*Adya Sampradaya comes from the Sanskrit Language. Adya means original or primal. And Sampradaya means cherished knowledge given forth carefully. Each edition features articles on healing and personal growth, traditional wisdom from around the world and the news that affects our lives.
"Ben Oofana is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He walks his talk and it all comes from his heart."
"Ben helped me get my life back. When we first met I was a confused, angry and broken person and my body reflected all of this pain. I was also very determined to heal. Session by session, Ben gently and patiently guided me through the process of opening up to the pain, releasing it and replacing it with what was important to me. I began to feel less fragmented, more whole; living less in the past and more in the present.
Benís medicine is strong; it is a process that requires commitment and taking responsibility for yourself.
That is true healing.'
"I had a very difficult childhood and before meeting Ben I often felt that I was looking at the world through a window, or that it was only a dream. I also had a low tolerance for stressful situations and would be completely worn out after a tough day.
After two sessions with Ben I noticed that I no longer had the feeling of being separate from the world around me and I cope with stress and conflict much more easily now."
Swami Jiís Secret Password Mantra
In May of this year, I spent a Saturday afternoon visiting Hindu temples with a friend in Flushing, New York. A man walked up to us shortly after we entered a small temple and said "You're really fortunate to have come to our temple at this time ...Our guru has just come from India and he should be arriving here at the temple just any minute."
I had never heard of Swami Ji before, but he walked in shortly thereafter and began to pray before the deities for a few minutes and then sat down in a chair that was provided for him. People at the temple who were waiting for the Swami Ji to arrive knelt down and touched his feet. Swami Ji would then transmit his blessing as he touched crown of his devotee's heads.
Swami Ji just looked like another frumpy middle aged man dressed in the typical road-reflector orange pajamas that gurus commonly wear. Like everyone else, I knelt down to touch his feet. I could feel the guru's transmission of power as he touched the crown of my head. I felt a sense of lightness as my crown chakra opened.
I learned from a friend who is a devotee that Swami Ji was intending to return in August. I love going to darshan whenever the opportunity presents itself. I feel the transmission of power helping to create a sense of lightness and freedom by releasing some of the heavy burdens that have accumulated over the course of my life. I wanted to have another opportunity to see Swami Ji and receive more of this transmission. I learned from my friend that the Swami Ji would be returning to the New York Ė New Jersey area sometime in August and began to anticipate his arrival.
I caught a ride to New Jersey with my friend on the day of Swami's Ji's return. We arrived a few hours in advance of the program and began to help with the set up. Swami Jiís musicians began the program at 5 pm with a series of bhajans, which are traditional Hindu devotional songs. A younger swami with an incredibly annoying voice began to address the audience of over a thousand people in Hindi. I stuffed waded up pieces of paper towel in my ears because the volume was so incredibly loud. Sitting through the program as it dragged on for hours felt like an act of endurance and I kept wondering when Swami Ji would make his grand appearance.
A slide show ran continually in the background that alternately showed pictures of Swami Ji, his family and the various Hindu deities. Anyone who has studied Neuro Linguistic Programing or hypnosis understands that people viewing the slide show will naturally attribute the goodness and power of the deities to the Swami and his family.
I felt a tremendous sense of annoyance by the time Swami Ji began to address the crowd around 9:30. He spoke for a while before the musicians began another round of bhajans and then the younger swami spoke again. Swami Ji resumed his discourse shortly before midnight and began to lead the audience through a series of mantras. Since I couldn't understand Hindi, I didn't realize at the time that he was also making a sales pitch. At some point toward the end of the program they began to announce how much money people were contributing to Swami Jiís cause.
I can see and feel the transformation that takeís place within people's bodies and minds as they work with intensive spiritual practice. I'm able to recognize the gifts and abilities that have developed as a result. I wasn't impressed as I looked around the room that evening. No one with the exception of Swami Ji appeared to possess any significant power. The younger swami who spent so much time selling the magical mantras was in terrible shape and it was quite obvious that he had difficulty walking which left me wondering "Why are you in such horrible shape if these mantras are so powerful?"
I was feeling very tired and frustrated after sitting there for so many hours and I realized there would be no transmission of power. Time is precious. I have so much work to do and felt I had basically wasted a day of my life. I would have never gone had I realized that Swami Ji was conducting a circus. There were times when I just wanted to get up and leave, but the event took place at an exhibit center that was not easily accessible by public transportation. I would have had to call a taxi and wait for it to arrive to take me to the train station and then wait up to an hour for a train to show up. The ride back into the city would have taken at least an hour and twenty minutes and then I would have to wait for the subway. I figured that I might as well wait till I found a ride at the end of the program.
The event's organizers had arranged to have food catered for those in attendance. I wasn't able to understand much of what was happening since the program was conducted almost entirely in Hindi. But my friend told me that I needed to get in line to receive the little booklet that included the sacred mantras. He also mentioned something about subscribing to Swami Kumar Ji's magazine for $108 dollars a year to receive the monthly "password mantra." He went on to say that I needed to receive the password, otherwise the sacred mantras would not be effective.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing and looked back at my friend and said, "What? ...Password mantra? ...are you serious?" I went over and took my place at the end of the line and felt a little stupid standing there behind the hundreds of sheeple (people who act like sheep) waiting for their turn to receive their little booklet. But I was also very curious to get the English version of the booklet so I could get a better sense of what it was all about.
