GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA Founder President:
H.H. Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
Shri Chandru Binwani
Datuk Fateh Chand
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Shri Sriniyasan Narayana
Honorary General Secretary:
Shri Sivashankar Krishnapillai
Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Darshan Kumar
Shri Mahadev Lalchand
Shri Prabhat Kumar
Dr Tilla Chelliah
Ms Asha Devi
Shrimati Usha Devi
Shri Kishan Kumar Agarwal
Shrimati Suresh Kumari Shukla
Shri Soorya Rao Simhadar
Shri Jagmohan Kumar
Shri Hetish Sharma
Ms Nirmlah Dahvy
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
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.
Update & Appeal
Renovation works on the Geeta Ashram building are progressing smoothly. 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.
As mentioned in the previous issue, such extensive construction work inevitably requires a substantial amount of funds. We appeal to all devotees and well-wishers to contribute generously towards the Geeta Ashram Malaysia Building Renovation Fund 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. Tangamani Menon +6 03-7955 7460
4. K Sivashankar +6 012-280 8295
5. Dr D K Bhanot +6 012-329 1216
|COMMENTARY: THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION (BG5:5)|
by His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
tad yogair api gamyate
ekam samkhyam ca yogam ca
yah pasyati sa pasyati
"The supreme state, reached by the Jnana Yogis, is also attained by the Karma Yogis. He really sees, who sees Jnana and Karma Yoga as one
saamkhyaih = by the Jnana Yogis; yat = that; sthaanam = supreme state; praapyate = is attained; yogair = by the Nishkaama Karma Yogis; api = also; tad = that; gamyate = is reached; ekam = one; pasyati = sees; yah = he; ca = truly; pasyati = sees
Arjuna had sought clarification on the path - Karma Samnyaasa or Karma Yoga - through which one attains, without delay, the Supreme State. Lord Krishna replied "that which is attained by the Samnyaasis through Saamkhya, that very same State is also attained by the Karma Yogis".
The one who remains immersed in the meditation of that Parabrahma, after giving up all actions, attains the Lord's eternal Abode, going whither he returns not. In the Mundakopanishad, it is stated "in that Supremely Illumined Abode the sun cannot throw its light, even the light of the moon, stars and lightning cannot shine. Then, what can fire do?"
The Lord says that such a Supreme Abode the Karma Yogi also attains. He who sees both Saamkhya and Yoga as one and the same, sees truly.
The difference between the Karma Samnyaasi and the Karma Yogi is that the Karma Samnyaasi has purified his inner faculties through the practice of Karma Yoga either in this or in his previous life. The Karma Yogi is still at present engaged in the purification of his inner faculties - he also attains Samnyaasa after some time and reaches that Supremely Illumined Abode.
For the travellers to the Supreme Abode (maanasarovar), there are 4 types of eligibility:|
(1) Karma Samnyaasi (the best) - has to travel only one Yojana
(2) Nishkaama Karma Yogi (middle) - two more Yojanas to travel
(3) Sakaama Karma Yogi (feeble) - three more Yojanas
(4) Aartha (backward) - four more Yojanas.
The rest of the aspirants have to travel thousands of Yojanas to reach the Supreme Abode.
So, the Nishkaama Karma Yogi, who is engaged in the purification of his inner faculties, is only one yojana behind the Karma Samnyaasi, who has already achieved the purity of his inner faculties. Therefore, from the point of view of fruit, "He who sees both Saamkhya and Yoga as one and the same, he truly sees".
With knowledge of Saamkhya Yoga, the delusion in the form of pleasure and pain, resulting from intellectual variance, is removed.
Before Krta Yuga, there was only Brahman devoid of the seen-seer world, without any ambiguity of any kind. Brahman is Truth without a second, with neither mind nor speech.
That Brahman itself is Maayaa (illusion) within which is the reflected the Jeeva. Thus it became divided into two parts - the Prakriti, which assumed in the world the cause and effect, and the Purusha, which is the embodiment of Knowledge. From the agitated Prakriti the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas came into being.
From them, the formula constituted of the power of action and Mahatattva, constituted of the power of Knowledge, came into being and got united. Mahatattva underwent change, and Ahankaar (individuation) manifested. This Ahankaar itself deludes the Jeeva and is of three kinds: Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Ahankaar is the cause of the five sense objects, the senses and the mind.
From the Tamasik Ahankaar originated the five sense objects, and from the five sense objects came the five great elements. From Rajasik Ahankaar originated the senses, and from the Sattvik Ahankaar the eleven godly rulers came into being.|
All the objects got united through the prompting of Ishwara and brought into being the Brahmaanda (Universe). "This body (Anda) took its position in the water, and I took abode in it in the form of Naaraayana. From my navel the universal lotus came into being, and over it Brahmaa appeared. The inner faculty of Vishvasamashti (universal aggregate) Brahmaa did great penance. Through my grace, the three worlds of Bhooh, Bhuvah and Svahah (earth, atmosphere and heaven) and their door-keepers (Kshetrapaal) were made. Then were created the svargaloka (the heavens) which constitute the dwelling place of the devatas (gods), the bhooloka (for the bhootas and pretas) and the prithviloka."
Above these three worlds, the Maharloka and Tapoloka became the dwelling place for the perfected ones. Brahmaaji made seven worlds below the earth, including Atala, Vitala, Sutala and the like, for the Asuras and Naagaas.
In accordance with the karmas resulting from the three gunas of Prakriti, different kinds of activity take place in the different lokas. Through Yoga, Tapasya (penance) and Samnyaasa one can attain Maharloka, Janaloka and Satyaloka. "The entire world is bound by Karma and its consequences. I myself, in the form of Time, dispense the fruit in accordance with the respective Karma," Caught in the flow of the gunas, the Jeeva sometimes gets drowned and sometimes resurfaces, sometimes progresses upwards and sometimes descends. The material cause (upadaan kaaran) of this universe is Prakriti, while Paramaatmaa (the Supreme Soul) is its Adhishtaan (support) and Kaala (Time) is its producer.
Method of Merger in Pralaya (Deluge)
The bodies of living beings merge in food, the food in the seed, the seed in the earth and the earth merges in the object of sense, the smell. The form merges in air, the air in touch, the touch in space (ether) and the space (ether) merges in the object of sense, the sound. The senses merge in their causal gods, and the inner faculties merge in the Rajasik Ahankaar. The Rajasik Ahankaar merges in the mind, which is its regulator.
The three-fold Ahankaar that deludes the entire world, merges in Mahat Tattva. The power of Knowledge and the power of Action of
Mahat Tattva merge in their causal gunas (qualities). The Soul (Atman) does not merge itself in anything. It remains, in its own form, without any attribute.|
He who sees in this manner with a discriminative eye, in his mind there can never be any delusion of the world. In accordance with the Saamkhya doctrine, this is what happens from the time of creation to deluge, and from deluge to creation.
This knowledge - SAMSAYA GRANTHI BHEDAN - opens up the knot of doubt. On attaining perfection of Knowledge through Samnyaasa and Karma Yoga, the door to salvation is opened.
The greatness of the one who has had the vision of that Supreme Abode, from the point of view of Knowledge (Jnana) and Dispassion (Vairagya), according to the Mundakopanishad, is as follows:
"When the seer of the true principle, sees the author of creation, of the eternal Brahmaanda (Universe), who is the supreme embodiment of effulgence shining like that of gold, then that very learned one, reducing to ashes all kinds of merit and sin, and becoming devoid of pain, attains the supreme oneness, the state of non-duality (advaita)."
