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GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA Founder President:
H.H. Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj


MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
2014-2016

President:
Shri Chandru Binwani

Deputy President:
Datuk Fateh Chand

Vice Presidents:
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Dato Ramesh Kodammal

Honorary General Secretary:
Shrimati Usha Devi

Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani

Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Thilla Chelliah

Committee Members:
Shri Mahadev Lalchand
Shri Prabhat Kumar
Shri Tilak Raj Sharma
Shrimati Asha Devi
Shrimati Sarinder Kumari
Shri Kishan Kumar Agarwal
Shri Rajani Kumar Naidu
Ms Anjanna Kukreja
Shri Jagmohan Kumar
Shri Hetish Sharma

EDITORIAL BOARD
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon


SACRED THOUGHT
June 2014         Volume 42 Issue 2
For internal circulation only

Contents
Contents
Building Renovations: Update and Appeal
Fundraising Dinner
Editorial Note
Audio: Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 12 by Swami Hari Harji
Commentary on BG4:41 by Swami Hari Harji
Message from Guru Maa Geeteshwari
From the President's Desk: Geeta Dham
Peace and Happiness through Geeta
Chat with Krishna
Lessons from the Geeta (17)
Geeta for Beginners: Arjun's Dilemma
Main Characters of the Mahabharata Part 1
Mam Ekam Sharanam Vraja
Austerity of the Mind
The Bhagavad Geeta and Management
Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships
Bhagavad Geeta 14:19-27 by Janani Venkitesh
Radha Krishna Bhajan Yatra
Guru Purnima Greetings
Child Speaker: Hansini Rajani Naidu
Child Speaker: Manmohan Magendaran
Child Speaker: Mahesh Magendaran
Recipe: Balushahi
Bhajan Video with Lyrics: Ăj Andhere Men Hain Ham
Major Upcoming Events
Recent and Upcoming Activities

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The views and opinions expressed in the eSacredThought magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the Editorial Board or the Management Committee of Geeta Ashram Malaysia.


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Geeta Ashram
Building Renovations
 

Progress Report as at 27 June 2014
Renovation works on the Geeta Ashram building have moved on to the first floor. The basic concrete structure of the ground floor has been completed. All columns on the first floor have been completed, and roof beam work has also been completed. Provisions for two small dome drops and the centre dome drop have been provided. Concreting of the roof beams and slabs has also been completed. Brick works and plastering works are in progress on the ground floor.

These renovations will accomodate a more spacious prayer hall, a larger dining hall, two classrooms, a library, a new office, a conference room and twelve dormitories for visitors. The upgraded building will boast state-of-the-art facilities and modern decor.
 
We thank all donors who have contributed generously towards the Geeta Ashram Malaysia Building Renovation Fund. We appeal to all devotees and well-wishers to donate generously and to give their fullest support towards making this project a reality. The following committee members can be contacted for further information:
1. Chandru Binwani+6 012-382 4228
2. Datuk Fateh Chand+6 019-239 3376
3. Dato Ramesh Kodammal+6 016-394 9800
3. Tangamani Menon+6 014-645 4799
4. Usha Devi+6 013-393 9858
5. Dr D K Bhanot+6 012-329 1216

     
Two views of the construction work in progress on the first floor

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Building Renovations
FUNDRAISING DINNER


In conjunction with the ongoing Geeta Ashram building renovations, a Fundraising Dinner was organised on Saturday 12 July 2014 at the HGH Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Chief guest was the Honorable Minister of Health, YB Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam. Among other dignitaries present were the Indian High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr T S Tirumurti, and YB Dato' Seri Utama S Samy Vellu.

The function commenced with a welcome dance performance, followed by the recitation of the 12th Chapter of the Bhagavad Geeta by a group from the Geeta Ashram Youth, and a short prayer by Panditji.

Then there were speeches by the dignitaries, the President Shri Chandru Binwani and the Organising Chairman Dato Ramesh Kodammal. A huge round of applause greeted the Minister's announcement of a donation of RM100,000 towards the Building Fund, and there was another round of applause when Dato' Seri Utama S Samy Vellu accepted his appointment as Patron.

Live Indian classical music and cultural dances by the Temple of Fine Arts entertained the crowd as everyone enjoyed the sumptuous meal sponsored by Little Caterers. A slide presentation highlighted the Ashram's history and activities.


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EDITORIAL NOTE

Ashram Bustles with Activity
The Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014 event, organised by Geeta Ashram Youth on 5 April 2014, was a huge success. Overall, the various presentations by the youth reflected a high level of understanding and knowledge of our scriptures. You can watch excerpts of the event in the video clips included in this issue.
 
The annual Radha Krishna Bhajan Yatra 2014, held on 14 June 2014, was an enchanting evening of bhajans and sankirtan extending from 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Singing groups from three organisations joined the group from Geeta Ashram Malaysia to render a non-stop marathon of devotional singing.
 
Sunday Satsang Programme
The Satsang programme, held every Sunday from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, has been revamped to cater for a wider spectrum of devotees. In addition to the recitation of mantras and verses from the Geeta, there will be only one speaker for the day, either in English or in Hindi (with translation), and half an hour will be reserved for bhajans. A child speaker, if available, will be given five minutes to talk on any aspect of the Geeta. With these little changes, it is hoped to make the programme more vibrant and to invite wider participation especially from the younger generation.
 
Advertising in eSacredThought
Your electronic voice, the eSacredThought, will henceforth be accepting advertisements from sponsors and well-wishers at the following rates:

                                        Full page advertisement: RM1000.00
                                        Half page advertisement: RM500.00
                                        Page sponsorship: RM100.00 per page

Those who wish to advertise, sponsor or contribute in any other way can contact the President, Shri Chandru Binwani, at +6 012-382 4228.
 
Articles for eSacredThought
Those contributing material for inclusion in eSacredThought are reminded to keep their contributions short, preferably not more than two pages in length., and to vet their articles for correctness of language and substance.
 
Dr D K Bhanot


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Listen to
Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 12



Recited in his own voice by
Swami Hari Harji Maharaj

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COMMENTARY: BHAGAVAD GEETA Chapter 4 Verse 41
by His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
YOGASAMNYASTA KARMAANAM
JNAANASANCHINNA SAMSAYAM
AATMAVANTAM NA KARMAANI
NIBADHNANTI DHANAMJAYA

YOGASAMNYASTA KARMAANAM = the one who has renounced actions by Yoga; JNAANASANCHINNA SAMSAYAM = one whose doubts have been dispelled by Knowledge; AATMAVANTAM = self-possessed; NA = not; KARMAANI = actions; NIBADHNANTI = bind; DHANAMJAYA = O Dhanamjaya (Arjuna)

"O Arjuna, he who has dedicated all his actions to God in the spirit of Karma Yoga, whose doubts have been dispelled by wisdom, and who is self-possessed, actions do not bind him."

In Chapter 4, Karma Yoga is explained as the principal means for the purification of the inner faculties. After that, for the one devoid of attachment and pride, the attainment of Knowledge through purification of the inner faculties is explained. Now, in concluding the chapter, pointing out the greatness of Knowledge, Lord Krishna says:
The spiritual practitioner who has renounced actions by Yoga, who has renounced the fruit of action, or who has surrendered all his actions to Bhagavaan, and who performs actions for the purpose of 'loka sangraha', has achieved purity of the inner faculties - that person is blessed (dhanya).

It is not easy to give up the fruit of action. It is a great act of courage, sacrifice, common sense and heroism. All are not able to sacrifice the fruit of action. Most people engage in action only upon becoming aware of the fruit of action. There is a predominance of 'sakaa ma bhaava' (desire-prompted attitude) in creation. Where it is evident that a particular action will not have a desired result, most people refrain from performing that action. So, the majority of people end up performing action with a selfish motive.

That person is blessed who performs Karma-Sanyaasa for the attainment of Godliness. There are two forms of Karma-Sanyaasa: (1) Phalatah (consequently) (2) Swaroopatah (in one's own form).
Performing worldly action, and offering its fruit to Bhagavaan for the good of others, results in Karma Tyaaga (sacrifice of action). When engaging always in the service of God, the sacrifice of action is pure and unadulterated. In the first instance, Sanyaasa means 'samarpan' or dedication, and in the second instance, Sanyaasa means the sacrifice of Vedically prescribed worldly action. Viewed both ways, Karma-Sanyaasa is tyaaga (sacrifice).

