Showing posts with label Ananda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ananda. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Racism & Violence: A Statement


Acts of Violence & Racism: How Should We Respond?

The members, staff, students and friends of Ananda share in the sadness and righteous outrage of yet another racially motivated murder. How can we not, both as people and as an organization that seeks to represent universal spiritual values, wonder “How long must this continue?” Our very teachings aver that we are all children of God and that behind the appearance of our separateness lays the one divine heart. The teaching of ancient India is that “We are THAT”— Tat twam asi — the Infinite Spirit made manifest. How then can racial distinctions be other than superficial?

Society’s awareness of and intolerance of such acts of violence is growing. As with the original movement of “Black Lives Matter” or the “Me Too” movement, the outrage felt by sensitive souls reflects a growing compassion even as it expresses moral outrage. There is reason for cautious optimism that attitudes and behavior are changing; they MUST change.

How, then, to respond? Anger does not quell anger. “Eye for an eye” leaves us all blind. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. died defending the principle of non-violence, non-hatred, and non-anger responses to prejudice and violence as expressions of our oneness in God’s love. Their unearned sacrifices bestowed great blessings on humanity.

We express our heartfelt compassion—our hearts ache for those abused and mistreated—and we stand by them in solidarity as the world cries out ENOUGH, let's all work together to put this old hatred and distrust behind us.

It is important, however, not to be drawn into fear or anger or any other form of negativity by the delusive power of mass consciousness. Those who wish to express their righteous indignation should do what they feel to do but when we lose our own equilibrium, our own inner peace, then we too have been infected by the virus of negativity. The best thing most of us can do is to direct our sympathy, compassion and prayers towards those who need it the most.

The stress of isolation, fear and suffering from the pandemic, and hardship and fear surrounding our economic future are already enough to trigger emotions out of proportion. Remaining, therefore, calm and even-minded is vital at this time. This is something each of us can do to help.

Lasting change in human behavior comes from an awakening of consciousness: seeing life through the eyes of another; seeing in others, our very Self. Meditation, yoga, and spiritual community are Ananda’s focus and these are by no means an insignificant contribution to positive change.

Those great spiritual teachers who have inspired the worldwide work of Ananda demonstrated in their own lives the courage to accept all who were sincere, regardless of their social status, often enduring the taunts of their society. The true races of humanity are based not on color, status or culture but in consciousness. So let us strive to uplift our own and others’ consciousness in compassion, service, and devotion.

additional thoughts beyond the statement above:

What can I do? Simple: be the change you seek! What is needed to combat racism is more than legislation, education, and other important opportunities. It is a change of heart; a change of consciousness. Ananda's worldwide effort to establish intentional spiritual communities that bring together all of who are sincere in their commitment to live by high ideals and to live cooperatively, harmoniously, and sustainably is perhaps the most important contribution to serving by example as well as precept.

Meditation offers the single most universal, nonsectarian daily practice that can change the world for the better. And it doesn't take 100%. 1% to 10% would do it.

Nonetheless, be prepared for increased unrest worldwide; increased risks for many challenging things from weather to war to depression. Thus the need for communities, virtual or residential, of high-minded, self-sacrificing Warriors of Light. 

You cannot do it by yourself. Post on Facebook or carry a sign on a corner if you like but BE the PEACE that is within you and SHARE with all even when you are in difficult straights. This is not your world. We are here but briefly. Let's make it better by being better. Beyond that it will continue in its own way just as it did before you arrived and as it will after you leave. 

We need perspective; we need inner peace; we need joy in our hearts. Pray, meditate, serve. Lastly, resist mass consciousness by staying centered in your Self. What is yours to do will be revealed minute by minute.

Blessings to you!

Swami Hrimananda

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Is This Pandemic the Beginning of "Hard Times?"

Question we received:

Hi, It feels relevant to the global times we are living in now to ask: do you at Ananda believe that this virus will soon lead to the 'Global Depression' that will be 'worse than in the 1930s' as Yogananda said? I know its hard to give an 'official answer' to a question like that but I’d rather hear your opinion since I want to be prepared for the worst (yet with a positive mindset). 

Dear Friend,

I wrote an article on this subject a while back: search on Predictions in the search bar of this blog. www.Hrimananda.org....you'll see several (Nov 2019 and March 21 2020)

For all of the fifty-plus years that Ananda has existed, Swami Kriyananda warned us of impending financial collapse based on statements made by Paramhansa Yogananda before his passing in 1952. Though there have been times and financial crises during my life when it seemed imminent, Yogananda's predictions have yet to manifest.

The current situation seems to me, and some of us, as a far more volatile mix of circumstances and thus far more likely to be the "big one."

So, with a tentativeness born of experience, I say YES! Yogananda's stern warnings about a depression far greater than that of the 1930s, during which the dollar will be all but worthless and the American economy brought to its knees, seems more likely now than any time during my 69 years of life in this body.

I recall being slightly amazed that the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy actually worked to lift the economy from the "Great Recession" of 2008. It already seemed our national debt and trade deficit was beyond recovery, but, then, it worked! It's difficult, however, to imagine lightning striking twice in the same spot. 

Add to our economy the connections you allude to in your note, connections with other countries such as China, and it seems ominous, to say the least.

Yogananda said that the result in America would be that we would be half as wealthy but twice as spiritual! Simple living; sustainability; compassion; calmness; cooperation; prayer and meditation. More living by these principles would be worth it all.

Yet, like the pandemic, suffering is a part of any cleansing or large scale change. Change always has an element of destructiveness. Yet, also like the pandemic, some will be untouched while others perish. Such is the great drama of life.

"The drama of life has for its lesson that it is but that: a drama." (Yogananda) We must play our parts and follow the script from the Divine Playwright so that when our part is done, we remain free as sparks of the Infinite Light. Our "job" is to live in joy and to share that joy, for this is our true nature.

Joy and blessings to you!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA
    

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Ending a Friendship that Doesn't Work

[Dear friends, I am sometimes asked to respond to questions that are sent to www.Ananda.org, operated by Ananda Village in California. Some of the questions are of general interest. In sharing one of them here on this blog I have erased all traces of identification.]

