Alakananda Ma's 2014 Graduation

Honoured guests, faculty, staff, graduates and students, each of you in your own way a part of our Alandi family,

Today’s graduation is a story of patience, persistence, obstacles overcome and lives turned around. For the first time, we present to you candidates who have lived through a major disaster together—the Boulder Flood Disaster, which turned our lives and our ashram upside down.

Ancient stories from many traditions speak of the journey of becoming a healer as one of dismemberment and renewal. We are made anew as wounded healers for a troubled world. Today’s candidates have lived such a story, both individually and collectively.

Emily is the youngest person ever to complete our practitioner program. She came to us at the tender age of twenty after her chosen career as an opera singer—and her college education—came to an abrupt end because of a serious vocal injury. She has ben guided to remake her life as a healer and Ayurvedic practitioner. Despite being stranded and then evacuated during the floods and living for some time in a hotel provided by FEMA, she persevered with the programme. Emily shows great promise and we hope she will be able to advance her studies to the higher levels attained by today’s Bishagwara candidates.
Heather is the first active parent to graduate our complete four-year programme. In addition, Heather served as pharmacy director, making many improvements and developments in our pharmacy. She has put her editorial skills to work in the creation of our pulse manual—a monumental task.

Nellie has devoted herself to her studies at Alandi for five years in order to attain the level of Bishagwara. Her independent studies in India have further enhanced her knowledge and skills, as she remakes her career and her life as a mature graduate of Ayurveda. And Paula has really been here for the long haul, studying at Alandi for six years, first as a part time student and later taking the plunge to go full time, while serving as our procurement officer. In so doing she has fulfilled her lifelong ambition to be an excellently trained advanced Ayurvedic practitioner.

Time, patience and persistence in the face of great difficulties have brought our candidates to the level of excellence and depth of knowledge they have attained today.

If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely
Small beginnings greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.

Day by day
Stone by stone
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day
You’ll grow too
You’ll know heaven’s glory
.

There is an English proverb, "a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." Our candidates have lived through raging floodwaters—may they be profoundly skilled healers. As it states in the Bible, those who God loves He disciplines.

The great Jewish teacher, the Baal Shem Tov, taught that in every affliction, a holy spark of godliness is present. He says, “All the sufferings a person experiences, May the Merciful one spare us, reflect the needs of the Shechina, the divine Presence dwelling among us. God sends us suffering so we will pray for the needs of the Shechina. One must awaken boundless love for God and thus unite the Holy One, blessed be He and the Shechina in perfect harmony. Then all suffering and adversity will automatically disappear.”

And in Surah Inshirah of the Quran we hear words of great comfort, “Have We not opened your heart? And removed from you the burden, which weighed you down down, and exalted your reputation? Then, surely with hardship comes ease; surely, with hardship comes ease. So when you have finished the task at hand, still strive hard, and turn all your attention to God.

The ease that comes with hardship is the ease of humility and surrender. If we feel very important and expect certain treatment, certain outcomes, we are sure to be disappointed. Our capacity for humility and surrender is what can bring us the ease we seek in our lives. As Thomas a Kempis writes in the Imitation of Christ,
If You will that darkness be my lot, blessed be Your Name. If it be light, again blessed be Your Name. If You stoop to comfort me, blessed be Your Name; and if You wish to try me, ever blessed be Your Name.

As our own Raghudas Maharaj of Alandi said, “there are many yogic powers or siddhis. But the greatest power of all is the power to take whatever comes.

And, in the words of the great teacher Upasani Maharj, the greatest of all mantras is "let it be, as it is."

Let It Be

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
There will be no sorrow, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be no sorrow, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

(THE BEATLES)

Photos of the 2014 Graduation

About Alandi School of Ayurveda

Our mission as a gurukula faculty is to combine the best of new paradigm medical education with the best of the ancient gurukula contemplative pedagogy. We seek to empower our students by placing in their hands the tools needed to garner and evaluate knowledge and information and by cultivating the seeds of stillness, altruism and compassionate service in their hearts. Honoring the multiple gifts brought by our students’ diversity of learning and experience, we see our students as both teachers and learners. We encourage the creation of a community of sharing and support on all levels.

Alakananda Ma's 2013 Graduation Speech

Honoured guests, faculty, staff, graduates and students, each of you in your own way a part of our Alandi family,

Today marks the graduation of Alyse, Danielle, Larisa, Mahmoud and Oana. Over the last two years, we have built community together in many ways. We have eaten together, meditated together, walked together, chanted together, studied together and faced life’s challenges together. The power and beauty of the experience of community at Alandi will stay with you in your practice of Ayurveda.

Yet all along, our small gurukula community has been held in the arms of a much larger community. The community of all beings, of plants and animals, rocks, trees, birds and insects has sustained and nourished us throughout our time together. Today, I want to look at some of the lessons this larger community offers us.