Man's inner faculties become polluted by desire for the fruit of action just as a mirror gets covered by dust. A lamp covered by a black cloth will not emit light outside the cloth. Similarly, the inner faculties can get veiled by the 'black cloth' of mental passion. One who is blinded by passionate desires will not experience the light of God, just as the blind is unable to perceive light. One can become free of passion through Nishkaama Karma (desireless action). Only when the inner faculties become pure, can true Knowledge be acquired without doubts of any kind.

The doubts that prevail in one's mind before acquiring true Knowledge may be centred around the nature of the Soul, its location within the body, its role in one's actions and its role as the enjoyer.

On acquiring Knowledge of the nature of the Soul, the living entity no longer experiences joy and sorrow, or praise and disgrace. He rises above the 6 types of distress - "soka mohau jaraa mrtyu kshutpipaapase shadoormayah" (sorrow, delusion, old age, death, hunger, thirst) - and is beyond Kaama (passion), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment) and Ahamkaar (egoism). Having Knowledge free of doubt means that one views the body as a corpse. Such a person is aware of his oneness with Brahman - with no difference between Jeeva and Ishwara - having realised the oneness between his Soul and the all- pervading Brahman.

Freedom from the bodily sense is the ultimate result of Knowledge. Just as the fire exists separate from the wood, the true Self (Soul) is also separate from the body and senses. The Soul, which is the seer, never subjected to birth and death, is pure awareness of the supreme principle.

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When the pot is broken, the space within joins the space without and remains unbroken. Similarly, the Jeeva appears to become Brahman upon death of the living being, but in fact the Jeeva IS the Brahman. Abrahmata (state of not Brahman) is an illusion. Mayaa gives birth to the mind that imagines the body, objects and actions as belonging to the Soul. Mayaa itself is the cause of Jeeva getting trapped in worldly affairs.

Uninfluenced by emotions, his actions renounced by Yoga, his doubts dispelled by Knowledge, such a Yogi is not bound by Karma.
Those who are not soul-conscious, seeking heaven and the attainment of body as the fruit of Karma, such confused people live in the world of false enjoyment.

In conclusion, the individual would be well-advised to "Strive to be free from the pairs of opposites, ever balanced, unconcerned with getting and keeping, and remain centred in the Self". Always seek the dependance of the Brahmi state (steadiness of the mind or intellectual stability grounded in the Absolute) which will result in liberation from Karmic bondage.


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FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK: GEETA DHAM

Emeritus Professor Dr. U. Prasad
President, Geeta Dham Trust
u_prasad@hotmail.com

Disciples of the Most Revered His Holiness Shree 1008 Swami Hariharji Maharaj, from home and abroad, assembled at Geeta Dham to celebrate the 116th birthday of His Holiness and to participate in the 27th International Geeta Conference held from 14-17 March 2014. The THEME of the conference was "PEACE AND HAPPINESS THROUGH GEETA".
 
The opening ceremony was held on the afternoon of 14 March 2014. The gathering was addressed by Revered Swami Brahmanandji Maharaj, our supreme spiritual head, Revered Swami Akhilji Maharaj from Vrindavan and the chief guest, Professor Narendra Awashthiji, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Jainarayan Vyas University, Jodhpur. Besides pravachans by Revered Swamijis from within our organisation (Swami Muktanandji Maharaj, Swami Guruma Geeteshwariji, Swami Shreyanandji Maharaj and Swami Geeta Mateshwariji), there were also enlightening discourses by several other erudite scholars. They certainly enriched the intellectual understanding of the theme which they elaborated upon. It was also very encouraging to hear boys and girls from our Vidya Mandir, who had earned the spots through a Geeta competition held at Vidya Mandir for the purpose. All the above deliberations took place in the Multi-Purpose Hall.
 
On the morning of 17 March, SAMPOORNA GEETA HAVAN was held, with recitation of all 18 chapters of the Geeta and offering of oblation at the 18 havan-kunds at the yajya-shala. This was followed by Guru-paduka poojan, and then the Holi celebrations with offering of flowers to each other.
 
Included in the entertainment program was Bhajan-sandhya, held on the 14th evening, a variety entertainment on the 15th and bhajans, dances and antarakshi in the 16th.
 
    
Picture 1 shows the Swamis and speakers at the main table. Picture 2 captures some of the delegates in the hall. Picture 3 shows our Gurukul students performing in a drama entitled "EK SAAM GURUKUL JE NAAM".

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PEACE AND HAPPINESS THROUGH GEETA
by Emeritus Professor Dr. U. Prasad, President of Geeta Dham Trust (u_prasad@hotmail.com)

Peace and Happiness go together. Without peace one cannot be happy and if unhappy one cannot have peace of mind, so meant Lord Krishna, when he told Arjuna, "ashaantashya kutah sukham" (BG2:66). Let us try to understand the word 'HAPPINESS'. The meaning of 'happiness' can be examined through several perspectives.

A. Through the ordinary perspective, where happiness has three components: (i) PLEASURE or GOOD-FEELING (vishayaanand) or SENSORY SATISFACTION: When one of our sensory organs gets associated with an external sense-object, giving a favourable impact (based on past experience), it emanates a sensation that one calls PLEASURE. (ii) HAPPY ENGAGEMENTS: In life at work, with family or friends or while engaged in a hobby, if the outcome is positive one feels HAPPY. (iii) MEANINGFULNESS: When one is able to contribute positively towards the betterment of society, one feels satisfaction leading to HAPPINESS.

B. Through the perspective of a scientist: He would probably say, "When certain chemicals trigger a response in the nervous system, the individual experiences a feeling which he calls HAPPINESS.

C. From aadhibhautik perspective (drishti): To sustain in existence one engages in certain activities. Based on the inherent Guna at the time of birth, there is implication of WANT, TO POSSESS or TO FULFILL NECESSITIES of varying degrees. The individual tries to avoid unpleasant, painful or sorrowful experiences. Positive results give him happiness, while negative ones leave him in sorrow.

D. From the aadhyaatmaik perspective: HAPPINESS is a state of Inner-life, a condition of Inner-being, a state of mind and intellect, rather than the result of worldly contact. It is ineffable Bliss, atyaantikam sukham or askhya-sukham. It is totally the Blessed experience of that Reality which is beyond all want and desire.

PEACE is associated with HAPPINESS, and is generally a state of mind - tranquility, serenity, freedom from disturbance, agitation or stress, and the ability to ward off any discord or confrontation faced by the individual.

What prevents us from attaining PEACE & HAPPINESS? Our True Self is the ATMAN (the Soul), the True nature of which is BLISS, but ATMAN is endowed with the veil of nature. The embodied soul is driven by the quality of its nature. Nature is TRIGUNAATMIK (a combination of three gunas). The Gunas force us to be involved in worldly activities, driving us far away from the state of ETERNAL BLISS, towards alternating states of temporary happiness and unhappiness, unable to attain PEACE OF MIND. Our senses enslave us to this material world. It is the Gunateet (beyond the gunas) person who attains PEACE & HAPPINESS. The key message of Geeta is: "Go beyond AHAMTAA or APNAAPAN (I-NESS) and MAMTAA or APNOPAN (MY-NESS). This can be attained through KAMAYOGA / JNAANAYOGA / BHAKTI YOGA.

In a nutshell, KARMAYOGA teaches that Nothing is mine in this world. It is the Gunas that bring on any action. The Karmayogi performs Karma devoid of attachment, the result of which he gives back (renunciation) (BG5:11-12). JNAANAYOGA teaches that I am nothing. 'I' is part of nature, while 'am' is Jeevaatman, the source of power. The JNAANAYOGI does not consider himself as the doer. Actions are performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord (BG5:8-10). BHAKTIYOGA gives the understanding that There is nothing 'I' or 'Mine'. Everything pertains to the Lord (BG13:27-28). By following one path or the other, we can succeed in attaining PEACE & HAPPINESS. We must keep studying the deeper philosophy enshrined in the divine teachings of the Geeta to understand and adopt the path shown by Lord Krishna and stressed by His Holiness Swami Hariharji Maharaj.

Let us keep reminding ourselves that "Happiness does not come as a result of getting something we do not have, but rather as a result of recognising and appreciating what we already have".

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Heart-to-heart chat with Lord Krishna

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LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (17)
by Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal
"The fourfold order was created by Me according to the divisions of the quality and work. Though I am its creator, know Me to be the changeless non-doer." (BG4:13)

It is repeatedly stressed in the Geeta that action is the path to knowledge, which in turn leads to salvation. To the masses, salvation means giving up all actions and retiring to a monastery or forest and contemplating on God. But we need to understand that salvation is the final goal, and action is the means. Undisciplined even while in contact with the world, how can this mind be trained to pursue the goal of God realisation. Ultimately, action is the means to purify the mind, and this purified mind is then used for contemplation on the higher truths of life. So how can action free us from all the impurities? For this purpose, the Lord has divided humanity into the four classes (caturvarnyam):
(1) Brahmanas - the learned, intellectually matured who are suited towards acquiring and imparting knowledge. Such people in modern day society will be the lecturers, researchers, scientists and, for learning and teaching spiritual knowledge, the priests.
(2) Kshatriyas - those endowed with physical strength. Soldiers, army, navy, policemen, who protect the nation and maintain law and order.
(3) Vaishyas - those who have an analytical mind and are well versed to undertake commerce and trade.
(4) Sudras - those who are good at physical labour. Farmers, drivers, labourers, etc.

The word 'varnyam', meaning colour (varna), has been used to exploit people of different skin colour. However, Sri Krishna says that this classification has nothing to do with skin colour, nor the family you are born into. The classification is based on dominant 'guna' and past 'karma' i.e. one's own inherent nature and the type of work most suited to one's ability. Inherent nature is expressed through the interaction of the 3 types of guna: Satvic (white / pure), Rajasic (red / active) and Tamasic (Black / inert). The three gunas exist within us and make up our inherent character - the difference lies in the proportion of each guna.

For example, a Brahmana will have more predominant satvic nature and minimal rajasic and tamasic gunas, thus being more prone to having a developed intellect. Such a person will be more introvert, given in to contemplation, etc. and more suited to acquire and impart knowledge. The Kshatriya is one who will have predominant rajasic guna and minimal satvic and tamasic gunas thus making him more prone to working with the physical body. And so forth also for the other two classes where in Vaishyas and Sudras the rajasic and tamasic gunas respectively take predominance. So, by just playing our daily roles to which we are most suited, the mind gets purified as a result. When we act in accordance with our own nature with the right attitude of discharging our duty (svadharma), then we achieve this purity, this tranquility of mind.

"Actions do not taint Me, nor do I have a desire for the fruits of the actions. He who knows Me thus in reality, is not bound by actions." (BG4:14)

Here, Sri Krishna explains the 'Secret of Right Action'. We all are subject to perform action. The Geeta says that even if we don't want to perform any actions, breathing, eating, walking and talking, are actions that maintain our body and are necessary to carry on living. The same action when performed with a change of attitude, brings about a different karmic result. How? "Act without a desire for fruits," says the Lord.

Practically every action brings about a result (whether you expect it or not). In fact, BG18:12 mentions three types of results (fruits) to every action: Good, bad and mixed (partly good, partly bad). So, it is not that we will not receive the results of our actions. So what are we supposed to renounce? Very often, before undertaking any action, one always questions "What is in it for me?" implying that the motive for all our actions is self-gain.

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What happens when all actions are motivated for self-gain?
(1) Positive results (in accordance with what we expected) make us more selfish and more prone to selfish actions. So, selfish actions keep on multiplying.
(2) Negative results (not in accordance to what we expected) make us agitated, frustrated, and even angry.

So, what should be the attitude when performing action? Remember, action remains the same, attitude changes and result changes. Each and every action is done for a larger cause. If I am working for an organisation, my actions should benefit all others and the organisation at large. By helping others, we evolve spiritually, moving away from selfish motivated actions to selfless actions. This attitude change ensures that any result from the action does not cause mental agitation. Whether the result turns out in accordance to what you expected or not, does not affect you but the fact remains that you wholeheartedly put in your best effort. Thus, every action is dedicated to God, to a higher cause for the purpose of spiritual upliftment.

Therefore, Sri Krishna concludes in this verse that one who knows Him in reality, knows the secret of His action, that even the Lord performs all types of action for the maintenance of the world order, yet the actions do not bind the Lord.

"Having known thus, action was performed even by the ancient seekers of salvation; therefore, do you also perform such actions as were performed by the ancients in the former times." (BG4:15)

Knowing the secret of right action, the ancient seekers, those who came before you, Arjuna, and took to this spiritual guidance, they learnt the secret and implemented it in their lives to uplift themselves. Even in modern history, there are many who have come forth to put society before themselves, leading exemplary lives, such as Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi. These may be legendary figures who achieved great things, but we also do see ordinary people dedicating time and effort to make life better for others. Volunteering for social causes, giving donations and helping strangers may incur loss of time and money, but it purifies the mind, through actions free of selfish impulses (like greed, envy, pride, jealousy, lust, etc). Performing actions while placing the interests of others above one's own, thus purifies the mind. "So therefore, may you, Oh Arjuna, look up to such noble people, who have set themselves apart from the actions of others, and follow in their footsteps to achieve that level of greatness achieved by others in the past." Isn't that why the biographies of such great people inspire us on?



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THE GEETA FOR BEGINNERS: ARJUN'S DILEMMA
by Shree Peter Ganglani, Geeta Ashram Canada

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Geeta is called Vishaada Yoga, meaning 'the despondency of Arjun'. This chapter contains 47 verses and deals with four subjects, and can therefore be sub-divided into four sections!

(Verses 1- 11)
The first section, comprising the first 11 verses, deals with the introduction of all the Maharathis (warriors) that fought the war. (PS: A Maharathi was one who could fight against 4 warriors simultaneously.) It is interesting to note that there were a total of 18 Maharathis on both sides. There are 18 chapters in the Geeta, and the war of Mahabharata also lasted 18 days !!

(Verses 12-19)
The second section deals with the introduction and description of the Conches that were used to declare the war - their names, the order in which they were blown, and whom they belonged to. It was customary in those days to "blow the conches" to confirm their intention to fight the war. Once the conches had been blown by both sides, there was no turning back from battlefield. Their decision to fight became irrevocable, and the war could not be stopped. Anyone who withdrew from the battlefield at that point in time was considered a coward. In those days, even off the battlefield, nobody could attack until the opponent was forewarned [saavdhaan]. They would never attack the opponent if he was unarmed. Also, the wars were fought during daylight hours only, never after sunset. Nowadays wars are waged without warning and preferably while the opponents are asleep. This is Kalyug!

(Verses 20-27)
The third section deals with Shri Arjun's desire to inspect both armies from the centre of the battlefield. He wanted to see the people who were ready to fight the war. The question that comes to mind is: Why did Arjun feel the need to do so? Did he not know who the people were on both sides? Sure he did! Why then did he need to see them up close? Bhagwan Shri Krishna knew the real reason for Arjun's apparent change of heart. So what did the Lord do? He drove the chariot to the centre of the battlefield as Arjun had requested, but stationed the chariot directly in front of Dronacharya and Bhishma, and said this to Arjun: "Take a close look at those you have to fight, O Arjun." Bhagwan Shri Krishna did this because He knew the real reason behind Shri Arjun's dilemma - Arjun was overwhelmed with the prospect of having to fight with his Guru Droncharya and his Pitama Bhishma who were very dear to him!

(Verses 28-47)
The fourth section, comprising the last 20 verses. deals with the 'despondency of Shri Arjun' (his Vishaada). Since this subject takes up the maximum number of verses, the chapter is appropriately called "Arjun Vishaada Yoga". This is where Arjun tried his best to think of every possible excuse to justify his unwillingness to fight. The Lord knew the real reason for his despondency, and hence the ensuing dialogue for the benefit of humanity at large!

Logically speaking, the war had been decided upon by both parties and they had already assembled in the battlefield. Both sides had already blown their conches (including Arjun himself!). The war was going to be fought (with or without him). Why then, did Arjun become overwhelmed with sadness at this crucial point? Arjun was hoping that his Guru Dronacharya and Bhishma Pitama would not participate in this war. Since they were not on his side, he thought and hoped that they would remain neutral and not fight on the side of injustice. Bhagwan Shri Krishna already knew this and that is why He stationed Arjun's chariot directly in front of them! Shri Arjun panicked when he saw them. He panicked further when he saw that they were participating in the capacity of Senapati & Pradhaan Senapati !! He came up with numerous justifications and several excuses for not wanting to fight. Here is a summary of Shri Arjun's reasons:


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? The bow slips from my hand, and my skin burns all over, my mind is reeling as it were, and I am unable to stand, and I see evil omens, I do not see any good in slaying my kith and kin.

? They are teachers, fathers, sons, also grandfathers, uncles and fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and kinsmen.

? I do not wish to kill them, O Madhusudana (Bhagwan Shri Krishna), though they may kill me ... not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, much less for this earth.

? What joy can we derive from slaying the sons of Dhritarashtra ? Sin alone will accrue to us by killing these felons, O Janardana.