The spiritual aspirant who, observing the Nishkaama Karma (performance of action without selfish motive), remaining devoid of self conceit and attachment, offering (dedicating) the fruits of actions to the Lord, attains the very nature of the Lord, and he himself is the one who sees the true nature of the supreme principle. So long as one does not gain the bliss of the Lord's nature, everything is incomplete. For the knowledge of the principle, only the one engaged forever in spiritual practice achieves perfection in this spiritual path.
Emeritus Professor Dr. U. Prasad
President, Geeta Dham Trust
Phalgun Poornima day (March 16) this year marks the 116th birthday of His Holiness Shree 108 Swami Hariharji Maharaj. Celebrations will take place at Geeta Ashrams all over the world. At Geeta Dham in Tinwari, Jodhpur, grand celebrations are being organised, from March 14 to 17. During this period, the 26th International Geeta Conference will also take place. Revered Swamis as well as several erudite scholars will deliver discourses focusing on the theme of the conference: 'PEACE AND HAPPINESS THROUGH GEETA'.
The Board of Trustees will meet on March 14 and 16 to review current status of all projects in progress and to deliberate plans for future development. Here is a progress report on some of the projects:
GURUKUL VIDYA MANDIR: Our Gurukul Vidya Mandir is running quite smoothly. All round status of the school is improving year by year. Total number of students at present stands at 666, out which 107 are hostellers and 559 are day scholars. Most of the day scholars come to school by our buses. We have 4 buses each of which makes two daily trips to bring students from different villages. With the increased number of students, we have increased the number of teaching staff proportionately. At present, we have one principal, 19 teachers, 1 clerk, 1 librarian and 3 peons. Hostellers are served sweets and biscuits in addition to poha, daliya and namkin rice. Cow's milk (200 ml) is provided to each of them for breakfast. Hostellers are shown educational / adhyatmik films every Saturday. There has been a steady improvement not only in the number but also the quality of students. In 2009 we had only 96 students, which increased to 294 in 2010, 511 in 2011, 586 in 2012 and 616 in 2013. This year there are 240 (36%) girl students. Besides the usual curriculum, the students also receive theoretical and practical aspects of ADHYATMIK teachings based on Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta. Every year six to ten scholar-students are selected for admission into class VI and are fully sponsored.
PRACHAR PRASAR: To spread the message of Geeta as envisaged by Gurudevji, Geeta Havans are performed at Geeta Dham and in different villages at the residences of Geeta devotees . We perform either Lagu (12th Chapter only) Havan or complete Geeta Havan depending on the devotees' preference. Our Dham is rapidly gaining popularity among the public. Many schools make educational trips to our Dham, Many groups of families and NGOs also often visit our Dham . Recent visitors included Air Force officers and their family members. Visitors get a chance to experience the atmosphere of peace and happiness and get Gurudev's blessings. We had more than 24,000 visitors during the 12 months of the year 2013.
BAL GOPAL YOJANA: For the past four years we have been supplying free nutritional supplements for the poor kids (aged 6-24 months) of neighbouring villages. We have adopted 100 kids who receive FAREX powder every fortnight.
VERMICULTURE PLANT: The three vermiculture plants installed at the Dham are functioning very well, with progressively better marketing every year as awareness of organic manure increases among the farmers. This plant will soon become a source of substantial income, and the Dham should become financially self-sufficient. We managed to prepare 43,320 kg of manure yielding a revenue of Rs.130,377 during the period April 2013 to January 2014.
GAUSHALA: In our Gaushala , we have about 500 animals out of which 40 are in Jaisalmer. At present, about 50 cows are producing milk. An average of 170 liters of milk is yielded daily. After retaining about 50 liters for the hostellers and staff members, about 120 liters of milk is supplied to a contractor for sale in Jodhpur city.
MEDICINAL PLANT (AYUSH) PROJECT: In the year 2012, a pilot project was initiated, under Shree Raman Tognattaji, on 0.4 hectres of land within the Dham-complex.
The first harvests have been successfully achieved for the following plants:Sonamukhi (Senna), Henna (Mehendi), Kalmegh and Ashwagandha. In fact, Sonamukhi has been harvested twice with a yield of 154 kg, out of which 90 kg was marketed. Henna leaves (166 kg) and Henna seeds (64 kg) have also been harvested. In addition, 118 kg of Gwar and 15 kg of Kalmegh leaves have been harvested so far. Guggal and Shatavari growths are also proceeding well.
The following trees are being grown successfully: Arjun, Jamun, Bael and Khejadi. Guava, papaya, aloevera, adusa and drumstick plants are also being grown. Efforts are being made to revive the Pomegranate orchard.
Work on the irrigation infrastructure, consisting of sprinklers and drip system, is in progress. Once commissioned fully, these will water the plants on a regular basis while conserving the precious resource. Skilled and adequate manpower is another key resource under development.
In the coming season, the team will make an effort to manage the plantations in a more productive manner, so that the yields are commensurate with commercial requirements.
AGRICULTURE: Due to scarcity of water, normal agricultural activities were stopped until last year when successful digging of two tube-wells gave impetus to the use of available land for cultivation. Wheat crop is now growing satisfactorily. Agricultural activities will be extended if the present crop shows good promise.
|THE SOVEREIGN SCIENCE|
by Guru Maa Geeteshwari (based on talks given by Swami Hariharji Maharaj)
"Sakal Shastra ki Swamini, Shrutiyon ki Rani" means "Geeta is head of all Shastras (prose), as well the Shrutis (poems)". Shastras and Shrutis are the body of our sacred texts. Geeta is a summary of all the Vedas and Shastras. Once we read, understand, and practise the Geeta, there is no more need to wonder.|
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham (BG15:15)
The four Vedas - Rig, Yajur, Sam and Atharva - have more than a hundred thousand verses. It is not possible to recite all the verses in a single day. But Geeta, that is a gist of the Vedas, has 700 verses. Anyone can recite the entire Geeta comfortably in 2 hours. If one has memorised the Geeta, then it can be recited within one and a half hours.
In praise of Geeta, Sage Vedvyasji has written "sarvopanishado gaavo, dogdha gopalnandanah. partho vatsah sudhirbhokta dugdham geeta amritam mahat". The 108 Upanishads are the cow (nourishing humanity with milk), and Krishna is the cowherd milking the cow. The cow gives milk only in the presence of its calf. The calf here is Arjuna who is drinking the nectar-like milk (the knowledge of Geeta), churned by the cowherd Krishna (who has simplifies it). Arjuna is Sudheer Bhokta, one who is immensely patient, keen on acquiring knowledge, not wanting to miss any moment (like the calf suckling with total concentration, without wasting even a drop of milk). Arjuna says:
shrinvato naasti me'mritam (BG10:18)
Krishna says, "Arjuna, if you are not sated after hearing, then I am not sated after telling." Krishna is very comprehensive in his discourse. To Arjuna's question in the first verse of Chapter 12, He replies in 19 verses in Chapter 12, another 34 verses in Chapter 13, and finally 20 more verses in Chapter 14.
