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Transforming Power of a Year-Long Meditation Akhanda Japa r


									                            T H I S T I M E -T E S T E D M E D I TAT I O N P R AC T I C E I N F U S E S T H E E N T I R E
                                                   W E B O F L I F E W I T H P E A C E A N D U N D E R S TA N D I N G .

2     Transforming Power of
     a Year-Long Meditation
             —Akhanda Japa
Let me begin with the concluding sentences of “Share, Serve, and Make a Difference”:
“Once transformed at the personal level, we naturally build a society in our likeness.
A transformed person can effortlessly manifest transformation in the outside world.
A healthy society breeds enlightened individuals. Once the process has begun, it gathers
its own momentum and soon we become instrumental in creating a peaceful and
happy world.” Herein lies the power of akhanda japa to transform individuals and the
collective consciousness.
             B Y   P A N D I T          R A J M A N I           T I G U N A I T ,            P h D
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   AKHAN DA           Japa

                                                                                                                A Akhanda japa is one of the surest ways to experi-
                                                                                                                ence our innate unity and connectedness with all of
                                                                                                                     humanity. A time-tested method of meditation
                                                                                                                 for bringing changes in collective consciousness,
                                                                                                                 akhanda japa exerts a positive influence on the
                                                                                                                                                                          first one to benefit from its illumination. When
                                                                                                                                                                          you collect flowers as an offering to the Divine,
                                                                                                                                                                          your hands are the first to become fragrant.
                                                                                                                                                                          Similarly, when you meditate with the intention
                                                                                                                                                                          of sharing, serving, and making a difference, you
                                                                                                                 entire web of life. It grants us an opportunity to       are the first one to benefit from your meditation,
                                                                                                                 feel how we are one at the level of the heart, how       for it is you who will be blessed with a clear,
                                                                                                                 we are connected to each other, how we are oper-         calm, and tranquil mind. Seated deep in your
                                                                                                                 ating at the same wavelength, and how we are all         heart, your own inner flame will reward you with
                                                                                                                 striving to live a happy, healthy, and peaceful life.    the priceless gift of contentment. Thereafter,
                                                                                                                 Akhanda japa is the way to breathe life into our         the transformation taking place in the collective
                                                                                                                 intention to prosper in a mutually beneficial way.       consciousness will be an additional bonus.

                                                                                                                 What Is Akhanda Japa?                                    What Is the History of Akhanda Japa?
                                                                                                                 Akhanda japa literally means uninterrupted or            From time to time, inspired teachers, saints,
                                                                                                                 ongoing meditation. This year-long practice is           philosophers, and noble kings, accompanied by
                                                                                                                 a group meditation by individuals who believe in         high-minded, peace-loving friends and students,
                                                                                                                 the virtues and far-reaching benefits of sharing,        have undertaken the practice of akhanda japa.
                                                                                                                 serving, and loving all. Those participating in          Sometimes those practices lasted for a year, and
                                                                                                                 akhanda japa are interested in gaining a deeper          other times for several years. The biggest and
Spider web: Ronald Coyan; Meditator: Jim Filipski / Guy Cali Assoc., model: Crystal Dawes; Mala beads: Jagati

