- (Past events)
By Vasile Szavo, Yoga and Tantra student
“The ego is the freedom of the mind to choose anything else than GOD”
- one of Mihai Stoian’s thoughts shared with us in this silent retreat.
I believe that only the Divine Grace was the one guiding me and making possible for me the Iceland Silent Retreat in January – February 2011.
First there was the state of longing for God after the Hiatus spiral in August in Costinesti, 2010, then, in the November Archangel’s Week, the mysterious benefic ‘obsession’ for the meditation music with Uriel Archangel and then, finally, my silent, but intensive request to God to participate in this retreat… and when I gave up on it – since it was impossible for me to imagine how could I get the money for affording this experience – and confessed this to my beloved, a miracle happened and it suddenly became possible that I, myself …could also be there… in my first silent retreat for revealing the divine essence, the immortal Self ATMAN. Indeed, if I were to follow what my mind was telling me I never have had this chance, but a simple inner request from the heart was triggering what I consider a true miracle for me.
Considering the spiritual results I have personally experienced in this retreat, I have to admit that this spiritual retreat was relatively easy: already the trip itself felt like a light vacation, my first breaths on the Icelandic shore in a state of an adolescent’s joy and happiness, the funny moments in the bus with the familiar and new faces, Mihai’s lucid enthusiasm for the Icelandic scenery, the electronic toy helicopter I took care of on the way, the taste of the rich in minerals water and of the ashram’s bread and soup and the entire atmosphere of the Icelandic yoga school reawakened something very pure and joyful inside, which reminded me of the times I was 12 and had just discovered with full enthusiasm Chopin, buying tape after tape with his crystalline music.
Neither the quite strict program of 6.5 hours meditation, nor the rule of total silence were too difficult for me and the experiences I’ve had in the third day and in the last day of the retreat have showed me very clearly that it is possible… what E.Tolle, Maharishi, Yogananda or Poonja described in their books are attainable and easier to attain then I thought, and the focus on this high goal is giving by far much more joy and ecstasy than anything else the world can give. I just couldn’t believe how - in my ten years of practicing in this yoga school - I tried almost all the types of Yoga,… except for this one… all those stories about how difficult these meditations were, now they are, in my vision, just bedtime stories for kids …
“After the Iceland Silent Retreat a very curious and cunning reporter approached a participant in the camp, asking him the first question: ‘who am I talking to?’; the student’s amazed gaze was pondering for a moment on a spot somehow behind the reporter’s microphone, then the calm answer came with the ingenuity of a revelation: ‘to me’ ”- the second spiritual joke inspired to Mihai towards the end of the camp.
The famous question ‘who am I?’ from Ramana Maharishi’s self-inquiry technique bears almost no meaning for the reader of his books unless doubled by the practice of centering in the heart. The seven steps technique in which we were gradually introduced, during the meditation program, had on me the effects of several revelations…first of all because my ideas about the heart and the soul were so abstract and far from my personal experience. From the short lectures we were presented I understood that essentially the concept of the heart as the center of everything that exists is a genuinely practical concept: I remember many years ago in my room I had a red old armchair in which I took a break sometimes, simply following a need of my being to stop for a moment in the middle of the very agitated emotional life I had in that period. There was one time, I clearly recall, when I simply felt a state of bliss – experienced as profound peace – just by stopping and relaxing with the eyes closed sitting on this armchair… Indeed, this experience of mine was an authentic centering in the heart which I did without knowing anything at that time about yoga. So, it became clear for me that I’ve already had some special moments in my life when the centering in the heart was there for short moments, but to find a simple practical method to recall and have that state at will is almost like dreaming about the Aladdin’s wonderful lamp from the One Thousand and One Nights fairy tale… still, and this was my first extraordinary revelation, with the right method, the adequate conditions created and a perseverant practice, the state of being in the heart can be attained now, by almost anyone who truly aspires to it.
Practically, the crystal clear exposure of the seven steps meditation technique had the role of protecting me from various traps, but even in these privileged conditions, the very clear guidance and the unison of aspiration with the fellow spiritual aspirants in this retreat, I still had to pass through my own tests until getting the first results.
The room bathed in blue light: “…the heart is the king … it is the secret mirror of God inside of us …it makes possible that we can really have what we have and to become what we really are…beginning with the awakened heart we can start evolving and we can reach true spiritual accomplishments…” - from the theory in the retreat
It is still just sterile theory to talk about the heart and is like in one of the short movies with Poonja we watched in the retreat, about the one who talks and doesn’t know, while the one who knows, doesn’t talk … still the very reality of the tests I had, suggests that also the seconds of awareness of my individual heart - I’ve had in the camp - were nonetheless authentic. The blockages in the neck area, unblocked after the first two days, the difficulties with finding the relaxed meditation posture and the triggered physical pain until finding it, the fights with the fluctuations of my mind during the meditations and the kind of an incapacity to believe and pessimism about my capacity to be in the heart, as if forever imprisoned in the mind’s schemes, are some of the shades imprinted in the room where I found rest between meditations and re-read Bhairavastava (the Kashmir Shivaism’s masterpiece poem about being in the heart with the divine) with more and more thirst. From my window I could see young fir trees and, in the evenings, after the blue light bathed the table and the bed, the vision of the warm-houses awakened in me the memory of Roerich’s paintings depicting in the snowy scenery realm of Shambala.
Solheimar, under the snow in the fifth day of the retreat was the magical place I had a walk to visit the green-houses and leave in the snow storm all my melancholy about the lost moments of this life in which I was not in the heart…but far from the essential nectar of the ‘king of my being’, the spiritual heart. There, behind the glass of the green-houses I found my little tree with lively remembrance of the true experience of the man who came back from clinical death - the heart awakening essential story watched in the 2010 Costinesti summer yoga camp about the voyage to God’s heavenly realm of a man who found in a room, there, in God’s heaven the small tree representing the sum of the good deeds he did during his life time. This impressive moment of his story was the subject of my identification, while looking through the windows of the green house and choosing my own little plant…’my tree’.
And yes, in the third day I also had the grace of three seconds of centering in the heart continually and profoundly and the stunning effects are still amazing me: first of all I suddenly remembered in a new light some decisions I took not from the heart in the past, I saw the moment like from above, having a complete perspective… and as if burning that karma of ignorance about the hearts’ solutions, I found myself again in the middle of the warm flow of love which showed me the right solution; simultaneously with these clarifying recollections I felt an inner state of verticality as a renewal of all my masculine essence… reconfiguring my self-transfiguration to the highest extent and giving back to me the freshness of all my purest aspirations. What was really shockingly real and incredible was the speed of few seconds in which I found a renewed inner strength which I haven’t even slightly guessed it existed inside of me. Together with this integrating perspective and refreshed virility I also felt vaguely how is that state in which one knows everything, the past and the future, being centered in the axis of the present moment. After these astonishing states I started to gain an inner happiness which was increasing gradually until the end of the retreat culminating in the last day.
Ideal conditions for the ones aiming to the highest accomplishment on the ‘fast-lane’: NOW and HERE.
It is not any more a mere juicy spiritual saying for us (those participating in this retreat) the expression ‘here and now’. It’s became as practical this expression as the asana-s for a first year yoga student. As Mihai Stoian - our guide in this inner spiritual adventure – called this type of spiritual experience we’ve had: “the perpendicular spiritual practice”, is the one aiming straightly to the highest goal, without wandering in the almost endless stages on the horizontal plane, but taking the bold turning on the vertical axis, directly aiming towards the divine. It is ”a different quality of experience” as he puts it, and it can hardly be compared with anything else in the vast domain of possible horizontal spiritual practices. If, for instance on the tantric path one might have Tantra retreat 1 followed by a new theme, or new initiations in Tantra retreat 2 and so on until Tantra retreat ‘n’, the silent retreat for revealing the Self can only be repeated and continually remembered since it brings us back to the same divine axis within us, which is immobile, unchangeable and springing from the eternity of the very origins of the universe. These camps are analogically speaking like practicing alpinism to the highest peak on the most direct path, the shortest and most efficient side of the mountain.
Also Camelia’s perceptions about the divine entities of light guiding us from the invisible realms here in the camp were significantly highlighting that - what we’ve experienced in Solheimar this year - it was authentic and highly significant for our transformation.
Here I must admit that I’ve never imagined that this kind of retreat in the same space together with others can contain so much depth and authenticity. The rules of the camp clearly stated that we are supposed to be silent at all times and not to look to the others, but live inside of our own sphere as if we were alone in an individual retreat. For me these were relatively easy to be done by imagining that I am in God’s presence; so the only presence I have to take care of is God. And this way of acting brought good results for me…. Still, while living in the same room with my room mate some clarifications and purifications also appeared and I realized that they were not by coincidence catalyzed by my roommate’s presence: the funniest example to this effect was about his wake up alarm singing a song which was hunting me until the end of the camp; until, in the last night I had a releasing dream in which he was acting in a comedy triggering my strongest laughter in this life time …in a dream…thus any melancholic tendency was like burnt away in the fire of this brotherly communion through laughter.
A key element for remembering a special spiritual state, revealed here Mihai, is to recreate the same conditions in which that special state appeared for the first time…but what were the ideal conditions offered to us by Iceland?
The cool temperature which is excellent for meditation, the pure elements of nature specific to the subtle atmosphere of Iceland, the common aspiration of the spiritual group, and mostly and firstly the warm hearted hosting of the Icelandic yogis and here the gallery of angels taking care of us is enlarged with the volunteers who offered to organize the camp, administrate all the practical details and cook for us every day out of their immense generosity of the heart: especially Magdalena, Serafim and Natha Iceland volunteers, Adam and the others deserve all our gratefulness, since without their initiative and sacrifice these ideal conditions hadn’t been possible to be met.
The Satsang in Natha Iceland Reykjavik: protect your ‘candle light’ not only while meditating and being in a protective environment, but also while walking on the street in the springtime sunshine of the joyful states or the snow storm of the hard to control karmic events, be like those who manage this on and on in all the life situations even in the most intensive ones, the rare, spiritually liberated beings – ideas from the conclusive talk of the retreat.
For me in this spiritual retreat the difference between the astonishing third day’s glimpses of awareness on my heart’s depths and the camp’s final day personal success, is between the lucky luke’s unconscious lucky strike (the third day) and the consciously built up ability to maintain continually for a longer time the focus on the divine essence within. Now only for very few minutes and then to more minutes in a row while having continuity - breaking out of the few minutes short cycles - given by the presence of the silent witness perceived by me in the source of super human perseverance and steadiness in the focus.