In the decades of being a member of Ananda and living in an Ananda (residential) community, I find that it is not uncommon that a person who takes up the spiritual path in earnest finds that a particular long-standing friendship no longer serves that person's newly adopted spiritual goals and lifestyle. The question therefore often arises "What to do about these friendships?" Do I end the relationship? We've been friends for years. What about loyalty?"

In the case below the question was more specific because the long-standing friend had a long-standing habit of verbal abuse toward the new devotee and the devotee was finding that being treated this way was increasingly intolerable. So the question that came to us was "What to do about the friendship?" And for those who would say, simply, tell the so-called friend to take a hike, the devotee was wanting to be sensitive while also firm and wondered whether there was no longer a point to even continue the friendship.

Dear Friend, 

Let's approach this from several points of view. Yes, of course, it's hurtful to be treated that way. But it's also hurtful to your friend's soul, her own self-respect, to behave in that way. Wouldn't a friend would want to help that person and, in time, wouldn't a true friend actually appreciate that help?

On the one hand, your friendship may no longer serve you spiritually speaking but on the other hand, you have been friends and loyalty is an important and valid aspect of friendship. So, let's explore together some possibilities.

Without wanting to shift the blame from her to you, let me at least point out that unintentionally your ongoing acceptance of her treatment of you is, in its own way, enabling her. I say this not to blame you but to set the stage for what follows:

So let's shift this around in the direction of a possible WIN-WIN. I don't get the sense that you no longer want her friendship; rather, it seems that you no longer can tolerate her abuse. But maybe there's a way, that a positive outcome can take place for both of you. 

For starters, what I may suggest can only be done successfully with calmness and a certain degree of non-attachment to the outcome, ok? If you are willing to experiment for a time, consider these suggestions:

1. Abuser-abusee takes two. If the abusee (egads, is THAT a word?) is not even aware of the abuse (e.g. sarcasm), the abuse may be "wrong" but it is one-sided and the abusee feels "no pain." What I am saying is that the push-you, pull-me back and forth of verbal abuse takes, in some measure, two people. One to abuse; the other to feel abused. So, what if as an experiment, and before making a decision to leave the friendship, you tried for a while simply remaining calm when verbally attacked; look calmly into her eyes without reaction. Imagine your face and eyes and entire being are a full-length mirror. In the mirror of your calm, reflective consciousness, your friend may, after some time and practice, begin to see herself (as you do--behaving inappropriately).  

2. This experiment presupposes that you both are truly friends and do, in fact, care for one another. If there's no psychic or spiritual connection (like being robbed by a random burglar), then this won't work. It's important that you not stare her down or "look daggers" when you do this. You can even smile just a little, almost sadly, as you reflect back and observe her abusive behavior. You know that little thing we do when we cock the head just slightly to one side with a questioning look on our face? Like a clinician examining a specimen?

3. What this is doing is it's you pulling out of the game. "You have the right to remain silent!" After a while, the abuser may look, well, bemused. By ending whatever little part you've played, you create a space, a vacuum that can sometimes allow the abuser the psychic space to stop the unconscious habit. You might even both have a good laugh. Hopefully, given enough time and practice, your friend will dial down her aggressive tone. 

4. This experiment doesn't preclude or doesn't require that you never address the issue or discuss your feelings. I don't know either of you but there may be other times (not often in the moment of the abuse), where you can say, "Jean, there's something I'd like to talk to you about. We've been friends for a long time and I'd like to keep it that way. But I find that your habit of talking to me sarcastically or critically is increasingly intolerable. So whaddya say you dial this stuff back? Maybe it's just old habit you got from childhood but real friends don't do that. Hmm?"

5. Now maybe, just maybe, what you are really saying to us is that the friendship is over and that it has no spiritual value, and the verbal abuse is just one symptom of that observation. From where I sit, I cannot "see" that one way or another. So if THAT'S really what you are saying, then let me offer some suggestions about going in THAT direction:

6. I'd begin by bringing into my prayers and meditations gratitude for the friendship and appreciation for my friend's finer qualities; even spiritual qualities. I'd also pray for guidance in choosing your words or circumstances or the timing of ending or withdrawing from the friendship. You don't want to leave the friendship on a negative note if you can help it.

7. I might suggest you consider reducing or ending regular contact from the point of view that you just need to take a break. This is not unlike a friend who has died. A deceased friend is no longer physically present but they still live in your memory and in your heart. Thus don't see it as a rejection, worse yet a condemnation or judgment. In fact, since it's not good for her to behave this way, by ceasing contact you do her a favor! By taking a "break" you release the internal tension around rejection or ending a friendship.

Remind yourself that we are ALL children of God. We just have unique paths to take and all the "time in the world" to take it. Think: "We will meet again for we are friends eternally in our one Father-Mother, Beloved-Friend, God."

7.5 In offering prayers for your friend, hold her image in your mind's eye (spiritual eye) surrounded by joy and light, with the Divine Image of God, guru, or Divine Mother behind her AS her.

8. Outwardly, rather than make an abrupt break which will surely cause hurt feelings, I would suggest you see how to ease out by fewer and fewer contacts. It would be best if you not feel compelled to resort to made-up excuses or "white lies." Ask Divine Mother to show you or give you the natural and right opportunities. 

9. On a positive note do not underestimate the power of the following: A shift of your energy and interests can make all the difference. Spend more time getting involved with people whose consciousness and behavior support your spiritual aspirations. Taking meditation or yoga classes (online, these days, I suppose). Ananda has a "Virtual Community" online. Re-direct your own creative initiative and energies (and time) in the directions you wish to go. This changes the vibration of your consciousness and your aura and even your friend may find, subtly, that she's no calling or contacting you as often. (It's like having a divine virus!) Be sure you are reading spiritual books or watching videos from Ananda on YouTube. CHANGE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS --- CHANGE YOUR FRIENDS!!!!

In fact, you can do BOTH of these things: experiment with not reacting to your friend's abusive words, AND, re-directing your own energies. The obvious incompatibility of vibration and consciousness will subtly guide each of you in new and different directions. Patience, perhaps, maybe all that is needed.

I sincerely hope that this will work because your intention seems sincere and not vengeful. 

Blessings and may the divine Light show you the way through this! [end of response]

Maybe there are others who might find some useful tips in the above response. Paramhansa Yogananda stated that much of our spiritual progress is determined by the company we keep. Friendship, or fellowship, is far more important and supportive of our ideals than even our own self-efforts in the privacy of our "sheltering at home." Hence the plethora of online spiritual offerings! We are not an "island" (though some of us live on an island, ha, ha). But like an island, we are all connected below the surface of our differences. 

