Integral Yoga® Magazine, Issue No. 159  Have a Touchstone
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Have a Touchstone

Test all your desires and actions. There is a stone on which you rub gold to see how pure it is. From the color you can see the carat. It’s called a touchstone. Let your touchstone be to ask yourself: “Will this affect my peace?” If the answer is, “My peace will be disturbed,” stay away from that desire or action.

God bless you. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”    Sri Swami Satchidananda

Your Mind: Learn to Watch the Show
By Sri Swami Satchidananda

Someone asked me the following: "Sometimes I see visions of departed souls. I don’t understand this. Can you explain it?” Yes, the mind can do anything. It creates images and can foresee things. The mental capacity for that is there. Recently, I read some articles about scientists who are finding out that even before something happens, the mind can recognize it, though it doesn’t come into your awareness. And that is true not only of peoples’ minds, but of other things also. They can show that trees talk to each other, and when they feel the hurt they defend themselves. That shows the trees have a mind. But you don’t have to worry about what the mind sees. Let it see whatever it sees—it’s all mental play, so just watch the show. The mind puts all kinds of images on the screen. When you go to the cinema, you see many kinds of shows: good, bad, violent. And, you watch everything for fun. In the same way, you can watch your own mind putting on a show and you can have fun as you watch. That’s another important thing. Watch your own mind. Become a witness of the mind. In normal life, I hear people saying, “Oh I don’t know why, but my mind is upset today.  MORE

Ecology and the Human Heart
By His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Greta Thunberg—the Swedish 16-year-old climate activist—has been in the headlines with her impassioned speech at the United Nations. H.H. the Dalai Lama shares these thoughts.
    According to Buddhist teaching, there is a very close interdependence between the natural environment and the sentient beings living in it. Some of my friends have told me that basic human nature is somewhat violent, but I told them I disagree. If we examine different animals, for example, those whose very survival depends on taking others lives, such as tigers or lions, we learnt that their basic nature provides them with sharp fangs and claws. Peaceful animals, such as deer, which are completely vegetarian, are gentler and have smaller teeth and no claws. From that viewpoint we human beings have a non-violent nature. As to the question of human survival, human beings are social animals. In order to survive we need companions. Without other human beings there is simply no possibility of surviving; that is a law of nature. Since I deeply believe that human beings are basically gentle by nature, I feel that we should not only maintain gentle, peaceful relations with our fellow human beings but also that it is very important to extend the same kind of attitude towards the natural environment.  MORE

On July 24, 1997, George Harrison came by the studio and giving what would turn out to be his very last public interview. That same year (one month later), Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer. He died in 2001. Harrison appeared with his old friend Ravi Shankar (he had just produced Shankar’s "Chants of India"). (Thanks to Les Anand Roberts for sharing the video link.)
This past week, the annual Bhakti Fest, often called the "spiritual Woodstock," began. This recent article includes an interview with BhaktiFest founder, and student of Swami Satchidananda, Sridhar Silberfein.
    Shortly before Woodstock in 1969, festival organizers Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld asked their friend, Sridhar Silberfein, what was missing. A follower of Asian-Indian religious teacher Swami Satchidananda, Silberfein felt the festival needed a spiritual component to complement legendary and up-and-coming artists like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performing at the event. “They said, ‘Ok, you handle and produce that,’” he recalled in a recent phone interview. Silberfein asked his teacher, Satchidananda, to appear at opening day.... After Woodstock, Satchidananda authored several books and gave many lectures to Americans interested in his teachings of yoga, service to others and spiritual enlightenment. He rubbed shoulders with celebrities like Alice Coltrane, who titled her 1971 album “Journey in Satchidananda,” singer-songwriter Carole King, and Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, who spent some of his childhood with his parents in Satchidananda’s Yogaville ashram in Virginia.... But Silberfein never forgot a conversation he had with his teacher as they surveyed the crowd at Woodstock. (Rare photo: Arrival at Woodstock; Silberfein third from left.)  MORE 

Do Hindus Have a Milk Problem?
By Panshula Ganeshan
Many thousands of Hindus a day will stop by a grocery store and buy commercial milk for offering to a Deity—a type of sacrifice and cultural remembrance with deep ties to Vedic Indian culture. I, too, happily participated in this venerable practice until my eyes were opened to the reality of commercial dairy farming. That was at least fifteen years ago. The Internet made finding this information easy. When I approached a temple board member with my concern about the ethics involved in offering the Deity commercial milk, I was basically ignored. The board member happened to be an environmental engineer. He actually had a different concern: that there was so much milk going down the drain in the temple sanctums that it might create an environmental hazard. There was an obvious disconnect. The priority should be on the cow. I did discover, however, a new initiative for offering organic milk soon after. Then I witnessed a debacle where eggnog was accidentally poured over the Sivalingam in the temple. The priest didn’t realize it until the ritual abhishekam was finished, at which time he started to clean up and saw the empty eggnog carton.  MORE
In this series of short talks, Swami Asokananda (Integral Yoga) shares his insights from years of study and contemplation on the great Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. In Part 19, we continue on to Chapter 2, verse 6. Here, we find our protagonist, Arjuna, beginning to discover some cracks in his armor. This is the beginning of true spiritual seeking, of questioning our belief systems. It takes courage to ask ourselves the question: Am I seeing things as they are?

New 2020 Calendar: Limited Quantities, Pre-Order by Oct. 15

This special collector’s full color calendar is the final year for our wall calendar series. The calendar series began in 2007, with various themes. As most people no longer use paper calendars, we have decided that this will be the final year for the printed calendar. The 2020 calendar—twelve-months of different spectacular photos for each month—features Swami Satchidananda with children and/or animals, highlighting the “Joy of Living” theme. The calendar includes inspirational quotes for each month and the dates noted for holidays/observances for many world faiths, as well as moon phases for each month. The perfect gift for the holidays and New Year! A beautiful hanging wall calendar, on heavy card stock, measures (when open and hanging) 11 inches wide x 16-1/2 inches high. LIMITED QUANTITIES, so pre-order yours by OCTOBER 15th!

"Saturday, 21st September is the United Nations' International Day of Peace, and in celebration of this, the Integral Yoga Centre has celebrated World Peace Day," the local Gibraltar news station reported. A message of peace and love were shared at this year’s world peace day celebrations held at Gibraltar's Hall of Fame. The celebrations were particularly special for the IYC, because they marked the 50 years since Swami Satchidananda opened the Woodstock festival in 1969. The audience enjoyed footage of his speech, thanks to the video produced by Les Roberts. Namrata Gulraj, the narrator opened this year's event, featuring speakers including Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Joseph Garcia.

October 2019: Celebrate Integral Yoga Day and San Francisco IYI's 50th

Each year, since Integral Yoga International's 50th anniversary in 2016, we celebrate annual Integral Yoga Day on October 7th. This is the date the first Integral Yoga Institute was founded (New York, 1966). While we celebrate Integral Yoga Day worldwide, 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of Integral Yoga classes in San Francisco. The first classes were held in a studio there in 1969. The following year, the beautiful and historic building, on Dolores Street, was purchased and became the permanent home of the Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco. The IYI is kicking off it's big 5-0, on October 5th with a full program of festivities. The celebration will continue through 2020.
Inside Yogaville

Yogaville community member Jai Ram Eyth, recently organized this last float on the James River of this summer. The group launched their tubes from the Wingina bridge ramp, just a few miles from Yogaville, and everyone enjoyed a 2-hour ride that ended at Midway Mills. Swami Satchidananda affectionately referred to this river as the "Jimmy Ganga." With a backdrop of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the Jimmy Ganga and Yogaville acreage seemed to always remind him of his native land. The mountains in the area where he grew up were called the Nilgiri Mountains, which translates as "blue mountains." The Nilgiris form part of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu of Southern India. A wonderful synchronicity...

Inspiring Meme of the Week
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