The closing moments of the camp, the meditation of gratitude, sharing, the last snowy images around the pond with the colored fish, the taste of the fresh and crispy bread in the hall where smiling people are talking and joking about the weather in a detached way … and the underlying state of surrendering to God’s Will in all the details of our departure. Closing the door of the meditation building, returning the keys and looking from the left side at Solheimar – the home of the Sun, the already familiar holiday houses and the green-houses always bathed with light… the growing happiness rising like the Sun on the faces and silence accompanying the pause between two words… the fragility of our souls’ refined movements, breathing in unison with the yellow bus, crossing through the Icelandic scenery towards Reykjavik.
The Natha Iceland Yogacenter is the playground of the final stage of the inner adventure I wanted to depict.
Our loving and hospitable hosts preparing the Sunday evening Satsang with Mihai; beautifully arranged living room and yoga halls. An atmosphere of warm communication naturally starts to grow while waiting for Serafim’s intro words. All is unexpectedly unfolding and everyone’s curiosity about the Icelandic yogis and about us is fulfilled in a smart and funny way during the self-introductory round. A kind of a refined magic field of sharing is spread all around like in the heart to heart spiritual sharing of the best kind. Unexpected connections are opening new subjects from the topic of least importance of which year of yoga is one, to the silent retreat which is meeting here the Icelandic school’s students; then the questions are pointing more and more towards the now and here; from the highest essence of the national souls, the exceptional value of the meditations with the national soul to which one belongs; the Icelandic soul; Mihai’s answer to this question unveiling the exceptional creativity of the Icelandic soul in its contact with the primordial natural forces; the present-day situation of the creativity and how can it be integrated in the divine perspective; all these in a curiosity and affinity awakening manner of the great spiritual feasts in the end of a triumphant spiritual accomplishment.
The earth’s mountainous ribs are reflected in me like waves on a still lake, while gazing out of the plane’s little window and even the amazement in front of the white cloud’s stony realm is more silent in me than other times. The practice of the technique starts from the airport so that the noises don’t come so hurtfully towards me. Just the wish to be alone and meditate and the thought about the example with the ‘candle light’ - given in the retreat and representing the awakened heart towards the depths of the Divine Immortal Self ATMAN – to be taken care of in the storms of the daily life with all its unexpected turning points.
I wish to all of you to always manage to maintain the centering in the heart so profoundly that its bright light awakens completely not only your candle, but also others’ heart candle light. And I Thank to God, to Grieg, my spiritual guide, to Mihai, my spiritual teacher, Magdalena and Serafim, our caring mother and father in this retreat, the Icelandic yoga students and to all of you who participated, for your love and aspiration which altogether made possible, also for me, the very valuable spiritual experience of the 2011 silent retreat in Iceland,
1st year student:
For me, the yoga school gives me tools I can use to develop myself as a person. My inner and outer lives are changing for the better as I practice yoga and use it in my daily life.
The yoga school is catering for all and all are respected and equal. There is a peaceful, positive and loving atmosphere.
The teachers are very skilled in teaching, for this I am very grateful. On the whole, it's nice to be surrounded by loving and open-minded people. I have only good things to say about Natha yogacenter which for me is the school I find myself best at when it comes to personal and spiritual development.
4th year student:
I began several years ago to interest myself for yoga and meditation, and met Natha yogacenter. I started yoga course in March, and in July there were summer camps in North Zealand on a beautiful farm in a rural setting.
I attended the Hatha yoga camp and quickly gained a new insight into the school's many facets, the people who worked there (teaching, cleaning, cooking, management, etc.) working for a higher purpose, selfless work in accordance with the universal will (karma yoga) and through this way of working, achieve inner peace, presence and a deep satisfaction with just the task one undertook at this moment. It fascinated me. I also met students from other places in the country where schools offer training sessions. A very inspiring summer camp altogether.
It kept me repeating the success next year, but this time in a deeper perspective. I and my girlfriend started to participate in the tantra summer retreat which was an incredibly beautiful and wonderful experience. Then we did karma yoga at the hatha yoga camp, where we helped to cook for the participants. It was a really good way to understand the deeper meaning of karma yoga and all the benefits it brings. In this way, I started to create more intimate relationships with others in school.
The years have passed and I have expanded my horizons with more courses, of which there are a wide range of the school, I have been a yoga teacher and I have moved in the ashram with my son enjoying playing with the other children who also live here. Yes, Natha has caused a huge personal development in my life and the inner journey that really only just begun ...
7nd year student:
I started studying in Natha yogacenter some 7 months ago, after transferring from another yoga school of the International Atman Federation.
I have found in this school wonderful teachers full of heart, and an environment which is very helpful for personal development. I was very happy to notice how friendly everybody are and how open they are to accept anyone as he is.
In the short time that I have been in this school I have learnt many things about myself and have been able, with the help of the teacher team of Natha and the teachings of this school, to resolve many personal problems with which I have been confronted for a long time. One of the most important lessons that I am learning here, is the lesson of love – never before have I realized how important it is to love and how every moment without love is a wasted moment, never to return again. With the help of the tantric teachings given in this school, I am gradually learning how to live life fully, with full participation and awareness. I am learning not to reject anything but to say yes to life. I feel that I am more alive now then ever before!
I learnt very much from yoga teacher Mihai Stoian, and I am leaning still. This process of learning is not limited only to the inside of the class-room: I have also learnt by observing his personal example, and on occasions by asking him for advice. When ever I had turned to him, he had always listened to me attentively and if I requested it, he would also advice me on the matter. He always insisted that I would make my own choices, so that I could learn from it. His advice was always full of insight and helped me to understand the issues and myself from a deeper perspective.
9nd year student:
I started 9 years ago as a student at Natha Yoga Center to participate in a weekly yoga class and the then theater group that was attached to the school. It enriched me a lot to learn methods of self-development and simultaneously to integrate the spiritual aspect creative with my interest in theater.
On the way I experienced being able to communicate some of the profound experiences I had through yoga and meditation, to other people.
I've always been interested in personal development, psychology, spirituality and creativity through art and theater. I saw that a deep part of myself was met through courses at Natha, which created a link between the understanding of the human structure and ways to develop it.
After a number of years where I had attended several courses through Natha, it dawned on me how much I had developed myself through yoga practice - and decided to take training as a yoga teacher, to pass on the amazing tools I had received.
I have been through what I have learned and practiced at Natha, become a more healthy, loving and deeply human. I have learned many techniques to keep the body healthy and brands effective results when using these. I have had many deep friendships among the people and colleagues I have met through Natha, and seeing that my relationships with friends and family in general has become deeper and better, because I am a more whole and happy person. I have much more energy, interest and sincere love to give to my surroundings and marks it as a clear result of the understanding and integration of them, as I have done over the years on Natha.
I am sincerely grateful for all that I have received through this school and the beautiful people and teachers I have met here - and would particularly mention Mihai and Adina Stoian as 2 beautiful teachers who give themselves wholeheartedly and manages to inspire and guide others in a way I never knew a human could. My life has been enriched through their educational and personal advice I have received through them.
I see them both as very committed, dedicated teachers who are doing their best to help others and they are also a wonderful example for me in a happy, spiritual relationships.
6st year student:
I have been a student in Natha Yogacenter for the last six years, and can truly say without any exaggeration, that receiving this valuable teachings and being a part of a genuine spiritual community completely changed my life, and the way I look upon life. Since I was a young teenager and until I started practicing yoga, I was living a very unstable life, with many parties and drugs. I was very restless, and was moving around all the time, starting different educations, which I never succeeded to finish. I was feeling very discontent with my life and my lifestyle, and I also had physical problems, because of too much smoking and other usage of drugs. Despite this I didn’t manage to break the negative pattern myself. On a vacation I was inspired to start practicing yoga, and when I came home I started to study in Natha Yogacenter. By receiving precious teachings about yoga, and actually practicing the things I was taught, I slowly started to transform.
I had already decided before starting yoga, that I would stop smoking, using drugs and drinking alcohol, but by practicing yoga, and being in a spiritual environment with people who where living a pure lifestyle (unlike my previous friends), this decision was much more supported, and unlike other previous attempts, this time I actually succeeded. Today I’m in the middle of two educations in the same time, doing well in both of them, and planning to finish in approx one year. I am very happy and healthy, and any health problems I may have had before, are completely gone now.
From the valuable teachings which I received during the years, the most precious for me has been to experience and being a part of place, where everybody is accepted like they are, a place with a lot of Love and happiness and a place for constant transformation. I have friends who started like shy insecure women, and now are beautiful mature women, with a lot of self-confidence. It’s really beautiful to see the ongoing transformation in people’s lives.
I just started the aspirant course for becoming a yoga teacher, and I hope that I one day will be able to inspire my students, like I myself have been, and still am constantly inspired by my teachers, to practice yoga, and in this being in a continuous transformation process.
12th year student:
I have been a member of Natha in 12 years, I enjoy fully my membership.
I have only positive experiences in Natha, I have learned the nature of love to know, both through friendships and close relationships. What I have learned through working with my sexual energy is very refined, caring, building for body, mind and spirit. We learn to work with the sexual energy in a conscious way, so it is not just an unconscious discharge of frustration, as is true for many people. I can only recommend people and especially the young people to come to our tantra classes so that they become more aware of how they spend their life energy, as the sexual energy course is.
9th year student:
Practicing and studying Yoga and Tantra in Natha has opened my eyes and my heart. I could write reams about my experiences in this school, but for now I just want to say…
One of the things I like most about Natha is its Tantra course which I’ve been following since its inception three years ago. Taught by the inspirational couple, Mihai and Adina Stoian, this course has broadened my perspective upon existence beyond anything I could have previously imagined. Every class brings me amazing revelations which help me to come closer and closer to the profound understanding of who I am and my life’s purpose. I feel the quality of these teachings is of the highest caliber and in my personal research on the topic I consider them to be incomparable. The tantric principles taught in this class have transformed my life for the better, enabling me to discover the amazing woman I am through the conscious embracing of my femininity. These inner transformations are very visible in the improvement of many aspects of my life, including relationships, health and personal happiness.
I’ve been a volunteer worker in Natha’s administration for the past four years, which has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Living in an ashram and working in the school helps me to integrate the spiritual teachings from the classes in my daily life and to live in the present moment!
