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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 Bhardwaj

Committee Members:
Puran Chand Rekhraj
Datuk Fateh Chand
Hetish Sharma
Tilak Raj
Rajinder Raj
Raman Kukreja
Dr Rumesh Kumar
Narain D. Joshi
Lal Mahadev

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
December 2020 <><><> Volume 42

For internal circulation only

Contents

Editorial Note2
The Yoga of Renunciation: Samnyaasa Yoga
H.H. Shri Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
3
Message from the President
Shri Chandru Binwani
4
Why the Bhagavad Geeta?
Ashok Bherumal
5
In Conversation - Lord Krishna and Arjuna (Animation)
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
6
The Ponderings of a Hindu
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
7
We are born rich, powerful & beautiful
Sukhdev Seoni
8-9
Mind, Intellect, Ego & Consciousness
10
Official Opening of the Geeta Ashram Hall11
Regular Activities at Geeta Ashram Malaysia12
The Geeta Ashram Building12a

2
EDITORIAL NOTE

The Covid-19 Pandemic

Since the beginning of this year, the entire world has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions have been inflicted, and hundreds of thousands have succumbed to the viral onslaught. People are getting used to the new normal of wearing face-masks, maintaining social distancing, obsessively washing their hands and tolerating lock-downs which restrict many of their personal freedoms. Thousands are facing hindrances to their ability to earn a decent income and to maintain a normal domestic, social and spiritual lifestyle.

Geeta Ashram Malaysia, like other religious organisations and places of worship, has not been spared, with the imposition of new rules and SOPs that severely limit the activities of the organisation and the number of devotees permitted to participate. The Management Committee has tried to maintain as much of a state of normalcy as is possible without infringing on the SOPs by limiting the number of devotees allowed at functions and through the use of online media of communication.

We would like to seek the cooperation and patience of the devotees in the smooth running of our Ashram during these difficult times. And we would like to urge the devotees to stay safe by strictly adhering to the present social new normals.


Devotees' Contribution to the Geeta Ashram

Every person is like every other person in some ways. Every person is also like no other person in many ways. Every person is special in his or her own ways. Every member, every devotee, has his or her special ability or talent - singing, music, drama, writing articles, cooking, giving talks, reciting mantras, etc - it could be something which you may have taken for granted. But your special talent could be a great asset for the Geeta Ashram.

If you have that special something which you can offer, please do not hesitate to contact the President or any member of the Management Committee. We would appreciate whatever you can offer in whatever way you can to improve the running and to boost the activities of the Ashram. Your contribution will definitely make a difference. 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
THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION: SAMNYAASA YOGA
Commentary on BG5:11 by H.H. Shri Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
KAAYENA MANASAA BUDDHYAA KEVALAIR INDRIYAIR API
YOGINAH KARMA KURVANTI SANGAM TYAKTVAA ’TMASUDDHAYE

"The Karmayogis, abandoning attachment, perform action with the body, the mind,
the intellect and the senses only, for the sake of self-purification."

PROSE ORDER WITH WORD MEANINGS:
YOGINAH: Yogis; KEVALAIH= only; INDRIYAIH: by the senses; MANASAA: by the mind; BUDDHYAA: by the intellect; KAAYENA: by the body; API: also; SANGAM: attachment; TYAKTVAA: having abandoned; AATMASUDDHAYE: for purifying the self; KARMA: action; KURVANTI: perform.

ORDINARY MEANING (SAAMAANYA ARTH):
The dexterity of the Yogi, freed of the bondage of Karma, who engages himself in the performance of action, is described. The Yogi, engaged in the practice of Nishkaama Karmayoga (Yoga of Action) without any selfish motive, by intellectually surrendering everything to the Lord, performs all kinds of action through the body, mind, intellect and senses, without any attachment to the fruits of action, merely for the purification of his inner faculties.

MATERIAL MEANING (ADDHIBHAUTIKA ARTH):
Here are some illustrations of actions performed through the body, mind, intellect and the senses.

