Monthly Archives: November 2014

Nourish the soul

We cling on to things, ideas, relationships refusing to believe that everything has an expiry date.

We hold on to I, me, myself so fiercely that in the process we hurt ourselves

We have to be best in everything.  Our children have to learn; refusing to believe that sometimes we learn without consciously learning.

This beautiful gift called life is to be used for a higher purpose. …how many of us realize that?

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The Bhagvad Gita has described this world as dukhalaya asaswatham meaning that everything here is full of misery and temporary.(B.G. 8.15)

mam upetya punar janma
duhkhalayam asasvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhim paramam gatah

TRANSLATION

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

And still we cling on to things. haven’t you seen people clinging on to their old things even thought hey are battered and out of use. ‘Nostalgia’ they say.

Similarly we cling on to old thoughts, old enmities and old hurts and hurt our selves day after day.

They are some of us who want the latest the latest gizmo, the latest clothes, everything that comes in new but while we take care to be trendy, how many of us take care to nourish our soul.

‘Beauty is only skin deep’ we say and go and spend thousands for its upkeep, while inside our soul languishes.

We make our children go through so many classes saying that it is necessary for his over all development, but do we really see that they develop in full. Isn’t spiritual education too necessary?

Everyone of us cannot be yogis. Yes we have to earn, yes we have to be independent but can’t we take some time to nourish ourselves.

Very often we hear people say that they go to the temple they feel calm, they are filled with positivity or that there is peace within. Does anyone wonder why?

It is because at that time we hear the call of our soul and we connect to it. The rest of the time we just satisfy our senses. Eat good, see good, live good etc etc.

Chanting of a round, visiting a holy place, reading Bhagvad Gita and contemplating on it, doing some charity, doing some devotional service are acts of nourishing the soul. Once you follow this path, you will see that all the other negativity of hoarding or possessing things (or relationships) gradually subside. We accept everyone as they are and most important we accept ourselves as we are.

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Just like we need food for the body, we need food for the soul. And what is that food? Hearing and chanting God’s names in the association of saintly people. Otherwise, we will give in to temptations at the smallest instance. We will be weaklings, spiritually.

– Radhanath Swami

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The ABCD’s of Spirituality

The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal.  It can’t be organized or regulated.  It isn’t true that everybody should follow one path.  Listen to your own truth. Ram Dass.

When I got this quote in my Good Morning mail from a very dear friend, I felt good. But then Spirituality is not for the weak and the lazy. It is a structured science which requires effort and discipline. It is not that you will sit in one corner contemplating and suddenly you will be illumined. It requires an inclination and I repeat EFFORT. Here is a simple way to help one in the spiritual path. Haven’t  you learned A…B…C…D.. in school? Similarly there is an ABCD in  spirituality too

A: A stands for association. Haven’t you heard a man is known by the company he keeps and that the Birds of the same feather flock together. Similarly it is essential that you associate yourself with people of similar taste. Staying with such a group helps you in being steadfast and march towards your goal.

B:B is for Books. yes, we have all been encouraged to read books. Reading is good to increase knowledge and vocabulary. Here Books means scriptures like Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagvada Gita, Bhagvatham. The books which will satisfy your spiritual quest and aid you in your spiritual path.

C: C is for chanting. Every Yuga has a definite Yuga Dharma. For Sat yuga it was meditating. Life span of a human used to be around 1000000 years and people could spend ample time in meditation. For Treta the Yuga Dharma was Yajna. A lot of sacrifices were made. The average life span was around 10000 years and so yajnas were performed for hundreds of years. In Dwapara life span reduced to only 1000 years and during this yuga the dharma was to build temples and maintain them. The daily routine of people revolved around temples. When it comes to Kali; the life span is only 100 years and so we have a short cut formula. Just chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

and make your life sublime hara or Hare means the divine energy, the pleasure potency of the Lord- Srimati Radharani Krishna is the Lord and the word means ‘all attractive’ Rama is another name of Lord and means reservoir of eternal pleasure So this maha mantra means

O all attractive, all pleasing Lord, o energy of Lord, please engage me in your loving devotional service.

So when we chant we beg for devotional service and connect in that way directly to the Lord.

D;D is for devotional service. It can be as simple as eating Krishna prasad or as dificult as composing beautiful prayers praising the Lord.  Navamedh Bhakti or the nine processes of bhakti outlines nine ways to approach the Lord. You can understand more about this in this story.

Let these ABCDs be the starting points of your spiritual journey. Hope you enjoyed this post.

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The origin of the Ganga

Bali Chakravarti was a very worthy King. His Grandfather Prahlad Maharaj had instilled in him a strong sense of devotion and righteousness and so he ruled his Kingdom justly. His Kingdom comprised the  three worlds and when His Guru Shukracharya encourages him to do Ashwamedha Yagna, he readily agrees.

But that makes Indra insecure. Because anyone who does 100 Ashwamedha’s cam become the next Indra, the king of heavens. And so he runs to Visnu to save him.

Visnu listens to him and takes birth as the son of Aditi, the mother of all Devas. He is named Vaman. He is short but his face has such radiance that one cannot stop looking at him.

