April 17, 2016

Children’s Program Highlights:
Aarushi
Anika
Dev
Divya
Idhika
Nehal
Praket
Sarina
Soumya

Surya Ayalasomayajula – Chapter 18 Summary

Chaitra Navratri/Ram Navami

Moti Aunty’s discourse

Aum comprises of three monosyllables ( ‘A’ + ‘U” + ‘M”) : They stand respectively for “Aacharan- our behavior, Uccharan – our speech/pronunciation and Manan – our contemplation). If these three are good then God manifests to us.
In Navratri we do devi puja. The symbolism of the eight hands of devi are the eight elements of material creation. The five gross elements of earth, air, fire, ether and water and then mind, intellect and ego.
The nine days of puja are to celebrate the nine forms of devi starting from a young girl to the glorious form. The names are:

  • Shailaputri
  • Brahmacharini
  • Chandraghanta
  • Kushmanda
  • Skandamata
  • Katyayini
  • Kaalratri
  • Maha Gauri
  • Sidhi datri
  • Devi was the killer of Madhu-Kaitabh who were demons. However the spiritual meaning of Madhu and kiatabh are respectively Madhu (honey-sweetness/pleasures of the world) and Kiatabh (thorns- the pains of the world)

    Ram Navami : In Ramcharit manas Tulsidaas says our heart should be saral (simple), character should be sabal (strong) as a result of which are mind will be safal (clear and successful).

    Kabir das praised the Nirakar (formless God). Surdas praised the sakaar (God with attributes). However Tulsidaas praised God in both forms. Tulsidaas says Ramayan is the bridge which helps us cross the oceans of pain, ignorance etc to walk towards God.

    March 26, 2016

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarushi
    Anika
    Dev
    Divya
    Idhika
    Nehal
    Praket
    Sarina
    Soumya

    Chapter I : Arjun Vishaad Yoga

    Moti Aunty’s discourse

    To clearly understand Gita, chapter 1 is the base. Most people do not understand chapter one completely and ignore it, because it has lot of characters etc. To completely understand Gita, we need to understand Gita chapter one which can be summarized into the following four questions

  • Dhritarasthra starts the Gita with the first shloka
  • Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre Samavetayuyutsavaha |
    Maamakaah paandavaashchaiva kimakurvata sanjaya || (Chp 1, txt 1)

    So the question becomes why a spiritual scripture like Gita starts with the question from a blind man?

  • Why does Duryodhana go to Drona to protect them rather than Bheeshma (who was the chief)
  • Why does Duryodhana ask the army to protect Bheeshma when everyone knew that Bheeshma was given the boon of Icchamrityu (death at will)
  • Why did Pandava sena have more Maharathis (champion commanders)and less common soldier whereas as Kaurav sena had more foot soldiers vs Maharathis (champion commanders)
  • The answers to the questions are as follows

  • Dhritarashtra was born blind which means he could neither visualize light nor see things under light.He symbolizes the ‘blind mind’.Dhritasrashtra depicts the human being who is totally devoid of all discriminating intelligence. Our bodies are like ‘rashtra’(nation/country). When this kingdom is usurped by the ignorant mind, it can cause ruin and lead the body/kingdom to destruction. Unless this blind mind raises the question or interest to study Gita (and therefore know God), no one can make spiritual progress.
  • Duryodhana was nervous about the victory and he knew that Drona favored Arjuna so he wanted to make sure that Drona was on the side of Kauravas.Drona represents our Buddhi (business or worldly intellect).Bheeshma is our conscience. All human beings when in trouble or are nervous as was the case of Durodhana tend to go to the worldly knowledge and not seek answers from their conscience. As long as this happens, the path of the soul will remain towards destruction.
  • Duryodhana knew that if Shikhandi came infront of Bheeshma , he would give up arms and then Kaurava army would be thrown on the path to loss in war. Shikhandi on the other was a combination of male-female principles both. Shikahndi’s male –female principles are nothing but the ‘Ida’ and ‘Pingala’ nadi brought into balance through pranayama (yoga of breath control). Bheeshma who represents our ego unless surrenders to this yoga, we will always be on the path of attachments leading to adharma.
  • The Kauravas were 100 in number and their army was in millions. The Pandavas on the other hand were only five and they had an extremely small army. The Kauravas depict the evil tendencies in us which flocks in numbers. The Kaurava brothers were also known to be lumped at birth (attached) which signifies that evil tendencies rise from attachments.
    Pandavas were few, but all of them were heroes. The chief of Pandavas was Yudhisthir was was Dharma raj and therefore he represents Dharma.
  • February 21, 2016

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarushi
    Anika
    Dev
    Divya
    Idhika
    Nehal
    Praket
    Sarina
    Soumya

