Joel graduated from one of the first intensive Bikram’s yoga teacher training programs offered by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India. Joel then proceeded to open Siddha Yoga, one of the first Bikram’s yoga studios in downtown Philadelphia.
Radhanath Swami was asked to speak on the meaning of the holiday of Diwali. He said that “knowledge is compared to light and ignorance is compared to darkness. When we speak of knowledge we are not speaking about data that we bring from outside and store it in our brains. True knowledge is the enlightened state within ourselves, which can be obstructed by the dark cloud of egoism and selfishness.
We are looking for that light, that joy and pleasure within us by trying to take more and more stuff from the outside world, but this never really works. Diwali is celebrating the soul, or the eternal light that is within us. which is the real source of our happiness”
Radahanath Swami shared some lessons from the epic poem Ramayana, where the original story of Diwali is found. Radhanath Swami related “that in the Ramayana the characters of Rama and Sugriva had many things in common. They were both kings, their wives were kidnapped, and they were both exiled to the forest. When the greatest problems come to us, we can see them as a blessing, and we can understand how it feels for others to be in these situations.
It may be drug addiction, alcohol, abuse, poverty, or other kinds of suffering. If we come through it, we can connect to and really help people in similar situations. So Rama and Sugriva understood each others’ plight and they were really eager to help each other.”