What do the ponderosa pines teach us? Plant your roots deep, be generous. Plant your roots deep and no winds can harm you. Sink deep roots into the ancient tradition of Ayurveda, and the controversies of the day cannot shake you. Be generous to the small and the weak, as the ponderosa gives unstintingly to the chickadee, the redwing blackbird, the mourning dove and the chipmunk. Feed everyone.

What do the mountains teach us? Remain unshaken and equanimous. Ice and snow, heat and drought, torrential rains, lightening storms, forest fires, all these conditions change and alternate, yet the mountains remain. In your journey through meditation, you have seen that all experiences arise, flower and pass away, yet the experiencer remains. Who am I? Abide in the question as the mountains abide on the earth.

What does the creek teach us? Nothing stays still, everything changes. Keep flowing, ever renewed. Honour the flow of life, the flow of prana, for where there is blockage, where there is holding, there will be disease. A poem I wrote on this theme —

Apples

Seven red apples and one green tennis ball
Bobbing in foam on the creek.
They float a few feet down,
Turn, sail back again,
Caught in an eddy current.

For a moment the tennis ball seems to escape—
Moves almost to the edge of the pool
But a bigger eddy catches it
And back it comes again.

Friends, beware the eddy currents of samsara.
Keep to the swift midstream
Go straight to the vast ocean

What do the spring showers teach us as they water the ground? The power of a tiny drop to nurture life.
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth a heaven,
Like the one above.

What do the deer teach us? Abundance is everywhere; clear water, soft beds, fresh forage. Abundance is everywhere, if we take only what we need. Consummate practitioners of aparigraha, non-clinging, the deer simply receive what is bestowed upon them in the moment, storing nothing up, taking nothing beyond the needs of the present.

What does the magpie teach us? Waste nothing. The illustrious bird, the knower of sorrow and joy, keeper of the sevenfold secret, eats whatever comes its way, including garbage. The wisdom of magpie reminds us to bring everything to the path, to let no opportunity for growth pass us by. As Antoine Saint Exupery said, “The tragedy is not that we suffer, but that we waste our suffering.”

What do the bees teach us? Together we are strong. As archebacteria came together in the nucleated cell, as cells came together in the sea sponge, as multi-celled organisms came together to create complex beings, so the bees have come together in wise community. The fragrance of their hive, the soft murmur of their tiny wings, invites us to the journey of community, for none of us can flourish alone.

What do the poppies teach us? In a few short weeks, around the time of the solstice, oriental poppies will bloom at Chautauqua as they have every year since the founders of Chautauqua introduced them in the eighteen-nineties. Brought from a distant land, they have made their home here in Boulder to grace us with their beauty. Today, Alandi sows seeds of Ayurveda across the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, as our graduates carry forth the teachings that will bloom and flourish, bringing healing to future generations.

What does the turkey vulture teach us as it wheels above, wings spreading six feet wide? Harm nobody, transform death into life. Feeding on death, turning death into life, the turkey vulture is the consummate healer, in tune with the cycles of decay and rebirth. Tender, precious lives fall and die, only to nurture strength, to nurture life itself. As Ayurvedic practitioners, we know of ritu as seasonal change, yet ritu is also the cosmic order, weaving life and death, growth and decay, seedtime and harvest, the fall of a leaf and the birth of a supernova, for to everything there is a season.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season -
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

(Pete Seeger)

Photos from 2012 Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula Graduation (releasted May 21, 2012)

About Alandi School of Ayurveda

Our mission as a gurukula faculty is to combine the best of new paradigm medical education with the best of the ancient gurukula contemplative pedagogy. We seek to empower our students by placing in their hands the tools needed to garner and evaluate knowledge and information and by cultivating the seeds of stillness, altruism and compassionate service in their hearts. Honoring the multiple gifts brought by our students’ diversity of learning and experience, we see our students as both teachers and learners. We encourage the creation of a community of sharing and support on all levels.

Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula announces graduation from America’s first full time, four-year program.

Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula’s annual commencement has been announced for the class of 2012. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2012. The four year graduates are: Kourtney Betts, Lauren Eisele and Heidi Nordlund.

The school’s founder Alakananda Ma, will present the commencement address.

“The first graduation ceremony of students from a full time four year program represents a significant milestone in the history of Ayurveda in America. The hard work of many members of the NAMA community has contributed to our ability to scale these heights,” said Alakananda Ma.

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula is a unique experiential style of education where students learn from and practice with senior Ayurvedic practitioners in a traditional ashram setting. The Gurukula-style education includes clinical hours as well as case-based studies and in-depth coursework. Small classes and personal attention also add to the intimate experience.

Read more about the Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula.

About Alandi School of Ayurveda

Our mission as a gurukula faculty is to combine the best of new paradigm medical education with the best of the ancient gurukula contemplative pedagogy. We seek to empower our students by placing in their hands the tools needed to garner and evaluate knowledge and information and by cultivating the seeds of stillness, altruism and compassionate service in their hearts. Honoring the multiple gifts brought by our students’ diversity of learning and experience, we see our students as both teachers and learners. We encourage the creation of a community of sharing and support on all levels.