I’ve recently watched my friends and colleagues build our beautiful new yoga centre against many odds, and in my eyes it’s a testament to the strength and greatness of this school, which I’m so grateful to be a part of. Writing these words warms my heart and re-ignites my aspiration for this spiritual path and my love for this wonderful school.
5th year student:
I have practiced yoga and tantra now for 5 years in Natha Yogacenter. If I look back in time I can hardly recognize the woman I was before I had the grace to become part of this spiritual community.
I had always interest and aspiration to learn the hidden secrets of the universe and to spiritualize my life. Nevertheless, I was not able to do this on my own, in spite of many attempts to practice different forms of yoga and to travel to India and to other exotic places in search of truth and deeper meaning to my life.
Since starting to practice yoga and tantra in Natha my life has become a continuous transformation, during which limitations of my personal structure, fears, complications and frustrations have gradually been replaced by health, happiness, joy, enthusiasm and deeper knowledge. Natha is an authentic spiritual school and is able to offer continuously practical methods for evolving as well as true spiritual support and guidance.
I am forever grateful for having such a spiritual teacher as Mihai Stoian. The light of his consciousness is shining so bright that it automatically dissolves misunderstanding and confusion. I have experienced this in relation to my own problems throughout all the years. Speaking with Mihai for only few minutes is often enough to overcome a problem that before seemed unbearable. He has the ability to put things into right perspective and to clearly point to the truth no matter what is the situation. His example is continuously inspiring me. My stable aspiration is to learn to love like he does.
I have continuously more control over my life and more freedom to choose my life to be the way I aspire. All the teachings of the school are leading towards spiritual understanding and evolution which implies by nature the growing of the freedom. Here I do not mean the apparent freedom of the limited ego structure of a human being, but the freedom of the spirit to love and know itself.
For me as a woman Tantra has been the salvation. Before learning about Tantra I was constantly faced with frustrations, tensions and lack of fulfillment in my erotic life. Tantra is the secret knowledge that makes lovemaking magic and sacred and has given me the method for complete erotic fulfillment. Even more, through Tantra we learn how to use the erotic fulfillment as a tool for spiritual fulfillment. This I consider to be a great contribution of Natha yoga school to all the women as well as men in our modern society.
19th year student:
I have been a member of Natha in 19 years. I have experienced being strengthened emotionally, mentally and spiritually through yoga.
I grew up in a home with abuse, yoga has strengthened me to break the patterns that my environmental heritage would have given me.
5th year student:
I’ve been practicing yoga for 5 years and I came to Natha yogacenter with the proposal to organize spiritual trance parties in which people can experience beneficial states of trance with the help of uplifting music and positive visuals and without the use of drugs and alcohol.
As a DJ and musician I have found support and inspiration in this school and my life has transformed for the better. I feel that in all the levels my life has improved and I’m very grateful for the support and the spiritual guidance.
6th year student:
Through yoga, I have found a peace in my heart, I have never imagined that to be possible.
- (Past events)
Today, for the seventh year in a row Natha Yogacenter holds the tantric festival in Bhoga ashram. The festival has become a wonderful tradition, each year dedicated to deepen a certain aspect of the tantric approach to life. This year the topic of the camp is to understand the game of polarity – and ultimately to transcend the two opposite poles of manifestation by understanding them through direct experience.
This is the 6th tantric festival I participate in and I have been looking forward to this one with curiosity and excitement since my experiences the previous years have been very beautiful and have taught me in a direct way some very valuable aspects of yoga and tantra. Being a yoga student for nearly 10 years now doesn’t at all mean that I have learned all there is to know about these aspects, on the contrary. It seems that the more knowledge I get, the more I realize how many things I still need to learn. Nathas leading teacher, Mihai Stoian, and his wife Adina Stoian, kept the opening conference in the afternoon explaining why polarity is such an important issue on the tantric path. All the yoga practices and advanced tantric techniques are based on the game of polarity between the two fundamental energies in the universe, the feminine creative energy and the masculine energy of consciousness. Without a basic understanding of the interaction between these energies the different techniques will be of little efficiency and you are unable to truly practice tantra. Therefore it’s of great importance for beginners as well as advanced yoga practitioners to gain a deeper insight into the fascinating game between Shiva and Sakti. To support and intensify this process of becoming aware of the game of polarity during the festival certain rules will be applied. Men and women will live separately during the first days of the festival and follow different spiritual programs. It’s a very common misunderstanding in our society today that men and woman are the same and must be treated completely equally, since in reality men and woman are as different as the sun and the moon. It’s a source of unhappiness and frustration when we lose touch with the specific characteristics of our respective natures and become incapable to understand our self as well as the opposite sex. In this festival all participants are invited to join the game of re-discovering the polarity which has as its ultimate goal the transcendence of duality by obtaining the state of androgyny.
After the opening conference some re-arrangements were necessary to make in order to separate men and women, but this unexpected change in the living conditions were received with openness due to a great willingness to gain deeper self-insight by direct experience. The last “common meal” was eaten together before the separation of men and woman took place. After a delicious dinner there was a short introduction of the program of the following days and a meditation on the state of unconditional happiness. The male participants in the festival had to get up 4.30 next morning in order to start a long program of intensive yoga practice for amplifying the masculine energies and were quick to head off to bed. Being a woman I had the (in my eyes at least) privilege of sleeping until 9 the following day, so I stayed with the other woman enjoying a cup of tea and some chocolate cake. It felt really good being a woman and the same sensation appeared when I was woken up at 4 in the morning by the bell announcing that the men’s program started. I snuggled up in my sleeping bag with a feeling of admiration for the men who would spend the next two hours in meditation outside in the cold morning air. I felt how the process of polarization already started to appear.
As mentioned yesterday the woman’s program started at 9 with 2 hours of common yoga practice. It was my first experience to practice yoga together with such a big group of only women and the difference in the energy, compared to my normal yoga class, was easy to perceive. Even if many of us didn’t know each other yet, a feeling of togetherness was starting.
During the day we hardly saw the men. They were all keeping mauna (silence) so the only thing you could hear in Bhoga ashram was the sound of women laughing and talking happily. When the meals were served men and woman stayed at each side of the dining hall and the effects of the polarization was becoming even more obvious. The men were silent and introspective, making the women feel light and joyful. Suddenly it was a striking experience just to look a man into the eyes and the emotional numbness due to the (sad) phenomenon “unisex” and lack of polarization in every day life was replaced with a thrilling sensation of playful attraction.
In the afternoon, while the men continued their intensive yoga practice, the woman met for a conference with Adina Stoian. A lot of interesting material was presented explaining about the ideal of the perfect Sakti, for whom all doors in this creation are open. We were reminded that everything we experience in life is created by our thoughts and we are fully able to create the life of our dreams. Each woman gave a short introduction of her-self and as the hours passed an atmosphere of friendship appeared. By listening to each other and sharing I became aware of women’s great capacity to assimilate the best qualities in each other. A feeling of sympathy and I dare to say even love started to arise between us.
In the evening lecture the woman and men met for the first time this day for a common activity. We were situated in each side of the room facing each other, and the game of polarization was now manifesting in a very obvious way. The field of energy between the two poles was vibrating in the room and filled me with a great joy. The strong polarization made me feel complete and at the same time very energized. Even after a long day full of impressions and experiences I stayed up till late in the night to finish some tasks and just a few moments before the men would start a new day of intensive practice, I went to bed with an even deeper admiration than I felt the night before. If you haven’t experienced it perhaps a little hard to understand what is so attractive about a man getting up even before sunrise, meditating outside in the cold, keeping silence, taking cold showers and doing all other kind of activities that you don’t usually find on a woman list of things she would like a man to do. But not even the best suit and nicest car can match a man who has set himself a goal and without any further hesitation follows it. It gives a feeling of inner security because you know that here is a man who you can trust to follow. I am somehow amazed how many things already start to crystallize after being just two days in the festival. A big chapter of life has been opened and as I start to read it I discover infinite many secrets hidden between the lines.
The third day of the tantric festival was guiding us even deeper inside. Through simple code of conduct, staying in silence, restraining from eating and an intense meditative program our being was purified and lead towards a continuous deepening of our inner world.
How do we find our way in life? In the morning lecture Mihai explained how we often use a different roadmap than the one which actually corresponds to where we are in our life. On any roadmap you have infinite possibilities of choosing your way. There is always a left or right turn to take and only in the moments where we reach a dead end not included in the map do we realise that we are using the wrong map.
We often believe that we are somewhere which we are not and for this reason we often take actions or decisions which are based on pure imagination or superstition, and which have nothing to do with reality and our real situation in life.
This day was the moment of truth for everybody in the camp. Silence and introspection prevailed and only sporadically could the sounds of whispering or the walking across the courtyard be heard. Everybody had the chance to relax deep inside and let go of all tensions and reactions, which often are created inside of us when we constantly interact with our surroundings.
Staying in such conditions somehow naturally give us the opportunity to align ourselves with the truth through a constant awareness on our inner reactions instead of, as we often choose, to project any problem or personal limitation on the outer reality. When the only feedback we receive is what our mind produces, it becomes more clear how all problems in fact derive from our own lack of awareness and honesty about who we are and what we are about.
Everybody received a questionnaire with questions helping and guiding us to go deeper inside and in complete honesty and transparency of our heart consider some fundamental conditions of life. Even though you are not here with us in the middle of this amazing process of tantric self enquiry I invite you here to consider some of these questions in connection with your own life situation. Remember that the answers are for your selves only. It is not to prove anything or create a certain image in the eyes of anybody else. And they are not meant to be answered in a formalised way, creating a certain explanation or correct answer. The questions are guidelines to penetrate deeper inside your selves and unveil all your habitual masks and self images, and slowly to get closer to the true and objective perception of yourself. This is often not even a mental process, but a process of reflection on another level, where the mind becomes still and thereby allows us to access both the deeper realms of the subconscious and the sublime serene intuitions of the superior consciousness. So sit down comfortably and let go of all other projects and worries before you throw yourself into this exercise. Good luck!
Are you happy about your relationship with God? Can you do more for that relationship to get better?
Did you fulfill your goals in life until now? Are you happy with the way you are going for that?
What is the level of consciousness are you at now? Can you define it by describing few of its characteristics?
What is your very next goal to achieve in your spiritual practice? Are you doing enough for the moment to achieve it?
Are you happy with your job? Is it going in the direction you aspire in the deepest corner of your heart?
Is your love life satisfactory? Do you love enough so that you feel your heart fulfilled? If not, how much more do you need? How many times did you express your love in the last week in an exceptional way?
