Spiritual Travel & Retreat
Welcome to Inner Awakening!
Congratulations on making a decision to attend this life transforming meditation retreat. Inner Awakening is a 21-day meditation retreat for the mind, body and soul conducted by enlightened master Paramahamsa Nithyananda (also known as “Swamiji”). Inner Awakening will feature daily yoga, healthy vegetarian food and powerful meditation processes to make you experience the space of oneness with life (“Advaita”).The Inner Awakening in Varanasi, India is unique as it is going to involve powerful SHIVOHAM SHUDDHADVAITAM process during the last week of the program, to experience powers and qualities of Mahadeva.
This is the first Inner Awakening of its kind with IA sessions, plus SHIVOHAM, NITHYANANDOHAM and SHUDDHADVAITAM processes. Experience the ancient powerful energy field of masters, sacred water of River Ganga and living in presence of the Master for 21 days. The Inner Awakening in Varanasi is both an inner and outer spiritual journey as we will be visiting ancient temples and sacred energy fields. Hence this inner Awakening is also called Inner Awakening Yatra. Traveling to a place which puts you in the highest state, your original state – called “Yatra”.
Inner Awakening and Inner Awakening for Kids will be held at Ramada Plaza JHV.
Ramada Plaza JHV
The Mall, Cantonment,
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 221002, India.
Participants will be accommodated in Ramada Plaza JHV on a twin-sharing basis (two beds in each room) or nearby hotels. If you are coming with your spouse or with your family members and/or kids, you will automatically be paired with them unless requested otherwise.
This hotel is same property where the program hall is also located. The hotel has a swimming pool, delightful courtyard and a spa. Wi-Fi service is offered for a nominal fee and complimentary bottled water in the rooms.
Weather in Varanasi in Summer
Varanasi has a humid subtropical climate with much variation in temperatures. Summers in Varanasi (April to October) are long with intervening monsoon rainfalls. Temperatures are in the band of 20°C (68°F) to hottest 30°C (86°F).
Prior to Leaving:
Review your checklist and make sure you have:
– Flight tickets
– Proof or confirmation of program payment
– ID card for verification
o For Foreign nationals: 2 photo copies of their passport (biography page) and visa
o For Indian nationals: 2 photo copies of Government issued ID card (e.g. driving license, passport copy, PAN card etc.)
– Cash, travelers checks, credit card, etc.
– Notify your bank/credit card company that you will be travelling to India if you plan to use your credit card
– Travel insurance (optional)
– Cell phone & laptop (optional)
– Your prescribed medications (if any) – amount needed for the entire program duration
Where to report when you to arrive in Varanasi:
Directly check-in to Ramada Plaza JHV
oIf you have finished all the registration procedures, you will be receiving an email confirmation. After checking in, you will need to report at the registration desk to finish signing your registration form and collect your program badge. (see registration procedures below)
Report at the registration desk
oIf you have not received an email with accommodation confirmation, you need to report at the registration desk (see “Registration procedures” section below) to finish your registration procedures and be allotted your room. To avoid long wait at registration desk after your long flight/travel, we highly recommend you to finish all your registration formalities.
Registration will happen at Ramada Plaza JHV (same hotel as the program location) at the below timings:
June 25th: 10am – 10pm
June 26th 6am – 10am
Inner Awakening support team will be available in the above location to guide you through the registration and accommodation process.
How to Reach Varanasi, India
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport or Varanasi Airport (Airport code: VNS) is a public airport located at Babatpur – 11 miles northwest of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Airport is approximately 25kms from the Inner Awakening program hotel.
Varanasi is served by two major railway stations. Many trains arrive at Varanasi Junction (station code: BSB) in the heart of the city, and many others arrive at Mughal Sarai Junction (station code: MGS), about 15 km east of the city. Varanasi Junction is about 3kms from the hotel and Mughal Sarai Junction is about 18kms from the hotel.
