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The Last Statement of Swami Veda Bharati before Taking the Five-Year Vow of Silence

The Last Statement of Swami Veda Bharati before Taking the Five-Year Vow of Silence at the Gathering of the Sangha 9th March 2013

[During Swami Veda’s talk on 9th March 2013 at the 2013 Sangha Gathering, Swamiji introduced the practice for “the next five years and the rest of your life.” This is a transcript of that talk. Also available on the Ahymsin website here]

Gurave namaḥ.
Parama-gurave namaḥ.
Parameṣhṭhi-gurave namaḥ.
Paramparā-gurubhyo namaḥ.
Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākaraṁ vyāptaṁ yena charācharam.
Tat padaṁ darshitaṁ yena tasmai shrī-gurave namaḥ.
Hiraṇya-garbhād ārabdhām sheṣha-vyāsādi-madhyamām.
Svāmi-shrī-rāma-pādāntāṁ vande guru-paramparām.
Om tat sat brahmārpaṇam astu.
Om sham.

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Hari Om
In the past nine days we have covered the grounds on spiritual stations. Stations in meditational and spiritual progress. We have also covered a little of the traps into which we can fall along the way.
I am sorry to say that today I am not going to say anything profound. Not that I was saying anything profound before.
You can ask my Gurus. They will tell you how shallow I am. They will tell you.
I wish One of Them could be present here, and could guide you personally

with Their own presence,
with Their own words,
with Their own voice and sound.

Then you will know what a Guru is.
Yesterday I had the honour of welcoming not very formally, my spiritually adopted sister, Professor Bettina Sharada. Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Dena Merriam.
Little slips of paper with questions keep coming my way. Some of them I have already answered; so just go back to those answers. Do remember: do not get trapped by every experience inside of you.
For example, people talk of ‘out of body experience’. I am a very scientific-minded yogi like my Guru. Very scientific minded. If there is a scientific explanation for something, I do not accept it as pure spiritual experience.
To me pure spiritual experience is only of ātman. Some of these outer body experiences are works of, and are of certain sections of the brain that trigger certain sensations and project them, and you think that you are flying away into the heavens.
Those are not spiritual experiences. They are cerebral experiences. Now one thing to remember is that sometimes these cerebral experiences may be triggered by a spiritual station. Sometimes these cerebral experiences may be triggered by spiritual development. Quite often also these cerebral experiences may be stepping-stones to something purely spiritual. They are not to be rejected, but do not think that you are now enlightened because you have had an outer body experience.
In my own personal sādhanā, I am very careful. Sometimes I feel that I am not careful enough. I am very careful that I do not attribute to myself any special powers and special experiences and make myself into a Guru. I am careful that I do not take my spiritual experiences seriously except the ones imparted to me by my Guru. I am very careful but still not always careful enough, as I do get trapped for a short while. But l pull myself out and as I told you whatever I am teaching you is autobiographical.
Now today’s topic is a little different one. Our organizers are working on the coming programmes. I am sure that all of you have received a copy of this small book, Sadhana in Applied Spirituality1, this is written especially for this occasion. It is applied spirituality. It is written for the family. We are not publishing it for the general public at this time.

Your next five years and for the rest of your life

For your next five years and for the rest of your life,

whatever mālās you do,
whatever mantras you do,
whatever breathing you do, do continue these, and,

in order to avoid getting trapped by

feeling of power, feeling of position,
feeling of your worldly station – identifying too closely with it, and then dealing with other people on that basis of your assumed station,

to avoid all of that, you need to do these practices as taught in Sadhana in Applied Spirituality.
These are not practices that you do sitting down. These are what you do in your

daily emotions,
voice quality,

This is much more difficult than sitting down with your mala for twenty minutes a day. Do sit with your mala, but do practice this application in your daily life.
We have a word in our Tradition, a very common Sanskrit word “vrata”. It is roughly translated in English as a ‘vow’. It is an observance. For example, a one day of fasting is a vrata. One day of silence is a vrata. Three years vow of celibacy, ‘brahmacharya’, that some people have taken today that is a vrata. So your vrata for the next five years and for the rest of your life included, is the vrata of “Shiva-saṅkalpa”.
We have printed out the mantra. There will be another printout where the mantra is written in the original Vedic language and script.
Now these are six mantras of ‘Shiva-saṅkalpa Sūkta’ or the Shiva-saṅkalpa hymn. In this Ashram we recite them every night. I grew up as a child reciting them with the family before going to sleep every night. At that time I did not know that I will be advising a few hundred people to practise it. Now everything depends on your capacity. Everything depends on your capacity. So you can repeatedly in the day renew your vrata, your Shiva-saṅkalpa vrata, simply by one short phrase which is the refrain of all these six mantras of Yajur Veda. That short phrase is the last line of each of these.

