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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398. Baba Shiva Rudra Balayogi

Baba Shiva Rudra BalayogiHis teachings are simple, but profound:

  • You have forgotten your Real Self.
  • You are that abode of Supreme Peace.
  • Through meditation, devotion and selfless service this illusory ego can be removed, and your true immortal nature of Supreme Peace and Permanent Happiness realized.

His Holiness Shri Shivarudra Balayogi (affectionately known as Baba Maharaj) is a Self Realized Yogi – one who has completed the path of Yoga and attained union with the Supreme Consciousness. A direct disciple of Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj, He entered His Guru’s service at the age of 19 and was later initiated into Sanyas, a monastic life of pure devotion and service. He was placed in charge of the Dehra Dun Ashram where He spent 20 years absorbed in intense spiritual practice, combining selfless service, devotion to His Guru and deep meditation.

Following the Mahasamadhi (the passing from this world’s physical form) of His Guru in 1994, Shri Shivarudra Balayogi was initiated into the spiritual practice of Tapas, in which He meditated for an average of 20 hours a day continually for the next 5 years. The culmination of this was the attainment of the goal of all spirituality – Self Realization, the permanent union of the mind with the Supreme Peace of Infinite Pure Consciousness.
He now travels the world carrying on His Guru’s mission of teaching dhyana meditation, true devotion and selfless service. Baba Maharaj is the embodiment of gentleness and compassion. His life itself is His teaching: devotion, selfless service to humanity and unrelenting effort in striving for spiritual perfection.

Shri Babaji offers initiation, freely and without obligation, into the technique of dhyana meditation which He used to achieve Self Realization. He engages audiences worldwide with His profound spiritual insight, drawn from deep personal experience rather than scriptural study. His teachings are the purest form of the sublime philosophy of Self Realization taught by the ancient Sages of India.

Website: shivarudrabalayogi.org

Books:

Interview recorded 5/1/2017

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

364. Sri M

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.

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:

Transcript of this interview.

Second Batgap interview with Sri M.

Interview recorded 10/6/2016

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

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