticise, to condemn and to complain.
In his satsanga on ‘transforming our lives through setting goals and resolutions,’ Swami Lalitanandaji elucidated the importance of setting goals and fixing resolutions in moving forward on the spiritual path by transforming ourselves. The first step in making resolutions is Introspection, as this helps us to identify areas where we need to change, and to ascertain the priority in importance of those areas. Then Swamiji explained the various points in making effective resolutions like not comparing with others, conviction in the need to change, being specific when making resolutions, not making too many at a time, not getting discouraged with initial failures etc. Then he went on to explain further the tools for maintaining resolutions like meditation, prayer, affirmation, faith, and above all the importance of Guruji’s blessings and grace.
Stressing further the great blessing of having a sadguru, Swami Sadanandaji said that if we meditate regularly, remain in satsanga and do good karma, all of us can get kripa (blessings) from the sadguru. “Even a devil can be converted into an angel if he gets Guru Kripa. Those who get these blessings are very fortunate. The whole world is full of maya and only the Guru can help us come out of its clutches.”
“Sri Mrinalini Mataji has said that there are three ways to live your life: the right way, the wrong way and God’s way,” shared Swami Smarananandaji during his talk on ‘Attuning human will with divine will.’ God does not want to impose His will on us but wants us to feel eternal happiness by using our own will power, Swamiji told devotees, adding: “For that purpose, God has given us intellect and discrimination, and the power to differentiate between good and bad.”
About 50 devotees were initiated in the Kriya Diksha ceremony conducted by Swami Smarananandaji on March 22 with over 500 other kriya initiates in attendance.
The Sangam came to a close on the evening of March 22 with inspiring words from Swami Smarananandaji: “Meditation is like a chariot it cannot go forward on one wheel. It is better you drive this chariot with the three wheels of – right activity, good behaviour and deep meditation.”
At the close, Swami Lalitanandaji likened the five days of the sangam to “a dream that has passed, but filled our minds with divine nectar. You may feel a kind of despair while going back from here but I wish that all of you should return with a new determination, removing the veils of delusion to know we are the soul.”
Some of the devotees who attended the Sangam and its closing programme recalled it as “a beautiful reception of three kinds of prasad – one in the form of the words of the monastics, the other as the prasad in the form of nuts to be consumed, and finally, the prasad for the eyes – the scintillating view of the ashram buildings lit up with trails of coloured-lights,” making it “a complete treat for the body, mind and soul.”
During the ensuing period of a week, arrangements were made at Noida Ashram for revamping the facilities for the next lot of devotees awaited for the second Sangam at the month-end (March 29 to April 2, 2018).
On March 29, Swamis Smarananandaji, Suddhanandaji, Nirvananandaji, Lalitanandaji, Hiteshanandaji and Sadanandaji, accompanied by Brahmacharis Dhairyanandaji, Sheelanandaji and Vinayanandaji welcomed the devotees to the second Sadhana Sangam at YSS Noida Ashram.
Read more about the Sangam II at YSS Noida Ashram by clicking here.