    Surya Ayalasomayajula – Chapter 18 Summary

    Chapter 18 : Moksha Sanyaas Yoga

    Moti Aunty’s discourse

    Uddharet Atmana Atmanam Natmanam Avasadayet
    Atmaiva Hyatmano Bandhuratmaiva Ripuratmanah. (chp 6, text 5)

    It is a man’s duty to rise on his own and not let his soul stoop down. One is his own friend or enemy. In this context the discourse begins with Aunty citing example through a story where a man has a wife whom he ignores completely. After some time he marries another wife and settles with her into a family. After some time he marries another woman and takes her to his social gatherings etc. Finally he marries a fourth woman and makes her his business partner. When the time comes for him to die, he asks his fourth wife who was most dear to him if she would accompany him. She complains that since she has business dealings to finish, she cannot accompany him. Then he asks his third wife, who also expresses her inability to join him due to social commitments. The second wife similarly declines citing familial obligations as a reason. Finally he asks his first wife who he had ignored though out his life, but she happily agrees to accompany him.

    This story is symbolic of human life where the most ignored first wife is our own soul. The second, third and fourth wife being respectively familial obligations, social commitments and financial issues.

    Most of us are like Duryodhana who knew what is right and wrong, but did not have the inclination to follow the righteous path and he says to Krishna


    janami dharmam na cha me pravrutthih janamyadharmam na cha me nivrutthih |
    kenaapi devena hrudhisthithena yatha niyuktosmi thatha karomi ||

    Which means, I know what is dharma (=righteousness), yet I cannot get myself to follow it! I know what is adharma, yet I cannot retire from it! O Lord of the senses! You dwelt in my heart and I will do as you impel me to do.
    So how do we encourage ourselves to do the right thing? The answer is by doing right karma. Karma is not past or future. It is the present. When most of us do karma, we think of the future result. However Krishna has said that we are entitled to only actions and not the fruit

    Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
    Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarman (Chp 2, txt 47)

    The fruits are to be left to God who is not seen, but ties the entire universe and creation together. We have to inquire who is this who ties everything together? Just as a thread cannot be seen in a garland, God is not seen, but just as the threas in the garland is taken out, the garland disintegrates and ceases to exist, the universe ceases to exist if God withdraws himself from it.

    mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya
    mayi sarvam idam protam sutre mani-gana iva (CHp 7, txt 7)

    God can be seen in three forms – jeeva (souls), jagat (material creation) and Jagadish (Lord of Universe)

    Coming back to the karma that we have rights over and we should be doing, it is comprised of five elements – Sthaan (place),Kartaa (do-er), Karan (instrument), prayaas (efforts) and bhagya (destiny).

    The inspiration to do karma comes from three things – The knowledge, objects of knowledge and knower, these are the motivator of action. Doer, the organs and activity-and are three constituent of action.


    Gyanam geyam parigyata trivadha karamchodna I
    Karrham karam karteti trividhah karamsangara II (18.18)

    Knowledge, knower and objects of knowledge are instruments of motivation to know.
    Knowledge and objects of knowledge exist due to material nature but the knower has fallen into an ignorance trap. Becoming doer of activity of senses, mind and intellect and organs of senses with sense objects, the SELF has created this entire universe by mindset. So knowledge, knower and objects of knowledge are motivator and the doer, organ and activity are constituent of action.

    December 19, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarushi
    Anika
    Dev
    Divya
    Idhika
    Nehal
    Praket
    Sarina
    Soumya

    Maharaj Jee’s discourse on Gita Jayanti

    Purpose of Gita: The first shloka in Gita is narrated by Dhritarashtra and is as follows
    Dhrutarashtra Uvacha

    dharmakshetre kurukshetre samaveda yuyutsava:
    mamaka pandavaschaiva kimakurvata sanjaya 1/1

    and the last shloka in Bhagvad Gita as recited by Sanjay is

    yatra yogesvarah krsno ,yatra partho dhanur-dharah
    tatra srir vijayo bhutir, dhruva nitir matir mama (18/78)

    The 700 Gita shlokas can be summarized in the first and the last words of Gita which is “Dharma Mama” which means “My duty”. Therefore ; Gita is a treatise to help us understand our dharma.

    Gita Jayanti is celebrated to mark the occasion of the narration of Gita by Bhagvan Krishna to Arjun. Gita was delivered for the benefit of all souls, over 5000 years ago. It was delivered in the auspicious land of Kurukshetra on the Ekadashi of the month of Margasheesha .
    “Margasheesha” is composed of two words “Marga” meaning “Road” and “Sheesha” meaning “head”; therefore “Margasheesha” means the main road. A road which leads us to our destination. In chapter 10, amongst his various Vibhutis, Bhagvan Krishna mentions that amongst all the months, he is the month of “Margasheesha”.Within this month, in the waxing half of the moon, known as shuklapaksha, on the eleventh day known as Ekadashi, Gita was delivered to Arjun. There are 12 pairs of bright and dark halves of lunar fortnights ; thereby comprising of 24 ekadashis. Each Ekadashi has its own name and significance and has a certain objective associated with it. This particular Ekadashi when Gita was delivered is known as the Mokshada Ekadashi which is the Ekadashi which when performed provides Moksha or liberation.

    The word Moksha is also comprised of two words which are “moh” (desires) + “kshay” (destruction) which brings the meaning of Moksha as something which destroys desires. Since desires arise out of ‘knowledge-less-ness’, moksha eradicates this state of knowledge-less-ness’

    Maharaj jee explains this with an interesting anecdote which is as follows:
    A blind man is once invited to a dinner and is offered ‘kheer’ (rice pudding in milk). The blind man has never tasted the kheer so he asks someone to describe it. People explain to him that the kheer is made out of milk. The blind man had incidentally not tasted milk either, so asks people to describe milk. People describe milk to be of white color. Since the person who is asking the questions is blind, he does not understand what white color is, so people explain that white is the color of a swan. Since the blind person does not know how a swan is, he asks people to describe a swan. People try to imitate a swan’s neck by forming shapes by bending their arm etc. When the blind person hears, this, he refuses to eat the kheer as he thinks that the kheer which now to him sounds something like the swan may get stuck in his throat due to its awkward size and shape.

    This simple story explains, how lack of knowledge about even simple things can lead to baseless and foolish conclusions. Similarly lack of spiritual knowledge or knowledge of one’s duty can lead to illogical conclusions about one’s duty. Maharaj jee quotes the story to explain the meaning of moksha as a commonly (mis)understood notion is that liberation or moksha implies death. He explains that Gita spreads the light of knowledge within the “Antah Karan” which is essentially a sum of four parts (Man (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chittah (consciousness) and Ahankar(ego). Just like to maintain the body, we need food to be consumed everyday; similarly to maintain the soul, we need the light of knowledge everyday.

    After explaining, the significance of Ekadashi (specifically mokshada Ekadashi) and the significance of Margasheesha, Maharaj jee explains the significance of Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra was an auspicious land where lot of yagyas were conducted. The land was considered to be illuminated with the light of knowledge. It is said, that when earth was being formed, the first mass of land that appeared was that of Kurukshetra. There is a spot known as “Suryakunda” also known as “Amritkunda’ which literally means a reservoir of nectar. This is one reason, that when there is a solar eclipse, millions of people take bath in this spot .

    August 30, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarushi
    Anika
    Dev
    Divya
    Idhika
    Nehal
    Praket
    Sarina
    Soumya

    Moti Aunty’s Glorifies Guru Maa

    Guru Maa sits on this position (chairs the position) due to the four supporting pillars the chair rests on. These pillar are figurative, but actually are the qualities of Guru Maa. These are:

    Tyaag (sacrifice)
    Tapasya (austerity)
    Kshamta (ability) and
    Prabhu Kripa ( Mercy of God)

    Just like energy from powerhouse needs a pole to be available and accessible to us, similarly the spiritual energy of God reaches us through the medium of a spiritual Guru and that is Guruma. The importance of bhakti is that

  • When bhakti enters food, it becomes Prasad
  • When bhakti enters hunger, it becomes fast
  • When bhakti enters water, it becomes Amrit (nectar)
  • When bhakti enters music, it becomes Kirtan
  • When bhakti enters building, it becomes temple
  • When bhakti enters action, it becomes seva (service)
  • When bhakti enters work, it becomes Karma
  • When bhakti enters travel, it becomes pilgrimage
  • When bhakti enters man, man becomes human
  • Guru Maa’s Discourse

    All actions done by people add up to make the karmas. Just like the holi river Ganga flows through many places, but only certain spots have special significance and are regarded as Teerth Sthaan (sacred junctures), similarly the entire Bhagvad Geeta is full of nectar, but certain chapters like the chapter 12 and 15 are considered to have special significance.
    In chapter 15, the Purushottam yoga , the first shloka is

    sri-bhagavan uvaca
    urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham
    asvattham prahur avyayam
    chandamsi yasya parnani
    yas tam veda sa veda-vit ( chp 15/Txt 1)

    Shri Krishna says : This world is like a tree, the foundation is up and the branches are down. Its is not like a normal tree. The roots (the spiritual knowledge) is on the top, the creation is on the top.There are seven stages to reach this top (or the spiritual zenith).

    Guruma then quotes the following shloka and explain every word of it
    nirmana-moha jita-sanga-dosa
    adhyatma-nitya vinivrtta-kamah
    dvandvair vimuktah sukha-duhkha-samjnair
    gacchanty amudhah padam avyayam tat (Chp 15/Txt 5)

    Step 1: Nirmaan : The spiritual aspirant should not have a hunger for public applause. S/he should not have any pride in the beauty, wealth or the intelligence that s/he possesses.
    She quotes the example of Hanuman. The name “Hanuman’ itself means someone whose ego has been dissolved. Hanuman never desired a position for himself. He only desired the service of the lotus feet of Lord Ram. Hanuman is referred to as ‘Bhakta Shiromani” (epitome of all devotees) and also “Gyan Gun Sagar” (An ocean of knowledge and abilities). We should learn to be humble like Hanuman.