Our dear Gurudev, Shri Hariharji Maharaj, has told of four kinds of blessings that one can get in one's lifetime:|
(1) Aatm Kripa (Self blessing), where a person inclined towards the Spiritual Path blesses himself. He decides to find his ultimate goal of existence. On his spiritual journey, he starts to contemplate on the reason for existence. When his thirst grows and makes him impatient, the second blessing arrives.
(2) Guru Kripa (Guru's blessing), which makes the disciple's learning easier. The Guru removes obstacles from the path of the devotee and accelerates the devotee towards the destination of Self-realisation. When the Guru has firmly put the devotee on the right path, the third blessing arrives.
(3) Shastra Kripa (blessing of the Scriptures). where the devotee begins to understand the deeper meaning of the scriptures, and implements this learning in his life. When the devotee starts to live by the scriptures, the next blessing arrives.
(4) Bhagvat Kripa (the Lord's blessings), which begin to fill the devotee's life.
sarva bhutahite rataah (BG12:4)
"Such a devotee is never away from Me (in my thoughts), and so am I never away from him (always in his thoughts). No obstacles come in his path,"
The Lord has also said that "bhakt mere mukut mani, bhaktan ka main daas" - the devotee is My crown jewel, and I am the devotee's servant. I follow the devotee. The dust from his feet purifies Me. The Lord means here that, in the spiritual journey, if there are any sins committed, He will liberate the devotee of these sins. The world meditates on God, and God meditates on his devotees. Such is the compassion of God. Any devotee who abandons this divine path and goes for worldly pleasures is like one who leaves nectar and drinks poison.
In Shri Ramcharitmanas it is written "as prabhu chhadi bhajahi je jaana na nar pasu bin pooch vishana".
Hence it is the duty - the untimate aim - of every human being to work towards getting the ultimate blessing, God's blessing.|
pavitram idam uttamam
susukham kartum avyayam (BG9:2)
The Lord says, "O Arjuna, the Geeta's knowledge that I am imparting to you, is the crown of all knowledge.
Raajaguhya: Raaja means king and Guhya means secret - knowledge with profound meaning. This knowledge has very deep meaning - knowledge of Aatma and Paramatma; knowledge of how Aatma becomes a part of Paramatma; knowledge of life and death.
Pavitram: Geeta is the purest form of knowledge, delivered by the Lord Himself. By reciting the Geeta regularly one purifies one's self (one's thinking and one's vision of the world). The mind is purified, the body is purified. Sage Vedvyasji wrote, "The blessed soul who recites the Geeta with full faith, he becomes the Lord Vishnu himself. Like the Lord, such a person spreads happiness where ever he goes. All his worries and fears get destroyed. He spreads the message of peace and happiness.
Uttamam: This is the most superior knowledge, and there is nothing higher than it, because this knowledge (contained in Geeta) comes from the Lord Himself. Worldly knowledge gets us worldly results (and worldly pleasures), but the knowledge of Geeta takes us to the Lord Himself.
Pratyaksha: Pratyaksha means one which is currently present in form, and we can see it, feel it and sense it. The touch of Geeta itself calms the mind. Even a portion of Geeta's teachings, if implemented in our lives, will transform humanity for the better.
Dharmyam: Geeta is a sacred text presenting the teachings of our Sanatan Dharma. Here dharm is used in the context of our duties. Geeta reminds us about our dharma (duty) towards our senses, our mind, our society, our Guru, and the Lord Himself. It reminds us of our purpose in life as humans, and our duty to the aatma within us. We should try to understand our duties and implement the knowledge that we gain from the Geeta.
Susukham: Sukham mean happy; susukham means very happy. Reciting Geeta gives utmost happiness. after attaining which the mind longs for no other happiness. This happiness never reduces, never fades and never gets destroyed.|
Avyayam: Vyaya means to spend - spending reduces. Avyayam means one that never gets exhausted. Reciting and implementing Geeta in our lives, the happiness and satisfaction that we get is inexhaustible.
bhaktim mayi paraam kritvaa
maam evai syatyasamsayah (BG18:68)
and recite the Geeta to My devotees, and spread
this wonderful knowledge will attain Me,
dharmyam samvaadam aavayoh
jnanayajnena tenaa aham
ishtah syaam iti me matih (BG18:70)
srnuyaad api yo narah
so api muktah subhaal lokaan
praapnuyaat punyakarmanaam" (BG18:71)
It is our great fortune that with the blessings of Geeta Mata, we have Shri Guruji Hariharji Maharaj in our lives - we learnt the Geeta from him, we heard his Geeta talks, we have a Geeta Ashram and we have a Geeta family. Let Geeta's teachings bring light in our life. I submit my life at the holy feet of Guru, Geeta and Gopal.
Shubham Bhuyat (God bless you)
(Translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga)
|LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (16)|
by Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal
purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained My being." (BG4:10)
Our scriptures say "In every action there is an equal reaction". The Law of Karma is nothing but 'cause' & 'effect'. If something is happening to me now (effect), then there has been an earlier cause (my past actions). We are only aware of our actions in this very life though we have gone through many past lives in which we must have performed countless actions. For some, we may have received the enjoyment / suffering immediately, and some may be accumulated in our total account (sanchita karma). We are trapped in the cycle of birth and death because of past actions for which the reaction has not fructified. Thus, we take birth in a particular type of body, environment, etc. to exhaust the merits and demerits of our past actions.
How does one break out of this cycle of birth, death and rebirth (ocean of samsara)? How can we ensure that we do not accumulate new karmas that will keep us bound in this cycle? The secret of right action is offered in this verse.
i) Freed from attachment, fear and anger: From the time we are born till we die, we are attached to various people and objects in life. It may be family, fame, power, our car, position in society, beauty, youth, etc. Being attached means your very happiness and the conduct of your actions is dependent on that. It follows that whatever we are attached to, is what the mind values the most. So when there is a loss or perceived loss of what we are attached to, for example power, this causes agitation because we cannot bear the thought of living without it. Your very happiness and peace of mind has become dependent on holding on to that power. Or, in other cases of attachment, it may be that your happiness is dependent on the existence of an object or person that is subject to change. If the direction of seeking is wrong, how can the outcome be right? So attachment adds fear (when there is a perceived loss or actual loss) to what you are attached to. Also, anger is another by-product of attachment. It manifests when your object of desire and attachment is hindered or taken away by someone. So Krishna says, free your actions from the three evils of attachment, fear and anger.
ii) Absorbed in Me, Taking refuge in Me: If one is not attached to worldly things, then the mind needs some diversion. The mind can only be attached to the world or to GOD. There is no 3rd place. So Krishna says "divert the mind to the spiritual path". You can find that happiness and peace of mind when you seek it in the right direction and that is from GOD - the imperishable, unchanging, all pervading bliss (SAT CHIT ANANDA). So divert your seeking towards all kinds of spiritual activities like meditation, devotional singing (bhajans), chanting of mantras, prayers etc.
iii) Purified by the fire of knowledge:: By engaging in the systematic study of the scriptures, dedicate your time and effort to reading the scriptures, or something uplifting and inspirational that will set you on the right direction of life. Adi Shankara, the great Vedic sage, gave us one of the requisites for spiritual bliss: "a daily dose of the scriptures".