⦁ From Airport – Hotel : Rs. 1000– 1200 (USD 16 – 20)
⦁ From Varanasi Railway station – Hotel : Rs. 200 – 300 (USD 3 – 5)
⦁ From Mughal Sarai Railway station– Hotel : Rs. 1000 – 1200 (USD 12 – 15)
Auto Rickshaw rates
⦁ From Airport – Hotel : around Rs. 400 (USD 7) – you may have to walk a bit of a distance before you can see Auto Rickshaws
⦁ From Varanasi Railway station – Hotel : Rs. 100 – 150 (USD 2 – 3)
⦁ From Mughal Sarai Railway station – Hotel : Rs. 200 – 300 (USD 3 – 5)
Visa related information
e-Tourist Visa Facility is available for nationals of following countries/territories
Albania, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Island, Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam., Zambia, Zimbabwe.
⦁ Please read through the instructions carefully before applying for e-Tourist Visa
https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. Especially read the “Eligibility” section.
Please read through the instructions carefully before applying for e-Tourist Visa.
Forms you need to fill:
Inner Awakening registration form
(mandatory for Inner Awakening and Inner Awakening Kids program participants)
Roommate request & Travel Itinerary request form (mandatory)
o Roommate request & Travel Itinerary request form (mandatory)
o Let us know when you arrive (so we can be ready with your registration papers)
o And whether you need taxi pickup from the airport
Common Questions Answered
⦁ Hotel Dates: Hotel is being booked for all Inner Awakening participants from 25th June – 17th July. Check-in time is after 12.00pm on 25th June and check-out time is before 12.00pm on the 17th July. If you need booking for additional night, please contact the Hotel and book the same for an additional charge.
Clothing: It is mandatory that you wear white color clothes during the regular meditation sessions and black color clothes for Yoga. You can bring 5-6 pairs of white clothes and at least 2 sets of black clothes for daily yoga sessions. White and Black clothes will be available for purchase at the program location at the Galleria (so you can plan to purchase them on arrival in Varanasi also). Bring loose comfortable clothes that allow you to easily do yoga postures and meditations. Clothes made of cotton are conducive for warm or hot daytime temperatures. In adherence to the Ashram dress code and with respect to the Vedic culture, men and women participants are not to wear tank tops, tube tops, shorts and hot pants. Please also refrain from wearing scooped necklines, transparent or tight-fitting clothing. Please dress modestly in clothing that covers your shoulders, midriff and legs to the ankles. Despite the climatic demands, your cooperation and understanding in this matter is highly appreciated.
Laundry Service: Laundry service is provided for all Inner Awakening participants and kids’ program participants at the hotel. 3 pieces per participant per day will be complimentary. This is in addition to the towels provided in the rooms. More than 3 pieces per day will be charged accordingly.
ID for Verification: All foreign nationals are requested to bring 2 photo copies of their passport (biography page) and visa. All Indian nations are requested to bring 2copies of Govt. issued ID card (e.g. Driving license, passport copy, PAN card etc.)
Taxi Pickup Service:
Taxi pickup service is provided from Varanasi International Airport for convenience of International participants. You will be paying for the cost of the taxi. Volunteer will be waiting for you at the airport (with your name / Swamiji’s picture) and will be guiding you to the taxi. If you would like us to book a taxi for you, kindly fill the taxi pickup form http://tiny.cc/iajuly2016
Internet Access: Free Wireless internet is available for the participants to use in the program hall.
No Nirahara/THE Samyama: July Inner Awakening participants will not be having Nirahara Samyama (Level 1, 2, 3) or the Samyama options during the program. Since the program also includes the Shivoham process, recommend participants not to do the Nirahara Samyama during the program. Even in March 2016 Inner Awakening & Shivoham program, all participants were requested not to follow the Nirahara diet during the program.
Travel VISA Related Information
o Referral information to provide in the Visa application form:
Reference name in India: Ma Nithya Jnanatmananda Swami
Address: Nithyananda Peetham, Bengaluru Aadheenam, Nithyanandapuri, Kallugopahalli, Bidadi, Bangalore 562109, India
Indian Visa application form in certain countries asks for accommodation confirmation letter, we can provide you with the same. Kindly email your name as in your passport to [email protected]with subject: “Need Hotel Reservation letter for VISA”
Inner Awakening Support Team
For any help, support, questions related to July 2016 Inner Awakening, feel free to email or call us. We are waiting to make this Inner Awakening a reality for you.
Email: [email protected]
o Ma Nithya Jnanatmananda Swami: +91 776 098 0635
o Ma Rishi Advait (Kids program): +91 776 098 0640
o Sri Nithya Visweshwara (Anand Singh) +1 516 526 2800
o Sri Nithya Tejomayananda Swami: +1 647 770 4662
Varanasi – City of Shiva
Varanasi, or Banaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kash’ in Sanskrit language which means to shine. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground’ created by Shiva and Parvathi, upon which they stood at the beginning of time. Varanasi is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by spirituality; it has always attracted a large number of pilgrims, worshippers, seekers, ascetics, monks, saints and enlightened beings from time immemorial.
To be in Varanasi is an experience in itself – an experience in self–discovery and an eternal oneness of the body and soul. To every visitor, Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges, the high-banks, the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue, soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense fill the air and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats. Varanasi – the land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss.
Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world renowned artists India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banaras Silk Saris and Silk brocades which are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.
Swamiji’s death experience in Varanasi
Death is a mystery, but more importantly, it is a man’s greatest fear. In Vedanta this is one of the most used techniques for enlightenment. In Buddhism, anyone initiated into Sannyas has to spend three months in the cremation grounds and continuously observe bodies being burnt while visualizing him being burnt. Almost all mystical traditions on the planet use this technique to achieve the highest possibility. Logical mind finds it difficult to understand how one simple experience can give such courage.
Swamiji himself had this particular experience in Varanasi. When Swamiji went to Varanasi, Swamiji saw that per day three hundred dead bodies were being cremated in a place called Manikarnika Ghat. Traditionally, it is believed that if somebody leaves the body in that area, or if their body is burnt at Manikarnika Ghat, they will be liberated. Ramakrishna confirms this and says that he saw Mahadeva himself going to every pyre and liberating every soul from their karmas or in-completions. The men working there would carry the bodies to the Ganga River, reaching there by evening. As they walk, they keep chanting ‘Ram Naam Satya Hai’, which means that Lord Rama’s name is the ultimate truth. There is no special ritual involved. Three times the bodies are dipped into the Ganga as they say ‘Raam Naam Satya Hai’.
Swamiji sat there to watch what was going on, and an hour later, death was no more a strange incident that happens once in a blue moon to a distant relative. Bodies of all size, gender, age, color, community and religion were burnt in that hour. When one sees so many bodies, it feels like there is nothing to it. Everyone has to leave their body some day and the breath that goes into them does not come out, that is all.
Knowing that death is inevitable will bring down the respect that one has for the ego. Whatever that one thinks should not leave them is their ego. When one knows for sure that everything is going to leave them, the respect for the ego goes down immensely. Being a very straightforward person, Swamiji immediately dropped his ego and decided that if he’s going to die after all, he should have a death experience now itself and live without the fear or die and see for himself. He sat down in a small Shiva temple nearby and started watching the dead bodies being burnt. The big ‘click’ that he remembers even to this day happened when an old lady’s body was being burnt and he could see the fat from her stomach melting. This fat made the fire burn brighter and this made him think that the very same thing is going to happen to him. This opened up a deep, terrible fear of death in him and he faced it consciously.
The fear was spreading all over his body and when it met his awareness, it became a death experience. He saw clearly that his body was dead. For two and a half days, he did not sleep, eat, drink or think. Suddenly the ‘click’ happened that his body is dead but he still exists. This was such an intense ecstasy that the fear of death just left. Slowly he opened his eyes, and the first thing he felt was a deep gratitude. He performed a small pooja for Vishwanatha (name of Lord Shiva in Varanasi temple) and he could see clearly that Vishwanatha was alive. When he died, Vishwanatha became alive to him. Till the previous day, because he was alive, Vishwanatha was a dead stone.
When a fear is suppressed, it stays inside the person. When one does not consciously face the fear, it shakes his whole nervous system. However, when it is faced consciously, it becomes a death experience.
As Mahadeva says in the Shiva Sutras, “Visualize the fire rising out of your body slowly, let your form be burnt, let your body turn to ashes, but not you”.
Possible Field Trips during July 2016 Inner Awakening
(**Field-trip locations subject to change)
⦁ KASHI VISHWANATH MANDIR
Standing on the western bank of India’s holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. At Kashi Vishwanath temple, simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities.
⦁ DEVI ANNAPURNA TEMPLE
Near the Kashi Vishwanath temple, there is a nice temple of Devi Annapurna, believed as the “Goddess of Food and Nourishment”. Kashi Annapurna temple is biggest temple as compared to the other Varanasi temples and her icon placed in temple made up of pure gold is so beautiful and creates a sensation in the body. Annapurna Prasad (meal given to devotees) offered daily to the visitors near the temple building. It is believed that one who worships here will never suffer from starvation and mata Annapurna blessed them inner strength. Every devotee takes part in food serving before having the mata Annapurna Prasad and it’s the tradition of temple which followed by every devotee.
⦁ KALABHAIRAVA TEMPLE
The city of Kashi is famous for the shrine of Kaal Bhairav, guard of Varanasi city. In Hinduism, Lord Bhairav is the ferocious personification of Lord Shiva. Exact meaning of Bhairav is terrific and lord Bhairav temple of Varanasi is associated with remarkable birth of Shiva that he had taken in earlier century to save the humanity on earth. This ancient shiva destination is situated 1 km ahead in east of Kashi-Vishwanath temple.
This temple was a spiritual center in Kashi for the most severe of Shiva ascetics, the “Kapalis” or “Skull-Bearers,” and their later descendants, the Gorakhnathis. Today, however, the temple is no longer the exclusive domain of such extremist yogis and is, rather patronized by ordinary householders for his protective blessings. It is a tradition that, whenever residents of Kashi leave the city for short journeys, they worship Kaal Bhairav [taking his permission] and on return back to Kashi, they again worship Kaal Bhairav. It is said that those living in or visiting Kashi, must worship Kaal Bhairav and he in turn, grants protection/shelter to all his devotees.
⦁ MANIKARNIKA GHAT – The worlds’ largest crematorium
Manikarnika Ghat, the worlds’ largest crematorium, is also famous by the name of Mahasmasana which is one of two cremation Ghats in the Varanasi. Another famous ghat of cremation is Harishchandra Ghat. Every day around 350 bodies are burnt in Manikarnika ghat and sometimes it goes up to 600 also. For everybody burnt here, it is believed that Mahadeva personally initiates everyone into the Taraka mantra and liberates them. This age-old belief was confirmed by Swamiji also during His visit to the ghat. Swamiji saw that the moment Mahadeva initiates the being, that same moment the mantra touches that being and the being is liberated. Coming to terms with reality is Completion and that automatically happens in Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi.
- GANGA AARTHI
Ganga aarti is performed daily in the evening by a group of priests at the Dashashwamedh ghat in Varanasi. Through the aarti, Agni Pooja is performed in which a commitment is made to the Lord Shiva, Mata Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire) as well as the whole universe made by the Lord Shiva. Ganga aarti is a magnificent event during the evening in Varanasi that one must not miss to see. This beautiful ritual makes every moment of the evening period special and fills one with spiritual thoughts. It is performed by the brass lamps which are accompanied with the mantra chant in the presence of the huge crowd.