? Why should we, who see the sin involved in the destruction of one's family, not think of turning away from this crime? With the destruction of the family, ancient family traditions will disappear, and in the absence of virtue, vice will pervade the entire family!

? When vice prevails, the women of the family get corrupted, and with the corruption of women, there ensues intermixture of castes, O Varshneya (Bhagwan Shri Krishna). Intermixture of castes sends the violators - along with their families - straight to hell!

? Being deprived of the offerings of rice and water in hell, their manes fall. By the misdeeds of those who destroy a family and create intermixture of castes, the ancient laws of caste and family are destroyed!

? O, Janardana, we hear that men who participate in intermixture of casts and lose their family traditions dwell in hell for an indefinite period of time! Alas! What a great sin we are going to commit by slaying our own people for the greed and/or pleasure of the kingdom!

? It would be better if I am slain "unarmed and unresisting" in battle, by the sons of Dhritarashtra, armed with weapons.

After presenting his 'case', Arjun sank onto the back seat of the chariot, laying down his bow and arrow, with mind agitated, and overwhelmed by sorrow. The chapter ends with Arjun's silence, which signifies that he had resolved NOT to fight!


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MAIN CHARACTERS OF THE MAHABHARATA Part 1
Source: Vahini.org (adapted by Dr D K Bhanot)  (Part 2 will appear in the next issue)
ABHIMANYU: The son of Arjuna and Subhadrâ. An incarnation of the moon-god Soma's son. He was slain in the battle of Kurukshetra when just sixteen. He married Uttarâ, King Virata's daughter, and fathered Parîkchit.
ADHIRATHA: A leader of the Sutas, the caste of charioteers. He found Karna after Kuntî had cast him away in a basket and raised him as his own son. His wife's name was Radha.
AGNIVESHA: A rishi who underwent severe austerities on Mount Mahendra. An expert in the use of weapons. Both Drona and Drupada studied under him. He received the agneyastra (fire weapon) from the rishi Bharadvaja, and passed it on to Drona.
AKRŰRA: Krishna's uncle and a famous Vrishni. He was a commander of the Yadava army and also acted as one of Krishna's advisors.
ALAMBUSHA: A râkshasa who fought for Duryodhana in the Kurukshetra war. He bore enmity toward Bhîma because Bhîma slew his brother Baka. He killed Arjuna's son Iravan, and was himself killed by Bhîma's son, Ghatotkacha.
AMBA: Eldest daughter of the king of Kâsî. Bhîshma abducted her from her swayamvara to be his brother's bride. As she was already committed to Shalva, Bhîshma released her. But Shalva then rejected her, and she developed an intense hatred for Bhîshma. She obtained a boon from Shiva that she would kill Bhîshma in her next life. She was then reborn as Shikhandhi.
AMBÂLIKÂ: Youngest daughter of the king of Kâsî. She was abducted by Bhîshma from her swayamvara and married Vichitravirya. Later she became Pându's mother by union with Vyâsadeva.
AMBIKÂ: Second daughter of the king of Kâsî, abducted from her swayamvara by Bhîshma. She married Vichitravirya and, after his death, became Dhritarâshtra's mother by union with Vyâsadeva.
ANGARAPARNA: A Gandharva chief, also known as Chitraratha, who met the Pândavas as they fled from Varanavata after the burning of their lac house.
ARJUNA: Third son of Pându and Kuntî, begotten by Indra. Krishna's dear friend and cousin. He received the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gîtâ from Him. The name Arjuna means "one of pure deeds." He is said to be an incarnation of the ancient sage Nara.
ASHVINI KUMARAS: Twin gods who act as celestial physicians. They fathered Nakula and Sahadeva through Madrî.
AS'VATTHÂMÂ: Son of Drona and Kripî. Said to be a partial expansion of Siva.
BABRUVAHANA: Son of Arjuna and Chitrangada, who became the ruler of Manipura.
BAHLIKA: Younger brother of Shantanu. He lived a long life and was an advisor to Dhritarâshtra. He was a commander in Duryodhana's army during the Kurukshetra war. He was finally killed by Bhîma.
BALARÂMA: Son of Vasudeva and Rohinî. Said by the Vedas to be an eternal form of the Supreme Lord who sometimes appears in the material world to enact pastimes.
BHARATA: A king in the dynasty of the moon-god who ruled earth for thousands of years. It was common during the Mahâbhârata era to call his descendents by his name. Bharata was born from the union of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala, the daughter of Kanva Rishi. The story of their marriage and Bharata's birth is recounted in the Mahâbhârata's Adi Parva.
BHIMASENA: Pându and Kuntî's second son, sired by Vayu, the wind-god. Installed by Yudhishthira as crown prince after the great war. He became a bit arrogant after the war, attributing his success to his own power while his brothers attributed their success to Krishna. But his pride was curbed when he had to seek Krishna's help to defeat a number of powerful Asuras (celestial demons) whom he encountered as he searched for the source of a large lake.
BHÎSHMA: Son of Shantanu, known as the "grandfather" of the Kurus. He never became king but officiated at Hastinapura as regent until Vichitravirya was of age. He is said to be an incarnation of Dyau, the chief Vasu. The Shanti Parva of the Mahâbhârata is devoted to Bhîshma's instructions on religion and morality, which he delivered while lying on the bed of arrows after the great war.

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CHITRASENA: King of the Gandharvas who taught Arjuna the arts of singing and dancing while he was in heaven. He later captured Duryodhana, whom Arjuna and Bhîma had released. Chitrasena was also the name of a king of Trigarta who fought with the Kauravas, and also the name of one of Karna's sons.
DEVAKÎ: Krishna's mother and the wife of Vasudeva, a chief of the Vrishni clan.
DHAUMYA: An ascetic rishi who became the Pândavas' guru and guide. The younger brother of Devala, another famous rishi.
DHRISTADYUMNA: Son of Drupada, born from the sacrificial fire. Said in the Vedas to be an expansion of the fire-god, Agni.
DHRISTAKETU: A son of Sisupala, king of the Chedis, who supplied the Pândavas with an akshauhini division of troops for the Kurukshetra war. He was slain by Drona. After the war, his sister married Nakula.
DHRITARÂSHTRA: The blind son of Vyâsadeva, born of Ambikâ after the death of her husband, Vichitravirya. He became king in Hastinapura after Pându retired to the forest. He was the father of the Kauravas.
DRAUPADÎ: Daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala, and wife of the five Pândavas. In her previous life, she was an ascetic woman named Nalayani who received a boon from Shiva that she would have five husbands in her next life. The epitome of womanly skills, she gave advice on serving one's husband to Satyabhama, one of Krishna's principal wives. She was said to be an expansion of the Goddess Lakshmi. Also known as Panchali.
DRONA (DRONÂCÂRYA): Martial teacher of the Kurus. Born from the semen of the sage Bharadvaja who released the semen when he saw the Apsara Ghrtachi. Drona was taught by Agnivesha and Parasurama. Said to be an expansion of Brihaspati, the celestial seer and preceptor of the gods.
DRUPADA: King of the Panchala province in Bharata. Staunch ally of the Pândavas and respected as the seniormost king among their allies. Developed an enmity with Drona after the latter had come to him for charity and had been refused. Drona finally killed him in the Kurukshetra war. Drupada was also known as Yajnasena, and is said to be an expansion of the celestial Maruts.
DURVASA: A powerful quick-tempered rishi. He granted Kuntî the boon whereby she could summon any god to do her will - thus, the births of the Pândavas from five principal deities. Said to be an expansion of Shiva.
DURYODHANA: Eldest of Dhritarâshtra's sons and leader of the Kauravas. A childhood enemy of the Pândavas. He was killed by Bhîma and went to the heavenly planets as a result of his adherence to kshatriya duties. He was said to be an expansion of Kali, the god presiding over the dark age.
DUSHASHANA: Duryodhana's eldest brother and one of his close advisors. He grievously offended Draupadî and the Pândavas, and as a result Bhîma vowed to kill him and drink his blood. He did so during the great war.
EKALAVYA: Son of Hiranyadhanu, a Nishadha tribal chief. He became a skilled archer by worshipping Drona, but he was ultimately cursed by him. He was killed by Krishna.
GANDHÂRI: Daughter of the King of Gandhara. Became Dhritarâshtra's wife. She was blessed by Vyâsadeva to have one hundred sons. After marrying Dhritarâshtra, she remained blindfolded for the rest of her life. One of the most chaste ladies in Vedic history.
GANGA: A goddess who appears as the river Ganges. She was Bhîshma's mother. The Ganges water descends from the spiritual world after touching Lord Vishnu's foot and is thus considered sacred.
GHATOTKACHA: The son of Bhîma and the Rakshasi Hidimbi. He became a leader of the Rakshasas and assisted the Pândavas in the Kurukshetra war. Karna killed him with Indra's celestial Shakti weapon.
INDRA: King of the gods, also known as Purandara and Shakra. He became Arjuna's father.
JARASANDHA: King of Magadha and a powerful enemy of Krishna. His father, Brihadratha, had sought a sage's blessings to have a son. The sage gave him a mango, which the king divided into two, giving half to each of his wives. They each gave birth to half a child, which the king threw away. A Rakshasi named Jara later found the two halves and joined them together, whereupon the body came to life. The child was named Jarasandha, meaning 'joined by Jara.' The Bhâgavata Purâna describes the history of his inimical relationship with Krishna. He was killed in a wrestling match with Bhîma.
JAYADRATHA: King of Sindhu who married Dhritarâshtra's daughter Dushala. When he was born, a heavenly voice announced that he would be beheaded by an enemy of unparalleled strength. His father, Vridhakshetra, then cursed whomever would cause his son's head to fall to the ground to himself die, his own head shattering into a hundred fragments. He was killed by Arjuna at Kurukshetra.