Krishna concludes, that this path has been successfully practised by many in the past to achieve salvation (moksha). It is not an impossible path but a tried, tested and proven path - tread by countless people from time immemorial. So, may you also, Arjuna (and all of us) benefit from this advice and free ourselves from this cycle of birth and death. Where our actions do not result in future reactions, then there is no cause for rebirth.
For all men follow My path from all sides" (BG4:11)
If this path is tried, tested and proven that it leads us to the doorsteps of Moksha (liberation), then why is it that many people do not follow this path? We see people praying, going to temples, practising austerities, giving charity, etc. There are all types of devotees but not all attain Moksha. Why? "Howsoever men approach Me, in the same way I accept their worship," says Krishna in this verse. We approach God in various ways - but what is our motive? Krishna classifies devotees into four categories (BG7:16): (i) those who seek to remove some obstacles; (ii) those who seek to gain material wealth; (iii) those who seek to gain knowledge; and (iv) those who seek moksha. So, although we may be leading a 'spiritual life', our intention or motive may be different? We seek God, attain what we prayed for, then forget God or seek Him again when we have another motive or intention! How many of us really seek God for moksha? Krishna says that "for whatever reason you seek Me sincerely, that much I will grant you" because that is all you really wanted in the first place.|
for success is easily attained by men through action." (BG4:12)
The majority of us perform actions because we expect some gratification or result in return. Even when we give charity, we expect the receiver to express his gratitude to us or we expect other people to recognise the good work we are doing. How many of us just do good work as an act of serving the Lord and just being an instrument in the hands of the Lord? We all expect some gratification, instant gratification, for our actions. So "those who seek success in action", meaning those who only seek rewards or returns for their actions, "they worship the gods". The word 'gods' here represents the finite goals that we pursue. Thus, the word 'gods' (devatah) is used in plural. Therefore, we take birth upon birth to enjoy the merits of what we sought. There are even people who conduct elaborate prayers and rituals to seek a "reservation in heaven"! But what happens when they finish enjoying the fruits of their prayers? Prayers being finite, their results are also finite. Thus, when the finite results are exhausted, they return to take birth once again. When we sincerely follow the spiritual path even for our own selfish needs, success can be easily attained. And when we obtain one finite goal, we yearn for yet another finite goal. So we seek gods only for finite returns. It is the very rare devotee who realises the folly of seeking finite goals and who directs his or her attention to seeking the INFINITE GOAL of merging with GOD.
... always keeping the teachings of the Geeta close to our hearts ...
The Geeta Ashram Youth represents a team of young adults and teenagers, who have all been very blessed to have grown up with the lessons of the Bhagavad Geeta.
Over the years, many of us have gone near and far but we always keep the teachings of the Geeta close to our hearts, and we are all still very much affiliated with Geeta Ashram Malaysia. Having received such great blessings, it is now our turn to give back.
Over the past few weeks, the Geeta Ashram Youth have been working hard planning to pack this year with activities and events for the Geeta Ashram community.
The year kicked off with the regular Sunday children's Geeta classes, taught by Uncle Chandru Binwani and Aunty Asha Devi, who enlighten the Geeta Ashram youth with the message of the Bhagavad Geeta.
Another significant highlight this year is the Geeta Ashram Youth blog and Facebook page for the youth to share with everyone all over the globe regarding future Geeta Ashram Youth projects and fun activities. The blog and Facebook page will also help in fund-raising activitiesfor the new building. Check out and follow our blogsite at: www.geetaashramyouth.wordpress.com
Coming soon in March would be Holi, the Festival of Colours, which is a fun-filled event. Our youth and kids will be a part of the programme this year presenting a short skit on the story of Prahlad and singing bhajans and offering diyas to our beloved Swamiji.
Following that would be the Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014 which will fall on Saturday, 5 April 2014 from 8 am to 5 pm. We will be receiving participants from centres all over Malaysia and are truly excited about this event.
In the quest to raise funds for our new building, there will be ongoing activities planned by the G.A. Youth which include bake sales and selling greeting cards, cookies and bookmarks. These will take place during events throughout the year. We take orders too! Check out our website!
These are only the events planned until the middle of the year! There will be more activities coming throughout the year, and we hope that you will participate and support our activities.
|THE GEETA FOR BEGINNERS: THE MISUNDERSTOOD MESSAGE|
by Shree Peter Ganglani, Geeta Ashram Canada
There are some who refer to the Bhagavad Geeta and proudly declare that the Lord encouraged Arjuna to "stand up and fight" and thereby encouraged violence!
This is probably the most misrepresented statement made out of sheer ignorance! These people have failed miserably in understanding the Bhagavad Geeta's true message which is Ahimsaa (non-violence), and not Himsaa (violence)!
He tells Arjuna that one should never abandon one's prescribed duty - 'however defective' it may seem. It is better to perform one's own duty, even if it is devoid of merit, than to perform the duty of another, even if well-performed.
shuni-chaiva shvapaa-ke cha pandi-taaha sama darshi-naha (BG5:18)
is a wise person and a true devotee of Mine (and therefore dear to me).
As mentioned earlier, it is crucial that we understand the real message conveyed, and avoid twisting and justifying an action of violence to suit the challenges facing us.
The war of the Mahabharata refers to the war between our good and evil tendencies. Our duty is to 'stand up and fight' - to face the challenges head on, and not walk away from them!
|REMINISCENCES OF A COMMON DEVOTEE|
by Shri Ramamuthie Varathan, Klang
Even with all the vast spiritual knowledge in our sacred scriptures and the various mantras available to guide and assist us, only a handful of us human beings have managed to escape the clutches of the karmic
cycle of births and deaths. Thousands of stanzas (shlokas) offer a glimpse of the ancient divine secrets that reveal the path to liberation (moksha) but 'among thousands of men, scarcely one strives for perfection and
of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me in essence (BG7:3)'.|
Different people have different goals or aspirations in life. Most just want to enjoy the sensual pleasures and work to accumulate wealth for themselves, sometimes using religion as a bargaining currency at the altar. There are some who do channel their efforts towards the welfare of others and for the well-being of the world at large. A very small minority invests in the afterlife and afterworld, pursuing a spiritual path with the aim of attaining moksha.
Most people view spiritual knowledge as something beyond their grasp or even as a myth, preferring to spend their lives 'more usefully' indulging in material pursuits and sensual pleasures. We come into this world empty-handed. The only baggage we bring along into this life is our store of karmas, good and bad, accumulated through our previous lives. And the only baggage we can hope to take with us at the end of this life is the net balance of our karmas, depending on the kind of life we choose to lead.
Good karmas are attained through good deeds and spiritual pursuits, and bad karmas are acquired through bad deeds and materialistic pursuits. Good karmas are depleted by having a good time through worldly enjoyments, while bad karmas are consumed by having a bad time through pain and suffering. Every person is born into a life determined by his or her karmas. Every person is also born with an inherent nature. Some are born materially rich, but may be poor at heart. Others are not materially wealthy but may be noble at heart.
Some individuals are born poor but attain wealth, through discipline and hard work, following stringent moral and ethical values, and setting an example for others to emulate. But there are also those who resort to crooked means to attain 'instant wealth', and then attempt to neutralise their bad karmas through charity and philanthropy.
Is there anything that we, the common devotees, can hope to do to salvage this golden opportunity for liberation after 8.4 million births?
