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SACRED
THOUGHT




Geeta Ashram Malaysia
No 6, Lorong Utara B, 46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Telephone/Fax: 603-79564267



www.geetamalaysia.org

1

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


MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE 2020-2022
President:
Chandru Binwani

Deputy President:
Dr Sarinder Kumari

Vice Presidents:
Kishan Kumar Agarwal
Vanita Rani

Honorary General Secretary:
Usha Devi

Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Anita Sharma

Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Satish Kumar Bhardwaj

Committee Members:
Puran Chand Rekhraj
Datuk Fateh Chand
Hetish Chander Sharma
Tilak Raj
Rajinder Raj Devraj Sud
Raman Kukreja
Dr Rumesh Kumar
Narendra D. Joshi
Mahadev Lalchand

RESIDENT PRIEST
Pandit Amarnath Upadhyaya

EDITORIAL BOARD
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot (Editor)
Tangamani Menon
Chandru Binwani
Vanita Rani
Dr Rumesh Kumar
Asha Devi


SACRED THOUGHT
April 2021 <><><> Volume 43

For internal circulation only

Contents

Editorial Note2
Recitation of the Bhagavad Geeta (Video)
H.H. Shri Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
3
Message from the President
Shri Chandru Binwani
4
The Battlefield of Life
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
5
The Suitcase
6
Children's Page - Little Krishna
7
The Beauty in Duty
Dr Rumesh Kumar Sharma
8
Holi Celebrations at Geeta Ashram Malaysia
9
Two Aspects of Life: An Objective Viewpoint
Sukhdev Seoni
10-11
Regular Activities at Geeta Ashram Malaysia12
The Holy Feet of Swami Hari Harji Maharaj12a

2
EDITORIAL NOTE

The Covid-19 Pandemic
It's been more than a year now with no signs of the Covid-19 Pandemic giving any hints of coming to an end. Activities at the Ashram have been drastically curtailed to meet the requirements of the Movement Control Order. Face masks and social distancing are mandatory and are beginning to be accepted as the new norm. All devotees are required to register themselves at the entrance and to have their temperature recorded before being allowed into the premises. Attendance at functions has generally been low with many devotees preferring to play safe and follow the proceedings online.

Events, Festivals and Other Activities
Holi was celebrated on 28th March coinciding with the 123rd birthday of His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj. More details of the event are available on page 9 of this issue. In the earlier part of April, devotees also celebrated Pran Pratishta, Navratri and Hanuman Jayanti, all conducted at low-key level in keeping with the restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Youth Webinar
A Youth Webinar entitled "Conquer Your Mind to Overcome Challenges" was organised on 3rd April 2021 by committee member Dr Rumesh Kumar featuring Sanchit Sharma, a holder of five Guinness World Records. The exciting event was well-received by participants not only from Malaysia but also from India and other countries. Sanchit mesmerised the participants with his special technique of memorising long strings of numbers by associating the numbers with certain images and events.

Bhagavad Geeta Recitation by Swami Gurudevji
The video of the recitation of all 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Geeta by Swami Hari Harji Maharaj will henceforth be included in every issue of this publication to encourage devotees to listen to, memorise and recite the divine verses.

Contributions from Devotees
The Editorial Board would like to invite readers to provide feedback in the form of comments, letters and articles. Members of the younger generation are especially encouraged to participate in the various activities and festivities organised by the Ashram. Bring along your friends and relatives.

                                                                                                                                        Dr D K Bhanot


GURU <> GEETA <> GOPAL
                                                        


3


Listen to
All 18 Chapters of the Bhagavad Geeta






Recited in his own melodious voice by
Swami Hari Harji Maharaj

4
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Chandru Binwani

JAI SHREE KRISHNA JAI GURU DEV

The last issue of Sacred Thought was published in the last quarter of 2020. Every year we hope to bring out 4 quarterly issues, and this is our first issue for the year 2021.

With the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to be with us for quite a while more, many of our Ashrams worldwide have no choice but to resort to the new norm of having virtual programmes, meetings and satsangs on the Web.

Every year we celebrate our Swami Ji’s birthday and have our annual International Geeta Conference during the Holi celebrations in Jodhpur. This year, with the raging Covid-19 pandemic, the Geeta Ashram Trustees found it not feasible to organise the usual festivities and conference in Jodhpur. and decided instead to have virtual events on Zoom and YouTube.

