By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
Today is the last day of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram’s eleventh year. Tomorrow we begin year twelve, an auspicious time according to yoga and its sister science of jyotish (Vedic astrology). Both are sciences that help you understand yourself as well as maximize what you do with what you’ve got.
As an Ashram, our work is totally dedicated to Grace, the revelatory power of God. Revealing the Divine within you is yoga’s specialty, made even more tangible in a Shaktipat tradition. Once you’ve received this inner awakening, your own Divinity shines brighter and brighter. It’s an organic process, similar to how seeds sprout from the earth and grow toward the sky. Your initiation planted the seed of your own enlightenment; that inner power is uplifting you every day.
When you cooperate with this mystical process, it’s easier and goes faster. That’s why your Ashram offers continued studies, supporting your spiritual growth. Technically, that growth is assured once you receive Shaktipat, but your understanding of it develops over time. It can be hard enough to understand life, much less to understand your own cosmic and mystical nature. Learning more about the tradition and its texts is so valuable.
The twelve-year cycle is based on the astronomical position of the planet Jupiter, named “Guru” in Sanskrit. Returning to its home base magnifies the blessings a Guru provides: spiritual development, growth in knowledge and insight, success in relationships and worldly activities, the spirit of generosity and service. Jupiter also gives you the desire for liberation and the longing to know God.
Your own birthday means you’ve made a one-year trip around the sun, riding on planet Earth. Jupiter takes twelve years for the trip. When it returns to its starting point, its Grace-giving power is increased. We will all benefit from this for the whole next year, including the Ashram, everyone who participates in its activities and all who contribute to its work in the world.
When I founded the Ashram, I was bringing twenty years of teaching experience into a new “incarnation.” Having founded and led Master Yoga Foundation, also a not-for-profit organization, I brought a well-developed curriculum in yoga poses and Teacher Training. But an Ashram is focused on your enlightenment, not just your health and happiness. That new focus brought a new curriculum, welcomed with great relief by many Svaroopis though a bit challenging for others. I was always careful to pace the changes carefully, out of love and respect for the yogis still in transition.
And then we were graced with five new swamis! Clearly our spiritual focus was enhanced by their deep transformation as well as their dedication to work on your behalf. The pandemic brought another surprise, not only difficulties but also many opportunities. Making so many programs available on Zoom has been a great boon, a way to reach and serve you more frequently, more affordably and more efficiently.
I continue to be delighted to serve you in so many beautiful and powerful ways. And I know it is made possible by our faculty, our sevites and staff, our Board of Directors and our many donors. Thank you for making this work work!