Blessings and joy to you!

Swami Hrimananda





Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Easter at Home! Reason to Celebrate?

Celebrating Easter at Home!


Well, this IS a first, isn’t it? Millions of people celebrate Easter worldwide but this year our celebrations will take place at home. For Jesus’ disciples that first Easter Sunday was a little bit like ours this Sunday. They were sequestered indoors, hiding out just like us. Though the gospel accounts of that Sunday are divided as to whether Jesus appeared to the disciples on that day let’s just say that he did. If so, we could say that the day for them “ended well!”

And so it can for us, too. The inability to celebrate in customary ways offers us an opportunity to look more deeply at what Easter represents to us—in our lives right now—under the virus cloud. This year we won’t be distracted by Easter bunnies, socializing, festive Spring outfits and sumptuous banqueting.

Easter is a celebration of victory. It is a celebration of life, of soul-immortality. Isn’t that worth being reminded of right now as our bodies are in hiding from this world-wide pandemic-virus? Even Spring, which while cyclical, returns each year reminds us that “this (winter) too will pass.”

Yet, I admit that the first Easter took place a long, long time ago. It has worn its celebratory robes well but they are worn nonetheless. There’s a mountain of tradition that keeps it going but the momentum behind a religious holiday celebrated worldwide by millions all too easily descends to the valley of the mundane: I mean, after all, chocolate bunnies? Money stuffed in plastic eggs? Hot cross buns? How droll!

There must be more to it than that. Of course, there IS! Most readers of this article are students or disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda (author of "Autobiography of a Yogi"). In Yogananda’s famous life story there are several accounts of persons being raised from the dead and saints appearing in physical form after death.  

While past generations took this to be a celebration of the deathlessness of the ego and physical body, it is easier for us, now, to see it for its more subtle meaning: consciousness survives the death of form. Death imposes no finality to the soul. To quote Yogananda, “Man is a soul and has a body (temporarily).”

I’d say that THIS truth is both worth celebrating AND is TIMELY given the threat to our bodies in this worldwide pandemic. You see that’s the interesting aspect of the great spiritual teachers: their message is not so much different as it is a reminder of basic truths. The emphasis each one has may appear to be different, seen from different angles of time and culture, but their “view” of the mountain top is the same: we are children of God; we are immortal; we are made in the divine image of the Creator. Put another way, in winter the mountain top has a mantle of pure white snow; in summer, green, lush trees; in spring, flowers; in fall, a riot of colorful leaves. But it is always, in every season, still the top of the mountain.

Just as our past slips into the darkness of the subconscious mind and just as the future is veiled from us, why should we get confused if our immortal Self is at least equally hidden from our rather distracted gaze.

To quote from Chapter 12 of "Autobiography of a Yogi": A noted chemist once crossed swords with Sri Yukteswar. The visitor would not admit the existence of God since science has devised no means of detecting Him.
              “So you have inexplicably failed to isolate the Supreme Power in your test tubes!” Master’s gaze was stern. “I recommend an unheard-of experiment. Examine your thoughts unremittingly for twenty-four hours. Then wonder no longer at God’s absence.”

Jesus’ crucifixion symbolizes the cost of this “pearl of great price.” It is the dissolution of the ego: our soul’s misidentification with the body and its fawning, obsequious attendant, the personality. To examine one’s thoughts uncritically is the advice of “Self-inquiry” given to all of us by the great saints and sages of East and West. “Know thy Self.”

We do not know the Self, the immortal Atman (soul), for the simple reason we haven’t bothered to look. We are busy with day to day life and, right now, we are laying low to avoid the pandemic.  

Another experiment to try is to count how many times in one period of time (minutes to hours) we say or think “I.” We constantly refer to “I” but we don’t know who “I” is. If you “stare” at this “I” (meaning if you silently observe “I”) you find “I” has no name, no form, no nuttin’! There are no attributes to this guy “I.” God replied to Moses when Moses asked who the voice in the burning bush was: “I AM who I AM.”

Jesus’ last days of his life were extremely dramatic but not all great saints, saviours, or avatars model for us such a dramatic pathway to I AM. Each has a song to sing and so do we. But to peel away the layers of our attachment and the burden of our past actions and identifications is every bit as arduous a task as Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. In our lives, we are generally not ready for anything quite so challenging as that. For us, Jesus said comfortingly: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil (the challenges) thereof.” We have, witness our virus challenge, our own, tests, trials, and crucifixions. Even as this pandemic is worldwide, our response to it and its impact upon our health is individual. Customized karma: just for me!

So, let’s turn to what we can learn from the Easter story? For starters, Jesus was willing to go through what he had to do. It’s not that he a danced a jig at the prospect (of his crucifixion) but after saying “I don’t mind if I don’t have to go through this” he quickly surrendered to the will of the Father. So it’s ok if we have doubts, fears, reservations about doing what we have to do or what will happen. But, in the end, if we say YES TO (OUR) LIFE then we will have access to the power of grace to do what we must do.

Next, he forgave his torturers in the midst of his body’s agonies. While Yogananda taught that Jesus’ suffering was primarily for the ignorance and future karma of his antagonists, the Bible does say that Jesus cried out from the cross to his guru (Elias) “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” If nothing else can be understood from this, Jesus must have at least endured an experience of psychic separation from God before expiring on the cross. It would seem to me that such separation was at least, and likely far more, painful than his wounds.

Why is that? Because a true saviour, an avatar, is not identified with the physical body and can transcend its sensory messages at will. I suspect Jesus accepted the body’s agonies as part of his willing sacrifice and acceptance of the karma of his disciples. It makes no point to say that he had a choice because “I and my Father are One” suggests that what was experienced was what was given to him, so to speak. [This is not rational; it is intuitive. It simply IS.]

Our founder, Swami Kriyananda, had a lifetime of inspired service in musical composition, writing, and counsel. Yet he encountered tremendous opposition from those whom he loved and respected. Despite the hurt, he never descended to hate and always affirmed love and forgiveness.