We don't have to give up everything and become hermits in the forest to achieve spiritual goals. In fact, we would be shirking our duties if we did that. We are instruments or tools of the system; we are the cogwheels that have to keep turning to maintain the world order. We have an obligatory duty to cater for the welfare of this world - be it our family, our nation, humanity at large, the whole spectrum of other creatures - the animate and the inanimate. We owe it to the Creator to maintain the beauty and the glory of the forests, the mountains, the rivers and the oceans. And we have to fulfill our duty, our dharma, without harbouring any expectations or selfish desires to avoid acquiring any fresh karmas.
To keep on the right spiritual track, I feel that we must regularly refer to our spiritual manuals which hold the reservoir of knowlege accumulated from the beginning of time. The Bhagavad Geeta contains the essence extracted from this vast amount of knowledge available in our scriptures. The Bhagavad Geeta contains very practical advice for common people like us. Even if we do not attain liberation (moksha) in this lifetime, any spiritual gains are never wasted or lost, and we can start off at an advantage in the next life.
|SACRED THOUGHT OF THE MOMENT|
by His Holiness Swami Harihar Ji Maharaj (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)
One needs to strive towards following the teachings of the Geeta, and these efforts need to be pursued relentlessly.|
One should examine the self truthfully. This self-examination must be conducted every day. Steps must be taken to move forwards and onwards, rising higher and higher. One should accept that one has no enemy; one's neighbour bears no animosity towards him. Nobody is his friend or his enemy. The self is one's own friend as well as one's own enemy.
One has the supreme ability to perform actions creditably and to achieve the desired results. One also has the freedom to underperform and not achieve the goal. No one else is responsible for the results, favorable or otherwise. It is he and he alone who is responsible for the outcome depending upon his own action (Karma).
One should also observe proper control of speech. This is essential because one's spoken words can influence the outcome of one's deeds.
Great care should be taken when one speaks because it can determine the success or failure of one's endeavours.|
The tongue is the same organ which can be used to gain respect or cause one to become an object of hatred. Ride an elephant in glory or be exhibited on a donkey disrespectfully.
The Lord, in BG17, has stated the type of speech a person should have. If one seeks one's welfare, one should inculcate the teachings of the Geeta in everyday life. One who, keeping his mind and senses in control and obeying the rules directed by the Lord, performs actions is truly his own good friend.
Those persons who do not conform to the rules of the Lord, and perform actions contrary to those prescribed in the Geeta, become their own enemies.
It is in our hands to attain the welfare of one's soul (Atman) by adhering to the teachings of the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta.
by Swami Krishnananda (adapted by Dr D K Bhanot)
The Geeta begins with King Dhritarashtra asking his minster Sanjaya: "When the Pandavas and the Kauravas were arrayed in the field for battle, what actually happened? How did they get on among themselves?"
The Mahabharata war was fought at a place called Kurukshetra, which is also referred to in this verse as Dharmakshetra because the place had been sanctified by yajnas performed by rishis and even the gods themselves. Kurukshetra may also mean 'a field of activity’, and Dharmakshetra may mean ‘a field of righteousness’. The world which we live in is also, simultaneously, a Kurukshetra and a Dharmakshetra.
Everything in this universe, from the minutest material particles to the planets and galaxies, is continuously active. Everything is moving. Everything is fleeting, Nothing is static. We are not now what we were a moment ago. And a few moments later, we shall not be what we are now. This entire creation is one of intense activity, movement, restlessness and transitoriness.
The universe is also a field of virtue, goodness and righteousness. The activity of the world is not haphazard. It is a well-organised, conditioned by a law that is directing it. The endlessness of this activity is rooted basically in a single orderliness, a single methodology.
On one hand, we are under compulsion to be involved in intense action, or karma; on the other hand, our activity is guided by a principle of righteousness, the dharma.
We are busy and active because we wish to achieve something. There is a future expectation for the present activity. And there is memory of past activity. The memory of the past, the involvement in the present, and the expectation of the future are a total occurrence in the psyche of the individual. There must be a law or principle connecting the past, the present and the future. Without such a connection, any expectation would be a futile exercise. This principle has many manifestations but it has a single root.
Dharma, the principle of righteousness or justice, may be considered as the law of integration - bringing together discrete, apparently unrelated items and creating a meaningful synchronisation between them. There is even a connection between the distant stars and what happens on our planet Earth. |
In this world of action and righteousness, two forces are arrayed for the achievement of an expected result. The principle of battle and war is the breaking down of the present circumstance and the creation of new conditions altogether. War encompasses destruction of the present setup with the expectation of something new in the future. It was thus that the Pandavas and Kauravas faced each other on the battlefield.
Dhritarashtra used the words mamakah pandavas caiva meaning "my people and the sons of Pandu". There is a marked difference between how we evaluate things related to ourselves and things which we consider as not related to ourselves. This world is constituted of what is mine and what is not mine. The battle is just between these two forces - mine and not mine.
The world is not completely compartmentalised. It does not mean that we are involved only in what is ours. We are also daily involved in things which are not ours. We have to assume an attitude of adjustment. We are placed in a state of tension because of this dual principle confronting us. We arm ourselves psychologically with swords drawn for every kind of eventuality, a psychological war created on account of two operating principles - that which is ours and that which is not ours.
When we go to work, we often come across peculiar conditions which cannot be regarded as ours, and we do not find them palatable. We may wish that they were not be there at all. There may be other circumstances which we would eagerly want to have. Something pleases us, and something displeases us. But, whatever be our wish, we are in a state of tension as we try to adjust to the prevailing mixed circumstances. So, contrasting circumstances, like pleasure and pain, love and hatred, like and dislike, tend to condition our very existence.
Dhritarashtra's opening words were uttered without perhaps knowing their implication. His question was directed at Sanjaya, but the Bhagavad Geeta directs this question at every one of us in this world of action, which is also the world of righteousness. We cannot escape from the performance of action. The Bhagavad Geeta tells us how we can blend action with the principle of righteousness in a state of harmony.
The Bhagavad Geeta tells us that our deeds and our expectations should be guided by a central principle. That central principle is revealed gradually during the course of Lord Krishna's discourse.
This world of righteousness and action, Dharmakshetra and Kurukshetra, is the battlefield where the Pandavas and the Kauravas gird up their loins for the Mahabharata war.
|SHRI HANUMAN CHALISA: THE DEEPER MEANING (2)|
by Swami Brahmananda
as par deen jaanaki mata
This article explains the eight (ashta) Powers (siddhis) and nine (nav) Treasures (nidhis) that Shri Hanumanji possesses. Due to Hanumanji's devotion to Sitaji, she had blessed him with a boon whereby he could grant at any time to any person the 8 siddhis and 9 nidhis that he possessed by birth. Hanumanji was very happy. He thought, "With my inborn siddhis and nidhis I have the opportunity to serve my master Shri Rama, and now with Sita Mata's blessing I can grant this boon to others as well. In this way, I shall be able to create many more devotees of Shri Rama and Sita - what can be bigger than this for a person?" With great happiness and contentment, Hanumanji chanted, "Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram."
In Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran, there is a discussion between Lord Krishna and Udhav1.
jitendriyasya yuktasya jita-svasasya yoginah mayi dharayatas ceta upatishthanti siddhayah
(Srimad Bhagwat 11.15.1)
The Lord said, "Dear Udhav! When the devotee has conquered his senses, breath and mind, and devotes his entire existence towards me, at that point in time, lots of siddhis present themselves to the devotee."
kaya dharanaya ka svit katham va siddhir acyuta kati va siddhayo bruhi yoginam siddhi-do bhavan
(Shrimad Bhagwat 11.15.2)
Udhav requested, "O Achyut2, By what means (practices) can one achieve which siddhi? How many siddhis are there? You give siddhis to the yogis. Hence do bless me with the description."
Lord Krishna said, "Dear Udhav, the Yogis who have mastered the art of concentration (dharana yogis) have spoken of 18 types of siddhis. Out of these, 8 always reside in me and are hardly ever present in people. The other 10 siddhis can be obtained by any humans who possess satgunas (goodness). Three siddhis belong to the body, they are Anima (making oneself smaller than an atom), Mahima (expanding one's body infinitely) and Laghima (making one's body weightless). One siddhi belongs to the senses, and that is Prapti (having unrestricted access to all places). Prakamya is another siddhi that lets one get whatever one desires. Ishita is the siddhi which gives the power to execute things as ones desire. Vashitva is the siddhi which lets one stay in this world, doing all things and yet detached from it. And finally Kamavasaayita, through which one reaches the boundaries of all happiness that one desires. These 8 siddhis - Anima, Mahima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Ishita, Vashita and Kamavasaayita - always reside in me. I can give these to any one fully." The Lord continued, "There are many more siddhis - like the body feeling no hunger or thirst, ability to see distant objects, ability to hear distant conversations, ability to travel to distant places via the mind, ability to take any shape, ability to get into another person's body, ability to leave the body at will, ability to watch the apsaras playing with the devas, taking promises and vows, fulfilling other people's desires. These are the other 10 siddhis which can be acquired by attaining sattva guna.
Knowing the past, present and future, being unaffected by heat, cold or any seasons, not being in the control of happiness, sadness, anger, or hatred, knowing what is going on in other person's mind, making still the power of water, fire, poison and sun, never getting defeated by anyone - these are five additional siddhis that yogis can gain."
Being the incarnation of Lord Shiva, Hanumanji had the 8 siddhis mentioned earlier since birth. Hanumanji never used them for name, fame or any selfish purpose. As a child when he was very hungry he jumped, and started to eat the Sun. This can be attributed to his natural self (due to the siddhis he possessed). Being the incarnation of Shiva, he was naturally very strong. Hanumanji used his siddhis in the service of Lord Rama.|
Anima Siddhi: Hanumanji had this siddhi, the proof of which was that he could cross the ocean, go to Lanka, and find Sitaji. In the Ramcharitmanas it is mentioned:
'Masak samaan' means 'like a mosquito'. This means that Hanumanji became very small. The ring that He was carrying also became small. Learned people will agree that all things in this world have a consciouness (chaitanya). When the need arises, they can change in size (grow or shrink). Sitaji's ring could in this way also grow or shrink. "kiyo seeya prabodh mudari diyo kapihi lakahau"
Mahima Siddhi: When Hanumanji was crossing the ocean, the devatas decided to test him. They sent Surasa to test Hanumanji. The Devatas had seen Hanumanji going to Lanka (the kingdom of Ravana, who had won over the three worlds). Every one at that time was enchanted by the power of Ravana. Ravana had a huge army with strong soldiers. Would Hanumanji be able to overcome such a mighty king with his mighty army? This was the doubt in the minds of the Devatas. Hence, they sent Sursa.
sursa naam ahini ki maata, pathainha aai kahi tehi baata."
Sursa told Hanumanji that she wanted to eat him. Hanumanji said, "O Mother, I'm going for the work of Shri Ram my master. Once I complete the work, I will myself come into your mouth as your food. Sursa did not agree, so Hanumanji told her to eat Him.
As Sursa began to widely open her mouth, Hanumanji also increased in size.
Sursa grew to the size of 100 Yojanas3 (equal to about 1500 kms). Hanumanji suddenly shrank himself, jumped into Sursa's mouth and came out. Sursa was very impressed. She blessed him and said,
When Hanumanji reached Lanka and was talking to Sitaji, He wanted to remove any doubts about him which Sitaji might have. He told her, "Mother, all the monkeys are not just like that." He then showed her his original self and said, "All the monkeys are like this."
The proof of strength lies in life. Hanumanji grew huge like a golden mountain full of strength and power, and ready for a war. Sitaji then felt comforted.
Laghima Siddhi: The proof of Laghima Siddhi in Hanumanji becomes evident when he shrinks to a very small size and enters Ashok Vatika. He makes himself light and hides behind the trees and leaves. He hides on top of the tree below which Sitaji is sitting.|
Now Hanumanji began to think what he should do next. Below he could see scary rakshasis guarding Sita Mata. This Siddhi makes one lighter than the lightest thing.
Garima Siddhi: Gandhamadan hill was a favourite with Hanumanji. Once when the hill was very beautifully covered with vegetation, on one of the paths, Hanumanji converted into a very old monkey and lay down with his long tail lying across the path. He began to meditate on Shri Rama. There was a lake behind the hill that had large fragrant lotus flowers. This happened in the Mahabharata when the Pandavas were in exile. Draupadi had asked Bheema to get her a lotus flower. As Bheema walked along the path, he saw the monkey's tail in his way. He said, "O Brother, can you remove your tail. It is obstructing my path." Hanumanji said, "I am very old and lack the power to move, so why don't you yourself take my tail and place it on one side of the road. Bheema tried to lift the tail, but he could not even move the tail. He tried with both hands and still failed. He felt very embarrassed and asked Hanumanji who he was. Hanumanji showed him his original form and blessed him. Both Hanumanji and Bheem are pawan putra. He told Bheem that he was his younger brother. He also told Bheem that during the Mahabharata war he would be on the side of the Pandavas. He said that he would reside on Arjuna's chariot on the flag. He also showed Bheem the way to the lake. Making his tail so heavy that even Bheem, who was as powerful as a hundred elephants, could not lift it demonstrates the Garima Siddhi of Hanumanji.
Prapti Siddhi: When a yogi attains the Prapti Siddhi, he is able to get anything from anywhere he desires. After Shri Rama and Sugriv's friendship, Hanumanji wanted to locate Sita Mata's whereabouts, and he meditated on it. When Sugriv sent his warriors in search of Sita Mata under the leadership of Angad (son of Vaali and Tara and nephew of Sugriva), Hanumanji travelled south. This is his Prapti Siddhi.
Prakamya Siddhi: A yogi with this siddhi feels a sense of completeness. Hanumanji's completeness is in his devotion to Shri Rama. Shri Rama and Sitaji are two parts of same Paramatma.
bandaun seetaa raam pad jinhi param priya khinn"
Word and meaning are inseparable, so are water and waves. Similarly, Shri Rama and Sitaji are also inseparable, I bow to them at their lotus feet. Sitaji, who loves those who are in a miserable state (spiritual and materially), gave darshan to Hanumanji. This is because He has Prakamya Siddhi.
Ithitva Siddhi: Shri Hanumanji has completed every work of Shri Rama, no matter how difficult - bringing the Vaidya (Doctor) Sushen, along with his house, from Lanka to the battlefield; bringing Sanjeevani booti (medicine) when Lakshmana's life was in danger; going to Pataal loga, killing Ahiraavan and bringing back Rama and Lakshmana; putting Lanka on fire; bringing Lakshamanji to the battlefield near Shri Rama when he felt unconscious. These are examples of the Ishitva Siddhi of Hanumanji.