It is also in the Handbook of the Ashram, but the translation is a little bit different. In the handbook it is on pages 25-27. But I will be distributing this translation and a different printout. So when you collect your CD from AHYMSIN Publishers, leave your address to which these can be mailed. By email or in printed form. [Editor: Please download all the MP3 files here]
So let us first recite this short phrase together:

Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu

Now on this entire hymn, I have a little booklet also with translations of some great Veda Masters. The Shiva-saṅkalpa booklet you can read that with much care and very very slowly. Don’t just look at it and say I don’t understand it, and put it away. Take your time to understand it. So recite with me:

Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu

May that mind of mine be shiva-saṅkalpa.
Shiva –
divine mind.

Because you cannot practice what is advised in Sadhana in Applied Spirituality

without applying your mind,
without purifying your mind,

this is a prayer for mind’s purification, mind’s pacification.
To make the mind one in which, not by effort but naturally, [what was that word for ‘naturally’? ‘Sahaja’!], in the sahaja way, only the beneficent, benevolent, peaceful, meditative, godly Shiva-like divine thoughts, sentiments, emotions, and resolves arise.
Swami Rama often talked about saṅkalpa – or saṅkalpa shakti – the power of resolves. These are the mantras, verses for developing the power of resolve. Developing saṅkalpa shakti.
You don’t have to do ten million recitations and repetitions of this.
Do a few repetitions at your meditation time, but during the day, just like those two other practices:

Keep the forehead relaxed.
Every 2-3 hours, do 2-3 minutes of breath awareness with your mantra.

Do this third practice:

Every 2-3 hours, Shiva-saṅkalpa -strengthening your resolve to be sāttvic so that only the sāttvic thoughts, feelings and sentiments arise in you and they become your saṅkalpa. They become your resolve.

So recite that phrase, that short fourth line again with me.

Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu
Tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu

Now I will help you recite the full first mantra. Those who have the capacity for the full recitation may do so. I should have made the recording even before you arrived here nine-ten days ago. I was not able to do it and I kept saying ‘I’ll do it today, I’ll do it today,” but there wasn’t time, and last night I had Dr. Sanjay Shastri do the recordings so that the recordings are now available.

Om yaj jāgrato dūram udaiti, daivaṁ
tad u suptasya tathaivaiti
dūraṅgamam jyotiṣhāṁ jyotir ekam
tan me manaḥ shiva-saṅkalpam astu.

I will not go through the recitation of all the six mantras of the hymn at this time. You get hold of the CD and learn from there. Let me read to you a translation.
[Note: Please use this link to download the recordings]
Now please remember that there is no human being on earth, no matter how much he is expert in languages and grammar. There is no human being on earth who can translate the Vedas. Yes, there are translations. You can get them. There is no human being who can render them in another language. I give you an example. if I were to start translating the Vedas – the very first word of the Vedas is ‘agni’ – “agnim īle purohitam”. The sacred fire that we burn in our ‘yajña-shālā’. It is the same word agni from which you get the word ‘igneous’ and the ‘ignition’ key in your car. When you turn the ignition key say, “agnim īle”! There is a mantra for that.
One great translator Swami Dayanand Saraswati has translated the word ‘agni’ in two hundred and fifty six different ways. “agnim īle purohitaṁ yajñasya devam ṛtvijam. Hotāraṁ ratna-dhātamam”. Nine words in that first mantra of Rig Veda. Now if I were to take two hundred and fifty six meanings of each of those words, how many translations will I do? Cannot. So just by reading this in English don’t think that you have got the translation. But here is this rough attempt at a very shallow level. I’ll read it for you –

That which travels far while one is awake
That which similarly goes far while one is asleep
May that far-reaching one light of many lights
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful and benevolent resolves

I have expanded it to more beautiful, beneficent, peaceful, meditative, Siva-like, divine thoughts, feelings, sentiments, emotions, resolves. They are all contained in the word ‘shiva-saṅkalpam’.

That with which all the wise ones perform their actions
And the sacrificers perform their priestly duties and worship
That which is the unique, mysterious personality hidden within all beings
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful and benevolent resolves
That which is the absolute knowledge, that which is the reservoir of the mind stuff
That which is memory and steadfastness and sustenance
That which is the light hidden within beings
That without which no action can be performed
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful, benevolent, beneficent, peaceful, Siva-like, divine thoughts, feelings, sentiments, emotions, resolves
That Immortal One by which all the past, present, future
All of this world is held, that by which – through which the sacrifice of the seven priests (points to the seven chakras in the body) is extended and performed,
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful and benevolent resolves
That in which the three Vedas: Rig of Knowledge, Yajuṣh of Actions, Sāman, the music of Realization
The three branches of Wisdom are held as spokes in the hub of a wheel
That in which the mind-stuff of all living beings is woven and interwoven,
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful and benevolent resolves.
As a good charioteer controls the horses and leads them on the right path
Frequently, holding the reins fast, controlling them though they be speedy,
So the mind controls the senses,
This which has its seat in the heart ever moving, the speediest of the forces
May that, my mind, be filled with beautiful and benevolent resolves.

