487. Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'BrianYogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is a meditation teacher, an award-winning poet, writer, and the spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment—a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center with headquarters in San Jose, California. She has taught Kriya Yoga nationally and internationally for more than three decades and has received many service awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Promotion of Religious Pluralism. Ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, her message is “engaged enlightenment” – an invitation to live an awakened, creatively inspired, and fulfilled life, now.

Along with her service as a meditation teacher and esteemed Yogacharya, Ellen Grace O’Brian is the Founder of Carry the Vision, a community nonviolence education project bringing meditation instruction to staff and children in schools, the prison population, and other segments of society. She is the founder and President of Meru Institute, providing healthy lifestyle education and leadership training in yoga studies, Ayurveda, and community service. She is host of The Yoga Hour, a weekly podcast with listeners in over 130 countries. Her latest book, The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, was recently published by New World Library.

Other books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 21, 2019.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

481. David Buckland, 2nd Interview

David Buckland

David grew up on the SW coast of Canada. He began witnessing full time during a 6-month retreat in the mid-’70s then the lights came on and celestial perception began. It soon became clear that Self was awake within but had not woken up to Itself through this form yet. Self co-existed with an identified ego. Subtle perception continued to unfold in a myriad of ways.

With a more outward stroke into career, marriage, and family, inner
development continued but took a back seat to life’s responsibilities.

 

Then in 2005, much of the old life fell away and spirituality moved back to the foreground. After some feedback and darshan with Lorne Hoff, Self at last woke up to Itself here. Probably because of the long witnessing, this was quickly followed by a series of profound shifts in Being. (see my first BatGap interview) And then transcending Being into Brahman. In 2011, David was awarded a graduate degree in Vedic Science.

In this interview, we had an extended preamble to touch on the earlier shifts, then we discussed the ParaBrahman shift, pure Divinity, and how embodied Divinity is waking up laws of nature. This process will help raise the presence of Divinity in consciousness.

In the second part of the interview, we touched on the book Our Natural Potential describing the 7 stages of enlightenment, then explored some related topics.

For over a decade, David has been blogging on a wide range of subjects related to unfolding enlightenment. Under the nickname Davidya, he has posted close to 2,000 articles. During the Science and Nonduality Conference in 2017, David gave a talk on the stages described in this interview.

Website: davidya.ca

Book: Our Natural Potential: Beyond Personal Development, The Stages of Enlightenment (Rick Archer wrote the Foreword.)

Other BatGap shows with David:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded October 25, 2018.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1E7giBOxLo

445. Swami Sarvapriyananda

Swami SarvapriyanandaSwami Sarvapriyananda has been appointed as Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of New York, and assumed his duties there on January 6, 2017.

Prior to this, he served as assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California for 13 months, beginning on December 3, 2015.

Swami joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994 and received Sannyas in 2004. Before being posted to the VSSC’s Hollywood Temple, Swami served as an acharya (teacher) of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math. He has served the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in various capacities including being the Vice Principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, Principal of the Shikshana Mandira Teacher Education College at Belur Math, and the first Registrar of the Vivekananda University at Belur Math.

Website: vedantany.org

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

Interview recorded March 3, 2018.

441. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

Sadhvi Bhagawati SaraswatiSadhviji was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for the last twenty-one years, engaged in spiritual practice and dedicated service.She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by her Guru, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji.

Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. She has also been a featured speaker at the United Nations, Parliament of World Religions and many international conferences and summits. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures.

She has also received numerous national and international awards and recognition.

At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where Sadhviji lives most of the year, she gives daily spiritual discourses and satsang, teaches meditation, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities.
Sadhviji is:

  • Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaithorganization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation & hygiene to the children of theworld.
  • President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs.
  • Director of the annual world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Le Monde and other prestigious publications.

Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

Websites:

Book: Vegetarianism: For Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Souls & Our Planet

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded February 6, 2018.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

410. Sri M, Second Interview

Sri MSri M – spiritual guide, social reformer and educationist – was born into a Muslim family on November 6, 1949 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His transformational journey, from a young boy to a living yogi, is a fascinating story symbolized by single-minded discipline and dedication.

Entranced by mystical stories of Sufi saints and a brief encounter with a numinous Swami at a relatively young age, he was not only drawn to the ‘truth’ but also the compelling landscape of the snow-clad Himalayas. At the age of nine, his spiritual transformation was initiated by his future Master, Babaji (also known as Maheshwarnath Babaji), who miraculously appeared under a jackfruit tree in the compound of his house in Thiruvananthapuram. Though only fleeting, this meeting definitively set the stage for their future reunion in the Himalayas at Sri M’s age of nineteen.

The next three and half years, he lived and travelled extensively through the Himalayas with his Master. Maheshwarnath Babaji guided him right through his initiation, his Kundalini awakening, the grueling journey to Tholingmutt and, the eventual meeting with the Grand Master, Sri Guru Babaji also known as Sri Mahavatar Babaji.

A few years after his Master passed away, he received the spiritual go-ahead to commence his mission. In 1998, he started his teachings, eventually leading to formation of the Satsang Foundation.

In response to a query on the spiritual progress of a person and the path to that evolution, he responds, “Though, my parampara is kriya yoga, I don’t think it suits all aspirants. I propound satsang even between two people. It cuts across barriers of caste and creed. Spiritual evolution is not diverse from regular living. Intervals of solitude are necessary but you cannot shut yourself totally. The world around you is your touchstone to spiritual practice.” Conversant with teachings of most major religions, Sri M says: “Go to the core. Theories are of no use.” His message seeks to transcend the outer-shell of all religions, by exploring their mystical core to nurture the innate goodness in every human being.

Website: satsang-foundation.org

Books:

First Batgap interview with Sri M.

Discussion of this in interview in the BatGap Community Facebook group.

Interview recorded 7/30/2017

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

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