Look back at your life as it is the life of a friend. At first sight, what are the actions of that person (which is you) indicating? What are the real goals of that person if you would analyze those actions? Write down the result of this analysis and after that read it with detachment. Is that reflecting what you wanted in this life?
Would you be able to give your life for something? If yes, name clearly that thing that you would give your life for? Imagine with details a situation in which you give your life for that thing? Is the image vivid or pale? Do you believe that you would do such a sacrifice?
Do you feel appreciated at your real value by the people around you? If not, what is the most important misunderstanding regarding your person that most of the people are doing? Why do you think it is like that?
Do you appreciate correctly the people around you? Have you ever been wrong? When was the last time you told to somebody: “I was wrong, I am sorry.”?
If you were in the last minutes of your life now, what will be the last thing you would like to do? What is keeping you from not doing it right now?
My alarm clock rings at 0345 and in a state of bewilderment I wake up reaching out to stop the alarm. This is the fourth day of the Tantric festival and I have yet to get used to getting up at this hour.
A few seconds after my alarm clock goes off the sound of a gong can be heard in the distance.
This is the summoning of the men to morning meditation.
I am sleeping in a room with 7 other men who, like me, roll out of their beds in a state of bewilderment.
It is an amazing feeling that the body can feel tired and completely broken after just 2 and a half hours of sleep but that the soul can feel invigorated and alive. Putting the physical body in unusual situations can at times make you more aware of the more refined layers of the being. This is a state that I have come to know a lot of since I started my spiritual practice 5 years ago.
Slowly and in a zombie like state we proceed to the big yoga hall. Here we will do one hour of what are called “sublimation techniques” in yoga. This consists of yogic exercises which can raise unrefined levels of energy in our being to higher more refined forms of energy. This is very necessary for men who aim to achieve what is called “sexual continence”. Sexual continence starts with the preservation of the vital sexual energy (sperm) in the case of men. This vital sexual energy which when “un-sublimated” expresses itself as “heavy balls” on the physical level or emotional frustration, lust, desire or stress on the emotional level, can through these exercises be transformed to the more refined feelings of valour, love, intuition, aspiration etc.
Initially I am very tired and my inner dialogue is continually prompting me to return to bed. By ignoring this inner dialogue and focusing in the heart where the soul resides I slowly begin to feel fresh and invigorated as I roll my stomach in circles (a very effective yogic exercise to sublimate the energies). The yoga hall is filled with the sound of huffing and puffing of the other men making the same exercise.
Other men are making the “sun salutation” technique as the sun rises a bit after 0400. I am filled with a quite sense of humbleness and awe looking at my fellow men saluting the sun. I stand for a moment with the palms of my hands pressed towards each other in a yogic prayer position called prathanasana. This is my way of welcoming the sun as I never myself learned the sun salutation.
At 0500 we proceed to the dining hall to pick up our chairs which we carry out with us to the “shiva lingham” statue located in the southern garden.
A shiva lingham statue is a phallic symbol of shiva or the “universal masculine”. The universe is divided into masculine and feminine essence. The masculine essence relates to terms such as consciousness and transcendence and the feminine relates to terms such as energy, immanence and life. By meditating together around a shiva lingham statue men are reminded of their masculine essence and thereby get in touch with their deepest nature.
The men place themselves in a circle around the shiva lingham. The ground is very soft and some of the men’s chairs sink halfway into the ground. A very humorous sight indeed!
After a lot of scraping and moving around we are finally still and await the arrival of our teacher Mihai, who arrives at 0510. We make a short consecration and start the meditation. Meditation is much facilitated by the presence of one who is experienced in meditation such as Mihai. In the course of the two hours of meditation he sits perfectly still and straight, exactly like the shiva lingham statue itself. Many of us (myself included) periodically fall asleep. It is easy to see when somebody falls asleep in meditation. The back may remain straight but the chin falls to the chest. A person who is half asleep makes sudden jerks as he falls asleep but awakens before he gets too far out of equilibrium. It was certainly an amusing sight the first day to see all these men wrapped in many layers of clothes jerking back and forth half asleep in their meditations while Mihai remains completely straight but today the concentration was much better. We were much more awake and there was a strong field in the meditation. It is an ecstatic feeling to see people improve and to feel how we day by day through simple techniques become more and more masculine.
After the meditation I make a round to inspect the premises. The participants have different tasks assigned to them as the running of a camp with so many people needs a lot of work. My tasks are to coordinate the “handymen” to fix things that are broken, to do administration and to update the internet. Our biggest task of the day is to finish the outdoor showers for the men. I drive to Copenhagen with a fellow yogi Martin to pick up all sorts of materials needed at a specialized plumbing store. Up till now the showers for men consisted of two garden hoses connected to the cold water but today we will upgrade them to warm water showers. Cold showers are good for men working on continence but now it is time to give them more luxury up to the pending meeting with women in one of the days to come. Here they need to be well rested and vital.
We come home in time for lunch. Our meals are fascinating experiences due to the special atmosphere created by the splitting up of the sexes. The men eat on one half of the dining hall and the women eat on the other half. They are separated by a long table upon which the food is placed.
The men are in silence, not allowed to say a word, but the women may speak and giggle with each other as much and as lively as they feel inspired to. It is a huge contrast, the giggling laughing women on one side and the stern silent men on the other side. As the women go up to take the food the men gaze at them, some with lust others with longing and others with deep transfiguration. The women are fully aware of this and send teasing glances back at the men. Some make extra gestures as flinging back the hair and blinking their long eyelashes. Just after a few days separation the game of the sexes has become very intense.
In the afternoon there is yet another meditation for men around the shiva lingham statue. This time I have an awesome meditation. I was introduced to a special type of strap on device which goes around the knees and the lower back. When the strap is tightened the back becomes straighter enabling a better and more focused meditation. A straight back is absolutely necessary in meditation. A straight back is a physical suggestion of being awake, being masculine and being alert. If the back is not kept straight, drowsy states appear after a few moments.
The sound of the leaves in the wind of the big trees surrounding the garden is an incredible sound which facilitates to deep states of meditation. Nature loves the adept who meditates and sometimes in incredible ways the meditator joins into a subtle communion with nature. When he breathes, nature breaths, when his mind becomes restless the wind picks up, the leaves make more noise and the meditator returns to the meditation. A kind of communication appears where mother nature is reminding the meditator to focus on his meditation. Often states of Samadhi in the meditator appears simultaneously with sudden changes in the weather. My deepest states in meditation have often been accompanied by the sudden starting of rainfall, as if nature itself starts crying with the catharsis that accompanies the entering of the state of deep communion with God the father.
In this case though, I was very happy that it remained dry!
The weather forecasts promised really bad weather with strong wind and lots of rain, but each time us men made the meditation the rain stopped and at the end of each of the shiva lingham meditations the weather was lighter and more fair.
In the evening we have yet another incredible lecture with Mihai. Again the men were sitting in the eastern half of the yoga hall and the women in the western half.
Mihai expanded more on the roles of men and women. The gist of the lecture was that women provide the choices to men but it is men who must make the decision. As an archetypical symbol of never ending creativity a wise woman offers a series of wise choices for the man to choose from. A woman continuously throws apples (meaning choices or energy) at the man and it is the man who must pull out his sword of discernment to cut the apples, meaning to cut the bad parts out and leave what is good.
A biblical example is when Eve offers the apple to Adam. Adam should have cut of the bad part of the apple and given it back to her. This is what a woman wants, the wise discernment and the generosity of the man. Instead Adam ignorantly and greedily takes the apple and eats it for himself. Adam shows that he has not understood the basic fundaments of polarity and in this way begins the whole misery of separation. They are expelled from the Garden of Eden and we as human beings will remain separated from wholeness until we begin to understand and apply the principles of polarity.
As Mihai gets warmed up offering more and more examples of how polarity applies in daily life, examples that all of us can relate to, the atmosphere lifts and people laugh more and more.
The lecture ends quite late and I make my way to bed. I know I have to get up in a couple of hours for the men’s morning meditation but it feels like more than enough when the soul feels nourished.
Today was the last day when men and women were separated. Until the evening, the program was similar to the other days with yoga practise and exemplifications in the morning and a sakti conference in the afternoon (and the men continued their long hours of meditation). A part of the program for the coming days was revealed and the woman started to prepare for the future activities – let’s keep it a secret for now what will happen, but it made the whole ashram vibrate with joy and creativity.
In the evening the men and woman met in the yoga hall and one by one every participant in the festival made a personal presentation. The men had to perform on a stage, alone, in front of all the women. There were a few questions all of them had to answer but the difference in the way it was done was amazingly big. Some men made the woman cry from laughter other touched our tender female hearts with poetry and acts of love towards sakti. It was very beautiful to see and feel the manifestations of Shiva who until this point had been somehow hidden due to the separation phase. The polarisation was very strong and the (brave) men were met with an enormous amount of energy when they stood in front of us.
When the men’s presentation was finished it was the women turn to be courageous. Our approach was much more soft and emotional. It was beautiful to see each woman express herself, sharing her unique qualities, her dreams and aspiration with the audience. For me the challenge of standing in the spot light was not so hard to overcome, it was more like a spontaneous game and the atmosphere was full of openness and encouragement. Some persons were great entertainers others could hardly speak a word due to nervousness, but all were equally embraced by the audience and appreciated. It’s not really possible to describe in words what is happening in a spiritual camp like this one. There are some very subtle processes creating a stronger and stronger energetic field which is supporting the transformation people are going through. It feels as if we have borrowed a small piece of heaven. People become more beautiful, friendlier, and more alive. We shake off our robot habits that in daily life keeps us locked in all kind of pre-programmed reactions, and we start to discover much more profound aspects of our nature. When stress and agitation begin to diminish and inner beauty appears. People start to smile, but real smiles. They start to laugh much more. They start to look each other into the eyes, and tonight it felt as if we also looked into each others souls for a moment. A magic moment – and I have a feeling it will not be the last in this camp.
Until yesterday evening the different activities in the camp were steps of preparation for increasing the field of polarity. Now the game has fully unfolded. It’s like we have carefully prepared a bonfire, ignited it and are now stepping into the fire. Inside of myself I feel a big energy awakened that catalyze different realizations and states.
The meditations are deeper and more profound than in the beginning of the camp and my awareness about different phenomena related to polarity is increasing. It’s a direct knowledge through experience that is by far surpassing all the theoretical explanations I have received through the years.