I am doing a much larger book on this hymn but I am not getting time to do what I need to do with it. Someday it will come to you, but in the meantime you can utilize for contemplation:

the little booklet on Shiva-saṅkalpa.
the CD,
the printout,
and of course your assignment for the years to come.

Then normally when we give ‘saṁnyāsa dīkṣhā’ (vows of renunciation) and confer the saffron vestments to the new saṁnyāsin on the banks of the Ganges, we give them a ‘māhavākya,’ a ‘great sentence’ from the scriptures.
There are many mahāvākyas, four of whom are very well known in the Vedanta tradition, but there are many others that I also use. I am not preparing you, to give you, confer on you saffron. Your one yellow shawl with Gāyatrī is enough, but I am giving you a ‘mahāvākya’ for contemplation.
That mahāvākya is “Om khaṁ Brahma”. “Om khaṁ Brahma”.

Om’, for this, read Swami Rama’s two commentaries. Two commentaries on Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad2.
Khaṁ’ means space, shūnya, transcendental Null.
Brahma’. Brahman – supreme, transcendental, all expansive, absolute reality.

You can read my comments on that3.

October Teacher on Mahāvākyas

On some dates between October 15-30, 2014, I will do a special teaching on mahāvākyas, the great sentences of Vedanta and the Yoga Tradition, by sitting with a computer and you can work from the screen. My adoptive spiritual sister Bettina Baumer, at the same time, will be teaching a very fundamental Tantra text called: ‘Vijñāna-Bhairava’.
There will be other courses, other programmes going on here in between the times and you can keep a lookout for the announcements, and do please encourage your friends and so on to attend these.

Resolve for 5 Year Silence

Now some people think that I am some kind of a hero so bravely going into silence for 5 years. I tell you it is no big deal. For thousands of years yogis have been taking to the vows of silence.
I have a friend Swami who has been silent for 9 years. I have a friend Swami who has been silent for the past 27-28 years and I always send people from this Ashram to go and visit his Ashram. It is about less than 2 hours from here. He is also quite physically frail and old; he had very much wanted to come for this occasion, but his body would not permit. So many things that our body does not permit, so what can we do?
I will take one or two minutes extra…
Since I have been brought up in the Vedic lore and sat with my father for an hour of meditation from the age of 4 or 5. My father had been initiated by a great yogi, but that is a different story. He was always looking for great yogis. So in the afternoon, we used to go for a walk on the Rajpur Road in Dehradun where I was born. From the other side on the road our neighbour was coming with a Swami. That was a first time I saw a Swami coming down from the Himalayas. The light on his face impressed me. The neighbour friend said: I found him sitting by the roadside. He has been in silence for the last 25 years and has not spoken a word for these many years. He had been a silent Swami. That was the first time, I must have been about 6, that I met a silent Swami. From that moment on I knew this is something to aspire for. This is something to be. The duties of life, the duties for my Guru, they have kept me going and blabbing and blabbing.
But don’t you think that I need to fulfill one wish of mine? And you all can make it possible for me? You take over the mission. You take care of this Ashram. You take care of the global network we have and let me practise my lifelong wish to be a silent Swami.
So I thank you all, really thank you all for being here. At one time we had requests from 700 people to come from 25 countries. But for some in this day and age the costs are too high, and we cannot manage with less and so on. So we have 350 from outside and another 50. So we have about 400-450 people participating. I feel very fulfilled by your presence and I would like you to go feeling fulfilled and take your spiritual life one step further.

One Step Further

One step further

by self-purification,
by self-pacification,

making yourself peaceful beings.
Shiva-saṅkalpa – your minds and hearts filled with

Shiva-like divine thoughts, feelings sentiments, emotions and resolves.

May this vrata of yours – Shiva-saṅkalpa – be a source of fulfillment for you.
Harih Om Tat Sat.


1 Available from AHYMSIN Publishers,
2 Enlightenment without God, and Om, the Eternal Witness by Swami Rama, available through AHYMSIN Publications and other bookstores and outlets.
3 Sadhana in Applied Spirituality, Swami Veda Bharati, p. 108

Note: Please see these links:

Sadhana in Applied Spirituality at
Shiva-Sankalpa-Sūktam at
Shiva-Sankalpa-Sūktam (शिव सङ्कल्प सूक्त ) at
Shiva Sankalpa Prayer at
Shiva Sankalpa Sukta at
Please use this link to download the recordings: