April 26, 2013

Interview with Swamiji: Yoga Adept in Colorado. ~ Edith Lazenby


“The answers leave out his Beautiful Presence.

He is kind and funny and deeply silent and available at the same time. He makes a wonderful sweet friend and listens very deeply with inquisitiveness. I have never seen him lose patience with anyone, even at the most banal questions he laughs and answers.

The chief of police of Longmont came to see him, telling Swamiji that the system is failing the youth. He asked Swamiji what he could do about this. Until such time that all the systems come together to allow for meditation, etc. in the schools. He teaches and chants every day for a lessening of violence in all his classes. We are coming together in, as yet, a small way, to focus on this issue. Swamiji is also very scientific and not an “airhead”! He prefers to see results—so this mantra chanting for less violence needs to have comparative results.

Many very supportive community members are beginning to be attracted to his teaching.

He teaches at Longmont United Hospital, first to the staff and now the patients and families. It makes a very heartfelt Thursday night for us all. His lectures there on Tuesdays include deep explanations of Kriya techniques, Bhagavad Gita. On Thursday mornings he is at the Senior Center, and this meditation class/practice has over 25 people coming to it. It is an hour and half sit. This is wonderful. He teaches in his home, both meditation and private yoga sessions, and counseling.”

~ From one of his students and assistants, Jaqui Gee.

I’d like to thank you for agreeing to the interview and ask you how you came to yoga?

Around the age of 25 when I was a young officer in the Indian Army, I began reading about yoga. I began my practices after leaving the army when I was around 33. I dedicated my life to yoga at the age of 33.

I was very introverted by nature. That affected my career in the army, and I had to leave. I questioned as to what could be the possible reason for my nature being so introverted. I studied Western psychology, and when I did not find a satisfying answer there, my mind turned to Indian philosophy. That search led me to yoga.

So how do you see yoga?

Yoga is an education system that teaches how to transform human nature into Divine nature. The role of yoga is for all mankind, for all times and for all ages. Yoga all over the world, as here in America, will help in the awakening of consciousness that is already taking place in a big way.

Tell me what brought you to Colorado:

Destiny brought me here. Christine Dubois a popular and well established yoga teacher and psychotherapist from Lyons, Colorado, began inviting me since 2000. I had no desire to come and I consistently said no. I have a book of poems that reveal the instructions that I got from time to time from my soul. In 2004 I got this inner instruction which is in this poem. Strangely, all my poems are in English.

My Destiny In America

Yes to America

You will surely go;

They will come and take you

This you may know.

Pleasures of life

You may enjoy in every way;

As long as your attunement

Do not fall away.

Pleasures of life do not bind

If there is no attachment behind;

When ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ are dropped from the mind

Pleasures may be enjoyed of every kind.

You have to learn

And teach this well;

Jealousy and possessiveness

Are two doors to hell.

When these are conquered

And mind is free;

The joy of life

You can then really see.

Those who come

To learn from you;

Tell them truthfully

What you are there to do.

You are there

To show them the way;

Renouncing ‘I’ and ‘Mine’

To be happy and gay.


Ved Niketan, Swargashram

In spite of this instruction, I kept on refusing to come just to see whether the prophecy proved to be accurate or not. In 2010 someone came from America to bring me here. After I came, I decided to stay on because I knew I had a destiny to fulfill here.

What most informs your teaching?

The teaching that I particularly love to offer is: How to convert human love into Divine love and how to make family relationships more meaningful… relationships between parents and children, relationships between spouses. I want to help people bring more peace within the family system.

I ask myself how we create and maintain a loving family environment where both spouses play an important role in the education and upbringing of children. Then, to extend that from the blood family, to love of others, without the prejudice of caste, creed, color, sex, orientation, gender and racial prejudices.

Peace in a family and its immediate environment will create peace in the world.

What do you see as the guru’s role?

The guru’s role is only to guide, inspire, motivate and help. The guru plays a role in everybody’s development just as a mother or a teacher plays the role in the development of a child.

What do you see as the role of most yoga teachers in our country?

The role of all yoga teaching is necessarily the same: to bring health, harmony and well being to the life of the practitioner and to make the yoga student a better human being—to slowly lift them to becoming a Divine being.

Do you have a focus in your teaching?

I teach “The Science of Yoga.” Asana and Pranayama are just the basic steps. Meditation is a higher step. The practice is not about asana, Pranayama or meditation but about following one’s Dharma, one’s chosen path—understanding what Dharma is and doing it correctly.

Do you follow Classical Yoga or Tantric or Advaita Vedenta, if what you teach follows into any of those?

I follow all three of these and much more. What you call Classical Yoga, Tantra or Vedanta are different systems of philosophy/practices. A synthesis of all of them is the best. They are not rigid, water tight compartments to be followed independent of the other. The Science of Yoga includes all three and much more.

I have come here not out of any conscious desire to be in America. I think I have been sent here by a higher power. All my teachings are centered around making a better human being who have more patience, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, generosity—to develop a temperament to be service-full, with a sacrificing temperament. Without these qualities no one can ever become Divine. The teaching is about how we cultivate these qualities in ourselves and then act as a good example for others to imitate.


Yogacharya Dharmananda (Swamiji) is a preeminent scholar and teacher of the Science of Yoga, Hindu Philosophy, and Comparative Religion. As the Director of the International Vishwaguru Yoga and Meditation Institute (Rishikesh, India), he has given these teachings to students from all over the world for more than 25 years. His lectures at the Longmont United Hospital, and to the nursing staff has been very well received. He is the chief disciple of the late Shri Vishwaguruji Maharaj, Founder/ President of the above Institute. His lectures, especially his mode of presentation with humor, stories and anecdotes, have earned him wide acclaim. He is reclusive and soft spoken by nature.

He was born in Kolkata in 1953. In deference to his father’s wishes, Swamiji was admitted to the National Defense Academy at age 11 where he studied the sciences as well as Western psychology and philosophy. He was awarded the Madras Gold Medal for sports and graduated from the Indian Military Academy as an officer in 1976. He surrendered his military career due to a profound inner calling which led him to yoga and to his Guru, Shri Vishwaguruji Maharaj at Rishikesh. He began teaching yoga and Hindu philosophy in 1985. To learn more about the complete science and study of yoga he developed under the guidance of his guru go to his website.



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Editor: Brianna Bemel

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