During pilgrimage, the fatigue that the body endures. comes under physical action. Similarly, the sacrifice of body-flesh and bones by Raja Sivi and Maharshi Dadheeci respectively comes under physical action (actions of the body).

Listening to the advice of people of good conduct and reflecting over it, maintaining one-pointed meditation of God, thinking of the means in the pursuit of the Truth, working for the well-being of the general public, remaining firm in upholding righteousness, not showing one’s opulence, not becoming agitated over dishonor, not coming under the grip of the likes and dislikes, not being jealous of anyone, being happy over the progress made by someone, forgiving the one who injures, engaging oneself in avoiding the enjoyment of pleasure, etc come under mental action (actions of the mind).

The mind has two opposing aspects - the pure and the impure. The impure mind is full of desire for objects of passion. The pure mind has no desires. Intellectual action is that field in which the very same actions that are done or not done appear to be right. On proper reflection, the good is accepted and the bad or unacceptable is rejected. Through the intellect, the discriminative faculty is aroused, and the non-self is given up and the self principle is accepted. Only through the intellect are Karma, Akarma and Vikarma (action, bad actions and prohibited actions) discerned.

Actions performed by the senses should be without attachment and egoism. Let's say a certain great soul, who has conquered the senses, is seated somewhere and a beautiful woman appears before his eyes. That great soul looks at her merely through his eyes without any connection to his mind. Thus he remains safe from the arrows of passion. There is no desire for enjoyment in his mind. This is referred to as action performed merely by the senses. If the mind gets connected to the sight, then the mental play would prompt the body to have enjoyment. In such a situation, the action would be accomplished by all three together - the mind, the body and the senses. When looking with the eyes without attachment and egoism, indifference is maintained and it remains until that time as action only of the senses. Such a Yogi, looking at the vast universe, can perform Nishkaama Karma (action devoid of selfish motive) merely through his senses for the sake of purification of the inner faculties. There is no connection with the mind and intellect.


4
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Chandru Binwani

JAI SHREE KRISHNA JAI GURU DEV
First of all I wish to take this opportunity to wish all Geeta devotees a very happy, blessed and peaceful New Year 2021. I would also like to wish all of you the very best of health. Let us hope and pray that the world will be free of the Covid-19 scourge soon.

Geeta Ashram Malaysia has been publishing the Sacred Thought magazine since 1976. The highlight in each issue has been Guru Dev's article from the Guru Prasad magazine, translated from Hindi into English for the benefit of devotees who may not be so conversant in Hindi.

Due to unavoidable circumstances the printed (hard copy) version of the Sacred Thought was discontinued a few years back, but we are pleased to inform you that an electronic version (e-version) will now be published online and an English translation of Swamiji's article from Guru Prasad shall be included in each issue for the benefit of our overseas devotees. The link to the e-version Sacred Thought shall be sent to Geeta Dham trustees who can pass the link on to their various ashrams to be shared with their devotees.

I would like to thank my dear friend and fellow Geeta Ashram devotee Dr D K Bhanot for volunteering to produce the e-version of Sacred Thought which will be published quarterly. I would very much appreciate your feedback in the form of comments and suggestions. You are also welcome to e-mail any suitable articles for publication in the magazine to the editor, Dr D K Bhanot (drbhanot@bhanot.net) (mobile phone number +60123291216).

With very best wishes, and praying for Guru Dev's blessings.

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

CHANDRU BINWANI
President, Geeta Ashram Malaysia


5
WHY THE BHAGAVAD GEETA?
by Ashok Bherumal

Many a time people will ask, "What is the core message of the Bhagavad Geeta?" My view is that the Geeta deals with how to overcome the THREE AFFLICTIONS OF THE MIND that can cause our spiritual downfall. Let us take the allegory of a precious diamond lying on the bed of a lake. The diamond and its preciousness will not be visible or apparent to a person standing on the lakeside if (1) the water is muddy (2) the waters are turbulent or (3) the person on the lakeside is ignorant about the preciousness of a diamond. So, for any one of these three reasons, even though the diamond is there on the bed of the lake, the person on the lakeside will neither recognise it nor appreciate its value.

