HONESDALE, PA —Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, the spiritual leader of the world-wide Himalayan Institute, has spent years studying and living with diverse spiritual masters from the East. He is fluent in both Vedic and classical Sanskit and has two doctorates, one in Sanskit from the University of Allahabad and another in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. The author of 14 books, he has practiced yoga and tantra for more than 30 years. We recently interviewed him about the year-long meditation planned by the Himalayan Institute for 2012.
TRR: Explain how the uninterrupted, year-long group meditation works?
Pandit Tigunait: Uninterrupted group mediation is a time-honored practice in the Himalayan tradition and is infused with the collective consciousness that promotes peace and harmony in the world. From November of 2011 through November of 2012, the meditation hall of the institute will be the locus of an around-the-clock group mediation in the presence of a sacred flame. People all around the world who are connected with the institute will participate. It can be done at the institute or online.
TRR: Anyone can do this?
Pandit Tigunait: The institute invites participants around the world and our neighbors to commit themselves to a 12-month group meditation practice, either here or online, supported by 12 inspirational seminars for the purpose of inner healing and the healing of our society and planet.
TRR: Is there healing power in group meditation that is not a factor in private meditation?
Pandit Tigunait: In group meditation, healing power is intensified and is stronger than in individual meditation,
TRR: How does this happen?
Pandit Tigunait: There is a unique spiritual power generated when many focus at the same time and for a continual period of time. We call it collective consciousness. A unique spiritual energy surrounds those who participate as they focus on the growth of peace and harmony in the world. They are participating in this worldwide healing movement. Deepen your experience by attending our core programs in person, or study and practice in the comfort of your home. Challenge yourself to expand your meditation capacity. You may plan retreats as short as a weekend, or 10-day immersion is also available.
TRR: Why now?
Pandit Tigunait: Our society is very astute in technical development but somewhat miserable in spiritual development. We see that fear, anger, grief, anxiety, insecurity are being generated today in our modern world more than at any time in the past. Today, we in modern society are in need of some way to heal ourselves and heal our society. Just as we have to wash and iron our clothes to make them wearable, so we must renew ourselves spiritually. In these meditation practices we are putting in place a step-by-step method to grow in a very relaxed manner through meditation. It is in meditation that we heal ourselves.
TRR: Do you have any examples of this healing from the past?
Pandit Tigunait: In a state in India many years ago, there was a terrible long-lasting war and the people began a 144-year-long group meditation. At the end of the war, that section of India became very sacred and became a center for healing. Even today, people go there to meditate.
TRR: What is the cost of participating in the seminars?
Pandit Tigunait: The institute’s premiere membership includes an all-access pass to the 12 core seminars—that’s live and online tuition of the year-long group meditation as one of its benefits. Individual seminar registration’s tuition is $299 with the 11 other seminars free.
TRR: As a spiritual leader who knows both eastern and western spiritual traditions, do you think America is a fertile ground for spirituality?
Pandit Tigunait: I think America is the most fertile ground for the growth of spirituality. I say this because America is a spiritual melting pot. People come here from every nationality, culture and religion of the world: Judeo-Christian traditions, Islamic traditions, Hindu traditions, Buddha traditions. The children of these traditions are mixing together and are giving strength to the nation. Their way of looking at life is going beyond those narrow traditions.
For more information, visit www.himalayaninstitute.org  or call 800/822-4547.