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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Swamiji, it does not suit my nature to think of God in a form or even as a concept. I see you in front of me in a human form.  Isn’t it enough to think of you, my spiritual master?

Swamiji: Some people find it difficult to think of the Divine in a form or as a concept or quality.  They ask if it is enough to think of their spiritual master to receive dynamic teachings or energy that will help them on their spiritual path.  Once you start on the spiritual path your mind and heart are changing in a spiritual direction.  Swami Premananda is totally spiritual and so it is good to have close contact.  However, I do not mean physical contact.  I am talking about close, inner contact.  A spiritual connection…

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Swamiji, what is the best way to practise spirituality?

Swamiji: Again you are talking about practice! You are just saying so with your mouth but you don’t practise. You simply come and meet me and ask me the same questions. You are all good people. You have faith and devotion but no practice. You all ask me how to practise. When you go to the office do you ask the manager how to work?  When you go to the office it is your duty to work, so you find out and then you just do it, whether you like it or not. Everyone knows how to practise spirituality but you all want a shortcut. You want me to tell you an easy way.  You keep on asking how to sing bhajans, how to do rituals, how to have satsang discussions, how to… how to… I will tell you frankly – there is just one straight way and that is meditation. The highest subject in spirituality is meditation. Abhishekams, satsang, service and other spiritual activities are supports to go to a higher level. Then you must meditate.

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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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SATSANG WITH SWAMIJI

Who has realized what is within? Who has realized pure and true love? I want to make you all realize this by yourself. Who has realized? Who has understood the real truth and real love in his or her heart? You may have a good relationship with your children and relatives. If you ask them have they understood true love, they – without understanding – will reply, “Yes”. But none of you knows if you truly understand true love.

In daily life nowadays, parents talk to their children, without understanding the value of true love. You are all talking about love so much, but do you approach your children and relatives with genuine love?

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Lord Buddha said,

“Don’t worship me – the world inside me will protect you. Realize the Truth.” –  Swami Premananda

On the full moon day in May we celebrate the birth, enlightenment and samadhi of Lord Buddha. The prince Gautama who became the Buddha gave up all his unimaginable privilege, wealth and worldly power to dedicate himself totally to the spiritual path. He meditated with immense sincerity and concentration during seven years; at the end of this intense sadhana he gained enlightenment. He then left the forest and started to teach others how to develop themselves spiritually and reach the same, blissful stage that he had attained.

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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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Swamiji replies to your questions:
Question: Humanity is going through a time of deep crisis, many wars and genocides are being committed in many parts of our world in the name of God, or the god we call money. In developing countries, each year millions of children die of starvation. And these are only a few of the many dramatic issues facing humanity today. What is the difference between this current period of crisis and all the other terrible times of crisis that humanity faced in the past?

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If you have a husband and you are on good terms with him and you don’t have suspicions about him then you will help your husband. You wash his clothes and do everything for him – and he does everything for you too. This is only possible when you have understanding between you. In a spiritual relationship it is the same.  In order to surrender you must have understanding. Understanding is necessary for surrender…

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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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