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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. r 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 r 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 yogamaya@HimalayanInstitute.org.) tion provide the opportunity to structure r your personal schedule. r 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
"Transforming Power of a Year-Long Meditation Akhanda Japa r"