On Friday September 17 2010, Art of Living Austin had the pleasure of hosting Swami Suryapada, a traveling saint from India. Since he was in town for a few hours we had to be satisfied with a satsang and nothing more.
I had heard about swamiji earlier through some senior teachers like Rajima and Commanderji but had never met him in person. So, needless to say I was excited that he will be coming to town. By the time we managed to reach the venue he had already entered the hall and was working on his Harmonium. In the first impression I was blown away by the simplicity of his attire and in some aspects he resembled the guru himself, the beard and the long hair added to the resemblance.
The satsang (or as I usually refer to as Sat Sang) was very different, instead of starting with random songs, he started us off with an initiation mantra which he recited in sanskrit and then we sang a song in the praise of lord Ganesh, next song was in the praise of the guru or teacher and the very next one was in praise of goddess sharada (goddess of learning). At the end of each song he would recite a few more verses in sanskrit. His voice was so captivating and his pronunciation of the mantras felt so authentic that the whole room had gone into a trance. After these three we sang for a while and by then I had lost track of time.
At around 7:45PM or 8:00PM, he said lets meditate and I was expecting we would be getting all the kids out, closing the doors and dimming the lights but to my great surprise none of it happened. He just asked us to clasp our hands above the head and start chanting “Narayani Narayani” and after the continuous chant for a while he asked us to lower our hands and guided us through a small procedure and asked us to open the eyes. I felt lighter, more energetic, I felt I had meditated.
After the meditation, he gave a small knowledge session. He was natural, dynamic, effortless, completely in the moment, spontaneous and had an awesome sense of humor. His talk did not feel pre meditated or targeted towards anybody nor did he have any specific agenda. I felt perhaps after sri sri himself, here was one person who could translate the complicated knowledge of spirituality into a concrete, tangible, practical wisdom. He had the audience captivated. When somebody asked if this talk were recorded, he said all it matters is it being recorded up here (he was pointing to the head). He had the breadth and depth of knowledge.
I would have loved to listen to him if he had spoken the whole night, but the evening had to come to an end and we ended with the kannada song “baghyada lakshmi baramma”. Many people in the audience couldn’t understand what he was singing but his voice, music and the tune made us all enjoy the song.
It was truly a pleasure hosting him and spending the evening with him. Thanks to all who made it happen. I only wish he were here for a longer time and had conducted a course or two. If you ever get a chance to be in his presence, do not miss the chance.
The post would have been more effective if I had posted some pics from the satsang, I do not have any with me and will post them once I get them.