Jesus’ resurrection that followed the crucifixion was not some extra-credit bonus that he got for his efforts. It was the necessary, even logical, consequence of his acceptance of the crucifixion. Because his physical body was tortured and killed it was at least logical that his victory would express itself by a resurrected body. For us, then, our victories will be carved from our own karma. (Jesus did not have personal karma. As a true son of God, he took on the karma of others.)

It is an error on the part of some believers to take from his resurrection the belief that our bodies will someday be resurrected from graves at the “second coming of Christ.” It is an error, too, to imagine that for all eternity we sit in heaven in our bodies praising God but otherwise retaining our egos, our separation from God. Christian mystics experienced mystical union or marriage of their soul with the great Light of God. Their testimony, not that of theologians, shows us that this is the true and perfect union that is our destiny.

Easter then is a dramatic reminder of the “truth that shall make us free.” We are NOT these bodies and egos. Let us, in contemplating the story of Easter, affirm the truth that is represented by that story. If our celebration takes the form of silent, inner communion—seeking the formless, eternal Christ-like Self within—Jesus’ life and sacrifice will be honored in the best way possible. No amount of Easter eggs or chocolate bunnies can ever replace this eternal yet ever timely message.

If for the sake of young children the eggs and bunnies must be present, perhaps you could also have story time and share with them the “greatest story ever told.” It is also your story, theirs, and mine. It is the story of how the soul returns to the heaven of God-consciousness by attunement to the Divine Will. While the body may succumb to a virus our Spirit can remain, hands-outstretched in gratitude, devotion, and joy.

May this Easter be the most glorious of all,

Nayaswami Hriman




Saturday, March 28, 2020

There are ONLY Opportunities! Why I am Optimistic

When tests in life come (as they must because they are portals to our own growth), put out the energy needed to deal with them creatively and with a positive attitude and you'll be victorious. Victorious isn't the same as winning. This virus might kill you; the crashing economy might bankrupt your business; your lifestyle may change forever, but if you "fight the good fight" you get to keep the victory (the satisfaction, insights, and knowledge) of having done your best, regardless of the result on the outer surface of life's ever-changing drama. 

I know there is suffering and death happening with the pandemic that is afflicting humanity right now. I don't want to be glib in the face of tragedy but statistics suggest to us that the overwhelming majority of humans will not die and relatively few will require hospitalization. 

The real "disease" is the fear; paralysis of will, despondency and even boredom. Grief one cannot help when a loved one suffers or dies.

I find it both amazing and inspiring to hear about all the creative ways people and businesses are responding appropriately to help others and to serve their customers. Curbside pick-ups, drive-throughs, and delivery options have been catapulted into daily life. Gardens are being planted around the world to grow real food for life. People are reaching out to check on and help one another. 

Medical protocols and technologies are rapidly changing and emerging to respond to the overwhelming needs in this worldwide challenge. Health care providers and many others are rising heroically to the challenges they face. 

I read an article attributed to Bill Gates (but not verified by me) but which, no matter who wrote it, made valuable and inspiring insights into the results of this pandemic. Regardless of the authorship, some of the simple and obvious points, paraphrased or rephrased, but well worth thinking more deeply about include:

  • The virus doesn't exempt the high and mighty from its wrath.
  • What we do affects one another. 
  • Borders and passports have no authority here.
  • Our health and life are precious to us all.
  • We need to consume food that is healthy and not contaminated with chemicals.
  • To live, we need air and water that is not contaminated. 
  • Life is short and uncertain. We should re-examine our life's priorities to nurture our heart's finer feelings, not just our heads, bodies, and wallets.
  • Helping others brings us greater satisfaction than seeking status and wealth. 
  • We are being forced to stay at home because we have neglected to create happy homes where children are loved and cared for with wisdom.
  • A strong ego is necessary for survival and success but it must be held in check, taking into account the realities and needs of others and the world we live in.
  • We have the free will to cooperate and help one another or to be selfish.
  • Patience comes when we see the larger picture of time and cycles, knowing that "this too will pass." Suffering and deprivation will pass too. To panic is lose our reason and to succumb to "fight or flight."
  • We have the opportunity for a new beginning or to bemoan an end. We can be creative and find new ways to live; to live more simply; to live sustainably on this earth; to live with respect and cooperation with others; and so much more.
  • We are sick because our earth is sick. Our earth is sick because we have made it sick by greed and neglect.
  • Life's ultimate purpose is a spiritual one: to raise our energy and consciousness beyond the limited self to include others and the Creator of Life.
There are so many innate benefits to what we are experiencing they are too numerous to list. Yes, it takes a global pandemic to get large numbers of people to change their habits and lifestyles. Yes, much wealth in the form of ones and zeroes will vanish. But if that's what it takes, then it must be good. 

Yoga practice is one of the many beneficiaries of the times. It's true that yoga studios are closed but with more time and with a desire to remain healthy and fit while having to remain "sheltered in place," online yoga practice has been catapulted into center stage. Same can be said (to a lesser degree) about the daily practice of meditation. As it used to be said in the last so-called "world war," "There are no atheists in foxholes." Prayer is spreading as fast as the virus.

While there is much to decry about substituting online learning and sharing for in-person education and relationships, nonetheless there's no going back as it relates to the willingness of people to learn in this new way. It opens the door to so much more for so many.

I am positive and optimistic about the coronavirus pandemic's impact on human consciousness. In the meantime, I do my best to stay healthy and positive, to reach out, to share what I am able to share, and to appreciate people, nature, and life ever more deeply. 

But my greatest joy and appreciation go to the living presence of God in the form of my guru and lineage, and to my teacher who watches over his large family from his omnipresent blissful consciousness above.

Joy to you,
Swami Hrimananda










Saturday, March 21, 2020

Are Yogananda's Predictions of Challenging Times About to Begin?

This question surfaced in a recent email from an Ananda member. While the occupation of making predictions is one to be avoided, it is impossible not to ask this question (for those of us who are familiar with Yogananda's warnings given publicly during the last few years of his life (which ended March 1952).

Many of you (readers) know well these warnings because Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda, repeated them often.....all the way to his passing in 2013.

So, yes, of course it's a good question. On the other hand, the thought of our being yet another "doom and gloom cult" is distasteful to me and to you, too, I am sure.