In the morning men and women did the yoga practise together doing couple asanas, meaning different yoga postures that a man and woman can do in. It’s very different from doing yoga alone where your focus is inward. In the couple asanas you focus to perceive the streams of energies between the man and woman, and it’s a wonderful, intimate experience. It unites the couple at a deep level and helps to develop the capacity of empathy. It also increases the polarity in the couple because you create an energetic field together amplifying the polar energies.
In the afternoon was made a special tantric exemplification. Aftewardsr, in the evening, men and women made separate meetings to prepare the activities for the following days – and also in this way to experience the effect of avalanche after the exemplification. When a couple separate the energies between them amplify greatly so in tantra it’s highly recommended to experience this process consciously after for example love making.
The woman’s meeting is still taking place at this moment. Imagine 40 women in a room, all full of sparkling inspiration and wonderful ideas, supposed to plan in details the day for surprising the men, but instead making an (apparently) never ending brain storm... Well, only 39 women now, since I silently escaped the event in order to write this text. I felt that there were enough great ideas generated and me adding a few more were really not needed. We had enough suggestions to fill out the whole festival next year and we only have one single day at our disposal (Friday). Sakti is an inexhaustible source of creativity and divine inspiration, but without Shiva to give the energies a clear direction it turns into chaos. In comparisons the men’s meeting which started one hour later has already finished. Or perhaps they just didn’t get that many great ideas, without Sakti to inspire them ;) Probably by the end of tomorrow I will apologize for this remark after having experienced the day of my dreams, since tomorrow the men will surprise the woman. I am very curious to see what they have prepared. Perhaps a gentle massage, a walk in the forest and chocolate cake… A (very) romantic movie, flowers and manifestations of strength, generosity and love. My wishing list is endless, since a man can make a woman happy in infinite many ways.
I apologize, I apologize, I apologize! For my remark yesterday about the men that were perhaps lacking ideas without the women to inspire them. The men in the camp made the most wonderful day possible as a gift to the women!
It started already in the morning. We made a long session of couple asanas and received in the end a red rose each. Already my heart was touched. There is something magic about roses that is irresistible for a woman’s heart.
For lunch the men had prepared fruit salad with cream for desert and other delicious dished that made us feel spoiled and appreciated.
In the afternoon the men made a special angel walk where each woman was sent through a tunnel, created by the men, gently guided them forward and embracing them with statements of love and soft caresses. It created a deep state of transfiguration and surrendering. Afterwards followed a lecture with Mihai Stoian. A man went around and offered all kinds of chocolates placed on a silver plate, decorated with candles and flowers, all kinds of chocolates. Heaven!
The peak moment was in the evening. The men had prepared a candlelit dinner, taking care of every little detail. There were flowers on the tables, nice napkins, wine glasses, candles and soft music. I watched the men while they prepared the meal and I was so touched by their efforts in making this the perfect evening. They prepared the food on plates, arranging it in such a way you felt you were eating in an expensive, exclusive restaurant. It was done with so much attention and carefulness that every movement became an act of love. It was perhaps the most wonderful dinner in my life. I almost couldn’t eat because my heart was so overwhelmed. There was a man serving bread and the way he offered the plate to each woman was a poem of love put into action. I felt embraced, loved, adored, and appreciated beyond words by Shiva. For desert were served strawberries with chocolate sauce – I had tears in my eyes. Then banana split with ice cream – I was speechless. When an enormous amount of chocolate cake was ending the feast I was convinced beyond any doubt that these men were some of the most wonderful men in this world. It was not the actions themselves but the love behind them that touched me deeply. You could feel how the men had put all their heart into giving the woman what would make her the most happy. Every detail was taken care of.
After dinner we watched an extraordinary beautiful movie “Ashes and snow” which were a perfect way to end this truly amazing day. I felt so taken care of and so loved. I thank all of the men in the camp on behalf of all the women for devoting today to Sakti in such a beautiful and perfect way. It has been divine.
Today was the day, where the women should give the men a gift. A gift that they would like to have. I guess I don’t have to explain that the men were getting rather curious as to what the women would come up with especially after yesterdays surprise from the men to the women.
The women had been asking us what we wanted and even set up a suggestion box. It might be that some of the men wrote down their hottest fantasies - personally I said I would like to be shown how to make the women happy. But I guess that was a bit too unclear for the women…
To begin with all the men drew a number that matched a girl that was to be their hostess for lunch. All the girls were dressed very beautiful and began to serve the men food and drinks and made pleasant conversation. I was so lucky to be served by an especially wonderful woman and I must admit I could get used to being served like that…
Later we were literally worshiped by the shaktis! Placed in a big circle with our eyes closed all the women bowed in front of us in adoration. While listening to beautiful music and a soft voice speaking words of worshipping Shiva the slowly rotated around all the men gently caressing them and in all ways showing their adoration. It was such a beautiful experience and it made me feel very solar and masculine. Or should I say even more solar and masculine since that was a state that had been building up during the entire camp.
After a lovely dinner there was a big surprise for desert! Suddenly a curtain was pulled away and there was lying a gorgeous naked women completely covered in fruit! After some minutes of admiration we all started eating until nothing was left. Very tasty! Everybody was overwhelmed and actually it seemed that the naked woman there was the one enjoying the whole thing the most…
And that wasn’t all: After the dinner there were some very skilful erotic dances that left us speechless in adoration. And finally all the women came very lightly dressed carrying candles and danced through the room like a river of beauty overwhelming everybody.
As the big finale of an amazing day the shaktis had prepared the big yoga hall with candles and light curtains that made some small private spaces. And maybe the biggest gift of the entire day: A nice oil massage that could be as erotic as the couple both felt like. To judge from the sounds some of the couples went quite far… ;-)
Feeling happy and loved I decided to head for the tent at 5am. What a beautiful day!
The silence has returned to Bhoga. Most participants have already left, but you still feel the echoes of the intensity that has characterized the last 10 days. It’s the moment for contemplation. When I came last Friday my mind was full of thoughts relating to the daily life, now I can mostly feel my hearts quiet contentment.
We ended the camp in the afternoon with a meditation and after that I went out in the fields to be alone for a while. The camp has been so incredible full of experiences and impressions that I needed to crystalize the essence of it. My main goal for participating has been to deepen my understanding of the spiritual path I am following and to become more conscious of the way I live my life. As I was sitting in the field, feeling the sun, that has finally returned, caressing my face, I was not sure if I had achieved what I came for. My meditations have not been that great, my understandings not that profound. I wondered how to measure what I have learned in the camp? When you set a goal you can measure in different ways if it has been accomplished. You know that you can drive a car, when you are actually doing it. But how could I know if I had truly learned anything from the last 10 days experiences? Was I more conscious? Wiser perhaps?
I went for a long walk. I walked through the fields, feeling I was crossing an ocean of yellow waves. It was an incredible beautiful evening. After almost a week with rain and storm the sun light felt like a blessing, bringing out the colours in everything. The wind was strong and made me feel as if I was almost lifted from the ground expanding into the sky. I walked to the beach and the sight of the sea was breathtaking. The waves were powerful and the golden light from the sunset created a beautiful frame of pink and purple clouds in the horizon. As I kept walking, for hours, something happened in my heart. All my questions were one by one silenced. I could suddenly feel the present moment and realized how unique and incredible perfect it was. I felt polarized and complete. It was as if the last piece in a puzzle was put in place and I could now see the full picture. It had been there all the time, but I had not known how to look at it. It had been right beside me, but I had been gazing forward into the future believing that only there I could find what I searched for. I felt embraced by an endless love created by the game between Shiva and Sakti, between the man and the woman.
I stayed up all night and watched the sunrise. The moment was simply too beautiful to end. How could I go to sleep when I had finally woken up to experience love and happiness? 10 days ago my mind was full of useless thoughts, and from experience I know that they will one by one appear again, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the tears in my eyes are from happiness and not from pain, that the sun is rising because of love and not necessity and that my heart is open to give. The tantric festival has been a celebration of life as it should be lived, full of love and intensity. Perhaps I was looking for something else when I came, but I realize now that I have found what I was really searching for; the essence that is in every cell of existence. Something I can only receive by giving it away. That magic star dust God is pouring into our hearts with infinite generosity. Love.
- (Legal and Media Cases)
HOW AN IDEAL TURNED INTO A COURTCASE
By Sahajananda Porslund
This article serves to give the reader the background story about Bhoga. It also serves partly as an answer to the accusations against Natha yogacenter published on the site www.bhoga.dk.
Content of article
The opinions on the website www.bhoga.dk about the ownership and future plans for Bhoga, as well as the serious accusations about Mihai Stoian and other teachers from Natha Yogacenter, are not shared by the involved parts and sideline witnesses to the Bhoga story. Going through the documents and official protocols of Bhoga Ashram and of the Bhoga court case, and by interviewing people from the Bhoga community and from Natha Yogacenter, Natha.net offers here a coherent overview of the past years events and surprising development in the spiritual community, Bhoga Ashram.
It started as a minor conflict between one of the members of the community, Kim Schmock, and the community living there. The conflict scaled up and the case went to court where Kim Schmock who left the community claimed his right to throw out the other inhabitants there and sell the farm to a third part. Kim Schmock wants it to appear as if he is the rightful owner and initiator of Bhoga, who was unfairly treated by the community and who is now claiming his fair right. A crusade against "injustice" caused towards him. But the community itself and people connected to the place thinks otherwise and give us a quite different story about harassment and manipulation damaging the future of a genuine spiritual initiative.
2. A sacred space
By comparing photos taken 6 years ago before the spiritual community Bhoga Ashram bought the place and how the place looks now, it is clear that many people have worked hard to make the place what it is today. Bhoga is an ashram. An ashram can be compared to an intentional community formed primarily for spiritual upliftment of its members, ie a sacred space for those seeking to discover their inner spiritual nature in an environment which facilitates this search.
Bhoga Ashram today hosts a dynamic spiritual community of several yoga teachers from Natha Yogacenter, two professional musicians educated in Rythmic music conservatory in Copenhagen, a Swedish moviemaker graduated from the Danish Film Academy, the editorial staff of the newsmagazine Logos, the daily manager of a teahouse in Copenhagen and several other visitors working on different other creative projects in the contemplative surroundings of Bhoga Ashram. I arrive in the middle of the annual summer camps held in Bhoga Ashram by Natha yogacenter. The impression from the article “Nathas True Face” published on www.bhoga.dk of a place squattered by a mad isolated sect barricading the entire place is already dissolved in the warm summer sun, as I am welcomed by several of the members of the community with warm greetings and a wonderful vegetarian meal. Around the buildings I find yoga teachers teaching yoga to the camp participants in the garden, one is mowing the lawn around the tents on the field together with two playing kids. From the main house I hear loud laughter – ‘can savage squatters really laugh that hard’, I am catching myself thinking – and through the door to the big kitchen I find a group of younger people cutting vegetables listening to the lecture from the conference-hall next door through the speakers.