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MAM EKAM SHARANAM VRAJA
by Swami Muktanandaji Maharaj (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)

The Lord, in the last chapter of the Geeta, summarises the entire Geeta with the words "mam ekam sharanam vraja" (BG18:66) meaning "surrender to Me". This is all that the Lord has asked from his devotee. The Lord, on his own accord, gives everything to his devotee. In return He only expects true love and full surrender.

Total surrender to the Lord holds the key to the mines of happiness. To be freed from the sorrows of the world and beyond, one should seek protection from the Lord and surrender unto Him. When, with full faith, a devotee seeks the Lord's protection, leaving the rest unto Him, he becomes fearless and is in peace forever. The main instrument for getting freedom from fear and worry is total surrender to the Lord.

The Jiva (individual being) keeps worrying unnecessarily. Instead of remembering the Lord, the Jiva gets entangled in the world and keeps worrying. Hence the Lord uses the words "ma suchah" - do not worry. Usurping all the worries of the true devotee, the Lord reassures him that there is no need to worry - "I am available for you. Why are you afraid? I am present for you. Who can kill you? I am ready to protect you."

There has to be firm belief in the assurances given by the Lord. That is the meaning of surrender. It should not be taken to mean that one can just sit idle and do nothing in the name of the Lord, forgetting one's duty-bound actions. Such an individual will become idle, lazy and steeped in enjoyments, and his life will be of no use. Such a Tamasic life is definitely not the type prescribed and liked by the Lord.

Once a devotee surrenders his entire life to the Lord, his mind, intellect and senses all conform to the wishes of the Lord. His every action is devoted to the Lord. He never even thinks that he has surrendered to the Lord. There is nothing left to be done by him now, there is no need to be active, no need to make any effort, as the Lord will ensure that everything is fine. The Lord's explanation regarding surrender is as follows:

Sarva dharmaan parityajya, Maam ekam sharanam vraja
Aham twa sarva paapebhyo, Moksha ishyami maa suchah
(BG18:66)

"After abandoning all your duty-bound actions, surrender unto Me." The Geeta exhorts one to perform one's duty-bound actions. The one who turns away from the performance of prescribed actions is a sinner. But the Lord here is Himself stating that "when, abandoning your duty-bound actions with pure mind, you surrender to Me, I will save you from that sinful action. You will not commit sin".

It is the duty of the son to take care of his parents. If the son enters samnyaas or becomes fully devoted to the Lord, and is unable to perform his duties as a son, he would not have committed sin. However if he abandons his duties towards his parents for his own personal desires, then he will be deemed to have sinned. Thus, if anyone abandons his duties and surrenders to the Lord, he is saved from the sinful act. If however one performs actions with worldly desires, taking surrender to the Lord only as an excuse, then one has not truly renounced. That is the secret of surrender to the Lord.

Overcome by the bhaava of renunciation, Swami Ram Tirath Ji, abandoning his wife and children, began to sing the glories of the Lord and started walking towards the forest. His wife stopped him, proposing to go with him. But Ram Tirath Ji firmly refused her offer, "O Devi, you cannot accompany me. You are still attached to your children. If you want to accompany me, then you must leave the children at the road-crossing." Without hesitation his wife led the two children to the road-crossing. It is easy to ponder over any issue, but it is difficult to carry out actions in such situations. His wife left the children at the road-crossing and again asked if she could accompany him.


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Again he refused, saying, "O Devi, are you not still attached to your home and belongings? If you want to surrender to the Lord, you should set the house on fire." Hearing this, she set the house on fire, burning everything to ashes. Without feeling aggrieved, she beseeched her husband to let her accompany him.

Again Ram Tirath Ji refused. He said, "Even now you are attached to homeliness. To accompany me, you will have to say that my husband has died and left me as a widow." Taken aback by her husband's stony attitude, she exclaimed, "O Lord, what are you saying? How can you be so cruel-hearted? How can I utter these words? It is not possible for me to do this. Please forgive me." She then started to weep uncontrollably.

But Swami Ram Tirath Ji had already attained full vairagya, so he calmly said, "O Devi, until and unless you say these words you cannot accompany me." Controlling herself, his wife finally uttered the words as directed by him. Then Ram Tirath Ji said, "Now you can accompany me - we are no longer husband and wife. We shall now be related as brother and sister, and we can pray to the Lord and surrender unto Him." So both of them, with true faith, surrendered to the Lord and spent the rest of their lives in devotional worship.

Such should be the abandonment of the world - the true path of absolute surrender to the Lord. The Lord seeks this form of total surrender from his devotee. Then his devotee does not incur sin in any way. The Lord has given this promise in the last few words of Chapter 18.



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AUSTERITY OF THE MIND
by Swami Geeta Maateshwari (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)

Austerity of the mind may be a simple term to speak about or understand, however its application in everyday life and its practice is not easy at all. To obtain control of the mind, sages perform penances for thousands of years. Obtaining control over the mind is akin to catching hold of the wind, a very difficult task.

The first word of Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta - 'Dhritaraashtra' - is symbolic of mind. 'Dhritaraashtra' is composed of two words: 'Dhrita' and 'raashtra'. A person who wants to usurp the land and wealth of others is called 'dhritaraashtra'. When such a person sees another person's 'good' things, he yearns to possess those things.

At the end of his discourse in the Geeta, the Lord advises Arjuna 'manmanaa bhava' meaning 'surrender your mind to Me' or 'keep your mind focused on Me'. In the twelfth Chapter, the Lord advises Arjuna:

Mayyi eva mana aadhatsva, Mayi buddhim nivesaya
Nivasiyasi may eva, Ata urdhvam na sanshayah
(BG12:8)

Meaning: Therefore, fix your mind on Me alone, let your Intellect dwell on Me. In Me alone shall you live thereafter, of this there is no doubt.

Arjuna earlier expresses concern with regard to the difficulty in controlling one's mind. He says, "O Krishna, the mind is very fickle, turbulent, obstinate and powerful; therefore I consider it as difficult to control as the wind."
Chanchalam hi manah Krishna, Pramaathi balavad dridham
Tasya aham nigraham manye, Vayor iva sudushkaram
(BG6:34)

The Lord replies:
Asanshayam mahaabaaho, Mano durnigraham chalam
Abhyaas ena tu kaunteya' Vairaagyena cha grihyate
(BG6:35)

Meaning: The mind is without doubt unsteady and difficult to curb, O mighty-armed, but it can be controlled through practice and dispassion, O son of Kunti (Arjuna).

The Lord explains that one will have to pick up two swords and give blows. These blows are to be given to the Mind. No one has seen the Mind because the Mind is not a subject of the eyes. The Mind is one of the instruments of our inner self. Our inner self is composed of four elements: Man (Mind), Buddhi (Wisdom/Intelligence), Chitta (subtle sense) and Ahankaar (ego or myness). We are able to perceive the external self. However it is not possible to see or touch our inner self. We can only experience our inner self. We often exclaim that "I am feeling sad today. I am not able to apply my mind. I feel like having something". All these feelings are in the Mind. No one has visualised the Mind. The mind which we can only just experience has to be given blows by two swords. These two swords take the form of (1) Practice and (2) Non-attachment (dispassion).