Similarly, the Supreme Divinity called Brahman or Atman or Consciousness is within us and It is of the nature of Sat (Truth), Chit (Consciousness) and Anand (Bliss), Yet, in spite of It being within us, we are unable to experience It. Why is that so? We use our mind to experience this world. So if the mind has certain afflictions we will not be able to experience the Supreme Divinity that dwells within us. Similar to the previous allegory of the diamond lying on the bed of a lake, the first affliction of the mind is DIRT (malam) - the dirt of EGO, ANGER, PRIDE, GREED, ETC. (similar to the murkiness of the lake). The second affliction of the mind is TURBULENCE (vikshepa - the monkey mind) - running after sensual and material pleasures, dwelling on the unborn future and the dead past - a restless mind (similar to the turbulence of the lake). The third affliction of the mind is IGNORANCE (ajnanam) - wrongly identifying with this temporary gross body-mind equipment, not knowing our true nature which is the eternal Atman (similar to not knowing the real value of the diamond).

If these three afflictions - malam (dirt), vikshepa (vacillation) and ajnanam (ignorance) - can be eradicated, then the mind will become calm and peaceful and the individual will experience the Divine state of Sat-Chit-Anand within himself. How we can go about eradicating these three afflictions can be learnt from the message of the Bhagavad Geeta.

Chapters 1-6 of the Geeta prescribe the path of Karmayoga - right action with right attitude, discharging all duties and responsibilities with the attitude of Ishvara Arpanam. Every action is dedicated to God and the result is received as Ishvara Prasadam (Prasad from the Lord). Thus, every action becomes a form of worship of the Lord. The result of this is that every action purifies the mind (BG 5:7) and eradicates malam.

Chapters 7-12 of the Geeta prescribe Upasana (upa = near; asana = sit). Through the practice of prayers, rituals, chanting of mantras, attending satsang, etc, the mind becomes single-pointed and focused on the Lord, thus eradicating vikshepa (BG 9:34).

Chapters 13-18 of the Geeta prescribe Jnanayoga. Study of the Scriptures under the guidance of a Guru, consisting of Shravanam (listening), Mananam (reflection) and Nidhidyasanam (practice and meditation), eradicates ajnanam (ignorance of Brahman / Atman) (BG 13:28).

Thus, with the eradication of these three afflictions of the mind through the study and practice of the teachings contained in the Geeta, the Spiritual Seeker will attain Moksha (spiritual liberation or enlightenment).

This, in a nutshell, encompasses the basic teachings of the Bhagavad Geeta.


HARI OM TAT SAT


6
IN CONVERSATION - LORD KRISHNA AND ARJUNA
by Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot


Be patient as Arjuna takes his time to come up with each subsequent question.


7
THE PONDERINGS OF A HINDU
by Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

Yes, I'm a Hindu. And I'm proud to be one. I'm allowed to think. I'm not a believer. I don't blindly believe in things. I'm a seeker. I'm allowed to seek answers. I'm allowed to contemplate on those answers and to accept only what I am convinced is true and righteous.

I want to know who I really am. I want to know the Truth about myself. I want to know the Truth about the Universe. I want to know the Truth about God and His manifestations. I want to know where I came from and where I am going. I want to know what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong.

I am sure there must be more to me than just this physical body. There must be something that makes a difference between a body that is living and one that is dead. What is life? What is this consciousness within me that makes me keep asking questions about my True Self?

What is the purpose of life? Do I have any special duties to perform during my lifetime? Do my duties change as I go through different phases of my life? Is death really the final destination? Is there something beyond death? Is there something more subtle that lives on after the physical body dies?

