Monday, 29 July 2013

Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das at the 2013 Yoga Festival

Gurudass Kaur is seated 2nd from right
That's the first celestial meditation I learned at the 3HO Yoga Festival this summer in Fondjouan, France.

Gurudass Kaur who opened the festival said that this year's central mantra [if practiced for 40 days], works on self healing, a beautiful love and humility. She said that the mantra "deeply touches the heart, so it can open up to other hearts."

This mantra promotes kindness and compassion and thus, supports this year's festival theme which is to "Recognize that the other person is you," Yogi Bhajan's first of the five sutras for the Aquarian Age.

Since I jumped straight in with both feet (I started Kundalini Yoga only this April), everything is new to me - from the mantras, the kriyas, white tantric, japji, sadhnana and even the morning showers (taken 2.5 hours before the sun rises).  This special mantra apparently invokes the healing and protective energy of Guru Ram Das, a great teacher and founder of Kundalini Yoga dating way back 16th century India.

There are two parts of the mantra. The first part  - Guru Guru Wahe Guru - quoting Spirit Voyage, is "a nirgun mantra which projects the mind to the source of knowledge and ecstasy." While the second part - Guru Ram Das Guru -  is "a sirgun mantra which means the wisdom that comes as a servant of the infinite, the mantra of humility."  The complete translation is "Great is the wisdom that flows through the one that serves the infinite." Listen to the mantra as sung beautifully by Gurudass here and accompanied by the hand mudras below:


Source: Yoga Festival 2013 Program

the Children's camp
As a first timer in the festival, I was awed and humbled by the number of yogis. About 2,300 attended and took the time out to spend eight full days, some even came with their children in tow.  The yogis were mostly from Europe, a large contingent from Russia some from as far away as South Africa, South America (I met people from Chile, Uruguay), and even Iran! From Asia, there were Australians, Taiwanese (14 of them), Malaysians (5), Hong Kong (2) and moi from the Philippines.

Most volunteered as part of their seva like the Spanish group who were solid, one team and would sing (video below) to us before serving breakfast and dinner without fail everyday. I am most grateful to them and my heart goes to the kitchen staff who missed the sadhana to chop all those vegetables as early as 5am in the morning.


the White Tantric venue on the left of the chateau
The highlight of the festival was the 3-day White Tantric Yoga, an intense and very challenging technique. I say challenging because I couldn't sit still for a long time and maintain the gaze. Honestly, I thought it was going to be easy peasy since I've done it before, that is, after enduring a ten-day vipassana before.

The technique required to sit with a partner for almost ten hours doing six to eight kriyas (breaks in between though). The time set for each kriya varied from 24, 31 up to 62 minutes depending on the instructions. The objective was to break away from patterns and experience release from subconscious blockages. to experience release and ultimately, gain clarity.

Ultimately, after three days straight of white tantric, one gains clarity and eventually, mastery of self. The site explained it as "when you see and act on each moment with clarity, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your life can change. Your mind, body, and soul can act together as one. This is the path to personal freedom and awareness, and will bring more success to every area of your life."

To prepare for the White Tantric, most of the workshops conducted and the diet served were designed to cleanse the body and create openings of hips, lungs and the heart.

dawn breaks during sadhana
A typical day would start as early as 3:30 am where a group would walk around the premises singing 'Rise Up, Rise Up". I wouldn't set my alarm clock since the singing would rouse me up. Then, take a cold shower and proceed to the field for the 4:00 am sadhana.  At 7:00 am gudwara (optional though) and at 8:00 am queue up for the breakfast consisting of two bananas, two oranges and hot potato soup. At 10:00 am,  missel meeting to discuss the assigned Seva and other matters and at 11:30 am, the morning workshop where there were 20+ teachers to choose from.

 Hari Har Ji after Removing the Veil of Illusion workshop
In the afternoon, we were served a watermelon snack. At 2:00 pm, everyone goes to the big top tent for the afternoon workshop. Then, queue up for the kicheree dinner  at 4:30 pm which was mung beans and rice served with hot sauce, carrots and red beets. At 5:00 pm was tea time where golden cow drink to help the knee and hip joints was made available together with chai tea.

Then at 5:30 pm, an evening workshop with again 20+ teachers to choose from. The children's yoga was at 7:00 pm and at 7:30 pm was the yoga and healing meditation. The evening program was right after which ran until past midnight.

The day was truly packed.  And since I was jet lagged, I would be turning in early or have a massage treatment in the bazaar and miss the evening performances that would run past midnight.

For the second summer solstice (note: the theme is the second sutra is When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off),  I will definitely come more prepared:
- fly in early to avoid jet lag
- best to stick to one teacher during the morning and afternoon workshops
- volunteer for a difficult seva
- stick to the diet (I was snacking on the yummy yogi tea bars)
- complete the three-day white tantric yoga
- and do the homework, which is to chant the mantra for the next 40 days to sustain the energy

Well, after the Yoga Festival I can't say that I'm much clearer of my life's purpose and if I would gain a deeper understanding if I stayed for the whole 3-days of white tantric. I must say though that the festival was an eye opener - to recognize that the other is you - is not easy to swallow. This means, what I like or dislike in others is actually what I like or dislike in me. I guess the first step to self mastery and personal freedom is to know oneself better through others.  It's all about heart and compassion, to connect with others, be grateful for everything and just flow. Wahe guru!

Seva Kaur (Sweden) and Chan Cudennec (Hong Kong)
with Kartar Singh (Barcelona) after his Aquarian Warrior workshop

spotted Terumi Hoki (Japan) and Yilan Yu (Taiwan) before White Tantric

1 comment:

Kundalini Yoga Manila with HarNadh said...

Sat Nam Rosan!

You did SO well at the Solstice!!! Your practice during our classes are filled with strength, courage and commitment which is inspiring to all.

As Yogi Bhajan says over and over: Keep Up and You will be kept up! Welcome to your luminous, amazing life of Awareness with an expanded, loving, feeling heArt.

Thank you for all your inner work that then radiates to the rest of us.

Wahe Guru Ji!