Practice, which is mentioned as the first formula for controlling the Mind, has been referred to by the Lord in the twelfth chapter of the Geeta:

Atha chittam samaadhaatum, Na shaknosi mayi sthiram
Abhyaasyogena tato, Maam iccha aptum dhananjaya
(BG12:9)

Meaning: If you are unable to fix your mind steadily on Me, then seek to attain Me by the Yoga of Practice, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna).


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THE BHAGAVAD GEETA AND MANAGEMENT
by Shrimati Reena Yadav
"The Bhagavad Gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of the universe." Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

The Bhagavad Gita contains all the management skills to achieve mental equilibrium and to overcome any crisis. There is no theory to be internalised and applied in this psychology. Ancient practices spontaneously induce what each person needs as the individual and the universe coincide. It includes intellectual knowledge of the playing field (Jnana Yoga), emotional devotion to the ideal (Bhakti Yoga) and right action (Karma Yoga). Through a continuing process of purification, we approach wisdom. The Bhagavad Gita's message is addressed to humanity to help solve present problems and progress towards a brighter future.

Management is part and parcel of everyday life, at home or at work. In all organisations, where people assemble for a common purpose, certain principles come into play in the management of resources, finance and planning, priorities, policies and practice. Management can be defined as:
1. the act or art of managing: the conducting or supervising of something (as a business)
2. the judicious use of means to accomplish an end
3. the collective body of those who manage or direct an enterprise
Management skills make people capable of joint performance, making their weaknesses irrelevant and creating harmony through equilibrium in thought and action, goals and achievements, plans and performances, and products and markets. It resolves situations of scarcity, whether physical or technical, through maximum utilisation of resources with minimum available processes to achieve the goal. Lack of management skills results in confusion, disorder, wastage, delay and possibility destruction.

Management Guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita
In management, effectiveness is doing the right things, whilst efficiency is doing things right. The general principles of effective management can be applied in every field, the differences being more in application than in principle. The manager's functions can be summed up as follows:
1. Forming a vision
2. Planning the strategy to realise the vision
3. Cultivating the art of leadership
4. Establishing institutional excellence
5. Developing human resources
6. Building teams and encouraging teamwork
7. Delegation, motivation and communication of essential information
8. Reviewing performance and taking corrective steps when called for

Management is a process of aligning people towards a common organisational goal. A critical issue is that employees must be effective in their given tasks. The Bhagavad Gita repeatedly proclaims that "you must try to manage yourself". A manager must reach a certain level of excellence and effectiveness to be more than just a face in the crowd.

Old Truths in a New Context
The Bhagavad Gita enlightens us on all managerial techniques leading to a harmonious and blissful state of affairs in place of conflict, tension, poor productivity, absence of motivation and so on. The modern Western management concept and vision, comprising leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving goals, giving work meaning, decision making and planning, is fully discussed in the Bhagavad Gita.


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A major difference is that while Western management deals at the material, external and peripheral levels, the Gita tackles issues at the grassroots level of thinking. Once the basic thinking of man is improved, it automatically enhances the quality of his actions and their results. The Western management philosophy is based on the lure of materialism and a perennial thirst for profit, irrespective of the means adopted to achieve that goal. This form of materialistic management has caught the fancy of countries all over the world.

Source of the Problem
The Western idea of management centres upon making the employee more productive by offering benefits in cash and kind to motivate employees to work, produce and sell more, and to stick to the organisation without looking for alternatives elsewhere. The sole aim is to improve the bottom line of the organisation. The employee becomes a saleable commodity, to be used, replaced and discarded. Thus, employees have become a mercantile product. In such a state, employees start using strikes, sit-ins and slow-downs to obtain maximum benefit for themselves. Such a situation has an unfavourable effect on society at large because management and employees become separate and contradictory entities with conflicting interests. Western management philosophy may have created prosperity for some people for some time, but it has failed to ensure better individual life and social welfare. It has remained a soulless edifice and an oasis of plenty for a few in the midst of poor quality life for many. Hence, there is an urgent need to re-examine prevailing management disciplines, their objectives, scope and content. Management should emphasise the development of the employee as a person, as a human being, and not as a mere wage earner. Management can thus become instrumental in the process of social and national development. Now, let us examine some of the modern management concepts in the light of the Bhagavad Gita which is a primer of management by values.

Utilisation of available resources
The first lesson of managerial science is to choose wisely and utilise scarce resources optimally. Before the Mahabharata War, Duryodhana chose Lord Krishna's large army for his help while Arjuna chose Lord Krishna's wisdom for his support. This provides a clue as to the nature of the effective manager - the former chose numbers while the latter chose wisdom.

Attitude towards work
Three stone-cutters engaged in building a temple, when asked what they were doing, gave three different answers. The first one, with a dejected look, said he was making a living to support his family. The second, full of pride, wanted all to know that he was the best stone-cutter in the country. The third guy had a visionary gleam in his eyes as he said that he wanted to build the most beautiful temple in the country. Although their jobs were identical, their perspectives were different. The Bhagavad Gita tells us to have a visionary perspective in our work. We must develop a sense of wider vision in our work for the common good of all.

Work Commitment
The Bhagavad Gita teaches "detachment" from the fruit or result of action in the course of one's duty. Dedicating work to one's duty means "working for the sake of working, generating excellence for its own sake". If we keep calculating benefits and profits before putting in any effort, then our work is not detached and is only done for the extrinsic reward. Such selfish work has a negative effect on performance through associated mental agitation. The expected fruits may not even be forthcoming. The Bhagavad Gita advises us not to mortgage our present commitments for an uncertain future. Some may argue that neglecting the business result of work and action makes one unaccountable. But the Bhagavad Gita is full of advice on the theory of cause and effect, making the doer responsible for the consequences of his deeds. While advising detachment from selfish gains, the Gita does not absolve us of the consequences arising from the discharge of our responsibilities. The most effective way of managing performance is through 'nishkaam karma' or a discipline of desireless action performed without expectation of any fruit or result. In BG2:47, it is stated that "To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruit; let not the fruit of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction".

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Motivation
It has been presumed that satisfying the basic needs of employees - adequate food, clothing and shelter - is the key factor in motivation. But in reality, even when the basic needs are satisfied, the employees' contribution to the organisation and society are not optimised. Rabindranth Tagore once said that working for love is freedom in action, a concept described as "disinterested action" in the Gita where Lord Krishna says:
"He who shares the wealth generated after serving the people, through work done as a sacrifice for them, is freed of all sins. On the contrary, those who earn wealth only for themselves, eat sins that lead to frustration and failure." Disinterested work finds expression in devotion, surrender and equipoise. Detached involvement in work is the key to mental equanimity or the state of 'nirvana' which leads one to feel the presence of the Supreme Being guiding the embodied individual intelligence. Such de-personified intelligence is ideal for those who believe in the supremacy of organisational goals rather than narrow personal successes.

Work culture
An effective work culture involves vigorous and arduous effort in pursuit of a task. Lord Krishna describes two types of work culture - 'daivi sampat' (divine) and 'asuri sampat' (demonic). 'Daivi sampat' involves fearlessness, purity, self-control, sacrifice, straightforwardness, calmness, absence of fault-finding, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty and absence of envy and pride. 'Asuri sampat' involves egoism, personal desires, improper performance and work which is not oriented towards service. The principle of detachment from selfish gains, the Gita's prescription for attaining equanimity, has been wrongly implicated as a deterrent to providing incentive for effort. In fact, focusing on the task for its own sake leads to achievement of excellence and to true mental happiness. The Gita's principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental and moral satisfaction. The Gita explains that if the result of sincere effort is a success, the credit should not be appropriated by the doer, thus mollifying arrogance and conceit, and if the result of sincere effort is a failure, the blame does not accrue to the doer, thus preventing excessive despondency, de-motivation and self-pity. Assimilation of the Gita's ideas leads us to the wider spectrum of 'lokasamgraha' (general welfare), and if 'karmayoga' (service) is combined with 'bhaktiyoga' (devotion), then the work itself becomes a worship or 'sevayoga' (service for its own sake) - serving others and making the world a better place.

Manager's mental health
Sound mental health enables one to maintain a calm, positive poise and to regain it quickly when it is unsettled. Internal constancy and peace are pre-requisites for a healthy stress-free mind. Impediments to sound mental health include greed, envy, egoism, suspicion, anger, frustration and anguish. Speed and competition, the driving forces in today's business, pose such a threat to the moral fibre that, in seeking the end, immoral means may be permitted e.g. tax evasion, illegitimate financial holdings, being 'economical with the truth', deliberate oversight in the audit, creative financial reporting. This is known as the 'Yayati syndrome', named after a king in the Mahabharata. Yayati enjoyed sensual pleasures for a 'thousand years', then realised its futility and said, "Know this for certain - not all the food, wealth and women of the world can appease the lust of a single man of uncontrolled senses. Craving for sense-pleasures is not removed but aggravated by indulgence even as ghee poured into fire increases it. One who aspires for peace and happiness should instantly renounce craving and seek that which neither grows old, nor ceases even when the body ages." He renounced the world and attained the Lord through spiritual practices. This syndrome illustrates the conflict between external acquisitions (extrinsic motivation) and the inner values and conscience (intrinsic motivation).

