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The Global Radha Community

August 22, 2008 by Lightwaves

Teachers from around the world reflect on what it means to be connected to the teachings of Swami Radha.

Swami Radha worked tirelessly to spread the Teachings beyond the Ashram. She often went on lecture and workshop tours across Canada and the United States, responding to invitations whenever she could.  She travelled to the East, lectured and met other notable people interested in the Teachings of Yoga.  Since then Swami Radhananda has continued the tradition, travelling across North America, making several trips to Europe, and visiting Japan.

Gradually, seeds of Light have taken root in about 50 cities and smaller worldwide where teachers trained at Yasodhara Ashram offer classes and workshops.

This spring Swami Radhananda was in France opening a new Radha Centre, a rural retreat where people can stay for 5 days for a programme that includes classes and Karma Yoga (click here).  Danuta, who taught for many years in England before moving to France, reflected on the significance of this for her:

“The sense of being part of the Radha community worldwide and creating a local community through the teachings happened very beautifully when we officially opened Radha Caudet at the beginning of May.  It was very special to have Swami Radhananda with us.  The workshop was attended by an international mix of students, most of whom were already familiar with the work.  This was followed by an evening celebration when we were joined by other local students, friends and neighbours who have been supportive in our early days here.  There was a phone call from somebody in Spain, enquiring about Swami Radha’s Teachings.

The next day we received happy email messages from Swami RadhaKrishnanda, Swami Lalitananda and lots lovely messages of Light from the community at the Ashram. It was such a surprise!

As the weekend closed, I felt different, as if a whole raft of the anxieties about setting up in a different country were wiped away.  I felt clearer, lighter and stronger.  That feeling still remains.  Weekly classes are growing slowly and we’ve had people enquire about courses.  There is the potential here for others to join us, in fact we can’t do it on our own.  We need to grow into a small community here.  There’s loads of potential!”

Jayne runs the Radha Centre in London.  As President of the Radha House Association (RHA), a sister charity to the FRF and ADHP, she aims to keep in touch with teachers in Europe and offers classes, workshops and retreats:

“We have had 20 years for the Teachings to become established in Europe.  A Radha House was started in Canterbury, England when Swami Jyotihananda came out to join me.  Soon we had a thriving centre, full of Light and many weekly classes as well as workshops aimed to draw people from across Europe as well as elsewhere in Britain.

There is a good deal to think about at the start.  To be sure Swami Radha’s work was available, we shipped Timeless Books to England and set up a distribution and a mail order business.  Timeless also used the Canterbury Centre as a base for getting involved with the international book trade through the Frankfurt Book Fair and the number of different language editions began to grow.

Students from Canterbury began to make the journey to the Ashram.  Danuta was among them, and Carol, who is now the Treasurer of the RHA.  Karen Nichols and Jacqueline Summer who are now teaching in Leeds and Kent, began with classes with them.  So we now have 3 generations of teachers in our part of the global Radha community.

Swami Lalitananda came to England this spring and taught at the conference of the British Wheel of Yoga in Shropshire.  I also travel when invited to teach in other cities.  I have led workshops around England, and in Portugal, Spain and Austria.  But the Centre in London is easily accessible by train and air to anyone in Britain or elsewhere in Europe.  So workshops (and the retreats we offer on the coast) provide refreshers where teachers and students can come together.”

From Trinidad Tara offers a perspective on what it means to be alone in a country, offering the Teachings with a sense of contributing to the global community:

“I am on my own so I have to rely on my own inner resources.  A large part of the work is finding a way to adapt the Teachings to the culture and mindset of the people here.  As I was born into this culture and milieu, I reflect on my own upbringing, and mindset when I came to the Teachings as a way to understand how to teach.  I am learning not to fear experimentation, but to stay conscious of what I am doing and observe and evaluate the result.  I’ve found that, in uncertainty and unknowing, relying on the Light is the best practice.  Above all, as Swami Radha says, ‘reflect, reflect, reflect’!”

Frances has been offering classes in Hungary for many years, and before that was teaching in Sandpoint in Idaho:

“Swami Radha’s Teachings have allowed me to feel part of whatever community I am in.  They create my world and give me the ability to trust and feel at home in places foreign to me.  After years offering classes in Budapest I have a community that surrounds my new home in Belgium.  Students in all directions stay in touch and have moved on in their lives because of those precious Teachings.  I also carry with me the contact and support of the Ashram in the form of inspiration and continued reflection.  I carry my spiritual community with me and am so thankful for that.”

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