What are We and What is Love?

Swamiji gave one of his Zoom transmissions on 20th November. It seemed to be one of those times, (perhaps partly the space this editor was in?), when what we were hearing was simplicity itself, yet resonating with the core truth of our being. The simplicity of Conscious Presence, that which ‘Is’. We can make things so complicated so it takes the Teachers who have realised in themselves what they are, to bring us back to simplicity.

Meditate, is Swamiji’s message. Not in some obsessive pursuit of some imagined goal of liberation or this or that, but simply to rest in that which we are. Then we can allow Life, Existence, Conscious Presence, call it what you will, to unfold for us. The mind is a tool, Swamiji says, an excellent thinking and problem solving tool for things occurring in this embodied life on planet Earth. But to truly perceive Consciousness, only Consciousness itself can be the Teacher.

How can we enjoy the joy, the love, that is within the experience of Conscious Presence, Awareness?

The way is Meditation which reveals the treasure of our own existence….
meditate, and be in touch with that
meditate, without goal, without ambition
meditate with open heart

A guided meditation follows, just noticing sensations of touch and noticing sounds, but being aware that we can simply observe, from the still centre which is Awareness, these sensations and sounds. Then we do the same with thoughts… we are thinking but we are aware of the thoughts and the fact that we are thinking, and the same with feelings, we have some feeling or emotion but we are aware of the emotion and the fact that we are feeling it. As Swamiji says, ‘Go through the different levels of your personality, and then just dwell in Conscious Presence’

Then a question and answer session, in which Swami Nishchalananda discusses the sometimes cliché use of the word ‘Love’. But the reality is that within the experience of Conscious Presence, when we allow it to unfold, there is an experience of what we can call love, but a love without connection to anything causing such a feeling of love. It’s innate within our very being. He goes on to explain that the Sanskrit word ‘Ananda’ contains this very meaning; both ‘Joy’ and ‘Love’

The whole session can be seen on the Mandala Yoga Ashram blog where these Zoom transmitted Satsangs are now held: https://mandalayogaashram.blog/2021/11/27/swami-nishchalanandas-regular-online-satsangs/

Also, now Swamiji has a new resource… a Youtube channel… we’ll be creating some video ‘shorts’. Please enjoy here the first such video.

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Portal to Consciousness (1)

Part one of a further series of seminars on
the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra
given to the Sheffield School of Yoga
by Swami Nishchalananda.

The session starts with Dharana number 72 from the text Vigyana Bhairava Tantra.

‘Maya, or cosmic delusion, deludes us by means of the five Kanchukas. Consider and reflect on these functions. In this way you will lose your sense of separation.’


What is Maya? It means that we are not able to see things as they are. What are the Kanchukas, the means by which Maya deludes us?

The first Kanchuka is Kala, which is the function in Maya that gives us a sense of division, a sense of separation. 

The second is Vidya, which means knowledge, but here it means being limited or bound by our intellectual understanding of things. 

The third is Raga which means attachment and desire.

The fourth is Kaala, which is Time.

And the fifth is Niyati, which is the dimension of Space, and also the binding of Karma or causality.

A meditation follows, reflecting on the five Kanchukas, then there is a return to the basic practice of Buchari mudra which is locating the dwadashanta, or pranamaya kosha; that space around the body where the ‘energy field’ is found. This practice was introduced in several of the seminars in the earlier series on the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra.

Swamiji reads out verse 138 from the text, the first of the verse after the dharanas (practices). With delightful simplicity this verse says

‘Oh beloved, when the four constituents of the personality, being the individual mind, ego, vital energy, and (sense of individual) Awareness are dissolved, one identifies with consciousness.’

Bhairava, v 138 from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

Please enjoy the satsang and guided meditation, below.


This satsang was given in 2001
at Satyananda Ashram, Greece.
Sannyasa, dedication to the life
of spiritual pursuit, has changed
from the days of early ascetic ashram life
where the sannyasi was fairly much isolated
from the doings of the ‘outside world’….

Swamiji talks of both the external form of Sannyasa and the internal form. Externally, the Sannyasi may wear certain clothes such as the orange or geru of the Swami, robes, malas, and also carry names and titles. He tells us that on his return to the UK when he established Mandala Yoga Ashram, he was trying so hard to avoid any ego trip that can make the Sannyasi feel superior to others, that he dropped the title ‘Swami’ for a while. But it became hard to maintain that because people kept calling him Swamiji anyway!

What of the internal form? We live in a selfish world. But isn’t the pursuit of spirituality, self-knowledge, a selfish ego-driven goal? Then again, how else can one start out on such a path? Don’t we have to use the ego to map our goals and aims in life be they mundane or ‘spiritual’?

Egocentric life can get mellowed, balanced. If we are open to the present moment, allowing things to happen which are not defined by our ego, then this opens us up to things which we cannot expect through the ego.

Swami Nishchalananda

The recording below was given to sannyasis at the Satyananda Ashram in Greece, established in 1977 by Swami Sivamurti, pictured here with Swami Nishchalananda

‘Sannyasa gives certain guidelines and principles so that we don’t get too scattered. It helps us not to waste energy on things that take us nowhere.’

Please enjoy the recording

14th March 2021 Satsang with Swami Nishchalananda

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.

Satyananda Tapovanam 10th January 2004

Another from the series recorded at this Ashram near Bangalore. A series of topics are discussed between Swamiji and the people who were there with him, and again, the recording is as good as we can get it given the ambient noises of nature all around… which leads on to…

…the first topic which someone raised – our connection with Nature. Some interesting stories here including:
The Blue Cow (!!)
Ronnie’s Leopard … real or a fiction?

Continue reading “Satyananda Tapovanam 10th January 2004”

The Lokas

The second archive recording from Satyananda Tapovanam, near Bangalore, India. Swami Nishchalananda gives an exposition on the Lokas, which are regarded in Hindu Symbolism as ‘celestial realms’, but also have a more practical application to understanding the ‘realms of consciousness’ that exist within a human experience. It is this aspect that Swamiji explores in this atmospheric, friendly interchange from January 2004 in the Bangalore ashram.

Continue reading “The Lokas”