My first impression of Bhoga ashram was not at all in alignment with the information published on www.bhoga.dk. How come? I decided on further investigation within the community itself, since bhoga.dk definitely did not give a complete picture of the situation. Actually the version of the Bhoga Case ‘Nathas true face’ written and published by Kim Schmock on bhoga.dk who left the community, suddenly appeared extremely subjective and did not seem to appreciate the truth at all. In fact it was just 3 short lines claiming Bhoga to be squattered by Natha Yogacenter and a lot of serious accusations and calumnies against ‘the squatters’.
According to the members of the community Bhoga Ashram they are in these days facing a case in court against one mans clever attempt to destroy the community and its activities and gain the profit on the sale of a property which never belonged to him and never was financed by him. Bhoga was bought at a price of 2.1 million kroner. As current house prices are today, Bhoga could easily be sold for 6 million kroners. This gives Kim Schmock a profit of around 4 million kroner not to mention the amount already payed down by people living in Bhoga through the times believing that their rent money was paying down the loans of a place believed to be Natha Yogacenters. As Bhogas credit institute loans are set up at the moment there is an annual downpayment of the original loan of 2.1 million of around 100.000 a year. This means that in rent these people have payed down 600.000 kroner of the original price (subtracting Kims own rentpayment). KIM STANDS TO GAIN A POSSIBLE PROFIT OF 4.6 MILLION KRONERS based on the work of a whole community in the course of many years! As we unfolded the different chapters of the Bhoga Case, it turned out to be the story about a community where heartful trust and team spirit is the fundamental level of communication and cooperation, and how one member of the community suddenly turned his back and went from loyal and trusted over suspicious and greedy to manipulative and irresponsible.
4. Buying the ashram The intention declaration
In the summer of 2000 a dozen spiritual seekers were looking for the same thing: A spiritual community inspired by the teachings in yoga, tantra and meditation from Natha Yogacenter. Among these people were Kim Schmock and Amrita Hansen. They had met in a small yoga camp in a summerhouse on Møn, where among others Kim Schmock together with his girlfriend Helle Grønhøj and Amrita Hansen were participating. What they did not know at that time was that they only few months later were going to buy a old farm on the countryside of Vejby together in order to fulfill their apparently common dream.
Amrita Hansen and Kim Schmock took the first initiative visiting Aadyssegaard (The name of the farm before it became "Bhoga") in Vejby later the same summer. According to Amrita Hansen they were all very enthusiastic, especially Kim and Helle: “Kim presented to us, that he wanted to buy the farm for the sake of creating a place, where there would be the same spirit and the same atmosphere all year round, as the one they had experienced on Møn. Especially Helle was very enthusiastic and said: ‘One should be together like this all the time and not just in one camp once a year’. Both Kim and Helle were very open, warm and helpful people.”
In October 2000 Kim Schmock put forth the initial downpayment necessary to buy Bhoga, signed the ownership contract and started renovating the wrecked old farm together with his new friends and colleagues of the community who decided to move there immediately, determined to realize their common dream. It was clear for everybody within the community that the place was going to belong to the community, even though the first primary payment and the loan for buying the place were established by Kim Schmock. The whole project and the renovation of the place was based on the common spiritual idea of creating a community based on the teachings of Natha Yogacenter, and furthermore to offer the place once it had been built up as a cultural house organised by Natha Yogacenter full of creative and spiritual activities for the local society.
The clear agreement within the community and confirmed in the protocols of many house meetings was therefore that Bhoga was belonging to the community and that Kim Schmock was only the generous cashier for managing the financial fuel for starting up the project. Already in November 2000 all the present members of the Bhoga community signed an Intention Declaration including Kim Schmock. The original and signed declaration was archived in Kim Schmocks personal papers and was not available for our investigation, but an electronic copy of the intention declaration remained in Natha Yogacenters archive dated and last modified on 15th of November 2000. It goes as follows:
Declaration of intent of 15. november 2000
This declaration is binding
The signers of this declaration form the Ådyssegård Asramcommunity, which, until further notice, takes responsability for building the asram. At decisions related to the building, NATHAs or MISAs leader has right to veto.
The signers bind themselves to the following:
1. To transform Ådyssegården Møngevej 11, Vejby, into a spiritual development- and course-center, with ecologically sustainable facilities.
2. To leave the leading and the economical responsability concerning Ådysse-gården to NATHA or its mother-organisation MISA, after the Ådyssegård is free of debt.
3. That Ådyssegården pays back it present owner, Kim Schmock, his expense for the downpayment at the purchase of the property (kr. 130.000,-), which has to be payed back before the leaving over to NATHA/ MISA. That all economical duties and obligations are removed from Kim Schmock and Helle Grønhøj
4. To facilitate these transactions through the formal forming of a self-owning trust (”fond”) under the official leadership of NATHA or MISA, as soon as possible.
The signers understand, acknowledge and bind themselves to the following:
5. To adopt the spiritual lifestyle according to NATHAs system, and to practice yoga in the measure given in the house rules.
6. To contribute to the building of the development- and course-center with labour or amounts that equals the value of the labour, in the measure given in the house rules.
7. That an individuals moving in or out can be decided by NATHAs or finally by MISAs leader.
8. At moving in, to contribute to the center by giving it first priority in the daily life.
9. At moving in, to pay the settled rent for the next 6 months. After this there is a 3 months time limit.
On the house meeting 3rd of April 2001 Kim Schmock officially announces that: “Kim and Helle already now want to begin the make over of the farm, so Kim no longer is registered as owner and guarantor, but is free from this. Kim, Christine Maria and other interested and relevant persons will form a committee, where we investigate the possibilities.”
5. The making of the ashram
Indeed a generous attitude, which in fact just reflects the same generosity from all the people working to establish the retreat centre. Many people who either studied or sympathized with the teachings of Natha Yogacenter gathered in the weekends to help their friends to make this wonderful initiative come through. “I was part of a men’s group in Natha Yogacenter and every Saturday morning we went to Bhoga to help the initiating renovation project. It was an amazing atmosphere of doing something together and it seemed just like what the school needed in order to create a physical location where we together could develop projects connected to the school. For example yoga camps, silent retreats, music festivals et cetera. Of course I never doubted that the place belonged to Natha Yogacenter, since it was publicly expressed among all the ones in charge in that time, including Kim”, says Martin Svensson. People even came all the way from Israel in order to participate in the yearly summer camps and in the necessary preparations: “I came together with two of my friends from Israel for the camp. We worked here for more than one month 8-10 hours pr day even with hard physical work. I was sure this placed belonged to Natha Yogacenter already, and even though I am a little naive, in this case I heard Kim express it clearly like that. Now I really don’t know what to say, but I am surprised how anyone can be so blinded by money or whatever might be his motivation for trying to destroy our wonderful community,” says Veredit Zeithun who used to live in Bhoga Ashram.
It did not take long before the community on the farm together decided to host the first big yoga camp held by Natha Yogacenter. In the beginning of 2001 before the first camp it was clear that the community met their first big challenge. Organizing a summer camp for 200 people on Ådyssegaard was definitely not an easy task considering the present conditions. And at the same time the community decided on a house meeting with the support of all members, to become an official ashram in alignment with the spiritual teachings of Natha Yogacenter, and furthermore to change the official name of the place to Bhoga Ashram. Amrita Hansen who was the first ashram leader in Bhoga and who organized the first summer camp writes in her deposition about the Bhoga Case: “When we had working weekends I helped where it was needed. Often I cooked food for all the people who came. Sometimes more than 20 people came. Mikael Eriksson instructed in how to build […] Kim borrowed us all his tools and he also had his own work team fixing all the things, which he would not let anybody borrow his special tools to fix.
None of us, none of all those people coming and working voluntary in their weekends and long afternoons, ever doubted that the farm belonged to ‘us’, meaning the group of people, who were practicing yoga according to the teachings of the same spiritual school, Natha Yogacenter. None of us doubted that Natha Yogacenter was going to own the place, when the time was ripe for this – and that was why all these people came and helped with voluntary work. I would never have called all these people, or worked that hard for the place, if I have had the slightest suspicion that Kim one day would declare it all to be his private property. I would have been embarrassed to ask my friends to work for free, so that a private person could take economical advantage of it.”
The people living in Bhoga Ashram were all in their first years of their yoga/studies and therefore Amrita Hansen moved in, in order to help the community in the right direction and more urgently to help organizing the soon to come summer camp: “I moved into Bhoga Ashram, Møngevej 11, 3210 Vejby on the 1st of April 2000 after agreement with the people living there, among them Kim Schmock. I moved in as ‘ashram leader’ first having secured myself, that everybody wanted the place to become a real ashram.” Just before that on the 26th of March 2001 Kim Schmock had signed a contract, declaring that in case he resigns from the Bhoga project, he will pass over the farm to the community living there: “The undersigned hereby guarantees, that if I do not wish to live an ashram life and hand over the leadership of the ashram, to the leader chosen by Grieg (right now Christine Maria Hansen), then I will hand over the farm to the people in the Ashram (Natha) and move out in the best possible harmonious way.” Signed by Kim Schmock 26/03/01.
Signed by Kim Schmock 26/03/01
6. The ownership: Kims proposed donation
Beside the verbal confirmations I was amazed as a reporter to see a written contract in such a dispute, and I had to ask myself: What makes a single member of a community suddenly claim the rights for a place which he 5 years before obviously resigned all ownership from in a written piece of paper handed over to the official protocol of the community?
As if this should not be evidence enough to confirm the original intention of Kim Schmock, as a loyal, trustworthy and responsible member of the community, whose only official and well-known idea about the place was, that it belonged to the community and was dedicated to integrate the teachings of Natha yogacenter in a living spiritual community. Only 2 months later immediately after a successful summer camp Kim according to several witnesses publicly announced his gratitude for the teachings of the school and his intentions even ‘to donate’ his downpayment for buying the farm to Natha. The entire community managed to transform an abandoned farm into a quiet well functioning and well-facilitated camp-site, Kim Schmock send a signed letter to Gregorian Bivolaru, the founder of Natha Yogacenter and the spiritual mentor of many of the students there, explaining certain aspects about the economy of Bhoga Ashram. Again in this letter he declares that his ownership of the place is pure formality and indeed the place belongs to the community: “I am not able to finance further development of Bhoga, but I got an idea. If I received the 160.000 kr back now, I will donate the whole amount to Bhoga Ashram as a start capital for making the facilities needed.” The official process for handing over the legal property papers of Bhoga to Natha unfortunately did never happen. Because in fact Kim was himself in charged of the economy of both Bhoga and Natha and for some reason never started this process.