Swami Ji is an affectionate way that many Hindus refer to their gurus. I decided not to reveal Swami Jiís name in this article. But those who are curious to know who Iím referring to can always do a Google search under "swami password mantra."
My friend arranged for us to ride with a couple who were returning to the city. We finally left around 1 am. I felt so exhausted by the time I reached my apartment at 2:30 that morning, but I couldn't wait to search the internet and see what other people had to say. I did a Google search for the Swami and found an article by Ajay Dutta published in the Hindu Voice entitled "Mantras for Money." The following six paragraphs are a reiteration of Ajay Duttaís account.
Ajay wrote about how he was initially impressed with Swami Ji discourses on one of the satellite television channels that promote Hindu spirituality. Swami Ji supposedly came from a very poor background, but rose up as a result of his hard work and eventually became a physician. Swami Ji spent many years studying in the Himalayas under various Gurus and Rishis who taught him the correct use of the "Beej" mantras. He claims that the special mantras he teaches have gone unnoticed in the Vedas, Gita, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and other sacred books.
Swami Ji claimed that a meeting with him can resolve any issue one has, be it emotional, financial, educational or physical and that he will give all who come to him their own personal mantra. Ajay learned that Swami Ji was planning a visit to London and decided to go along with his family.
The program started around 4 pm. At some point during the course of the evening the Junior Swami asked the attendees who out of them had received a Beej mantra. He said about thirty percent raised their hands. The junior swami then asked for members of the audience to give their own personal testimonies of how chanting the Beej mantras had helped to resolve their problems.
A line began to form as people gave their testimonials. Ajay learned that the line was for those who wanted to receive a personal consultation. He was a little taken aback to discover that there was a fee of £54 British pounds per person for the four minute consultation, but reasoned that it must be worth the fee considering they would each be given a personal mantra to cure their problems.
Those who paid for a personal consultation lined up by their ticket numbers. They were all assured during their meeting with Swami Ji that everything would be just fine. They just have to read Swami Ji's little booklet and chant the mantras faithfully. Afterwards they were ushered to a table in the back to see a woman who also assured them that all their problems would be resolved. She then informed each individual that a special five day puja costing £400 would need to be conducted at Swami Ji's ashram to start the process of resolving their problems.
Ajay became suspicious at that point. Many had already paid the £54 consultation fee and a large percentage of them would go on to pay the £400 puja fee. He said that another person was also advised to have a special Ayurvedic treatment regimen performed for £ 300 at Swami's ashram in India. It became quite obvious that Swami Ji was raking in tens of thousands of dollars for the evening.
Sanskrit mantras are composed of sacred sounds that call form into manifestation. Many of these mantras have been passed down over thousands of years. These mantras are commonly given by a guru or priest to devotees. Itís a common practice for the guru or priest to instruct the devotee not to share their personal mantra with anyone else. Some mantras have been passed down in secret over the centuries. The ancient sages and rishis never mentioned anything about a password mantra that changes from one month to the next.
I grew up in the Christian Evangelical movement and now Iím encountering the Hindu version. A Sri Lankan Tamil woman I was engaged to some years back was very cynical about the Hindu temples in her homeland saying that she felt they were primarily in it for the money. There are individuals in all religions that are primarily in it for the money.
All of the ancient spiritual traditions have lost some degree of their power and connection to the divine and some have also become very commercialized. Most of the priests, swamis and gurus I have come to know are very genuine and caring people. Many have made huge sacrifices by dedicating themselves to being of service to others. They have spent much of their lives doing intensive spiritual practices and have access to a tremendous body of ancient wisdom.
Priestly functions such as conducting pujas are an intensive process of invocation of the deities that require a great deal of disciplined focus and effort. There is a charge for individual pujas but thatís relatively modest considering the amount of time and effort involved. Hindu priests and swamis inhabit the same material world that the rest of us live in. They have families to provide for, rent, food and other living expenses. Itís also hugely expensive to maintain a house of worship.
I encourage people to read the stories, personal accounts of devotees and discourses of Hindu Saints such as Anandamayi Ma, Ramana Maharshi and Shirdi Sai Baba who are living embodiments of the divine. These individuals operate on a totally different plane of existence. They function at a super conscious state beyond the sense of their bodies, the human psyche and worldly concerns that affect most of us. These highly developed gurus have a purity about them. Just being in their presence can have a very powerful transformative effect. These saints are said to choose to incarnate with the purpose of assisting other individuals in their process of spiritual evolution.
People who work with intensive yogic practices for extended periods of time may develop intensive spiritual powers referred to as siddhis. But these individuals are still human beings like the rest of us who are still subject to the governing principles of the human psyche. But many make the mistake of assuming they have evolved beyond the need to address their own feelings and worldly issues. Those who fail to address their feelings and issues often end up getting caught in their own dysfunctional drama.
There is a tendency among people who follow the Hindu-Vedic tradition to elevate the guru to the status of a god. Swami Ji does possess some power and at some level he is helping people. Many gurus and masters possess extraordinary gifts and capabilities, but having tremendous power doesnít necessitate that they are healthy. We need to keep in mind that every relationship holds some degree of ambiguity. Sometimes we need to take a step back and really examine our spiritual teachers.
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