PUBLIC TALK: Speaking Tree Retreat, a wellness and spirituality website, operating under the umbrella of Times Internet invited YSS Noida Ashram Monastic In-charge Swami Lalitanandaji to speak in the concluding session of its annual three-day ‘Speaking Tree Retreat’ at Vivanta by Taj in Surajkund, Delhi-NCR on December 30, 2017.

This session of the event aimed towards ‘self-upliftment through proactive rediscovery of perspectives, hence channelizing constructive thinking and holistic wellness,’ was attended by 200 enthusiasts.

In the morning session of this retreat with a focus on spirituality, wellness and lifestyle, Swamiji addressed the audience on the Science of Kriya Yoga, in which he touched upon the teachings of Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. At this retreat aimed towards ‘enabling present-day professionals caught up in the monotonous tirade of work and deadlines to obtain mental homeostasis through spiritual indoctrinations and support', Swamiji reminded the attendees that it was a great blessing to possess the inclination to make efforts to find God, which is very rare in this world. Each one of them participating in the retreat had this inclination, Swamiji added, saying it was truly inspiring to see how eager they were, to absorb the spiritual teachings presented to them, during the retreat.

Thereafter, he explained how when one starts to seek God, God himself sends him a Guru who is ordained for him. He briefly touched the various paths to God like Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga, dwelling more on the last one being aware that many of the participants are practicing Hatha Yoga. He disclosed to the audience his familiarity with the asanaspranayamas, bandhas and mudras of Hatha Yoga, and how these are meant to make the body and mind fit for the final practice of Raja Yoga. Supporting this claim, he quoted from one of the ancient texts of Hatha Yoga – the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Swamiji also pointed out that even though the final aim of Hatha Yoga was that, it has also several healthful benefits on the body and mind, and therefore the system is widely spreading all over the world, which is laudable. 

He finally went on to explain Raja Yoga – which is the path taught by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS). He highlighted the various characteristics of Raja Yoga which make it appealing to the modern man like its scientific approach, universality and its emphasis on personal experience rather than beliefs and faiths.

In the same context, Swamiji introduced the audience to one of the world's most acclaimed spiritual classics authored by our Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda – the Autobiography of a Yogi. This book – that has touched the hearts and minds of millions around the globe – serves as a prelude to going into the dynamics of Kriya Yoga, Swamiji explained. He mentioned how it has been translated into 46 languages, and how it is widely followed as a spiritual classic – and even as text books in universities.

He elucidated in simple words the science of Kriya Yoga based on the passages from the chapter “The Science of Kriya Yoga.” He revealed how powerful the technique can be, and hence how it cannot be practiced without getting it from the proper channel, through initiation or Diksha. Swamiji also briefly touched upon the implication of initiation and the sacred covenant of loyalty and trust between Guru and the disciple.

He enlightened the audience on how YSS prepares the student to receive this sacred technique, through the practice of some preliminary techniques for a few months. And then, how this sacred technique is imparted through initiation. 

Following his talk, YSS monastic Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji, who had accompanied Swamiji, took the audience through a period of conducted meditation. This included breathing exercises, watching the breath, visualization and the healing technique.

After the conducted meditation, both the monastics interacted with the audience for over half an hour through a question-and-answer session which was concluded with a tremendous response, and almost all those present in the audience expressed a keen interest to learn the system of sadhana as given by our Gurudeva Sri Sri  Paramahansa Yogananda.