Devotees’ experiences

By Rosa & Sergio, Centre of Unity Premananda, Italy

This is about our celebration of Swami Premananda’s birthday in the Centre of Unity Premananda, in Amelia, Italy.

We wanted to be able to find at least a couple of roses in the garden to put on Swamij’s padukas but we had little hope of doing so because lately the weather had been very bad, the temperature had fallen near zero and on the night before the celebration a heavy rain began to fall that continued well into the next morning. When it finally stopped I went out to try to retrieve some plants that would now be completely soaked, in order to decorate the altar and Swamiji’s chair. However, I was absolutely astounded to discover a garden full of roses! …

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Metta meditation in the Sri Premananda Centre of Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina: “In 2014 we started group metta meditation as part of the monthly programmes in our Sri Premananda Centre. On the last Sunday of every month after the evening abhishekam we hold a group metta meditation. We invite people through Facebook to come and join us for this. We feel that it’s really good for people, especially new people who are just getting interested in spirituality. They don’t need to know how to meditate because it is a guided meditation and we also have the opportunity to tell new people a little about Swamiji, the Centre and the Ashram if we feel it’s appropriate. We normally ask people to bring a little food to share with everyone at the end of the meditation.”…

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Since a very young age I knew that the primary purpose of life is to be happy. So I went out and tried to find that happiness in friends and family, in material things, by going places and taking part in activities. That search lead me to live in many different places with my family and after several years away from home we came back to live in our hometown of Cordoba, Argentina…

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The Shree Poobala Krishna Ashram in Sri Lanka is one of several branch Ashrams that Swamiji ran in Sri Lanka before he settled in India in 1984. For years during the Sri Lankan civil war the Ashram was not functioning, but after the war ended, spiritual activities there resumed on a small scale. Thinking of this as a sacred place in Swamiji’s birth country where Swamiji lived, gave sacred service to humanity, had lingodbhava and performed many miracles and leelas, Swamiji’s devotees in Sri Lanka often go to this branch Ashram and their support makes it possible to maintain the spiritual services provided there for Swamiji’s devotees and children from the neighbourhood. Foreign devotees, too, visit the Ashram. After a stay there, Hamsaa writes about her experience observing the very simple devotional life of its residents…

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In just a few words devotees from various countries and different backgrounds share what it means to have a spiritual teacher like Swamiji in their lives.

Having a guru, a true guru like Swamiji, …

… has made God and spirituality a clearer experiential reality in all aspects of my life.

… gave me the opportunity to learn something that I didn’t think I could truly learn in any other way: to be the best person I can be…

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MY EXPERIENCE, BY CLAUDETTE

Jai Prema Shanti! I am Claudette. I’m 36 years old, French, and have lived in Montreal, Canada, for over four years now and plan to continue living here and eventually become a Canadian citizen. In 2010 a devotee introduced me to Swami Premananda and the next year, in 2011, I had the opportunity to come to India and visit the Ashram for the first time. Having come to know Swamiji, my stay in the Ashram, and interacting with the children completely changed my life. Back at home after this incredible journey, I realized that life has meaning only when we can help others. Slowly but surely I changed my work, from that of holding a conventional position in a multinational corporation to becoming a yoga teacher. My idea was to reproduce Swamiji’s vision – spiritual, ecological and humanitarian – here in the West. After this first visit in 2011, I managed to visit the Ashram nearly every year.

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My Experience with Swamiji, by Siddhananda, France

It had been three years ago since I had first visited the Ashram and now, this time, as I entered the gates, it was with a reflective nostalgia. I took my time to look all around me, wanting to take full advantage of my return here.

When you come from the West, living in the Ashram is like discovering another dimension, for it is quite literally another world. Not only is the way of life different but also the way of being, the climate, and especially the notion of time. Compared to the Western idea of time, here time seems to no longer exist; it acquires another density and sometimes a single day can seem like an eternity. I remember having had this feeling after my first week in the Ashram, it seemed to me that six months had passed! Yes, time is different here, it’s as if the Ashram is a kind of temporal vortex where time appears to have stopped but, in fact, it’s our mental perception that changes, our approach to everyday life and our attitude towards Life…

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Early morning bhajans in the month of Margali –  by an Ashram resident

In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna tells us that, of all the months, he is Margali. Margali is a Tamil month that begins in mid-December and ends in mid-January. It is also said that to the Devas – divine beings – one of our years is for them one day, and our month of Margali is the brahma muhurtamof their day.

In 1992 I had the opportunity of being in the Ashram during that auspicious time. Back then the daily Ganesha abhishekam began at 5:30 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. as it does now.  Swamiji asked us all to come together at 4:45 a.m. every day during this special month and go around the Ashram singing bhajans. Swamiji, of course, went along with us and sang too! It was so much fun. Every day he would ask a different Ashram resident to prepare a warm drink for everyone and we would end our nagarasankeertanamat their place. After having the tea, coffee, chocolate milk or other drink, we would then all go to the Ganesha abhishekam together…

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By Nagulan, Sri Premananda Centre of Vlamertinge

My wife and I have been back home in Belgium for about six weeks since our stay in the Ashram during Mahashivarathri and every day my thoughts still linger there. During the day a bhajan will suddenly come to mind and I’ll begin singing.

This year Mahashivarathri and our stay in the Ashram was a wonderful experience for me. It was different from previous years and since being home, I’ve been able to keep this feeling of joy I had in the Ashram. I wondered why this could be and, according to me, there are four reasons.

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By Kartik, Poland

When Swamiji went into mahasamadhi in 2011 we thought that spiritually he is still with us and his support has seemed to be even stronger since that time. However, one day, when I was doing pujas to the lingams that Swamiji gave me I realized that we still have part of his physical body alive with us: the lingams born from him during Lingodbhava. Swamiji said many times that these lingams are made out of his blood so I think my conclusion is quite correct.

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