Bay Area, California Report
We attended some of the sessions of the Kriya Yoga Congress 2016 organized by the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, San Jose, mainly the Friday Keynote and Saturday Banquet dinner.
Friday, March 11th
The event started and ended with Yogacharya Ellen O'Brian's Kirtan session. It was heart-filling and soul filling session with beautiful patterns emerging out of the concert, repeated by the entire audience and the hall seemed to have patterns of waves in which we all were floating. The chanting of Hey Prabhu, Gopala Jai jai, Jai Bolo Rama, Namah Shivaya, Namo Arunachala and so on were so beautiful on the lips of these passionate spiritual seekers who are not homegrown Sanskrit or Sanskrit based speakers, but instead a passionate adopted Sanskrit children.
After the initial bhajan was the moment of honoring of Yogashree N.V.Raghuram, the spiritual founder and chairman of Yoga Bharati. It was also the moment of remembering CSE leader's recent trip to VYASA, their love for India, and their love for Yoga Bharati.
Sri N.V.Raghuram, popularly known as Raghuramji, then got on to the podium. His wisdom filled words filled the hearts of the audience with love and compassion through the message on Yoga. He connected the journey from outer to inner, from gross to subtle, from matter or materialism to Spirit or Spirituality. His talk flowed so beautifully that each of the members of the audience — around 500 members — was profoundly merged into sublimation by the end of his speech.
Sessions and Initiation - The attendees of CSE's Kriya Congress were busy the entire afternoon of Friday and Saturday with many talks and sessions including Kriya Yoga Initiation taken by hundreds of people from Rev. Roy Eugene Davis, the direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.
Saturday, March 12th Banquet Dinner
The event started with a beautiful chanting of Raghuramji from Rig Veda and Ishavasyopanishad. After that, we had a small talk by Cynthia Coppel of Lotus Ayurveda and Shunya Pratichi Mathur of Vedika Global. They both gave a beautiful and crisp message in the honor of the dedicated yogi of CSE, Rev. Roy Eugene Davis.
Then came a beautiful rendering of Hindustani classical instrumental concert. Not a single player was Indian and yet it was done as if they had learned music in India since childhood. The fretless sitar and the rendition of the Kirwani, Raag Mishra Mand and finally Raag Bhairavi. We were already full before the dinner began !
Then came the most sumptuous and satvic vegetarian dinner and the delightful conversation with wonderful people on our table. We met some of the most amazing and passionate people in the field of Yoga, Sanskrit, meditation, researchers in meditation, etc.
Some of the CSE regulars who were in the school board member for Santa Clara school district, the Jain Community leader and the official of Santa Clara Correction facility gave an account of how they have used spirituality and meditation in the respective fields of their profession. The example of the high school kid whose GPA was 1.6 in Freshman year improved to 4.0 in Final year due to Meditation was a hugely inspiring story for all in the audience.
This was followed by Yogacharya giving a beautiful account of her Guru Roy Eugene Davis and his work. She said her inspiration was derived from his selfless and unswerving dedication for more than 70 years in the service of humanity and in spiritual sadhana. This moved the audience to the point of tears of joy. Everyone gave a standing ovation to the "Swami in the black Suit" as I would like to address him. Yogacharya then awarded the first edition (1947) of the book "Autobiography of Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda, a rare collection. Then was the time for thanking the volunteers. Rev. Sylvia Karuna Kunt was honored for her all-encompassing dedication to CSE's work. The list of Sylvia's work makes this report too large. Suffice it to say she took the heavyweight lifting of the Kriya Yoga Congress along with her heavyweight lifting of the center's operations, finance, human resources, facilities, mentoring the seminaries, and the list goes on.
We got to see all the volunteers of CSE starting with Rev.Sundari Jensen, another heavyweight lifter of CSE to many passionate volunteers — over 50 of them — who stood up to be honored and clapped.
Once upon a time, there was, nay, there IS — a humble group, dedicated souls, and a beautiful spiritual group emerging out of one spark of Punya Bhumi Bharat — Mother India as they say — the Jagadguru of the world ! I came out TODAY humbled and benumbed with sublime bliss!
Jai Paramahansa Yogananda! Jai Gurudev! Jai Bharat ke Sant !
- Yoga Bharati Volunteers