Sunita ( VESNA STIPANOVIC ) and Kavita ( SNEZANA STIPANOVIC ) are two happy and blessed sisters from Zagreb, Croatia. They are ardent devotees of H.H.Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji and adherents of Shiva-yoga and Prayer-yoga. In the following article they have narrated their beautiful spiritual experiences which were originally written for the publication in ‘Basava Vani’, the Virginia and Washington DC chapter’s newsletter, USA. The same article has been reproduced here on the website with the permission of Kavita and Sunita.
// HE PRABHO PRASEED AUM //
My sister Sunita and I ( Kavita) are members of the Croatian Satsang and we are Shri Kumarswamiji�s devotees. In this letter or article I will try to explain to you how we started with Shiva-yoga practice and I will also tell you a few words about our Satsang in Croatia.
Once my sister and I happened to be in different parts of the world when we received an inner call from His Holiness Shri Kumarswamiji to start with the practice of Shiva-yoga and Prayer-yoga. We had no idea what it was all about, although we had heard about Shiva-yoga a few years before that. And so, even though we were separated from each other, we started searching and inquiring about Shiva-yoga simultaneously, asking questions like how to find the – stone – to gaze at, which as we discovered later, was called Isthalinga. We were anxious to find out what it was precisely so we started collecting opinions from other people who might have known something about it.
In our everyday material life all doors seemed to be closed so it was obviously the most auspicious time for us both to step on the spiritual path and start building our spiritual life through sadhana. We had no right answers from people regarding Shiva-yoga because they did not know much about it either. Some of them even said we did not need it. At that time, while I was still living in London, my sister Sunita had already started practising Shiva-yoga in Zagreb, having received guidance from Lakshmi, Swamiji�s disciple. Later, I also took initiation and started practising Shiva-yoga every day, so now it has become part of our everyday lives, something that came so naturally and will remain with us for the entire life. That is how we both feel. Our spiritual sister Lakshmi taught us the first steps in Shiva-yoga, like you teach a small baby to eat, walk, speak, sing, read and so on.
In Zagreb, we have a Satsang and we meet and practise Shri Kumarswamiji’s Prayer-yoga once a week. That is the place where we all feel the gracious presence of our beloved Swamiji. At first, it was a bit difficult for me to practise Prayer-yoga on my own at home, but after a few months practice and with the support of our Satsang group, it became so much easier. Since then I have never stopped practising Prayer-yoga. One can feel and enjoy its effects in one’s daily life.
We have learned from Shri Kumarswamiji about the importance of every day practice of Prayer-yoga and Shiva-yoga in order to be protected from all difficulties in this world.
There are people from other yogas visiting our Satsang. Our guests are always welcome to come and stay with us just as they are free to go, but the truth is they have all learned the technique, the meaning and the importance of Prayer-yoga and enjoy singing Prayer with us. Satsang gives us an opportunity to read and learn about Veerashaivism and famous Veerashaiva saints and adepts, like Allama Prabhu, Basava and Akka Mahadevi, from rich Shri Kumarswamiji’s articles as well as from His speeches, talks, discourses and books translated into the Croatian language. Swamiji has also taught us the meaning of some sacred mantras and we earnestly try to chant them properly in order to be able to start with our own Anushtana. At the last stage of Prayer-yoga, home-made Prasad is distributed to all the members of the group. The most delicious Prasad is prepared by Suhasini and Parvati. Our Satsang is not the only one in Zagreb. There are Shiva-yoga and Prayer-yoga practicants in Zagreb and Croatia in general who have chosen to form their own Satsang groups and work according to their own taste. Be it as it may, the truth is that Prayer is the most important part of Sunita’s and my life so we attend regularly. To feel the shower of Shri Kumarswamiji’s gracious and compassionate energy during Prayer is a blessing in itself and everybody who comes to Prayer even once can feel that.
Prayer-yoga is a powerful meditation with a strong purifying effect not only on one’s environment but also on one’s physical, mental and emotional body. The experience which Sunita and I had had in the very beginning of our coming to Prayer was that during the chanting of the Mahamantra //HE PRABHO PRASEED AUM// we were not supposed to even sit next to each other because we would immediately start laughing, not because it was funny, but because of a powerful cleansing process of our bodies through laughter. In short, whenever it used to happen, nobody took any notice of us and laughter gradually stopped on its own accord. Some people visiting our Satsang would burst into tears during prayer regardless of whether they actually participated in Prayer or were just listening and feeling the energy.
Satsang members meet for two hours on the auspicios day of Lord Ganesh which is Tuesday. Before Prayer-yoga meditation we sometimes practise Nadishodan Pranayam, beeja mantra meditation, various health promoting mudras or just sit peacefully and listen to the Indian meditation music. In that way we forget the outer world and turn inwards to find our own silence. This is how we prepare ourselves for the Prayer-yoga meditation. Our beloved Swamiji is our Divine Guide on the spiritual paths of Shiva-yoga and Prayer-yoga and in order to sincerely thank Him we joyously sing some melodious Indian bhajans like Swamijii’s favourite Prema Mudita Manase Kaho and Yennadu Yavudayya as well as others like Ananda Sagara, Lingashtakam, Estuti(Badrinath bhajana), He Ram, etc. which we all enjoy immensely.
Some of us Satsang members visit Tapovan and Shantivan on a regular yearly basis and when we go back to Croatia, we bring Indian Prasad and Indian tea with special spices prepared by Shri Balbhim Anna, Swamiji’s sevak. Sometimes we also bring all the necessary ingredients for a delicious Indian dish called sushila and prepare a joyful feast, enjoying the flavour of the Indian cuisine which we like so much. At that time we are not in Zagreb but in our minds and in our hearts we are back in Tapovan, Shantivan, back in India. If anybody of you from America should happen to travel to Zagreb, Croatia, we would be happy to welcome you at our Satsang so that we may all enjoy our Guruji’s blessings together. Our Satsang group is a tiny India in itself.
We are in a regular contact with our spiritual brothers in India, Shri Sadashiv Golsangi, Shri Balbhim Anna, Shri Siddhu Anna as well as with Shri Shankar Sagare in America. Shri Balbhim Anna is a humble but strong and powerful disciple of His Holiness Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji. He and Shri Siddhu Anna continue to live in Swamiji’s Shantivan and they do a great service to humanity, something that mere physical words cannot describe. Our spiritual brothers provide us with plenty of information from the field of yoga and spirituality. Nowadays, we are very grateful to Shankar for creating a wonderful website on Shri Kumarswamiji at http://www.shivayoga.net
Finally, in my opinion, Shiva-yoga is the Queen of all yogas. I am so happy and grateful to Swamiji that He has chosen us and given us to practise His powerful yet simple and easy meditation techniques. Warm regards with plenty of Swamiji’s blessings from Sunita & Kavita and the rest of the Satsang group in Zagreb-Croatia.
P.S. If anyone truly feels inside that he/she would like to practise Shivayoga, please do not hesitate to contact Lakshmi (Dubravka Rukavina), e-mail: , telephone number: 00385/(0)1/4610339. Zagreb, 6th November, 2005
Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti —- Kavita and Sunita