Interestingly, Jesus Christ predicted pretty much all the same things, or so he was quoted in the New Testament. Thus it is that such predictions can be viewed from the inner side of the soul's personal journey, or (or is it AND/OR) from the outer side of history. Surely warfare, violence and pestilence have never ended in the history of humanity! So predictions of doom and gloom are always BOUND to come true at some point.

Nonetheless, Yogananda, the guru and spiritual teacher for many of us and an inspiration for millions, and, Swami Kriyananda, Ananda's founder and inspiration and guide (and friend), have shared these warnings.

So, for what it's worth, my two cents is YES. We are on the brink of an immense change in history. 70 years since the last so-called "World War" is probably a record stretch of relative peace: punctuated as most of the people in the world know all too well with endless series of rebellions, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, and mini-wars (and a few lesser mini-pandemic threats).

Why bother to make note of the belief by millions (of us) that humanity needs to wake up to the unsustainability of our rapacious, unconscious lifestyle?

To humor my odd sense of humor: here's what my personal crystal ball is showing me. (You can take this to the bank....more bad humor, sorry.) An economic downturn, aka depression, the like of which history has never seen. The impact of this is too immense to even bother to quantify. It makes the COVID-19 virus seem small by comparison.

From the collapse of the wealth of nations and people will come war, disease and the usual panoply of humanity's griefs. I'm not going to repeat the details of what Swami Kriyananda shared of Yogananda's warnings as it is not important right now for you and me. What is important is to "see" that life is not returning to normal.

Now, it's true, as it is in every disaster (natural or man-made), there are some who will in fact not only prosper (economically) but who will rise to the occasion with courage, enthusiasm, creativity and inspiration. For these, it will be the "time of their life!" There will also be scoundrels. Gun sales, I have read, are up. Lawlessness is certain to increase. We have already seen an increase in burglaries.

So what it means for you personally is impossible to predict. It could, in fact, mean little or nothing at all. But you'd be foolish to make that assumption. The karma that is unfolding is, like a world war, bigger than an individual and will engulf millions if not billions.

Most of my readers probably meditate, pray, and serve. Most of you are followers of Yogananda and likely members of Ananda worldwide. So we already know that "the only way OUT is IN." Inner strength; devotion; care for others; meditation; prayer....we acknowledge that death and disease (as Lord Buddha came to see) is a common lot of all beings. Why fuss over it beyond taking care of the body temple "for God-realization."

So these reflections do not have for their purpose a call to action, per se. Rather, let us adjust the glasses through which we see the world and see what is, I believe and many others as well, a world in partial dissolution and partial recombination. Yogananda, through his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, sees our planet in an upward arc of awakening though we are yet in a relatively materialistic age: an age of buy and sell; what's in for me; but also awakening to our interconnectedness.

So unlike some doom and gloom sales pitches, this is NOT the end of the world. It's the inevitable trauma from the breakup of an old-world structure and the emergence of a new world consciousness. After difficult times, Yogananda predicted there would be 200 years of world peace (because we'd be sick of warfare!)

But lest you, like many of us in the 1960's, imagine life is going to suddenly be wonderful: forget it! The rich will always govern and, to quote Jesus Christ, "the poor you have always with you." It is the expansion of awareness of global consciousness that is the requisite emergent change. This awareness can be plundered for personal gain or offered on the altar of global good.

In time, that is to say, in the centuries to come, the rigidity and fixity and prejudice of religion, nationality, race, caste and gender will steadily dissolve into acceptance of differences as manifestations of a shared and beneficent reality. the differences don't need to change. It's attachment and fixed identification with them that will soften.

Harmony with Mother Earth and all creatures will eventually surface as an accepted goal by at least a majority.

In the meantime, however, there is a "war' to fight: fear vs courage, for example; selfishness (hoarding) vs sharing; faith vs hopelessness; God realization vs Ego affirmation. It is an inner battle, not an outer one. Paramhansa Yogananda thundered: "The time for knowing God has COME!" (Through meditation and kriya yoga). THIS is the spiritual purpose for individuals all the time, but especially now for us as a whole.

For those of us who are active, participating and committed members of Ananda worldwide: We were born for this and trained for this by Swami Kriyananda.

"The only way OUT is IN!"

Joy is within you.

Swami Hrimananda
Seattle WA

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Even a Little of this Practice Will Save You from Fear and Suffering" - a Simple Meditation

The title above is a paraphrase of Verse 40, Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita. If ever fear and suffering were a worldwide epidemic it would be now in the midst of this pandemic! And if ever there was a simple practice that could bring calmness and confidence to millions, this is a good time to share it.

There is so much being communicated about this crisis that it would futile for me to add to the burden of so much rapidly changing information, advice, and speculation.

Without denying the suffering, fear, economic losses and isolation being experienced around the world, I want to focus on the "silver lining" in this virus-infested cloud called COVID-19.

Millions are home from work with their families. They may be playing with their children; reading a book; gardening; spending time with loved ones. Admittedly, some are without family and are home alone. But all are potentially reaching out via the phone or social media; some are greeting neighbours (from a safe distance). Millions are concerned for others. Many are focusing on staying healthy through exercise and diet. What a great time to think more deeply about what is important in life: friendships, health, positive attitudes and spiritual connection.

I hope that some of these positive attitudes, experiences, and behaviours will outlast the pandemic.

But what was Lord Krishna referring to in the above-quoted stanza from the famous dialogue which is the literary format of the beloved "Gita?" He was referring to the practice of meditation and the attitudes and wisdom from which meditation arises. Meditation is an impossibly ancient practice. But now's not the time for discussing the history and evolution of meditation.

Most readers of my blog already practice meditation. So it would seem that I am "preaching to the choir." But with so much being shared worldwide among friends, why not share the practice of meditation?

First a simple meditation. Then, some links to more complete meditation routines. There are hundreds of meditation apps, maybe more even. But when one is new to something on what basis does one choose if not on the basis of the recommendation of a friend? And isn't friendship, caring, and connection the theme of our present circumstances? So, let's meditate! Here we go:

Sit upright but in a relaxed and alert natural posture: chest up slightly; head level; shoulders relaxed; palms upward on the thighs. Open or close your eyes as you feel. (As you internalize it will be natural for most people to close their eyes.)