Vashitva Siddhi: A yogi with Vashitva Siddhi will have all beings under his influence and control. Shri Hanumanji is selfless, not proud of his powers, celibate, full of humility, polite, always in the service of others, dedicated to his master Shri Rama, has immense power of mind and has immense physical power. Devotees of Hanuman are always full of praise for Him. This is his Vashitva Siddhi.
Shri Kubera is the god of wealth and holds all the treasures in the heavens. He holds the keys to all the 9 niddhis (or treasures) mentioned. In our world or mrityuloka it is possible for a yogi to attain these 9 niddhis. Shri Hanumanji possessed the 9 niddhis since birth. He never did any penance to attain them. When Hanumanji was born, he had a Diamond-studded Crown, golden eye rings and bracelets on his arms. But he never used this wealth for Himself.|
These are the 9 niddhis with which Hanumanji was born: (1) Mahapadma - all possible wealth (2) Padma - wealth (3) Shankha - royal happiness (4) Makara - respect (5) Kachap - praise (6) Mukunda - happiness (7) Kunda - jewels and pearls (8) Neela - beautiful and dear objects (9) Kharva - dear family
With the blessings of Mata Jaanaki (Sita), Hanumanji was able to give these niddhis to others as well.
Translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga
by Andy Rooney
|THE PRINCIPLES OF THE BHAGAVAD GEETA|
by Shrimati Reena Yadav
The main principles of the Bhagavad Geeta are as follows:
1) Help one another: Selfishness saps our health and immune system. Moving away from the self and thinking about serving others sets in motion a physical healing process. Peace, composure and freedom from karmic bondage await those working for a noble cause with a spirit of detachment and without expectations. This selfless service purifies the mind and is an easy spiritual discipline to practise while living in society.
2) Practise moderation: Extremes should be avoided at all cost. Lord Buddha emphasised the middle path as the right and noble path. This is referred to as moderation in the Bhagavad Geeta.
3) Metaphysical knowledge is the ultimate knowledge: In Chapter 4 verses 37-38 of the Bhagavad Geeta, it is stated that "if the intellect does not control the mind, the passenger will not reach the goal. Self-knowledge is superior to the intellect. The intellect, through Self-knowledge and contemplation, becomes pure and strong enough to control the mind which will control the senses. Thus, Self-knowledge is essential for the spiritual journey. Self-knowledge provides the power of purification." To reach our goal of Self-realisation we must have control over our mind.
4) Find your own method of worship based on faith: We don't have to understand God to obtain his grace, to love him and to attain him. Worship of God can come in various forms, but spiritual practice without faith is an exercise in futility. Thus, faith is important in attaining Self-realization. Faith goes hand-in-hand with belief.
5) Learn to forgive others: Those who unconditionally forgive others are happy because their anger is dissolved. Spiritual progress is slowed if one's interpersonal relationships are full of hurt and negative feelings. One must learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.
6) Recognise the presence of God in all beings: God is seated in the inner psyche as the consciousness, the spirit within us, our Divine Being. We must learn to sync with the Divine Being within us.
7) Lust is the origin of all sin: Lust is the passionate selfish desire for material and sensual pleasures. Left unfulfilled, it leads to anger which, left unfulfilled, turns the intense desire into fierce rage. Lord Krishna says that lust and anger are the two enemies that drive man to commit sin.
8) Our mind is our best friend and also our worst enemy: Napoleon Hill said that "whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." Everything starts and ends in the mind. If you believe your life to be full of sorrow, sadness and negativity, then your mind conceives those issues into thoughts and amplifies them onto real life. Our subconscious mind is more powerful than our conscious mind. As we plant seeds (thoughts) in our garden (subconscious mind), so we shall reap in the body and environment.
9) Attachments and aversions are major stumbling blocks: 'Attachment' is a strong desire to experience worldly pleasures repeatedly. 'Aversion' is a strong dislike for the unpleasant. We need a proper frame of mind to have control over attachments and aversions. If we control our sensual needs, most of our possessions become dispensable. Peace and happiness are achieved through sense-control and not sense-gratification.
To conclude, so long as the conflict between Man and God is not resolved, no other conflict can be resolved. The main issue here is the separation of the individual from the Supreme Being. The final goal of individuals is to merge with the Absolute, and the Bhagavad Geeta tells us how to achieve that union.
|BHAGAVAD GEETA CH 12: YOGA OF DEVOTION|
by Shri Suraj Bulchand
tesam nityabhiyuktanam yogaksemam vahamy aham
In Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Geeta, known as 'Bhakti Yoga' or the 'Path of Devotion', Lord Krishna exalts the glory of devotion to Bhagwan. He explains the different spiritual disciplines, and discusses the qualities which make the devotee very dear to Him. Krishna ends Chapter 11 with the notion that Bhagwan is in everything and everything is in Bhagwan. But, because of the limited nature of our perception of the universe through our senses, a finite alternative is needed to constantly remind us of Bhagwan's presence. Until we reach a state where this happens effortlessly, Krishna asks us to take up the path of devotion where we faithfully comply with the concept that Bhagwan is in everything and everything is in Bhagwan. The seed of Bhakti Yoga, planted at the end of Chapter 11, is further expounded in Chapter 12. Swami Hari Harji called this chapter the 'Pearl in the Oyster'.
Bhagwan goes on to enlighten us and inspire us in the next seven verses by listing thirty-nine qualities of a perfected devotee. Though we are unable to gain these qualities in one attempt, acquiring even a few brings about colossal positive change. That's because acquiring even one quality opens the doors to obtaining the rest. In all of these qualities, equanimity, unselfishness, lack of attachment and unwavering faith towards Bhagwan are repeatedly emphasised. Beautifully written and poetically fashioned, Bhagwan describes in verses 13-19 ...|
"The devotee of mine who is non-envious, possessing benevolence to all living entities, compassionate with no sense of proprietorship, free from false ego, equal in distress and happiness, forgiving, striving to perfect the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness, self controlled with unflinching determination, dedicating mind and intellect to Me - Such a devotee is dear to Me.
One from whom any person is never disturbed and one who is never disturbed by any person. One who is free from mundane pleasures, anger, fear and anxiety. One who is desireless, free from worry, free from agitation, free from expectation, impartial and pure, who renounces the feeling of doership in all undertakings, one who does not rejoice, hate or grieve, engaged in devotional service, impartial to both what is auspicious and inauspicious - such a devotee is dear to Me.
That person who treats friend and foe equally, in honor or dishonor, impartial in cold, heat, happiness and distress, exempt from attachment, equipoised in praise and in criticism, contemplative before speaking, satisfied with whatever comes on its own accord, unattached to domestic life, fixed in purpose and full of devotion - such a devotee is dear to Me."
A long list indeed. A list that may seem impossible for you and I to completely achieve. But as it is said, it always seems impossible until it's done. What is important is that we attempt to embrace these qualities. Never mind if we've not achieved them all; at least we've tried. Continuous effort, not just strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking human potential. This is reiterated in the final verse of Chapter 12 when Bhagwan reminds us, "Above all, those endowed with resolute faith and devotion to Me, those devotees who see Me as the ultimate refuge and with utmost sincerity engage fully in this everlasting righteousness - those devotees are exceptionally dear to Me."
Gandhi once said, "Prayer is not asking, it is a longing of the soul." Have faith in Bhagwan as you have faith that the sun will rise - not only because you see it, but because by it you see everything else. Chapter 12 embodies the power of sincere dedication. It comes to grip with questions we've all asked once upon a time ...
Should I worship a personal or an impersonal God?
What attributes should I work towards as a devotee?
How and why should I sincerely strive to develop piety and devotional practices?
Though united by Bhagwan and with Bhagwan, we all have our own stories to share and tell. But too often we don't pause and reflect on what has made us who we are. I will conclude my commentary by being singularly prescriptive. As much as you can, don't lead a life that looks good but feels bad. As Guruma so eloquently put it, "Let single-pointed devotion be the premium you pay for Bhagwan's life insurance policy." Let go of the stress, worries and fears that bind you down - they are redundant. Allow Bhagwan to mother, father and guide you. Live a life with Him and for Him, with sincere dedication and pure love. The trajectory of your existence will jolt closer to the Lord, filled with joyfulness and meaning.
The path of devotion is open for all of us to pursue. When we embark on a spiritual journey such as this, we reach a state of meaningfulness beyond what can be achieved by the fulfilment of transient desires which money, name and fame may provide. When we've reached that level of spirituality through sincere devotion, our authentic connection with Bhagwan will weather any storm or gale. And life becomes more peaceful, fulfilling and magnificent every single day.
|TOP 10 TIPS FROM GANDHI|
1. Change yourself. "You must be the change you want to see in the world." Our greatness lies not in being able to remake the world but in being able to remake ourselves. Change yourself to change your world.
2. You are in control. "Nobody can hurt me without my permission." What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you.
3. Forgive and let it go. "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. Fighting evil with evil won't help anyone. Forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service.
4. Without action you aren't going anywhere. "An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching." Without action very little will be done. However, taking action can be difficult as there can be much inner resistance. To get where you want to go and to understand yourself and your world you need to practise. Books bring you knowledge, but you have to take action to translate that knowledge into results.
5. Take care of this moment. "I do not want to foresee the future. I want to take care of the present. I have no control over the moment following." The best way to overcome inner resistance is to stay in the present as much as possible. Don't worry about the next moment that you can't control anyway. Resistance to action comes from imagining negative future consequences - or reflecting on past failures. To reconnect with the present moment, just focus on your breathing for a minute or two.
6. Everyone is human. "I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any fellow mortal. I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps." It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. The strongest might weaken and the wisest might err. Everyone is just human. We are all prone to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes, and then try again.
7. Persist. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies will grow weaker. Find what you really like to do. Then you'll find the inner motivation to keep going. Many people don't get what they want simply because they give up too soon. Maintain a sense of humor to lighten things up at the toughest of times.
8. See the good in people and help them. "I look to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won't probe into the faults of others." Man becomes great in the degree to which he works for the welfare of others. Focus on the good in people. Then your world and your relationships become more pleasant and positive. It also becomes easier to motivate yourself to serve others. By serving others, you make their lives better, and over time you get what you give.
9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self. "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Always aim at complete harmony of thought, word and deed. Always strive to maintain purity of your thoughts. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner joy when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself because now your voice tonality and body language are in alignment with your words. With such alignment people tend to really listen to what you're saying.
10. Continue to grow and evolve. "Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position." Always improve your skills and habits, or re-evaluate your evaluations.
AT GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA by Shrimati Asha Devi
Children's classes are held at the Geeta Ashram Malaysia every Sunday from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm. To date there are about 25 children (or youth, as they prefer to call themselves) - from 5 to 20 years of age - who regularly attend these classes.
The children / youth are taught to recite some popular mantras, the Hanuman Chalisa, Bhajans, Aartis and, most importantly, the Bhagavad Geeta. The classes are split into different levels.
Various scripture-based stories are shared with the students so that they can get a better understanding of the ancient scriptures. They are also given an opportunity to deliver a short talk to the Sunday congregation. They are thus able to enhance their public-speaking skills and further their understanding of the Bhagavad Geeta. These talks and speeches are then posted on the Geeta Ashram Youth Group's Facebook page. This helps to connect the Children / Youth with their friends as well as their parents.
In addition to the formal classes, the children also get to do some homework, and also participate in discussions and quizzes. Regular Q & A sessions are held to clarify any doubts.
The highlights in 2013 included the art competition and the Janmashtami celebrations. The wonderful drawings and paintings produced by the children / youth have been reproduced in the 2014 Geeta Ashram Calendar.
The performances put up during the Janmashtami celebrations were well appreciated by the crowd. They included a skit on the famous dice game of the Mahabharata, two dance performances and four other skits with various moral lessons.
We have to thank Datin Dr Lila Menon for her kind guidance with the performances. A thanksgiving party was held with lots of fun, food and games which the children / youth really enjoyed.
In December 2013, the youth also launched their own blog with the blessings of Guruma:
FOR THE CHILDREN
|RECIPE: COCONUT LADOOS|
by Vaishali Sharma (http://www.zestyflavors.com/2010_11_01_archive.html)
These ladoos are a breeze to make and don't even take much time. You just need 15-20 min to make them. The sweet aroma of cardamom overwhelms you as you bite on them.
Click on play button to hear audio
Achyutam Keshavam Krishna Dămodharam
Răm Nărăyanam Jănaki Valabam
Kaun kehte hain Bhagwăn ăte nahin
Ham to Meeră ke jaise bulăte nahin
Kaun kehte hain Bhagwăn khăte nahin
Ber Shabri ke jaise khilăte nahin
Kaun kehte hain Bhagwăn sote nahin
Mă Yashodă ke jaise sulăte nahin
Kaun kehte hain Bhagwăn năchte nahin
Gopion ki tarah ham nachăte nahin
Geeta Ashram Singapore
On Sunday 16 February 2014, from 7.00 am to 12.00 noon, about 2,000 devotees of different races, ethnicity, nationalities, cultures and regional affiliations, gathered at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to celebrate Geeta Jayanti 2014. Geeta Jayanti propagates the teachings of the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta, and is the largest singular event, held on a national scale. All18 chapters of the Geeta are recited and oblations offered into the 18 Havan Kunds for each of the 700 verses.
The Guest-of-Honour this year was Mr S R Nathan, 6th President of the Republic of Singapore. The Distinguished Guest this year was Mr Sat Pal Khattar.
Geeta Jayanti began here in 1997 as a simple one-day event with chanting of the full Geeta by about 100 devotees. It has now evolved into a multi-dimensional event with orations, chanting of mantras, quiz and essay competitions, parayan, international Geeta forum, cultural shows and Geeta Havan catering for all age groups from children to the elderly.
Geeta Jayanti is conducted here under the auspices of the Hindu Endowments Board, in association with other temples and organizations. Leadership of Geeta Jayanti is on a rotational basis, and the Sadhu Vaswani Centre is leading Geeta Jayanti in 2013-14.
Gita Vani is the Souvenir Magazine of Geeta Jayanti, consisting of many insightful articles for all age & interest groups, from local & international authors. For copies of, or information on Gita Vani, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
|GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA: Recent and Upcoming Activities|
by Shrimati Tangamani Menon
|HOLI CELEBRATIONS a video presentation|