We are traveling with some of our friends to Bangalore for the celebration with Guru Rama Mata of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' 11th Mahasamadhi on December 1 and 2. It does not really seem that long ago that one of our gurus passed, but we are grateful for our living Guru Mata and her many blessings.
After the celebration, we are going to Kanchi Math to meet again with one or both of the Shankaracharayas. We had so many tremendous blessings in 2005 and 2007 that we are taking advantage of being in India for Guruji's Mahasamadhi to visit them again near Chennai/Madras. We will be visiting them again at the beginning of our Pilgrimage Tour, leaving May 1, 2009, for 24 days.
Happy holidays to everyone!
As the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, I have been thinking about the state of the world and our place in it.
We have a new president-elect in Barack Obama. His election is an historic event. I was not originally one of those supporting him, but I became a supporter as I saw him speak and handle difficult circumstances and foes with equal agility, skill and confidence. I now think that his election is a gift from God. In my meditations, I have felt a complete change in the underlying emotions of people of color all over the world. There was previously an anger and cynicism, especially in the U.S., that has mostly evaporated. It is amazing. I have never felt anything quite like it. The absence of that feeling in our collective unconscious as a nation and culture will allow certain things to be accomplished that may have not been possible under another president. I call this Grace.
Now, we have a role to play in helping President Obama make the change he promised in his campaign by putting our prayers to work for that change on a daily basis.
I remember several years ago when astrologer Barbara Schermer from Chicago told me that she had run the chart of somebody I had never heard of named Barack Obama, and that his chart indicated that he had a good chance to become president of the United States. I privately thought that his name alone would prevent that from ever happening, given the veins of prejudice that run though our nation. Wrong. When I called Barbara after the election to congratulate her on her professional vision, she informed me that she was chanting for his protection. I thought it was a marvelous idea, so I share it with you here. She is chanting the Narasimha mantra: Narasimha Ta Va Da So Hum for his protection for a few minutes every day. Please join her efforts with your own chanting.
I have also been reflecting on the chanting group in Los Angeles led by Shivananda and Jagadamba that for over two years has met once a month and chanted mantras for the Restoration of Dharma and World Peace. They have been chanting using the CD with that title. Having a CD is one thing, using it in service is another. They have been quietly serving us all in seeking peace with regularity and intensity. There are also other groups doing wonderful work chanting for our collective welfare. See Chanting Groups in the right column.
Thanks also to those who have been consistently and patiently dispensing wisdom from their experience to members of the online Mantra Teacher Yahoo Group and the other Yahoo Groups. Their consistent attitudes of service and commitment to spiritual discipline are inspiring.
In St. Louis, Deborah Bourbon has created a spiritual store that is really a community for all kinds of spiritual pursuits. Everyone is warmly greeted when they enter and made to feel at home. It is unique among all the places I visit. Every night a different group (or two) meets there for the group's common purpose. All are welcome. We often speak of the spirit of tolerance and acceptance of various spiritual groups and practices. The Pathways store practices it and has been doing so for many years.
As you know, I travel a lot. My journeys would not be successful without the efforts of many people: On the East Coast, Matthew Kaufmann, Jean LoPresti, Theresa Thompson, Gretchen Carmel, Bill & Denise Barry, Josslyn Boudette, Chris Walsh and Don Campbell, Maura Kilcoyne; in Chicago, Alice Kelley, Mary Huddleston, Mary Lou Horwat, Dawn Copeland; in Canada, Ann Waschuk, Paula King, Wanda Oster, Stacey Kardash, Mugs McConnell; in Missouri, besides Rev. Deborah Bourbon and her able assistant, Mel, Chris McClanahan and Elizabeth Caulder, just to name a few.
Here at home, Ann Paes, Dorine Ollson and Tonya Featherstone are pillars of the Beaverton Gayatri Temple. We couldn't operate it without them. Our online store would not ship properly without Beverly Cothren in California. In the product production area, Patrick Meyers, owner of Quality Instant Printing in San Dimas, CA, and Gordon Steich, owner of Media Systems in Pasadena, CA, are invaluable. All the artwork for Saraswati Productions products is done by John Rheaume. We are grateful for his expertise. The trips to India would be nearly impossible without the wise and canny trip management of Kirit Pandya of Michigan.