Take a few long, slow but enjoyable breaths. Let the "stomach" (actually, the diaphragm) expand out as you inhale slowly. As the inhalation progresses you will feel your rib cage expand outward to the sides. Then, finally, as you complete the inhalation, the upper chest may rise just a little. Don't force it, however. Like the strokes of the brush of an artist, your controlled breathing should feel "right" not forced.

You may pause briefly at the top of the inhalation but it is not necessary. Exhale with a controlled release. The exhalation can be slightly longer (if you were timing it) than the inhalation. You can pause or not pause after the end of the exhalation but just continue this controlled breathing for at least three to five breaths.

Usually, three to five breaths will trigger a sense of increasing calmness, but if not, continue for a while and learn to anticipate a sense of peace and quiet satisfaction coming over you. Then cease your controlled breathing, and sit quietly. Relax not just your body but your mind. Since the mind is happier if we give it a focus, let that focus be on your natural (no longer controlled) breathing. Observation of the breath is a time-honoured and universally effective practice. Your observation can be in the chest (lungs etc.) or in the flow of inhalation and exhalation in the natural channels of the nose.

If your mind needs a bit more to chew on, create a word formula or a personal affirmation. “I am peaceful; I am calm; I am confident”.....etc. etc. Don't TRY to concentrate. Relax into interested attentiveness to your meditation practice. It's the same attentiveness you might apply to watch a movie, read a book, engage in a sport or exercise, or cook--anything, in short, that you WANT to do!

At the end of your time (it's not length of time; it's QUALITY of calm focus and resulting peacefulness), ask your intuitive self a question that might be on your mind. Ask in positive, not negative terms. In your calm state, be open to a variety of answers, even one that your mind might otherwise reject. Feel calm and be open to “hear” what is the right action or attitude to take in that situation. If nothing appears, then pose alternative solutions to your intuitive mind.

Or, at the end just bring to your mind the image or name of a loved one, friend, neighbour, or co-worker who could use a little "peace of your mind" for their health or daily life. Send that "peace" to that person without any consideration of desired results. It's a peace gesture, in other words. And right now, who doesn’t need a piece of “peace!”


You see: it's THAT simple.

Here are some links to other guided meditations:


In your smartphone's Play Store search on Ananda Meditation App to download and a wide selection of meditations and much more!

Share, then, a "little of this practice" with friends and family!

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Hriman








Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy Birthday, Yogananda-ji!

Dear Friends,

At Ananda worldwide, the Christmas holidays come to a conclusion each year with our celebration of Paramhansa Yogananda's birth (January 5, 1893). 

In this new year of 2020, January 5 is THIS Sunday and as you may know, the Service is a grand, family service with skits taken from Yogananda's life followed by a festive, catered, Indian banquet! (At Ananda Blue Lotus Temple in Bothell, WA USA)

It would be natural enough for members of Ananda worldwide to celebrate the birth of the one whose teachings and life has inspired and guided our spiritual lives. But Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda, taught us to view Yogananda's life purpose in coming to America 100 years ago (1920) in terms far broader than the gratitude natural to those who consider themselves his followers. 

The fascinating and unusual story of Yogananda's spiritual lineage which begins with Jesus Christ and Babaji-Krishna is itself a hint that Yogananda has a role on the stage of world history broader than that of any organization and its members.

Yogananda left his earthly form only sixty-eight years ago. By 100 A.D., how much impact had Jesus' teachings had upon the Roman Empire? Not much, yet, but there were already hints and rumblings of great changes to come. By the time of Emperor Constantine's declaration in favor of Christianity in 312 A.D., one-third of the empire was already Christian!

Yogananda put yoga, and especially kriya yoga, on the American map (and, by extension, across the globe). He is not, of course, the only one but he has left a large footprint. His life story, "Autobiography of a Yogi," is still a best seller seventy-four years after its publication. And while we can see hints worldwide of the impact of yoga-meditation and the consciousness of yoga (oneness; harmony; health; joy; cooperation), this influence has only begun. And, as you might, no doubt, agree, it is desperately needed. The Dalai Lama has added his voice to thousands like you and me when he noted that if the children of this world were taught to meditate the problems that beset humanity would soon be solved. 

We celebrate Paramhansa Yogananda's birth and life, therefore, for a far more expansive purpose than it might seem natural for us to do so. And, we hope all of you will do so in your hearts and mind and, perchance, with us as well! 

Happy birthday Yogananda-ji!

Nayaswamis Hriman and Padma!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

"Coop" Sharing - A New and Not New Paradigm

(I wrote this Thanksgiving evening before leaving on seclusion. I didn't post it anywhere beyond the blog. Ananda is a cooperative movement both in spiritual terms -- "cooperation with grace" --- and on the human scale of cooperative living, serving, and sharing, including cooperating with nature and all living things. Though one doesn't seem to hear much these days about the more formal structures of "coops," the attitudes of cooperation are part and parcel of American culture and in strong evidence everywhere in the world where people take the initiative in respect to issues, needs, and causes larger than their own. I feel to share what I hope is an upwelling of conscious cooperation, whether informal or formal. Linked to divine attunement, it, together with simplicity and a recognition of the need for inspired, supportive leadership, is the single most hopeful trend for a better world.

As tragic are milestone events in American history as 9-11-01 and hurricane Katrina, and more recently fires and intentional power outages in California, each of these has and is contributing to an awakening of the need for individuals to take the initiative to band together to find scalable solutions for problems larger than ourselves.)

Friends of ours from Ananda Village, Omprakash and Prem Shanti Rider, were here at Ananda Seattle this week for Thanksgiving.

Omprakash has been a lifelong supporter and organizer of food coops. An opportunity arose recently at Ananda Village to start a food coop when the former Master's Market (convenience store and cafe) in "downtown" Ananda Village was forced to close for financial reasons after many decades of operation. 

When it did, Omprakash waited to see if anyone younger or newer might leap into the breach of the opportunity which most residents were sure would be taken. But the market remained closed for three months until Omprakash felt inspired to re-open it, not as a community-owned retail business but as a food coop.

Coops--food, agriculture, buying, residential, etc.--have been around a long time in American history. They reflect well the American experience and "can-do-together" consciousness. 

In much of the twentieth century and into the current century, coops of all types have languished in the face of efficient, well-funded, highly profitable corporate enterprises. Worker-owned businesses are now nonexistent or few.

