Message from the EBM to the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers (ISYVC)
August 24th, 2020 (Statement 8)
The last 6 months have been a time of deep reflection and contemplation. The EBM has been meeting more frequently than before, discussing different topics relating to our global organization with its many centers, ashrams, staff and students.
These frequent meetings brought us together more than ever before. Our reflection led us to acknowledge the one thing which we all have in common, our commitment to carry on the mission received from our teachers : to serve humanity and the planet with enthusiasm and faith.
We feel that this time of reflection is a humbling time, as well as an opportunity for growth and a rediscovery of strength.
Our organization went through many phases since its very humble start. It all sprung from the energy, faith and vision of one man, Swami Vishnudevananda, determined to follow the instruction of his Guru, Swami Sivananda : « Go to the West, people are waiting ».
Swami Vishnudevananda went through intense hardships to be able to bring to us the authentic and powerful message of yoga in the context of a culture which was foreign to him and which was utterly unaware of these teachings.
This has been for him and for those who felt inspired to join his work, a constant adventure, with its unavoidable learning process of trial and errors, times of tremendous challenges and wonderful achievements all mixed.
The Acharyas of the Sivananda organization, who inherited the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya from their own teachers, feel very strongly that it is their dharma to continue the tradition they have been initiated into. They also feel that these teachings are highly relevant to the current time.
Humanity is experiencing a crisis in consciousness and at the same time, humanity is going through a profound spiritual transformation and awakening. This crisis will not be solved by material means nor by psychological means, but only by spiritual means. Human beings can transcend this crisis and ascend to a higher level of consciousness by freeing themselves from the dictates of the lower mind and boldly asserting their true nature. It really is a time of breaking free from limitations and walking into the unknown. It is a time where much courage, faith, creativity and prayer are needed.
Swami Vishnudevananda had this grand vision of planet earth engulfed by a global fire. He worked untiringly to prevent this possible future for humanity, using the tools of yoga and vedanta. Our task is to continue this mission and to walk in his footsteps.
So practically speaking, what do we want to do?
- To learn from past mistakes and try our best to prevent them from happening again.Our misconduct policies are in place since the mid 2000’s and are being reviewed regularly to ensure that abuses of any types are handled promptly and efficiently and are never tolerated. We are training our staff in the understanding and practical applications of these policies.To anyone who was harmed in the past, we want to sincerely apologize. We pray that healing and reconciliation can come over time.
- To continue to work with harmony, unity, love and friendship with each other, with our staff, students and the world.
- To continue to honor our teachers, who took it upon themselves to share with the world the teachings of yoga and vedanta, and contributed in transforming individuals and humanity at large.
- To continue to propagate the principles of unity in diversity, peace and upliftment of the mind.
- To reinforce our mission of training yoga teachers, as well as training our own staff to become yogis, committed to sadhana and spiritual life, who inspire others through their example. Part of this training includes giving them time for rejuvenation, study and individual guidance.
- To continue conducting interfaith symposia, unity in diversity conferences, bringing together scientists, artists, scholars and spiritual teachers from all walks of life.
- To continue to share our teachings online to enable those who cannot travel to our ashrams and centers to benefit from the teachings.
- To communicate with our students regularly in the form of meetings where we deeply listen to their concerns and positive ideas.
- To continue training the young generation and prepare them for higher responsibilities.
- To continue the peace missions of Swami Vishnudevananda through collective actions like global meditations and mantra chanting for peace and by working to overcome all kinds of man-made mental borders.
We would like to thank the staff, karma yogis and students of the Sivananda organization for their love, devotion and continued support. All are such an important part of this great mission that our teachers left for us to carry. Thank you all for carrying your duties selflessly and lovingly. « United we stand, divided we perish. »
May we daily become better and humbler instruments in the service of humanity.
The Acharyas of the Sivananda organization