Date:: June 2014
A spiritual pioneer, Maya Tiwari serves humanity by awakening the spirit of ahimsa, or harmony, in every person whose life she touches. For thirty years, she has put this ability to inspire and create change in human behavior and understanding to work – through education, outreach, and service to humankind. Through this steadfast commitment, Maya has helped to nourish, nurture, and heal thousands of individuals, families and communities, while transcending cultural and social barriers as she spreads her message of Ahimsa.
The Spice Mistress is honoured to welcome Maya Tiwari as a guest of this month’s Pancha Q.
Maya established the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda in 1981, with the vision of restoring the long lost Inner Medicine® principles and practices of Ayurveda, known as sadhana.
In addition to the Wise Earth School, Maya is also the founder of both the Mother Om Mission and the Living Ahimsa Foundation. Through the Mother Om Mission, her revolutionary work in spiritual healing education has served scores of at-risk communities in Guyana, India, and the United States, and hundreds of volunteer instructors have been trained to help serve these communities.
For more than two decades, Maya has been addressing large audiences of wellness, health and inter-faith conferences on topics ranging from Ayurveda and Ahimsa (inner harmony and our innate power to heal), to Self-realization.
Maya’s Inner Medicine® health and spirituality programs, deeply rooted in Ayurveda, are taught at the Wise Earth School and the Mission. Also taught through these institutions is Maya’s Living Ahimsa® work, which is based on the principle of inner harmony, and honors the sanctity of all beings, nature and her sacred resources. Affectionately called the “Mother of Ahimsa,” Maya initiated the Living Ahimsa World Tour in 2009 to spread her message of peace around the globe. As of 2013 the Tour has impacted thousands, logging over 500 events in just five years.
Maya has been recognized on the worldwide platform for her tireless commitment to inspiring health, wholeness and peace. For her pioneering work in Ayurveda education, Maya received the prestigious Dhanvantari International Award in 2011. She is the recipient of AAPNA’s Rishi Award for her outstanding work in Ayurveda. For her dedication to creating inner harmony, health and wellness in the world, Maya was honored with the distinction of World Peace Leader by the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Maya is the author of many books on health, wellness, and spirituality, through which her potent spirit of ahimsa touches the hearts of people across the world. Her books include: Living Ahimsa Diet: Nurturing Love & Life, Women’s Power to Heal: Through Inner Medicine; The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Ayurvedic Healing; Ayurveda: A Life of Balance; Ayurveda Secrets of Healing, and her most recent work, a meditative journal called, Love! A Daily Oracle for Healing.
Maya is a seasoned keynote speaker, and was honored by her selection as the Keynote Presenter at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, in Melbourne, Australia. Alongside the Dalai Lama and great men and women of faith, Maya’s address had a dramatic impact on the consciousness of each of its participants. Her focus on the theme of global reconciliation as seen through the lens of her Living Ahimsa work is a reflection of Maya’s philosophy: “By cultivating personal awareness of ahimsa we can find a common language that needs no words—a communion centered in the heart of oneness. If each one of us makes a commitment to inner harmony, we will surely succeed in achieving the ultimate goal of our human destiny—that of a spiritual freedom that unites us. Ultimately, it is the work of awareness within the individual person that will change the world for the better.”
Maya served for two decades as a Vedic monk, belonging to India’s prestigious Veda Vyasa lineage. In 2010, Maya made the radical decision to renounce her monastic title and spiritual moniker—Her Holiness, Sri Swami Mayatitananda. This decision was made, as she puts it, “walk a simpler and more accessible life in service of the populations in need,” which she continues to do to this day.
1. How do you begin your day?
Maya Tiwari: As I awaken I love to listen to the sounds of nature. At present, I’m in the high desert of California, where the hawks and ravens circle in tandem with the roaring winds. I chant Vedic mantras, and breathe, and like the precious desert flower that rises majestically amid the barrenness of sands, rocks and brush, I remind myself to be ever grateful for yet another day of prana. Sometimes, as needed, I recite an affirmation for the day, usually based on converting all thoughts into the positive, a reminder to surrender to the will of Father Sky and Mother Earth.
2. What’s one piece of life changing health advice you can share with others?
Maya Tiwari: Ahimsa! When you get knocked down, how quickly you get back up determines how quickly you regain your happiness. The short answer is acceptance: accepting what ever is being served up by the universe. This is not so easy to do. But we can begin by making every effort to stay present in the process of our healing however challenging it may be. The process is often hard to face because it is not pretty. It contains, at the heart of it, that part of our journey which is hidden, that “stuckness” and staleness that need to be shaken loose, and brazened out. If we are able to face that part of our journey which is hidden head-on, we open up to spirit and eventually we find resolve.
The way to surpass every challenge is to remember to Nourish Peace. In other words, untether the mind, and do the inner work to allow harmony to flow. And remember, you have the power to shift global consciousness into the mind of peace. To achieve a mind of peace we must understand healing as a perennial process, the ever-generating energy of being Whole. Wholeness is not a state of being free from disease. We are forever whole, with disease, without disease, with despair, without despair, with pain, and without pain.
3. What’s one thing that gives you hope for the future?
Maya Tiwari: Love – the recognition that love lies latent in each and every human heart, that love which I find in each and everyone, however unawakened their heart. That love that conquers all, that shows we are One. It is only love that unfolds the inner light of awareness that reveals challenges as a conduit that brings us the good, the great and the sacred. Only love can unfold the universal truth. Once we embrace each difficulty with this spirit that knows its innate nature is that of Love, we become free from despair. We begin to see how personal agony, and despair can be transcended to relieve the humungous burden of pain for all of humanity.
4. Any lifestyle ‘Crimes against Wisdom’ (Prajnaparadha) that challenge you?
Maya Tiwari: The term, Prajnaparadha, refers to crimes against the humanity of the human heart. In essence, whatever we allow to hurt the heart and spirt, is a crime against our personal and sacred nature. When first I began the Living Ahimsa World Tour, it was to heal myself from a barrage of toxicity put forth by a group of people with the negative intention to create harm. The recognition that I was becoming preoccupied with and distracted by the advent of these untoward events led me to find my way to the inner peace. I was put squarely onto the path of finding my personal ahimsa- that is, peace under the most disharmonious circumstance.
I am now in my fourth year with the Living Ahimsa Tour, unfolding this very personal and phenomenal work. I believe I have grown in immense ways, and hope to continue to grow the perfect harmony within and without. I look forward to seeing you on your home ground of Canada this summer.
5. A moment of beauty that inspired you today?
Maya Tiwari: Mother Moon~ a faint glimpse in the East sky as I arose this morning…This grand golden luminary in the desert skies displayed a performance of epic measure last evening. She set aglow the entire mountain range with her golden amber hues, accompanied by sparkling stars that caught in the awe of her majesty. The Goddess’s massive belly graced the earth with hope, faith. All is well. This is the largest moon that occurs just before the summer solstice. It happened to fall on Friday the 13th, the only “Friday the 13th” in the present year.
Thank you so much for the interview, Maya. Om Shanti!