Arjuna's despondency in the first chapter of the Gita is typically human. Lord Krishna, by the sheer power of his inspiring words, changes Arjuna's mind from a state of inertia to one of righteous action, from a state of anomie to a state of self-confidence in the ultimate victory of 'dharma' (ethical action). Lord Krishna reminds him that the purpose of his new found spirit is not to satisfy his own greed and desire but for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate victory of righteous over unrighteous actions, and of truth over untruth. Lord Krishna says that "no doer of good ever ends in misery". Good actions produce good results while evil begets evil. Therefore, always do good and be rewarded accordingly. Gloomy clouds vanish and light fills the heart, mind and soul with every good that we do.

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BHAGAVAD GEETA & MAHABHARATA CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014                  by Dr Anjanna Kukreja

The Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014 were held on the 5 April 2014 at Geeta Ashram Malaysia. By the kind blessings of the Lord, the event went through very smoothly and was a huge success.

There were more than 80 participants, ranging from 5 to 18 years in age, coming from various centres around Malaysia. It was truly great to watch the children recite the beautiful verses of the Bhagavad Geeta with so much love and devotion. It was even more delightful to listen to the older children share their thoughts on the verses recited. The Mahabharata Quiz was full of fun and excitement with 6 teams battling their way to the final round! It was indeed a fun-filled day for all who attended - a day of fellowship and fun in the spirit of the Bhagavad Geeta.

We would like to thank each and everyone who put in the effort to make this event such a great success.


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Congratulations to the winners in the various sections of the competition:
 
Bhagavad Geeta Competition (Group 1)
1st Prize : Vinoshini Pregalathan
2nd Prize : Navaneddan Poneeswaran
3rd Prize : Sarveshiny
Consolation : Sreenithi, Yogindran Selvam, Tanishka, Hansini Rajani Naidu, Kashwint S.

 
Bhagavad Geeta Competition (Group 2)
1st Prize : Trisha Bhatacharya
2nd Prize : Shobna Sai Ledchumanan
3rd Prize : Suvashwini Vickineswaran
Consolation : O. Yaswanti, R. K.Sushmitha, Suhashrii Batumalai, Naveen Paremesivam, Tanvi Kadakol

 
Bhagavad Geeta Competition (Group 3)
1st Prize : Janani Venkitesh
2nd Prize : Tanusha Sharma Rajee
3rd Prize : Divya Taery
Consolation : Mahaen Rajendran, Nidhi Kadakol, Namita Soni, Piya Raj Sukhani, Hirresh Sai Suria

 
Mahabharata Championship
Champion : Team Agni (Tanusha Sharma Rajee, Dhruv Soni and Piryasheini Vijaya Kumar)
1st Runner up : Team Sai Spirit (Shobna Sai Letchumenan, Suvashwinhi Vikineswaran and R. K.Sushmitha)
2nd Runner up : Team Cool Pandavas (Keran Raj, Hirresh Sai Suria and Nareen Ponneeswaran)



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Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 14 Verses 19-27
by Janani Venkitesh, winner of Bhagavad Geeta Competition (Group 3)


Good morning to all respected elders, parents, gurus and my dear fellow friends.

In Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Geeta, known as Gunathraya Vibhaga Yoga, Lord Krishna answers Arjuna's question regarding the characteristics of the 3 Gunas and how a person behaves when he has actually transcended these Gunas. After hearing the Lord speak on the 3 Gunas, Arjuna asks, "What are the characteristics of a man who has transcended the 3 Gunas? And how O Lord does he go beyond the Gunas?"

Let me take a few moments to share with you how Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa explains the Gunas and their importance with a simple parable. A traveller going through a thick forest was attacked by 3 robbers who took away all his belongings. The first robber drew his knife out to kill the poor traveller. The second robber intervened and suggested that the traveller be just tied up and left there. So they tied him up and left. After some time, the third robber quietly came back, untied the victim and released him. Sri Ramakrishna says this world is the forest, and the robbers are the 3 Gunas. The victim is the Jeevatman, and his possessions are the Divine qualities. Tamas tries to kill him, Rajas ties him up and Sattva releases him and shows him the path to God.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in verse 19 that when you look intensely in all activity, it is the 3 Gunas that do everything in all modes of nature. One who rises above all these traits attains His spiritual nature. Then Arjuna asks about the qualities of such a person who has risen above these traits? How does he behave?

Bhagavan explains that such a person shows neither aversion nor desire for knowledge, activity or delusion which are actually the 3 Gunas. He does not bother if they are present in him or not. He remains unconcerned and is unperturbed by any situation he is in. He remains alike in pleasure and pain, he finds no difference between stone, iron or gold, and is unmoved by praise or censure. He remains the same in honour or humiliation. He is self-poised, and is the same to one who hates and to one who loves.

"Such a devotee of Mine, with pure devotion, attains Me, O Pandava. For I am the basic support of the Imperishable Brahman, the supreme state of Moksha and of unending Bliss."

So explains Bhagavan to his friend and cousin Arjuna. Thank you all for listening to me. Hari Om.



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...... a marathon of devotional singing

This year the Radha Krishna Bhajan Yatra was held on 14 June 2014. It was a spiritually rejuvenating evening of bhajans, mantras and sankirtan extending from 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

Singing groups from three organisations - Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Art of Living Malaysia and Sai Centre Malaysia - joined the group from Geeta Ashram Malaysia to render a non-stop marathon of devotional singing. To the accompaniment of the harmonium, the dholak and even the guitar, the singers kept the devotees mesmerised under the magical spell of a variety of bhajans and enchanting tunes.

      

About 100 devotees - ranging from little kids and enthusiastic teenagers to the elderly - participated in the event, sitting before the intricately decorated altar, singing along and clapping their hands to the reverberant beat of the drums. The congregation could easily join in and follow the lyrics which were projected onto the screen.

After the Aarti at 9.00 pm, everyone was treated to refreshments and preeti bhojan.

      

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CHILD SPEAKERS
Sunday Satsang Programme

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CHILD SPEAKER Hansini Rajani Naidu 4 May 2014


Hari Om. Respected Panditji, Aunties and Uncles, Brothers and Sisters. Today I am going to talk about Chapter 9 Verse 26 of the Bhagavad Geeta.

pattram pushpam phalam toyam, yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati
tad aham bhaktyupahrtam, asnaami prayataatmanah

The direct translation of this verse is that "Whosoever offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that pious offering of the pure in heart, I accept". I like this verse because it teaches me that whatever I offer to Bhagavan, I must offer it with full devotion and love.

Every morning, before I go to school, my family and I recite Chapter 12 of the Bhagawad Geeta and sing the Hanuman Chalisa. While I recite my mantras, I offer simple white flowers with full concentration on Bhagawan and with a positive mind. Given with love and devotion, every offering - big or small, expensive or cheap - is accepted by God without any discrimination.

There is no need to show off or let other people see what a big garland we are offering to the Lord. What is important is that we offer it with true love and devotion.

I also like this verse because it tells me how simple and loving Bhagavan is. I too must remember to be simple and loving in my prayers to the Lord. When my friends give me presents, I too must accept the presents with love, and not be judgemental about how big or expensive the present is. Hari Om Tat Sat.


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CHILD SPEAKER Manmohan Magendaran (18 May 2014)

Hari Aum, my humble pranaam to everyone present here today. My name is Manmohan Magendaran, and today I have chosen to give a simple explanation of the beautiful and meaningful Verse 28 from Chapter 9 of the Geeta as I understand it. The English translation of the verse is as follows:

With your mind thus established in the Yoga of Renunciation,
you will be freed from the bonds of Karma
in the shape of good and evil consequences;
and freed from them, you shall attain Me.