    Another example she quotes is of Shri Krishna himself. Shri Krishna opts to be the charioteer of Arjun. Typically the seat of a charioteer is positioned lower than that of the rider/warrior so that the warrior can aim properly. Also, the back shoulder of the charioteer is touched by the warrior to indicate any directional moves etc. Arjun’s knees had armor around them as he was a warrior. Each time he touched the shoulder of Shree Krishna, the Lord would get wounded; and yet he opted to be the charioteer and not the warrior.
    Shri Krishna had vowed to not pick any weapon during the Mahabharata war. However Bhishma had vowed to make Krishna lift a weapon. To fulfill the wishes and vows of a devotee, Lord forsake and lets go of his own vows and wishes.
    Another example of Shri Krishna’s humility is cited through The anecdote of Draupadi. Draupadi is advised by Shri Krishna to seek blessings from Bhishma for the long life of her husbands. He advises this to Draupadi, because Duryodhan’s wife had also been planning to do the same. Krishna advises Draupadi to seek blessings in the early morning hours before Duryodhan’s wife could reach the tent of Bhishma. He advises Draupadi to cover her face with a veil. While walking, Draupadi’s sandals make noise, so to avoid waking up everyone and or to allow identification due to sandals, Krishna takes Draupadi’s sandals and holds it under his arms. Krishna demonstrates his humility (nirmaan)

    Another example Guru ma cites is of Pundali. He asks Shri Krishna to wait till he (Pundalik) is able to finish his service towards his parents. God without caring for pride stands on a brick
    (called veeth in marathi) and is hence called as Vitthal.

    Step 2 : Destruction of Moha. ‘Moha’ is the ignorance. There are two kinds of ignorance; one is the kind that Dhritarashtra rising out of selfish motives . The second one is like that of Arjun’s which arises out of compassion.

    Step 3: “Jit Sangh Dosha” : overcoming the faults arising due to wrong company. Therefore; Satsang is glorified as it allows spiritually inclined people to come together and inspire each other. Due to Satsang, good Samskaras (impressions) are born and ignorance is destroyed.

    Step 4: “Adhyatama Nitya” or studying the scriptures daily
    Step 5 : “Vinivrit Kama” (devoid of all desires)
    Step 6 “ “Davandvair Vimukta” “ One who has transcended all polarities.One who has risen above the three modes of Sttava, Rajas and Tamas.
    Step 7 : “Gacchantya AMoodha” : One who has risen above the state of becoming bewildered (whose mind is always calm and tranquill)

    July 26, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarushi
    Anika
    Dev
    Divya
    Idhika
    Nehal
    Praket
    Sarina
    Soumya

    Chapter 13 : Kshetra-Kshtragya Vibhaag Yoga

    sri-bhagavan uvaca
    idam sariram kaunteya ksetram ity abhidhiyate
    etad yo vetti tam prahuh ksetra-jna iti tad-vidah

    Srimad Bhagvad Gita is its own dictionary, Arjun asks in Chapter 13, what ‘Kshetram (field) is and who is ‘Kshetragya (knower of the body)’. Bhagvan answers that this body is ‘Kshetram’ and the knower of this body is the Kshetragya. This body is nothing, but a field of seeds (karmas/actions) sown in previous lives and now has fructified into the form it has taken. Just as a seed sown will bear the fruit depending on the soil it was planted on, the fertilizer used, similarly this body comes into taking form depending on the karmas of previous births.
    Just like a sun reflected in a muddy water is not reflective of the quality of the sun, but rather the quality of the water, similarly the lack of realization of divine within is a quality of muddy consciousness rather than the lack of divine. In order to realize the divine, the efforts should be made to clear the consciousness.

    On Guru Poornima

    We all know that even if there is one hole in a balloon, the air fizzles out, but it is worth giving a thought as to why does the air inside the human body does not fizzle out even though there are nine holes in it. Who is that prevents the ‘pranavayu’ (breath of life) from escaping this body? The body changes form with time, from childhood, to youth to old age, but the pranavayu does not escape- why?
    The element which stops the above from happening can said to be called as ‘Guru Tattava’. Shivji is the first Guru of this material world. Shivji lives in the Kailash Mountains? It is interesting to note this, because these are the qualities a Guru must have and which are reflected in the choice of residence of Shivji

    1. Being Sthir (stable): Shivji was the one who had the power to burn the biggest desire of all-lust. He had burnt down Kaam Deva.
    2. Being cool and calm : A guru needs to have patience as well as have the calmness
    3. Being at heights: A Guru needs to be at the culmination of one’s knowledge. Just like the fire did not burn Sita Devi during Agnipareksha, a Guru needs to have the strength of knowledge and should have achieved the heights of wisdom
    4. Ekantapriya (loving solitude): The Guru should be detached from the material world. This need not happen in a physical sense and it is not necessary that the Guru live in a solitary place; the meaning here is that the attachments should not be present within the mind.

