Mandala Yoga Ashram Chakra course – evening questions and answers, 19th August.

Topics raised in this question and answer session include

‘The Inner Space’ in meditation practice.

‘Meditation has nothing to do with whether your eyes are open or closed’

The significance of Mouna (the practice of keeping silent).

The positives and negatives of focussing on the individual Chakras.


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The Essential I

Discourse given at Mandala Yoga Ashram in August 2019. The context is the 4 day course on Advaita, non-dualism, under the title ‘The Essential I’.

Investigating the “I” based on the Kena upanishad.


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Is there meaning to life?

This recording is a satsang given at the culmination of the recent 1-year course on the Kriya Yoga.

The fundamental meaning of life is not found so much in what we do, but rather in identifying with the awe-inspiring fact that we are Conscious Beings.

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How real is the law of cause and effect?

In our common-sense daily life and from a materialistic perspective the law of cause and effect seem evident and not even worth questioning. However, modern science, western philosophy and Indian Advaita have all put into question its validity:

According to modern quantum physics: the law of cause and effect is not essentially true, because events depend on the participation of the observer or Consciousness, not essentially on the events themselves.

Leibnitz (German philosopher, mathematician, 1646-1716) stated: ‘It is true that, speaking with metaphysical rigor, there is no real influence of one created substance on another’.[1] This would suggest that Leibnitz knew, on a fundamental level, that the law of cause and effect does not apply.

The ancient Hindu/ Yogic text ‘Yoga Vasishtha’ gives a story in which a crow alights on a coconut tree. At that very moment, a ripe coconut falls. Thus two unrelated events seem to be related in time and space, yet there is no causal relationship. This illustrates that the seemingly obvious relationship between cause and effect, which seems real from our mental-sensory perception, is fundamentally an illusion, a misperception or rather a limited perception.

How does this understanding impact on our lives? We continue to live our life with the assumption that effects have causes, which we can clearly see and experience. In the depths of our heart, however, let us appreciate that there is a far more mysterious background to the world of sticks and stones in which we live.

[1] From an article ‘The Reality Narrative: a Solution to the Central Mystery of Quantum Mechanics’ by Robert Solomon, p. 46 in Nexus magazine Dec 2018 –Jan 2019. 

There is suffering, yet there is One

I am not oblivious to the horrors of the world and I don’t understand why there needs to be so much suffering. Yet my intimate experience of the Mystery is so strong that I just have to admit, though I don’t understand this suffering, that it is all part of the One.  At the same time, I do my best to alleviate suffering in others and in myself.

Conscious Presence

Everyone and everything in the universe, known and unknown, is part of the network of Reality. We may love and hate, we may accept and not accept, but these attitudes are just expressions of our individual mental conditioning. Whether we are disagreeing or agreeing, liking and disliking, let us be Aware. But what is it to be Aware? It is to know conclusively that the Source of our consciousness is intimately and inseparably identified with the Conscious Presence that underlies everything.

What is important is the Unchanging

Narada: I have wonderful experiences through the practice of Yoga, but when they are over, they are only a memory. I’m sure they have contributed to my overall spiritual development, but is there more to the fulfillment of human potential?

Swami Nishchalananda: What we are really interested in is not changing experiences, but That which is Unchanging.

The Guru Principle

This satsang was given at Mandala Yoga Ashram on the 8th of June 2018, on ‘Guru Purnima’, a day traditional in India for acknowledging the role of the ‘Guru’ or Teacher.

“I don’t think an external teacher really teaches you anything……  except to show you, directly or indirectly, where you are stuck in a particular way of thinking…….  what we are, fundamentally, is always there.”

Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati

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Meditation – going deeper, a course given at Mandala Ashram in October 2018

‘…. when we see that our belief systems and our behaviour is nothing but conditioning, that then gives us the starting point for looking deeper through meditation’

Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati

This satsang, and question and answer sessions, were part of the ‘Meditation  –  going deeper’ course run by Swami Nishchalananda and others in October 2018 at Mandala Yoga Ashram.



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by Narada