In this verse, Sri Krishna says that we shall be free from the results of our actions if we offer everything to Him. Our actions give us results in the form of joy, sorrow, profit, loss, etc. Freedom from results leads us to liberation and attainment of HIM . This is the ultimate result of living a worshipful life.
Sri Krishna has clearly told us that when we are born in this material world, we are bound to actions. Therefore whatever actions that we indulge in, we should surrender the results at HIS lotus feet as HE is the doer and enjoyer. If we put our trust and faith in HIM, then HE accepts everything on our behalf without us having to worry about the fruits or outcome of our actions. HE is the Supreme Lord and HE knows what is best for each and everyone of us.
For a better understanding of this verse, allow me to give an illustration - as students, we put our faith , trust and confidence in our teacher's hand to guide us and see us through excelling in our exams. What if we don't have any confidence in our teacher's ability and capability to guide us? Then the whole learning process becomes difficult, complicated and troublesome. Before we begin our lesson, we are worried about being unable to grasp the knowledge imparted to us, and we also have the fear of failing in the examinations. However, if we trust our teacher's capability and ability to give us the proper guidance, we shall learn without fear, knowing that the teacher will take care of us if we fail the exam.
Therefore let us understand the fundamental teaching of Sri Krishna, that HE is our Sole Saviour, and surrender all our actions to HIM without worrying about the fruit of the actions as HE is the most powerful GOD who gives us confidence and peace of mind.
What more do we need from Sri Krishna, as HE is always listening to our prayers, and comes faster than the speed of a bullet to rescue us when we have any problem.

Jai Shree KRISHNA. Hari Om Tat Sat.


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CHILD SPEAKER Mahesh Magendaran (25 May 2014)

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu. My humble pranaam to Swamiji, Bhagawan Krishna and all the devotees present here. Today I will be deepening your understanding on this beautiful verse 22 of Chapter 9 of the Bhagawad Geeta. It has been said by Bhagavan in Gita: "Those devotees, however, who worship Me alone thinking of none else and ever united, I myself attend to their wants and needs and provide them with security of what they have." What the Lord is saying is He will protect all of our possessions and our needs when we worship Him wholeheartedly and surrender ourselves completely to HIM .The blessed Lord goes further by guarding our possessions from being looted. Krishna will never let us down, not a single moment if we constantly think of him. That is all that HE has ever asked from us - love, nothing but love.

In this verse the Lord does not only protect our belongings but provides us with our needs. For example, my brother and I always recite this verse before the examinations and in return we achieve splendid results. Bhagawan Krishna is the saviour of all of us. We accomplish many things because of the HIS grace towards us. Our accomplishments are only 10 % through our own effort, and the rest comes from HIM. As passionate devotees of the Lord we must put all of our trust in His Lotus Feet so that everything goes well as planned.

Before ending my speech, I would like to cite the wonderful story of a Brahmin who had great faith in this shloka. However one day, the Brahmin lost his faith when he could not provide a meal for his family. While the Brahmin was away, a little boy came carrying a sack full of rations on his back. The little boy informed the brahmin's wife that her husband had sent food for her. Upon returning home, the Brahmin was astounded to see the rations. The wife related the story of the little boy to her husband. The awe-stricken Brahmin quickly realised that it was the Lord in the form of a little boy who had brought the rations for him.

If we wholly devote ourselves to Krishna, we need not spend any time unceasingly worrying about our needs. As long as we perform our duties efficiently and in spirit of service to Krishna, we will be well taken care of. Krishna will not just carry our burden of needs, He will also carry all of our worries as well.

Thank you. Jai Shree Krishna.


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RECIPE: BALUSHAHI
by Manjula Jain (http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2012/10/15/balushahi-indian-buttermilk-donut/)

Balushahi, a North Indian dessert, is flakey from the outside and soft from the inside. It literally just melts in your mouth, and is a perfect sweet for any festive occasion! This recipe will make 12.

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour (maida or plain flour)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter cold-cut into small pieces or cold clarified butter ghee
1/4 cup yogurt cold (curd, dahi)
For the syrup: 1 cup sugar; 1/3 cup water; 4 cardamom pods crushed
For Garnish: About 1 tablespoon sliced pistachios

Method:
1. In a sauce pan add water, sugar, and cardamom over medium heat, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer until syrup is almost to one third, on candy thermometer it should be 215 degrees. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add butter, mix with fingers till crumby.
3. Add the yogurt slowly as needed making into soft dough. Do not knead the dough. Cover the dough and let it sit for about half an hour.
4. Knead the dough just enough to hold it together. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Make dough balls (balls will not be very smooth and will have cracks all around), and make a deep dent in the center of each ball.
5. Heat oil in flat frying pan over low heat. The frying pan should have about 1˝ inch of oil. To check if oil is ready, put little piece of dough in the oil. The oil should lightly sizzle (if dough floats then oil is too hot).
6. Place the Balushahi in the frying pan, don't overcrowd as Balushahi will expand to about 1˝ times in size and they should not overlap. It should take about 2 minutes before Balushahi will come up. Wait another 3-4 minutes before turning over. Balushahi should be light brown on the bottom. Fry the Balushahi until they are golden brown on both sides; do not turn more then three times. This should take about 10 minutes. Balushahi will look very flakey. (If the Balushahi are fried on high heat, they will not be cooked inside.)
7. Take them out over layer of paper towel to absorb the extra oil.
8. Dip Balushahi in the syrup all around and remove them. Don't leave them in the syrup.
9. Mouth-watering flakey Balushahis are ready. Garnish them with pistachios.


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BHAJAN VIDEO WITH LYRICS
Ăj andhere men hain ham insăn ...


Ăj andhere men hain ham insăn
Gyăn kă sooraj chamakăde Bhagavăn (Repeat verse)
Aaaaah ...

Bhatak rahe ham răha dikhăde, Bhagavan răha dikhăde x2
Kadam kadam par kiran bichhăde, Bhagavan kiran bichhăde x2
In akhiyan ko Prabhu karăde x2
Jyoti se pehchăn x2
Ăj andhere men ...
Aaaaah ...

Ham to hain santăn tihări, Prabhu santăn tihări x2
Teri dayă ke ham adhikări, Prabhu hain ham adhikări x2
Duniyă hove sukhi hamări x2
Aisă de vardăn x2
Ăj andhere men ...


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GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA: Recent and Upcoming Activities
by Shrimati Tangamani Menon

Ongoing Activities
Everyday: A short pooja is performed at sunrise and sunset.
Tuesdays: 8.00-9.00 p.m. Hanuman Chalisa recitation (5 times) & related anecdotes by Panditji
Wednesdays: 7.30-9.00 p.m. Better Living Yoga Course for Householders from a holistic approach based on theoretical and practical aspects of the Patanjali Yoga system being offered by Ms. Nirmlah Dahvy.
Thursdays: 7.30-8.30 p.m. Bhagavad Geeta study and discussion classes in English by Mr. Ashok Bherumal.
Fridays: 7.30-8.30 p.m. Sanskrit classes by Panditji
Saturdays: 6.00-7.00 p.m. Hindi classes by Panditji   7.30-8.30p.m. Geeta Recitation classes by Panditji
(Note: Panditji's classes were suspended from 25 May to 1 June as he was away on leave.)
Sundays: (a) 11.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m. Geeta satsang, bhajans, recitation and explanation of seven verses of the Geeta. (b) 11.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m. Children’s class conducted by Ms Asha Devi & Mr Chandru Binwani.

Every Purnima all 18 chapters of the Geeta are recited followed by a get-together and sharing of prashad (pot-luck style) brought by devotees. Upcoming Purnima dates are: 12 July, 10 August & 9 September 2014.

Community Services
Mobile Geeta brought to your home/venue on request anywhere within the Klang valley consisting of:
(1) A one hour satsang, or
(2) 2 ˝ hours recitation of the entire Geeta

Celebrations during the 2nd quarter of 2014:
1) The Bhagavad Geeta/Mahabharata competition, held for the first time at the Ashram on 5 April, initiated by our youth, was a great success with many participants from various spiritual organisations.
2) Radha Krishna BhajanYatra, held on 14 June, was a mesmerising event with singers from Satya Sai Centre, Lakshmi Narayan Temple and Art of Living joining us in glorifying the Divine.

Upcoming Events:
1) 12 July 2014: Guru Purnima - A Geeta havan is scheduled in the morning before the usual pooja by Panditji and Guru dakshina offering by disciples, culminating with preeti bhojan (lunch) at 1.00 p.m. There will be a fund-raising dinner in the evening for the ongoing building renovations.
2) 17 August 2014: Shri Krishna Janmashtami - There will be a Geeta havan in the morning and the usual grand celebrations in the evening.

Hosting a Sunday Satsang:
In commemorating a birthday, anniversary or simply in memory of loved ones, devotees may host a Sunday satsang lunch. Please contact the Ashram at Tel. No. 79564267 (10.00 am - 1.00 pm) for info / reservations.