Mahamandaleshwara, Guru, Leader and Scholar par excellence.
Swami Veda Bharati has had an outstanding life of service and dedication to peace and tranquility. His astonishing life was an example of dedication, discipline and success. At a tender 4-years of age, he started memorizing the Sanskrit rules and was respected as a child prodigy who, at 9 years of age started to teach the Vedas which was fully memorized.
As Pt Usharbudh Arya, he gave thankless service to the Arya Samaj movement and contributed significantly singularly to the militancy of the movement in Guyana. He birthed the Arya Vir Dal Movement which was a militant youth movement in Guyana that, through its discipline and practices was seen by the then dictatorship in Guyana as a paramilitary movement. His inspirational teachings and lifestyle inspired Guyanese to continue to fight for freedom.
Pt Usharbudh was forced to leave Guyana in the 1970s by the Government. By then, his work had spread to neighboring Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
He opened the Meditation Center in Minneapolis and served the American pubic with dedication and distinction in opening the paths of meditation and yoga.
He authored numerous books and created thousands of hours of audio recordings on Yoga and Meditation.
Pt Usharbudh Arya was ordained into Sanyasi by the venerable Swami Rama of the Himalayas Tradition and thus, Pt Usharbudh took on the title of Swami Veda Bharati.
He was later ordained into the highest order of sanyasi with the title of Mahamandaleshvara Swami Veda Bharati.
He attained mahasamadhi in 2015.
No amount of words or dedication can give service to this Great Soul.
Below is a collection of articles dedicated to SwamiJi.
Swami Veda Bharati: His Life And His Message
Swami Veda Bharati (1933–2015) was a modern-day sage who combined his deep knowledge of the spiritual mysteries encoded in ancient Sanskrit spiritual texts with his personal understanding of modern life and its challenges, which enabled him to teach the techniques for bringing about spiritual growth and personal transformation to thousands of people around the world. The challenges of living in the modern technological world today are dominated by demands on our time, behavior, and skills that are unparalleled in human history. The development of extremely sophisticated “targeted” marketing techniques with a flood of alluring products, widespread multitasking, and a continual emphasis on doing more in less time have fragmented our attention and diminished our awareness of our interior selves. Despite these circumstances and challenges, Swami Veda succeeded in distilling timeless teachings through his own personal sadhana (spiritual practice) and shared the shortcuts for deepening meditation to aspirants around the world.
Mahamandaleshwar Swami Veda Bharati was born in Dehradun, India into a Sanskrit-speaking spiritual family and was raised in the centuries-old Sanskrit tradition. At the age of four, he learned the 4,000 mathematical rules of Sanskrit grammar described in Panini’s ancient text on Sanskrit grammar. By age 11, he could recite and explain the meaning of each of the 20,000 verses in the Vedas. He began touring extensively and giving discourses on the Vedas throughout India. Although he never attended school in India, in the 1960s he studied at the University of London, where he received BA and MA degrees and a D.Litt. degree from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. He taught South Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota between 1966 and 1973. After he met his master, Swami Rama, he was initiated into the highest rungs of Dhyana yoga (the meditative path). During nearly 70 years of his service to humanity, he was a tireless teacher, prolific author, commentator on ancient Sanskrit texts, insightful poet, expert on scriptures of all major spiritual traditions of the world, accomplished linguist, ardent promoter of interfaith harmony through emphasis on commonalities among religions, and methodical scientist who demonstrated the power of mind in scientific laboratories. Following are glimpses of his teachings, which he sometimes referred to as shortcuts to spiritual growth.
Emotional purification: Through emotional purification, one gradually strengthens positive emotions while letting go of the negative emotions. Through this practice, the mind becomes progressively sweeter, so that those who come in contact with us experience that sweetness. He cautioned against quick reactions to events around us, recommending slower, sweeter responses.
“Make everyone feel loved”: His resounding message to the sadhakas (aspirants) around the world was to cultivate an attitude that ensures that everyone they encounter feels loved. To graduating classes of yoga teachers he would say, “Your true certificate will be given to you by your students when they feel loved in your presence.”
Pleasantness of mind by practice of the Brahma Viharas: One of his favorite verses in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was verse I.33 on the four attitudes for developing chitta prasadanam (pleasantness of mind), called the Brahma Viharas: maitri (friendship towards the fortunate ones), karuna (compassion toward those who are suffering), mudita (finding joy in the happiness and success of others), and upeksha (neutrality toward the wicked).
Two-minute meditations: Swami Veda emphasized meditating many times during the day, at home or at work as the opportunity presents itself, each time observing one’s breath and going within for a two-minute period. He explained that the commercial breaks in television programs are perfectly timed for these meditations.
Full moon meditation: Swami Veda urged sadhakas around the world to meditate on full moon evenings with others in their time zone. Meditating with a group connects one to the collective mind and fosters expansion of one’s consciousness. It was his wish that the full moon meditations should continue after he left his body.
Five pillars of sadhana: Swami Veda identified the five key practices that form the “pillars” of one’s spiritual discipline: stillness of body and mind, silence of mind, fasting, celibacy, and conquest of sleep (meaning reducing one’s sleeping time over time). These practices bring about a meditative transformation.
Swami Veda’s mission is characterized by his own words: “I have no ambition. I just have a very loving duty given to me in my spiritual heritage of the Himalayan masters who have passed down this duty from generation to generation, perhaps for thousands of generations: The world has misery, the world has suffering. Do what you can to reduce the pain. Do what you can to soothe people’s minds. Don’t just counsel, Mr. Therapist, … console.”
Swami Veda Bharati will continue to guide aspirants through the audio and video recordings of thousands of hours of his lectures and his vast body of books and essays (available at swamiveda.org and themeditationcenter.org), and through the many teachers within the Himalayan tradition whom he trained to carry on his teachings.
Anil Saigal is president of the Himalayan Yoga and Meditation Center and a certified teacher in the Himalayan tradition of Swami Rama. He teaches meditation, yoga philosophy, and scriptures. Anil has been Swami Veda’s student and has served him in various organizational capacities during the past 18 years.
Article taken from http://yogachicago.com/2015/08/swami-veda-bharati-his-life-and-his-message/
REMEMBERING MAHAMANDALESHWAR SWAMI VEDA BHARTI
( Formerly Pandit Usharbudh Arya )
By Sharada Bhajan
Posted in Indo-Caribbean World Newspaper
September 2nd, 2015 Issue
Swami Veda Bharati, formerly known as Pt. Usharbudh Arya, took Maha Samadhi (conscious departure from the physical body) on July 14th, 2015 at his Ashram, Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh, India.
This is a brief account of an unforgettable charismatic personality whom the writer has personally known for 59 of his 82 years of earthly existence.
Pt. Usharbudh Arya was invited to Guyana by the Arya Samaj Movement there as a Vedic Missionary due to his reputation as a child prodigy who had immense knowledge of the Vedas and other Shastras. He arrived in Guyana in 1956 at the young age of 23, renowned as an authority on the Vedas and, according to the Indian press, was known to have lectured on the Vedas and Yoga Sutras from as early as nine years of age. He was youthful, charismatic, and attracted persons of all ages, communicating in Hindi and English. He mesmerized his audiences with his fluent and absorbing lectures and his Sanskrit chantings. His influence, especially on the youth of Guyana at that time, was so profound that the impact of his teachings reverberated through several generations and in many countries where the Guyanese and Surinamese diaspora were settled.
Pt. Usharbudh Arya was in great demand for performing Yajyas, Kathas, Havans, Sanskars, Vedic training camps and other religious activities connected with his missionary work. The youth of the country, during the years 1956 to 1962, at last found someone to whom they could relate and whose example they could emulate. Panditji was seen as a unifying figure, holding the interest of both young and old with great credibility. He was able to have inter-generational relationships with much ease. The kids at that time were faced with many challenges brought about by western influence and Panditji’s youthful presence and strong appeal were an immense counter-stroke to keep them within their Indian/Hindu tradition. He breathed new life into the religious/cultural value system in the country that was otherwise passive.
Pt. Usharbudh pioneered the many ideals he articulated in a workable manner. Love and care should be for all life and not just humans. The benefits of vegetarianism in one’s diet with respect for all forms of life; discipline for achieving best results; psychology of yoga asanas/exercises for health and mental benefits; becoming conscious of the Divine and understanding the reason for rituals – these were all part of his persuasive appeal to the growing cadres of his young followers. He made possible the practice of spirituality applicable for all peoples with whom he came in contact.
He built an Ashram and brought education to remote areas in the form of a high school. He read, interpreted and explained Sanskrit, Vedas, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Panini’s grammar sutras and extolled ancient beliefs of nonviolence, peace, values of life such as faithfulness, duty, and respect for elders.
He introduced meditation to the youth (Arya Vir Dal) camps he organized and taught Sanskrit. He cleverly introduced Vedic mantras to students by playing games with them asking the children to read a few words from any Veda and he would then continue reciting and explaining the whole mantra.
