“Over the course of YEP 2014, I have grown physically, intellectually and spiritually. Intellectually, I have become more rooted in the concepts of Sanatana Dharma. Physically, I have challenged myself during yoga and jogging. Spiritually, I have used three techniques (japa, likhita japa and journalling) to establish a platform of peace within.”
-Meena Mana

meena

Om Sri Chinmaya Sadgurave Namaha.

By Gurudev’s grace, I have been able to attend YEP 2014 and personally grow from it. The course overall has been a great learning experience for me and my time here has helped me gain a more concrete idea of who I am and what I stand for.

What is Sanatana Dharma? Not only is it a religion, it is a way of life. Everything I think, speak or act should be in accordance with the values and ideals of Sanatana Dharma. Attending three lectures a day has helped me solidify my comprehensive view of Sanatana Dharma. Concepts such as Karma, Vasanas, Ishta Daivata, reincarnation, the four purusarthas, Bhakti, Brahman, the four stages of life, and Maya have become more clear to me daily. Each day I am able to take notes during lecture and synthesize what I have learned. I feel that upon being asked questions on Sanatana Dharma, I will be better able to respond and more prepared with an answer consistent to Hindu ideals.

Each part of the course has helped me grow in different ways. I can see that each activity we do during the day has been carefully thought out and planned. At 5.45am, we begin our day with yoga/jogging or meditation. I have been able to push myself during jogging so each day I feel I am getting a good workout and keeping up with the right amount of exercise. One thing we implemented is to run faster each day. Essentially, we try and beat our time from the previous day. At the beginning of the course, I couldn’t complete three laps around the ashram without having to stop and walk. Now I am able to easily finish three laps, and I work hard to keep a consistent jogging pace.

Vedic chanting at 11.30am is by far, my favourite class. The power felt in the room while all 21 of us chant is incredible. We learned that when properly chanted, the energy comes from just behind the navel. I feel that chanting has broken barriers for me personally. Words that I thought I would not be able to pronounce, I am easily able to say within just a few days. The mantras we have learned are Ganaana’am tva, Na karmana, Sam no mitra (both), sahana vavathu, mantra pushpam, purusasuktam, medha suktam, durga suktam and a few other shanti mantras.

Another part of the course that has helped me grow is time spent in Gurudev’s kuttiya. Each evening, we spend 30 minutes from 6 to 6.30pm in Gurudev’s kutiya, the place where Gurudev stayed while he lived in Krishnalaya. The time allotted is for japa, likhita japa, and journaling. Journaling has helped me greatly because I am able to see where my weaknesses are. All my negativities I write in red, their triggers in black, and strengths and things I am thankful for in blue. I am able to catch myself when I have a negative thought, and reflect on how that was triggered. I have started to see a few patterns developing such as anger and laziness. Over the course of the next few years, I plan to work on these negative tendencies and eventually, be rid of them. Likhita japa is calming to me. I am able to establish a platform of peace and serenity, which I come back to when I am angry or stressed. We each received our own mantras to write at the beginning of the course. Japa (mentally chanting the Lord’s name) has helped me grow towards single-pointedness. I picture Lord Ganesh meditating, and how he looks.

The 5S formula is something I will take back with me. First, Sadhana. In the morning, I will do japa, chanting the Lord’s name 216 times. Then in the evening, 20 minutes of likhita japa. Next, Swadhyaya. I am to read 2 shlokas of the Bhagavad Geeta a day. Also Swadhyaya includes journalling, or self-study. Satsang is maintaining good company. I will attend my local centre’s visiting Acharya’s lectures. I will conduct satsang by teaching Balavihar and being a part of CHYK study group. Seva includes my contribution to JCHYKs and CHYKs as well as my contribution to one of ten projects introduced here at YEP. Lastly, Swarupa Nishtha is regularly dedicating time to pooja. Also, spending 10 minutes with myself, while observing pranayam and meditating.

Over the course of YEP 2014, I have grown physically, intellectually and spiritually. Intellectually, I have become more rooted in the concepts of Sanatana Dharma. Physically, I have challenged myself during yoga and jogging. Spiritually, I have used three techniques (japa, likhita japa and journalling) to establish a platform of peace within. Moving forward, I will be using the 5S formula, which stands for Sadhana, Swadhyaya, Satsang, Seva and Swarupa Nishtha to stay connected to that God within.

Hari Om. Om Chinmaya Sadgurave Namaha.

Meena is a junior at University of Arkansas. She is studying Computer Science. Meena has an active role in National Seva Project, specifically, the initiative P.O. Box Gurudev.