I think that is going to change. I think that HAS to change. Efficiency and profit are not the only criteria for success. Happiness, fulfilment and satisfaction are also important aspects of whatever service or product is made, grown, re-sold, marketed or built. 

Food coops are perhaps the most resilient and visible coops in America. Despite the big box grocery stores and the efficiency of agribusiness food growing, food coops continue to appeal to those who want a human face and human touch to their food. 

Ananda in Washington effectively operates coop models in its thrift store (Living Wisdom Thrift and Gift); at our farm (Ananda Farms), in the residential community (Ananda Community, Lynnwood), and even to some degree in the East-West Bookshop of Seattle. None of these are formal or legal coops but all of them, including Ananda Blue Lotus Temple and Institute of Living Wisdom, are dependent upon volunteers and donations even as each of them also earn their "keep" through the services and products they provide.

Recently, Zach and Hailey Abbey co-sponsored a meeting on Camano Island to ask like-minded friends whether and who might be interested in forming a food coop and buying club on or around Camano Island. It was standing room only!!

While nonprofits including churches might want to view themselves as cooperative undertakings, and largely this would be true insofar as they depend on donations and volunteers, many lack cooperative management or leadership. Nonetheless, all but the largest national or international organizations, or those dependent mostly upon government grants, have the elements of hands-on, locally sourced operations with a cooperative spirit. 

Virtually all large organizations (governmental, charitable, research, medical, political etc.) are increasingly viewed with suspicion or scepticism. Questions arise over whether they are self-serving or pandering to outside interests.

It seems obvious to me that idealistic, creative, bold, and energetic people gravitate to independent enterprises. 

The so-called "Share Economy" is a kind of coop model. We share cars; houses; information; advice; references; recommendations; tools; you name it. We homeschool our children and have homeschooling groups. 

The model of brick and mortar educational institutions are groaning under the weight of endless regulations and expectations of parents, teachers, administrators, and the public; there are safety issues; concerns about violence; there's an increasing awareness of special needs children; racial, ethnic, and cultural differences; there's the out of control cost of education under the traditional classroom and administration model. 

Coop education models can include homeschooling blended with shared group and virtual resources. These offer hope for expanding educational opportunities beyond those who can afford it or who are willing to borrow against their lifetime earnings.

The top-heavy energy industry is in serious question or decline, its costly infrastructure out of date or decaying. The need to generate energy locally is increasingly accepted and desired. To do so would require a cooperative enterprise of various stakeholders.

Food growing is one of the most fertile cooperative ventures with many options, a variety of evolving models, and blessed with rapid growth.

Co-housing has been slow to take off, mostly, I suppose because funding remains a speciality of certain lenders. Mortgage lending falls off the cliff once one departs from the traditional funding of single-family homes. There long has been, however, a small but established infrastructure for coop apartments in the eastern part of the United States.

Condominiums have enjoyed more stable funding sources but condos are riddled with construction problems and uncooperative owners and tenants. Condos lack the cooperative spirit of co-housing.

Ananda has urban apartment communities but they are based on renting an apartment complex. Even if the owners are Ananda members, there remains a firewall of potentially conflicting interests between ownership and residency. This model puts financial results first but hopefully, this will evolve in time. 

Lastly, zoning and building codes remain a stumbling block to any creative residential enterprise.

Nonetheless, tiny homes and shared living arrangements are slowly blossoming owing mostly to economic pressures. 

Home-sharing finds its most robust expression in temporary vacation or travel lodging in VRBO or AirBnB. But this trend is also rife with controversy and doesn't address long-term residential needs.

Paramhansa Yogananda, author of "Autobiography of a Yogi," is considered by Ananda members and Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda, the patron saint of communities. He predicted that someday they would "spread like wildfire."

While I hesitate to jump on the image of "wildfire spreading wildly" (especially in California), I do welcome the prediction and I believe it will, in fact, happen, though maybe not very soon.

But the watchword for the future survival of humanity and the rest of the planet's inhabitants is clearly and necessarily COOPERATION! Linked to cooperation is simplicity, lest cooperation becomes diluted by merely legalistic contracts.

Also linked to and even a necessary balance to cooperation is leadership. While Ananda was founded by Swami Kriyananda--a strong, clear and yet sensitively supportive leader--future communities and coops will necessarily be more level in order to fulfil the coop ideals. 

Swami Kriyananda's training of us in leadership went counter to what was, at that time, the consensus dogma of intentional communities.

Strict consensus has shown itself to be impractical. It paralyzes creative and inspired directions. There is no substitute for the skills and role of leadership. But what we learned from "Swamiji" is that leadership is a role just like, but not more important than, any number of other crucial roles. It should emphasize service to others and to the goal of the enterprise, and not service from others or special status.

A coop model does not have to insist on consensus decision making. The Ananda experience shows that cooperation in a supportive leadership environment can result in a version of consensus that might be called "energetic." At Ananda, we've evolved an approach we describe by asking "what's trying to happen here?" Leadership listens; asks; serves; and shows the flexibility that expresses respect for the process and everyone involved.

Given that the age we live in emphasizes personal liberties, selfishness can result unless there is a balancing emphasis upon cooperation. Cooperation with nature; with other people and nations; with God and with universal, human values. 

Rebelling against established authority may be necessary or the dharma of some, but those of creative goodwill, energy and courage can instead direct our efforts to work cooperatively with others to live in harmony with Spirit and Nature.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Swami Hrimananda







Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Is the Bliss of Meditation for Real? "No-Bliss-Oblige?"

I began my life of meditation from the orientation of snippets of Buddhism. I say "snippets" because whatever I thought I learned was most likely inaccurate or at least spiritually untested. 

But when in my search I also encountered the Yoga-Vedanta-Sankhya traditions, I was suspicious because the references to bliss or divine joy seemed to me to smack of duality. 

In fact, just the other day, after a talk I gave at a Sunday Service at a Unity church, someone politely cornered me to question my references to bliss and the joy of the soul. This couple challenged me, in a friendly sporting way, relying as they did on teachings from a more Buddhist perspective. They described the ultimate state of the soul as beyond states of joy or bliss.

I've heard it said that in some Buddhist teachings bliss is said to be but a stage on the journey to enlightenment but not the final state of consciousness.

The very language we use when we use the word "bliss" or "joy" naturally seems to suggest a dual state in which someone, an "I" is feeling some feeling called blissful. Hence, by the very definition of non-duality, the very self-awareness of such a feeling cannot be the final state of being. Or so the logic goes.

