Since spring 2020 Swami Nishchalananda has been holding regular Satsang sessions on Zoom. These one-hour meetings, which have come to be known as 'Zoomsangs', are wonderful opportunities to enjoy Swamiji's wise company and receive a dose of his insight in the comfort of your own home. The informal sessions normally include a discourse, Q&A, and short guided meditation.
On this page you'll find a selection of recordings from the past year and you can also sign-up to receive invitations to upcoming Zoomsangs.
"Yoga is the investigation into, and identification with, Being"
Swamiji starts with a meditation on the 'kleshas' from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras; those things which bring us pain and make us unhappy. A discourse follows, starting with a discussion on 'Avidya', that is, lack of identification with Consciousness. A variety of questions and answers follows, beginning with re-visiting Dharana 76 from Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, on the nature of thoughts.Download The Meditation
The session starts with a guided meditation (see below) , the subject of which is dharana no. 76 from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. Swamiji paraphrases the practice as, ' Thoughts do not indicate the fundamental basis of what you are. Furthermore, thoughts do not belong to anyone'. Have we been conditioned to accept that we are our thoughts, or our mind? In which case, that's quite a shocking statement.
After the meditation, there are questions around the issue of the ego and its role in 'spiritual' life.Download The Meditation
This satsang was also part of the Mandala Ashram course 'Facing Death, Embracing Life'. Swamiji explores the issues around death in relation to meditation, and also some classic texts which talk on the subject. The Katha Upanishad is exclusively about the topic, but there are also many relevant passages in the Bhagavad Gita. Swamiji also explores some interesting ideas around the topic of re-incarnation. His take on the subject is a little different to some of the commonly held notions perhaps.
Our quest for information can be relentless, of course aided these days by the internet. The Yogic perspective is to spend time away from thought, in order to allow intuitive wisdom to become apparent. Finding meaning in life does not depend on aquiring more and more mind based knowledge. Swamiji uses most of the session after the meditation, to answer questions, such as Raja Yoga (meditation) in relation to Gyana Yoga (reflection) which relates to the first part of this text. Meditation is fundamental.
Please enjoy the satsang.
The occasion is Guru Purnima, a festival celebrating the significance of the 'Guru'. Swamiji has said so many times that one does not need to go searching for a Guru; it's more useful to prepare ourselves through practice to be open to whatever Life will bring to us. This may be an external Teacher, or it may be a connection with 'inner' wisdom.
In this satsang Swamiji recommends the medicine of daily awe and wonder to counteract the negative effects of so much fear in the collective psyche at this time. 5 minutes of awe and wonder in the face of nature's beauty - a flower, a moving vista, the starlit sky - can do wonders for the soul, he reminds us, lifting our spirits generally as well as creating an openness that we can take into our more formal practice. As always, satsang closes with a Q&A.
In this satsang Swamiji stresses the importance of practice, urging us to set aside at least one hour per day for connecting with or opening to our fundamental identity. He also speaks to the challenges brought to all of us by the pandemic, and gently suggests we might use these challenges to inspire our practice and to shake ourselves out of any sense of complacency that may be present. There follows a guided meditation centered on the relationship between the mind with its myriad objects of perception and the underlying Consciousness which perceives through the mind and senses. As always, satsang closes with a Q&A.
In this satsang Swamiji introduces and highly recommends the Yoga Vasistha as an advaitic text full of startling wisdom. From this text he reads and illuminates two verses which, if pondered deeply upon, can revolutionise our understanding of the nature of cause and effect. There follows a meditation on the meaning of the Shanti Path -chanted at the end of each satsang and on many other occasions here at the Ashram- and Q&A. The Shanto Path meditation is available below as an audio download.
In this lovely satsang full of depth and humour, Swamiji discourses on the Yoga Sutras from a very humane perspective. He emphasises that the path of the yogi is not one of dis-identification with the body and personality in favour of the more fundamental identification with the underlying conscious presence. Identification with the person is not 'wrong', he assures us. It is only exclusive identification with the person that leads to a limiting and ultimately frustrating experience. But by expanding our sense of self to encompass both the human being that we are and the more fundamental reality of conscious presence, we can experience greater freedom and resilience in our lives. There follows a meditation and Q&A.
In this special St Valentine's Day satsang Swamiji suggests that we might rename this day 'Appreciation Day'. He then leads a beautiful mediation on the topic of unconditional love in the form of appreciation, guiding us to offer a flower of appreciation to everyone in our lives and our world who would benefit from a virtual hug at this time - including those who we dislike.
After the meditation comes a Q&A session dealing with questions on the challenges we might be facing in 2021, how to cope with increased work demands arising from the current situation, and how to be liberated from dukkha (frustration).
This satsang includes two lovely guided meditations and some Q&A with Swamiji.
Swami Nishchalananda shares insights on finding meaning and deep sustenance in these troubled times; leads a beautiful guided meditation; and discourses on the Kena Upanishad.
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