Does it matter what I do or how I do it? Does it matter how I think about what I am doing? Will my present actions and thoughts affect me in the future? Is there some kind of connection between the consciousness within me and the Consciousness or Intelligence that maintains the orderly running of the Universe? Is this cosmic Consciousness the same as what we refer to as God? Is God a personality or is He a conscious and intelligent System that runs the entire Cosmos?

I've heard of the ancient Rishis, the sages of yore, who spent their entire lives indulging in deep meditation in the Himalayas. In the absolute quietude of their minds, these Rishis made contact with the Cosmic Consciousness, and absolute knowledge just 'happened' in their very receptive minds. The absolute Truths got downloaded and were subsequently carried from generation to generation by word of mouth until they were finally recorded in writing as the Vedic scriptures.

The Vedic scriptures are a huge reservoir of Knowledge, too large for simple people like us to fully assimilate in the course of one lifetime. Is there a simpler way to taste the nectar of Vedic Knowledge without having to dive into the depths of that reservoir?

Arjuna was rescued from a similar state of despondency on the battlefield of Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna whose sermon provided a concise yet comprehensive extract of the Vedic scriptures. That sermon, in the form of the Bhagavad Geeta, is available to all of mankind as a reference on the true meaning and purpose of life and death. I am still going through the 700 beautiful verses of the Bhagavad Geeta, and each time I read the script I feel as if I am reading it for the first time. Each time I read a verse I find new meaning and new Knowledge hidden between the words. Many of my questions are beginning to find their answers, but I shall never stop pondering.



8
WE ARE BORN RICH, POWERFUL & BEAUTIFUL
Sukhdev Seoni

WE ARE BORN RICH, POWERFUL & BEAUTIFUL ... just waiting to be discovered. We have the birthright to be RICH & POWERFUL. If we know (experientially) and use these inner resources, then we benefit from them. If we are ignorant of this inner level, then, just like Arjuna (BG Chap1- Arjuna's Despondency), we can be exposed to a high risk of suffering. Nobody wants suffering. If possible we all want to be happy and to progress and evolve. Here, I shall attempt to give a simple theoretical overview of the issue. The full version is in the Bhagavad Geeta.


self: many aspects
Please see the above diagram. We have two self’s: the 'self' and the 'SELF'. We are all very familiar with the small ‘self’. It is ever-changing, going through birth, growth and death. And it operates in an ever-changing RELATIVE world. Nothing is permanent in this world (ups/downs; happiness/sorrow; gain/loss,etc) We could talk about many aspects of the 'self', but here I am going to mention only three:

1.the model of the 'self' : We are housed in a physical body. Finer than this are the senses. Finer than the senses is the mind. Even finer than the mind is the intellect. And finally we have the Ego
2.the Gunas (a lot is available in the Geeta) : The three gunas (Rajas, Satva, Tamas) operate in us and outside us. They affect all aspects of the body (including the mind, senses, intellect and ego) and the three states of consciousness
3.the Consciousness (more in Yoga Vashistha) : Consciousness: waking, sleeping and dreaming. We are very familiar with these three states and experience them everyday.


9

SELF: Transcend to tap the Treasury
We hear / read about it in theory. Called by many names: Being, Soul, ATMA, Absolute (BG), etc. Compared to the self, it is NON-CHANGING and unmanifest. Also referred to as SATCHITANAND - rich in infinite intelligence, energy and bliss (something we all need and welcome more). It is also a field of creative intelligence and a field of all possibilities. It has many labels and descriptions. Many writers, Gurus, Krishna in BG talk in great detail about its nature and qualities and help in our understanding.

But to benefit from this rich and powerful SELF, we need to contact it or ‘be awake to it’ or ‘become aware of it directly'. For this we need to transcend (go beyond) the small ‘self’, the three gunas and the three states of consciousness. This advice is given by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (Ch2v45) - ‘nistrai-gunyo bhava’. When we transcend the three gunas we experience NIRGUNA.