The 34th International Geeta Conference and 123rd Birthday of His Holiness Swami Harihar Ji Maharaj were organised and celebrated online for 3 days on 27-29 March 2021. The programme on the 27th and 28th was held from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm (IST) and on the 29th it was held from 7.00 am to 1030 am with the full Geeta Yajna being performed.

We had 3 great and wonderful speakers this year:
1. Swami Sarvapriyanand Ji who is minister and spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society of New York
2. Swami Anubhavananda Ji who spoke on "GREATNESS IS ACHIEVED BY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SMALL THINGS. DO NOT STRUGGLE FOR GOD REALISATION, LET HIM MANIFEST THROUGH YOU"
3. Guru Ma Geeteshawari Ji who is one of the Founder Trustees of Geeta Dham Trust, a veteran member of the Geeta Ashram Governing Body and the Treasurer for both institutions.

The entire program, on Zoom and YouTube, was very well conducted and very much appreciated by the youth and the elder devotees around the world.

Here, at Geeta Ashram Malaysia we also had our satsang and festivities with a very good program albeit on a lower scale. During the Holi and Swami Ji’s Birthday Celebration we had good attendance.

I would like to end by requesting our Geeta devotees from the various Ashrams to send in some interesting articles on your activities and programme for publication in the Sacred Thought magazine. You can send your articles to the e-mail address provided below.

With very best wishes and Guru Dev’s Blessings to my fellow devotees.

Yours, very truly in the service of Guru, Geeta & Gopal,

CHANDRU BINWANI
President, Geeta Ashram Malaysia


P.S. Please send your articles and comments to the Editor at this e-mail address: drbhanot@bhanot.net


5
The Battlefield of Life
by Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

The Bhagavad Geeta is a book of Wisdom and Knowledge. The Bhagavad Geeta is a book of eternal and universal Truths. The Bhagavad Geeta provides a holistic view of life and the world, reveals the nature of the Supreme Reality (God) and gives us an understanding of our true identity.

Before we can draw a circle we have to first pinpoint its centre. Similarly, before we can understand anything else, we must first understand our own real identity. When we are clear about our real identity, only then can we be clear about our duties.

In Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Geeta, Arjuna sinks into a state of utter confusion. He is overwhelmed with compassion after seeing his relatives, teachers and elders as his enemies on the battlefield; he is confused about his duties as a warrior; he is overcome by mental anguish and distress; he is completely drained of the will to fight; and he is full of excuses to get out of the battle. Arjuna develops cold feet and begins to question the wisdom of fighting the war.

Arjuna's dilemma on the Kurukshetra battlefield is the same dilemma faced by all of us in the battlefield of life. Basically, it is a confusion about one's duty and also about one’s self-image or identity.

Arjuna’s state of confusion spills over into the opening verses of Chapter 2 where he is still overwhelmed with misplaced compassion, full of sorrow and very depressed. Lord Krishna then proceeds to give Arjuna a dose of "shock treatment" by suggesting his unworthiness for nobility, heaven or fame. He also mentions unmanliness and faint-heartedness as qualities unbefitting a warrior like Arjuna. Finally, in verse 7, admitting to being overcome by a sense of cowardice, and confusion with regard to his duty, Arjuna takes refuge in Lord Krishna as His disciple and seeks His guidance.

Even before the battle has begun and even before anyone has actually been killed, Arjuna is already feeling grief for his relatives and elders whom he expects to be killed. He doubts that the rewards of victory in the battle will drive away his grief. Sorrow, after all, cannot be removed by pleasure; it can only be transiently suppressed. In verse 9, Arjuna is very adamant about not wanting to fight. "I will not fight," he says, and becomes silent.

Lord Krishna has remained quiet all along, letting Arjuna vent his frustrations. Only when Arjuna falls silent and enters a receptive mode does Krishna give a subtle smile and begin to speak. The actual teachings of the Bhagavad Geeta begin at this juncture in verse 11. Lord Krishna preaches to Arjuna in the midst of the two opposing armies, there and then, without any special conditions or excuses, taking full advantage of Arjuna’s receptive mode.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that his grief is misplaced. Wise men know the truth about the Atman (Soul or Consciousness) which is one's True Self. The Atman is eternal and never dies. Wise men do not grieve over the dead or the living. Physical slaying will not have any effect on the True Self. The material form of a person may change but the True Self remains unchanged through the different stages of life and even when it passes on into another body. Death and birth are like going to sleep in one body and waking up in another. We must get away from the delusion that we are our physical body. We experience the world through our senses. Our experiences with the world are temporary. We must not become attached to our worldly experiences. He who remains equanimous in the face of the pairs of opposites - joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat - becomes fit to attain immortality.


