Interview with Yogi and Mystic Adyananda Denne from Netherlands
The fragrance of rain kissed Earth and the company of joyful, transparent and honest raindrops knocking on the window trying to make their way into the room is how I woke up today. Slept a bit longer than my iPhone alarm had planned for me thanks to my yellow friend the snooze button.
Today we are going to be chatting with Adyananda a Yogi and Mystic from the Netherlands who comes from a military background, in India we would call him a 'Fauji Kid' as his dad was in the Dutch Air force. So lets see what wisdom and humbleness Adyananda has to share with us today.
Shivam: Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
Adyananda: I grew up in several countries since my father was a military (air force) man. So we lived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. But since both he and my mum were nature-loving people they always picked small towns or villages for us to live in. So I grew up around fields, animals and lots of forests. My grandparents, were I spent a lot of time in summers lived near this huge forest in the South of Germany, and grandpa took me along on his early morning walks to see wild boars, deer etc.. my mum taught me about plants and herbs and their healing capacities ever since I was very young.. it always was in direct contrast of my dads' military discipline and macho tendencies.. you could say my upbringing was maybe not always consistent haha, but very interesting nonetheless
Shivam: What is Yoga to you?
Adyananda: Yoga is the ultimate expression of life itself, and in the more literal sense ofcourse it is the union of the Self and the Source or the Divine, or whatever you choose to call it.
Shivam: Why did you become a Yogi? When did you become a Yogi? What inspired you?
Adyananda: Hmm, when does one become a Yogi... That is a tough one.. I like to think that I made my first step towards that before I even knew the actual word Yogi. Like said, I grew up around nature and since my parents were moving around a lot I didn't have these life long friendships that one would develop growing up in one place for all one's life you know... Yet I never felt sad or alone about this. In fact, I was the kind of child that would make friends quiet easy, yet appreciated alone time just as much, maybe even more... I could sit for hours near a pond, watching the frogs and dragonflies pass by and doing their thing... I observed nature and understood myself being a part of this since I was very young.. now I would call it Meditation, then I just saw it as sitting and observing of course. It was when I was 14 or 15 and my mother started to meditate that I took an interest in it too. She was one of the first Reiki practitioners in the West and also a huge enthusiast about this weird bearded man with his orange followers, that later would achieve world fame as the Guru Osho. I was fascinated by his vision, but somehow (and when you're a teen it's hard to put your finger on it) somehow I felt he was leaving out parts of this huge rich tradition he rose out from.. I had acquired some books of the ISKCON that some Krishna devotees in town had given me, and those made me aware that Sanatan Dharm was larger than Osho's philosophy... But since my grandparents were strict Christians (and I was no fan of this strict almost stoicism that Christianity upholds so dear) I felt that this Krishna Movement had the same vibe...
Not sure how to explain... This is when this man appeared in the Netherlands, he was walking the world with his bamboo stick and a torch he called the world peace flame. It was Indian teacher and guru Mansukh Patel, founder of the Life Foundation and Dru Yoga. With him I learned a great deal about the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta and for the most part of my travels he was my Yogacharya...untill the yoga world was shocked by some revelations of the things happening in Mansukh's Ashram.. I don't want to go into all the negativity right now, but it was enough for him to disappear to India and to leave most of his students kinda directionless . But the one thing he DID teach me is when hard times hit you in life, turn to the Gita. And I did, but somehow in my mind I just couldn't see Krishna when all this wisdom of Self, detachment and sadhana were spoken.. I always got this picture of Siva. This led me to study everything I could find about Lord Siva in the local libraries. There was this path that spoke of self-realisation and oneness, and this captured me completely.
Shivam: Who was your Yogacharya/Mentor?
Adyananda: Well to be honest after the whole sad experience I was sort of done with Guru's or teachers... So I wanted to simply have a break from it all, and you know live life like most youngsters do... Basically partying . And some friends of mine that already been told me Goa was a great place to party.. so I decided to book a 3-week vacation and check it out... When I got there however I met some people that were all enthusiastic and almost ecstatic about this teacher they had seen some years back that was known to have 'given enlightenment' to several of his students, right on the spot. He was simply known as Papaji and he was located in Lucknow. So without looking up information or doing any research...
I decided to travel to Lucknow... But I was out of luck in a way since I learned at my arrival Papaji had already passed on. His ashram was still available to visit and I did.. from there on everything went fast and not according to any preset plan. I met some folks in Lucknow and before I knew it I ended up travelling and sitting with travelling Sadhu's all the way to Tamil Nadu. They taught me a lot and it was an amazing experience. From my arrival in Tamil Nadu, right to my return home and even to this day my Guru and teacher has been Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Yet I always cherished the thing he (and others before him) always told me... You are your best guru, find your inner guru... You know..
Shivam: What style or kind of yoga do you like the most?
Adyananda: I loved Hatha and Dru Yoga until my handicap made the asana's impossible for me. At first I thought I had to give up yoga altogether till i noticed the asana's are just the smallest part in Patanjali's yoga sutra. From that moment I practised Jnana Yoga, the yoga of the mind (or no-mind rather) I practised mudra yoga with my hands and started chanting mantras... I have never been so emerging in yoga since that point haha... And there I once was thinking I had to give it all up.
Shivam: What benefits do you get from Yoga?
Adyananda: How long is this interview allowed to be? ;) For me it was a life changer. I became more conscious, more aware of the smallest things and simultaneously the realization of That which is endless. It gave me this liberating sense of complete freedom, and it made me see my quirks as clear as it made me realize our true nature. It made me more patient, more joyful and it still creates more inner peace every day.
Shivam: Why do you teach?
Adyananda: Maybe that question should be asked to those that came to sit with me haha ..it just happened in a natural flow so to say... I always have been speaking out on things, and I had (and have) the tendency to ask questions when I do not understand someones choices or way of perceiving things... And I don't know why or how it happened, but people seemingly recognized themselves in the questions I was asking and were interested in the alternative way of perceiving life those questions brought to the surface...
Shivam: What has been the most amazing yoga experience you have had?
Adyananda: The most amazing and profound realization was (and still is) are the moments in which I fully was able to see and feel oneness isn't just some theory.. the moment that make the 'I' disappear.. What impressed me most in that experience was how long the search can take, how difficult the road can be (or rather how difficult we can make it) when that what needs to be seen, to be realized, is so close, so subtle.
Shivam: What’s your favourite yoga quote or mantra?
Adyananda: Without a doubt that is the Om Namah Shivaya mantra.
Shivam: If you could change 1 thing in the world today what would it be?
Adyananda: I would love that people would see the things they way they are, not the way they want them to be or believe them to be...
So that was the mystic and Yogi Adyananda, I hope his story, thoughts and experience can help you envision your journey ahead and if you want to know more about Adyananda, where is currently teaching and what he is currently working on then visit his profile.