When we transcend the three states of consciousness, we experience a fourth state of consciousness called transcendental consciousness (turiya chetana). Also called ‘Inner Wakefulness', ‘Pure consciousness'. Initially it is very temporary. With practice, the nervous system gets more and more purified and the ATMA begins to influence all aspects of the small 'self' mentioned earlier. In time, a pure nervous system enables the individual to experience SELF-REALISATION.

Suffering: a whole range experienced by Arjuna in Ch 1 of the Gita.
If we don’t use this treasury, then, we have to go through life and manage with our limited ‘self’. For many it becomes a struggle, although our true nature is to progress. We all know Arjuna as a highly developed individual: highly developed mind, heart and body, a great warrior (Partha, greatest archer of his time), good character, knowledge of scriptures, etc. However, he is put to the ultimate tests / stress in the external battlefields in Kurukshetra (truly Mahabharat). The external battlefields can be overwhelming and become internal battles. Arjuna succumbs mentally, physically and emotionally. He collapses - confused, helpless, depressed and despondent. We have had our own personal times like Arjuna in Chapter 1. He turns to Sri Krishna in Chapter 2, and Krishna begins talking about the ATMA, our SELF. We all have a choice and I am reminded of Ch6v5: TIME TO BE FRIENDLY WITH yourSELF, don’t leave it in the storeroom.



Comments/questions:
Sukhdev Seoni
sdseoni@gmail.com
+6012 217 0120





JAI GURU DEV


Acknowledgements:
1. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Commentary Chap 1-6
2. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on The Science of Being and Art of Living


10
MIND, INTELLECT, EGO & CONSCIOUSNESS

The mind, the intellect and the ego are the subtle constituents of your body that play a major role in helping you make important choices in life.

The Mind: Reactive
The mind makes you react quickly, sometimes even without thinking, making you do or say things on impulse. The mind is the nerve centre that receives, interpretes, processes and organises input from the five senses. The mind arouses emotions and sensations, and produces memories. The mind may process some of this data using quick logic, and may respond accordingly. These responses, some of which may be based on past experiences, may or may not be useful.

The Intellect: Thoughtful
The intellect, on the other hand, helps you sort through a situation, carefully weighing the options, to respond in a more rational manner after proper assessment of the situation. The intellect observes a situation, discriminates, and then determines an action, commonly using slow logic, assessing the pros and cons before reaching a conclusion which may sometimes be based on past mpressions. The intellect can also help to retrain the mind to initiate a better response.

The Ego: Self-Focused
The ego causes you to make choices based on how you are perceived by others or yourself, and can block you from connecting to your True Self. The ego involves the layers of descriptions you attach to who you are, including your position and possessions. When you strip away all these layers, the True Self can shine through.

Understanding how your subtle body works can help you recognize that you have a choice in every situation to express certain aspects of the mind, the intellect or the ego. Developing the intellect can help curb the reactivity of the mind, and quieting the ego can let the Inner Conciousness shine through, leading you closer to operating from the level of the True Self or Atman.



11
OFFICIAL OPENING OF MULTI-PURPOSE HALL
29 December 2019

OFFICIAL INHOUSE PRIEST
Since 15 March 2017




Pandit Amarnath Upadhyaya


Previously attached to
Geeta Ashram Head Office
New Delhi


12
REGULAR ACTIVITIES
GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA

Daily and Weekly Activities

Daily Pooja: Short pooja by Panditji at sunrise and sunset.

Tuesdays: Hanuman Chalisa recitation followed by a talk by Panditji (7.30 - 8.30 pm)

Thursdays: Bhagavad Geeta classes in English by Ashok Bherumal (7.30 - 8.45 pm)
                     Yoga classes by Sridevi Swami (10.00 - 11.30 am)

Saturdays: Bhagavad Geeta classes in English by Ashok Bherumal (4.30 - 6.00 pm

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


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