6
THE SUITCASE
A man died, and soon God approached him with a suitcase in His hand.
God said: Alright son, Time to go. No packing needed. I have your suitcase.
The man was stunned: Now? So soon? But I've so many loose ends to tie up.

God: I'm sorry but its time to go.
Man: What's do you have in that suitcase?
God: Everything of yours. All your belongings.
Man: My belongings? You mean all my things - my clothes, my money?
God: No son, those things were never yours - they belonged to the earth.
Man: My memories?
God: Those never belonged to you - they belonged to Time.
Man: My talents?
God: Those were never yours - they belonged to the circumstances.
Man: My friends? My family?
God: I'm sorry son, they were never yours - they belonged to the path.
Man: My wife and son?
God: They were never really yours - they belonged to your heart.
Man: Then it must be my body.
God: Even that was never yours - it belonged to the dust.
Man: Is it my soul?
God: No, that is mine.
Full of fear, the man hesitantly took the suitcase from God and opened it to find it completely empty.

With a tear rolling down his cheek, the man said: I never had anything???
God: That's correct - only each moment you lived was yours. Life is just full of moments ... moments that belong to you. So live your life fully while you have these moments. Don't let anything stop you from living your life with joy. Try to be happy - don't get so attached to your material possessions ... don't be so full of selfish expectations in all your actions. Material possessions and everything else that you accumulate during those moments called life will remain here. YOU CAN'T TAKE THEM ALONG. Your suitcase appears empty, but if you look carefully in the side-pockets you'll find your KARMAs accumulated by your actions during your lifetime - you came with a baggage of karmas, and you leave with a baggage of karmas, nothing else ...

7
Children's Page
Adventures of Little Krishna

Little Krishna Part 1 from Jadhavacarya Das on Vimeo.


Jai Shree Krishna

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

8
THE BEAUTY IN DUTY
Dr Rumesh Kumar Sharma

Duties come with a purpose. At work, duties are prescribed for workers to be productive. One's work tends to improve when performing prescribed duties. At the material plane, duties are prescribed to sustain and enhance one's material existence. However, these man-made prescribed duties do nothing for spiritual upliftment to escape from the shackles of material nature.

What is material nature?
Material nature dictates how matter exists. The human body, made up of air, water, fire and earth, all elements of matter, is thus also controlled by material nature. The Lord created material nature through His potency (BG 9:8). After the material world was created, He impregnated material nature with living entities (BG 9) by a mere glance. Thus, living entities, despite being part of His superior energy, become conditioned by the three guna or modes of material nature.

What is meant by "three modes of material nature"?
The three primary modes of colour - red, green and blue (RGB) - are the basis of all colours. Various combinations of RGB give rise to a whole variety of colours. Similarly, material nature also has three modes or primary characteristics - sattva (goodness), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance) i.e. SRT. Just as an artist uses RGB to generate the impression of any other color, similarly actions performed under SRT lead one to acquire a nature suited for survival in the material world. By such conditioning, one's actions lead to reactions that keep one subdued within the realms of material nature (BG 3:9). To be liberated from the clutches of material nature, one must engage in certain duties prescribed in the Vedas. These duties are performed as sacrifices (yajna) for His pleasure under His direction as He is the only Master and Enjoyer of all yajnas (BG 9:24 ). The Vedas themselves and all associated sacrifices have emanated from Him (BG 9:16). The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, has thus provided living entities with an opportunity to return back to Him by fulfilling the true purpose of human existence, which is to engage in a process of self-realisation through the yajna (BG 4:24), living life as a sacrifice for His pleasure. The Vedas provide instruction on the performance of prescribed duties during one’s lifetime, offering guidance on how to be ultimately qualified to transcend the three guna to escape the vicious cycles of birth and death.