7. What the others did not know…
But still we have not yet seen why Kim turned his back on the community 5 years later. What happened and is there any footprints leading us back to when it actually happened?
According to Amrita Hansen, ashram leader in Bhoga at that time there was already a split in the mind of Kim Schmock from the beginning: “Kim was in this way ‘depending’ on that people from Natha Yogacenter were interested in the project for two obvious reasons: The first was that he and Helle obviously could not create a spiritual community by themselves. They needed somebody to move in and to do it together with, somebody who had more experience than themselves. The other reason was that Kim could not afford to pay for all the expenses for maintaining the place. He was all the time very careful to secure himself: To make sure enough people would move in and to make them oblige for a long enough period, in order to make sure he would not suddenly risk his initiative and go bankrupt. As a matter of fact Kim all the time showed himself as a person with a good sense for his own economy.”
So Kim Schmock not only wanted a spiritual community, but also a “place with horses for him and his girlfriend Helle”, as Amrita Hansen writes in her witness deposition about Bhoga. But what was most important: The community or his own romantic dream? In fact maybe Kim just wanted “a place with horses” where he and his girlfriend could enjoy their according to Amrita Hansen quite expensive lifestyle. But is it morally correct to pretend in front of a community of around 10 people and not to mention in front of a whole school of hundreds of people, contributing for 6 years with free labour, that you are working for their project, when in fact you are only dreaming about horses? Nonetheless many facts are showing us that this is the reality.
8. The economical set up
Already from the beginning Kim declared in several house meetings – as it is found in the house meeting summaries - and confirmed by the ashram leader at that time Amrita Hansen, that the economical responsibility belonged to the community and the members of Natha Yogacenter and not to him personally. After one year delay from the first initiative the community decided in the spring 2002 to make an Aps (Anpartsselskab) which should function as a link in the passing over of the property from Kim to Natha Yogacenter. Again Kim took the task on behalf of the community, since he was the most experienced in financial matters, to make an aps with himself as the director, in order to make the agreed transaction with monthly shares handing over the property to the members of Natha Yogacenter.
A lease was therefore signed by Kim Schmock as the owner of Bhoga Aps and Mihai Stoian as the newly chosen coordinator of Natha Yogacenter. In “The true face of Natha” published on Kim Schmocks homepage, it is mentioned that Kim did not like Mihai Stoian very much. The facts are suggesting us that they in fact had a very close connection and friendship for many years: In the same period as Mihai Stoian took over the coordination of Natha Yogacenters teaching department Kim Schmock became an important character in the administration and economy of Natha Yogacenter taking many important tasks and new initiatives having consulted the board, where Mihai Stoian also was present as manager of the yoga teachers.
According to Amrita Hansen and Celestine Andersen, Kim was member of the board of Natha Yogacenter, who was administrating all the agreed decisions on the general assemblies of Natha Yogacenter. “Kim was for a period of 8 months accountant for both Natha Yogacenter and Bhoga Ashram. After a while we trusted his reliability so much, that only later we discovered that he had made several huge transactions of many thousand kroner from the account of Natha Yogacenter to cover the expenses of Bhoga Ashram, who seemed to had run out of hand“, says Amrita Hansen who kept the protocols of the board meetings.
9. Taking personal advantage
So a lease between Bhoga Aps and Natha was made as a preliminary step in order to make the official transfer of the property. Instead Kim abused it to claim the property for his own and throw out Natha. A trusted man indeed, Kim Schmock, so trustworthy that the board of Natha Yogacenter kept their hands on the heart for almost 8 months while Kim constantly was talking about a new amazing payment system he was claiming to set up for Natha Yogacenter, while in fact instead of transferring the promised shares of Bhoga Aps to Natha Yogacenter, he was paying all the bills for maintaining and improving the facilities of the farm by drying out Natha Yogacenter’s account.
“The bills from Bhoga added a deficit to Natha Yogacenter of approximately 100.000 kr in the first 6 months of 2004. It was difficult for Natha Yogacenter to pay the house rent and since Kim did not make any budgets for Bhoga, but only passed on bills, a majority of the committee decided to renounce the engagement, and also the lease.” Says Amrita Hansen
The cancellation of the lease was done verbally at the small assembly there, since as Amrita Hansen underlines: “Verbal agreements are like written agreements. The atmosphere between us was very friendly and nobody would believe, that anybody would try to take advantage of a silly contract which was only a formality. Now we know that we were a little naïve and that one wrong signature risks destroying 6 years of efforts and great achievements, because of an irresponsible and corrupted economical set up of one man.”
Now Kim abused the contract to claim that Natha was only tenants in Bhoga and even bad tenants not paying their rent! In fact he was hiding that Natha was paying all the costs including the monthly mortgage and also veiled the official agreement about transferring the formal papers for the property to Natha. Mihai Stoian explains that the real reason for the verbal cancellation of the lease was to make Bhoga Ashram become an economical independent branch of Natha Yogacenter: “We made it clear that together with the cancellation of the contract, the members of community living there now had to administrate the place themselves financially and practically. This procedure was agreed in order to make the people there more responsible for the place and not just depend on constant economical support from the main center in Copenhagen and donations of private persons.”
10. Indications of fraud
But this did not solve all the problems for the committee of Natha Yogacenter. In fact Kim Schmock had just postponed the attainment of a proper overview of the economy and at the same time the board member who partly took over Kims tasks, discovered something even more alarming: “After looking through the papers I discovered that the promised transfer of Bhoga Aps to the members of Natha Yogacenter, which Kim was responsible for he had not even begun!”
Mihai Stoian underlines the fact that Bhoga Ashram was “even supported by Natha Yogacenter by letting all the income for the yoga courses and the economical successful yoga camps kept there, contribute to the further development of the facilities there.”
11. Opposing the community
After a while another sign occurred showing Kim Schmocks inner dilemma between supporting and being loyal to the initial foundation of Bhoga Ashram, as a spiritual community, and fulfilling his personal dreams and desires. He started to show an opposing attitude to the spiritual program of the ashram, consisting in daily common meditations. Instead talking or loud movie watching could be heard from his room. ”Kim would do a lot of things for Helle and sometimes I felt, that it was mostly for the sake of Helle, he had bought the farm and to create the community she had always dreamt about. He started to be not so happy to oblige himself for practicing yoga and meditation or participating in the common activities, which was the main purpose of the community. I have had long discussions with him about the lack of realism in his idea about taking partial responsibility for such a big project, when he did not really want to be part of it himself”, says Amrita Hansen.
According to Stine Andersen: “ Kim also started to oppose against the future plans of Bhoga Ashram as a place for a spiritual community, wanting to lead things in his own direction, which was clearly not the initial agreement nor the present opinion by the majority of the people in the community, which was tired of spiritual compromises from Kim.” [Note: According to Stine Andersen, Mihai Stoian had announced the community some suggestions for turning the place into a more harmonious ashram.]
Lets sum up the situation from here: Did Kim really plan all this on forehand, and only pretended that he would hand over the farm later, so that a large community of people was working for him? Taking the responsibility of the economy of Natha Yogacenter and financing his ’own place’ with the funds of a spiritual school, leading all the involved parts behind the light and blocking the agreed transfer of the shares of Bhoga Aps to the community? What would make a man do something like that: Was he just extremely clever and foresighted calculating all to his own economical interest as a cold hearted businessman or did it happen gradually a long the way? At least one thing is clear: While the rest of the community was arranging summer camps and renovating the facilities, Kim was keeping meetings with clever lawyers and his auditor securing his personal interest in the property.
After several disagreements where Kim was in conflict with the board decisions the final break came in July 2005. After the board had cancelled one of his personal projects in Bhoga, Kim himself realized that it could not continue like this. On the 26th of July 2005 Kim writes a letter to the people in the community announcing his resignation: “Dear Bhogaists, after considering the consequences for me accepting Mihai´s suggestion “how to turn Bhoga into an Ashram”, I have decided it is time for me to leave Bhoga.” In the same letter he also mentions a reason: That he does not feel competent enough to go through with the project: “[…] I have to move from this position, not to be an obstacle for further development of Bhoga – I would only be able to keep it ‘as a nice place to be’.“ Kim even specifies the economical conditions for the make over in the letter: “The basic fact is that someone else must take the financial responsibility for Bhoga. The price of Bhoga will be what I have invested in Bhoga. This I think is very fair, considering the price of Bhoga has increased since I bought it. I have asked my accountant to a make a statement. […] May God and all his angels be with you for now and eternity.”
13. Buying your own farm, if only you knew the price!
For sure the community needed this blessing to resist what Kim was going to pull them all through the next year. From the 26th of July 2005 starts a long series of changing offers for the passing over of Bhoga Aps owned by Kim Schmock to Natha Yogacenter alias the community in Bhoga Ashram. Kim simply seemed to be taken by one clever idea after the other completely forgetting his initial verbally and signed promises to a whole community, thus leading himself astray both juridical and morally. From the initial agreed 160.000 kr in 2001 which was his actual down payment and contribution to the place, Kim Schmock consulted by his for many years accountant Leif Munck on the 26th of July comes up with 426.000 kr being “how much money I had invested in Bhoga.”, writes Kim in an email to Mihai Stoian, adding maybe with slightly bad conscience that, “I don’t think this is correct, it must be much less”, and “you pay me back my investment, and you can sell it afterwards if you want to take the profit, or you continue the development of Bhoga.” If the situation for the community so far had been tolerable and acceptable, from now on it turned absurd: “The same day as the deadline for the down payment of 426.000 kr to Kim, he cancelled the offer exactly as we were on the way to the bank to transfer the money.” Says Stine Andersen, ashram leader in Bhoga, and adds with a smile “At least he started to be honest about his real intentions.” During the next 3 months Kim Schmock advised by his accountant Leif Munck and his lawyer Henrik Hornslet is constantly changing the consistency of the offer for the make over. The 10th of January 2006 the community Bhoga Ashram on Møngevej 11 receives a final sales offer which “is not subject for further negotiation” on 3000.000 kroner. The community of course did not agree to buy their own farm, once again, and this time for a price which was even higher because of the increased market prices and the many improvements of the facilities on the farm, which they had made themselves and which Natha Yogacenter had paid for.
