Fifth Program in Pula, Croatia---February 28, 2013

By : 
Bhaktin Lara


     Unlike previous programs, we were only four (Misra Purandara , Sivanada Sena , Namacarya and me,.Lara). After we went through the  routine checks we proceded into our now standard room for programs.

     Beginning the bhajans is the way to purify the atmosphere and gradually the inmates  came in from different departments, altogether twelve. We reduced the bhajans time to 10-15 minutes, as the inmates are more interested to hear our philosophy. Sivananda Sena Prabhu gave the lecture, “The Perfection of Yoga“.

     He concisely explained what Krishna says about yoga in Bhagavad-gita, adding that today in the West there are many yoga studios where various exercises are practiced with the motive to lose weight or just for health. The real purpose of yoga, to connect oneself with the Supreme God or Krishna, is generally excluded from their practice and the emphasis is on calming the mind, deepening the breath, and increasing practitioner’s ability to concentrate. However, in this day and age these methods are not effective in reaching the goal of connecting oneself with the Supreme God, Krishna. Because of various disturbances we are living stressful lives in crowded cities, the mind is distracted by many objects meant for sensual enjoyment. Therefore, trying to meditate in a secluded place is practically impossible.

     To confirm, Sivanada Sena told a story about an Indian yogi who tried to live a life of renunciation by meditating near a river. This man left his family because he didn’t want anything to distract him from his meditation.  But then he was bothered by a mouse squeaking during his meditation. To solve this problem he acquired a cat. Because he now had to feed the cat he acquired a cow. To attend the cow he acquired a wife, and then the wife wanted a house and children and by that time he completely forgot about his meditation. The conclusion was that the prescribed method for practicing yoga in the modern age is chanting the holy names of the Lord in kirtan, as we do at the beginning of the program, or individually which is called japa chanting.

     Unlike the past, this time the inmates were attentive and most listened without interruption. One inmate mentioned he was visiting a Yoga studio where they were practicing exercises (asanas), breathing and meditation; that is why he came to this program.

     The program ended with meaningful questions, like, “When were the Vedas written down and by whom, and whether Bhagavad-gita was spoken before some big catastrophe. One person asked our opinion about the teachings of Krishnamurti. Both Sivanada Sena  and Namacarya said they are not familiar about who is he, and that because he has Krishna’s name in his name that does not mean he is connected with our movement because in India Krishna is a common name just like for example John would be in the West. The man politely responded that he understands that he asked about something which is not related; like as if he would ask a catholic priest about Martin Luther. I thought his observation was rather keen.

     At the end we asked if they would be interested if,  in next meeting, we do a little workshop on group chanting; a unanimous “yes” followed!

     The Holy Name is the way to open up the heart. Gaur Premanandi!