    It is said “Guru Shankar Roopinam” meaning a Guru should be like Shiva. The word “Guru’ literally means the remover of darkness. There are several hierarchies of Guru:
    1. Paramguru : The entire universe follows his instructions
    2. Jagadguru : We can’t see this guru, but we feel his presence and praise him
    3. Sadguru : The guru who shows the path where we can realize God
    4. Kulguru : The Guru who gives opinion on family matters

    The path to proceed in life is shown by Guru. A Guru should be like
    • Ganesh (Sthir/stable);
    • Gauri (devoted)
    • Gaay (cow implying simple) and
    • Graahak(customer) implyuing he collects only good things/knowledge

    Guru’s name is so powerful that even if the disciple takes his name mentally, the effects are there.

    June 27, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Aarush
    Anika
    Aniket
    Idhika
    Isha
    Megha
    Mehak
    Praket
    Prisha

    Chapter 12 : Bhakti Yoga

    Bhagwaan Krishna shows Viraat Roopa (Universal form) to Arjun (in chapter 11). After seeing the Shankha-Chakra-Gada-Padma Roop Arjun has a question as to which form of God is superior and what is the form he should pray? Arjun therefore asks God, if the correct way of worshipping was to focus on the formless God (niraakaaar roop) or was it better to focus on worshipping the physical form (sakaar roop).

    Bhagwaan then mentions the criteria of worshipping in each of the two aforementioned techniques.
    He says (Chapter 12, text 2)

    sri-bhagavan uvaca
    mayy avesya mano ye mam nitya-yukta upasate
    sraddhaya parayopetas te me yuktatama matah

    If you choose to worship the physical form then you need to have full faith in me. You should be worshipping daily and should be fully focused on me while worshipping.

    God also lays three rules for the formless worship

    sanniyamyendriya-gramam sarvatra sama-buddhayah
    te prapnuvanti mam eva sarva-bhuta-hite ratah

    If you choose the formless worship, then you should have full control over your senses, should be maintaining equanimity between all living beings and should be always engaged in the service of all living entities. However since the criteria for worshipping the formless God is very difficult for the human beings who are endowed with senses and visualizing something which cannot be perceived through senses is difficult, the worship of the sakaar roop (form with physical attributes) is preferred as else the downfall can be quick.

    The four stages of evolution of the soul are as follows:
    Jeevatama (soul)
    Dharmatama (religious soul)
    Mahatama (Great soul)
    Paramatma (God)

    The significance of chapter 12 in Gita has been compared to that of the heart within the human body. Just like heart is the center of emotions and functioning in human body, similarly the chapter twelve has bhakti in it and God can be achieved only with bhakti. Within the bhakti yoga chapter , the twelfth shloka is considered to be the heart of bhakti

    sreyo hi jnanam abhyasaj jnanad dhyanam visisyate
    dhyanat karma-phala-tyagas tyagac chantir anantaram
    (Ch 12/ Txt 12)

    The first step to progress on bhakti marga (path to devotion) is by doing abhyaas (practice). The next step is Gyan (knowledge) and the step after that is dhyaan (concentration). Finally the step is doing tyaag(sacrifice). Human beings can achieve peace only after sacrifice. Peace cannot be achieved without sacrificing.

    Bhagwaan lists 39 qualities of devotees. One who has mastered these qualities can be certain to achieve God.

    advesta sarva-bhutanam maitrah karuna eva ca
    nirmamo nirahankarah sama-duhkha-sukhah ksami
    (Ch 12/ Txt 13)

    1. Not envious towards all living entities
    2. Kind
    3. compassionate
    4. Does not think himself a proprietor (not possessive)
    5. Free from false ego
    6. Always satisfied in both happiness and distress
    7. Forgiving

    santustah satatam yogi yatatma drdha-niscayah
    mayy arpita-mano-buddhir yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 14)

    8. Content
    9. Self Controlled
    10. Endeavoring
    11. Determined
    12. Devoted his/her mind and intelligence to me (Krishna)

    yasman nodvijate loko lokan nodvijate ca yah
    harsamarsa-bhayodvegair mukto yah sa ca me priyah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 15)

    13. Never agitates others
    14. Never gets agitated by others
    15. Free from anxiety and fear
    16. Free from happiness and distress

    anapeksah sucir daksa udasino gata-vyathah
    sarvarambha-parityagi yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 16)

    17. Without expectations
    18. Pure
    19. Expert
    20. Impartial
    21. Undisturbed
    22. Renouncer of all material endeavors

    yo na hrsyati na dvesti na socati na kanksati
    subhasubha-parityagi bhaktiman yah sa me priyah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 17)

    23. Neither takes pleasure nor envies
    24. Neither grieves nor desires
    25. Renouncer of auspicious and inauspicious
    26. Full of devotion

    samah satrau ca mitre ca tatha manapamanayoh
    sitosna-sukha-duhkhesu samah sanga-vivarjitah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 18)

    27. Equal to friends and enemies
    28. Maintains equanimity during honor and dishonor
    29. Maintains equanimity during heat and cold
    30. Maintains equanimity during pleasure and pain
    31. Free (detached) from all kind of associations

    tulya-ninda-stutir mauni santusto yena kenacit
    aniketah sthira-matir bhaktiman me priyo narah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 19)

    32. Maintains equanimity for praise as well as criticism
    33. Maintains silence (does not talk too much)
    34. Satisfied with whatever he/she has
    35. Not focused on maintaining residence (yogi/sanyasi)
    36. Stable minded
    37. Engaged in devotion

    ye tu dharmamrtam idam yathoktam paryupasate
    sraddadhana mat-parama bhaktas te ‘tiva me priyah
    (Ch 12/ Txt 20)

    38. Righteous
    39. With faith accepts me as the lord

    May 30, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Idhika Turya - शान्ति कैसे प्राप्त हो ।
    Praket Ehimay - Sudama and Krishna

    Chapter 11: Vishwaroop Darshan

    Arjun is confused in Geeta. Towards the end he himself accepts that “Nashto Moha, Smritir Labdha” which means he regained his memory once his attachment is dissolved. God had to remind Arjun of his duty.

    God also explains the symptoms of a ‘yogi’. A yogi is one who becomes perfect, but before one copuld become perfect, one has to become ‘upyogi’. Upyogi has two meanings or rather two afcets of the same thing. The first meaning is combining ‘up’ + ‘yogi’ which means assistant to yogi or ‘Vice’ yogi. However Upyogi also means being useful. So inorder for one to become a yogi, he/she has to become useful to others first.

    There are three forms of God described in Gita:

    Sagun Sakar : One with qualities and with form. Example includes deities.

    Sagun Nirakar : One with qualities but formless. Example includes nature such as water, mountains etc. God explains that there are two kinds of ‘prakritis’ ; the ‘para’ (transcendental) and ‘apara’ (material). The material Prakriti are the five elements- air, water, fire, ether and earth. The apara Prakriti are the souls.

    Nirgun Nirakar: One without form and without qualities . Example is the formless God on which yogis focus their minds on.Just like there is light in the powerhouse and all bulbs derive their luminance from there; all souls derive their origin and sustenance from God.
    Worship in any form to God is acceptable, but for human beings since they who are bound by their senses, the worship of sagun sakar (God with form and qualities) is easier.

    April 26, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Idhika Turya - शान्ति कैसे प्राप्त हो ।
    Praket Ehimay - Sudama and Krishna

    Chapter 10 : Vibhuti Yoga or the Yoga of Manifestation

    Ram Kishan Uncle’s Discourse
    Chapter 10 is also called the ‘Doctrine of Grace’. “Those who worship constantly, worship and love God without desire and expectation, I give them the knowledge” says Krishna. Krishna gives this knowledge to those whose mind remains in communion with Krishna always.
    The qualities of God are innumerable. Through the different objects, God manifests his qualities. Whatever thing that we find are glorious, should be considered to be an expression of the splendor of God. God’s potency is infinite and this expression should be considered to be one portion of the infinite.
    Whenever Ramakrishna Paramhamsa used to see birds flying high, he used to admire the divine beauty in them and used to get into a daze. He could see the act of flying birds as one ’emanating from single source.’ This kind of true spiritual insight can see the essence of divinity in all that is splendorous and glorious.
    However, human vibrations are diverse and different. Worshipping to contemplate is a form of ‘sakaar saadhana’ (worship with a finite form in mind). From the various forms such as Shiva, Hanuman, Ganesha etc., one picks a form which they want or according to the family tradition.
    For people who want to stay clean of human interaction and choose to find God in solitary places, even the company of 2-3 people is a crowd. One has to train one’s mind to be not distracted. There is a divine space within the brain. This divine space is the same as the pure consciousness which is present in the physical and the spiritual world.
    God does not create suffering. God creates only laws. To release oneself from the suffering, one can bind oneself to the continuous recitation of mantras. However, one cannot reach to God all by himself. By trying to climb to God, one discovers that as one has covered a long journey, there is more distance to be covered. Path to God comes when God himself shows the path to an individual and shows the purpose of the journey.

    Question from audience : Why do people suffer? If everything is predestined, then why should one do Karma?
    Answer : We all come with a package of karmas called the “prarabhdha” karma which needs to be burned. God does not create suffering. God simply instructs how to live. Karma is important because Prarabdha can be amended based on how strong or weak the karma is. If the prarabdha is ordinary then simple steps can remove the karma. If the karma is moderate, then stronger methods are required for the removal of the same. However, if Karma is extremely strong, then it cannot be amended and has to be suffered in this human birth. To explain the intensity of Karma, uncle cites a story as an example.
    Once there a man who wanted to obtain political power and wealth. He, therefore, starts chanting the mantras of Durga. He chants the prescribed rounds of the mantras sixteen times whereas the mantra was said to confer the fulfillment of desires by chanting them only once. He therefore; gets dejected, gives up everything and becomes a sanyasi. As he chants the mantra round the seventeenth time, Goddess Durga appears and says that she appeared, because the chanting of the mantras is ‘Amogha’ (unfailing) and asks him of his desire. The man who had now turned into a sanyasi replies that he had been desiring political power and wealth, but that was before and he had chanted the mantras enough number of times (sixteen), but since she did not appear, he had given up on his desires and had therefore become a sanyasi.
    Goddess Durga replies that her mantras were Amogha and she was bound to appear. However in his past life, the man had committed sixteen murders and the first sixteen rounds had only neutralized those reactions. It was the seventeenth time, when his chanting actually bore any fresh fruits and here she was to satisfy him of whatever desires he had. The man then became enlightened, and then he returned to the worldly life and became a spiritual scholar.

    Question : How to surrender fully?
    Answer : Human life is precious. We have a unique opportunity to grow spiritually. Since we have a prarabdha package, the opportunity for material growth is defined and limited according to the individual packages we have; however, the opportunity for spiritual growth is infinite.. and yet human beings spend a majority time in pursuit of the material pleasures and success. The devas of the heaven do not have this golden opportunity as human beings do. The devas can only exhaust their ‘punyas’ in the heaven. They cannot grow spiritually. Only human beings can use this birth to grow spiritually. The real aim of his life is to obtain God. By calming the mind, doing tapasya (penance), one is able to obtain God. God says that whatever is the last thought of a person while he does, that is what the person attains in the next birth. To obtain God, one should, therefore, have God in his last thought. However, since it is never known as to when one could die, it is useful to spend all the time thinking about God. However, while dying if a person is unconscious, then God says that “I remember him and bring him to me.” The entire human life should be a shrine. One should remember God in the beginning of a work, end of the work and if possible in between also. The key to achieving God is to become selfless and being committed to duty.
    A wise man understands that multiplication of desires leads only to further entanglement in the chain of births and deaths. It is the elimination of the desires towards which one must be focused.

    Moti Aunty’s Discourse
    Many times, devotees ask things from God, but sometimes God himself becomes pleased with the devotee and starts enlightening him. In chapter 10, God starts enlightening Arjun without Arjun’s asking. God gives that knowledge called the ‘vibhuti’ of God.
    What is yoga? The ability to connect with God’s strength and abilities is yoga. When God displays the splendor, that is the Vibhuti of God. During a yagya, we light the fire. However, we don’t pick it and put it to our foreheads. However, after the yagya, when all materials turn to ash, we pick the ash and put to our foreheads. This is because the yagya has purified all the materials and only these purified materials are worthy of being applied to foreheads.
    To the point of karmas, Moti Aunty describes how Maharaj jee used to describe karmas and alteration of prarabhdha. If the karmas are small in magnitude, then just like a bent needle can be hammered and straightened, these karmas can be altered and fixed. If the karmas are moderate then just like a bent iron rod which needs to straightened, with lot of patience and efforts, these karmas can be altered.
    However if the karmas are bent like crooked train tracks, then there is no way to fix them , but to endure them and burn them off.
    God says whosever comes to my shelter gets liberated. Therefore; regardless of how the Karmas are we should strive to attain the shelter of God.

    February 22, 2015

    Children’s Program Highlights:
    Idhika Turya - शान्ति कैसे प्राप्त हो ।
    Praket Ehimay - Sudama and Krishna

    Chapter 8 notes : Based on Swami Hari Har Maharaj Jee’s lectures

    Chapter 8 is also known as Akshar Brahm Yoga. In this chapter, Arjun asks seven questions to Sri Krishna. Even learned people in this world struggle to answer these questions and get bewildered. However, Bhagvad Gita resolves all the doubts from people’s minds. The questions that Arjun asks is as following:

    Q1. What is ‘Brahm’?
    Q2. What is ‘Adhyatma’?
    Q3. What is ‘Karma’?
    Q4, 5 & 6 What is Adhibhoot/Adhidev and Adhi Yagya (most people have not even heard about these words/terms, but atleast Arjun has heard about these and he seeks clarification from Bhagavan about the meaning of these words)
    Q7. Will a person ever understand the meaning of these above questions till he/she dies?