Paramhansa Yogananda described eight aspects of higher consciousness, one of which is joy and another, love. Swami Kriyananda would comment occasionally in describing love as, in some subtle way, almost a lower state than joy (or bliss) for the very same, or nearly same reason: love suggests a relationship: I-Thou. I don't think he meant this literally because even I can feel "loving" without the necessity of a person or a thing being the object towards which my love is directed or from which my feeling of love is stimulated. Feeling "loving" can arise from within.

Swami Kriyananda did quote Yogananda as saying joy is a safer aspect of the soul's nature to emulate or strive to express than love because humans all too easily "fall in love" with another person (or thing).

Then there is the testimony of saints that say that immediately prior to their enlightenment comes the "dark night of the soul" or the tempter (Satan, maya, etc.) during which the inner light (another of the eight aspects) vanishes and only darkness remains. 

There are saints, including Lahiri Mahasaya, who make references to high states of consciousness as places of dark-less light, light-less dark and so on. 

Finally, all great mystics admit, one way or another, that the final state of being is beyond name, form or description (even if they try by poetry or imagery to convey).

And on a more mundane but at least a relatively more accessible level of human experience, the testimony of deeply sincere meditators over decades of living and practice demonstrates that while they may be generally described as joyful persons, they do not laugh off pain and suffering, whether their own or that of others. 

When Swami Kriyananda first wrote the ceremony Festival of Light (used on Sundays at Ananda churches especially in America), he had a sentence that read: And whereas suffering and sorrow, in the past, were the coin of man’s redemption, for us now the payment has been exchanged for joy.

A few years later he edited the end of that sentence to read ...."has been exchanged for calm acceptance and joy."

As with the word "love" connotes merely human love, so the term "joy" cannot be extricated from the our response to, say, winning the lottery. Thus the term "bliss" is often used to elevate the implied meaning of divine joy to something more than merely egoic or of the conscious mind.

Partly then we have an issue of language. And partly the question remains whether or not the dissolution of the separate ego-self results in any awareness that includes a "feeling" experience such as joy.

Well, let's face it: the testimony of the masters, the saviors, the avatars, gurus, and saintly souls tells us that what they have found or become is worth every bit of the effort taken to re-discover it. I think that qualifies to be called "bliss?" 

Paramhansa Yogananda said "Yes." The Adi Shankaracharya said "Yes." He described the non-dual state with the term Sat-chit-ananda. Loosely translated by Yogananda as "ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy." It might be stretched to say it is a state of immortality, omniscience, and bliss. The term describes the nature of God, the state of samadhi, and the nature of the soul.

Yet it is also true and discoverable by any serious devotee and meditator, that there ARE states of consciousness, in prayer and meditation, wherein feeling of any kind is held in abeyance; feeling is latent like an undercurrent, just behind one's steadfast awareness. It cannot be said to be no-thing, nor can it be said to be any-thing. It simply IS. 

In his autobiography, Yogananda was challenged by a saint when asked: "You go often into the silence, but have you developed anubhava? Don't mistake the path for the goal. Yogananda commented that the saint was reminding him to love God more than meditation. Perfect stillness (awareness without a manifested feeling of any kind), then, is not, itself the goal. It is not a state of Oneness beyond one's personal consciousness.

Then there are other experiences wherein one is absorbed in a feeling state such as peace, calmness, joy, love or subsumed in the power of subtle sound or inner light, or transported in a flash of instantaneous perceptive images or insights (similar to what is described as the life review at death or near-death). 

Such experiences can enter one's consciousness as if about to dissolve one's separateness; or, one's little self expands into the experience such that the self no longer matters and barely exists. Time begins to slow to a standstill.

Put another way: Infinity embraces all! As Ananda-moyi-ma described God: “It (the Spirit) is, and It isn’t, and neither is It, nor is It not.”

A saint can manifest dryness or joy, asceticism and renunciation, or enthusiastic engagement, creativity, compassion and joy. It is and it isn't!

The ray of divine vibration which descended through Paramhansa Yogananda and the lineage which preceded him is, however, characterized by joy!  But that joy, like devotion, like the higher inner states of meditation, can nonetheless be subtle or hidden from outward view in a particular devotee. Look at the eyes, however: do they glow with joy? Infinity? Light? Calmness?  

It is not surprising that in our efforts to share the teachings of Yogananda we frequently reference or express joy as an overarching characteristic. Yet power, too, is an aspect of God. Yogananda could be very powerful at times. 

Great saints do differ in what qualities are made manifest in their lives and thus in the lives of disciples who are in tune with them. Yet as Swami Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda, was a Gyanavatar, he didn't "convert" Yogananda from being a bhakti, a Prem-avatar (of love and joy).

Yogananda had a life such that he was at ease in a wide variety of situations and seeming "moods." He was, in a sense, very "human." Indeed, fully human. 

Unlike aspiring saints who may have to hold back or to express austerity as part of their journey to enlightenment, Yogananda was born free, a purna avatar. It's not that he flaunted proper behavior, ethics, and the do's and don'ts of life (like some aspiring saints have done to show their avowed non-attachment to sense indulgences or unethical acts). 

Rather, he was freely expressive. His behavior was natural and unpretentious. These qualities, too, can be seen in his disciples. Swami Kriyananda, founder of Ananda, was a friend to all; unpretentious and natural in his actions according to circumstances.

Finally, we must simply admit that terms like "bliss" or "joy" only really have meaning in their being manifested in observable human consciousness and actions. 

By contrast, in an uplifted state of consciousness, in a state of samadhi, applying the adjectives of "bliss" or "joy" simply no longer apply except perhaps afterwards in an effort to share some aspect of what the soul experienced. 

It is and it yet it isn't. We can say samadhi is blissful and yet we must also say samadhi isn't limited by anything, including bliss. It simply IS. When awareness and feeling merge in pure consciousness, you cannot extract the one from the other. But neither would you trade it for any dual state of consciousness.

The "beamers of bliss" are right and the "no-bliss-obligers" are right. My lifelong mantra and response to life's ups and downs remains intact: BOTH-AND.

Joy or no-joy, I remain unshakeably the same, your own Self,

Swami Hriman-non-Da!