Transcending the three modes of nature by performing the prescribed duties
Performing prescribed duties in the context of sacrificing one’s sensual gratification is a continual, gradual and slippery process. Imbibing prescribed duties such as engaging in hearing, remembering, glorifying and worshiping the Lord, one gradually becomes less miserable, depending on the extent of exclusive engagement in these activities, Ultimately one reaches a state of zero misery. But living entities tend to make mistakes and to remain in a state of illusion. The forces of material nature, through a multitude of sense-fulfilling objects, can easily cause the spiritual pursuants to fall back in their spiritual progress. Thus it is referred to as a slippery process. This happens when one limits oneself to considering the prescribed duties purely from the perspective of uplifting oneself morally. Without faith in the form of bhakti, one may be morally upright but may still linger in the state of material existence (BG 9:3). This slippery process ends in an state where material miseries may cease to exist. But, when one understands that the true purpose of performing prescribed duties is not merely reducing material miseries but also gradually increasing spiritual bliss, one begins to engage in Krishna Consciousness or bhakti. By doing so, the process does not end with just negation of material miseries but continues with enhancement of spiritual bliss. Under the guidance of a spiritual master (BG 4:34), the process gradually becomes less slippery and more blissful. Hence, one should not limit oneself to the Vedic moral codes but should transcend them to optimise the opportunity offered by the Lord, not only to reduce miseries of material existence but also to enhance the unlimited bliss of spiritual joy in His association (BG 9:14) through devotional service. Such devotees never have to endure the miseries of material existence as for them the Lord Himself cares for their necessities and preserves what they have (BG 9:22). Thus there is truly beauty in duty.


9
HOLI CELEBRATIONS : GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA
March 2021

Holi is a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Colours.The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over King Hiranyakashipu.

King Hiranyakashipu had become so powerful that he forced his subjects to worship him as their god. But to the king’s ire, his son Prahlada was a devout and ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. The angry king plotted with his sister, Holika, to kill his son. Holika, who had a boon and was immune to fire, tricked Prahlada to sit in a pyre with her. When the pyre was lit, the boy’s devotion to Lord Vishnu helped him walk away unscathed while Holika, from whom the festival derives its name, was burnt to death despite her boon.

Holi falls on a full moon (Purnima) day and also coincides with the birthday of His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj. The Holi celebrations at Geeta Ashram Malaysia on 28 March 2021 (Sunday) thus coincided with the 123rd birthday celebrations of His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj.

Devotees commenced the celebrations in the morning with the recitation of the entire Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, led by Panditji. This was followed by the Geeta Aarti and recitation of the Hanuman Chalisa. The prayers concluded with the Shri Krishna Aarti and the distribution of prasad and preeti bhojan. The prayers were live-streamed to allow participation by devotees who were unable to physically attend and partake in the celebrations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme in the evening commenced with the Sandhya Aarti followed by the lighting of the sacred bonfire on the Geeta Ashram grounds. Panditji conducted the prayers and led the devotees in the recitation of Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Geeta. Devotees made offerings to the fire and circumambulated the glowing fire.

The devotees then proceeded to the main prayer hall where the prayers were continued with Guru Vandana, recitation of Chapter 12 of the Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, Geeta Aarti and singing of bhajans. Panditji also performed personalised Guru paada puja for devotees who wanted to offer their obeisances and dakshina to Swamiji. The programme concluded with the Shri Krishna Aarti and distribution of prasad and preeti bhojan.


      


10
TWO ASPECTS OF LIFE: AN OBJECTIVE VIEWPOINT
Sukhdev Seoni

Personal Aspect
In the last issue, I wrote about the two selfs that we all have:

    - Self that we are all familiar with and it operates in a changing world.
    - Big SELF that is unchanging that we read and hear about.
Impersonal Aspect
Now, there is also an impersonal aspect relating to the world outside that has two aspects:
Relative: Always changing. It is an expression of the Absolute.
Absolute: Non-changing. At the end of each chapter of Bhagavad Gita, we find this word in the synopsis, "science of the Absolute". Hence, good to know what the word Absolute means.


Attributes / Qualities: Please see above diagram which summarises the main qualities. It may be noted that the qualities of the Relative are almost the opposite of the Absolute. However, in truth they are one, just like two sides of one coin. They can be integrated, known and benefitted from through the process of yoga/ meditation.

Let’s begin from the inside, number 1 quality. The Relative is the manifest, material, outer aspect of life while the absolute is unmanifest, inner, spiritual life. Bhagavad Gita, chap 10 details the whole range of manifestations.

In the Relative, we find duality (e.g., male/ female, plus/ minus, hot/ cold, etc), diversity and multiplicity (e.g., smallest to the largest, etc). Everything has a finite boundary (country, individual, plant, etc.). By contrast, Absolute is only One, unity, unbounded, everywhere and infinite. Interestingly, the Absolute is in everything but not limited or bound by it. Funnily, at the level of the Relative we have relatives but at the Absolute level we are all one.


11

In the Relative, there are a limited range of possibilities. When faced with a problem, we look for solutions. Sometimes, we wish for the impossible miracle. If we are open to the Absolute, then, more possibilities including creative solutions and the impossible miracles can happen. Life need not be a struggle or a pain. It can be a joy. In the Relative there is activity, do-ing actions and facing reactions. In the Absolute, it is silence and just Be-ing, no activity. Those who meditate will be familiar with the experience of “just-beand the peace and ananda (bliss) that comes with it - a lively silence, not dead or inert. Not an absence of noise.