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During one Yagna, this Brahmana boy Vaman, goes to Bali to beg for alms. His radiance is such that everyone just keeps on gazing at him. And Bali comes forward and asks what the boy wants. Vaman says, ‘three paces of land’. Bali agrees. While Shukracharya disagrees. He understands that Vaman is someone special and dissuades Bali from making any promises but Bali does not pay any heed tohim. After all how much can a midget cover with his three paces.

But then Vaman grows n size and becomes a giant and with the first two paces covers all the tree worlds and then asks where do I place my third step and Bali offers his head.

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Bali folds his head and bows down in reverence offering himself. Vaman dev puts his feet on Bali’s head and pushes him to Patal or the nether world. For this act of Bali, he is taken to be the example of atma nivedanam or complete surrender. He is one of the Mahajanas and still resides along with he other Mahajanas like Hanuman etc.

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While Vaman was taking his first two paces, his toes of the left foot pierced a hole in the outer covering of the earth. From this covering the waters of the causal ocean leaked through and fell on the head of Lord Siva and that is how Ganga took birth. Because she took birth from the foot of Visnu, she is also known as Visnupadi. First she inundates the heavenly planets then flows through Brahmapuri atop Mount Meru.

There is an interesting video in Youtube which shows how Ganga came into origin you can view it here

Sourced through Srimad Bhagvatam, Fifth Canto, Chapter 17

All images sourced from Krishna.com

 

 

 

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Krishna, arranges

As Rashmi opened the door and quietly stepped inside, she noticed her mother waiting. ‘Ma, I have told you not to wait for me’.

‘How do I sleep when you are out with hippies’, her mother said.

‘Ma, they are not hippies, they are devotees. And I had told you that there is a kirtan mela and the President had invited you too. You both could have come’, Rashmi said.

‘I don’t like to see people singing and dancing like mad’, her mother said.

‘Ma, it is not a mad dance, we dance in ecstasy’. Rashmi said.

‘Don’t tell me. I just hope we get a good groom for you and get you married off. What you do after that is not my botheration’, her mother said and left.

The next day when Rashmi sat down to chant after the Mangalaarti was over, her mother came and put five photographs in front of her.

‘These are eligible bachelors, select amongst them’, told her mother.

‘Are they devotees’, Rashmi asked.

‘I don’t know’, her mother said.

‘Do they eat non-veg’, she said

‘Yes’, her mother said

‘Then for me, none are eligible’, she replied.

‘See Rashmi, these boys belong to our community, they are well-educated, earn well, look good too. After marriage you can make them into a vegetarian, a devotee or whatever you want’, her mother said.

‘And what if he is not interested in spirituality, whole life I have to suffer just abiding to his wishes’, Rashmi asked.

‘Well in our culture, women have to abide by the decision of her husband’, her mother said.

‘And our culture allows a woman to choose her own husband. No, ma if I marry it will be to a man of my choice and preference’, she said

Her mother just kept quiet and brought her breakfast.

‘Bread and omelet?’, she remarked, You know I don’t eat egg.

‘See Rashmi don’t be fussy what will happen if your husband likes eating non-veg’, said her mother

‘Ma, I told you, I will marry a man of my choice’, she said and left for her room

‘And what happens if you don’t meet a person of your choice’, her mother said

‘It is not me who will meet Ma, Krishna will arrange’, she said.

As she sat in her room, Rashmi understood that in her life out of all the trapatreyas*-the three fold miseries, Adi bhautik was the worst.

 

As she sat dull and forlorn arranging books in the stall, Sharada mataji and stood beside her. Sharada mataji was the wife of the temple president and looked after the congregation as her own children.

‘Rashmi, whats the matter, nowadays you are not in the element’, she said.

‘Nothing mataji’, she said.

‘Rashmi, we belong to the same congregation and we all need to lean on each other’, mataji said.

Slowly Rashmi began to tell about her problems; about how her mother objected to her spiritual leanings, her father was ok. How she was being forced into marriage etc.

Mataji just said ‘Hmmm’.

A couple of weeks later her father called her. which was actually a surprise considering he never called her during office hours.

‘Rashmi come home on time, I want you to meet somebody’, he said.

Rashmi just hoped that her father hadn’t contracted the marriage bug from her mother.

When she reached home there was some conversation going on. She opened the door to find the temple president and his wife along with some other people.

Sharada came forward and said, ‘You wanted a devotee family isn’t it and see Balchandra prabhu were looking for a devotee girl. I was praying everyday for you and see….’, she said with a smile.

‘Sharada mataji has told us about you and then looking at your altar, I knew that you are the one for my son…’ the other lady said.

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As she sat all dressed up for the call from the priest, her mother came and stood behind her and said with a smile, ‘You were right, Krishna arranges’.

‘Yes, but only if you have faith’, Rashmi added.

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In the Bhagvad Gita Krishna says in the 9th chapter 22nd shloka

ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham

Translation

But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form–to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.

Shloka translation: asitis.com

*Trapatreya-threefold miseries-Adi daivik– miseries caused by the devas like flood, earthquakes etc

Adibhautik– miseries caused by the kith and kin

Adhyatmik– miseries caused by own self

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