Finally, Satyabhama is managing both Saraswati Publications, LLC, and Dharma Satsang, Inc. She does a much better job than I could have done, thinking of items of importance that would not have occurred to me. This newsletter is her idea and creation. She also arranges all my travel for which I am more grateful than I can express.
For all of these people and their talents, I am extremely grateful. I close with the most unique general "thank you" I have ever heard. It is highly styled and comes from an old Army buddy, Don Roth: Such an exhibition of your kindness I shall ever hold in grateful recollection.
SHANTE PRASHANTE SARVA BHAYA UPASHA-MANI SWAHA
Invoking supreme peace I offer (surrender) the quality of fear to its source in the higher and formless universal mind. Salutations.
The word for fear is "bhaya." In this mantra, other words may be substituted for relief from other unpleasant emotions:
kroda - anger
shoka - grief
In Healing Mantras, Chapter 9, there are 18 moreSanskrit words listed to substitute in this mantra for other undesirable inner conditions.
In these trying economic times, besides chanting to rid yourself of fear and other unpleasant emotions, you might consider doing a prosperity discipline of Om Shrim Shrim Shrim Maha Lakshmiyć Namaha and/or a mantra that the great Shankaracharya reportedly chanted, Om Hrim Hrim Shrim Shrim Hrim Hrim Phat.
I should also relate to you that my meditations have repeatedly said that we workers for the light will be provided for in some way.
Some will even find that great prosperity comes to them, even while the general economy is in difficulty.
So take heart, do your disciplines and have faith.
The works of Thomas Ashley-Farrand (Namadeva) give unprecedented, detailed instruction in how to empower yourself using the techniques of the ancient sages and rishis. He and Satyabhama have been given the mission by their Gurus Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Guru Rama Mata to bring these teachings to everyone.
To that end, he has written and recorded a number of works, and he travels to North America and the UK to teach workshops. Bi-annually, we lead a Pilgrimage Tour of India's Holy Places, visiting with the Shankaracharayas at Kanchi Math, Guru Mata at Vishwa Shanti Ashram, and doing fire ceremonies in the Himalayas, among the highlights of the trip.
We have founded a religious organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, which has opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon. Plans are in the works to found temples with residential communities in Oregon, New Mexico, and other locations. The link to it is in the right column.
These works are offered in a spirit of service. We sincerely hope that they will further you on your path.
Prem & Shanti,
Satyabhama (Margalo Ashley-Farrand)
Saraswati Publications, LLC
Holiday shopping suggestions for others or request for your self:
Mantra Meditation book & CD - a beginner's guide
Mantra Therapy for Prosperity CD - help with blocks to prosperity and mantras to bring it in
Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, Volume I & II CDs now recorded and available
Mantra, Path to Spiritual & Material Attainment - a 15-hour workshop on 14 CDs
2008-2009 Schedule of Workshops
We will be doing workshops in the following places in 2008-9:
December - Bangalore, Indiahttp://sanskritmantra.com/schedule.shtm
Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' 11th Mahasamadhi Celebration
January - Beaverton, OR; Los Angeles, CA
February - Albuquerque, NM; London, England
March - Portland, OR; Boston & Kripalu, MA;
April - Kansas City, MO
May - India Pilgrimage - May 2009
(We still have a few places left. Click on the link in the box below for more info.)
June - Pensacola, FL; Atlanta, GA, and Charleston, SC
July- St. Louis, MO.
August - Far Horizons, Sequoia Nat'l Monument, CA
Sept- Keene, NH, MA: Boston & Kripalu
October - CANADA: BC - 3 workshops, Alberta - 2 workshops
November - CANADA, Alberta
Our 2008 schedule for details and updates will be updated soon for 2009 information:
Los Angeles, CA
New Hampshire (new email address)
Gayatri Temple Meetup
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony Recordings
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, 2nd. Ed., is now being revised to simplify pronunciation.
As promised some time ago, material to be chanted is being recorded by Namadeva
to be sold in CD sets of 7 or more CDs.
Volume I and Volume II 7-CD sets are now for sale at our online store for $65 each.
Volume III, which will be more than 7 CDs, will be ready in 2009.