The Relative is always changing in many ways in time and place: creating, maintaining and destroying/renewing in many different ways and at different levels. Nice if our life is changing for the better and has a stability and nourishment from the Absolute.

Knowledge: In the Relative, there are many laws, some discovered by science and many still waiting to be discovered. As a result, the knowledge keeps changing. Also, we become aware that “the more we know, the more we become aware of how little we know.” And with the internet, there is an information overload and the issue of what is right, what to believe, fake news, etc. becomes more and more challenging. This is where it becomes beneficial to be connected with the home of all knowledge and the home of all the laws of nature, present in the Absolute.
\
Also, knowingly or unknowingly, we may violate the laws of nature and therefore create the grounds for suffering in the present or future. Furthermore, if we are looking for absolute, unchanging, ultimate truth (known as mahavakyas) it will not be found in the ever-changing Relative but in the Absolute. At Absolute level, we can also come to know the constitution of the universe as opposed to manmade constitutions that keep changing.

Bhagavad Gita, in Chapter 14, talks about the three gunas. The Relative is a play of the three gunas and it also an expression of the Absolute which is Nirguna, (transcendental).

Conclusion
Having known the many qualities of the Absolute (SELF), we are naturally interested in knowing how to connect with it and getting the practical benefits for our daily life. Through the process of meditation / yoga, we can connect / dive into the Absolute (SELF) and draw out these qualities. It is, as if, we switch on the light to “light up our life” or we open the tap for the water of the inner reservoir of creative intelligence to flow and enrich all aspects of daily outer material and inner spiritual life.

I am inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Know more and enjoy this video clip at https://youtu.be/R0fxQct0vTg . Also, the story of Ramanujam, the great Indian Mathematician and “The Man Who Knew Infinity“ is revealing: https://youtu.be/8WwLPep9xNg .


12
REGULAR ACTIVITIES
GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA

Daily and Weekly Activities

Daily Pooja: Short pooja by Pandit Amarnathji at sunrise and sunset.

Tuesdays: Evening satsang including Hanuman Chalisa recitation with samput verse.
                 (7.30 - 8.30 pm)

Thursdays: Bhagavad Geeta classes in English by Ashok Bherumal
                   (7.30 - 8.45 pm) (on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions)

Saturdays: Bhagavad Geeta classes in English by Ashok Bherumal
                  (4.30 - 6.00 pm) (on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions)

Sundays: Satsang programme with bhajans, recitations and talks followed by preeti bhojan (lunch)
                 (11.00 am - 1.00 pm)
                 Children's Geeta classes by Asha Devi, Sodesh Bhanot & Dr Anjanna Sharma (via zoom)
                 Hindi classes by Bharti Verma (10.15 - 11.15 am) (on hold)


Other Activities and Festivals

Purnima: is celebrated on Full Moon day with recitation of all 18 chapters of the Geeta.

Holi coincides with the birthday of our beloved Guruji. Geeta Havan is performed in the morning. The evening programme includes the singing of bhajans, aarti, chanting of Guru Vandana and recitation of Chapter 12, followed by lighting of the Holi fire, mantra chanting and circumambulation of the fire. It culminates in personalized Guru Pooja led by Panditji.

Bhajan Yatra is a bhajan-singing marathon with groups of musicians and singers from various organisations joining the Geeta Ashram group in an evening of music and bhajans.

Guru Purnima is celebrated with chanting of all 18 chapters of the Geeta in the morning, followed by an evening of bhajans, recitation of Hanuman Chalisa, Guru Vandana and recitation of Chapter 12. Devotees offer their obeisance/dakshina at the Guru’s feet.

Shree Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with Geeta Havan in the morning and an evening of prayers, bhajans and a children's programme of dance and drama, climaxing with the Shree Krishna aarti at midnight.

Geeta Jayanti is an 18-day celebration which begins with the 1st Chapter and ends with the 18th Chapter. A chapter (in serial order) is recited and explained daily. In 2012 the grand finale was the 18-kund Havan on the final day.

Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam: On New Year's eve, the 1008 names of Maha Vishnu are chanted as devotees offer flowers to the lighted lamp.

Other activities include the 40-day Hanuman Pooja, the quarterly Havans and talks by visiting Swamis and guest speakers.


12a


The Holy Feet of Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj