“I was looking for answers, I was looking for confirmation that reincarnation exists. I was looking for hope that my loved ones did not leave me forever, that someday, somewhere, we may meet… My heart was in pain. I was looking for a path, which will bring me closer to the Creator.”
This is how Laime responds when asked what she was looking for when she started watching videos of the Meditation Steps program created by Acarya Sadananda Avadhuta, born in Siberia in 1978, now in Barnaul, Russia.
Laime, whose civil name means happiness and good luck, was born in Estonia and is now 54 years old. She began her quest to gain back the meaning of life after losing her son after an endless fight against stomach cancer, diagnosed at stage 4. The loss suffered left her feeling extremely empty:
“My son passed away…I was left with a huge hole in my body and all worldly winds were able to pass through…” says Laime.
The method of meditation of dada Sadananda was one of the instruments used by Laime in the quest to redefine life, and meditation opened the possibility of great learning:
“…I just felt like someone spoke my mother tongue…
It felt like crumbs on my way to be found…
It brought me back to life – I understood, that there is something bigger than I am capable to see, grasp and comprehend. It pulled me out of sadness and hopeless place, where I found myself when I lost my beautiful, smart boy. It helped me to see, where my mistakes came from, gave me the strength to ask for forgiveness and forgive myself. I know for sure, that all things in life have a bigger purpose, and we are given a chance to see it, not necessarily always in happy circumstances…
I am lucky to be given a chance to realize and learn the laws of the Universe.” Tells us Laime.
The Meditation Steps site contains lessons and a step-by-step guide to spiritual practice. Youtube channel has more than five hundred videos in Russian and about fifty videos in English. Some videos can also be seen with Portuguese subtitles, made by Paritosh Hare (Fabrício Henrique Trindade), 37, from São Caetano do Sul, SP – Brazil, who inspired by the content, decided to translate them:
“The initial idea for translating the content came from a friend. I started to add some subtitles in Portuguese, at least in the videos that talk about the yamas and niyamas, the base of everything. I wanted to make it easier for more people to be inspired by dada.” Paritosh explains.
You can start by a step-by-step guide or watch the videos you are most interested in, to motivate yourself, enabling you to follow the program. As well as Laime, users around the world have benefited and searched for dada Sadananda to talk about his way of teaching:
“The feedback is very positive. I used to answer questions and read letters all day long. Now this work is done by my colleges whom I trained to do that. People say many good things, such as ‘your work had saved my life,’ ‘I found a new meaning and strength,’ etc,” says the acarya Sadananda.
The dada started the program in October 2013 as a way to inspire more people to practice meditation and to follow a sentient lifestyle. It was an effective strategy for doing pracar. Knowing that the human mind takes time to change and to mature, dada Sadananda relied on the gradual approach and the multiple possibilities of contacting the source:
“Through such everyday satsanga (i.e., watching the videos) a subtle transformation occurs in all strata of life and an ordinary man becomes a practitioner of spirituality.” Explains the acarya.
Now dada Sadananda sees new possibilities. One of them is to expand the themes and talk about health, family, education, society, vegetarianism, economics and so on. Another idea is to transform the process in learning meditation into a game and into a mobile app. The application, for example, should have kiirtans, notifications about new videos, a map of the world showing practitioners present, information about retreats from margiis around the world, and a social network for sadhakas. Currently, the focus is on encouraging practitioners’ participation in kaosikii and kiirtan movements.
“Right now we are focusing on organizing mass participation in kaosikii, kiirtan movements, developing inspirational involvement process, it is still very raw, but it is the first round, with every round it will become better. Nowadays 700 Russians are taking part in the kaosikii marathon. Soon we will launch the kiirtan marathon, my goal is to have 10,000 participants doing kiirtan 30 minutes per day. In half a year we will reach 1 million hours kiirtan.”
In addition to his commitment to video editing and recording and all current activities, such as managing a team, the monk still needs to make time to attend about 20 retreats and initiate an average of 400 people a year.
Dada Sadananda explanation to be able to reconcile all the activities without losing the motivation, inspiring more and more people is also a valuable tip:
“Pracar is an expression of love and compassion. When bliss is overwhelming you to such an extent that you cannot hold it anymore within and want to express and share it, you start to do pracar. This ability comes when you love the world when you wish the very best to humanity and to civilization. You can do pracar if you forget yourself, forget what is interesting and important for yourself and focus on the needs of the other person. You must understand where your listener comes from, what are their fears, believes, aspirations, and you have to gradually uplift them to higher and higher ideals until they embrace the ultimate sublime ideology. Pracar does not stop with initiation, pracar efforts should continue one’s entire life because complete acceptance of ideology in a true sense means becoming divine. So unless the stage of divinity is reached, the pracar efforts must go on. Pracar is most important in the present society. The society has all the necessary elements for achieving prosperity and bliss. The technologies are there, the resources are there, the brains are there, the hearts are there, the hands are there, the legs are there, but all of those things are of no use without a proper philosophy and ideology of life. In spite of many great teachers, humanity was unable to build a society worthy of its name. So today it is the pracarakas who will add the missing component of ideology and will lead the humanity from darkness to light.”
Dada Sadananda tells us that when he was five years old, he used to stand upside down, with his hands on the ground and say to his father: “Look, I am a yogi!”
At first, I got the impression that he was already predestined to be a pracaraka.
But in listening to Laime, I understand that this is the duty for all of us, monks and spiritual practitioners:
“When I was 4 years old I think, it was the first time I saw a documentary about India and yogis. I remember standing on my head and saying to my parents – look, I am yogi.
I was laughing when I heard Dada Sadananda sharing his story. Somehow all this India magic felt very familiar!” Says Laime.
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By Laksmii (Luciana Lima Lopes)