World Advaita Congress - Moscow,2010
The World Advaita Congress took place in July, 2010 under the leadership of Swami Vishnudevanand Giri and Swami Somnath Giri, popularly called Pilot Baba.
It was quite interesting to see so many spiritual people gathering in one place in Moscow. From Swamis, to healers, Hatha Yogi’s, Massage therapists, etc, as well as with so many different Workshops, Satsangs, Spiritual Practices, Prayers, Hatha Yoga workshops, Lectures all happening in one place. Apart from that, there were also a large number of Artists, Singers, Performers, Painters many of whom performed, as well as exhibited their works. I am happy that people wish to learn spiritual techniques and walk on the spiritual path. It is truly wonderful that in today’s world of materiality there are honest spiritual seekers. My best wishes to all these people.
My impressions of the other Sannyasis and Masters:
Over the years I have met over 35 siddh masters and lived for periods with a few of them. This has given me a good understanding of masters. These are some of my impressions.
Pilot Baba is a well known spiritual figure in India. I felt that Pilot Baba possess an unusual and uncommon form of spiritual energy which is very unearthy and is quite definitely beyond this world. When one looks at Pilot Baba, one gets the impression that he is in another world and has to lower his focus to interact with others. He is doing a lot of good work in India by constructing Ashrams in the Himalayas for monks, and other similar works. I met him first in 2004 Kumbh at Ujjain for a brief period while he was giving an interview.
Swami Parmanand is a well known master of Advaita in India and is called Yug Purush or The Person of this Era. He has a typical fiery energy, that one can feel when one meets many monks from the Shankracharya’s Tradition. He has a very sharp and acute observation, is simple, and a gold mine of the Advaita Tradition. I liked the speeches that he gave.
YogMata Keiko Aikiwa is a very sweet Yogi who has a very loving and gentle energy about her. For a person of her stature and position she does not speak much. But then, Yogi’s say “He who speaks does not know and he who knows does not speak”. This phrase describes the essence of Yog Mata very well.
Swami Vishnudevanand: Though I met all these four Sannyasis for the first time yet most of all it was Swami Vishnudevanand who was an enigma to me. Indians, I can understand reasonably well; average Russians somewhat, but I honestly did not know what to make of a Russian who is a Mahamandaleshwar in an Indian Akhara. I did read numerous articles about Swami Vishnudevanand both positive as well as negative. Most of this left me somewhat confused not knowing what to make of him.
There are a few things that I need to point out. For myself, I have worked out a rule. When I evaluate a person I try to evaluate him on the basis of his deeds at present and not by his position of the past. The past does show a pattern but that cannot be the sole criteria of evaluation. In the case of a spiritual person especially a Sannyasi, we say- burn the past and keep walking towards a bright future full of spiritual knowledge, compassion and joy.
The aim, the path, the method and the result are all important; as well as the deeds of the past, the actions in the present and the vision of the future.
It is impressive to see that Swami Vishnudevanand has made such an enormous effort in promoting spirituality to the masses. I like his bold thinking, vision of the future and his ability to help his fellow Human beings. May god hold him on this beautiful path. I wish him all the best in all spiritual works and good deeds.
I would like to add here that he has received the status and honor of being a Mahamandaleshwar from the Juna Akhara. According to my knowledge, Juna Akhara has a membership of over 250,000 sannyasis of which about 15,000 sannyasis atleast were present in the Kumbh Mela, 2010. If they choose to accept him and honor him, then it is a done deed, no one can question it.
Other Spiritual Masters: Swami Satya Vedant, Swami Dharma Sumiran, Swami Anurag Kayoom, Illya Belyaev, Mikhail Malakhov, Uve Urvan, Tsezar Teruel. All the spiritual teachers were pleasant and it was honor to be with them. I wish them all the best.
The Organization of the Conference:
I was also very impressed by the organization and hard work of Swami Vishnudevanand’s students. In Russia rarely does one see such a bright, enthusiastic, spiritual and sattvic group of young monks and students. Monks Satya Tejasi Giri, Kseniya, Sergei, other monks, other young people who helped with the organization, Angadevi and all the other notices as well as unnamed faces behind the success of this conference—To all of them I would like to give thanks, my Blessings and best wishes.