                                                                                                                 understanding of themselves and others, and              the longest-lasting practice, the Maha Satra,
                                                                                                                 wish to discover the sacred bond that connects           was undertaken about 5,000 years ago right
                                                                                                                 one heart with another.                                  after India’s devastating Mahabharata war.
                                                                                                                    At the center of this akhanda japa is the             The practice lasted for 144 years. The purpose
                                                                                                                 sacred flame representing the divinity that              of that akhanda japa was to replace post-war
                                                                                                                 shines in all of us. Once lit, this flame is main-       anger, revenge, and grief with forgiveness,
                                                                                                                 tained throughout the meditation—in this                 understanding, inner strength, and vision to
                                                                                                                 case, throughout the year—without interruption.          foresee and create a healthy and peaceful future.
                                                                                                                 The person officiating akhanda japa—in this
                                                                                                                 case, myself—invokes in this flame the subtle            Why Is Akhanda Japa So Timely Now?
                                                                                                                 forces of creation which guide, govern, and              Needless to say, the 21st century presents us with
                                                                                                                 nurture our lives on this plane. Thus, the flame         the best of the best, and the worst of the worst.
                                                                                                                 serves as a locus for the divinity which all of us       Countries like India and China, which just a few
                                                                                                                 are trying to experience in life. Meditation in the      years ago were considered poor and backward, are
                                                                                                                 presence of this sacred flame infuses our minds          consuming resources as voraciously as the United
                                                                                                                 and hearts with a sense of divinity and sanctity.       States and Western Europe, even while poverty in
                                                                                                                                                                              these same countries is fracturing the spine of
                                                                                                                 Who Benefits from Akhanda Japa?                          the human race. When our appetite for con-
                                                                                                                 Let me answer you in the old-fashioned way.              sumption is so vast and unrestrained, and poverty
                                                                                                                 When you light a lamp at the altar, you are the          is so extreme, collisions are bound to happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                        w w w. H i m a l a y a n I n s t i t u t e . o r g   3
AKHAN DA         Japa
          And that is why we need peaceful energy and                 ■ How Can I Reap the Benefits of the
          understanding, coupled with love and compas-                   Year-Long Meditation?
          sion, to serve as a cushion and to restore                     Select your meditation slot, and connect
          a healthy society. However, akhanda japa is                    yourself to the collective consciousness
          a practice we must undertake not out of fear,                  generated by this historic event.
          but rather in response to the call of our soul.             ■ What Is a Meditation Slot?
                                                                         This 10-day retreat consists of three
          How Can I Participate?                                         hours of meditation a day, two weekend
          Come join this year-long, around-the-clock                     seminars, weekday intensives, and an
          meditation anytime for 10 days or more. For the                uplifting daily routine.
          past seven years, we have worked hard to prepare            ■ What If I Want to Sign Up for More
          the perfect environment for this kind of practice              Than One Meditation Slot?
          here at our campus in the Pocono Mountains.                    Choose any number of meditation slots,
          We are also proud of the hundreds of aspirants                 any time of the year. Combine two or more
          throughout the country, who, for the last several              consecutive slots (two meditation slots
          years, have been preparing themselves to join                  would cover 17 days, and so on).
          this event. When you are here, we’ll help you               ■ How Can I Meditate for Three Hours
          custom design your practice so that you gain                   a Day?
          greater flexibility, stamina, and concentration.               Daily meditation is divided into hour-long
          In the company of like-minded people, you will                 meditation sittings. You can spread your
          naturally have the support needed for your                     meditation over three sittings at different
          inward journey.                                                times of the day and night.
             When leaving, you will take the essence of               ■ What if I Cannot Sit for Even One Hour?
          the sacred flame with you and light it wherever                Meditate as long as you can and as
          you are, continuing the practice in the comfort                frequently as you wish. To increase your
          of your own home. If you cannot come at all,                   capacity to still your body and mind,
          we’ll be glad to come to you—we can hold a                     use your 10 days of retreat to enjoy custom-
          mini-akhanda japa in your hometown. That will                  tailored practices of yoga, relaxation,
          give your practice a jump-start, and connect you               breathing, diet, herbs, and a healthy routine.
          to the collective consciousness that will carry             ■ What Is the Structure of Study
          the flame of compassion from door to door and                  and Daily Routine?
          community to community. (To find out how to                    A weekend seminar is followed by a four-
          arrange a mini-akhanda japa in your city, please               day intensive. Daily classes of hatha yoga,
          contact Yogamaya Wails at (570) 253-5551                       pranayama, guided relaxation, and medita-
          ext. 1524 or                 tion provide the opportunity to structure
          r                                                              your personal schedule.

2   H i m a l a y a n   I n s t i t u t e   8 0 0 . 8 2 2 . 4 5 4 7

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