Before leaving Guyana in 1962 to pursue a formal education abroad, he got married, started his grihasta (householder’s) life, raised four children which experience equipped him to understand and appreciate love for all children. From 1962 to 1966 he completed his formal education of B.A., (Honours), M.A. London and D. Litt. (Utrect) Sanskrit. From 1967 to 1972 he was appointed Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Minnesota. In 1969 he met his Gurudeva, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, and shortly after that, established the Meditation Centre in Minneapolis. From then on he travelled worldwide establishing Yoga and Meditation Centres in USA, Canada, Germany, East Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In 1992 Pt. Usharbudh Arya was inducted into Sanyas Ashram by his Gurudeva and was given the name Swami Veda Bharati. He continued his worldwide teachings and worked towards establishing his Ashram in Rishikesh.
Swami Veda Bharati’s interfaith and international accomplishments included establishing ashrams and centres, and continuing the publishing of books and CDs which he started since his previous incarnation as Pandit Usharbudh Arya. His poems of deep meanings are informative, instructional and attractive to people of many cultures and languages. His commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Vols. I & II are scholarly masterpieces useful as reference texts.
In India, as he did as a missionary in Guyana, he applied spirituality into whatever activities he was engaged in. In 1984, with Mrs Lalita Arya, he established KHEL – Kindness, Health, Education and Laughter – for leprosy patients and a school for underserved children in Dehradun, the city where he was born. Today these charity projects still serve the communities.
In 1999, totally unsolicited, Swamiji was consecrated in the position of Maha Mandaleshwar of the Niranjani Akhara, an order of learned savant Swamis – one of the two oldest and largest orders of Swamis. He thereby joined a peer group of the highest leading swamis of India. Swamiji accepted this office in the hope that he may have another instrument at his disposal to serve his Guruji’s mission.
Swamiji used his expertise in meditation and inner silence to promote a common meeting ground amongst all religions. His “Unifying Streams of Religion” is highly acclaimed as providing a fresh perspective for bringing different Faiths closer together. It was presented at the World Peace Summit of Leaders in Religion and Spirituality at the United Nations in August 2000. His “Education and Parenting for Peace” was a proposal in June 2004 to the World Council of Religious Leaders and UNICEF. In this book he presents his vision of the parenting skills needed to raise integrated, creative and joyful children in the 21st century.
April 2005, Swamiji made significant international impact during the Beijing, China Conference – “Providing Leadership for Sustainable Development.” He translated the very ancient Sanskrit inscriptions carved into pillars and walls much to the delight and awe of the Chinese dignitaries.
In 2010 his Ashram hosted a Conference organized by the Global Peace Initiative of Women. Hindu and Muslim Leaders from all over the world – India, Afghanistan, Pakistan – formed a spiritual alliance in Kashmir.
Swamiji continued to develop the Ashram in Rishikesh, in the past five years. Leaders of various Faiths came to him seeking instructions on Yoga, Meditation and Silence. He has created a tranquil atmosphere in this Ashram. In a recent survey of India’s Ashrams, this Ashram was placed at number four position in the top 15 choices. It was described as having a very peaceful and calm environment with welcoming, friendly and capable teachers.
“For thousands of years the science of Meditation has been practised and studied by aspirants who sought to make their lives more serene, creative and fulfilling. Meditation will give the capacity to improve health relationships and the skillfulness of all your activities. This is because Meditation can give something that no other technique can accomplish. It introduces you to yourself at all levels and finally leads you to the Centre of Consciousness within from where consciousness flows.”
Quote by Swami Veda Bharati from The art of Self Beautification – A Spiritual Journal.
Upon the relinquishment of his mortal coil, the body of Swami Veda Bharati was disposed of through the Vedic system of Jal Samadhi on Friday July 17, 2015.
According to the ancient tradition there are three main procedures for the disposal of persons who have taken Maha Samadhi: Bhu Samadhi (burial in earth), Agni Samadhi (cremation) or Jal Samadhi (river water immersion). While Swamis are occasionally cremated, burial and water immersion are considered by many Orders of Swamis to be a sign of great respect.
Swami Veda Bharati opted not to have his final remains disposed of by way of Bhu Samadhi (burial) so as to avoid his resting place becoming a shrine. For this reason his monastic order, the Niranjan Akhara, showed their respect for his status as a Maha Mandaleshwar by performing his last rites (antyesti) in the form of Jal Samadhi. Under this system the body is placed in padmasana (lotus posture), enclosed in a sandalwood box with slits, and immersed in the fast flowing currents of the Ganga to the chanting of Vedic mantras. These sacred rites for Swami Veda Bharati were performed on Friday July 17, 2015.