December 20, 2012
I am sending you blessings from the beautiful and peaceful Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and I invite you to join us for another season of learning, expansion and joy. My Guru, Swami Vishnudevananda, arrived here 45 years ago and immediately felt the strong spiritual currents and healing vibrations that surround this land. He turned it into a yoga ashram in order to help as many people as possible and to serve humanity in the best possible way. He left his body 19 years ago, and since then we have been trying our level best to continue his mission.
What exactly was his mission? When he came to the West, he felt that he had to teach yoga and Vedanta to individuals in order to help them to heal on all levels and to progress on their spiritual path. However, following his 1969 grand vision, there was a shift in his mission. He felt that there was something fundamentally difficult with the karmic situation of mankind and due to his great compassion and love for humanity he was determined to do something about it. He saw planet Earth engulfed by fire and people trying to escape. It was clear to him that there was nowhere to escape and that the only solution to this situation was to break down barriers and to unite.
So, the focus of his mission shifted toward breaking barriers, both literally and symbolically. He broke physical barriers by flying over war zones; he broke religious, cultural, and racial barriers by bringing together leaders from various religions and people from diverse cultures; he invited scientists to bridge gaps between science and spirituality; he gathered speakers with diverse backgrounds including healers, psychics, army generals, and political leaders, to name a few. He welcomed everyone, he embraced them all. He foresaw a time of great transformation, in which humanity will have to face the fact that if we do not learn to live together then we may all die together.
I believe that this time, the time to learn to live together, is upon us. I believe that there is never a better time than now for us to make vigorous efforts to break barriers, just like Swami Vishnudevananda did.
I invite you to join this mission. I welcome you to visit the Ashram and experience the multiplicity of names, forms, shapes, religions, and cultures. Through this multiplicity we eventually discover the underlying unity; we bathe in the love and Grace of God as we celebrate the unity in our diversity; we realize our oneness with the entire creation, with God, with the Guru, and with our own essential nature, which is nothing but absolute peace, joy, and bliss.
Om Shanti, Om Peace
Swami Swaroopananda, Director
Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and Acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.