Actually Kim was asking them to pay a second time for their hard efforts to build up the place, since the only reduction made in the sale-offer was for some of the materials used for the renovation-project (around 600.000 kr).
Instead of moving out within 3 months as he promised in the signed letter, Kim at the same time started a serious harassment of the community there. “He tried to throw us out several times. Putting notes on the doors and ridiculous house rules like ‘no access to the public areas after 22.00’. He put locks on our rooms and made threats of physical violence and about going to the newspapers with the story, which was even more absurd, since we were the ones being harassed! He even stole the common moneybox with 30.000 kr from the summer camps in it,” says Stine Andersen ashram leader and spokesman of Bhoga Ashram.
Also the members of the board in Natha Yogacenter was shocked by the situation: “Theoretically we have worked for Natha Yogacenter and the promotion of a genuine spiritual school. In reality it looks like all our effort will end up in the pocket of a single person with a very immoral and even criminal attitude. Considering official sale numbers plus the enormous tax advantages, which he put at his own disposition for his other company KSED, it is clear that for him this project ended up being pure business. I still hope and believe that he got tempted a long the way; but its very hard to see a person you trusted with all you stand for going so corrupted and stabbing all his old friends and colleagues in the back,” says a concerned member of the board.
The case continues and Kim apparently does not stop the harassment of the community: “Three times he called the fire department and another official faculty of Helsinge Kommune in order to stop the annual summer camps, which are going on at the moment. Thank God that the chief of the fire department recognized what this guy what up to. Last night he came again and cut our big street sign for the second time. He is without any common sense and obviously considers us as his enemy number one. What can we do, now we are guarding the new sign every night hoping that he will not go into more damaging harassments,” says Andronicus Torp, one organizer of the summer camps in Bhoga. This is the background of the Bhoga case. To read more about the different court proceedings that are currently taking place we refer to the section called "courtcases" (See link in menu).
It is a matter of principle for us not to let a cynical businessman get away with such a damaging attack on a spiritual school and its visions. We are responsible for many hundreds of students all over the country and we have a lot to live up to”, says Amrita Hansen who is administrating the case for the community and the members of Natha Yogacenter.16. Serious accusations, but no proofs
Amrita Hansen is here also referring to the very serious accusations especially against the coordinating teacher in Natha Yogacenter Mihai Stoian, who was Kim Schmocks yoga teacher for more than 4 years. Some accusations which might have very serious juridical consequences for Kim, if Natha Yogacenter starts an injury-case against him. About the accusations, Mihai Stoians first comment was: “I am amazed. It seems he did not want to learn what I was teaching him. Constantly he refused to learn from the tasks and responsibility he was offered. Of course the accusations against me and the school are absolutely without any ground in reality. Being the spiritual leader of a big school it’s natural that all the frustrations of people are projected on me. Furthermore it is improper discussing my personal life, after he has been lying for years in front of hundreds of people.”
We found it very difficult to comprehend how an article naming the truth in its title can present a story and a long list of accusation without any documentation. Not a single quotation from any involved in the case or other kinds of documentation is published and only three lines about the Bhoga Case itself. Lets take one of the more serious examples from “The true face of Natha”: After the accusations in the Romanian medias about the famous yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru was proven inconsistent and false and nothing but a huge media-scam by the Supreme court of Sweden in Stockholm – an important decision shaking radically the entire juridical system in Romania – Kim Schmock brings the same accusations in his article. He did this even after the Supreme court in Sweden gave asylum to Gregorian Bivolaru. Does Kim Schmock not recognize the judgment of the Supreme court? “The article on www.bhoga.dk looks more and more like a last desperate attempt to turn the case into his own favor. I am very sorry for him and that he turned so destructive. Luckily he is now trying not only to destroy his old friends, but also his own chances for having the least reliability in court,” ends Amrita, spokeswoman of Natha Yogacenter.
We sincerely hope that Kim Schmock will end this pattern of destruction and open himself to engaging in a dialogue with his old friends, so a case which has lasted for so long will find a fair conclusion.
- (Spiritual Masters)
Paramhansa Yogananda and his Master Sri Yukteswar
From "Autobiography of a yogi" by Paramahansa Yoganada
Visitors appeared in the afternoons. A steady stream poured from the world into the hermitage tranquillity. Everyone found in Master an equal courtesy and kindness.
To a man who has realized himself as a soul, not the body or the ego, the rest of humanity assumes a striking similarity of aspect.
The impartiality of saints is rooted in wisdom. Masters have escaped maya; its alternating faces of intellect and idiocy no longer cast an influential glance. Sri Yukteswar showed no special consideration to those who happened to be powerful or accomplished; neither did he slight others for their poverty or illiteracy. He would listen respectfully to words of truth from a child, and openly ignore a conceited pundit.
Eight o'clock was the supper hour, and sometimes found lingering guests. My guru would not excuse himself to eat alone; none left his ashram hungry or dissatisfied.
Sri Yukteswar was never at a loss, never dismayed by unexpected visitors; scanty food would emerge a banquet under his resourceful direction. Yet he was economical; his modest funds went far. "Be comfortable within your purse," he often said. "Extravagance will buy you discomfort." Whether in the details of hermitage entertainment, or his building and repair work, or other practical concerns, Master manifested the originality of a creative spirit.
Quiet evening hours often brought one of my guru's discourses, treasures against time. His every utterance was measured and chiseled by wisdom. A sublime self-assurance marked his mode of expression: it was unique. He spoke as none other in my experience ever spoke. His thoughts were weighed in a delicate balance of discrimination before he permitted them an outward garb. The essence of truth, all-pervasive with even a physiological aspect, came from him like a fragrant exudation of the soul. I was conscious always that I was in the presence of a living manifestation of God. The weight of his divinity automatically bowed my head before him.
If late guests detected that Sri Yukteswar was becoming engrossed with the Infinite, he quickly engaged them in conversation. He was incapable of striking a pose, or of flaunting his inner withdrawal. Always one with the Lord, he needed no separate time for communion. A self-realized master has already left behind the stepping stone of meditation. "The flower falls when the fruit appears." But saints often cling to spiritual forms for the encouragement of disciples.
As midnight approached, my guru might fall into a doze with the naturalness of a child. There was no fuss about bedding. He often lay down, without even a pillow, on a narrow davenport which was the background for his customary tiger-skin seat.
A night-long philosophical discussion was not rare; any disciple could summon it by intensity of interest. I felt no tiredness then, no desire for sleep; Master's living words were sufficient. "Oh, it is dawn! Let us walk by the Ganges." So ended many of my periods of nocturnal edification.
My early months with Sri Yukteswar culminated in a useful lesson -"How to Outwit a Mosquito." At home my family always used protective curtains at night. I was dismayed to discover that in the Serampore hermitage this prudent custom was honored in the breach. Yet the insects were in full residency; I was bitten from head to foot. My guru took pity on me.
"Buy yourself a curtain, and also one for me." He laughed and added, "If you buy only one, for yourself, all mosquitoes will concentrate on me!"
I was more than thankful to comply. Every night that I spent in Serampore, my guru would ask me to arrange the bedtime curtains.
The mosquitoes one evening were especially virulent. But Master failed to issue his usual instructions. I listened nervously to the anticipatory hum of the insects. Getting into bed, I threw a propitiatory prayer in their general direction. A half hour later, I coughed pretentiously to attract my guru's attention. I thought I would go mad with the bites and especially the singing drone as the mosquitoes celebrated bloodthirsty rites.
No responsive stir from Master; I approached him cautiously. He was not breathing. This was my first observation of him in the yogic trance; it filled me with fright.
"His heart must have failed!" I placed a mirror under his nose; no breath-vapor appeared. To make doubly certain, for minutes I closed his mouth and nostrils with my fingers. His body was cold and motionless. In a daze, I turned toward the door to summon help.
"So! A budding experimentalist! My poor nose!" Master's voice was shaky with laughter. "Why don't you go to bed? Is the whole world going to change for you? Change yourself: be rid of the mosquito consciousness."
Meekly I returned to my bed. Not one insect ventured near. I realized that my guru had previously agreed to the curtains only to please me; he had no fear of mosquitoes. His yogic power was such that he either could will them not to bite, or could escape to an inner invulnerability.
"He was giving me a demonstration," I thought. "That is the yogic state I must strive to attain." A yogi must be able to pass into, and continue in, the superconsciousness, regardless of multitudinous distractions never absent from this earth. Whether in the buzz of insects or the pervasive glare of daylight, the testimony of the senses must be barred. Sound and sight come then indeed, but to worlds fairer than the banished Eden.
The instructive mosquitoes served for another early lesson at the ashram. It was the gentle hour of dusk. My guru was matchlessly interpreting the ancient texts. At his feet, I was in perfect peace. A rude mosquito entered the idyl and competed for my attention. As it dug a poisonous hypodermic needle into my thigh, I automatically raised an avenging hand. Reprieve from impending execution! An opportune memory came to me of one of Patanjali's yoga aphorisms - that on ahimsa (harmlessness).
"Why didn't you finish the job?"
"Master! Do you advocate taking life?"
"No; but the deathblow already had been struck in your mind."
"I don't understand."
"Patanjali's meaning was the removal of desire to kill." Sri Yukteswar had found my mental processes an open book. "This world is inconveniently arranged for a literal practice of ahimsa. Man may be compelled to exterminate harmful creatures. He is not under similar compulsion to feel anger or animosity. All forms of life have equal right to the air of maya. The saint who uncovers the secret of creation will be in harmony with its countless bewildering expressions. All men may approach that understanding who curb the inner passion for destruction."
"Guruji, should one offer himself a sacrifice rather than kill a wild beast?"
"No; man's body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value because of unique brain and spinal centers. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped. It is true that one incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any living thing. But the Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law."
I sighed in relief; scriptural reinforcement of one's natural instincts is not always forthcoming.
Published by Natha.net
''You shouldn't ever wish to achieve paranormal powers (Sidhhis). All that you need to ceaselessly wish for is to reach the Supreme Truth.'' - Gregorian Bivolaru
''Almost always listen to the mysterious voice of your Immortal Self (Atman). Especially before acting, stop and then wait. Only after that can you act with wisdom.'' - Gregorian Bivolaru