Sri Swami Vishwananda is a spiritual master of Mauritian origin. For some years, he has been visiting numerous countries in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to convey his message of love. Swami Vishwananda inspires people to open their hearts to the Love of God. He teaches us to go beyond the boundaries of religions and to experience the all-connecting unity behind the conceptual differences. He encourages people to deepen the individual path to God and supports them in their personal beliefs and religious heritage.
The most important aspect is spreading love of God. People tend to forget that it is not only the stomach that has to be filled with food but also the mind. Our mind needs spiritual nourishment. People should understand that spreading the love of God is not apart from them. In fact, it is a part of them. We must ask ourselves the following questions: why are we here? What is the purpose of reincarnation? Who are we? We should not just sleep, eat and drink. Animals also do the same things. There are other aspects that differentiate us from the animals. The purpose of life is to attain the higher self …the Divine. My mission is also to spread Atma Kriya Yoga. Atma means Self, Kri means action and ya means awareness, thus a series of yogic techniques given by my guru, Mahavatar Kriya Babaji. I want to give it to the world, to help one realise one’s true self-Divine Love. Techniques in this Kriya Yoga system include the OM healing technique, asanas, japa, meditation, mudras and pranayama.
How has been the response to your teachings so far?
The response is good. Gradually the interest picks up. In Mauritius, the numerous religions constitute the base of spirituality. Allow me to underline that being religious does not mean being spiritual. You may be going regularly to the church, the mosque or the temple, yet you may be doing so by tradition. Maybe you have learnt this from your parents. But have you asked yourself why you are fasting? Why you are doing prayer? Then why do you go to churches, mosques and temples? The soul is longing for something greater. You have to go inward.
How and when does one get that call to go deeper inside?
Everybody feels that there is something lacking in his or her life. To get this emptiness filled, the person has to turn inward. The feeling of being unsatisfied is a way to know that you are on the look out for unconditional love. One has to observe this feeling. Start to think about it and do not divert from it.
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to get discouraged when they are faced with the numerous challenges in life. What advice would you give to these persons?
People, not only here in Mauritius, lack trust in themselves. One has to learn to trust oneself. We are on our way to perfection but there will always be imperfection. They should learn to see the positive sides of life and avoid focusing solely on the negative aspects. Instead of concentrating on fear, hold on the positive aspects. We must know that we are all important according to our respective capacities. Just imagine that we all worked in offices. Who would have collected the refuse? So the scavenger collecting refuse from the streets is fulfilling his duty. If everybody was a doctor, then who would be the patients?
It is feared that the values that we hold close to our hearts no longer find the same importance among youth. What do you think of that?
Youngsters have lots of questions and when the parents do not have time to reply, they turn elsewhere. What you get from outside is obviously different from what you get from inside. However, whatever be the case, young persons must learn to respect elders. Elders also have to respect the younger ones. It has to be both ways. Young ones have to be themselves and they should know what they want in life. They must learn to be responsible. They should bear in mind that parents are always there for their children. But more importantly, they should know how to love. Love is the one thing that will change everybody.
And what is the place of women in the building of a better society?
Woman is the foundation of the culture. In Hindu tradition, it is always the mother who comes in the first place. For instance, we always say ‘Luxmi Narayan’ and ‘Gowri Shankar’ and never the other way round. Women have this sensitiveness which is a real quality. A mother always has a better understanding of her children. Along with the father, the mother brings this understanding which is crucial for the family.
Swami-ji, you must have noticed that criminality is marring our beautiful island?
Mauritius is quite a peaceful island compared to other countries. We have to ask ourselves why this is happening. What is our duty? What do we want? We must ask ourselves if it is this image of Mauritius that we want to project on the international scene. We must find out if this situation is related to drugs trafficking. We must go down to the roots and find the reasons for these criminal acts. We must ask ourselves if we are giving the right education. Most importantly, there must be a will to change things for the better. May I underline that habits change the surroundings. For instance, someone taking drugs has an effect on his immediate surroundings. And if the surrounding is changed, it makes an effect on the person. In one word, the body and soul must go together.
I understand that there is a humanitarian aspect to your mission?
We must help others. We are all alike; there are no differences. We all have an ‘atma’ (soul) within us. We do not look at the differences between us; we rather see the love that binds us all. It is said that service to mankind is service to God. In the Bible, it is written that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We support the organisation known as ‘Heart Doctors’, we go to countries where there are sufferings. We bring medicine to those in need. Through service, the heart gets opened and love flows out. When we learn to love others, we really come to love God. Helping others is equivalent to loving God in action.
Devotees’ views on Swamiji
During his spiritual tour in Mauritius, Sri Swami Vishwananda was accompanied by several devotees from various countries. We talked to some of them:
Kalindi (South Africa): “I have known Swami Ji for some ten years. He epitomises Love. He embraces all religions and cultures. He has so much understanding that people can relate to him. He is also so simple”. She adds that “all that we need is love and getting to this love is more difficult”. Kalindi says since she has made the acquaintance of Sri Swami Vishwananda, she is no longer the same person.
Bansi Shah (Kenya) : “It is the first time that I have come to Mauritius and it is the first time that I am on a spiritual tour with Swami Ji outside Kenya. I met Swami Ji at the house of a devotee called Rakesh. In fact, in March 2010, I did the darshan of Swami Ji in Kenya. I am active in the ‘seva society’ of Swami Ji. We do ‘seva’ to children who are either mentally or physically impaired”. Bansi adds that Sri Swami Vishwananda has shown her and the other devotes in Kenya, “ the way to love people” and that “love has no real boundary”.
Pramod (Germany) : “In Germany, near Frankfurt, we have a place (which is still under renovation) where people can come and seek the blessings of Swami Ji. There are some 40 devotees who carry out work at the ashram. Otherwise we are branching out to other countries like Poland, Finland and the USA”