    Maharaj jee says that there are three steps to action. Applying the knowledge of Bhagvad Gita in action is extremely important to perform the action correctly one needs to understand it first. Therefore understanding precedes action. However; one can properly understand something only when one hears about it; therefore listening precedes understanding which precedes action. In a nutshell proper listening and proper understanding are the key to perform right actions. All the questions that Arjun asks are valid for the entire humankind and not specific to just one religion.

    Answer to Arjun’s first question : What is Brahma?
    Bhagwan says “Aksharam Brahma Param” or in other words Param Akshar is what is Braham. To understand this fully, we need to understand the words “Param” and “Akshar”. ‘Param’ means the ultimate/absolute or sublime. The word “Akshar” has two meanings. The first meaning comes from the conjunction of the syllables ‘A’ (meaning not) + ‘kshar’ (meaning that which destructs, reduces etc). Therefore; one meaning of the word ‘Akshar’ is that which never destroys. This meaning of Akshar should be related to the unmanifest form of God which never gets destroyed. Therefore; by this definition of Akshar, Brahm refers to the supreme ultimate or supreme absolute God.
    Maharaj jee further cites the example of a child who goes to kindergarten to learn the alphabets. The child learns the 26 letters of the alphabet. When the kid goes to higher grades, he/she learns about different subjects and when he/she reaches college he/she learns about these subjects in even greater detail. However; all the knowledge that is obtained from these higher grades or college is all captured, confined and defined by the 26 letters of the alphabets. There is no need for a 27th letter. Even if the books get destroyed and rotten, still the knowledge that has been acquired remains with a person. Similarly Bhagvad Gita is a book about Brahm Gyan. If one is able to apply the knowledge of Gita in everyday practice, then one is able to be successful in all fields of life.

    One application of this Gyan (knowledge) is that one should be able to recognize the difference between temporary and indestructible. Even a small child keeps saying ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’, but what is really ‘I’, ‘me’ or mine. This small child one day turns into an old man or woman which means the body which the child thought was his or hers has now transformed into a different type of body. The human body at any stage is a temporary body. Within a single lifetime, the body changes so many times, yet human beings spend a lot of time in fending for this body.
    The second meaning of the word ‘Akshar’ is understood by the joining of syllables ‘Aksh’ + ‘R’ . The meaning of ‘Aksh’ is eye and ‘R’ (read as sound) means ‘light’. Therefore ‘Akshar’ in this way can be explained as ‘as far as the eyesight can see’. This meaning of Akshar is in reference to the material manifestation of God.
    With this explanation arises another question as to which of these above definitions of ‘Brahm’ is the correct definition? The first definition explains about the indestructible and unchangeable. The second definition talks about the material manifestation which as explained above with the human body example talks about the changeable.
    However; both the meanings essentially talk about the same thing. Human beings assume the body they have and their soul are one and the same. Maharaj jee explains further with examples such as when a person says ‘I got burnt’ when he/she gets burnt in finger and he/she says the same thing when his/her toes get burnt, but they don’t think as to which part of the body does this ‘I’ reside? Maharaj jee says just like millions of children go to school, but a rare few get a doctorate degree, similarly of the millions who read and talk about these topics, the true comprehension of the meaning of ‘Brahm’ is rare. He explains that the two meanings can be further explained with the example of a sugar cube. The manifest/visual part is that the sugar cube is white in color. This is what the eyes can deduce. However the eyes cannot deduce the sweetness of the sugar cube, just like tongue cannot deduce the white color of the sugar cube. A sugar cube is not just white or sweet, it is both. Similarly Brahm is not just indestructible, it is also that which can reach the extremities of the eyesight. Brahm should be understood in its totality and not by its independent individual meanings.

    This world is a combination of both the meanings of the word Brahm. Bhagvad Gita does not advocate renunciation, but rather it encourages to understand the world. Most people do not understand this basic truth that the more spiritual growth one has, the more he or she grows materially. Only those who live within this world can understand this fact, not the ones who renounce.

    Answer to Arjun’s second question : What is Adhyatma?
    Bhagavan answers ‘Svabhavodhyatmam Uchyate’. ‘Sva’ means ‘mine’ and ‘bhav’ means ‘to exist’.Therefore ‘My existence’ or the existence of Brahm in everyone is the ‘Svabhava’. The existence of the Akshar Brahm is what is Adhyatma. This Brahm is pervading everywhere . Maharaj jee explains this with an example. He says when he comes to US, he goes to Chicago, he goes to New York and he goes to Cleveland, so he understands what is New York, Cleveland and what is Chicago, but someone needs to show him what America is. All these places have separate existence, but where is the existence of America? Just as America is a sum of all these places plus many more, similarly Brahm is everywhere, in every place and thing, but cannot be seen.